Origins of Creativity in Writing

There are numerous Blogfests running on any given day. Some are ongoing and others are one shots. With all that run, I do tend to pick around the lot, finding the ones that really interest me…and, hopefully, you.

Origins: When did your writing dream begin? is the brain child of DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude,  and he has three co-hosts: Katie Mills aka Creepy Query Girl ; Matthew MacNish at The QQQE ; and Alex Cavanaugh at Alex J. Cavanaugh.

To find the other blogs participating in this blogfest, click HERE or the Origins logo. There are close to 200 writers participating. Check them out.

I’ve also written a Flash Fiction piece  Origins: Entitled on my creative fiction blog, Tale Spinning. I hope you enjoy the story.

I can’t really pinpoint an exact time when writing became one of my dreams. It feels like it’s always been there, at the back of everything I’ve done in my life.  I don’t feel I’ve ever been tied down to wanting to “be” just one thing, ever. When I have done that, I find that I tend to get bored: especially the times when I’ve played the money game (read: non-creative pursuits).

As a kid, I read comics, watched TV and went to the movies. Outside of school projects, I would create little things for myself. Mini-comics were a way to pass time when I was bored in class. I’d take paper and fold it down, and then again, creating a sequential booklet for myself to draw in (lots of stick figures) and write short pieces. These would get passed around to friends later. I don’t remember ever getting caught.

There were stories I wrote for sleep-away camp newspapers, mainly mash-ups (yes, plagiarisms) of others work, combining different elements into one piece. While never criticized for that, I was often praised for “imaginative writing” and writing skills. I knew the truth, and just shrugged my shoulders.

High school changed that. I worked on the DeWitt Clinton newspaper for a year, writing articles, learning the craft of setting up the newspaper from scratch. I was really involved, and was going to be promoted to an editor’s slot when my parents told me we were moving to Westchester County. While my dreams of the paper were shot at that point (the new HS paper was not very open to someone new coming in), I did continue to write.

Off and on, I would write poetry, short stories, begin ideas for novels…and more times than not they would languish, first just as a pile of legal pad paper and then committed electronically and saved. All through this, I was always hoping I’d have my name on a book (or comic book) as a writer. It was a passing dream that wove itself throughout most of my life, a goal I always hoped I’d achieve.

2011 saw a new stage of writing for me. I created my second blog, Tale Spinning, for experiments in creative writing. Starting only in February of that year, I wound up writing close to 200 short pieces of fiction. I’ve now had two short stories published in anthologies, have my own eStory published, received a number of blogging/writing awards, been asked to write a number of guest blogs, and have won a few online writing contests.

Still to come: holding that physical book with my name on the cover in my hands.

For The Creative Writer In You: A Challenge

Join Us In The Rule of Three Writers Challenge BlogFest!

Final Day to Sign Up: Monday October 3, 2011

I am co-hosting an exciting creative writing blog challenge, and I hope you will join the over 40 writers participating!

During October 2011, venture into the shared world of Renaissance (information below). You will create three characters set in that world: any genre, any time period. During the course of four weekly postings you will craft your tale where your three characters interact, or not, winding up in one great cumulative story. Each Friday, you will be given a set of prompts to move you along until you reach your climax. There is the chance to discover new writers, see a different side of ones you already admire, and hopefully have tons of fun doing this: you might also win some prizes. Read on!!
REN3<a href=””><img src=”; alt=”REN3″ width=”242″ height=”242″ /></a>

Grab this code for the badge created by the wonderful Portia Burton, Concept by the equally wonderful Lisa Vooght

The Shared World: Renaissance

An outpost town in the middle of nowhere, but many routes (the TARGE, KRIS, and VILLEIN are the largest of routes, but not the only ones) pass through or by the town. The SCHIAVONA Desert is encroaching on one side (to the West), a once lush forest (the CULDEES) lies to the East and South. A large river, the ESPADON, runs through the forest of ASSART (to the north) but it is not close by. The ROUNDELI Mountains are also to the North, far, far away, and when you look towards them you don’t know if they are an illusion or not. Closer by are the smaller hill chain, the MAIN GAUCHE and the MINOR GAUCHE, that fed the mining, creating caverns (the KASTANES) and passages (one particular passage is known as HERIOT’S PASS) lie underground.

The town has had a number of identities throughout it’s history: A trading post; a mining town; a ghost town until it was rediscovered; a thriving community; the scene of a number of great battles; the scene of one great tragedy (that led to it’s Ghost Town standing); a town of great joys and celebrations, and so much more.

At this point in time, there is a general population of 333. A mixture of a community. It boasts families that have lived there for generations upon generations, but they are in the minority, and are not in positions of power. There are traders who have come back here, at the end of their many travails, to settle in. The new families and power players have taken this as a last refuge for themselves, hoping to rebuild lives torn apart on the way here.

EVERYONE has a secret!

Welcome to Renaissance.

Enjoy your stay.

For Full Guidelines & List of Prizes: Click Here

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…and:

Announcement: The Doll is a horror novelette by J.C. Martin that has only been read by a limited audience so far. It will be FREE for anyone who signs up on the Rule of Three linky list. We will email participants on the linky list with the direct link.

My Teaser Stories Set in Renaissance:

Renaissance: Prissy’s Story

Renaissance: Jewel’s Story


For those of you who don’t know it, I had a story published (my first) in July 2011. The story, “Redhead Riding,” can be found in the ebook anthology Dawn of Indie Romance. The proceeds go to a worthy charity that helps victims of natural disasters, so please support the book. It can be purchased at Amazon US, Amazon UK, or Smashwords..

The BIG announcement:

I am going to have a new story published around Halloween 2011! My story, “Trolling for Loving,” will be published in an anthology of the paranormal. I went outside the publishing box, so you won’t find any vampires or werewolves in my world. Trolls, Redcaps and the Ferrypeople of Hell? Oh, yes indeedy.  More info to come when it’s announced.

I Write Like…

Well, through Lisa Vooght of Flash Fiction (yes, she appears a lot here because we’ve become really good friends on this newfangled internetty thingy). She had writing analyzer site on her page entitled I Write Like.

So, I was curious. I write fiction on Tale Spinning. There have been a couple of interviews (some printed; more to come) where I get asked about my style. The best answer I’ve had is: I’m a creative chameleon. I think it fits me best, at this point. Writing what interests me at the moment, and playing with genres and styles, has left me open when I’m asked that question. Lisa asked me to take some of my work and put it in the analyzer.

So…to maybe answer the question of I Write Like…

Neil Gaiman               The Kistune-Mochi and Tora Baku

Chuck Palahniuk        The Unfolding Doll: A Tale From the Abysmal Dollhouse

Kurt Vonnegut            Bridge and Troll Authority

William Shakespeare       Sonnet: Unto Forever

Gertrude Stein                  Lev’s Love

Anne Rice                     The World That Holds Love

That is some combination of writers. I’ve linked the stories I chose to analyze so you can make your own mind up. This was a fun exercise for me.  The links are below. Let me know if you agree or not.


I write like
Neil Gaiman

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!


I write like
Chuck Palahniuk

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

I write like
Kurt Vonnegut

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

I write like
William Shakespeare

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

I write like
Gertrude Stein

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

I write like
Anne Rice

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

Interview with the Writer: S. Nager on S. Nager

For those of you not in the know, I am Co-Hosting a BlogFest starting in October, 2011: The Rule of Three Fiction Writers Blog Challenge.  We created a shared world, the Town of Renaissance, and gave it it’s (slight) back story/history.

The idea is simple:  create three main characters, set in the structure of Renaissance. The writer can choose any genre to write in and any time period of the history of the town. Once a week write a 500-600 word story dealing with one of the main characters (first three weeks) and then in the fourth week, write a culminating story tying up the pieces. The original inspiration came from Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, in which the same story was told by four different people from their own POVs. They all differed in the telling, but as a whole: what an amazing movie.

So…I hope you are interested in stretching your writing muscles. As to today’s post, on, McDuff:

The Rule of Three Co-Host Interviews:

Lisa Vooght
JC Martin
Damyanti Biswas

Portia Burton, illustrator

Lisa Vooght asked me a very interesting question  after I had posted JC Martin’s interview and was doing clean up on hers and Damyanti’s interviews:

“Are you going to answer the same questions and post them?”

Seriously, I had not been thinking about it at all. She thought it’d be silly of me (well, in other terms, but I’ll leave this as is) to not share my own comments to my questions. So, if you are tired of interviews: BLAME LISA! 🙂

As you should know by now, our BlogFest rules are up, and we’re taking names! The Rule of Three: Renaissance is now alive, and we hope the shared world approach appeals to you. The first prompt is all the way down at the bottom of the interview.

Click HERE for all the info you could possible need for our writing event. Send me any questions at my email address or leave it on the Rule of Three page and I or one of the others will do our best to answer you. So…time to get to know the last of the four hosts.

Can you tell the readers about Stuart Nager the author?

I still haven’t settled into the label of being a WRITER yet, or if I ever will. Right now, I find I’m doing exactly what I tell my students not to do: don’t compare yourself who is well known. It’s self defeating. I AM published (yes, only one short story does not a writer make, but…) and that does a lot for me. Next is to keep going this way.

How would you describe your writing style?

I am not sure how I would describe myself yet, as I’m still in the chameleon stage, writing in the creative voice that stirs me day to day. An outside reader may find I’m this way or that at this point in time (9/3/11). I do know I have an eclectic touch, I love using the ellipsis, tend to write some rambling sentences for effect, and I AM a Great Misspeller of Words. What I can say: I’m a writer who loves the feel of language, and how words can play together in ways one may not always see.

Are you a writer who blogs or a blogger who writes? Is there a difference?

Since you asked so nicely: I am a bit of a snob when it comes to this, and I don’t mean to disrespect some with my answer. I really don’t. I write, and blogging is the medium I am using, for the most part, to share my writing . Blogging is not my main goal in life, it’s a means to an end. I never thought I’d enter the world of the Blogger, which I DO think has it’s importance in the way we now connect with others.

What writer(s) have inspired you, and why?

  • Roger Zelazny for his bravery in breathless artistry, no matter what her wrote;
  • Michael Moorcock, for the savage writing chops he exhibited as a leader in the New Wave of Science Fiction writers of the 1960’s, and for giving me Elric and “Behold The Man”;
  • Isaac Asimov for just so much great writing (his Foundation series still stands as one great SciFi trilogy);
  • Kurt Vonnegut Jr. for his early work (sorry) that just threw me against the wall at times (still love “Slaughterhouse 5” and “Sirens of Titan”);
  • Albert Camus, for the existentialist part of me with “The Stranger”;
  • Ray Bradbury, for the amazing “The Martian Chronicle” and so much more; a strong moral voice
  • Robert Heinlein solely for “Stranger In A Strange Land” and creating Grokking. If you have to ask, then you don’t grok. You should. Everyone should Grok!
  • (ps: yes, I used a lot of Wikipedia links. Read it or not, and I won’t excuse myself for being a bit lazy).

What are your thoughts about self publishing? Have you already or do you plan to?

I’ve been told that if I want to be book published, that self publishing will work against you. But, that was told to me way before this surge of Kindle and Nook and all the online readers. If it’s the ONLY way to get your work out to the public, then so be it. Like movies, a lot of times what a studio (publisher) puts out and hypes is not always what I’m going to enjoy. Usually, I’m good with the less publicized ones. So, like indie musicians and indie movie makers: it does not always have to come from the big guns.

I AM thinking of trying my hand at it. More to come on that end. I have a few ideas that I’d like to do with that before I open my big fat mouth.

On top of it, my first published fiction story is self published, so how bad can it be?

I know you like Blogfests. Can you tell us what draws you to them? What was your favorite one?

I’m mixed about blogfests, so it’s funny that Damyanti approached me with the idea of starting one together. What I do like about them is that they get me to write for their deadlines, as opposed to my just meandering and procrastinating. I like writing from prompts, as it gives me a focus, and I’m normally an all over the place thinker. My favorite one that I’ve done is the A to Z one, as it’s what really got me on the track to writing fiction again. I’m pretty sure Renaissance RO3 will trump that one once it’s all said and done.

What bothers me is that sometimes it’s just a numbers game. That’s why I’m excited about this: I hope that it’s much more about writing and telling a good story.  I see a lot of things where people visit blogs only to get them to visit theirs. I would like good storytelling and writing to be the primary goal here.

You are one of the co-runners of The Rule of Three Fiction Writers Blog Fest. What excites you about this, to take this on

I am a concept guy, and creating the town of Renaissance was a blast. So simple in it’s setting, but there is a depth allowed in what is NOT said in the description. I’ve loved many shared worlds in my reading (Thieves World; Wild Cards; Borderland; etc.) and I love the movie by Akira Kurosawa, Rashomon. Put them together with using the Rule of Three trope, and…yes, I am excited. Big time. #REN3 RULES!!! Plus, I got to stretch and make the video, might make another one, and it’s really…just too cool.

I have also really enjoyed working with Damyanti, Lisa and JC and Portia. Getting to know them all on a different level has been amazing.  It’s been a great experience, both in the planning and learning parts.

Anything else you’d like the reader to know?

I am in the process of writing my first novel at the request of an agent: she asked for “a great love story” and I am doing my best to please her; I have about six other novel ideas (ouch, yes, pun intended) to write, but a great love story comes first; I continue to perform as a Storyteller around the country, as well as work as a Creative Drama Teaching Artist (and yes, I’m open for bookings in both areas); and…really, just trying to stay creative.  I’ve got two stories I’m working on also for submission, plus a possible new show I’ll be working on with an amazing interactive theater director…so, busy busy busy.

If you could have a summit with world leaders, and they HAD to answer your questions, what two or three questions would you want answered most?

  1. Who do you really serve?
  2. Why are we still acting like barbarian hordes protecting resources and land, when the whole world is hurting?
  3. Would you give up your personal medical and other benefits if the people you serve (supposedly) could have theirs?


And, as promised, the first prompt for the blogfest is:

Click Here (yes, I am a stinker, but all the info is there).

Interview with the Artist: Portia Burton

The Rule of Three Interviews: Illustrator Portia Burton

I met Portia Burton through one of the many FaceBook groups that I’ve been asked to join. You join a group, ask people to friend you within the group, and if you’re lucky, it does not turn into a High School clique, but one of friendship, nurturing and support. I am pretty sure I sent in the request to her (she’ll correct me if I’m wrong), and it was to my utmost pleasure that Portia “friended” me.

Ms. Burton was gracious to be one of the illustrators asked to design a badge for the Rule of Three Blog challenge I am co-hosting. The four of us went back and forth over the designs, and in the end, it was Portia’s badge we chose. You can see it on my sidebar. Since it’s already up on my site Tale Spinning in many ways, I won’t re-post it here. If you want full information, click HERE.

You can visit Portia’s blog, Portia’s World, and read her lovely poetry and see her amazing art. Become a fan. I am.

So, let me introduce you to: Portia Burton:

Tell us a little about Portia the artist.

‘Portia the artist’ may be a misnomer! I just developed my own latent talent for lines and colours myself, following some renowned artists like Van Gogh etc. I learned from art study books and mostly by ‘trial and error’ method.initially I copied many a famous paintings but soon started to express myself in water colour and also in oil on canvas. It was but natural because being a romantic poet at heart I was bound to paint to express ‘the colourful visions’ that I often get and which can not be expressed in words. Though I haven’t done much paintings as such, I do adorn my poems with illustrations, because for me words and colours go hand in hand. You may find such ‘illustrated’ poems on my blog ‘Portia’s World‘. I am also attaching some of my paintings here.

What inspires you in for illustrations?

:Not any inspiration but a strong urge to create something colourful makes me paint and illustrate. I always carry a sketch book with me while traveling by tube and draw instant sketches of any fellow passengers whose typical manners catch my fancy or just do ‘fractals’ with colorful sketch won’t believe but the best place for me to design illustrations for my poems is the Church!In that serene atmosphere my words and allied illustrations automatically loose their rough contours and become fluid. I go there mostly in the late afternoon when there is hardly anyone there except for the friendly pastor.He is the first reader of my poems!

Your blog is very inspirational. Can you tell us about the passion(s) that drive you?

:My motivation comes mainly from my mother. She is a wonderful person,very strong in the face of adversities and very gentle like a flower at heart. Though she is a scientist,she is a believer and I have molded myself after her.  Only because of her I have this particular humanist mindset. During the recent London riots I saw how she is made of steel. She was in the forefront when people of our area took upon themselves to clean the litter left behind by the rioters even though she is undergoing therapy for cancer! She thus inspires me and I feel it is my duty to inspire others. LOVE, yes, Love is the passion that drives me. I am so full of love!

You created an absolutely beautiful badge for The Rule Of Three Blog Challenge. Can you tell us the process you went through to create it?
:Oh, steeped in the culture where ‘coat of arms’ or ‘shields’ are everywhere to be seen,it wasn’t much of an effort! The motto ‘Through Words We reveal’ gave me the idea. So I have drawn an open book and a pen in the center, oh, I couldn’t help but write some ‘words’ from Shakespeare on that ‘book’! It was all done in a couple of hours.

What are you working on next? Any large project?
:there are many ideas in my mind but these days I have to devote almost all my time to my ailing mother, but yes, I would like to paint a series of illustrations on ‘the book of revelations’.

Anything else you’d like to say?


Thank you Portia. I hope everyone has a chance to get to explore your site and get to know you.

If you want to see two other pieces of her art, I’ve used them to adorn a story (Are Not You He?) and a poem (He Was the Melody). Please check them out.

The Rule of Three Interview Series

JC Martin,

Lisa Vooght,

Damyanti Biswas

In Case You Missed It-Our Teaser Trailer:

Announcing: The Rule of Three Fiction Blog Challenge

REN3<a href=””><img src=”; alt=”REN3″ width=”200″ height=”200″ /></a>

Grab this code for the badge created by the wonderful Portia Burton, Concept by the equally wonderful Lisa Vooght

The Rule of Three Fiction Writing Blog Challenge

Once upon a time, four Writers Who Blog (WWB) got together to create a shared world, the Town of Renaissance, where they invite writers to come and take up residence and explore it’s environ and citizens. During the month of October 2011, once a week, a story will emerge, linking three characters into one final cumulative story. It’s up to you, the writer, to choose the way they interact, or not, and how the final story in the fourth week ends is the journey’s end. Damyanti Biswas, Lisa Vooght, and JC Martin and I are the WWB, and we welcome you to Renaissance. Enjoy your stay. Oh…one last thing…

Everyone Has A Secret!!

If you are a writer of fiction or know someone who is, please join us for an amazing journey into a world you help create.

Click HERE to go to the page

OH…and there are PRIZES TOO!!

Our Teaser Video, in case you missed it:

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