Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Character Development

What's in a name?

For me, everything. I spend hours finding just the right names for the characters in my novels. Until I find the perfect names, I can't even begin to outline the book. Same thing when it comes to a book title. I must have a title before I can begin writing the book! Crazy,  huh?

Oh, I have tried to push on without the names hammered down, but I don't get anywhere. I have even named a  hero, written two chapters, decided the name wasn't right, stopped in my tracks to rename the hero, and then I had to write the two chapters over again because the hero changed completely in my mind when he had a new name.

Names conjure up certain images in my imagination. It doesn't matter to me if my friends don't like the names. I have had my best writer friend say, "I hate that name. You must change the heroine's name. It's awful." But I shrugged and stuck to my guns. She had been christened and I was well pleased with her, name and all.

After I have the names, then I create a character profile for each one. Not just a physical description, but what makes the character tick. What is he/she frightened of? Where is the person most vulnerable? What happened in the past to shape this person? When this character looks in the mirror, what does he/she see?  I might write a whole page on the main characters and half a page on the supporting characters. I add to the profiles as I write the book. That helps me to not forget story threads and character details.

If an editor asked me to change a name, she or he would have to possess an airtight reason for it, and chances are, the editor would lose the battle. Years later, when I hear one of my hero's names or my heroine's names, I can immediately see them in my mind's eye and I can hear them in my writer's ear.

I have caved in and changed a book's title at the request of an editor/publisher. And I rue each title that was changed. A couple of them are my least favorite and, frankly, are senseless. They could be slapped on practically any romance book.

I am genuinely fond of the hero and heroine in each of my novels and even a few of the secondary characters. They are my creations, names and all.

It is the season of giving. Give yourself more time this month to daydream and to write -- and to think of some lovely names!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Habits Are Good

Get into the Habit

A good part of writing deals with habits. I recall "back in the day" when I worked for a newspaper and the news room was full of people who smoked. That was when people smoked everywhere, including the workplace, and if your co-worker didn't smoke and hated the stench, tough! Smoking was a writer's habit. You couldn't get cooking without lighting a cigarette, taking a drag, and then getting down to work. It was a habit. A bad one, but a productive one when it came to getting your work done!

Flash to today when smoking is not allowed in the workplace, but habits still persist. When I first started working full-time from home, I got down to business generally around 11 a.m., right when "The Young and the Restless" began on my trusty background noise TV. I usually stopped writing when the news came on, right after the Oprah show. I discovered that it became very difficult for me to write on weekends because the theme music to Y&R was not to be heard. That music made me want to write! Consequently, when the news came on, I wanted to quit writing, no matter if I had hit my daily quota of finished pages or not!

Ah, yes. Quotas. Another good habit. I set a daily quota of pages. When I reach the magic number (mine is 10) then I can quit for the day. If I hit that number at 2 p.m. I'm done. If I don't hit that number until 8 p.m., then it is a long, frustrating writing day, but I don't quit until I have written 10 pages. It's habit and that habit makes me produce writing every day.

Do you have habits? Of course, you do! What are your good ones that help you as a writer? Won't you share?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Favorite Words

What are you three favorite (hardly used) words?

If you love to read or write, then you love words. Words can be fun, serious, painful, passionate, you name it! Most of us use only a smattering of the words we actually know. Everyone knows words that are loved but rarely used.

Today . . . and I say today because the list changes frequently -- my three favorite words that I hardly ever use are:

1. Indubitably (I like it because it is fun to pronounce)
2, Campy (It is too close to my name to use very often)
3. Ulula (Many years ago, I collected items that had owl motifs on them)

So what are your favorite three words that you hardly ever remember to put in a sentence? Post them here and let's keep it clean, folks.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fire in the Belly

In the Beginning . . .

When I first started writing novels with the intent of getting published (I wrote a few experimental stories when I was a pre-teen and teenager), I was obsessed. That's a good thing. Before you are published, you should be living, breathing, and dreaming about writing and getting published. I would work a full day at my "real" job as a newspaper reporter and then go home and sit at my dining room table and write until one or two in the morning. I stopped for dinner and bathroom breaks. That's it. Weekends were all about writing.

By doing this, I was able to complete several romance novels and they were all eventually published. True, I had no social life, but I had a plan. The plan was to be able to quit my journalism job and become a full-time novelist. I accomplished this eight years after graduating from college.

I actually wrote a novel in seven days. It was published. No, I won't tell you which one!

Today? Well, I couldn't write a novel in a week anymore, but I still have a fire in my belly and stories swimming in my head. I write 10 pages a day on top of my freelance writing work and my work with a local dog/cat rescue organization.

Sometimes novice writers who have received a number of rejection slips ask me, "Do you think I should just quit writing?"

I tell them, "If you are seriously asking me that question, then yes, you should quit because a writer who must write would never ask that of anyone."

Write well. Write often. Keep the fire burning.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Halloween Happiness

Nothing Like a Good Shiver!

It's coming! Halloween. My favorite holiday that features my favorite color -- orange! I have lovely memories of trick-or-treating as a child. Back in those more innocent (or maybe less informed?) days, packs of kids roamed the neighborhoods -- adult free! I even recall going inside a stranger's house where we plunged our hands into bowls of candy and heard a spooky story from the home owner about a guy being swallowed by a whale. Then she handed out tiny Bibles. That would NOT happen today. Parents would have to have their heads examined to allow their tots to trot into a stranger's home for some story telling.

I vividly recall running behind some kids and watching in amazement as they each fell backward onto the dewy grass as if ghost had knocked them silly. Much moaning and groaning emitted from them. I moved forward cautiously, waiting for the force field or powerful ghoul to whollop me. Then the moonlight stole across black panes of wire -- a fence! Practically invisible in the dark night. One of the fence's victims had red squares on the left side of his face the next day.

While the spookiness is upon us, try your hand at writing something that scares the pants off you. You never know if you have a knack or natural talent for something until you give it a whirl. Just start off writing spooky stuff during the day. Writing scary scenes at night takes nerves of steel.

Friday, October 12, 2012

October -- Falling in Love

Heroes of Distinction

What is your kind of hero? What kind of man makes you weak in the knees and tugs at your heart? I have always had a soft spot for the misunderstood hero. Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice and Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind. In real life, it's the same. My first big crush was on a "bad boy" who was nice to me. I saw the kind side of him and fell madly in love.

Most (all?) of the leading men in my novels are misunderstood. The heroines get a glimpse of their soft hearts and begin to fall in love, even while warned by others to steer clear of the troublemakers. I don't like bragging, swaggering heroes. I like the quiet, confident type. A sense of mischief doesn't hurt either.

Men that rage and throw things and make idle threats also turn me off. I like a hero who can rein in his temper and only resorts to violence to protect others.

Creating the perfect hero to bring out the best in a well-crafted heroine is no easy task, but it is infinitely enjoyable.  Usually I get it just right and on occasion I know I missed the mark by a smidgen. I hate when that happens. When I get reviews from readers that are polite and use words such as "nice" and "good read" I know that I could have done better. Only when reviewers and readers tell me that they fell in love with the hero and wanted desperately for him to win the heart of the heroine do I know that I got it right. Thankfully, that happens most of the time. It's a great feeling.

Almost as good as falling in love for real.

By the way, you can discover my heroes by going to Amazon. All my novels are available for Kindle readers there or you can buy them as paperbacks.

Let's keep in touch!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

September -- Words of Glory

The Death of Composition

I hesitate to write this because it makes me sound like a grouchy, old lady, which I am becoming, but I fear that texting is killing the beauty of words.

I don't text -- or, rather, it is a rare practice for me. I have probably texted someone three or four times. That's it, and it felt awkward because I knew I was supposed to chop up words like they were in a blender and spew them into the message like pureed thoughts that might sound cool to people who can't spell anyway. However, I could not follow the rules. I spelled out everything and made complete sentences with punctuation. I couldn't even bring myself to type "thx" at the end. I wrote, "thanks." Such a word nerd.

Yes, like an old guard, I feel it's my honor to fight to save the English language and the beauty and power of words. Not chopped up, misspelled, ill-used words. No. Whole, healthy, vibrant sentences that build upon each other to create beefy, wondrous paragraphs. Capital letters where they should be and periods to end sentences. Plain and plane, bear and bare, wait and weight, effect and affect where they should be and apostrophes and commas galore. If you are a writer or a reader, how can you possibly text? How can you insert numbers for letters without wanting to flog yourself? If we don't stand up for the marvel of whole words, who will? Surely, not the teams of texters happily churning out abbreviations that resemble less and less their true Latin roots. Rng me b4 u go. How could this be considered communication?

My feeble hope is that writers and readers will hold strong and refuse to destroy their treasured baubles. They will stand back and allow the poor spellers and hate-to-readers text until their numbers grow fewer as the lovers of words stagger back to the fold, beaten into submission by their own shame and desperate for the sweet nectar of a striking sentence or breath-defying phrase.

There is nothing wrong with texting. It is communication. What is wrong is allowing it to be okay to not know the difference between fore and four, bough and bow, and peek and peak. Our language is astounding and as rich as a ten egg custard. We should never willingly and wantonly water it down to frothy broth that can sustain nothing, not even a one-word message. Thx. God help us.

Stretch yourself this September and pen a description of your favorite autumn day.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

August -- Hot and Cold Editors

Editors -- Pain or Gain?

I have had some absolutely fabulous editors and I believe that all writers need a good editor. So what is a good editor? From my experience, good editors catch more than typos and grammar mistakes -- although those jobs are a big part of their contribution. Good editors bring focus to blurry passages, fix glitches in time and space, and let you know when your characters are inconsistent, weak, or irritating.

Now, these things are not easy to hear. I recently asked my best friend, who happens to be a fantastic writer, proof a partial for me. I told her to mark any places that she felt were weak and needed shoring up. I could tell when she called me back after a couple of days that she was dreading the phone call. I knew she didn't want to hurt my feelings. She started off by saying that it had been a long time since she had read an historical romance and she was probably all wrong about how they should be constructed. I told her to just give it to me. I could take it.

This great friend of mine saved my bacon. She pointed out what is a common error among writers -- thinking you had made something clear when you hadn't. When you write a novel, you carry a lot of things in your head. Almost the whole book is rattling around in your brain. All that research, all those character flaws, all those juicy snippets of dialogue you want to include in certain scenes -- all that is crammed into your head. So, it's easy to think you have told your readers something when, in fact, you have not. I had skimmed over important information that needed to be presented clearly so that the reader would understand the initial premise and the heroine's dilemma.

After a couple of rewrites, it was vastly improved and the partial is now with an acquiring editor for consideration. I don't think it would have had a chance in hell without my editor/friend's help.

On the flip side, some editors can do more harm than good. Editors who are frustrated writers and bitter that their works have not been published while yours have or will be can try to make you write the story they want to write. Or editors of publishing houses that have strict ideas of what will sell best can try to make every writer fit a small, confining mold. One of the worst times in my writing career was when a young editor at a big publishing house wanted me to put a baby and a cowboy in every romance I submitted -- even if my plot had nothing to do with babies and cowboys.

And yet . . . I would rather wrestle with an editor than do without one. Editors have made me a good writer. Editors have made me a multi-published writer. Without them, I would be a self-published novelist, telling myself that I don't need no lousy editor (and knowing, full well, that I really, really do!).

Write well. Write daily. Sweat blood.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

July -- Backstory Blues

Battling Backstory

Recently I read an award winning novel that was certainly interesting, but had one troubling flaw. At least to me.

The author shoved tons of backstory at me in the first chapter or two. Tons. The book began with the heroine going through routine chores in her prairie home. This gave the author plenty of space to tell us about how the heroine met her husband, where she was brought up, how her husband proposed to her, the trouble she had birthing her child, a miscarriage, and that her husband had mood swings that were getting progressively worse.

Nothing wrong with all of that information. We need to know about the characters to understand why they do what they do. However, backstory is best when it is revealed in thin slices -- like peeling an onion. If you tell me all this stuff about a character's past right when I first meet her or him, I'm not ready! I have just met this character! It's like meeting someone in a grocery store, exchanging a bit of small talk, and then the person launches into a sermon about her life up to this point. Do I want to hear this now? No!

Wait until I am emotionally invested in a character before you ladle on the backstory. Make me want to know . . . make me question . . . make me wait a little before you show me a glimpse of a scene in the character's past that will provide insight on why the character acted a certain way in a previous scene. Just because you have a wealth of information about the character, doesn't mean you have to tell your reader every tidbit of it. You might even know something about the character that you never have to reveal in the novel because it isn't necessary. It's important for you to know, but you don't have to share it with your readers because it doesn't add to the story.

Backstory can be boring if it is delivered too soon and glopped on like paint splatters. Readers will skip over it or glance through it because they are not emotionally engaged yet and are anticipating dialogue or action.

The main focus of a first chapter is not backstory. The main focus should be to answer this blazingly important question; Why is this day unlike any other?

Readers are looking for the answer to that question in the first chapter and you had better not delay it any later than the beginning of your second chapter, or you will lose a lot of your readers. If it appears that this day in the character's life is no different than the day before, then why are you writing about it and expecting me to read about it? I might as well read someone's diary.

So, go easy on the backstory. Let me get to know your main characters through their actions and dialogue before you give me snippets of information about how life formed them, shaped them, and led them to this moment in time.

But that's just me. I could be wrong.
What do you think?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

June Bugging

I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June. -- I.M. Montgomery

As writers, we invoke the characteristics of people we've known to give life to those we create. I have done this, and the people in my life never recognize themselves in my fiction. Funny, huh? Proof that we rarely view ourselves as others view us.

Inventing characters is one of the best parts of writing fiction. To dream up a cast of characters who will fit perfectly into a plot, who will drive it forward, and who will, hopefully, even live beyond it in the memories of readers -- that's the fun stuff of fiction.

I have placed a main character in a book before, and after a few chapters, fired her and dreamed up somebody else because the story wasn't working. The character wasn't saying what needed to be said and wasn't feeling what needed to be felt. I had to rethink, recreate, and recast for the betterment of the novel.

Sometimes the characters do things that are surprising and that have an impact on readers I hadn't anticipated. In "Cheyenne's Shadow," currently available on Amazon and for Amazon Kindle readers, the hero, Johnny Cheyenne, reads one of the heroine's favorite books. He marks his favorite passages with wildflowers, pressing them between the pages. When the heroine discovers them and reads the romantic passages, she falls more deeply in love with him.

Evidently, from the fan mail I have received about that book, the same thing happened for my readers! Almost every message and nearly every book reviewer mentioned this plot development, many of them confessing that it brought tears to their eyes.

I must confess, I never expected that reaction! I liked the scene and, naturally, I loved Johnny Cheyenne, but there were a couple of other scenes that I thought were stronger and more emotionally telling.

But what do I know? Just as we are often unable to see ourselves as others see us, we also can't always predict what novels or scenes in novels will strike deep chords within our readers. If we could, we would all be on the bestseller lists!

What I am grateful for is that readers find favorite scenes in my books and tell me about them. Apart from the fun of creating characters, having readers tell you why they loved those characters ranks way up there on the fun meter.

What friends or relatives have you borrowed from to create characters? Did you tell them? Did they recognize themselves? Were they bugged by it or flattered?

I would love to hear from you!


Monday, May 7, 2012

May Musings

Let all thy joys be as the Month of May -- Frances Quarles

I'm not a morning person. Words generally do not fly from my fingertips until after noon. When forced, of course, I can string together some sentences. However, they will not be good sentences.

Writers who are morning people intrigue me. They rise before the sun, chirping like birds after their worms ... er, I mean, words. They love to talk about the quiet, the coolness of the hours before sunrise, and the joy of watching the first sunbeams strike the earth. Ah, bliss. You can hear it in their voices and see the proof of it in their feverish eyes.

Good for them, I say. Let me have the noon hour and those lovely hours after it. Even when I go fishing, my line doesn't get wet until eleven at the earliest. Other anglers shake their heads and show me the baskets of fish they have already caught by the time I get bait on my first hook. Yeah, yeah. By dusk, I will also have a basket of fish and a nice disposition.

What are you? Morning or night? Have you ever tried to switch? How did that experiment go? Any success?

When I worked for other people, I had to arrive at work early and begin work. I must admit that the work done by me before noon was along the lines of straightening my desk, drinking coffee, looking at e-mails, visiting the bathroom, and drinking more coffee. Finally, noon would make its appearance and I would hunch over my keyboard and let 'er fly. I would get as much or more written and accomplished than anyone else on staff -- and I did it between noon and 5 p.m. Oh, and I took a lunch break around 12:30!

I am a firm believer in doing things the easy way. Why make it more difficult? You like to write in the afternoon or the dark of night? Go for it! I'm also a big believer in progress over perfection -- especially for writers. It's more important to write as much as possible than to write perfect sentences. Spew out that first draft and then get out your editing pen to make it pretty and spell things correctly.

New Novella Alert!!!!!

My novella is available on Amazon Kindle now. It is titled "The Madcap and the Miser" and it is a quick, delightful read if I do say so myself. If you like sentimental romances with a touch of humor, check it out. It only costs a buck, I think -- and worth every penny! In fact, it's a steal, considering the hours I put into it.
So, go ahead. Buy it and read it and then check back here and let me know what you think.

Until then, may your May afternoons be lovely and productive!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April Flowers

April -- the Angel of the Months. -- Vita Sackville-West

Who is your secret self? You must have at least one! The secret self is how you view yourself from the inside out. Sometimes inside I feel like a cross between the fabulously original Barbra Streisand and the worldly-wise Oprah Winfrey. Write a character description of your secret self. Would your secret self make a good protagonist? Maybe your secret self is often the protagonist in your novels and short stories.

This month why not . . .

*Take advantage of the weather and go for a walk. While you are picking them up and putting them down, make a mental list of your favorite five colors. When you get home, look in your closet to see how many items of clothing you have in those colors. If your favorite colors aren't in your wardrobe, why not? Are you saving them for your secret self to wear?

*Treat yourself this month to a trip to the flower shop. Breathe in the mixture of aromas and allow them to seep deeply into your consciousness. Later at home, try to describe the ones you recall most vividly. Jot down the descriptions and be as accurate as possible. Keep these notes. They could come in handy for a future scene in a book or a line of poetry.

*Do you love music? Does it punctuate your life? Make a list of your top five favorite songs. Can you think of a short story premise for each one? What phase of your life does each song represent?

*You've heard of "the feminine mystique." But do you know someone who exudes it? What does "feminine mystique" mean to you and why do you feel this person has it?

Most writers have many stories swimming in their brains -- so many they will never be able to write them all. However, getting down to the business of writing can sometimes scatter those ideas, leaving you with nothing but white noise between your ears. That's when it's good to try some of the creative exercises suggested in this blog. Once you latch onto something fun, your ideas will float to the surface again.

Trust in yourself. Your secret self.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Guest Post!

Writing Nonfiction
By Peggy Fielding

Writing nonfiction, i.e., writing truth, is as much an art as writing fiction and, of course, nonfiction is certainly easier to sell.

My bestselling books have always been nonfiction, particularly my book, THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO WRITING & SELLING MAGAZINE ARTICLES, which has made a ton of money for my publisher.

The idea of writing another book which sells as well seems impossible but I have to grin and remind myself of what one of my former students once proclaimed for me, “Writing is hard!”
Of course she was right. I just have to remind myself that all writing is difficult but indeed, writing nonfiction is much easier all around, at least for me.

Quit dilly dallying, I tell myself. Writing nonfiction is way easier than any other kind of writing which I might indulge in. “Go for it, girl!”

I just have to begin with a few ideas for manuscript preparation in a 40,000 to 100,000 word book, ready for typing and mailing. See, I’m still a dinosaur -- write the book on a tablet, then on a computer. But I send it to an editor via the U.S. postal service.

First I must answer my question as to where ideas for nonfiction books can be found.

Here’s a short list comprised for my students, and yes, I use it myself:

1. Newspapers/TV/Magazines.
2. Bodies of knowledge which you and family or friends already have.
3. Your own unusual experiences.
4. Working with an expert (you write, he/she expounds.)
5. Research on the computer or in the library.
6. Sometimes strangers can come up with good ideas but be careful. Everybody thinks he/she can make a book from his/her life, if only someone else would just write it down and market it.

Now,call me if you think you have a better idea.

Love to all of my cyber friends,

Peggy Fielding
Author of PARADISE FOUND from Zebra/Kensington Books

SCOUNDREL’S BARGAIN from Diva, AWOC Publishing

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Marching Through March

It is the first mild day of March.
Each minute sweeter than before . . .
There is a blessing in the air.
--William Wordsworth

March winds are double-edged, bearing the heaviness of winter along with the brightness of spring. March sometimes makes us want to huddle indoors and sometimes makes us want stand in the sunshine and dream of kites. It is a cusp month, balancing between winter and spring, making us wonder if one has gone or if the other has finally come.

Embrace the teetering days of March. Choose one or all of these activities to still the inner turmoil of life and listen closely to the writer in you.

*Create a database with names of publishing houses and editors.
*Set aside a calendar or daybook to record your writing information -- who's who, where something was sent, when something was requested, etc.
*Write a limerick to honor St. Patrick's Day.
*Write a letter to one of your favorite living authors. Tell the author why you love what he/she writes and quote a couple of your favorite lines or paragraphs from one of his/her books.
*Read a novel by an author you've never read before and write a review of it for an online site such as Amazon.
*Buy a book of poetry. It will do your heart good.

Challenge yourself. Go deep and write a few paragraphs about one of these issues:

The dream of being a writer is different from the reality of it. If I knew then what I know now, these are the things I would do differently.

If I could only write about one period in history, this is what I would choose and why.

If I could only write in one point of view (male or female) this is the one I would choose and why.

Now....go fly a kite!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Guest Post!

Writer's Block!
By Jackie King
“Writer’s Block: When your imaginary friends won’t come out and play with you.”

I laughed at this post on FaceBook; then I frowned. Something wasn’t quite right, but I was in a bad mood, and therefore perhaps, a poor judge.

Finishing my second Grace Cassidy mystery seemed impossible, and I was at that point where I’d decided the book was unsalvageable. The plot wouldn’t come together, the characters seemed wooden, and each keystroke was forced. I’m not ever going to be able to write another book, I thought. Despair swept through me.

Then some small voice from deep inside said (my belief is this whisper comes from God), “Buck up, pour some glue in the chair and sit down. You’ve been here before.”

These were true words and I knew it. I also knew the reason I was in such angst, panic and immobility was because I’d let other things get in the way of my writing every day. My imaginary friends had become sulky and now were refusing to come out to play. (Light bulb moment!)

I resolved then and there, that whether my writing went well or felt like slogging through almost-set concrete, I’d show up to play with these friends, come hell or high water. (Okie speak.)

This resolution meant I had to learn to say two words, “Wait” and “No.” Both are hard for me, since I’m a natural born people-pleaser, but I’m learning. And guess what? The next book in my Bed & Breakfast Inn-sitter series is coming together! Oh the miracle of creative thought.

So I revised the lead quote:
“Writer’s Block: When you don’t show up to play with your imaginary friends and they get even by refusing to speak.” (Or is that Writer’ Lazy Butt?)

Jackie King
Author of The Inconvenient Corpse Link to Amazon Kindle Link to B&N Nook

Jackie King is a pal of mine and an excellent author and hard worker. She knows what it takes to grind out page after page until a novel is born. If you aren't already a fan of hers, please do yourself a favor and buy one of her books. You will be delighted!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Time for February

China tea, the scent of hyacinths, wood fires, and bowls of violets --
that is my mental picture of an agreeable February afternoon.
-- Constance Spry

How well do you manage your time? We all have the same amount of it every day, but we certainly don't all use it the same way. This month think about time -- saving it, savoring it, and jealously guarding it.

*Give yourself the gift of time -- allot time every day to write.
*Begin a new tradition -- stop saying negative things to yourself. Instead of feeling defeated because you didn't meet a writing deadline you set for yourself, congratulate yourself for trying to reach the goal and getting something written. Every day you manage to add to your latest work-in-progress is a banner day.
*Celebrate Valentine's Day by making your own valentines and sending them to friends and family, baking heart-shaped sugar cookies, and watching your favorite romantic movie.
*Re-read your favorite love story this month. Can you recall the thrill you experienced the first time you read it? Indulge yourself!
*Think back to the first time you decided to be a writer. Has it lived up to your expectations? Do you still enjoy being a writer?
*Read a book set back in time and lose yourself in history.
*Zoom forward and read a book or watch a movie set in the future.

This month's "block busters" or questions that can spark your creativity:

How has writing shaped my life?

What book made me want to be a writer? What was it about that book that stirred something in me?

Words have power and this is why I know this to be true . . .

February is a shorter month, but it is Leap Year, so we all get one extra day. How will you spend it?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

January's Creative Push

And now let us welcome the New Year
Full of things that have never been -- Rainer Maria Rilke

Ready to begin the new year with enthusiasm, writers? Could you use a little creative push? Here are some activities for you to try that will stir your creativity and get you in the mood to produce paragraph after paragraph of publish worthy prose.
*Clean off your desk or writing space.
*List four things you hope to accomplish this year.
*Stock up on comfort food you enjoy while writing.
*Splurge on a wonderful ink pen and expensive stationery.
*Buy a blank book to use as a 2012 Yearbook.
*Resolve to attract joy to your life.
*Hang some new calendars in strategic places in your home.
*Find and frame your favorite photo of yourself as a child. Find and print or copy your favorite personal motto or prayer and place it near the photo. Look at these every day to get in touch with the fountain of your creativity and childhood enthusiasm and energy.
*Look at your personal motto or prayer and ask yourself why you selected it. Why does it speak to your heart and spirit?

On days that you find it difficult to begin writing, do one of these exercises to prime your writing pump!

1. What I found out about myself when I cleaned off my desk.
2. Why I like the photo of myself that I framed.
3. Use your new ink pen and a sheet of your new stationery and write a letter to yourself. Begin with this:
Dear Friend;
I want this year to be more joyful and more productive. To attract these things to my life I intend to . . .