I’ve been listening to The Story Grid with Tim Grahl and Shawn Coyne. It’s a writing podcast which pairs up the flailing new writer with an experienced editor and they talk about all things story related. Shawn relies heavily on Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces and Robert McKee’s Story, so if you’ve studied either of them, you’ll find much of Shawn’s work familiar.
One of the first things that struck me was how Shawn categorizes the different genres, but the more I dug into them, it made sense. I write Fantasy and Science Fiction. Sometimes I veer into the creepy, the edge of horror. Read more
What do you like in a story? Have you ever thought about it? And by that, I mean more than for a few seconds. Have you ever sat down and made a list of the things you enjoy about the stories you read?
I read Chris Baty’s book, No Plot, No Problem last week. For those of you who didn’t know, Chris is the guy who started NaNoWriMo and I was curious to see what he said about writing a novel in 30 days. If you’ve never written a novel before, you would benefit most from the book, which gives you tips to keep track of word count, how to tell your family you’re writing a book, along with advice on how to stay sane during the month-long challenge. Read more
Aliens have invaded our home. Last week my husband decided I needed some classic sci-fi material logged into my brain for recall later. Ships. Robots. Technology. Things like that to stick in the back of my mind for general reference. Feedback from my writing group over the last two short stories I wrote hinted at a Blade Runner feeling, despite my having never watched Blade Runner. After this revelation, my ever-helpful husband picked himself off the floor and promptly ordered the film, along with the Alien series, for educational purposes, and I think a measure of good-natured sci-fi snobbery, because how dare I write sci-fi without having seen the classics? The weekend dawned rainy and full of angst for the entire world and a very personal upper respiratory infection that forced us to spend the Swedish Midsummer sick in bed. In other words, the perfect opportunity to watch a bunch of old movies. Read more
You may not have heard from me over the past few months, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working hard. We’ve gone through an evaluation process with our daughter, and I took a part-time job, both of which left little time for social activities, especially when you add my writing time to the equation. Nevertheless, within the last couple of months I’ve written two more short stories, come five chapters closer to a finished sequel, and sold a few poems. Told you I’ve been busy ;). Read more
I’ve finally broken down and listened to the advice many successful authors have passed on for years. No, it’s not, ‘Write every day.’ I’ve given up ever pulling that off while I have small children and live in the frozen north (for the record, I do try to follow that advice, but my version goes something more like, ‘Pray the kids aren’t sick and go to school so I can write!’). No, the advice I’m talking about centers around my author platform and communication.
I’ve finally set up a newsletter subscription on my blog! Read more
Yesterday, I mentioned one of my goals for March was to begin documenting a story the kids and I create together each week. Today was electronic-free day in our house, so I figured it was the perfect time to start. When we were finished, the kids were laughing so hard, I couldn’t understand anything they said, so in full disclosure, these stories might have continued much longer than their official ending. Considering how they couldn’t get past the giggles, they finally agreed to the endings, and then they begged me to put it up on the blog, so here I am =). We ended up with two stories, but since I’m calling this Our 52 Stories Project and we’re a few weeks behind with documenting them, it works out. Read more
I asked for a February do-over, but I don’t think anyone heard me. You know what? It doesn’t matter now, because February is gone. Good riddance! And take your germs and viruses with you! I better not get too excited or that meme I saw the other day with sunny skies on Tuesday and a blizzard on Wednesday might come true just to spite me.
Seriously, I am so looking forward to the Spring with all its sunshine, warm weather (hopefully), and a wonderful season of writing. Over the weekend, we rearranged the bedroom and I set up a cute little writing corner, complete with an inspiration board. I love walking in there and sitting at the desk now, my photo with Margaret Atwood looking down on me, encouraging me. They say to write as if you’re writing to someone great, and she’s the person I try to write to. I imagine her shaking her head and saying things like, ‘You know you can do better with this line.’ And now I can’t escape from her. Read more
“Sunshine isn’t good for your health. You know what you should do? Take it easy. Move to Sweden. Relax and enjoy the freezing weather and the crushing darkness that wants to eat your soul.”
Said no doctor ever. Read more
It all began with a question. Or, a request. During my latest round of submissions, I ran across this:
Include a short bio and describe your style.
My style? I don’t know my style. Themes, no problem. Genres, easy. But style?
So I did what any respectable writer does when met with a question like ‘What is my style?’ I asked my friends. Who all came back with different answers.
Then I went to my friend Google–the overly-popular, overly-opinionated friend who always gives me way too much information, but occasionally comes through with a gem. After typing in ‘How to describe my style’ a few academic websites popped up, mostly dealing with college essays, along with a handful of websites offering vague advice like ‘write consistently’, and the website I Write Like . . . which doesn’t define a style, but does claim to analyze your writing and compare it to the list of authors in its database. I’m not sure how the algorithm works, but I was willing to give a try. Read more
As part of my weekly writing schedule, one day a week I submit work to various literary magazines or online journals. I can honestly say that so far it’s worked! Granted I’ve only been working off my new schedule for two weeks, but hey, it’s a start =). I started my new writing schedule last week and wanted to make sure I had the rules laid out clearly.
- I can submit poetry, flash, contest submissions, short stories, or any other type of prose.
That’s it. I like simplicity.
The only thing left to do was a choose a day. On Mondays I only get about an hour, or an hour and a half to ‘work’ and when I write, I like having big chunks of undisturbed time. Especially if I’m working on revisions, which can require a bit of mental multitasking. Every week I was stressing myself out about how little I accomplished on Mondays, which meant they were the perfect choice for submission days. Now I had a rule and a day. Read more