Saturday, October 29, 2011


~~What I know about revising a manuscript wouldn't fill a thimble. Some would say what I know about writing a draft of a novel would only fill two thimbles, but I do know good advice when I see it. Check out Tracy Hahn-Burkett's post on Writer Unboxed--"Macro-Revision: Take It One Piece at a Time" and let me know what you think about revising a manuscript.

~~Do you have any advice or ideas about how to organize the revision of a manuscript?

Friday, October 21, 2011

"Hello, Computer"

~~Did you hear Mr. Scott, AKA the late, great James Doohan, say those words as you read the title? If you love all things Star Trek, you did. For the rest of you go HERE for a clip of that immortal line. ; )

~~Before you get worried about my sanity, let me tell you about my newest toy, Dragon NaturallySpeaking, an advanced speech recognition program. I've wanted to be able to dictate my writing for years. Lately, my wrists have made it a priority. I tried the built-in program that came with my Vista operating system, but it and my pronounced southern accent didn't get along. Dragon, on the other hand, allowed me to select American English and Southern Region during installation.

~~I'm very impressed even though I'm still learning to use it. can't go straight from brain to screen though. I've always had to draft longhand first, but once it's on paper, the dictation is easy. I'm sure can type a bit faster, but not for any length of time. Now I can just write without dreading typing. Who knows? I might even get 50,000 words written during November's NaNoWriMo.

~~ If you're interested,  go to Nuance's website, and check it out.  They've been running a sale, but I got it half price at my local Staples.

~~ Next on my must-have software list is  Scrivener for Windows. According to the website the beta version runs out early in November. Here's hoping the full version is available soon.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Writers' Block--How to Break Them Up

~~I know you've all heard of the dreaded malady, Writers' Block, and shudder in fear that it's out to get you. Well, thanks to Beth, one of my Books and Writers Forum friends, I'm found the neatest list of the different types of blocks, complete with suggestion to blow them out of your way. Check out "The 10 Types of Writers' Block (and How to Overcome Them)" at io9.

~~Here's the list. Be sure you check out the cures. I'll admit to falling prey to three of these regularly. ; )
1. You can't come up with an idea.

2. You have a ton of ideas but can't commit to any of them, and they all peter out.

3. You have an outline but you can't get through this one part of it.
That's me in a nutshell. I usually handle it by cutting the item from the outline or skipping over it and coming back later.

4. You're stuck in the middle and have no idea what happens next.

5. You have a terrible feeling your story took a wrong turn a hundred pages back, and you only just hit a dead end.

6. You're bored with all these characters, they won't do anything.

7. You keep imagining all the reasons people are going to say your story sucks, and it paralyzes you.
Oh, yeah! I do this one. Darn that Inner Critic, AKA Miss Inner Editor. ; )

8. You can't think of the right words for what you're trying to convey in this one paragraph.
Oh, yeah, this one, too. The neat thing about the suggestions is that it's all right to linger at least a little while. That's an eyeopener for me. ; )

9. You had this incredibly cool story in your head, and now you're turning it into words on a screen and it's suddenly dumb.

10. You're revising your work, and you can't see your way past all those blocks of text you already wrote.

~~So which of these problems blocks your words? What do you think about the suggestions for handling them?

Thursday, October 6, 2011


~~I know I keep talking about the September Exercises at the Book and Writers Forum with awe, but it's deserved. There are thirty questions to answer about a character. It might look simple, but it's a deceptive simplicity that hides a wealth of discovery. Try it. That's all I can say. Try it if you're stuck on the motives behind some of your characters' actions. Try it if you find yourself blocked on what comes next. Just try it.

~~During September I did the exercise with Paul Collins, the main character of a short story I'm working on. I thought I knew what made the man tick. I had no clue. My story is infinitely richer now.

~~Now I'm using with questions with the main character of my WIP. I've been writing Laura Grace Chandler's POV since March 2008. You'd think I knew her voice inside and out by now. Not. I'm only to question 6 and she's opening in ways I couldn't have imagined. Here's a snip.

Who is the most important person in your character's life right now?

The most important person in my life was Samantha. Not two months ago, I'd have said it was Tom. Even though he is dead. I knew what that meant. I'd chosen to live not to mourn. It had been a subtle choice, one I hadn't consciously made. But I'd made it. Just as sure as the sun rose each day or the seasons shifted. Now I was connected to the girl, even though I'd only seen her twice and talked to her once. We had sung together. Warmth flooded my chest. Yes. That was when I'd made the choice. During Amazing Grace. Once I was blind to the opportunities my life held, and now I saw. Oh, yes. Now I could see.

~~Do you have cherished methods to get into the heart of your characters?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Campaign Musings

~~What is it about campaigns that make me want to redesign my blog? ; ) I think it's seeing all the fabulous designs among the campaigners that just spark my creative juices. I did a new one yesterday, but I don't think it's set in stone yet.

~~Have you read all the fabulous entries in the Second Challenge yet? What a wonderful collection of great writing! I've only gotten to about a third of the 186 (so far) entries. Thank goodness it can't grow any more after Tuesday. Maybe I'll finish... ; )

~~I have to apologize to the members of my two groups. I haven't been coming around nearly enough. I have had a bumper crop of words in September. Mainly it's due to the September Writers Exercise at the Books and Writers Forum. If you've never visited the Forum, you owe it to yourself. It's my go to place for challenges, critiques, lessons, and camaraderie. Besides, if you love Diana Gabaldon books, you'll love the Diana Gabaldon folder at B & W. ; )

~~So watch this space for more redesigns and more praise for Forum.