The "mandatory" first rule of writing is that everything is as mandatory as it is optional. Writers learn the rules so they can break the rules. Writers keep to traditions because they can further them in untraditional ways. Whether debating whether to write a prologue or rely on a character discovering a documented past, there are no "correct answers." The same applies to titling chapters versus leaving them numbered. Nowadays there are factors that will end up answering thi
Summer is almost over, and autumn is on its way, which means NaNoWriMo is fast approaching. For any novelist, the turn of the season increases the desire to meet writing goals and challenge creativity further than before. Writing boot camps have become a trend to undergo through September and October to both prepare for NaNoWriMo and make a lot more progress on the project they'll be working on in November. Though boot camp is becoming increasingly popular, many writers get d
Not too long ago, I attended a writing class that focused on the interesting subject matter of "secrets and lies" as narrative devices. So inspired by the super-informative class, I figured I'd shared the wisdom I collected in this next post while at the same time gathering my thoughts on the matter. Without further adieu, let's explore the secrets and lies our characters face in our stories. Rather than merely defining the words by way of a dictionary, let's take the route o
It should come as no surprise at this point that I'm riding the novel writing train with all of these posts about character arcs, character alignment, etc. These topics tend to come to mind when you're writing a novel, and I can't help but toss out a story premise worksheet I've put to use before. At some point, every writer has gotten to the stage of generating characters that will need to be fleshed out. Not only is the development of characters with depth vital to a proje
Next week literally starts off October and I couldn't be more prone to biting at my nails at the thought of November being around the corner. Thankfully, just as the year before and the year before that, there's a system I've developed to get me ready for November. That being said, the most important thing is to not let the nerves of getting ready for NaNowRimo get to you. There are three main things I focus on getting under control before November rolls around: a plan, a rea
Short answer is yes, but it wouldn't be much of a blog post if I ended it with that. Between the air travel, hotel coordination and desperation to getting to everything that's on your to-do list while touring another part of the world, it's hard to think about writing when so much adventure is happening around you. When you're so busy planning all your stops, how can you even fit writing into the itinerary?
Well surprisingly, it's easier than you think. Even when travel
The summer always comes with vacation plans and millions of excuses to take breaks from regular commitments. I am in a "work-though-the-summer" phase because of mortgage and other adult responsibilities demand it, but the same is not to be said for members of my critique group. We've all resolved to re-adjourn in late August to facilitate many member's vacation plans (and of course, to put less pressure on those not traveling to have to produce so much content). My critique g
I doubt I have to quote this one for you to get the idea. It happens to us all, the dreaded slump, writer's block, lacking in inspiration, etc. It's happening to me right now, and boy is it frustrating. Here I am, working on my book when I notice I've been going at an unmistakably glacial pace...for several days. It happens from time to time that you're desperate to write, but the mind says no. It's been an irritating slump to have to deal with these past few weeks, what with
That "last day of camp" feeling's always a heavy one. You're packing your things, wondering if you lived it up to the fullest on your way out, heavy heart present. It's funny how virtual camps give off a similar feeling. I thoroughly enjoyed the little chats with my fellow cabin members, offering advise, getting advise in return and simply working hard together as we tried to meet our goals. So what's the status on my Camp NaNoWriMo victory? Nah, I didn't get my victory this
Isn't spring just incredible? I certainly think so. One of my favorite quotes is by Marcus Tullius Cicero is, "If you have a library and a garden, you have everything you need." I certainly have not managed a garden of Cicero proportions, but ever since the freeze of winter finally shook, I've been planting myself a lovely garden. For the past months since spring's arrival, I've been finding myself in a rewarding loop outside of my day job. Write, read, plant, water and repea
You know what's the best about teaching? You, as the teacher, learning something as well. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not a school teacher or anything, those are the best kinds of teachers and have a much better understanding of the wonderful experience of teaching. I just know what I know from teaching my little seminars on writing. Back on topic. On the twenty-first of November, I taught a seminar on critique groups and feedback (powerpoint available under downloads), havin
As I continue trudging on through my first manuscript for my fantasy-horror genre project, I've come into an interesting discovery in my world building. After days of grasping at the straws of mythological lore (and yes, grasping because no productive research was done) I found myself at a stalemate. Here are the facts: my world has quickly zeroed in on an intense need for researching alchemy, and I've been looking in the wrong place to do it. I spent so much time researching
Let's go back in time for a second to the first thing you ever wrote as a writer. No, I'm not talking about your first publication and don't worry, I don't remember my first attempt at writing either. Let's think for a second about how we started out. I, like a vast amount of others, did not have any acquaintances who were super into writing fanfiction or had already discovered a need to write when I started becoming interested in the craft. All I knew at the time was that, w
Not too long ago, a much respected fellow writer wrote a blog post on how to write author biographies for their books (link here). Her fabulous post inspired me to share some learned wisdom of my own on a topic several members of my critique circles are unsure about: Epigraphs. Some of you right off the bat will know what they are and what other authors will use them for. Some of you are like me and jump to the opportunity to stick one at the beginning of your novels while ot
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