So you want to be a novelist?
Well, there's no one path to take. Novelists come in all shapes and sizes. They're men and women, wunderkinds and retirees. Some of them are very attractive. The rest of us resent them horribly. And if there was a single magic bullet, or a list of steps to follow that would guarantee publication, believe me, someone would have published it by now. What follows is just my take on the question - a completely idiosyncratic, opinionated, flawed and somewhat sassy take on some of the steps you can take to get published. Important caveat: I have only written two books, and I'm thirty-two, which, as my mother would hasten to point out, means I am probably not qualified to give advice to anyone about anything. If you're looking for lessons from the life masters - people who've made long careers in the world of fiction - then run, do not walk, to your local bookshop and buy Stephen King's On Writing and Anne Lamott's utterly indispensable Bird by Bird, and Eudora Welty's One Writer's Beginnings and Ursula LeGuin's Steering the Craft.If you want my advice, read on (and if you've already written your book and just want to figure out how to get it published, skip ahead to Step 8).
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
So you want to be a novelist?
Monday, May 30, 2005
For a laugh Huhcorp - though one of my friends says 'I work for them!'
I confessed to some friends that I'd never been to a concert by any kind of 'popular beat combo' so they took pity on me and invited me to the Rush Festival at the Roxy (aka Lady Genorchy's church - though why she had to have her own church was unclear....). I had a great time and learned about Out of the Bedroom a great idea which is an open mike event at the Waverly Pub on Thursdays encouraging people to take their music out in public. I was also really pleased when I spoke to one friend whose taking guitar lessons and I asked him why and he said that he realised that it was time to stop passively consuming music and become a music maker. He did a very good evening class over the winter through Edinburgh Council but realised that over the summer he didn't practice with as much intensity so he invested in private lessons. This is a good tip to keep you on track with any kind of creative endevour. If you have to check in with your from with a class then you keep up all the associated practice much easier than if you have no structure to hang it around.
Posted by m at 11:10 AM
Sunday, May 29, 2005
Unfortuantly the two exhibitions were on their last day. However the second was on Steven McCurray the photojournalist/photographer who has an offical site and there is an interview in the National Geographic.
If you are near London until August then do go and see the sculptures made from decomissioned weapons as part of Africa05 at the British Museum.
Posted by m at 10:41 PM
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Monday, May 23, 2005
Sunday, May 22, 2005
and I did yesterday walking back from the supermarket.
I had a great trip to London but I find it too easy to slip into rut. I went to the library last week to do a spot of research and on the way up to the Fine Art library saw both a exhibition on Miffy and another on artist books.
I also picked up leafets on an exhibition about Ian Hamilton Finlay at the National Library of Scotland which I had no idea was on.
A leaflet on the Scottish Basket Makers Circle !
Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop
Yesterday I had a scone and coffee at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery cafe (their scones are magnificent) and went around an exhibit of new acquisitions including phographs of China in the early part of the 20th centuary. The tutor to the last Emperor of China was Scottish or had many Scottish connections.
Posted by m at 2:42 PM
Saturday, May 21, 2005
Friday, May 20, 2005
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Advice to photographers
Never forget that all the great photographs in history were made with more primitive camera equipment than you currently own.
Ultimately, your real work is to connect your Self to the world.
Think clearly about your objectives. Which is more important to you: earning an income or getting your work distributed? Which do you care about more: making images the public loves or making images that you must? If you are lucky, these are the same, but if they are not, clearly knowing which is more important to you makes everything else easier. There are no right answers here. There is only confusion when you work at cross-purposes to your objectives.
Learn to work alone. Learn to work without distractions. Turn off the music. Surround yourself with silence. Each one of us has a muse within us who tries to communicate and advise us on the creative path. There are no exceptions to this. But there is also a universality that all muses tend to whisper. To hear them clearly one must reside in a very still place.
Finish it... There is a universal Law of Audience that says if you finish work, the universe cannot stand that it remains unseen.
Shoot more than you do; print more than you do; and be a ruthless editor. I'm serious. There is a great deal to be gained in sheer volume - not that volume itself is any virtue, but practice is. Besides, relentless practice does have a twin sister known as luck.
Art is supposed to have meaning, emotion, power, or magic. Don't merely show what the subject is; show what it isn't, show what it means, show why it is, how it is, for whom it is, where it is, and/or when it is.
Remember art is not about artwork. Art is about life. To become a better artist, first and foremost become a better person - not in the moral sense, but rather in the complete sense. Remember that the greatest artist is not the one with the best technique, but the one with the most human heart.
Via Crossroads Dispatches
Posted by m at 11:18 AM
"You know how sometimes you're in bed, and you get an idea, and you have to decide whether to get up and write it down? Writing a novel is a lot like getting out of bed a hundred million times. I want to be someone who doesn't lose things. Writing is less about creating things than keeping them."
Jonathan Safran Soer from Swirly Girl
Posted by m at 9:59 AM
Monday, May 16, 2005
I couldn't find the old screw driver my mom uses to remove the weed roots. And instead I poked about with a fork mostly getting just the leaves off. But I still did it. I thought what the hell when they grow back I'll weed again. Gardening is like housework - it returns. But there was that awful moment when I thought 'if I can't do it right I shouldn't bother doing it' aaaaarrgh Perfectionism rearing is persistent head. Luckily I marched or rather knelt right over it wielding my fork and the place looked a lot better in less than an hour. I left some of the more prized specimens of fox glove as a feature. There are some creative projects which are languishing due to 'not enough time' 'not the right time' vibes which need a bit of what the hell do it anywayness. This is a timely prod.
Posted by m at 12:23 PM
Sunday, May 15, 2005
from Visual Chronicles via Michael Nobbs- one can of coke and a packet of cake mix. Living in Scotland where coke is outsold by Irn Bru *- (one of the few things one can be proud of here) perhaps I should try a Scottish verson?
*Scotland's other National Drink - Made in Scotland from Girders
Posted by m at 12:35 PM
Friday, May 13, 2005
think clearly and get out of a rut.
Then take a long train journey. Staring out of the window with fields zipping by. Isn't the planting of fields of rape wonderful? I love the big swathes of yellow colour across the landscape. Jogging along, no tv, no radio, certainly no ipod or music, mobile stuffed to the bottom of my bag all there is - is space - headspace - to noodle and via that make connections which one would normally never make and the courage to connect to what one really wants instead of what one rejects as being too outrageous too unlikely too unrealistic. Travel is an adventure which connects with the braver and more expansive parts of oneself.
Posted by m at 12:50 PM
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Monday, May 09, 2005
has been extended to the 15th due to the unprecidented demand to see it. I was there on Friday and really enjoyed it. Especially being in an art space where there was so much bonding amongst the spectators.
Posted by m at 5:06 PM
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
This much: I brightly said to a friend yesterday about my upcoming trip to London 'I'm really looking forward to doing a walking tour about Christopher Robin's buildings.' Of course I mean Christopher Wren.
Blogging will be light until mid next week.
Posted by m at 8:33 PM
Monday, May 02, 2005
If you look its amazing what you can find, what resources will appear. Its too easy to stomp along saying ‘I can’t I can’t I can’t’. Often we stomp along saying that of course because it means we don’t challenge ourselves and if we don’t challenge ourselves then we can never fail, never be afraid, never be uncomfortable. On Sat I went to meet a friend up from London for lunch. On the way to meet her I picked up 5 pieces of invaluable information to somebody without even looking for them.
Information about Peacock Digital Arts based in Aberdeen. Access to digital film making equipment from cameras to editing at banded rates – also a training programme.
GMAC Glasgow Media Access Centre newsletter out of date but offering similar in Glasgow
Edinburgh Mediabase - equipment and comprehensive training programme varying from Documentary Workshop, Working With Actors, Scriptwriting, Producing a Short Film, Intro to Special Effects Make-up
Future Shorts – Launching at The Left Bank 37 Guthrie St Edinburgh 20th April BUT another screening in May. ‘Future Shorts passionately believe in developing a wider audience for short film. We have established a network where filmmakers can have their work seen on the largest platform in Europe and where audience can see an original and inventive slate of films.’ London / Paris / Brussels / Lisbon / Berlin / New York / Moscow
BBC Writers Room- info on accepting unsolicited scripts, opportunities, competitions, guidelines, free formatting software, script advice, events for 5000 writers a year. Leaflet came with cool postcards with quotes on them.
Write hard and clear about what hurts – Hemingway
… get it out and get it said, get it on the page. It’s just about telling the truth, I think, your truth. – Tony Marchant
When people ask me how I write I usually say one word at a time – seat of pant to seat of chair is the only way to write. – Alison Pennells
You get knocked down, you get up again. I also think writers must have great courage, the courage to trust your own life and your own voice. – Ashley Pharoah
Most of the workshops offer free use of equipment/training in exchange for volunteer work as well
Posted by m at 8:34 AM