Monday, September 15, 2014

The Writer's Secret Magical Genius Part 1

All writers have a third component to their nature - genius. I know, you're mother knew it all along, right?

But, any writers go their entire lifetime, without even recognizing it. Without liberating it. Without working with it. Without understanding it.

So sad.

In Becoming a Writer, Dorothea Brande says this magnificent statement, "No human being is so poor as to have no  trace of genius; none so great that he comes within infinity of using his own inheritance to the full."

The average man knows nothing of the genius he carries within him.

Others may labor arduously for a glimpse of inspiration. That is not genius.  There is an energy release. Authors know of it. Artists understand it.

Many call it "getting in your stride," "hitting the zone".. or my favorite, "the voices started talking."

Every writer has their own experience of that burst of genius. That sense of clarity. Their own method of releasing the faculty by some trial and error process that they've discovered works for them. It's what starts their "rituals" in their writing. Lighting only strikes when the coffee cup is set here, and the sun is just setting or rising, and the melodies of so and so are playing and the chair is adjusted so.

Am I right?

There is a common denominator if you look at it hard enough. Rhythmical, monotonous, and wordless. That is the key.

As if by putting oneself into a light hypnosis, a writer has found the key to tapping into his/her genius and writing the story to the bones.

Next week we'll discuss the formulaic way into the Writer's Genius.




Writers Resource:

Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande





Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Writing Prompt - Timing

Here we are, it's Friday again and time for the Friday Writing  Prompt. Today we are going to go with a "Timing" prompt. Use the following "Timing" prompt to stimulate those writing juices and maybe even come up with a story?

"They say timing is everything. How would your life change if you had perfect timing? You'd always say and do things at exactly the perfect time without fail.  How will things improve for you? Be specific."


Did this prompt help you? Why or why not? Were you able come up with a response for the prompt? Did you determine if your life would change if you had perfect timing? Did your life improve for you? Was this prompt helpful for you?

Please let me know in the comments below.

Happy Writing!




Monday, September 8, 2014

Taming the Inner Critic

Rejection.

 It's the hardest part about being a writer, isn't it?

Life, in general, really.

If life and enough outer critics like (agents, editors, publishers, uncle Sal, etc,) aren't enough, our inner critic is more unpleasant than any of them.

What is your inner critic? It's that little voice in your head or that tight feeling in your throat or stomach, that seems intent on convincing you that what you're writing couldn't possibly succeed or that you're possibly a fraud who's going to be found out any second.

When you're manuscript is rejected, it could be for any number of reasons:


  • it could be too similar to another project they're working on
  • the company could be having financial problems
  • there just isn't a good match


Rejections are just someone's opinion. Don't let them get you down. Many of our most famous authors have been rejected. Ask Stephen King about his rejection for Carrie. I believe it read something like this, "We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell." Uh huh. And, who got the big bucks for selling the book and the movie rights and the TV and ...?

It's pretty easy to ignore all those outer critics. I know it's more difficult to ignore the inner critic. That's what we're about to do here. We're going to tame that Inner Critic.

The Inner Critic or that Inner Voice judges everything, doesn't it? It takes on many forms: self doubt, excuses, and fear.

We're going to knock that ol' Inner Critic for a loop.

First, Identify Your Inner Critic
The inner critic takes on many forms: a remembered voice, a visualization of failure, a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach, and so on. Think about the form it takes for you. If you're not sure, think about a writing related task and then identify the feeling you get when you feel the inner critic coming upon you.

Decide What You Want
Sure, you'd like to get rid of the inner critic, right? However, don't move so fast. That critic does work in a positive way as well. It helps you make an initial decision and then gives you useful, constructive feedback as you proceed. Unfortunately, most inner critics continue to judge and keep criticizing or questioning your decisions.

So, form a statement describing the relationship you want with your inner critic. At this point, you may want to change the name from "inner critic" to "inner guide" to help you start thinking in a different way. For example, your statement might be, "I want my inner guide to be a friendly, constructive source of positive as well as negative feedback." Think about what it would be like if your inner guide acted in such a way.

Bring it into View
Imagine where your inner critic is located. Your head? Your heart? Your stomach? Your shoulder? Wherever it is, bring it into view or focus by picturing it going from its usual position to a few feet in front of you. Adjust the distance until it's comfortable for you. What does your inner critic look like?Don't worry if you don't get an image right away, that's okay. Take a deep breath, let it out, and let your imagination loose. Don't dismiss any images.

Does perceiving your inner critic in this way affect how you feel about it? Are you aware of any new aspects than you were before? Does it seem to have less power than it did before you imagined it with a true image?

Find the Good Intention
Most inner critics have a positive intention. It's usually trying to save you from criticism or disappointment. Do you know what your inner critic is trying to do for you?

Find an Alternative
What can you do to more appropriately attain that positive intention? Do you have a trusted friend who can look over your manuscript before submitting it?

Experiment
When your inner critic expresses itself, how does it make you feel? Do you relate to it as if you were a child relating to a stern adult? If so, consciously look at your inner critic and listen as the adult you are. Does that change have any affect on you?

You can adjust changing the image or the sound of your inner critic.

Reform and Practice
After some practice and experimenting, you may decide you like a particular form for your inner critic (inner guide).  They've settled in to becoming a helpful partner rather than a hinderance.

If your inner critic ever reverts back to its old self, you can always do a 30 second review of what we've learned here to reformat your inner guide and have it back to speeding your progress rather than holding you back.

Did this help with taming your Inner Critic?








Source:
Your Writing Coach by Jurgen Wolff

Monday, September 1, 2014

How to Avoid Common Writing Mistakes

In the book, 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing by Gary Provost, he goes to great lengths to describe
how to avoid grammatical errors. I'm going to condense for you, what Mr Provost has to say.

1. Respect the Rules of Grammar
Mr. Provost says it very succinctly, "to succeed as a writer, you must respect the rules of grammar."  He goes one to say, "Good grammar and good writing are not twins, but they are usually found in the same place."

The rules of grammar are not meant to obstruct your work, but to help arrange it in such a way that pure harmony is reached when words, letters, paragraphs, sentences, all work together to create the great symphony of communication.

2. Do not change Tenses
It's as as simple as this: If you being in one tense, do not switch to another.

3. Know how to use the Possessive Case
As you know, most nouns are made possessive by adding an apostrophe and "s". For example:
The cat's toy got stuck under the rug.

However, if a noun is plural, you just add an apostrophe. For example:
All of the girls' toys were arranged in a circle on the rug.

As for the personal pronoun its, it does not require an apostrophe. For example:
The dog scratched at its collar.

4. Make Verbs agree with Subjects
It should be simple right? Plural subjects require plural verbs. Singular subjects require singular verbs. When you're writing a long complicated sentence, check to make sure your verb and subject agree.

5. Avoid Dangling Modifiers
What is a dangling modifier? Something you don't want to have in your sentence, that's for sure! Actually, it's a word or group of words that paper to modify and inappropriate  word in the same sentence. The error most often occurs when passive rather than active verbs are sussed.

For example: In drawing the picture, his dog was used as the model. -- Dangling
                      In drawing the picture, he used his dog as the model.  -- not dangling


6. Avoid Shifts in Pronoun Forms
Be consistent. Don't shift from singular to plural pronoun format.

7. Avoid Splitting Infinitives
How do you split an infinitive? An infinitive is split when an adverb is placed between the word to and a verb.

For example: She wanted to quickly run the race.
Better: She wanted to run the race quickly.

Most of all respect the rules of grammar. Grammar is a living entity. Study it continuously.

And, remember this: you are writing for you reader. They may forgive a grammar mistake here or there. Maybe.






Copyright: chris2766 / 123RF Stock Photo

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Writing Prompt - Why or Why Not?

Here we are, it's Friday again and time for the Friday Writing  Prompt. Today we are going to go with a "Why or Why Not?" prompt. Use the following "Why or Why Not" prompt to stimulate those writing juices and maybe even come up with a story?

"Is reading fiction a waste of time? Why or why not? Explain your answer using specific reasons and examples to support your position?"

Would you agree or wouldn't you? Why or why not? Can you cite other sources that say differently?

These are the kinds of questions this prompt should stimulate and even more. Write ideas, a list of words that might come in handy with the story, maybe a list of research material you might need.

Did this prompt help you? Why or why not? Were you able to identify with a character who would think this way? Please let me know in the comments below.

Happy Writing!


Monday, August 25, 2014

You're Special: Use it in your Writing

I know that you've heard the old adage "Write what you know," am I right? If that were really true, only serial killers would be writing thrillers and such, but it's not, so some of us have to to research and write outside out comfort zone.

However, we all have some special knowledge and experience that we can work into our fiction. It's a definite advantage to us and we can make it interesting to our readers. And, best of all it gives us a great credibility with our publishers and the public. You are unique.


So, what do you know?
Even if you haven't worked in any important or interesting field, don't think that you don't have material you can draw from. Use some time now to make a list of what experience you have and what you've learned.


  • experiences you have lived
  • places you have lived
  • friends you have made
  • hobbies
  • times in school
  • jobs you've held
  • volunteer work
  • places you've visited
  • romantic relationships
  • experiences as parent, aunt, uncle, or godparent, or grandparent
  • health background
It's important to remember to use your expertise, but don't overuse it. Don't let your expertise become overwhelming.

Always sprinkle in interesting facts that wouldn't otherwise be known to crease a sense or realism among the characters and in the setting. It will let the reader know that they are right in the middle of the author's world.


What special gifts do you offer the world?





















Copyright: dacasdo / 123RF Stock Photo


Reference by:
Your Writing Coach by Jurgen Wolff

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Writing Prompt - Do You Agree?

Here we are, it's Friday again and time for the Friday Writing  Prompt. Today we are going to go with a "Do You Agree?" prompt. Use the following "Do You Agree" prompt to stimulate those writing juices and maybe even come up with a story?

"It has often been said that 'Ignorance is bliss,' and 'What you do't know won't hurt you' ' Do you agree with these statements?' Why or why not?"

Would you agree or wouldn't you? Why or why not? Can you cite other sources that say differently?

These are the kinds of questions this prompt should stimulate and even more. Write ideas, a list of words that might come in handy with the story, maybe a list of research material you might need.

Did this prompt help you? Why or why not? Were you able to identify with a character who would think this way? Please let me know in the comments below.

Happy Writing!