On the first day of NaNoWriMo (second day?) I want to talk about distractions.  You know.  Those things that help you release stress or avoid writing–whatever.  Books, of course.  Most of us read emails and tweet and facebook.  But more personally, what’s your avoidance crack?  Mine–The Sims 3.  It can occupy me for hours and make me forget all about my goals for the day, week, or even the month. What gets you back on track?  Music and housecleaning do it for me.  The music usually gets my creative juices going and the housecleaning is just tedious enough to make me prefer sitting down andRead More →

Love the name. I remember being a child/teen and being so absorbed in stories, so carried away by them. They were crucial to my existence. And, once or twice, I did read by flashlight. Hell, I’m still a sucker for a booklight. Every freaking time. So, there’s a site.  Flashlight Worthy Books.  And it has reading lists.  Over 300 of them.  Awesome?  I think so. Seriously, take a look at some of these. 5 of the Best Children’s Books Grownups Will Love Books for the Serious Jane Austen Fan Call Me Crazy, Call Me True: Madness We Can All Relate To The Things We DoRead More →

I’m linking today to a beautifully written site. It’s the heartbroke daily and the stories there are the type that stay with you, haunt you, jog your memory and your senses, and make you feel like you’ve just taken a deep, secret peek into someone else’s life.  Whether you’re a reader or a writer, you will find satisfaction and inspiration there.Read More →

I mentioned (I think) that I’m working on a new manuscript. I’ve got several characters roughly sketched and about 35 pages of backstory (the setup for the now) written. I love this part, where there’s still so many things to do, and you can just pick and choose. Should I develop the characters more? Should I research jobs? Draw my town? Find pictures of their apartment? Jot down scene ideas? Writing a novel is such a long and difficult process (duh), that I love the parts where it feels like you’re so on top of it, and options are limitless. It’s a lot better thanRead More →

I guess every writer ever in the history of ever has been asked this question: where do you get your ideas from? And I’d say there are a dozen dozen (this sounds weird, I mean like 1212=8916100448256, okay?) answers for each individual writer. So I’m just going to talk about how I’ve been struck with inspiration. The biggest place ideas come from are my dreams. No, really. And then they grow and change and turn into something completely different, but they start in my sleep. And they’re not dreams, like how you’re still in grade school, and you just realized that you don’t have yourRead More →

A friend (an awesome friend who I love, fyi) bought this book, Revision & Self-Editing, for me after I featured it on Material Girl. I was correct in my assessment that it would be helpful.  It is, in fact, extremely informative.  James Scott Bell covers all the elements of writing: character, POV, scenes, plot & structure, etc.  Each chapter offers valuable exercises and techniques.  I couldn’t recommend this book more. (Thanks again, Jen!)Read More →

Today I’m linking to an article by Julie Leto about Layering When You Write. This article was a lifesaver for me when I first started writing.  This is how I write.  And I thought I was doing it wrong. See, I can whip out the dialogue.  And dialogue is crucial.  It keeps the pace, it raises tension, it adds emotion, it… well, dialogue can do anything.  It’s like the superhero of writing.  Then it starts getting harder.  I usually write in the action, trying to see the scene like watching a movie.  This works, but it leaves me with a bunch of dialogue, a bitRead More →

This is a link to the critique group that I joined recently.  It’s already made a huge improvement in my writing because I see my weaknesses, and my strengths, much easier now.  Add to that, it’s a great group of people and it’s a lot of fun reading all the great stories from so many talented writers.  If you decide to join, say hi to me! Romance CrittersRead More →

Today’s Material Girl link won’t cost you a dime*. Enjoy it, that’s pretty rare. It’s called Lovely Charts (a hug for my friend Kris for thinking of me when she saw it). I tried it out, and it is lovely. It comes ready to build several different types of flow charts, including people. How’s that for connecting your characters? I happen to have drawn one of these before, using tables in Word–it’s not fun. Lovely Charts? Fun. *Update 6.29.2011: It’s no longer free.  Sorry! *Update 11.22.2016: Site is now defunct. Goodbye Lovely Charts.Read More →

I try to leave out the parts that people skip. ~Elmore Leonard No kidding, the best advice I ever read.  For a while I’d be all… “Ugh, I have to write that scene,” and if you don’t want to write the scene, why the hell would anyone want to read the scene?  Sum it up and move on.  You don’t have to write a play by play of life for your characters–only the important parts. I realize there are times when self-doubt about the ability to really pull off an important scene slips in, but that’s the thing: you know it’s an important scene.  InRead More →