• Craft,  Nanowrimo

    Eight Close-Talking, Double Dipping Tips to Succeeding At Nanowrimo!

    For 30 days in November every year, hundreds of thousands of writers all over the world try to get 50,000 words on paper. In a perfect world, these words would be brilliant and profound. It’s far more likely that the words are a big hot mess. If you are participating, this is the perfect time to organize your ideas and get ready! The objective is to write as much as possible, you know, yada, yada, yada, not to be beautiful doing it. Sign up here so you can participate this November!

  • Craft,  Discipline

    What Good Writers Do

    Kindergarteners practice tracing letters and numbers as the first steps to becoming literate. Even at this early stage, they are taught the basics for a lifetime of writing. The sign on my daughter’s classroom wall reads simply “What Good Writers Do.” Only a handful of the recent preschoolers can read the sign at the beginning of the year. As they come to understand the words, the sign becomes a useful reference. It provides guidance on how to communicate clearly to readers. From editing to formatting to effective storytelling, all writers benefit from mastering the basics. They must to entice readers and agents.

  • Craft,  Creativity,  Inspiration,  Observation

    Take 5 Friday: Five Field Trips For Your Senses

    We all have to do mundane and routine things to maintain our lives – errands, grocery shopping, yard work, and so on.  But, what if, instead of just drifting along with our routines, we considered at least some of our errands as ‘field trips’ for our senses?  We could use the sensory information we gather to enrich our scenes and our settings. And, in essence, we would be dedicating a little more time to our creative practice each week. I realize that you will not be able to do this for every errands you have to run every week. But even if you did it for a few errands every…

  • Character Development,  Craft

    Five Things Your Character Could Discover To Make Him More Engaging

    Your character should have serious beliefs that motivate him. These beliefs are also the foundation for his life as he knows it. He thinks that because of these beliefs that 2+2 will always equal 4. He's so convinced of these beliefs that he is willing to do something big for them. He may go on an adventure. He may join a group of people who share these beliefs. He may make a major change in his life for the sake of these beliefs.But what if these beliefs are false? What if underneath them is a foundation of deceit or corruption? What if what he thought was trustworthy, turns out to…

  • Craft,  Genre

    Twenty Useful SubReddits for Science Fiction Writers

    I do not view Reddit as a place to promote my books, although I’m sure there are subreddits you might be able to do a book plug here and there if you are so inclined, but I do view it as place to forge new connections and tap into the knowledge bases of fellow science fiction writers and fans of the genre.

  • Craft,  Motivation,  Self Talk

    Take 5 Friday: Five Ways to Speak More Kindly to Your Writer Self

    As writers, we spend a lot of time in our own heads, trying to coax words onto the page. Then, once the words get there, we spend a lot of time trying to reshape them to clarify our ideas. It’s a process filled with self-esteem peril. We end up criticizing ourselves for not working hard enough, not working often enough, not working in the right way, or not working on the right thing. Or, we get frustrated with the words we did produce, wondering why we can’t match the ideal we had in our heads.  There’s an awful lot of focus on what we did ‘wrong,’ or on what is…

  • Craft,  Discipline,  Motivation

    Take 5 Friday: Five Gentle Steps To Coax Yourself To Write

    Even if you have an excellent writing practice with well-established routines, there will still be times when you just can’t bring yourself to the page. Sometimes, that’s a sign of burnout or that you just need a rest. If that’s the case for you, do what you can to get the rest that you need. But, if this is regular old garden-variety reluctance, a slight grumpy sort of resistance, or just a toddleresque ‘I don’t wanna’ –  it might be time for some gentle coaxing. You don’t need to be hard on yourself, this isn’t a time for being cruel in the name of self-discipline.  This is an opportunity to…

  • Craft,  Interviews With Authors

    Take 5 Friday: Five Questions for Leigh Medeiros.

    It’s the last Friday of the month and I am thrilled to welcome Leigh Medeiros to our 5 Questions series. Leigh Medeiros is a creativity coach, story editor, amateur naturalist, rescue dog mom, and author of The 1-Minute Writer (Simon & Schuster, 2019.) She’s an energetic and encouraging creative force who can help you settle into your writing, even when you thought you had nothing to say. You can find out more about Leigh’s work on her website: LeighMedeiros.com. 1) Do you find yourself compelled to write or do you have to coax yourself into it? Dorothy Parker once said, “I hate writing; I love having written.” Oh, can I…

  • Craft,  Creativity,  Inspiration

    Take 5 Friday: Five Questions To Ask Your Characters

    Last week, I encouraged you to ask yourself a few questions about your writing so you could ensure that your practice still met your goals. This week’s questions are for your characters and while they probably won’t take as much soul-searching, they will require some imagination. I use questions like the ones below to round out my knowledge of my characters in my short stories, novels, short plays, and in the mystery games that I write.  Sometimes I end up using the answers to “show” my characters to my audience. Sometimes, the answers just help me to figure out how my characters would behave or react in a given situation.…

  • Community,  Craft,  Creativity,  Interviews With Authors,  Self Talk,  Time Management

    Take 5 Friday: Five Questions To Ask Yourself

    Most of us have a good general idea of our plans and motivations. But we also have so many different things going on in our lives that it’s easy to forget to check in with ourselves about how things are going. Once we have created a system or a plan, we tend to keep trying to follow it until things go horribly wrong. However, even if things haven’t gone horribly wrong, the plan or system might still not be completely right. It might be causing us unnecessary frustration or stress just because it no longer matches our needs. If we take time to check in with ourselves and assess what…