Tag Archives: perseverance

Writing Prompt Wednesday: Happy Birthday, Stephen King!

stephen-king

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September 21, 2016 · 7:47 am

A to Z Blogging Challenge: W, Writing

One of my favorite books on story structure is Your Book Starts Here by Mary Carroll Moore. I was fortunate to attend one of her writing workshops a few years back at NH Writer’s Day and it was amazing. Many of us have little trouble with story beginnings and endings, but when it comes to the middle…!  It’s a challenge to keep the tension in a story strong enough so the reader will want to continue to turn the pages.

I’ll let Mary explain some helpful tips in this storyboard video.

 

During April, I’m participating in The A to Z Blogging Challenging, blogging 26 days of the month on writing topics while systematically moving through the alphabet. The goal is to develop a more regular blogging habit and network with other bloggers.  Join us!

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A to Z Blogging Challenge: M, Mood

Yeah, this is pretty true for me…what about you?

writers mood rings

 

During April, I’m participating in The A to Z Blogging Challenging, blogging 26 days of the month on writing topics while systematically moving through the alphabet. The goal is to develop a more regular blogging habit and network with other bloggers.  Join us!

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A to Z Blogging Challenge: E, Expectations

expectationsEarly in our marriage, my husband decided to return to school. We  lived in several states and spent a year in Germany in pursuit of this, all along with the expectation that he’d land a tenure-track teaching position at a nice college somewhere, we’d become knit into the intellectual and creative community on campus, and eventually we’d send our kids there and they’d benefit from some tuition remission. As a graduate student family we furnished our home with eclectic finds from tag sales.  I always said to myself, I’ll wait to buy matching couches when he has that tenure position. I said it so often that eventually these matching couches began to represent much more to me than just being couches – they represented success and stability.  I’d repeat that phrase to myself when times were stressful and the future was unknown and like a mantra, just saying it would conjure images of peace and tranquility – represented by a tidy living room set.

Long story short: my expectations never panned out. My husband’s career has never been steady; I’ve had the job and career climb in a surprise twist that neither of us expected. When I took my most recent promotion, it coincided with a move and I suggested we buy a loveseat/couch set.  We’d downsized so much in the previous move that we didn’t have enough furniture to spread out in the new place. Our family had grown and in a very practical sense we needed seating for all of us to be able to be in one room together. Probably to everyone else, we were just making a purchase, but to me, I was resigning myself to how our life had turned out in the new “now” and allowing myself to grieve and release all the expectations I had for so many years about what it meant to be successful and happy. It was very emotional and a bit frightening and at times continues to be so.

I think we should pursue our dreams, but know that those dreams are more than their shell – writing a successful novel, getting married, losing weight, buying a home.  These dreams come from a place deep within, and it’s important to be mindful about what the outside milestones represent –  Peace? Stability? Acceptance? Respect?  – and know  that you can achieve that personal quest on a path that you hadn’t known existed.

During April, I’m participating in The A to Z Blogging Challenging, blogging 26 days of the month on topics that systematically move through the alphabet. The goal is to develop a more regular blogging habit and network with other bloggers.  Join us!

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A to Z Challenge – B: Brainstorming

random ideas coming togetherBrainstorming is a creative problem-solving activity that can be performed in groups or alone. It’s not just for battling writer’s block – in fact, according to Wiki, brainstorming was invented by an advertising executive way back in 1939 as a method to break open creativity among his employees. (I find that I automatically engage in brainstorming activities with my colleagues to solve problems at work, and since libraries need to be constantly improving and changing, it’s a great skill to bring to any employer)

Since its inception, many variations of brainstorming have developed, and it’s certainly best to use the ones that work for you, but there are five key points to keep in mind:

  1. Defer judgement – when brainstorming, there’s no bad idea and it’s important to suspend the urge to dismiss anything at the early stages.
  2. Aim for quantity – the more ideas you come up with, the better the likelihood that you’ll generate something that works
  3. Go wild – the wilder the idea, the better.  I’ve found that when I’m brainstorming, I’ve got to travel pretty far out in the realm of improbability to unsnag something that might eventually be developed into a probable solution.
  4. Two heads are better than one – Despite how wild your imagination might be, it’s still just shaped by your paradigm, so you can improve on your ideas if you share them with someone else who is willing to bring their experience into the mix.
  5. Let it simmer – After a brainstorming session, I always set my ideas aside, at least overnight, so I can gain some distance from them. Things always seem a bit clearer, a bit fresher, after a rest, and when I return to my list, inevitably the best ideas start to rise to the top. Connections between what seemed like random ideas start to form, and I experience renewed energy about the project.

For me, those are the basics, but there is a wealth of information available for specific techniques to approach brainstorming to help you get started.

During April, I’m participating in The A to Z Blogging Challenging, blogging 26 days of the month on topics that systematically move through the alphabet. The goal is to develop a more regular blogging habit and network with other bloggers.  Join us!

 

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Writing Prompt Wednesday: Advice from Narnia

C.s.lewis3Need some writing advice?  The Gospel Coalition shares 15 Pieces of Writing Advice from C.S. Lewis, a British novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, broadcaster, lecturer, and Christian apologist, who may be best known for his “Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe” Narnia fantasy series. I think this excerpt from #15 is my favorite: “The first business of a story is to be a good story. When Our Lord made a wheel in the carpenter shop, depend upon it: It was first and foremost a good wheel. Don’t try to ‘bring in’ specifically Christian bits: if God wants you to serve him in that way (He may not: there are different vocations) you will find it coming in of its own accord. If not, well—a good story which will give innocent pleasure is a good thing, just like cooking a good nourishing meal. . . . Any honest workmanship (whether making stories, shoes, or rabbit hutches) can be done to the glory of God.”

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Writing Prompt Wednesday: Killer Stories

what doesn't kill us

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March 23, 2016 · 9:18 pm