Writers on Vacation

Even the most passionate, dedicated writer needs a break. Perhaps you’re in between projects, feel a bit bogged down by the process, or don’t have a clue where the plot of your story is headed. A vacation is a good way to step away from the writing process and give your mind a well-deserved respite….

Deadlines

Deadlines. We all have them, and probably chafe in varying degrees when they approach. Work-related deadlines, bill-paying deadlines, and the days of the week that the trash needs to be set out at the curb (yeah, that’s a deadline, too). Some are more constrictive than others, and some we can ignore or procrastinate about a…

The Shawl – #13

What do you do when something as seemingly unimportant as a shawl materializes in your mind and tells you it has a part to play in your story? It not only knows the place, it shows you. It leads you to the exact scene, and as it settles in, tells you of its significance going…

Dog Day Rescue

In the dog days of summer, it’s tempting to want to relax a bit and let your story drift along on its own. Like you (perhaps) imagining yourself floating aimlessly on an inner tube on a lake somewhere – right? Trouble is, those scenes are going to read like they’ve succumbed to the summer heat…

I’ve Never Been There!

The world you create for your readers has to be a place they can picture in their minds. It has to be believable, even if it’s a fantasy world. It’s like a base camp; your reader needs to be able to settle there and feel comfortable as they acquaint themselves with the characters you create…

Just a Name?

Names are how we identify things – people, places, things, etc. For the purposes of this blog, I’m going to concentrate on the names we give to the characters in the stories we write. I have found that choosing a name is quite an undertaking, and it’s one that should not be taken lightly! A…

Weaving the Backstory

When you write a series, you hope your readers will start the journey as you did – with the first book. That may not always be the case. Readers may pick up a book midway through the series or find one out of sequence that grabs their attention. As a writer, it’s your challenge to…

Research, Your BFF!

If you’re going to write a credible story that your readers will want to invest in, it must be believable. And to be believable, you have to research, research, research! I know it can be tedious, and I sometimes wonder if readers would notice if something is a little “off.” Trust me, they will! There…

Hurricanes and Rowboats

It’s a feeling I am familiar with. Anyone who’s finished writing a story might feel the same. I felt lost, like I was adrift in a boat with no oars or motor. The story had come to an end, but this time it was magnified. It was the end of a series – the cumulative…

Resolutions, Anyone?

New Year’s resolutions have been around forever, it seems. A fresh start. A clean slate. A new chance to get it right. I have my own, personal resolutions but I thought it would be fun to think about resolutions for me, the writer. Perhaps they’ll strike a chord with you. Give Your Story a Home…

Co-Author Magic

At the many writing conferences and workshops I’ve attended over the years, I’ve heard about writers who collaborate on a variety of projects, and I always wondered how it worked. It seemed to be a rare, hushed process that took place under mysterious, obscure conditions. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d…

Don’t Diss the Details

I love a story with details. I think they have the power to bring a story to life, make it believable, and put the reader right where you want them – hooked, immersed, and with the feeling that they are actually there with your characters. But I would caution against meaningless detail. You want those…

Too Much Sighing

  Writers know that emotion is an important part of a story. It draws the reader in and gets them invested in what is happening. It allows them to become emotionally attached to the characters (good or bad) and either cheer them on or applaud their demise. Just a Sigh… There are passages in my…

This Writer’s Toolbox

Writing is a process of total immersion into the world around me. It is not limited to the actual task of writing – pen, paper, computer, etc. To create a believable and inviting world for readers, I must first create one for myself, as a writer. I create this world by seeking out and using…

Trust Your Inner Voice

Every writer welcomes and treasures those times when the writing comes easy. The scenes pretty much write themselves – all you have to do is put your hands on the keyboard and they settle themselves into your story with ease and grace. What happens when that inner voice guiding you goes silent and the writing…

Mixing It Up

I have evolved as a writer in that I need (not want) to write every day. It’s woven itself into the fabric of my very being. If I find the day slipping by and I haven’t written in one form or another, unease and guilt seeps into my soul. To relieve my self-imposed angst and…

Story As Tree

Now that spring has arrived (for the most part), I thought it would be interesting, and hopefully of some help, to create an analogy between a story and a tree. I think it will work; I’m exploring as I write, so hang in there with me and we’ll see where this thing goes. Before any…

Chocolate Sampling

There are those who say it’s bad manners to take a bite of a chocolate candy and put it back in the box. I would respond by buying them their own box, because those partially eaten chocolates have a role to play when it comes to my writing. Sure, there might be a guide on…

Story Sandwich

Can you think of your story as a sandwich? Have I lost my mind? Probably. But it’s been a while since breakfast. Let’s think about the two pieces of bread as the beginning and end of your story. They need to be appealing, satisfying, and somewhat sturdy if they are going to support whatever fillings…

Plot Police Raid

I’m in the zone. I know just what needs to happen in this particular scene, and it’s practically writing itself. As I type away with a satisfied grin on my face, the Plot Police burst through the door and stop me dead in my celebratory tracks. “Halt! Hold it right there!” the tall, handsome one…

Just a Pile of Leaves

  I took this image of a carpet of autumn leaves years ago. I love it for many artistic reasons, but I thought it would be fun to apply the various components of this image to some of the aspects of the creative writing process. It’s a pleasant scattering of leaves, in different angles, layers,…

Dimmer Switch Request

An image on Facebook prompted me to write this blog. The post read as follows: “A writer is working when looking out the window.” “That’s me!” my mind shouted. (I would have shouted out loud, but I was at work and being on Facebook during office hours is frowned upon.) Conscientious employee that I am,…

Where is This Going, Anyway?

There are times where I need to write, and I have no idea where the inspiration is going to come from. What I have learned from these short pieces, is that they’re about so much more than what I thought or originally intended. I’ll provide a couple of examples – you can read the entire…

How This Writer Writes

  I don’t mean handwriting. What I mean is the journey my story makes from brain to page/screen. The process, rather than the actual act – well the act, too. Perhaps I should explain. When a non-writer hears that I’m going to be spending the day writing, I think they envision me in front of…

A Font Experiment

This post was drafted in Times New Roman, 12 point font. It’s pretty much the industry standard/requirement for writers. I understand the need for ease of reading and a sense of conformity, but I wanted to conduct a little experiment of my own regarding fonts for other uses. Fonts are very powerful images, like the…

The Magic of Inspiration

I never know where or when I’m going to find inspiration – does any writer? Sometimes I go looking, or will it in my mind, but I seem to have the best luck when I leave the door wide open and welcome inspiration on its own terms. I’ve gotten into the habit of taking a…

I’m Glad I Love Research

  I’m fully immersed in my story. I’m in “the zone,” typing madly, but this story is practically writing itself. Then one of my characters hands another a cup of tea (insert sound of screeching brakes). Wait! Did they have tea in 13th century Scotland? Turns out they didn’t. Change tea to honeyed milk. As…

Guilt-Free Writing

I’m a writer. I love writing. Every day. But what happens when real life gets in the way, and I end up in front of the computer doing everything BUT writing? When my brain won’t shift to writer mode, or I’m stuck and the solution won’t show itself? How do I stave off the inevitable…

Writing on Paper

Does anyone really write anymore? I don’t mean type on a computer or tap out a text. I mean, use one of these things – pencils, pens, even a marker to write something you want to say to someone. I know our world is immediate. We’re used to instant gratification. And sometimes that’s okay. The…

The Comfort/Discomfort Zone

My middle-grade novel is done. Yay! That’s cause for celebration. And, I did, especially when it won an RPLA award at the Florida Writer’s Association competition in October, 2016. I took a well-deserved break and sat back for a time to revel in its completion and success. Now what? Well, I’ve decided to include this…