Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

So You Think You’re A Writer…


So, maybe you are a writer; or, you fondly hope you might be…

Reading Like A Writer

Reading Like A Writer

How do you confirm whether you really are a writer or whether you might actually be able to become one?

One idea would be to write something and ask your friends…

Perhaps that’s not a good idea—if they really are your friends, they might just tell you the truth…

So, do you think they’d say you’re a good writer; or, would they suggest some other hobby you should pursue?

Another idea would be to ask yourself—your deepest self—if you’re a writer…

The worst that could happen is that your self might say no…

Can you live with that?

What if you think you could learn to be a writer?

How would you go about studying the art?

Please, oh please, don’t say take a course in creative writing.

Perhaps, you’ve already committed yourself to being a writer; perhaps, already published a book or two.

Do you honestly, deeply feel you’re a real writer?

I don’t mean the feeling that you could be a better writer—I mean the feeling that what you’ve already written qualifies as something a real writer does…

One suggestion—whether you want to be a writer or are one—one insider tip about the process of becoming a writer: read this past post—How To Read Like A Writer.

Also, I suggest you read the book that post is about—Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them (P.S.).

If you can’t do either of those suggestions, try reading this Wikipedia article about Reading Like A Writer.

If you can’t do that, try listening to this interview with Francine Prose, the author of Reading Like A writer

One little hint about learning to write, for those who can’t do any of my suggestions—you must read all the good authors you can get your hands on if you ever hope to learn to write…

But, please, oh please, don’t read their books about how to write…

O.K., I’ve done my good deed for the day—back to writing my next book………
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
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To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Pantser? Sort of… Plotter? Sort of…


I’ve finally gotten to the stage with my new book where all the notes from all the research have been poured-over, pruned, and synthesized…

I could just start writing the story; but, I need a bit of structure—some scaffolding—before I write the first draft.

My last novel, Notes from An Alien (free copy here…), had a detailed, scene-by-scene outline; but…

By the fourth chapter, the outline was so covered with cuts it almost bled to death…

There was still an underlying order, though, and that let me finish the book.

We’ll see how the process works on this next novel………

Stay tuned…

And, if your a new reader of this blog, once I get a clean draft finished and offer it to a few beta readers, I’ll be returning to a more regular blogging schedule.

In the meantime, try putting some words or phrases in that search box at the upper right.

Or, scroll down a bit on the left and click on a few of the Top Tags…

There are over 1,000 posts to explore………
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

When Two Books Depend On Each Other . . .


If you been following this blog, you know I’m working on another novel; and, that the new book happens in the same worlds and time-frame as the one I published back in 2011 (get a free copy here…)

When Two Books Depend On Each Other

Image Courtesy of Marcel Hol ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/marzie

I’ve just finished a read-through of Notes from An Alien (the first book), while taking notes to help me mesh the new plot with the older one; and, I must admit, reading a book I wrote four years ago was an enlightening experience…

I found only two typos (though eight were found shortly after publishing…) and there are only two other small corrections I’m going to make.

I also have thousands of words in other notes that I need to read for the third time; then, on to the planning and organization of the plot for Finally, The Story Can Be Told

Once I have a clean-draft, I’ll be wanting a few Beta-readers

Once I’ve published the new book, I’ll be getting back to more regular blogging—probably, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday…

To sweeten this post, let me offer some book recommendations from my favorite fiction author, C. J. Cherryh.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Reading My Own Book . . .


Finally got here… 

Reading My Own Book

Image Courtesy of Mateusz Stachowski ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/mattox

Preparatory reading and note-taking are finished

I’m reading my last book (for the first time in four years) and appreciating what I did, while I take yet more notes (leading to a working outline)

Mind you, it had taken me quite a long time to write Notes from An Alien so it better be good :-)

When I say “write” I’m including the eleven years and three false attempts

This next book should be done next year (early?) and, near the end of this year, I’ll be looking for a few Beta-Readers for Finally, The Story Can Be Told

As I’ve mentioned here before, I’m re-reading Notes to make sure Finally is “congruent” with it—they happen in the same universe and time-frame, with mostly new characters, and a different way of narrating

If Notes is a documentary novel, Finally will be full-on Speculative Fiction

Might as well mention, for anyone reading this who is just beginning their writing-journey, the work of authoring a book is totally Weird.

Just to nail down what I mean here’s weird’s etymology:

“c. 1400, ‘having power to control fate’, from wierd (n.), from Old English wyrd ‘fate, chance, fortune; destiny; the Fates,’ literally ‘that which comes’, from Proto-Germanic *wurthiz (cognates: Old Saxon wurd, Old High German wurt ‘fate’, Old Norse urðr ‘fate, one of the three Norns’), from PIE *wert- ‘to turn, to wind’, (cognates: German werden, Old English weorðan ‘to become’), from root *wer- (3) ‘to turn, bend’ (see versus). For sense development from ‘turning’ to ‘becoming’, compare phrase turn into ‘become’.

“The sense ‘uncanny, supernatural’ developed from Middle English use of weird sisters for the three fates or Norns (in Germanic mythology), the goddesses who controlled human destiny. They were portrayed as odd or frightening in appearance, as in ‘Macbeth’ (and especially in 18th and 19th century productions of it), which led to the adjectival meaning ‘odd-looking, uncanny’ (1815); ‘odd, strange, disturbingly different’ (1820). Related: Weirdly; weirdness.”

And, don’t forget, you can download a free copy of Notes from An Alien

Till next time………
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Shortlists Announced for the 2015 PEN Literary Awards


I’m still hard at work—currently massaging my mind with supportive writings—soon to begin notes leading to an outline—but, I thought the PEN Awards was worth sharing… 

Image from the PEN site

Image from the PEN site

2015 PEN LITERARY AWARD SHORTLISTS:

PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction ($25,000): To an author whose debut work—a first novel or collection of short stories published in 2014—represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise.

JUDGES: Caroline Fraser, Katie Kitamura, Paul La Farge, and Victor LaValle

SHORTLIST:

The UnAmericans
Molly Antopol
(W. W. Norton & Company)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Ruby
Cynthia Bond
(Hogarth)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Redeployment
Phil Klay
(Penguin Press)
Amazon | Indie Bound

The Dog
Jack Livings
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Love Me Back
Merritt Tierce
(Doubleday)
Amazon | Indie Bound

 

PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($10,000): For a book of essays published in 2014 that exemplifies the dignity and esteem that the essay form imparts to literature.

JUDGES: Diane Johnson, Dahlia Lithwick, Vijay Seshadri, and Mark Slouka

SHORTLIST:

Moral Imagination
David Bromwich
(Princeton University Press)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Theater of Cruelty
Ian Buruma
(New York Review Books)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Loitering
Charles D’Ambrosio
(Tin House Books)
Amazon | Indie Bound

The Empathy Exams
Leslie Jamison
(Graywolf Press)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Limber
Angela Pelster
(Sarabande Books)
Amazon | Indie Bound

 

PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award ($10,000): For a book of literary nonfiction on the subject of the physical or biological sciences published in 2014.

JUDGES: Sue Halpern, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, and Carl Zimmer

SHORTLIST:

War of the Whales
Joshua Horwitz
(Simon & Schuster)
Amazon | Indie Bound

How We Got to Now
Steven Johnson
(Riverhead Books)
Amazon | Indie Bound

The Sixth Extinction
Elizabeth Kolbert
(Henry Holt and Co.)
Amazon | Indie Bound

The Age of Radiance
Craig Nelson
(Scribner)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Proof
Adam Rogers
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Amazon | Indie Bound

 

PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction ($10,000): To an author of a distinguished book of general nonfiction possessing notable literary merit and critical perspective and illuminating important contemporary issues which has been published in 2013 or 2014.

JUDGES: Andrew Blechman, Paul Elie, Azadeh Moaveni, Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, and Paul Reyes

SHORTLIST:

Our Declaration
Danielle Allen
(Liveright)
Amazon | Indie Bound

League of Denial
Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru
(Crown Archetype)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Five Days at Memorial
Sheri Fink
(Crown)
Amazon | Indie Bound

The Big Truck That Went By
Jonathan M. Katz
(Palgrave Macmillan)
Amazon | Indie Bound

This Changes Everything
Naomi Klein
(Simon & Schuster)
Amazon | Indie Bound

 

PEN Open Book Award ($5,000): For an exceptional book-length work of literature by an author of color published in 2014.

JUDGES: R. Erica Doyle, W. Ralph Eubanks, and Chinelo Okparanta

SHORTLIST:

An Unnecessary Woman
Rabih Alameddine
(Grove Press)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Every Day Is for the Thief
Teju Cole
(Random House)
Amazon | Indie Bound

An Untamed State
Roxane Gay
(Black Cat)
Amazon

Citizen: An American Lyric
Claudia Rankine
(Graywolf Press)
Amazon | Indie Bound

The City Son
Samrat Upadhyay
(Soho Press)
Amazon | Indie Bound

 

PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography ($5,000): For a distinguished biography published in 2014.

JUDGES: Emily Bernard, Nicholas Fox Weber, and Jon Meacham

SHORTLIST:

Rebel Yell
S. C. Gwynne
(Scribner)
Amazon | Indie Bound

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace
Jeff Hobbs
(Scribner)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Strange Glory
Charles Marsh
(Alfred A. Knopf)
Amazon | Indie Bound

The Queen’s Bed
Anna Whitelock
(Sarah Crichton Books)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Piero’s Light
Larry Witham
(Pegasus Books)
Amazon | Indie Bound

 

PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): To honor a nonfiction book on the subject of sports published in 2014.

JUDGES: Rich Cohen, George Dohrmann, and Jonathan Mahler

SHORTLIST:

Boy on Ice
John Branch
(W. W. Norton & Company)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Black Noon
Art Garner
(Thomas Dunne Books)
Amazon | Indie Bound

All Fishermen are Liars
John Gierach
(Simon & Schuster)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Ping-Pong Diplomacy
Nicholas Griffin
(Scribner)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Deep
James Nestor
(Eamon Dolan Books)
Amazon | Indie Bound

 

PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000): For a book-length translation of poetry into English published in 2014.

JUDGE: Ana Božičević

SHORTLIST:

Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream by Kim Hyesoon
Translated from the Korean by Don Mee Choi
(Action Books)
Amazon | Indie Bound

I Am the Beggar of the World
Translated from the Pashto by Eliza Griswold
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz by Juana Inés de la Cruz
Translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman
(W. W. Norton & Company)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Breathturn into Timestead by Paul Celan
Translated from the German by Pierre Joris
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Guantanamo by Frank Smith
Translated from the French by Vanessa Place
(Les Figues Press)
Amazon | Indie Bound

 

PEN Translation Prize ($3,000): For a book-length translation of prose into English published in 2014.

JUDGES: Heather Cleary, Lucas Klein, Tess Lewis, and Allison Markin Powell

SHORTLIST:

The Gray Notebook by Josep Pla
Translated from the Catalan by Peter Bush
(New York Review Books)
Amazon | Indie Bound

The Symmetry Teacher by Andrei Bitov
Translated from the Russian by Polly Gannon
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Baboon by Naja Marie Aidt
Translated from the Danish by Denise Newman
(Two Lines Press)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Texas: The Great Theft by Carmen Boullosa
Translated from the Spanish by Samantha Schnee
(Deep Vellum Publishing)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Self-Portrait in Green by Marie NDiaye
Translated from the French by Jordan Stump
(Two Lines Press)
Amazon | Indie Bound
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

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