When science meets science fiction: memories

Researchers have found that electrical stimuli can help improve memory. Will sci-fi writers seize on this particular advance to add to the pile of ‘intelligence-enhancing’ stories they write? When does science drive fiction and fiction drive science — as in the classic cases of Asimov or Sagan?

It gets easier to project fabulous innovations the farther into the future the story is set. But as science accelerates, what looks like sci-fi is sometimes here sooner than expected.

Is it better to write sci-fi with magnificent science we don’t expect to see realized? Or to use sci-fi to spur on human innovation? Or to realize futures that are logical outcomes of current scientific scenarios?

Fiction writers have to work at the believable intersection of real science and imagination. Will readers believe what is produced? It’s the key test for any work of fiction with a lot of science in it.

alpha feminist

Romance reminds us that women want, and it celebrates this fact. How sad that that’s subversive, but it is.” Jamie Green on the politics of the romance novel and the genre’s response to Trump. | BuzzFeed

From Lithub today, an article mentioning among many other things, the concept of ‘alpha feminists’ as a storytelling device.

In short, this is the trope of the (billionaire/Duke hypermasculine) alpha male who would rather die than live without the woman of his dreams by the end of the book.

I’m not sure that’s my cup of tea, but it’s a classic discussion of trope, how it evolves over time and how it impacts society.

What tropes you love in your reading or writing, define you. So does your eschewing tropes. Best of all is bringing voice to new concepts of human behavior you deem worthy of further discussion. Improve the trope base where you can.

Spot on humor: A genius example all writers can learn from

My first article at Two Drops – a bit of humor

Two Drops of Ink: A Literary Blog

Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.
-~Gene Fowler~

By Dawn Field


Are you good at humor? Do you like writing it – or reading it? It can be injected into a tense story to lighten the mood, usually just so the emotional temperature can rise again, or it can be the primary axis of a great book.

Humor can do the soul good, but sometimes it’s also the best way to get a point across.

What better way to highlight how NOT to write than to fill a book with exquisitely bad writing on purpose? The skill and experience of Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman is a pinnacle of ‘didactic parody’.

How Not to Write a Novel: 200 Classic Mistakes and How to Avoid Them–A Misstep-by-Misstep Guide” is a brilliant example…

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One Writer’s Experience of Unity in Writing: Tina Welling on writing her book WRITING WILD

Contributing Author: Tina Welling, WRITING WILD, published by New World Library

Writing Wild cover

Writing Wild_cover

I learn by writing. When I become curious about something or feel I’ve encountered a hint of a great truth, I follow it. I write about it. That’s how my book WRITING WILD came about. The sub-title is: Forming a Creative Partnership with Nature. That’s the great truth I encountered through an experience I relate in the book: the fact that we can form a creative partnership with the natural world.

From there I began to pay attention and make connections. I was a sponge. Whatever occurred in my life, I used. If it came my way, I figured it belonged somehow to my project. I pulled out memories I didn’t know I carried, I eavesdropped on people in café’s, I read books about nature, I hiked and skied and sat in the woods. I wound everything that resonated with me into my understanding of how to create a partnership with nature. And I wrote about everything that came my way.

To start, I realized that nature is the macrocosm of creative energy and our personal output is the microcosm. As the old spiritual law states: As above, so below. And that means we get to learn about our individual creative energy from understanding how creative energy works in the natural world. From there, I let nature take its course, as the adage advises, and I opened up to the wisdom all around me. I experienced such pleasures and reassurances throughout delving into this truth. It’s been one of the best times in my life and has given me a foundation for my spiritual and creative quest that has taken me where I’ve needed to go.

One day I knew I was finished; I felt emptied and cleaned out. All of me was on the page. I remember it happened at one o’clock in the afternoon. I was still in my pajamas and un-showered. While the hot water ran over my body I smiled. I felt like a California closet, everything in its proper cubby hole and compartment. Everything organized and made visible.

That feeling lasted, but there was plenty of work ahead. Next came re-writes. I didn’t add much in the way of material, but I cut a lot. And I smoothed sentences, moved commas, spruced up the language. I re-wrote some paragraphs dozens of times. This is the tricky part of readying a manuscript for readers. We need to invite in the mental judges while at the same time reprimanding them to be compassionate. We want to make our writing accessible to the reader while remaining true to our authentic self.

I didn’t realize at the time of my early drafts or even much later that I was writing from my intuition. I still don’t entirely understand the connection between intuition and writing, but I will bet my life on there being a connection. I have experienced it. All of us who write have experienced knowing something directly without processing it through our rational brain. It’s mysterious and it’s wonderful.

After reading several books by the intuitive Penney Peirce, I suggested that she and I conduct a workshop together in which she teaches about intuition – how to access our direct knowing – and I teach about how to put language and shape to what it brings us. The result is Intuition & Writing, an Immersive Workshop. We are holding it at a lovely island resort off the coast of Florida April 11 to 16, 2018. I can hardly wait, because I know I am going to learn as much as I teach. And that my writing, my trust in the process and in my connection to my direct knowing will deepen and expand.

For me, that’s Unity in Writing: using intuition in partnership with writing skills to express myself.

If you’d like to join us in the Intuition & Writing Workshop, contact me at Tina@TinaWelling.com for further information. I’m eager to meet up with the like-minded people that will be drawn to the workshop.


Writer Retreats: A collection of writing retreat locations, ideas and articles

Exotic locations, activities, company, lectures, famous authors, craft experts, critiques, quiet, 1 day, 10 days — a growing menu of get-aways for writers is on offer around the world. Or start your own to meet your exact needs. Time away might be just what you need to get started or finish up a writing project, get inspired or seek expert input and feedback.

Why You Need a Writing Retreat and How to Make the Most of It

The biggest collection I’ve found online is a list of 37 worldwide retreats listed on The Write Life website, including hundreds of comments with further retreats and additional information.

37 Incredible Writing Retreats to Attend in 2018

Here are some other articles:

10 Empowering Writers’ Retreats for Women

Washington Post talks Writer’s Retreats

When you’re ready to move from summer reading to summer writing

You can always roll your own DIY retreat as well:

Introducing the DIY writing retreat

Most writers don’t have enough cash, time, or patience to plan a writing getaway, right? Wrong.
By Susan Ito | Published: August 16, 2017

Writers share their favorite DIY writing retreats

Need a writing vacation? We asked oodles of writers where they’d recommend going on a DIY writing retreat.
By Susan Ito | Published: August 15, 2017

31 Questions for Writers

Sparking discussions of writing.

Asking questions is a good way to extract information quickly from a more experienced writer, compare the working habits and experiences of writers from different walks of life, or dig into the collective minds of a group of writers.

Here’s a handy list of obvious questions. Running through them in a group situation or in an interview with a writer you admire should give a good idea of interests and background. All are suggestions, to be broadened or narrowed as suits. Hit skip on any questions that aren’t relevant. Insert new ones, as needed, including more specialist ones.  This is an exploration after all and you are after treasure: after exploring the surface, deeper questions will naturally present themselves.

31 Questions for Writers

  1. When did you know you had to write?
  2. Do you have any formal training? Experience with workshops, online courses or other learning opportunities?
  3. How did you learn to write? How did you come to know what you know today about how to write?
  4. Do you feel compelled to write? At its extreme, hypergraphia is diagnosed in individuals who suffer a pathological obsession with writing.
  5. Ideally, want do you want to succeed at with you writing?
  6. What is your corpus so far? What’s hidden under the bed, a stash being a good thing, since it represents experience and exploration, both creative and practical.
  7. Are you more a plotter or a panster, a planner or a free-hand writer?
  8. Do you believe writing is more rules or magic, craft or talent?
  9. Are there certain rules you stick by, or rules of writing you have made for yourself (including to rule your work habits)?
  10. Are there life-lessons you have learned that have improved your writing?
  11. What are your biggest achievements or favorite personal milestones from your writing journey?
  12. How good do you think your vocabulary is – compared to what you’d like it to be
  13. Do you have an easy time crafting beautiful sentences?
  14. Do you hear voices when you write?
  15. Do you get writer’s block? If so, what gets you past it and back to words on the page?
  16. What’s your favorite book and why?
  17. Who is your favorite author and why?
  18. What’s your current project?
  19. Any projects you just couldn’t finish?
  20. How many ongoing projects do you have?
  21. Ever loved a 1st draft?
  22. Are you a slow or fast writer?
  23. Do you prefer pen and paper, computer, or dictation? When and why do you switch between these methods?
  24. What kind of software do you use? Word, Scrivener, Other?
  25. Do you have a special place you like to work? Or can you work anywhere? What gets you in the mood for writing?
  26. Do you belong to a writer’s group? If so, what’s your favorite gain from participating?
  27. Do you have a writing partner?
  28. Do you have beta readers?
  29. If you look back on earlier works, what thoughts come to mind?
  30. What are your sources of inspiration?
  31. Do you have advice for aspiring writers based on your experiences?

At this point, you’ll either be all talked out and needing another coffee (or beer), or the discussion will just be warming up. Either way, you’ll likely have a lot of new ideas, a better gauge of those you were talking to, and yet more questions.

If you feel inspired to share, put your answers to any or all questions below in the comments! Or add new questions you find helpful.