Sarah’s & Cynde’s Blog

The Big Nothing, Small Deaths, and How a Dilemma is Vital for Storytellers

Recently I had a ‘New Year’ conversation with a good friend.  Our talk turned to Noam Chomsky and his film, Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy?, an animated documentary on the life of the linguist, philosopher, and political activist by French filmmaker Michel Gondry. (It is, btw, a delightful and provocative film.) Chomsky had been an early influence in my friend’s academic life. We touched briefly on Chomsky’s atheism and his belief in (I paraphrase) the “big nothing” that follows death. The topic of what comes after—nothing or something—tugged at me more than usual, due I think, to winter’s dark days and …

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Revising Your Novel or Memoir in 2019: 9 Must-Know Tips (Part 2)

help writing novel-revision

Want to start and finish your first, fifth, or tenth novel in 2019? Read on! In my previous post, I wrote about 1st drafts, and I shared my best suggestions for finishing draft 1 of your novel within 3 to 6 months (without losing your mind). Your 1st draft is the one Anne Lamott aptly dubs the “shitty first draft.” Give yourself permission to work quickly with forward momentum. When your 1st draft is complete: Set it aside for days, weeks, maybe even a month or more. Give yourself time to let it go and separate yourself. When you come back to the …

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Writing & Revising Your Novel or Memoir in 2019: 7 Must-Know Tips (Part 1)

writing & revising

If writing & revising your book tops your 2019 to-do list, here are 7 must-know tips to help you write your best novel or memoir. 1.Write your 1st draft quickly, ideally within 3 to 6 months. Key to this process of drafting is to refrain from editing your 1st draft! Writing draft 1 without editing?! I can hear some of you writers howling with anticipated pain and frustration! But trust me (or at least listen with an open mind) when I say your best novel will probably be born from a quick 1st draft. Note, when I say probably, that’s because there are no rules when it …

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Will I finish my book this year?

I finished my first draft and now I’m revising. Will I finish my book this year? Will I ever truly finish my book!?   Dear Fellow Writer Yes, you will finish this second draft—your revision!  It’s possible you can finish this year; of course that depends upon how far along you’ve come. If you’re just starting out, you might give yourself a six-month (ballpark) window for your revision. Some of the timing will be determined by where you put your focus, and, I guarantee, you still are discovering so much about your story and characters. (I keep learning through revision and …

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Coaching Questions to Keep You and Your Story and Your Life on Course

As a writing coach and mentor, I work with writers to become conscious of their writing process, to become accountable to their writing spirit, and to identify and deal with resistance so it does not stop them from writing. I encourage my clients to name, clarify, and hone their goals. I also ask them to identify the meaning they attach to reaching those goals. I ask myself those same questions. When we understand what we want and why we want it, and answer truthfully, we don’t lose our way. We can use what we know to stay on course for …

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How do I Organize my Chapters in Nonfiction and Memoir?

writing coach cynde christie

First, you have a great idea for a nonfiction book or memoir. You’ve done the research, compiled the notes, or lived the life you want to share with your readers. Now what? Your chapters are in rough draft form, (hopefully you have been working with an editor so they are not too rough), but how do you know the best way to present this information to a reader so that they will get the most out of what you are trying to impart? How do you make the story or non fiction study flow? Do you start at the beginning …

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7 Secrets that Boost Your Writing Productivity

productive writer

You want to boost your writing productivity–so how to do that with ease? It’s no secret that productive writers share some simple habits that help them organize, focus, and stay on track and accountable to their project goals. Organize, sort and prioritize to boost your writing productivity. These days most writers are juggling projects, which may including revising one book, developing another book, posting regularly on blogs, writing content for newsletters, promotional material and reviews and…the list goes on. Organizing doesn’t need to be fancy. In fact, don’t let yourself get lost in perfectionism because that leads to procrastination. Keep …

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How do I make the information in my book flow in an understandable way?

Information in the Nonfiction World When you decide to write a nonfiction book, you generally have some information to impart. Whether your book is about teaching the reader how to build a better mouse trap or understand their deepest feelings, nonfiction books by their very nature, are about information. They are filled with facts of some kind. After all, if it was all made up, it would be fiction! The exception to this rule is narrative nonfiction, or creative nonfiction. This genre includes memoir and historical fiction based on factual events and people. While the book is based on fact, …

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You have your data, now what? A lesson on Data Organization

Data Organization You want to write a nonfiction book. You have selected your topic and you have done your research. Now you have lots of data, but what exactly do you do with it? How do you turn information into a book? Well, first you have to decide on what your data tells you. What is the conclusion you have drawn from your research? And how does that translate into a usable message to your reader? The Three Steps Remember the first three steps in preparing to write a nonfiction book are message, target audience and voice. So, your next …

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Sometimes You Gotta Kill the Witch: Break Through Extreme Resistance

mask day of the dead

My last post contained an array of tips for breaking through writer’s block, and they can be very effective for normal resistance, but sometimes you gotta kill the witch to break through extreme resistance! Get along with the voices inside of my head I can relate to Eminem’s song, The Monster, and after decades of writing, I’m pretty familiar with the myriad voices inside of my head. I know plenty of Creatives who count “The Monster” as their theme song. At least on darker days. Friends with the monster that’s under my bed  And most of the time, those voices and I work well …

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