A Slice of Orange


e-maginings Book Review: The War of Art

June 23, 2008 by in category Archives tagged as , , , ,

Title: The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
Author: Steven Pressfield, author of The Legend of Bagger Vance
Author’s Website: http://www.stevenpressfield.com/
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, 2002
ISBN: 0-446-69143-7
Available from Amazon.com.

I heard about this book in a blog post and decided it might be just what I needed. Lately I’ve been struggling to get the butt in the chair and actually write. I hate to use the dreaded words writer’s block, but getting through my previous WIP was like pulling teeth, one millimeter at a time. (Well, it wasn’t that painful, but you get the point.)

When I started to read, I was surprised to see that the Foreword was written by screen writing guru, Robert McKee, one of the last people I’d have expected to struggle with writer’s block. Somehow that alone was comforting to me.

The War of Art is divided into three sections. In the first he explores what keeps us from writing which he calls Resistance. Some of us think of it as the “little editor in our head”, that little voice that says, “Why bother? You’re not any good.” Or “You have better things to do.” Or it’s the impulse that compels us to clean out our closets before sitting down to write. Resistance is, according to Pressfield, both persistent and omnipresent. The only way to beat it is to become a Pro.

In part two, he talks about how to behave like a Pro. As our recent speaker, Bob Mayer, said , “apply the butt glue”. I know, easier said than done, but necessary nevertheless. Pressfield believes that the act of sitting down to work triggers progress:

“…one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would not otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance…”

In part three, he talks about inspiration and meditation and other tricks to help trigger your muse. I chuckled when he talked about all of the lucky charms he keeps in his work area. I don’t have any lucky objects, but I did copy the prayer to the muse he always recites before starting to work. It comes from the opening of T. E. Lawrence’s translation of Homer’s The Odyssey. I re-worded it a bit to:

“Divine Muse, goddess, daughter of Zeus, sustain for me this song of love.* Make this tale live for us in all its many dimensions, O Muse.”

* In this area you can add more specific information about your book, or if you’re not writing romance, change it to song of mystery or whatever genre you write in.

If you’re struggling with writer’s block or just looking for a little inspiration, I recommend this book to you. It helped me finish my story.

Linda Mac

Linda McLaughlin writes erotic romance for Amber Quill Press as Lyndi Lamont. Her next release will be Alliance: Cosmic Scandal, coming on June 29.

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Advice to Myself as a Newbie Author

June 22, 2008 by in category Archives tagged as ,

by Shauna Roberts

Today’s Guest: Farrah Rochon

A native of south Louisiana, Farrah Rochon’s debut novel, Deliver Me, garnered rave reviews. The second novel in her Holmes Brothers series, Release Me, was released in May 2008 by Dorchester Publishing. The third and final installment in the series, Rescue Me, will be released in June 2009. Farrah also has a Christmas novella, “A Change of Heart,” in the forthcoming holiday anthology The Holiday Inn (October 2008).

Farrah, if you could travel back in time to before you were first published, what advice would you give yourself?

I’ve had quite an education in the business of publishing since the release of my debut novel last spring, and there are a number of things I wish I’d known a year and a half ago. Here’s a list of the top five pieces of advice I would give the previously unpublished Farrah Rochon:

1. Be ready to promote, promote, promote. Not every writer who publishes with a New York house will get the royal treatment, but you’ll be expected to get a respectable sell-through, no matter what. Self-promotion will be a huge key to your eventual success.

2. Don’t be surprised when not everyone is as excited about your good news as you’d hope they would be. Remember that you cannot count on others for your happiness.

3. Keep your ears open for advice from those who have gone before you. You are lucky enough to belong to an organization of writers who share their wisdom freely. Listen when they discuss how to tactfully approach your editor about disagreements with her revisions and to deal with the other issues you will eventually encounter.

4. Take a class in time management. You’ll need it.

5. Remember to take a step back and enjoy this process. After all, you will be living your dream.


To learn more about Farrah, please visit her Website at http://www.FarrahRochon.com or her blog at http://FarrahRochon.blogspot.com.

Her books are available at brick-and-mortar bookstores as well as online from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

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Writing Tip: Research Yields Glorious Inspiration

June 22, 2008 by in category Archives tagged as

Do you ever wonder why so many people want to be writers? There is the story telling aspect, of course. Throughout the ages bards have been some of the most sought after members of society. After all, there is no better way to forget you live in an age before deodorant was invented then to have someone tell a story and distract you.

In modern times, the storyteller is a hero(ine). Take me away from longest election cycle in the history of the world! I beg my favorite authors by buying books in stacks. I’m sure each of you have your own reasons.

But all of that is from the audience’s point of view. What is in it for the writer? Is it the glory? Maybe. Imagine seeing your name emblazoned on a book and archived in the Library of Congress. Even the IRS will forget who you are after you pass away but your books are archived in the Library of Congress!

Then there is the less academic reason: MAN CANDY.

Did you get caught raiding the internet for pictures of Gerard Butler? It’s research! Did your significant other do something really annoying just the other night and it’s bugging you? You can take comfort in the fact that the hero of your book would never do that. You might not be able to train your hubby, but you can edit your hero! And last but not least, lets not forget that once you combine research and photoshop the sky is the limit.

**Image caption: This is my friend Lillian Feisty who fell and broke her leg in three places on her first foray into the world of Roller Derby. See! Visual research is so much safer then the physical kind! This image is her in the emergency room (I wish I looked that great with a broken leg and no meds) photoshopped with the captain of international man candy, David Beckham. Get well soon Lil! Photoshop credit-Sabrina Brayden

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Monica Stoner, Member at Large

June 19, 2008 by in category Archives

What we do to ourselves

In the midst of finalizing work for the Saluki National I chaired, someone sent me one of “those” e-mails – the kind you want to send on to all your friends, and also contemplate for yourself. It had to do with what women do the themselves and each other, including fighting over a man (really, are they worth that kind of effort?), gossiping about each other, envying each other.

We’ve all been guilty of this from time to time, and I tell you that little missive had a huge impact on me. Not that I’ve totally stopped bitching (would blow up like a balloon!), but I have become far more aware of what I’m saying, or writing. And also more aware of what others write or say.

The National was most successful, pretty much everyone had a good time, and there was very little complaining until two weeks later. A record for Saluki people, let me tell you. I answered some of the complaints, but when they got to the point of whining for the sake of feeling superior, I stated I had no interest in a mud slinging contest, any constructive comments would be most welcome, but two weeks after the fact was a bit late to be bringing up something that could have been remedied at that time. Amazingly, the complaining stopped.

What does this have to do with writing? Well, there is always someone who writes better than I do, and always someone who will sell long before I do. Someone will always be richer, thinner, more successful than I am. I can either continue to piss and moan or I can get on with my life, congratulate them on their success, start writing and keep writing.

As for those whiners who tried to drag down my show, or who try to drag down our lives, they’ll be the ones found head down in a full porta potty. In a book, of course!

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Writer on the Verge

June 18, 2008 by in category Writer on the Verge by Kate Carlisle tagged as ,

Baby Steps – by Kate Carlisle

The moment I received The Call last October was one of the best of my life. It represented the culmination of everything I’d worked for so long to achieve. Just one short phone call changed my life in so many ways.

But in so many other ways, everything stayed the same. I went back to the day job, I did the laundry, cleaned the house. Kept writing.

Life rolls on.

But every so often, I take a baby step forward on the road to publication. I have a deadline to meet, or I get an email or a phone call that reminds me all over again – Hey, I’m a published author!

I signed my first contract. My husband took my picture. It was pretty exciting.

I received my first check. They paid me! I made a color copy of the check before I put it in the bank.

I got my cover copy. Brilliant! I wouldn’t change a word. Hey, there’s my name!

Oh, and I met my first deadline. Whew. I’m home free, now!

Spoke too soon. I got my first set of editor notes. Yikes. Now what?

I made that deadline, too. I rock! Sort of. Now I wait to see if my editor is happy.

Sent in the proposal for Book Two. Woo hoo, accepted!

Then I saw my first book listed on Amazon. Wow. No cover image yet, no description, nothing but the name of my book and an ISBN number – and my name. I’m the Author. It’s not much to get excited about, right? But I cried. And laughed. And told my whole family and my friends – who all immediately pre-ordered five copies each and forced their friends to do the same.

I sent in my author photo. Do I really look like that? I should have used more product on my hair. Can you fix those wrinkles?

Then yesterday, on my birthday, I saw my book cover for the first time. My book cover. It was surreal to see someone else’s notion of what image and design will best sell your book. I stared at that cover for hours. It’s absolutely nothing like I imagined or expected it would be. (A good friend admonished me that from now on, I am never to set expectations of what my book cover will look like. Good advice.)

I love my book cover. It’s beautiful. It’s warm and charming and funny and sinister. It’s colorful and perfect for the market. It makes me happy. It makes me feel like a published author. Somebody pinch me.

That was yesterday.

Today, I’m back at the day job. Must remember to stop at the market after work. And I’ve got to call my mom. Pay some bills. Life rolls on.

But now I’ve got a book cover. And an Amazon page. I can’t wait to take the next step!

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