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Judith Rook  (with Alison Dere)

Monthly Archive: July 2017

HOW PEOPLE WRITE

INSIDE WRITING

In my local writing group, we explore the science and art of writing.   We examine how other people write, and we take a close and honest look at our own work.

Here are a few lists we drew up to help us better understand ourselves as writers.  There was some hilarity when we compared them around the group, but we found the exercise interesting and enlightening.

Here is my own list.  It is not finished, but it was what I came up with in one writing session.

CHALLENGE TO MY WRITER FRIENDS:  Do the same exercise, post the result on your blog/website/Facebook Page, and let us know.

What adjectives/Adjective groups would you use to describe your writing “voice”?

Thought-provoking

Amusing/whimsical

Exploratory/speculative

Tolerant

Atmospheric

 

Identify Recurring Motifs which appear in your work

Following the unknown

The cosmos

Relationships between people (especially man/shadow; woman/light)

Female strength/power

Positive personal and social values

 

 

Identify Recurring Locations

Planets (whole planet awareness, with individual countries on a secondary level)

Centres of technical enterprise

Centres of political/social power

Centres holding mysteries

 

Identify Recurring Figures

The Wise Woman

The Hero

The Warrior

The Likeable Adversary

The Powerful Leader

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THE GREAT RETURN

Over a period of two-and-a-half years, my local shopping centre is being transformed into something almost unbelievable in variety, novelty and pro-customer competition.   I went to have a look at the latest opening of thirty or forty new shops, and found, to my absolute delight, a NEW BOOK SHOP!

Our small Western Australian city lost its last book shop nearly three years ago.  At the time, no-one seemed to care very much.  People were buying their reading books cheaply on line, and other books could be purchased the same way.  It was the natural process of social change which, while regretted, just had to be accepted.

However, this totally unexpected reappearance of a local book shop is delightful and to be celebrated.  I will no longer live in a city which lacks a single dedicated source of books of all descriptions.

I will not have to go into a supermarket to find piles of the same ‘best-seller’ I have never heard of.  I will be able to see a variety of dictionaries and books on grammar, I will be able to find Science Fiction classics and check out the physical ‘feel’ of the books on the children’s shelves.  I will even be able to check what the biographers of the world are up to without having to decide who I am looking for.

This is such a hopeful improvement.  I bought two books to mark the day.  They cost me a great deal more than two books published through the electronic platforms, but I spent a hugely enjoyable time in the shop, chatted with staff and other customers, found a book I had thought was out of print, and I don’t regret a single cent.

I told the lady who dealt with my purchases I hoped the shop would not close again for lack of custom.  She gave me a little wink and told me most of her customers had said much the same thing.

What do you think?  Is it a genuine turn-round?

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TO SAY OR NOT TO SAY

Why Say Anything? 

 

I saw yet another Facebook post declaring that a person would not read a certain book with a particular content.

I am the first to respect opinions, beliefs and tastes held by someone else.  I don’t even forgive those of my family and close acquaintance who say my books are not their cup of tea and why don’t I write a good thriller?  I don’t need to forgive, nor even to excuse, them.  I like and love those people, although I know I will never meet them at a SciFi convention.

I used to visit book shops frequently, when they still existed in the small city where I live.  I would browse the shelves with enjoyment, following the sequence: random page skim (for writing style); cover inspection (for visual hooks); blurb read (for content hooks).

The browsing could take me to twenty or thirty books, but I would leave with only one, perhaps two.

A book that did not survive the selection process was quietly returned to the shelves, rejected by me, but perhaps bought the next day by someone else.

It never occurred to me, or to other people in the shop to throw a book to the floor and loudly announce to all and sundry we would not read it.

Why do people on Facebook, in effect, do exactly that when they post they will not read a particular book?  I have seen this type of comment a number of times.

Would it not be better simply to pass on the book and to say nothing?

A Very Short Story about my Brand

A PERSISTENCE OF OWLS

 

I wrote this short story because I had been given another owl figurine as a present, and I realised that I had begun a collection, without intending to do so.  I have twenty-eight owls in various mediums and sizes.  Two are large enough to stand on the floor and others live on the walls as pictures.  Owls are generally given to me.  People say “I know you like owls”.  I think it may be the other way round, and it is that owls like me.

The story has been posted on a blog run by Karen J. Mossman.  It has many other stories, some of them very good indeed.

http://magicofstories.net/2017/07/01/a-persistence-of-owls

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