Get to know your characters. Ask them questions – don’t be afraid to get personal. More about this on the Weekly Writing Hints page.
I’m looking back on my posts and realizing I haven’t written in almost two months. It’s quite amazing how quickly times passes when life is full of work, kids, housework, grocery shopping, trying to stay in shape and extra-curricular outings. Trying to find time to write has been almost impossible. Even etching out 15 minutes has been a chore. I want to write… it’s on my mind all the time, yet I find myself asking the question, “Do I procrastinate?” Sure I do… but I also acknowledge that sometimes a busy family life needs to take precedence over self-indulgence.
When time passes so quickly the day is over in a blink of an eye, when do I write? My mind refuses to think the closer to midnight it gets and 6 o’clock comes early – a night owl, I am not. Mornings are chaotic, evenings are full of driving the kids to their activities or just finding enough energy to make supper. By the time I get a minute to myself, the last thing I want to do is dig out my characters lives and try to solve their problems.
A friend of mine is blocking days of the week on her calendar to write. I think I might give that a try as well. Perhaps not actual days, but hours on certain days. It’s a start… or another beginning… I’ve tried to solve this problem before, but life is always throwing something different my way and each new adventure calls for a different approach.
It has been quite a busy summer, but now it’s time to start thinking about fall writing conferences. My choices are the Surrey Writers Conference or the Emerald City Writers Conference in Seattle. I’ve been to Surrey for the past two years and I loved every minute of it. The excitement that buzzed in the air was contagious and just being with people who shared the same passion was satisfying.
But this year, I’ve decided to check out the Emerald City Writers Conference in Bellevue, Washington from October 28-30. New workshops, new editors and agents, but mostly new exposure and a chance to make new friends and contacts.
Well, whichever one I decide to go with it’ll be a weekend that will ignite the spark I need to keep writing and I can’t wait.
So go online and check both of these amazing writing conferences out and let me know what you think.
Does time heal sorrow and pain? I’ve been asking myself this a lot lately. It’s been over a month since Chloe passed away and understandably the first two weeks were very hard. As the days slipped past, the crying stopped and I was able to talk about her without bursting into tears. But the last few days I slipped backwards and the sadness overtook me again. I remember holding her and comforting her during the end, saying goodbye and the guilt. Was there anything I could have done? Why her? Oh, the list goes on.
I try to think of all the funny things she did, as mentioned in my previous poem – Remember the Good, but sometimes that has me crying just as much.
Does time heal? I hope so…
Wikipedia defines Plot as “a literary term for the events a story comprises, particularly as they relate to one another in a pattern, a sequence, through cause and effect, or by coincidence.”
When I try to wrap my mind around that definition I get frustrated. To me plot is a story line full of events that unfold as the characters learn and change and grow. When I look at it that way I can sit down and plan where my story is going, what I want to happen to my characters and visualize the beginning, middle and end of my manuscript.
During my current rewrite I realized my middle was stuck as my beginning had changed so much and my ending still reflected my old beginning leaving me high and dry in the middle. So, I’ve been coming up with different scenarios of what could work for my characters, and let me tell you, it’s quite a process. I find myself going backwards to make sure something I said earlier is true now and vice versa. Consistency is important as well credibility. Readers are very smart and they’ll know if something doesn’t match up.
I advise the use of a chart or detailed synopsis of every chapter and where you want to take the story before you start to write. I didn’t do that with this manuscript. I jumped right in and wrote what was in me. It was a wonderful experience doing it that way but then your left with inconsistencies and unbelievable characters, events and settings.
I fully believe that writing is a never-ending learning process.
Now that I’m at a critical point in my revision process where I’m about to join the two parts of my manuscript (the revised with the second half), I’m having questions and doubts popping into my head. Which brings me to the title of this post – internal and external conflict. Do my hero and heroine have both?
Does my heroine have a fear or a problem that only she can solve, something that is affecting the way she behaves? Does she have something outside herself – in the world around her – that is causing her grief?
And will she grow and change from these experiences and the process involved in solving both her internal and external conflict.
Now sometimes these conflicts can’t be solved as they are out of the characters control, but they can be accepted which is part of the characters personal growth.
And it’s important that the characters share the same external conflict. It gives them something to solve together and brings them closer.
I did a quick note taking and I think I’m safe… for now. 😉
Now that things have slowed down around here I have been able to find time to write and get my revisions done. Having a deadline is quite helpful and keeps me on my toes. Of course, the more I fix the more elaborate my scenes are becoming – which is a good thing I suppose – but it seems to keep the midway point just out of reach. That point where I can just take out a word here or a sentence there, and then give it an overall polish before sending it off to agents.
I must say I am getting quite excited as the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter.
Next, I have to do a synopsis. I’ll save that for another day… 🙂
When belonging to a critique group, one has to have a thick skin. You are passing your baby, your pride and joy, into someone else’s hands and letting them scribble all over it in red and blue pen making changes, or rather, suggestions, that they think will be helpful.
Take it just as that – suggestions!!!
When you get home and stare at all the crossed out words, add-ins and question marks, remember that they are just suggestions. You have the final say about what you decide to change or fix. You don’t HAVE to do anything you don’t want to – it’s your book after all.
But remember, these people who you have entrusted your manuscript to are trying to help, trying to get you that much closer to the finish line. And another set of eyes does wonders and catches things you missed.
I am very grateful for my critique group and love them to bits. I have learned so much and I will miss them over the Christmas holidays.
Merry Christmas guys. We’re back at it in the New Year.
After about two weeks of not writing – and the reasons/excuses are quite numerous – I finally sat down in Starbucks last night and wrote the last three pages of my chapter eleven. It felt so exhilarating that the guilt just disappeared like the dollop of whip cream on my peppermint mocha.
There’s just something about the going to a coffee shop to write… and I always get a lot done.
Now that I’m on a roll I hope the next time I write isn’t another two weeks away.
Now in no way do I consider my writing play, but compared to my “real life” jobs that actually pay the bills, I have to think along those lines sometimes.
As I am getting my manuscript ready to go out to agents all I want to do is stay at home and write. It’s my passion and I love doing it. It makes me happy and I get excited just thinking about it.
But then the real world interferes with these plans throwing in timed schedules, work hours and family obligations. I love spending time with my family and they know how important my writing is to me and they give me the time needed to get some work done, but my “job” which has lost all of its luster, waits for me, like a bad headache, to monopolize all my time.
Which makes finding time to write so precious. Find it when you can. If you need peace and quiet lock yourself in your room or office if you’re lucky enough to have one. Wait until the kids to go school and let the housework and laundry sit for a few hours. Don’t let the distractions of a clean and orderly life keep you from finding time to write.
That used to be my excuse, but not anymore. Even if it’s only half an hour or fifteen minutes, getting anything down on paper will keep the creative juices flowing.
Right now I have an hour to write before I go to work so off I go…