Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Get to Know that Allusive Character

Happy Wednesday, Literati!

I stumbled upon this interesting writer's tool this morning, and thought that I'd share. It's definitely fun reading what other writers have put out there. Soooo if you've got a shy character who you just can't figure out, perhaps this site can assist! Writing is such a solitary torture activity, so when writers come together, it can truly be an invaluable asset. If you're lucky enough to be part of an awesome writing group (as I am), then you know what I mean! If you're a writer and aren't part of a critique/beta group, my advice? Find one! Go to conferences, get involved with your local writing community and/or writing orgs/chapters, or find an online community, trust me, your experience will be priceless and your writing will improve. I cannot express this enough, it is important for writers to get critical feedback, and family members and best friends do not count! (Hops off soap box, spills oatmeal...seriously, I really did just spill oatmeal all over myself. Nice.)

Anyway, check out the link below and let us know if you post one of your characters up there!

Flesh Out Your Fictional Character on Reddit

Happy Reading and Writing!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Non-Fiction. That is All.

Hello Literati!

Can you believe we're already a couple weeks into March? It's incredible how quickly the days go by. I am, however, happy to report that I did bust out of my Writer's Block. (Freeeedom!) It just took scraping twenty two pages, but hey, whatever works, right? Things are better this way, right? Right? ... (insert cricket chirps here) ...

So, I've been tackling a horrible case of insomnia lately (let's face it, if it's not Writer's Block, it's something else!). Earlier this week, said insomnia led me to open my Netflix queue at 10 p.m. and browse. I came upon a movie that I've always wanted to see, and decided it was about time to give it a shot. The movie? Capote. I know, I know! How have I not seen this movie before?? What?!? How could I? The horror!! 

I won't review the movie here (it was good, enough said), but I will say this, it got me thinking about non-fiction. What I've always found fascinating is how the non-fiction novel, when compared to fiction, is like...well, a newborn baby. For those unawares, Truman Capote's book, In Cold Blood, is considered to be the first work of non-fiction ever published. The book was published in a four-part series by The New Yorker in 1965. That's right, 1965! See? Non-Fiction, a baby genre. Consider fiction for a second, with the first stirrings of the genre being discovered as early as 2000 BC. And stories such as The Illiad and The Odyssey were recorded in 8th century BC. 

Yeah, let that sink in.

Why did it take so long for the birth of a non-fiction story? I have no idea. There are some critics who will site other works as non-fiction, but it's widely agreed that Capote's book was the first non-fiction novel. 

I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but of what I have read, I've enjoyed. If you are new to non-fiction, I'd suggest In Cold Blood, but if you're not one for gory details, check out another one of my favorites, The Catcher was a Spy. And there's always Into Thin Air, which was excellent! How about you, is there a non-fiction book you'd recommend?

In the spirit of Capote, I've taken up a book I've had for a couple years and have yet to read: The Devil in the White City. It's more of a creative non-fiction novel, but so far it's incredibly interesting! So if you're a fiction junkie, maybe next time you're browsing through Goodreads, or trying to figure out what to read next, take a look at something non-fiction, it may surprise you!

What non-fiction books have you read and loved? Or are you devoted to fiction and simply refuse to read non-fiction? Let us know!

...And as always, Happy Reading and Writing!

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Infinite Colossal Wall of Obstruction

We've all been there.

Having a desire to accomplish something - a dream, a goal, getting through a Monday...but then you run into it: The Infinite Colossal Wall of Obstruction. It may be made of brick, cement, a fence running with high voltage electricity...whatever you picture this wall's materials, its sole function is to keep you from accomplishing your intended goal. 

Writer's refer to it oh-so lovingly as Writer's Block.

And right now, it has me walled in! The Wall has me locked within its tight embrace. There are no windows, no light, and no air in this metaphoric cell of brick and mortar.

I was hoping to tug out the unfortunate plot belly my current novel is experiencing. I need to add action, some suspense, a little more mystery (it IS a YA Historical Mystery after all!). So I know what I MUST do, I just have no idea HOW to do it. Not that I've never suffered from plot belly before, but in the past I was able to do a few crunches and voila! But not this last week/weekend. No amount of exercise or evading to other creative outlets (tutu for daughter - check, sew new dress for daughter - check, finish knitting scarf for Mom - check, make ABC books for my kids - check), nothing, NOTHING would permit me to scale that electric fence of definite Writer's Block. (Yes, my wall is brick, covered with electric fencing, and some other alien technology that blasts me with lasers should I attempt to escape.)

I usually find that writing prompts aide in hunting down my snarky muse. But not this time. My characters abandoned me. Ice cream didn't help either. Looking at nice big houses in Santa Barbara did nothing for me. Nor did packing up my sister's stuff for her big move to San Antonio (not that it would, I'm not writing a tragedy here). A small part of me DID, however, blame a certain show that failed to air a new episode this week...but I digress.

What tools do you turn to when you find yourself stuck in a pit of dreaded Writer's Block and your muse is being elusive? Is there a trick you revert to when you're trying to finish any project and just can't find the motivation? What do you turn to for that swift kick in the rear? What are your secrets for breaking down The Wall?

I'd love to hear what works for you, and as always, Happy Reading and Writing!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

March Madness

Move aside basketball, because 2013's March Madness doesn't center around dribbles or exaggerated falls; but instead, centers around the massive amount of writing contests! I couldn't believe how many contests are out there this month!

I've listed some of the plethora of March Writing Contests below, but a simple Google search will bring up even more opportunities (Search: Writing Contests)! Let us know if you're entering any of the contests! 

Deadline: March 31, 2013
Fee: $22
Prize: $2500
Submissions: Shorts, Essays, and Novel Excerpts

Deadline: March 31, 2013
Fee: $0
Prize: Review from an agent, plus $5000
Submissions: Fiction

Deadline: March 31, 2013
Fee: $22
Prize: $1000
Submissions: Short Story or Novel Excerpt
**This contest is only for writers 45 years and older.***

Deadline: March 31, 2013
Fee: Membership
Prize: $2000
Submissions: SEVEN Categories to choose from! 

Deadline: April 17, 2013
Fee: $25
Prize: $1000
Submissions: New, never published story up to 1200 words.
**Writers must have at least one child under the age of 10.**

As always, check out Miss Snark's First Victim and Glimmer Train for recurring contests!  Best of luck and Happy Writing!

My trusty grammar source: