Avoiding Prologues

Splendid writing advice…

Tom Sigafoos

Elmore-Leonard-010

Elmore (“Dutch”) Leonard, author of HombreGet Shorty and Rum Punch, laid down ten rules for good writing. They’re hard to beat:

  1. Never open a book with weather.
  2. Avoid prologues.
  3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
  4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said”…he admonished gravely.
  5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
  6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
  7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
  8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
  9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.
  10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

And he said, “My most important rule is one that sums up the 10. If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”

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Writing: The Art and the Craft

Writing: The Art and the Craft – Tuesdays – Kinlough, Co Leitrim

typewriter-vintage-old-vintage-typewriter-163084Six Tuesday evenings: 7 – 9:30 pm, Apr 10, Apr 24, May 1, May 8, May 22, Jun 5. Cost: €90, early bird concession €75, before Tues Apr 3.  For more infomonicacorishwriting@gmail.com 087-6414185. Numbers limited, advance booking essential. Develop your writing skills through constructive critique, feedback and tailored craft exercises.

  €90

Women Writing Together – Wednesdays – Kinlough, Co Leitrim

my labyrinth smallSix Wednesday evenings: 7 – 9:30 pm, Apr 11, Apr 25, May 2, May 9, May 23, Jun 6. Cost: €90, early bird concession €75, before Tues Apr 3.  For more infomonicacorishwriting@gmail.com 087-6414185. Numbers limited, advance booking essential. Develop confidence in your voice by writing with other women in a warm and encouraging environment.

  €90

Some of the Best Advice on Writing You’ll Ever Read

Tom Sigafoos

zadie smith profile

Zadie Smith’s 10 Rules of Writing:

  1. When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.

  2. When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.

  3. Don’t romanticise your ‘vocation.’ You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no ‘writer’s lifestyle.’ All that matters is what you leave on the page.

  4. Avoid your weaknesses. But do this without telling yourself that the things you can’t do aren’t worth doing. Don’t mask self-doubt with contempt.

  5. Leave a decent space of time between writing something and editing it.

  6. Avoid cliques, gangs, groups. The presence of a crowd won’t make your writing any better than it is.

  7. Work on a computer that is disconnected from the Internet.

  8. Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody…

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Four American Authors

Tom Sigafoos

norman mailer colorIt’s the birthday of Norman Mailer, who wrote prophetically, “To blame the poor for subsisting on welfare has no justice unless we are also willing to judge every rich member of society by how productive he or she is. Taken individual by individual, it is likely that there’s more idleness and abuse of government favors among the economically privileged than among the ranks of the disadvantaged.”

Others who share this birthday include Trappist monk and author Thomas Merton, Zane Grey (Riders of the Purple Sage), and John O’Hara, author of one of my favorite quotes: “What is loneliness anyway but the final condition of us all? And where would love be without it?”

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Fear those prepared to die for the truth…

Tom Sigafoos

Fear prophets and those prepared to die for the truth, for as a rule they make many others die with them, often before them, at times instead of them. -Umberto Eco, philosopher and novelist (5 Jan 1932-2016).

umberto eco

Also born on this date: Playwright Friedrich Dürrenmatt, squirmy comedian and scriptwriter Michael O’Donoghue, and actors Diane Keaton and Robert Duvall. A skilled photographer, Diane Keaton published Reservations, a book of photos of hotel interiors.

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Sligo, November 25: Poetry and Story Inspired by Myth: The Cailleach

A workshop to generate new writing, inspired by the myths of the Cailleach, of Samhain and Winter, the dark of the year… The workshop will take place in the Sligo Park Hotel on Pearse Road, halfway between Queen Maeve’s Cairn on Knocknarea and the Cailleach a Bherra’s House in the Ballygawley Hills, in the heart of Sligo’s ritual landscape. What better place to meet your mythic muse?

When? Saturday, November 25, 10:30 – 5:30. Where? Hazelwood Suite, Sligo Park Hotel. Cost? €80. Numbers limited, advance booking essential. For more info contact 087-6414185, monicacorishwriting@gmail.com To pay, go to www.monicacorish.ie/workshops/

 

This is the second in a series of “Poetry and Story Inspired by Myth” workshops led by award-winning writer and AWA certified writing group leader Monica Corish.

Tom Sigafoos

margaret atwoodAbout the writing life, Margaret Atwood says: “You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. This latter means: there’s no free lunch. Writing is work. It’s also gambling. You don’t get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but ­essentially you’re on your own. ­Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don’t whine.”

Quoted from The Writer’s Almanac, 18 Nov 2018 on Margaret Atwood’s birthday, which ought to be an international holiday.

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Updates and Hidden Gems: The 2017 Allingham Festival

Tom Sigafoos

susan mckay

On Nov 9-12, the 2017 Allingham Festival will bring writers, artists, workshops and excitement to Ballyshannon. Please note the following updates in the schedule, and please join in the daytime events and other “Hidden Gems” of the Allingham Festival.

Updates:

  • Thursday
    • Festival Opening – “No Woman’s Land” – Susan McKay (pictured) will speak about her life and career as a cross-border journalist – 8:00 pm in the Abbey Centre, following a wine reception. OPENING NIGHT PROGRAMME SPONSORED BY AIB.
  • Friday
    • John D. Ruddy / “Manny Man” – 11:30 am Friday in the Abbey Centre – see detail below
    • Jo McCusker – 2:00 pm Friday in the Abbey Centre – see detail below
    • “Songs of Erne” musical programme – 8:00 pm in St Anne’s Church
  • Saturday
    • High-tech vinyl cutting and design by The Fab Lab – a free event, but pre-booking is essential for limited seats – 10:30 am, The Mall

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