Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Food For Thought

MFA Superhero Typographic Classifications This is a fun little lesson on the different kinds of typefaces. (@ Behance)

7 Things I've Learned So Far By Mike Mullin Great advice, especially if you're not convinced of the importance of doing research. (@ Writer's Digest)

The 2012 Booker Longlist was announced this week. (@ The Millions)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Tolstoy on Human Wisdom

"All we can know is that we know nothing. And that's the height of human wisdom."

-Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Food for Thought

Did Henry David Thoreau Invent Raisin Bread? All signs point to "no" but it's interesting that this is a rumor people actually believe. (@ Lapham's Quarterly)

Plan For American Writers Museum Revealed Take a look at the plan, it sounds like it will be great. (@ The Millions)

Who Wrote The Great New Jersey Novel? I found this article so fascinating, having just moved to NJ myself. Jernigan has made it to the top of my TBR list. (@ The Millions)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Things We Love to Do

I took this photo last summer on the coast of Maine, while waiting for a table at one of my parents' favorite restaurants.
I know I'm not the only one out there with a stressful day job, so I also know I'm not the only one who looks forward to and savors my days off. Today, because I work in retail, is one of those days and it has been wonderful.

I've spent most of the day inside because we've finally gotten some much needed rain here in New Jersey after 100 degree weather earlier this week. Luckily, I haven't needed to run any errands or go anywhere today, so I've been at home doing the things that I love to do.

I've finally had some time to sit quietly and relax without worrying about a schedule or trying to get ready for work on time. Trust me, if I had an entire week off, I would be up in Maine, where the picture above was taken, but sadly it doesn't look like I'll get there this year. Instead, I've been looking at all the pictures I took last summer, and remembering the fun that I had. It's not the same, but it's enough to inspire my current WIP and get my mind off everything else right now.

I'm spending my day looking at pictures, remembering good times, reading interesting things, drinking tea and most importantly writing a story I'm thrilled about. All in all it's a great, relaxing day.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Food For Thought

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries If you haven't seen this video series, what are you still doing reading this? Go! (@ YouTube)

Hooray, My eReader is Spying on Me Honestly, I think this is expected at this point. I'm not surprised in the least to hear about it. (@ Blurb is a Verb)

All The Badass Ninjas Hang Out at Planet Independent Bookstore This article is a bit long (for a blog post anyway) but it gets to the point. Indies are a vital part of the community and they're also one of the best resources an author has for getting her work out to the public. (@ Writer Unboxed)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday Food for Thought

How to Become an Author, in 5 Incredibly Difficult Steps A humorous twist on your typical writing advice list. (@

How to Have a Career: Advice to Young Writers This one is a little more serious, but will probably still put a smile on your face. (@ Work in Progress)

MFA Nugget: Are You Sharing an Anecdote or Writing an Artful Story? This is an important distinction. In our everyday interactions, we don't always need to acknowledge the who or the why, but in our writing, those elements make all the difference. (@ The Artist's Road)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

Happy 4th of July everyone. Enjoy the day, watch some fireworks, and be safe.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Is There Such Thing as a Story for Story's Sake?

Is there such thing as a story for story's sake?

I don't think so. 

I was at a cookout over the weekend where most of the attendees were Tolkien fans and as I'm currently reading Lord of the Rings start to finish for the first time, the conversation naturally turned in that direction.

One person argued that he has read everything there is to read about Tolkien and LOTR and that it is essentially a story for story's sake. Anyone who sees symbolism, allegory or anything else in the story, he argued, is putting those elements in.

I wholeheartedly disagree. Tolkien may have intended the story to simply be a story, but by publishing it he gave the world at large the ability to interpret it as they see fit. I'm of the belief that as authors we can have intentions in our writing, but it is up to the readers to pick up on them. 

I understand that this belief is probably unpopular among other writers because it means that our words can be "misinterpreted" and it takes authority away from the authors in some senses. 

Here's my take on it though: I'm also a reader, and the stories that stick with me are the ones that mean something to me and change the way that I think about a certain topic or issue. I don't like to waste my time with stories "for story's sake." The stories that I write are for readers like me -- people that want to think deeply and be affected even in some small way by the story they're reading.

Tolkien may very well have wanted to write a story without allegory or symbolism in it, but if that was his intention I don't think he succeeded. If LOTR really is a story for story's sake, why is it still so popular? 

At the very base level, isn't it about good versus evil? Isn't it up to the reader to decide what they learn from it? What are your thoughts? Let's talk about it in the comments.