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A Time to Create. A Time to Critique. (are you putting a cork in your creative flow?)

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This is great advice that every writer can use!

Brewhaha Book Cafe

Let’s get brutally honest for a moment. Writing — I mean really going for it — is terrifying!

Each and every time you sit down to put words on page, you’re actually transcribing a little piece of you: your wildest dreams, your deepest desires. So what if you don’t like what you see looking back at you? What if your reflection exposes you to be not the creative genius you’d hoped and imagined, but a failure and a fraud?

And that’s just the first cause of anxiety… (Who wouldn’t want to be a writer?!) As if looking at your own work wasn’t cringe-worthy enough, if you have any hope of publication, at some stage you will have to cast your story (that hard-laboured insight into your soul) before the eyes of complete strangers! Or worse: people you know!

To some extent, the anxiety is only natural: the nerves, the…

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Moving house

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If you follow my blog, you may have noticed that I haven’t posted for a while. I’m in the middle of moving house and it has sucked up all my time and energy. I hope to be settled soon and back to work as usual.

I’m moving to a nicer, quieter neighbourhood, so writing will be easier and more inspired by the peacefulness and the fact that I’ll be closer to nature.

Oh, and I’ll have faster Internet! That’s always a bonus!

 

Please check out some of the helpful tutorials for authors here at TechSavvyAuthor.net.

How many unfinished manuscripts do you have?

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For me, it’s not so much that I have the unfinished stuff that I’ve given up on. It’s the unfinished stuff that’s waiting in a queue for me to finish the stuff I’m doing and start on them…

Ed A. Murray

It has almost become routine.

Get a great idea—this is the one! Jot it down. Make notes. Wait until you’re at your computer, and then type away, cranking out as many details as you can remember from the initial burst of inspiration. This is the one that will make my writing known.

And then, about two weeks and ten thousand words later…a new great idea! Scratch that old one, this new one is where I need to focus my writing energy.

It’s cyclical. Until one day you manage to snap the cycle and actually finish a manuscript—which has happened to me three times. How many not-quite-finished or was-once-a-great-idea-until-it-wasn’t-anymore drafts do I have saved on my computer? Dozens. A good fifteen or twenty for every book I completed.

That’s just the way it goes. Does the process discourage me? At first, sure, it did. When you have yet to complete anything…

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How to Outline a Scene like a Pro

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CS Lakin really knows her stuff. I have found her website invaluable.

Blissful Scribbles

Hello, lovely people, I hope you are well? You are? Great! I know I am, it’s Friday after all! The last few days I have been outlining my scenes so that I am ready for Camp NaNoWriMo in July.

I’m reading an amazing book by CS Lakin called The 12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction which I have found invaluable. Lakin gives a scene checklist which I recommend you get your hands on.

I have used this to ask myself set questions per scene, and they are helping me so much I thought I would share them with you. Let me know what you think!

​What is the action or revelation that is the high impact crux of this scene?

What new information will this scene tell the reader?

What is the purpose of the scene?

What do I want the reader to know by reading this scene?

What is…

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Writing for the Masses 7: Know Writing When You See It

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Thought that this was quite interesting. Maybe people who “don’t like reading” might be more inclined to read because they do it every day on social media.

TFWOA

“Keep writing” seems like some obvious advice for anyone with creative writing ambitions, no matter how large or small. There really isn’t much else to writing other than to do it, and continue until you can do it well. You can read fiction, read publishing advice books, read writing websites (like this one!), but at the end of the day, practice is the only way to hone your voice.

I throw the “others have said this much better, but it bears repeating” disclaimer about here in the post. I’m not pretending to have some significant insight, just the experiences of my undergraduate career that I think others could learn from.

First, comrades, we must discuss the idea that we are writing all the time. Many of you will no doubt protest: “But I set aside special time for my fiction/poetry/satire. How can you tell me I’m always writing it?”

Well…

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It pays to learn the craft first

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Are you new to writing? Have you been writing for a while? I’ve been writing for a long time, but it wasn’t always full-time and I would go for long periods of time where I would be too busy with life to write. I went through some rough patches which eventually led to me getting a divorce and I can tell you that it’s extremely difficult to write when your life is in chaos.

But now, I’m concentrating on my writing, blogging, book conversions, proofreading, and cover designs.

I want to say that I think it is very important for all of us to learn the craft of writing. We should never stop learning. And if you’re just starting out, I think you should try to learn as much about writing as you can and do it as soon as you can. That way, you’ll avoid a lot of mistakes. The mistakes that I made and the mistakes made by so many authors before us.

I had basically finished my first novel – well, I thought so – when I read a blog post on Live Write Thrive by CS Lakin that said to not start your novel with lots of backstory and especially don’t start with a flashback. And what did I have in the first chapter? A flashback.

It didn’t start out that way, but I’d read a few novels with a flashback at the start and thought that it might make it interesting, but Ms Lakin said in her blog that if you start with some action, then slip into a flashback, you’ve stopped the action and slowed down the novel, which is a bad thing. And when I thought about it, she is dead right. I changed it immediately.

I still have a lot to learn, of course, but if I’d known then what I know now… life would’ve been a lot easier when it came to writing. So my suggestion is to get on the Net and get your head into some books and learn as much as you can. Now.

Some book suggestions:

  • “The 12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction” by CS Lakin. (You can buy the book or read it in blog form on Live Write Thrive.)
  • “The 12 Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing” by CS Lakin and four other top authors. (You can buy the book or read it in blog form on Live Write Thrive.)
  • “Shoot Your Novel” by CS Lakin. (You can buy the book or read it in blog form on Live Write Thrive.)
  • “Say What? The Fiction Writer’s Handy Guide to Grammar, Punctuation, and Word Usage” by CS Lakin. (You can buy the book or read it in blog form on Live Write Thrive.)
  • “Writing the Heart of Your Story” by CS Lakin. (You can buy the book or read it in blog form on Live Write Thrive.)
  • “Story Engineering – Mastering the Six Core Competencies of Successful Writing” by Larry Brooks.
  • “Story Fix” by Larry Brooks.

YouTube suggestions:

  • Film Courage. They talk about movies, but you can learn a lot from the structure and development of characters, etc from these videos
  • Jenna Moreci
  • Vivien Reis
  • Shaelin Bishop (ShaelinWrites)
  • Kristen Martin
  • Kim Chance
  • Rachael Stephen
  • Natalia Leigh
  • Ellen Brock
  • Michael Levin
  • K.M. Weiland
  • Derek Murphy
  • Joanna Penn (The Creative Penn)
  • And last, but not least, Cinema Sins. They go through movies and pick them apart. Weak characters, plot holes, you name it. It is a great learning tool.

If you’re not a newbie, don’t worry. It’s never too late to learn.

Do you agree? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

 

Please check out some of the helpful tutorials for authors here at TechSavvyAuthor.net.

Short stories are NOT good practice for writing novels

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I’ve heard that a lot of people who want to write a novel think that they should write short stories first as “practice” before diving in and writing a full-length novel.

There’s a major flaw with that plan. Writing short stories is very different to writing a novel.

The structure is different. This means that if you write a few short stories first, you will have practiced writing short stories. Sure, it’s practice at writing – sentence structure, prose, descriptions, action, and dialogue – but maybe diving in and writing the full-length novel that’s been in your head for so long might be the answer for you.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t write the short stories if that’s what you want to do. I’m just saying that it might not be the best thing for you. You’d have to weigh up your options. Everyone’s situation is different. With me, I dove in and wrote a full-length book. I have recently written a short story of seven chapters, followed by a really short story of only a few pages, but I enjoyed writing them and I’ve had some great feedback on them. They are the stories I’ve uploaded to Wattpad. For more info on Wattpad, click here to see my previous post about it.

Again, my advice is to do what you think is right for you. Don’t let anyone dictate to you. They don’t know what’s in your head or your heart and they don’t know what works for you and your situation. You may not know that either just yet, but you will.

What about you guys? Have you written a full-length novel? A short story or two? Both? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

 

Please check out some of the helpful tutorials for authors here at TechSavvyAuthor.net.