Thursday, July 10, 2008

Writing When You're Traveling--How Do Book-Writers Do It?

So far it's been a summer of intense travel, living out of a suitcase, and trying to write in internet cafes, sending book chapters-in-progress to myself by email.

Each trip, I try not to leave behind these books I'm writing. A colleague once said, if you stop writing for three days you have to start over again. I get that. Losing the flow of my characters' voices, losing the ideas of how to structure a section of my book just so. Does this happen to you? Or can you "hold" the book for longer in your head without showing up on the page?

How does travel affect your creative life? How do you keep going with your book-writing when you're on the go?

Post a comment by clicking below--let us know!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Get Those Ducks Moving! A Poem-Writing Exercise of the Week for Book Writers

Step 1: Create one sentence for each of four plot points in your book (peak moments, external movement, change).
Step 2: Create one sentence for each of four different character’s shifts (internal change in the character, realization moment).
Step 3: Create one sentence for each of four different setting details (with something from the five senses associated with each).
Step 4: Create one sentence for each of four objects or memories associated with the book.
Step 5: Find one musical detail in the book (sound or rhythm).

Take all the above musings and write a four-stanza poem about your book. Use one plot point, one character shift, one object or memory in each stanza. Then try to get something rhythmic or musical in each stanza.

Thanks to Stuart Dybek's interview in Novel Voices (edited by Jennifer Levasseur and Kevin Rabalais) for the inspiration for this exercise. My book-writing class loved it!