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Regarding You

3 Jul
Sometimes I feel as if I’m standing at the edge of a cliff. High above the clouds, an incomprehensible drop before me, the formless ground far below a hazy blue. Alone. I stand high on my perch and write, little notes. Each note an opinion, an idea, a suggestion. One by one, I write the notes, fold them into little paper airplanes, and send the soaring over the edge, to be found by Whom It May Concern. That’s what writing for a blog feels like to me sometimes.
Other times it’s as if I’m in a dark, musty little room half buried in the ground. A small grating at the top of the wall lets in light. By the light of the dusty rays I scribble my opinions, my ideas, my suggestions. One by one I shove the notes out through the grating, straining to reach. As each note squeezes out, it is grabbed by fingers of passerby walking along the street above my cellar. I strain to hear but cannot make out the words. That’s what writing for a blog feels like other times.
I have so many things I want to say, so much to tell you, reader. But I cannot see you. You hover just out of reach, out of sight yet not out of mind . I know you’re reading what I’m writing, but I don’t know you. What do you want to hear? What do you want to know about?
Tell me. You have the option of stooping down and talking out me in my hidden cellar, of sending my paper airplanes back up on a gust of Internet. Tell me what you want to hear about. Tell me what about your writing, and how you do it. Give me a hint what you want me to write about.
P.S – I just read what I wrote above, and, wheew, talk about melodrama, right?

English: Paper airplane

English: Paper airplane (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But I’m not going to change it, that’s really what I feel like. So tell me. Leave a comment about what you want me to write about, or even ask a specific question. That’s what The Writing Corp is for, and what it’s all about.

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Imitating Originality

2 Jul

All of the letter, and each of the word
They all have been said, which is odd and absurd
There are no more phrases which have not been used
So how are books new, readers happy, enthused?

How can it be, if no new words are said
That writing still lives, is awake and not dead?
If all we can do is invent permutations
How can there be new best selling sensations?

The answer’s complex, not really so simple
Take for example, the Germanic word ‘wimple’
You have oft heard it said, in relation to nuns
But have you seen it together with the Gaulish word ‘tuns’?

For that is the secret, and the solve to this riddle
The secret of words is neither end or the middle
No, the letters themselves, and the words represented
Are only important for the ideas they’ve presented

The story we hear, which perhaps makes us think
Or a vivid description of a terrible stink
Is not the result of an unheard letter
But the idea it reflects, which makes it much better

Therefore the answer to the question we’ve asked
Is the yoke with which every author is tasked
To take the old words and reset them anew
To create with what is, that is writing for true

Imitating Originality

2 Jul

All of the letter, and each of the word
They all have been said, which is odd and absurd
There are no more phrases which have not been used
So how are books new, readers happy, enthused?

How can it be, if no new words are said
That writing still lives, is awake and not dead?
If all we can do is invent permutations
How can there be new best selling sensations?

The answer’s complex, not really so simple
Take for example, the Germanic word ‘wimple’
You have oft heard it said, in relation to nuns
But have you seen it together with the Gaulish word ‘tuns’?

For that is the secret, and the solve to this riddle
The secret of words is neither end or the middle
No, the letters themselves, and the words represented
Are only important for the ideas they’ve presented

The story we hear, which perhaps makes us think
Or a vivid description of a terrible stink
Is not the result of an unheard letter
But the idea it reflects, which makes it much better

Therefore the answer to the question we’ve asked
Is the yoke with which every author is tasked
To take the old words and reset them anew
To create with what is, that is writing for true

Making Time To Take Time

28 Jun

Life has a way of getting away from you.  I am living proof of this.  Between doctors appointments and health concerns, Kids, vacations, work, cleaning and an occasional nap, life seems to take over my life.  
SO, I guess, today what I’m saying is as much to remind myself as to remind everyone else that it’s really important to take care of yourself mentally as well as taking care of everyone and everything in your life physically.  It might be way over stated and way over cliché, but if you don’t take time (even a little time, even stolen moments hiding in the bathroom at work) to nurture your mind (reading or writing, messaging yourself with your phone about things to write about, or better yet writing about them) you will quickly burn out and not be able to handle nearly as much of the other stuff either.  
Find what nurtures your creativity, and run with it.
Take time to take time.
And when you can’t take time, invent time to take.  Five minutes while the coffee is brewing, fifteen minutes while you are walking the dog, or even during your commute.  You can call yourself and leave yourself voice mail, record a voice memo, or use the voice recognition feature on your technology to record and translate a note.  Even a few words at a time are often enough to keep yourself sharp and start to meet your deadlines (the ones you set on yourself, or the ones imposed upon you).
Remember, this matters.  It matters because it matters to you.  It’s no one’s business but your own what you do in the bathroom…. and just think of what you can do with five or even ten minutes!
Write a haiku
describe the sounds around you
Better yet, capture the conversations you hear around you! (this is awesome to do in the bathroom because people kind of let there guards down).
You never know when you will have the occasion to be able to go back and realize that you can use whatever things you snatched in your five minutes here or there to add spice to your work!

Writing a Short Story

25 Jun
Nederlands: Het Short Story bushokje op transf...

Nederlands: Het Short Story bushokje op transferium Wittenberg in Stroe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I really like writing short stories, for two reasons – Firstly, you can write a whole storyline/plot from beginning to end in one sitting, which is very satisfying and also keeps the story more cohesive than most books tend to be. Secondly, I also like to have an ‘idea’, a sort of moral, lurking behind the story. Or even not lurking, just leaning nonchalantly against a lamp post. Whatever.

A friend of mine recently asked me how to write a short story, and I replied that I didn’t really know – I just wing it. After giving the matter some thought, I came up with some key points to writing a short story, which I’ll present to you forthwith, in the hopes that you find them useful. Or maybe just entertaining.

My short stories nearly always start out with a ‘what-if’ premise. For example, what would happen in a world where gravity manipulation technology was as widespread and simple as screen technology is in our world. I ask myself what would change, how would things be different, and that gives me an idea of how to build the story. This example would be a premise for a science fiction short story, but the idea holds true for any sort of story.

Once I have a premise, the next step is a character. What kind of character could present the idea behind the story in the most evocative manner? This step comes together with the idea behind the story – what am I trying to say with this story? Where is the story going?

After these basic building blocks have been supplied, I just plunge in. If you’re baking, you can’t be afraid of getting your hands dirty. Don’t be afraid of getting stuck in loopholes or writing contradictions. A good writer can write based on the premise and a loose idea of a storyline. Short stories are also generally short, so that there isn’t really ‘time’ to get mired in the storyline.

Lastly, there’s one way to tell whether a short story is up to scratch. Your reader cannot know what will happen in the end. In my opinion, a twist ending, or at least an unexpected direction, is more important in a short story than in any other kind of writing. The idea of a short story, for me, is to get the reader thinking, to compress a lot of thought into a few hundred or thousand words.

The above points are my way of writing a short story, but every writer has their own style and way of writing. If you’re interested in reading some of my short stories, I’ve posted some on nesherehrman.wordpress.com/. For the truly interested, there is also an anthology of my short stories available on amazon, titled “Tales of Power”.

How To Write Well

23 Jun
Left Brain Simulation 7

Left Brain Simulation 7 (Photo credit: Paige Marie)

This is it. The post you’ve all been waiting for. No more tips, no more little tricks or techniques. No. This is the real meat and potatoes of how to write. The real deal. Ready?

Brace yourself…

There’s two things you need to do. Just two. The first is reading, and the second is writing. And I’m not kidding. I am one hundred percent serious. In order to learn how to write really well, you need to read a lot, and write a lot.

Think of it this way. Whenever you read, you’re looking at someone else’s writing. Someone wrote that. And if you’re reading a good book, then they also wrote it well. Don’t just enjoy it, learn from it. Analyze good writing to understand what makes it good. Try to understand what makes it funny, or easy to understand. Once you’ve done that, move on to part two. Writing.

I don’t mean that the next step is to write well. That would be step three, I suppose. No. What I mean is practice. Writing skill is like a muscle. Some people are born stronger – more talented – but no matter who you are, the more you use a muscle, the stronger it gets. And the more you write, the better your writing gets. So write a lot. Essays, ideas, short stories, novelettes, letters. Anything.

Your subconscious mind also plays a large part in your writing, supplying words, ideas and phrases automatically. So the more you write, the better your subconscious will get at writing. That’s why reading a lot is important too. Reading allows your subconscious to absorb, to take note of a clever turn of phrase or a good way to describe something.

So that’s it. Read a lot, and write a lot. That’s how to write well.

Regarding The Subject Of Boring; A Title

16 Jun

We’ve discussed the importance of titles in the past, but I recently came across an article which was so badly titled that I had to say something on the subject. 

Generally speaking, there are several reasons why a title is important-  Firstly, it serves as a small sample of the whole so that a reader can decide whether to read the whole thing, based on the title. Basically, the title works as a sort of blurb. Secondly, the title also bears the weighty task of drawing people in, and for that, it has to be interesting.

To explain that point, allow me to draw your attention to a title which you’ve read recently. The title of this post. If you’ve forgotten, I’ll refresh your memory – “Regarding The Subject Of Boring; A Title”. Now, I know it’s a bad and uniteresting title, but why? What makes it bad?

Well, first of all, it sounds like it was written by a dusty, staid old professor who has written a larger number of articles than the the number of people who have ever read an article of his. It sounds like a discourse, a lecture. That’s bad. A title should pull you in, should catch your eye and interest you. A good title is an appetizer for the literary meal ahead. And if the appetizer is a stale cracker, who would want to eat the meal?

Incidentally, I had a hard time deciding whether I should give this post a bad title on purpose, since I was afraid it would work, and then nobody would read this. Maybe nobody will. If, however, you are reading this, then congratulations, my trust in you as a reader was well-placed. Thank you for reading despite a bad title. 

Tales of Power

10 Jun

By Nesher Ehrman

Do you remember the “Realizing Your Writing Potential” series? Well, that series (which you should totally read if you plan on publishing your work) was based on the actual process I went through recently while publishing a couple of books. 

One of those books is called Tales of Power. It’s an anthology of short stories which I wrote a while back, and it contains some of the writing I’m most proud of. This site is dedicated to writing techniques and tips, so I thought it would be appropriate to mention it here. I’m not trying to make money by selling these books – I just want people to read my work and tell me what they think. However, Amazon makes it difficult to “sell” your book for nothing, so the regular price is a dollar. However, I discovered that you can also have a promotion for a few days at a time, making the book temporarily free. 

So, if you want to read Tales of Power, you can download the kindle version for free between June 10th and 11th (today or tomorrow) at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D62W0RU

As I’ve said before, I love nothing more than hearing your opinions on my work. If you download the book and enjoy it, post your thoughts in a short review, or share a link with a friend who you think might like it. 

Thanks

 

 

Freestyle Poetry

6 Jun

By Nesher Ehrman

A favorite hobby of mine is to write freestyle poetry. It sounds weird, which is good, because that’s what it is, but it can also sometimes come out surprisingly good. The idea is to just write sentences as fast as you think of them, with the only caveat being – it has to rhyme. That’s all. Once you’re done, you look back and read what you’ve written. It’s like a look at your subconscious, letting your forebrain take a rest while you run on automatic. It can be very interesting.

Writing out some lines while you’re staring at the screen,

If you don’t think what you write then it might come out obscene

The words just flow, they come right out, and go just as they may

And some ideas will dissappear, while others here to stay

A word which has no meaning is seldom understood

But who was the first who said a piece of tree was wood?

There must have been a person who moved on from grunts and squeals

Just as the first caveman turned “rolling” into wheels

Inventions may come naturally, or for them you have to strive

But that is what it means when we say we are alive

You see? Like I said, pretty weird, but at the same time, it can also be kind of interesting. If you’re feeling adventurous, try writing some of your own freestyle poetry in the comments.

IMAGINATION

29 May
By Nesher Ehrman 
 
Oh hearken now and listen well
To the dismal tale I will now tell
Of a thing behooved of fickle feature
IMAGINATION – wily creature
 
From her emerge ideas and plots
Woven stories, domestic knots
All not-real and all made-up
When supping IMAGINATION’s cup
 
An author who bends and and sweats at his work
Creating the plight of a hero named Dirk
He calls to his muse, that she may inspire
To her he prays to start the fire
 
IMAGINE one, IMAGINE all,
Like gems dredged up from crystal ball
Ideas come forth, they may not stop
The lifeblood of stories, each ruby drop
 
No matter the language, or of what nation
The bones are the same – it is creation
But no matter the name, or what it is called
IMAGINATION is fickle, a crone all enshawled
 
Sometimes you sit, and write for a spell
Nothing more trivial than story to tell
But hold dear these rare times, they come not often
IMAGINATION is harsh, and seldom to soften
 
To me this rhyme, these words, the whole
Where I beg for ideas, I whine and cajole
To me in my head, I play slave to her master
She is but an idea, but I write all the faster
 
This poem does not make too much sense. It makes sense to me in my head and that’s what important. It requires some IMAGINATION of your own to understand what it means to you. To see other (more comprehensible) poems and stories, feel free to visit nesherehrman.wordpress.com/
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