Friday, November 28, 2014

A Letter to Your Inner Critic: How to Stop the Invisible Sabotage to Your Creativity

This week, my beginning-level online class is facing the Inner Critic.  I think it's great timing, with the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving, to offer ourselves a little creative forgiveness by getting to know this inner voice that can so often derail us from our book writing efforts.

Everyone faces the Inner Critic, no matter how experienced they are.  Professional writers, even those who have published widely and won awards, even give it names.  Sue Grafton calls hers "the ego," the part that's always concerned with "how are we doing?"  Some Inner Critics are funny, joking with you inside your head about taking it all so seriously.  Most are discouraging, even menacing. 

But rarely is this inner voice truthful--its job is to sabotage our efforts to make art, to do our writing. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Reflecting Surfaces: Using the “Landscape” to Make Character Come Alive

A memoirist in one of my online classes was trying to write about the sadness she felt at her father’s unexpected death. Her feedback group gave her an unexpected response: while it was clear she was very sad, when they heard her speak of his death, her feelings on the page were abstract, hard to really grasp.

“They don’t feel any of the sadness I feel,” she told me. She cried as she wrote, so this bland response confused her.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Character Cards--A Cool Way to Enhance Your Storyboard (and Story!)

Three elements are essential to all books, no matter the genre:  there must be conflict, there must be believable character (real or imagined), and there must be place, or atmosphere.  Characters are fun to work with.  Even if you're writing a real-life tale with people who existed in history or as your potential readers, you need to know them.  The reader depends on you to present your characters well.

Tracy Sayre, founder of Writers Work, runs writing conferences in New York City and the Catskills, among other location.  Tracy recently watched several of my youtube videos and designed a very unique W storyboard using character cards.  She said she watched the storyboarding video many times while writing her novel and came up with this version of the traditional storyboard.  The photos below show her character cards and how she places them on the storyboard as the characters enter her story.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Structure Advice for Wordsmiths: Why Good Writing Comes After Good Structure When Developing Your Book

We all admire wordsmiths, those who can sharpen and hone words until they sing. I have the pleasure of working with many top-notch wordsmiths in my book-writing classes:  writers well-published in magazines, blogs, newspaper columns, reviews.  You'd recognize their names, you'd admire them too.

Two such wordsmiths attended my workshop last week at the Loft.  Both are working on books and have learned from editors that they need to beef up their book's structure.