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Showing posts from November, 2010

Remaining Thankful for Your Writing

Many of us spent last Thursday creating a masterpiece. It may have taken hours and hours to prepare and get "just right"-- and when it came down to sharing, it seemed to be gone in a snap! The hope we have for the perfect Thanksgiving feast is the same as writers have for their work: all of the attention, thought and care that went into its creation will be met with enjoyment, satisfied smiles, expressions of praise and maybe even the illusion that its creation was effortless.

Create work you are thankful for: Add your Secret Recipe-- Your writing style is your own. There will always be rules and debates over the stuffing/dressing elements of writing, but remember that, after the basics, you will be proud that you made it unique by adding a bit of your own special spices.
Blend, Boil, and Beat those words--You may get burned along the way, but it will be worth it in the end. Some of the best tasting food takes multiple steps and goes through many changes until it is comp…

Focus on Reducing Mistakes

I found a menu from a local restaurant in my kitchen yesterday. Within seconds, I found 2 errors: "Ocean Clamps in a red or white sauce" in the seafood section, and "Chicken Parmigiana" was repeated in the veal section. I'm sure most of you out there, as writers, find these mistakes as well; Billboards, emails, textbooks, protest signs, love letters, instructions--you name it, typos are everywhere. (Your friend's Facebook posts! What's the etiquette here--risk the 'unfriending' and tell them, or allow it to stay up on their wall, a virtual spinach leaf stuck between their internet teeth?)
We can chuckle, after all, Headlines with Jay Leno wouldn't be the same without the really bad mistakes! We may roll our eyes and wonder how anybody could miss such a thing. We could mourn the loss of proper grammar and spelling (satirist Gary Shteyngart's book, Super Sad True Love Story, provides much food for thought about this). We might even think …

Excuse Editor Troubleshooting Guide: Successful Writing

I have a fan in my home office. It seems to be working ok now, but what if I flicked the switch and it stayed immobile? Or it started making a noisy racket every time I turned it on?
I have a few choices for either of these scenarios. If it didn't rotate when I wanted it to, I could suffer with a stuffy office. Or I could go blow some money on a back-up floor fan. If it was noisy, I could try to distract myself with a different noise, or I could, again, suffer with a stuffy office.
Or I could troubleshoot--and FIX the problem. If I wasn't sure what to do to cure my fan, I could dig up the manual and flip to the section called, curiously enough, "Troubleshooting."
There's not one simple manual to keep your writing in working order. But one thing is for sure, it takes constant maintenance, because without attention, the problems start to swell. Any quick fixes begin to pile up, creating patches that disguise the evidence that you are an active writer.
Is it time to t…

No NaNo? No Problem: 5 Other Ways to Put 1667 Words-a-Day to Work

I love the idea of NaNoWriMo.  One month. One big, fat rough draft. It brings writers and wannabe writers from all over the globe together in an effort to bring brand new groundbreaking, fun, interesting, entertaining novels to the world. Or, it gives those who have toyed with the idea of "maybe" trying to write something a deadline and a goal.
However it happens, it begins the process, and writers start to get the words down. And they start off with a shot, if the sluggishness of the NaNoWriMo site is any indication. As of 11 AM Central Time, there were already over 800,000 words drafted in the name of speedy-noveling (that's almost as much as 2 copies of War and Peace!)
Now, you may be able to use the month of November and NaNoWriMo as inspiration to finally get some work done on that novel that you have mapped out, created character sketches for, have oodles of research at the ready--everything is done except for the actual story. Go for it!
However, for some writers, th…