Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, June 29, 2012

Must be a Friday. Just a few things for you to end the week.

We’ll start with a couple things from agent Kristin Nelson and her Pub Rants blog:

Over on WordServe Water Cooler, Sharon A. Lavy (@SharonALavy) poses the question, “Is Reading Fiction…Safe?” She cites some evidence–and there’s a lot more out there in the scientific literature–that people react physically as well as psychologically and emotionally to what they read, and as a result, change.

As it happens, one of the members of my writers’ group noted at dinner after our last meeting that she’d recently read a book called The Better Angels of Our Nature, Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker, a psychology professor at Harvard University, that shows that the level of interpersonal violence has gone down, dramatically and world-wide, since the 1700s. That’s when the first modern novels started to appear. The thesis behind the research was that novels caused people to begin to empathize with others, and that caused, over time, a change in behaviors. Interesting thought.

Speaking of interesting thoughts, I haven’t pointed to anything from Write to Done for a while, but today I get to. Cheryl Craigie (@manageablelife) asks Does Writing Make You Feel Like a Failure or a Fraud? Like, you mean, it doesn’t? But then she makes an even more surprising statement–that being blocked is good! Say what??? Her point is that being blocked is the time when your subconscious is at work and has put up a sign that says, “Don’t bother me, I’m working. I’ll get back to you when I’m done.” Or, as Albert Einstein put it, “Creativity is the residue of time wasted.” So go off and work on something else for a while, and when the light bulb finally turns on, get back to work.

And last but not least, Gabriela Pereira (@DIYMFA) announced today that The DIY MFA Workshop is now up and running on DIY MFA’s Facebook page. They’ll take “the first 500 words” of any writing, fiction or non-fiction. One piece will be selected each week to be posted and critiqued.

Have a great weekend and send up a thought or prayer (or a donation to the American Red Cross, @RedCross) for all the people around the United States (and elsewhere?) who have been evacuated from or lost their homes due to wild fires. I had to evacuate last year. It wasn’t a happy experience. At least I didn’t lose my home, like hundreds and hundreds of families have.

Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, May 31, 2012

Let’s see…what’s great out there today?

  • There are lots of articles and posts about finding ways to generate story ideas, most of them emphasizing fast-fast-fast. Ed Cyzewski (@edcyzewski) takes a “slow down” approach in 6 Ways to Never Run Out of Ideas on Rachelle Gardner’s (@RachelleGardner) blog.
  • Nathan Bransford (@nathanbransford) sort of follows that theme, in There’s Always More You Can Do, but when he asked his readers for their ideas, many wrote back, in essence, “work harder.” A few tried, “work smarter.”  Fewer still suggested slowing down to get more done. Says something about our culture, doesn’t it?
  • Speaking of slowing down, take 20 minutes–right now–go ahead, I’ll wait–and pop on over to Write to Done for the video of Neil Gaiman’s commencement address (@neilhimself) at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, complete with Neil’s wry British humor.
  • Kill Zone contributor Jordan Dane (@jordandane) begins a series today on what she’s learned/is learning as she becomes a self-published author. While today’s first, introductory post, An Indie Author’s Checklist – A Look Behind the Curtain of OZ, is pretty long, the series has the potential to be practical and valuable, without the anger and angst too much of the traditional vs. self-publishing conversation has degenerated into. Here’s hoping.
  • Along those same lines, since I listed DIY MFA’s (@DIYMFA) other Top 10 lists (and got a thank-you from Becca for doing so), guess I’d better include today’s Top 10 Book Picks, hadn’t I? 🙂 OK–done!
  • And finally from the blogosphere, this doesn’t happen very often, but Kristin Nelson announces (tongue-in-cheek, I’m afraid) on her Pub Rants blog, Here’s a Genre I Didn’t Think Of! OK, so it’s really a fun way of reminding us of certain basics.
  • And finally-finally, not from the blogosphere but from the PBS NewsHour last week, and not about writing but the result of writing, an interview with Stephen Greenblatt, author of the book, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, the story of the man who found what may have been the last surviving copy of a book of poetry by the Roman writer Lucretius called “De Rerum Natura,” “On the Nature of Things,” and how that discovery spread around and changed the Western world. There’s also a second short video in which Greenblatt reads from the book.

What great stuff have you found today?