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Jeff Tries Naked / Live Writing Take Two - Imitating the Greatest Novel of All Time Part 4 of ?

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I still haven't decided if I like naked / live writing yet, hell, I still haven't decided if I want to call it naked writing or live writing. But, I did do this recording while working on my latest writing exercise. It was interesting. You have to click and open the article before the video will appear.



Join me on the next adventure at JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com

Imitating the Greatest Novel of All Time - Part 4 of ?

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I believe these exercises are already improving my writing, and I am only on paragraph seven. In the short story I wrote about the baptism of Hanniba'al, my first foray into dark fantasy and horror, I could feel different directions that my intuition/subconscious was pulling me to go concerning the style. And so, the work continues.


Let's take a look at the first seven paragraphs from "Replay" by Ken Grimwood. Then we'll compare my first six paragraphs. And finally, I'll write my seventh paragraph.

Jeff Winston was on the phone with his wife when he died.
"We need--" she'd said, and he never heard her say just what it was they needed, because something heavy seemed to slam against his chest, crushing the breath out of him. The phone fell from his hand and cracked the glass paperweight on his desk.

Just the week before, she'd said something similar, had said, "Do you know what we need, Jeff?" and there'd been a pause - not infinite…

Write Michigan Short Story Contest - Part 2 of 2

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A short story will come to life in this post, and a warlord will be born from blood. At least that is my hope.


I was debating between writing about Mithra or Hannibal. I've decided to go with Hannibal because the idea of him being baptized in blood as an initiation ceremony intrigues me. I'm not sure exactly how I want this to go, but it has to be done in a few hours. I think I am going to do something like a thesis statement followed by the concrete representation of it. I know that doesn't sound exciting, but I think it will be. There are so many options, so many choices to make. I could do a build up or start in the scene itself. I could focus on internal thoughts or external actions. I am not going to focus on making so many of these choices explicitly conscious. I am going to go with what feels intriguing. My only real limitation is that it has to be short, which is fine. I may make it very short if that seems to work. Let's see how some of it comes out.
Hanniba…

Write Michigan Short Story Contest - Part 1 of ?

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It would probably be best to look back at previous winners of the contest to inform my decision about what to write, but I'm not going to do that. Today I'm going to pick out my subject, just based on what seems like it will be interesting to explore.


Last month I wrote about the myth of the great idea and came up with a few interesting ideas. Let's take a quick look at those and see if one will work for a story that can only be up to 3,000 words long.
A dragon tamer in Ancient Greece, museum thief that gets the powers of Achilles, genetically mutated humans that have to drink human blood to survive, recovering lost hopes and dreams by journeying to the River Styx in the Underworld, a tree that must be fed blood, the death, or attempted death, of the 1.75 billion most aggressive males on the planet, forming diamonds from the blood of Leprechauns, a pureblood Renassaince craze, feral kids, cults, Mithras, the baptism of Hannibal in blood, and an alternating colliding narrat…

Imitating the Greatest Novel of All Time - Part 3 of ?

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Here we go, paragraph number 6. Puzzling this out, developing this skill, is harder than one might think, and maybe harder than I can do. But, let's give it a go anyway.


Here are the first six paragraphs of "Replay" by Ken Grimwood.
Jeff Winston was on the phone with his wife when he died.
"We need--" she'd said, and he never heard her say just what it was they needed, because something heavy seemed to slam against his chest, crushing the breath out of him. The phone fell from his hand and cracked the glass paperweight on his desk.

Just the week before, she'd said something similar, had said, "Do you know what we need, Jeff?" and there'd been a pause - not infinite, not final, like this mortal pause, but a palpable interim nonetheless. He'd been sitting at the kitchen table, in what Linda liked to call the "breakfast nook," although it wasn't really a separate space at all, just a little formica table with two chairs placed …

The Most Important Question in Philosophy - Part 4 of 4

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Loss is a special kind of pain. The loss of a loved one, and the loss of cognitive functioning. Those are the two most intense kinds of loss that I have experienced, and we all will, or have, experienced them. What is this feeling of loss? What can we do about it?


A loss is revelatory. It reveals something that we valued. Sometimes we were not even aware of what we valued, or at least not aware that we valued it so much, until it was gone. This alone can help point us towards values in the future. Let's take five examples and see what we can learn from them.

When I was 20 my girlfriend ended up pregnant, it was a partial surprise. I hadn't really thought much about having kids up to that point, and I reacted primarily by getting nervous and being conservative. Then, the miscarriage. The miscarriage revealed that I had actually wanted to have a baby, I valued it, and two years later she was pregnant again. The second miscarriage was even harder than the first because I had allo…

The Most Important Question in Philosophy - Part 3 of ?

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Pain and loss are both unavoidable. They are inevitable. I have experience with pain and loss, you have experience with pain and loss, and we will both have more experience with pain and loss. We can't create a situation where we won't experience them, so we must adapt to them. Pain and loss are the two primary things that make life not worth living; therefore, they are two of the primary things that we must focus on when answering "What makes life worth living?"


Let's start with Benjamin Franklin, possibly the most important person in the founding of the United States of America. Few people know that he wrote a small dissertation in 1725 that deals directly with our issue. Franklin had 100 copies printed and gave a few to friends, but it caused such a stir within the people that read it that Franklin burned the rest of the copies. Here are 6 of the 14 propositions:

"1. A Creature when endu'd with Life or Consciousness, is made capable of Uneasiness or P…

The Most Important Question in Philosophy - Part 2 of ?

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Oh boy, let's dive back in. We've taken the question from Camus, "Is life worth living?", and answered it: "Maybe." At this moment, in this place, it may be either a yes or a no. Either way, we've found a better question to ask, "What makes life worth living?", and "What could make life worth living?" Now, we endeavor to pursue answers.


Since I think that life is worth living at this moment, and most living people do, I am going to work mostly with the question, "What makes life worth living?" Worth is the key word in that sentence. What does worth mean? Eight definitions come up on Google, and even when we look into the etymology we see that it goes back to earlier words that also have a direct translation to value, price, and/or merit. These are fundamental concepts. A value is something that you seek to attain. I just made that definition up, and it's true. So, our question could also be phrased, "What makes lif…

Imitating the Greatest Novel of All Time - Part 2 of ?

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Innovative imitation is not an easy task. I see a problem for paragraph four and I have not been looking forward to tackling it. But, here we go.


Here are the fourth and fifth paragraphs from "Replay" by Ken Grimwood.
"Do you know what we need, Jeff?"
And he was supposed to say, "What's that, hon?" was supposed to say it distractedly and without interest as he read Hugh Sidey's column about the presidency in Time. But Jeff wasn't distracted; he didn't give a damn about Sidey's ramblings. He was in fact more focused and aware than he had been in a long, long time. So he didn't say anything at all for several moments; he just stared at the false tears in Linda's eyes and thought about the things they needed, he and she.
So, why is this so difficult. Well, there are going to be a few reasons, but the first one is that the fourth paragraph is a repeat of a phrase in paragraph three that I'm not sure it makes sense for me to do in…

The Most Important Question in Philosophy - Part 1 of ?

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"There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy."(1) So begins "The Myth of Sisyphus" by Albert Camus. I think that there may be a better question.


We must first decide how we are to judge questions, what makes one superior to another. Camus has a view on this as well, "If I ask myself how to judge that this question is more urgent than that, I reply that one judges by the actions it entails."(2)
Albert Camus is the founder of Absurdism, the idea that humans seek meaning and that meaning cannot be found inherently, or even at all, in life. Camus even approaches the defining of the absurd in unusual ways, for instance: "What, in fact, is the absurd man? He who, without negating it, does nothing for the eternal."(3) And, "This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling…

Imitating the Greatest Novel of All Time - Part 1 of ?

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I realized that I need to learn this skill of writing through more imitation here:
http://www.jeffreyalexandermartin.com/2017/10/imitation-precedes-everything.html
Then I chose what to imitate here:
http://www.jeffreyalexandermartin.com/2017/10/what-to-imitate.html
Then I played with how to imitate here:
http://www.jeffreyalexandermartin.com/2017/10/how-to-imitate.html
Now the real work begins.


Here is how "Replay" by Ken Grimwood begins.
Jeff Winston was on the phone with his wife when he died.
"We need--" she'd said, and he never heard her say just what it was they needed, because something heavy seemed to slam against his chest, crushing the breath out of him. The phone fell from his hand and cracked the glass paperweight on his desk.

And this is how my imitation begins.


Tom Brooks was reading the newspaper when the lights went out.
"Terror in downtown . . ." he was reading, and he never got to read what the terror was, because something crackled outside, …