It’s Time to Wrap it Up

The deadline for NaNoWriMo is fast approaching and Christmas is around the corner — tick-tock… tick-tock…tick-tock… tick-tock Wrap it up

It’s time to wrap it up.

How’s your ending coming along? Are you going to leave us with a cliff hanger and chomping at the bit? Is there a wild twist/turn of events that makes us say Wow!

Will it be a happy ever after (HEA)? Does a character need to die? Will good triumph over evil? Maybe all of the above?

It’s your story, you get to decide how it ends and how you present it to the world.

And just think when you’ve typed The End you can get busy hitting the thrift stores in search of the perfect hideous sweater for your grumpy old aunt you secretly despise.

Write on!!

Friday’s Free-for-all (Genres & Tools & Fried Taters. Mhm)

It will be necessary to choose a genre (or a narrow list of genres) when you get ready to submit/publish but don’t let that annoying detail inhibit your writing.
For now just write; your story can be catalogued later.
Here is a brief overview of primary genres. Glance at them and move on.
Action/Adventure: fast paced exploration with conflict.
Erotica: focuses on the sex, not the romance.
Fantasy: Magic other worldly, mystical and mythological.
Horror: anything that invokes fear/dread.
Literary Fiction: focus on the quality of writing style/prose over the narrative/plot.
Mystery: involves solving some sort of crime.
Thriller/Suspense: creates tension which can involve action or mystery.
Romance: love and intimacy without the down and dirty details of said intimacy.
Science fiction: think aliens, alternative worlds and high tech
Westerns: usually taking place in America’s ‘Old West’; cowboys, etc…
Women’s fiction: all about the woman e.g. growth and hope.

I just finished packing to head to Benton Arkansas for the weekend and I thought about the movie Sling Blade.
Sling Blade is a drama. No, there is not a drama category listed above because drama is written for performance. The paperback copy is categorized as screenplay. As a screenplay it is listed on Amazon as follows:

#1100 in Books > Humor & Entertainment > Movies > Screenwriting
#5851 in Books > Humor & Entertainment > Television
#26979 in Books > Arts & Photography > Performing Arts

Now allow me to detour a moment because I do love me some Billy Bob Thornton. I am also excited about visiting Two Peas in a Pod Flea Market and some dear kinfolks in Benton where Sling Blade was filmed.
Ahhh. I still cackle when my [adult] kids slip into character and quip, “fried taters, Mhm.” “With mustard and biscuits. Mhm.”

If you are familiar with the movie Sling Blade you’ll be familiar with this line, “Some folks call it a sling blade; I call it a Kaiser blade.” Yeah, I heard some of you saying, Mhm.
Well  I have a sling blade too (along with a few other tools) but I call it a limb-chopper. torture chamber (553x800)

People can call it what they want but that will not alter the way I use my limb-chopper. I use it to chop limbs — all sorts of limbs.

I call it what I want to; I use it however I please BUT if I decide to sale my tool… my merchandise, I will need to identify it properly and list it in an appropriate category.
See what I mean? Mhm?

How are They Going to Get There?

Congratulations on your writing accomplishments!

Whether you have written a paragraph or five hundred pages so far this month, you’re doing great.

I once wrote 500 pages in one day.  Yep, the Ctrl+v got stuck on my keyboard.  When I returned from my walk I had five hundred pages of totally inconceivable gibberish.

I jest, but speaking of taking a walk…

Where are your characters going? Why are they going? How are they going to get there?

Feel free to use the photographs to get the creative juices flowing.

Write on!!

Don’t Quit (Misery Loves Company & Asshats)

NaNoWriMo has barley started and you’re giving up? If you quit at the starting line how the heck are you going to reach the finish line?

Okay. I understand the pressure and the frustration and the fear and the time crunch you have to contend with [really, I do] but don’t quit. Take a deep breath. Let your shoulders drop (it is okay if the world has to float on it’s own for a minute or two) and remind yourself why you took the challenge to begin with.

The above was my partial response to an aspiring author I sometimes guide (guide sounds less hoity-toity than mentor). She continually strives to improve her skill and decided to challenge herself this year with NaNoWriMo. I was so excited for her.

When she said she was throwing in the towel one week into the 30 day challenge my heart sank.

I had to remind myself of two things: #1 this is HER journey. #2 despondency is common among authors, young and old, aspiring and established alike.

The exchange ended with us both feeling more optimistic. For now.

Another handful of emails followed (not participants in WriMo) mostly venting about criticisms which they said too often feels like bullying.

I read some of the criticisms. Honestly, I considered most of the comments as constructive – a little blunt and crude but valid observations. Constructive criticism is valuable.

There were a few however that did have a malicious feel about them. Asshats!

It is not always easy doing what you love… what you feel driven to do… following your passion. Self-doubt is relentless and Asshats… don’t get me started?!!

Insecurity fluctuates; it lessens with experience as the skin thickens but don’t expect Asshats to turn into compassionate humanoids.  Why? Because misery loves company.

Misery loves company

I cannot count the number of times I have heard/felt, “I’m too old”, “I’m afraid”, “I am not good enough” or “I’ve been ridiculed/rejected”. Self-doubt

Nor can I count the times I have heard of/read/experienced pointless insults that serve no purpose other than to humiliate a person. Asshats

So it seems Asshats and uncertainty will always be a part of life; a thing we all have to contend with. “But how?” some ask. Don’t quit.

You can’t lie down and quit. I guess you could but then you would be in a coma. Being comatose is not the answer.

You can’t throat-punch or cuss everyone who hates on you. Well, you can but the fines start racking up and…

Before I confess digress I think I’ll just send you to a more inspiring, graceful article.

Oops, a quick tip: Embrace your feelings (pain, anger, fear, etc.) and use them in your writing. Assign your feelings of defeat and grief to a character and then show the character how to overcome. It can be very healing.

Write on!!

Now check out the post by Joan Hall over at Story Empire and be sure to read the comments.

If you are not already following Story Empire  you should.

Why?

Because they offer countless resources for writers (especially new writers) and they are a great group of people. They don’t allow Asshats and trolls to hang out there.

Let them be Mad

Mad as in angry, insane, enthusiastic or in a swift manner.

I was driving 90 mph down the highway with my camera beside me and I snapped…

Mad Dash (1024x590)

I was in a mad dash and mad in every sense of the word. (Some of that lunacy is revealed in the poetic memoir Getting Me Back.)

The above photo is not one I would usually keep in my collection; it is dark, out of focus and lopsided yet I like it. Why? Because it reminds me of the world as I saw it at that moment in time.

I will probably be the only one to ever appreciate this inferior blurred image but maybe it will spark something in a stubborn character you are trying to bring to life.

Maybe the character is hiding something from you; afraid to reveal their passion, their fury or the fact that they are bat-shit crazy.

Tell them it’s okay. Everyone… every living creature [even saints] have moments of madness at some point in their life. Heck, even Jesus got mad. Wasn’t he ticked-off/pissed/irate when he turned the tables over and cleared the temple? Damn right he was!

And what about the insanity so many of the great artists/creators in history suffered from? Think about that, eh?

Allow your characters the freedom of expression.  Let them be mad.

Write What You would Love to Read

I was just thinking…

For NaNoWriMo writers to average 50,000 words in 30 days they will need to write 1666.666 words per day. I can already hear some character gasp, “Six, six, six. It must be the work of the devil!”

Bwahahaha. I suppose it could be if you are into that sort of thing.

Hey, write what you would love to read.

Ten words a day or ten thousand, focus first on your story. That is my 2¢ worth but what do I know? I’m just sitting over here in the cheering section, waving my pom-poms and goading the contestants.

I am not much into writing under pressure these days but I do like to mentor and I encourage others to take the NaNoWriMo challenge, especially new writers. Do it even if this is the first thing you have ever written.

Don’t worry about failing the challenge; there is not a NaNoWriMo jail. (Pst. You can be a NaNoWriMo-er without registering. 😉 It’s like exercising at home.) And remember I am over here cheering you on. I’ll even try to post a picture/prompt/ mental exercise throughout the month of November.

Sail on NaNoWriMo-ers!

What do you see?

That is not just a sailboat with a blimp above it. Describe. Describe. Describe. I.e. the color of the clouds/sky; the lake/ocean/water; the shape of the blimp; the shadows/silhouettes. What type of boat is it? Where is it going? Why? What data is the blimp collecting–who does it belong to?What is the spatial relation between the boat/the blimp/the land? What is just out of view in the treeline? How fast is the sailboat/blimp traveling? Describe… Readers want details and they are so fun to write.