Tag Archives: writing problems

Writing Forecast

writing forecst2Everyone understands a weather forecast!  Most of us have an app on our phone and refer to it daily.

Ever feel like a writing forecast might come in handy to explain your writing plans or frame of mind?

Imagine the convenience for those living with you! Your writing agenda is posted for the day, available to all your friends and family! Now that’s an app!

( I often tweet my writing forecast for the day. )

Here’s a few familiar terms that will come in handy and convey your present State of Writing.

Barometric pressure: The stress a writer feels from self or others to complete a task,  be it revisions, edits, blogging, social media engagement, book signings, or producing another best seller.

Blustery: Writing accompanied by swearing and ranting. Dangerous. Stay away from writer.

Breezy: Words are flowing. Interruptions OK.

Calm: Author achieves Zen-like state while writing. Will emerge fresh and renewed.

Cloudy: Writer unsure how a scene will play out on the page—or once written, they don’t know if it “works.” May need to talk it out with any available person until light of understanding breaks through.

Cyclone: Writer attempting to do many things fast. Very dangerous. Approach writer with extreme caution.

Dense fog: Writer stymied with plotting problem and/or character issue.

Drizzle: Meager word count and/or little revising accomplished.

Drought: Ideas? What ideas? I got nothin’!

Fog: Writer confused with some aspect of Facebook, Twitter, and/or website “issues.” Often techno and/or coding trouble related.

Front: Pretending to feel something or be something contrary to their authentic self. For example, feigning hope instead of dread when waiting to hear back from a beta reader/reviewer/agent. Affecting an extrovert’s banter at a writers conference when you’re a hide-in-a-cave introvert.

Frost: Writer pissed off over some comment or tweet causing unwarranted contemplation.. Approaching writer with compassion will allow them to warm up again.

Gusts: Intense but brief bursts of writing. Usually accomplished between household chores.

Hard Freeze: Writer’s response to a troller, nasty/weird comment or message, or unfavorable review. Non-engagement stops icy comebacks cold.

Haze: Writer unable to see work in progress clearly due to doubt dew and anxiety particles.

Heatwave: Writer is on fire with with words and ideas.

Jet stream: Writer on a roll! Winds of words will bring new writing conditions.

La Niña: Associated with high stress and raining words.

Lightning: A bolt of energy, ideas, or inspiration usually followed by word rains.

Mist: Writing while crying. Sorrow-filled scenes are the most common reason for misty conditions.

Overcast: General feeling of malaise brought on by many disheartening factors. Many writers will write through this, others wait for fairer conditions.

Partly sunny/cloudy: The day will involve both writing and non-writing tasks.

Pollutant: Some comment, information, task, or person that spoils your breath of fresh writing air.

Rain and any variant of ( downpour, sprinkles, shower ): Any  task, thing, or idea that falls upon you. It can rain words ( good ) or problems ( typical ) or chores ( ugh ).

Saturation: Writer will no longer write one more sentence, edit one more page, revise one more thing!!! Period!! They’ve had enough for today!!

Squall: Sudden crying jag over something really stupid. Approach writer with hugs and chocolate.

Storm warning: Angst and issues begin forming, and clouds of doubt gather overhead. May or may not pass depending on winds of successful writing that day.

Sunny: Writer feels FABULOUS about self and current work in progress.

Temperature: Writers often experience mercurial highs and lows. Approach writer during moderate temperatures.

Tornado: Writer goes over and over and over a passage multiple times. Lifting lines up only to set them somewhere else. Total devastation of chapter is often the result. Best for friends/family to seek cover until tornado passes.

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What’s YOUR writing forecast today!

Related Links: Readin’ & Writin’

Writing Reign Deer

reindeer 4pgWell dearie,                                                                                Does inspiration rain down on you?                                          OR                                                                                      Perhaps a stern Muse reigns over you until inspiration transforms into words?                                                                  OR                                                                                    Maybe you take the reins of inspiration and forge into the inspiration storm on your own?

 

Which writing reign deer drives you?

 
Dasher
Fast first drafts. Swift second drafts. 2,000 words a day? No problem. They hoof it through edits and never sit on their writing rump. Just watch them fly toward publication!

 

Dancer
Good at jingling with reasons why they haven’t written anything. They have writer’s block-kids-day job issues—did I mention writer’s block ?? Dancers love to tell people they are writers, BUT they actually do very little writing. ( I know, it’s a technicality.)

 

Prancer
reindeer1jpgLoves posting their 1st drafts, 2nd drafts, 3rd drafts, etc for everyone to see ( they are very brave). They crave feedback—especially if it feeds their ego. Prancers have the unique ability to work on a manuscript while simultaneously posting updates about their work in progress.

 

Vixen
Identified by their libidinous desire to finish their WIP, they use every naughty trick they can to canoodle with their MS. Their naked need to finish the damn paragraph/scene/chapter/book makes them swift evaders of those hunting them down—like children, coworkers, friends, or family.  Do not  tail them when they’re in the mood, they’ll just flee into a bush to keep writing.

 

Comet
Blazing brightly, they are a sight to behold—for an instant. Then they vanish into their wiring den only emerging occasionally to flash a funny post or Tweet.  This here-and-gone style behooves them, allowing their heads to remain in the writing sky. Don’t buck with them when they’re writing or they’ll just hightail it out of there!

 

Cupid
Writers to their very core. They need it—want it— they are driven to caress the words into submission! Writing is their passion and their love. Ain’t NOTHIN’ standing between their body and the laptop. Cupids are a bit obsessive, and once they’ve shot the plotting arrow into the white underbelly of their manuscript the words must-must-must be released.

 

Donner
Known for their serious personality, they fall prey to an avalanche of adventurous ideas but  are unable to emerge from the rocky Novel Pass, helpless to complete a scene or chapter. Regrettably, this forces them to turn on themselves, cannibalizing risky plots and/or characters until there is nothing left.

 

Blitzen
Alcohol or caffeine is the writing drug of choice. Alcohol IN the caffeine drink is even better!reindeer 3)  They can’t work without the buzz. Coffee to wake up words all day followed by wine to subdue the antlers of anxiety and pelt of pessimism.

 

Rudolph
Has the shiny glow of author success. Fame & fortune & earning some doe came only after: 1) the trials of once feeling like a misfit; 2) befriending the abominable [ insert publishing snafu here ], and 3) growing an impressive rack. They excel at guiding others through the writing fog and author storms.

 

Related links: Readin’ & Writin’, Rock Your Writing

 

Rx for Writing Blocks

writers blockWriter’s BLOCK.  It’s a phrase striking angst and fear into the hearts of writers. The inability to write—anything. The writer stymied, unable to move the plot along.

BAH! Don’t allow that evil phrase to coil around your soul like a serpent.

Call it a writing pause if you must—pause is such a pleasant-sounding and friendly word—but DO NOT give in! Do not cease writing. There are PLENTY of tasks to be done.

Friends often ask if I experience writer’s block. My response? I don’t have the luxury. My hours after the day job and during the weekends are precious. Staring at a computer screen with a blinking cursor and nothing to write? No thank you.

Here’s a few ideas should you come to a place where you are pausing to consider the plethora of plot and character options.

1. Revise and edit earlier chapters. Be vigilant. Often new ideas will come.

2. Write a blog or 2 or 3.  I post a new blog every Monday. Should I find my work week having drained me of all creativity I write the next few weeks’ blogs.

3. Write tweets for future use. Then when you ARE back in the writing saddle those tweets are ready to go.

4. Find and read information about a topic in your story. The internet has information about everything. There must be some subject or object or place or history or event in your story you can learn more about. Research inspires ideas. It really really does. This, more than anything else, generates tons of ideas.

5. Revisit your original research notes for inspiration, plot twists, detail, etc.

6. Google photos of something you’ve written about. Is there a detail that might advance the plot, add detail, and/or be be used symbolically?

7. Create a pinterest board for your work-in-progress. Pictures are worth a 1000 words, right? Here’s mine: Pinterest-30px  It has boards for all my novels plus my WIP.

8. Write engaging captions under the pinterest pins.

9. Revisit your outline. Add to it. Flesh it out. What? You don’t have one? Might that be the source of your writing pause? Knowing where your novel is going helps alleviate the “what next” conundrum.

10. Do NOT commiserate with others experiencing the same thing. Misery loves company—not helpful. Talk to a writer who is on fire! Read their blogs! Let their sparks ignite your own.

11. Take a walk. Walk the dog. Clean the fridge. Perform a mindless task but think about the plot, characters, next chapter, climax, and ending while you’re doing it. Something is sure to emerge. ( I imagine an entire chapter in my head before writing it.)

12. Write a synopsis for the novel.

13. Craft a query.

14. Write a one-line pitch.

15. Write a riveting back cover hook.

16. Re-write the bio on your Amazon author page or website.

17. Re-write one of your first blogs. Add to it—give it new zing! Notice how much better you write now? Give yourself a pat on the back.

18. Re-tag your blog posts. Use better key words.

19. Re-write your twitter bio. You only have so many spaces, make them count.

20. Write a poem or journal entry in the voice of one of your characters.

21. Read one of Shakespeare’s plays. The Bard was brilliant, his characters legendary, his understanding of humans’ proclivities profound. Ideas are sure to follow.

22. Take a drive. The Driving Muse loves to visit then!

23. Identify the reason for the temporary pause. Are you tired, angry, frustrated, grieving? An emotion that overwhelms your creativity isn’t a “block.” Use the emotion to writerly advantage. Note how your body feels during times of intense emotion. Embrace it! You will need to call upon that emotion when you write about a character experiencing the same one. Is the plot line frustrating? Identify why. Is it a plot flaw or a matter of getting from scene A to scene C with a connecting scene B that makes sense?  That’s not a block that’s intelligent plotting.

Did you notice that most of these solutions require writing and/or reading? You don’t have writers block if you are writing. And reading, my friends, is research, an important part of the writing life.

May the Muse be ever with you.

Related posts: Readin’ & Writin’

Writing Therapy

Writing is fraught with angst and panic and euphoria and creative outbursts and emotional meltdowns. Writers experience the highs and the lows–which is a good thing because it helps us recreate the feelings in our characters. However….

those mood swings might indicate the need for a specialized writing therapist—you know, one who understands the joys and horrors of our passion.

One of the most common writing struggles is not only learning to cope with rejection but bouncing back with even more dedication and motivation.

Below is a list of common writing issues and psychoses.

  • Synonymania: Listing 10 different synonyms for a word & deliberating over which is best for that sentence. The problem only becomes critical if the writer corrects himself while conversing with ( real ) people.
  • Ubervocabulary: A tendency to use words like  vanquish in everyday conversations.
  • Realityapnea: Zoning out in a middle of a conversation when a a brilliant idea for a scene/novel/character/sentence/climax/beginning/ending/denouement/ pops into your brain.
  • Rewriteaplasty: Writing a sentence 20 different ways and not being happy with any of them!
  • Literary Craving: Craving whatever food/beverage is in your novel.
  • OCP: Obsessive-compulsive plot discussions with significant other.
  • Excessive nostril flaring when someone refers to your writing as a “hobby.”
  • Adverbaphobia: Fear of adverbs. We’ve all heard the warning. Adverbs are clearly, certainly, positively the kiss of death!
  • Conferencosis: Confusion brought on by numerous conflicting statements made by those in the publishing industry. See What Kind of Conference Attendee are you for more information.
  • Grammaropia: Inability to see your grammar errors.
  • Excessive Verbation : Process of adding-using-including-writing-editing  verbs.
  • Prepositionectomy: Obsessive removal of prepositional phrases and/or replacing with the perfect preposition.
  • Number Anxiety: Concern that your follower/friends on social media are not exponentially increasing.
  • Spamsitude: The inability to refrain from spamming friends/followers on social media.

Who would you choose as YOUR writing therapist?

“Snap out of it.” Cher’s character from Moonstruck.

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Drill sergeant from Geico commercial

Billy Crystal’s character in Analyze This

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“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind

rhett

 

 

 

 

Of course, if therapy doesn’t work the writer can always find relief for their woes by getting  a prescription for writers. 

What’s YOUR writing psychosis?

Related Links: Readin’ & Writin’

Mel Brooks Writing Academy

mel brooksMel Brooks taught me everything I know about writing. Nah, not really, BUT his films do provide writers with great tips.

And here they are:

1. There are more synonyms for words than are listed in the thesaurus. I counted 29 for worst dregs. Think outside the thesaurus box.

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2. Work with the research or information you have. Improvise!

3. Allusions add depth and complexity—or fun. In this scene from SpaceBalls ( which is a parody of StarWars), we see shades of Alien mixed with the Looney Tunes singing frog cartoon.

4. Study the greats! Learn from them.

5. “Walk this way!” Mel Brooks shows us–so must writers. How a character walks indicates their mood and/or personality.The website Daily Writing Tips provides 60 synonyms.

6. Sometimes ‘very’ works very well.

High Anxiety3, the Institute

 

 

 

 

 

7. Motifs ( a word, statement, object, action repeated 3 times or more ) can reveal character, theme, or plot.

madeline kahn

 

 

 

 

 

8. Past. Past Perfect. Present. Then. Now. It’s easy for writers to lose their way in the Tense Jungle. Note: This is one of my favorite Mel Brooks scenes.

9. Opening lines and pages are important. They reveal tone and mood. Craft them for maximum impact.

10. You needn’t be so literal all the time.


11. Dialog can be tricky.

My apologies if this post makes you want to take a break from writing to watch your favorite Mel Brooks movie.

Related links: Readin’ & Writin’

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The Sight of Typos

sight of typosChanneling Weird Al Yankovic!  

A few blogs ago, I posted Tunefully Yours, a collection of writer-modified opening lines to a few famous songs.

So in the spirit of that blog, here are the complete lyrics to the ol’ writing favorite  “Sight of Typos.” Sing this to Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence.”

Hello typos, my old friend,
I’ve come to correct you once again,
Because the words softly creeping,
Left a plot across the page sleeping,
But the story vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
despite the sight of typos.

In restless revisions I edit alone
Tighten grammar set in stone,
in front of the halo of LCD,
I tapped my fingers on the plastic keys
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a misused word
That split the prose
And revealed the sight of typos.

And in the twitter light I saw
Ten thousand writers, maybe more.
Writers talking without speaking,
Writers hearing without listening,
Writers typing novels that bookworms never read
and never shall
because of the plethora of typos.

“Fools,” said I, “You do not know –
Typos in a manuscript grow.
Hear my words that I might teach you.
Read my blog that I might show you.”
But my warnings like homonyms sound
And echoed in the manuscript rife with typos.

And the writers rewrote and prayed
To the publishing gods they made.
And the red squiggles flashed out its warning
In the sentences that they were forming.
And the sign said, the novels of authors are written in Microsoft Word
And Scrivener
And  obsessively corrected during the sight of typos.

Hope it doesn’t get stuck in your head!

Related Links: Readin’ & Writin’ 

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7 Deadly Sins of Writing

7 deadly sinsNothin’ takes you to Writing Hell faster!
  1. pride
  2. envy
  3. wrath
  4. sloth
  5. avarice
  6. gluttony
  7. lust

According to medieval theology, the original 7 deadly sins lead to spiritual death. According to writer theology, succumbing to the the 7 deadly sins of writing leads to a  living hell!

Let’s discover how the 7 deadly Evils apply to an author’s demise ( metaphorically speaking) and more importantly, if these sins can be channeled for Good.

 Pride:
  • Hubris is the kiss of death for writers who refuse to take professional criticism. If someone in the publishing biz offers critical advice about your writing or novel, heed it. Arrogance gets you no where fast in this industry. Experts know stuff you don’t! That’s why they’re called experts.
  • Post/tweet/blog  beginning with me me-me-me- I -I -I- buy-buy-buy -like me-friend me-see is vain (and not very marketing savvy).  Posting selfies might be fun for you, but to most of us, it appears a tad narcissistic.
  • For GOOD: Use pride to create  high standards for your writing, blogging, & social media platform building. Feel pride in a task completed with grace, dignity, hard-work and perseverance!
 Envy:
  • Newbie authors yearn for the success of established authors. Remember, it took them years (and years) of writing, networking, and craft-learning to achieve. Envy is destructive–it zaps creativity and pisses off the Muse ( and she’s a temperamental b****).
  • FOR GOOD: Manipulate envy by taking a good-long-hard look at an established author’s work, website, posts, social accounts and then learn from them! You won’t find the big names ranting, whining, or complaining. There’s an old business maxim; dress and act as if you already have the next higher position on the ladder of success.
 Wrath:
  • In the words of the revered sage Yoda, “Anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” Angry writers don’t think ( or bother cooling down ) before posting offensive stuff on Social Media.
  • FOR GOOD: Use the emotion! Is your heart bounding? Veins popping out of your forehead? Jaw clenching? Are you spewing venom? Great! Now draw upon your experience and use those indicators when writing about a wrathful character.  Don’t go to the Dark Side! Write about wrath, don’t “do” it.
 Sloth:
  • Lazy-lazy-lazy. Frankly, finding excuses NOT to write/rewrite/edit is contrary to your claim that you love to write. From “I have a hang nail” to “I’m not inspired” to “My coffee is cold” excuses don’t get the damn book written. Neglecting to take the necessary time to write, rewrite, rewrite again (times 7), and edit is a daunting task. Telling a story is one thing, crafting a sentence or plot is another. Some newbies don’t understand the time involved to study your craft, build a platform, write great blogs, or maintain your website. Writing is difficult enough, finding the time and motivation for the other necessary tasks is challenging!
  • Thomas Edison said Genius is 1 % inspiration, 99% perspiration.
  • FOR GOOD: If you must be lazy, at least daydream a solution to a plotting or scene flaw, create characters, brainstorm new blogs, or plan your next book.
 Avarice (greed)
  • Writers who will not share information, experiences, or knowledge. Yes, yes, I know, knowledge is power, but Paying it Forward garners more followers, friends, and good karma. Most of what I learned about the publishing industry and platforming comes  from reading blogs and attending conferences—and I give them a BIG virtual hug and thank you.  As one who teaches literary analysis for a living, sharing my knowledge of authorial techniques and literary craft in my Rock Your Writing blogs helps me Pay it Forward.
  • FOR GOOD: Embrace the greed when its time to carve out time to write. Hoard research or reference books needed for your genre or novel.
 Gluttony:
  • Excessive consumption of adverbs, adjectives, cliches, hackneyed tropes and other tragic writing no-nos. Spamming your book on social media. Getting drunk on the social-media Kool Aid.
  • FOR GOOD: Indulge in reading delicious novels with chew-worthy themes, yummy characters, and smooth writing styles. Devour flavorful literature and drink in their authorial techniques.
Lust:
  • Not the erotic kind, but those writers soooo in-love with every single word they write that they refuse–absolutely refuse–to cut or edit!!! Words are like hair. It grows back!
  • FOR GOOD: Use your desire and love of words for writing smokin’ hot sentences, creating sensual imagery, and showing passion for editing.

Just say NO to Writer Hell!

Related Links:  Rock Your Writing; Click  Amazon link to novels.

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