Fifty Random Sentences or How to Face the Blank Page…an exercise for when you’re stuck

Kathy Fish

vintage-typewriter Recently writer/editor Wendy Russ asked me if I would again contribute a small piece of writing advice for Lascaux Review. (Here is my previous article: Read ). I decided to share with their readers an exercise I’d devised and that always seems to work for me, no matter how stuck I am. Some people have already written to me to tell me they tried it and now they have some great first drafts!

Soooo, if you’re stuck right now (and I am, frequently), go and have a look:

Fifty Random Sentences or How to Face the Blank Page.

I’d love to hear back from you if you had success with this exercise!

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How to Spend Your Time as a Writer

This is a great piece. The charts were especially helpful.

Juggling Writer

If you are like most writers, then writing is not your full-time job. Many of us spend 40 hours a week at work. When we are home, we don’t just sit around and write all the time. We have obligations to family. We are fathers, mothers, husbands, wives. Everyone’s situation is different, but everyone is much more than just a writer.

People often ask me how I find the time to do so much. My first reaction is to say that I don’t sleep, or at least not as much as the average person, but that isn’t the real answer. My real answer is that I do my best to try to find a balance. Yes, I often fall behind, but no one really seems to notice because I always have something in the works. At the same time, I have been sitting on a finished first draft of a…

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Protected: Negotiating Babel

Some interesting writing from Marcus Speh.


breughel tower of babel…The Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” —Book of Genesis 11,5-7

If the bible says the truth, then there’s something potentially dangerous about speaking only one language. What could it be? “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly“[1] if our tongues were no longer split in different directions?

In Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the Babel fish, a telepathic universal translator, is described as “a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.“[2] Though the argument is about as deep as the rest of the book, it suggests that…

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Writing a First Draft Part 3

Ages since I’ve read Natalie Goldberg, a nice reminder.

From Meredith Allard

Tip 3:   Accept that your first draft will need a crazy amount of rewriting. 

If you accept up front that your first draft is going to stink, it frees you up to write, as Natalie Goldberg calls it in Writing Down the Bones, “the worst junk in the world.” If you’ve read Bird by Bird you know that Anne Lamott calls them “shitty first drafts.” I love Anne Lamott for many reasons, but I really love her for making the phrase “shitty first drafts” part of my vernacular. If you recognize before you even start writing that your first draft is going to stink, then you won’t waste needless time staring at a blank computer screen wondering what to write or worried that it won’t be good enough. It won’t be good enough. You’ll need to do a crazy amount of rewriting. The sooner you embrace the concept…

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Herve Guibert – Part 1

Herve Guibert, self-portrait

This blog is the first in a series on the exceptional French writer and photographer Herve Guibert.  In coming days I’ll post excerpts from his various essays. Guibert’s writings have inspired a number of scenes in the screenplay I’m developing. Significant parts of the script are about reflection, image and the emotional entanglements intrinsic to memory. Below is an excerpt from the back cover of Guibert’s book Ghost Image.

Besides writing fiction and personal essays, Herve Guibert devoted his tragically brief life to the understanding of photography and the elusive nature of images recorded by the camera. To this gifted French photographer, who died of AIDS in 1991 at the age of 36, photographs were objects of wonder and mystery, even possessing a touch of the supernatural. “Photographs are not innocent”, Guibert writes in one of the most provocative essays in GHOST IMAGE, a collection of critical and autobiographical writings on photography…They influence and…betray what is hidden beneath the skin. They weave not only lines and grids, but plots, and they cast spells…They are impressionable material that welcomes spirits.”


Review of Together We Can Bury It at NANOfiction

Love this cover – and very excited to read the latest work of Kathy Fish.

Kathy Fish

430239_329813657062269_180459741997662_984752_381805125_n “There are so many examples of…lyricism at play in the collection but the language in “Rodney and Chelsea” stood out to me the most. In this story, the two titular characters, teen neighbors, are about to engage in their first sexual experience together. It’s a moment of great anticipation and anxiety, yet the narrative sweeps around them meticulously, not only registering their expressions and subtle movements, but their life histories, the space they share living next door to each other, and essential connections they share with family, friends, and neighbors. The entire moment is exquisitely rendered in just four pages, and it’s such a virtuoso accomplishment of prosody that I had to reread it twice more just before I could move on.” ~ Peter Fontaine, from his review of Together We Can Bury It at NANOfiction. The rest of the review may be found HERE .

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Book Review ~ Dead Letters JP Reese (2013-ČERVENÁ BARVA PRESS)

Another fellow Fictionauter whose work I’ve been reading over the years.

Your Own Back Yard - Michael Gillan Maxwell

Book Review

 Dead Letters  JP Reese (2013-ČERVENÁ BARVA PRESS)


JP Reese’s Dead Letters (2013-ČERVENÁ BARVA PRESS) is a captivating and compelling chapbook of poems that will keep you coming back for more. Each of the twenty poems in this collection is an exploration of lyrical language, vivid imagery and human emotion. Reese’s dedication to the craft is evident in the way she deliberately uses form to serve function in order to create a sense of time and place and to convey the message in each individual poem. Each of the poems in Dead Letters flows effortlessly when read off the page and is spellbinding when read aloud. While the poems in Dead Letters are readily accessible, they are also subtly nuanced and have the kind of depth that reveals something new with each reading. This is a really fine short collection written by a fine poet. This…

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