The Moveable Writer

New technology and old comforts for today's writer.


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Keep the Writing Flowing from Scene to Scene

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Nathaniel Hawthorne’s House of Seven Gables – Salem, Massachusetts

I get so excited when I am writing and the words are flowing. I get so involved in the characters and the action that by the time I look up several pages have gone by. Ah, that is the sweet stuff.

As every writer knows, this is not always how it goes. Many times writing a single long scene is like giving birth. I can say this because I have given birth to two babies and the process is similar! It is hard to imagine how the finished product will squeeze out fully formed from the small words you are stringing together. It can be daunting – especially between scenes and major sections. When you are giving birth, it is inevitable what the outcome will be. Eventually you will finish. When we are writing a book, there is a chance we will not complete it. We may get overwhelmed or lost in the middle chapters. So, how do we ensure that we complete our novels?

Here are some techniques to try:

  1. Keep writing. I know this sounds naïve and cliché, but the truth is that if you have an hour or two a day to write and you normally can get two to three pages completed in that time, you should sit there and write during that time even if you can only churn out one paragraph. It is forward progress and that is more psychologically satisfying than surfing the Internet in procrastination because you feel blocked.  Logically, even if you have a week of one paragraph only days, it will get you to your next take off point where your words start to flow again. Just consider the alternative.
  2. Set a realistic date for the completion of the first draft of your book and tell everyone you know that you are working on a book and you will finish the first draft by this date. It is harder to stop working when you have publicly stated you will be completed by a specific date. It will motivate you. An added bonus is that people may offer to be first readers on your draft – if you like that sort of thing. I know I do! This leads us to the next technique.
  3. If you don’t already have a close friend (or editor) to read your writing, find someone you trust to be that person. Writers have many preferences when it comes to letting people read their work. However, if you have someone that will take direction about the amount of input, if any, you want to receive, let him or her read your writing chapter by chapter. It is very motivating to know that someone wants to find out what will happen next in your story. Some writing styles don’t work with this technique. If you write out of sequence you may not be able to do this one until you have written several chapters that fit together. Just make sure the person you choose does not discourage you with too many questions or comments during the first draft. You know who your friends are.
  4. Always end your writing when you know what is going to happen next. It makes it easy to get started the next day. This is equivalent to a good warm-up before physical exercise. Our mind also needs to be warmed up sometimes before it produces the melody of the written word. If you know in advance what comes next, your subconscious is working on it (warming up) for hours before you press that first key or sharpen that pencil.
  5. If all else fails, reread a couple of paragraphs that you have set aside from your most beloved authors. Sometimes the rhythm of your favorite writing will both inspire you and school you through that uphill climb.

Be inspired! Write it. Share it.

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We Can All Be Published

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Now is an exciting time for writers and an exciting time for publishing your work. We have been liberated and that means we have options. Gone are the days of the single paved road, of writing a proposal to an agent and waitingfor months to find out if they will try on your behalf to sell your work to a publisher. If you are lucky enough to find an agent it still doesn’t mean that the public will ever see your work. Don’t get me wrong. There is romance in trying to get published in the traditional way and there are so many great agents and publishers. However, it is extremely difficult to publish this way and I will tell you why. There are so many good writers and the agents and the publishers are only human. What I mean to say is that like anyone else with loads of work to get through, they have to take into account what they can spend their time on, it has to appeal to them, and they have to feel confident that they can sell it. Some of you may be grunting right now about the merit of a great novel regardless of whether or not it will sell right now. And I hear you loud and clear. This is why I celebrate our options!

At first I did not want to break from tradition, but now I am an excited fan of publishing manuscripts in the form of an e-book. For one thing it is free to do it. The most important thing is that it will guarantee that you have a chance to reach people who will love your book. I say that you have a chance because with all of the books currently being uploaded, it is hard for fans of your genre to find you. But marketing yourself is a discussion for later. It is progress and it doesn’t mean that you can’t try the traditional route with another manuscript. After all, a writer must write so there will be more manuscripts – sequels if we are lucky! Not only is it free to upload your e-book, but it is also free to make your book print-on-demand with Amazon or Lulu – to name a couple. Amazon currently ranks as the top seller for books so that is not a shabby place to have a print book for sale.

A couple of weeks ago, I navigated the Kindle Direct Publishing and Nook Press sites. I use Amazon for a lot of my shopping needs and so I was eager to publish there first and second on Barnes and Noble Nook Press. I was surprised to find out that the Barnes and Noble interface is so much more intuitive and forgiving than the Kindle Direct interface. This is true for the conversion to e-book formatting and for the reports generated by their systems. The main difference is that at Nook Press you can edit your manuscript directly in its preview mode and make sure that everything will look good to your readers. This includes typing chapter names and changing copy within the manuscript. If you need to make changes in Kindle Direct you need to do it in your document and upload it again, then check it to make sure it is working properly. This can get time consuming and frustrating especially if you are not sure why you are having formatting issues. As for the reporting, Nook Press gathers all of the information you need on one dashboard as opposed to Kindle Direct, which uses separate links to view reports. They both have what you need to maintain your records, but Nook Press is more accessible. I am working on the Lulu system now and will report back how it compares with Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

In this exciting new publishing world, every writer can share their works and reach their core audiences. We are liberated to write and to be published. This being said we still crave the comforts of the traditional writer, that being our creature comforts and habits that enable us to put words to paper, our favorite authors who inspire us to search for the best words, and the right tools with which to proceed. This blog is about all things old and new that will enhance the writing process from beginning to end.

Be inspired. Write it. Share it.