Monday, April 30, 2012

Z: Zebra

Nope I don’t have a pet zebra. In fact, I’m not actually going to talk about zebras the animals at all.
I’m going to talk about why I can never have zebras in my stories.
Here’s the scenario: Have you ever been editing your novel and you know a certain part needs fixing, but you just need time to think about it?
You could let your screen sit there while you ponder or walk or do whatever to get the creative juices flowing or you could move on. In moving on, if you’re like me you forget where the part is.
I mean it isn’t that big of a deal. I can find it again. But that takes time, scrolling through 300 some pages.
Here’s my solution. I have one word that I stick in as my finder word. Then when I am ready to write the parts I’ve thought about I do a Control + F and type in my word. It takes me to all the parts I need quickly and efficiently.
As you might guess, my finder word is zebra.
What nifty little writing tricks do you have?
Happy writing.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Y: Yuck

Sometimes, characters will do and say things that you wouldn’t. What do you do when you have a character that loves eating anchovies which you despise?
Let them.
It makes your writing stronger. If all of your characters love kittens and lemonade, then your writing will be boring. Your characters should not have the same opinions as you.
That can be difficult. How do you write about how describe how delicious slimy cold anchovies are if you hate them?
That’s why you are a writer—you make stuff up. It can be difficult writing opinions that differ from your own, but your writing will be so much stronger. If you struggle with this, practice it.
Happy writing!

Friday, April 27, 2012

X: Xtra Small

X: Xtra Small
Lucy thinks she is an ordinary girl - until she is rescued by a fluffy giant of a cat, enrolls in obedience school, learns to play fetch and does battle in a deadly duel (with a squeaky toy). The reason: LUCY IS A CHIHUAHUA.

*Note: False information. Lucy has never been to obedience school (Though she needs it some days) and she refuses to play fetch. I was using my creative license. Points to whoever can figure out what book blurb I played with to introduce you to Lu. Enjoy the pictures.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W: Writer's Conferences

Next month is an awesome writer’s conference. I’ve been going to this particular conference since I was nineteen. Almost every good thing I’ve ever learned in writing connects back to this conference and the people I’ve met there. It changed my writing life.
Ironically, I almost didn’t go that first year. I saw the website for the conference and thought it sounded awesome, but I was scared. I didn’t know enough about writing. I was too young. I was a science major and science majors attending a writer’s conference would be like an author attending a conference on genetics.
Wrong wrong wrong!
Writer’s conferences are awesome and very helpful.
First, they help you on whatever level you are at. If you are completely new, they have classes to help you grow. If you have been writing for years and are in the queries and pitches phase of your novel’s life, they have classes to help you grow.
Second, you can establish connections. It is awesome to just talk to other people who know about rebellious characters and ideas that happen at two am. The people you meet at writer’s conferences adore the written word as much as you do. Plus, having connections and friends, whether they are fellow writers or agents, is important in this business. All of my current critiquers are people I’ve met through conferences.
Writer’s conferences are great experiences. If you have the chance to attend one, don’t hesitate.
Happy writing.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V: Vitamins

What is the point of vitamins supplements?
They’re to supplement the diet. People take vitamins to get the nutrients they aren’t getting in their diet.
Supplement is the key word. We do not get all of our nutritional needs from vitamins.
There are some parts to writing that are like vitamins. Use them if there isn’t a feasible way to convey your message. Don’t use them for the entire bulk of the story.
For example:
1.      Ly words.
Slowly. Softly. Angrily. Use these words with care. If you can show she is angry with the way she stomps her size 6 sneakers, then show it.
2.      Telling.
There is the constant writer’s battle cry, “Show, don’t tell.” It’s true for the most part. But if you were to show every single part of your story, your book would be huge and boring. Do we really need to follow your character, feeling the press of the accelerator under her sneaker and watching the yellow lines of the road zip by? Simply telling us she drove home is sufficient. (Unless a deer jumps out in front of her or her size 6 sneakers turn into aliens that nibble on her toes).
3.      Description.
What? I thought we were supposed to create vivid, rich settings that the reader can visualize. That is true but too much of a good thing isn’t so good. With vitamins, two things can happen if you get more than you need. Either it causes you harm or the vitamins make a grand and useless exit.
The same thing happens with descriptions. Too much and it will kill your story or it will overwhelm the reader and they won’t get anything out of it. Neither scenario is ideal. Use strong descriptions and make them work for you.
A person who refers to her shoes as size 6 sneakers probably obsesses a bit over the size of her feet. Perhaps she is vain and delights in the fact that she has small feet. Or maybe they are hand-me down sneakers from her older sister that are too big and she resents the fact that they are not new and ill-fitting.  Maybe she’s watching the yellow lines zip by because she’s angry at her boyfriend and refusing to talk to him. Or maybe she’s an alien who’s never seen the color yellow.
I’m sure there are other writing vitamins. What are they?
Happy writing!