Writing Time, Part 70. Great Starts Via Tone and Setting

summer2 Establishing tone and setting right off is a good way to get point of view quickly and firmly established. It’s not the only way to begin—we certainly read successful starts composed of rants, reflections, and resonant difficulties . But, it might be worth our while to examine some excellent examples of authors establishing their authority with POV through tone and setting.

“A big noisy wind out of the northeast, full of a February chill, herded the tourists off the afternoon beach, driving them to cover, complaining bitterly.”

-The Quick Red Fox, John D MacDonald 

“The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot.”

-Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbitt 

“I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.”

Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex

Sometimes, if a writer is dissatisfied with the start, it may be worthwhile to dig about the first pages of the work, where lines like these may be lurking unnoticed, and try one of them as line one of the tale.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week. Cheers Mel

muse smallThis week from @yourwritingmuseYour amazing ending complements your story beautifully. You saw it from the start. Your Writing Muse #amwriting @pulpliterature

-The Quick Red Fox, John D MacDonald

-Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbitt

Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jonathan, Heinlein, Morpurgo, Wodehouse, Joan Voight Summer Queen

 

 

 

Brainbox Toolkits

 

Internet sites talk about writers’ toolkits as if they were outside equipment, but our toolboxes are entirely inside our minds. We work in notebooks and computers, but if we had neither, we could still tell stories to listeners gathered around a campfire.

Writing is making something out of nothing but spirit and brainpower. We have to take care of our brains.

To take care of our brains:

We need to walk, because walking drives body and mind and enhances creative powers.

We need to sleep well, and beyond this we must rest our minds by thinking in ways that are different making decisions and creating stories.

When we’re doing something entirely different, like enjoying friends over a meal for example,  we need to laugh and talk and not worry about wasting time.

And, while we’re eating, feed our minds with whole foods and proper fats, remembering that our guts are sparkling with neurons.

 

“It’s brain,” I said; “pure brain! What do you do to get like that, Jeeves? I believe you must eat a lot of fish, or something. Do you eat a lot of fish, Jeeves?” – PG Wodehouse, My Man Jeeves.

Your use of the senses in your writing is brilliant– puts the reader into your point-of-view character’s skin

 

 

Recovery

Hard work

Respect our minds like a craftsman respects his toolcase.

 

 

Making the Most of Drafting Hours

 

Loving the work saves writers time. When we love an activity, we prepare for it. That’s a powerful practice for those of us working to create a writing career within a full-time life.

 

I love my drafting time like I love skiing, and If I know I’m going to be skiing this weekend, I’ll think about it through the week, with pleasant anticipation. I’ll be ready. I’m not about to waste my skiing hours looking for my boots, or my drafting hours writing without direction.

 

Time to do what we truly love is not time we’re likely to approach with worry or distress.

Viewing the writing hours ahead with a relaxed mindset serves us well.

 

Your intense focus as you outline & draft, serves your #writing career well. #writingtips Your Writing Muse #amwriting @pulpliterature

 

 

 

It’s hard to give up the guilty pleasures. Because, guilty pleasures are a way to let go of strictures and live free, as a our inner instincts and Star Trek teaches us to do, kind of dancing just for fun. But we don’t want to that guy, that girl, who has the tv on all the time, even metaphorically.

 

When we’re excited about something new in our lives, we have no problem identifying what needs to go to make room for it.

-gf who didn’t want to miss her shows for the guy, didn’t really like him; found a fab guy

 

Your intense focus as you outline & draft, serves your #writing career well. #writingtips Your Writing Muse #amwriting @pulpliterature

 

 

√Blog

Writers Block Busting

 

As a mystery writer, I love misdirection, because it sets me to investigating. Quick and unhelpful answers to writing questions are some of my favourite black boxes.

 

The knee jerk answer we all get when we ask “Why am I stuck?” is “Writers’ block”. Litmus test on this answer: Quick? Sure. Unhelpful? Totally. So why do we accept this answer? I’ll tell you why some of us accept it, it’s because if we have writers’ block then that’s proof we’re actually writers. So, once we agree we really are writers, just as we have always wished to be, let’s deal with the serious issue of being stuck.

 

If we’re stuck, it’s like being stuck in any aspect of our lives that is getting us down. It means we don’t have excellent goals to keep us interested, excited, and on track. In writing, goals mean outlining. So, when brainpages adhere one to the other, one way to get unstuck is

  1. Procure a timer
  2. Set the timer for 5 minutes
  3. Outline the beginning, middle, and end of your story for 1 character (I use the story evolution page from the brilliant First Draft in 30 Days : A Novel Writer’s System for Building a Complete and Cohesive Manuscript(Paperback) – 2005 Edition
    by Karen Wiesner
    Link: http://a.co/7R5eWtg

 

Repeat as necessary, for more characters, until the writing mind is raring to go.

In order to avoid getting stuck at all, outlining this way in odd 5 or 10 minute parcels of time during the week works wonders.

 

I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week.

 

 

You work hard to give your best to the world of readers. We are most grateful. Your Writing Muse #amwriting @pulpliterature

 

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Writing Time, Part 69. Brainbox Toolkits for Writers

techneforfunInternet sites talk about writers’ toolkits as if they were outside equipment, but in truth our toolboxes are entirely inside our minds. We work in notebooks and on computers, but if we had neither, we could still tell stories to listeners gathered around a campfire.Writing is making something out of nothing but spirit and brainpower.

We have to take care of our brains:

  • we need to walk, because walking drives body and mind and enhances creative powers.
  • we need to sleep well, and beyond this we must rest our minds by thinking in ways that are different from making decisions and creating stories, like enjoying talking and laughing with family and friends over a meal.
  • and, while we’re eating, feed our minds with whole foods and proper fats, remembering that our guts are sparkling with neurons.

“It’s brain,” I said; “pure brain! What do you do to get like that, Jeeves? I believe you must eat a lot of fish, or something. Do you eat a lot of fish, Jeeves?” – PG Wodehouse, My Man Jeeves.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week. Cheers Mel

muse smallThis week from @yourwritingmuse: Your use of the senses in your writing is brilliant– puts the reader into your point-of-view character’s skin. Your Writing Muse

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Writing Time, Part 68. Making the Most of Drafting Hours

book-Pen-small-e1424382992427-300x300Loving the work saves writers time. When we love an activity, we prepare for it. That’s a powerful practice for those of us working to create a writing career within a full-time life.

I love my drafting time like I love skiing, and If I know I’m going to be skiing this weekend, I’ll think about it through the week, with pleasant anticipation. I’ll be ready. I’m not about to waste my skiing hours looking for my boots, or my drafting hours writing without direction.

Time to do what we truly love is not time we’re likely to approach with worry or distress.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week. Cheers Mel

muse smallThis week from @yourwritingmuse: Your intense focus as you outline & draft, serves your writing career well. Your Writing Muse #amwriting @pulpliterature

 

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Writing Time, Part 67. Carving Out Writing Time

michaelclockcroppedOf course, we who love our work are more likely to make time for it. But, make time out of what? Busy lives, tons of demands from family, friends, home, and work appear to fill every day to bursting.

Carving moments of peace for employing our drafting skills–and for anything else, for that matter–is a skill in itself. We blink, and the better part of the day is gone. All we have left are a couple of hours best spent not with brandy in the basement, typing madly into the night, but with our loved ones, building lives and memories and getting ourselves and our writing brains  a good night’s sleep.

One way to approach carving out times of serenity is to begin by imagining the goal. Picture ourselves at our favourite time of day for drafting, in our favourite writing place. For many of us, we feel freshest in the morning. And, we probably have an hour or two, within a morning or two during the week that is at least meant to be under our control.

The next step is to look at this block of time. What activity fills it now?

Can it be canned, or perhaps chunked through the week, like shopping or cleaning? Or, if it’s a wonderful activity, could it move to the afternoon or evening?

And if it can’t be canned, moved, or spread throughout the week, for example if you’re dealing with a 24/7 boss, or tiny children, it’s worth remembering the words of a friend of mine, “There’s a time for everything, and your time will come.”

Because, when life really is too busy to write, that’s when we gain experiences to write about.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week. Cheers Mel

muse smallThis week from @yourwritingmuse: Stuck for an idea, you list 20 ways it could happen. Superb writing practice. Your Writing Muse #amwriting @pulpliterature

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Writing Time, Part 66. Writer’s Block Busting, Part 2.

Editorial writer forest smallAs a mystery writer, I love misdirection, because it sets me to investigating. Quick and unhelpful answers to writing questions are some of my favourite black boxes.

The knee jerk answer we all get when we ask, “Why am I stuck?” is, “Writers’ block”. Litmus test on this answer: Quick? Sure. Unhelpful? Totally. So why do we accept this answer? I’ll tell you why some of us accept it, it’s because if we have writers’ block then that’s proof we’re actually writers. So, once we relax and agree we really are writers, just as we have always wished to be, let’s deal with the serious issue of being stuck.

If we’re stuck, it’s like being stuck in any aspect of our lives that is getting us down. It means we don’t have excellent goals to keep us interested, excited, and on track. In writing, goals mean outlining. So, when brainpages adhere one to the other, one way to get unstuck is

  1. Procure a timer
  2. Set the timer for 5 minutes
  3. Outline the beginning, middle, and end of your story for 1 character. I use the story evolution page from the brilliant First Draft in 30 Days : A Novel Writer’s System for Building a Complete and Cohesive Manuscript(Paperback) – 2005 Edition 
    by Karen Wiesner

Repeat as necessary, for more characters, until the writing mind is raring to go.

In order to avoid getting stuck at all, outlining this way in odd 5 or 10 minute parcels of time during the week works wonders.

 

I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week. Cheers Mel

muse smallThis week from @yourwritingmuse: Writing down your great goals fuels your writing career beautifully. Admirable practise.  Your Writing Muse #amwriting @pulpliterature

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Writing Time, Part 65. Walking, Sleeping, Writing Better

“I have two doctors, my left leg and my right.” Historian G. M. Trevelyan We’re built to walk, and our brains and bodies benefit. Brain, as I’m always forgetting as I hunch over and straighten up at my screen, being … Continue reading

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Writing Time, Part 64. Thinking Big in a Writing Career

castleangelsmallSome say we write for an audience of one, because one person reads our story at a time. Granted that our great work is writing the words that reader loves to read, we may also ask ourselves big-picture questions, like

  • What talks would I love to give?
  • How best may I receive, track, and deal with an increasing income?
  • How might I answer classic interview questions? 

Success expert Jim Rohn famously said, “Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better.” That’s thinking big, for even the best keep getting better. Let me rephrase-especially the best.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week. Cheers Mel

muse smallThis week from @yourwritingmuseYou arrange matters to get a great sleep most nights, ready for the writing ahead. Fab. Your Writing Muse #amwriting @pulpliterature

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Writing Time, Part 63. Supporting Systems, Galloping Time

2horsesNow and then, a moment arrives, when hardly anybody wants anything from us. Maybe something was cancelled, leaving a serene empty space, or it’s the day after a holiday, ditto.
I used to go mad at such moments. Quick, this is my chance to write 5400 words. But, what if, instead of typing up a storm until the next serendipitously empty timeslot raises its noble head and invites us to gallop away upon it (…okay, that’s a tempting thought to me too, so if you love that idea, leave this paragraph in your dust and ride away on inspiration)… but, what if we use this little moment of peace to redesign the systems and reset the components of our lives to create timeslots of our own? And perhaps ask 3 questions:

  1. If my perfect life and writing career were here, what would it look like? (hint: every day includes time for relationships and for kicking back)
  2. What am I using up time for that I don’t like much, and that doesn’t serve me or mine? (hint: we all know what to do, so, how to do it?)
  3. In the area of life where things seem so crazy they’re sucking my creative energy, is there any system, perhaps over the course of the week, that I could set in place to make things less onerous? (hint: systems are not about achieving perfection, they are about our present selves doing something in a few minutes to save our future selves an hour for writing.)

I don’t want to use my creative powers to deal with It’s five pm and there’s nothing to eat, what magic can I perform? I like cooking, but I’d prefer to use the magic on my manuscript and have food in the fridge and a plan in the kitchen. Then, come the weekend, I don’t want to take that big beautiful 3-hour drafting timeblock and use it to shoulder through crowds at Costco. If we can generate a system or two, we can support our creative powers without shortchanging our lives and the people we adore.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week. Cheers Mel

muse smallThis week from @yourwritingmuseWhatever the weather, you keep writing. Your persistence, endurance, and strong talent move your career along beautifully. Your Writing Muse 

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Writing Time, Part 62. Adventures Outside Comfort Zones

untitledEndurance is one of the great challenges in our writing careers—holding on with tenacious minds to the idea that we can do this, even though we’re working on page 17 with 350 left to go. But, even more boldly, we’re also attempting to devise something brilliant, something that has never been made before. Originality has always been a daunting sort of goal. Making something out of nothing is the ultimate creation within the arts. By definition, creation takes us out of our comfort zones.

One trick to time management and self-motivation, is to find a way enjoy the tension and fear, rather than frittering our drafting time away with other things in an unconscious avoidance of a big leap in storytelling or any tricky aspect in our writing careers.

It’s kind of like a day up Whistler, I guess, facing the most challenging run we’ve ever taken. And, we never wanted it to be easy. If we do this crazy thing, we do it because we know we can. It’s down to us to find a line and follow it, and to choose—not whether we’ll do it, we already know we will, we’re equipped with the skills we need, we’ve paid our bucks, and won’t turn back—but choose to enjoy the ride and wear a cool smile while the snow arcs up around us. What a great day this is. Of writing, I mean. Darn, I’d love a day up Whistler, too.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week. Cheers Mel

muse smallThis week from @yourwritingmuse:

I admire your discipline as you create time blocks for planning, drafting, & revising during your busy week. Your Writing Muse 

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Writing Time, Part 61. The Pop-up Writing Space

coffeepotWe most likely have, each of us, a dedicated writing office space of one kind or another. Here, seated or standing at our own desk, we often feel primed to begin. It’s almost like having a head start on the work. I hear some of us saying, as I have from time to time, I can only write when I’m alone in my office.

Still, charm of setting and pursuit of a noble goal are not enough for storytelling, nor are they always enough for the writers who devise them. Just as the stories we’re writing demand transformation to hold a reader’s attention, our writers’ minds desire change to keep sharp.

Libraries. Coffee shops. Different areas in our homes. If we consider devising pop-up writing spaces, should silence be a prerequisite? Those of us who admire Jane Austen’s work know we’d be missing much had she required quiet.

A pop-up office won’t be as fab as our own perfectly-, or madly-, arranged private offices. Especially office spaces we love with all our hearts. But, even pleasures may fail to please when we settle into a favourite rut. Our brains are our most important writing tools, and they thrive on change as much as comfort.

 I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week. Cheers Mel

muse smallThis week from @yourwritingmuse:

You keep the goals for your writing career in plain view. A perfect guide for your continued success. Your Writing Muse

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