Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Writer Resources

Inside The Writer’s Mind

So far, we’ve had 29 Author Interviews and this is certainly one way to attempt to get inside the mind of a writer.

We’ve explored the writer’s mind in many ways here but one in particular stands out: Why Do Humans Write?

If you’ve read more than a few posts here, you’ve probably come across a mention or two of Book Island.

Book Island is a special place in the virtual world, Second Life, that lets me meet and interact with Readers, Writers, and Publishers on a regular basis.

We attend events with Open Mic readings, engage in discussion groups, and, often, just hang out at the Writer’s Block Cafe :-)

One of the Book Island Regulars, who’s also the Correspondent for the Island Newsletter, is writer Barbara Blackcinder.

She gave me permission to copy one of her blog posts here.

Get ready to enter the Mind of a Writer………


Where Did My Writer Come From?

When I say my character walks in the darkened night, under branches that shine with the mist, dripping on me as I pass under them, it is because I have walked under that branch and wondered how I would say it when I would write it down later. I have always been a writer, whenever my mind wasn’t occupied by taking care of some aspect of life. When my mind wandered, it wrote.

My life is one of scenarios occurring one after the other. Some were frightful, some became frightful as I wrote them in my head. Some threw boogie men at me left and right while I navigated a tunnel, dark, cluttered with garbage, and a box just large enough for someone to hide behind until the very second I passed by. But when I successfully passed through without such an attack, I was relieved, and had another eerie scene in my storage case, as well as one of success.  I may have had to clean my underwear when I returned home though.

My mind was inwardly facing since I knew that I was thinking instead of reacting. Although I thought about things that had to be thought about, it was always from the perspective of another eye deep inside my head. It was me, but I could see myself acting, reacting, scared and joyful. This dichotomy of thought was myself and my writer. They’ve been around for over fifty years and know they always will be together.

Until The End
Visit Barbara Blackcinder’s Blog
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All Kinds of Writing Prompts . . .

“Writing prompts” are anything that gets a writer writing.

Some writers find the idea strange since they never have situations or feelings block their writing.

Even though I’m in that group of writers who don’t experience blocks, I’ve spent the last few Mondays at an event on Book Island in Second Life called Writers’ Wave.

We all sit down to our typewriters or laptops, June Faramore gives us a one or two word Prompt, and we capture whatever we feel moved to write for twenty minutes.

Then, we share our creations and give each other a few comments.

Of course, there is the desire to go back and edit before sharing, but I’m always pleased to see so many coherent ideas developed in so little time :-)

Even though I’m an unblockable writer and don’t need prompts to make my creative vehicle move, it’s still enjoyable to see what I come up with on the spur of the moment.

Naturally, there is no dearth of places to find this kind of “writing prompt”—just put the words in Google.

However, there are different kinds of Prompt that operate in certain writers’ work.

Prompting can come from more than a word or two. It may be a sentence heard or read, an article or essay, or even a complete book that Prompts the writer to take things in their own literary direction

While I was at the Writers’ Chat on Book Island yesterday, one of the participants gave two different links to the same WebSite when she wanted to give us resources to back-up what she was saying.

I got very intrigued with that site and went to visit.

Alan Bellows is the man behind this site and does the bulk of the writing.

It’s essentially a collection of stories and articles that are damned interesting and could easily Prompt a writer to create

The name of the Space clearly echoes its content: :-)

As they say about themselves: “Damn Interesting is a growing collection of legitimately fascinating information culled from the past, present, and anticipated future. We tend to write about timeless topics, so we leave each article’s discussion open indefinitely. New insights are always welcome.”

Here are a couple of their Greatest Hits to get you going:

The Unfortunate Sex Life of the Banana

The Wrath of the Killdozer

Doctor Watson’s Phobia Factory

BTW, if you have a message come up that says the site is unreachable, just click the link again and you’ll more than likely succeed. Here’s Alan’s explanation :-)

“As you may have noticed, until about a week ago the Damn Interesting web server was about as sturdy as a pair of paper pajamas….After a week or so of testing I am happy to announce that the server is now approximately as sturdy as corrugated cardboard pajamas.”

Do you use Writing Prompts?

What are your favorite kind?

Have any good places to find Prompts?
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Yet More Writing Resources . . .

writing advice I’ve had a number of posts here that highlight various modes of advice-sifting.

Sadly, sifting through creative writing advice for the really good stuff often becomes a budding writers full-time job

Still, I try to provide links to resources when I find them and hope folks remember that persistence in writing (and re-writing) as well as reading creative fiction are still the best all-round training tools.

Yet, here I go pointing you toward a previous post which points to three more posts—some with writing tips and some with writing warnings: Writing Resources, Revisited…

And, I’m going to add another potential source of writing advice.

One from former literary agent Nathan Bransford: Writing Advice Database.

Last, let me repeat my three Don’ts for budding creative writers:

Don’t pay anyone a penny until you’ve written the equivalent of a novel and even then you should probably wait much longer.

Don’t listen to people who are willing to give you free information until you’ve read some of their creative writing. { blogs can actually count as creative writing :-}

Don’t get caught up in reading writing advice until you’ve given yourself the chance to write what you feel is the best work you can produce.

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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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How Can Writers Avoid Being Scammed?

A writer sheds blood, over many months or years, to finish a creative work.

They strive, for many more months or years, to attract a traditional publisher.

They finally grow weary and anxious and fall into a publishing scam

I feel lucky I avoided the years of attracting a traditional publisher by taking the non-traditional path sooner than many.

I was also lucky in finding a “publishing-aid company”, FastPencil, that’s reputable.

I like to think my Muse guided me to FastPencil since there are so many seemingly attractive “options” open to aspiring writers these days.

I discovered an article recently on the Accredited Online Colleges site called, 10 Common Self-Publishing Scams You Should Be Aware Of.

I’ll give you their list but be aware that each topic-heading in the article is hot-linked to another article on that particlular subject:

Excessively flattering offers
Promises that are too good to be true
Copyrighting tricks
Crazy contracts
Suspect marketing
Vanity publishing
Guaranteeing success
Promises to make your book “available”
Editor services and referrals
Offering discounts to authors for resale

I’ll also direct you toward a site run by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and sponsored by the Mystery Writers of America, WRITER BEWARE.

This site has been around quite awhile and is of help to aspiring authors even if they never go near the indicated genres :-)

And, to stay on the bleeding-edge of nefarious activity, they also have the Writer Beware Blog.

If you’ve heard about or been involved in any publishing scams, please share with us in the Comments
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