The Nikola Tesla Guide to Writing

Albert Berg’s Unsanity Files is one of the blogs I follow, enjoy, and draw inspiration from. Here is a uniqute take on Nikola Tesla, the famous inventor who held more than 100 patents. Albert discovered more than electro-mechanical genius in Tesla’s book, “My Inventions.” Here are several valuable principles about writing he discovered.  Enjoy

The Unsanity Files

Those of you who follow my Twitter feed know that I recently finished reading a book called My Inventions by Nikola Tesla. Before reading this book, I had a nominal knowledge of Tesla. I read a short biography on him back when I was in high school, and I was aware of his hero status on the internet, but reading his life story in his own words gave me a new appreciation for the man.

As a child who grew up idolizing the likes of Thomas Edison, and dreaming of what it might be like to have a career as an inventor, Tesla has always held a special place in my heart. But as a writer, I realized that his approach to life was something I could emulate as a writer as well. What follows is a short list of the things I learned from Tesla’s life that I think could benefit writers…

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Quiz: Who Said These Words on the Senate Floor?

No prize for the answer to this one, but in today’s climate, it is an eye-opener to realize these words were spoken by an earlier generation’s, “severe conservative.”  Unlike today’s crop, this man was always respected for his integrity and the strength of his convictions:

“I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C’, and ‘D.’ Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of ‘conservatism.’” – Sen. Barry Goldwater, Sept. 16. 1981.

From Richard Brenneman’s blog, eats shoots ‘n leaves:

An Interesting Take on the Publishing World

I’ve been following Kristen Lamb’s blog for a while.  I’ve picked up some useful writing tips, like the recommendation that led me to Save the Cat.

Ms. Lamb is also a keen observer of changes roiling the publishing industry, and her latest post is worth a look by anyone with an interest in that world.  The post is called,  “Bracing for Impact – The Future of Big Publishing in the New Paradigm.”

The author makes several key points:

  1. The music industry was the first to get steamrolled by new technology.  They buried their heads in the sand and thought their customers were music stores when they really were music lovers.  I don’t buy CD’s anymore, do you?
  2. Kodak went bankrupt because management thought they were a film company.  They forgot the vision of George Eastman, their founder, who knew their customers cared about pictures, not film.
  3. Finally, Ms. Lamb quotes a startling line in an Author’s Guild report:  “For book publishers, the relevant market isn’t readers (direct sales are few), but booksellers.”   I read this a few times and found the analogy to a car wreck very appropriate. 

Ms. Lamb offer suggestions to traditional publishers – the same message she sent to their headquarters in the past, to no avail.  For instance, what if the Big Six developed their own ebook divisions where new authors could get a launch, and a print contract later if online sales were strong?  Why couldn’t they design apps for smart phones and e-readers, and set them up so that indie bookstores could help customers with downloads and get a commission in the process?

There’s much in this post of interest, including a link to another blog that details the latest turf war between Amazon and everyone else.   Everywhere you look are signs that traditional publishing has hit an iceberg.  Kristen Lamb, among many other things, does an excellent job in helping us sort this out.