Kindle Vella is live! This is Amazon's answer to Wattpage and other phone reading aps. First three chapters are free then there are tokens that are used to purchase for the other chapters. Great way to try out a story without committing.
Monday, July 19, 2021
Monday, December 28, 2020
Writing and stress has been worse this year than ever before. Mostly because we have this Covid fiasco hanging over our heads day in and day out. I miss so many things like hugging, smiling at people in the grocery store (but not in a weird way,) going out to dinner, normal stuff we took for granted.
Now back to writing... how to kick start the old writing muscle?
Find a challenge. Yes, there are still ways to find a challenge and meet it even in this crazy land we're living in.
I challenged my daughter, also a writer, to exchange chapters each week. So every Monday we send each other the chapter we finished that week. And yes! We are challenged to finish a chapter each week. We meet or facetime later in the week to discuss what we've read/edited.
It's time to step up and inspire yourself. Find someone to challenge you. Make you produce a chapter a week and get that book written.
Friday, December 11, 2020
In his book, On Writing, Stephen King said he once wrote in a laundry room with his typewriter on his knees.
I need my back to the wall. Weird quirk? Maybe but it's what I need to zone out. So I position the desk so I have a wall behind me. Not always easy depending on the layout of the room.
I need Poe. See that little guy there under the lamp? That's my Edgar Allan Poe action figure. He inspires.
Friday, November 20, 2020
I once read an idiom that said a person should not live because of their past, but in spite of it. Meaning no matter what bad stuff happened in your past you should not let it rule your life. Words to live by.
Now we're surrounded by Covid-19. It's in the news and all around us as we watch our friends, family and neighbors wear masks and do their best to maintain social distancing. We can't leave the house without seeing it, feeling the fear or indifference that seems to be everywhere. I know this stuff can act like a barrier between you and the page but there are some things we can do to make the words flow in spite of the virus.
Pour the wine.
Okay, that's an easy one. There's a bottle on the counter calling my name but that's for later.
Now I need to write, edit, and keep moving in the "write" direction. The first thing we need is space. Turn off the T.V. or just find another room to write in. Most of us are on laptops so our writing desk is portable. Find a room, shut the door and write. Stephen King used to put his little typewriter on his knees and create in the laundry room of his trailer. If he can do it there, we have no excuse.
Yes, pull out that story you've been working on and go back to the last chapter and start reading it. Out loud is best. Hear the rhythm of your words. This will pull you back into that fantasy land where your story was built. It should get your words moving again.
Not working yet? Go to your people.
Find other writers and talk about the craft, the market, and those ins and outs of dialog, story lines, the Hero's journey - anything but the virus.
Pull out your old writing books.
We all have them from Bird by Bird to On Writing to Writing Down the Bones. Find your favorites, find ones that challenge you and immerse yourself in the craft.
Last of all is the oldie but goodie; Ass in chair.
Sit down and put something on paper. Write something great, write something stupid but just write. Like every other part of the body your writing muscle needs exercise. So write.
Thursday, August 06, 2020
Monday, August 03, 2020
First, get yourself a good grammar book. I personally like Stunk & White. Just the facts here, no window dressing. Grammar is the basics of writing and just like any other skill you can learn it. Refer to the book with any questions that pop up. Make notes in the book. I use post it notes to flag pages where I know I'm weaker. Every now and then I page through it to reinforce those rules in my mind. After all, if you don't know the rules, how ya gonna break them?
Second, Writing Down the Bones by Annie Lamott. This book will show you some ins and outs of the writing life. It ain't all tea parties and book signings. Writers work. Hard.
Third, will give you some inspiration. Stephen King's On Writing. Find out where he came from an the work he did to get there. From disgusting laundry sheets filled with maggots to how he hit it big. Then he tells you about his own tool box of writing. His writing schedule and his self imposed discipline.
The key to writing your book, finishing your book is found in your daily routine. Prolific writers know this in their heart.
Monday, July 13, 2020
Fact; Writing isn't as easy as it seems.
Writers spend a lot of time in research looking up everything from where to put that comma to how to pick a lock or hot wire a car. They read about things like how did medieval warriors make their swords and maybe that's not going to be needed in this book, but hey! maybe someday they'll need this information. Writers are like that. They are fact gatherers.
When not researching details for their story or just randomly reading what ever seems interesting. Then there's the work. Getting that story out and into a computer or on paper - however you prefer to write. From that very first sentence to the final "The End" know that the work has just begun. From there you go to that Dreaded Second Draft.
Still there are questions that every writer ponders when making the decision to pursue this a career.
1. How long should a chapter be?
To this I'd say, don't worry about it. No chapter should be one or two pages long but the chapter is a scene. It's something in the story that happens in the same place in time. Get it all out. The where, the who, the what and why. Like when you go to visit a friend. No one cares about the car ride over there unless a giant alligator ate your tires. So get to the place. What happened when you go there and make sure everything you put in moves the story forward.
2. How many pages should my novel be?
This one is easy. Novels have word counts. Although it's not written in stone, its a good guideline. You don't have to stick to the rules but don't bend them too far out of shape, especially as a new writer.
3. How do I think up names?
This is the easiest part and for some its the question they dwell on too long. Just pick a name. A few good points? Make it easy to pronounce. Don't name two main characters with the same first letter or sound as this could confuse the writer. Darla and Darrell? Susan and Cindy? Tim and Tom? You want your character to stand out so give them a name that's unique to them.
Most writing programs have a word search. If later on you think you have to change that name just do a search and replace. Easy peasy.
4. I just want to write, why do I have to read?
Yes, if you're a writer you have to read. Pick up a book and learn what works for others and what doesn't. Ever read something and it pulls you right in? You see the scene and feel the emotion in the room? That's a good writer. Learn from them. Study them.
5. What's the best schedule for a writer?
Best schedule is that chunk of time that works for you. The best way to get something finished is to think of it as a job. You go to it every day at that chosen time. If you have an outside job you wouldn't tell your boss you weren't in the mood to work. You wouldn't say you'd rather slump on the couch and watch TV. No. You show up and get it done. Writers do that. They show up and write. I recommend Stephen King's book, On Writing. In it he says he sits down for 10 pages. If he's done by noon - great! He gets the rest of the day off. If he's still working on it at 5 pm he stays at his desk. It's his job. He get's it done.
6. What's the best way to learn how to write?
Best way to learn to write is the hardest question. First; Write! You can take all the classes you want and that will help.You need to have those basic tools of grammar and sentence structure first so you can put together a cohesive thought. Second; Find a writer group. Share you work and get feedback. Not all feed back will be great. The best way to use it is to really consider the comments and take what you need and leave the rest. It's a work in progress. You'll get there and figure it out.
No matter what, if you want to be a writer, keep going. Don't let your inner critic steal your fire. Go for it. Make it happen.
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
I was a reader and then the writing came naturally. Ideas flowed and the stories just had to be written. Now there are boxes of stories under my desk and in the closets. Maybe some under the bed, too.
Not all stories go anywhere. Some were just the start of an idea, but we put them aside and maybe someday....
So what, besides reading, is in a writer's tool box? First it has to be grammar. I like Stunk & White Elements of Style. It's a good basic book for grammar.
I used to recommend a good thesaurus and dictionary, too. However in the age of the personal PC, that stuff is now at your fingertips.
Aside from that a collection of basic information and writing books. Not every book will fit every writer. Look for character development books, one that will help you flesh out the people in your book. Just giving a character a name and description isn't enough. If you've ever done a character sketch you've learned that the more you know about your MC the easier it is to write their reactions, thoughts, and dialog.
Now, let's go to your genre. Is your book set in the present? The 1950's? Is it a story about where you live or a different area? Vampires? Crime?
Look to other more successful authors for the way they work their craft. I recommend Stephen King's On Writing and The Weekend Novelist. Both touch on the craft of writing and the discipline it takes to get things done. For without discipline where are we? Staring at half finished manuscripts and empty pages.
So, collect your books and make notes. Study your craft just as you would when you learn any other job.
Saturday, April 18, 2020
So why aren't I pumping out the words?
- Catching up on every movie I never wanted to watch or even knew existed.
- Laundry! Still letting it pile up so I have an excuse to make today; Laundry Day.
- Walk the dog... again. Face it, this Stay at Home order sure packs on the pounds.
- I finally have time to clean out that closet.
- Have to finish cleaning out that closet & hanging the clothes I pulled out and threw on the couch.
- The dog laid on the clothes so now we have another laundry day!
- It's lunchtime/snacktime/winetime. Gotta keep the schedule.
- Finally have time to watch that TV series everyone was talking about two years ago. Just one more episode...
- Its a good time to start that garden I've been thinking about
- I'll write at least one chapter today, I promise.
Monday, November 18, 2019
So I have my story idea but it's only that. A basic idea with nowhere to go. :(
Tonight after our NaNoWriMo write in I realized how pitiful this story is and that I have nothing. It's getting to a blah, blah, blah phase.
So I came home and googled "plot twists" with the intention of just grabbing number 3 on whatever list I found and to just write it.
I didn't do that.
Instead I found the most amazing plot twist sites.
Check out my fav which lists movies and how they used plot twists. That one is called. Reedsy Blog.
The next awesome plot twist site was found at the Writer's Den. This was a generator where you just click and you get your twist. This was fun! Gave me some good future story ideas, too.
My 3rd required more info. Add some details and you get the twist. That one was out of the UK (love that country!) The twists are here. Check them out and find some unique ideas.
That's it, I'm back to NaNo-ing! I have some ideas and I'm ready to write!
Write on, my friends. I'll see you in the pages....
Kindle Vella is live! This is Amazon's answer to Wattpage and other phone reading aps. First three chapters are free then there are to...
I'm a writer and proud to admit it. It never was that way, but it's okay now. I think once you accept you're who you are, wr...
Okay, all writers stay at home and write! You can't say you don't have the time. Some nasty virus gave you hours upon hours of free ...
They say that a writer needs to read. Most writers are avid readers before deciding to write, but some just decide to give it a try. Stil...