> Writing in the 'Midst of Chaos' 1.

Writing in the 'Midst of Chaos' 1.

A continuing series

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Occasionally people ask, “How do you write every day? Doesn’t that take a lot of discipline?”

Well it does and it doesn’t. Remember that I am also an Anthropologist so I am familiar and comfortable with pending projects. Many years ago, right after college, I was also a journalist, [print media and television] and that gives you experience on meeting deadlines and bringing writing projects to a quick finish better than anything I know. Editors don’t have a sense of humor where deadlines are involved. There is no excuse that will satisfy them except maybe someone severed one of your legs then stole your car. Then they want to know why you didn’t “hop to it!”

People wonder how great it would be to sit by a window and just write. They imagine that we just relax and let the prose pour out of us like a turned-on faucet. But it’s never like that. You are not only writing to reach some deadline, yours or your publishers—but remember you have your life to contend with as well. Some days the words just won’t come and you wander around your house or the neighborhood or the mall and pray for the muse. Sometimes there is a breakup or a death or a family member is in peril or a friend has confided in you something you would rather have not heard. We all go through this but, as a creator of original work of some kind, it’s a real performance killer.

It’s the same for artists of all medium whether it’s literature, art, music, the dramatic arts and the rest. As a producer of original work, you must perform on good days and bad—most of the time because you told someone you could do that, and they believed you.

[To be continued...]

> TRIPS AND UPDATE | Alexandra Hamlet

TRIPS AND UPDATE | Alexandra Hamlet

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People keep asking me about book 2 of the Right Guard Trilogy Series. Is there one? When is it coming out? Am I working on it? Yes, to all your questions. It’s coming. Really!!! More info will be provided later but yes, there will be a second one soon and then a third. From there? Who knows…something to reveal in another blog later.

Some of the old characters and some new characters will appear in this second one, as well as new complications and locations. We recently visited Quebec, Canada to finish up some late research on locations in Montreal, Prevost, Saint-Hippolyte, Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts and many of their communities. As many of my readers know, I try to present my characters from real locations with accuracy, when possible. I guess that’s the anthropologist in my work. Yes, I do visit or know personally most of the locations I write about. When that’s not available, I work with others who intimately interact with the locations. So, it takes time. It’s not easy for people to be armchair authors anymore. The world is changing too rapidly and the earth’s landscapes and cities can shift in a heartbeat.

On my visits to some of my books’ future locations and speaking solely from my anthropology background, we have lost some of the world’s greatest ancient archeological treasures recently due to terror and ideology and to intercity growth and improvements. You can’t hold up humanities’ growth but why do some consider the loss so tragic? Our archeological and anthropological past assists in our understanding for future discoveries and directions of our humanity. It reminds us that every civilization has problems and difficulties to overcome. We learn and improve from past decisions and problem solving whether it be politics, conflict, medicine, art, architecture, technology and other fine points of culture. When our history is lost to us, civilizations can be clumsy and miss significant lessons in resolving new problems that face them. When we are too late in capturing and archiving these cultures, valuable information is lost to us forever.

Thank you, Quebec, for the wonderful visit. The North Woods folks and guides were fabulous at answering my questions. In Montreal, thanks to the great restaurants and bars, tour guides, the museums, the Basilique de Notre Dame in Montreal, the St. Lawrence views…the people who were so gracious and patient with my French. Thanks to all the rest who are not mentioned here and a special thanks to the owners and staff of Auberge du Lac Morency, in Saint-Hippolyte, Quebec for their hospitality. A rustic, charming and adventurous stay.

Happy travels in your own world. AH



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Have you always been a writer? Many of you are probably coming to writing from another job, or are writing while holding down a day job. Your day job may not feel like anthropology, or research for your writing, but if you take a few minutes each day and study your coworkers and friends, you are acting like an anthropologist. Duke defines anthropology as, “… (T)he study of the human as at once an individual, a product of society, and a maker of history and culture.” Anthropologists spend their entire day studying humans in different ways.

Emoting, Not Emoticons | Alexandra Hamlet

One of the ways to connect with your reader is to make them feel something. Creating an emotional connection can make a lasting impression on the reader, and keep them turning the page. When the reader feels connected with the story or characters she is more likely to recommend your book to a friend! Show, Not Tell Many of us grew up doing show AND tell at school, but this is a little different.

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Sat, Apr 1, 2017

Write Like A Spy | Alexandra Hamlet

The Right Guard is a very realistic spy thriller, and this is, in part, due to writing style. Writing like a spy may seem like a simple task, simply report on your activities and send off the report to your boss, right? However, the CIA has a Style Manual & Writer’s Guide for Intelligence Communications in which they outline exactly what they want in communications between CIA officers. Familiarizing yourself with this guide will help your book take on a more realistic tone because the voice of your character will be more authentically spy-like.

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Wed, Mar 15, 2017

Why Do I Need An Agent? | Alexandra Hamlet

Have you just finished a novel and you’re having trouble justifying getting a literary agent? Here are a few reasons why you do need one! Negotiation A literary agent is there to love your book and make sure you get the best deal possible. The agent should be able to find the best publisher to get your book on the store shelves. Your agent is the person that knows when to walk away or when to push for that advance or publicity commitment.

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Wed, Mar 1, 2017

So You Think You're Finished Writing Your Novel? | Alexandra Hamlet

Have you finally put the last touches on your novel? Now, you think you’re ready to start on the next step of your journey? Don’t put that book in the mail just yet! The search begins Most budding novelists don’t have the necessary connections to one of the big publishing houses to get their novel on an editor’s desks. Many first-time novelists work hard to secure a literary agent, the go-between for a novelist.

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A Report On The Not So Elegant

Are you just starting to write your own novel? Maybe you are half way through? Have you been writing every day to finish? Imagine writing reports for your superiors and not being able to find just the right word for the sentence. Would you just choose the first word that came to mind? Richard T. Puderbaugh wrote a later declassified document in 1993 about how officers use and abuse words while writing reports.

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Old Jobs = New Ideas

Most authors, whether they are famous or not, have held other jobs. Often, they use this previous work experience to inform their writing. To access those experiences to enrich your writing, you might pretend you’re in an interview with a new employer. Recall how many jobs you held before the one you’re in now? What kinds of people did you work with? What types of skills did you use? Previous Work Experience During an interview an employer will often ask for previous work experience.

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Hiring a Consultant? Here are Tips on What to Look For

Are there times when you feel like you’ve run head long into a wall from a business standpoint? Or have you come across something you’re not quite sure how to handle? Instances like these are when you should turn to a consultant. A consultant is an expert in a particular field that can be hired to give advice. A consultant can help your business out of a rut or advise on a specific problem.

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The CIA Museum

Do you know a spy buff who might enjoy a trip to the CIA Museum? Have you thought about taking the trip yourself? Well, according to their website it is not open to the public for tours, but the staff works with major museums and Presidential libraries to put together displays to promote a better understanding of what it means to gather intelligence and the role of the CIA in the United States.

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Understand the Social Structures Inside Your Novel

Social structure is one of the subtopics that a cultural anthropologist, like Alexandra Hamlet, studies. It is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the internal institutionalized relationships built up by persons living within a group (such as a family or community) especially with regard to the hierarchical organization of status and to the rules and principles regulating behavior.” As an author, you can utilize the social structure that surrounds your character to make him easier to relate to.

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Gathering Intelligence in the CIA and DIA

The United States of America has a long history of gathering intelligence to gain the upper hand on military forces inside our borders and out. According to the Defense Intelligence Agency website there are 16 different agencies and offices that work under the umbrella of “Intelligence Community” and are led by the Director of National Intelligence. Eric Brent, the protagonist of The Right Guard, is a member of the CIA or Central Intelligence Agency.

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Cultural Anthropology--The Study of What?

Anthropology has many sub-specialties, one of which is cultural anthropology. Generally speaking, anthropology is the study of humans, but more than that, it studies how they interact with each other and their environment. A background in anthropology benefits an author because that knowledge can be used to make stories feel more real. Cultural anthropology looks more closely at the differences between people and their cultures. Cultural anthropologists study how the culture shaped the world around them.

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Writing Your First Novel

Anthropologist, international lecturer, and consultant Alexandra Hamlet now has a new title–award winning author. In her first novel, Hamlet jumps deep into the military-intelligence world with her suspense-thriller The Right Guard. If you have been considering writing your own first novel, these steps can help you get started. The first step is to get words onto the page, no matter what those words are. Every novelist starts somewhere, and that starting point is getting words onto the page.
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