Friday, December 27, 2013

a dreamer's wisdom - amelia barr

No disappointment must discourage, and a run back must often
be allowed, in order to take a longer leap forward.

- Amelia Barr

By Eine Der Guten

Saturday, December 21, 2013

on words - mark twain

The difference between the almost right word and the right word is
really a large matter—if's the difference between the lightning bug
and the lightning.

- Mark Twain

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

on writing - lorrie moore

I just read an interview The Paris Review did with Lorrie Moore.
Here are some highlights referencing art, inspiration, writing short
stories versus novels, but the whole thing was great and should be
read in its entirety...  here.

"Certainly bitter emotions can fuel art—all kinds of emotions do. But
one is probably best left assembling a narrative in a state of dispassion;
the passion is, paradoxically, better communicated that way."

"One has to imagine, one has to create (exaggerate, lie, fabricate from
whole cloth and patch together from remnants), or the [story] will not
come alive as art. Of course, what one is interested in writing about
often comes from what one has remarked in one’s immediate world
or what one has experienced oneself or perhaps what one’s friends
have experienced. But one takes these observations, feelings, memories,
anecdotes—whatever—and goes on an imaginative journey with them.
What one hopes to do in that journey is to imagine deeply and well and
thereby somehow both gather and mine the best stuff of the world. A
story is a kind of biopsy of human life. A story is both local, specific,
small, and deep, in a kind of penetrating, layered, and revealing way."

By Adrian Bellesguard

Sunday, December 15, 2013

on writing - robert southey

Be brief; for it is with words as with sunbeams, the more they
are condensed the deeper they burn.

- Robert Southey, poet

By Violet May

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

on writing - short stories - william goyen

For what is worth to those who want to write stories or simply to know
something of one writer's insight in the writing of short fiction, I have
felt the short-story form as some vitality, some force that begins (and
not necessarily at the beginning), grows in force, reaches a point beyond
which it cannot go without losing force, loses force and declines; stops.

For me, story telling is a rhythm, a charged movement, a chain of pulses
or meters. To write out of life is to catch, in pace, this pulse that beats
in the material of life. If one misses this rhythm, his story does not seem
to "work"; is mysteriously dead; seems to imitate life but has not joined
life. The story is therefore uninteresting to the reader (and truly to the
writer himself), or not clear. I believe this is a good principle to consider.

- William Goyen, The Collected Stories of William Goyen

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

a dreamer's wisdom - e.m. forster

Adventures do occur, but not punctually. Life rarely gives us what
we want at the moment we consider appropriate.

- E.M. Forster, A Passage to India

By calamari studio

Saturday, November 16, 2013

on writing - amy hempel

It's all about the sentences.  It's about the way the sentences move in
the paragraphs.  It's about the rhythm.  It's about the ambiguity.  It's
about the way emotion, in difficult circumstances, gets captured in
language.  It's about instants of consciousness.  It's about besieged
consciousness.  It's about love trouble.  It's about death.  It's about
suicide.  It's about the body.  It's about skepticism.  It's against
sentimentality.  It's about cheap sentiment.  It's about regret.  It's
about survival.  It's about the sentences used to enact and defend

- Amy Hempel, the intro to The Collected Stories

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

photo stories - igor termenón

Igor Termenón shoots gritty fashion spreads, which end up looking
like portraits, and therefore, characters.  His work seems like more than
interesting people showing off interesting clothes, but like people with
something to say, a story to move on to, in which they play a major role.

Be inspired.  Onward, writers, storytellers, and dreamers.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

on reading - ray bradbury and the paris review

Love this interview The Paris Review did with Ray Bradbury.  Here
are some bits of what he said about writers and what they read:

Do you read your science-fiction contemporaries?

I’ve always believed that you should do very little reading in your
own field once you’re into it. But at the start it’s good to know what
everyone’s doing.

How about writers younger than you?

I prefer not to read the younger writers in the field. Quite often you
can be depressed by discovering they’ve happened onto an idea you
yourself are working on. What you want is simply to get on with
your own work.

You seem to have been open to a variety of influences.

A conglomerate heap of trash, that’s what I am. But it burns with a
high flame.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

on writing - advice from ramona ausubel

Two things: As Jim Shepherd says, “Follow your weird.”  Figure out
what fascinates you, what makes the little fizzy feeling in your chest
while you’re writing and do that.  Don’t worry about what you think
you are supposed to do.

And second: spend 99% your time thinking about writing, and 1%
thinking about the business of publishing.  We all know that it’s good
to make connections and network, but all that will come easily if you
have a fully-realized, beautifully executed book or story that’s all
yours, and that sings.  Let’s say writing is an ocean, and finding
readers is air that you need in sips, like a whale.  Your whole life is
spent swimming deep down, and you come up for a moment, take a
breath, and go back. (Via Slice)

- Ramona Ausubel, author of A Guide to Being Born

By Paula Bonet

Monday, October 28, 2013

the well written - louise erdrich

A simple, beautiful sentence:

Our little house yawns, its careful air plays through the walls, and
I'm restless.    - The Antelope Wife by Louise Erdrich

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

illustration - write me - dilka bear

Dilka Bear doesn't create stories, per se - she creates characters.
Each of these works is a dense drop of someone she's created, ready
for some storyteller to come along and expand.

Dilka Bear says she likes to portray a world without the things that
bind us.  Smiles make her nervous, which is why she doesn't include
them often; they don't often accurately reflect the world.  Have a
look and see if there's a connection between your work and hers...

Thursday, October 17, 2013

write me - kevin russ

These photos by Kevin Russ were taken in various spots of California.
When looked at together, they create an idea of a story that, at some
point for some writer, may actually inspire words to string and puzzle
the photos together into something grand.  Have a look...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

a dreamer's wisdom - miguel angel ruiz

Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the 
risk to be alive—the risk to be alive and express what we really are. 
– Miguel Angel Ruiz

By Chad Wys

Thursday, October 3, 2013

on reading - anne lamott

Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and
widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers
make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their
truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy
is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping
along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over
and over again.

It's like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can't stop
the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the
people who are together on that ship.

- Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Thursday, September 26, 2013

on writing - some thoughts on adjectives

The adjective is the enemy of the noun.   - Voltaire

The adjective is the banana peel of the parts of speech.
– Clifton Fadiman 

When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don’t mean utterly, but
kill most of them — then the rest will be valuable. They weaken
when close together. They give strength when they are wide apart.
- Mark Twain

I think my mistakes were kind of common - leaning on cliches and
adjectives in the place of clear, vivid writing. But at least I knew
how to spell, which seems to be a rarity these days.
- Dick Schaap   

By Francois

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

photo stories - thomas krauss

Halloween's-a-coming.  Perfect time to post these polaroids by
Thomas Krauss featuring potentially creepy children, and a man
kissing a nun to boot.  Love the delicate strangeness in these.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

the well written - patrick suskind

He was delighted only by moonlight.  Moonlight knew no colors and
traced the contours of the terrain only very softly.  It covered the
land with a dirty grey, strangling life all night long.  This world
molded in lead, where nothing moved but the wind that fell sometimes
like a shadow over the grey forests, and where nothing lived but the
scent of the naked earth, was the only world that he accepted, for it
was much like the world of his soul.

- Perfume, Patrick Suskind

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

illustration - johanna ost

Fantasy, if it's really convincing, can't become dated, for the simple
reason that it represents a flight into a dimension that lies beyond
the reach of time.   - Walt Disney Company

The same is true of these illustrations...

View Johanna's gallery here.

Monday, September 16, 2013

on books and stories - italo calvino

A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.

- Italo Calvino, The Uses of Literature

By Stefany Alves

Saturday, September 14, 2013

a dreamer's wisdom - terence mckenna

You are an explorer, and you represent our species, and the greatest
good you can do is to bring back a new idea, because our world is
endangered by the absence of good ideas. Our world is in crisis
because of the absence of consciousness.

- Terence McKenna

Friday, September 6, 2013

illustration - yoskay yamamoto

These works by Yamamoto seem to be a study in the magnificence
of melancholia, scenes perfect for storytellers to grab and expand
upon because they're ideal representations of middle-moments -
moments ready for the questions what happened before and what 
happens after?  Of the countless characters up for stories, these
are some of them.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

my work - a concerto and fugue

My short story, "A Concerto and Fugue", is now up on Mirror Dance
Fantasy.  Go on over and have a look!

And here's a teaser image..

by James Jean

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

on writing - a writer is...

A writer lives, at least, in a state of astonishment. Beneath any
feeling he has of the good or evil of the world lies a deeper one of
wonder at it all. To transmit that feeling, he writes.
- William Sansom

Real writers are those who want to write, need to write, have to write.
- Robert Penn Warren

The duty and the task of a writer are those of an interpreter.
- Marcel Proust

Monday, August 26, 2013

photo stories - katerina plotnikova

Because so many stories exist about or including a special relationship
between man/woman and beast, I had to post these by Plotnikova...

Compelling dynamics and characters worth writing about.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

the well written - catherynne m. valente

And so he made his way home, discovering the second truth of
Quests, which is that, mysteriously enough, the path homeward is a
great deal shorter than the path deedward.  The sun slips easily
through the sky, as if on a golden rail, and earth seems to positively
skip by under one's feet.

- Catherynne M. Valente, In the Night Garden

By LaLaMiMiSaSa

Monday, August 19, 2013

from unexpected places - accidental archive

For some reason, I find collections of objects very inspiring, however
they're organized - color, shape, era, etc.  So these photographs by
Sara Cwynar really caught my eye.  Maybe it's the overall impression
that inspires, or being forced to pay attention and sort the items out,
but there are magical stories here - magical or scientific, surreal,
romantic, quirky, and more.  Sort through and see..

Observations often tell more about the observer than the observed.
- Chris Geiger

Saturday, August 17, 2013

on reading - anna quindlen

In books I have traveled, not only to other worlds, but into my own.

- Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life

Thursday, August 15, 2013

a dreamer's wisdom - charlotte bronte

I remembered that the real world was wide, and that a varied field of
hopes and fears, of sensations and excitments, awaited those who
had the courage to go forth into it's expanse, to seek real knowledge
of life amidst it's perils.

- Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

Saturday, August 10, 2013

photo stories - isabel o'toole

Isabel is skilled at capturing her subjects in a moment that perfectly
expresses something deeply true about them - the perfect candid
portrait.  And a portrait is a great way to start a story...

Do any of these characters belong to you?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

the well written - oscar wilde

She is all the great heroines of the world in one. She is more than an
individual. I love her, and I must make her love me. I want to make
Romeo jealous. I want the dead lovers of the world to hear our
laughter, and grow sad. I want a breath of our passion to stir dust
into consciousness, to wake their ashes into pain.

- Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

illustration - aniela sobieski

Any one of these works by Aniela Sobieski would make a wonderful
short story.  A girl with a pet dinosaur, a peculiar waiting room, an
obsessive moth collector, and a mysterious aquatic humanoid with
bright red lips.  Any of these sounds good to me.

Write on.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

a dreamer's wisdom - terry pratchett

Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can
see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the
people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you
started is not the same as never leaving.

- Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

Monday, July 15, 2013

the well written - orson scott card

I carry the seeds of death within me and plant them wherever I linger
long enough to love.  - Orson Scott Card, Speaker for the Dead

By Edel Rodriguez

Thursday, July 11, 2013

on writing - connie willis

Stories of wonder often have their beginnings in noticing some magic
everyone else has missed, in making some connection no one else has
seen, or in illuminating some ordinary thing with skill and style so
that it seems extraordinary.   - Connie Willis

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

photo stories - randy p. martin

What wheres have we wanderers won?

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost,
to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer
experience.  - Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, July 7, 2013

illustration - kaspian shore

These illustrations by Kaspian Shore look to me like a series of book
covers (think of The Vampire Diaries series).  Each is a different
character, or a few characters slowly changing in this mixed up
science fiction/fantasy world.  I'm intrigued - and provoked to try
and dream up who they might be..  Hope you are too.

Be moved.  Onward and upward.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

from unexpected places - willow holster

So there's this fascinating book edited by Jeff Vandermeer called
The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities.  It's full of short
stories posing as real anecdotes of Lambshead's life and collection.
What was extra fascinating to me were these little blurbs in the back
- more anecdotes, but little paragraphs of mystery and eccentricity
instead of full-on stories.  Let the imagination bleed; I was very
inspired by these and I think you would be too.  Here's one:

Silence, One Ounce—Origins unknown. Found amongst the
possessions of the recently deceased Frank Hayes, thirty-four, who
tragically lost his life when he stepped in front of a public bus that
failed to stop. Its provenance is thought to include M. Twain, W.
Wilson, and the Marquis de Sade. Handle with care, not to be
administered more than one drop at a time. Silence is golden, but
too much will kill you. (blurb by Willow Holster)

By Tess

Thursday, July 4, 2013

happy fourth of july!

A little pic inspired by the day - how would you turn it into a moment
from a fantasy story, horror or science fiction?  Happy fourth!

on reading - stephen king

There are books full of great writing that don't have very good stories.
Read sometimes for the story... don't be like the book-snobs who
won't do that. Read sometimes for the words--the language. Don't be
like the play-it-safers who won't do that. But when you find a book
that has both a good story and good words, treasure that book.

- Stephen King

By Alexandra Nicolaevna Pregel

Sunday, June 30, 2013

illustration - amanda blake

This little piece from Amanda Blake is amazing - and all because of
its title: 15 people holding on to that which will determine their fate.
Wow.  Had to share.  Hopefully that gets your storytelling gears going..

Thursday, June 27, 2013

on writing - kij johnson

But stories should not be cheap; they should cost the writer
something, and the reader something else.

- Kij Johnson 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

photo stories - news - four leaf clovers

My short story "Four Leaf Clovers" is now up on The Colored Lens
to read for free.  Head on over for a spot of entertainment..

By aco

And below the fold...  some black and white photos I stumbled
across on Flickr today that seemed to me to beg for stories.
What is going on?  What will happen next?  Any ideas?

Monday, June 24, 2013

the well written - jonathan stroud

The bristling eyebrows shot up in mock surprise. Mesmerized, the
boy watched them disappear under the hanging thatch of white hair.
There, almost coyly, they remained just out of sight for a moment,
before suddenly descending with a terrible finality and weight.

- Jonathan Stroud, The Amulet of Samarkand

By Sarah Gordon (Rather Lemony)

Friday, June 21, 2013

a dreamer's wisdom - l. frank baum

I believe that dreams - day dreams, you know, with your eyes wide
open and your brain machinery whizzing - are likely to lead to the
betterment of the world.  The imaginative child will become the
imaginative man or woman most apt to create, invent, and therefore
to foster civilization.  A prominent educator tells me that fairy tales
are of untold value in developing imagination in the young. 
I believe it.

- L. Frank Baum

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

illustration - megan kimber

I would describe Megan as a master of visual personality.  Take
the first image, for example - each character has a specific posture,
expression, and visual leaning that fantastically communicate her
personality.  And no two are alike.  There are characters here
already, waiting for words, for histories, for paths to travel down.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

on reading - carlos ruiz zafon

Once, in my father's bookshop, I heard a regular customer say that
few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that
finds its way into his heart. Those first images, the echo of words
we think we have left behind, accompany us throughout our lives
and sculpt a palace in our memory to which, sooner or later—no
matter how many books we read, how many worlds we discover,
or how much we learn or forget—we will return.

- Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Monday, May 13, 2013

on writing - 5 do-nots

Five Things Not To Do When Writing a Book by Brian Klems

1. Do Not Tell Anyone The Plot of Your Book
When you’re writing a book, occasionally someone — like a
family member, friend or that loaded guy sitting next to you at the
bar — will con you into talking about your book while you’re
writing it. Wrong move. They will offer unsolicited pieces of
advice.  Best to stay hush-hush about it until it’s finished and you
can have it edited or work-shopped by other writers.

2. Do Not Get Attached to Any Part of Your Book
As writers, we often fall in love with our own writing and plot
points. This happens to me all the time. I write an awesome first
paragraph and continue writing a chapter. As I go along, it’s clear
that the chapter has taken a decidedly different turn and that first
paragraph doesn’t quite fit. But I love that first paragraph. So I
spend countless hours rewriting the rest of the chapter, even
though deep down I know the only real solution is to cut that first
paragraph.  It’s brutally painful, but not cutting it is a mistake
rookie writers make.