Category Archives: CLW

Organization for the Weak-kneed

I woke up at about two in the a.m. last night.

Lay in bed and realized that my whole life is chaotic and I am always behind. Always.

This isn’t new.

I used to sign my name Carolwhoissofarbehindshecanseeherownbutt.

How do I get caught up? Organized? How do I get rid of things? Make time for what I love to do, like read and write and take walks and cook and eat and spend time with my girls and go to lunch with friends and learn to do watercolor work and and and?

It’s no secret (unless you’ve never heard me say this, and then it’s still not a secret) that I believe we make time for what we love.

But what if we’re tired?

Sad?

Hurting?

Lonely?

Overwhelmed?

Lost?

Afraid?

Worried?

Feeling like a failure?

Missing dear friends?

Upset about things from the past?

Hmmm. I could go on and on.

Getting organized in your writing may or may not be easy.

Here’re a few things I found on the InterWeb to help.

http://writersrelief.com/blog/2012/03/organize-your-writing/

http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/get-published-sell-my-work/organize-your-story-ideas

and finally

http://lifehacker.com/how-scrivener-helped-me-organize-all-my-writing-1599446028

#41

Write three goals on how you are gonna get organized.

Send them to me.

 

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Filed under CLW, writing process

Save on Phone Plans: 25%

I’ve lost my phone.

This worries me as I have an appointment with two friends. What if I’m late?

I fought against getting this phone. But year before last when people were messaging all over Waterford trying to find me, and the last time my agent had to listen to Carolina’s weird answering machine, I realized it was time to get a phone of my own.

Where is that darn thing?

#40

What has your main character lost?

How important is it to her?

Does this loss play a necessary part in your story?

Look through your novel. IF this loss is important, in needs to be present. It can’t be forgotten.

When Rick Walton was ill, he was always on my mind. Always. He’s still on my mind quite a lot.

Loss can be anything. Anyone. Keep it age-appropriate, and remember loss for a young child is as important as for an older person, even if the object isn’t as huge as a lost cell phone. ūüėČ

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Filed under Character, CLW, Exercises, Family, Revision, Voice, writing process

Happy, Happy Birthday, Elise!

#39

Write the perfect birthday party for your main character.

Write the worst birthday party for your main character.

Now, do this exercise for the antagonist and one other character of your choice.

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Filed under Character, CLW, Family

A Crime of Passion?

How are you coming with the writing prompts? Are you giving yourself thirty minutes a day to work¬†on these different ideas? I’ve decided, when Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers¬†(www.wifyr.com) is over this year, I’m gonna go back through all these and do each one.

One per day.

Perhaps I will post some of my results. There seems to be serious interest in this blog and I want to keep this going. (Imagine a gif with people laughing their heads off, literally.)

I keep bugging my friend, Trent Reedy, to write a book with me.

He is a boy.

I am girl.

We would have different points of views. This is good in writing.

But I can tell my friend isn’t interested in the ideas I come up with.

He’s very kind about it but he has no passion for my ideas.

Not too long ago Ann Dee and I brainstormed the next book we want to write together. We have this terrific start that’s a little scary because we’re only sorta sure where it will go. SO we wanted to think of something else.

 

As we went back and forth, the ideas I felt excited about, she was sorta like, “Uuuuummmmm.”

And then when she came up with a new idea, I was like, “Eeeeerrrrr.”

We didn’t share a passion. And without that–Trent Reedy and I or Ann Dee and I–can’t get a good book on the page.

You must care about your work.

# 38

Do you care about your novel?

Why?

Why not?

Is it worth the hours, the sweat, the worry, the writing and rewriting you must do?

Why?

Why not?

Is this book worth sticking though the tough parts?

Why?

Why not?

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Filed under Ann Dee, CLW, Exercises, Life, Plot, writing process

The Death Penalty-Pros and Cons

Sometimes we have characters in our novels that just aren’t doing anything to move the plot along.

Perhaps we like this character and so we mold and shape him. We give him the correct lines, witty banter. We even make him wowzers handsome.

Here’s the truth of it.

That guy’s gotta go.

If he ain’t pulling his weight, no matter how dynamic he is, you gotta get rid of him.

# 38

Look at the earlier writing prompt where you drew a circle, with your main character in the middle. All those lines lead to characters in the novel. Are they all important? Can you do without a few? Are there any people not doing their duty?

Every person who shows up in a book must DO something. No talking heads. No mannequins (unless you are Richard Peck writing SECRETS OF THE SHOPPING MALL. Mannequins WERE used in that story.)

So, get rid of all those who are weighing down the story.

And if they are super cool? Use them in another book.

 

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Filed under Character, CLW, Exercises, Plot, Uncategorized

Animal Testing? NO WAY!

(Controversial!)

Long ago, I met Claudia Mills when shecame to speak at an SCBWI event. Oh, I LOVED her immediately. Little did I know, I had found a writer who’s books I loved right at the same time and had been reading all the author’s works. AND IT WAS CLAUDIA! AND THEN I MET HER AND REALIZED THIS IS MY FAVORITE GAL!

Anyway, I said to Claudia, “Do you like Oreos?”

She gave me an odd look. “Yes. Why do you ask?”

“Because your characters always eat them when they have a snack.”

People know who I am when they read my books, too. Bits and pieces of me slip through.

As writers, we must remember we are writing for teens or kids and not writing to drive home an agenda. Spoon-feeding a reader isn’t fun for the reader.

#37

What is the most controversial thing in your book?
Is it there because you want to make a point? Is it there because you are trying to change someone’s mind about something? Or are you just telling your story?

Go through your work.

Is this what a kid would say? Think? Feel?

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Filed under CLW, Exercises, Point of View, Voice, writing process

Heartbreak at 36–When Life Doesn’t Go the Way You Hoped

(Are these titles bringing in more readers?)

(Can you believe we are at #36?)

Emotion grounds our reader in such a way that the reader should be changed at the end of the book. It is our duty, as writers, to allow the reader to feel. We do that by putting emotion on the page.

Once, many years ago, I asked a few amazing writers, how they put emotion on the page so that their books rang true-so they felt like real life. Jerry Spinelli said this:

“You need to experience that emotion yourself. You don’t have to be experiencing it as you’re actually writing, but you need to be able to tap the keg where the memory of it resides and, so far as you are able, relive it.”

Martine Leavitt gave me this advice: “Create a powerful story, and you will create powerful emotion. Novice writers sometimes try to spoonfeed their readers the emotion they want them to feel, but language has the great knack of¬†diminishing emotion. Put an emotion into words and you will undoubtedly drain it of power. All you must do is write a great story, a story¬†full of love, honor, pity, pride, compassion and sacrifice (Faulkner’s six), and your reader will feel every emotion you want her to feel.”

David Gifaldi answered the question this way:

“For me, emotion comes only when I have become close enough to the character
to feel what he/she feels at every turn in the story.”
#36
List important events in your story.
What do you feel as you write these parts?
How do you want your reader to feel?
How does your character feel?
Are you getting the emotion across?
How?
How can you de better?
Do you have Faulkner’s six in your story?
Do you know how your character feels at every turn?
Are you tapping into your memory keg?

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Filed under CLW, Exercises, First Line, Life, Plot, Voice, writing process