25 Reasons to Keep #Writing, No Matter What

Everyone needs motivation every now and then.  It can be a struggle juggling life and writing goals.  But there is hope!

Meg Dowell’s 25 Reasons to Keep Writing, No Matter What provides that needed reminder – like a writing coach on your screen.

Novelty Revisions

  1. No first draft is a good draft.
  2. There is no such thing as a perfect story.
  3. The only ways to write better are to write more, read more, and never quit.
  4. A day without writing is just a day without writing. A lifetime without it would just suck.
  5. If you don’t get this idea written down, you’re going to implode.
  6. It’s OK to be a little tired.
  7. Impostor Syndrome is real. It shouldn’t stop you from creating, though.
  8. People are mean. Keep writing anyway.
  9. People get jealous. Keep writing anyway.
  10. You’ve come so far. You still have so far to go.
  11. You have so much more to learn.
  12. You have so much to teach others.
  13. You have so many stories to tell.
  14. Someone out there thinks your words are amazing, even if you don’t.
  15. WRITING IS FUN!!!!….MOST OF THE TIME!
  16. You’re not you when you’re not writing.
  17. Writing puts into…

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Minor #Characters Don’t Believe They’re Minor

Developing the main character of a story can be interesting and challenging.  It gives the writer a chance to research and walk in the shoes of someone else whose life may be very different.  Along the way, a minor character may be introduced for the sake of progressing the story, and possibly to give depth to the shining star.  But should it stop there?

K.M. Pohlkamp gives us something to think on when writing about minor characters.

K.M. Pohlkamp - Author Website

As Constantin Stanislavski once stated, “There are no small actors, only small parts.” 

This adage transfers to writing as well. One of my favorite pieces of writing advice is to consider that a supporting/minor character may think the novel is actually about them.

This is certainly not the case for every side character, but the imagery of the thought helps me develop minor characters in an interesting way. They have their own strengths and weaknesses, their own motivations and baggage. The supporting character may believe their dialogue is the most important and that their actions drive the plot.

My advice: Allow your supporting characters to make bold choices and statements. Let them have their moment, and then move the spotlight.

However, maturing supporting characters is more challenging than the protagonist. The author simply has less words in which to develop their persona. Therefore, each appearance of the character needs to be considered to further the…

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How To Pinpoint Your #Strengths As A #Writer (And Make The Most Of Them!)

As a writer, you’re constantly honing your craft—reading widely, seeking feedback, and considering the constructive criticism of others. Part of this process is learning how to recognize your own writing strengths. But it’s not always easy to judge yourself objectively, so Writer’s Relief has put together five ways to recognize the areas in which you truly shine: Continue reading “How To Pinpoint Your #Strengths As A #Writer (And Make The Most Of Them!)”

The Most Misspelled #Words By U.S. #State

The article below piggybacks on one of my recent posts about proofreading and using spell check.

I had not idea “gray” was the most misspelled word for my state (Georgia).  While the article didn’t mention how it was misspelled, I’m praying the confusion is spelling the color as “grey”. 😉

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At Writer’s Relief, we enjoyed this article by NBC News that spells out the facts: There are some surprising words commonly misspelled in each state:

“Google has released its list of America’s most misspelled words by state — and Wisconsinites have some explaining to do.” Continue reading “The Most Misspelled #Words By U.S. #State”

Connecting with Your Audience: Questions Every #Writer Must Ponder

If you’ve ever attended an amateur comedy show and heard a joke that went flat, you understand the importance of connecting with the audience.  Saying something off-color or doesn’t resonate like “Hello Chicago” but you’re in Dallas, can cause the crowd to heckle or boo the comedian off stage.

Why wouldn’t this be any different for a writer?  Sure we may not hear the boo’s and hisses, but it’s reflected in the ratings of our books and whether individuals come back to read our latest creations.  So how can we connect with our reading audience?


Photo: TED Conference TEDSummit2016_062716_2RL6368_1920 via photopin (license)

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Storytelling is an art. It’s a profession we writers feel called to engage, and yet the story that we tell has to connect with someone other than ourselves. What an irony! How do we engage an audience we’ve never met? What makes some stories flop and others become bestsellers?

These are questions every serious writer has to ponder. In order to answer these questions, we’re studying how an author can connect with his audience over the next few weeks. Come on this journey with me!

A writer must know her targetOf course, you can’t know each reader personally, but you can recognize what types of readers pick up your genre. You can know of fellow writers that have similar stories to tell, and you can identify what drives their audience to the book.

This is a standard exploration for many writers. Agents and editors will often ask…

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Don’t Always Listen to Spell Check

How many times have you typed a word like “melons” but really meant “lemons”?  To the spell checker, both are words.  So what’s wrong?

The problem is that spell check does not read as humans do. Depending on what the sentence is about, the incorrect word could make it confusing.  For example, how many people heard of turning melons into lemonade?  Anybody?  Bueller?

Having someone to proofread is generally a good idea, but even humans miss stuff.  So what’s a writer to do?

Ruminated Scrawlings

Spellcheck has the tendency to lead you astray when you are writing anything on a word processor program such as Microsoft Word. It may tell you to put a comma where a comma doesn’t belong, remind you about how bad you are at spelling because it keeps giving you the wrong word no matter how many times you rewrite the word, and it always asks you to remove a word that is obviously there for effect.

Spell checkers and by extension grammar checkers work on an algorithm which uses grammar rules, and a dictionary which contains all the common words in the English language. The problem is that when you are writing a story you sometimes need to ignore grammar rules or spelling, or you have made up words or words from other languages which the spell checker cannot detect. It’s hard writing fantasy when you see red squiggly lines all over…

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Tag, You’re It: How to #Write Spectacular #Dialogue Using This #Trend

Dialogue is a way for characters to react and communicate in a story.  It can also be a method to move a story along by adding action rather than paragraph after paragraph of details.  Placing tags before or after the quoted text reveals who is saying what – like “he said” or “she replied”.  Seems cut and dry, right? With emphasis on the dry, these tags don’t give the dialogue much pizazz.

According to Whitney Hemsath, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.  Her delightful post sheds light on a trend that can take a writer’s dialogue from ok to spectacular. Read below.

Photo: Morgue file (diannehope)

Whitney Hemsath

In writing, there are trends. Some people like the trends, others don’t, but knowing the trends and what following them (or not) says about you as a writer can make the difference between getting traditionally published or not.
 
One trend is in regards to dialogue tags. There used to be a time when people wanted variety, not just “he said” and “she said.” So more authors would use phrases like “she questioned” “he commanded” “she responded” “he replied” “she barked” “he stated”. However, these days professionals look at all those words as signs of amateur writing. The current trend is to only use “said” and “asked” (and maybe an occasional “whisper” or “shout” if the volume they are using is important to note and is otherwise unclear from context.)
 
The reasoning behind this is that words like “said” and “asked” become invisible to a reader. They are merely…

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