Thursday, June 30, 2011

Get Out of the Way of Your Writing Flow

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If you have been involved in any art then you  know all about the flow.  If you are new it is the magical minutes and if you are lucky, hours that the product is coming through you.  You are no longer there sweating out the prose.  Instead you are typing fast as you can. Doing your best to capture it as it pours out of you into an elegant prose. 

It is a truly exciting feeling.  Some might even say, erotic.  

It all starts with routine.  I know I say that a ton. If you use smells, like a certain perfume, or candle when you start writing then you mind will know it is time to go to flow.  However, you can use routine too.  Everyday at a certain time you get up you write.  You have lunch you write. Whatever routine you chose stick to it.  That will strengthen your connection to the almighty flow.  It is like any muscle the more it is used the more readily you can get into it.  

What process do you use to get into flow? 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Write, write and write some more

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Writing is work.  Easy reading is really hard work. Check out my daily blog to see some of the things I do to stay in the zone. 

 What do you do to make writing a daily choice?

Monday, June 27, 2011

I have the secret...or do I

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There are only 5 steps to becoming an incredible writer.  Can you believe it...just 5?  I know you don't buy it.  Check out this cheeky article by Robert Brockway. You will nod, laugh and scream "Amen!" 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Time to unveil it...

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The publishing company now has a new logo!

Thanks to the artistic hand of Mike.  He is the genius in charge of the art on my cover for both my e-book and the hardcover.  His work is displayed on his site, Art and Illustrations of M. D. Jackson.

If you are looking for a logo, a blog header, or to have any of your art needs met he is the man.  Not only is he so easy to work with but his prices are extremely reasonable.

Have a look at some of the beauties he has done in the past.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The New Face of Interactive E-books

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Touch Press has given us a glimpse of the book that the next generation will read.

It works as an itunes application that can be purchased and downloaded. The Waste Land application has the poem, the poem read by 40 different actors and speakers, and a dramatic film of the poem. There is also a section for those interested in a more educational experience.  One side of the screen is the poem and by holding your finger on a line the text notes will come up on the other side of the screen.  They explain the references and meaning behind the words.  The makers also have the actual poem written by his own typewriter and edited by he and his wife.

What are the implications of this type of e-book?
  • Textbooks, already on the way out, may have this as the nail in their coffin.  The students will instead download the information on phones, and tablets.  There is greater ability to stay current and to dig deeper into a text.  That single app can teach the techniques in revision for English classes, the interconnection of literature and the dramatic speaking technique.  
  • When someone purchases an e-book application what is it the customer wants that won't detract from the story?  
    • I can see attaching the voice readers to it.  I have many friends that are huge fans of audio books and putting the two together seems a natural.  
    • I am not sure everyone wants to see the scanned edits of every book they read. Nor do I think that the writers would all be willing to let those be released.
    • The text explanation seems like the directors cut of story writing.  I like that.  It is a great way to share research and where ideas stem from.  It is a little like what J.K. Rowling is doing with her Pottermore website.  If you haven't heard...J.K. Rowling has announced the opening the of her own social network.  It will be Harry Potter everything with back stories, games, and challenges.  The most exciting part is her selection of e-books that will only be able to be purchased on her site. She has cut her publishers out of the loop and is working with Sony to put out this amazing technological wonder. 
What kinds of things do you think this type of application should be equipped to carry?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Writing Secrets

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Everyone wants to know the secret.  I do.  I did.  I looked, googled, and asked all over if there was kind of secret to finishing a novel, publishing a novel.  The sad new is  that there aren't any secrets.

The truth is writing is art.  The mastery of any art form is hard work, hours of practice and mastery of the basics.  A painter works on the control of line, shadow, color and shape.  The writer must master grammar, story control, character development  and plot structure. 

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Ali at Aliventures wrote a post, Eight Secrets Which Writers Won't Tell You. She concurs, writing is tough. She also states that we all struggle with procrastination. It is easy to do with the interwebs sucking us into  a black hole of fun and avoidance.  I have sat down with the intentions of writing on the next draft and spent two hours house shopping for my dream home in Colorado.  

You have to admit it is a beauty.  You can't pretend shop for a house and leave out all the art and luxury furniture to fill it.  You see where I am going?  Before you know it, you have lost an entire afternoon and have nothing to show but a pretend house.  It is important to dig in and do it, write. Or the dream house will stay just that, a dream. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

She Writes Blogger Redux

The Wednesday Sisters: A Novel
~This post was edited.  The formatting was giving me fits.  

Welcome to the SheWrites Blogger Ball!
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The great Meg Waite Clayton, author of The Wednesday Sisters, a national bestseller, is hosting a blog hop. For those new to blogging...the a blog hop is the universal mixer of the blogsphere. I welcome those from the hop!  I encourage you to take a look around and if you like what you see please hit the follow button.

Meg does give us three rules to the hop if you wish to join.  I do love a good old fashion blog hop, especially with such a great group of woman writers. Everyone come in make yourself at home and take a look around.

Chubby Bunny's Ink is an small Indie Press that is in the beginning stages.  Currently, we are not taking clients, the client we have is too much of a handful. (That would be me...I am a mess.) We are however, in search of published writers to feature monthly. This blog is about the celebration of writing and successful writers.  Please contact email me,  Valerie if you are interested in the month long feature.        

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Looking for published novelist

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I have been looking for a way to introduce a regular writer's feature.  And I got the best idea that will be win-win for everyone.  Writer's Corner is my answer.  Every month there will be a chosen writer that will be featured for the entire month

Listen to these perks...
  •  The first week will be kicked off with an interview, a meet and great where we will learn about your history and inspiration. 
  • The second week will be a review of your latest work, with lots of links to purchase your newest work.  
  • The third week we will have writer's concerns.  You will have a chance to give advice on a topic that you get asked about the most by beginning writers.  
  • The final week will be thank or promote. You will have a chance to thank the person that helped you the most in your writing career.  If it is the teacher that encouraged you, or your wife who gave you those free hours to get in some writing time this will be your chance to tell them how you feel. Or you can tell us about something that you have found, a secret treasure you cannot be silent about.  This will be your perfect platform.      
  • Once your month is over then it will not be forgotten you photo will be posted along with all the links to your featured month to the Writer's Corner page. 

How to Write a Novel, Part 1: Getting started

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After all of the planning the white page sits before you and there is that moment every day of your journey as a writer where you have to...well, write.  Some days admittedly it is like sweeping the torrent of words from your head into a collection on the page.  Other days the white page taunts you, I think I have heard it laugh at me a few times.

All writers face the same struggles with the first is a daily and sometimes hourly fight.  The key is to find a routine.  But then again that can also be the most difficult part discovering what your routine is as a beginner.  Here are some things I have found that work for others and for myself.  

  • Routine is paramount. As a teacher with a second job and a family (mostly fury, but whatever,) I know that every morning when I get up at 6am I will be producing a blog post.  I know that I will be writing in my book that night.  My mind knows it and accepts it.  It is routine to not get a ton of sleep and to wake up and unwind by writing.  I have my set "office" it is on the sofa with my feet kicked up and the television running.  A drink will be at my side and a smelly dog will be sharing the sofa with me. At night I know I mean business when the ear buds are plugged in.  That is a visual cue to the family not to bother me because I am doing work.  Even when I am not in "the mood" to write the ritual of doing these gets me ready.  It pulls me into the state of creating. 
  • Smells are magical.  Every writer I follow on blogs or have seen information on has some sort of sent that triggers in the brain that this is writing time.  Some prefer the smell of coffee.  The caffeine is the added bonus and after writing for 30 days with coffee next to you the smell will tell you that it is time to write. If coffee is not your thing then light that favorite candle, or rub in that favorite lotion.  If you start by using smell it will be the easiest way to get you a jump start for the day.  
  • Ask other writers.  Some writers keep it as a guarded secret fearing that revealing the routine they use will end its magical powers.  Others want to spill it all.  There are a plethora of post online for suggestions about this very topic. 
    • I found this article in a 2008 copy of the Wall Street Journal, titled How to Write a Great Novel.  It is a book review of the very topic...the starting place of writing.  Some of it does make writers look a bit nutty.  We are some of us are.  
    • 20 Ways to Keep Your Writing Inspiration and Creativity High is an interesting take.  Some of the suggestions are a bit more mystical than others.  
    • Advice for Writers is an interesting post about getting started. In it there are some interesting suggestions regarding time management initially.  
The bottom line is we have to write.  Turn off the internet, and shut out the distractions put pen to paper.

Monday, June 6, 2011

How to write a novel, Part 1: Planning

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When I first started the process of writing a book I had a vague idea.  I had the main character figured out, or so I thought.  In reality, I had a plot line and nothing else. First day I was over eager to jump into the writing I did no planning and ran out of steam quickly.

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It seemed that the websites weren't to helpful either. Everyone has a different way to start and it didn't fit.  Writing is art.  All artist are different in the way that they begin a great project.  That being said I cannot give you the definitive way to write a novel.  I can tell you the system I use and you are more the welcome to adapt any part of that to fit with you and your system.  

The first book I started I wrote for six months and wrote myself into a corner.  I didn't just write myself into a corner I built a wall to block myself inside the corner.  It was ugly and extremely sad.  On the second attempt I started with an outline.  Well, sort of.  It was more like a random free write.  I figured out that wasn't helpful either so I divided it into chapters.  This ended up being what I used for the first book. The problem was it was extremely difficult for me to track subplots, the number of characters, character personalities and scene changes.  These ended up taking months to fix and too many rewrites to count.  

In subsequent novels I did more pre-planning.  It saves so much more time in the end.  There are a number of ways to do this some are pretty basic some with a technological edge.
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Two ways I have attacked this process:
  1. Low Tech- Pen to paper approach.  I am not sure why but when I have an idea they never come with the use of grammar.  It is one solid lump of words.  It is a stream of thought with so many ellipsis it looks like braille. These are spilled out in bits of paper, that make no sense to anyone but me.  Eventually these bits of paper take form.  A story has to have certain parts or an arc, that is where the bits of paper go. I am a visual person so I have to graph out the story for myself.  Remember I am a teacher with ready access to great amounts of construction paper, paste and fun stuff like that, so I do make a pretty story arc.  
  2. High Tech- Software approach.  I am not as comfortable with this approach but am trying to become more so.  There are several downloads you can do for free that create amazing data bases for your novel.  If you are not as skilled with the paste and construction paper this is the way to go.  Some popular ones are Storybook and yWrite5.  These are essentially data base programs that are set up for novel writing.  Some are not as user friendly as I would like but once you understand how to use them can be amazing in forcing you to do things that the Low Tech method doesn't like character tracking and development   
With either approach before you write it is important to have the following mapped out:
  • Plot arc.  I am a fan of the 8 point arc.  How to Structure a Story, is a great article to for a place to start.
  • Know your main characters.  If the majority of your story is around five characters you have to know them like they are your best friends.  I suggest answering get to know you questions about each one.  These need to be kept to come back to and refer to later on as the story writing starts. 
  • Know your setting. The setting will contribute to the tone and progression of the story.  It is important to understand where your characters are and how the can interact with that environment.  Investigate 
  • Do your research.  The more I learn the more excited I get about my story.  
  They look like four small things but if you truly understand all four your writing will be so much smoother. In the coming weeks the series will include suggestions on getting through the grind of writing, editing, and then the process of publication.