chapter 27, literary lessons

“Now I must either bundle it back in to my tin kitchen to mold, pay for printing it myself, or chop it up to suit purchasers and get what I can for it. Fame is a very good thing to have in the house, but cash is more convenient, so I wish to take the sense of the meeting on this important subject,” said Jo, calling a family council.

where Little Women was written, 1941 image (wiki)

“Don’t spoil your book, my girl, for there is more in it than you know, and the idea is well worked out. Let it wait and ripen,” was her father’s advice, and he practiced what he preached, having waited patiently thirty years for fruit of his own to ripen, and being in no haste to gather it even now when it was sweet and mellow.

“It seems to me that Jo will profit more by taking the trial than by waiting,” said Mrs. March. “Criticism is the best test of such work, for it will show her both unsuspected merits and faults, and help her to do better next time. We are too partial, but the praise and blame of outsiders will prove useful, even if she gets but little money.”

“Yes,” said Jo, knitting her brows, “that’s just it. I’ve been fussing over the thing so long, I really don’t know whether it’s good, bad, or indifferent. It will be a great help to have cool, impartial persons take a look at it, and tell me what they think of it.”

 

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on satire

terry lindvall’s mirror

Am adding a new satire tag to the green and blue house. Satire is needed to season an essay collection so I thought practicing here might help this arduous laborious unwelcome difficult endeavor. I’ve had the FUN tag include satire but now, with the new tag, the crafting of satire might be encouraged.

I’ve written elsewhere that satire is tricky and can be misleadingly deceptive: If it’s too dry it can be seen by some as straightforwardly serious, not satire. So the writer has to label it, then reader and writer both suffer complete devastation.  Come right out in the style: yes this is satire! To be effective in our culture it must be close to the edge, even crazy, extreme. Then every type of intellect can recognize it as satire. We should be able to say this is satire, yes, and what does this particular piece of satire mean?

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editing the editor

A warm day was promised, so I went out early to water the transplants. I didn’t notice while watering, but the no-seeums were out in force and biting me all over (wasn’t wearing much). Noseeums are so small that sometimes you miss them. Then the itching begins. In a way they’re like a metaphor for an internal irritation, surfacing after the initial unconscious encounter. That’s the only connection with Maine this post will have, so we might even consider it off-topic.

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fiction: rural town community roles

After leaving Ohio we moved a dozen times and finally got a home of our own in Maine. We need a self-cleaning house, because the down side is maintenance and cleaning. The upside is everything else. Or, we could hire a domestic.  Yes they work here in rural Maine. But they need to earn a living so that’s out for us.

oral history transcribed

How do you create a cast of characters? Start with societal roles and extrapolate with details related and unrelated to these roles. For instance, a writer has in mind a role of doctor in the community. Or shop-keeper, volunteer, lumberman, domestic, deputy, journalist, pastor, server, selectman, club-woman, and other roles, all helpful in developing characters. These roles or jobs are archetypal, starting writers on the road to peopling their novels. If you start with these in earnest, the muse may suggest quirks and morals, humors and tastes, suitable for these roles…or even carrying them off in new directions. You can also add in tiny bits you know from personal experience. So you’ll be an artisanal character quilter, taking tiny patches of incidents from life and using in mosaic to make these characters’ lives.

There are reasons for choosing roles aside from sub-creation of character. One of these is thematic.  A major theme of THE GOD’S CYCLE is small rural towns in transition.

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is creativity to happen?

on meeting Pat and beginning maine metaphor, I happened to hang out with the birches

Continuing from last week’s post, here’s more on my nontraditional undergrad experience with the author of Waiting to Begin, who now holds the BFA chair at UMF.  Unbeknownst to either of us at that time, she was helping me begin the MAINE METAPHOR series.

I was not meeting with other creative writers. I was designing my own major around Maine studies, topics of which abounded among course offerings, but formalizing such a degree was not an option at that time. So I asked my mentor to work with me, saying I wanted to study and write mythic literature in an independent study. Neither O’Donnell nor the chair of the English department would sign onto the project. If I had waited perhaps a semester they might have been more receptive because by that time Joseph Campbell’s groundbreaking studies in the power of myth were popularized. Public television had begun doing this series with Bill Moyers and Campbell. (Recently Pat told me she would not have felt qualified to work on this type of writing.)

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by louise dickinson rich: we took to the woods

richardson lake map (2)

We are askew. There’s a lot going on, caring for an injured relative in a smallish log cabin on-the-grid. Daily life looks different. So right now, in snatches, I’m reading Louise Dickinson Rich‘s We Took to the Woods, one of my favorite Maine books. This is a good book, and it’s marked, plenty of marginalia from previous readings. Here’s my note on the title page, in pencil: “see p. 131-32 for the heart of it — what she has to say about their life in the woods.” I haven’t looked at that yet for this blogging. I began reading all over again this time from the beginning where she describes how she came to the woods 20 years before, one teacher among a group of such hikers (along with a guide). And how she came to write the book in 1942, living off-the-grid.

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writerly

Here is a bit of off-topic bookness, unrelated to Maine. First, I’ve been glad of a posting at The Fellowship of The King, entitled: The Hitch in Readying to Meet…

The genesis of this slice of the Afterlife was a mythgard.org fundraising flash fiction contest. The entry needed work.  In fact it still does, but I’m very happy it was received as is at TFOTK. The editor chose a wonderful sort of reverse situation image to illustrate.

The next piece of news is about the SF alternate universe novel SiXPointz HiTopOLis. This was hard to write and I asked editing help from Scribblerworks   She’s an excellent editor if not totally timely. I used her to great benefit on Fantastic Travelogue. SiXPointz has been available at online venues in softcover, but now I’ve complied it as an ebook through Smashwords.  Smashwords is good for ebooking, as I was informed on the Tor blog by one of Tor’s authors.  They ship to all digital-book venues but Amazon. You have to do Amazon individually.

Finally on off-topic writerly, I’ve done some editing on Five Points Akropolis, in all three formats, hardcover, softcover and ebook. When the first Five Points Akropolis was about to come out a few years back, a virtual friend (also a Tor author) pointed out a couple problem spots on the first page! This was prompt enough to reread and tweak the whole book for debut. But now it’s tweaked again. It’s the same story but reads better, especially the character of the Grandmaster. And I set the 2016 copyright, in addition to the earlier date, on the copyright info page. It’s not available for distribution in paper yet but should be shortly, as it’s been approved.

 

Five Dun Herrings

one of many royal apartments

one of many royal apartments

 

At Mythgard they are in the midst of fundraising and, for bit of funding fun, have instigated “Almost an Inkling” flash fiction contests. There’s still time to enter the last two contests, this week’s being poetry, and next week is the speculate and sub-create contest. Each of these micro fiction contests has its own specific word limits. We’ve had Portals, Dragons, and Minute Mysteries. 

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Why this book?

  1. Why this book? 

Having begun the Maine Metaphor series with The Green and Blue House, I wanted to continue my explorations in the forthcoming Experience in the Western Mountains, learning of Maine’s nature and characteristic ways. Through experience, studies, and writing I learn. I also wanted to learn enough about the character of the people to write fiction set in a landscape like that found here. This quest began 30 years ago.

Here’s where we lived on beginning these creative nonfiction books. It now has a new metal roof to shed snowloads. I wrote most of Maine Metaphor here.

other bird hill road

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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