This year, Odyssey is offering three different online courses covering some of the most critical issues for developing writers.
Archive for the ‘The Craft of Writing’ Category
Don DeLillo wrote: “One truth is the swing of the sentence, the beat and poise, but down deeper it’s the integrity of the writer as he matches with the language.”
Can the same thing be said about a writer’s connection to the work of another?
In Silent Interviews, Samuel R. Delany said: “I begin, a sentence lover. I’m forever delighted, then delighted all over, at the things sentences can trip and trick you into saying, into seeing. I’m astonished—just plain tickled!—at the sharp turns and tiny tremors they can whip your thoughts across.
The biggest reason people fail at creating and sticking to new habits is that they don’t keep doing it.
That seems obvious: if you don’t keep doing a habit, it won’t really become a habit. So what’s the solution to this obvious problem? Find a way to keep doing it.
When I first decided to take up writing as a serious pursuit, I figured the best way to get started was to ask a writer for advice. My lucky break was that Connie Willis happened to be in town to give a reading, and she gave me a wonderful tutorial in the basics; just Connie, her husband, and my wife, talking for a couple of hours in a Laramie bookstore. I owe a lot to Connie’s early advice.
I’ve been meaning to complete this piece for months but, well, you know how it goes: first there was that story that needed something I just couldn’t put my finger on, so I put it aside for a moment and began to do some editing on another piece that was almost ready to go in the hopes diverting my attention momentarily would break something loose…
When I first heard that many nonprofit organizations were holding flashmobs to raise awareness of their activities, I realized this would be a great idea for Odyssey. I also had an idea of what we might do: the Tom Bombadil Rap.
One of the things that sometimes comes up when talking to new writers is the question, “How do I acquire mentor?” There’s a glazed and desperate look in the eyes of each querier, and sometimes a bit of professional jealousy, because occasionally we see people in positions where we’re not convinced they really should be…
How does a sudden attack that puts a sword in your belly play from the inside? If you’d seen the blade properly would it be in your belly? Didn’t you see it properly a little too late, when it was up to the hilt? Shift that “blade” and we shift the awareness of it.
My family has a strange attitude toward my writing, which I think is almost always the case unless the writer comes from a family of professional creators. (By professional, I mean people who actually make a portion of their incomes from a creative endeavor — writing, art, dance, etc.) When I met my cousins in Debrecen, they told me they’d heard I’d become a famous writer, of fantasy like J.R.R. Tolkien. Of course, I’m not at all a famous writer, and what I write is nothing like Tolkien.