Category Archives: Muse

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

Well my creative writing took a backseat yet again but I did manage the update my ghost writing project and completed my conference presentation so feel pleased there are both completed.

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I am co-hosting the senior residence writing group on Thursday so can escape to the library for a couple of hours before to return to The Twesome Loop. Having found a fantastic cover artist I am thinking of a design for the book cover. It will take some careful thinking to make the cover reflect my characters finding their past selves in an Italian villa, that’s for sure.

I did add more story to my ‘extra’ project – yes I know isn’t four manuscripts enough? Well obviously not because my children’s ‘alien planet’ book has been gaining in word count!

As many of you know I am a multi-genre author and my current WIP’s – are all in various stages of completion. They range from cowgirl romance to thriller to reincarnation romance to speculative fiction, added to that the above kids book. Never a dull moment in my brain, I can tell you.

Do you have multiple manuscripts/ideas formulating or clambering for your attention?

Books:

The Faraday Girls by Monica McInerney

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Loved the characterizations in this book, each sister was so unique, so defined. Here is my Goodreads review:

What a wonderful narrative. Lots of characters interacting, conflicts, sibling rivalry and unexpected twists in the plots.
Monica weaves such a artful tale of four sisters brought up by their father – family traditions, a surprise niece/daughter and global travel.
A book I would re-read for sure.

Now onto a book I have been looking forward to. It has started well.

The Other Life by Ellen Meister

The Other Life

Do you have a recommendation for a alternative life, reincarnation or fantasy?

Do you want to hook up on Goodreads? Follow the link on the side bar to my account.

Writing Tips:

Let go of your inner editor. When you sit down to write a draft, refrain from proofreading until that draft is complete.

Proofread everything at least three times before submitting your work for publication.

Print this one out:

You are a writer so own it and say it out loud: “I am a writer.” Whether it’s a hobby or your profession, if you write, then you have the right to this title.

Music To Listen to While Writing…


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There are some wicked tracks on this list, many I do listen to, mostly the more ‘classical’ ones as they don’t interfere with my thought processes as much as a ‘popular’ tune would do. There is a tendency to sing along or revert back to the movie scene, jilting me away from my narrative and the ‘mood’ I am creating within it.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/danieldalton/write-music

I have a few favorite composers – Beethoven, Handel, Bach and Strauss to name a few, all of which were introduced to me as a child by my parents. The tracks I listen to are old friends and never disappoint whether I am writing or not. There is something so calming, resounding and comfortable about classical music. It allows my mind to relax and conjure up stories.

What type of music allows your Muse to flow?

Do you change the type of music you listen to in relation to the genre or scene you are writing?

On a side note if you have never watch Cloud Atlas – I suggest you do but realize you will have to watch it several times to get the whole story! Very cleverly done but initially confusing.

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When the Muse Won’t Stop Talking…


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I enjoyed a spur of the moment road trip on Saturday with my dear friend, Linda. We traveled west towards the Rocky Mountains and a lesser popular highway (some unpaved). As writers we notice everything – landscapes, flora and fauna and glimpses of everyday life as we pass by (or in our case stop!) It had been several weeks since we traveled together in that direction and we saw astounding differences in the places visited. This was due to the amount of rain the area has experienced – dry dusty tracks were now mud filled, dried up ponds and stream beds now torrents of water and a beaver lodge, which had been high and dry was now partly submerged. It shows that nothing stays the same – observation is key to a writer.

Part of our discussions during our 11 hour trip was narratives we are working on and the many put aside projects, snippets of ideas and future novels still to be realized. I remembered that some time ago a writer friend had stated that “I’m not sure I have anything to write at the moment. I cannot comprehend this. I have a folder of ‘writing pieces’ on  my laptop – several hundred in fact – all of which have not seen the light of day for some time. I have come up with an idea for these short stories – but that will be a project once I have edited, revised and completed the four novels I am working on this year! (Yes I know I am a lunatic.)

If you have a similar problem to mine and suffer with ‘too much inspiration’ then maybe these strategies might help.

a) Leave the chaos of your writing space with pen and paper or recording device and go for a walk. Once you are in a new environment the most exciting and prominent idea(s) will stay with you. Write or record them and let your imagination flourish with them for a while.

b) Restrict your time on musing about new ideas by setting yourself a time limit. Even a ten minute burst of inspirational writing will ensure you get the idea down but not ‘waste’ too much time on it. Once it is written put it to one side and continue with your current project, safe in the knowledge the idea has been dealt with.

c) Take some time to really dissect the new idea. Can you envisage the plot arc, the ending, the characters? If the majority of the narrative reveals itself to you, then mark it down as your next project. However, if the idea is vague, do not pursue it – just jot down the outline and file it.

d) Utilize your passion when defining whether an idea is worth reflection. If it excites you or is on a subject you feel passionate about then it should be considered in depth.

e) Get yourself an idea board. Organize each idea into genre or categories and when a new plot, character or scene comes to you place it with the other components of that particular story.

f) Bounce your ideas off a few trusted friends or members of your writing group.

It is thought a ‘problem’ to have too many ideas – they densely populate our minds. Crowding out each other and jostling for attention. It can be frustrating when we are embroiled in a current project. We hastily jot down the details of the new idea, too frightened to leave it to chance that we will remember it later. This removes our mind set from progressing with our existing work, if only for a short time. These ‘breaks’ can either be a good thing – returning refreshed and with renewed vigor or a bad thing – lured into the new project and dissatisfied with our current work in progress.

How do you handle the sparse and dense periods of your writing life?

What obscure stimulus has sparked an idea for you? 

How do you approach new ideas? Frantic notes? Plot arc? Character descriptions?

Have you experienced a story unwilling to stay quiet?

new idea

“The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out.  Every mind is a building filled with archaic furniture. Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.”          

Writing Prompt Contest – Jade Figure…


Jade

Write a story or poem based on the image – a superb jade carving. Is it an heirloom, was it stolen, who made it? Go wherever your Muse takes you.

Enjoy this prompt and leave your response in the comments. 1000 words maximum for a short story. Poems can be any length.

A quarterly prize will be given for the most voted for response.

Writing Prompt Contest – Old Car…


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Write a poem or short story using this classic car as your inspiration.

Enjoy your creativity with this prompt and leave your response in the comments. 1000 words maximum for a short story. Poems can be any length.

Vote for your favorite response as I send the winner a gift each quarter!

 

Writing Prompt Contest – Beach Trolley…


beach trolley

From the perspective of the trolley/shopping cart – write how it got to the beach.

Join in and enter for the quarterly prize for the top voted response to these weekly prompts – so make sure you comment below to enter the contest. 1000 word maximum.

Have fun with it.

 

Writing Prompt Contest – Candlelight…


letter

The candle flickered as she read the note…this is the start of your story or poem.

Join in and enter for the quarterly prize for the top voted response to these weekly prompts – so make sure you comment below to enter the contest. 1000 word maximum.

 

That Feeling Of Being In Limbo…A Writing Malaise


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We all feel directionless from time to time, whether it is work related boredom, a relationship stagnating or our writing process requires refreshing. We suffer the emotion and frustration in different ways depending on its source.

As for a writing malaise there are tools to get us back on track. We can employ the multitude of writing prompts available via the internet, whether they are pictures, sentences or random words to spark our imagination. There are word games we can purchase as well. And of course there are the numerous ‘filed’ ideas on our computer or notebooks that can be read through and reworked. Or we can explore the outside world for inspiration. Even the experience of quietly sitting in a cafe, library or other public place and people watching can spark a new idea or story.

Another ‘trick’ is to rewrite or create a story but change your usual genre or even the gender of the main character. A different perspective harnesses our creativity and ensures enthusiasm in writing again.

My current malaise is more overload than a lack of inspiration. With freelance clients, reviewing a friends new novel and a manuscript progressing tantalizingly slowly on top of ‘normal’ life, work, chores, family etc. etc. I feel discouraged coupled with anxiousness at what needs to be done and the apathy I am feeling. I need a break from the ‘norm’ to refresh and renew.

What methods have you used to ‘refresh’ your Muse?

Awake the God Thoth again!

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A Writers Conundrum – Finding Time to Write..


To have inspiration for our writing we must observe life, to avoid our family and friends abandoning us we need to engage with them, to pay the bills we must usually work a day job, to maintain our word count or deadline we must organize writing time. So the question is, how can we juggle all of these demands on our time with failing at each one?

Finding the ‘perfect’ balance between these is always a challenge. You may be in the depths of a scene when a small hand lands on your lap, a teenager ‘must’ be taken to a friends house, your husband needs help with a project or dare I say it your boss needs something from you? We inevitably crumble and leave the narrative in the hope you will remember the details later? We may scramble to jot down that idea, phrase or even paragraph before being torn away. I have looked to other writers, famous or not, and tried to delve beyond the obvious and gleam an insight into their methods of finding time. There are numerous hints and tips populating the internet but in the end you know your life and its limitations best. You may get up extra early, stay awake until the breaking dawn or cram a few paragraphs into your lunch hour – whatever works for you and your writing – is the right way to go. The trick is how to organize your time productively.

How do you schedule your writing?

What time of day works best for you?

I have to admit my writing is not scheduled. I take advantage of any time I’m left alone and once absorbed find it difficult to let go. Weekend mornings are good for me as I get up early and have several hours while my daughter is still sleeping and my husband is playing about in the garage! Other times I can use are the evenings when I arrive early for writing group meetings and write until the allotted time. Other ‘escape’ opportunities do arise and I always take advantage of them: a cancelled appointment, the house to myself or the glory of a  writing retreat! Obviously, I dream of the day I can shut myself away with my laptop and not have to answer to anyone…it will happen I just need to be patient.

With my freelance work increasingly demanding more of my time, I have to split my writing with that of clients. Maybe I am wrong but I tend to complete a client’s work prior to my own. Having a deadline for a paying job and completing it is, to my mind, more important and vital: a) for repeated work b) for remuneration. That is not to say I believe my own writing is secondary, far from it. Within my writing group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, I am fortunate to have other writers who engage in an annual novel workshop. At the beginning of the year, when several of us have participated in NaNoWriMo and others are ready to share their first draft, we meet every month until June (sometimes longer). We section our novels and email them to each other, then edit and comment on the narrative. Then at month’s end email our editing and meet to discuss the stories. It is beta reading within a ‘safe’ environment if you will. This mutual assistance enables me to edit my current manuscript with the views of several other authors and a ‘faster’ editing process too.

Care to share your writing schedule or tips you found useful?

My writing area expands a little each year! Where do you write?

New Writing DEsk 003new writing deskPicture Wall