Posts made in August, 2014

Writing Advice from an Avid Football Fan

Writing Advice from an Avid Football Fan

  Today’s writing advice comes to us from Fine Lines friend Jennifer Lovett Herbranson a loyal ‘Bama Fan. Born into the Lessons I was raised down South by a strong Southern woman who felt every challenge was an opportunity for character growth, and she lived by the mantra, “Hardwork gets you what you want.” In Alabama, football is like a religion and coaches are like gods. University of Alabama legendary Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant is one of them. My father played for him in the mid-1960s and raised us on Coach Bryant’s life lessons. Combined with my mother’s strong will, Alabama football lessons taught us everything we needed to be successful in life. I’m also a serial procrastinator I find nothing compelling about doing something early. But give me hard deadlines and 24 to 48 hours out, I’m on fire. Recently, though, I’ve noticed something troubling among writers I’ve met. They are dissatisfied with their writing lives. They can’t find enough time in the day or they can’t wrap their heads around their ideas or they have no idea how the business runs. If you want to be a writer, you have to accept that it is not easy. But then again, when it’s hard, it’s worth it. So get on up, dust yourself off, grab whatever tool you need to succeed and get to work. You know you want to do this and you know you can succeed. Here are three ways to help you:  #1 Excuses don’t burn calories. Coach Bryant used to say, “I ain’t never been nothing but a winner.” Be a winner. While you aren’t burning calories with your excuses, you are burning effort that could be expended on your book. Quit worrying about all the contradictory advice you get at writers conferences or from writer friends or from editors, agents and publishers. A book creates its own genius and someone out there will love your genius. Provide yourself the opposite of excuses: permanent reasons to finish your writing. I love to write. I love the finished product. I love it in particular when I finish a product I know is good. Writers write for a million reasons. List yours. #2 There are only 60 minutes in a ballgame. Coach Bryant also used to say, “We didn’t lose. We just ran out of time.” You won’t lose either. You will win because you know relentless forward progress is all that matters. If you think you don’t have enough time in your day, think again. You must be a time manager that makes every minute count. If you don’t make time for it, it won’t happen. Period. Sleep less. Facebook less. Let the laundry sit....

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Fine Lines, Good Writing

Fine Lines, Good Writing

The Fine Lines project is all about good writing. What we want to do is make the clear thinking of our authors visible in print and on our website. Since 1991, Fine Lines has provided a place where creative writers share their written ideas. Our quarterly publications are dedicated to the writing development of all its members. What started out as a single classroom project is now a fifty-state network of authors who love the written word, and it has developed into a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit educational organization. New Publishing Frontiers When we found out that WriteLife, our publisher for the last six years, closed its doors at the end of July, we knew Fine Lines would have to evolve once more. As we pursue the many options available writers, we have chosen to start by sharing the summer 2014 issue via our website, www.finelines.org. It will be there, by September 15, 2014. In the future, we may try to publish in both mediums. Time will tell. Fine Lines Submissions We welcome articles on all topics of interest to our readers and reflective writing about interesting life experiences. Our editors encourage a variety of approaches and styles. We accept articles and practical submissions that describe innovative views of life’s challenges. We are glad to receive work encouraging stimulating dialog that crosses traditional rhetorical and disciplinary boundaries, forms, and roles. We provide a forum for writers of all ability levels. Our editors reserve the right to reject submissions that use profanity, abusive violence in all forms, alcohol, and drugs. If it is not written down, it did not happen. Improved literacy adds clarity and passion to our lives. Composition is hard work, but it brings order to chaos, beauty to existence, and celebration to the mysterious. Please support us by making a tax-deductible donation to Fine Lines. Have you thought about adopting a non-profit educational organization this year? We have many openings for volunteers. The work is challenging and inspirational. Contact us today. Write on, David Martin Share...

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What I Have in My Heart I Must Out

What I Have in My Heart I Must Out

“Have you ever had a realization that the whole beautiful, terrible crazy drama of life was perfect? Sometimes, this realization comes during holy moments, those brief suspensions of time when eternity steals over us, and we feel the inherent integrity of life” (Joan Borysenko, Fire in the Soul). Recently, I was reading a CD cover on Ludwig van Beethoven’s concertos and came across his quote: “I have never thought of writing for renown and glory. What I have in my heart I must out: That is why I write.” Beethoven’s story still inspires many people. He discovered at age 26 that he was losing his hearing, became moody and withdrawn due to his embarrassment of impending deafness, and was ashamed to tell people to “speak up.” “Alas! How could I possibly refer to the impairing of a sense which should be more perfectly developed in me than in others, a sense which once was perfect.” However, he still continued to compose; he had too much that he wanted to express through music to give up. He shortened the legs of his piano, so he could play while placing his head on the top of the instrument and felt the vibrations. He composed great music in spite of his deafness. His final symphony inspired the beginning of the Romantic period, where composers began to write emotional works instead of composing music for specific purposes. At the premier performance of his Ninth Symphony, Beethoven stood at the podium and conducted the musicians. After the performance, the audience stood, cheering and applauding, but Beethoven heard none of it. One of the female soloists had to tug at his sleeve, so he would turn around and acknowledge the applause. This is one of the most inspiring stories I know about an artist creating, in spite of personal hindrances. Beethoven’s passion carried the day. Yes, people have criticized him for his moodiness, but he was dealing with his deafness. How could a musical genius deal with being deaf? Beethoven wrote from his heart. He was a true artist. What a lesson for us all to remember.What an amazing person. Let us all, regardless of our personal challenges, write on. – David Martin Share...

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Creative Non-Fiction: What You Need to Know

Creative Non-Fiction: What You Need to Know

There often seems to be a consensus among folks when talking about writing, that creating creative non-fiction is difficult, and only for the most expert writers. However, this is a monstrous falsehood! Anyone can write creative non-fiction; here’s what you need to know -> The Non-Fiction in Creative Non-Fiction The first rule to writing non-fiction is to be as truthful as possible. Yes, the word creative means you’ve created bits, but that doesn’t mean you’ve created something from scratch. For example, begin with a place you’ve visited, an interesting person you met, an experience you had, a funny joke you were told, and start your story there. The place, the people, the sounds, the smells, those are all real things you’ve experienced. Remember; the definition of non-fiction writing is a story based on real facts and information. The Creative in Creative Non-Fiction One famous example of creative non-fiction is The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank. Frank’s story was her real diary, however she wrote so beautifully, especially for a young girl, that it read like a novel. Everything Miss Frank wrote about was the truth, but the way she wrote lines such as, “How wonderful it is that no one need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world” proved she was already an exemplary writer. The fact that her story was completely true only made it that much more emotional for people to read, and it still resonates with us today. The Secret to Writing Creative Non-Fiction To be honest, the real secret of writing creative non-fiction is, there is no secret! Anyone can write non-fiction. Creative non-fiction encompasses the entire world as we know it; there are no limits! The best way to write non-fiction is to be truthful, in a creative, colorful way. No one wants to read facts listed, we want to be absorbed into a story! However, to change certain things, such as names, places, and other small things is still acceptable in non-fiction, especially when people’s privacy comes into question. There is never a limit for writers, no matter the genre. If it interests you, and you want to write it, someone will want to read it! As long as you remain creatively truthful, you’ve got the hang of it. Good luck non-fiction writers! What are your favorite examples of Creative Non-Fiction? Why do you think it has such a difficult to write reputation? Blogger Bio: Abigail Hills is a special editor and contributor for Fine Lines Journal. She is currently getting her bachelor’s degree in creative writing at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She is a public speaker and advocate for those with depression and anxiety, and...

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Operation Chrysalis – First of Mondays with Martin

Operation Chrysalis – First of Mondays with Martin

*From Fine Lines Founder and Managing Editor David Martin   23 Years In… The Fine Lines project is now in its twenty-third year of publishing our members’ creative writing. When we prepared our first issue of four pages in 1992, no one could have imagined that we would come this far. Developing our quarterly issues remains a challenge, and every day, we think of new ways to reach more writers of all ages and encourage them to improve their craft as wordsmiths. Who We Are During this time, Fine Lines evolved from a newsletter to a magazine to a quarterly journal, from four pages to three hundred pages, from an initial audience of one high school class to one of national scope, from local submissions only to international contributors in thirty-three foreign countries, from second grade haiku poets to college professors, from “wannabe” authors of every genre to a nuclear scientist, a congressman, and a Native American chief. When we found out that our publisher for the last six years is changing its path, we knew Fine Lines would evolve once more. As we pursue the many options available regarding publishing, we have chosen to start by sharing the Summer 2014 issue via our website, www.finelines.org. In the future, we may try to publish in both mediums. Time will tell. Operation Chrysalis Caterpillars develop cocoons and turn into butterflies. In this way, they evolve and become new and improved beings. Our change from print publication to online publication is our own “Operation Chrysalis.” We hope this change will deliver an improved product for our members. Our Fine Lines team of editors and staff want to keep this project growing. Change is hard to work through; however, and when we see what writing does to encourage growth of friends, students, and families, we want to keep writing and encouraging others to string more sentences together. The writing process is dynamic, improves creative thinking, alters brain functions, and helps improve our world. Please continue to support our cause. Please take this short survey and let us know how you can be a part of this evolutionary process. Write on, David Martin Share...

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