Category Archives: Blog

Interview with Barry Reese: Pulp Prolific

Crossroads favorite Barry Reese is a writer’s writer. Not only is he the dedicated author of pulp favorites The Rook Chronicles, Lazarus Gray and Rabbit Heart (the latter of which earned him the 2011 Pulp Ark Award for Best Author), but he also spends his days as a librarian. And did we mention, he has written for Marvel Comics, Moonstone, West End Games, Pro Se Press and others? He’s also a co-creator on the “Pulped!” podcast and the Ubergeeks podcast.

Writer Rachel Helie caught up with Barry to give us a little insight to what he’ll be telling writers at this year’s Crossroads. He will be discussing his stories and craft at “Making The Most Out of Murder and Mayhem,” taking place on Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

Learn more about Barry Reese at his website, barryreese.net, and follow Barry’s thoughts and progress on Twitter, @BarryReesePulp.

 

2013-07-17 13.15.14Q: How do you do it? The sheer volume of work that you produce is amazing! Does it help to operate on an assigned character, knowing that character’s back-story and building on the pulp’s oeuvre? Share your secrets, Reese!

BR: Classic pulp authors wrote thousands of words a month because they had to – they were paid pennies for each word so in order to live, you had to produce. I take a lot of inspiration from that. I believe that what you produce under a strict schedule may be less polished but it’s a lot more intense and true. It’s a pure vision that hasn’t been meticulously scrubbed by revision. I write. Then I write some more. I never stop. I never worry about the last story because I have another one to focus on. You read my stuff, you get that frenetic pace and enthusiasm.

People who talk too much about writing rarely have time to produce. They need to sit their butts down and type. You have the ideas in your head, just cut it open and let it bleed out on the page. Continue reading

Enter to Win Writing Life Swag!

UPDATE: Congratulations to Matt Barr for winning the Writing Life Swag Pack! You’ll look good in your new duds!

 

We feel like giving away some stuff. Do you feel like winning some stuff?

Good because it’s super easy.

What’s the prize? This time, it’s a Writing Life Swag Pack — all capitalized and everything fancy — which comes with a Wordy South T-shirt, a Crossroads coffee mug and a shiny Crossroads USB so you can keep that novel-in-progress on you at all times. (Except the shower. Don’t shower with electronics!)

How do I enter? Just log-in with Facebook or your email and answer a single-question survey. If you want more more entries, tweetify the giveaway or do a little Facebookery with it.

When does it end? Monday, August 12 at 11:59 p.m., and after that you better be in bed, getting a good night’s sleep because it’s hard to create beautiful prose and poetry when you’ve been up all night!

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redirect

Is Your Story Getting in the Way of Your Writing?

 

So, a couple weeks ago, I started re-reading a book called “Redirect” by Timothy D. Wilson. It promotes the “story editing” approach to life, which should be perfect for a writer, right?

But Wilson isn’t offering insights about writing, per se. His book is about psychology and neuroscience, not novels.

And still, it is about narratives.

Here’s an excerpt from Wilson’s interview with Scientific American:

We all have personal stories about who we are and what the world is like. These stories aren’t necessarily conscious, but they are the narratives by which we live our lives. Many of us have healthy, optimistic stories that serve us well. But sometimes, people develop pessimistic stories and get caught in self-defeating thinking cycles, whereby they assume the worst and, as a result, cope poorly. 

Timothy D. Wilson, author and professor of psychology at the University of Virginia

Timothy D. Wilson, author and professor of psychology at the University of Virginia

You (and I) have heard a bazillion times that “writers write” so get off your butt and just write.

So why aren’t you (or I) writing?

After the conferences and workshops and talks and great blog posts and all that motivation… why aren’t you writing? Once you’ve rocked out (or not) for a month doing NaNoWriMo why aren’t you still writing in December or January, February, March, etc.?

Could it be the story you tell yourself about who you are? Maybe it’s because you’re looking at your stumbles and thinking, “I’m just not supposed to be a writer.”

Or, maybe it’s because you’re telling yourself bad stories, like the situation has to be right, that you must first be inspired, that you will as soon as…

But, Chris, there’s not enough time in the day. Believe me, I know. And after work, who has the energy? I get that one too. Just try to get up that early, or find a few minutes in your day when the kids and your spouse demand all your attention.

Yep, but in the end, what you think of as “reasons” for not writing — and others call “excuses” for not writing — are actually the elements of the bad story you’re telling yourself.

Wilson’s book, which is also about the stories that are told to us and the stories we tell others, offers clearer advice than I can about how to suss out what story you’re telling yourself and how to change it.

But that doesn’t mean you have to read it (though I’ve enjoyed it twice now) for you to experiment with the principle: Editing your story can change your behavior.

You are a storyteller. I believe that about you (and me). So, if you’re still struggling to establish a solid writing routine, flex your storytelling — and story editing — muscles on yourself first.

Do you agree? Are you planning to try it? Or is this the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard in the history of ever? Share your thoughts, opinions, experiments, ideas, problems and miscellaneous random whatnot below.

 

Chris Horne is a Macon-born writer in the midst of a move to Akron, Ohio. Before he tricked his beautiful wife into becoming his beautiful wife, they started the Crossroads Writers Conference with a couple of like-minded (and like-awesome) Maconites, Dr. Monica Young-Zook and Dr. Kelly Whiddon. 

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Guest Blog: “Do You Still Love It?”

Do You Still Love It?
a guest blog by novelist Lauren Morrill

 

While gearing up for roller derby practice and complaining about a mountain of deadlines recently, one of my teammates says to me, “You became an author because you always loved to write. Now that it’s your job, does that take any of the love out of it?”

Since most roller derby conversations consist of how to care for those oozing blisters on your feet and which compression shorts are least likely to creep up your butt during a game, I was a little surprised. So I thought about it for a few seconds, and then gave her my answer.

“Nope. Not at all.”

But why? How? Aren’t deadlines and reviews and expectations crushing my spirit?

Nope. Not at all.

Ok, a little bit about me: Part of the answer lies in the fact that I am both a hopeless procrastinator and a very fast writer. Depending on your perspective, those characters combine to be either a very very good, or very very bad thing. As a procrastinator, I’m always trying to find the next book to read or show to Netflix binge (Dance Academy, anyone?). But as a fast writer, I can do all those things and still get my words down at the 11th hour.*

But the deadlines! The humanity!

Turns out? Deadlines are great, because they’re a reason to finish (and, just a little tip from me to you … finishing, is the first step towards being a successful writer). I find that I do so much better now than I did when I was wandering in the wilderness with my writing, when publishing a novel seemed like a far off fantasy. Having expectations and people who depend on me means that after I’m done watching the sixth season of Law and Order, I’m going to sit down and crank out a few thousand words.

But the expectations! They’re crushing!

The expectations? They’re motivating. I love thinking about the teen reader who finds my book at her local library or better yet, pulls it off the shelf at her local bookstore. I remember how much I loved to curl up with a good book, and knowing that there are folks out there doing that with something I wrote? Yeah, that’s a major incentive.

But still, don’t read the Goodreads reviews.

Sure, there are times when it feels like work, when the words aren’t flowing, when I’d rather just close my laptop and walk away. And when there are contracts and checks and professional relationships on the line, there are moments when it can definitely feel overwhelming. But ultimately, I remind myself of the best parts of my job: the readers, and the fact that I get to do my job in my pajamas on the couch while getting the most our of my Netflix subscription and eating ALL THE CHEETOS.

So has becoming an Author with a capital “A” spoiled the writing life for me? Not a bit. Despite the hardships and the stress, it really is as good as I imagined it would be.

*Yes, I recognize that this sounds braggy, but I believe in turning your weaknesses into a strength like you’re supposed to do in job interview (you know, “I work too hard” or “I care too much”).

 

LAUREN MORRILL grew up in Maryville, Tennessee, where she was a short-term Girl Scout, a (not so) proud member of the marching band, and a trouble-making editor for the school newspaper. She graduated from Indiana University with a major in history and a minor in rock & roll, and now lives in Macon, GA with her husband and their dog, Lucy. When she’s not writing, she spends a lot of hours getting knocked around playing roller derby. Publisher’s Weekly called her debut YA novel, Meant to Be (Random House) “entertaining and quick-witted.” Her second YA novel, Being Sloane Jacobs (Random House), releases January 7, 2014.