Saturday, December 25, 2010
It's A Wonderful Life
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
The Grinch Who Stole Confidence
Saturday, December 18, 2010
The Gift of Patience
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
The Exposition Blues
- Act first, explain later. Begin with a character in motion. Readers won't demand to know everything up front. You can drop in information as necessary.
- When you explain, do the iceberg. Don't tell us everything about the character's past history or current situation. Give us the 10% above the surface that is necessary to understand what's going on. Keep the other 90% a mystery.
- Set information inside confrontation. Using the character's thoughts or words, you can drip, drip, drip crucial information for the reader.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Fun With Book Dedications
- To my Sparkletts guy. Thanks for delivering water to my home in the boonies. I guzzle it every day while I'm pecking away on the keyboard.
- To Lifesavers. Your delicious hard candies are my constant companion when I'm writing (less white ones in the bag, please).
- To Colin Firth. Thanks for playing Mr. Darcy, and for wearing that white shirt in the lake scene.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
- Motivation: if we know that other people are keeping track of and monitoring our actions, we're motivated to produce. When we belong to a critique group, we're encouraged to write fresh pages. This keeps us moving forward.
- Improvement: when we're accountable, we work harder. When we work harder, our writing improves. No matter where we are in our writing lives, there's always room for advancement.
- Relationships: accountability promotes good working relationships. Our critique partners trust us, and vice versa. There's a sense of teamwork around each project we work on together.
- Courage: it's not easy putting ourselves out there. We pour our hearts and souls on the page, then offer it up for a thumbs up or thumbs down. This helps strengthen our body armor.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
- The best way to write better is to write more.
- The best way to write better is to write more.
- The best way to write better is to write more. (Hmmm, I'm noticing a pattern)
- Write whenever you can, even if it's only for five minutes.
- Read. (We all love reading, right?)
- Reread a beloved book. (I should do this more often)
- Save everything you write, even if you don't like it. Levine suggests keeping everything for at least 15 years. (Wow)
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Creating a Splash!
Today's post is all about Talli Roland. Her book, The Hating Game, released today!
Talli is one heck of a blogger, and a huge supporter of writers. Let's see if we can cause the folks at Amazon to scratch their heads in disbelief at how quickly Talli's book climbs up the list.
About THE HATING GAME:
When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy. After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £2000,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end?
Sounds awesome, right? I can totally picture this as a movie. Plus, doesn't everything sound better with a British accent?
The Hating Game on Amazon.co.uk
The Hating Game on Amazon.com
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Plot Road Blocks
The other night I was cruising along with my NaNoWriMo project. Then I hit a plot road block.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Writers Giving Thanks
- Evolving skills. We're not the same writers we were 12 months ago. Published or unpublished, we're constantly learning and growing.
- Seeking publication in this time of amazing opportunities. The industry is shifting before our eyes, and new avenues for publication are opening up.
- The blogging community. We all learn from each other, and I love how we're on this wild ride together. Bloggers and Tweeters are so generous with information and inspiration.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Writers, let's flex some muscle!
- Create a character that's a wee bit unlikable. Getting the reader to care about them isn't an easy task.
- Play with point of view. First to third? Third to first? Alternating?
- Consider changing the tense. Past to present, or vice versa. Staying on "tense alert" keeps us on our toes.
- If we're used to writing a female pov, we can try telling the story from a guy's point of view.
- Twist our regular genre into a pretzel. Dipping our toes into unfamiliar territory can be daunting, and exciting.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Brilliant Character Development
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Repairing A Jalopy
You see, our motorhome is more like a 32-foot-long jalopy, circa 1988. Having an older motorhome means we've made plenty of fond memories while stuck in oddball towns. The kids and I take in the local scenery as my husband digs through the motor, trying to figure out how to repair it.
The beautiful thing is, he always figures it out (my husband is a mechanical genius...but I digress). Each time he repairs our motorhome he gets to know it a little more. He learns what makes it tick, and what each noise is trying to tell him.
I liken it to reading through an early draft. It might squeak or hiss. It might wobble or thump. But as we read through it each time, we get to know it a little better. We figure out what's wrong, and if we don't know how to fix it, we'll learn. (Click here for Nathan Bransford's Revision Checklist.)
The beauty of a jalopy is this: we can enjoy it over and over again, making repairs along the way. We can polish it until it shines (almost) like my dream motorhome!
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
More than a four-day weekend
As we celebrate Veteran's Day this Thursday, November 11th, it's a good time to remember and appreciate those who volunteer to protect us.
Do you have a friend or family member who's a veteran or who's currently serving? I'd love to hear their story.
In the meantime, if you're feeling patriotic, check out these powerful videos:
"I Just Came Back From A War" by Darryl Worley
Courtesy of Jemi Fraser, a group of Canadian country artists sing "Standing Tall and True"
In the "Always makes me cry" category, Faith Hill sings our national anthem
Saturday, November 6, 2010
What We Hear vs. What's Said
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
- Start with a three act structure
- Create strong characters who readers will care about
- Envision a setting that is rich with sensory details
- In the early stages of Act 1, preferably on the first page, the main character should experience a disturbance to their regular life
- The transition from Act 1 to Act 2 happens when the MC is thrust into the middle of the story
- The middle of the story, Act 2, is a series of complications for the MC (I like to create a "make 'em suffer" list for this section)
- The transition from Act 2 to Act 3 happens when the MC reaches a point of no return
- Act 3 is the climax and denouement (add a twist!)
- Revise your story until it's so awesomely amazing that readers will line up around the block to demand a sequel. Well, this one probably doesn't belong, but I like the sound of it.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
NaNoWriMo -- Wicked Trick or Awesome Treat?
- How to grab them on page one by James Scott Bell
- NaNoWriMo: quick preparation tips and resources from Write it Sideways
- NaNoWriMo Boot Camp: Goals and Obstacles by Nathan Bransford
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
The Preacher's Bride
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Red pencil time?
- Rewriting strategically is only going to strengthen my book.
- Rewriting strategically is fun because I know what to do for each step.
- Rewriting is what separates the real pros from the wannabes.
- I don't wannabe a wannabe. I wanna be a pro. (I love this one! Must be said while stomping your feet.)
- A checkmark for pages where he feels the story is dragging.
- Parentheses around incomprehensible sentences. (Huh? I have those? Yep.)
- A circle in the margin where he thinks material needs to be added.
- A question mark for material he thinks might need to be cut. (My poor darlings!)
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
It's AJC Day!
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Celebrating "The End"
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Kids and Classics
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Leaky Faucet vs. Tidal Wave
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Conquering Writer's Block
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
- They don't have to be evil. They simply need a darn good reason for stopping the Lead.
- There needs to be something that glues the Lead to the antagonist. Why can't they simply walk away from each other?
- The antagonist should be as strong or stronger than the Lead.
- Is my antagonist interesting?
- Is he fully realized?
- Is he justified in his actions?
- Is he believable?
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
The Big Lie
- Get motivated. Write an inspirational statement and tape it to the computer. Read books and author bios and imagine your picture on the back cover. Take writing seriously.
- Try stuff. Reading about writing won't make us better writers. We grow when we learn how to do something, then actually do it.
- Stay loose. When we're anxious about our writing, it shows on the page. We need to loosen up and let our creativity have its way with us.
- "First get it written, then get it right." For me, this makes all the difference in the world. Our job with the first draft is to get the story down. Author/Agent Mandy Hubbard wrote a great post about this here.
- Set a quota. Bell suggests a word quota instead of a time limit, since minutes can easily tick by while the writer stares at a blank screen. He quotes Peter DeVries who once said, "I only write when I'm inspired, and I make sure I'm inspired every morning at 9 a.m."
- Don't give up. We've all heard that the difference between successful and unsuccessful writers is persistence. Bell reminds us to keep writing.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Just For Fun
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
The Next Generation Remembers 9/11
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
When Writers Remember
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Distractions, distractions ... SQUIRREL!
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
"We're not worthy!"
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Inner Editor...QUIET PLEASE!
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Spicing Up The Middle
- Analyze the stakes. What will our main character lose if she doesn't achieve her objective? Unless it's major, our readers won't care.
- Strengthen the adhesive. What ties the protagonist and the antagonist together? Keep it strong.
- Add another level of complication. Our poor little protagonists must be tortured by us heartless writers. We should think what's the worst that can happen? Then do it.
- Add another character. Someone from the past who makes things miserable for Ms. Protag? Hmmm.
- Add another subplot. Bell suggests we use this one sparingly, as the subplots must be organic.
- Push on through the wall. At this point, our confidence level may drop. We might feel as if our book is headed straight for the bottom of the bird cage. This is the wall, and Bell reminds us that most novelists hit it at some point in their first drafts.