#NaNoWriMo2015–Get to the Heart of Your Story (writing tip #15)

If you are participating in NaNoWriMo, you are halfway through your month and you might be wondering if you’re going to make it all the way through your draft by November 30th. If you’re flagging, take a deep breath (and perhaps a nap) and give yourself the credit you deserve: you’ve taken on a big challenge and that’s a victory all its own! Did you take a selfie on Day #1? If yes, look it over, put it away, and take another selfie now, on Day #15. If you didn’t take an actual photo, picture what you looked like two …

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#NaNoWriMo2015–Get to the Heart of Your Story (writing tip #10)

Over the course of writing seven novels on deadline, I’ve found that there are times I need to get closer to my characters, and there are times I need distance, at least temporarily. If you’re struggling with either of these issues, take these tips to heart: More Intimacy: I need to get inside my character’s skin! If you’re feeling some distance between yourself and your novel, here is a simple way to write your way to more intimacy: 1) Pick one of your upcoming scenes, an interaction between your hero and at least one other character. Your hero is the viewpoint …

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#NaNoWriMo2015–Get to the Heart of Your Story (writing tip #9)

It’s the ninth day of NaNoWriMo2015 and by now you may be seated at your desk staring at your pages, feeling ecstatic! Or, alternately, you might be hiding beneath your desk in the depths of despair. It’s possible you even feel a bit of both. One of the keys to enjoying a long and productive writing life is to find that balance-point between both ends of the the teeter totter–ends occupied by “brilliant” and “blecchhh”.  If you don’t, you will remain at the mercy of those two, leaving you exposed to manic highs and depressive lows. Not so fun. Chances …

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Pump Up the Faith Muscles

I just finished a phone conversation with a writer I know. He is new to writing and he’s eager to learn his craft—although he already understands how to write strong, entertaining scenes. I remind him of this often. Still, he worries a lot. I remind him, also, that his characters are strong and they have suffered and we care about them. Characters have the power to invite us into their book so we follow them eagerly across the most tumultuous narrative seas; characters also have the less-than-desirable power to shoo us away from reading because we don’t care about them …

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WRITING RULES

One of my favorite writing rules comes from Dwight V. Swain from his wise and practical book TECHNIQUES OF THE SELLING WRITER (University of Oklahoma Press): ” 1) Separate creative impulse from critical judgement. The first a most essential step is to recognize the human tendency to mix the two. Then, walk wise around it. To that end, adopt a working rule of “Create now….correct later.” Promise yourself the privilege of being as critical as you like, as soon as the first draft of a scene or story is completed. Until the draft is done, however, stick with impulse. Let …

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Raise Your Voice to Break the Silence

When states in America raise the cry to censor ethnic studies, I shiver and pray that people everywhere raise their voices to louder decibels in protest. We don’t have to look far to find chilling examples of the evils of censorship. The excerpt below comes from Azar Nafisi’s eloquent book, READING LOLITA IN TEHRAN: “Our class was shaped within this context, in an attempt to escape the gaze of the blind censor for a few hours each week. There, in that living room, we rediscovered that we were also living, breathing human beings; and no matter how repressive the state …

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2010~mind on the hop

Welcome to 2010 and your mind on the hop! “It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop.” ~Vita Sackville-West

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New Year’s Eve…final musings for 2009

Some final thoughts on writing for this year: 20) Get plenty of exercise. Drink lots of water. Don’t get lost on social networking sites. 22) Understand that as a creative person, you will experience some anxiety, its part of the creative process. 23) Learn the difference between some anxiety and crippling anxiety; seek help for the latter. 24) When anxiety shivers through you, open to your curiosity and let it guide you forward. 25) Creative people are curious people; follow your curiosity the way a dog follows its nose. 26) If you have never written a book, know that its …

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December’s Writing Child…more

More miscellaneous, so-not profound musings on writing: 4) If you are constantly doubting your work, ask yourself if you trust your own creative process. If the answer is anything but yes, add “TRUST” to your daily mantra. 5) You need a safe–some call it sacred–space to write, where you are free from interruptions and intrusion. That safe place might be your office, your car, the nearest library or cafe. If you write on a computer, you need to know others will not be reading your stories before you are ready to share. 6) You need psychic privacy to write–a sense …

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