Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Ad for the Commonplace Book

Attention: All writers.
Announcing a “must-have” item now available to stimulate thoughts and generate the flow of ideas. It’s been available for centuries, but I was only recently introduced to this fabulous item. And frankly, I can’t believe I’ve lived so long without it! Now that I’m paying attention, I find that a substantial majority of well-respected writers I’ve encountered in the last few months—modern, classical, or ancient and from all economical situations—keep/kept this item or it’s equivalent with them at all times.


Commonplace Book
The “must-have” for any writer or conscious thinker is the commonplace book—a pocket-sized (or purse-sized) notebook carried with you at all times in order to record what is uppermost on your mind at any given moment.

See if this sounds familiar: you’re driving down the road, or in the dentist’s chair, or suddenly awakened in the night with a brilliant, or at least interesting, idea, but you’ve no place to jot it down! By the time you get your hands on paper and pen, the thought has long since faded into the far recesses of your mind. Lost forever.

Don’t ya hate that?!

The commonplace book defeats the above scenario. That never has to happen again! The moment a thought hits, you whip it out, and write it down. Voile! The thought is saved from certain death. (Although, if you’re driving, I recommend taking the time to pull off the road before recording your thought.)

How To
A few things to keep in mind while getting used to your commonplace book:

  • The thought itself is important and should not be prejudged for quality.
  • The trigger and the idea it promotes don’t necessarily have to reflect one another.
  • Trust your instincts. Editing as you write may destroy the beauty of the original thought. So write it first, that way it’s safely preserved, and then hack it to pieces.

Also, among your jotted thoughts, please include thoughts from the following categories:

  • Dumb
  • Stupid
  • Obvious
  • Irrelevant

Any thoughts from the above may be, or lead to, your best ideas. In particular, obvious thoughts actually hold a fair amount of value, because they usually resonate well with the masses.

Give it a try. If you’re not in the habit already, pick up an inexpensive, small notebook the next time you’re at the store, and see if this works for you. I’d love to hear how it goes.

The Distinction

Today’s guest post is from Ian over at Writing Fantasy who never fails to turn the wheels in my head every time he speaks. Someday I will ask him about what it must be like to live life with a 45lb. brain on your shoulders.

I prefer to write Fantasy, but I enjoy Sci Fi as well. Now Sci Fi is not the same thing as Fantasy. The distinction is small, and in some stories it’s blurred, but it’s there.

The best and most succinct explanation of the difference that I’ve ever heard is this:

“Sci Fi is what could be but isn’t.
Fantasy is what can’t be but is.”

I believe it was Orson Scott Card who said this but I can’t prove it. If anyone knows if it was indeed Mr. Card, or if you know who did say it, please let me know. If I happen to be lucky enough to have made it up without realizing it then I claim it as mine, but I doubt I did.

The difference is Sci Fi uses science to explain its impossibilities and Fantasy uses magic. The two genres have more in common then then not. And yet I’ve heard of infighting amongst the geeks and nerd ranks. Contention rages about the validity of Sci Fi over Fantasy or vice versa. Arguments that one is better than the other abound.

Brothers and sisters (assuming there are any girl geeks out there, I’ve yet to find any) please put this bad blood which runs between our two great genres aside. They are both capable of greatness and culpable of … ungreatness. But there are those who would deride us all of our place in the world. Those who view both genres as dross. The enemy is out there, let us not do their work for them. Besides if Sci Fi and Fantasy really were to clash one with the other I think we all know who would win.

Huh… I didn’t expect that. Although it may look bad now, this knight is totally gonna kick this space ranger’s butt. Trust me, because in Fantasy we got magic.

for more of Ian, be sure to stop by Writing Fantasy.

Snippets from Kathryn Stockett

Several months ago Kathryn Stockett—who wrote the Help; see previous post for my review—paused her book tour at the King’s English long enough to share some pearls. So clutching my s.r.o. ticket in my hands, and doing my best to control my fan-girlie giggle, I joined fellow-bloggers, Sharla of Winter Write, Melissa of One Librarian’s Book Reviews, and Suey of It’s All About Books for a delightful evening with a genuine southern belle.


Sharla and I were lucky to find a seats with a great view—on the stairs!

Here are my favorite snippets from the Q&A session:

  • She ruffled lots of feathers to write this book. People tended to close-lip when she started asking questions. Some members of her family don’t even speak to her anymore! (Which absolutely validates this book in my opinion)
  • But, she wrote it thinking no one would read it, so she didn’t care if she crossed taboo lines.
  • After 5 years and 60+ rejection letters, she finally stopped telling people she was writing a book.
  • But, she appreciates all those rejection letters, because they gave her the “thick skin” required to deal with the strongreactions people have to her book
  • The first cover for the Help, the one she fell in love with, was of a black woman’s hand holding a white child’s hand. The publishers vetoed it quickly though, and after 25 more possibilities, Stockett no longer cared what the cover looked like. However, she often wonders what the current cover has to do with anything.
  • She was too afraid to write in Hilly’s voice (Hilly represents the traditional, often hypocritical façade of the time) because it “freaked [her] out” to “go there.”
  • The Help receives mixed reactions from both races. Some say the book holds true to their experience, others are uncomfortable or upset.
  • Vernon Jordan, adviser to Bill Clinton, once told Stockett that while he was a chauffeur for the mayor of Atlanta, he had some similar experiences to those mentioned in the book.
  • One woman from Mobile said she hadn’t remembered seeing separate bathrooms for help and asked Stockett if that was exclusive to the Jackson area. Stocket claimed she read many accounts about separate bathrooms in Mobile and all over. She said she even sees them in older New York apartments occasionally.
  • Stockett’s own experience growing up in the south took place as recently as the mid ‘70’s, but she set the story in the early ‘60’s to coincide with the Civil Rights movement.
  • Stockett’s own maid who raised her from birth was Dimeteri, a second cook, handed down to her grandma. During Stockett’s awkward years, Dimeteri would whisper to Stocket that she was beautiful and important and talented. Stockett credits Dimeteri with establishing her self-confidence.
  • Now that Stockett understands the sacrifices that Dimeteri made in order to raise her, she is overwhelmed and thankful for Dimeteri’s gift.

Hello… Is Anybody There…

I haven’t abandoned, I promise!! Between the recent death of my old computer; shopping for, setting up, and learning my new computer; my sick kids; and now, looming finals, posting just hasn’t been a priority. (I feel like that hamster on the wheel, always moving but never getting anywhere!) But I believe things are starting to slow down at my house now. If we all survive finals, then life will be good again.

In the meantime I’ve started a few new posts: my favorite styles of book-reviewing, books vs. movies, and my review of Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison. Hopefully they’ll be worth the wait.

Thanks for your patience,
Lyn

Happy Holidays

I look forward to writing to you soon after the new year.
Merry Christmas all!
-Lyn

Admin Stuff

93SBCDJA6QW4

Looking for Editing

I will be posting some of my writing projects here on Barding Well with the hope that you will leave me a comment with critical advice. Love it, hate it, please let me know. A line or two (or five or ten) about why you love it or hate it would also be much appreciated.

Thanks for spending your time helping me to advance as a writer.