Book Reviews and Writing Tips

Book Reviews and Writing Tips

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Thoughts on Creativity

Sometimes, calling up my creative self and staying in writing or rewriting mode can be a challenge when I’m not in the mood or not feeling creative.  I think this is natural because we all have to incorporate our regular lives in with our writing ones and it helps to remember some things.  I’m usually thinking about areas in my book or certain points I can make better, or perhaps eliminate or condense.  The greatest breakthroughs seem to burst into my head when I’m trying to get to sleep.  Go figure that when I couldn’t get things to mesh all day.

During these times, I look for inspiration everywhere.  What I like best is to read tips and articles that inspire me, perhaps even a book.  I especially like quotes.

Look at this one:

"A student of life considers the world a classroom."
--Harvey MacKay

Think about this.  We are never too old to learn something new and we'll never know 100% of everything.  I feel we can learn from all sorts of things in daily life every single day.  What a wonderful thing this is.  We can apply this quote to writing by being open to new ideas and constructuve criticism.  

Of course, we all want to hear how wonderful our work is, whether it's writing, painting or taking photographs, but the problem is none of us can learn this way.  We need objective people we trust who can help with a constructive approach, not a confrontational one.

Creativity will never go away if we were born this way, but we should keep boundaries in mind or we may find ourselves daydreaming the day away.  Setting limits and implementing schedules is a good idea.  This isn't something I necessarily like to do, but if I don't keep my mind reigned in, I'll be off on some fantasy adventure instead of pursuing the goal at hand, which is the rewrite of my mystery manuscript.

Baby chipmunks in my backyard

Right now, it's so beautiful here that it's easy to be swept away watching all the new wildlife babies passing through my yard daily. This would be great inspiration if I were writing a children's book.  I find myself making up short animal stories in my head.  Yes, I'm being creative, but not in the right way.

I realize I'll never finish my book this way, so it's nose to the grindstone while I wait for my last chapter to come back to me with some helpful criticism from the ladies who are kind enough to read it for me.

Is anyone else out there working on a rewrite?  How's it going?  Do you have any tips to share?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Does your mindset influence real life outcomes?

Research shows that the way we feel about ourselves does influence our lives.  This is a no brainer if you really think about it.  Naturally, we’ll attract a negative outcome if we think we’re not good enough at whatever it is we’re undertaking.

You may believe you are destined to think a certain way and be a certain way, not believing that personal growth is possible.  If you think you’re not good enough, it will affect your long-term skills.  When asked to do something you consider out of reach, you may feel unmotivated or demoralized.  Of course, this will how you feel if you believe you were born with all the talent, interests, temperament, etc that you’ll ever have.  With this sort of mindset, it will be almost impossible to achieve great things because you’re limiting yourself. 

On the other end of the spectrum is the growth mindset.  Most people know they aren’t geniuses but they believe that accomplishments are possible with work.  If we make the effort, we can build our skills.  We can succeed and overcome our challenges.

This concerns everything in life, but in this case, we can apply it to writing by reading and writing as much as we can to learn as much as possible.  Patience and repetition is the key here.  Eventually with enough practice, the right procedures will become a part of our thinking and it will become second nature to us.

I hope this motivates you to get to work on your manuscript.  You can do it!

Monday, May 18, 2015

The subplot in writing

As I’m rewriting my mystery book, I’ve been thinking about this a lot.  We all know it’s good to build depth to our characters and show them as real people with real issues that we all have in life.  To write a book that is like real life should be the goal.  We want our readers to feel like the story is really happening, or could happen as we write it.

Real life is a messy business.  We all have issues to deal with on a daily basis and things that crop up and surprise us too.  If we put our characters into some of these situations, we’re showing more about them and the real people they are underneath the persona they display to the public.

The subplots running under the main narrative make our characters real, believable people who are tackling their own demons as they solve the crisis going on in the main storyline.

Subplots work to make the story better in any genre.  There are so many ideas to choose from, such as an impending divorce, turmoil on the home front, addiction, an old flame or enemy emerging on the scene, betrayal, revenge, an unpleasant discovery about someone the protagonist never really knew at all, or something else that would cause the hero internal conflict that interferes with the current problem. 

We all have things to hide.  How well can you ever know anyone?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Showing versus Telling

All of us have heard this at least a hundred times.  I found this quote in Writer’s Digest.  I think it sums up this concept well.

“If you tell a reader that Bull Beezley is a brutal-faced, loose-lipped bully, with snake’s blood in his veins, the reader’s reaction may be, ‘Oh yeah!’  But if you show the reader Bull Beezley raking the bloodied flanks of his weary, sweat-encrusted pony, and flogging the tottering, red-eyed animal with a quirt, or have him booting in the protruding ribs of a starved mongrel and, boy, the reader believes!”
 – Fred East, WD

What do you think?