Writing Advice from Annie Dillard

“One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, give it, give it all. Give it now…some more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water.

Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful; it is destructive. Anything you did not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.”  – Annie Dillard (From page 245 of Writing With Emotion, Tension, and Conflict: Techniques for Crafting an Expressive and Compelling by Cheryl St.John)

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805 Writers Conference, Oct 31-Nov 1, 2015, Ventura CA

The Craft and Business of Writing

805 Writers’ Conference delivers the skills and knowledge writers need to succeed.
Perfect for novelists, nonfiction, magazine, and screenwriters.

More sessions – 35 professionals to hear and meet

15 Authors, 7 Literary Agents, 7 Book Editors, 2 Screenwriters, 2 Book Publishers,
7 Magazine & Newspaper Editors, 5 Book Marketers, 4 Writing Instructors,
3 Social Media Experts, and America’s most read archaeologist!

Registration now open!
Discounted prices end August 31st  

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Shelly Lowenkopf to Read From ‘Love Will Make You Drink’ and More on May 28 at Chaucer’s Books in Santa Barbara

Love Will Make You Drink and Gamble, Stay Out at Night by Shelly LowenkopfSanta Barbara author Shelly Lowenkopf, best known as the author of the popular The Fiction  Writer’s  Handbook,  will read at Chaucer’s Books in Santa Barbara at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 28. The event is free and open to the public.

Lowenkopf recently won the Los Angeles Book Festival Award for Best Collection for his newest book, Love Will Make You Drink and Gamble, Stay Out Late at Night, a gathering of short stories. The book brings a number of Lowenkopf’s  previously  published short stories together in a single volume. All the stories revolve around life in Santa Barbara, the oceanside city north of Los Angeles, where people go after they’ve burned out in San Francisco and L.A. Yet there’s no safe haven anywhere.

Interwoven  into  Santa  Barbara’s  picturesque  setting,  the  people  in  these twelve  stories   reveal what their hearts and souls encounter in relationships. Their misreadings, mistakes, and misadventures bare what happens to people who love another.

“Shelly Lowenkopf is a master of  the  art  of  stealth  in  fiction,”  says  author  David  Gillham   (City of Women).  “His writing draws you in and then, ka-pow! Here comes the sucker punch that flattens you.”

Lowenkopf’s The Fiction Writer’s  Handbook is the definitive volume to explain the words and phrases that writers and editors use when they talk about a work. The book helps new writers who need an understanding of the writing process, and seasoned writers can dive into a refresher course with new angles. That came from Lowenkopf teaching in the Master of Professional Writing program at USC for 34 years. He is currently Visiting Professor at the College of Creative Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara.

White Whisker Books is a small press with four authors based in Los Angeles. To see more of what it offers, go to www.WhiteWhiskerBooks.com. Its books are distributed by Ingram.

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Richard Bausch Quote

Writing good fiction is at least as hard as learning how to play concert piano, Norman Mailer once said. And yet some part of us is fooled into thinking it ought to be easier than it is because the medium we’re using is this language we’ve been speaking since childhood. But of course the truth is that If you want to write gracefully and with clarity about things that matter, and to make it seem as effortless as common speech, you are going to have to work as hard as you have ever worked on anything in your life. And that’s why it takes years. If you’re struggling it’s because your talent is acting on it, seeing into its fault lines, and you have to learn to trust the difficulty.” – Richard Bausch

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More From Thog

Thog’s Masterclass

Missing Link Dept.

‘He was wearing a grey cap, grey jacket, white shirt, navy-blue striped tie and white socks, which he’d pulled up almost to his pink kneecaps.’ (Claire North, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, 2014)

Dept of Fractal Physics.

‘The fact is that such [black] holes can be very small, as small as the size of their constituent particles …’ (David A. Kyle, Lensman from Rigel, 1982)

Hothead Dept.

‘The human’s brain began to function once more; he could almost feel it sweating.’ (Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson, ‘In Hoka Signo Vinces’, June 1953 Other Worlds)

Dept of Interplanetary Phrenology

‘I was somewhat startled, then, in looking at the head and center of the great military system of Mars, to find in his appearance a striking confirmation of the speculations of our terrestrial phrenologists. His broad, misshapen head bulged in those parts where they had located the so-called organs of combativeness, destructiveness, etc.’ (Garrett P. Serviss, Edison’s Conquest of Mars, 1898)

Running Off at the Mouth Dept.

‘Dolusi let a smile drip toward the scientist.’ (Curtis W. Casewit, The Peacemakers, 1960)

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I don’t need an editor…

By Robin Winter

Why do I need an editor? I can read– in fact I’m really good at that. I can get all those great advice books that tell me how to self-edit, and then I’m there, right?

No. The answer is no. You need those advice books to help you revise so you can then get into the hands of a really good editor, because you don’t want to take raw novels or manuscripts to an editor and waste her time and your money. If an editor has to go through your manuscript ten times to get all the slag out, his or her mind will be tired, and will start missing things that need work, like what happened to the flavor and the leavening. Continue reading

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Photos from Robin Winter’s Book Signing at Chaucer’s

Author Robin and Husband Bruce

Continue reading

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