Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Meeting With Aspiring Writers

I enjoy the monthly meetings with short story writer, Sarah Totton.

This evening she talked about writer's block and how to overcome it. She discussed a number of possible causes such as laziness, procrastination and lack of inspiration. In the course of the discussion, she referred to the two parts of our brain, Sid and Fred. Sid is the conscious critical mind (left brain) while Fred is the intuitive mind (right brain). She suggested that we find ways to feed Fred. When we provide Fred with the seeds of an idea, he will shape them into stories.

Some of her suggestions...
  • Keep a notebook with you at all times. Record any ideas that come to mind.
  • Practice dictionary diving. Pick two words at random from the dictionary and see if you can create a story around them.
  • Examine your personal mythology--colors, images, situations, themes--and write about it.
  • Use contest deadlines as motivation for writing.
  • Give yourself permission to write crap (free writing).
  • Keep a Progress Log. As you write a story or novel, write about your feelings and progress in a separate log or journal.
  • Take the worst story or book you have ever read and force yourself to type it out word by word. You will quickly realize that you can do better.
  • Set the alarm to wake you at 3:00 a.m. For 15 minutes, write whatever comes to mind. Fred is most active at that time.
  • Start with any scene that inspires the story. It does not have to be the first scene.
Other Information...
  • For information about anthologies, visit Duotrope.
  • Good online markets for fantasy stories are Strange Horizons and Fantasy Magazine
  • Read the following books for more inspiration: Creating Short Fiction by Damon Knight and Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande

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