5 Interesting Links for 12-19-2014

Metal Work (Art)

Recycled car parts transformed into wonderful sculptures.

Writing (Life)

This post looks at what it takes to be a writer, dismissing the idea of natural talent as a requirement in favor of focus and drive. While Nat Russo states some things as applying to everyone, a common annoyance of mine, the overall is quite strong and encouraging without being unrealistic.

Audio (Publishing)

Tips for publishing an audio book on ACX. These match my experience with Beneath the Mask as well.

Relativity (Science)

Scientific principle of relativity made “real” by showing various applications.

Revision (Writing)

It’s rare that I find an article on revision where I agree with every point. Maybe because this article only flags three revision points, but definitely because it includes the caveat that sometimes the word you chose is there for a reason, this one seems solid advice:

Secrets-The Steamship Chronicles Book One

This entry was posted in Art, Music, Crafts, etc., Interesting Links, Life, Publishing, Science, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 5 Interesting Links for 12-19-2014

  1. Linda Sprinkle says:

    On the “writing is a learned craft”-Mostly I agree with him. But I think he underestimates the value of reading. The best writers read voraciously, just like the best musicians listen to music endlessly. The best filmmakers watch films the same way. But it’s not just absorbing it that matters. Eventually those that want to create what they love start taking apart all the material they’ve absorbed in order to learn how it works so they can do it, too.

    I don’t think talent arises in a vacuum. Someone who is never exposed to books is not going to start writing them. Ditto for musicians, artists, etc. Talent starts to show itself after you’ve been exposed to your art and you start creating it yourself. It’s hard to divorce that innate ability from the effects of exposure to your art during your lifetime. I think that asking my Mom questions about what the words were so I learned to read when I was 3 or 4, and having my nose in a book ever since, is partly where my “talent” comes from. I learned the mechanics of storytelling, the rhythm of words, etc. through the written word.

    I don’t know if you read the magazine “Omni” but their fiction section was astounding. I still remember some of the fiction I read, including a story that speaks to the above. It’s called “Unaccompanied Sonata” and was written by Orson Scott Card. Here’s a summary from Wikipedia: “A child is brought up to be a musical prodigy. He is raised alone in a cabin by unsinging servants, in order to guarantee that his only musical influences are natural. He plays on a complicated instrument capable of a wide range of sound, but is absolutely disallowed from hearing the music of others, for, he is told, that would corrupt his originality and make his work derivative. At some point he is, against the wishes of his keepers, introduced to the music of Bach, and when this is discovered by a “Watcher”, he is uprooted from his composition at the age of thirty, and is then barred by law from ever again making music. The story then follows him as he struggles to repress his desire for musical expression.” It leaves out the crucial thing that they cut out his tongue so he couldn’t even sing and made him be a Watcher, with the job of imposing the same punishment on other people who break the rules.

    I cried when I read that story. It made me sad that what he loved best was taken away from him. And I disagree with the idea that listening to other people’s music would corrupt his work. Creativity is never completely original. It always riffs off of whatever you’re exposed to in life, even things that aren’t directly related to your art. My exposure to the writing of people who want to write novels but don’t ever read tells me that exposure to your art is as important as creating it yourself. I can’t remember how many times I recommended to writers that they start reading.

    My experience with cooking is another example. The first fancy recipe I made for Paul for a Valentine’s Day dinner I made wrong because the instructions assumed a certain level of cooking knowledge that I didn’t have yet. I made it correctly after I worked in a cooking school and learned from teachers. I’d never have gotten there if I was expected to reinvent the wheel and figure out cooking techniques completely on my own.

    Writers have it easy. They can expose themselves to anything in their field for zero dollars via the public library and the internet. They don’t need expensive equipment, as musicians and filmmakers and artists do. That’s not so easy with cooking. I can’t afford to eat in fine dining restaurants or be exposed to the food by the top chefs in the field. I can make the recipes in their cookbooks, but I never really know if it turns out the way they intended. It limits my ability to grow. Cooking school is also expensive. And online cooking schools don’t solve the problem. An experienced chef can’t taste your food and tell you if you’ve screwed up. It’s like learning in a vacuum, which is what the poor composer in the story had to do. I learned the most when I worked for a cooking school and could learn from the teachers. That basic background has allowed me to grow on my own, but without those basics, I’d still be floundering, not knowing what I didn’t know.

    I guess this really resonated with me. I wrote an essay. 🙂

    • Margaret McGaffey Fisk says:

      Sorry about the delayed approval. I missed this in my mad scramble to get things set for my time away from the web. However, might I suggest you edit this up and send it to Zette for Vision? It’s an interesting perspective. I both agree and disagree with you. Not everyone gains from absorbing in their same field (with the whole “writers can’t read when writing or they’ll sound like the person they’re reading.”), but at the same time, I think everyone should read :).

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