All posts filed under: Writing Tips

So You’ve Finished NaNoWriMo…Now What?: Words of Advice & Flash Fiction #Writing #WritingAdvice #MondayMotivation

Slow Cooked *Original story posted for Week 54 of Battle of the Blogs in 2016. Her fingertips feathered the keys of her keyboard, driven by the ache to write something, anything. Words, for that still, silent moment, apart for the whistling of the wind outside her window, seemed to elude her. She drummed her too-long fingernails against her writing desk and let out a frustrated sigh. She knew what she wanted to say, knew how to fix the mistake that was before her, she just had to muster her patience and allow the words to flow forth in their own time. Writing from scratch and revisions never came in a microwavable package. The finished product always promised to be good, better than good, but it required the stamina of a crock pot, slow-cooked until the words fell from the pages into the reader’s imagination like succulent meat dripping from their bones. As if savoring the aroma that wafted from her imagination, she closed her eyes and smiled as the scene played out upon her eyelids. Yes, …

How to Tackle NaNoWriMo: My Advice To You (Day 5 of Countdown) #NaNoWriMo #Writing

There are now less than 24 hours left before the worldwide writing frenzy of NaNoWriMo begins! Before you begin, I would like to give you my last token of creative advice. Create a Soundtrack for your novel. Now, I imagine that this may have you thinking of soundtrack in the same way one thinks of a movie soundtrack. Well, that is not exactly what I am referring to here. Movie soundtracks are designed to emotionally lead the audience in a specific emotional direction while watching the movie unfold. If a romantic scene is on the horizon, cue the sexy music. If suspense, then in comes the music that gets your pulse racing. With the soundtrack for your novel,  collect tracks that get you into the head of your characters and reminds you of the spirit of your story as a whole. Now there are songs that you can gather that help you to build certain scenes, similar to the way movies do, and those are helpful as well. For me, I generally have specific songs …

How to Tackle NaNoWriMo: My Advice To You (Day 4 of Countdown) #NaNoWriMo #Writing

Token 4: KEEP A “SPICE RACK”  OF IDEAS  AND SCENES IN A SEPARATE WORD DOCUMENT A while ago, when I first started this blog, I made mention of separate documents that I keep alongside each novel that I work on. Now to be clear, this document is NOT an Outline. It is what I call a “Spice Rack.” Assuming (again) that you are already a seasoned writer, I am pretty sure you are familiar with the process of your creativity “jumping ahead” of your story as you write it. For example, you may be working on chapter five when suddenly some thrilling scene pops in your head that has nothing to do with the current flow of the story BUT it somehow fits, like a glimpse into the future. You just don’t know where. SO WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THIS SCENE? If you are smart, YOU WRITE IT DOWN IMMEDIATELY! and you store what you have written in the, you guessed it, spice rack document. (And when I say write it down, I don’t mean …

How to Tackle NaNoWriMo: My Advice To You (Day 3 of Countdown) #NaNoWriMo #Writing

Tip 3. SET A DAILY WORD COUNT GOAL! Setting a daily word count goal is such a helpful thing because it gives you a window or a destination for creative breaks.  If you start NaNoWriMo with the goal of 50,000 words, you run the risk of seeing a never-ending tunnel that just keeps getting longer no matter how fast, hard or far you run. Do the math and add on from there. It requires a minimum of 1,666 words typed each day in order to reach 50,000 words by close of November 30th. I suggest aiming for a higher word count goal for each day but with a cushion for a minimum. If you are already a writer you know that even with set goals, life happens and you may not get to write a single word at all. WHAT DID I DO? I scheduled my writing into two sessions a day. In the morning I would write for about 2 to 3 hours with a goal of 2,000 to 3,000 words in that session. …

How to Tackle NaNoWriMo: My Advice To You (Day 2 of Countdown) #NaNoWriMo #Writing

  FRIENDS ARE THE BEST! INVITE A READER ON YOUR JOURNEY WITH YOU. Making the big decision to commit to writing a 50,000-word tome in 30 days is a PRETTY BIG decision to make. Now that you have done that, and have decided to take my advice on just writing whatever comes from your imagination, and flies out of your fingertips like magic sparks, allow me to offer you token number 2 that I learned in my experiences. TIP 2. Have an honest friend (One who will be straight with you if your plot is not great) support you by reading your daily progress. (This person is not writing, ONLY reading.) One of the biggest attractions of  NaNoWriMo is the worldwide support system that a writer becomes apart of for 30 days.  I read an article, a few years back, out of Writer’s Digest. That entire edition was dedicated to, you guessed it, NaNoWriMo, and it likened this experience to running a marathon, and how being surrounded by strangers with the same goal helps each …

How to Tackle NaNoWriMo: My Advice To You (Day 1 of Countdown) #NaNoWriMo #Writing

In less than a week, November 1st will be here, and a mass of heroes and heroines will be born from the typing fingers of those who have bravely taken up the challenge to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. First, let me say congratulations for being brave enough to challenge yourself with this. I have participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for three years running, and each year I have come away with a fantastic body of work (that yes, needs editing and revision) that I can be proud of. Now, let me clarify, I have not officially done the NaNoWriMo with the whole registration thing (which I totally recommend because they have some great rewards for those who complete the 30 days with 50,000 words or more.) Why? Well, because I tend to use any 30 day month, June being the month of choice, to tackle my writing adventure. November, June, September, April, any of these months will do. They all have 30 days, and they all afford you the chance to learn …

How to Take NaNoWriMo 5 Day Creative Tip Countdown Begins TOMORROW #NaNoWriMo #Fiction #Writing

Hello, Creatives! We are just FIVE days away from November 1st, which means we are FIVE days from the start of NaNoWriMo! (National Novel Writing Month.) This is the month for NaNo vets and newcomers to put their creative noses to the grind and crank out a 50k word novel in 30 days! Starting tomorrow at 9am EST, I will be giving a daily tip to help you get ready to accomplish your writing goal. Also, for those who are maybe stumped about what to write, I am adding a link to some of my favorite Monday’s Muse Writing Prompts to help you get started should you need a little bit of a boost. Remember, if you do choose to use the writing prompt(s) be sure to omit the opening line from your overall word count. MY ADVICE FOR HOW TO USE THE PROMPTS  Use the pictures as inspiration and create your own opening line that will lead to the start of your 50k word count. Use all 5 suggested prompts and dedicate 10k words to …

Picture It!: Creative Writing Exercise #CreativeWriting #AmWriting #WritingAdvice

One of the most overlooked parts of writing, one of the main characters who seem to always fall into the shadows of the background, happens to be, well, the background. I don’t know about you, but for me, when I am caught in the throws of an action scene or lost in the rivers of tense character emotions I find that I often forget to describe the world around them. Part of the struggle for me is that I already see the setting so clearly in my imagination that I often forget that no one else can see as I see. I need to paint with my words. When we take pictures from our vacations and look at them long enough, our senses become sensitive to the memories evoked by the scenes. The next step in my struggle comes from being able to do so authentically without schlepping a bunch of words together without the needed care that the character-called-background or setting, needs. In one of the previous creative writing exercises called, Coffee with Character, …

3 Curious Ways to Build Character: Wisdom from the Writer’s Journal #writingtips #amwriting

When you build a character, you are really fueled by curiosity not answers. ~Andre Dubus III I believe Andre Dubus III put the art of building characters in perfect perspective. We as writers are indeed driven by curiosity. It is our ‘watching’ of the world, and those around us, that constructs who our characters are and ultimately become. Even in our minds, we watch them, the characters who live in our imaginations. When we allow the stories in our heads to tell themselves with an organic voice, we become witnesses, and thus stenographers if you will. We find our characters behaving naturally in their environments, shocking us with the choices they make, the thoughts they have, the people they connect with, their mannerisms. Curiously, we keep our eyes on them, jotting down every detail. We watch. We build. It becomes like a game of Jeopardy. We have the answers to who and why. The story that we write around these ‘answers’ is where the questions come from. The stories themselves are actually the questions. HERE …

Coffee With Character…Or Tea. How to Get to Know Your Fictional Characters: A Creative Writing Exercise #WritingTip #Writing #CreativeWriting

Writing is such a cathartic expression. Be it used to create poetry, something literary, or a piece that is completely outlandish and full of adventure, writing is indeed a breath of fresh air. As writers, even in the face of an activity so purifying we often times find ourselves locked in a position where our creative muscles have not been trained to go, or rather have no idea how to get where we are trying to go.  This frustration is no different than Yoga. Sure, you have got “Downward facing dog” in the bag, but dare your muscles to attempt “Crane pose.” or “Forearm-standing Scorpion,” and you may find yourself stuck in between the attempt and nowhere near where you had hoped to be. And it all looked to so easy in the beginning. This writing exercise is all about getting ‘there,’ helping you stretch past the stiffness of your imaginative muscles, especially when it comes to the characters who are the life blood of the writing you may be working on. In order to …