Tag: Writing Process

New Work: “The Consequence of Liking Girls” Chapter 7

It’s taken me forever to get back to the point where I could work effectively on either one of my novels. I’ve started rewriting my NaNWriMo novel from last fall, as my computer magically lost the file. Thank God for the paper copy I had!

I have a new chapter for you. You can read chapter seven of “The Consequence of Liking Girls” here.
As always, any feedback is appreciated. With any luck at all, I’ll have some more for you to read very soon.

Happy Writing,

New Work: “The Harshness of Reality” Chapter 8 (Revision)

After doing some more research, planning, and outlining, I decided that my newest chapter of “The Harshness of Reality” needed to be reworked. It’s taken about a week to get it to where I think it needs to be, but it’s done. Until my next revision (which will come sometimes this fall).

You can read the revised version of chapter eight of “The Harshness of Reality” here.
As always, any feedback is appreciated. With any luck at all, I’ll have some more for you to read very soon.

Happy Writing,

Good News, I Think

Yesterday, as you may already know if you read my previous post, I finished chapter eight on one of my novels. A few days prior to that I finished preliminary edits on my still-unfinished novel from NaNoWriMo last fall. I’ll have to completely retype this last one, since my MacBook decided to make the original file disappear, but that’s okay.

Something that made my day was hearing “You’re a very strong writer, Kerri” from my advisor. Given that the last three months have been spent doing little but crying and wanting to sleep, this news is a big motivator for me. Things are slowly, but surely getting better, I think.

I’m back at a place where I can write, and that in itself, is a huge step for me. Summer classes begin in a few weeks, but I’m going to try to budget my time a little better this year so I can continually work on my thesis while completing my summer classwork.

Hearing that from my advisor, though…

It’s the little things, you know?

Happy Writing,

New Work: “The Harshness of Reality” Chapter 8

It’s taken me forever to get back to the point where I could work effectively on either one of my novels. As you may or may not know, I changed the title of one of the novels. “Forward Together” has been changed to “The Harshness of Reality,” as I feel the new title reflects the path down which I want to take the story.

Anyway, I’ve started working on it again. This is a huge step for me, as those of you who’ve kept in touch with me will know. The fact that I’ve done any work at all is amazing in itself. I am writing forward, I am “unstuck,” and I am hopeful.

I have a new chapter for you. You can read chapter eight of “The Harshness of Reality” here.
As always, any feedback is appreciated. With any luck at all, I’ll have some more for you to read very soon.

Happy Writing,

Quotes Corner: E.L. Doctorow

With such plagues as writers block and lack of motivation constantly lurking around every corner, quotes from other writers (who have most likely dealt with these same problems) can be a saving grace of sorts for the rest of us. Hence the reasoning behind the creation of “Quotes Corner.”Certain weeks may be themed (by author), while others may be random.

Writers need inspiration, and need it often. It is my hope that you’ll find some here.

  • “Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader – not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.”
  • “History is the present. That’s why every generation writes it anew. But what most people think of as history is its end product, myth.”
  • “It’s like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
  • “Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.”
  • “The writer isn’t made in a vacuum. Writers are witnesses. The reason we need writers is because we need witnesses to this terrifying century.”
  • “Writers are not just people who sit down and write. They hazard themselves. Every time you compose a book your composition of yourself is at stake.”
  • “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.”
  • “Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.”

[Were these quotes helpful? Is there anyone you’d like to see here? What inspires you the most? Let me know in the comments.]

Happy Writing,

Writing Prompt: Censorship

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons & John Althouse Cohen.

Writers block, defined as “a usually temporary condition in which a writer finds it impossible to proceed with the writing of a novel, play, or other work,” is a plague that we’ve all dealt with at one point or another in our writing careers. Ideas are hard to come by sometimes. Ideas are like fireflies; they flit in and out of mental vision, but they are hard to catch.

Keeping this in mind, a writing prompt will be offered here every Sunday (in different formats, of course). The length of what you write is your decision entirely. It is my hope that these prompts will spark creativity and kickstart the writing process.

This week’s prompt: Imagine a very ordinary and mundane piece of writing that is threatened with censorship for political, military, or social reasons.  This exercise treats our own moment of history as if it were historic—as if we were living in 1930s Stalinist Russia or in England during the French Revolution—but you can also try to imagine a historical moment, what it would be like to write a letter to your mother and worry about a unseen Soviet censor reading the words. Show the effects of writing something that could get the writer arrested, jailed, or even killed. Show both the writing itself and the thoughts of the writer. (—From “The 3 A.M. Epiphany” by Brian Kiteley.)

[How did this prompt help you? Please feel free to let me know in the comments below, or send an email!]

Happy Writing,

This Week in Links: 1/23/2011-1/29/2011

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

I subscribe to quite a few interesting RSS feeds in the book/writing niches. Perhaps you do as well, but in any case, I’d like to share my starred links from this week:

Monday, January 24, 2011:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011:

Friday, January 28, 2011:

Happy Writing,

When Writing Gets Tough, Breathe

Writing can be tough. Some days you might feel stuck, disinterested, or find that you want to do something else entirely. Being a writer takes a high amount of self-discipline. Whether you want to write or not, make yourself do it. Writing every day, even if it’s only for a half hour, is enough discipline. Many of us have full-time jobs, kids to take care of, or classes to attend. We all have unique situations, and as a result, days can become rather hectic.

Lately, with so many things going on, I’ve been feeling ridiculously frustrated. I haven’t written in weeks, though I have done some edits. When i sit down to write, I end up staring at the screen and doing nothing else. I have ideas and a basic outline of what I want to accomplish. I just can’t seem to get there with everything else that’s causing stress. I’m sure I’m not the only one with these types of problems.

A few days ago, I was reminded that simple breathing exercises can help in these situations. There’s an easy five-step process to calming yourself.

  1. Understand and believe that your problem, whatever it is, can be overcome.
  2. Find somewhere quiet and unwind. Listen to favorite music if it helps.
  3. Take four deep breaths, lifting your shoulders when you inhale and lowering them when you exhale.
  4. Take ten regular breaths and focus on your breathing. Keep your hands flat on your legs or in a prayer position and keep your head lowered.

I’ve learned that stressing over everything and letting it affect my writing habits is only making everything worse. Writing should be seen as something I enjoy, not something I’m afraid of or don’t want to do. I’m going to start looking at it in a more positive way. You should, too.

Happy Writing,

When Good Ideas Come Out of Nowhere…

Photo courtesy of gnackgnackgnack & Creative Commons.

Sometimes we get some of our best ideas out of nowhere. My best ideas seem to come as I’m in the middle of something—reading, eating dinner, even sleeping—but no matter the circumstance, I always take a few moments to write those ideas down. The Muse strikes when it wants to, and you better be prepared to listen. If you ignore it, you could be losing a great idea.

Lately, as I’ve been trying to outline some future chapters of what is tentatively titled “Forward Together,” I’ve realized that what I’m writing each day—the way my writing is going, the way my Muse is taking me—is making that title appear more unsuitable as I outline, plan, and write forward. “Forward Together” doesn’t fit the story or the future track of the story anymore.

I’ve been trying to think of something new, something more fitting and appropriate. I’ve learned over the past few weeks that it’s impossible and downright futile for me to sit and try to come up with a new title. With all of my other works, the titles came at the most inexplicably random times. Keeping this in mind, I resolved to put the task of finding a new title to the back of my mind.

A few moments ago, I was reading the December issue of “The Writer’s Chronicle,” AWP’s monthly publication. There is an interview with poet Cornelius Eady, and in it, he explains how the title of his most recent poetry collection changed as he chose the poems to include in the collection.

That’s when it hit me. The new title for my novel, that is. “The Harshness of Reality” is what popped into my mind. I like it. I’ve written it down. The more I think about the way my novel is moving, the more fitting I feel this new title is. I’m adopting it as my new “working title.”

It’s astounding how certain ideas make themselves known. I’m realizing that every day.

Happy Writing,

A Short Dialogue Lesson

Dialogue is an essential part of any story, long or short. Words spoken between characters in our writing is what creates story images in the reader’s mind. As such, it is important to know how to write good dialogue—not just write it, but write it well. Dialogue offers a look into the minds of our characters and that’s what makes those characters stand out to the reader.

Many people mistake dialogue in a story to be “conversation.” They’re wrong. If you’ve ever paid attention to dialogue in a story, you’ll know that the talking between the characters does not sound like a normal conversation. Story dialogue should sound like conversation, but not actually be conversation. Good dialogue will include subtext. It will show interaction between the characters, but will also make the reader consider the things that those characters have not said, thus adding more meaning to the dialogue and making it more effective.

When writing dialogue, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does your dialogue sound natural and flow smoothly?
  • Does the dialogue fit the personality of the character who is speaking?
  • What’s the point of the dialogue?
  • Is it easy for readers to distinguish between your characters based on the dialogue you’ve written for them?

Keep these questions handy when writing dialogue. Using them as a stepping stone will help ensure your dialogue comes across as distinct, effective, and fun to read.

Happy Writing!