Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Tag Archives: Stephen King

Yet More Conversation About “What Should I Write?” . . .


In this continuing conversation, we’ve discussed quite a bit about the Muse as inspiration for writing… What Should I Write About?

The last installment was, Continuing the Blog Conversation About “What Should I Write?” . . .

And, just before I reveal the first reader comment that let me keep this discussion going, I need to share a quote, from that last post, about the Muse:

“There is a muse, but he’s not going to come fluttering down into your writing room and scatter creative fairy-dust all over your typewriter or computer. He lives in the ground. He’s a basement kind of guy. You have to descend to his level, and once you get down there you have to furnish an apartment for him to live in. You have to do all the grunt labor, in other words, while the muse sits and smokes cigars and admires his bowling trophies and pretends to ignore you. Do you think it’s fair? I think it’s fair. He may not be much to look at, that muse-guy, and he may not be much of a conversationalist, but he’s got inspiration. It’s right that you should do all the work and burn all the mid-night oil, because the guy with the cigar and the little wings has got a bag of magic. There’s stuff in there that can change your life. Believe me, I know.” ~ Stephen King

And, here’s the first reader comment, from an established writer:

“My Muse does not live in a basement. She’s more a balcony kind of gal and she hates cigars. She likes to lean over the rooftop balcony and listen to the birds. However I find she is more present when I keep up a regular meditation practice. Somehow this seems to clear out my mind so that she can open the balcony door and slip inside :-) “

So, the Muse and Meditation—Paths to what should be written

And, yet another reader comment in this discussion; again, from an established writer:

“My best ideas don’t come when I sit down to write, rather at spontaneous and sometimes inopportune moments. Hence, I have a notebook in every room, my car, and my purse. :-) “

The Muse, Meditation, and Spontaneous sometimes Inopportune Ideational Visitations

I’m hoping a few more readers will comment on this post and share how they decide or are Aided to Determine their next bit of writing…

And, to add yet more ideas for this conversation, here are links to a few other answers to the question, “What Should I Write?” {value of links may vary…} :

What Should I Write About? Finding Inspiration

What Should I Write About? ~ Here are 5 prompts to encourage inspiration for article writing

What Should I Write About? ~ Quiz

Stuck for Ideas? 20 Quotes Telling You What To Write About ~ from Toni Morrison, Francis Bacon, Neil Gaiman, Marilyn Manson, Emile M. Cioran, Cyril Connolly, Dolly Parton, Tom Stoppard, Larry David, James Maynard Keenan, Anais Nin, Joseph Joubert,  Jack Kerouac, Demetri Martin, D. H. Lawrence, Ray Bradbury, Rebecca West, Lois Lowry, Joan Didion, and Sylvia Plath…

Finally, and as I regularly remind folks, it only takes one reader comment, no matter how short, to propel this particular conversation forward { though, you could also comment with ideas for other conversational topics in the realms of Reading, Writing, and Publishing……… }
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If you don’t see a way to comment, try the link at the upper right of this post…
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
OR >>> Send Me a short Voice Message
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Continuing the Blog Conversation About “What Should I Write?” . . .


 Prologue to this Post:

It’s Official… Our Blog Conversations are now on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays! Leaving the rest of the week for valuable re-blogs from other folks and, from time to time, extra special surprise posts :-)

The Muse O.K., on with the discussion…

Last Wednesday, we began, a Blog Conversation Concerning “What Should I Write?” . . .

You may want to check that post out first to ponder what was said about having a Muse

I will, however, bring over a few questions I asked that could be easily answered in many if not most cases by integrating a Muse into the WritingLife:

Is it conceivable to you that writers “should” write certain things?

That a particular sentence “should” follow that one you just wrote?

That a precise gem of a word “must” precede a particularly important other word…?

Those questions may seem to be situations where the writer’s rational mind needs to be applied in the revision phases; yet, if the function of the Muse is active, they may be surprisingly dealt with right in the first draft…

Now…

Here’s the rather surprising comment from last Wednesday that permitted this particular conversation to continue—surprising because it comes from a consummate writer:

“Sometimes a concept can be right under your nose and yet you do not fully appreciate it until you see it explained in more eloquent detail, which this post just did for me. I know about the ‘Muse’ that many writers or painters refer to—I confess I just took her (or him) for granted—a metaphor perhaps for the writer’s inspiration but suddenly when I read this: ‘Offloading your sense of responsibility for creative work onto another self is like flipping a switch. It instantly removes that pressure and lets you breathe again…’; and, a switch flipped for me internally. Why had I not used a Muse for this? Where was my Muse and why wasn’t she doing this for me? Perhaps because I’d locked her in a cupboard a long time ago to keep the room tidy? Please forgive me Muse. I have the key and I will let you out. And I’m very much looking forward to watching Elizabeth Gilbert talking about this concept :-)

Naturally, there are other methods for deciding “What Should I Write?”, whether that question applies to a complete work or the next scene in a story or the next word in a sentence: and, I do hope a few of you will bring up some of those methods in the comments

But, before we leave this part of our discussion, I’ll share just a bit more about the Muse; and, it comes from Stephen King :-)

“There is a muse, but he’s not going to come fluttering down into your writing room and scatter creative fairy-dust all over your typewriter or computer. He lives in the ground. He’s a basement kind of guy. You have to descend to his level, and once you get down there you have to furnish an apartment for him to live in. You have to do all the grunt labor, in other words, while the muse sits and smokes cigars and admires his bowling trophies and pretends to ignore you. Do you think it’s fair? I think it’s fair. He may not be much to look at, that muse-guy, and he may not be much of a conversationalist, but he’s got inspiration. It’s right that you should do all the work and burn all the mid-night oil, because the guy with the cigar and the little wings has got a bag of magic. There’s stuff in there that can change your life. Believe me, I know.”

O.K….

The ground rules for our conversations here are that at least one reader has to leave a comment (short though it may be ) so the conversation can continue; otherwise, I get to start a whole new discussion :-) { … and, you can always leave a comment about other conversations you’d like to have … }
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If you don’t see a way to comment, try the link at the upper right of this post…
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
OR >>> Send Me a short Voice Message

Bestsellers, Major Literacy Project, The World Hasn’t Completely Fallen Apart, and FREE BOOKS :-)


This is my first “Kitchen Sink” post of the New Year—I’ve secured my new apartment in my old city; I’m increasing my health tweaks; I’m a bit less “fractured”; and, I can “breathe” a bit better… 

Free Books

Image Courtesy of Judith P. Abrahamsen ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/jpmgrafika-36454

First topic—Meet the Writers Who Still Sell Millions of Books. Actually, Hundreds of Millions.

Commented on are the authors Paulo Coelho, Stephen King, Dan Brown, John Grisham, Ken Follett, Nora Roberts, James Patterson, Stephenie Meyer, Nicholas Sparks, Danielle Steele, Debbie Macomber, R.L. Stine, J.K. Rowling, Dean Koontz, Jeffrey Archer, David Baldacci and Mary Higgins Clark.

One of the more interesting statements is:

“How do you get to be a blockbuster author? Typing is not enough, though some of these novels certainly read that way. The writing quality and storytelling vary tremendously, but there are some similarities among hit writers.

“Chiefly, they’re extraordinarily productive. They publish with Swiss-clock regularity…”

And, for the starving authors out there who still have dreams of being just like those mega-selling writers, I must point you toward what I consider the most import post on this blog—What About All The Authors Whose Books Don’t Sell Very Many Copies?

Here’s an excerpt from that post:

“If failures becomes invisible, then naturally you will pay more attention to successes. Not only do you fail to recognize that what is missing might have held important information, you fail to recognize that there is missing information at all.

“You must remind yourself that when you start to pick apart winners and losers, successes and failures, the living and dead, that by paying attention to one side of that equation you are always neglecting the other.”

“Are you catching the drift yet?

“Perhaps, no matter what an author does (or, a publishing company), most books will still sell not so many copies?”

Again, if you’re trying to sell your soul to become a bestselling author, read the Facts in that post

Now, onto the Top Books That Made People Readers In 2016.

That article is about the Major Literacy Organization, WorldReader; and, it lists the best-loved books of folks who (before WorldReader got to them) had very few books, if any at all

Perusing these lists would be enlightening for any reader:

 

Top Books among parents and caregivers in India (Read to Kids Program)

Title Author Publisher Category
1 The Talkative Tortoise / बातूनी कछुआ Jeeva Raghunath Tulika Publishers Storybooks
2 नन्ही उँगलियाँ/Little Fingers शीला धीर/Sheila Dhir Tulika Publishers Storybooks
3 The Musical Donkey / सुरीला गधा Namrata Rai Tulika Publishers Storybooks
4 रंगबिरंग/Rang Birang Madhav Chavan Pratham Books Storybooks
5 सोना बड़ी सयानी/Sona badi Sayani Vinita Krishna Pratham Books Storybooks
6 Hawa ped / हवा-पेड़ ज्योत्सना िमलन/Jyotsna Imln Katha Children’s poetry
7 बूडाबिम/Boodabim (it’s a name) अलंकृता जैन/Alnkrita Jair Tulika Publishers Storybooks
8 भीमा गधा/Bhima’s Donkey Kiran Kasturia Pratham Books Storybooks
9 My Best Friend / मेरी सहेली Anupa Lal Pratham Books Storybooks
10 Red Umbrella / लाल छतरी Nandini Nayar Tulika Publishers Children’s poetry

 

Top books in school and library projects in sub-Saharan Africa

Title Author Publisher Category
1 Magozwe Lesley Koyi African Storybook Project Beginning readers
2 A Tiny Seed: The Story of Wangari Maathai Nicola Rijsdijk African Storybook Project Beginning readers
3 The Girl With the Magic Hands Nnedi Okorafor Worldreader Young Adult Fantasy
4 Ready? Set. Raymond! (Step into Reading) Vaunda Nelson Random House Children’s Books (Penguin Random House) Beginning readers
5 Disability is Not Inability Wairimu Mwangi The Jomo Kenyatta Foundation Beginning readers
6 Old Mother West Wind Thornton Burgess Public Domain Children’s classics
7 I Am An African Wayne Visser Self Published Poetry
8 Boastful Sui and Grandmother Goes to the Pictures Marg Reynolds Self Beginning readers
9 The Secret Garden Frances Hodgson Public Domain Children’s classics
10 The Adventures of Robin Hood Howard Pyle Public Domain Classics

 

Top Books among teens and adults reading on the Worldreader app

Title Author Publisher Category
1 Broken Promises Ros Haden Cover2Cover YA romance
2 The Holy Bible: King James Version Various Public Domain religion
3 First Love: Thinking of Him A.V. Frost Beaten Track Publishing romance
4 Sugar Daddy Ros Haden Cover2Cover YA romance
5 There’s Something about Him Lauri Kubuitsile Worldreader romance
6 Forever My Love Heather Graham Open Road Integrated Media romance
7 The Girl with the Magic Hands Nnedi Okorafor Worldreader fantasy
8 A Quest for Heroes (Arabic) Morgan Rice Lukeman Literary fantasy
9 Damaged Souls Stine Arnulf Self published Romance/Fanfiction
10 Le Roman de la momie Théophile Gautier ILIVRI romance

So, if you’re still with me but having a rough time feeling positive about this new year, this article should help:

It may have seemed like the world fell apart in 2016. Steven Pinker is here to tell you it didn’t.

And, for the imperturbable, constant readers: Free Books in your Inbox…

InstaFreebie

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Bestsellers of 1986


A book’s being a “bestseller” doesn’t automatically make it a “good” book… 

Bestsellers

Image Courtesy of Judith P. Abrahamsen ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/jpmgrafika-36454

Here’s a past post with a group of “all-time” bestseller lists.

Then, the past post that explores what a “bestseller” might actually be

And, I need to mention that the list of bestsellers from 30 years ago which I’ll share is made up of books that sold lots of copies in the USA.

I live in that country and know it’s had lots of influence on other countries; but…

Well…

Perhaps, even if you live in another country, it might be interesting (maybe only “defensively”) to know what “Americans” were reading in 1986 (courtesy of Aerogramme Writers’ Studio):

10. A Perfect Spy by John le Carré

9. The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

8. Last of the Breed by Louis L’Amour

7. I’ll Take Manhattan by Judith Krantz

6. Wanderlust by Danielle Steel

5. Hollywood Husbands by Jackie Collins

4. The Bourne Supremacy by Robert Ludlum

3. Whirlwind by James Clavell

2. Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy

1. IT by Stephen King

For the brief blurbs of these books, check out the article at Aerogramme Writers’ Studio

And, I can’t let this post end without quoting Ursula K. Le Guin about “bestsellers”:

“Best Seller lists have been around for quite a while. Best Seller lists are generated by obscure processes, which I consider (perhaps wrongly) to consist largely of smoke, mirrors, hokum, and the profit motive. How truly the lists of Best Sellers reflect popularity is questionable.”

~~~ From Up the Amazon with the BS Machine
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“Fiction is the truth inside the lie.” ~ Stephen King


Have you seen the movie The Martian, starring Matt Damon? (In case you haven’t, there’s a trailer at the end of the post…)

MarsOne

Proposed Mars Habitats ~ Click for More Info…

The original story (by Andy Weir) was self-published on Amazon.

I wonder how many writers (and, film-makers) have created fiction about going to Mars?

And, according to Stephen King, there must be some truth inside those “lies”

What if the truth is in the process of happening?

Ever heard of MarsOne?

Here’s a bit of explanation from their site:

“Mars One is a not for profit foundation with the goal of establishing a permanent human settlement on Mars. To prepare for this settlement the first unmanned mission is scheduled to depart in 2020. Crews will depart for their one-way journey to Mars starting in 2026; subsequent crews will depart every 26 months after the initial crew has left for Mars. Mars One is a global initiative aiming to make this everyone’s mission to Mars, including yours. Join Mars One’s efforts to enable the next giant leap for mankind.”

Did you notice that “one-way journey”?

The process is already at the stage where they have 100 people selected (from many more applicants) who are willing to go (and, never return)—those 100 to be finally pared down to 24 “Martians”.

Are you one of those people who think this attempt at settling Mars will never leave the ground—remain a story—a “fiction”…?

You might want to go check out the site—see how many aerospace companies are already helping them plan the endeavor

Perhaps you’d rather just watch the video at the end of the post

You might also want to ponder about how much fiction has become fact?

So

The first video is Hollywood’s version of a man on Mars—a man who desperately wants to get home

And, the second video is about MarsOne, which might just become true—humans going to Mars—and Staying There


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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