This week we experienced horror over the tragedy in Florida. Words can barely express the pain and despair that many of us feel. It’s time to pour the feelings onto the page. Use your voice to write your local politicians or channel the emotions into your characters. Your voice is a gift, a tool to share with others and a way to express some of the pain.
Curl up in a ball with a pint of ice cream or sweat it out in a cycle class if necessary but when you’re ready, come back to the page.
Don’t allow horror to become the new normal, to silence your voice.
As we draw close to Valentine’s Day, it is the ideal time to put love on the page. Select the story, poem or essay that will be the focus of your adoration. Commit to finishing a draft of a chapter (for shorter pieces, a complete draft). No corrections or overthinking are aloud. The task is to love your craft and express your gift.
Now is the time to prepare for a successful writing year. Let’s divide the process into three parts.
We’ll begin with the creation of an inventory list. Divide a page or word document into 2 columns. On the left side list all of your current writing resources (i.e. writing software, pens, blank journals, etc.).
Use the right the right side to create a list of needs (i.e. 2018 Writers Market, writers group and professional memberships). Create a simple plan to take care of these items (tap into your piggy bank, contact local libraries to find a writers group).
Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3.
2017 is drawing to a close and 2018 is racing towards us. Let’s embrace it, fill it with our words and send them out into the world. The remaining posts for December will focus on preparing for a mega successful new year. We will plan to reach our goals in the areas of word count, quality work, editing and publication (traditional or self-publication).
Stay tuned for inspiration and success tips.
It’s the most stressful time of the year, the perfect season for harnessing drama. Work parties, family gathering, shopping and traffic jams provide ideal writing material. These unavoidable situations have some redeeming qualities.
Instead of devouring pies or hiding in the pantry to escape, take notes. Okay, don’t pull out your tablet or a notepad, its best to be discrete.
Be a sponge and absorb the oddities that only occur during the holidays. Is there a section of your manuscript that needs an over the top character? Could a passage use a does of extra emotion? Tap into the behaviors inspired by holiday madness.
Observe, write and have a small slice of pie.
We have all hit the writing wall, the place where we are faced with a lackluster character. However, we have a storehouse of materials that can solve this dilemma.
Does he/she need to express the pain of first heartache in a young adult novel? Read back through your journal from your teen years. Need to tap into the pure joy of new friendship experienced from a nine year old’s perspective? Close your eyes and recall how you felt when you met your first friend.
Between journal entries, memories and convserations with people who have known us for decades, we can harvest emotions that infuse life into our characters.
Go ahead, stroll down memory lane but pause along the way to take notes.
I was a preschool teacher, have tried sky-jumping and I’ve repo(ed) a car. Most of us have the played the game called Two Truth and One Lie. This ice breaker is an ideal way to develop a complicated character and plot filled with twists.
Imagine a person who is perceived one way by the world but who is hiding a secret. Beyond what strangers, friends and loved ones see is the secret identity. The househusband may be a paid escort while the kids are in school and spouse is at work. The retired serial killer could be the sweetest volunteer at animal shelter. Beyond its sweet charm, a Midwestern town is home to the largest pack of werewolves in the US.
Stir mischief into your plot by adding a dash of deception.
We love our characters. They are a combination of our imagination, friends, loved ones with a dash of our own personalities. It’s natural to limit the dangers they face or the heartache. This protective urge can be toxic to our stories.
Time to push our characters and ourselves past the comfort zone. Increasing the jeopardy or exposing their heart strengthens the readers’ connection to the story. Vulnerability allows the author to share the essence of the character. As in real life, difficult situations reveal the best or worst of their nature.
It’s time to get messy, bare your hero/heroine’s soul and push them into harm’s way.
Stop exactly where you are. It’s time to backtrack. Yes, I realize that your muse is shooting a dirty look. Let’s ignore her/him and get ready to enhance your story. Open the characters’ bio. Perhaps you didn’t write one, well it is time to do so.
In order to enjoy the plot, the readers need to feel the people. Who are the characters? What makes them unique? What are their physical and emotional characteristics?
Readers will not care about your plot if they can’t intimately connect with your characters. A good novel is a marriage of a compelling story to fictional people who feel real. Case in point, the novels of Stephen King. Yes, we cringe or flip on the lights as terror deepens with each page turned. However, our pulse only increase because we have merged in some way with the main character. We are the little girl lost (The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon). We are the youths terrorized and yet strong enough to battle a supernatural, serial killer in IT.
The quarks, fear, backstory and even body language of characters gives them life. It is the transformation of a writers’ ideas into heartfelt people that creates magic. Revisit or create character bio. Your story is worth the effort.
Due to recent events in Charlottesville, this post will focus on using your gift of creativity to bring hope.
If the hate group that proudly stomped around caused you pain or created doubts abouts mankind’s humanity, good. You are tasked with bringing a measure of healing balm to a hurting nation.
Nonfiction Writers: Interview someone in Charlottesville. Share their concerns about the ramifications of the hate march or speak to someone who recalls segregation and voice their views of the recent event.
Fiction Writers: Spin us a tale of hope. Create in digital or print a world where bigotry is crushed.
Children Lit. Writers: You have the role of bringing comfort to frayed nerves of our youth. Now is the time to write for kid magazines, complete and submit PB/MG/YA manuscripts with diverse characters. You have the ability to show inclusion, ripping away the label of “other”.
Writers, sit down at your computers and spread a healing balm.