I went for three days without seeing the sun. Not best practice in terms of health, but it tells you something about how busy I was at ReaderCon this past weekend. Quick disclaimer: This is going to be a long post, as will be the part 2 follow-up. I’m trying to paint a clear picture …
If you’ve ever watched an Olympic sporting event like the floor routine in gymnastics, you might have seen shots of athletes preparing to compete. They stand to the side, eyes closed, twisting their bodies around in odd ways. You know what they’re doing. They’re envisioning their routine, imagining the jumps, the turns, the tucks. The same thing happening to those athlete’s brains as they pre-visualize their routines occurs inside readers’ minds when they read. Provided, that is, an author uses a few key neuroscience tricks when they write.
I did it. I graduated. I am a creative writing “master,” which is a little weird to write. The title “novice” would probably be more accurate. But, two days out from having received my handshake and diploma (not really, just a certificate. The diploma will arrive in the mail a month from now), I am feeling most grateful for the people I met and the relationships I forged.
Regardless of the quality of the actual story being told, the writing can either engage us or bore us. Understanding the neuroscience of reading can help you grab readers by the brain and engage them more effectively.
ReaderCon is arguably the most significant annual writing conference in Massachusetts. Happening each July in the town of Quincy, the event attracts an impressive line-up of fantasy, science fiction, and horror authors. It’s a must attend for genre fans, both readers and writers. This year, I’m going, and I can’t wait!
It’s been said, names have power, and an evocative title is step one toward hooking your readers. Yet many of us spend little time giving thoughtful consideration to either. Do yourself a favor and steer clear of the online name generators. Here’s a better way to approach naming your characters and titling your story.
When’s the last time you did anything to refill your creative well? Making art is active, and focused, and intentional, and draining. Tapping into your creative mind is tiring, though many of us don’t notice that we’re fatiguing until we’re lying face down like a stick of butter that’s been left out on the counter in August. Try scheduling activities into your life that will nurture your creative spirit.
Countless talented artists wander into the creative forest with good intentions and never make it out again. They get lost, hit that moment of doubt and despair, give up, and die. The thing is, getting lost is a hazard of living a creative life. In some ways, getting lost really is inevitable, because the creative path is not well-travelled. I’d argue that if you’re doing things right as an artist, you’re blazing a new trail through the deepest, darkest woods of your own psyche.
Mackenzi Lee might now just be near the top of my favorite writers. This excellent piece of YA fiction is filled with wonderful characters you can get behind, hauntingly beautiful language, all topped off with social themes that YA readers are hungry to explore!!
I would argue that Thunderhead was an even better book than the first book in this series, and that’s a rare thing to find in the world of trilogies. Fast paced, high-stakes, multiple plot threads and character arcs, and an ending that left me desperate for more!