Teaching (and) writing fiction

The past couple of months I’ve been teaching a course on fiction writing at Volksuniversiteit Eindhoven. It was great, or at least I thought it was. Talking about something I love doing, something that is close to an addiction… writing fiction.

The students were great. They brought in their written work, which we talked about. What are the strengths of this author, what can be improved? What works, what doesn’t work? And most of all… why? When do you stop reading, what do we want to read more of, what is superfluous? But the students also raised great questions, and kept me sharp. Every class I would bring one story from a well-known author as an example, and they’d always ask… why did you want us to read this?

We have one extra meeting coming Tuesday, to discuss some works in progress that we’re aiming to send in to a contest. I’m really looking forward to it, and will also miss having this regular group to discuss writing with.

Join!

I’ve also realised that I want to continue reading and writing together with others. And that I like doing that in English, even though this first course was nice, Dutch is not the main language i enjoy writing fiction in. So I’ve started a Discord server and invite people to join who want to get involved with writing fiction as well. If there are enough people who want to do so in Dutch, that is also possible, but for now I’m starting out in English.

Sign up through my newly launched Patreon site and join the discussions, voice chats, assignments, challenges. Every month will focus on a different aspect of writing fiction, with writing challenges to participate in. Maybe I’ll see you there?

And if not online, hopefully in September another course will start at Volksuniversiteit Eindhoven, on creative writing. In English, this time! (Time and dates to be announced)

Writing on Medium and a new short story in a Publication

Writing, publishing, and writing some more… 35 short stories in the past eight months!

Lately I’ve been exploring different platforms where you can post your writing. And I’m enamored by specifically one of them: Medium. Writing on Medium has some clear positive features. Continue reading “Writing on Medium and a new short story in a Publication”

Anne Enright Writing Prompt

Writers don’t judge, they describe, Anne Enright says. “I am interested in the way that things that are latent become known.”

For some time I’ve been involved in something called ‘Write Club’, an initiative of some fellow short-story writers who felt it’s good to push yourself to write and edit more in order to bring yourself to a higher level as a writer, while doing this as part of a group trying to do the same thing. Continue reading “Anne Enright Writing Prompt”

Are you ready for Steady? For when you’re serious about writing

Serious writing requires serious support.

So… you would like to make (more) money with writing things. Sure. Easy peasy. Right? Well… are you ready for steady?

Well, maybe it’s not that easy. Earning steem is nice. Or getting paid for an article being published here or there. But it is also pretty unpredictable. At least it is less predictable than the amount of rent you need to pay each month. And let’s not forget the electricity bills, and all those other things that pile up. Living is expensive.

So I’d like to introduce to you: Steady. A tool used by quite some online writers and online magazines to get a steady flow of support.

Continue reading “Are you ready for Steady? For when you’re serious about writing”

Spark in the Darkness – Short Story

A story about… well, not going to spoil it.

I think I can say I’ve added another type of writing to my portfolio. After academic papers, poetry, philosophy for general audience and blogging-next up: fiction and short stories. Here is another short story I hope you’ll enjoy: ‘Spark in the Darkness’.

Part of my pull towards writing fiction lies in my enjoyment of reading. Mostly literary works, but the occasional dark detective and science-fiction, historical fantasy, what-not. (Did you know you can follow me on goodreads if you’re interested to see what I read? Yes, I know, this year I haven’t read much yet… too much writing going on.)

Continue reading “Spark in the Darkness – Short Story”

The Dike – Short story of a dike with an existential crisis

I’ve started to seriously write fiction. Today I published a short story from the point of view of a dike with an existential crisis.

Authors Note

I grew up in Haarlem, in the Netherlands, which is situated close to the North Sea and surrounded by dunes and dikes and wetlands. I remember once, as we were out on our bikes driving around, we passed a statue of a boy with his finger in the dike. Probably the one in Spaarnwoude (see image). I remember that my mother told me the story about how this boy Hans had saved the dike. He saw there was a little hole in the dike and put his finger in it, to stop the water from coming through. He was the ‘hero of Haarlem’, making sure the town was not flooded.

As I read about this story now, it turns out not to be a Dutch story at all, but an American one first published in 1865. It was written by Mary Mapes Dodge. So it’s American folklore about the Netherlands. Still, for me it is a Dutch story connected to my childhood.

Continue reading “The Dike – Short story of a dike with an existential crisis”

On the (end of the) commercialization of writing

What happens when money is involved in the process of thinking and writing? Is there a danger, or is it simply a neutral motivation?

The end of media?

In a time in which media seems to be of a growing importance in the personal every-day lives of people, conventional organisations that used to provide the content of these platforms are rapidly disappearing or changing their mode of business. Newspapers fire people or become based on a version of crowdfunding (for instance De Correspondent in the Netherlands), and people who try to come up with alternative have a difficult time doing so. As Medium-originator Ev Williams said:

“The vast majority of articles, videos, and other “content” we all consume on a daily basis is paid for — directly or indirectly — by corporations who are funding it in order to advance their goals. And it is measured, amplified, and rewarded based on its ability to do that. Period. As a result, we get…well, what we get. And it’s getting worse.”

Continue reading “On the (end of the) commercialization of writing”

Recensie: "Sterven voor een idee" / Of: Over levenskunst

Een vorm van kunst die me na aan het hart ligt is de levenskunst, een specifiek filosofische kijk op het leven, filosofie en kunst. Binnen de levenskunst gaat het erom dat kunst en filosofie niet zomaar dingen zijn waar je over praat, maar het zijn performatieve zaken. Je hele leven is een belichaming er van.
Continue reading “Recensie: "Sterven voor een idee" / Of: Over levenskunst”

Prologue to publishing the dissertation

It is because of the inner calling to reach for a new that is unrelated to the present, for that which lies beyond the realm of the possible, that I started out on this path and will continue to do so, in order to search for some form of truth while facing evidence that truth does not exist, to search for meaning in a meaningless world, to search for change in a world that is nothing more than eternal repetition.

At some point you’re ready to start working on it. The publication of what you’ve worked at for so many years. But rereading the prologue, I feel I’m finally ready to part with it. It has taken some time, some distance, it has taken writing another book in the meantime. But I’m ready to look into the long and arduous road of publishing The necessity of the impossible…

Here the prologue for your consideration: (And publishers are welcome, of course!)

“By choosing to write about the desire to reach the impossible and the closely related illusion of change, I have chosen to fail. To fail in life. And synonymously to fail in thinking.
Continue reading “Prologue to publishing the dissertation”

That delicate balance

Writing is more than an occupation. It’s a mind-set, a way of living as it requires a delicate balance between sense and non-sense, between life and love, between waste and production. It is not about having a lot of space, time or silence. It’s is having all those things in the right circumstances.

Writing is more than an occupation. It’s a mind-set, a way of living as it requires a delicate balance between sense and non-sense, between life and love, between waste and production. It is not about having a lot of space, time or silence. It’s is having all those things in the right circumstances.
Often it is easier to point out the factors that do not help in the process of writing. But cancelling out all those things is not the same as making it possible to write. But for sure, the men trying to break into the house last night, don’t really hep. Neither does receiving too many friends, reading boring books, and endless rain and cold. What does help is the little squirrel that comes by every morning to say hello. As does the nice cup of coffee with which to start my morning.
Probably this is all very personal, there is no real recipe to writing. Although I suggest these things for people not used to staring at the white space of the empty screen or piece of paper:

  1. Have a plan – either very detailed from day to day, paragraph to paragraph
  2. Dare to make time for your writing-project – knowing it will come to nothing. The reward of the writing itself should be the only reward aimed for. Other outcomes are a nice bonus.
  3. The right surrounding – there will be music that works good for writing, and music that does not.
  4. Try out different methods of writing to see what is your voice – do you write well just putting everything on paper and later on scratch 98% of it? Or are you an organised writer, seeming to ‘waste’ a lot of time thinking, but once you’re ready writing the whole chapter at once, based on a strict script? Find out for yourself!
  5. You need to fail. If you don’t fail, it means it’s a project not worthy of spending time on. Writing is about wanting to fail, not about wanting to succeed.

Image: Flооd via Compfight cc.