Research Bulletin: How Children Make Sense of Impossible Events in Fiction

This is an interesting study by J.W. Van de Vondervoort and O. Friedman that reveals an ability in children to easily differentiate between fantasy and reality.

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Stories Within Stories

In the world of words, creativity is not restricted to writers: reading is creative, too. Even if neither is aware of the process, readers complete a story by understanding, interpreting and meshing it with their own inner narratives. A reader brings his or her own ‘voice’ to the task. It’s a collaborative process. And sometimes, the meaning readers make from a tale is not what the author intended: writers must release their stories to make their own relationships with their audience. Without readers would there be writers?

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Switching Gender…er…Genre

Twitter: @TrishaNicholson   Hell is a place where nothing connects with nothing. —Dante In the last couple of years I’ve authored two travelogues, and a third, much longer one about Papua New Guinea, is in the pipeline. But this week, …

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Storyteller and Filmmaker Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog Talks About The Chicken Twins

In this video, German filmmaker Werner Herzog (@wernerherzog) appears in conversation with acclaimed author and essayist, Pico Iyer at UC Santa Barbara. I’m not sure how many times I’ve watched and listened to it, but I find it to be one of the finest examples of storytelling. On the back of Herzog’s engaging delivery, the story naturally unfolds and numerous peculiar surprises are revealed from one moment to the next.

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Season’s Greetings and Thank you~* Dear Friends, I would like to extend my deep appreciation to each of you Creative Flux writers and contributors for generously sharing your visions with this community. You never failed to spark the curiosity and …

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CF Nominated for “One Lovely Blog Award”

Thank you, Thomas Drinkard (@ThomasDrinkard), for nominating Creative Flux for the “One Lovely Blog Award”!

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“…I Paint My Dream”

Friends, I’ve missed you all! And back in April/May, when I mentioned on Twitter that I would be taking a break from curating Creative Flux, I hadn’t expected to be away so long. But events of the last six months redefined my time and priorities.

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CF Nominated for “Inspiring Blog Award”

*** Updated! *** I am honored and thrilled that Creative Flux has been nominated for the “Inspiring Blog Award” by Marina Sofia (@MarinaSofia8), author of the blog “Finding Time to Write.”

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The Story Behind Your Story

Every once in awhile, I get an email with an embedded video from Britain’s Got Talent, The Voice, American Idol or some other talent discovery program. The message accompanying these videos is always similar: “This is so uplifting. You’ve got to watch this!” Being a sucker for inspiring stories, I usually do…even though I know they’re designed to pull on my heart strings.

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How I Survived Inside a Crocodile

For some, fiction and non-fiction are poles apart, for others they seem at times to merge with less than desirable results. In amongst this is the hapless writer of travelogue.

Somebody posted a link on Twitter a few months ago with a list of ‘active verbs for writing fiction’. These lists and reminders are often stimulating so I re-tweeted it. The sender thanked me and must have checked out my bio because she added, “sorry, I don’t have a list for non-fiction writers.” We need a separate language for non-fiction writers?

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Enjoy the Ride

I’m convinced that the creative process for fiction writers is a messy mixture of imagination, insecurity, and wee bit of insanity. Combine ingredients, shake well, then get the synapses to start firing, and wait for sheer genius to flow from every pore in your body.

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Confessions of a Rogue Ink Slinger

My biggest fear as a writer is that the Grammar Police will hunt me down, confiscate my Ink Slinger’s Permit, and sentence me to Life Without Paper Or Ink.

You see, I’m not officially Licensed to Write. I don’t have an MFA degree, creative writing workshop certificate or good high school English scores.

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Going Beyond the Beyond

I don’t like horror movies—even squashed bugs gross me out—but I love the movie Flatliners. I love that concept of what’s beyond the beyond.

You know how it is whenever we start a story, how we’re flames alight, burning up everything around us, the very atoms of the air fuel for our creation? Our characters walk among mortals like creatures from a visionary universe. They live and breathe, crack wise, laugh, put a tender hands on our arm.

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The ART of Book Promotion

In the Digital Age, promotion is a daily part of most authors’ lives, whether they like it or not. Considered by many as two separate processes, writing is seen as creative and purposeful; promotion, a drudgery. Well, what if authors started thinking about promotion as part of their creative lives? What would a writer’s life look like if creativity and promotion were blended?

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Patrick Ross’ Creativity Tweets of the Week – 3/23/12

If it’s Friday, it’s time for my latest collection of links on creativity and writing I tweeted this week. There’s a lot to be said for reliability. Tourists will be coming here to D.C. through April 27th to take in our beautiful cherry trees in the 100th anniversary of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival . . .

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Planner or Pantser?

One of the questions I pose to writers when they’re interviewed on my blog is whether they write from an outline or by the “seat of their pants.”

Some are strict outliners. These are people whose minds are so orderly that they can create a detailed outline and work a novel from it. Following is an example of one extreme of the method.

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My Journey into Memoir

For years, like many others, I have felt I have had a book inside me. I have enjoyed writing since I was about ten years old when I wrote plays for my maternal grandmother, Nan and all her little Italian lady friends. I can still see them gathered in the living room sipping coffee and chattering on in Italian. I never understood a word but I can still feel their fascination and loving attention as they hushed each other when I stood at the archway to announce the play would begin.

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John Magnet Bell: Photographer

John Magnet Bell is a writer, translator and blogger, and many of you frequent his blog, “Start Your Novel.” This is the first writer-prompt site I ever discovered and I find his philosophy refreshing: “an adventure in open-source storytelling.” John freely gives away his ideas and encourages writers to run with them.

“Go wild,” he says. “I have tons of ideas. Why keep them all to myself?”

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What Artists Have to Say About Intuition

My favorite statement about how artists use intuition comes from Pablo Picasso. I have looked everywhere to try and find the precise quote, and can’t, but it went something like this…

Picasso told a friend that intuition was like having a carrier pigeon with a message land on your balcony. “The important thing is knowing that the pigeon has arrived,” he said, “you don’t have to unroll the message and read it.”

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Patrick Ross’ Creativity Tweets of the Week – 2/2/12

Your weekly treat has arrived early this week, as I’m reserving Friday for another post. Below find a highlight of links Itweeted on creativity and writing this week. Let me also invite any folks in the DC area who blog or are considering doing so to join me in a six-week workshop on blog writing I’ll be conducting at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

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Creativity’s The Easy Bit

Some say that creativity, coming up with great new ideas is hard. I disagree. I have no problems coming up with really novel and interesting ways of addressing problems. It’s about the most fun you can have. You chew on the problem, explore data and whet your tingling nerve endings. Then maybe a bit of incubation and perhaps some deliberate creativity techniques, from using the dictionary to find stimulating random words to bouncing ideas around with other people. And before long, there’s all kinds of great thoughts spouting out and spreading around.

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Training Creativity

Creativity erupts from some people like magma from a volcano; it requires no encouragement and you couldn’t stop it if you tried. Loathsome aren’t they? For most of us creativity is more like a puppy. It will frolic and play around the room, it may chew up our favorite slippers if left unattended, or it may wander off, curl up in its bed and nap. We have little control over what our cute little Muse will choose to do, and it rarely chooses to help pull the dogsled we call a Work In Progress.

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Twelve Things You Were Not Taught in School About Creative Thinking

You are creative. The artist is not a special person, each one of us is a special kind of artist. Every one of us is born a creative, spontaneous thinker. The only difference between people who are creative and people who are not is a simple belief.

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The Black Dress

This is a scene I wanted to include in my novel “My Memories of a Future Life.” Briefly, the narrator is a musician who is injured, and is clinging to the hope that rest will cure her. In the early part of the novel she is making bargains with fate–if she rests, the universe will give her back her playing and her life.

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Get Down with a Mashup

Gregg Fraley, author of Jack’s Notebook, gives a short interactive talk to the Institute of Cultural Research in London, July 2012.

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PSI and Forced Association

PSI is a simple approach that can be used in several ways.

As a simple thinking tool, it can trigger an effective thinking process.

As a framework for a whole approach, it can accommodate a number of methods of stimulating ideas.

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Happy New Year and Thank You!

I would like to express my gratitude to all the Creative Flux contributors for their high caliber work and stimulating insights, with my greatest appreciation to Terri Long who launched the site with her brilliant piece, “How Gender Roles Crush Creativity.” These thanks are also extended to all of you avid readers and savvy commenters.

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Festive Kwanzaa & Season’s Greetings to you all!

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A Sweet & Sour Christmas

The Christmas Story . . . in two parts.

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Can You Be Too Passionate About Music?

“Why some performers’ attitudes may hurt them.”
Becoming a professional musician requires an incredible amount of work, and having a passion for music can help motivate the many required hours of practice. But can a passion for music also be destructive?

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Music Appreciation: TEDxAmsterdam 2011 – Henkjan Honing

Henkjan Honing cites studies and engages his audience in auditory participation to shed light on how absolute pitch is very common and relative pitch is very special and fundamental in music appreciation.

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Stupidity Rules for Creative Professionals

To be innovative, enter the Zone of Productive Stupidity.

I’m having trouble being stupid. Productively stupid, that is. I have infinite reserves of unproductive stupidity—ignoring my car’s oil light, losing my wallet, hiring the wrong person. That’s the variety of a presidential candidate forgetting during a national debate which federal agencies he wants to eliminate (“Oops”).

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When Desperate, Flip

Shifting perspective on a challenge, the framing of it, can lead to some great insights and ideas.

When truly desperate to get out of the box, one creative tool is to turn the challenge upside down, inside out, or “flip it.”

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Being Prepared to Be Wrong

Whilst thinking about how to approach writing this piece on creativity, I happened to mention the subject on Twitter. When I introduce particular themes to my followers, it’s quite often a deliberate attempt to get ideas bouncing back and forth, in order that I might discover a new angle. On this occasion, however, it was just a passing mention. I mean, I’ve been writing for over twenty years—what could anyone out there really tell me about creativity?

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Oxygen

“Apply the oxygen mask to yourself before assisting your child.” The flight attendant’s instructions never fail to unnerve me. I understand the logic, but the words smack of selfishness.

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You Hate to Love Them, But You Can’t Help Yourself

Did you know that ‘monster’ and ‘demonstrate’ come from the same root word?

A monster is nothing if not an example, a reverse role model. Outlaws and monsters move in dangerous circles and they can see just fine in the dark, thank you very much.

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Dimensions of Creativity

You may have to be a little crazy but you don’t have to be unsystematic and unstructured to be creative: it’s more accessible than that.

Scientists and engineers are creative – the successful ones – the ones who take risks and have their Eureka moments. Tiny specks of matter, immersed in life-supporting fluids in a Petri dish flourish into cultures, new forms: how is this different to generating a story?…

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Calling on the Muse

“Even when you think nothing is happening, the creative process is always working.”
I’m going to state the obvious: The creative process is not the same for everyone. Each of us come to the page, the canvas, the instrument, the marble, the clay, with something we feel we need to express.

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Imagine You’re On A Ship

Twitter: @ReadHeavily Imagine you’re on a ship. Without warning, unknown sailors—or pirates, or your family, or your friends, it doesn’t really matter—tie you up. You can’t move your hands and feet. They toss you overboard. You sink. Air abandons you. …

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How Gender Roles Crush Creativity

Twitter: @tglong The recent firestorm surrounding the J Crew ad (also included below) that showed a mom painting her son’s toenails hot pink appalled me. Set aside the repulsive homophobia—Ms. Lyons, one naysayer complained, is “exploiting [her son] Beckett behind …

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Welcome

Welcome to Creative Flux, where artists and free-thinkers share their thoughts on the arts and the process of creation: be it the moment of inspiration or the follow-through to something concrete.

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