Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Fiction Writing

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 talk by 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
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What Writers Tell Other Writers . . .

I’ve written before about Writing “Advice”—how it can help and how it can block one’s efforts

Perhaps, How To Write A Story? is good to read because it shows John Steinbeck writing a letter to his former writing instructor; plus, it will lead you to other posts about Writing Advice

Perhaps, this video of Neil Gaiman addressing a graduating class is good to watch since he stresses writing as Adventure not Work.

I’ve never read Neil’s work but have watched a couple movies he helped create

Then, comes the advice of a man who’s just passed from his adventure in a writing life, Ray Bradbury.

I’ve read a number of works by Mr. Bradbury and just downloaded one of his stories, The Playground, to my Kindle.

An excerpt from the introduction to that story gives insight into Ray’s writing life:

“He was unable to sell his early science fiction stories to the leading market of the 1940s, John W. Campbell’s Astounding. Bradbury had to publish his short stories in the second-line magazines like Planet Stories and Thrilling Wonder. After the War, however, Bradbury’s fantastic and surrealistic fiction began to find a steady market in mainstream magazines like Mademoiselle, Collier’s and Harper’s Bazaar and he became the first science fiction writer to place work in Martha Foley’s Best American Short Stories. The novel, Fahrenheit 451, later the basis for a notable film of François Truffaut, secured his reputation. In 2000, Bradbury was awarded a medal for the body of his literary achievement by the National Institute of Arts and Letters.”

Not being accepted in the most respected publication because he was already beyond their “standards”

Continuing to write because, to him, it was an adventure

Eleven years before he shufflel’d off this mortall coile, he gave a talk that is warm and cozy—a summation of his journey up to that point—a self-celebration full of writerly wisdom and advice

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Writers Going Global ~ Expanding The Story

Do you know writers that always keep their stories’ contexts close to home—their neighborhood, their city, their state or province, their country?

Do you know writers who constantly work to expand the context and settings of their works—strive to relate to the wider world?

Some writers seem to be writing in a global environment but every country is shown through the filter of their home territory.

The Internet has been said to be making the world a global community yet many writers are staying home and creating parochial tales, shunning a growth in consciousness that could spawn attempts at a new “genre”—Global Fiction

Certainly, I’m not advocating that All fiction be global or that all writers must expand the territory of their creativity.

Yet, with the world struggling to learn how to be a global community, it would seem valuable to have more writers working to expand the borders of what they consider as themes, contexts, and settings

My previous post, Writing Fiction To Make A Difference In The World, began an approach to this topic and another post, Can Fiction Aid Global Peace?, took the idea a bit further.

Of course, writing in the genre of Global Fiction would mean that the writer was thinking Globally—thinking of distant lands being populated by other members of the same Human Family

I’m putting a video in this post with Homa Sabet Tavangar talking about thinking Globally and, if nothing else, it could give writers any number of Prompts for stories :-)

Homa has written the book, Growing Up Global: Raising Children to be At Home in the World, but the video is definitely for adults considering adult issues.

Her Bio notes that she “…has 20 years’ experience working with governments, businesses, international organizations, and non-profit agencies in global competitiveness, organizational and business development, and cross-cultural issues. ”

I hope you’ll listen carefully to her as she unfolds, gently, the requisites for Global Consciousness

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Are Fiction Writers Capable of Freelancing?

“Creative” and “Fiction” might be considered somewhat synonymous when used as adjectives for the word “Writer”.

“Freelance” is not as often associated with the act of writing fiction.

I’m stepping way out on a limb in this post since I don’t know of profitable avenues for Creative/Fiction writers to pursue in the arena of the freelancers.

What seems more natural is for a writer of fiction to use their creativity in freelancing as a non-fiction, money-making “day job”.

In my previous post, Simple Question ~ Can Writers Make Money?, I quoted Chris Brogan from his ponderings on writers making money:

“The money for fiction authors? Oh, I forgot that part. That doesn’t work. Fiction is about passion except for the very few percent of the herd who really can move books like no one’s business.”


Perhaps, not

I would like to propose a challenge to Creative/Fiction Writers.

I wonder how many won’t take the challenge because they’re right where I am—working too hard on writing the fiction I must write to consider writing fiction for others

Also, I wonder how many people can conceive of the idea of freelancing fiction.

Is there a market?

Why would folks want or need a freelancer to create fictional copy for them?

And, I should point out, I’m not considering ghost writers here, unless, of course, they receive their pay regardless of the book being published

If you’re enterprising enough and have the time, would you even consider discovering a freelance market for fiction writers?

If you want an even greater challenge, consider creating such a market, fostering it, making it come alive

For those of you who would rather freelance non-fiction (and, for the enterprising who might consider discovering or creating a market for fiction freelancing), the site provides a potential resource (or, model).

From a press release:

“ introduces students, professional writers and freelance writers to writing jobs available through Amazon Mechanical Turk. Writers are also able to choose writing jobs that meet their interests and advance their career through a tiered system designed to promote writers for quality and reliability.

“According to Stephanie Leffler, CEO of CrowdSource, ‘We employ a recognition system modeled after offline career paths to motivate and reward our best writers. Those who compose quality work are able to earn a position as an editor. Editors who do a good job can earn a promotion to editorial trainer and so on.’”


Have I pointed toward a resource you might consider using?
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Writing Resources, Revisited…

Budding creative writers have never had so much raw information available on how to write.

They’ve also never had to work so hard to sift the value from the self-serving nonsense.

I’ve had a number of posts here that highlight various modes of advice-sifting. Here are three:

Resources for Writers ~ Readers Welcome :-)

What *Not* To Do If You’re Looking For Writing Advice

More Writing Resources Than You’ll Ever Need Plus One Huge Tip

I recently discovered Debbie Maxwell Allen’s blog, Writing While The Rice Boils—“Resources for writers with little time and even less money, who are on the journey to publication.”

And, Debbie’s blog led me to Harvey Chapman’s site,

So, I hope one or more of those links lead you to the knowledge you need to pursue your creative writing.

If you know of other helpful sites, please share the links in the comments.
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