Showing posts with label literary fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label literary fiction. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

From the Mundane to the Sublime: How to Make your Work Extraordinary

As a writer, I've always been intrigued by the mundane. By mundane, I'm thinking, not of dull or tedious, but rather of its alternative meaning of being 'of this earthly world', secular, temporal.  These are the details of our lives - those things that other readers will recognise - the day to day world that surrounds us. Most of the time we're too busy to stop the endless doing and observe and perceive.  But this is a writer's job. To look closely at those moments and allow them to morph into something extraordinary.  Morph? What is that? Are we talking magic realism or sci fi here?  No, this is real life, such as the observation of a common beetle or bird in the garden - something utterly ordinary.  In that moment where we turn our gaze deeply  into the thing, we suddenly transcend the limits of our human condition and see things with a certain transformative eye where the detail contains the whole.In Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg puts it this way: "Go so deep into something that you understand its interpenetration with all things. Then automatically the detail is imbued with the cosmic; they are interchangeable."  That all sounds grand and esoteric, so how, specifically, as writers, do we create this kind of transcendence, without making the work so dense that it loses its connection to the everyday?  Here are a few tips:

Use of point of view.   We all come to each situation we find ourselves in with a welter of memories, issues we're currently grappling with, and desires.  In short, at any moment we're all in the 'midst of life'.  If you take that 'midst', in other words the situation of your characters, and filter it into those things that surround them - the butterfly landing on their hand, the rain that just won't stop, or even the dishes that are being done, the mundane suddenly is infused with the whole of your character perspective.  In the early twentieth century, this tended to sit with stream of consciousness writing, where the inner thoughts of characters become apparent to the reader, but it doesn't have to be a random stream.  Those thoughts can be anchored in the moment, and reasonably logical, while still coasting across all those desires that make up any character.

Step out of the stream. Stop for a moment and let your characters see the bigger picture.  You can do this with a third person narrator, or just allow the characters a momentary glimpse at the bigger picture.  For example, a young girl may be struggling with bullying, but just for a moment in the midst of the highest conflict, give her a glimpse of the future or even of the broader context of her life and let her see the pain she's struggling with for what it is - momentary and transient.  Those kinds of epiphanies are the stuff of character transformation and will progress the story perfectly.

Use symbols.  Symbols do exactly what we're talking about here. They turn the mundane into the sublime, by referring to something else.  An office cubicle or conference room might symbolise oppression.  A tourist visit to the Statue of Liberty might symbolise freedom.  A bird song or plot of dirt might symbolise freedom or getting back to roots or even shaking off a depression that has become overwhelming. 
All of these things are subtle, and have to be dealt with carefully, with poetic skill.  But being able to use the everyday to hint at a deeper meaning; a secret sub-story below the surface, is what makes art.  As readers, we instinctively look for it in the books we read.  As writers, we're always aiming to create it.

 For more about Magdalena visit: http://www.magdalenaball.com


Monday, November 14, 2011

Writers on the Move’s Authors’ Books for the Holiday Season

Ring-a-Ding. Ring-a-Ding.

Yup, the holiday season is just about upon us and many, who think ahead and have already started their shopping, are now looking for great holiday gifts for the adults and children in their lives.

Since Writers on the Move has very talented authors who offer everything from poetry to children’s books to mysteries to anthologies to historical fiction to non-fiction how-to books available as amazing gifts for just about anyone and any age, we’ve put together a list of MUST HAVE BOOKS to give you some ideas.

So, please scroll down to the bottom of the list and be sure to click on the links to find out more about each book.

Off we go.

Writers on the Move’s Authors’ Books for Holiday Season Gifts

Walking Through Walls
Children’s middle-grade/young adult fantasy adventure
Amazon Link 
Book Info Link: http://walkingthroughwalls-kcioffi.blogspot.com

Day’s End Lullaby
Children’s bedtime picture book with sheet music to lullaby included
Amazon Link
Book Info Link: http://daysendlullaby.blogspot.com

Karen Cioffi
http://karencioffi.com 
http://karencioffiwritingandmarketing.com

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Dancing With The Pen
A collection of today's best youth writing -- this groundbreaking anthology features stories, poems and essays by more than 65 kids and teenagers from all around the world. For each copy sold, a new book will be donated to a disadvantaged child through Write On! For Literacy. http://www.writeonbooks.org

3 a.m.
Award-winning collection of short stories has been featured on the PBS book talk show "Between the Lines" and has been acclaimed by both teenagers and adults.
Amazon Link

Dallas Woodburn, award winning author
http://dallaswoodburn.blogspot.com

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State of Wilderness
Book 1 of 50 in the JGDS, 50-state, mystery, trivia series
Amazon

Ma America, The Travelin' Maven (Elysabeth Eldering)
http://jgdsseries.blogspot.com

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The Cancer Prayer Book
Self-Help: A wonderful and meaningful gift for a loved one or friend going through the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. It has chapters on Diagnosis and Waiting, Family, Self Image, Healing, Seeking Wisdom, Keeping the Faith, and more.
http://dreamwordspublishing.com
ISBN: 978-1-4507-2599-6

Terri Forehand RN, author
http://thecancerprayerbook.blogspot.com
http://terri-forehand.blogspot.com

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Leap…Laugh…Plop
Kick…Catch…Buzzzz
Guess…Giggle…Wiggle
Children's picture books: These wonderful books keep children laughing and learning with each turn of the page.


Martha Swirzinski, M.A.
 http://www.MovementPlus.com

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Blooming Red: Christmas Poetry for the Rational
 By Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball
Cover watercolor by Vicki Thomas
http://www.budurl.com/BloomingRed
"This volume is full of delight." ~ Margaret Fieland, author
Discounted in quantities of 25 or more (for use as holiday greeting cards):
http://howtodoitfrugally.com/more_on_blooming_red.htm/

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Instructor for nearly a decade at the renowned UCLA Extension Writers' Program
The Frugal Book Promoter ( http://budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo ) :
Web site: http://www.howtodoitfrugally.com

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Repulsion Thrust
Poetry: "Wonderful. The work covers a lot of ground while keeping a poetic sensibility, which is hard to do. We need more singularity-aware art." Ray Kurzweil
Buy it at Amazon

Sleep Before Evening
Literary fiction: Marianne is teetering at the edge of reason. “Buy this book. And relish every moment of it.”
Buy it at Amazon

Magdalena Ball
http://www.compulsivereader.com/html
http://www.magdalenaball.com

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The Golden Pathway
The struggle against slavery with no regard to one's safety - age 8-12
http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/pathway.htm



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The Women of Camp Sobingo
Historical fiction, WWII era

The Unexplored Heart
Victorian era, Historical romance/adventure

Forces of Nature
Suspense, Natural Disaster

Once a Brat, Always a Brat
Memoir with contributions from other Military Brats

Marilyn Celeste Morris, Author
Buy Link: http://www.vanillaheartbooksandauthors.com/Marilyn_Morris.html
http://mcmauthor.wordpress.com/ 

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Trouble on Earth Day
Children's picture book by Kathy Stemke
Purchase at http://shshshletthebabysleep.blogspot.com

More info on this author and Free monthly newsletter sign up: http://educationtipster.blogspot.com

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Cowgirl Dreams
Western historical fiction: Nettie Brady bucks 1920s convention with dreams of becoming a rodeo star. Based on the author’s grandmother, a real Montana cowgirl
http://www.trebleheartbooks.com/SDHeidithomas.html
B&N Nook Edition

Follow the Dream
Sequel to Cowgirl Dreams: Life during the Great Depression brings unrelenting hardships and challenges to Nettie’s family and lifelong rodeo dreams.
http://www.trebleheartbooks.com/SDHeidithomas.html
Kindle edition 

Heidi M. Thomas
http://heidiwriter.wordpress.com  
http://www.heidimthomas.com/books.html

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We're sure you'll find something from the books above that will be the perfect gift for this holiday season!

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Until next time,

Karen Cioffi
Author, Ghostwriter, Editor, Inbound Marketing Instructor

Using Psychology to Write Characters

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