Inspiration

Inspiration is still free, and for the artist it is rampant everywhere.

Elevator Pitches

Here's a great article on elevator pitches:

http://www.rachellegardner.com/2011/07/elevator-pitch-critiques/

Last night I worked on the pitches for my two manuscripts. My friend and I working toward completing and presenting our novels at a writer's conference at the end of January. After reading this article I discovered that getting down the elevator pitch was easy. Looks like memorizing will be the most challenging part.

If you need an elevator pitch, you need to read this article.

Happy writing.

Great Rejection Letter

Today I received a rejection letter for Survivor. This letter was really meaningful for me because the editors referred to my story as "well written." Might sound like two little insignificant words, but to me they were confidence builders. As a young, inexperienced writer, I just got a pat on the back from the publishing world.

Thank you Iridum Sound!
http://www.iridumsound.co.uk/magazines/

Really Cool Article

Check it out: The Importance of Physical Books

http://jaimiengle.com

Update


Hi there,

A much needed update on my progress lies below:

Everything is on the back burner until this my zombie story is completed. I have to be more disciplined in my writing or I will never finish anything. Once I have completed this story and start sending it out, I am going to clean up some more short stories and get them out. After that its back to my romance novel, which is killing me just sitting there, unfinished. It's a real travesty, but it won't sit for long, I promise.

My mom used to encourage me to hurry while coloring. She told me that the characters in my pictures couldn't breathe until I finished coloring them. I feel that way about my unfinished work. My characters can't breathe right now, so I have to hurry up and get them colored. Corny I know, but it damn sure is motivating!

Zombies, zombies, zombies

I have zombies on the brain. My WIP is coming along swimmingly. I am pleased to say thanks to the help and encouragement of a very close friend, I have stuck to my first draft and have only 25% of the first draft to go. My goal is to finish it this coming week.

Granted there's a whole mess of details missing and tons of editing awaiting me, but I am stoked to be this close to writing the end on a novel for the first time.

This is by far the coolest thing I've written yet. I cannot wait to make it presentable for my trusted readers. There's nothing else like this story, not to my knowledge anyway.

I just can't stop thinking about it. Can't stop talking about it. I heart zombies.

So zombie lovers, prepare for a special treat. A new spin on an old monster is in route.


Reverse Engineer your Way out of Writer’s Block, Right Now


by Christine Edwards

Endurance runners call it the wall. Legs turn to jello, lungs threaten to give out, and everything in the stretch between those two points tires out or quits cooperating altogether. The finish line is closer than ever before, just beyond the horizon. The end is in view, doesn’t matter though. The finish line may as well be on another continent at this point. Writers have another name for this excruciating breakdown, but it’s essentially the same awful experience.

Only the semantics are different with writer’s block. It goes something like this: budding author punches out most of a brilliant first draft. Just scenes from completing said first draft, everything goes black. Aspiring author stares at open word doc, a thin black line blinks back from a pristine rectangle of white space. Anxious writer admonishes herself, this was supposed to be the great American novel! Tension rises as the realization hits: publishers don’t buy three quarters of the great American novel and some notes scribbled on crumpled a Star Bucks napkin. 

At this point, the advice goes something like this: go for a run, watch a movie, start a short story. Get your mind off your first draft and then, wallah! The answer will come to you. When you go do all those things and find yourself staring a hole through 17 square inches of computer screen, come back and read the rest of this article. Go ahead, I’ll wait. 

Sometimes running, petting Fido or reading a good book is just the fix. Many of my best twists have come from being otherwise occupied. For me, driving to work, running or loading the dishwasher usually produces some killer scenes. Whenever I can’t possibly write something down, I have an epiphany for some zany reason. It’s not as humorous when it’s actually happening. 

Then there are the weeks in-between those eureka moments, spent ruminating, but producing nothing of note. During my most recent bout of writer’s block, I went in a different direction and found an alternative to waiting around on the fates to take pity on me. I wrote about my writing, essentially reverse engineering my way over the hump. That stint of writer’s block has been in my rearview mirror for quite a while now, because I sat down and typed out my synopsis. That’s right, I put the cart before the horse and wrote a synopsis of a story that wasn’t even completed yet. I do crazy stuff like that, and sometimes it pays off. Try my crazy idea and see if it works for you too.

So the great American novel you’ve been slaving over is stalled somewhere between acts II and III. Here’s why you should write your synopsis, and how it will get you racing along again.

Why am I doing this?

The reason I prefer to write a synopsis over a character journal entry, plot outline or query letter is because it fits the symptoms I’m experiencing. 

Journal Entries won’t help because...

My characters are developed. By this point in my first draft I’m herding cats with god complexes. They don’t need any more reason to go haywire on me. 

A plot outline won’t help because...

Outlines fixes plot holes. I’m not trying to shovel my way somewhere. I’m at point A trying to get to point B, and the map is already in my head. I just need to fill in some scenes along the way. 

A query letter won’t help because...

This just isn’t enough space to ramble on. Three brilliant lines aren’t going to take me where I need to go. Two double spaced pages is about the word count I need at this point. 

Therefore...

I need something to help me look at my story as a whole so that I can tune back into the premise. I need to find that thread that ties the story together, following it is the only way to fill the blank white space with create clear, fluid scenes that people will want to read. I need to revisit my big idea and my previous scenes to renew my interest and drum up some creativity. At this point, I also need to be reminded why I wanted to write the darn story in the first place.

In contrast to other devices in the writer’s tool box, a synopsis has the right stuff to do all this, and possibly more. 

Perks to writing a synopsis

Perk #1 Getting it out of the way

When you finish you’re thirty-sixth edit and are ready to query agents, a synopsis will be in their guidelines somewhere. Having it saved to your hard drive is money in the bank. Pat yourself on the back then, not now. Right now you still have writing to do.

Perk #2 Theme generator

Your theme is there, sprinkled amongst hundreds of pages. When you write concisely about your story, you are bringing your theme to the forefront. What’s not to love about having your theme well defined the next time you make your elevator pitch?

Perk #3 Magical Foreshadowing Powers

There are bits of your story that stick out for good reason. Others are highlighted just because you really, really like them. That’s all roses now, but when you write your synopsis you will find that some parts show up more than others, for a reason. When you look at your whole work in a condensed version, what really matters starts to take up more of this valuable space. Develop these areas along the way. Foreshadow what you want to stick out in your novel, because it’s what shined brightest in your synopsis. 

The rest has already weeded itself out. Your novel just told you where it’s headed, get in line with it. Foreshadow to guide your readers in the right direction. Don’t be that guy giving lousy directions. Lay your mines where they pack the most punch, and collect all the duds along the way. Unless you’re writing a mystery, your readers won’t appreciate being led astray or down dead ends.

Perk #4 Back Online

My synopsis wrote itself, quickly. My fingers flew, like someone was dictating the words to me. Upon completion, I was incredibly excited about going back and layering my theme, which had come to me just then, and foreshadowing the parts I now knew to be important. 

That night, I attacked my first draft with tiger-like veracity. I didn’t get everything down, but the writer’s block lifted. My missing scenes appeared to my mind’s eye, demanding their due attention. Revisiting your story as a whole brings renewed enthusiasm, which is essential to drumming up your creativity. Looking at the same scene from different perspectives can do the opposite. Go back frequently and look at the bigger picture to stay in line with your premise and remind yourself of why you liked the story enough to write it in the first place.

I’m not an expert, and I normally don’t go against the grain. But when it comes to my writing, I take liberty as a last resort. If the advice of running around my block doesn’t work, but tapping out two pages about my writing does, yours truly is kicking off her running shoes and opening a new word doc immediately. My novella isn’t finished, but I’m through the middle and within view of those two little words that carry great emphasis: The End. 

Not everyone writes the way I do. But I’ve brainstormed and have yet to find a reason why this method couldn’t benefit a writer in some small way. At the very least, it will help tighten up a story line or flush out a scene idea that was previously hidden.

So try it out. Use the links below to get yourself started. The first link provides formatting basics. Formatting is tedious, mind numbing work, so get it out of the way quickly. The second explains how a synopsis should read and what it should and shouldn’t contain.

When next you find yourself chewing your nails to bits and staring at the flashing thin line, go in a different direction. There’s no harm in trying, you’ve got to do something to beat the dreaded writer’s block. Remember, reverse engineering isn’t just for scientists, word smiths can fall in love with it too.

Links:


Eleven Days

It has been eleven days since I started submitting two of my short stories to publishers and contests. With every passing day I grow more hopeful that the stories will become published. When you hear back right away, it's usually not a good thing.

I have a few more short stories that are in the final editing stages. I intend to get them out in the next few weeks, after I have completed a novella that I am working on. At this time, the novella first draft is my main focus.

I put down my other novella, the romantic one to get down a pseudo-horror story about zombies. The idea came to me in a bizarre dream and demanded on pain of zombification to be written down. Of course I complied because no one on the current best sellers list is a zombie (that I know of anyway.)

I also finished a book that I intend to post a review about in the near future. How to Write a Breakout Novel, is not meant for first time novelists, but that doesn't mean we can't read it. It's a free country and all. I figure having read it puts me ahead of the game. One less thing for me to read when I'm working on my second book right?

This is a very exciting time and I look forward to future posts about my progress.

Fingers still crossed!

C