There are details, and then there are Details

tjw152The discussion of the power of a single detail in episode 152 of The Journeyman Writer podcast reminds me of the consideration of Anton Chekov’s idea of the “telling detail” in the Gotham Writer’s Workshop book Writing Fiction. In the chapter “To Picture in Words” Chris Lombardi gives us insightful ways to think about the power of this kind of detail.

A telling detail does what it says: it tells the essence of what it’s describing… A telling detail can speak volumes in a very short amount of time. They help you achieve a golden mean—enough description to paint the picture, but not so much as to weigh it down.

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Currently Reading: The Art of Creative Thinking

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A creative person can’t refuse to grow old but they can refuse to grow up. They maintain the playful attitude of a child throughout their lives. They understand that some things are too serious to take seriously. They never lose the urge to throw a snowball at a businessman. All creativity is about mind over matter. That matter might be paint, ink, paper or almost anything. The matter doesn’t matter, because it’s all in the mind.

Rod Judkins’ The Art of Creative Thinking is a fantastic collection of thematic stories, perspectives, quotes and guidance. A great philosophical complement to Austin Kleon’s more pragmatically oriented Steal Like an Artist. That’s not to say that The Art of Creative Thinking is all theoretical, but it excels at conveying an attitude toward creativity, as opposed to getting into the mechanics of doing creative work. Continue reading

Log Lines and What Editors & Agents Look for: Lessons from #muse2015

logo@2xHere’s a glimpse at my faves from The Muse and the Marketplace 2015, a high-energy weekend at the Park Plaza Hotel devoted to writing and publishing.

Sell Your Story in a Single Sentence with Lane Shefter Bishop: Craft a great log line to pitch your book. The log line must answer these three questions:
1. Who is the protagonist? (Who is the story about?)
2. What does the protagonist want?
3. What are the stakes? (What will happen if the protagonist does not get what she/he is after?)
And these three questions should be answered in a way that
– highlights the most unique aspect of your work (what sets it apart from everything else out there?),
– uses active, dynamic language Continue reading