Author Archives: CLW

And Another Thing!

Still thinking about the writing next month?

Quick questions–are you writing a book NOW, too?

How do you do both?

Set aside time every day for your main WIP. BUT give yourself 15 minutes daily to prepare for next month.

Here’s a little something to work on:

There are a couple of ways to drive a story forward. One is with an intriguing plot. Another is with emotion–a feeling that flows through a novel.

So, I have to back up here. Once my sister stayed a summer with our wonderful grandmother and read romance after romance. My sister wrote me a letter. It went something like this: This afternoon I wandered through the darkened halls of Nanny’s home. The wood reflected my auburn-colored hair, like a fire in a fireplace. When I stepped into freedom, I saw the chiseled jaw of the mailman as he placed letters–love letters–in the mailbox. I ran across the field, grass whipping at my ankles, my gown slipping down my shoulders, revealing a bit of my ample breasts.

Okay–it wasn’t exactly that letter (she was like, 13), but sorta like that. There was a feeling in those Harlequins that Sam conveyed in her letter, making me laugh my guts out.

All our writing should have emotion.

In your 15 minutes today, play around with emotions you hope might be in your novel.

Do this for a few days this month. A quick emotion rush. Do heartbreak, sadness, fear, joy, loathing, love, excitement.

That first glimpse of the villain. That parting kiss from the murderer. That joke from a loved one.

Mix it up.

Have fun!

 

PS Our next get together will be the first week of December to talk about NaNo!

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Filed under Character, Chris, Life, Plot, writing process

Pushing Ahead

by Lisa Sledge

NaNoWriMo is fast approaching. I don’t think I’ll be joining the chaos this year—too much of that in my life already! Instead I’m focusing on finishing the rewrite of my WIP and making sure it’s submission ready. I’ve never queried a novel before.

And that’s scary enough.

Speaking of scary, there’s been a lot of discussion here about our writerly fears. I think deep down we’re all a bunch of chicken-livered scaredy-pants. But we’re also freaking awesome because we put our writing out there for the world to see anyway. Doing something in spite of how bad it scares you is the definition of bravery.

What do you do when you’re afraid? When you feel tempted to listen to the nagging voice in the back of your mind telling you your writing stinks worse than the leftovers molding in your refrigerator?

Here’s a brief list of ideas on how to distract yourself from your fears:

Call a writing friend and go out for ice cream.
Watch a really bad movie and laugh at it. Ever seen the movie Troll 2? It’s one of the greatest low budget scary movies of all time. Watch it with friends and lots of chocolate. Your sides will hurt from laughing.
Reread all the best parts of your favorite book.
Get dressed up to write. Do your hair, your make-up, and put on your best outfit. Then get to work. Writing in pjs is great, but sometimes it feels good to mix things up.
Go on a walk or a jog before writing. Visit the gym. Do something to get your blood pumping.
Turn up the volume to your favorite song and sing along.
Take a deep breath, sit your butt down, and get the job done. Remind yourself that you’ll have all the time you need to go back and fix it up later.

What are your favorite tricks for pushing ahead?

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Three Things Thursday

Brenda
I’ve been studying SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder.  It’s supposed to be “the Last Book on Screenwriting that you’ll ever need.” So, I’m going to write a screenplay for NaNoWriMo in November?  Not at all.  But a lot of novelists are giving Snyder’s work a good look because so much of it applies to novel writing as well.
His first suggestion is that, BEFORE you write your script (think novel), you write a good “logline” (think elevator pitch).  A short, pithy something that really explains “What is it?”  Snyder suggests it should contain 4 major elements:  1) irony, 2)a compelling mental picture, 3) an idea of the target audience (and cost of production for a movie), and 4) a “killer title.”
He gives plenty of examples from movies you’d probably know, or at least know OF.  For one: LEGALLY BLONDE.  In just those 2 words, Snyder shows the irony of the blonde ditz going to an upscale university, an immediate reaction to the mental picture of such a woman being in this position which would obviously appeal to a lot of women of  “a certain age” — especially those just younger, the same, or just older than the main character — and the Killer Title, which says so much more than others like “Barbie Goes To Harvard,” “Totally Law School,” or “Airhead Apparent.”
Write a “logline” or SHORT elevator pitch for your current WIP!  How could that help focus your story?
Carol
I’d like to second Brenda’s suggestion above. I always say you should be able to tell what your book is about in 25 words or less. I could do that easily with THE CHOSEN ONE–a 13 yr old girl must decide if she will marry her polygamist uncle or escape the life she knows. That’s 20-ish words. However, when I was working on THE HAVEN, for a long time I couldn’t say what my book was about in 25 words or less. I rambled. It’s this girl. She lives in this place. There’s a secret. And a boy. She has a best friend . . . Made no sense because, for a few years, I didn’t know what I was writing about. And guess what? I couldn’t write it, either. Know what your book is about! It will save you lots of grief!
PS THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE YOU’LL EVER GET HERE ON TUP: I use this 25 word rule with people I am talking to, too. Got a long-winded friend and no time to listen? When they start a story say, “Tell it in 25 words or less.” Got someone who has to tell you about his book and you can see it’ll take ten minutes for him to get it done? Say, “Tell it in 25 words or less.” Maybe DON’T say it to a cop who’s pulled you over. But maybe yes to a cop who’s your pal. Use it with Sunbeams, Laurels, and next door neighbors. Best of all, use it on yourself.
Cheryl

There are hundreds of studies about why people love fairy tales, but the truth is, no one can really know. All we know is that some stories stay with us and are passed down to our children and our children’s children.

What’s important to us as writers is analyzing the aspects of fairy tales that we love most.

For me, I love the idea of falling in love with the person you were meant to be with all along. Disney’s version of Sleeping Beauty fits this, as does Shannon Hale’s GOOSE GIRL.

I don’t find it romantic when you have to fight the world to be together. I don’t want the people I love most to despise the person I’m with. I want to believe that my family and friends love me and know me well enough to be able to pick the man I love out of a line-up, without me telling them. That’s why the ending of ROMEO AND JULIET works for me, because when you have to fight everyone for your “true” love (and after a week, was it really love?) everyone ends up miserable.

What about you? Which fairy tales work for you? Which fall flat?

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Kyra Leigh, Queen Bee

Do you ever doubt yourself….

Do you ever doubt yourself as a WRITER?!

I do.

I have been.

A lot, actually.

But then I decided, why don’t I ponder the things that make me a writer? Not just a pretend writer, like I’ve been acting like I am for the last million years, but like a reallllll writer.

Okay. So pondering, pondering.

For one, I am broke. And not just broke. . . I am flat *bleeping* broke. And let’s be honest guys, most real writers are broke at least once or twice in their lives. {And most everyone else in the world as well. But forget that for a moment}

Insomnia. Isn’t that a writer thing? It’s totally a writer thing.

I have no ideas, yet I have a million ideas. Ideas that won’t shut up. And also ideas that freak me out, even though I know they need to get on the page. Eventually.

I have a few rejection letters {Finally!} and also….They are GOOD rejection letters. Holy crap, right? Totally real writer status.

I have a shit-ton to complain about. No, seriously. Writers complain. And that’s why we are amazing.

My favorite thing that makes me at least *feel* like a real writer is my amazing, wonderful, classy, great, fantastic, agent. We’ve only been best friends for a few months, but he already knows what to say to make me feel good. He knows what to say to make me feel like a writer.
I love him.

But I also love Mom and Ann Dee and her baby that I haven’t met yet, and I am still crossing my fingers is named KyraLeigh.

I also love all my writer friends. Even if you don’t do, or believe, all that crap I’ve written above, if you’re writing, you’re a real writer.

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Filed under Kyra, Depression, Agents, Publication, Life, writing process

Monday, Monday

Ann Dee and I have only the end of our book to write.

This has been a fun experience for me. Ann Dee is smart, fast and a natural writer. She knows so much. “What about plot?” she says. “Oh, don’t worry,” I say. “Is it moving too fast,” she asks.  “Fast, schmast,” I say. “Should we develop these characters more?” she asks. “Of course. Later,” I say.

My goal is to finish the rewrite this month so we can have it to our agents before November rolls around. Ann Dee’s goal is to have a baby.

And also, there is the move.

Again. But the last move, I hope. This also needs to be complete before the end of the month. I kinda feel like I’m gonna fail on this.

So much to do! I even get to teach in church.

Of course, we can’t forget about NaNoWriMo.

October 6 and October 9 have the first three exercises for you.

Here are two more.

One: PRINT the exercises each time they arrive.

Put them in a notebook. A real, actual, something-you-can-pick-up notebook.

Keep this by your bedside, on in your car when you travel–you know–keep it close by. At night add thoughts, ideas, names, incidents that might work for the NaNoWriMo. While you’re showering, remember the ideas that come to you and add them to your growing file. This is research, set up and planning to make next month as easy as possible. Believe me, I understand about falling behind on Day One. Yes, every year I have.

Two: Go through this blog. I have no idea how to navigate it but there has to be a way (PS–You can tell us how to find things in here, if you’d like). Every year we have tried to give you more ideas and helps so you can complete the NaNo challenge. Gather those ideas, writing helps and hints into the notebook. As well, there have been several writing marathons where we have lots of starts and ideas and etc to ease the burden, and inspire you, for what’s coming up.

Sheesh, I’m getting excited myself!

 

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Filed under CLW, Exercises, Writing Marathon, writing process

Let’s Indulge for A Moment

by Lisa Sledge

We all have it.
That fantasy about what we’re going to do when we:

-Sign with our dream agent
-Sign our first publishing contract
-See the cover art or maybe even a few inside illustrations
-Turn the pages of our printed book
-Find our name in a library catalog

When I see my book in print for the first time, there are two things I want to do. First of all, I’m going on a hot air balloon ride. I’ve always wanted to do that. It seems fitting to celebrate the accomplishment of one dream with another.

The next thing I’m going to do is a secret. But it will be fun. :)

I’m curious.

What do you dream about?

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Three Things Thursday

From  Ms. Brenda
What am I doing with my time?
One of our Utah writers, Johnny Worthen, is writing.  He debuted his BEATRYSEL which was released last year by Omnium Gatherum Media in L.A. Then his YA paranormal trilogy, THE UNSEEN, kicked off last July from Jolly Fish Press with the release of ELEANOR.  Next year the trilogy will continue in June with CELESTE, THE UNSEEN, followed later by DAVID, THE UNSEEN.  (He also said he would appreciate your looking for it, even though it’s “The Unseen Trilogy”!)
Additionally, he will “unleash upon the world” his “satirical neo-noire detective Tony Flaner in THE FINGER TRAP in the fall, and when I met him last mid-September he had just received notice from Cherokee McGhee publishers, VA, that his political mystery THE BRAND DEMAND (an Edward Abby-esque MONKEY WRENCH GANG) will come out in May.  Not to mention stories in anthologies, and a novella, DR. STUART’S HEART (companion piece to BEATRYSEL).
And what am I doing with all my spare time?  What are you doing with yours ? ? ?
From Ms. Cheryl
Challenge for this week: Write down twenty things about your character that your reader will never know.
This is a great way to prep for Nanowrimo if you’re planning on it. By doing this, you add depth to your character that naturally comes out in your writing without ever being said. Try it!
From Me
Cheryl has given us a NaNo exercise. I’ll add another.  (This is three exercises to get you ready for next month!)
We’ve talked about this a ton before.
The opening of a book. How it needs to grab the reader.
So–
Come up with as many first lines as you can in 20 minutes. Do that every day for one week.
After the 20 minutes, reread your lines.
What do you love most?
What does each line do for you?
Do you connect with any? All? None?
Write your emotions–and maybe a few lines of direction on your favorites.

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