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October 21, 2011

In life and writing, there are many things that we naturally take for granted. For example, we expect most people to know what an orange tastes like, but what if they don't? How would you describe the taste of citrus to someone who has never tasted it before? The hurdle for a writer, in this case, is "showing" readers what citrus tastes like instead of "telling" them. This allows readers to create a more solid image in their minds instead of a vague impression. Great stories draw the reader into a mentally visible and tangible world, hence the reason for one of creative writing's main mantras: show, don't tell.


Not long ago, National Public Radio ran a story on an unusual fruit called a "pawpaw." While the reporter did a great job of giving a sense of place by playing clips of background noises as the reporter followed her guide through the woods to a nearby pawpaw tree, she didn't really give a very detailed description of the fruit. Sure, she described the taste and the fact that it has a large seed, but the listener was never really offered a clear idea of what the fruit looks like. Having never seen a pawpaw before, I found myself wondering exactly what it would look like if I came across one in the woods. After coming up with several unusual images, I began thinking about fruits that we see in everyday life.


If someone has never seen an apple before, how would you describe it? What about a banana, or a pear? There might even be a fruit or vegetable native to your region of the world that many people have never seen or even heard of. What would you compare it to? How would you describe the taste, the touch, the scent to someone who's never experienced it before? How would you "show" instead of "tell"? And that brings us to today's creative writing exercise:


Exercise: A berry nice description...


It's early morning and the mist is just starting to fade in the waist-high fields of grass and underbrush around you. You're all set for a nice long walk in the tranquility of the woods. About two hours into your walk, you stop to rest. As you pause, you casually take in the scenery and suddenly notice a very unusual-looking fruit lying just to the side of the path. You pick it up and examine it, then glance around to see where it came from. A quick scan shows that they're growing on a nearby tree, and from the look of the happy and fat squirrels scurrying around nearby, it's possible that the fruit is edible.


In a few lines, show us the fruit you found. What does it look like? Smell like? Feel like? Would you taste it? What does the tree look like that it's growing from? What would you compare it to - another fruit or something entirely different? Did you expect to find something like it growing here? If it's a new fruit entirely, what would you name it? Allow your imagination to blossom!


-Kristin Contributors/KristinHeadshot_final.jpg

Kristin is a content media coordinator with CreateSpace. She draws from a strong background in journalism and creative writing to help authors hone their skills and flex their artistic muscles.


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There was a time when the entrance to the publishing world was a narrow door through which only a select few were allowed to pass. That didn't mean that those who had the door slammed in their faces didn't deserve to be published. It just meant that there wasn't enough room or money to accommodate everyone. If not for the digital age, publishing may never have changed. Today, access to publishing has gone from a narrow door to a virtual expressway. Michael Hyatt explores the changing face of publishing.


When I started writing, it also seemed like everyone else was in control. I prepared a book proposal, then waited for a publisher to offer me a contract. I wrote the manuscript, then waited for booksellers to order the book. I published the book, the waited for the media to book me. We spent a lot of time waiting. And then waiting some more. And, if we didn't get picked, it wasn't our fault (or so we thought). But something extraordinary has happened in the last decade - even more so in the last three years. The power has shifted.


You can read the entire article on Michael Hyatt's website: 4 Reasons It's Easier Than Ever to Be an Author


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Making a movie is hard. Making a movie within the confines of the Hollywood system can be, at times, almost impossible. Case in point: Anna Paquin (star of HBO's True Blood) is appearing in a new film titled Margaret. It's hard to even call this movie new because it was shot in 2006. Legal issues and changing tides stalled the movie's release. The troubles that plagued the film have really opened the eyes of some filmmakers.


Reading about Margaret, it's amazing that any movies get made. The story quotes insurer Michael Harper saying, "This business is so crazy. It's an art form and a business and we're trying to mix oil and water all the time." And people on both sides have gigantic egos. They fight and clash and sometimes you still get a great movie (consider Apocalypse Now) but often you get an embarrassing mess on the screen.


You can read the entire article on the Forbes' website: A Hollywood Cautionary Tale Starring Anna Paquin

Charity, the Other Marketing Tool

Kid Rock is set to do some concerts to raise money for his foundation. The foundation will concentrate on raising money for local organizations. In this case, "local" refers to every town where Kid Rock will perform. Music marketer Hisham Dahud thinks it's not only great for the communities, it's also great for Kid Rock's brand. He believes there are lessons to be learned here from the standpoint of marketing.

By aligning your music with a greater good, fans and non-fans alike will be more inclined to support you because you're representing something higher than yourself. Socially conscious activities raise awareness to issues that many people might initially assume that most musicians, particularly rock stars like Kid Rock, don't typically care about.

You can read the entire article on Lessons Learned From Kid Rock's Charity Tour


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