All posts tagged: literature

Words…Use Them Wisely

Life is more than words, but words do make up our lives. Have you ever considered how the simplest of words can change a person’s attitude either for the good or bad? Even the words spoken without verbalization have such great power. Consider a person who feels utterly alone, ignored and unseen. Let a stranger smile at them, genuinely smile at them, and that non-verbal interaction, those ‘words’ spelled out without sound, can push away the dark clouds in the recipient’s day. “Life is more than words, but words do make up our lives.”   God created the whole of creation with just His Words (Genesis 1). He spoke and it came to be. Our Lord Jesus is the Word made flesh (John 1). He, too spoke and things happened. He spoke to the fig tree and it died (Mark 11:12-25). He spoke to Lazarus and he was resurrected from the dead, (John 11: 38-44). Being a person of faith I am compelled not to take language and words lightly even though I often stumble, …

Before you Take Flight…: The Icarus Syndrome

“You gave me wings to fly, and I melted them in the sun.”~ Candice Coates Just the other day I had a thought about false starts, creative false starts, in life, great attempts that reaped no rewards, and foiled efforts that had been torn asunder by the whirlwinds of life. I thought about my efforts and I how I began many projects with great zeal, ran into obstacles and then after becoming winded and wounded by “failure” felt like I had blown another chance. “…each failed attempt in our lives is not a matter of flying too high too soon or too low. Sometimes they are just training sessions to strengthen our tenacity muscles.”   The quote above came to mind, and I spoke it aloud. Immediately afterward I had a vision in my mind about the mythological character Icarus. He was given an opportunity, an open door if you would, but with it came two instructions: Do not fly too low to the sea because your wings will grow wet and it will be …

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 …

“3rds”: Creative Writing Prompt #AmWriting #Story #CreativeWritingPrompt

There is nothing like a good writing prompt to help get your muse muscling along. I, for one, enjoy those with a time limit as well as quirky rules to follow. This one is called “Thirds.” TIME LIMIT: 20min (This is from the moment you put your pen to the pad or start typing…and yes, we are under an honor system here.) DESCRIPTION: Music is a big part of our inspiration. We all listen to music. But how much does music shape the art that we go forth to create? Are we conscious of its effects on us, and if so (if you weren’t before) how can we take this knowledge and harness this inspiration to create something fresh and authentic and on purpose? RULES: Choose the album that you are currently listening to or listening to the most, and select the 3rd track on the album. Play the track over 3 times. Get a hold of the lyrics, go to the 3rd stanza/verse and then select the 3rd line. (If your song does not …

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 …

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, …