All posts filed under: Writing Tips

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 …

5 Crucial Things to Remember While Writing Your First Draft: #AmWriting #WritingWisdom #writingtips

  First Draft. Those two words wield a whole lot of power, evoking emotions from giddy excitement to brain numbing dread. Some writers stand strong on the side of excitement, ready to throw down words and metaphors like hot fire, while others battle cold sweats and nausea at the single thought of how many words it’s going to take to bring their creative vision to life. I digress for just a moment. If you are one of those who struggles with where to begin with your novel-writing-journey, give this writing prompt I created a try. It’s called Write Your Novel in 365 Days.  With as few as 200 words a day, guided by a single word of the day to inspire you, you can have a complete novel written from start to finish in 365 days! And just remember, your 365 day writing year starts on the day you begin. It could even be today! Back to the original point. No matter where you stand on the first-draft-spectrum, you will more often than not, run …

How Writing is much like Farming: Words to Creatives #Amwriting #writinglife #writingtip #writing

“To have a great idea, have a lot of them.” ~Thomas A. Edison I was going through some quotes by Mr. Thomas A. Edison when I came across the one and thought of you, my fellow creatives. I thought about how down in our spirits we as aspiring authors and artist can get over our novels and creations when they seem to not be going the way we’d hoped and imagined, and for that reason, I  wanted to encourage you. Let’s face it, as beautiful and exhilarating it is to write a book from start to finish–or to create any form of art–it is still a lot of hard work. We as the creators often see how grand it is in its fledgling form because we see more than our words initially show in the first round of writing. To see this way is great but we have to keep the truth in mind that our readers can’t see everything we see within our first expressions of our ideas. They need a bit more showing and telling to …

Writing Guidelines…What you do with what you learn

One of the wisest things a writer can do to better their craft and navigate the path to their desired literary success is to realize that they, in fact, don’t know everything but have room to learn just about anything. One of the best things we can do to better gain wisdom is to learn from those who have gained the success that mirrors or resembles that which we are aiming for. A few years back my eldest sister created a creative writing workshop book while she was on sabbatical from teaching at the University level. I had the privilege of being her guinea pig for the project, using the workbook from start to finish. Out of the many writing exercises that she cleverly produced, the one that I enjoyed and affected me the most had to do with gleaning wisdom from the authors that I most read and/or admired. I was tasked with: Making a list of 4 of my favorite authors Find a quote of theirs that spoke about their writing process (and from …

New Year, New Chapters, New Novel in 365 Days: Novel Writing Challenge 2017

Welcome to 2017! This is a new year for resolutions, clean slates, and fresh journals, which leads us to the 365-day novel writing challenge. This challenge was inspired by a quote I came across on Facebook, by Brad Paisley. I’m certain what he said was not meant to be taken literally but I figured, hey, why not? Tomorrow is the first blank page of 365 page book.Write a good one. ~Brad Paisley When I read the quote, I thought, what would it really take to write a book in 365 days besides sitting down and writing one? Then I saw another shareable moment that read: 12 new chapters. 365 new chances.~Unknown Within the span of twenty minutes this challenge was born, one that I am giving to myself and offering to you as well. SO WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO WRITE A NOVEL IN 365 DAYS?: A novel (Young Adult, New Adult, General Adult) will contain roughly 50,000 for YA, 70,000 to 90,000 words for Adult, depending on the genre. Genres like thrillers and science …

Voice of Description: A Writing Exercise

I am certainly not the best at description but like most of us who strive to be the very best writing versions of ourselves, I am a work in progress. Today, for Wisdom from the Writer’s Journal, I want to do an exercise of Description. ‘Description’ is everything when it comes to writing. We as writers do not have the same ‘advantages’ as those who create physical visual art. We do not paint with oils on canvas, we paint with words on the canvas of our reader’s minds. We don’t have the bonus of background music to lead our scenes, letting our readers know the monster is coming around the corner or that the brooding man is about to kiss his love interest. Nope. What we have are words to translate the vibrancy, heart and soul of our stories, and boy can they be the most powerful tool of all especially if they are wielded in the right way. In order for our work to translate with the vibrancy, we intend it to we need to master the art …

What Did You Say?: 4 Steps to Building Up Your Craft with Words

We’ve all done it, said ugly things about our art, found the faults in our craft so much so that we alone have brought ourselves down into the very depths of discouragement’s dumps. (Take a look at Artful Aggression for more on that.) It’s an easy thing to do, really, to see what is wrong with what we’ve created. And let’s face it, nothing is ever really perfect not even your final draft. But even with that being the case there has to be something worth praising in the work that you have accomplished in its pre-polished form. So as an exercise, I am challenging you to create a list to combat all the negatives that you’ve said about your work in the past while giving you some keys to keep you positive in your creative future. STEP ONE: Identify your familiar negatives, the ones you say the most about your work. STEP TWO: For each familiar negative, create a positive response. Here, I’ll share my own top 3 negatives and do some positive combating as …

Are You Listening?: Why You Should Listen to your Creative Voice

“Are you listening?” It’s a simple question that requires a single word answer, yes or no. As writers, as creative beings, as people, listening is paramount in our quest for honesty and authenticity. (If you have been following along with this blog, you will know that “Authenticity” is an element that often shows up in posts like this one.) What ends up happening when being heard is not an option, is walls begin to show up and communication is utterly broken down and destroyed.” If you want to see the results of failed listening, then just take a peek at how your parents raised you or how you are raising your children. How often do you feel like they listened when you spoke, really listened? Now, before you jump the gun and think that I am condemning anyone, I AM NOT! I am just making a point. Parent’s (many authority figures) are notorious for not taking the time to listen to those who are under their authority. They, in their attempt to show their power, …

Write that Book!: 3 Reasons to Write Your Novel

I believe that everyone at some point in their life journey has made the statement, “I think I should write a book.” While many have said it, very few have actually embarked on the task when you think about it in terms of the ratio of said versus done. Now, having completed several tomes myself (two are currently in Beta) I have to admit that writing a novel from start to finish isn’t the easiest thing to do BUT it doesn’t have to be as difficult as many of us make it out to be. Most of what causes the process to be difficult are: Over-thinking Lack of confidence Perfectionism Thinking its already been done before/ Someone took your idea These four are definitely creativity killers not just in the world of writing but in the world of doing just about anything that poses a challenge but holds interests to you. What are the cures to these nasty bugs: Think less, do more Believe that trying is worth it even if you ‘fail.’ (Failure is relative.) Remember …

“The Hydra Effect”: 3 Ways to Manage Multiple Plot Conflicts

“When writing, don’t try and figure out every aspect of the story in the beginning. Know where you are, have an idea of where you are going, but for goodness sake, DON’T RUSH AHEAD!” Sage advice? I’d say so. I’ve had to tell myself this many times before. Plots are tricky. A good plot will keep the reader engaged. A great plot will keep the writer on the edge of their own seat. For this reason, it’s important that you take your creative time. Don’t try to solve every problem or knot that presents itself. You are going to have some questions at the beginning of each story that don’t have immediate answers. This is true of our real lives as well. When we jump ahead and start trying to break down conflicts that are not presently relevant in our plot line, we end up causing our own “writer’s blocks.” Not only this but as you answer these plot questions and conflicts, you will find that you have engaged in what I am calling (Insert …