Archive for the ‘Terry Pratchett’ Tag

Readers make Writers   Leave a comment

Paul Bunyan and his cradle.

Paul Bunyan and his cradle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

The first piece of advice I give any aspiring writer is to read. A lot. Every day. Read a variety of things, fiction, nonfiction, books, magazines, blogs, whatever you can get a hand on, for at least an hour a day.

 

Why? Because even if the writing isn’t very good, you can learn something from it and become inspired in your own writing. If the sentence structure is poor, if there are misspelt words, if the plot is lacking, you’ll probably sit there and say, “I can do better than that!” Hold on to that thought, and once the hour is done, go for it! Write on the same topic, make it better, make it yours.

 

When the writing is good, take notes. Ask questions of the piece. What makes you enjoy the writing? Try to mimic these techniques. Don’t plagiarize the content. Ever.  Play around with the style and themes, try to build on them and make them your own.

 

And, finally, it’s good to research and read on topics you’d love to write about. This is just as important in fiction and poetry as it is in nonfiction. For example, I never know when I’ll stumble across a new unique word that I can use as a poetry title. I’m currently reading Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter’s new novel, The Long Earth. In it, one of the characters uses the word tracklements, which are the accompanying foodstuffs used on or around the main course. It’s a fantastic word, and I wrote it down immediately on my vocabulary list.

 

I’m also reading up on the folklore of Michigan and the surrounding areas, especially the tall tales relating to Paul Bunyan. I have an idea of a story deconstructing Paul Bunyan’s myth in light of modern issues such as deforestation and global warming. I’m always looking for folktales I’ve never heard of before, or to learn something new about the ones I thought I knew, both for my own enjoyment and to use as springboards for new short stories.

 

What about you? What are you reading, and how does what you read affect what you write? I’d love to hear from you!

 

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The Battered Suitcase, 2009   Leave a comment

Ganesh festival in India

Image via Wikipedia

To read the poems, click here

I have always had a fascination for Indian culture. I love Bollywood films, Indian novels, Hinduism. A lifelong Christian, polytheism has always seemed exotic, mysterious. Of the Hindu gods, Ganesha has always been my favorite, human body with an elephant head, he physically embodied India to me.

So then why would I write the poor guy into a political satire?

I guess the simple answer was, no one had done it yet. It seemed so obvious to me, the elephant god who symbolizes tolerance and learning, sought after by the Republican party for all the wrong reasons.

I don’t usually write satire, but some of my favorite authors have been satirists.  I guess, sometimes, their influence rubs off on me.  For example, the other poem Battered Suitcase published of mine in 2009, “A Caution for Horny Wizards”, is not only a satirical quip on all things Harry Potter, it’s a mini homage to Terry Pratchett, and the witches and wizards of the Discworld.

Today, flex your creative muscles into the world of satire. Pull something into a world that is its complete opposite, turn a critical eye on that world. Have fun with it. I know I did.