Sometimes it good to remember stuff we've already been taught. Elementary, yes—but it's good to ponder the basics of novel writing. One: A sympathetic character that we come to know and care about. If readers simply don't care about your protagonist, they won't read on. Of course, there are some unlikable characters that are found in fiction, but the still must have a grain of sympathy to them, some good quality that keeps them from being 100% evil. Two: Conflict: what happen
Writers can get overwhelmed trying to find a new way to communicate the ordinary and everyday moments that make up life. Writers can get overwhelmed trying to find a new way to communicate the ordinary and everyday moments that make up life. As Solomon said in the book of Ecclesiastes, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (verse 1:9) What’s a writer to do? First, don’t panic. True there is nothing new under
Hi! I'm back after my Lenten break. I didn't blog, but I haven't neglected my writing. I like simple tips, ones that make you say ah-ha and help you move forward in your craft. I hope you appreciate this little graphic. I love stuff like this—something that you can glance at that gets your creative juices flowing. Enjoy! The scene is set, and your character is about to step off the pages and into your reader's imagination. So, how do you reveal who they are without using an
Want to be a writer? Are you thinking about it? And thinking? START NOW. If you don't know how to start, get a how-to book out of the library OR go to a writers group OR go to a seminar/writers conference OR look online for advice OR simply sit down and open a word document. DO IT. Don't wait for the day it will be easier or simpler. Life is always complicated. Start now. In a year, you'll be glad you did. Practice persistence. Write daily—even if it's only a couple hundred w
Last Tuesday I discussing writer's block and strategies to get your productivity back on track. Writer's block doesn’t have to paralyze your writing progress. I gave you the first few suggestions, last week. Here are five more methods to get your fingers flying over the keyboard: 1. Work on another project for a while If you can, switch gears to another project you have in the works or make notes on a subsequent project you’ve been thinking about. You may return to your “bloc
Dear writer, are you feeling burned out? Is your word count and productivity down? Do you want to beat your head against a wall to battle writer's block? Shake those blues, and concentrate on something other than your work in progress. Need some suggestions? (I thought you’d ask.) Take some photographs. Grab your camera and take a field trip to a local park, busy shopping area, town square. Let yourself focus on whatever catches your fancy. You may look back at your images an
Are you a weary writer in need of some advice? Writers and would-be writers are always looking for wisdom from those who’ve gone before us. I’ve assembled some thoughtful comments for you to mull over. Enjoy! Question: When is the best time to begin a writing career? Answer: "Today is your day, your mountain is waiting, so get on your way." ~Dr. Seuss Question: From where does our writing ability come? Is it inborn? Learned?
Answer: As Mother Teresa said, "We are all pencils
Is it ever difficult for you, as a writer, to feel confident about your writing? If so, you're normal. Fears pop up like dandelions after the first spring rain. Those worries and questions play on a loop in your brain: Is this good enough to be published? Does it make sense? Will anyone want to read it? Do I sound ridiculous? Am I wasting my time? Will I ever be pleased with this project? And on and on and on . . . I'm not the first writer to have these doubts. And I won't be
I'm fortunate to be able to attend writers' events and to strike up friendships with lots of other authors. I've noticed though, that in every group there's at least one writer who is questioning their their efforts—writers who are wondering if they should continue. I'm pleased to offer some encouragement to ponder: Dear friend, Don’t give up your dream of writing. Because we are all different, your unique perspective is important. The way you expound on a theme is important.
A few years ago I had the pleasure of climbing up the side of a beautiful Colorado mountain. I was as prepared as possible—the right shoes, comfortable clothes, a bottle of water, and signs to point me in the right direction. Like many hiking trails, the one I was on started out smooth and was clearly marked. I was fully confident that it would be a piece of cake. Then the path began to get steeper, and there were rocks, boulders, and tree roots in the way. I was getting hot
Have you ever just wanted to give up? Or perhaps you haven't even started yet. When we have a BIG dream the trouble is, well, that it's so B-I-G. We don't know where to start, or if we know where to start, we're still overwhelmed. Let me encourage you. You start with one small step and then build on that. You know that trite axiom: you eat an elephant bite by bite. That saying has stuck around for so long because it's true. Step One: Your dream. From now on stop referring to
After revising my completed manuscript (which was a big job), I’m excited to switch gears and head back into writing mode. I’m one quarter the way through my current wip (work in progress), so my story's fairly fleshed out, and I'm raring to go. Honestly, it’s a bit disorienting to leave my story set (mostly) in 1969, as well as the 16th, 17th, 19th, early 20th, and 21st Centuries behind and slip into another time, another setting, and pick up with different characters. I’m e
Scene. Symbolism. Dramatic irony. Allusion. And the list goes on. There are several literary techniques that improve your writing. Do you know what they are? Do you know how to use them?
I like to hear the "rules" explained by different sources because sometimes a new way of saying the same old thing will spark my imagination and help me to learn a new point of craft. I'm delighted to share this article, 16 Fancy Literary Techniques Explained by Disney, in hopes it hits the
We enjoyed a warm winter day yesterday (65 degrees in beautiful Colorado!), and I dried my hair in the sun. Not exactly front-page news, but it was a moment that gave me fodder for writing novels. I’m of the no-moment-wasted camp of writers who tuck memories and ideas into my head like a robin picks up string and scraps for her nest. Drying my hair in the sun was a gift—time to sit and be still and enjoy a truly simple pleasure. The day captivated me with birdsong and sunshin
Rome wasn't built in a day. Slow and steady wins the race. Little strokes fell great oaks. You've heard those sayings before. They endure because there's truth to them. Believe me, I know how grueling the writing life can be. It's too easy to become discouraged when you think your journey should be further along than it seems. But we need to remember to say a prayer and persevere in our efforts. Here are some tips to help you persevere: Keep yourself spiritually charged. Rem
I know of authors who listen to certain soundtracks while they're writing to inspire them to write with emotion or to add authenticity to their story. But what I'm thinking of today are the sounds you hear while reading a book. It's important to incorporate sensory details (sight, sound, touch, smell, taste) into a story to transport the reader. One of the details that I appreciate when I'm reading is narrative that conveys the sounds the characters are hearing. If the settin
We're into the new year. So many folks are clinging to resolutions and goals. Myself? I like to start the year with a prayer—one I'm happy to share with you. It's important to stay focused, press on, and have a sense of hope. For me, the best way to do that is through prayer. Keep moving forward, keep writing, keep praying! And as you continue your writer's journey, remember: Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One who is leading. ~Oswald Chamb
I love to get caught up in the fictional dream, and one of the worst things that can happen is a gaping plot hole. It doesn't matter if it's a book, a movie, a TV program, or even a commercial—if I feel that there's a hole in the plot, I'm done. Plot holes are a big deal—they jerk the reader from the fictional dream. According to Wikipedia, a plot hole is a gap or inconsistency in a storyline that goes against the flow of logic established by the story's plot. Such inconsiste
Writers, do you keep a pretty-word file? Sometimes a description hits the spot exactly. When that happens in a novel I’m reading, I often go back, re-read, and savor the pretty words. I play word games by myself all day long. If I see/hear/smell/taste/touch something, I often try to come up with the best words to describe whatever it was I heard/smelled/tasted/touched. (Truly, there is silly, crazy, word-loving madness in my brain.) Here are some tidbits that may find their w
*This is part four in a series. View parts one, two, and three. If you've been following this series, are you understanding author voice a bit more? Author voice is the way in which an author tells a story: word and phrase choices, sentence and chapter length, and the author's distinct world view. I'd like to share a final author voice, from a novel I really enjoyed. Dandelion Summer by Lisa Wingate: A single drop of water changes the ocean. A noted colleague of mine once ass