Friday, April 22, 2011

Here's A Writing Prompt For Ya...

What the...?

This doesn't have much to do with writing, but I saw this in a classifieds ad and had to share. I didn't buy the thing. I tried, but when I went back looking for it the ad was removed. I managed to save the picture to my computer the first time I saw it, though.

I guess this... thing could've made for good writing inspiration on days when my sense of humour needed a kick start.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Damn Block!

Today I broke through writer's block. Here's a few tips I learned that help me:

1. I went back and read everything I had written so far. I found scenes I forgot I had written (since I don't always write the scenes my MS in order). I remembered what I found so endearing about my characters, and relived the magical moments that did flow on their own accord onto the page. I fell in love with my characters again, and focused on finding out more about the ones that weren't well rounded yet.

2. I made a list of all the things I wanted to include in my MS, or an outline, (after those first three chapters that I couldn't seem to get past) and took an objective look at it. Then I realized that it wasn't working  because my outline was a bunch of stuff happening TO my MC. I like to write character driven plots, which means that my MC goes through hell because of decisions and actions that have consequences that they have to figure out how to live with (or how to live period, since life threatening situations are fun).

I sat back and became one with my character. Then I asked my character how she feels about the inciting incident. What is she going to do about it? What does she want the most, and how is she going to get it, and what is she willing to risk?

3. Then I made a list of all the reactions my character could have about the inciting incident, and chose the one that A- felt most true to my MC, and B- created the worst possible situation.

4. I came up with a new outline. A lot of what I originally had planned still seemed to work it's way in, but only because my MC instigated for the story to go in that direction. Of course some of the other characters contribute to all the mess and stuff does happen TO my MC, but the story is more focused on her choices. When I did this, I realized that a lot of the stuff I'd written before this felt wrong because I could've taken my MC and turned her into a fly on the wall, and the scene wouldn't have changed much.

5. When I sat back down a the keyboard, I refused to let myself start with anything in the first three blasted chapters. The first chapter is the last one to be re-written in most cases anyways.

I hope this helps anyone else who finds themself in a bind. Happy writing!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Marinate Your Manuscript

I'm not talking about immersing your MS in oil or salad dressing. This is the marination of a drawer, the dust on a shelf, or the back of your closet.

Writing the last sentence of a MS, knowing that you're finished, is exhilerating. Except that you're not finished, because if the MS hasn't spent some time in a place where you can't think about it for at least a month or longer, then you haven't gotten to the place where objectivity and reason can win the battle over an emotional attatchment to what doesn't work (even though it's eloquently written, witty, or gut-busting hilarious).

Revisions are best served cold. If the MS is hot out of the oven, you won't be able to see past the steamy deliciousness of it. Once you've saved the file, backed it up, and maybe even printed off a hard copy of it, put it away.

Start another project. Get well into writing your next novel, to the point where you're really excited about it.  When you need a little break to clear your head, join a critique group, read a book on creative writing (I love "On Writing" by Stephen King), take a quick online course in an area that would be relevant to your dormant MS.

Now it's time to pull it out and blow the dust off.

You'll find that it's easier to omit/fix things that didnt't work. More importantly, you'll be able to see what doesn't work. If you have a third party opinion on it, it will be easier to take into consideration what they've pointed out.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

All in the Name of Writing Research... Really

In my paranormal romance, Nepenthe, Kate watches from above as her fiance drops to his death. So in order to put myself in her shoes, I went and watched other people do just that. Except for the death part.
In Whistler B.C. you can go bungee jumping with the option of having the rope attached to your front. This way you can watch the bridge you jumped off get smaller and smaller. It also allows the spectators on the bridge to watch the look of "why-in-the-hell-did-I-pay-to-do-this" as you plummet. It's amazing how well you can see people's faces all the way to the bottom.
And to honour the old adage of "what would you do if your friend jumped off a bridge?" yes, I did it too. This video is of me giving myself hearing damage with my own screaming. It was all in the name of research, honest!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Epic Follower Blogfest/ Contest

This is for the contest mentioned in my previous post. Here is my "Twitter" (140 characters max) pitch.

Actually, I'm stuck on two. Let me know which one you like the best, or which elements of each you like (or don't).

#1.  Michael is a harmless rush until he wants Kate to become a ghost like him. She'll face her past or lose her future, and her (living) lover.

#2.  When the ghost goes from harmless rush to wanting Kate with him for eternity and her lover plain dead, she must face her past to banish him.

Genre: Paranormal Romance (adult)
Title: Nepenthe
To all the participants - best of luck to all! (squeal! Suzie Townsend!)

(added 1/04/11 @ 11:30)
Thanks so much for the feedback! Objectivity is a wonderful thing- you're right on the "rush" thing.


# 3. When a powerful ghost wants Kate to become one too, she must face her past to banish him, or lose her future and her (living) mortal lover.

(tweaking to show all the votes for "mortal" instead of "living". You guys are the best!)