Write...or Die Trying

I used to work in a factory. Now I work in an office. Either way, my writing was dying. So now I must: Write...or Die Trying.


Some Strange and Curious Punishments

Just posted on Project Gutenberg's website:

Some Strange and Curious Punishments, Ticknor, 1886

It's a pretty interesting look at punitive correction in Ye Olde New England. Some of it seems extraordinarily harsh by today's standards, but I would hate to judge, over 300 years removed. It was a different, and harder time then. There wasn't such a thing as real personal liberty. Civil peace was maintained with great and undaunting zeal.

I enjoy reading this stuff in part because my job is boring, but mostly because it gives me a rich historical context for possible stories. I think that's where some writers shoot themselves in the foot: the refuse to experience life. I think you have to continuously put new information into your head about other times, other cultures in other times, and just the life experiences of people past and present. When it comes time to sit in front of the PowerBook (you do a Mac, don't you? No? Tsk. Tsk.,) you have a much richer palette of colors to inspire your work. Without it, you'll get writer's block and maybe give up, thinking you can't write that story you're working. Well, you can, but first you just need a little more back story, or some cultural pastiche, or a better understanding of the life your character would have lived.

Gutenberg.org is a never-ending supply of real-life history. By that, I mean, there are speeches people gave, diaries, newspapers, periodicals, &c. Try it, you'll like it!



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