Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Friday Poll ~ What Are You Going To Read Next?

First, the results from last week’s poll—What’s Your Writing Schedule? 

What Do You Want To Read Next?

Image Courtesy of Craig Parylo ~

Five time segments were voted high at 12.5% each:

10am – 12pm

4pm – 6pm

6pm – 8pm

8pm – 10pm

No Set Time

The next most-used times to write all had 6.25% of the vote:

4am – 6am

8am – 10 am

12pm – 2pm

2pm – 4pm

10pm – 12am

and, one “Other” vote—”depends upon whatever else I may have going on…”


Now, this week’s poll—What Kind of Reading Do You Want To Do?

Let me mention that our first official Friday Poll, back in August, was What Are You Reading Now?; and, the top vote then was Literary Fiction…

This time, the first two options are *Fiction & *Non-Fiction; then, I’ve listed some common genres…

You can choose either Fiction, Non-Fiction, or both…

You can also choose a Genre…

You could also write-in a Genre in “Other“…

Or, write-in the name of a book in “Other“…

And, you can do All of The Above :-)

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Some Questions for The Serious Writer . . .

Alexander M Zoltai:

From the Bio of the author who asks excellent questions:

“This is the story of a journey. The wonder of it. The horror of it. The incomparable moments of it. A blog about the nature of writing–and, I hope, a sharing of the soul of one whose life is consumed by it. I’m an author. I’ve spent my whole life writing. It’s the food I live for. “

Originally posted on Notes from An Alien:

There are few other blogs I follow—would like to follow more—far too busy being a writer… Lynn Biederstadt

One other writer I do follow is Lynn Biederstadt of Sky Diaries.

In fact, I’m as careful to leave comments on each of her blog posts as I am to reply to comments here.

I feel the aloneness of being a writer—not loneliness—and feel I should reach across space and let her know I “understand”

Her recent post, The Van Gogh Teach, begins with her visit to the Van Gogh exhibit in Denver, Colorado.

She goes on to explain a lesson the experience gave her, saying:

“A lesson, as so often happens, made up of many questions.”

I appreciate all her posts but this one has questions about writers dealing with the issue of Recognition—Van Gogh not receiving much in his lifetime.

I’m going to put some of Lynn’s questions…

View original 232 more words

A Psychologist Gets Questioned by A Novelist…

I feel good writers are, in a way, psychologists…

Pinker McEwan Good Writing

Image from Intelligence Squared

They deal in human motivation—cyphering-out character and persona.

And, an understanding of psychology could help any writer portray the complexities of character interactions.

But what of the psychology of writing itself; and, the psychology of the reader?

Enter, stage right, Steven Pinker, “…a Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University.”

Enter, stage left, Ian McEwan, “a critically acclaimed author of short stories and novels for adults, as well as The Daydreamer, a children’s novel…”

I’ve written here before about Mr. Pinker—Can Experimental Psychology Help A Writer?—and, that post had a short video.

Today’s post has a longer video—more detailed, more entertaining, more valuable for serious writers.

Pinker begins by talking about the bad writing of many scientists, bureaucrats, and academics; then, reveals that his wife is a novelist…

He disagrees with much about the “rules” of grammar and syntax…

He gives an outline of the topics of his book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, and lays out certain basic styles of writing…

Then, at about 26 minutes in, he sits down with McEwan and the serious fun begins…

I need to mention that Pinker had asked many writers if they consulted usage guides and found that most used none.

Near the end of the discussion, Pinker asks McEwan if he references a usage guide and the novelist admits to employing the Burchfield edition of Fowler’s Modern English Usage.

There’s also a fascinating exchange with some audience members…

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Books You Probably Haven’t Heard of That You Might Want to Read

A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists is an off-beat, genre-defying, head-spinning story that defies all the rules of narrative, space and time.”

Books You Haven't Heard of That You Might Want to Read

Image courtesy of Eduardo Siqueira Filho ~

That intriguing elevator-pitch is from an article in The Sydney Morning Herald.

A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists is Jane Rawson‘s debut novel.

More from the newspaper article:

A Wrong Turn has won this year’s Most Underrated Book Award, a literary prize sponsored by the Small Press Network, to reward titles that, for whatever reason, have not received fair recognition and the readership they deserved  when first published, following in the tradition of now-famous titles such as F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, overlooked or underestimated on release but which have since been declared classics.”

Other books that were sleepers:

Light Years by James Salter

The Easter Parade by Richard Yates

Stoner by John Williams

And, a book that hasn’t been sleeping long at all—Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You.

From an article in The Guardian:

“She has beaten Hilary Mantel and Stephen King to win Amazon book of the year. Celeste Ng, the biggest writer you’ve never heard of…”

“’Writing is like shouting into the world’, she says. ‘So when someone shouts back, it’s a really big deal. To have people who read hundreds and hundreds of books a year say, “Hey, we thought this was really great”, that’s a huge self-esteem boost. All of this attention means, hopefully, I’ll be able to write another book.’”

“She’s also surprised by the fact that people are so keen to ask her questions about the book, since she’s only just coming to terms with the fact that it’s out in the world and being read. ‘It’s as if you’ve had a very vivid dream and you come down to the breakfast table. Without you saying anything about it, people start asking you questions about what happened in your dream. And you go, “Wait! How did you know what was in my brain?”‘”

Finally, if you’ve heard of these six books or read them, let us know in the comments  ( though, I suspect most folks who’ve read a few books have heard of The Great Gatsby :-)
Check Out Our Latest Poll…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
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To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
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Holidays & Writer’s Depression

It’s commonly believed that all writers get regularly depressed…

Holidays and Writer's Depression

Image Courtesy of Nihan Aydin ~

Common beliefs can often be wrong…

Many writers can get periodically depressed—God forbid some doctor should prescribe anti-depressants—unless absolutely called for…

Not only writers get periodically depressed—our culture has many aspects that could depress anyone…

Some writers—some people—can’t rise above periodic depression—stay in the bottomless pit—fall prey to complete stagnation…

The holidays—mostly due to the incredible materialistic pressures they can exert—are a prime time for depressions.

I wrote a post last year that might help those with periodic (or terminal) depression—The Tortured Artist and A World Gone Mad . . .

If you’re down and need some relief, read that post and watch the video………
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Read Some Strange Fantasies
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