Drink tea and get into the flow of writing

1 11 2018

                                                                                                      Photo: Stocksy

Put the kettle on: does a cuppa

beat writer’s block?

Research suggestions that drinking tea might help creativity have received endorsement from a number of successful novelists.

Being British, we have all seized on a report about how drinking tea improves creativity. The researchers – led by Yan Huang, from the Psychological and Cognitive Sciences Department of Peking University – recruited 50 students, who were assigned to two groups and given either tea or water to drink. The students were then given tests, the first being to build an “attractive” design with toy blocks, the second to come up with a “cool and attractive” name for a new ramen noodle restaurant. (“An example of a name that received a low innovativeness score is Ramen Family, and an example of a name that received a high score is No Ramen Here.”)

Those who drank tea performed better in both – and so the humble beverage has been hailed as a means to combat writers’ block by the Telegraph. The researchers don’t go that far – and indeed, the creativity of the participants is called somewhat into question by the detail that the academics had to delete more than 200 suggested restaurant names for containing only the word Ramen, or for including location names. Perhaps it was down to the kind of tea they gave them: it was black, and Lipton (the horror).

Read further @ The Guardian

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Learn to Write a Short Story

1 11 2018

How to Write a Short Story from Start to Finish

To some extent, the process for writing a story is different each time. In the introduction to American Gods, Neil Gaiman quotes Gene Wolfe, who told him, “You never learn how to write a novel. You only learn to write the novel you’re on.”

This is true for short stories as well.

And yet, there are certain patterns to writing a short story, patterns I think everyone follows in their own haphazard way. I’ll call them steps, but they’re more like general paths that may or may not apply to your story. Still, it’s these patterns that I want to present to you in hopes it will make your own short story writing easier.

Read further @ The Writer Practice





Out Now! Bookish Plaza eZine OCTOBER Issue

1 10 2018

The OCTOBER issue of BookIsh Plaza eZine is out now!
BookIsh Plaza is your online bookshop for (Dutch)Caribbean literature.

In this issue:

  • New Edition of a Masterpiece
  • Black Writer’s You Should Read
  • Caribbean Children’s Books for the Friendship Book Week
  • Book on a Coffee Exporting Country
  • And much more ……….

BOOKISH PLAZA eZINE nr.76 OCTOBER 2018

Fine reading to all our readers. The next ezine will be out in October.

Visit BookIsh Plaza for our New Arrivals!





Deep-reading Process & Our Brain

30 09 2018

                                                                                              Photo: calmmoment.com

WHAT DOES IMMERSING YOURSELF IN
A BOOK DO TO YOUR BRAIN?

Only connect.

–E.M. Forster

The act of taking on the perspective and feelings of others is one of the most profound, insufficiently heralded contributions of the deep-reading processes. Proust’s description of “that fertile miracle of communication effected in solitude” depicts an intimate emotional dimension within the reading experience: the capacity to communicate and to feel with another without moving an inch out of our private worlds. This capacity imparted by reading—to leave and yet not leave one’s sphere—is what gave the reclusive Emily Dickinson what she called her personal “frigate” to other lives and lands outside her perch above Main Street in Amherst, Massachusetts.

The narrative theologian John S. Dunne described this process of encounter and perspective taking in reading as the act of “passing over,” in which we enter into the feelings, imaginings, and thoughts of others through a particular kind of empathy: “Passing over is never total but is always partial and incomplete. And there is an equal and opposite process of coming back to oneself.” It is a beautifully apt description for how we move from our inherently circumscribed views of the world to enter another’s and return enlarged. In Love’s Mind, his numinous book on contemplation, Dunne expanded Proust’s insight: “That ‘fruitful miracle of a communication effected in solitude’ may be already a kind of learning to love.” Dunne saw the paradox that Proust described within reading—in which communication occurs despite the solitary nature of the reading act—as an unexpected preparation for our efforts to come to know other human beings, understand what they feel, and begin to change our sense of who or what is “other.” For theologians such as John Dunne and writers such as Gish Jen, whose lifework illumines this principle in fiction and nonfiction alike, the act of reading is a special place in which human beings are freed from themselves to pass over to others and, in so doing, learn what it means to be another person with aspirations, doubts, and emotions that they might otherwise never have known.

read futher @ Literary Hub





Madame Bovary: Most Recommended Book by Famous Authors

30 09 2018

WHICH BOOKS DO FAMOUS AUTHORS READ AND RECOMMEND MOST?

Everyone loves a list—especially a list of books. To that end, people are always asking famous writers to give them lists of books they love, and famous writers are always doing it, because again, who doesn’t like a list of books, and especially when those books are your own favorites, and you get to talk about them again. While considering the proliferation of the high-profile literary listicle, I started wondering which books famous authors most often touted among their favorites. And as often happens, once I started wondering, I soon knew I was in for some math.

I looked at 68 lists made by famous authors, from the classic (F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jorge Luis Borges, Ernest Hemingway) to the contemporary (Yaa Gyasi, Mary Gaitskill, Maggie Nelson, George Saunders), and kept track of which books they recommended most often. The results were interesting—not particularly because of the most recommended books (many of them are pretty predictable) but because of the details—the groupings, the exclusions, the agreements between authors you wouldn’t necessarily think had similar taste.

The winner, with 9 mentions:
Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary
(Recommended by Ernest Hemingway, Sloane Crosley, Bret Easton Ellis, John Irving, Mary Gatiskill, Helen Fielding, Philip Roth, Claire Messud, Lorrie Moore)

Read further @ Literary Hub





Fiction & Your Loved Ones

30 09 2018

                                                                                                        Photo: Literary Hub

WHEN WRITING FICTION HURTS THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE

I was sitting in the Science Center Library, reading Paradise Lost. This was in the late 1970s, when I was an English major at Harvard. There are famously gorgeous libraries at Harvard, but I preferred to sit in one of the uglier spaces, beneath buzzing fluorescent lights, with calculators clicking all around me. I was unlikely to run into anyone I knew in the Science Center, though there was no reason for me to be so furtive. It’s just the way I am, habitually keeping to myself. Private and solitary.

I came to the end of the poem. Adam and Eve, our guilty parents, cast out of the garden. But then: “The world was all before them, where to choose / Their place of rest. . . They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow, / Through Eden took their solitary way.” The lines hit a nerve and I burst into tears. Loud, gulpy, snot-filled sobs. In the middle of the Science Center, for everyone to hear. I could not stop. I sat in that cubicle and wept and wept.

Guilt has always moved me. I imagine the pain someone must have been in to do whatever awful thing he did and want him to have another chance. Such possibly kind, possibly stupid empathy is useful for a writer, but it’s not the whole story. My mother was a war survivor and I inherited her unspoken guilt at having made it out alive, but that doesn’t fully explain it, either. I feel guilty for being a fiction writer. I’m not referring to the self-doubt many of us feel about making up stories while the world burns. I’m talking about the suffering we cause by writing.

The beauty of fiction lies in the way a story—regardless of plot or setting—communicates to a reader, I am with you. I felt as if Milton had known me hundreds of years before I was born, had known and understood everything I was going to do and was letting me know, the world is still before you. That compassionate recognition, acceptance, love, from an author is why we keep reading, even when we have Netflix to entertain us.

Read further @ Literary Hub





Out now! BookIsh Plaza eZine SEPTEMBER issue

5 09 2018

                                                                                  PHOTO: blackachievementmonth.nl

The SEPTEMBER issue of BookIsh Plaza eZine is out now!
BookIsh Plaza is your online bookshop for (Dutch)Caribbean literature.

In this issue:

  • September is Black Achievement Month
  • Unwritten: Caribbean Poems after the First World War
  • Winner 2018 OPZIJ Literary Prize
  • Ode to Trinidanian Author V.S. Naipaul
  • And much more ……….

BOOKISH PLAZA eZINE nr.75 SEPTEMBER 2018

Fine reading to all our readers. The next ezine will be out in October.

Visit BookIsh Plaza for our New Arrivals!