Modernizing the Muses

What is the source of creativity? Why are some people creative, and others not as much? To those who aren’t, creative people can seem imbued with magical power, able to see beyond, and to make something out of nothing.

The ancient Greeks judged many such abilities to be god-given, and attributed creativity to the Muses. Later Greek mythology settled on their being nine of them, all goddesses, and all daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne. Each was an expert in some field or group of related fields. Though a muse might inspire a certain level of skill in a mortal, woe be unto the mortal who dared to challenge a muse herself.

I’ve blogged several times (notably here, here, and here) about muses, since I’m interested in creativity and enjoy the idea of somehow making that mysterious attribute more tangible and understandable. In my own uncreative moments, when stumped for a story idea, I wonder if I’d be more creative if I had a muse figurine. If I stared at such a figurine, would the muse herself inspire me?

Xanadu MusesGuilty pleasure confession: I liked the 1980 movie Xanadu, especially the scene where the nine muses emerge from a wall mural, to the tune of the wonderfully exuberant song “I’m Alive,” by the Electric Light Orchestra.

For today, I thought I’d ponder the various fields mastered by the ancient muses, and see how we would update that and assign modern creative fields to 21st Century muses.

Here are the classical muse job assignments:

Muse Name Domain
Calliope Epic poetry
Clio History
Euterpe Music, Song, and Elegiac Poetry
Erato Lyric poetry
Melpomene Tragedy
Polyhymnia Hymns
Terpsichore Dance
Thalia Comedy
Urania Astronomy

Today, I’m not sure we’d count History or Astronomy as being such creative endeavors as to be each worth having their own muse. Also, I doubt we’d split poetry three ways. Note that prose fiction (my preferred field) is nowhere on the list.

Here’s my initial attempt to modernize the muses, taking into account the different and newer creative endeavors available today:

Muse Name

Domain

Alpha Literary arts (fiction, poetry)
Euphemia Performing arts (music, dance, choreography, theater, movies, singing, comedy)
Idola Visual arts (painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, interior design)
Mágeira Gastronomy / chef
Polycassandra Multimedia artistic works (comics, video games)

My list has only five, not nine. But even ancient accounts weren’t clear about the number of muses.

I stuck with the idea of giving them Grecian names (or feminized versions of Greek words). Alpha is, of course, the first letter. Euphemia means to speak or declare. Idola means vision. Mágeira is intended to refer to chefs and cooking. Polycassandra is intended to mean manifold helper.

Perhaps in a future blog post I’ll re-examine this list. I might be able to split up their duties in a way to better even out their workload. After all, Idola and Euphemia would be very busy, compared to Mágeira.

What do you think? Have I left out any creative fields of endeavor worthy of inclusion? Is there a better way to organize the assignments? In the task of modernizing the muses, it’s time for you to get creative and to out-do—

Poseidon’s Scribe

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Writers

In 1989, author Stephen Covey came out with his best-selling book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.  I’m a sucker for self-improvement books and found Covey’s book inspiring and practical. At the risk of insulting the late Stephen Covey, I’ll dare to suggest seven habits of highly effective fiction writers.

The_7_Habits_of_Highly_Effective_PeopleCovey presented his seven habits in a logical order, with a nice, organic structure. His phrased his habits—aimed at helping people live better lives—as brief directives, but took about a chapter to explain each one. They included such things as “Be proactive,” “Begin with the end in mind,” and others.

In a similar manner, my suggested habits have a rough order to them, but are not as neatly structured as Covey’s. My habits do not parallel Covey’s, but they do consist of brief directive statements which require some explanation. Here they are:

  1. Listen to your inner storyteller. First and most important, you’re a writer because you have story to tell, because you can’t imagine not writing. Keep that inner spark always burning; it will sustain you through the difficult times.
  2. Form the discipline of writing. Sometimes your inner storyteller doesn’t yell loud enough, and the rest of life’s obligations close in. If you’re to be a writer, you still need to write, write, write. There is no substitute for time spent with butt in chair and fingers on keyboard.
  3. Get help with the craft. Seek all kinds of help. Study English again. Develop your vocabulary. Read about writing. Read the classics. Attend writing classes and conferences. Join a critique group.
  4. Follow your muse. As you write more, you’ll think of characters, plots, and settings during odd, idle moments when you’re not writing. That’s your unconscious, creative voice—your muse—talking. Pay attention. Though she may lead you to unimagined and uncomfortable places, she might help you develop your unique writing voice.
  5. Submit your best. Don’t rely on editors to see the genius of your story through all the spelling, grammatical, and plot errors. Do a thorough job of self-editing, thinking critically, viewing your manuscript as a reader and English teacher might. Submit only when you can honestly say it’s your best product and you’re proud of it.
  6. Be a professional. Present yourself to the world as if you’re already a successful author. Establish an author website. Don’t get so angry at editors, reviewers, blog commenters, or readers that you descend into flame wars, emotional outbursts, or other unprofessional conduct.
  7. Actively seek improvement. This may sound like number 3 above, but that earlier habit is about the initial learning of fiction writing; this one is about continual development, honing, and advancement of your craft. It means to cycle through all the habits as you go, improving known weak areas, always working to ensure your next story is better than all the previous ones.

Long-time followers of my blog will recall my post proposing 15 writing virtues. The seven habits I’m advocating today are another approach. It’s easier to remember 7 things than 15 anyway, right? There are many paths to self-improvement, and you’re free to find your own. For now, it’s back to growing and improving for—

Poseidon’s Scribe

September 7, 2014Permalink

Don’t Refuse Your Muse

Is your brain in a rut? If so, you’re not alone. Today I’ll examine this tendency and suggest what you can do about it.

For all its desirable features, the human brain suffers from a love of the familiar and a fear of the unknown. This served as a good survival trait for our ancestors in their world, but it’s no advantage for a writer today.

Dont refuse museThis hard-wired preference probably prevents many people from becoming writers in the first place, since that can be a scary unknown. Even for those of you who’ve chosen to writers, this unfortunate brain feature keeps you using the same vocabulary words, writing about the same topics in the same genres, writing stories with the same themes and using very similar characters. It thwarts your creative urge, putting you at war with your muse.

As I’ve said before, your muse gets bored with the familiar and seeks the new and fresh. She grabs your arm and pulls you away from the safe and the known, beckoning you to explore the untrodden path. Her brain is wired in a different way.

Perhaps you disagree, thinking you don’t suffer from the malady I’ve described. You deny being a creature of habit who rushes to the familiar and avoids the unknown. Fine. Here’s your test. Tonight, before going to bed, hide your toothbrush. Let’s see how Mr. or Ms. Creativity handles things the next morning. Good luck!

For a great illustration of the problem, I encourage you to read “The Calf Path” by Sam Walter Foss. This poem paints an amusing metaphor of how our brains work.

Advertising Director Gina Sclafani wrote about dealing with the phenomenon. I find it interesting how she thought at first the task would be easy, since she prided herself on being open-minded. Then she well describes the difficulty, the inner resistance, to any steps outside the mind’s comfort zone. In the end, she’s glad she did, because the rewards are great, but she warns it is a journey pitting one part of your mind against a powerful counteracting part.

Here’s a three-step method you could try as a writer to push yourself out of your comfort zone. I’ll illustrate it with story genres, but it could also work with characters, themes, settings, style, or any aspect of story-writing in which you’re stuck.

1. Make a list of story genres you’d never consider writing about. Include the ones you find stupid, abhorrent, unseemly, etc. It’s no big deal, right? After all, you’re never going to write in any of these genres.

2. Spend five to ten minutes thinking through each genre on your list. Think about each one as follows: “I’ll never write in this genre, of course, but if I were to do so, here’s the story I’d write…”   You needn’t write down any of these ideas, just think through them.

3. Now let some time pass. A few days, weeks, or even months. This allows your muse to do her thing. You might well find she’s yanking on your arm and leading you down an unfamiliar path toward writing in one of those unwanted genres.

A similar thing happened to me. I knew I’d never write in the horror genre. Then I noticed a publisher seeking stories for an anthology to be called Dead Bait. I dismissed it, but my muse didn’t. She worked on the idea for a story she made me write called “Blood in the River.” I’m still not a horror story writer, but it felt good to get out of the comfort zone.

One final thought. At one point in their lives, each of history’s greatest contributors (think of da Vinci, Shakespeare, Bach, Edison, Einstein, etc.) had to leave a comfort zone in order to develop his or her eventual talents. Imagine the loss to mankind if one of them hadn’t taken that step? What if you could become a popular, successful, or timeless writer if only you stretch your mind in a direction it doesn’t want to go?

You’ll have to excuse me. This calf-path I’m walking along is nice, but some woman wearing a chiton is tugging at my sleeve. “What’s that? Where? But that’s off the path and looks terrifying to—

                                                                   Poseidon’s Scribe”

Cure: Writer’s Block

Earlier I blogged about writer’s block, but focused on symptoms and causes.  Today, let’s talk about getting over it.

Writers blockAs before, I’ll limit the discussion to minor writer’s block (minWB), the short-term state of being stuck while in the middle of a writing project.  I’ll blog about Major Writer’s Block (MajWB) another time.

My many fans—both of them, actually, including my Dad—will recall that I stated there are several types of minWB, which I divided as follows:

  • Story-related problems
  • Writing-related problems, but not about the story
  • Personal, but non-writing, problems

I also stated that if you pinpoint which problem you have, that suggests a cure. For story-related problems such as plot, character, setting, or others, here are a few things you can try:  (1) set the story aside awhile and let your subconscious (your muse) work on the problem, (2) try sketching a mind-map of the problem and creatively come up with multiple solutions, then select the best, or (3) ask your critique group or beta reader for help.

The craft-related problems all boil down to matters of attitude leading to negative mental associations, leading to stress.  Since one type of craft-related problem is the pressure of the audience seeming too close, I have to point out what some might consider a contradiction in the advice I, Poseidon’s Scribe, have given out.  In this blog entry I suggested, if you’re feeling the ‘presence’ of the reader too intensely, just forget about that audience and write freely for yourself.

However, just two weeks ago I urged you to keep the reader in mind, always.

Which advice is right—ignore the reader or be ever mindful of the reader?

(Aside:  witness the clever way I get out of this paradox.)

I was right both times.  In general, it is always wise to acknowledge that you’re writing to be read by others.  Therefore, you should write with precision, avoiding ambiguity, so as to be understood.  But if the fear of being criticized or disliked is paralyzing you into inaction, if the anticipation of bad reviews leaves you trembling before your keyboard, then forget about those readers for a while.  Ignore them during your early drafts and focus on getting your story done.

Then in the later drafts, I suggest you visualize yourself as a sort of super-editor, far more critical of your own work than any reader could be, and yet able to fix every problem you find.  In this way, you minimize your fear of the reader and substitute confidence in yourself.

That ‘visualization’ method may work for many of the minWB craft-related problems, by imagining a near-future version of yourself having already overcome the problem and working steadily on the story.  Visualize yourself being in the flow, and once again gripped by the same enthusiasm you had when you first conceived the story idea.  In this way you can change the mental linkages you’ve developed and re-associate writing with fun, success, and confidence rather than stress, fatigue, and inadequacy.

As to the last category of minWB, that of personal problems such as illness, depression, relationship difficulties, or financial woes, you need to confront those problems head-on first.  Until you have a plan for solving them, and start to execute that plan, it will be tough to concentrate on writing.

Do these suggested cures work for you?  Do you know of others I should have recommended?  Unblock yourself and leave a comment for—

                                                       Poseidon’s Scribe

September 21, 2013Permalink

Motivational Objects

Often just the sight of some object can motivate writers to put butt to chair and fingers to keyboard, even when they feel like doing something else.  Do you have such an object?

jv pic 011I do.  A couple of decades ago, I put this framed picture of Jules Verne directly above the computer in my den.  The text states, “Keep writing, Steve!” – Jules Verne.  I’m not sure what prompted me to do that, and the whole thing may seem silly, but there’s just something about it…

After all, musicians have long placed a bust of Beethoven atop their piano, and from that perch he gazes sternly as if passing judgment on the pianist’s skill.  I have suggested that some enterprising person could make and sell small figurines of some of the muses as inspiration for their various creative talents.  If offered inexpensively, such figurines might sell well.

But let me get back to my picture of Jules.  It seems ridiculous, but the notion that my literary idol might communicate to me from the grave, urging me to keep writing, is something I find encouraging.  It’s as if he’s allowing me to tap into his dedication and maybe a sliver of his talent.  JV is assuring me that if I keep at it, I’ll improve.  Moreover, when I’m not writing, I feel guilty for letting him down.

Half of you are now wondering if you’re reading the blog entry of a lunatic.  The other half is questioning whether this really worked for me, and I’ll respond to that second half.  When I first hung the picture on the wall many years ago, I think it worked well to instill the daily habit of writing.  I’d be playing some computer game, would glance up and realize Jules Verne himself had commanded me to write.  So I’d click out of the game and write.

In other words, yes, that very personalized object did serve to motivate me.  These days, with the daily habit of writing well formed, and with several of my stories published, I’m not sure I need the framed picture any more.  But Verne still stares from my wall, and will do so until I can write no more; I can’t imagine taking it down.

I’d welcome your comments on this idea.  Would a motivational object work for you?  Do you already have one?   I suppose I’d even take comments about my sanity from the half of you with strong feelings on that subject.  In the meantime, I’ll resume work on my next story; after all, Jules Verne himself has given an order to—

                                                                   Poseidon’s Scribe

Is Your First Draft Terrible Enough?

That’s not a typo; I’m questioning whether the first draft of your story is horrible, trashy, and amateurish enough to qualify as a first draft.  I’m not talking about cacography here, I’m talking about tripe, drivel, bunkum.

Yes, I know all writers are different and for some, their first draft is their publishable, final draft.  Isaac Asimov said he didn’t re-write his stories.  But I’m guessing that doesn’t work for most writers, especially beginning writers.

For most of you, here’s my advice:  set out to write a bad first draft.  Why?  I’ll explain.

The first draft is unlike all later ones in that it has no predecessor, just a blank screen (or page) and a writer’s mind buzzing with ideas.  That moment before you write the first word is a daunting one; the task seems mountainous.  Often that story idea in your head seems so perfect, you just know readers will love it.

But when you try writing down that idea, it looks so awful it’s embarrassing.  The text falls far short of the shining, crystalline structure in your mind.  You can get so frustrated you’ll be tempted to abandon the whole stupid idea.  “What was I thinking?  I’m no writer!”

I’m suggesting it’s best to admit up front your first draft will be garbage.  That way you’re establishing reasonable expectations and lessening the frustration.  Trust in your ability to improve the first draft later.  Accept that those later revisions will be easier than writing the first draft; you will get closer to the ideal story in your mind.

How do you write a first draft that qualifies as pure dreck?  Think of your writing mind as having at least four component parts, four people with distinct attributes.  These are your muse, your playful inner child, your squint-eyed editor, and your glad-handing marketer.

I’ve described the muse before.  By the time you’re writing your first draft, her job is done and she’s left town.  Think of your squinty-eyed editor as a scowling old man with an eyeshade and a huge supply of blue pencils.  Send this editor on vacation now.  Trust me, he’ll come back well-rested to help you with your second draft.  As to that ever-smiling, extroverted marketer with the plaid suit, he’s on vacation most of the time and that’s okay for now.

215px-Big_PosterLet’s focus on the one I left out, the playful inner child.  I suggest you picture the character Josh Baskin, played by Tom Hanks in the 1988 movie “Big.”  He was pure drive, energy, and enthusiasm.  He had no inhibitions, no taboos, and no fear of failure.

Channel that character as you write your first draft.  Strive to get in the zone, in the flow.  If you find yourself momentarily stuck, write down what you will need later to get past the sticky part, put that in brackets (or different font or color, whatever), and move on.  For example, knowing how important the opening hook is, let’s say you can’t think of one.  Just write “[come up with hook]” and write on.  Chances are the words you write next might serve as a hook, or a hook will occur to you later.  Don’t stop to do research now, just bracket it, “[Do whales really get hiccups?],” and look it up later.

Even though your first draft is a stinking pile of compost, you’ll feel better about having something written down, something you can now work with.  Further, by writing in burst mode, you can maintain a consistent, integrated work that maintains the same tone and voice throughout.

More great first draft advice is available here, here, and here.  By the way, do you think this blog post is poorly written?  Ha!  You should have seen the first draft typed up by—

                                                     Poseidon’s Scribe

Blog Hop – The Next Big Thing

Many thanks to Charlotte Holley who tagged me to participate in The Next Big Thing blog hop.  I didn’t know what a blog hop was but it seems like fun.  In this one, authors answer questions about their Work in Progress (WIP) and people can follow the links along and see what various writers are working on.  That way readers can anticipate and check back later to buy the books they’re interested in.  It’s possible that one or more authors in this chain may really be working on The Next Big Thing!

When you’re tagged for this particular blog hop, you post your answers the following Wednesday and tag five other authors for the following Wednesday.  Here are my answers:

1. What is the working title of your book?  “A Tale More True”

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?  If I recall correctly, I was thinking about fanciful trips to the Moon in early literature.  I’m a fan of Jules Verne, but he’s actually a latecomer to that topic.  While researching, I came across references to Baron Münchhausen.  My story then sort of sprang into my head.

3. What genre does your book fall under?   It’s alternate history, in the subgenre of clockpunk.  I’ve not written much clockpunk, my story “Leonardo’s Lion” being the exception.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie renditionThere are three characters of interest.  The protagonist is Count Eusebius Horst Siegwart von Federmann.  Count Chris HemsworthFedermann could be played well by actor Chris Hemsworth.  He’d have to speak English with a German accent, but doesn’t have to do it well, since it’s a comedy.  Count Federmann is a brooding character, angry at and jealous of Baron Münchhausen.  The Count is intelligent, determined, and optimistic, but lacks sense.

 

Shia_LabeoufThe Count has a young French servant named Fidèle, and I’ll select Shia LaBeouf for that role.  Mr. LaBeouf would have to speak English with a French accent, but not an especially good one.  Fidèle is full of life, but has the sense to fear danger, though he’s always respectful of nobility.

 

 

The character Baron Hieronymus Carl Friedrich von Münchhausen only appears briefly at the beginning and end of the story.  Since it’s a cameo role, I’ll splurge and pick Robin WilliamsRobin Williams.  I need an older character of plain appearance who’s able to speak English with a German accent and captivate an audience with his words alone.  Robin Williams played the part of the King of the Moon in the 1988 Movie “The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen.”  

 

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your bookA man is so angry about the self-aggrandizing lies of Baron Münchhausen that, just to prove the Baron wrong, he constructs a gigantic metal spring and launches himself to the Moon, where he learns about the nature of Truth.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?  I will offer it to Gypsy Shadow Publishing to be included in my What Man Hath Wrought series.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?  I’m not done with the fist draft yet.  I researched, planned, and outlined the story for about a month.  First and second drafts will take another month.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  It’s a light-hearted clockpunk tale, so there aren’t many comparable stories.  Perhaps the closest thing is that movie, “The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen.”

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?  The muse speaks.  I listen and write it all down as fast as I can.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?  Come on—intense jealousy, a space voyage in 1769, and weird Moon creatures.  What more do you want?

At this point I should mention which authors I’m tagging next in this blog hop, but I was unsuccessful in getting any to participate.  I think the hop has been going for about thirty weeks now, with most authors tagging five others.  If you do the math for such a chain, you’ll see how, theoretically, we’d pass the population of the earth in Week 15, and by Week 30 there would be over 2 with 20 zeroes participants.

There only seems to be that many budding authors in the world.  So much for theory.  As Yogi Berra said, “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice.  In practice there is.”

So I won’t be tagging anyone else.  This strand of the chain ends here, with my alter ego, a guy I like to call—

                                                       Poseidon’s Scribe

 

December 19, 2012Permalink

Why You’ll Love the Snowflake, Too

The snowflake I’m blogging about today doesn’t have much to do with winter weather, but instead a writing method developed by author Dr. Randy Ingermanson.  I won’t go through his method here, since he does a much better job describing it on his site than I could, but I’ll just discuss why I like it and why I think you will, too.

First, a snowflake is a good metaphor for a story (no two alike, many quite intricate and beautiful), but that’s not how Dr. Ingermanson means it.  He’s referring to the mathematical fractal construction that starts with a simple shape, adds to the shape according to certain rules, and beautiful complexity emerges, with the final shape looking like a snowflake.

In the same way, he’s suggesting you start with very basic ideas about your story, then add to those ideas in a logical manner, building more detail with each step.  Near the end of his ten-step process, you’ve got a thorough plan for your story.  The tenth step is to write the story, which is much easier when you have your plan in front of you.  You’ll find you don’t get stuck as often, or frustrated at boxing yourself into a plot situation your characters can’t get out of, at least without major changes.

I’ve discussed earlier how plot, characters, and setting have to fit together such that the story couldn’t really take place with any other characters, and the plot actions seem both inevitable and surprising, and the setting is the necessary one for the story.  Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method makes this happen for you, by incrementally developing plot, characters, and setting, starting with sketchy concepts and adding more detail to each in turn until you end up with a comprehensive plan for your story and everything seems to fit.

How do I use the Snowflake Method?  First, I’ve been writing short stories, and the Snowflake is intended for novels, so I abbreviate it a bit, sometimes using mind maps for some of the steps instead of writing them out fully.  Second, I add a step concentrating just on the story’s hook, the opening sentence and paragraph.  Third, I sometimes add a step to construct a motivation chart using a modified Root Cause Analysis chart to make sure my characters take believable actions in accordance with their personalities.

One downside to the Snowflake is the fact that it requires so much time for planning the story, and actually writing it must wait until the last step.  Meantime, your muse may be screaming at you to cease all this planning stuff and get on with things.  A screaming muse is actually good, much better than what comes next.  If your muse starts feeling ignored, she will get bored and go away, or start looking for other story ideas to intrigue her.  So keep thinking of the Snowflake as a method for getting to know your story better and better, not as a dreary planning exercise.  Focus on the emerging details; promise your muse that you’ll be doing actual writing soon.

Dr. Ingermanson has come up with software to make the Snowflake Method easy and fun.  Cheapskate that I am, I have not yet purchased it, but that package might be right for you, especially if you are struggling to accomplish the steps using word processors and spreadsheet programs.

Consider giving the Snowflake Method a try.  Visit Dr. Ingermanson’s site.  Whether it works for you or not, I’m sure he’d like to hear about your experiences with it.  And of course, if you’d click on the “leave a comment” link below, so would—

                                                            Poseidon’s Scribe

October 28, 2012Permalink

The Modular Author

I’ve written before about the conflict between the way readers want authors to be, and the way authors’ muses want them to be.  Now I’ll carry those thoughts forward to conclusion.

As a reminder, readers want you (as an author) to be consistent in genre and style so when they pick up one of your books, they know what they’re getting and aren’t surprised.  On the other hand, writers’ muses are creative and get bored with sameness; they’re always seeking something new and different; it’s always possible for an author’s ideas to run dry, and that’s another reason for writing in several genres.

There’s a conflict, a disconnect, between the desires of the people in each camp.  I think it’s a little much to expect readers to change.  They’re the customer, after all, and the customer is always right.

One possible answer is the use of pen names, also called nom de plumes or pseudonyms.  There are many other reasons you might use one, but we’ll just discuss one today.  The idea is to create a persona, an alter ego, another version of yourself.   The author going by that fictitious name is a specialist in a particular genre, a specific type of story.  That’s that persona’s brand.

A downside of pen names these days results from (1) our lives being recorded on the Internet to a great degree, and (2) readers’ desire to know their favorite authors in as personal a way as possible.  Those facts make it difficult to prevent people from finding out the real author behind the pen name.  Authors these days are expected to have their own websites, with their picture and a list of future appearances; some of those things might be difficult for a nom de plume to pull off.  Further, curious and persistent readers even go to the extent of analyzing writing to determine if two apparently different authors are really one person.

But to dismiss these disadvantages for a moment, are we headed for an end state where most authors actually have multiple names, several personas, each cranking out stories according to his or her particular brand?  That would seem to please both authors and readers.  This was foreseen, in a way, by Alvin Toffler in his 1970 book Future Shock.  After observing the increasing number and amount of temporary, throw-away material products, Toffler introduced the concept of the “Modular Man,” a disposable person.  In the future, all people would form several personas, try them out, and discard them as they please.

Is the literary world now reaching Toffler’s future?  What if you created a separate name under which you wrote romances, another name for horror, and one more for science fiction.  For each name, there would be a website for which you wrote blogs and connected with curious readers by e-mail.  Perhaps with some photo manipulation you could get away with posting pictures of these ‘virtual authors.’  Some of them might be male, others female–in fact all of them might be the opposite gender from your real one.  Each one could write stories and blog entries in a different style according to their various personalities.

Difficult?  As a fiction author, you’re used to creating multiple and varied people.  The only difference here is you’re not creating characters in stories; you’re creating other versions of yourself, where each version is an author.  One or more of those versions could be quite outrageous, edgy, and controversial.  Why not?

As of today (so far as you know) I have not plunged into that future/present to any significant extent.  I’m sure others already have.  As for the one who signs my blog entries, that’s really a job title, not a name.  It is my attempt at an alternate persona, my nod at creating a modular author.  Leave a comment and let me know if you would like to have a portfolio of alternate writing personas, if you do it already, and how many such modular authors you maintain.  Though it’s not really me, but kind of is, I’m—

                                                     Poseidon’s Scribe

 

October 21, 2012Permalink

Novels-in-Verse

If writing prose is getting boring,

If each new tale keeps getting worse,

To send your reader’s thoughts a’soaring,

Just try a novel writ in verse.

Verse novel it is called quite often.

Your muse’s heart you’ll have to soften,

For writing thus will take more time,

To work in meters, feet, and rhyme.

Free verse or Onegin-type stanza,

(Much like the blog you’re reading now.)

Done right, your readers will say “Wow!”

Your novel’s sales, a big bonanza.

Do other authors do it? Yes!

Like Margaret Wild and Karen Hesse.

 

When is Verse Novel form most useful?

When characters are more than few,

And besides—to be quite truthful—

When tale’s got many points of view.

When characters stir up commotion,

And in their heads is much emotion,

When using prose would seem far worst,

Each scene a momentary burst.

It’s quite in style for younger readers;

Verse Novels now are catching on;

For poetry, another dawn?

So, you might join this movement’s leaders,

Craft verse among that happy tribe!

Rhythmically Yours—

                                                 Poseidon’s Scribe

 

 

September 2, 2012Permalink