Craft-Research, Evelyn Copeland (Series), Reviews

Sex and the Weimar Republic by Laurie Marhoefer (Review)

It took me two months to read this book. Not because of bad writing or a vague premise. After every chapter I would shut the book and thin—which is something great non-fiction should make a reader do.

Laurie Marhoefer’s argument is the sexual liberalism of Germany’s Weimar Republic did not single handily bring about the rise of the Nazis. Sex happened to be just one piece in a million sized jigsaw puzzle in German fascism.

The strongest points of the work focus on the liberal press, LGBTQ+ activism, and public health. Various publications of magazines, novels and tristes, offered to educate the public on sexual expressions. Education emboldened men and women to seek out others in bars, organizations, and clubs. Less severe criminalization of prostitution through the rise of public health, gave people choices they might not have had before. Open homosexuality was even tolerated in the Nazi party until it wasn’t (Ernst Rohm). Marhoefer does take detours into the various individuals behind certain political movements which loosen Marhoefer’s argument at times. But I never lost track of the main premise.

Sex is a tool to offer freedom or repression. The citizens of Germany experienced both extremes in just a couple of decades.

Craft-Writing, NaNoWriMo, Reviews

No Plot? No Problem! (Review)

noplotnoproblemI don’t like reading fiction while I’m dwelling on a stretch of my own writing. But I do enjoy non-fiction (perhaps it requires a different part of my brain to process the information?). Anyway, I picked up No Plot? No Problem! by one of the founders of NaNoWriMo. While it’s a long way from November, I thought Baty might have some interesting advice to dispense even if I wasn’t planning on hunkering down in a bunker somewhere with a typewriter for thirty days to complete a first draft.

If you’ve never sat down to finish a manuscript, by all means read the first 2/3 of the book. There’s some great advice in there. But for those who have finished a manuscript, it’s a bit repetitive. The last third, though, was Baty’s strongest part. Here he breaks it down into the four week writing process and what to expect. Even if you’ve not done a book in a month, eventually every novel fits into these stages at some point or another.

First Week

  • Shut off inner editor
  • Don’t agonize over the first sentence
  • Ride the momentum
  • Italicize not delete
  • Keep the story to yourself

Second Week

  • Don’t Get it right, get it written
  • Take care of yourself / no sick
  • Check in / 500 words or less

Third Week

  • Appraising your progress
  • Support network attacks
  • Try to crank out 12,000 words over a two day weekend by dividing the time into small workable chunks

Week Four

  • Love your body
  • Look for forgotten ideas
  • Cross early and keep writing
  • When it happens, tell everyone you know

Baty in week one through four hits the nail on the head with the momentum of any manuscript. One thing he repeated is you gotta get it down. Even if it’s crap or doesn’t make sense. Write it down. Type it. Do it long hand. Use any method you can to get it from your mind to a computer or a piece of paper.  As he so keenly said: “Don’t get it right. Get it written.”

Good advice.