Tag Archives: creative writing

Corpus linguistics, your writing and what it all means

Last week I linked you to JA Konrath’s blog, one that provides much information on e-book writing. Today a fascinating blog from Dr. John Yeoman of Writers Village. He is English so be kind to him. We did win the war you know. He is also a writer, having written some clever e-novel mysteries that take place in England of yore, and yore was centuries ago. Some of his novels are also annotated with footnotes explaining to readers and writers alike the intricacies of writing and why he did what he just did. Some writers tell you what to do, but Yeoman note only explains, but shows by example, and you get a good story in the process.

The link to his blog about corpus linguistics (fascinating), and how the writers brain works, and how you can use your brain is here. Apparently this link is not working so I will try with this link.

An Amazon link to John’s books are here

My amazon books are here


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Foods that improve creative writing

I  was slacking off from writing and my energy was down, way down. I decided that food might be the problem. A daily bowl of triple truffle chocolate fudge ice cream before settling down to write might have been the problem. It isn’t really a breakfast food. And a plate of oatmeal-raisin cookies, a bag of potato chips, apple pie, and  two or three bottles of diet coke is not a lunch. Though they should be. Dinner was out of the question as I was napping, dreaming about exercising, which to my mind is the same as actual exercise.

So I Googled food for writers to see what I could find. Alas it seems my dietary plan may not have been a good idea.

It is no surprise that the foods recommended were the same as any nutritionist would say, with one possible, happy exception. In an article from “Writers Relief” they said folic acid supplements improve cognitive function, “especially in memory and critical thinking.” Folic acid is found in cold cereals, breads, and happy, happy-bakery items and cookies. I feel better already.

Blueberries are good for everything because they are loaded with anti-oxidants. Also mentioned was the whole grains thing. Let me pause here for a slight rant. Some nutritionists say to stay away from whole grains, whole wheat and  all that jazz. The more one studies food and nutrition the more you find different theories. Eggs are good for you-no they are not-yes they are. Peanut butter has too much fat-yes, but it has protein so use it with celery sticks. It is all confusing. To whom do we listen.

Moving along and speaking of chocolate, drinking a cup of hot cocoa has more anti-oxidants than green tea (which I drink). At least the article says so. Another happy, happy.

Bottom line is that you if you eat healthy you will have the energy to write, and write with better cognitive skills, but not necessarily with better grammatical skills. Food can’t do everything. It is time for breakfast and I have that triple truffle chocolate fudge ice cream to finish before I switch to oatmeal with blueberries in skim milk. Farewell truffles!

Here is a link to that article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/23/brain-food_n_1109970.html

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How did Shakespeare learn creative writing

Having recently moved to a different town I found myself in the local library the other day exploring where everything is. I always look for sports, for books on writing, for fiction, local history; well, just about everything. While standing looking at the creative writing books, the thought hit me. How did I not think of it before.

Whether you are in the library or a bookstore or subscribe to magazines like Writers Digest, you have found hundreds of books, blogs, advice columns, writing groups, and all offering help on creative writing. Thousands of people eager to help, to point you in the right direction, give great writing tips. The list is endless.

So standing in the library looking at creative writing books the thought it me. How did Shakespeare learn creative writing?  Never in my college days studying English did I learn anything about self-help creative writing books of the fifteenth century or any subsequent centuries.

One could argue that Shakespeare read Aristotle’s “Poetics.” But there is no evidence he did. Of course there is a cult or two who claim old Will could not have written those plays; that they were written by Christopher Marlowe, Francis Bacon, or a roomful of monkeys with quill and parchment. Many of these cult members also believe the films of Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein are actually the work of Charlie Chaplin.

By the by, “Hamlet,” according to many scholars, was a rewrite of an earlier play by Thomas Kyd. It is an interesting theory, but that play, if it exists, has not been found, though it would not be surprising if Kyd did write an earlier version. And yes the character Hamlet is based on a real Danish prince.

Whoever wrote the play the same applies to Marlowe and Bacon. How did they learn to write without teaching aids?

Perhaps the early writers going back to ancient Greece were geniuses. Perhaps they knew how to tell stories. Perhaps writing is simply telling a story.

If you have lots of creative writing books, even a few, keep them. Read them, forget them, and just tell your story your way. It seemed to work for the ancients.

My ancient writings are found here: http://www.amazon.com/Terry-Nelson/e/B00EEVHN38

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Lajos Egri and creative writing for fiction writers

Hungarian Lajos Egri died in 1967 at the age of 1978, yet two of his books are still revered today. “The Art of Dramatic Writing” is about playwriting and “The Art of Creative Writing” works for novels, plays, and scripts for movies and TV. 

He took the opposite view of Aristotle who believed character was secondary to plot. Not Egri, who placed character above all else, who said, “Every type of creative writing depends upon credibility of a character,” and that, “Living, vibrating human beings are still the secret and magic formula of great and enduring writing.”

He believes that the reader, or audience, must see that what happens to the character is real; that the reader, or audience, can identify with the character. That, more than anything, is the hook the draws the reader in. If the emotion of the character is real, then we have the key to identification. Think of your favorite novel or character and ask yourself why you liked the story. I know for me when the characters are ones I identify with, the more I enjoy the story, the more I want to read it, not one chapter, but read until my eyes get tired.

Egri believes a story should begin with the central character in conflict, for “any character. . . will in conflict reveal himself in the shortest time possible.” Perhaps at the beginning of the story the main character is fired from his job for sexual harassment. At this point we do not know if is guilty or innocent, there are questions concerning the woman’s allegations. The man is married, behind in paying bills, and now fired. What does the character do? Whatever he does, the character must have a past, present, and future. The past-whatever it is-shapes how he reacts at present, and what he does now will decide his future. It is not my intent to write the story but to provide an example. We see a character fired for something he may or may not have done-something a reader can identify with; and we see potential conflict between the accuser and the accused. We also wonder how he is going to handle things with his wife, so we have curiosity, something that will make us read to see what he decides to do.

His books are available on Amazon and should be found in good libraries. When your books are in print for over thirty years after your death, you must have written a book that stands the test of time. Egri is worth reading for creative writers.

My website: http://terrynelson.net/

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