Category Archives: writers block

believe.

Writing is more than creativity. It’s confidence.

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plant a SARK seed

So, I’ve talked about discovering SARK well after her height of popularity. But still, her concepts and inspiration ring true at any time. The magic of an artist’s spirit soars beyond society. 

Some SARKisms I jotted down in my notebook:

“I believe we need to go to where we want to be, and the resources will follow us.” ~ SARK, Inspiration Sandwich

WRITE IN COLOR…use a sketch book as a journal and my old scrapbooking markers to journal, make lists, collect quotes and draw/doodle little flowers and random patterns.

INVENT NEW WAYS OF BEING…reflect on how my life has changed since practicing The Year of Nurturing

I HAVE A LOT TO SHARE WITH OTHERS…Writing is therapy – without the appointment

WRITE MY BOOK…only I can :)

What do these concepts mean to you? How can each help to bring your creativity to the forefront of your LIFE??

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Filed under procrastination, writers, writers block, writing inspiration, Writing prompts, Year of Nurturing

Resurrecting Creativity

We officially passed the mid-point of the year (June 25) and my Year of Nurturing is still in progress… (what was your theme??)

So, I naturally gravitate to words like Zen, Spirit, Peace, Calm. I clicked on a link from Pinterest that had Zen and Writing in the title and landed in an article titled: Zen Power Writing” 15 Tips on How to Generate Ideas and Write with Ease. The blog post features tips mainly for article- and blog-writing, but I found this tip handy for my procrastination on my novel…

9. Leave end and beginning to the last. We can get stuck if we start at the beginning. The beginning is supposed to introduce the theme. But at the start of a writing project we may not know exactly what we’re going to say. So, it’s best to write the introduction later on. Once you have completed your first draft, it’s time to add an introduction and a conclusion. The intro can be short but it needs to say why your theme is important, or to outline the benefits that follow from reading your piece. The conclusion should tie it all together.

Do you procrastinate on any particular part of your writing? Beginnings? *raises hand* Middles? Ends? Editing? Querying? Maybe just sitting down with a vague and clichéd idea?

I’ve been struggling with resurrecting and developing my creativity since New Year’s Day, (2011 was filled with family and job drama, leaving me in an artist’s drought.)

I’ve made some false starts and some interesting, helpful discoveries. Wanna go on the ride with me? Come back tomorrow…

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Dear Words: I love you! Forever yours, me

“Don’t forget to be grateful that you love words.” ~ Monica Wood

I LOVE words. I do. And I don’t care who hears me:

I LOVE WORDS!!!

Say it with me!

I LOVE WORDS!!!

Create words or unique ways of using them: “green” as a Verb?

The sun greens the Earth.

“Spoon” as a Verb?

She spoons the terrier pup, feeling his warmth and heartbeat.

How about “racket?”

Sammy is racketing across the yard, much to the dismay of the delicately balanced tea cups.

What other nouns or adjectives can you use as a fresh verb?

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Filed under books, Fiction, Voice, writers block, writing inspiration, Writing prompts

Tuesdays with…my inner muse

Every once in a while, I like to open my journal and spill my inner thoughts onto the screen. Here. For you all to read…

 

Comet ~ My feathered friend

9.12.2010 9:50am – on couch, open door, sunny, cool, quiet

I am alone. Alone in my house except for Comet who is picking through her wings and tail leaving an ash of bird dander on the arm of the couch, and the fish who swim silently under the hum and bubble of the filter.

I am alone with my book and terrified. I’m beginning to despise my characters and be bored with the whole plot line. Is this normal? Do I press on, muddle through with the passion of designing monotonous sales reports in Excel? Or do I take it as a “do over,” the white flag of defeat waving at my tired, relieved eyes?

Does every author go through the boredom phase? How can they? If the writer is bored, certainly the reader will be bored, too.

I need more writer interaction, camaraderie to bounce these feelings of doubt and despair off of.  Will they tell me they feel the same? Or, is this just another procrastination tactic, like doing character journals or creating Twitter accounts for my Protag and Antag?

I need to just do the work. Best I can. Read what I have. Read it again. Mark the places that make me squirm of embarrassment or gloss over because it is bland and weak like a wallflower.

Then I need to get in my character’s head, feel what they feel and do the “what if?” exercise. I tell my students to do this; I should practice what I preach.

But is it normal to already be thinking of the next book? Feeling the anticipation of getting to know new characters, new stories, new settings, kind of like the beginnings of a dating relationship. The wonder, the awe, the highlighted sensitivity to every emotion and exterior feeling in the air.

Yes, I guess that is normal, otherwise how would authors produce books so quickly? They have to have their inner muse weaving and developing a small seed of a new idea under the surface of revising the current project.

 Can anyone else relate?

Update: 9.27.11 – I’m STILL revising said novel from this journal entry. Though, I think I had a breakthrough on Friday. Yes, another one. Sheesh!

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Reader Wednesday

What I'm reading now

Once again, from Write Great Fiction – Plot & Structure (Techniques and exercises for crafting a plot that grips readers from start to finish) – James Scott Bell

Stretching the Emotional (tension)

We humans are a circus of doubts and anxieties. Play them up! Give us the whole show.

To stretch the inner tension, ask these questions to get your raw material:

1.    What is the worst thing from the inside that can happen to my character? (This encompasses a whole universe of mental stakes. HINT:  look to the character’s fears.)

2.    What is the worst information my character can receive? (Some secret from the past or fact that rocks her world can be stalking her through the scene.)

3.    Have I sufficiently set up the depth of emotion for readers before the scene? (We need to care about your LEAD characters before we care about their problems.)

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5 prompt Friday

         Here we go again…

  1. The empty feeling in my stomach spread to my chest and head, threatening to pull me inside out.
  2. How do I say this to you?
  3. On her wrist was a bracelet made from multi-colored paperclips.
  4. His voice crackled through the walkie-talkie, “The Eagle Has Landed.”
  5. Are you ready to do this?

Have a story or prompt to share? Post it here : ) Happy writing!


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Reader Wednesday

How are you guys liking the Reader Wednesday Series? I’m having fun posting my findings…

What I'm reading now

This week, From Write Great Fiction – Plot & Structure (Techniques and exercises for crafting a plot that grips readers from start to finish) – James Scott Bell

RE: the Lead Character

I love creating characters, probably my most favorite part of writing fiction, hence the reason I’m reading several books on developing plot! In Plot & Structure, Bell tells of the four characteristics your lead must have in order to hook the reader and carry them along for the journey of the book, the “why should I care about this character?”

Here are the four, and how my lead character, 16-year-old Lily Capriani, ranks:

IDENTIFICATION: How will readers identify with Lily?

Bell says readers will identify with lead characters using “the marks of a real human being.” Most likely we are 1) trying to make it in the world, 2) a little fearful and 3) not perfect.

This is how Lily is…

1)      Trying to make it in the world…

Surviving her mother’s abandonment

Needing to separate herself from her alcoholic mother and the gossip she left behind

Wanting to study culinary arts overseas to create her own future, far away from her current circumstances

2)      A little fearful…

Hoping her mom will return

Shelters her emotions, keeps a distance

Being stuck on Half Moon Bay Resort forever

Ending up like her mom

3)      Not perfect…

Low self-esteem

Workaholic

Kleptomaniac

SYMPATHY: Why will readers care about Lily? Root for her?

Bell says there are 4 ways to establish sympathy: 1) Jeopardy (physical or emotional trouble) 2) Hardship (facing a misfortune not of her own making) 3) The Underdog (we love rooting for those rags to riches heroes) 4) Vulnerability (we worry about a character who can be manipulated or injured or worse)

Lily evokes SYMPATHY by…

Vulnerability: she is stuck in her current life on the lake, reliving her mother’s abandonment each time she reappears to wreak havoc; Lily has an unsettling suspicion that her Nonna is keeping a terrible secret from her, which would have devastating results on her already unstable life.

LIKABILITY: Why would readers want to hang out with Lily for her journey (through several hundred pages?)

Lily is a likable character because…

She has an empathetic heart, kindness especially towards the elderly (her Nonna, the older resort guests) and underdogs (Frank) who she observes in an abusive situation, even though she struggles with her own distrust of people and need to remain “disconnected” so not to get hurt (mom’s abandonment)

She has a witty sense of sarcasm and humor and some smart ass one-liners

INNER CONFLICT: What inner voices battle within Lily making her a complex, multi-dimensional character?

Lily battles with the decision to leave Half Moon Bay and her Nonna to study culinary arts overseas

She justifies this decision by the need to live her own life and get away from the looming family secret, yet guilt over leaving her elderly Nonna to run the resort.

Lily also battles the improbable dream: that her mom will return sober, wanting to have the perfect mother-daughter relationship. If she leaves, she leaves that dream behind.

So, how does your lead character rank?

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The edge of beginning

Sometimes when you think you are done, it is just the edge of beginning. Probably that’s why we decide we’re done. It’s getting too scary. We are touching down onto something real. It is beyond the point when you think you are done that often something strong
comes out. 

~ Natalie Goldberg

I keep this quote tacked to my cork board next to my writing desk. I read it almost daily, but reading something that often tends to lose its freshness and impact.

So, I thought, I’d post the quote and let my readers mull over its meaning.

Today, this quote is the reminder that my novel, though on its umpteenth revision, is not yet complete.  Until Lily’s story and experiences with her alcoholic mother make me cry, I still have work to do.

How close to “beginning” are you?

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Live a little

At some point during your search for the meaning of life, don’t forget to do a little living.”

~From a Thousand Paths to Tranquility

Ways to live and gather fodder for writing:

walk around your neighborhood:  last summer my boys and I came across a garage sale that was winding down, seriously, the elderly owners were sipping glasses of wine and listening to the radio – they let the boys rummage through their dollar box and take what they wanted. relative to writing: character sketch in progress…

smile at strangers: just today I was deciding between two purses while shopping at Marshalls and a woman struck up a conversation with me, reccommended the red purse (which I agreed and  bought!) and she said I looked fun and the red suited me. huh. what do others see when they see you?

relative to writing: could be an essay there..

take a different form of transportation: ever watch people on the train? bus? while biking or hiking? not only the people, but your point of view changes if your normal route is sped up or slowed down outside your window.

relative to writing: create a new world for your story to emerge
 

hang out: with friends, family, your kids! your pets! “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” and you know what happened to Jack… don’t be dull. find yourself – find the people who help bring out the self you love and fill you with life.

relative to writing: journal-journal-journal about relationships, communicating, silly things, revelations, lost dreams, found dreams
How are you living? How does it affect your writing?
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