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W is for Write

 

“The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.” – Maya Angelou

Judy Reeves and Julia Cameron both promote daily writing pages. They suggest you write a certain number of pages a day, by hand.

 

With all of the tools we have for writing, I think we sometimes forget about pen and paper. It is convenient. You can always have a notebook on you. I carry one in my purse, in case inspiration strikes. Judy Reeves ‘A Writer’s Book of Days’ contains daily writing prompts. I like writing prompts. Sometimes writing something that someone else suggests takes the pressure of the blank page away. It doesn’t mean I will ever do anything with the prompt but I have it to use in the future. Maybe I will have a scene I am working on and I know I described something in a prompt that I really liked. I can dig for the gold. You can also use what you’ve written for ideas. Maybe something happened one day in the news and you write about it because it caught your attention. That piece might be your next story.

Most of the time when I am writing seriously though, I do have to be in front of the computer. If for nothing else but the ability to edit, the computer is a life saver.

Since I began writing in the ’90’s things have changed a lot. I started out with a typewriter. It had automatic correct and I thought that was the ultimate writing experience. I then moved on to a word processor. It looked like a desktop PC but all it had was a screen and once I edited my work, I printed it out. It printed out like a typewriter. I then moved on to my first PC. It was big but it fit perfect on the desk in the basement of our house at the time. It was clunky and whenever you got on the internet it beeped and whirred and took it’s time. Now I have a desktop with a thin flat monitor and a much smaller tower. I also have a laptop that needs work, a net-book that I should use more because it really is small and has all the programs I use already on it. I have an alpha smart Neo that is strictly a word processor and is just a little bigger than my net-book and runs on regular batteries. I have had it for several years and have yet to replace the batteries. You can save a whole book on it and with a cord download it to any word processing program on your PC. You can also send it wirelessly but I haven’t figured that out yet. I also have an IPad. I love it for the internet. Not so thrilled about the writing programs and even with a keypad it isn’t so comfortable for writing for longer writing sessions.

I guess it doesn’t matter what tool you use if you struggle with the act of writing. I recently picked up another kind of writing book. ‘The Only Grammar & Style Workbook You’ll Ever Need’ by Susan Thurman. Let’s just say that even though I did well in high school English, that’s been a long time ago. I use the book like some people do crosswords. It is packed full of tests. The chapters are:

  • Finding the Right Words
  • Many of the Most Commonly Misspelled Words
  • Parts of Speech
  • Basic Sentence Structure
  • Verb Varieties
  • Pronoun Problems
  • Punctuation and Style
  • Writing Better Sentences
  • Avoiding Common Errors
  • Eliminating Wordy Phrases

I figured that if I planned to continue down this path, it might not hurt to brush up on the basics. The tests remind me of worksheets from school. Don’t know why I think they are fun now and back then it was torture.

What do you write with? What are your writing rituals? What keeps you going?

Virginia

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2013 in Writing a Novel

 

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Tuesday Tip

“With the right hat, nothing else matters.” LaPaloma Hats

A writer has to wear many hats while writing a book. While pounding out that first draft you have to wear the writer’s hat. Keep that hat on your head until you’ve finished the first draft. Don’t even think about putting on the Editor’s hat, yet.

But once you’ve written The End, it still isn’t time to put on that Editor’s hat. Give yourself a break. Let the story rest for a while before you jump back in for an edit. Time will allow you a fresher view.

When the time is right, pull the Editor’s hat out and start reading through your work. If a scene doesn’t have a purpose or help move the story forward, weed it out. If you have too many characters and could consolidate some, get rid of them. Kill your darlings and get on with it.

Once you’ve polished the story and it sparkles, take off that Editor’s hat and grab your Marketing hat. Research who might be interested in your story and start sending your work out. Keep it organized so you don’t forget who you’ve sent to and who has responded. Attend some conferences with the intention of pitching your book.  Be proud when someone offers a contract. With persistence it will happen, if you want it enough. Be proud also of those rejections. You are miles further along than many writers.

Once you’ve sold sit back for a while, maybe on the beach, with a good book and a beach hat. Until you’ve received your revisions and then it’s time to grab the Editor’s hat again…

Do you find it difficult to focus on each phase of your writing? Which hat are you most comfortable wearing?

Wishing you a wonderful week of writing.

Virginia

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2012 in Write a Novel

 

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Live and Learn – Always

If you are anything like me, I am drawn to everything writer related. If I hear about a gathering of writers anywhere, I tend to check it out. I guess it is like that saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.”

Over the years, I have been fortunate to be able to attend several RWA and mystery writer related conferences and workshops, including one RWA national conference in Anaheim and Love is Murder, in Chicago. Today I’d like to promote a local writer’s conference – the 2011 Montezuma All-Iowa Writer’s conference. This is the second year for this conference and I was lucky enough to attend last year’s. For the first year, I thought it was a very informative day-long event that I have no doubt will be even better this year.

This year’s speakers are Iowa authors Lesley Langtry, Kathy Bacus, Kimberly Stuart, Carol Bodensteiner, S. C. Sherman, Mary Zucker Reichert, Rebecca Janni, Colleen Bradford Krantz, and Sharon Helgens. The all-day event promises writing tips, as well as tips on choosing a publisher and marketing.

The conference is held at the Montezuma Community Schools, 504 N 4th and runs from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., with registration at 8:30.

For a registration form and more information go to http://ourfrontporchbooks.com/about/.  Price is only $25 .

I have always felt that workshops and conferences are necessary for a writer to grow. If you spend one day and only pick up one new idea, it’s worth it and that doesn’t even consider the networking possibilities.

I continue to work on my novel and am thoroughly enjoying Cheryl St. Johns on-line workshop on Conflict. If you were unable to participate in this one, Cheryl frequently has workshops and I will let you know about them as they come up.  What really surprised me about this workshop is the number of participants who are multi-published. Don’t want to be a name dropper but if you signed up, you know what I mean.

Today is my day off from my real job so I have to get back to working on my novel.

Currently reading – Louise Penny’s latest ‘A Trick of the Light’. Love, love, love Louise Penny. Someday I hope to meet her.

As far as author’s I have met, Teresa Weir has a memoir out ‘Orchard’ and Oprah has picked it as her # 2 pick for the October O magazine. Might check it out; I met Teresa years ago at an awards luncheon for my local RWA chapter, Iowa Romance Novelists. Teresa lived in Iowa, at the time. She wrote several award winning novels using her own name back then. She currently has several paranormal suspense novels under the name of Anne Frasier now. Her memoir sounds interesting, another book to add to my- to be read list.

Happy reading and writing,

Virginia

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2011 in What's Happening

 

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