Sunday, July 13, 2008

The ABCs of Writing Fiction - Sections W and X

ABCs of Writing Fiction
Section W-X
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W – Writer’s Block. Some say it is fictitious. Some swear it’s real. I believe it is our own fears or anxieties getting in our way. If you think you are suffering from it, I advise you to take a long walk and think about where you are in your writing, where you REALLY want to be and how that might change your life. Are you afraid of success? Are you afraid of failure? You can discuss this with a good friend to help sort out your feelings. There are times when I’m afraid to sit down and write because that long list of “rules” is paralyzing. That’s when I have to tell myself to write the book that I would want to read. I will instinctively know when I’m breaking a rule when I shouldn’t. Maybe you’re burned out. Most of us have day jobs to support our writing habits. Even though I’m a teacher, I usually work 10 hour days before I sit down to write. Sometimes we need to take a break and refill our buckets. By that I mean, get out and do things. Go to movies, meet with friends, visit museums, try a new restaurant, test drive a new car, go on a nature hike, etc. Whatever calls to you. These experiences will lighten your mood and give you new info to draw from while writing.

X – X-ray your writing and find your strengths. You want to continue to capitalize on whatever makes you a successful writer. Kathryne Kennedy’s stories have great romantic tension, and she finds ways to maintain it after the first love scene, which is not easy. I’m hoping she’ll want to capitalize on this strength and make it part of every book she writes. I would be disappointed if she didn’t. (BEWARE! Although, it is a good idea to capitalize on your strengths, don’t force yourself to keep writing the same type of book if you want to move on to something new. You need to be happy with what you write.) If you’re not sure what your strengths are, ask people you trust to read your material and give you their opinion. Knowing your strengths can also help you find your brand. Sassy, Sensual, Suspenseful is an example of a brand. I wouldn’t worry too much about branding if you’re a beginning writer. I’ve never heard of an agent or editor turning away a good book because the author didn’t have one.

Now, it's time to push aside that writer’s block and get back to work.

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