This Halloween, while celebrating the rise of the dead and Samhain, the end of the harvest season, and a night of free candy and imaginative costumes, give someone a scary book to enjoy. It can be a relative, a friend, a special other, a classmate, fellow worker, bus driver, whoever!
Share the spine tingling sensation that Halloween brings through a good scary book and spread the creeping feeling of horror to the readers on this eventful night…they may find themselves afraid to be alone!
For more information about All Hallow’s Read, watch the masterful author Neil Gaiman briefly introduce the event, or go visit their website http://www.allhallowsread.com/ for more information. There are book recommendations for those who can’t decide which book to give away and fun extras including posters and other fun downloads!
To be a better writer, there are really only things that you need to do: Read, and write. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t read about being a writer, and that having a well-rounded understanding of how writing “works” isn’t beneficial.
These 5 books were all assigned to me as a creative writing undergrad, and all have pieces of wisdom in them that have etched themselves so thoroughly into my consciousness that I feel like they’re all floating over my head while I’m writing.
While there are loads of other great books on writing, I specifically chose these because they aren’t all just saying “here’s how I write, you should do it too”—the topics of these books are very diverse!
Reading Like A Writer by Francine Prose: Like I said, the best thing you can do to be a better writer is read. But what does that mean? What should you read? Francine Prose (yes, that is her real last name, if you can even believe it!) helps you answer those questions, and shows how looking for certain things while you read and reread can strengthen your own writing. Check it! (Addendum 9/22/14: I saw her speak at the BKBF yesterday and she is SO COOL.)
On Writing by Stephen King: This is the one book on my list that is saying “here’s how I write, you should too”. But Stephen King is basically the most prolific writer ever, so I was happy to listen to his advice. Two points of his really stuck with me: 1. Adverbs are lazy and 2. Sometimes the best thing you can do for a story is put it down for a long time—like, 6 months or a year—and come back to it with eyes so fresh that it’s like you’re editing someone else’s story. I’d be interested to know what points of his sticks with you guys!
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott: I posted about this the other day, but this book is like my writing Bible. In fact, a friend of mine who doesn’t even write got to reading it, and he loved it, too. Basically if you’re a human with a goal, this book will help you. And Anne Lamott writes kinda like this wise, kind mother who isn’t afraid to also tell you what’s up. Whereas a lot of other books on writing are about the actual storytelling, I like this book because it’s more about the writer’s “lifestyle”. Go get it now so that we can gush together!
The Philosophy of Composition by Edgar Allan Poe: This is actually just an essay, but considering that Poe is often credited with being the inventor of the modern short story, I had to include it on this list. It’s in this essay that Poe famously defined a short story as one that can be told in one sitting. Whereas King’s On Writing is really “zoomed in” on topics like word choice, this essay is a high level, theoretical piece on what a story actually is. You can get it for 99 cents on Kindle, or, even better, read it as part of a collection of all of his stories… ugh, they’re SO good!!!
Elements of Style by Strunk & White: I cannot tell you how often I’ve received this little book as a gift—for high school graduation, for college graduation, and for many Christmases and birthdays. But it’s all good because it is kinda essential for a writer to have. Elements of Style is all about—gasp!—grammar. (I should probably give it a read-through again so that I can re-center and remember my grammatical skillz, actually!) Also, there are some cute versions out now that make it seem less snore-fest-y—I really want this illustrated copy!
If you read any of these books and post quotes from them on your Tumblr, tag them #yeahwritingbooks and I’ll reblog you!
1. Instead of worrying about the things that you CANT control, focus on the things you CAN control.
2. Develop an internal, rather than an external, locus of control. People who have an external locus of control see other people and events as being in control of their moods and destiny. That generally leads to unhappiness and a victim mentality. People with an internal locus of control see themselves as being the author of their life. Thus, regardless of what happens, they still believe they choose their own responses and destiny.
3. When everything feels uncertain, prioritize and take control of the one or two things that are most important to you. For example, if you move away, the most important thing might be to find accommodation. If you are in debt, the most important thing might be to find a job.
4. When it feels as if decisions are outside your control, keep making small decisions so you feel you have control - and are not just at the mercy of others or events. This can be something as small as choosing which new clothes to buy, or deciding where to go, or who to see, at the weekend.
5. Finally, remind yourself that even when things don’t go according to plan, there are usually other options that work out just as well. One answer or decision will rarely wreck your life!
Meet the Reykjavík Metropolitan Police, serving the capital of Iceland. By the looks of their incredible Instagram account, a normal day includes holding kittens, eating candy and wearing false mustaches.
For the record the Icelandic police are probably the best police force in the world, There has only been one instance where an officer shot and killed a civilian in the entire history of the country (which is nearly a hundred years) and everyone was completely devastated by it, the police especially — because, as made clear in their statements after the incident, they understand their function is to protect the people. Not to mention that their general police go unarmed except for special squads.
Let’s run through some more facts while we’re on the subject: Compared to 31,000+ shooting deaths in the US in 2009, Iceland had… 4, because they have very rigorous screening processes for gun permits. There is very little economic disparity between upper, middle and lower classes, and social welfare programs take care of their people. Drug use affects less than 1% of the population between 15 and 65 years old, and 90% of drug-related court cases are settled with a fine rather than jail time. Violent crime is virtually non-existent. [x]
Iceland is like if you took the entire idea of chill and personified it as an country, and this exemplifies that.
Can I just move there and be friends with Sigur Rós and just chill?
I had originally not wanted to see Galaxy Quest because I heard that it was making fun of Star Trek. Then Jonathan Frakes rang me up and said ‘You must not miss this movie! See it on a Saturday night in a full theater.’ And I did, and of course I found it was brilliant. Brilliant. No one laughed louder or longer in the cinema than I did. - Patrick Stewart
1. Cut out everything that’s unimportant and seek to focus on what matters in your life.
2. Make sure you include frequent breaks in your schedule as we’re more productive when we work in shorter blocks.
3. Get rid of all distractions when you sit down to work – so close down tumblr, twitter, email and facebook. Also, work somewhere quiet where you won’t be found as interruptions can break your concentration.
4. No matter what you do, it’s essential that you seek to keep on developing your creativity. When we feel inspired, working doesn’t take much effort as we’re in the flow and feeling good about ourselves.
5. Try and make the most of those pockets of time that are often wasted when we’re hanging around (for example, as we’re using public transport or we’re waiting for a friend).
6. Don’t let other people distract you from your course. At the end of the day, it is your life not theirs. You need to be committed and true to yourself.
This is a tumbleblog for G Allen. I'm a tech monkey, aspiring writer (out of breath most of the time) and general troublemaker. My other blog written in plain old Wordpress is at.. http://blackfish.biz/allen
G Allen also has some long-form raving at https://medium.com/@partumundo. Stop by and make fun of me! I won't mind and niether will the crickets!