Bookmark These Pages

Whether you are participating in NaNoWriMo or not, these sites will make helpful resources for your writing. bookmark

  • Got a grammatical question? Try Daily Writing Tips.
  • Ever use a word cloud? It can be a great way to keep a visual reminder of your character’s traits or a fast way to see if you over use a word.  Word Clouds for Kids worked best for me.
  • You know about thesaurus.com, but sometimes a rhyme is what you need instead.  Try Rhyme Brain.
  • An app that identifies what age range you’ve written to and offers suggestions on how to tighten.  A great little editor for the cost of a couple cups of coffee: The Hemingway Editor
  • If you just want to make sure you are writing appropriately for your target age, Readability-Score is free, but doesn’t offer the editorial options available in Hemingway.

Bonus: If you are looking for good reading about writing, Kristen Lamb’s blog always offers something worth reading.

I received some of these from fellow writers in my critique group, Six Pens.  If you’re not in a critique group, find one ASAP.  Nothing sharpens your writing better.

If you have any websites to bookmark, please share!

Now, back to NaNoWriMo

Taking a Tip from Forrester

Finding_forrester

Didn’t you love it when your teacher said, “Tonight for homework I would like for you to watch on tv . . .” but then hoped the next words weren’t, “The State of the Union Address?”  Well, if you are looking for a little kick start to your writing, I encourage you to watch a movie that inspires you to write.  Some of my favorites are Finding Forrester, Stranger than Fiction, and You’ve Got Mail.

Though I haven’t watched it in a bit, I am finding myself taking advice from William Forrester, played by Sean Connery, to his young prodigy. . . .

A few years back I read Inside Out and Back Again. (my post about it)  That did it!  I was hooked on stories in verse.  I ached to write one myself, but was knee deep in the Chicago Fire at the time.  I knew it couldn’t be any ol’ story that I chose to write in verse.  It took a long time to come up with the right idea.  And now that I have it, I’M REALLY STUCK!

I’m so intimidated to follow in the steps of Thanhha Lai, Jaqueline Woodson, Karen Hess, Katherine Applegate, Alexander Kwame to name a few of the seriously polished and amazing writers who have fashioned beautiful treasure boxes of powerful language in as few as ten words on a page!  Seriously?  My word pictures lack color and clarity.  I am wordy, not succinct.  I go wide, not deep.  I am in WAY OVER MY HEAD!

books in verse

Which brings me back to Finding Forrester.  William Forrester, an acclaimed author turned hermit, offers this piece of advice to his charge, and to us.  (Paraphrased or altered by my memory). . . Starting is the worst part.  If you don’t know where to start, borrow someone else’s words and before you know it, they will turn into yours.  (No duh side bar: Keep in mind, however, the high school student did get into great trouble for plagiarism when he entered his essay into a competition.  I, nor William Forrester, are encouraging you to take someone else’s words and claim them for your own.)

With this in mind, I am studying some of my favorite novels in verse and recording bits that stand out to me.  Writing the rhythm, feeling the strength of the words, getting a sense of siphoning a scene down to its bare truth.  As I immerse myself into Jacqueline’s Brooklyn, Billie Jo’s dust covered world, Kek’s first taste of America, Ha’s trip on the ship, and Filthy McNasty’s court time, I am slowly feeling my story churning, bits of it jumping into mind and immediately onto my journal.  Line by line and moment by moment this new story will come.

What inspires you to write?

What helps you get started?

Quick Tip

As I was finishing my rough draft for a gentle fantasy chapter book (whoop! whoop!WIN_20150130_145337 big goal met this week!) I discovered a great trick.

Scrivener Users:

Did you know you could press “ctrl /” and a text statistics box pops up for the selection that is open?  The best part is it tells you the frequency of your words, so you can easily identify words you over use.

You already knew that didn’t you?  You’re so clever!  I happened upon it when I meant to hit “Shift /” to make a question mark.  Sometimes clumsy fingers pay off.  It usually just results in awkward auto-corrects.  #notsofunnywhenithappenstoyou 😉

***If you don’t know what scrivener is, you can check it out here***

Top Ten Ways to Put Off Starting Your Next Writing Project

procrastination

Caught you! You’re procrastinating too, aren’t you? Why else would you be online right now? That’s okay. You’re in good company here! In fact, I have ten ways to put off starting that next writing project.

10. Look for pictures to help sort out what your characters look like, then get caught organizing pictures and possibly making a photo album on Shutterfly.

9. Make a sound track of your story to listen to while writing. Right now I’m searching for playful, whimsical instrumental music that fits my new MC’s attitude.

8. Pick out the clothes that make you feel like a writer, including a thinking cap. Why, yes, that is my thinking cap I’m wearing in my picture.

7. Buy a new journal just for this project to record this idea and that idea that will pop up and will need a place to be recorded. If you can find a water proof journal, please let me know. My brain tends to think of wonderful ideas while I’m showering, which are long gone by the time I’m dressed. Dag nab it!

6. Put new batteries in your dictaphone, because you know new ideas will pop in while your driving and your best ideas will occur when you have no dictaphone or paper and pen nearby. Hope your memory is better than mine!

5. Find said dictaphone. (Hmmmm, the MC of my next book may be to blame for missing dictaphone.)

4. Organize the garage because you know once you begin this project its going to swallow you up until its finished with you and your garage will remain a disaster zone until then.

3. Buy new ink and paper for your printer. Sometimes you need to be practical, right? And while you’re out, stop at Pier 1 because a new season is around the corner and you need to decorate your house for the new season before you start writing. Or else IT WILL NEVER GET DONE!

2. Eat your favorite writing meal/food. Who am I kidding? Get a glass of wine. (Unless, of course you’re a young author. In that case, get yourself a couple cookies first. Oh, okay, adults, you can have a couple cookies too. Just don’t have it with the wine. Not a good combination!)

1. Make a procrastination list to post on a blog.

Enough procrastinating! Go write some awful sentences! Don’t worry, they will get better. Just gotta get the awful ones out of the way first.  Be Brave!  Write!