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Talker’s Block -or- Who the Hell am I to Give Writing Tips?

You ever have one of those days when you wake up and find yourself unable to talk? Of course you don’t because there’s no such thing as talker’s block. It’s a made up condition invented by Seth Godin who uses it to illustrate the absurdity of the all too real writer’s block. According to Godin,… Read more »

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Imperfectionist Guest Post

George Lois, the legendary ad man, once said: ‘You can be cautious or you can be creative. But there’s no such thing as a cautious creative.’ Consider the opposite of ‘cautious.’ Try bold, or even reckless… Read on at The Imperfectionist. 

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Story vs. Plot

E.M Forester’s Aspects of the Novel (put it on your list, it’s like a pocket MFA) outlines the difference between story and plot: Story can only have one merit: that of making the audience want to know what happens next. ‘The king died and then the queen died’ is a story.’ ‘A plot is also a narrative… Read more »

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Be Like Elon: Learning From Outliers

Something I talk about a lot when I’m writing about not writing, are outliers. Maybe it’s a lingering case of ‘Hemingway did it…’ syndrome or I think I’ll find the right excuses for myself in the lives of my heroes. There’s a right way and a wrong way to learn from extraordinary cases. I can’t… Read more »

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Struggling with Debt? Make ‘Supersize Me’

Morgan Spurlock is known for doing things nobody in their right mind would do, all in the name of non-fiction storytelling. In Supersize Me he lived off McDonalds for a month straight. For the series Thirty Days, he went to jail. Voluntarily. But he took his biggest and least relatable risk off camera. After going… Read more »

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Clowns to the Left of me, Jokers to my Right

I’m still waiting on the Occupy movement’s  great American novel. We haven’t seen one come out of the Tea Party either, or Black Lives Matter, or the birthers, 9/11 truthers, or #freethenipples. What if one of the requisite skills for art-making is the ability to tune-out a whole lot of background noise that seems urgent… Read more »

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Picasso’s Bull and the MacBook Air

For a lesson in abstraction, check out Picasso’s lithograph series ‘the Bull.’ These eleven prints depict the entire progression from the busy detail of realism to the elegant bareness of abstraction. ‘The Bull’ has served as inspiration to the design team at Apple, whose team is required to study the series to learn the power of simplicity. … Read more »

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Lessons from Jim Harrison

Last Saturday, we lost Jim Harrison. He was one of America’s literary treasures, and perhaps our greatest craftsman of the novella.  On the page, Harrison was best known for Legends of the Fall. His extracurricular activities included gourmet cooking and eating, raising many dogs,  fly fishing,  and chilling with the likes of Jack Nicholson, Anthony Bourdain,… Read more »

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The Notebook — Man vs. Monopoly Man

You can learn a lot from a less-than-classic movie. As a storyteller, it’s easier to learn what not to do from a bad story than a good one. If something bugs you about a story, take a closer look at what isn’t working and why. It’s great practice for asking better questions in your own… Read more »

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Book Reviews by Readers Range from Clueless to Insane

Gustav Flaubert said ‘I try to live in an ivory tower, but a tide of shit is constantly beating at its walls.’  He could have been talking about Goodreads. The shelves are your own personalized ivory tower, while the reviews are the tide of shit. Just the thought of rating books kept me off Goodreads… Read more »