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Archive for 'plotting'

Tools for Writers: One Stop For Writers

I discovered One Stop for Writers after following the Writers Helping Writers blog and subsequently buying a copy of the Emotions Thesaurus. Both are fantastic resources for writers at all experience levels, but when One Stop for Writers went live, I signed up for the free trial and have continued using the site ever since.

This site has everything!

One Stop For Writers

There are loads of thesauruses to inspire the writer when they’re stuck. They range from emotions to setting and characters. There is also help to plot and outline, build worlds rich in detail, and to offer inspiration when a writer hits a wall.

My favorite part of the site is the many thesauruses, which I use most days. I’ve also used some templates, the idea generator, and the character builder.

If you’re a writer, I think you’ll find this site invaluable. Check out the helpful resources and sign up for the FREE fourteen-day trial. I highly recommend One Stop for Writers.

Thirteen Pieces of Advice for Aspiring Writers

Thursday Thirteen

I’ve been in a writing mood recently, which is great from my point of view. Today, I wrote “the end” on my current work in progress. Since my mind is in the groove, I thought I’d give some advice to aspiring authors.

1. Sit down and write every day. Make writing into a good habit.

2. Join a writing group, either a chapter or an online community for support.

3. Read and read widely. Analyze books that work for you and those that don’t. Use them as a learning tool.

4. Make a point to learn about websites and social media.

5. Enter writing competitions to help yourself improve and also to give yourself a writing deadline.

6. Research markets, agents and editors to familiarize yourself with what publishers and agents are looking for. This will help you narrow down who to submit your book to. If you’re thinking about self-publishing learn as much as you can about the process.

7. Keep a record of how much you can comfortably write each day. Knowledge of your possible output will help you once you’re published and facing deadlines.

8. Take online classes and attend conferences to learn as much as you can. I’ve been published for a while now, and I’m still learning!

9. When it comes to actual plotting, try all the different methods. Plotting, pansting and in between until you find a method that works for you.

10. There is no right or wrong way to write a book. There is only your way.

11. Find a critique partner/s to help critique your work and critique other writers’ work. This is a learning process too.

12. Once you’ve completed and polished your book send it off to your chosen publisher or agent. While you’re waiting, start work on your next book. If you’re self-publishing, complete the publishing process and start work on the next book.

13. Celebrate each success because writing is a difficult business and plain hard work.

Do you have any suggestions to add to my list?

Sleepless Night

I had trouble sleeping last night. I don’t know if it was because I read Margie Lawson’s guest post about sleeping at Petit Fours and Hot Tamales or if it was a sign of things to come. Margie’s post was very interesting and included suggestions about ways to aid sleep. It’s worth reading if you have a chance.

Normally, I sleep really well. Last night I was tired. I slept a few hours and woke. Unable to go back to sleep, I applied my brain cells to the problems I’ve been having with my current work-in-progress. Problem fixed! I know how to end my story in a way that isn’t as lame as my original idea. I must have drifted back to sleep and I woke about seven, feeling really tired. According to hubby I was grinding my teeth. I haven’t done that for a long time. It’s something I usually only do when I’m stressed.

If anyone has listened to a person grinding their teeth they’ll know what a horrible sound it is–way worse than snoring. I don’t know why hubby didn’t wake me up.

The good news is that I remembered all the plotting I’d done during the night–it didn’t fade away into dreamland. Here’s hoping I sleep better tonight, but if I don’t, I have another story I need to start plotting.

What do you do if you can’t sleep? Is anyone else tired of 2009 and ready for 2010 to begin?

The Curious Series of Events

This is a bit of a story, so grab a coffee and get comfortable.

Mr. Munro went to pick up Scotty from the kennels on Sunday. The kennel assistant came out with Scotty and a basket that didn’t belong to her. Hubby said, “That’s not Scotty’s basket.” But evidently Scotty had slept in that basket the entire time we were away. (Let’s call this event one)

The kennel people ran around looking for Scotty’s tatty basket and couldn’t find it. It is tatty with the stuffing showing through the fabric but she doesn’t like the new ones we purchased for her. She likes the old one. They looked high and low and finally said hubby could take the basket Scotty had been sleeping in. Subsequent investigations i.e. looking at the label says this basket belongs to a dog called Dexter. (Let’s call this event two)

Hubby and Scotty went off to collect a chainsaw from a friend so he could cut down a tree. When he went to load the chainsaw into the car he discovered the wee dog had had an accident of the smelly kind. Hubby assures me he didn’t shout at her, but I don’t really believe him. Scotty is very good but sometimes she can’t move fast enough to reach the great outdoors. In this case she was trapped inside the car. (Let’s call this event three)

Hubby and Scotty arrived at home. Scotty went straight into the tub for a wash and shampoo while I put her new basket (the one that used to belong to Dexter) into the washing machine and cleaned out the car. (Let’s call this event four)

Scotty went outside to dry while hubby prepared for his tree chopping adventure. I went inside to check my email and think about writing, housework and the like. I heard sudden shouting and swearing in the garage and went racing out to investigate. While hubby was washing Scotty in the tub, she knocked the washing machine outlet pipe and it dropped to the ground, unnoticed by hubby. When the washing machine emptied, it emptied out into the garage and we ended up with a flood. (Let’s call this event five)

Hubby and I frantically mopped and wiped up water, shifting stuff in the garage and panicking in case the water seeped through the wall into the house and wet the carpet. (Let’s call this event six)

Now: I’m going to leave you on a traditional hook – Will the Munros save their carpet from becoming wet and moldy? And will Dexter turn up to reclaim his basket?

It struck me while I was mopping frantically and running the weird series of events through my head that this was typical plotting. It’s what writers try to do while plotting a book. They try to make each crisis bigger and more alarming to test the characters. Yep, I’d experienced a lesson in plotting all in the space of an hour. It actually served as a reminder. I need to be a little meaner to my characters in my current Middlemarch book. They needed to suffer just as Mr Munro and I suffered.

Do you think some authors overdo the series of events and torture their characters too much? Do you think that characters aren’t tested enough and we authors let them off too easily? What are your thoughts about plotting?