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This appears in the opening paragraph of which famous science fiction book?
“A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct. This every sister of the Bene Gesserit knows. To begin your study of the life of Muad’Dib, then, take care that you first place him in his time: born in the 57th year of the Padishah Emperor, Shaddam IV.
— from “Manual of Muad’Dib” by the Princess Irulan”
If you know the answer, post away in the comment section below!
Our guest post today is by Valerie Johnston who talks about something that affects many people, and how writing can help.
Those with mental health disorders like bipolar may find that they often feel alone, confused, and depressed by their lack of control over thoughts and emotions. Often, those feelings can become so overwhelming that they don’t know where to turn. While there are many different approaches to dealing with the symptoms of mental health disorders, one solution that has proven to be effective is writing as a form of creative expression.
In fact, in a fairly well-known case, a woman who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (manic depression) for years began writing her own blog about her condition, her thoughts, and anything she felt like. Since she began her blog, she continues to condone writing as a manner of better dealing with mental health. Why does putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard have such a direct effect on mental illness? There are several reasons why artistic creativity can work.
Expression without Judgment
Almost anyone who suffers from a mental health disorder will indicate that they often feel lonely. Because of their disorder, they separate themselves from others in fear of constant criticism or judgment. Unfortunately, there are outsiders who think conditions like clinical depression or bipolar are signs of weakness. They are not weakness. Anyone can be affected by mental health disorders, no matter how strong or weak they may be.
Someone who feels alone or too often criticized because of their disorder will be able to express themselves – their thoughts, hopes, dreams, and emotions, without feeling like they’re being judged.
Another problem that people with mental health disorders may deal with would be disorganized thoughts. They may have trouble focusing on daily tasks, and this can interrupt their work life as well as their personal one. By writing down the thoughts, they may find it easier to put them into some type of organization. This can make it easier for them to put that organization to work in the rest of their lives.
People who suffer from bipolar disorder have the most trouble controlling their emotions. They may go through episodes of severe depression when they feel hopeless or even suicidal. They will also go through episodes of uncontrolled elation. These are called “manic” episodes and they can be dangerous too since the person may make poor decisions, may forget things they’re supposed to do, or may even specifically put their life in danger.
Often, a bipolar person feels that they have to bottle up their emotions and not show the episodes from which they suffer. By keeping those feelings to themselves, they may eventually not know how to deal with them anymore. By writing and creative expression, they can get those emotions out on paper or on the computer screen. This release may be just what they need to get through an episode.
Understanding the Mind
The mind works in mysterious ways to most of us. It can go from extreme happiness to sadness in an instant even for healthy people. For those suffering from bipolar or clinical depression, these severe changes in emotion can be amplified to a point that their lives are ruled by this aspect of their mind. Often, the mind simply needs a controlling factor or something that forces it to think in a different way.
Through creative expression, someone with emotional or mental health disorders can ease a number of their symptoms. The writing process forces the brain to think in a more organized manner. It also allows the person to feel like they have an emotional release for their feelings. It can even make them feel less alone and judged, even if no one ever reads what they wrote.
Thank you, Valerie! If you have any questions for Valerie feel free to use the comment section below.
Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.
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I searched the internet for the right definition of what Science Fiction is; but, there were very few choices to pull from. Here is one I liked:
“Science fiction allows us to understand and experience our past, present, and future in terms of an imagined future.” —Kathryn Cramer, The Ascent of Wonder (1994)
Let’s turn to Wikipedia to look more closely to what “science” entails:
” ‘Science’ refers to the body of reliable knowledge itself, of the type that can be logically and rationally explained.”
In order words, you need to have physical evidence to support that this particular hypothesis is true, and not junk science; however, not everything can be physically proven. In the past (not so much now), this was where philosophy came in; hence, could this hypothesis be “logically and rationally explained” by using observations and assumptions that could be supported through experimentation?
Science fiction is different from Fantasy in that it is based on possibilities, whereas Fantasy is well, not (entirely) possible.
For those who grew up during the 1950s and 1960s, how many Science Fiction stories have you watched (Star Trek anyone?) or read where certain technology has been taken and made into reality today? Does any specific gadgets come to mind?
Those who write Science Fiction are fascinated with the seemingly unlimited possibilities, with what mankind can accomplish when using various forms/areas of science whether it be for good or for evil. There are those who write to explore the many possible outcomes through alternate worlds or timelines (what would our world be like if Germany had won World War II?), or explore the consequences of various types of technology (what would our world be like if computers took over, and mankind became either slaves or extinct?).
Science is a very broad field which provides writers with almost endless choices for story ideas when writing fiction.
Walter Shillington is with us today to talk about other publishing options that writers have. If you have any questions for Walter, feel free to leave a comment below.
(Note: Due to computer issues, the post below didn’t align as it should.)
PUBLISHING THROUGH AMAZON KINDLE
At some point every writer feels that their time has come. They’ve learned the ropes, practiced their
techniques and honed their skills. They are confident of their ability and ready to take the plunge.
Traditionally an author, ready to be published, would find an agent and work to secure a lucrative
contract with a reputable publishing house. If successful, the writer could begin work on his next book
while his publisher edits the first novel, designs the cover and places the book into bookstores.
It’s an expensive proposition for a publisher to take on a new author. They must be fully confident
in his ability and convinced that he will continue to produce over the life of his contract. The average
publishing houses already represents many established writers and, unfortunately, adds few new
authors each year.
For those with time and patience, I’d advise checking around for an agent or sending a letter of inquiry
to the various publishing houses. It will take months – maybe years – but that doesn’t mean you can’t
work on your second novel while you’re trying to sell the first. The time won’t be wasted.
For those who can’t wait or have a drawer full of rejection letters, there is another way. You can
become an independent writer and publish with the aid of companies such as Amazon, Apple, KOBO
These companies will make your work available at no cost to yourself. Those that purchase your novel
will pay the company and a healthy commission will be passed onto you. Note that books printed by
these companies are printed on demand and, therefore, are more expensive than a traditionally printed
book. EBooks are produced relatively inexpensively.
I publish through Amazon Kindle and this article will concentrate on Amazon and their methods.
Before a writer makes the decision to publish he should ensure the following steps are complete:
• He is entirely satisfied with his novel.
• The book has been edited by a competent editor. This could be a professional editor, a school
teacher or a university graduate who has majored in English.
• A book cover has been designed with the specific intention of drawing potential readers.
Specifications required by Amazon Kindle can be found here.
• A description of the book’s contents has been composed. This must be no more than 4000
characters in length. The potential customer uses this outline to help decide whether or not to
purchase the novel. Time spent preparing this description will not be wasted.
• The writer has pinpointed his target audience and has decided upon a price point.
• If necessary, a unique ISBN number should have already been acquired. Before a book can be
sold in a tradition bookstore, it must have an International Standard Book Number.
• The author is prepared to spend a great deal of time promoting his work.
The next step is to create an Amazon account at kdp.amazon.com. Choose the option to
Signup. Submit your email address and select I am a new customer. At this point you will be prompted
to register. Once registered, Amazon will provide you with a Bookshelf and a Reports section. The
Bookshelf lists your books and the Reports section is used to track sales. It is important to read through
the information pertaining to Kindle Direct Publishing to ensure you fully understand how the system
Then navigate to your Bookshelf. Select Add New Book. This will bring you to the page used to submit
the book’s details. Each section of this form provides information that guides you through the various
During this process you will upload your book file and book cover to their server. Once the form is
completed, select publish. Within twelve hours your book will be offered for sale throughout much of
It’s a great feeling to be published but, remember, that is only half the job. Be prepared to spend
countless hours promoting your work. If no one knows your novel exists, it will be lost among the
millions of available on Kindle.
Walter Shillington is authors the popular weekly serial, Difficult Times – An Alien Invasion Serial.
His new book, which encompasses the entire first season, can be located here. His website, Walter
Shillington’s Author’s Workshop, contains numerous articles aimed toward the novice writer.
I’ve searched the internet for a precise answer to this question, but so far I’ve yet to find any.
Let’s turn to the Merriam-Webster dictionary to see what the word cult means:
a. “great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (film or book).”
b. “the object of such devotion.”
c. “usually a small group of people characterized by such devotion.”
In essence, a cult is a following (usually small) of people who are devoted or loyal to a cause, person, or work. Something about that work or person resonated strongly with the individual, and changed his or her way of looking at things.
The best explanation of what a cult fiction is was given by Sam Leith:
“…the sort of that people wear like a leather jacket or carry around like a totem. The book that rewires your head…gives you a way of thinking about your self as a woman, or a voice in your head that makes it feel okay to be a teenager; conjures into being a character who becomes a permanent inhabitant of your mental flophouse.” (Sam Leith, taken from Telegraph.co.uk., 4-24-08)
Here’s a small list of examples of cult fiction:
1. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
3. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
4. The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
5. Dune by Frank Herbert
Which work of cult fiction changed your way of thinking?