Book Recommendation: THE MAGIC THIEF

Monday, June 29

The Magic Thief is one of those books that you literally can't put down.

It's from a thief boy's point of view named Connwaer. Set in the fantasy world of Wellmet, when Conn picks a wizard's pocket he finds that he's stolen the wizard's locus magicalicus (A stone that allows a wizard to do magic.)

The stone should've killed him as soon as he touched it but it didn't.

What follows is a wonderful adventure full of magic, secrets, and conn's journey to becoming a wizard himself.

The characters are original and believable. Sarah Prineas is a genius!

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Discouragement

Saturday, June 27

Picture by Dave Coverly

The worst thing for your writing are people who discourage you.
"You have to look at reality,"
"You won't finish an entire rough draft in a month!"
"What do you know about writing?"

The only solution to these people is
a) ignore them (easier said than done)
b) stay away from them (hard if they're a relative)
or c) Never share any writing with these pessimists and remember that you are a brilliant writer and nothing can stop you (My favorite option)

Share your writing only with people who will encourage you or politely point out something you could improve instead of saying, "That's dumb!"

And don't take anything they say to heart. Once they've stirred the voice of doubt in your head just tell them to shut up. (The doubts, not the people.)

Just write the blasted rough draft already and ignore the fear that you can't accomplish anything because YOU CAN and YOU WILL accomplish your goals.


Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.
-Henry Ford

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The Number One Rule of Writing

Thursday, June 25

There's this truth that's often forgotten;

EACH WRITER IS DIFFERENT

Some picture scenes in their heads and write them out, to heck with chronological order.
Some write out outlines before embarking on any story.
Some write in expensive little leather journals.
Some in cheap spiral notebooks from Walgreens.
Some type on the computer.
Some alternate between typing and handwritten.
Some have the most trouble with beginnings while others have the most trouble with endings.

You get the idea.

Not every writing exercise can promise to mold to fit each writer.
YOU ARE UNIQUE in the way you write
.

The "RULES" of writing don't work for everyone. (And nobody can agree what the rules are.)
It's only by WRITING CONSTANTLY that you can find what works for YOU.

Just because something worked for another writer, doesn't mean that it will work for you.
If you loathe making an outline, then don't do it. YOU don't have to change. The writing technique changes to suit you.

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Un-Writing

Wednesday, June 24

What happens when you can't get any farther in your story? When you write yourself into a corner?

The answer is very simple; UNWRITE.

Hopefully you're familiar with the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur.
In it, Theseus has a ball of string to help him get through the maze. The idea is that if he comes to a dead end, he can turn around and follow the string back.

If you come to a dead end, follow your plot string to the point just before you began disliking the direction your plot was taking. Or, find the last passage you'd written with ENERGY. The last passage you'd enjoyed to write. When you find a good place, chop off everything that came afterward and start afresh.

WHY did you not like what you'd written last time?
HOW did you end up in that dead end?

After you see that, you won't make the same mistake twice.

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Setting Part 1

Tuesday, June 23

In case you had not guessed from my (stunningly original) title, I'd like to focus on the setting of a story.

Setting isn't always terribly important. If a girl moves to new school and feels lonely, well, that could happen anywhere. But if your character is traveling through a desert, dying of thirst, you're probably not going to set it in Alaska.

The point is, does the setting add trial to your characters' lives?
Or does it add an important detail?
For example, the Twilight series is set in cloudy Forks, Washington because the vampires can't go out in the sun.

Name the state Our Town is set in.
(New Hampshire)
But the point is that it could really take place in any small town in any state and still make sense.

Setting can also create Mood. I'm sure your feelings would be very different in a dense forest then they would be in a Paris subway.

If you want to give a premonition of danger, foreshadowing things while your characters are skipping cheerfully in a sunlit meadow won't have quite the same effect if your character is glancing over their shoulder in a dark alley, nervously clutching their pepper spray.

To sum up, ask yourself if the setting adds much to your story. If not, don't worry about it.

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Fly Writing

Saturday, June 20

I've never written so much in such a short time! My pen is flying through pages like it's nobody's business.

I keep pushing myself by remembering;

“Don't get it right, just get it written”
-James Thurbe

Every time I catch myself chewing my pen looking for the right words I repeat that in my head. So far it's working great.

If you find yourself worrying over the words you put down, try it.
(P.S. why do I think of flying every time my writing is going great?)

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Writing like a Reader

Friday, June 19

Okay, referring back to one of yesterday's Quotes,

Tell the story that you most desperately want to read
-Susan Isaacs


It got me thinking. Why do we write for a reader we don't know?

What do
you want to happen next?

You are a reader. Write like one.

Don't worry about what the reader will think. What do
you think? You are both the writer and reader of your story.

If you've been a writer for a while, when you read you subconsciously file away that "I like how that was described," "That was a surprising twist," and you may use some of that in your own writing.

To restate what Susan Isaacs said;
Write what the reader inside of you wants to read.

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Quotes

Thursday, June 18


Just a few quotes on writing and for writing;

“I lived to write, and wrote to live”
-Samuel Rogers

“Nothing will work unless you do.”
-Maya Angelou

“Writing only leads to more writing.”
-Sidonie Gabrielle

“Don't get it right, just get it written”
-James Thurber

Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say 'infinitely' when you mean 'very'; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.
-C. S. Lewis

Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.
-Cyril Connolly

Keep writing. Keep doing it and doing it. Even in the moments when it's so hurtful to think about writing.
-Heather Armstrong

I am a galley slave to pen and ink.
-Honore de Balzac

The cure for writer's cramp is writer's block.
-Inigo DeLeon

Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words or he will certainly misunderstand them.
-John Ruskin

Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time... The wait is simply too long.
-Leonard Bernstein

Learn as much by writing as by reading.
-Lord Acton

Detail makes the difference between boring and terrific writing. It’s the difference between a pencil sketch and a lush oil painting. As a writer, words are your paint. Use all the colors.
-Rhys Alexander

Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original and the part that is original is not good.
-Samuel Johnson

There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
-W. Somerset Maugham

Practice, practice, practice writing. Writing is a craft that requires both talent and acquired skills. You learn by doing, by making mistakes and then seeing where you went wrong.
-Jeffrey A. Carver

The pen is the tongue of the mind.
-Miguel de Cervantes

If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing.
-Benjamin Franklin

If any man wishes to write in a clear style, let him be first clear in his thoughts; and if any would write in a noble style, let him first possess a noble soul.
-Goethe

Keep in mind that the person to write for is yourself. Tell the story that you most desperately want to read.
-Susan Isaacs

The role of the writer is not to say what we can all say but what we are unable to say.
-Anais Nin

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.
-Mark Twain

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.
-William Wordsworth

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Writing at Last!

Wednesday, June 17

After weeks of stumbling over my writer's block I finally know what the next plot point is!

Perhaps the days of my writing being dormant was just the seed of ingenuity lying below the surface, unseen until today, when it sprouted forth in all its glory.

Sorry. I love analogies.

But maybe Writer's Block isn't always an inability to write, but maybe sometimes it's just your mind taking a rest. I find that its after the most frustrating of blocks that my most brilliant ideas occur.

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Inspiration Part 2

Tuesday, June 16

A few more inspirational photos;






















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Free-Writing

Monday, June 15

Free-Writing, for me, is a way to break all ties with writing rules and write everything and anything that enters my mind.


I love to free-write. It's actually through free-writing that I've had the basis for many of my stories.

The only problem is that I can be very flighty sometimes and abandon my current book in favor of something I wrote while free-writing.

I've remedied that by sticking all my free-written pages in a folder. When I've finished the rough draft of the book I was writing (or if I'm having some Writer's Worry), I rifle through my folder and continue a page.
I've heard that Free-Writing a little every day is good for strengthening your Writing Voice and becoming a better writer altogether. (Practice makes Perfect.)

A good book to get you started on free-writing every day is The Playful Way to Serious Writing by Roberta Allen.

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Inspiration Part 1

Saturday, June 13

INSPIRATION: The power of exercising an elevating or stimulating influence upon the intellect or emotions (Webster's Dictionary)

Sometimes, I get stuck. When that happens, I find that the best way to cure Writer's Worry is through Inspiration.

And I usually find inspiration through images.

So I'm compiled a few cool photos to spark your imagination.





































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Victoria Hanley

Friday, June 12

I went to Victoria Hanley's blog and saw a post that supports what I said on Thursday. (Ms. Hanley wrote the book Seize the Story.)


Monday, January 12, 2009

How to begin a book?

I'm often asked "How do I begin a book?" or "When I start a new story, I feel really inspired, but somewhere along the way I lose inspiration or the story fizzles--what do I do?"Getting past chapter three is a challenge for many people, including me. To keep going without getting permanently derailed, I always remind myself that IT'S OKAY TO WRITE BADLY. During a first draft, we're not trying for deathless prose; we're just trying to stay alive. When it comes to the first draft, perfectionism is death--save it for the final draft.Just get in there, get going, and keep going! You can't write a book without writing it, and it will only happen word by word. Often, in a first draft, the words are nothing special. That's fine. Don't worry about it. Set aside obsession and attention to detail. Set aside criticism. Just write. There will be plenty of time later to go back and polish up what you've written. By then, you'll be celebrating the fact that you have something to polish!

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Book Recommendation: THE ARRIVAL

The Arrival by Shaun Tan is very unique.
It has no words, but doesn't need them as Shaun Tan portrays the events with beautiful artwork.

It's the story of an immigrant who goes to a big city where everything is unfamiliar. However, it's set in a fantasy world, which serves to make you see through the eyes of an immigrant, as the sights are strange to you as well.

Anyone would be able to "read" it, but only older kids and adults could comprehend the symbolism.

My little sister didn't understand when I tried to explain and simply loved the pictures and creatures.
Ah well.

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Rough Drafts

Thursday, June 11


Okay, here's a startling thought about Rough Drafts;

IT'S NOT WRITTEN IN STONE!

That's what got me through almost everything I've ever penned. I've stressed and wrung my hands in despair when the words didn't come out as beautifully as they had in my head.

But there's this wonderful process called REVISION. Revision, for me, is one of the funnest things to do. But I'll post on that later.

So, whatever you write, keep in mind that NO ROUGH DRAFT HAS EVER BEEN PERFECT.

Write the rough draft and don't worry about how it comes out. You can polish it afterward. (I'm speaking to myself as much as I'm speaking to you.) So go out there and write already!

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Writer's Worry

Wednesday, June 10

The other day I had what some writers refer as "Writer's Block." My plot ground to a stop and I hated everything I wrote.


"Writer's Block" could better be classified as "Writer's Worry."

When I can't write anymore it's because I'm worrying about something in my life or worrying about what the reader will think of the character, the plot, or the book in general.

In Seize The Story by Victoria Hanley (which I highly recommend) she points out that why are we worrying about a reader that isn't even reading our books yet?

She suggests tips for getting out of these sticky situations;
1.Take a break
2. Talk to the block as if it's an annoying pest ("shoo" "get outta here")
3.Don't panic
4.Remember that you're an imaginative person
5.Feed your artistic self
6.Focus on your senses
7.Add some props from your story around you
8. Write at unusual times or in unusual places.

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Blog

Tuesday, June 9

Now that's it's summer I can begin this blog.

So, How do you begin a blog?
This being my first post, I think I'll make some introductions.

I'm a young writer who's learning things the hard way. I figured that as I learn tips, hints, and tricks I might as well share it with other writers (or anyone who finds my posts amusing.)

So I hope you stick around to watch THE WRITER'S JOURNEY as its traveled. (Sorry, as a writer I'm terribly dramatic.)



Oh, I recently found a wonderful website called HOW TO WRITE A BOOK IN 100 DAYS OR LESS. You can check it here: http://www.peacecorpswriters.org/pages/depts/resources/resour_writers/100daysbook/bk100da.html

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