Harvesting My Brain Juices

 

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Fall the Red Door-Manning Street, Philadelphia by moocatmoocat

 

We’re well into it, but Happy Fall, everyone! Huzzuh! It’s my second favorite month: October. (It’s also my birth month. ^_^)

Last year fall (and winter) was a hard time for me because I hit rock bottom as far as my depression and anxiety goes. This year, I am staying positive and looking forward to the new adventures and opportunities it will bring. Plus, it’s freaking gorgeous outside.

My new job is going well. I love the place and the people, and the work is great. I’m doing lots of editing and writing. Thumbs way up. I’m so thankful.

I’m very excited for next month. It’s National Novel Writing Month!

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I don’t know if I’m gonna follow the rules and write a novel, but I’m definitely going to sit down and WRITE. The other day I had a great plan to rework a couple novelettes into short stories for my sci-fi collection. I’m still three stories away. I don’t want to rush it or anything, but I’d like to finish the collection by end of the year. (My old goal was by end of summer, but, well, yeah…) I haven’t been working on these novelettes because I’ve been concentrating on the short stories, but I’ve hit a wall with them (no ideas). Then I realized, “Wait, these novelettes are sci-fi and I really, really want to write them. I know, I’ll turn them into short stories! I can always go back and make them longer later if I decide.”

So that’s my plan right now. You’re excited for me, I can tell. Shucks, thanks, dolls.

I’m also working on coming up with more tips and tutorials, too. (Don’t worry, that hasn’t totally faded away.)

What about you? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? What are you going to be working on?

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WTT: Get the Red Out

It’s Writing Tip Tuesday. Now, I can’t take credit for this tip, but I think it’s a dang good one, so I thought I’d pass it along.

Try editing in something other than red pen. (Like, say, green.) It’ll be less harsh, but will still make edits stand out.

Wr.Tu.Th: Setting

We’re due for a new installment of Writing Tutorial Thursday. This week’s theme is setting.

Writing Tutorial: The Setting

Disclaimer: The information presented herein is based on what I, personally, have learned in my educational and professional careers. This tutorial is simply meant to offer some helpful tips.

INTRODUCTION: So you have an amazing plot and some really awesome characters. Where are you going to put them? Setting is especially important in works of fiction so that the reader has a proper stage in which to imagine your story play out. Now it’s time to figure out the where, when, what details of your novel’s backdrop. What are a few tips to remember when figuring out your story’s setting, though? Have no fear, I’m here to help!

1) One of the first things you may want to do is to imagine the world of your story. Brainstorm. Remember some fundamentals:

  • time (historical, time of day, year, etc.)
  • geography (natural and man-made)
  • climate and weather
  • specific location (country, state, neighborhood, etc.)

2) Show, don’t tell. When describing your setting to readers, don’t just say it was “a rainy Wednesday.” Say the monotonous pitter-patter on the windows added to the dreary weekday afternoon. Use imagery, metaphor, simile and other literary devices to add excitement to your writing.

3) Use your characters to present setting. A good way to bring the setting to your reader is through the eyes of your character. Make your reader feel the spring breeze, hear the truck down the street, and cough in the smoky, crowded cafe. Use your character’s five senses to describe the backdrop of a scene.

4) Use details that make sense to the plot. Your setting should tie into the plot. You wouldn’t want to write a story about a playground bully but have the setting be a circus. That just doesn’t make sense. Make sure the setting of each scene in your novel is there for a reason.

5) It’s all about balance. It’s important to remember not to overwhelm your chapters with pages of setting descriptions. Your setting is meant to be a backdrop, remember? It should only be there as a stage where the main performers act out the play. If you find yourself writing paragraphs about a room, sit back and think about what’s most important about the room. Sure it’s an old room, but maybe it’s the creepy painting over the fireplace. Focus on that.

Do you have any other suggestions? Questions? Let me know. As always, the way to better writing is by practicing!

Until next time. Happy writing!

Returned

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My library/study, where I stare at the screen or paper and wait for the “magic” to happen.

I’ve been away for a couple weeks. Sorry about that. I had been worrying about a job interview I had and, maybe more than that, I got discouraged again. (Seems to happen a lot lately…)

I’m trying to force myself to ignore the negative voices in my head. You know which ones I’m talking about: the ones constantly telling you you’re no good and won’t amount to anything. I think we all have those.

In the same vein, I’m trying to get back to my roots, so to speak. It’s my dream to “save people” with my stories, yes, but hell, I just like writing. So, I’m still working on my short stories for my future collection, but I’m being cognizant of how awesome it feels to write them for me.

I’ve found some writers groups in my area. I have mixed feelings about the discovery. I’m totally stoked on one hand and can’t wait to check them out; on the other hand, I’m terrified I’m not good enough and everyone will laugh at me. (I have a lot of self doubt.) Gotta get my courage up.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know I haven’t disappeared. I’m back with tutorials and tips, and maybe some writing, too. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything.

Stay tuned….

J

WTT: Blocked?

It’s Writing Tip Tuesday (and I almost forgot it was Tuesday!). Let’s talk about writer’s block.

Writer’s block isn’t any fun. When it happens to a writer, they’ll tell you it feels like they can’t put anything on paper at all. But that’s the precise moment you must! Even if it’s just a few sentences, you must write. Keeping those creative channels open is very important. Keep that pen moving!