Dramaquill's All Things Writing

January 29, 2008

Is blogging really writing?

Blogs have become the latest craze on the internet.  People in all walks of life can create their own space online and post anything they are thinking about or want to share.

Some people use blogs as a way of communicating with friends and family.  Others use blogs as a means of self expression.  Still others blog in order to make new friends, acquaintances and maybe even find a romance.

So is that writing? 

Well, I’m not going to answer that – I’ll leave it up to you.

Instead, what I’ll say is that the blog has become a useful tool for writers of all kinds, from those published and highly successful (J.K.Rowling has a blog, for example) to those looking to get attention and maybe even possible representation.

One of the writers in one of my critique groups got asked to send a partial to an agent because of her blog.  (So a word to the wise – remember that whatever you say in your blog, it can be read by anyone.)

A lot of reputable writers have blogs and post everything from their ezines to markets, jobs, contests, articles, links and the latest news from the writing world.  And some of these bloggers have a fantastic following.

So is blogging really writing?

I guess I will answer my own question after all.  Of course it is. 

Is it professional writing?

You be the judge!

January 21, 2008

Does SAD affect your writing?

Filed under: Creative writing,Writing — dramaquill @ 6:12 PM
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I live in Northwestern Ontario, Canada and we’re right in the throws of winter as I write today’s blog post.  We’ve been lucky not to have had too cold of a winter for the most part but right now we’re back in the deep freeze again.  The sound of the furnace fan starting up reminds me how nice and warm it is here in my office.  Did I mention it’s a windowless office?

 But with winter comes what I refer to as:  The season of perpetual darkness.  With sunrise at approximately 8:40 a.m. and sunset at 5:40, I’m feeling the results of SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder.  And believe it or not, our days are actually getting longer now.  On the shortest day of the year the sun isn’t up until about 8:50 and sets before 5:00.  Many get up in the dark and come home in the dark and if they work in an office cubicle without any windows, it is likely they could be feeling signs of fatigue and SAD.

As a writer, I don’t really keep the most consistent of schedules when it comes to sleeping and getting up, so I can’t blame SAD on my sleep patterns, although for many, having to wake up in the dark can cause signifigant fatigue during winter months.

Another symptom associated with SAD is craving more carbohydrates.  With fresh produce harder to get in the winter, it’s no wonder those of us who sit at a computer for several hours a day don’t feel as energetic in the winter. 

So one would think that this energy zapping SAD would turn a writer’s mind to mush.  For me, it’s the opposite.  When it’s cold and dark out I find that the perfect time to hole up in my little office and write, revise and research, my steaming cup of coffee or cocoa by my side. 

Maybe it’s because I live in a place where it’s winter for at least 5 months out of the year.  I know that when it’s light out in the evening, I’d much rather be outside than sitting at the computer.  When temperatures start to get warm, I’d much rather feel the sun on my skin and smell the fresh air than sit at my desk.

So I guess that even with the fatigue of SAD playing at least some part on my energy level in winter, I still find time and inspiration to work on my writing a lot. 

What about you? 

If you aren’t feeling very productive and you’re energy levels are zapped, perhaps you need to do some research on SAD.  There are different therapies associated with relieving the symptoms, one of the most popular being light therapy.

So if you’re finding yourself hibernating under the covers in front of the TV and not producing much on your writing projects, check out some of the links below.  May SAD is the cause.






January 14, 2008

Paying attention to your characters

Every writer has their own methods of developing their stories.  For some, they plot and plan everything out on paper before tackling the writing.  For others, they write freely and worry about making it all fit together once they begin their rewrite.

For me, it’s as simple as listening to my characters.

What does my heroine fear most?  What does she want?  What is she willing to do to get it? 

Why is my villain acting and reacting as he does?  How is his life intertwined with my heroine?  What drives him?

I spent a lot of time developing the characters for my suspense novel.  I researched the type of crime I felt inclined to write about and I poured over information about victims of such crimes.  I spoke to counselors and the authorities.  I interviewed someone who’s life situation had similar circumstances to what I had planned for my heroine.

Then, I listened.  As I wrote each chapter, distinct voices emerged.  My heroine shared her innermost fears and desires with me and her story began to take shape in a whole new light.  My villain, who still scares me, took on a dimension of a human person, rather than a stereotypical “bad guy”.  I still really don’t like him, but I’m beginning to understand why he does some of the things he does. 

My characters have been instrumental in helping me create a much stronger manuscript in this final revision.  I feel like I could meet these people on the street and I would instantly know them.  I can see their worlds so visually clear inside my head.  I hear their voices as if we’ve already met.  They aren’t just characters inside my head – they are real.

So what are your characters trying to say to you?  Are you paying attention?

Biding my time – a look inside my villain

Filed under: Creative writing,mysteries,Novels,Revising your writing,Writing — dramaquill @ 3:19 PM
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Look at you, standing out there on the deck, all comfortable and safe.  You have no idea – you never did! 

I was good enough for you when you had nobody else, wasn’t I!  You took what I had to offer and you wanted more.  So what changed?  Why did you turn on me after all I did for you? 

I’ll bet you thought you’d gotten away with it.  I’ll bet you never thought I’d find you.  Well you can’t just disappear from me like that – no explanation – NOTHING!

I’m not going to let you get away again, my love.  I’m biding my time until the moment is right.  Can you feel me getting nearer? 


January 11, 2008

Feeling uneasy – my heroine speaks out

Filed under: Creative writing,mysteries,Novels,Writing — dramaquill @ 10:12 PM
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Michael and I haven’t spent any time together in weeks.  We’re both so busy with work right now, which is good for our careers, but it’s putting a real strain on our relationship.

I don’t like these odd phone calls I’ve been getting the last couple of days.  I know someone’s on the other end – breathing – but no one talks.  Michael thinks I’m being silly.  “Just hang up, honey.”  That’s his advice.

I used to love living out here on this quiet country road.  The fall colors are splendid right now and looking out of my office window used to inspire all sorts of creativity.  But the past few days, I haven’t been able to put two intelligent thoughts together. 

Michael’s probably right.  I’m just being silly.

I think I’ll unwind with a game of solitaire.  It’s after 9:00.  Michael should be home soon.

Oh no – the phone again! 


Something fun to try

Blogs are a great way for a writer, published or unpublished, to create a web presence.  Some are very pointed and specific while others run carefree. 

 I recently read somewhere (I know, as a writer I should have written down so I could cite it properly for all my readers) that some authors use blogs to allow their characters to speak out.

And I thought – HEY, what a cool idea!

When I first started this blog, I talked a lot about my adult suspense novel.  I’m still hot and heavy into the final (yeah, right) revision and I wondered if my heroine, and my villain, might have some things to get off their minds.

So, don’t be surprised if they start making an appearance here shortly.

January 6, 2008

Free ezines for writers

The internet has a ton of resources for all kinds of writers, covering all sorts of topics.  And the best part of all is – there are a plethora of FREE ones.  Check out some of the ones listed below:

Help with proper word usage, grammar, punctuation and more.

Covers a wide variety of topics for all writers

Articles on the business and craft of writing

One of my favorite ezines

For fiction writers

Hope Clark offers 3 newsletters:  Fundsfor Writers, FundsforWriters small markets and Writing Kid, a newsletter for children/teens

Wide variety of information, even includes songwriting

Wide variety of information including job markets

One of the best free ezines on the web

Great resource for those who write for kids and teens

These are just a few of the great, free ezines offered to writers on the web.  With such a wealth of free information, no writer needs to feel unable to expand their knowledge, research in their chosen genre or lack information about every facet of being a writer.

So what are you waiting for?  Start clicking those links.

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