Dramaquill's All Things Writing

November 29, 2013

Writers – What Are You Thankful For?

Filed under: Writing — dramaquill @ 11:40 AM
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Yesterday was Thanksgiving in the United States. That got me to thinking. As a writer, what am I thankful for?

1. The internet
It no longer matters where you live. You can write from
anywhere and be connected to publishers, editors,
agents, critique groups, book clubs, ezines…anything you
need.

2. A computer
Although I do love writing with pen and notebook, being
able to create my documents on a computer and email
them, rather than print and mail them, is not only handy
but also saves me money.

3. Brick and Mortar Book stores
As much as the world seems to moving into a more
digital direction, nothing is more of an indulgence than
wandering through a store with shelves brimming with
books of all kinds.  Book stores are definitely one of my
guilty pleasures.

4. My Day Job
Yes, I’ve been known to complain that I don’t always have
enough time to write my books because I have to go to
work, but I’m also very lucky because part of what I do
in my job is writing (playscripts & business correspondence).

5. My Followers
Being online can sometimes feel very impersonal and
blog posts can seemingly be lost out in cyberspace
somewhere. How thankful I am for my blog follwers.
Some comment. Some contact me. Some simply read
my posts. But…I know you’re out there and that keeps
me motivated to keep blogging.

Writers – What are you thankful for?

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July 26, 2013

Writing Advice: What Do You Want To Know?

Over the years I’ve blogged on a wide variety of writing topics from playwriting to suspense novels, marketing, book reviewing, contests and more.

After going through my archives, I thought I might turn my blog over to my readers for the month of August by answering your writing related questions.

Please fill out the form below. I’ll post answers (and links, if appropriate) to my favourite questions every Tuesday in August.

October 5, 2010

Dear Blog – forgive me for deserting you

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As I replied to a recent comment on my blog, it was with complete shock that I saw the date of my last post!  How did I let so much time pass without updating my blog. 

Dear Blog:  Can you ever forgive me?

Perhaps this is a good lesson in discipline.  As freelance writers, we don’t have someone (a boss) breathing down our necks when we’re creating a new novel or writing a new play.  We are completely and totally responsible for getting our butts in our chairs and our fingers on the keyboard if we hope to ever create a completed manuscript.

Although I pride myself on my time management skills when running my performing arts business, I have let down my blog readers by not using those same skills to keep my blog updated. 

September, in particular, is one of the busiest months for my business.  Registering students for new classes, setting up schedules, doing the massive amounts of paperwork and writing new drama playscripts for fall semester classes all demand a huge chunk of my time.  Couple that with working on the final edits of my ebook (more about that soon) and suddenly, an entire month has slipped by and it’s October.

On a happy note, however, I have been writing:

So dear Blog, please forgive me for deserting you.  I promise to make you a priority once again.

Blog on, everyone.

June 7, 2009

How to set up your own writing group

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Maybe some of you would like to create a writing group, but just don’t know how to go about doing it.  Here are a few tips and ideas to get you started:

1.      Pick a location (often local libraries, community centres and
         bookstores have rooms available at no cost for such an activity)

2.     Decide on an itial meeting time (this can change once members get
         together and provide feedback on available times)

3.     Advertise the first meeting.  Make a poster with pertinent information
        (date/time/place/how to contact you/cost to join…free) and hang it
         on any free bulletin boards in your community (malls/library/
         bookstores/local establishments).  Advertise it online for FREE at
         kijiji.com.  Seems most cities in N. America have a Kijiji site.

4.     Make up a name for the group – something catchy & writing related.

5.     Make sure to have contact info. (phone number/email) in case
         people have questions before coming out to the meeting.

6.     Have an agenda for the first meeting – be organized if you want to
        attract others.  Most likely the first meeting will be about everyone
        getting to know each other, telling a bit about their writing interests
        and deciding on what the group wants to get out of the meetings.

7.     Plan how often to meet.  (once or twice a month is probably best)

8.     Set up a free website or blog so everyone can keep in touch in
         between meetings.

Remember, you don’t have to be a writing expert to set up a writing group. 

Some writing groups are very specific, ie, for those who write rhymes for kids or those who write novels.  But remember, if you advertise for only one type of writing, you may not get many (or any) members.  It’s probably best to start out welcoming any styles and genres.  If enough writers join, eventually they might branch off into their own sub-groups.

Good luck with your new groups.

June 3, 2008

Keeping yourself motivated on your revisions

Writing a first draft is an exciting adventure for me.  As I develop my characters and start to get to know them, I enjoy sending them into different situations and seeing how they react and respond.  I wait eagerly for them to push my plot into new areas and take me down new paths.  In fact, I even enjoy the research required to make my manuscript credible.

But we all know that the first draft is simply that.  It isn’t a polished manuscript, reading to submit to agents or editors.  (At least I hope we all know that!)

So, we send it through a critique group or writing partner and await feedback.  Again, an exciting time for me as I read comments and criticisms of my work, hoping to make the writing stronger and the book more saleable with each new batch of feedback.

Now comes the part of the process, and yes, I can hear some of you groaning, that I feel really takes the work:  Revisions.

When I first got my adult suspense novel back from Marilyn Henderson, with the 12 pages of single-spaced, typed critique, I cringed.  Could she seriously have this much to say about my masterpiece?  But as I read through her comments, one thing became clear.  Revising is necessary if I want a chance to get represented by an agent or publisher.

But with revision comes change – sometimes huge change. 

I took Marilyn’s advice to remove a character from my original draft.  This one revision sent a domino wave of changes through my entire manuscript, resulting in deleting complete chapters and totally rewriting others.  Sometimes it feels like I’m writing a whole new book.

Now, I’m submitting all my chapters to my online critique group, hoping to get enough feedback to make this final revision my best work possible.

But this project has dominated my writing life over the past two years.  There are times when I wonder if it’ll ever be polished enough to send out there.  And then, when it’s making the rounds, how long will it take before it gets noticed?  Or will it ever even get noticed?  When I think like this, it can become easy to just chalk the whole experience up to a exercise in the discipline of writing an entire novel and then move on to the new projects I’m anxious to begin.

So how do I stay motivated on continuing and finishing this final set of revisions?

* Knowing I have to submit to my critique group keeps me working on the
        revisions.

* When I get tired of revising, I research publishers and agents in my genre,
   which gets me excited to finish my manuscript.

* To help motivate me to workon the revisions, I keep a post-it on my
   computer that says, “How badly do you want it?”
 

* I re-read my book from the beginning and get excited about the story again.

* I read my favorite author, Mary Higgins Clark and picture one day being able
   to read a published copy of my own book.

* I talk about my project to friends who enjoy listening to the thoughts of a
   budding novelist, which gets me jazzed about my book all over again.
     

We’ve all heard it enough times:  Make sure you submit only your best writing.  Well, that’s what I intend to do.

Oh, and I forgot the most important way to get myself motivated to get back to my reivisions:  I blog about it!

Thanks for listening.  I’m off to re-write the next chapter.

 

April 15, 2008

Can you have too many ideas?

I’m still working on my final (I can hope, can’t I?) revision of my adult suspense novel.  I feel that the writing is quite strong now and I’m confident that I’m continuing to eliminate the unnecessary bits. 

But revising can be tedious.  I’ve written and rewritten so much that I have to keep flipping back to make sure the new chapters are consistent with this version.  My critique group continues to be my most valuable resource as they catch anything that doesn’t click from what I’ve subbed to them, making my job a little bit easier than if I had to rely just on my own memory of this newest version.

So I decide to work on one of my other projects before I am smothered by my novel revision.  After all, sometimes all it takes is a break from the same characters to jump start a whole new take on my revision.

But, here’s the catch.  Are you like me?  I didn’t realize how many projects I’ve started, only to leave them to get back to the revision task.

Do I finish the last couple chapters of my Ya shapeshifter novel?  Or do I scrap it all in 3rd person because now, 1st person might be a better way to write it?

Do I tackle the themes list from a group of kids’ magazines where I’ve sold a few pieces and try to write and submit something new before they forget who I am?

Do I finish the 2nd half of that play I began writing three years ago?  I already know the answer to this one…nope!  It’s a pretty heavy subject and not something that would make a good diversion at this point.

How about the chicklit type YA novel that I actually think I could really get into?  It’s quirky and I can really relate to my main character. 

I could go on and list about ten other projects but I think you see where I’m going with this.  Just wading through everything I’ve got going tells me that I need to get back to the novel revision and stick it out and get it done.  I do have high hopes for this book and the only way it’s ever going to get out there is if I finish this revision.

So I ask all of you?  Can you have too many ideas?

Some people with for an extra day in the week.  I think I need an extra month in the year!  Of course wouldn’t that just give me another 30 days worth of ideas to generate?

Maybe blogging is the best diversion from this revision.  I think I’m ready to get back at it.  And hey, I’m on chapter 22 so I’ve made great progress.

Do you have too many ideas?

 

November 16, 2007

It’s after midnight – do you know where your writer friends are?

Well for the fifth night in a row, it’s after midnight and here I sit, at my computer, looking for ways to get my muse to come for another late night visit.  Ain’t blogging a great distraction?

Actually, I’m pleased with my progress.  I’m well over 18,000 words and hope to be at 20,000 before I go to sleep tonight. 

 My book has its ups and downs right now.  Some chapters just fly onto the pages while others fight me a bit before revealing their purpose.  My main dilemma right now is that I have a lot of chapters with my two main characters and I’m running out of ways to introduce new people who would be necessary to the story.

So, I’m looking at pictures of people right now, trying to get inspired.

What are the rest of you nano writers doing to get to the 50,000 goal?

Hang in and keep at it.

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