Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Color and Emotion

On June walk 2015
"The idea of linking color and behavior is reasonable enough. Anyone who has ever felt blue, seen red, blacked out, or turned green knows we're prone to make emotional associations with different shades." --Winifred Gallagher

Seeking a purple calm in a season of busyness--what color emotion are you feeling at the moment?

A new month ahead. Happy July!
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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Should You Take a Writing Break and Go Out For Pizza Instead?

photo courtesy pixabay.com
"If my writing comes to a halt, I head to the shops; I find them very inspirational. And if I get into real trouble with my plot, I go out for a pizza with my husband." --Sophie Kinsella

I feel Ms. Kinsella's pain. I'm at about the half way mark in my first draft and it's time to go out for pizza! I see where I am at this point in my story, where I have come from, and where I need to be. I just don't know at the moment how I'm going to get there.

So I'm going to heed the advice of others* and take a short break. I'm going to give this story time to rest, breathe, and percolate on its own for a while. I'm going to change things around a bit, stir the imagination, try to reignite some creativity.

And it's okay. Although we writers often fear taking a break--we're afraid we'll lose momentum, confidence, a sense of commitment--a break is often just what we, and our stories, need.

I will get back to my WIP. I promise. I can't leave my characters in limbo too much longer. But at the moment, pizza sounds pretty good!

Where do you like to go or what do you like to do when you're stumped and need to distance yourself from a writing project for a spell?

*Helpful articles on why taking a writing break can be beneficial, and what to do with that time:
Improve Your Writing: Step Away From the Desk, Megan Kaplon
5 Reasons You should Stop Writing, K.M. Weiland
Step Away from the Keyboard: How Our Hands Affect Our Brains, Nancy Darling
Taking a Break From Technology is Sometimes Necessary, Jeff Goins
Why Writers Need to Take a Break Sometimes, Emily Wenstrom
Why Taking Writing Breaks Is Important, Shivana Deo
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Saturday, June 6, 2015

One Writer's Alphabet Soup To Writing a Novel


photo courtesy google.com/images
"When I was having that alphabet soup, I never thought that it would pay off." --Vanna White

A writer subconsciously develops her own alphabet soup when it comes to writing a novel--those key elements, basic rules, discoveries, weaknesses to watch for, areas to develop, exploratory tangents, and microscopic and telescopic revisions that take her to the finished product. I discovered this when I reviewed journal entries I recorded during the time I wrote my first book. I recently reviewed those notes while my current WIP simmered on the back burner for a few days. What an education--there was something for each letter of the alphabet!

One Writer's Alphabet Soup to Writing a Novel

A...active voice...action...action words...atmosphere
B...backstory (enough but not too much)...beginning (jump in)
C...causality...character development...clarity...clich├ęs...complications...conflict...connections
...consistency...craft
D...description...detail...development...dialect...dialogue...discovery
E...edit...emotion...end linked to beginning...ending (satisfying)...energy...essence
F...flexibility...focus...foreshadowing...frame
G...genre...goals...grammar...growth (character and author!)
H...heart...historical accuracy...hook...human dignity
I...imagery...inciting incident...infinite-verb phrase openings (“Looking up slowly, she…”)
J...jell...journal...journey...joys
K...kaleidoscope...kernel...knead...knit
L...landscape...language..listen...location...loose ends (tied up)
M...magical...main character as problem solver (not bystander)...malleable...metaphor...middle slump...motivation...mystery
N...names...narration...narrative arc...narrator
O...obstacles...opening...overthinking (as in, don't!)
P...pace...page turners...patterns...pauses...place...placing character (where doesn’t want to be)...plot...plot holes...plot lines...plot points...plot twists...point of view...punch...punctuation
Q...quest...questions (and answers)...quotes
R...reading level...redundancy (check by using document's 'Find' feature)...resolution...revision
S...satisfying...scene...sensory details...sentences ending with prepositional phrase...sentence variety...serendipity...setting...show (don't tell)...sparkle...spelling...stakes...story structure... storytelling...style...subplot ...supporting characters...surprise...symbolism
T...tenses...tension...theme...threads...tightened form...title...timeline...tone...transitions...triggers
U...understandable...unexpected...unique
V...values...verb tense...viewpoint...vocabulary...voice
W...weak words (weed out)...wonder...word choice...word count...world building
X...(e)xact...(e)xtraordinary...X out the unnecessary
Y...yarn of a story...yawn (avoid)...yearnings...yes (or no)...yet (as in, doors haven’t opened yet)
Z...zenith...zest...zip

This is just a sample of one writer's alphabet soup--a savory mix to keep me going. Any ingredient you'd like to add? What does your writer's alphabet look like?
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