Tuesday, December 28, 2010

finding time to write

christmas day is passed but we are still smack dab in the middle of the busy holiday season.  and as much as i LOVE this time of year i am always a little bit frustrated that i can't find as much time to write.   i'd love to know how you get around this issue.  do you simply decide to put it off until january 4th of the new year?  do you stay up later and wake up earlier with hopes to get a few new words down?  do you surround your toddler with all of his new toys and hope it entertains him long enough for you to get out a few pages?  (yes, i am guilty of this.)

one thing i do is take any opportunity i can to do mental writing workouts.  ok, it sounds kine of strange but the same way i get out of shape physically when i stop exercising - i can get out of shape mentally if i don't keep the stories flowing.  so whenever i'm doing the dishes or cooking a meal, or cleaning the toilets... i try to come up with random scenerios in my head and make a good story out of it.  its like my own secret aerobics class - only its in my head and i'm excercising my creativity. 

i find that if i do this a few times a day the ideas flow more freely when i do find that miraculous moment to write.

what do you do?

Friday, December 10, 2010

my life according to facebook (and other opinions on fictional dialogue)

the following image is a collage of my facebook status updates from the year 2010. 
some of them are funny, some of them tell a story or just describe my mood at the time.
but the thing that struck me as i read through them is that they all have substance. 
my biggest pet-peeve in fictional dialogue is boring words! 
what are boring words?  in my opinion they're words like:
"how are you?"
"it's nice to meet you."
 "i agree."
 "sounds fun!"
 "let's go."
"have a good day!"
"bye for now."
of course these are words/phrases that we use a million times in ever day conversation,
but they don't move the story. 
and if you use them too much (in my opinion, at all) the story is going to be boring and i'm going to put it down before i get to the juicy stuff. 
fictional dialogue should start somewhere in the middle of the conversation. 
you only have a few words to capture an audience, so you need to do it quickly!
  take facebook status updates.
when was the last time you updated your profile with, "hi everyone!" or "i'm doing good today." it just doesn't happen.  i was scanning my own list of this year's updates and here are a few of my favorites:
  • meatloaf has a bad wrap for a reason.
  • i feel bad about the fact that swearing actually does make me feel better.
  • i think i just got into a face-to-face argument with the UPS guy.
i never said, hi. i never asked the facebook world how it was doing.  but i didn't have to.
so the next time you're putting words in your characters' mouths, try starting in the middle of the conversation and see what happens.