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Novels. Magazines. The secret to creativity. Miguel de Cervantes wrote Don Quixote without the help of the internet.

The secret to creativity

Photograph: Archivo Iconografico, SA/Corbis. The summer festival season is about to begin with the opening of Hay 2010, and one of the questions that will inevitably crop up, a question that authors and panellists dread, is: where do you get your ideas from? The pursuit of creativity is not generally a question that gets a good answer. But last week, at the Royal Philharmonic Society Music awards, the artist Grayson Perry, a wonderfully transgressive character, said something that struck a chord with me, especially in the context of an issue I've been puzzling over viz. the effect of the IT revolution on the creative process. In the course of his remarks, which were mainly about classical music, naturally, Perry observed: "Being creative is all about being unself-conscious; being prepared to make a bit of a fool of myself. But it was Perry's focus on "unself-conscious" that caught my attention.

Ashley's Blog. To help YOU go write today, I'll share my number 1, go-to method of getting my style muscles in condition.

Ashley's Blog

There is something to be said for having a shock-proof shit detector that can be turned "off" for the purposes of drafting. That is, an editor you can shut up long enough to get the words on the page. I've already hoorayed over the triumph of finishing a draft (just the first of many, mind you) of novel #3 and managing to crank out 200,000 words in a year with a focus on plot.ยท But in all that FAST writing, I had a recurring fear that I was steadily killing my inner stylist. As a reward for finishing the draft and because, let's face it, my style muscles have gotten a little weak, I'm taking a break from story and plot and returning to my first love: the sentence.

This sentence has five words. (Gary Provost, . There are countless books of writng prompts and exercises out there, but I always come back to my favorite approach: starting with sentences I admire in books I'm reading.

Poetry

Contests. Opportunities in Writing. Songs. RETROFRIDAY: CLICHE KILLER. Hello, Dear Readers!

RETROFRIDAY: CLICHE KILLER

Friday has arrived, and so it is time for another glumptious helping of that well known delicacy RetroFriday, where I present to you a post which you might have missed the first time around, or may benefit from reading again. Today's post? CLICHE KILLER (Rawwwr!) : Happy Friday, dear readers! So just a quickie workship today, inspired by the lovely Vivienne DaCosta (of Serendipity) and designed to help you do something that all writers want to do: Kill those cliches stone dead (and yes, that's a cliche).

I'm not talking about cliched plots or characters here, because those are a bit of a deeper problem. It was a white knuckle ride My heart sank into my stomach/my heart was in my mouth He had an iron fist in a velvet glove She was as white as a ghost They were dead tired Beauty is in the eye of the beholder I had a snowball in Hell's chance/when Hell freezes over They were SO good, so clear, so apposite, that everyone who read them said: WOW. Strip it back a bit more. To: How To Know When You Should Be Writing: A Comprehensive Flow Chart ...

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