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Feb 132013
 

Did you ever notice how many great writers of all eras were friends with each other? It was something that I found rather hard to believe back in high school every time my teacher to assign three books by three different authors who all just happened to know each other. How was that possible?

Well it is possible and more importantly a reason that they were all so famous. You see writers are the best support for other writers. When you get in a group of like minded people you will egg each other on to greater and greater heights. You’ll push each other to fix your issues and improve you craft until you are all at the top of you game. Then you push higher. Great, so how do you find the other great writers to make your little group?

Feb 062013
 

How long is your story? How long should it be? Is a novella better than a novel for a first time writer? Should you write something as epic as War and Peace or keep it under 100k words? Such weighty problems that some new writers obsess over are really simple to figure out once you realize what the real questions are.

First a brief discussion of the different story lengths. These are rough estimates and can be flexible depending on the market you are submitting to. Be sure to check the guidelines. If you are self pubbing, it’s kind of up to you but your readers will expect something like this:

Feb 042013
 

Among the writing rules is one that I actually agree with most of the time: torture your characters. That sounds a little extreme, but for the most part it is good advice. Why? Because good story rise out of conflict, conflict comes from adversity, and adversity means that things are going wrong.

Jan 232013
 

Characters are interesting pieces of your imagination. For many writers they are autonomous being made up of our experiences but different from us in fundamental ways. This at least is my experience, and by anecdotal evidence that of most of the writers I know. You hear it in interviews all the time – authors speak of their characters as though they are living, breathing people. Many of them talk about the characters telling the story and they are just there to write it down. It sounds crazy; in a way it sort of is.

Jan 162013
 

Back in high school, I remember arguing with my teachers about how to take notes and outline papers. I get it now that they were just trying to teach me a method of organizing my thoughts and I really shouldn’t blame them for not realizing that my brain doesn’t work in the standard outline form. I made it through high school and on into college where the professors no longer cared how I took notes just so long as my papers were organized and I could answer all my test questions. That is when I learned how to take notes in the way that my mind actually processed things, and suddenly school became a lot easier.

Jan 142013
 

In my role as and Educational ASL Interpreter, my students have learned that I make a darned good tutor when it comes to their English papers. And a frustrating one as well. What causes this particular set of feelings is the way that I tutor them. Word by word, without ever telling them what to say, I pick apart their sentences until each one is grammatically correct. Once one sentence is correct, I send them off to fix the rest of the paragraph on their own. I can totally understand their frustration. It was the same method that my favorite (and most hated) interpreting teacher used. I know that frustration well, and I know the results.

Jan 112013
 

If you ask a bunch of writers about how to find time to write there are two basic camps: Butt In Chair (BIC) and Steal Minutes (SM). If you go to any writer’s group and ask a general question like “How do you find time to write” you’ll get a nice smattering of about equal weight of the two camps. No one will deny the other camp’s position and they’ll be quite polite about it.

Jan 092013
 

I have to start by telling you that so far this year is – for the most part – going very well on the writing front. I’ve already sent out my first submission for the year and have a full line up for editing and writing new stories and novels. So keep that in mind as I tell you some of the not so good things that are happening and their effects on my ability to produce.

Dec 282012
 

It’s time for another blog exchange. I’ve traded topics with Winona Hulsey: Surviving the Holidays as a Writer. You’ll find links to my thoughts and more about Winona and her writing after her thoughts on the matter. Now, without further ado… Introducing Winona Hulsey:

Author Wenona Hulsey spends her time scaling roof tops, kicking bad guy tail, and rescuing small kittens from tree tops. But during the time when she isn’t asleep, she’s a mother of two beautiful children and works a full time day job. She lives vicariously through great books and creates magical worlds in her spare time. She is also an avid social networker, who loves to meet new people.

Dec 192012
 

Stories, I always thought, were pictures that somehow slipped past your eyes and made it into your mind unfiltered. Now I’m interpreting for reading classes in a high school (for students who for one reason or another are not fluent English readers). I hear, and interpret, the teacher telling the kids to imagine what the words are saying. “Let the words make pictures in your mind,” she tells them. How perfect is that?