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How to Grow Your Author Blog

25 Aug

Countless people start blogs that just get left abandoned in cyberspace, yet the elements of an excellent blog are pretty simple. If your blog is not doing well, often some small changes can make a…

Source: How to Grow Your Author Blog

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Video

Writing Advice That Says To Ignore Writing Advice

13 Nov

Here is author Lee Child on his writing process.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDDZq5Ef3k8

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Now here’s what I gleaned from watching it a couple times

How Do You Research?

He says he doesn’t research before or while writing.

I am glad to hear that, because I tried to figure out all the details for the poisons, symptoms, what an O.D. death would look like, how the authorities would react to so many deaths in one year, the political structure of a small town, the symbiotic/sympathetic realities of several small communities… You get the point. My brain exploded. My writing came to a screeching halt.

So, no more real research until the first draft is completely finished.

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Tell Us About Your Writing Process

He says he just starts on page one and hopes to finish within a few months so it can be published.

I think I may have made something of a mistake when I wrote a very detailed outline. Now it feels the way he described it, as though the story has almost lost it’s fascination for me. The story has already been told. Although, hopefully my characters will continue to let me know their opinions along the way, and that should allow for some interesting twists and turns. Besides, as Stephen King says, if the author is bored, so is the reader. Paraphrasing of course.

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Any Tips For Budding Authors?

The book needs to be vibrant and alive…

In my thinking, this means that you really need to listen to what your characters want, pay attention to what they would and wouldn’t do. When you know your characters well enough they often kick up their heels when things get too boring, or if you are trying too hard to cram them into a mold.

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His parting advice:

Ignore all advice.

Ha ha ha. Really, I have been wondering if listening to too much advice (ahem, and reading too many articles) is part of my problem. Instead of just getting the story down, powering through the more difficult parts, I started looking for outside thoughts.

It’s my own fault. What is life for if not to learn. Well, I am learning my lesson as I struggle through this first draft.

I guess it’s time to shrug and just dive in. Time to bury myself in the project and not come out until the book is finished.

Hmmm, guess it’s time to dig up my perseverance, for when people tell me I’m not doing it right. For when they say there’s a better way, an easier, faster way. I have tried those. Believe me. Now it’s time for me to just do it my way.

“Oh, good, my way. Thank you, Vizzini.

Which way’s my way?”

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Have you had to ignore other people’s well-meaning advice lately?

Is there a project you are currently struggling with?

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*Yes, that is a Princess Bride quote.  😀  Just couldn’t resist.

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Video

An Entertaining Grammar Lesson?

8 Nov

This one made me giggle, and then sigh at how frequently people get most of these wrong.

(Not that I’m perfect, but I at least try to get this stuff right. *scoffs and rolls eyes exaggeratedly*)

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRMRCeQBAKI

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Have a great weekend!

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Which one of these spelling or grammar errors bugs you the most?

(The one that drives me up a wall isn’t listed in the video. My biggest word pet peeve is “funner”. *shudders* Make it stop!)

Do you sometimes catch yourself committing some of these word atrocities?  😉 

(Yeah, I have to retrain myself to say “for all intents and purposes”, so you’re not alone on these.)

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A Couple Thought Inducing Quotes On Writing

2 Nov

Loafing is the most productive part of a writer’s life.  ~James Norman Hall*

What no wife of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he’s staring out of the window.  ~Burton Rascoe*

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Sometimes spending time somewhere pretty while your mind wanders is the best way to come up with a new idea.

Sometimes spending time somewhere pretty while your mind wanders is the best way to come up with a new idea.

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It’s interesting how much time is spent just thinking about your project. Before a pen is put to paper, or fingers poise above the keyboard, the mind has spend at least a little while contemplating where the story will go.  Sure, a few of my flash fictions came out of my imagination as I was writing them. But for the most part, a story needs to percolate for a while.

Rushing the process usually turns into a disaster, because the ideas are not fully formed. You spend so much time trying to put your thoughts together that what you end up writing is more like a stilted conversation with yourself. Believe me, I have pages of the stuff in my novels. And that’s ok sometimes. There are times when the ideas don’t come smoothly and you need to do some hashing out. You need to write it out so you can see it all, and rearrange things so the story flows.

However for the most part you want to let your thoughts wander all over the story. Get to know you main characters. Invite them over for a big round table discussion in your mind. Or have each of them over for a quiet cup of coffee, as you sit in your favorite chair, looking as though you’re peacefully asleep. In a way, that is the best kind of dreaming.

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*I found these quotes at http://www.quotegarden.com/writing.html

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Video

How To Write A Book? Who Knows?!

20 Oct

This video pretty much describes my feeling on the subject.

You can learn all the technical stuff, but if you don’t love your story through and through there’s very little chance that you’re going to stick with it long enough to actually finish writing it. And if you’re bored with it in the first draft, who else is going to be interested enough to finish reading it?

So first and foremost, you must be in love with your story.

After that, it really just falls to what kind of writer, person, personality, worker you are. The little details of How you write are not quite as important as whether or not you Want to write this story.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qs6EUwE9YVQ

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Video

A Calendar To Track My Writing Hours

19 Oct

I need to go to the store and get a calendar. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy. Just something where I can clock my writing time every day.

Yes. Every day.

Too many days are going past where I tell myself I’ll write something tomorrow.

Tomorrow comes along, it’s much busier, and no writing is done.

So, I need a calendar. Clock in and clock out. Treat it like a job.

Especially since one day I would like it to pay like a job.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQlzndepZE4

So, on days when I don’t write anything, I will have to admit it to myself while writing a big zero on that day. No guilt trips. No punishments. Just having to fess up to myself that the work was not done.

Hopefully this will help, not hinder.

If it becomes an obstacle…   then it’s out.

I’ll try some other way of holding myself accountable. I’ll keep trying and trying until I find what works.  😀

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Video

Ann Rice Gives Writing Advice

17 Oct

I love this advice!

I also love how she says that if her advice doesn’t work for you that you should throw it out the window and forget it.

Everyone is different. Everyone has their own story and writing style. Do what works best for you.  😀

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bw2KXX7WrOY

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Happy Writing!

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Video

Tackling Big Projects: Why I Watch My Feet And Not The Finish Line

12 Oct

Inch by inch,

it’s a cinch.

– Robert H. Schuller

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This popped up on Twitter today, and is, I think, one of the best one-sentence pep-talks I have ever heard.

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Don’t look at the big picture too often. It will scare you. It scares me.

Set your goals. Plan your smaller steps for getting to each goal. Then, just put your head down and work on it all one tiny bit at a time.

I have a terrible habit of concentrating on the end result…and seeing all that work piled up between me and it.

That view scares the living peanut butter out of me.

However, now I have that quote sitting beside my computer. Hopefully it will remind me to just look at the little piece of work I have to do next. Tiny, little steps don’t make me want to run and hide. I can get those done.

Just don’t ask me what all I have to do before the book comes out. That’s when I have to sit down and focus on my breathing.

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Do you feel like you need a tranquilizer after looking at your publishing to-do-list?

If you’ve published something already, would you feel comfortable sharing one or two of your most used sanity saving tips?

You don’t have to be a writer to answer these questions. Just think of your biggest project, and let us know your thoughts.   🙂

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Freak The Freak Out.  How often does that happen in your brain?

Mine? At least a couple times a day.  :/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdFEl7bg8MM

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Video

Knick-Knack Overlords – A Guest Post By ReGi McClain

11 Oct

    A few weeks ago I asked ReGi McClain to write a guest post about writing, marketing, social media, or something. Yeah, I was pretty much that vague.  With that jumbled request, she came back with this lovely post (she even chose the video. Nice!).

So, without further jabbering from me, here’s ReGi.  😀

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    It was my favorite housekeeping guru who pointed it out. We like to think of ourselves as gods. In his book, Clutter’s Last Stand, Don Aslett viciously confronts the human tendency to create and control little worlds by collecting knick-knacks and arranging them just so. My grandmother is a prime example of this phenomenon. By the time she and my grandfather moved out of the home they owned for 30 years, she collected hundreds (dare I say thousands?) of trinkets from around the world. Nothing interesting there, right? Millions of people do that.

So why do I bring up my grandmother? Because, unlike most people who amass armies of gewgaws, my grandmother remembers the stories behind each and every one of her treasures in vivid detail. Not only can she tell you where, when, and why she got them, she can usually tell you what materials and methods were used in making them, the cultural significance of those materials and methods, and possibly even the name of the artisan and his aunt’s husband’s cousin’s new boyfriend. Okay, okay, so maybe not the new boyfriend. I assume the girl in question would have married the fella or moved on by now.

Writers are a lot like collectors. We take our little baubles, our characters and conflicts, and arrange them until we like what we see. But do we, like my grandmother, take the time to get the story behind each? If you don’t write speculative fiction, as I do, perhaps you don’t think you need so much backstory. Not so. Maybe you don’t need to decide whether the dragon likes his maidens medium-rare or well done, but at least know why your story needs to happen in London instead of any other major metropolis. Perhaps the anatomical location of the alien’s nose is of no importance to you, but do you know why that character is mind-bogglingly shallow?

Mind you, I don’t think you should start any collections. I’d have to spend weeks with my grandmother to get every story. Sadly, with all those ornaments competing for space with each other, all of them lost value. When I visited to pick out the things I wanted to keep, I passed up many costly, beautiful things because they held no importance to me. Instead, I kept an ugly metal pig. Why? Because my grandmother told me its story. I know it’s real value.

Don Aslett believes in ruthlessly giving away everything that doesn’t hold true significance for you. Not just marginal  sentimental value or potential usefulness someday. No. We’re talkin’ actively-contributing-to-your-current-well-being importance. The same principle can be applied to writing. When you look at your literary knick-knacks, do you  remember why you kept them? Are they truly important? Then put them out where we can see them! Toss the rest. You don’t have to give us your reasons for keeping each treasure unless it’s important to the story, but if you’ve done it right, we, like any fascinated guest, will ask you for more details.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCq20AC__B4

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Thank you, ReGi!  I’ll have to ask you back again.  😀

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If you’re curious about today’s guest blogger, you can go over to her blog: www.regimcclain.wordpress.com

Chat with her on Twitter:  www.twitter.com/regimcclain

And find her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/RegiMcclain

I would recommend all three, really. She’s a lot of fun.  😀

And she just informed me that she has a Pinterest page as well: http://www.pinterest.com/ReGiMcClain

She’s practically everywhere!  lol

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Have a Great Weekend!

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Video

Multitasking: Is It Your Friend or Enemy?

18 Sep

I think, to an extent, it comes down to your personality and what you are trying to multitask…er, with.

If you are juggling a few things at the same time and you can make it work just as well together as apart, then good for you. There are some tasks which seem to go together very well, and it is no real stretch to work on them side by side.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sE2jy23iG2M

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On the other hand, if you are a focused type, who prefers to concentrate on one thing at a time, you might do better to steer clear of multitasking. The last thing you want to do is burn yourself out by mentally (or physically) running around in circles.

Or…

If you are trying to do something important while also letting yourself be distracted by something trivial, your work will suffer. Either it will take twice as long, or you will end up having to edit the tar out of it at a later date. Not really a desirable outcome.

Say you are trying to get an essay written. You are typing away on this project that is due tomorrow afternoon, when your friend starts texting you about the movie they’re watching. This divides your brain’s energy between two very different things. You’re trying to sound smart in the essay, but using texting short-cuts on your phone. You are also trying to remember your research facts, and pull up memories of the movie they are referring to. The essay will suffer, and your friend will think you’re not interested in the conversation because you take an extra couple minutes to reply.

Not an ideal situation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34OZ-dsNkBw

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That’s not to say that technology is bad for productivity. Word sprints with your Twitter friends look like they could be a lot of fun while helping you reach your word count goal for the day . But here, you agree to do a task, set a time limit, put Twitter aside while working on your writing, then switch back to Twitter after the sprint is finished.

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So, I’m not saying that multitasking is bad for you. I just think that there are times when we need to concentrate on one task at a time so that we can get it done better and faster.

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Now if I could only remember this in every day life. *eye roll*

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What are your thoughts on multitasking?

Do you do a lot of it, or are you a strict one thing at a time worker?

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