It’s been dropping below 60 in my hometown lately. The night air is chilly, beautiful, crisp, and I just want to sit out in my back yard with a cup of cocoa and a good book. Or a good notebook.
Fall is my favorite season–as I am a booknerdigan at heart. It’s perfect for writing, relaxing, cuddling, mingling, reading, and nothing. That’s right. Nothing. A big grand not a thing.
And as the weather gets colder I’m actually getting out of this summer long writing slump that I’ve been in and I’m closing in on the last 8,000 words of my novel. I’m revealing the culprit and giving out the last of vital information and I’m enjoying revealing this to myself. I think part of the slump is caused by not having any deadline but my own and also wondering if my work is even worth finishing.
I’ve read it so many times I’m not surprised by any of it. No surprise for the writer no surprise for the reader was a mantra in my writing classes, but I mean how surprised can I really be after having this story in my head for over a year? The first time I wrote many of these scenes I was surprised that I’d even thought like that.
Now, I’m eager to be done with this piece so that I can move on to the second book and perhaps another project. I have a really sweet idea and want to explore it but I think I should finish up this one first.
AH! It feels good to be inspired!
How do your secondary characters feel about their parents?
It’s been a pretty big year for me. I’m in a loving, committed relationship, I graduated college, my dog died, we have two furry additions to the family, I was accepted to grad school…
I graduated with my BA this summer and I am seriously just amazed at myself. Growing up, I wasn’t what anyone would call an Honor Student. Yet, here I am, in a national honor society, with Magna Cum Laude on my degree. Man, if all those teachers could see me now. And you know what the weirdest part is? It wasn’t hard, it was just hard work. I just woke up one day and cared.
It hasn’t all been fun this year, though. Back in February we had to put my Belgian Shepherd, Precious, down. She was 14 years old, a month away from being 15, and couldn’t walk anymore. She suffered a stroke on a Saturday and we took her to the vet that Monday. It was so hard to put her into a box and wrap her up with a blanket that last time.
I had a parody assignment for my Core I class this last week. I chose to imitate Shel Silverstein, as he is one of my absolute favorite authors. And I liked my edition of Homework Machine so much I thought I’d share it.
Homework Machine; I am a Homework Machine,
I have not seen my friends since 2013.
I just sit in my room and keep doing my work,
They think I don’t like them–that I’m a big jerk.
I can’t remember the last time I went out
They all probably think I just lie about.
Enough with the shirking
it’s back to the working
I’d be able to do it all
if people stopped lurking.
Occasionally, as a writer, we believe that we have to have a a special room or space in which to write. In fact, I posted about this a while ago. We do need a space where we won’t be interrupted. But that doesn’t have to be at home. It could be your car or a park–although that would be a seasonal space since writing outside in the winter might freeze your fingers off depending on where you live.
A change of scenery will do you good. Pack up your stuff, hop in your car, and find yourself a little cafe. Maybe your local Panera Bread, Starbucks, or–heck–your local library. Try writing outside of your house. The part of you that longs to have a distraction will be satisfied, I promise you. As for the part of you that needs to work, they’ll be satisfied too and possibly inspired by the new surroundings.
The quote from Stephen King’s On Writing is pretty powerful. Stephen King, one of the world’s most well known author (I won’t say popular because a fair amount of people don’t like his work… but they do know his name), was once ashamed of his own writing.
I have spent a good many years since— too many, I think— being ashamed about what I write. I think I was forty before I realized that almost every writer of fiction and poetry who has ever published a line has been accused by someone of wasting his or her God-given talent. If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, I suppose), someone will try to make you feel lousy about it, that’s all.
King, Stephen. On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft (p. 50).
Maybe you’ve seen the “Let’s eat Grandma!” example, maybe you know about the strippers named Hitler and Stalin, maybe you think commas are like sprinkles and they make your ice cream-like writing taste better and look pretty. Who knows. Perhaps you’re one of those overly excited writers!!! You know, the ones who like to put multiple exclamation points after their sentences!!! Or maybe — just maybe — you learned one day that there are two –count ’em two — types of dashes and you think it’s — like —cool to put them everywhere in your writing to replace all those — frankly useless — commas. If any of this applies to you: this writing tip is for you.
It’s the classic: show me don’t tell me.
It’s also a cop out in your writing. Oh, sure, it’s factual too. The sun is indeed shining. Are the birds chirping as well?
Chuck Palahniuk’s article on Lit Reactor says it very well. You’ll have to “un-pack” the description. This photo for example. Try describing it at face value. I came up with:
I’m going to admit something up front here. This post is going to rant about something. It is, however, very important for anyone who creates content on the web.
It’s very important. It helps clear up your blog feed and your site content. It makes it easier for your audience and prospective followers to peruse your content. Most importantly-it makes it easier for your audience to scroll through their feed without having to read your 8,000+ word story because you were too lazy to click a button after the first paragraph.
The most important thing for a storyteller to do is ground the reader. By the end of the first paragraph the reader should know the name of the narrator or main character and the setting. Some writers like to keep this from the reader, but remember that readers shouldn’t be confused about the story at the beginning.
Think about it this way: You go to the doctor’s office and after your check up the doctor says, “Hmm… that’s not right.” Then walks out of the office. You follow him because you are curious and somewhat terrified about what isn’t right and catch up with him at the counter. He stands in front of you reading his chart.
“Well, what’s wrong with me?” you ask.
“Huh? Oh, hold on.” He walks away from you again and goes into a different room.