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Any writer worth their salt knows that social networking sites like MySpace are a great way to meet fellow writers and hopefully some readers as well.
I am currently featured on MySpace’s Word Weavers for the week of 1/13/2008.

http://www.myspace.com/weaversofwords

D. H. Schleicher holds a background in Psychology and Criminal Justice from his undergraduate days at Elon University in North Carolina. Always a crafty storyteller as a child, Schleicher honed his skills in college where his studies fueled his ideas and helped him develop his characters. Schleicher took many chances early on by self-publishing three psychological thrillers over a course of two and half years after graduating college in 2002. His projects were unmitigated disasters, but provided him valuable lessons. Sometimes a writer must learn the hard way and must write a lot of garbage before finally writing something worthwhile that will connect with audiences.

That breakthrough came in late 2006 with the publication of The Thief Maker. Here Schleicher finally found his voice and delivered a dark, psychologically complex, intertwining tale of love, hate, and crime on the streets of Philadelphia and New York City. The Thief Maker has been earning rave reviews and accolades (including Honorable Mention in the Genre Fiction category in the upcoming Writer’s Digest 15th Annual International Self-Published Book Awards) over the course of the past year. Schleicher has employed a slow-burning grassroots marketing campaign built on the strong word of mouth from readers and critics and his always lively blog where he discusses films, books, current events, and shares his trials and tribulations with self-publishing and living the writer’s life.

http://davethenovelist.wordpress.com

The author finds endless inspiration from his love of films and books. He believes you learn to write well by reading as much of the classics as you can, but also by reading some of the bad writing (be it one’s own experiments from the past or current best-sellers that are less than stellar) to know what to avoid in one’s own writing. His favorite novelist is Graham Greene while his favorite film director is Stanley Kubrick. Schleicher is currently working on his next evolution as a novelist while residing in the suburbs of his favorite city and muse, Philadelphia.

The Thief Maker is on the shelves at Philadelphia and South Jersey area Barnes & Noble stores and available for purchase worldwide through Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com.

Purchase Now from Barnes and Noble

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Welcome to the September 30, 2007 edition of writers from across the blogosphere!

Hungry Writer presents R-E-S-P-E-C-T posted at Writing For Food.

‘Colorado’ Gumi presents Chap. 1 – ‘Proto-Gin’ posted at The History of Gin, saying, “This Blogger, who ‘claims’ not to be a famous writer, says it’s a biography of a young woman in an existential
world. . .but aren’t ALL Blogs about that???”

Roseate presents Review My Blog For TWO Link Backs posted at Make Money Online At Roseate Marketing Tips.

Eldon Sarte presents Mobile Writers: Do You Really Need a Laptop? posted at Wordpreneur.com.

Salman Siddiqui presents Is Increased Usage Of Computers Isolating People? The Verdict! posted at CompuWorld.

Michael presents Upon Meeting The 100% Perfect Moncton Girl posted at project hitchhiker.

Dannie Phiri presents Daniso Mapiri technotalks…sort of – Daniso’s Rants, Mumbles and Whatevers posted at Daniso Mapiri technotalks…sort of.

articles

Lucynda Riley presents El Dorado posted at The Traveling Man.

FitBuff presents How to Speed Up Your Metabolism posted at FitBuff.com’s Total Mind and Body Fitness Blog, saying, “A slow metabolism can do more than just add inches to your waistline. It can increase overall lethargy in your body, possibly leading to depression and other health-related problems.

But, there’s good news: There ARE ways to speed up your metabolic rate for increased energy, fitness, and overall health!”

Admin presents Anything Goes & General News: Britney Spears in the Bathroom posted at Anything Goes & General News, saying, “What really went down when Britney Spears asked a photographer to join her in a restaurant bathroom? It’s widely rumored that she asked for a tampon. According to the story, and it’s simply not true.

Cameras swarmed Spears when she popped into a Quizno’s in Brentwood to use their restroom on Monday afternoon. When she was done using the facilities, she called to a cameramen waiting outside to join her. Adnan, a Finalpixx photographer, taped his closed door exchange with Britney.”

authors

Ashok presents Rethink.: Some Personal Notes re: Shakespeare, Sonnet 18 posted at Rethink., saying, “Why write? Shakespeare gives an ambiguous answer about whether writing enshrines a memory forever in “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day,” I think.”

blogs

Ashok presents Rethink.: What Constitutes Plagiarism Exactly? posted at Rethink., saying, “How should we judge what is plagiarism and what isn’t, and what should guide our sentiments on the matter?”

Elvis D presents Generations posted at 365fiction.

Ant presents Guarantee Your Sites Page Rank posted at The Beef Jerky Blog.

Elvis D presents Forum posted at 365fiction.

Elvis D presents Dirty Old Man posted at 365fiction.

Eric Michael Johnson presents The Feeling of What Happens posted at The Primate Diaries.

Phil B. presents Blog Carnivals « Phil for Humanity posted at Phil for Humanity, saying, “Do you want to drive more traffic to your blog? Well, I have a really.. REALLY easy way. And no, this is not a gimmick.”

Christi presents Analysis of a Blog Reader posted at Blogging Writer.

Terry Dean presents Finding Your Unique Ability posted at Integrity Business Blog by Terry Dean.

Michael Fowke presents Deranged bankers in the City of London posted at Money is the way, saying, “A blog post from the Arthur Rimbaud of finance.”

book reviews

GrrlScientist presents Why Don’t Woodpeckers Get Headaches? posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, “by Mike O’Connor, this delightful little book answers a whole flock of offbeat questions posed by people who love birds.”

GrrlScientist presents Peterson Reference Guides: Gulls of the Americas posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, “by Steve N. G. Howell and Jon Dunn, this is the definitive reference work that teaches the art and skill of identifying gull species that occur throughout the Americas.”

GrrlScientist presents The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, “a review of the book by Natalie Angier. This book explores the basics of all the sciences from to physics to cosmology.”

GrrlScientist presents The Body Has a Mind of Its Own posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, “A review of the book by Sandra Blakeslee and Matthew Blakeslee, that explores the fascinating concept of body maps; the relationship between mind, body and environment.”

books

Peter N. Jones presents Marketing Your Book DeMystified: New Book Explains All posted at Great New Books that Are a Must Read.

Scott H presents Top Ten Most Popular Books in College posted at College and Finance.

interviews

Linda Martin presents Writing Festival Friday #2 – Featuring Donna Alice Patton posted at Linda Jo Martin.

life

Dawn Xiana Moon presents Kid-Friendly Food posted at Dawn Xiana Moon: Randomness.

Cheryl Snyder Taragin presents Goatse is a Hoax and Other Internet Disinformation posted at The Spewker, saying, “I find the whole concept of Internet Disinformation amusing. So easy to check facts, and yet, people don’t. Bloggers should have a moral code of ethics.”

Warren Wong presents Why You Should Show Appreciation posted at Personal Development for INTJs, saying, “Why you should show appreciation for the little things people do and how to go about doing it.”

philosophy

Sonia Simone presents Make something for its own sake posted at remarkable communication, saying, “A creative mindset—the mindset that makes a thing because you want that thing to exist—is more likely to make something useful and exciting. Look for that feeling—”I want it because I want it.” See if you can find something juicy and real there.”

politics/current events

Sheppard Salter presents Does T.V. Make You ?Soft In The Head?? posted at salterblog.com.

Alex Landis presents Cyber Bias: The Threat of a Two-Tiered Internet posted at AlexLandis.com, saying, “A two-tiered internet is getting closer and threatens the network neutrality principle, and freedom of speech on the internet itself.”

publishing

Madeleine Begun Kane presents Fantasy Dear Editor Letter posted at Mad Kane’s Humor Blog.

writing

Elvis D presents Interview posted at 365fiction.

Elvis D presents Uprising posted at 365fiction.

Charlotte Rains Dixon presents LA: It’s a Different Writing World posted at Word Strumpet, saying, “Visit my blog for all kinds of information and commentary on writing fiction, articles, SEO copy, novels, creativity and journaling, plus books and authors.”

Terry Dean presents 25 Ways to Increase Conversion posted at Integrity Business Blog by Terry Dean.

Terry Dean presents 20 Ways to Add Value to Your Products and Services posted at Integrity Business Blog by Terry Dean.

Rhonda Leigh Jones presents Writing Foreplay Relieves Writer’s Block posted at Rhonda Leigh Jones.

Elvis D presents Paparazzi Fodder posted at 365fiction.

Matthew Cory presents Free Novel; Short Stories Anyways; I?m Done posted at Chocolate For Dogs, saying, “I’m not completely sure if this is appropriate or not; a friend of mine suggested I submit to you. I’m actually trying to submit my novel, if possible (though I’d ‘settle’ for the blog in general). Please contact me with any questions or recommendations, and I apologize if this is a little out of place.”

Elvis D presents Speedy Date posted at 365fiction.

Tim King presents Episode 1: How to Stay Out of Jail in One Easy Lesson, Chapter 1 | The Conscience of Abe’s Turn posted at The Conscience of Abe’s Turn, saying, “The first part in a new online drama serial, The Conscience of Abe’s Turn. It’s about a group of friends and civil rights activists who live in the fictional town of Abe’s Turn. Abe’s Turn needs a conscience.”

sethpollins presents The Queen Bully of Garlic posted at FoodVibe.

Doris Chua presents The Sebel Suites, Auckland posted at Doris on Travels.

Mike White presents Effective Communication Skills posted at Life According to Mike White, saying, “Tips on effective communication and presentation skills”

Elvis D presents A Director?s Life posted at 365fiction.

Elvis D presents An Actor?s Life posted at 365fiction.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
writers from across the blogosphere
using our
carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our

blog carnival index page
.

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books

by Clary Lopez

The time to think about your book promotion is before you start writing it. When you consider your book subject you should consider how big an audience the book might have. Then you need to know where and how to reach that audience. After doing your initial research and deciding that you have a strong audience for the book then you should look at your competition. Find books that have been published with the same theme and see how you can improve or provide even more valuable information not even offered in them. If you are planning to submit the book to publishers make note of who published those books, it’s a good chance that they might be open to publish another book on a proven successful theme.

When you start thinking about outlining your book content think of promotional features to integrate with your book like a CD version, workbook, questionnaire, book club discussion questions, a free report to be downloaded on your website, etc. You want your audience to get in touch with you, in that way you’ll have a way to communicate with them about book signings, contests, workshops or new book releases. Always include your website and e-mail address in your books.

Wouldn’t it be nice to finish your book, publish it and go on to write the next one? I think it is every writer’s dream; however it is not the way it works. To be a successful writer you must treat your craft like any other business. You not only need to produce a product, you need to market it. Marketing doesn’t come naturally to many people but it is an integral part of what we need to do to make money. By being a business owner I’ve learned the quickest way to be successful is to study others who are successful. I’m always looking for the shortcut; I don’t have time to waste.

Networking off and online is a great way to learn your craft. Meeting and sharing experiences with those who are doing what you do and most of all who had some success will help you reach your goals quicker.

There are many ways to connect with other people for one the internet has broken the barrier of time and space. You can communicate globally with like-minded people at any given time. You can communicate by e-mail, instant messaging, chat rooms, web logs, community sites, your website, forums and discussion boards but you must learn how to take advantage of these opportunities to get the results you want.

I’ve seen many authors who sign up for every group, forum, promotions site under the sky and then walk away from it. That your book can be in many sites online doesn’t mean necessarily that your audience will find it. Your participation in such groups and sites is integral to the success of your promotions. Some authors start web logs which they quickly abandon or lose focus of the web log’s theme and start going in twenty different directions. To reach your audience, pick your theme or topic for your web log and stick with it, then post on it regularly.

Networking off-line is also important. You must know your audience and where to find it. Joining writers associations, the Chamber of Commerce, nonprofit organizations related to your interests and any other business associations will put you in front of those more likely to accept your message helping you promote your work effectively.

What I’ve shared with you is just the tip of the iceberg, there is a lot more to learn about book promotion. I would like to say there is no better way than meeting with people who have traveled the path and have been successful at it. Look for ways to find them, read about them and join them in groups and associations and don’t be shy about joining in the discussions. The stupidest question is the one that is never asked. An intelligent question might spark a discussion of something integral to the success of all its members but only if they put it into action.

*************

Clary Lopez is the CEO/Founder of Guerrilla Marketers Café, Free Book Promotion site.
She is an author, moderator and publicist. You can contact her at guerrilla@clarylopez.com or join her on her sites http://guerrilla.clarylopez.com, http://www.lulu.com/guerrilla and her official author site http://clarylopez.com Clary’s new book, BookPromo Guerrilla Style will be released soon.

*************

(Copyright by Clary Lopez, 2006. Reprint Rights granted to those who will post it in its entirety including the byline and without changing any of its content)

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Well, the time is drawing near when “The Mango Tree Cafe, Loi Kroh Roadwill be on display at The International Book Fair in Beijing. The book is scheduled to be shown by the Jenkins Book Group to various book retailers that are looking for books to stock on their shelves.

I can tell you that from the looks of things, the novel has been practically flying off the virtual shelves at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com!

If you’re in the area on Aug 30, 2007 – Sep 3, 2007, please feel free to meet Alan Solomon at this book fair.

Taryn Simpson is a professional ghostwriter specializing in novels. To read more about Taryn’s work, read the latest article from The Tennessean: Ghostwriter Connects across Continents

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Ready? Welcome to the August 22, 2007 edition of writers from across the blogosphere!

Hungry Writer presents R-E-S-P-E-C-T posted at Writing For Food.

‘Colorado’ Gumi presents Chap. 1 – ‘Proto-Gin’ posted at The History of Gin, saying, “This Blogger, who ‘claims’ not to be a famous writer, says it’s a biography of a young woman in an existential
world. . .but aren’t ALL Blogs about that???”

authors

Ashok presents Rethink.: Some Personal Notes re: Shakespeare, Sonnet 18 posted at Rethink., saying, “Why write? Shakespeare gives an ambiguous answer about whether writing enshrines a memory forever in “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day,” I think.”

blogs

Ashok presents Rethink.: What Constitutes Plagiarism Exactly? posted at Rethink., saying, “How should we judge what is plagiarism and what isn’t, and what should guide our sentiments on the matter?”

Elvis D presents Generations posted at 365fiction.

Elvis D presents Forum posted at 365fiction.

book reviews

GrrlScientist presents Why Don’t Woodpeckers Get Headaches? posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, “by Mike O’Connor, this delightful little book answers a whole flock of offbeat questions posed by people who love birds.”

GrrlScientist presents Peterson Reference Guides: Gulls of the Americas posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, “by Steve N. G. Howell and Jon Dunn, this is the definitive reference work that teaches the art and skill of identifying gull species that occur throughout the Americas.”

life

Dawn Xiana Moon presents Kid-Friendly Food posted at Dawn Xiana Moon: Randomness.

Cheryl Snyder Taragin presents Goatse is a Hoax and Other Internet Disinformation posted at The Spewker, saying, “I find the whole concept of Internet Disinformation amusing. So easy to check facts, and yet, people don’t. Bloggers should have a moral code of ethics.”

politics/current events

Sheppard Salter presents Does T.V. Make You ?Soft In The Head?? posted at salterblog.com.

publishing

Madeleine Begun Kane presents Fantasy Dear Editor Letter posted at Mad Kane’s Humor Blog.

writing

Elvis D presents Interview posted at 365fiction.

Elvis D presents Uprising posted at 365fiction.

Charlotte Rains Dixon presents LA: It’s a Different Writing World posted at Word Strumpet, saying, “Visit my blog for all kinds of information and commentary on writing fiction, articles, SEO copy, novels, creativity and journaling, plus books and authors.”

Terry Dean presents 25 Ways to Increase Conversion posted at Integrity Business Blog by Terry Dean.

Terry Dean presents 20 Ways to Add Value to Your Products and Services posted at Integrity Business Blog by Terry Dean.

Rhonda Leigh Jones presents Writing Foreplay Relieves Writer’s Block posted at Rhonda Leigh Jones.

Elvis D presents Paparazzi Fodder posted at 365fiction.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
writers from across the blogosphere
using our
carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our

blog carnival index page
.

Technorati tags:

, .

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The debate still rages on the viability of self-publishing through POD (print-on-demand) outfits.  Some say authors who use these avenues instead of traditional publishing as a “stepping-stone” are in a state of denial.  Others feel it is a perfectly legitimate option for those wanting more personal control over what happens to their book, and a certain level of success is possible with self-publishing.

I recently weighed in on the topic. 

See Below:

http://davethenovelist.wordpress.com/2007/08/19/the-verdict-on-self-publishing-and-the-thief-maker/

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by Clary Lopez, author of Simplicity – Richness of Life

You’ve probably worked months or years on your manuscript. Writing a book is not just a matter of getting your thoughts on paper, it is the urgency to communicate your message to the world. But once you’ve finished the work of writing comes the revising time before you hand it over to your editor and then it is back to the keyboard to fine tune according to his suggestions.

The ideal time to start promoting your book is six months before its release, but how do you know when is the right time to release your book? I’ve written a few books but published only two. The right time to release my book is the time in which I have all the marketing in order for it. In addition to the marketing (website, post cards, posters, etc.) it is important that you are prepared mentally and emotionally to promote the book. It takes time and dedication to promote a book and once the book has been released you work non-stop for a few months and sometimes one or two years. That is what I have done with my first book as I build my audience and continue to expand it. It was two years ago when I released it and now I’m thinking about the second edition of the book and a Spanish version of it.

As you publish more books you learn the sequence in which certain details need to be done. One very usufel book, self-published or not, is The Self-Publishing Manual by Dan Poynter. It has valuable information for any writer. The book helps you organize your work from start to finish.

We learn as we go along and usually our first book release taught us enough to help us the second time around. Just make sure that everything is in place before you release it and that will increase the books sales on the first few weeks or months which will determine its success.

Clary’s Website
Clary’s Blog

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The Thief Maker A Novel by D.H. Schleicher (iUniverse Press)

Review by Kent Manthie for Reviewer Magazine

It’s been said that the events of September 11, 2001 forever altered America in profound ways as well as the individual psyches of its people. Most Americans, but especially those who were directly affected, can chart their lives as “before 9/11” and “after 9/11”, using it as an ugly milestone to put other, tangential things in perspective.

Some people had their lives turned upside down and were forever altered by 9/11 and others who were thousands of miles away were also affected, those images having been seared onto the consciousness of millions of TV viewers.

Now that we’re a ‘safe’ distance from the actual event, six years on, there have been a couple movies, lots of non-fiction books, websites, tons of commemorative this and special issues of that as well as that horrible made-for-TV travesty last year, not to mention the legions of conspiracy buffs who’ve made their neuroses a cottage industry.

If anything positive emerged out of the mountain of dreck that 9/11 spawned it was the third novel by one D.H. Schleicher, entitled “The Thief Maker”, an inventive, stylistically nihilistic novel that uses the events of September 11, 2001 as a backdrop and even then in the latter half of the book. It’s only on the peripheries that the realities of that day interpolate, making bad situations worse or complicating matters further, but nonetheless it’s an essential element of the novel.

“The Thief Maker” jumps back and forth, from the mid-1980s to the 1990s, up to the present and even into the future – as far forward as 2008. It may sound confusing but when one is immersed in the novel it actually works quite well as a literary device.

Seemingly disparate sets of highly complex people are introduced and their character traits are developed in front of our eyes only to slowly morph into something unexpected; there’s a thread that connects these people, they all seem to be intertwined in this intricate web of humanity. The characters in the novel are all so vividly portrayed and developed so well that you come to not only visualize them in your head while reading the book but you begin to feel like you know them.

There is William Donovan, the con man whose past is never far behind him; Felice Morrison, the cold as ice lesbian psychiatrist who grows up to hate humanity and for whom love and hate are interchangeable, Frank Morrison’s a man with a secret past and a dark future. Looming above it all, haunting everyone in the story is the recently deceased Marie Gail, a hopeless young junkie with AIDS whose hate was so strong that it contaminated those around her. She died in a lonely, dark rage from the pneumonia not uncommon to those with AIDS. Marie left behind Rex, a young son who was initially taken away from Marie in her days of heroin addiction and general bad craziness, which leads us to the foster parents that take care of Rex for a few years until shortly before her death, Catherine and Rodames Fowler, two psychologists who are doing a long-term experiment with their deaf children in psycholinguistics and into which Rex had been enveloped. Marie had gotten clean and with Felice, her lover, won back custody of the boy and together they lived as much like a normal family as they could for the short time they had before Marie succumbed to her disease. Just before she died, Marie had asked Felice to take care of Rex, to raise him as if he was her own. Felice willingly accepts this responsibility and agrees to adopt him as a final act of love for Marie before she dies. This is all so complicated and I’m afraid there’s much more but instead, you’d better just read the book.

Towards the end all bets are off and suddenly the “post-9/11 world” has turned into Bedlam and realities are getting destroyed left and right; things aren’t as they seem, they never are. The climactic buildup is a shrieking anxious ride that gets thick with complexity and before you know it you’re being hit in the head with a dynamite denouement. I won’t spoil things by describing it any further, but let me just say that you’re in for some rollercoaster-style twists and turns.

You know, originally, I wasn’t really in the mood for having to read another book – I’m already juggling three books as it is and so, when they gave me “The Thief Maker” to review I didn’t look forward to reading it. I went into the book with an unenthusiastic drudgery and I wanted to hate the thing just for being made to read it. Nevertheless, I kept on and while I never thought Schleicher’s writing was without great style or that the clarity and precision wasn’t there I was just – oh, I don’t know…I mean, at first the book wasn’t what I’d call a “page-turner” but when I got to the midway point the excitement was turned up a couple notches and pretty soon I couldn’t put it down until I finished it. I can’t tell you exactly what sort of action makes it pick up because that would spoil much of the plot – I probably shouldn’t have even said that; therefore, you’d better just go buy the book to find out.

I thought D.H. Schleicher wonderfully captured a lot of nuances surrounding modern-day American living spot-on. He brings these characters to life; I found myself really identifying with characters; I really felt emotional about them, amazed by some and hating others, empathizing with some of them too and disgusted by others. Schleicher draws the reader into this smartly crafted parallel universe – one that is remarkably like our own world. The action takes place between Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey and even [banjo music playing] takes a detour down to North Carolina for a spell.

It was hard to tell at first where the story was going to go; whether it’d be to a boring, clichéd neighborhood from which you’d want to exit ASAP or a fabulous world where you want to stay around as long as you can. The latter was the case for “The Thief Maker”; in fact, I purposely took my time reading this novel. I didn’t want to flip through this too quickly; it’s only 214 pages, easy to read, not at all verbally confusing or convoluted in its prose. Mystery man, Dave Schleicher, who graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in psychology in 2002, seems to have found his voice, developed a style of his own; it’s not an ostentatious one, though; the book reads quite easily, smoothly, not too rough or stilted, making the storyline roll along with no bumps or obstacles, no extraneous riff-raff built up throughout the paragraphs either, making the basic story stick out that much more. Schleicher’s currently living in Voorhees, New Jersey, where he takes time out to smell the roses between writing binges. He also keeps a pretty regular web log at http://davethenovelist.wordpress.com – check it out, there are plenty of things to read: reviews, opinion pieces and so on.

What with the hot season coming up, “The Thief Maker” would be a great addition to your summer reading list. Check out the publisher’s website:. http://www.iuniverse.com – KM.

_____________________________________________________________________

Reviewer Magazine has been covering the cutting-edge of the music scene, idependent film, and books since 1996 from their home offices in San Diego, CA.  They have a circulation of over 10,000 in the U.S. and Canada.  For more, check out:

www.reviewermag.com

Purchase The Thief Maker from Barnes and Noble

Purchase The Thief Maker from Amazon.com

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And when it’s easy, is it any good?

I don’t know about you guys out there, but I often find myself puzzled by my own behaviour in relation to writing. When I’m not writing I feel guilty, pressurised, missing something … So I make the time, find the space, set up the laptop, take a deep breath – and freeze.

What’s going on? I have my plan, my chapter outline, I’m near the end of the book and I know exactly what’s going to happen. But the words stubbornly refuse to flow from the end of my frozen fingers. The opposite of verbal diarrhea has set in! (Verbal constipation? Enough with the metaphors!)

But then, but then … when I finally thaw and the words trip haltingly from the fingers, I slowly get into a zone. The ideas come faster than my fingers can type them. I don’t hear what’s happening around me. I become immune to the passage of time. I go hungry as it grows dark outside. I’ve written 1000 words in 45 minutes! That’s a day’s quota in less than an hour.

So the next question is, have I written anything that’s actually any good? Have I really been creative, or have I just tapped a source of story gold, where lots happens and dialogue comes easy?

This process is fascinating to me because, when I think about it, writing fiction is what I want to do. I study for it. I read lots about it. I practice it and write down story ideas. Then as soon as I start ‘the real thing’, it gets hard. This must be why so many unfinished novels lie unread at the bottom of drawers; the author has suddenly run out of steam, lost the will to keep being creative. And maybe doesn’t like what she or he has written anyway.

Maybe this dilemma – the urge to write vs. the struggle to write – explains why so many famous writers had difficult personal lives. Of course there are many who don’t, but equally the number of great writers we know who suffered and toiled is huge. Naturally I don’t put myself in their category – even in my wildest dreams – but I do recognise that the will to be creative and the sheer effort it takes to be so are in frequent conflict with each other. Planning helps me. Having a target helps me. But more often than not I find myself putting off the writing till the afternoon, then the late afternoon, then the early evening … till at midnight I’m hammering out the last words of my 1000.

Then scrap half of them the next day.

So is there a ‘third way’? Is it possible to hit the Zone earlier, not being terrified by the blank screen and the refusal of one’s characters to play ball and say what you want them to say instead of making up their own lines? I have a friend who sits at his keyboard for an hour first thing in the morning and writes out his ‘journal’ while listening to Van Morrison’s Veedon Fleece. The journal is in fact a grab-bag of ideas, thoughts, musings that have no sense or rhyme or reason – it’s just his way of limbering up the writing muscles prior to his real work. I guess these days blogs occupy that territory for some folk – an opportunity to practice writing without it being taken too seriously.

But if writers can be split into ‘squeezers’ and ‘gushers’ (those for whom each word is costly, versus those who pour it out – F.Scott Fitzgerald versus Thomas Wolfe), then I’m definitely a squeezer. So once I’ve written a blog, I often feel I’ve used up my quota of words for the day and can’t write anything else sensible. I’ve been like that since I was 18 and I guess I’m not going to change now!

So that’s me finished. I’m off to stare at a wall for a while, because obviously I can’t write anything else for a couple of days. I’m all squeezed out.

Keith Dixon
Altered Life

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“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.” – Kurt Vonnegut (November 11, 1922-April 11, 2007)

http://davethenovelist.wordpress.com/2007/04/13/novelist-kurt-vonnegut-dies-at-84/

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