Tag Archives | WIP

Five on Friday: Vegetable Edition

I'm looking at you, air born weeds and pollen

I’m looking at you, air born weeds and pollen

Why I look odd: It is full-on spring here, a few days early, and I’ve got the allergies to prove it–my eyes are all pink and itchy. Fifteen years ago, I got really sick with a horrible, unidentified virus that resulted in hives, and ever since then I struggle with over-active histamines.  This year even my go-to natural supplement, Antronex, is not putting a dent in the problem, and I’ve actually been taking anti-histamines.  They haven’t helped much, either. If anybody knows anything that will tame them, please do share.

Fun medical test I’m taking: Here in Portland, we’ve had a big scandal with air quality lately.  The Forest Service found abnormally high levels of heavy metal in moss, particularly around the locations of a couple of art glass companies that make their home here.  Turns out the DEQ knew about the results and didn’t bother to do anything about it for quite some time. Political brou-ha-ha ensued!  Anyway, I live near a mini heavy metal hot spot, because, wait for it, we have a bong maker nearby.   So I’m taking a urine test for heavy metal toxicity, which involves swallowing some pills, peeing into a bottle for 6 hours, and then shipping it off to the lab.  Fun times.

What I just bought: On a more cheerful note, don’t judge, but I just bought a spiralizer.  Yep, I did. Now I can make zoodles! We’re trying to eat as many vegetables as we possibly can around here and I thought spiralizing them looked like fun.  Guilt-free pasta! Check out some recipes here.zoodles

What I’m reading: The Color of Light, by Emilie Richards.  Love this book.  It is women’s fiction about a minister whose congregation gets edgy when she lets a homeless family stay in an empty apartment in the parish hall. There’s a love interest in the form a faith-questioning priest. I think it is hard to write about religion without a heavy hand, and this author does it well.  Helps that her husband is a Unitarian minister, Unitarians being the least woo-woo of the bunch.  (I should know, I grew up in the Unitarian church.)

How many scenes I have left to write in my WIP: Three.  So I better go write them.

What’s up with you these days?  Please do tell in the comments.

Dandelion photo by hberends, zoodles image from Parade.

11

Parsing for Plotters: Three Methods

First off, I probably need to explain my headline.  

For starters, I'm a plotter, as opposed to a pantser, though I'm not a terribly serious, must-know-everything plotter.  I know most of you know the difference between a plotter and a pantser, but there are always newbies among us and so I shall pontificate:

A plotter must likes to get the story lined out (be it novel, short story or article) ahead of time, before he starts writing.  

A pantser likes to sit down and write and see what happens.

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Pantsing makes plotters shiver with distaste.  You get stuck in black holes, they cry! You waste time going down story lines that don't pan out! You get to the end and nothing works because you didn't know where you were going!

Plotting makes pantsers shudder with disgust.  If you already know the story, you get bored writing it, they say.  You don't leave any room for the magic to happen! You are not as creative as we are!  

Okay, okay, maybe they don't say that last bit.  But they think it.  

Anyway.

I am a plotter because I've wasted way too much time trying to make books come together that I haven't thought out.  I'm a plotter because if I know where I'm going when I open a file to write, I get way more done than if I don't.  I'm a plotter because I know that even having a loose outline to follow still allows for the creative magic (the walk-on character, the unexpected plot twist) to happen.

And since I am a plotter, I am also a parser.  Even if you are a pantser, you are likely a bit of a parser, too.  Allow me to explain myself. By parsing, I mean figuring out all the shit that goes into a story.  And let me tell you, in a novel, there is a lot of it.  Which means a lot of parsing.  At least for me.

I am not the kind of writer who sits down, does an outline, then follows it.  I sit down, do an outline, write some, realize the outline doesn't work, parse, and then rinse and repeat.  And also, there is parsing a plenty when it comes to figuring out that outline.

Parsing

So, this is an article about parsing.  Because, it occurred to me while talking to a client the other day that there are three kinds of parsing.  (Maybe even more, but these are the ones I have identified.)

You may prefer to thin while parsing.  You may prefer to write while parsing.  Or you may prefer to talk while parsing.  Let's look at each style:

Writing parsing.  This is what I like to do, and what makes the most sense to me.  Writers write, right? I'm a champion writing parsing.  I feel spirals and journals with notes on my WIP and have tons of files saved on the computer as well.  I think through my fingers (to the point that if I'm to retain information, I need to take notes) and so this kind of figuring out works well for me.

Talking parsing.  This kind of parsing can happen in a critique group, with a writing coach or teacher, your agent or editor, or with a trusted family member or friend.  It can be incredibly helpful to brainstorm out loud and throw around ideas for your story in these situations.  And, a note of caution: I find this works best after you've gotten some notes and ideas, and maybe even some scenes, down on paper.  Because I've also had the experience of talking the story out before its time.

Thinking parsing.  Thinking is one of the most underrated of activities for writers.  Sometimes you just need to have a good think.  You need to ponder how things go together, what happened to a character to make her so cranky, or what's going to happen next in the story.  

Probably all writers utilize all these methods at various times, but most will also lean toward one, as I do.  Knowing which you are most comfortable with will help you move forward on your WIP because you won't be spinning your wheels trying to make notes if what you really need to do is put your feet up and think.

So, which are you?  A writer, a thinker, or a talker?

 Photo by jurvetson.

6

How To Have Writer’s Block

Blocks_262707_lI don't know about you, but I sure want writer's block.

I have absolutely no interest in writing quickly and easily.  Or feeling like the words are tumbling off my fingers so fast I can barely keep up.  Uh-uh, not me.  

I would MUCH rather sit and stare at the blank screen on my computer.  And when that gets boring, look out the window.  I'd prefer to do laundry, or scrub the kitchen floor.  Or organize my junk drawer. I don't know about you, but I find that surfing the internet all day is vastly preferable to getting a lot of writing done.

But, writer's block.  No matter how hard we try, sometimes it is just damned hard to get there.  So I offer the following suggestions so that you, too, can spend whole days not writing:

1.  Don't know where you are going.   Start randomly anew each day, without any concern for what came before.  Just pluck inspiration out of thin air and write.  Because, you know, that happens.  Not.  But fortunately you don't want it to, so you are all set!

2.  Don't do any prep work.  Similar to above, remember that you don't need to know anything about your characters, or where they live and work, or the theme, or absolutely anything about anything at all.  Just tell yourself to write!  Not knowing any of the above will bring on writer's block faster than you can whisper grammar.

3.  Don't write regularly.  Nah.  Much better to give yourself, oh, say an hour every month or so. Because then by the time you've remembered what it was you thought you might write, your time will be up–and you won't have written anything!  Which is, after all the goal.  Writer's block, baby!

4.  Focus on how blocked you are.  Because, you know, what you focus on, you get more of.  So pondering your writer's block in all its glory is a surefire way to make sure it sticks around!

5. Check email every five minutes.  Surely something to distract you will have arrived.  Oh look–here's a missive from a nice man in Nigeria who wants to give you money.  It's probably worth writing back to him, don't you think?

Wait, what? You're tired of having writer's block after all? Your kitchen is sparkling, your laundry is finished, and there's nothing happening in the world worth reading about on the internet  You want to write again?  Geesh.  Some people.  Well, if you insist, here are the antidotes to the above suggestions:

1A. Always have a place to go.  Hemingway famously stopped mid-sentence at the end of a writing session.  That may be a bit much, but leave off somewhere that you know what happens next.  And/or, write yourself a note about where to go.  Time and time again I find that I flounder when I'm confused about where I'm going.

2A.  Do your prep work!  This will help enormously with #1A. A really fun approach is this book called The Writer's Coloring Book, which I just discovered today.  But even if it doesn't suit your style, do some advance work.  Think about character, setting, theme and plot.  It will pay you huge dividends if you do.

3A.  Write every day.  Just shut up and do it.

4A.  Good, better, best.  The Qi Gong master I follow emphasizes this.  Do your best in the given moment, whether that is five minutes of writing or two hours.  And focus on what you've done, not what you are not doing.  Good is better than nothing.

5A.  Shut out distractions. Ha! I'm the queen of checking email and looking up news stories.  But I also use Freedom, which disconnects me from the internet for a pre-set amount of time.  It is a lifesaver for a writer, and at $10, a steal of a deal!. (I just went to the website to check the link, and you can also download a tool that blocks you from social media.)

That's it for my suggestions.  How do you encourage writer's block–or find ways to get over it?

Photo by wbd.

6

Why a Writer Needs a Cat

CaptainandLieutenant

Cats are good at crossword puzzles, too!

I have decided that there's one VERY IMPORTANT piece of writing advice that often goes unmentioned.  It is sort of a secret writer thing, but I am dedicated to bringing such things out in the open, because I'm dedicated to helping you find success as a writer.  (You can thank me from your yacht in the Riviera, where you are celebrating your most recent bestseller.)  Here goes:

Get a cat.

Why?  I shall tell you why.

1.  Because a cat anchors a room.  There's something so grounding about walking into a room with a cat sleeping in it.  Writers need to be grounded.  We need to be in our bodies as we work.  Otherwise we'll be wafting about the room with no sense of where we are–and so will our characters.  If you don't have a cat to help you with this, try some other ways, like meditation, yoga, or Qi Gong, my current favorite.  Or take a walk.

2. Because you can talk about plot points with your cat.   One of my cats, Captain, is in training to be a human in his next life.  As such, he listens carefully to everything humans talk about and pays close attention to what we do.  This makes him the perfect writer's companion.  He listens to every word I say about my WIP.  Writers need to brainstorm.  Maybe you don't, but I do.  I do a lot of brainstorming, with my clients, other writers, my agent.  And I do a ton of it on the page, in my journal.  If you're stuck, find a cat (or human, or piece of paper) to brainstorm with.

3. Because cats are cozy, soft and warm to cuddle up next to.   And they often purr when they sleep on you.  Few things are better in this world than taking a nap on a lazy Sunday afternoon with a cat snoozing away on top of you.  But my larger point is: writers need rest.  Throw that old image of writers burning the midnight oil, and creating for long stretches of time without food, water or drink out the window.  That kind of schedule does not foster creativity.  More and more science is coming out to support the idea that we need a consistent amount of sleep–like eight hours a night–to perform our best.  This means you, too.  And if part of that sleep comes through curling up next to your cat for a nap, so be it.  

4. Because they will get hungry and wake you up at the crack of dawn or earlier.  Chop chop.  Rise and shine.  You've got words to get on the page!  If your cats are anything like ours, they will meow at their first sign of hunger, which will likely be early.  Very early.  My two felines have my husband well trained to rise and feed them, but I follow soon thereafter, grab coffee and hit the page.  You will make yourself very happy if you get the most important thing in your life–your writing–done first.  There's nothing better than the satisfying feeling you'll have all day if you've accomplished your most important goal first.

5.  Because a cat will keep you humble.  Cats are the original and best arrogant pets. Sometimes the afore-mentioned Captain stares at me while I'm discussing my novel with him, and then shakes his head as if I've said the stupidest thing ever.  Other times, he breaks out in a giant yawn.  I'm telling you, its humbling. And don't even get me started on the antics of his goofy brother, Lieutenant.  (For the record, they were rescues from our local Humane Society and we did not name them.) Writers need a dash of humility.  This is a topic not often discussed, but I've seen good writers ruined by their ego.  I've seen them get all puffed up and ruin book deals. I've seen them let their ego convince them a manuscript is ready when it isn't, and thus ruin a good potential contact by sending too soon.  Enough said.  Get a cat.

What's that you say?  You don't like cats? Excuse me while I cover the ears of my two tubwads.  Such shocking words coming out of your mouth.  Heavy sigh.  I suppose if you absolutely cannot see your way to get a cat, you could pay attention to the writing tips that are highlighted in bold above.  

But I still think there's nothing like a cat to keep you company throughout the day.  Unless its a pug. But that's a story for another day.

Which do you prefer–dog or cat?

26

Inventive Writing Prompt Round-up #3

Here is my weekly round-up of writing prompts from my daily Tumblr blog.

#18 Sometimes she looked for the answer in wine and sometime she looked for it in food.  On bad nights, she searched for it in cigarettes.

#19 It’s Monday morning.  What’s the first thing your main character thinks of when she opens her eyes? What is the first thing she does after she gets up? Continue on, following her like this, throughout her entire ordinary day.

#20 Don't stop now.

#21 It was all over but the shouting.  But what happened next was even more incredible.

#22  It was a typical Thursday morning at the coffee shop, with groups of people chatting at some tables, and others working on computers.  A long line waited to order.  And then, the shouting began….

#23  I'm doing it because I want to, and not because you tell me to.  (In honor of my sister, who said this to our parents all the time when growing up.)

#24  The full moon rose over the glassy lake, casting night shadows that were a little spooky.

Enjoy!  And if any of them spark a piece you'd like to share, come back and comment!

13

Inventive Ways to Use Writing Prompts

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The blank page, awaiting your stellar words.

I'm not sure how inventive these ways are, but Inventive Writing Prompts is the name of my new Tumblr blog and I wanted to tie it in.  Clever, huh?

And yes, I now have a Tumblr blog.  I'm really not cool enough to have a Tumblr blog, because I don't totally get exactly what a Tumblr blog is,  but there it is.  My Tumblr blog is for one thing and one thing only: prompts.  I write a prompt a day, first thing in the morning.  I posted #7 this morning, and already it is a soothing little ritual I look forward to.  And here's the deal: most days I take the very same writing prompt and use it for writing practice–either as a warm-up or to explore an aspect of my WIP, which in turn usually gets me right into the writing I want to do.

I have been all about using writing prompts recently, and my daily word count has soared because of it.  I have been a bit stalled with my WIP novel — tantalizingly close to the end of the first draft, but not quite able to get there because I'm not sure how it all goes together.  The fact that a brand new character popped up isn't helping much. And meanwhile, Emma Jean raised her head up and said, "Me, me, pay attention to me," and so I'm working on a story starring her (she made me say that) that is either going to be a very long short story or a novella.  And, um, it is sort of turning into a mystery.  I think.

When first we start writing, a lot of us use prompts.  And then we hit our stride and decide we don't need them, because we have more important things to do, like work on our WIPs that are going to be bestsellers, thank you very much.  And then prompts seem sort of…juvenile.  We turn our noses up at them.  And then one day, we get stuck and the thought occurs: maybe I should use a prompt.

Okay maybe I'm using "we" when I should be using "I."   Because for a long time, I sneered at prompts.   I felt they were a waste of good writing time, when I could be working on my novel.  The thing is, you can use prompts to work on your novel, or any other kind of WIP.   There's as many ways to use prompts as there are prompts in the world, and lord knows, there are a lot of those.

Inventive ways to use prompts

Get to know your characters better.  Have your characters answer the prompt or write as them when you're responding to it.  A fun thing to do is write first as yourself, then as your character.  For instance, the prompt today is:  You can pick one day in your life to live over.  Which is it?  I started out writing as myself and then intended to have two of my current protagonists answer the question. What really happened is that one of the protagonists took over (she won out against Emma Jean, if you can believe it) and she actually never got to the best day of her life.  Instead she gave me a lot of information about the rest of the novel that I didn't know.  Which is why I love prompts.

Figure out your story.  You can work to prompts designed to do this, or often when you're writing about a character or some other aspect of the story, you might find yourself parsing out your plot, as I did above.  One great way to do this is to use what if questions from your plot as prompts.  You can also take the last line of the previous chapter as a starting point.  Or a line of dialogue from a character.  You get the idea.

Explore a different aspect of your WIP.  Last week, I used a prompt about car trouble that led me to write a whole scene that fit right into the story I worked on.  I never would have thought of this scene without the prompt.

Write something completely new.  Allow the prompt to lead you into a new piece of writing, something you might not have thought of before.  I got an idea for a little email course I want to offer in the fall by doing this.  Who knows, you might get started on your next novel. Or an article.  Or a short story.

Explore aspects of yourself.  You may not be much into writing memoir, but the better you know yourself, the better you'll be able to grasp your characters. Writing some short pieces about your own life may well open up ideas.  (And who knows, you may decide you have a memoir in you.)

Prompt resources:

Punch for Prompt, on this here blog you're reading.

Inventive Writing Prompts, my daily prompt blog on Tumblr.

Ask the Google.  You'll get a gazillion results.

That's it.  That's all I got for now.  But, do tell: how do you use prompts?

 

6

The Benefits of Writing Crap (A Reminder)

DeskbytheseaLast weekend, I was at my desk.

I had just started a new chapter.  (I'm almost to the halfway point in my WIP, so I'm well into the dreaded muddle of the middle.)  And I was throwing horrible combinations of words at the page.   Really, when I say horrible, I mean horrible.

Feeling a little, um, less than happy with my work, I took a break to check email.  And, wouldn't you know it, there was a message from some publisher or another trumpeting an author's "masterful literary debut."  Which made my shoulders sag and my chin drop to my chest.

Because of course, I immediately started comparing myself.  And what I was writing was not masterful, in any way, shape or form, as we used to say.  I imagined the process of the author of this masterful debut.  No doubt, she wrote beside a window, looking out at the sea, with gentle ocean breezes ruffling her hair.  Which was styled, unlike mine, since I still hadn't showered.  And her desk was clean, unlike mine, the surface of which hasn't seen daylight in months.  And most especially, no doubt every word this author wrote was a gem.

Unlike my horrible combinations of words.

I went to that imaginary scene of this masterful debut author writing despite the fact that I know better.  (Exhibit A: the gazillion articles I've written about this over the years on this blog) I know that this author went through a process, just like me, and that she no doubt despaired over her Shitty First Drafts (not to mention subsequent drafts) as well.  

But my mind went there anyway. (For some reason, I'm particularly prone to thinking this about female English novelists.  Maybe because they always seem so accomplished and efficient? And also, Isabel Allende, whose fingertips seem to produce incredible novels like clockwork.)

And so I was forced to remind myself that writing is a process.  And that process does not start with perfectly formed sentences, despite what my runaway imagination was telling me.  And so, I reminded myself:

–When writing a first draft, you're laying down the spine of the story.   Because you most likely do not yet fully understand the spine of the story, your scenes will not spring, full formed onto the page. Rather, they will of necessity be somewhat sketchy.

–Not only are you figuring out the spine of the story, you're still deciphering the story itself.  Yeah, so you think you know how its going to go–and then that new character walks on.  Or your heroine says something that takes the chapter in a whole new direction.  This is why we write first drafts–to let the story have a life of its own.

You'll figure out things about the story only when you get some distance from it.  For instance, last night I met with my writer's group and reviewed an earlier chapter from my WIP.  And realized that there is a thematic element I need to weave in through subsequent chapters.  This is what God made second drafts for.

–A first draft gives you something to go on in the future.  Because you will rewrite this draft.  And you'll rewrite it again after the first time. 

So, don't rush the process.  (And I'm talking to myself as much as to you.)  At the same time, I think its important to acknowledge that writing "masterful literary debuts" does not have to take years.  (For instance, the above-mentioned Isabel Allende started her latest book, Ripper in January of 2012 and it is available now.  Given the glacial pace that legacy publishing moves at, she wrote that baby–nearly 500 pages of it–fast.)

And remember: writing crap is good.  Writing crap is glorious.  Writing crap will get you where you want to be.

So….what about you?  Do you have to remind yourself to write crap?  To let the words be awful on the page?  Or are you one of those rare breeds who polishes every word of the draft before you move on?

As a reminder, my short story Blue Sky is up on Amazon.  (I'm trying to get to making a new book page, on this blog, stay tuned for that one of these days.) It's a quick read, and just 99 cents!

23

Finishing Things Up

It was Sunday afternoon.  The first rainy day we've had in ages.  I had run around all morning: to church, to my sister's to pick up a European outlet adapter, and to the nail salon for a pedicure.  So, really?  All I wanted to do was relax.  Maybe doze on the couch.  Make some progress on the science fiction book I'm reading that is semi-endless.

But there was that project to consider.

A chapter for a client that I'd promised I'd get done before I left.

Said client is currently busy with other things and behind on reading the work I'm sending, and had made it clear that I didn't have to get her the chapter.

But I said I'd do it.   And the thought of how wonderful I'd feel upon my return, knowing that this project was done (except for rewrites) propelled me to my computer. So instead of lolling all afternoon, I worked.  Sat at my computer and wrote for three hours.  And I got the chapter done.  

Nothing feels better than getting things done.  (Okay, maybe a few things top that feeling, but still.)

And I started thinking about this in regards to our WIPs.  I know at least one productive writer, Dean Wesley Smith, says that finishing pieces (and then sending them out) is the key to success as a writer.   As I've said before and I'll say again, it's so important to push ahead on a draft of your WIP because you're going to know  much, much more about your story when you get to the end.  It's just the way it works.

It is very easy to get caught up in making something, like a first chapter, perfect, and then not making forward progress.  I found myself doing this recently with my novel and I realized I was just spinning my wheels and I needed to move forward.  I do allow myself a tiny bit of editing because that seems to come with the territory of re-reading what I've written, but beyond that it is best to just keep plodding forward.

In order to facilitate that, I take really good notes, both on my intentions of where I think I'm going and from what my writing group says about my WIP.  Then, when I've finished this draft, I can go back and remember what I wanted to do.  Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins, says that one of the best things you can do for yourself is keep a writing journal, a chronicle of your WIP.  John Steinbeck did this also, and you can actually buy his journals that he kept while writing The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden.

But do not get so engrossed in your writer's journal that you don't finish your WIP!

So now I'm feeling like the proverbial weight has been lifted from my shoulders simply because I finished that project.   And I'm so glad I made the effort.

Update: I just saw this page of advice from writers and several of them mention finishing things!

What about you?  Are you good at finishing projects?

***Registration for the Book Proposals That Succeed Teleclass is now open!  Early bird pricing until September 15th, and the first three people who sign up get a free coaching session.

****If you want to follow along photographically on my journey through France, follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook (I'm not so good on FB, but I'm determined to try!)  Also, we plan to blog about the retreat at our retreat site.  I'll post links here as well.

4

The Usefulness of Writing Exercises

I am a terribly fickle person.
Paper_sixties_sixty_269029_l

Most often, this fickleness applies to activities.  Like cooking, for instance.  I'll go on a kick where I'm interested in cooking.  I buy cookbooks, I look up recipes, I watch the Food Network, I actually cook meals and occasionally even bake things.  Then it all falls apart.  My interest wanes, and it's back to cooking the simplest of dishes, buying dinner from the take-out counter at Whole Foods, or going out.

Same thing with knitting.  I'll get inspired and suddenly I vow to be the best, most prolific knitter ever.  I browse websites for patterns, visit the yarn store, start a million new projects.  And then, poof.  It's all gone.  I set my knitting down and it may be months before I pick it up again.

I've gone through this with painting, and sewing (though I did sustain an interest in that long enough to actually design and sell clothes for awhile).  I go through it regularly with gardening.

Honestly, the only thing that has ever sustained my interest over the long haul is writing. As I've often repeated to anyone who will listen to me, writing never gets boring because there is always something new to learn about it.

However, I will admit to some fickleness around my allegiance to certain aspects of the writing life. Writing exercises spring to mind.

I've been known to advocate for writing exercises at certain points in my writing life.  And then, fickle me will abandon them.  I'll get rolling on my latest project and convince myself I don't need writing exercises any more.  I may even get a little snotty in my own brain and tell myself that writing exercises are for beginners.

Until the writing stalls.  And then, fishing about for ways to get the words flowing again, I hit on writing exercises.

It's funny, because practitioners of other creative genres rely on exercises and warm-ups as an integral part of their practices–dancers and musicians spring readily to mind.  Yet we writers (because I don't think I'm alone in my sometimes-disdain for them) are far too apt to dismiss them as irrelevant.

Last weekend, after not having written for a couple of weeks due to the fact I was in Louisville for the Spalding MFA spring residency and then had a gazillion things to catch up on, I cast about for a way to get started again.  And remembered a handout I'd gotten during a workshop in Louisville that had a writing exercise on it. I resisted for awhile, convincing myself I could just launch in on my own.  But that didn't happen.  So I followed the writing exercise (it is a multi-part thing, semi-complicated, or I would reproduce it here).

And damned if that didn't do the trick.

So, I'm suddenly enamored of writing exercises again.  I found an old book by Marge Piercy and Ira Wood called So You Want to Write, and discovered it has some good exercises at the end of each chapter.  I'm looking through my library of writing books for more ideas. 

We'll see how long this enthusiasm for writing exercises lasts.

Here's why I think they work: because they give you some structure to hang your words on.  No longer are you facing the empty page (or screen).  You've got somebody telling you what to do.  Which is helpful when you don't exactly know what to do.

And here's my best tip for working with writing exercises: use them in relationship to your current project.  This helps me to convince myself that I'm not wasting my time, since I'll be generating ideas and scenes for my WIP.  The other thing I find is that while doing this, ideas for other projects come up.  I just had a brilliant (she said modestly) image for a short story appear, for instance.

Over the years, I've put up a few pages and posts that contain writing exercises.  Since I'm on a writing exercise high, I list them here:

The DaVinci Device

Techniques for Generating Ideas and Getting Started

The Bluebird Canyon Special

7 Ways to Use Writing Prompts With Your Current Project

That's enough about me and the writing exercises I like.  What about you?  Do you use writing exercises?  Do you have a favorite one you would like to share?

Photo by brokenarts.

13

A Couple of Quick Reminders

Just popping in to remind you of a couple of things:

This is the day that the Next Big Thing taggers post! As a reminder, I answered 10 questions about my WIP last Wednesday and tagged four other writers to answer the questions today.  Go visit them!  Here they are:

Candace White

Leisa Hammett

Sharon Henry-Jones

Mandy Webster

Beverly Army Williams

NOTE: Some of these authors may choose to post their answers a different day, but this is the day I'm choosing to introduce them to you.  So it's a win-win.

And, the author who started it all by tagging me:

Reavis Wortham

There's still time to sign up for my Virtual Book Release Party.  I really want to give you prizes, like signed copies of my novel and one free admission to my Get Your Novel Written Now class.  But you gotta sign up so I can send you the information.  Click here to do so.

And now, we can return to regular programming.

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