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I am a writer. I create innovative creative and business writing courses. I inspire others to tell their stories. My company's name is Writers Write. My email address is amanda@writerswrite.co.za

The Locked Room – A simple way to test your plot →

A trapped character comes alive on the page or screen because he has to fight his way out a corner. The character has to push back against the predicament placed there by the plot—giving us conflict, intensity, and barriers we can define. The locked room is a way to interrogate your plot. 

More about The Locked Room

— 1 hour ago with 39 notes
#The Locked Room  #Writing Advice  #Anthony Ehlers  #Lit  #Plotting  #Writers Write 
Happy Birthday, Cynthia Ozick, born 17 April 1928
10 Cynthia Ozick Quotes
All writing is presumption of course, since no one knows what it is like to be another human being.
What we remember from childhood we remember forever - permanent ghosts, stamped, inked, imprinted, eternally seen.
Because if I don’t start, I won’t get going. And sometimes starting is so difficult. Because it’s all chaos… It could be a scene in your mind or it could be some kind of tendril that you can barely define. So I have to force it. And then after – and this is real compulsion, real self-flagellation – it kind of takes off. But there’s a lot of agony before. And sometimes during. And sometimes all through. But just before the end and revelations start coming, that’s the joy. But mostly its hell.
Advice to aspiring poets: Poetry is not letter-writing cut up into lines. Become familiar with the poets that are the infrastructure of literature; read, read, read.
After a certain number of years, our faces become our biographies.
If we had to say what writing is, we would have to define it essentially as an act of courage.
Writers’ invisibility has little or nothing to do with Fame, just as Fame has little or nothing to do with Literature. (Fame merits its capital F for its fickleness, Literature its capital L for its lastingness.) 
To imagine the unimaginable is the highest use of the imagination.
Writers are very dangerous people. You shouldn’t know them.
If I could do it again, I would step out of the furnace now and then. I’d run around and find reviews to write, articles; I’d scurry and scrounge. I’d try to build a little platform from which to send out a voice. I’d do, in short, what I see so many writers of your generation doing: Chasing a bit of work here, a bit there, publishing, getting acquainted. 
Ozick is an American-Jewish short story writer, novelist, and essayist
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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

Happy Birthday, Cynthia Ozick, born 17 April 1928

10 Cynthia Ozick Quotes

  1. All writing is presumption of course, since no one knows what it is like to be another human being.
  2. What we remember from childhood we remember forever - permanent ghosts, stamped, inked, imprinted, eternally seen.
  3. Because if I don’t start, I won’t get going. And sometimes starting is so difficult. Because it’s all chaos… It could be a scene in your mind or it could be some kind of tendril that you can barely define. So I have to force it. And then after – and this is real compulsion, real self-flagellation – it kind of takes off. But there’s a lot of agony before. And sometimes during. And sometimes all through. But just before the end and revelations start coming, that’s the joy. But mostly its hell.
  4. Advice to aspiring poets: Poetry is not letter-writing cut up into lines. Become familiar with the poets that are the infrastructure of literature; read, read, read.
  5. After a certain number of years, our faces become our biographies.
  6. If we had to say what writing is, we would have to define it essentially as an act of courage.
  7. Writers’ invisibility has little or nothing to do with Fame, just as Fame has little or nothing to do with Literature. (Fame merits its capital F for its fickleness, Literature its capital L for its lastingness.) 
  8. To imagine the unimaginable is the highest use of the imagination.
  9. Writers are very dangerous people. You shouldn’t know them.
  10. If I could do it again, I would step out of the furnace now and then. I’d run around and find reviews to write, articles; I’d scurry and scrounge. I’d try to build a little platform from which to send out a voice. I’d do, in short, what I see so many writers of your generation doing: Chasing a bit of work here, a bit there, publishing, getting acquainted. 

Ozick is an American-Jewish short story writer, novelist, and essayist

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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

— 8 hours ago with 36 notes
#Amanda Patterson  #Writers Write  #Literary Birthday  #Cynthia Ozick 
What your writing equipment says about you →

We spend our days clicking away on our laptops, desktops, tablets and phones. We write memos and type reminders and fill documents using things like auto correction and spell check. We race the cursor and watch as our word count climbs, but when the electricity is off and the batteries need charging, we reveal our inner writer.

When you have to write by hand, what do your chosen tools say about you? 

  1. Pencil: Pencils can be either dark (B’s) or light (H’s). Writers who prefer pencils tend to be commitment phobic and flit from project to project. The lighter the pencil, the more insecure the writer. The darker the pencil the less chance the person is actually a writer. They are most likely the talkers or visually impaired. Writers who use HB pencils should grow a pair and just commit to one of their projects. 
  2. Pen: Pens are divided by price and levels of self-censoring. The more expensive the pen the more repressed the writer and the more self-censoring occurs. The story is there, but because these writers refuse to be honest with themselves their writing remains flat. Writers who choose pens however, are tenacious and will never give up, regardless of a disastrous plot or blatant and repeated rejection. Writers who like pens that click have obsessive personalities and will spend time in rehab at some point in their careers. 

Subcategory of the pen - Ink colour

  • Blue: You still write like you did at school. Long-winded essays wrought with unspecified adjectives and lazy adverbs. 
  • Black: You steal pens and you might actually make it as a writer if only you could get out of your own way. 
  • Red: You have masochistic tendencies. 
  • Green: There is something wrong with you, but as long as no one else gets hurt we’ll leave you be. 
  • Any other colour: Seek professional help. Immediately. 

Erasers and sharpeners: 

  1. Writers who choose pencils with erasers attached to the end tend to be skittish, fragile creatures who kill ideas faster than they can create them. The ideas might be good, but we never know because the ideas are erased as fast they are written.
  2. If a writer prefers a large eraser with sharp corners they are most likely a dark pencil user and not really a writer.
  3. If you have a tiny piece of rubber that used to be a big fat eraser you might actually have the ability to become a writer. 
  4. The same can be said about having a desk-mounted pencil sharpener - this is how you know you are indeed a writer. Regardless of the type of pencil used, this is the mark of a true wordsmith.
  5. Small, handheld sharpeners can only be used in the direst of situations or out-of-office writing days and then only if they are embellished with some kind of animated character. 
  6. Writers who use Tippex are imposters and can’t write a word. Seriously, who waits for Tippex to dry?
  7. Lastly, if writers chew on their chosen implements, they are hungry and should be fed. 

If you have read through this entire post trying to find you ideal implement/corrector combo you have proved that you are indeed a writer and a master procrastinator. That said you should be writing and not reading posts about writing tools. Your implement does not dictate your writing fate. You do.

by Mia Botha for Writers Write

— 1 day ago with 118 notes
#What your writing equipment says about you  #Mia Botha  #Writers Write  #Writing Trivia  #Lit 
Happy Birthday, Diane Middlebrook, born 16 April 1939, died 15 December 2007
Seven Quotes
When I get inside the book I lose all my bearings.
Read the journals, letters, and autobiographies of writers you admire. Plath avidly read the diaries of Virginia Woolf; and Plath herself produced one of the great writer-journals of our century — The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath shows the slow arc of the writer-in-the making. 
Absolute silence. I’ve had arguments – kind of impolite ones – with my students. I don’t think that writers can write when some other art form is in the background. Writing demands so much of your attention that anything in the background is an interruption.
With a biography there is no straight line; all is muddled. You don’t know what you know, you don’t know what you don’t know; if you find anything you make a note about it because some day it may find its partner. You have to have very good ways of keeping track of what you have found and where you have put it.
Your readers expect a story, a story that answers the question, “So what, why do we care about what this person has done?” 
I also strongly recommend outlining your own work after it is written, because then you can see where the logic is breaking down, or where you repeat yourself. Shrinking it down improves it. 
I drink a pot of coffee first: that’s my drug; it makes me feel elated and smart. 
Middlebrook  was an American biographer, poet, and teacher. She is best known for her biographies of poets Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath. 
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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

Happy Birthday, Diane Middlebrook, born 16 April 1939, died 15 December 2007

Seven Quotes

  1. When I get inside the book I lose all my bearings.
  2. Read the journals, letters, and autobiographies of writers you admire. Plath avidly read the diaries of Virginia Woolf; and Plath herself produced one of the great writer-journals of our century — The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath shows the slow arc of the writer-in-the making. 
  3. Absolute silence. I’ve had arguments – kind of impolite ones – with my students. I don’t think that writers can write when some other art form is in the background. Writing demands so much of your attention that anything in the background is an interruption.
  4. With a biography there is no straight line; all is muddled. You don’t know what you know, you don’t know what you don’t know; if you find anything you make a note about it because some day it may find its partner. You have to have very good ways of keeping track of what you have found and where you have put it.
  5. Your readers expect a story, a story that answers the question, “So what, why do we care about what this person has done?” 
  6. I also strongly recommend outlining your own work after it is written, because then you can see where the logic is breaking down, or where you repeat yourself. Shrinking it down improves it. 
  7. I drink a pot of coffee first: that’s my drug; it makes me feel elated and smart. 

Middlebrook  was an American biographer, poet, and teacher. She is best known for her biographies of poets Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath. 

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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

— 1 day ago with 12 notes
#Diane Middlebrook  #Amanda Patterson  #Literary Birthday  #Writers Write 
Happy Birthday, Anatole France, born 16 April 1844, died 12 October 1924
12 Quotes
Never lend books, for no one ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are books that other folks have lent me.
It is human nature to think wisely and act in an absurd fashion.
To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.
The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself a fool.
Nine tenths of education is encouragement.
The truth is that life is delicious, horrible, charming, frightful, sweet, bitter, and that is everything.
If a million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.
People who have no weaknesses are terrible; there is no way of taking advantage of them.
Stupidity is far more dangerous than evil, for evil takes a break from time to time, stupidity does not.
What frightens us most in a madman is his sane conversation.
All the good writers of confessions, from Augustine onwards, are men who are still a little in love with their sins.
One thing above all gives charm to men’s thoughts, and this is unrest. A mind that is not uneasy irritates and bores me.
France was a French poet, journalist, and novelist. He was a member of the Académie française, and won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

Happy Birthday, Anatole France, born 16 April 1844, died 12 October 1924

12 Quotes

  1. Never lend books, for no one ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are books that other folks have lent me.
  2. It is human nature to think wisely and act in an absurd fashion.
  3. To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.
  4. The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself a fool.
  5. Nine tenths of education is encouragement.
  6. The truth is that life is delicious, horrible, charming, frightful, sweet, bitter, and that is everything.
  7. If a million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.
  8. People who have no weaknesses are terrible; there is no way of taking advantage of them.
  9. Stupidity is far more dangerous than evil, for evil takes a break from time to time, stupidity does not.
  10. What frightens us most in a madman is his sane conversation.
  11. All the good writers of confessions, from Augustine onwards, are men who are still a little in love with their sins.
  12. One thing above all gives charm to men’s thoughts, and this is unrest. A mind that is not uneasy irritates and bores me.

France was a French poet, journalist, and novelist. He was a member of the Académie française, and won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

— 1 day ago with 49 notes
#Anatole France  #Literary Birthday  #Writers Write  #Amanda Patterson 
Happy Birthday, Tracy K. Smith, born 16 April 1972
Seven Quotes
Once I started writing all the time and interacting with poets, I made a conscious decision to identify myself as a poet. It’s funny how much a single word can provide focus and direction.
I am very conscious of the vulnerability of beginning writers. I push my students toward a more rigorous sense of craft and a more daring use of material and observation.
A question is a pursuit, an invitation to envision and explore a series of possibilities, to struggle and empathize and doubt and believe. The question moves, whereas our sense of what an answer is can often be static, a stopping point.
 I see my responsibility to my material as a matter of writing toward the truth. And the truth is many different things at once — many different truths.
For me, a poem is an opportunity to kind of interrogate myself a little bit.
I think humans have always felt watched back by whatever is out there flickering in the distance. What excites me is what the imagination creates not simply in explanation of what is there, but also to explain or justify the feeling of awe and attachment that the heavens inspire. Sometimes those answers set beautiful things into motion: compassion, hope, a desire to create something that will last.
I always encourage my students to seek analogies between their outside interests and their process as poets. Everything should make its way into the poems, because everything makes a mark upon the poet.
Smith is an African-American poet and educator. She won the Pulitzer Prize for a 2011 collection, Life on Mars.
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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

Happy Birthday, Tracy K. Smith, born 16 April 1972

Seven Quotes

  1. Once I started writing all the time and interacting with poets, I made a conscious decision to identify myself as a poet. It’s funny how much a single word can provide focus and direction.
  2. I am very conscious of the vulnerability of beginning writers. I push my students toward a more rigorous sense of craft and a more daring use of material and observation.
  3. A question is a pursuit, an invitation to envision and explore a series of possibilities, to struggle and empathize and doubt and believe. The question moves, whereas our sense of what an answer is can often be static, a stopping point.
  4.  I see my responsibility to my material as a matter of writing toward the truth. And the truth is many different things at once — many different truths.
  5. For me, a poem is an opportunity to kind of interrogate myself a little bit.
  6. I think humans have always felt watched back by whatever is out there flickering in the distance. What excites me is what the imagination creates not simply in explanation of what is there, but also to explain or justify the feeling of awe and attachment that the heavens inspire. Sometimes those answers set beautiful things into motion: compassion, hope, a desire to create something that will last.
  7. I always encourage my students to seek analogies between their outside interests and their process as poets. Everything should make its way into the poems, because everything makes a mark upon the poet.

Smith is an African-American poet and educator. She won the Pulitzer Prize for a 2011 collection, Life on Mars.

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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

— 1 day ago with 36 notes
#Tracy K. Smith  #Amanda Patterson  #Literary Birthday  #Writers Write 
Happy Birthday, Tomas Tranströmer, born 15 April 1931
Seven Quotes
In the middle of life, death comes to take your measurements. The visit is forgotten and life goes on. But the suit is being sewn on the sly.
Don’t be ashamed because you’re human: be proud! Inside you, vaults behind vaults open endlessly. You will never be finished, and that’s as it should be.
We are at a party that doesn’t love us.
A person shows himself for an instant as in a photograph but clearer and in the background something which is bigger than his shadow.
We always feel younger than we are. I carry inside myself my earlier faces, as a tree contains its rings. The sum of them is me. The mirror sees only my latest face, while I know all my previous ones.
Tired of all who come with words, words but no language, l went to the snow-covered island. The wild does not have words. The unwritten pages spread out on all sides! I come upon the tracks of roe deer in the snow. Language but no words.
The small things I love, have they any weight?
Tranströmer is a Swedish poet, psychologist and translator. His poetry has been translated into over 60 languages. He is the winner of the 1990 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature.
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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

Happy Birthday, Tomas Tranströmer, born 15 April 1931

Seven Quotes

  1. In the middle of life, death comes to take your measurements. The visit is forgotten and life goes on. But the suit is being sewn on the sly.
  2. Don’t be ashamed because you’re human: be proud! Inside you, vaults behind vaults open endlessly. You will never be finished, and that’s as it should be.
  3. We are at a party that doesn’t love us.
  4. A person shows himself for an instant as in a photograph but clearer and in the background something which is bigger than his shadow.
  5. We always feel younger than we are. I carry inside myself my earlier faces, as a tree contains its rings. The sum of them is me. The mirror sees only my latest face, while I know all my previous ones.
  6. Tired of all who come with words, words but no language, l went to the snow-covered island. The wild does not have words. The unwritten pages spread out on all sides! I come upon the tracks of roe deer in the snow. Language but no words.
  7. The small things I love, have they any weight?

Tranströmer is a Swedish poet, psychologist and translator. His poetry has been translated into over 60 languages. He is the winner of the 1990 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature.

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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

— 2 days ago with 87 notes
#Tomas Tranströmer  #Amanda Patterson  #Literary Birthday  #Writers Write 
Happy Birthday, Helene Hanff, born 15 April 1916, died 9 April 1997
Five Quotes
I do love second-hand books that open to the page some previous owner read oftenest.
I love inscriptions on flyleaves and notes in margins, I like the comradely sense of turning pages someone else turned, and reading passages someone long gone has called my attention to.
If you happen to pass by 84 Charing Cross Road, kiss it for me? I owe it so much.
84, Charing Cross Road was no best seller, you understand; it didn’t make me rich or famous. It just got me hundreds of letters and phone calls from people I never knew existed; it got me wonderful reviews; it restored a self-confidence and self-esteem I’d lost somewhere along the way, God knows how many years ago. It brought me to England. It changed my life.
History, as they say, is alive and well and living in London.
Hanff was an American writer, best known as the author of 84, Charing Cross Road, which was adapted for stage, television and film.
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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

Happy Birthday, Helene Hanff, born 15 April 1916, died 9 April 1997

Five Quotes

  1. I do love second-hand books that open to the page some previous owner read oftenest.
  2. I love inscriptions on flyleaves and notes in margins, I like the comradely sense of turning pages someone else turned, and reading passages someone long gone has called my attention to.
  3. If you happen to pass by 84 Charing Cross Road, kiss it for me? I owe it so much.
  4. 84, Charing Cross Road was no best seller, you understand; it didn’t make me rich or famous. It just got me hundreds of letters and phone calls from people I never knew existed; it got me wonderful reviews; it restored a self-confidence and self-esteem I’d lost somewhere along the way, God knows how many years ago. It brought me to England. It changed my life.
  5. History, as they say, is alive and well and living in London.

Hanff was an American writer, best known as the author of 84, Charing Cross Road, which was adapted for stage, television and film.

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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

— 2 days ago with 27 notes
#Amanda Patterson  #Helene hanff  #Literary Birthday  #Writers Write 
Happy Birthday, Bruce Sterling, born 14 April 1954
Five Quotes
We’re so intelligent now that we’re too smart to survive. We’re so well informed that we lost all sense of meaning. We know the price of everything, but we’ve lost all sense of value. We have everyone under surveillance, but we’ve lost all sense of shame.
Forget trying to pass for normal. Follow your geekdom. Embrace nerditude.
The future is unwritten. there are best case scenarios. There are worst-case scenarios. both of them are great fun to write about if you’ re a science fiction novelist, but neither of them ever happens in the real world. What happens in the real world is always a sideways-case scenario. World-changing marvels to us, are only wallpaper to our children.
If poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world, science fiction writers are its court jesters. We are Wise Fools who can leap, caper, utter prophecies, and scratch ourselves in public. We can play with Big Ideas because the garish motley of our pulp origins make us seem harmless.
In a world so redolent with wonder, how can we allow ourselves to conduct our daily lives with so little insight, such absence of dignity?
Sterling is an American science fiction author who is best known for his novels and his work on the Mirrorshades anthology. This work helped to define the cyberpunk genre
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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

Happy Birthday, Bruce Sterling, born 14 April 1954

Five Quotes

  1. We’re so intelligent now that we’re too smart to survive. We’re so well informed that we lost all sense of meaning. We know the price of everything, but we’ve lost all sense of value. We have everyone under surveillance, but we’ve lost all sense of shame.
  2. Forget trying to pass for normal. Follow your geekdom. Embrace nerditude.
  3. The future is unwritten. there are best case scenarios. There are worst-case scenarios. both of them are great fun to write about if you’ re a science fiction novelist, but neither of them ever happens in the real world. What happens in the real world is always a sideways-case scenario. World-changing marvels to us, are only wallpaper to our children.
  4. If poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world, science fiction writers are its court jesters. We are Wise Fools who can leap, caper, utter prophecies, and scratch ourselves in public. We can play with Big Ideas because the garish motley of our pulp origins make us seem harmless.
  5. In a world so redolent with wonder, how can we allow ourselves to conduct our daily lives with so little insight, such absence of dignity?

Sterling is an American science fiction author who is best known for his novels and his work on the Mirrorshades anthology. This work helped to define the cyberpunk genre

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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

— 3 days ago with 82 notes
#Bruce Sterling  #Amanda Patterson  #Literary Birthday  #Writers Write 
Happy Birthday, Mireille Guiliano, born 14 April 1946
Seven Quotes
I can never leave a book store without buying a book. I read four or five at a time.
We only have one body, and you have to show respect for it.
Make treating yourself a priority and always remember your life is happening now. Don’t put off all your dreams and pleasures to another day. In any balanced personal definition of success there has to be a powerful element of living life in the present.
French women typically think about good things to eat. American women typically worry about bad things to eat.
Since the pleasure of most foods is in the first few bites, eat one thing on your plate at a time, at least at the start of the meal when you can concentrate and enjoy the full flavors.
Don’t let a busy life or electronic communication gadgets be your excuse for excess solitude - it’s a talent, but a rare one, to make yourself laugh.
Intelligence, knowledge or experience are important and might get you a job, but strong communication skills are what will get you promoted.
Guiliano is a French-American author. She is the author of five books including French Women Don’t Get Fat, and most recently, French Women Don’t Get Facelifts.
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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

Happy Birthday, Mireille Guiliano, born 14 April 1946

Seven Quotes

  1. I can never leave a book store without buying a book. I read four or five at a time.
  2. We only have one body, and you have to show respect for it.
  3. Make treating yourself a priority and always remember your life is happening now. Don’t put off all your dreams and pleasures to another day. In any balanced personal definition of success there has to be a powerful element of living life in the present.
  4. French women typically think about good things to eat. American women typically worry about bad things to eat.
  5. Since the pleasure of most foods is in the first few bites, eat one thing on your plate at a time, at least at the start of the meal when you can concentrate and enjoy the full flavors.
  6. Don’t let a busy life or electronic communication gadgets be your excuse for excess solitude - it’s a talent, but a rare one, to make yourself laugh.
  7. Intelligence, knowledge or experience are important and might get you a job, but strong communication skills are what will get you promoted.

Guiliano is a French-American author. She is the author of five books including French Women Don’t Get Fat, and most recently, French Women Don’t Get Facelifts.

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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

— 3 days ago with 22 notes
#Mireille Guiliano  #Literary Birthday  #writers write  #amanda patterson 
Literary Birthday - 13 April
Happy Birthday, Seamus Heaney, born 13 April 1939, died 30 August 2013
Five Quotes
I can’t think of a case where poems changed the world, but what they do is they change people’s understanding of what’s going on in the world.
Debate doesn’t really change things. It gets you bogged in deeper. If you can address or reopen the subject with something new, something from a different angle, then there is some hope…. That’s something poetry can do for you, it can entrance you for a moment above the pool of your own consciousness and your own possibilities.
If you have the words, there’s always a chance that you’ll find the way.
Poetry cannot afford to lose its fundamentally self-delighting inventiveness, its joy in being a process of language as well as a representation of things in the world.
I’ve always associated the moment of writing with a moment of lift, of joy, of unexpected reward.
Heaney was an Irish poet, playwright, translator, and lecturer. He won the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature. 
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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

Literary Birthday - 13 April

Happy Birthday, Seamus Heaney, born 13 April 1939, died 30 August 2013

Five Quotes

  1. I can’t think of a case where poems changed the world, but what they do is they change people’s understanding of what’s going on in the world.
  2. Debate doesn’t really change things. It gets you bogged in deeper. If you can address or reopen the subject with something new, something from a different angle, then there is some hope…. That’s something poetry can do for you, it can entrance you for a moment above the pool of your own consciousness and your own possibilities.
  3. If you have the words, there’s always a chance that you’ll find the way.
  4. Poetry cannot afford to lose its fundamentally self-delighting inventiveness, its joy in being a process of language as well as a representation of things in the world.
  5. I’ve always associated the moment of writing with a moment of lift, of joy, of unexpected reward.

Heaney was an Irish poet, playwright, translator, and lecturer. He won the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature. 

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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

— 4 days ago with 180 notes
#Seamus Heaney  #Literary Birthday  #amanda patterson  #lit  #Writers Write 
Happy Birthday, John Braine, born 13 April 1922, died 28 October 1986
Seven Quotes
To be shockingly original with your first novel, you don’t have to discover a new technique: Simply write about people as they are and not as the predominantly liberal and humanist literary establishment believes that they ought to be.
If the original of any of your characters would win a libel case against you, you have failed to create a real character.
Writing’s not always a pleasure to me, but if I’m not writing every other pleasure loses its savour.
Being a writer in a library is rather like being a eunuch in a harem.
There isn’t, unfortunately, any way of discovering whether you can write a publishable novel except by writing it.
The worst that can happen to the writer who tries and fails – unless he has inflated or mystical notion of what it is to be a novelist – is that he will discover, for him, writing is not the best place to seek joy and satisfaction. More people fail at becoming successful businessmen than fail at becoming artists.
Solitude and quiet are highly desirable, but the lack of them is no barrier to writing… The will to work builds all the seclusion that one needs.
Braine was an English novelist, associated with the Angry Young Men movement. His novels include Room at the Top, The Crying Game, and The Jealous God. He also wrote Becoming a Writer and How to Write a Novel.
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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

Happy Birthday, John Braine, born 13 April 1922, died 28 October 1986

Seven Quotes

  1. To be shockingly original with your first novel, you don’t have to discover a new technique: Simply write about people as they are and not as the predominantly liberal and humanist literary establishment believes that they ought to be.
  2. If the original of any of your characters would win a libel case against you, you have failed to create a real character.
  3. Writing’s not always a pleasure to me, but if I’m not writing every other pleasure loses its savour.
  4. Being a writer in a library is rather like being a eunuch in a harem.
  5. There isn’t, unfortunately, any way of discovering whether you can write a publishable novel except by writing it.
  6. The worst that can happen to the writer who tries and fails – unless he has inflated or mystical notion of what it is to be a novelist – is that he will discover, for him, writing is not the best place to seek joy and satisfaction. More people fail at becoming successful businessmen than fail at becoming artists.
  7. Solitude and quiet are highly desirable, but the lack of them is no barrier to writing… The will to work builds all the seclusion that one needs.

Braine was an English novelist, associated with the Angry Young Men movement. His novels include Room at the Top, The Crying Game, and The Jealous God. He also wrote Becoming a Writer and How to Write a Novel.

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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

— 4 days ago with 27 notes
#Writers Write  #Amanda Patterson  #Literary Birthday  #John Braine 
Happy Birthday, Beverly Cleary, born 12 April 1916
Seven Quotes
I didn’t start out writing to give children hope, but I’m glad some of them found it.
I had a very wise mother. She always kept books that were my grade level in our house.
One rainy Sunday when I was in the third grade, I picked up a book to look at the pictures and discovered that even though I did not want to, I was reading. I have been a reader ever since.
I was a great reader of fairy tales. I tried to read the entire fairy tale section of the library.
Quite often somebody will say, What year do your books take place? and the only answer I can give is, In childhood.
I don’t necessarily start with the beginning of the book. I just start with the part of the story that’s most vivid in my imagination and work forward and backward from there.
I was a very observant child. The boys in my books are based on boys in my neighbourhood growing up.
Cleary is an American author of books for young adults and children. She has sold 91 million copies worldwide. She won the 1981 National Book Award for Ramona and Her Mother and the 1984 Newbery Medal for Dear Mr. Henshaw.
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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

Happy Birthday, Beverly Cleary, born 12 April 1916

Seven Quotes

  1. I didn’t start out writing to give children hope, but I’m glad some of them found it.
  2. I had a very wise mother. She always kept books that were my grade level in our house.
  3. One rainy Sunday when I was in the third grade, I picked up a book to look at the pictures and discovered that even though I did not want to, I was reading. I have been a reader ever since.
  4. I was a great reader of fairy tales. I tried to read the entire fairy tale section of the library.
  5. Quite often somebody will say, What year do your books take place? and the only answer I can give is, In childhood.
  6. I don’t necessarily start with the beginning of the book. I just start with the part of the story that’s most vivid in my imagination and work forward and backward from there.
  7. I was a very observant child. The boys in my books are based on boys in my neighbourhood growing up.

Cleary is an American author of books for young adults and children. She has sold 91 million copies worldwide. She won the 1981 National Book Award for Ramona and Her Mother and the 1984 Newbery Medal for Dear Mr. Henshaw.

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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

— 5 days ago with 125 notes
#Beverly Cleary  #Literary Birthday  #Amanda Patterson  #Writers Write 
Happy Birthday, Mark Strand, born 11 April 1934
Seven Quotes
The future is always beginning now.
Pain is filtered in a poem so that it becomes finally, in the end, pleasure.
I is for immortality, which for some poets is a necessary compensation. Presumably miserable in this life, they will be remembered when the rest of us are long forgotten. None of them asks about the quality of that remembrance—what it will be like to crouch in the dim hallways of somebody’s mind until the moment of recollection occurs, or to be lifted off suddenly and forever into the pastures of obscurity. Most poets know better than to concern themselves with such things. They know the chances are better than good that their poems will die when they do and never be heard of again, that they’ll be replaced by poems sporting a new look in a language more current.
A great many people seem to think writing poetry is worthwhile, even though it pays next to nothing and is not as widely read as it should be.
A life is not sufficiently elevated for poetry, unless, of course, the life has been made into an art.
From the reader’s view, a poem is more demanding than prose.
Poetry is, first and last, language - the rest is filler.
Strand is a Canadian-born American poet, essayist, and translator. He was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1990. 
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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

Happy Birthday, Mark Strand, born 11 April 1934

Seven Quotes

  1. The future is always beginning now.
  2. Pain is filtered in a poem so that it becomes finally, in the end, pleasure.
  3. I is for immortality, which for some poets is a necessary compensation. Presumably miserable in this life, they will be remembered when the rest of us are long forgotten. None of them asks about the quality of that remembrance—what it will be like to crouch in the dim hallways of somebody’s mind until the moment of recollection occurs, or to be lifted off suddenly and forever into the pastures of obscurity. Most poets know better than to concern themselves with such things. They know the chances are better than good that their poems will die when they do and never be heard of again, that they’ll be replaced by poems sporting a new look in a language more current.
  4. A great many people seem to think writing poetry is worthwhile, even though it pays next to nothing and is not as widely read as it should be.
  5. A life is not sufficiently elevated for poetry, unless, of course, the life has been made into an art.
  6. From the reader’s view, a poem is more demanding than prose.
  7. Poetry is, first and last, language - the rest is filler.

Strand is a Canadian-born American poet, essayist, and translator. He was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1990. 

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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

— 6 days ago with 29 notes
#Mark Strand  #Literary Birthday  #Amanda Patterson  #Writers Write 
Stamp out that cliché – How clichés and jargon can ruin your writing →

Today we’re going to start the weekly blog with a philately lesson. In traditional stamp making, a cliché was an individual unit consisting of the design of a single stamp, combined with others to make up a printing plate. Clichés as we have come to know them are the kiss of death for good writing.

Jargon, another word with French origin, derives from a phrase meaning the chattering of birds. Meaningless jargon is another cause of death for your writing. It is the kind of stuff politicians use or what we see in brochures.

We fall into these two hollow literary traps for three reasons.

1. Lack of passion or laziness. If we don’t feel connected to our writing or we’re in a hurry to meet a publishing deadline, we tend to go for the first phrase that pops into our head.
So we say: I envied Ilse. She lived in a luxurious penthouse in Hyde Park. Instead of: Ilse’s white tiles blinded me, as did her taste in fake Picassos and flokati rugs.

2. No first-hand knowledge. Sometimes when we don’t understand our material – either because we have no intimate knowledge of it or we have not researched it deeply enough – we stay with safe and acceptable description.
So we say: The average temperature in subtropical Phalaborwa is 35 degrees Celsius as the incoming troops were told in their orientation brochure. Instead of: Don’t expect shade in hell. That’s what the sersant was screaming at them. Benjamin was just a troepie – he didn’t know if he was going to throw up or pass out.

3. Caution or timidity. When we don’t wish to upset a group of people – sometimes known as polite society – or are too scared to be bold and fearless, we use innocuous and politically correct language that says nothing.
So we say: Deborah did not care for her son’s lifestyle, but made allowances for it as best she could. She was worried about the December holidays. Instead of: Deb’s son was buying his’n’his Chihuahuas with someone called Kyle. This was going to crap all over her Christmas seating plan.

When we use jargon or clichés, we create fuzziness around the image or emotion we’re trying to get across. Be as specific as you can be and authentic as you can be. Every word must have your blood in it – anger, irony, admiration, etc. Don’t make it look like everyone else’s.

by Anthony Ehlers for Writers Write

— 1 week ago with 690 notes
#How clichés and jargon can ruin your writing  #Writing Advice  #Writers Write  #Anthony Ehlers