Do you ever find yourself staring at an empty page, afraid to put down that first word because you do not know if it is exactly what you want to express in your story? Do you worry about each sentence, afraid you are going to write something that (heaven forbid) tells rather than shows your story?
I know you want to sit down and write a complete and perfect story. We all do. But most of the time it just doesn’t work that way. If you let yourself get bogged down in the details of perfection in the first draft, your first draft will never be complete. (more…)
At Write Your Novel this Summer, we just launched our Featured Writer series where we will feature individual writers who are participating in our summer novel writing challenge. To become a Featured Writer, all you have to do is ‘like’ our Facebook page, look for Featured Writer Prompts, and submit a response to the prompt along with a link to your blog or online writing portfolio. If your submission is chosen, we will feature you and link to your page from our Facebook page (see the Notes section of our Facebook page for more details.)
Yesterday, I posted our first Featured Writers Prompt, but I have yet to receive any submissions. So I thought I would answer the prompt myself to try to get the ball rolling. I want to also encourage my readers to submit. This is a great opportunity to drive readers to your blogs and writing portfolios. It’s also a great way to find out about other writers and learn how they approach the novel writing process. (more…)
I wrote the BEST scene last night after coming home from class. Isn’t it funny how a vigorous workshop can totally recharge your creative batteries?
I’d been feeling a bit stagnant lately, writing mechanically, cranking out *blah* chapters that I knew I’d have to come back later and ‘fix.’ This in-class discussion of the chapters I’d submitted for workshop was exactly what I needed to wake up and reengage with my story. (more…)
Writing a book is like putting together a blank puzzle, one on which you must paint each little bit of the picture as you are putting the pieces together. How is that not art?
What is writing to you? (more…)
Last night, I sat down to write chapter 10 of my novel, and I just couldn’t get into it. I knew what the chapter was supposed to be about, but I simply could not get excited about it. Then I remembered author Rachel Aaron’s advice on getting excited about what you’re writing.
“If I had scenes that were boring enough that I didn’t want to write them, then there was no way in hell anyone would want to read them.” ~Rachel Aaron
So, I sat down with my notebook and began to scribble my thoughts about why I thought the scene I was about to attack was too tedious to write. (more…)
Is your story stuck? You’re trying to hack out that next scene, but all you can seem to do is, well, hack at it? Put the pen down. Back away slowly. It’s time to stop writing your story and start doing some free writing. This morning, I was sharing with a writer friend some advice that I’ve heard from my professor on more than one occasion, and I think this advice is worth sharing.
Here’s what you do: pick a minor character and try to get into that character’s voice. Pretend like that character is sitting at a bar telling the bartender about what is happening in the story… look at the story from a new perspective. Don’t worry about whether or not the character can tell the story well, just let him or her have his say. Also, don’t worry about writing complete sentences or stopping to fix typos. Simply sit down, tell that editor that’s sitting on your shoulder to be quiet for a while, and start writing whatever comes to mind. (more…)
I’ve recently made the decision to throw all of my writing focus into novel writing. This is something I should have done a long time ago, but for some reason paying the bills always seems to come first. Anyway, I’m working on a series of free-writes designed to work out the details of my novel as I am writing it. Over the next several weeks, I hope to post several writing prompts devoted to working out these details.
For this week’s Wednesday Writing Prompt, the focus is on setting. Specifically, the setting in which your main character grew up. Where we came from often has a major influence on who we become. It stands to reason that the setting where your character grew up will have a major impact on who she is in your story. (more…)
I’m in a whining mood today, and can I just say this one thing? Free-writing is hard.
It’s not what I thought it was. I have two free-writing activities that I need to do for class this week, and the first one did not go well at all.
A good chunk of my free-write turned into me whining about how free-writing is so hard to do. But I’m supposed to write what comes to mind without thinking about it, right? And when I was doing this free-write, my thoughts about how hard free-writing is just kept taking over. So, now I’m going to whine about it in this here blog post for a few minutes and get it out of my system before I attempt to tackle the other one. (more…)
Quite some time ago, I mentioned that I would be posting writing prompts for you on Wednesdays, but somehow I never managed to follow through. But, have I got a good one for you today!
One of the writing exercises I had to complete for my Advanced Novel Writing course this week included a free-write in which I had to answer the following question:
What is the GREATEST LONGING in this character’s soul? (more…)
If you’re a teacher or student (or both, like me,) your head is probably about to explode from all of the recent end-of-year academic activities. So, for today’s Wednesday Writing Prompt, I thought it might be appropriate to pick something fun and light to write about. Of course, if you’re in the mood for deep and dark, you could probably take it that way too. Here goes:
Without looking, reach into a drawer, any drawer, in the room in which you are right this moment. (If you’re in a public place or someone else’s home, you may want to ask for permission first.) Pull out the first item you can get your hands on. Remember, don’t look in the drawer or look for a particular item. Instead, I want you to grab one random item (more…)
Do you consider yourself a “real” writer? Why or why not? What makes a writer?
Each week, I ask my Written Communication students to spend about 15 minutes freewriting on a specific topic. At the beginning of the semester, I asked them to each submit several freewrite ideas for us to use throughout the semester. Once in a while, I will sit down and do the activity with them. When I do, I always end up with an interesting piece of writing I likely would not have otherwise written.
I find freewriting and the use of writing prompts to be extremely useful. So, I was just sitting here thinking that it might be fun to do a similar writing prompt on my blog once a week. And, since Wednesday and Writing both start with W, I thought, why not Wednesday Writing Prompts? (more…)
As another National Novel Writing Month wraps up, and NaNoWriMo participants around the globe rush to validate their completed novels, it is time for me to admit the fact there will be no NaNoWriMo “win” in my near future. But while my current 11,654 words do not a novel make, I am not quite ready to concede defeat.
Regardless of the fact that I will not have 50,000 words of a novel written within the next 2 days, I still view this year’s NaNoWriMo event as a success. In fact, I’m quite certain I got far more from the event this year than I have put into it.
For example, NaNoWriMo inspired me to get organized and create a complete novel outline, something I have never before managed to accomplish. So even though my novel is nowhere near complete, I have a solid outline to work with in the coming months. What I got out of NaNoWriMo this year is the knowledge that I do have what it takes to sit down and plan a full and complete novel, including a beginning, middle, and end. I also feel like I have worked out a process that I can use again and again for future novels. (more…)
Happy Halloween! This is your last day of relative sanity before the frenzy of NaNoWriMo. Are you taking a deep breath and relaxing today or rushing to get your loose ends tied up before jumping into your NaNoWriMo novel tomorrow?
I have a huge pot of chili bubbling on the stove already this morning, so I at least have my meals planned out for the week. Otherwise, I’m just now remembering all of the little details I meant to take care of the past few weeks so I could concentrate on NaNoWriMo… the KTG blog posts I meant to write in advance and schedule to post on their own while I’m busily typing away at my novel… the lesson plans and PowerPoint presentations I meant to throw together for my classes, the poems I meant to write in advance for my poetry class… you get the picture, right? Are all writers this discombobulated or is it just me? (more…)
For the first time ever in my writing career, I have developed a full and complete outline for a novel (shocking, I know.) How many times have I just sat down and started writing without giving much thought to where I am taking my characters? At least as many times as I have abandoned manuscripts in drawers and on hard drives, that’s for sure! But I want to be really prepared for NaNoWriMo, so I decided yesterday to do a little research and remind myself of the story structure lessons I learned when I took my novel writing class a few semesters ago.
In my research, I found the following video on storyboarding from Mary Carroll Moore, an award-winning author and master writing instructor:
The “W Storyboard structure” Moore details in her video was tremendously helpful. I had already decided on the characters I wanted to use for my NaNoWriMo novel, and even had a short story written about them. But I need to decide on an appropriate conflict to set my story in motion and then determine the trajectory of the story. (more…)
Last spring, I wrote a short story for a course I was taking on literature and humor. It’s the story of a girl who is told by a boy that he spray painted something on a train trestle; something she would be very interested in seeing. So this girl and her best friend decide to ride their bikes out to see what he wrote and, as with any good work of humor, hilarity ensues. (more…)
It’s that time of year again. Time to sign up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) if you haven’t already done so. What is NaNoWriMo? Well, the purpose of NaNoWriMo is to kick yourself in the behind and write! To be precise, when you sign up for NaNoWriMo, you officially commit yourself to writing 50,000 words of your novel in the month of November.
So, I’m sitting here reading your mind, and I can hear you thinking, “Damn, 50,000 words… that’s a LOT!” and “What happens if I don’t make it to 50,000?” “Is this going to cost me some money?”
Don’t worry. (more…)