Category Archives: Exercises

We Start Tomorrow! Our Writing Challenge!

August 15 through September 15, 2017

There are 32 writing days (including both fifteens) in our challenge. Have you chosen the time you want to write?

Have you set a goal for yourself?

My goal is 1000 words during that hour. I’ll probably write first thing in the morning, when the house (not including the hounds of the Baskervilles) is mostly quiet. After I’ve helped Mom but before the sun is really too high in the sky.

During the next 32 days (except for Sundays), Ann Dee, Kyra and I will leave you one writing hint or help each day.

So. My friend Trent Reedy (who is one of our teachers at WIFYR next year) organizes his office every time he finishes a novel. I’m not sure if that is from conception to sale and final revisions or what. But there is something cool about that.

My first hint for today is for you to check out your writing space. Do you have everything you’ll need for tomorrow’s start? Are there notecards? Have you already written character descriptions? Ideas of what might happen? Do you need your desk to look neat? The pillows fluffed on the sofa if you’re writing there? Is there a pen handy?

My second hint is to prepare a reward for each day. You decide what it is. Tomorrow I shall lunch with Cheri after the morning festivities. But I can’t do that every day (unless I win the PCH 15,000,000 dollars). The reward might just be writing the day’s word count (I like that kinda stuff!). But I’ll know by tomorrow what my reward will be.

My third hint is to keep a piece of paper, where you can see it, to log in your word count and how the writing day went. Watching those numbers grow will keep you motivated.

Okay, Everyone. Take a deep breath. Have a party, go to bed early, prepare however you must. We’re starting the writing challenge tomorrow!

7 Comments

Filed under Ann Dee, CLW, Exercises, Kyra, Plot, Writing Marathon

One Pound of Gold Hidden Where?

If you were going to hide gold, where would you put it?

I have to admit, I love gold.

A lot.

And our writing, when done well, is as shiny as gold.

That’s my goal: to write as well as possible.

#45

Your writing prompt today is reading.

Read this great article, and maybe even buy the book.

http://www.openculture.com/2015/05/10-writing-tips-from-legendary-writing-teacher-william-zinsser.html

I love William Zinsser. I’ve never read this book, but I know I would love what he says here, as I believe these ten hints are genius.

PS Check out the links below the article for more things to read before you write today.

Leave a comment

Filed under CLW, Exercises, Life, writing process

Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers, 2017, and a Chance to Win a Googillion Dollars!

Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers is just around the corner. I can’t believe it. And we already have dates, and faculty, for next year. What? I know!

So

What would YOU do with a googillion dollars?

I would get allergy medicine that didn’t cause Alzheimer’s or dementia and the pills would really work.

#44

What is your main character’s secret desire? How does this work with the story and the major dramatic question?

Look closer. What is the real secret desire? Does everything in the novel point to this want? Will your character be better or worse if he achieves his goal?

How will you change after writing this book?

Leave a comment

Filed under Character, CLW, Exercises, giveaways, Plot, writing process

Four Out of Five Dentists . . .

#42

If you could change one thing about your novel, what would it be?

Why?

 

#43

If you could change one thing about you as a writer, what would it be?

Why?

Leave a comment

Filed under Exercises, 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. 😉

Leave a comment

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

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?

Leave a comment

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.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Character, CLW, Exercises, Plot, Uncategorized