Weekend Workout: What is The Thing?

During the week, to prepare for Weekend Workout, I pay attention to my own writing practices in order to come up with the The Thing that will trigger inspiration, a new idea, and a way to move our work forward. Something expansive. The Thing for your main character functions in kind of the opposite way. The Thing for them is what drives them deeper into themselves. It’s a kind of motivation, but a self-destructive one. We are all self-destructive on some level. Not necessarily in a Leaving Las Vegas kind of way, but self-destructive none-the-less. We’ve sabotaged our relationships our careers our dreams. And if we’re honest with ourselves, we can admit it and see that it’s The Thing for us. We fear The Thing. In fiction writing, The Thing...

Holiday Writing Workout ~ Don’t Say It With Dialogue

Oh my, I now have a complete author crush on John Green. Any writer puts video of mating goats on his blog and whose fans are “nerdfighters” and booktour is called the “Tour de Nerdfighting” is up there in my world. As well, he has a non-profit giving and lending org called The Foundation to Fight World Suck. I’ve always had a fondness for smart funny guys. And I used to be into anagramming, like the protag from An Abundance of Katherines, although I did it on paper, not in my head. I’m no prodigy (Mod Pig Irony). Not only is Green super at creating messy characters, he is also fantastic at dialogue. Funny, witty, real dialogue. One of my favourite scenes in Abundance of Katherines reminded me of a writing exercise I used to do...

Holiday Writing Workout: Yay Mess!

So, I wrote a blog post yesterday and it disappeared. Blipped out of existence just like THAT (snaps magic fingers). Strange. Perhaps something was trying to tell me to get back to my rewrite. This is part of my mini-series: Holiday Writing Workout – for those working on a post NaNo hangover or who just want to keep the motor running through the holidaze. I liked the exercise inspired by book post from Monday, so I decided to explore that again. Right now I’m reading John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines. Just kick me in the shins this minute for waiting so long to pick up one of his books. I love, love, love the relationship between the protagonist and his best friend. Green writes the American YA version of Nick Hornby’s books (High...

Holiday Writing Middle Grade Monday Workout (or something like that) with Harriet the Spy

This is going to take some skill. I’m attempting to make my Middle Grade Monday entry and my Holiday Writing Workout somehow coalesce into a kind of genius new writing exercise via a book review. I haven’t had much time to read lately, but an NPR mention of a lesser known Louise Fizthugh novel called Nobody’s Family is Going to Change (now on my reading list) reminded me about one of my favourite MG books when I was a kid. Harriet the Spy. I loved this book so much I started my own neighborhood spy route – albeit nowhere near as risky as Harriet’s. I never snuck into a stranger’s house and besides, I’m pretty sure no one in my middle class neighborhood had a dumbwaiter I could hide in. from Fizthugh’s bio on...

Holiday Writing Workout (a.k.a. get yr motor running for the new year)

It’s not the 12 Days of Christmas; more like the day before and the 6 days after. For those working on their NaNo rewrites (or any writing for that matter), I present a workout activity each day (except Christmas) to end 2011 with a bang and rev up for a new year of writing. Today’s workout focuses on what to do when you get stuck. “THINKING” ON THE PAGE Anyone who has taken a writing workshop from me knows that I am a big on working thing out on the page. Sometimes during a timed writing exercise in one of my classes I’ll look up and see a frozen someone with a pained expression on his face. It’s the look of someone trying to find the right words before he gets them down. This just happened last week and after class I told the...

Weekend Workout: More This is a Story About

My virtual friend Miriam Forster is debuting as a published author and her final rewrite is due at the end of the month. If you have ever been through this process, you will fall in love with her when you read HER POST about what it’s like having your child book leave the nest. She hits it on the nose when it comes to the difficulty of that final rewrite before it’s out of your hands. The thing is, it’s never perfect. You could go on tweaking your manuscript forever. At some point, you just have to let it go. I’m telling this to myself as much as you b/c my final rewrite is also due at the end of the month and I’ve been petting the pooch for the past week. Perfectionism feeds the procrastination monster at my house. When it gets like...