Ask Ivan Obolensky a question

      • Ivan Obolensky Ivan Obolensky 7 months ago
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      • I do, and after a time, you’ve seen them all. After you write a few books that you’re proud of, there is little anyone can say that can shake your confidence. Still, there are those who can use their words to wound, and some are very skilled at doing so—very skilled. They, too, have a gift, perhaps even a great one. The solution is to write better, and that comes from writing more precisely, concisely, and more brilliantly. Add a dash of inspired genius and serve over crushed ice. It works every time. It’s the ultimate pick me up.
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    • AllAuthor AllAuthor 7 months ago
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    • Have you ever experienced "Writer's Block"? Any tips you would like to share to overcome it?
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      • Ivan Obolensky Ivan Obolensky 7 months ago
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      • I have a thousand ideas in my head. If one doesn’t fly, there’s always another floating around. Can’t write? Do something else and then write down what it is you refused to, or could not, write about.
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    • AllAuthor AllAuthor 7 months ago
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    • Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
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      • Ivan Obolensky Ivan Obolensky 7 months ago
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      • Absolutely. The weird part is that the parts that readers think are made up, happened for the most part, and the parts that seem plausible are products of my imagination. The truth is life is a lot stranger than we have been allowed to believe.
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      • Ivan Obolensky Ivan Obolensky 7 months ago
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      • Not at all. I never knew I had a gift even though I was published in various school journals and readers would comment on my writing. It was easy for me, and that was the problem. When you’re really good at something, it’s easy. Take walking—the amount of brainpower required is phenomenal, but don’t we all take walking or even a quick jog for granted? You bet, but it was those very abilities that allowed our remote ancestors to run down any prey that they chose on the savannah; that, and the ability get into the mind of the prey and pick it out in a herd no matter how it moved and hid among the many. Nowadays we might call it intuition, maybe even ESP. Ah yes, another one of those. Our gifts make it seem easy to do, but great gifts, that is something more. They are often so pervasive in our lives that we don’t see them. Sometimes, we even label them as faults. We have a thousand reasons not to recognize them and so we don’t. We all have reasons to fail.
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    • AllAuthor AllAuthor 7 months ago
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    • What is that one thing you think readers generally don't know about your specific genre?
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      • Ivan Obolensky Ivan Obolensky 7 months ago
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      • My primary genre is gothic mystery, but I write in several others. The gothic novel was the literary reaction to the constraints of the Age of Enlightenment. It was particularly popular in Germany where gothic fiction works were called shudder novels.
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    • AllAuthor AllAuthor 7 months ago
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    • How do you think concepts such as Kindle, and e-books have changed the present or future of reading?
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      • Ivan Obolensky Ivan Obolensky 7 months ago
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      • They have made reading easier and with a built-in dictionary, what’s not to like? My Kindle is waterproof and built like a tank. I have a thousand books to read at my fingertips. The problem for the reader is the constant demands for attention that similarly connected devices demand. People don’t make the time to read because they can’t. Attention spans have withered, and the world keeps calling a thousand times a day. And we answer. The great thing about a normal book is that it doesn’t talk back. It just sits there. It’s only a book until it becomes a whole new world and whisks the reader far away.
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    • AllAuthor AllAuthor 7 months ago
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    • If you could choose three people to invite for a dinner party, who would they be and why?
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      • Ivan Obolensky Ivan Obolensky 7 months ago
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      • I would invite Oscar Wilde, Nancy Mitford, and my grandmother, Alice Astor. Food and drink would be in abundance and each of them know how to enjoy themselves. It would be one of those moments that can never be repeated. Quick! More champagne!
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      • Ivan Obolensky Ivan Obolensky 7 months ago
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      • The story floats though time, gaining ground, and touching more and more people in a way that brings them to a better place from which they can gain a better purchase on their lives. One changes the world, one reader at a time.
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      • Ivan Obolensky Ivan Obolensky 7 months ago
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      • Other than the fact that a book was published, which is a wild, impossibly unique moment, I realized that I had to take my writing seriously. Great gifts can slip through our fingers like so many grains of sand. Few fully know what their great gift really is, but once you know, you know. I look at it this way: if life gives you a solo, and I can assure not everyone has such an opportunity, one must seize the moment and say something, whether it be with words, musical notes, or extraordinary performance. It’s the price one pays for a great gift. Nothing less than the striving for greatness will suffice. For more on this, read my blog posts “A Giant Among Men” and “Notes on an Address by Joe Satriani”.
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      • Ivan Obolensky Ivan Obolensky 7 months ago
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      • About ten years ago, my wife asked me to write articles for her website to be translated into Spanish. One thing led to another, and here I am, enjoying every minute.
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      • Ivan Obolensky Ivan Obolensky 7 months ago
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      • There aren’t many: clarity, conciseness, genius, and a story to tell. Genius is required. There are a million billion voices out there. What makes yours any different? One must shine by means of a unique voice, and that requires genius—that little extra that makes all the difference. See my article “What is Genius?” for more about this.
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    • AllAuthor AllAuthor 7 months ago
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    • Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers?
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      • Ivan Obolensky Ivan Obolensky 7 months ago
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      • I have found that one must balance writing with other life pursuits. Writing is like sailing out to sea and being out of sight of land. One is surrounded by the ocean of one’s thoughts and little else. This can be wearing on one’s partner, as day-to-day requirements and contacts get subsumed in the rolling swells of the imagination. I welcome interruptions. These are life’s way of saying that writing, too, is tied to reality, not just the imagination. I cannot tell you the number of times that an interruption made me rethink, changed the plot line, and look at something in a different way that made the whole so much better. Writing is a marathon. Turn it into a sprint, and one will burn out long before one’s time. Be kind to your writing self and those who support you.
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