Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

The MFA is Not a Calling Card: The Low-Residency View


Today’s re-blog is a relatively deep look into the Master of Fine Arts programs…

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

A guest post from Kevin Haworth:

zz haworthbiggest Kevin Haworth

Like other Brevity blog readers, I have been following the thread of conversation this week started by Emily Smith and continued by Dinty W. Moore. As the director of a low-residency MFA program, I have my own investment in this conversation, and a desire to see my students’ experiences represented. And while each of these writers makes salient points about the challenges of an MFA education, both essays fail to speak to the hundreds of low-residency students currently working toward their MFAs with high hopes and great dedication.

Emily Smith contends that “the MFA is a literary calling card, a title not unlike Vanderbilt or Kennedy that can often buy entry into the otherwise classist structure of the literary world.” For low-residency students, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Low-residency students have long had to grapple with the lower…

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Author Interview ~ Fatima Ammar


I met Fatima very recently and haven’t, yet, read any of her works (except for a brief peek to let me know she could actually write); but, from her profile on Wattpad, her presence on Twitter, and her WebSite, I deduced a critical quality for writers—an independent power of creativity

Let’s get this interview in gear…

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> So, Fatima, want to tell the folks your a.k.a. and what you consider your writerly function? And, a bit of Bio would also be very nice… Fatima Ammar - Poet/Writer

 

Moonshine Noire is the a.k.a. and I’m a poet/writer.

 

I was born in the foggy town of Southport in (Merseyside) North West England where I’ve spent just over half my life. The other half I spent in a beautiful town called Hammamet in Tunisia, my parents’ homeland, giving me an in-depth understanding of cultural differences and the beauty of diversity. I’m multilingual as a result of the move and reasonably better off for it (the Jasmine Revolution inspired quite a few poems and articles from me).

 

I’m an adult science student (won’t go into details).

 

I spend most of my rare free time walking about aimlessly in secluded woodlands/beaches or obsessing over art, music: classical (listening to Fauré right now), rock, swing, blues…, or in awe over everything macabre. I mostly write and publish online though I have been offered a few official publishing deals that I’m still considering. I suppose I could write a book about my life story so let’s keep it brief and stop.

 

> When did you start writing?

 

I’ve been writing for as long as I’ve known written words, my earliest recollection of writing is when I was six years of age. I still write pretty much in the same genres as I did back then: fantasy, adventure, sci-fi, mystery… Anything interesting or unusual. I started to write poetry about a year after that when my teacher started to read poems to us in class. I stopped writing for a few years from 11 to 14 years of age but since then it’s an inescapable necessity for me. That is when I’m not plagued by the notorious writer’s block.

 

> What would you say are your writing inspirations or “muses”? Fatima Ammar - Poet/Writer

 

I have been cursed with an outrageously wild imagination. I’m that person who seems to space out once every ten minutes. I escape to the confines of my own maze of fictional worlds in order to make sense of the literal one we live in. Everything inspires me in the way that nothing really does (does that make sense?). I’m mainly driven by my thoughts as opposed to experiences or images etc. My poetry is probably the most inspired thing I write. I draw from everything for that. For me, poetry is the pulp of emotion and the beating heart of artistic expression. What you can’t express in any other way, you can almost always count on poetry and the plethora of words in all the languages of the world to help you out. From the teasingly short Haiku to the tediously strained Epic, something is bound to work!

 

I mostly write ‘for myself’ and by this I mean I don’t try to please the reader or write exactly what seems to be popular or trending. I hate insincerity. The only point in writing is to be genuine and honest to yourself and to others. You owe it to the reader to show them what you want to show them rather than what they think they want to see.

 

> So, Moonshine, who are your favourite writers and why?

 

I have been mad about Oscar Wilde since reading The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, and The Importance of Being Earnest. He’s so sincere in what he wants to say even when he’s being humorous.

 

I also have a soft spot for Franz Kafka because of his brilliant incorporation of the bizarre and fantastic with the real. I pretty much thrive in his surrealist humour and agonised satire.

 

One of my many aspirations is to write a novel with a Kafkaesque feel to it…

 

This wouldn’t be a list without Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I don’t feel this one needs an explanation.

 

Sylvia Plath also needs no introduction. I also admire the works of William. S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. Charles Baudelaire is a big inspiration of mine. Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine, too.

 

Taha Hussein, certainly!

 

> Living writers, you say?

 

Haha, alright. Sarah Waters, J. K. Rowling, Nawal El- Saadawi, Julian Barnes…

 

This list looks so short compared to what I read!

 

> Lists are like that… :-)
So you do most of your writing on Wattpad—what’s that like for you?

 

I discovered Wattpad in September 2012 and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve gained the trust and comradery of quite a few Wattpaders, it has helped me grow in confidence and explore my technique. I have learned a lot from my fellow users and I hope they have learned something from me too!

 

It is a fun way of communicating with the reading world and it helps that it’s free!

 

I only use the website because I haven’t used a mobile phone (cell phone in America?) in a couple years out of my own way of avoiding unnecessary distractions but it is enough to keep track of things.

 

If you want to read or write, Wattpad is a great platform.

 

> And, you’re a great person to interview! Thanks for taking the time to give my readers an introductory view of you and your writing…
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Here comes more info and important links to Fatima’s work:

 

 

 

Sara In Atlantis

Click Image to read on Wattpad

 Sara In Atlantis:

“Time travel exists, ghosts are real, and magic isn’t an illusion. Forget everything you are told to believe, believe what you see.”
Summary:
Sara, a young girl, finds herself in an underwater kingdom where everything she ever dreamed of finding comes true. However, with the good comes the bad.
Can she help restore balance to Atlantis and end the tyrannic dictatorship of the sea King by rescuing pirate ghosts and fighting alongside mermaids?

 

 

 

 

 

The Portal of Deceit

Click image to read on Wattpad

 The Portal of Deceit:

An underrated physicist disappears, leaving behind only rumours of his whereabouts, he returns with inventions from another world passing them off as his own. Soon he becomes a billionaire and his multinational corporation tops every other on Earth for its massive advancements in technology and science.
Wormholes, political corruption, billionaire liars, energy-generating crystals, and a foolhardy escape plan. What could possibly go wrong?
 

 

 

 

 

Sailing on a Sea of Moondust

Click image to read on Wattpad

Sailing On A Sea of Moondust:

 

 

Visit her on Wattpad — You’ll find 39 additional works from Fatima there :-)

 

 

 

I will create a space in my To Be Read list for this woman :-)

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Top Posts & Pages for #Readers, #Writers, & #Publishers


I usually promote a post from other blogs on Sundays; but, today, I’ll promote the most visited posts and pages on this blog since its beginning in January of 2011

There have been over 105,000 visits

35,035 visits were to the main page—showing whatever posts happened to be current.

5,228 visits were to the About Page, which is usually a well-viewed feature on most any blog.

2,126 were to Writing Challenge ~ Use The 1200 Most Common Words To Write A Story…

 

1,837 were to * The Book ~ Notes from An Alien

1,216 were to Why Do Certain People Become Writers?

975 went to Free Software for Writers . . .

718 went to What’s The “Best” Way To Learn “Proper” Grammar?

635 went to Are Fiction Writers Capable of Freelancing?

601 went to * Behind The Scenes . . .

600 went to Diagramming Sentences ~ A Lost Art?

585 ended up at The Danger of A Single Story

483 visits went to * Our Author Interviews

453 were to What’s The Relationship Between A Writer & Their Characters?

438 were visits to Writing ~ Is It A Craft or An Art?

And, finally, 406 lucky people ended up at What About All The Authors Whose Books Don’t Sell Very Many Copies?

These were the most visited of 1,787 posts and 9 pages…

So, why did I say the 406 folks who went to What About All The Authors Whose Books Don’t Sell Very Many Copies? were lucky?

Because, I consider that post the most important thing I’ve written in the last six years of blogging.

If you’re new here, you can also access the Top Tags widget (further down on the left side-bar) for a handy way to find groups of posts with similar ideas
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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Conflict in every scene? Disasters in every act? Yes and no


Straightforward and valuable advice for writers from Roz Morris in today’s re-blog :-)

Nail Your Novel

15517166590_fabb8e02ee_oI’ve had an interesting question from Ben Collins.

I have read that each part of a novel should contain a ‘disaster’ and that every scene should either contain conflict or be deleted. Is this too rigid a formula, or do you think it is correct?

That’s a good question with a lot of answers.

So let’s take it apart.

‘Every scene should either contain conflict or be deleted’

I certainly subscribe to the view that every scene should feel like it’s moving forwards. Something should change, and in a way that keeps the reader curious.

In my plot book I talk about the 4 Cs of a plot – crescendo, curiosity, coherence and change. You can hear me discuss it here with Joanna Penn on her podcast. Three of those Cs are relevant to this question – curiosity change, and crescendo. Crescendo is a sense that the pressure is…

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Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Thirty-Six


A Higher Calling

by
Alexander M Zoltai

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He couldn’t understand…

His usual methods weren’t working…

She acted nicely enough in his presence; but, remained icy at her core.

Every time he asked her for a date, she accepted; yet, the signals were extremely clear—Be proper or I’m out of here

He recalled articles from years ago saying that women craved sex as much as men; but, with that off the menu, what did she want from him…?

~~~

He finally decided he just had to ask her…

He did and she said he should wait for her written answer in his mailbox…

~~~

It arrived and it said:

You have remarkable abilities and a captivating personality.

I go out with you because I keep hoping you’ll see beyond your body’s demands and notice me…

Oh, I know you’ve noticed my body; but, I keep expecting you to peek into my soul…

I fear this letter will sever our relationship; yet, I hope you want more than fun and social games.

Think about it…

I give in to your desire for sex—you and I enjoy it—it does what it usually does—creates the urge for a deeper connection—you back away and have to find another woman that won’t make you think about commitment…

Can you do that for the rest of your life?

Your penis will more than likely keep working; but, what about your heart?

I care, deeply, for you…

But, I care about the real you, not the you that so strongly identifies with your very mortal body…

Will you see me soon to talk about this; or, will you run………?

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Read More Story Bazaar Tales

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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com