Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Webinars

Lately, I've been catching a few webinars on topics related to writing. I've watched some on Amazon sales, some on marketing, some on finding your niche, speaking, website creation, and even non-fiction. If you don't know, a webinar is a video conference call where the members can only type in chat form while the speaker presents with one microphone on a topic. Most presenters use a slideshow and speak over it.

There is plenty of knowledge in these webinars. Yes, the speaker is often selling something, a workshop, a book, a workbook, a program, but you don't have to buy it. You might get free ebooks for joining. The webinar is designed to give you a little taste to make you want more. Mostly, they are places to gain some knowledge. What you do with it is up to you.

I'm going to take all my notes and combine them to learn and grow and try to do some neat things this summer. (You know, when I'm not planning ahead for my classroom in the fall!)

I encourage you to try some out. If you can't make one at the predetermined time, there is often a replay for a limited time so you can catch it later, pause it, and revisit parts. I like these because I can pause and take notes if I have to, or go chase a kid down, or even take a food or potty break. I am human.

Those that don't offer a replay are quickly losing my 'business'. It's not that they aren't offering great tips, it's that I am not available at the times offered. I work. I am a Mom. I'm busy!

Once you find one and submit a request via email, you are on their email list until you unsubscribe. Others will find you. They will recommend other webinars. I started with one from helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com (K.M. Weiland) and Scrivener and moved on to Kristen Joy and Jeff Goins. Google or Bing them, because I don't have links to share. Webinars come and go too quickly. But here is a link to a roundup: Writer's Circle dot com

Keep learning!

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

A to Z - "Z" is for Zillion to Zero

Whew, the last post! This has been a great challenge. I hope to keep writing, as a habit of writing on the weekends has been started. I can't say it has been established because the seasons are changing and with that comes a change in habits as well. I may be doing some extra gardening during my previous writing time!

This post is about going from zillion to zero. Sometimes you are on fire, rocketing around, checking off things on your to-do list, flying through words and chapters, or editing like your evil twin got a hold of your manuscript and tore it to shreds. Then suddenly you stop. Everything stops. Something changes.
Sudden Realization meme

Going from zillion to zero is a huge shock. The momentum you had going drops off and you stagnate, mouth agape, wondering what just happened. Sometimes you are there for a while waiting for some push to get moving again.

The difference between zillion to zero is like having someone honoring you with a trophy only to have the next person throw mud at you in your best suit, rob you of your belongings, and discredit you. Falling from the exhilaration of a win to the depression of being a loser is traumatic. Some people don't deal with it well.

This is what we do to our characters.

Life is full of times like these. You get the promotion, but now you hate dealing with the poo-throwing monkeys day in and day out. You get a new car, but a tree falls on it 32 days later. (True story.) You can be praised one second and hated and berated the next.

Write about it. Bring these feelings to your characters and make the reader empathize, love, hate, and understand the plights of your people.

Take your writing from zero to zillion by putting as much of you into it as you can.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A to Z - "Y" is for Young Adult (Write what I know?)

I like to read young adult/teen novels and would like to write these, since it is what I know. But is it really my forte?

Should you write what you know?



Yes. You should write what you know, especially if it's non-fiction. You are the expert.

In fiction, you should include things you are an expert on. Your hometown, the local flora and fauna, your favorite topics, random trivia, include these things in your book to teach readers something as well as add depth to your characters. Do you love chili? Maybe your character loves chili. Do you love bird watching? Maybe your character has an uncanny ability to identify birds or you can work some bird facts into your story. These kinds of details can add an extra layer to the story. Don't make it fluff, talking non-stop about the migratory patterns of monarch butterflies, but instead, use your knowledge to enhance a character or scene.

The genre of your book is up to you and your muse! Just because I like to read YA doesn't mean I can write it well enough to do it justice. I may be a better slice-of-life writer or fantasy writer than a mushy rom-com writer.

Also, if you are setting the story in a place you have never been, maybe you should go and get a real feel for it before writing about it. How a person feels about a place is as important as how it looks. If you can't go there, maybe your character only dreams about it, just like you, or maybe you change the world around the place so that it still feels 'real' but is not accurately so. Perhaps a futuristic Tokyo, or a cyberpunk Paris.

Write your real emotions into scenes. You know how it feels to be in their shoes, because you created their shoes! Your character's actions are either what you would do, or what you would not do. How does that decision to do one thing or another affect the outcome?


Then, write what you DON'T know. Use your imagination! Don't limit yourself to only what you know or what you want to take a trip and learn. You might not ever do it. Use your imagination, your research skills, and your talents to make readers experience the place. Let them feel what you would feel if you were there. Change just enough to suspend reality and put in the emotions that are distinctly human and so readers can relate to the story.

In answer, write both what you know and what you don't. Fill in the blanks with your creative talents. Stretch the story from the lies to meet the truth.

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