Revert Back to the Basics of Childhood

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(Photo credit to: Steve Wilson, on Flickr)

Do you remember when you were a kid and school seemed to drag on?

Do you remember allowing your mind to drift so soon you were flying high in the clouds?

Do you remember being able to close your eyes and re-watch your favorite movie beneath your eyelids?

Do you remember how your dreams once were?

No? Perhaps it was only me then.

My daydreams were my greatest friends as a child. They were what entertained me and made my heart giggle with joy.

They were also the very start of my storytelling.

I would weave tales in my mind and reenact them with myself as the only actor but I could see my story’s world around me, I could feel it and I could hear it. I immersed myself in the fantasy.

As writers we can use that same technique a child does freely, we can close our eyes and take a trip down the cobbled, packed dirt or grassy path that weaves its way through our tale’s world. By doing so we can find better ways of describing things because we are thinking about how it would seem to someone who was actually there.

In turn when our readers read our tale they will experience the tale not just read it; which isn’t that what we all want as readers?

Do you daydream your way through a story too? Have you discovered new ways to use this age-old method in storytelling? Perhaps next time you babysit or spend time with your own child see how they tell a story; and maybe you will be able to learn a thing or two from them.

For more daily prompts, check out The Daily Post on wordpress.

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When Fiction Fails….Why Not Journal

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(Photo credit to: Bob, via Flickr)

Just like we all at times need an escape from reality, sometimes we need an escape from fiction.

I know it may be hard to believe that such a thing exists; the need to escape from the worlds within our heads. I know it was hard for me to realize such a thing but even on days like this we can still dream.

At times it’s not so much a need, its more as if we feel as if all our creative energies have been suck dry. Perhaps it was a hard week, or perhaps we’ve written non-stop and we have hit that famous Writer’s Wall. When this happens we can always turn to reality for a brief hiatus.

I have always been the kind of person to start a journal but never really stick to it.

Recently though I started an online diary and suddenly I’m writing more regularly.

On the off days during the week when I have just updated my stories on Wattpad, and my blog is current; its nice to have an outlet to place my stress.

Having an outlet for every day stress helps us to not burn out when we need to get our writing done.

& guess what? It counts towards your daily word count! Isn’t that great?

So on a day when you need to vent, so that you may return to your creative endeavors with renewed vigor, you can journal while still keeping to your daily writing schedule.

Have you journaled before? Or if not what sort of things do you do to vent away the stresses of every day life so that it doesn’t disrupt your writing schedule? 

Write Inspiration: Dreams

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(Photo credit to: Angela Marie Henriette, on Flickr)

Every story I’ve ever written started from a dream or at the very least a daydream.

When I was small, before I could read or write, I would sing tales as I spun them in my head. When I grew older those sung tales grew into real ones and I fell in love with storytelling.

Dreams are mysterious and hold meaning to our lives; often inspired by experiences of our day or week; thus they can be excellent fodder for the growth of a new story.

If you meld a dream and iron out the wrinkles and self-inserts; you can have a good novel on your hands.

Many an author I’ve spoken to keeps an account of their dreams, because they hold quite a bit of inspiration.

They can also can help solve plot holes in current novels.

Many a night I have gone to sleep thinking over and over about the last chapter of my story and when I woke up somehow I had a new idea to spark the next chapter.

Have your dreams inspired you to write? Have they ever solved a plot hole for you?

For more daily prompts, check out The Daily Post on wordpress.

Writer’s Wall: The Power of Music

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(Photo credit to: Petras Gagilas, on Flickr)

Today I’d like to talk about the nearly magical cure for a writer’s wall.

Music.

Sometimes nothing seems to work to absolve a writer’s block.

You’ve gone outside, experienced new things, soaked in nature, made awesome mood boards and even tried your hand at vignettes.

The one thing you haven’t tried is getting lost into some magnificent instrumentals.

The wonderful thing about music is that it takes you away. You will be one moment listening and the next you are WITHIN the music itself. You are soaked into the lines of melody. You become one with it.

Music has the power to transport you to a place between dreams and the corners of your imagination.

This can happen with really any kind of music, but when you are writing a fiction novel sometimes it is best to stick to a theme.

Here are a couple of examples:

For my novel “A Victorian Tale” I found that music from and inspired by the Victorian era was very helpful when writing. I also added some steam-punk music and some sprinkling of sci-fi.

  • My Youtube playlist had music from various soundtracks and orchestrations made from users that fit to different thematic plots within my story.
  • My itunes playlist holds music from the soundtracks of “Becoming Jane”, “Pride & Prejudice”, and even “Doctor Who”. One of favorite finds on itunes was an album called “Tales of Steampunk London” by composer Jason Cullimore. The album perfectly portrays so many of the different elements in my novel.

For my Wattpad novel “The Land of Fear” I found music that reminded me of arid desert lands, ancient kings and lost worlds.

  • One of my go-to places for story inspiration through  music for TLoF is Pandora, there I have a station called “Marco Polo” (song by: Loreena Mckennitt) that has a good mix of music that is quite inspiring for my story.
  • My other source is my itunes playlist that has a mixture of soundtracks from “The Mummy”, “Faith” (kdrama) and plenty of soundtracks composed by Two Steps From Hell.

 

Do you use music to cure your writer’s block/wall? What kind of music do you listen to?

 

Fanfiction: Good or Bad?

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(Photo credit to: Caitlin ‘Caity’ Tobias, on Flickr)

In the last couple of days original thought both fantastical and realistic have failed me. So instead of editing or continuing to work on WIP, I’ve began to write fanfiction again.

For a while I felt guilty and ashamed that I was writing fanfiction, because for quite some time there’s been a sort of stigma regarding that kind of writing.

But then something odd happened: I noticed how much my writing has improved over time.

Suddenly I had a realization:  who cares if I’m taking a mini-break from my WIP? The important thing is that I’m still writing.

I will get over this dry spell for WIP, and when I do I will be stronger; because I didn’t stop even when the writer’s wall slammed into me.

 

Have you ever had moments of self-doubt like this? Moments when you question what you are writing? What do you think of fanfiction? 

 

Writer’s Wall: Vignettes

Life happens, as the saying goes, and when it does inspiration can sometimes seem to leave us.

This week I’ve learned a very important lesson though:

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This can happen to all of us. Maybe we can’t continue writing our novel that day, but there is something else we can do.

We can write a vignette.

What is a vignette, you may ask?

The definition according to Merriam-Webster’s “Vignette”.

  •  a running ornament (as of vine leaves, tendrils, and grapes) put on or just before a title page or at the beginning or end of a chapter; also :  a small decorative design or picture so placed
    •   a picture (as an engraving or photograph) that shades off gradually into the surrounding paper
    • the pictorial part of a postage stamp design as distinguished from the frame and lettering
  • a short descriptive literary sketch
  • a brief incident or scene (as in a play or movie)

On a day where my chronological writer’s brain has not been functioning, I have written little one-shots from the POV of one of my characters. Sometimes my mind can’t think at all and I’m stuck in reality so I will write vignettes of my life that day.

This week has been a week where reality has struck me cruelly. So in the face of reality, I wrote.

(Photo credit to: me, K.A. Werts)

As follows, “The Waiting Room” (written on Thu 2/25 at 9:41pm):

 
“The floors clash and stripes of varying earth tones fail to hide the grime and scratches upon their surfaces.
Limbs stretch and muscles roll as we try to stay awake in the humid air.
The bitter smell of a tube of hell floats in through the open hallway saturating the room and turning our stomachs.
I swallow the bile that threatens to rise in my throat…
I will not be sick…
I have to stay strong for him.
The fact that this hospital has always held my fears in its bleached white walls cannot overwhelm me now. 
I have conquered this horrid beast before and I shall do it once more!
For love! 
After all, for love anything is possible. 
Great foes shrivel in the face of true love.” 
When the famed Writer’s Wall hits you what tactics have you used to conquer it? Has life ever caught up with you, too? 

Write Experience: "The Mountain"

There is a challenge I face every day, and I believe there are other creatives who suffer from it as well. The tendency to isolate ourselves. As writers we get so lost in the worlds inside our minds.

I know for myself, after working a full time job, I crave to just curl up in bed with a good story and show. But by doing so I end up starving myself of something that is vital for any creative.

Experience.

Every experience we have fuels the realism behind our characters, our worlds, and our plots. The more we learn about the world, the better we can describe it. Our voices grow along with our experience, and our stories ripen.

So I’ve decided to introduce another series for the blog, called: “Write Experience”. Each post will include a poem or vignette that will be based on an adventure of my own. I hope that this series will prove to be something that helps others and encourages them to go out and explore.

(Photo credit to: Jonathan R. Werts, my husband)

Without further ado, here’s “The Mountain”:

“They call it the Serpentine Trail, perhaps because of the sprinkling of emerald stones that weave up the path of the mountain. 
There is so much green, it looks like the grass is laughing and the thistles are chortling with glee.
The wind caresses them, tickling their sides.
If I close my eyes I can feel the joy too.
Goosebumps grace my arms and the rock that has bestowed me a seat slightly digs into me…
and yet I find myself succumbing to the quiet serenity, the peace of these hills where I walked as a child.
Suddenly I remember all the times I ran up these hills, my breaths coming out in gasps, as I tried to reach the highest destination before my family did. 
I remember seeing sly coyotes’ ears disappear in the brush. 
I remember how this place always took my breath away,
How it always made my heart soar. 
My dreams would later be inspired by this place.
Worlds would be created in its honor.”
 
The next time you have a chance to go on an adventure, take it. You never know what you may get in return. 

The Write Kind of Perfection

I learned this week that I am imperfect.

(Photo Credit to Joanna Penn, on Flickr)

 Yes, I know, this might seem obvious. But it seems as though I don’t really realize this on a day-to-day basis. Instead I’ve had the tendency in the past to beat myself up for every little itsy-bitsy mistake I’ve made. So in turn I haven’t really been living to my fullest.

Similarly, when writing something that we deem “not good enough” we might scrap it immediately, because it’s not up to par to what the ideal of writing should be. 

In that way life and writing are similar. 

If we are too hard on ourselves, we can lose our motivation. Something we love doing can almost become like a chore that we put off till the last possible minute. 

How can we stop ourselves from stomping out our creativity?


A first draft is that a FIRST DRAFT. 

Google’s definition of a draft:

Draft
draft/
noun
noun: draft; plural noun: drafts; noun: the draft; noun: draught; plural noun: draughts

1.
a preliminary version of a piece of writing.
“the first draft of the party’s manifesto”

Just like back in school, we would write a first draft and then we refine it from there. 

Do you remember all the red marks, the comments and suggestions of your teachers?

All those points are to help us write the next draft, until we have a finished novel. This comes eventually, but there is much joy that can come from refinement and editing. 

Have you ever dealt with this in life or writing? What are some things that have helped you overcome the bad habit of over-criticism?

Writer’s Wall: Inspiration

(Photo credit to Tom Byrne, on Flickr)

I’d like to talk about a problem that faces all creatives at one point or another. The block, the wall, and the dead-end. The bane of writer’s everywhere, known as: “Writer’s Block”.

I have faced this terrible enemy many a time, won some battles and lost others. But over the last couple of years I have refined several war tactics to take down this fearsome opponent.
Today starts the first in a series, “Writer’s Wall”. I will offer up a tactic per segment.
Today’s tactic is inspiration.
I have found that inspiration comes in many forms.
Often an attack will come when we least expect it; thus we must counter with similar measures.
  • We need to surprise our minds. Try something new, maybe change your routine a tad. Perhaps change location of where you normally write, or go on a walk and soak in nature.
    • Our minds are like sponges; soaking in everything around us. Our settings and characters will take those memories and thoughts within our minds and convert them into actions and situations. When we change things up, it gives our minds a chance to breathe and soak in new things.
    • Additionally we gain more experiences that help us create ink splots upon our pages.
    • Another wonderful sort of inspiration comes in the form of an inspiration board.
      • Either created manually in collage format or by using a pin-board on pinterest, we can begin to gather more details for our works.
      • If you would like an example of a pinterest inspiration board, here is the one for my current WIP:
  • The final but no less important inspiration tactic I use are music playlists.
    • You can pick a certain genre of music to fit the setting of your story.
    • Many a musical playlist has helped me keep to a setting or theme of a story.
    • They are marvelous tools that can also be truly enjoyable, as well.
How do you inspire yourself? What kind of inspiration helps you when writing?

Create a Write Pattern

(Photo credit to Bob, on Flickr)

I’ve been making up stories since I was small.

Before I could write, I would make up songs with stories within them and daydream my way through far off lands.
When I got into school I discovered my love of reading and naturally over time this transformed my way of storytelling onto paper.

I tended to write in bursts during my schooling experience. I would write whenever inspiration struck, in wonderful moments where the pen held in my hand seemed to zip across my lined pages.  Those sort of writing habits fared me well in the school environment; writing between classes and scribbling down notes beside onto a notepad on my bedside table when I awoke from fantastical dreams. I wrote every chance that I got. It felt special, exciting and sometimes forbidden (when I’d write during class).

When I left school things changed. Life happened, as they say. 
I suddenly had to make decisions, I had to grow up.
My writing became stagnant for a year.
I tried some college, but it didn’t seem to stick.

It wasn’t until I started working full time, that I began to write again.
I wrote fanfiction and worked on a trilogy, neither of which I finished completely.
I never got past the 10 chapter mark, instead I was re-writer.
I wrote like that for a couple of years.

After I got married, I was fortunate to have the complete unconditional support of a like minded creative who encourage me to begin writing again. 
My method of writing that I had during my schooling years picked up once more. 

I took what I thought was to be just a breather from my series, and started a brand new idea for the wonderful time of year that is called NANOWRIMO.

I wrote nearly every day that November and had at the end of it 18k words of chronological chapters and words.

Finally I felt an achievement in my bones, and I wanted desperately to finish the story.
I had the ending crisp in my mind, and the characters had taken me on an adventure that I hadn’t ever truly experienced so accurately before.
I had also found like minded individuals on Twitter, who had cheered me on through the whole process.

Then I discovered the “Don’t Break the Chain” calendar through YouTube, and found #writechain on Twitter.

Finally it felt like all the puzzle pieces had fallen into place.

I needed to create a regular writing schedule and what better way than having a minimum word count for each and every day.

The idea was daunting at first, but  I picked a word number that I felt I could get in on even my worst day. And it worked, rest is history.

The lesson I have learned from writing every day has changed my life.

So here’s the kicker, I will not tell you that you have to write every day to be a writer.

Firstly, because that’s simply not true.

 
You write, therefore you ARE a writer.
 

But I do believe it is important to either set aside a time to write or create your own sort of writing schedule.

The main point of a writing schedule is to get you to write.
So often we can get stuck.
When you have goals, you are able to gather momentum towards fulfilling your dreams.

So what have you done to make time for writing? Do you have a writing schedule? Do you have any experiences to share. Please feel free to post below.