Monday, November 14, 2011

Writing Exercise - Mixed Tapes/CD/Playlist

I love music when I write, everything simply flows better with tunes bumping in the background. As a writing exercise, I will ask myself the following question:

"if where to make me a mixed tape/CD/playlist, what would be on it?"

Addie's Playlist 
Calgary - Bon Iver
Dog Days of Summer - Florence & the Machine
Techno Fan - The Wombats
Wishing Well - The Airborne Toxic Event
Shine - Alexi Murdoch
Sabotage - Beastie Boys
Sara - Jefferson Starship
Guido's Song - Nine the Musical
Fast Car - Tracey Chapman
Breathe - Telepopmusik

Whenever I am writing about Addie, I throw her playlist, it is amazing how her character comes to life.

Some of my best playlists have come out of this writing exercise. I'd highly recommend trying it. If you need help, shoot me an e-mail.

Friday, November 11, 2011

1,000,000 words !?!?!!



Someday. I’d like to write, 1 million words in a year or several books, short stories or novels. That is tall order for someone {anyone} who works a full time job and has many other activities {kids, social life etc.} going on outside of work.

I've been working on formulating an obtainable goal for myself. I’ve finally settled on 500k words for a year. I’ve managed to break the goal down into achievable parts –

Plain O’ Logistics

About 41,666 words per month {Not bad considering if I keep on pace with NaNo, I will have 50k worth or words} Or {broken down even further}
1370 words per day.


Other considerations -

Editing – My least favorite task but a necessary evil - decided I will edit as I go. If I am feeling smart, I will take my trusty iPad with me to work and edit on my lunch breaks.

Burn out - is always a risk in anything you set out to do however, I will rise to the occasion and figure out how to beat it and get the mojo back.... I realized it will never be the perfect time to begin. The key is to quit wishing, wanting, procrastinating my time and do something I truly


Amazing what you'll do when you truly love something. You will move heaven, earth and anything in between to do it. Anyone care to join me on this venture? Let me know!

Happy writing!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Tragic Hero

Snape has to be one of my favorite characters of modern literature. He is multi-layered and complex, one moment he is the villain, the next moment he is a saint, he uses his cunningness for survival however it is not solely for himself.

When I am writing, I LOVE for my characters to have depth. I like my villains to invoke a sort of empathy. My heroes to create a sort of rage. In short, I don't want my characters perfect or too idealistic. When the characters are over simply or perfect, I there is a sort of disconnect from the reader.

I am working hard to write a Tragic Hero however I have discovered how incrediabilty difficult it is. I will keep working on it...

Happy writing!


Sunday, November 6, 2011

A lifeless hair cut begins a path of clear vision in writing

Earlier this summer, I had to divorce my hairdresser/colorist of nearly 10 years. Why? His became too expensive. I am a woman on budget, I strongly believe in living within my means so, I set out on a quest, to find a colorist and stylist. The other day, I received a perfect technically correct haircut – great lines, every hair falls into perfectly into place…I don’t like it, at all. Why? It has no life to it. It doesn’t flirt, it doesn’t look like “me.” The results have let me in foul mood however, the stylist isn’t entirely to blame. I went into the salon with a half-assed vision and I did not bring pictures or other visual aids to help present my ideas.

This indecent reminds me of sitting down to write a novel with no vision. For some people the no vision process works very well however, for the rest of us writers, we need some direction. After all, there is a blank page waiting to be filled with wild whirling words!

I don't believe in "one correct pathway" to writing a novel. I believe the process is different for everyone. Over the years, I've taken ideas from other writers and applied them to my process. Most didn't work for me however the handful of tips I have kept, are beautiful!!! One of my favorite tool of the trade is creating a picture outline. (Like a storyboard, vision board or story map...all terms are correct - you pick whatever is best for your process...)

Here's what you do, plan one spending an hour...(trust me, you'll end up spending more but if you are pressed for time, 1 hour will do.)

Step 1 (Hunt and Gather - 5 minutes)

Head to the closet and grab all your old school supplies...
  • Yes, get out the scissors
  • glue stick
  •  a piece of foam core (or other LARGE paper, Moleskine, or even a white board)
  •  glitter sticks (my personal favorite)
  •  fortune cookie fortunes,
  • colored pencils, 
  • Markers, Mr. Sketch Markers (another favorite)
  • All the magazines you've been saving
  • Leaves or ticket stubs or anything else you can think of that might be a part of a story
  • Favorite pictures of actors that might play the part of your characters (or make up your own! Draw them out! Don't worry about being perfect, the pictures don't have to be, this is for you, your eyes only....)
  • Index Cards
Step 2 (Quick Plot - spend no more than 10 minutes on this section)
Take 3 index cards - write a sentence (or two) on what happens in the beginning, middle and end.
Take a few more cards write your main characters names, brief description of what they look like, what they are fighting for etc.

Step 3 (Assemble - 40 minutes)
Divide your paper in three sections, place index cards with the sentence for the beginning, middle, end on top of the respective positions. Take your elements from step 1 and visually create a story. Remember you can always change it....

Step 4 (Clean up & Post  - 5 minutes)
Post the picture up in your writing space. Refer to it, when writing....

This is a great exercise for really thinking about your story in different thought process. Again, experiment and discover what works for you!

Happy Writing!!!!