When Writing Your Characters Feels More Like Herding Kittens

When Writing Your Characters Feels More Like Herding Kittens

I love the research at the beginning of a book.  I want to find pictures of my character, write out a detailed chart with things like funniest joke, or ironic trait, or what’s in their pocket, and I want to know they are opposites.  I like the duality of people.  We love what we like least about ourselves.  It’s so telling.

My current cast of characters can’t seem to stop misbehaving.  If there is a way for them to screw up a conversation, throw out the conflict, or just not show up at all, they do it.  Every single blessed time.  I’m not kidding about thinking about killing off the hero.  He’s unpredictable as hell.  I am wondering if when I go back for edits I will find he’s not in character all the time.

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Ways to Find Your Creative Edge

Ways to Find Your Creative Edge

I managed to eek out 500 words tonight.  There has been a bloody war going on in my head, and I have written myself into such a corner. Do I put this chapter into the trash bin, and start over? 

I've struggled with the last two thirds of this book.  The last book finished itself.  I am don't even remember typing much of the ending.  I know I cried, but I think some other part of me was doing the writing.

This latest book hasn't been as easy.  Part of this has been the fault of medical issues.  A switch of a medication tied my creativity up in a straight jacket.  It took me a little while to realize what was happening, and coming back has been a slog through one hell of a quagmire.

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What does your Voice say about You?

What does your Voice say about You?

Authors, Writers or Artists, however you try to label yourself, hear ad nauseam “You must find your voice.”

Most of us aren’t sure what this really means until we have been writing for a little while.  This nebulous advice includes the subtext favorites like “Write what you know” and “Show, don’t tell.”  Wrapped together in the “here’s your present” red bow, you find yourself with more of a bomb than a gift.

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Buying a New Laptop for Writing

Buying a New Laptop for Writing

I have a beautiful and expensive Alienware 18.  I use it for gaming, and for a while, it was my main machine.  Once my muscle's started acting up, I could no longer lift it, so we bought me a little netbook in the fall of 2015. 

It ran Windows 10, had a great track pad, and had some room for Office and a couple of oither lightweight programs.  I loved it.  It weighs maybe 2 pounds, and I can palm it with ease.  I still write on a body pillow for support of my hands and arms, but this tiny machine has cut down on my fatigue in huge ways.  I can’t say enough good things about it.

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Can you fix your book if you hate it?

Can you fix your book if you hate it?

I love to write.  I’ve been doing it since I learned to read.  I think the first book I wrote was a Mr. and Miss book when I was about five.  I made up a story and even did the illustrations.

When life gets me sad, glad, mad, happy, joyful, negative, irate and so on and so forth, I write.  I have the journals to prove it. 

Why is this book so dang hard?

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I'm in a local newspaper article!

Severna Park resident Valerie Stewart (purple shirt) and other area writers met at Severna Park Library on November 30 to discuss the works they created during National Novel Writing Month. Photo Credit: Judy Tacyn

Severna Park resident Valerie Stewart (purple shirt) and other area writers met at Severna Park Library on November 30 to discuss the works they created during National Novel Writing Month. Photo Credit: Judy Tacyn

Local Residents Celebrate National Novel Writing Month

by: Judy Tacyn

Are you ready to write a novel in just one month? Local writers recently took the annual National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge to finish a novel in just 30 days, and they shared their adventures and works at the Severna Park Library on November 30.

The goal of NaNoWriMo isn’t necessarily to publish a novel. The objective is to get ideas out, let creativity flourish, meet people locally or virtually who are also in the sprint to finish their story, and most importantly, have fun.

Writers may research, develop outlines, draft notecards and build characters, but they may not craft a sentence until November 1. Then, the race is on to complete 50,000 words by November 30.

Authors get started on the NaNoWriMo website (www.nanowrimo.org), where they create a profile, enter working titles, collect badges for meeting milestones and track progress. Supportive online forums provide an opportunity to ask questions, request feedback and trade characters. Around the country, in-person “write ins,” like those held weekly at the Severna Park Library, allowed writing time, idea- and plot-sharing, and commiseration.

Severna Park resident Valerie Stewart has participated in NaNoWriMo since 2007. This year, Stewart’s fantasy novel focused on telepathy and the search for a perfect world.

Her goals were to be as creative as possible and to finish rather than publish. The first person to read Stewart’s works is a childhood friend who receives the manuscripts as Christmas gifts. Stewart’s novels are proudly displayed on the shelves of her friend’s library. The two friends share feedback and discuss possible revisions.

Janet Frank of Pasadena also wrote a fantasy novel. Frank’s books are set in modern day, but with a twist, “like maybe a dragon,” hints Frank. In Frank’s world, people must surrender their memories to their god; however, one character remembers something that he shouldn’t. Joining forces with an unlikely ally, the lead character then searches for missing memories.

First-time novelist Kimberly Butler of Annapolis finished her romance novel with only hours to spare. “Many nights turned into early mornings [in November],” shared Butler. Butler’s first novel, “It’s a Christmas Miracle,” is a romance tale. Butler’s protagonist is a recently widowed military wife, pregnant with her deceased husband’s child, who finds love again with another serviceman.

The NaNoWriMo community in Severna Park was launched three years ago by Katie Zaworny, a NaNoWriMo novelist and librarian in the Glen Burnie branch. Along with Rebecca Hass, a fellow NaNoWriMo novelist and programming and outreach manager for the Anne Arundel County Public Library system, the novelists are a passionate group. Local and virtual support systems were invaluable to Butler’s first venture into novel writing.

“The NaNoWriMo writers are simply amazing,” Butler proclaimed. “Whether in person or via the forums, the group was tremendously supportive.” Butler was deemed a “winner” by finishing her novel at 4:00am on Monday, November 30, just under the deadline. “I don’t know that I would have had the motivation and inspiration to finish in just 30 days without this group,” she said.

NaNoWriMo was founded by Chris Baty in 1999. The event started with just 21 participants and six “winners” (writers who complete 50,000 words in a single month), to 42,000 participants in 2014, nearly 6,000 of them winners.

In addition to National Novel Writing Month in November, NaNoWriMo’s programs also include Camp NaNoWriMo, the Young Writers Program, Come Write In and the “Now What?” months. To learn more about National Novel Writing Month, visit www.nanowrimo.org.

The December, January and February issue of “Happenings!” is now available at local libraries and online at www.aacpl.net/events. For more information on your local library’s programming, contact Rebecca Hass at rhass@aacpl.net or 410-222-7371. To learn more about the local NaNoWriMo group, contact Katie Zaworny at glenburnielibrary@aacpl.net or call 410-222-6270.

- See more at: http://www.severnaparkvoice.com/arts-entertainment/local-residents-celebrate-national-novel-writing-month-0#sthash.tW9EPeTK.dpuf

Things to help you when your writing motivation tanks

Things to help you when your writing motivation tanks

Week Two of NaNoWriMo had my writing dried up like a raisin.  All wrinkled, leathery and no promise of sweet on the inside.  What do you do when your writing stops flowing?  When your characters stop talking to you and to each other, can you get back your groove?  How do you get back to center when your motivation and love for your story begins to sour?

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Let NaNoWriMo Bust Your Creativity Wide Open!

Let NaNoWriMo Bust Your Creativity Wide Open!

I am going to NaNoWriMo.  I am so excited!  In a week I will begin a new book consisting of 50,000 words written from November 1 thru the 30th.  Uh huh.  I am even lucky enough to get to write on Turkey day when all that over feasting makes my eyes droopy.

I have never done one.  I am hoping my family doesn't beg me to quit halfway.  1667 words on average for 30 days.  Can I do it?  Heck yeah. 

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