Writer’s block gets far too much credit for words not written and false starts on manuscripts.
Not being able to develop a character or plot to move the story forward is maddening. However, sometimes a lack of words is not the problem but the overabundance of words vomited by your brain!
After finishing a twenty-five-hundred-word chapter, you read it and cringe in horror at the forty-seven adverbs, nineteen pronouns, twelve dialogue tags, and eleven uses of the word ‘had.’
You believe writing is not your calling and consider a career in the food service industry where name tags and hats are required.
Instead, you delete the paragraph and start over.
You’re dealing with another type of writer’s block—one where you’re blocking yourself from moving forward because you’re trying to write the perfect first draft using the rules.
Everyone’s first draft is craptastic—you’re not going to be the exception.
First drafts get rewritten during the editing stage … hence the name FIRST draft.
Your story can (and will) change, making the chapter you’re agonizing over irrelevant.
Your editor could say the chapter doesn’t add to the story. Wave goodbye to the chapter.
Your MS will go through more changes than an Academy Awards show host.
Take a deep breath … and exhale.
Now. Write your story.
Let the words flow. Good, bad, passive, indifferent. Get them on paper.
Write your story. Finish it … and take a break from it.
After your break, make a copy of your MS and put it away.
Now you can use the rules and fix the excessive adverbs, run-on sentences and five-hundred-sixty-five occurrences of the word ‘that’ … or maybe that was just me.
Line up your Beta-readers and alert your editor.
And when you’re holding your published book in print form or on your reader, take out the saved copy of your first draft and compare the two.
You turned something craptastic into literature.
Pat your yourself on the back … and start all over again.
Write your story.
by Kyle Massa
I had a professor in college who often said, “Inspiration will fail you.” She was very right about that.
Many authors wait around to be inspired. They wait for the muse to appear with an amazing idea, one that fills the page with vivid prose and vibrant action. And when inspiration fails to appear, those writers remind themselves that tomorrow is another day, and they don’t write anything.
That’s why inspiration will fail you. It’s lazy, it’s inconsiderate, and it doesn’t ever show up when you want it to.
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by Nadia Sotnikova
When I was a toddler, it took more than a few fake airplanes to make me eat my carrots and broccoli. My mouth remained clamped shut, as my mom would pilot the fork airplane filled with toddler-sized bites of multi-colored veggies. My hatred for Bugs Bunny’s favorite vegetable followed me from childhood into adulthood, and my mouth remained shut no matter how many times I was told how beneficial carrots were for my eyes.
My poor mom never stopped trying to create a health conscious carrot-eating daughter, no matter how many times I fed her carrots to the dog or left them on my dinner plate. Creating a health conscious lifestyle require us to consume a large quantity of carrots, broccoli, treadmills, and multivitamins.
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Whatever you’re writing, there’s one sure-fire way to make your prose more engaging:
Vary the length of your sentences.
Rather than explain why this is important, I’m going to give an example:
This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety.
Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the…
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by Samantha Fenton
It happens often enough: A writer taking a day or two break, which turns into a week of not writing, then two, and pretty soon your manuscript has been pushed off the table and into a drawer. Not good. Now you’ve lost all drive to work on the thing. You’re procrastinating, and have no desire to start on it again. Let me repeat: This is not good, and you know it.
It started off innocently enough. You did actually want to work on the book, but you had a lot going on. Or maybe you had hit a rut. Still, you had other things you needed to get done. You wanted to read that new book. You were to work on that hard scene tomorrow. You just took of one night because you were so tired, and you deserved one night off after all you’ve done.
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Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.
As often as I run into authors wanting to use song lyrics in their novels, I also run into authors wanting to use quotes in their non-fiction books. (If you missed the post about using song lyrics in your manuscript, you can find it HERE 101:08) It seems that many authors like the way somebody else said something previously and don’t think they can say it any better.
Well, I don’t know about that. But I do know that you cannot simply take someone else’s words—no matter how wonderfully written—and plop them into your for-sale book. That’s plagiarism. And, you cannot simply use a significant amount of material…
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When a potential book buyer clicks on your book link, where do they end up?
If they live in Scotland, do you send them to Amazon US? If they live in South Africa, do you send them to Amazon UK?
If you do, you have probably lost a great chance to sell a book because book buyers in the UK cannot buy books from Amazon US, and nor can South African buyers use Amazon UK.
Do you open publish? Yes? Great. But how do book buyers who use Apple iBooks or Kobo buy your book? Certainly not from your Amazon Kindle link.
Using one store link for your book promotion, such as to Amazon Kindle US, will work for US buyers, but what about the rest of the world? I know from experience, and my own book sales, that there are keen…
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by Whitney Carter
“I hate writing, I love having written.” – Dorothy Parker
Do you know what the single most important characteristic of a writer is? Determination. Determination translates to the discipline that sees you to writing even when you don’t feel like it, into perseverance to keep submitting in the face of rejection and through the writer’s blocks and headaches and heartaches that are the process of stringing words together.
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by Destine Williams
Hey everybody, today I wanted to do another Day In the Life post. And for today’s topic, I wanted to shift our focus inward and talk about something that’s been on my mind a lot these days. It’s this idea of being more honest when we write, draw, compose, or just create well…anything.
On Where This All Came From…
You see I’ve always had this feeling before I had the words to express them, but it was finally cleared up for me when I heard about artists that have sketchbooks that are made for the sole purpose of showing people and separate sketchbooks that are just for them.
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