5 Reasons Why Your Novel Loses Steam

You lost your momentum. Your once exciting story feels like it’s gone off the rails somehow. The great beginning gave way to a floundering middle and you don’t know why. It’s frustrating and worrisome but don’t despair. This is a common, fixable problem.

So you’ve written a novel, but something is not quite right. You have a spectacular beginning to your story; a compelling hook, riveting main characters, and a worrisome conflict. Great!  Your ending is excellent with a twist, with a killer resolution – the satisfying all is well or isn’t this ironic last few words.

The problem, you decide, is the stuff in between. The middle of your book is lacking something. There’s no spark, no oomph.

Here are 5 tell-tale signs that your plot is losing steam.

1. Your main characters spend too much time apart.

This little tid-bit actually made a light go on in my head when I realized that the subplot was keeping my main characters apart for a large portion of the book. Doesn’t matter if they’re romantically involved or resolving a different type of relationship. They have to be together to get together.  You need time to build tension and your characters need time to resolve their conflict.

2. Your main character isn’t stressed out.

Conflict is the key to a good story. It creates tension and drama. If your main character is happy and comfortable they are also boring. Whether it’s an arch nemesis sabotaging them at every turn or a love interest that is out of reach, your main character has to suffer. Throwing conflicts in front of them also shows what they’re made of, how deep their desire goes for a given outcome, and what the stakes are. These revelations not only drive a story, they push your character along their arc of development.

3. Random, pointless details.

Do you write about the morning routine? Driving places? How about a few paragraphs describing boring stuff like what they do at work?  Busy work that doesn’t push the plot loses the reader and makes your characters too ordinary. Remember that your book is an escape for your readers. Only use the day to day if it’s significant. For example; if they don’t do something that later on proves a mistake. Then it’s a plot point.

4. Recapping and redundant conversations.

Your reader isn’t dumb. Don’t treat them like they are. If you already showed something in a scene, you don’t need to spend time talking about it, unless it’s a really convoluted storyline in which case sagging probably isn’t the only problem.

5. Second Fiddle becomes more interesting.

If secondary characters, supporting staff, and scenery become the focus of your book you’re in trouble. Quirky side-kicks, sassy best friends, the Beta-Male/friend are all essential, but be aware of those characters taking over. Avoid this by limiting their backstory to only what is relevant to the plot.

But wait. There is hope. Here are some steps to take BEFORE your plot starts to slow that will allow you to side-step the whole horrifying ordeal.  I know that some SEAT OF YOUR PANTS writers out there will hate me for this, but OUTLINING, is the best way to check for signs of trouble. An outline of your plot will help you see some essential components you might be missing.

Make sure you have a book-length plot. The number one reason for losing steam halfway through a story is that you don’t have enough of a plot to support a book-length manuscript.  The subplot doesn’t have enough emotional twists and turns or the main plot is too linear.  An outline can help you see if you need more of one or the other or if your novel should really be a novella or short story.

Make sure you limit the action. This may sound backwards, but too much action and your book becomes frenetic and hard to follow. Doling out the tension systematically, piece by piece, ramping up the stakes just a bit each time is a more effective way to keep your story exciting.

The middle matters in matters of the heart. Use the middle to focus on the romance or the relationship issues between characters. Make sure they contribute to major turning points in the plot.  Don’t go off on tangents like side character issues, or backstory. If you know the middle of novels tends to sag fill it with juicy stuff and it won’t.

Now it’s always a good idea to do check for these problems before your WIP needs a major overhaul. Sometimes going back in and adding subplots or adjusting the pace can fix your novel, but that can be frustrating. Bypass lengthy revisions by simply planning ahead and employing these strategies to avoid a plot that runs out of steam.

What Color Is Your Creativity? AW’s August Blog Chain

My muse wears a kaleidoscope of blueMy muse is a closet chameleon. She shifts and changes color at whim to suit the inspirational environment she brings in any moment. Like an actress or model who changes wardrobe every time she steps out on the stage my muse loves to embrace dramatic inspiration with her dress sense.

Today she’s wearing a taffeta summer dress of light coral and corn. Vibrant colors that often make me want to get out and enjoy life. There is a chill in this Australian winter morning but I see the cerulean sky and bright, early morning shades of daffodil, sunshine outside my window. I want to be out there, playing. I wore pink today too. A shade of orchid rather than coral but it suits the cheery mood of my muse. It’s a nod to her effervescent enthusiasm. When she wears pink I think of painting and ice sculpting. I think of synchronized swimming and dance. Dramatic, full-body expressions of creativity rather than the physical stillness facing the page.

When I’m focused and resolute in my work she shifts into ocean waves of blue, a mixture of blue colors that flow and swell. The ultramarine glisten with iridescence cornflower. There is never a single blue but every shade of blue from cyan to midnight. A kaleidoscope of turquoise and sapphire. Holograms of denim and periwinkle that never appear the same way once your lose sight of the first glimpse.

When my muse wears blue she draws me to the page. Blue communicates. It is open and giving. Calm blue waters darken in the depth of emotional intensity. Bright blue skies transcend us, lifting us into the heavens where blue darkens again into the inky black beyond.

Red Velvet Fairy Medieval Renaissance Theme Wedding Gown with Cape and Jewelry on EtsyI surround myself with the color blue when I want to write. Blue, and purple. Purple is for reaching into the imagination and spirituality. It is flights of fantasy. It is the open communication of blue mixed with the vibrant passion and fire of red and orange. Sometimes when I’m writing fiction my muse wears an indigo gown made of velvet. But when I’m working on my current novel she wears a medieval gown in scarlet, and black, with cords of gold.

When I knew I’d be trying to choose one single color for August’s Blog Chain at Absolute Write I knew I’d have trouble. So many colors speak to me creatively and like my muse, the connection to color changes from moment to moment with my emotions and with the specific project I’m working on. So, I thought I’d ask others what color they associate with their writing.

Like me, Kari Wolfe feels her writing through “all different colors”. She said, “Currently, I write with multicolored gel-ink pens. Each paragraph is a different color…”

Laura Campbell said, “Purple as I mainly write about fantasy and purple is the magic colour!” and Cari Lynn Vaughn also thinks purple represents her writing, “The Purple Rose is a symbol for perseverance and transcendence.”

Lorraine Powell‘s chick-lit is pink. While Susan McCabe‘s pink is for, “calmness and serenity.”

Misti Bailey Sandefur writes in yellow. She said, “I like to write stories that will inspire my readers and warm their souls, and to me, yellow is a happy color.” Another reader, Cheryl Grey, describes her writing as, “Emerald green” because “it’s one of the most peaceful parts of my life.” While Evea Morrow has connects her writing to “blue- because most horror movies are shot with a blue filter” and Anthony Jennings to black who’s “stories have dark endings or plots.”

The range of colors we each gravitate to is broad and I found reading the other entries in the blog chain just as fascinating as the comments from The Craft of Writing Fiction readers. Check out these other entries and leave a comment below or write a blog post of your own describing the color of your creativity. “If you had to pick one color for any aspect of your writing, which one would it be and why?”

Photo Credit: 阿乃
Photo Credit: Red Velvet Fairy Medieval Renaissance Theme Wedding Gown with Cape and Jewelry on Etsy

Story POV: Yours, Mine, and the Truth

Choosing your stories point of view (POV)

“There are three sides to every story: your side, my side, and the cold, hard truth.” ~ Don Henley

Choosing your point of view (POV) is one of the most critical aspects of your novel writing. Yet it is also one of the most automatic. Most writers leap into a story, and start writing from their main character’s perspective, in either the first or third person. This early decision can cause issues later on, if the point of view isn’t the ideal one for your story.

POV is also one of the main tools that establishes the narrative mode of your story. It dictates how involved your readers become, by limiting how much information your characters are able to reveal. It brings a unique perspective to the story, which can drastically change if you rewrite a passage with a different point of view. Take a look at some of the most commonly used points of view in literature, and see if your writing could benefit from a perspective face lift.

First Person POV

Your main character speaks directly to your audience, using “I, me, mine”. When using the first person, you are restricted to revealing only one character’s inner thoughts. Your readers see the world through your protagonist’s eyes only, learning new facts only when they are discovered by your hero. Descriptions of your setting, other characters, and obstacles are all filtered through the POV character’s perspective.

This technique is particularly effective when you are writing a character driven story. Your theme will often depend on the character’s personal growth, inner transformation, and the struggles she faces. It is less effective when you need to be able to switch your perspective from character to character, as readers may struggle when presented with another first person point of view within a story. You may try switching characters at chapter breaks, but readers will greatly identify with the character whose head they’ve been in from the beginning, and may resist the unusual break in perspective.

Third Person Limited POV

Your narrator or narrative voice speaks about your characters, using “he, she, them” while focusing primarily on one or two characters. You still retain some of your authority as a writer, and can describe the rest of the story’s world without the need to take your protagonist’s perspective into consideration. Usually, the story will focus on only one character within a chapter, and perspective switches occur at chapter breaks.

Romances are a great example of when two characters share the protagonist role, and when third person limited is split between two characters. However, be on the lookout for when your point of view slides into another person’s perspective without you realizing it. This can cause confusion for your readers, who may not understand why your story is being seen through another person’s eyes all of a sudden. Also, make sure that you don’t unintentionally reveal facts and thoughts that your protagonist cannot know, or else your story’s continuity can be undermined.

Third Person Omniscient POV

Your narrator speaks in a similar way to third person limited, except that they can reveal anything and everything about your characters. The sky’s the limit here, as you can begin with a grand overview of your book’s world, and then zoom in to the perspective of a bumblebee. This perspective is excellent for plot driven stories, where you need to jump from scene to scene taking place in various areas of the world.

However, third person omniscient is also one of the most difficult perspectives to do well. If you jar your readers too much by jumping around, they may lose interest and set your story down. While you can do anything you want, you probably shouldn’t. Guide your readers through your story with grace and skill, and they will be blown away by the expansiveness and complexity of your tale.

Choose a passage from your latest story, and determine what POV you have used. Try rewriting it another point of view, and see how your story changes! What is your favorite point of view?

Photo Credit: Dreamglow Pumpkincat210

Fiction Writing Success: The Markers And Achievements

One of the biggest mistakes a writer can make is to define her success by some future marker.One of the biggest mistakes a writer can make is to define her success by some future marker. The successful writer isn’t the Hugo Award winner, the New York Times Bestseller, or even the name on a spine at Barnes & Noble. The successful writer is the one who writes. Did you write today?

In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield talks about, “turning pro”. Many amateur writers approach the page casually. When a writer has a vision of success that is some future marker they approach writing as an amateur.

If you feel like you have to “be published” to be successful, your concentration isn’t on the writing, it’s on the need and desire to be published. You don’t want to be a writer, you want to be published. What happens when you reach this marker of success? Your first book is published, now what? You’re successful? The end? What about the second book? Will there be a second book? Perhaps a successful fiction writer is really the person who writes more than one book. Perhaps a successful fiction writer is prolific. The marker of success moves as you reach milestones and you never have the opportunity to enjoy a sense of accomplishment.

Perhaps your idea of success is the understanding and acknowledgment of a reader. This validation is valuable, but it’s not real success. If your sense of success is dependent on the compliments and praise of readers your sense of failure is equally dependent. Most writers receive far more rejection then they do approval. If your sense of success is founded on the opinion of others you’re on a swift road to failure. A bad review will destroy your motivation. Fear of rejection will paralyze you; it is one of the most powerful causes of writer’s block. You must “[seed] your professional consciousness in a place other than [your] personal ego”1.

It’s important to have goals and markers as we build our writing career. When we first pick up our pens we commit to a word, a sentence, a paragraph, a page. We build on our milestones; a scene, a chapter, a book. Our goals grow with our writing and they give us a strong sense of destination and destiny. But, these markers and achievements do not equate success. Success cannot be measured on future accomplishments. Success is in what you do right now.

Examine your personal motivations as a writer. Why are you really doing this?

Now, look again, look deeper, because your surface reasons aren’t your real reasons at all. The ONLY real reason any of us follow this career path is because, “we love to write”. If you don’t, get out now.

Every one of us has the right to choose which career we venture into and, unlike the basic “day job” where you show up, clock on, and get paid, writing requires a commitment that will not be sustained by any drive other than love. Writing is a passion and the rewards of that writing are secondary.

In knowing that we choose to write for love our success comes from the act and not achievement.

Success built from creativity, confidence, courage, focus, will, luck, motivation, time, imagination, intelligence, ideas, and hardwork.Each time you begin writing, you are successful. If you wrote today, you are a successful writer. (Ok, so in some parts of the world it’s early morning so we will allow you time before work to relax but did you write yesterday? If you did, you’re a successful writer.)

If you’re truly passionate about being a successful fiction writer and you haven’t written today, stop reading, fire up your word processor, and write, right now!

Did you write today? Congratulations! I hope you took a moment to bask in the sense of accomplishment within your success. Now, how do you feel?

Footnotes
1 Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art
Photo Credit: 02-04-08 © ayzek
Photo Credit: 10-13-09 © Janne Ahvo

Inspire Your Children to Write Fiction

Inspire Your Children To Write FictionFor most of us, the gift of writing is cathartic and freeing.  I received the first gift of a journal, full of empty pages just waiting for my words, sent me into bliss at the ripe ole’ age of eight.  My memories of being given this gift at an early age inspired me to pass on a love of writing to my own two rug rats.  It may seem like a daunting task to have a thirteen-year-old sit down at his computer to write a story.  Especially, if you consider that this type of request from a teacher would send him into a complete tailspin.

How do you get around this?  All kids are inspired by what their parents do.  Sometimes we miss the subtle clues screaming “Hey this kid has talent.”  However, you know that within each of them a story lives.  The basics for employing a love of writing start early.  If they can pick up a pen, they can describe the way it felt to jump in the pool the first time the weather permitted, or how meeting their new teacher felt.  Wonder of wonders, they may write something they hadn’t expected, and that clues you in to their intimate childhood worlds.

Of course, how the concept is presented will influence your chances to inspire you children to read and write.  This is the difference between a frown when you suggest they write about their trip to zoo, and “Good Idea!”.  Making the idea their own is important; you need to show interest, and spur their imaginations.  Simply saying, “Don’t you think it would be cool to write about our vacation?”, may not work.  However, you may be surprised by their response if you say, “Help me think of a character who lived in this area… do think they would have special qualities?  What do you think their problems, fears, and dreams would be?”

My oldest child loves to get involved in my stories and help me develop characters.  He is also a deft creator of turmoil and drama.  During our conversations about my own writing, I sometimes suggest that he would better communicate the intricacies of the character.  Now he has a small book of his own writing and is quite proud of it. Of course, I’m very proud too.  My hope is that he will learn to purge his frustration into his stories, a benefit to him, and his characters.

We should all inspire the writers of the future so a truly beautiful art form is never lost!

Do you inspire and encourage your children to write fiction? What are your own earliest memories of being encouraged to write?

Photo Credit: 07-24-08 © Yucel Yilmaz

Talent Casting: Audition Your Fiction Character

Selecting the talent. Casting the fiction characters of your story.Writing fiction is sometimes about finding the right talent, casting the right fiction character for the role, or creating a cast of rich and multi-dimensional personalities. There are a number of character creation methods and each writer learns their most effective character development tools through research and experience. My own process continues to grow and develop as my writing grows up.

Click here to get your copy of James Chartrand and Taylor Lindstrom's How to Create Believable CharactersA few months ago I bought myself a clever e-book called “How to Create Believable Characters” by James Chartrand and Taylor Lindstrom. It’s packed with practical information on how to build your very own fiction character, or role-playing alter-ego, from scratch. I read it eagerly, already fascinated with character development and creation.

As I read, I drank in every piece of advice it offered. I gained a better understanding of why I write the way I write and I improved my character creation skills. I learned how to choose and create talent; casting the “right” protagonist for each fiction story.

There are two “schools” when writing fiction. One is a “plot-driven” story where you develop an intense plot, a situation into which you place characters. I am in the other “school”, a writer who discovers a protagonist first and then writes a plot that gives that star her life and purpose. This is a ‘character-driven’ story. Can you think of any “character-driven stories” you’ve read recently?

Who is she?

When I first decide to write a new story, I visualize my heroine. Most of the time it’s a ‘she’, simply because I’m used to thinking like a girl. I do know female writers who prefer to write male characters (and do a fantastic job of it too) but for some reason I prefer writing women.

My heroine may be young or old, clever, stupid, pretty, dull… I spend some time trying to get to know her. I don’t decide ‘how she is’ instead, I get a feel for ‘who she is’.

Who is your protagonist?There are some elements I decide up front. Is she stubborn, or reckless, or depressed? I follow my instincts and she becomes whatever most sparks my interest at that time.

Other aspects come naturally as I continue to think about her. It might fit her to be afraid of dogs; maybe she is a school teacher. Does she have any particular talent casting her into the spotlight? Is she likely to go for the bad boy type, or does she prefer the office underdog. (Oh, perhaps she would usually go for the bad boy type but falls for the office underdog!)

Becoming Herself

After developing my protagonist’s traits and personality, I give my fiction character a life. Some of her past was determined earlier in the character creation process. Now it is time to explore her history and to decide what has happened to shape her into the person she is. Plot elements begin to emerge as her life takes form.

Here’s where it gets tricky. After the fun of writing, planning, and mapping out my heroine’s intriguing story, I notice aspects of her that no longer “fit”. As I focus on plot development I sometimes find that, this protagonist isn’t right for this plot.

Why not add that lacking ‘something’ to my original character? That would be the obvious and easy way to fix my dilemma, wouldn’t it? Couldn’t we force her to be what we want, gift her with that particular skill or talent? Casting her into a role that doesn’t suit her, however, is not a simple solution.

My characters become “real” the minute I start developing them, which means they have their own faults, traits, and personality. They are imperfect in a carefully balanced way – each and every one is unique.

Giving my heroine a new flaw or quality, just because the plot calls for it and not because it feels a part of her, causes her to lose that sense of being “real”. It makes her thin, stiff, two-dimensional; the organic creation process has been broken.

(There is of course another side to this. The needed flaw or quality could be a part of her in-story development or personal development goals… But that is for another post.)

It’s Talent Casting Time!

Now, I have this great story, all lined up for exploring and turning into a masterpiece, but my protagonist just isn’t right for the part. Do I scratch it and start over? No way!

I do a talent casting call.

I have tons of talent on hold that got dumped from other stories because they didn’t fit. Are any of them perfect for this role? If none of those characters are suitable, I think about which traits this protagonist needs and make that aspect a starting point for a new rising star.

By now I’ve changed the story several times and every time I do another call. I change the story a little for every character. After auditioning many people for the job they have all influenced the final story and add to it’s richness and depth.

Once I’ve my found leading lady, I can begin talent casting the supporting roles.

While this method can be time consuming in the early planning stages of fiction writing, the outcome is a full cast of strong characters I know and understand like old friends. They are the “right” characters for their specific role and are a good fit for the story. The writing process becomes easier because I’m no longer struggling with uncooperative, pigeon-holed characters. Now, when I’m writing fiction, I don´t “decide” my character likes or does things, I “know” she does.

The Final Curtain Call

In the end, my story becomes both plot-driven and character-driven. It is packed with a powerful selection of multi-dimensional, realistic personalities. The cast of characters live their own lives and I record it rather than control it.

Have you tried talent casting your characters? What other methods have you used to develop the star of your story?

Click here to get your copy of James Chartrand and Taylor Lindstrom's How to Create Believable Characters

Photo Credit: 01-12-10 © John-Francis Bourke
Photo Credit: 04-10-07 © Sean Locke

25 Ways To Work Creative Play Into Your Life

Work Creative Play Into Your Life!Writers in general, and novelists in particular, are creative people, but it can be difficult to find time for creative play when you’re faced with deadlines (even if you’re the one setting them), and everything else you have going on in your life. Here are twenty-five ways you can find time for creative play that will help you keep the ideas coming for your fiction writing.

  1. Schedule time for creativity.
  2. If your projects allow, create in the car while you’re waiting on your kids at ball practice.
  3. Plan your projects for creative play in short bursts of time so you will have time to make progress.
  4. Get up 30 minutes or so early.
  5. Go to bed 30 minutes or so later.
  6. Work on your favorite project on your lunch hour.
  7. If you have a day job and if your project allows, go in to work 30 minutes or so early to work on it.
  8. Stay at work 30 minutes or so late to work on it. (This has the added benefit of helping you miss the worst of rush hour.)
  9. Take advantage of built-in holidays and devote those days to your creative project(s).
  10. Take a look at how much TV you watch in the evenings. Cut out a program or two to free up time for creative play.
  11. Practice delayed creative play. If you’re in the car or at work and can’t stop to work on your project, make notes to yourself so you don’t lose the inspiration/idea when you have time later.
  12. If you can’t make notes (such as if you’re driving), use a digital voice recorder or the voice record option on your mobile phone to leave verbal notes for yourself.
  13. Or, call your house and leave a message on your answering machine.
  14. Keep a notebook & pen by your bed to jot down ideas in the middle of the night and remember to work on them the next day.
  15. Keep a notebook and pen in the bathroom to write down ideas that come to you in the shower and remember to work on them later in the day (or the next day, if you shower in the evening).
  16. On weekends or when school is out, put a movie in for your kids and use that time to work on your creative projects.
  17. Write while your kids play at the park!

  18. When the weather is nice and you have a transportable project, take your kids to the park and spend that time working on your project (while also, of course, keeping an eye on the kids).
  19. If your kids are small and take naps, use their nap time to work on your creative projects.
  20. Invest in your creative projects. When you spend money on something, you generally hate to feel like it’s wasted, so you make time to use the supplies you’ve bought.
  21. Instead of turning the TV on, put a music CD in or turn on your iPod with motivational music (whatever you find motivational, whether rock or classical or country) and work on your creative project while it plays.
  22. Start a blog to talk about your progress on your creative projects. You probably won’t like going too long without posting an update with actual progress, so you’ll be more motivated to work on it.
  23. Take pictures of your progress to post to your blog as additional motivation.
  24. Find a group of like-minded people that meets regularly. Meetings require updates, which will also get you working on your creative projects.
  25. Join an online community (like The Craft or Writing Fiction!) devoted to your area of creativity and answer questions about technique. Talking about what you do and how you did it motivates you to keep doing it.
  26. Give yourself deadlines that you have to meet. You schedule time to work on projects with deadlines. Give your creative play the same level of importance.

Yes, some of these tips are silly. The idea is that you should make time (and you can find time if you really look for it) for creative play and you’ll be surprised at how helpful it can be for you.

How do you find time to play or write creatively? What other ideas would you add to this list?

Photo Credit: 03-13-08 © YinYang
Photo Credit: 06-14-10 © Morten Heiselberg

A Fear of Change from Freelance to Writing Fiction

Did you love fiction and make believe as a child?When Writer’s Round-About became The Craft of Writing Fiction I felt experienced a fear of change because I’m a non-fiction writer and rarely spend time writing fiction. As I was chatting with my writing colleague, Kimberlee Ferrell, about the changes, I realized my relationship with fiction isn’t as distant as I thought.

Precious Memories

In fact, while reading Kim’s latest post (Reading and Writing: Develop Your Child’s Love of Language) I realized that fiction hits close to home–real close. Not only was my childhood passion for reading based on fictional books and stories, it’s the genre I first started writing!

One of Kim’s tips from that post is:

“Of course, before kids can learn to write well, they need the fundamentals of the alphabet, and reading. I try to read every day with them. Right before bed is the traditional reading time, but don’t be surprised if they come running to you with their favorite story in the middle of the afternoon. Anytime is a good time to share a story with your kids.”

And she goes on to suggest the library as a fabulous place to nurture your children’s reading and writing skills:

“Be sure to take them to the library as often as possible, to expose them to the wide variety of books available. Many libraries have summer reading programs that encourage children to read (or be read to), with many rewards along the way. You could also join (or create) a parent-child book club to encourage the sharing of books and stories.”

Wow. Kim’s words jostled my memory of the countless trips my parents and I made to the library when I was growing up. And they read to me, bought me (both new and used) books to keep in my personal library, and always, always encouraged my passion for reading, writing, and spelling. Those were the days!

Fear of Change

But see, I’ve been hesitant about the new turn this site has taken. As someone who simply detests change – even though I know in my heart and soul it’s usually always for the better in any situation – my heart kind of sank when I found out that Writer’s Round-About had become a new and improved site: The Craft of Writing Fiction.

Here’s a snippet of what the site owner, Rebecca Laffar-Smith, has shared regarding the changes:

We’re still Writer’s Round-About deep within our souls but we’re so much more than that too. And we want to develop a powerful presence, an inspirational community, and a go-to resource for writers.

The new domain name, craftingfiction.com also has a strong sense of purpose and commitment. It is a strong foundation for growth and expansion. It’s forward thinking and innovative. It’s driven to succeed and we are too.

I’m sure these changes are for the better. And, just like children learn and grow and change, so do we as adults. It’s how we improve and move further down the path of success.

I think my hesitation comes from feeling such a closeness to Writer’s Round-About’s history. I’ve read this blog from the beginning—when it was born on Blogger! And I’ve been around for the switch to self-hosted WordPress. I eventually shared a few guest posts with readers here and now (with close to 40 posts published) I guess you’d call me a regular contributor.

Rebecca and the other bloggers here have become more than writing colleagues or friends—they’re family. And this blog feels like a place I’ve always been welcome to come to, kick off my shoes, grab my favorite drink, and get comfy.

And that hasn’t changed, I know.

My (Comforting) Epiphany

The epiphany I’ve had about this whole “fiction theme” –and what Kim helped me see during our talk today—is that my roots with fiction date back to my earliest years.

Although I love writing non-fiction and telling real-life stories now, my passion for reading and writing was actually born as I read countless pages of fictional stories.

When I was a little girl, my all-time favorite book was Danny and the Dinosaur. Next in line was Charlotte’s Web and Judy Blume was one of my favorite authors. As a child, I felt such a sense of peace with a book in my little hands, reading a make-believe story that took my mind to far away places. And even today, when life overwhelms me, there’s nothing like a good novel to help me cast my worries to the wind and transport my mind to another world.

And now, finally, I’m at peace with the new direction this site has taken.

I owe a special thank you to Kim and Rebecca, for helping me search my heart and remember how much fiction has played a significant role in my life. Thanks, ladies!

What about you? Do you gravitate toward non-fiction? Or does your imagination carry you away to a place of innocent make-believe? Do you love the new look, feel, and theme of this site? ‘Fess up!

Photo credit: mexikids

Five Inspiration and Creativity Writing Tips

Five Inspiration and Creativity Writing Tips

It has happened to me hundreds of times.  My schedule is clear, children are occupied, housework is caught up, and suddenly my writing time flops because I don’t know how to start.  Starting is necessary to reach a finished article, short story, poem or novel. In order to write, you must practice writing on a regular basis. Inspiring writing comes with routine, innovation, and determination.

  • Writing Bursts

    Ban together with fellow writers and have a writing burst.  Twenty to thirty minutes of free writing will loosen the words – and your fingers – while building the creative juices.

  • Musical Melodies

    Playing a music selection during your writing time will help train your body to write during those same melodies.  Music will also create a white noise, blending all the distracting sounds.  A particular music selection can also bring back the inspiration of a particular story if you stop the tract when it becomes necessary to move onto other scheduled items.

  • Lists

    Writing out your lists for the day, including to-do’s, shopping, bills, and chores will allow you the opportunity to clear your mind of those tasks and focus on what you have set down to do during your writing time.

  • Scheduling

    It is not only important, but vital to a writer’s life to schedule your day around the time you write, not the other way around.  If you are trying to take care of life first and fail to nurture the writer within you, the writer within you will fail to perform when time comes.

  • Taking the phone off the hook

    Yes, I absolutely mean that.  The phone can be a major distraction.  Friends and family call when they feel the need to share a funny story or complain about the clerk at the store forgetting to give change.  There is no use in telling anyone to call you x many times in a row if it is an emergency.  There will always be one person who believes the clogged sink is worth interrupting you.  Unless you are a plumber and are able to snake a drain, it is NOT important.


You have the choice
each day
to nurture the creativity within
or to allow every other aspect in life
control your time to write.


What ways do you nurture the muse that inspires your words?
How do you block out the unnecessary to perform the necessary?