Month: August 2010

The Ten Commandments of Writing

Posted August 17, 2010 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Writing / 0 Comments

Recently I read an article from the Writer’s Digest that I thought was fascinating that I had to share it with everyone. Of course there are no real rules for writing but below would be the top ten issues to focus on when trying to become a professional writer.

1. Take yourself seriously
If you’re not going to take your writing seriously, it will be hard for anyone else to do the same. Writing is part of who you are, not just a pastime.

2. Act like a professional
When it comes to your work, try to be professional about it; it is important to take the time to look at the grammar, punctuation, spelling and even format of your work.

3. Write your passion
Forget what’s popular at the moment, write what you’re passionate about.

4. Love the process
If you want to be a writer you will need to learn to love what writing involves. If you don’t like spending time in front of a computer, rereading or rewriting, you will find it difficult to love the process of becoming a writer.

5. Read—a lot
It is very important to know your genre, to get an idea of what works and what doesn’t. To do this you need to learn to read lots; it will help your writing style improve.

6. Stick to a schedule
Personally, I’m a procrastinator, so I never get any writing done. Especially for me, I need to schedule time to write and I need to stick to it.

7. Be critical of your work
All writers end up being their biggest critic; don’t be to upset with your work, it is a necessary evil to help improve.

8. Develop thick skin
You will receive a lot of criticism and rejections, it is important not to take it personally and analyse logically. Not everyone has the same taste, and not everyone will love your work, but these rejections will help you improve your work.

9. Trust your editors
Editors and trusted readers of your working progress are there to help you polish your work. You have to learn to trust them in order to get the best version of your story possible.

10. There are no certainties
All in all remember that there are no certainties in life, just write and enjoy yourself.

If you want to read the full article you can do so here. I just wanted to share this list with some of my opinions. Are there any more commandments you would add to this list?


The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

Posted August 11, 2010 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Classic, Science Fiction / 0 Comments

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. DickTitle: The Man in the High Castle (Goodreads)
Author: Philip K. Dick
Published: Vintage, 1962
Pages: 259
Genres: Classic, Science Fiction
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: Amazon
(or visit your local Indie bookstore)

For those who haven’t read this month’s Book club book, the alternate reality classic The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick, I will try not to give away too much of the story. Most of you are aware of the basic plot outline, but I will just give you a quick overview before talking about the interesting concepts I found within the book. Set in 1962, 14 years after a longer World War II, life is under totalitarian Fascist imperialism as the war was won by Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany. Having divided the world the Axis Powers are now conducting intrigues against each other in North America.

Alternate Reality

With Japan and Germany being in power, the world is a much different place; more of a dystopian society, where everyone is considered racially superior to the Americans. The last remaining Jews are in hiding and continually being hunted down. The book actually deals with justice and injustice; gender and power; the shame of cultural inferiority and identity; and the effects of fascism and racism upon culture.

Metafiction

The Man in the High Castle focuses the story around a popular and banned novel written by Hawthorne Abendsen (The Man in the High Castle). The book entitled The Grasshopper Lies Heavy portrays an alternate reality where  Japan and Germany lost the war and America and England become the victors. Changing racialist-cultural tensions and creating a liberal, democratic, capitalist society.

I Ching

In this novel the I Ching (Book of Changes) is often consulted by the characters as an oracle. I Ching is an ancient Chinese book of divination and was used by Philip K Dick to determine the plot particulars. In two separate interviews Philip K Dick has said;

“I started with nothing but the name, Mister Tagomi, written on a scrap of paper, no other notes. I had been reading a lot of Oriental philosophy, reading a lot of Zen Buddhism, reading the I Ching. That was the Marin County zeitgeist, at that point; Zen Buddhism and the I Ching. I just started right out and kept on trucking.”

“In the event, he blamed the I Ching for plot incidents he disliked: “When it came to close down the novel, the I Ching had no more to say. So, there’s no real ending on it. I like to regard it as an open ending.”

Philip K Dick’s classic science fiction novel has a lot of interesting aspects to it. I think it could easily be one of those books you could spend hours discussing all the little characteristics to it. Another book that challenges your views on society by showing what life could be like if the war turned out differently. Reflected above were just the major aspects to this book.


What is Metafiction?

Posted August 10, 2010 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literature / 4 Comments

I’ve heard a bit of talk about metafiction lately and to be honest I wasn’t sure what it was. The dictionary defines it as; fiction that discusses, describes, or analyses a work of fiction or the conventions of fiction. That didn’t really help me with understanding the concept in greater detail. After further investigations I found the most common types of metafiction and some examples of each one;

  • A novel about a writer creating a story (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man).
  • A novel about a reader reading a novel (The Princess Bride)
  • A novel which features itself as its own prop or McGuffin (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)
  • A novel within the novel (The Man in the High Castle, Sophie’s World or The Princess Bride).
  • A novel wherein the author (not merely the narrator) is a character (Breakfast of Champions or Slaughterhouse Five)
  • A non-linear novel, which can be read in any order other than from beginning to end (Finnegans Wake).
  • Merging characters or elements from diverse works of fiction into a new fictional scenario (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen)

There are many more scenarios of metafiction out there and the more you think about it the more books start to fit. I just though I would give some examples so you can better understand metafiction too. If you have some interesting examples of metafiction please feel free to let me know.

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