BUTTON METHOD FOR WRITERS


BUTTON METHOD FOR WRITERS
By Natalie Bright

The Button Method for Writers combines the psychology of a creative mind along with plain ole common sense, and is easy to implement. It’s guaranteed that you will experience an unbelievable increase in productivity and quality of work.

The Button Method is best explained like this:

1. Butt-On Chair
2. Write

The more you do, the better you become at the doing. Isn’t that true with almost every career? I heard the Butt-on tip early as a newbie writer, but honestly I haven’t always applied the method.

Two of my writerly friends have, and they are a source of great inspiration for me. Linda Broday and Jodi Thomas are both New York Times and USA Today Bestselling authors. They’re currently writing series; Linda for Sourcebooks and Jodi for HQN. By writing, I do mean they’re ALWAYS writing. They both have set times every day, and rarely waiver from that schedule. They both practice extreme self-discipline.

I asked Linda one time how she manages to keep pushing herself, and she told me that when she’s writing, it’s the time she feels the most calm and relaxed. For her, social media and crafting blogs creates more anxiety than disappearing into her fictional world.

Jodi fell several years back and injured her wrist. During that same time, I twisted my ankle. We met for lunch and exchanged details and sympathies. Jodi says,” I asked the doctor to set my cast in a different way, because if I prop my arm on pillows I can still type with the tips of my fingers.”

I had planned to head home for aspirin and to prop my foot on pillows. Jodi went home to write.

Butt-On is the key.

Writing Benediction: Focus on the pure joy of crafting stories with words.

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Empty Bubbles


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Empty Bubbles

By Nandy Ekle

  It’s like reading a cartoon with no speech balloons. It’s like losing a hand or a foot, or an arm or a leg. It’s like not having the ability to speak. It’s like opening your eyes to a dark room. It’s like holding your breath under water. It’s like sitting in a chair all night and staring at the wall. It’s like being hungry but your pantry is empty. It’s like having a pile of laundry but your washer is broken. It’s like opening the front door and seeing dark emptiness.

It’s like all the words you’ve ever held, stacked together, rearranged, played with, followed you around, jumped around inside your head have packed up and moved away.

It’s like not being able to write.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Archetype


Archetype

by Adam Huddleston

 

This week, let’s look at the literary term “archetype”. An archetype is roughly defined as an original type of character, setting, or concept that comes to be known as the standard for those parts of a story. The reader can see an archetype and immediately understand a lot of information about that item in the plot. For example, Frodo Baggins in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy is an archetype of the small-statured hero that overcomes large odds. Another is the maniacal villain who dresses all in black, twirls his moustache, etc.

Archetypes are not necessarily a bad thing. Overusing them can lead the reader to feel that you are not very creative, but their appropriate use can help them understand and identify with your story.

Happy writing!

Summer Reading


Outtakes 246

Summer Reading

By Cait Collins

 

Summer is upon us and it’s time to think about vacations and hours by the pool. Question is, what do you plan to read during the down time? Here are some suggestions.

Good For The Money                                                            Bob Benmosche

The Obsession                                                            Nora Roberts

The Highway Man                                                     Craig Johnson

What We Find                                                             Robyn Carr

The Trials of Apollo The Hidden Oracle                   Rick Riordan

Dark Hearts                                                                Sharon Sala

Lone Heart Pass                                                          Jodi Thomas

God’s Eye View                                                         Barry Eisler

Legends & Lies: The Patriots                                    Bill O’Reilly

15TH Affair (Women’s Murder Club)                         James Patterson

Coming Soon

Bay of Sighs Book Two of the Guardian’s Trilogy   Nora Roberts              June 14, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child                             J. K. Rowling             July 31, 2016

DragonMark                                                               Sherrilyn Kenyon       August 2, 2016 (Original Pub. Date)

Grab a book and enjoy your summer.

 

Books


Outtakes 243

Books

By Cait Collins

 

Recently I received an invitation to a baby shower. I pulled the gift registry and was thrilled to see a selection of books on the list. A few days later an invitation to a baby shower for my new niece arrived. Instead of cards, the parents asked for a book with a note from the giver written inside.

Wow! In a world where everything is electronic, these first time parents are asking for books to help educate their infants. I respect their thoughtfulness and desire to give these little ones a head start. Nourishing the mind is just as important as nourishing the body. Baby Girl 1 has a book of Disney favorites, and my niece has a selection of some of my favorite Little Golden Books.

Book selections for babies are far from limited. Dr. Seuss, Disney, Aesop, Winnie the Pooh, animal stories (remember The Three Billy Goats Gruff, Chicken Little, and the Little Red Hen?), The Berenstain Bears, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, board books, touch-and-feel books, books with sound are just a sampling of the available offerings. And with the abundance of material, just think of all the memories you create when you take the time to read to your child.

Here’s another thought. Keep a journal of special moments and add photographs to the book. It will be a treasure for both you and your child. Best wishes Moms, Dads, and Little Ones.

 

MAKING SENSE OF THE SENSES


Making Sense of the Senses

by Rory C. Keel

How does the loss of sight affect your hearing?

What color does an orange smell like?

How loud is an inner voice?

Can you describe how the wind feels?

What does sour taste like?

When I am writing, it’s easy to visualize what I want my characters to see and feel or even smell. However putting it down on paper so that the reader can clearly see them is a difficult task. For example, if I write, “He walked into the room and gazed at the beautiful painting hanging on the wall.” What does the reader see? What object is displayed in the painting? What colors make the painting beautiful? How is it framed?

This dilemma came to life for me when the main character of my novel, UNLAWFUL WORDS, suddenly goes blind. Writing what he saw with his eyes came to an abrupt halt. How do I write his experiences now?

A blindfold

Using a blindfold I spent several hours experiencing the darkness. Immediately I began to depend on my hearing, turning my head from side to side trying to capture all the sounds around me. My hands automatically reached forward hoping to feel something familiar and my feet slowed their steps to prevent stumbling. The objects once identified by sight now had to be described by feeling the texture, or the smell. These are the details that help the reader understand what the character is experiencing.

In your writing, use the basic senses such as taste, touch, hear, see, smell. Be careful not to give the reader sensory overload by giving a long string of description using all five sense on every situation, when generally the use of two or more different senses can tie the picture together for the reader.

Rory C. Keel

BUTTON METHOD FOR WRITERS


BUTTON METHOD FOR WRITERS
By Natalie Bright

The Button Method for Writers combines the psychology of a creative mind along with plain ole common sense, and is easy to implement. It’s guaranteed that you will experience an unbelievable increase in productivity and quality of work.

The Button Method is best explained like this:

1. Butt-On Chair
2. Write

The more you do, the better you become at the doing. Isn’t that true with almost every career? I heard the Butt-on tip early as a newbie writer, but honestly I haven’t always applied the method.

Two of my writerly friends have, and they are a source of great inspiration for me. Linda Broday and Jodi Thomas are both New York Times and USA Today Bestselling authors. They’re currently writing series; Linda for Sourcebooks and Jodi for HQN. By writing, I do mean they’re ALWAYS writing. They both have set times every day, and rarely waiver from that schedule. They both practice extreme self-discipline.

I asked Linda one time how she manages to keep pushing herself, and she told me that when she’s writing, it’s the time she feels the most calm and relaxed. For her, social media and crafting blogs creates more anxiety than disappearing into her fictional world.

Jodi fell several years back and injured her wrist. During that same time, I twisted my ankle. We met for lunch and exchanged details and sympathies. Jodi says,” I asked the doctor to set my cast in a different way, because if I prop my arm on pillows I can still type with the tips of my fingers.”

I had planned to head home for aspirin and to prop my foot on pillows. Jodi went home to write.

Butt-On is the key.

Writing Benediction: Focus on the pure joy of crafting stories with words.

Meet the Author – Cait Collins


Meet the Author  

Since the creation of WordsmithSix as a critique group, we have evolved in many ways. While every member is like family and brings their own valuable insights to the group, sometimes there are changes. Some of our members have moved on in their life’s journey, however their contributions continue to influence our writing forever. Others have filled the empty chairs and have started their journey into the world of writing.

Each member of WordsmithSix is excited about our writing journey. For the next few weeks we will dedicate a Sunday blog to letting our readers know a little more about who we are. Each author will be asked a few questions to help you understand their desire to write and what motivates them. Maybe their answers will influence you in your writing.

This week we are excited to feature one of our original Wordsmithsix members. An established writer, she lists three documentaries, a thirteen-week local television series, commercial copy and news copy on her writing resume. She has also written Bible application stories, puppet plays, and two 15 minute plays for her church youth group.

Please welcome Cait Collins

When did you start writing?

I started writing when I was in grade school. Then I fell in love with Illya, the Russian agent from Man from U.N.C.L.E, and wrote “romances” based on the show.

Why did you choose the Genre’ you write in?

I like suspense and romance, so I began writing romance with the suspense twist. I recently tried writing memoirs of growing up during the 50’s and 60’s. My nieces and nephews have no knowledge of how different my childhood was. Some of the memoirs are for the kids.

What’s the best thing you’ve done to help your writing?

First was taking a creative writing course at Amarillo College taught by New York Times Best Selling Author, Jodi Thomas. Jodi is a great teacher and mentor. I also began attending writers’ conferences and workshops. Wordsmith Six, my critique group, is the best. If you don’t want honest critique, you don’t belong in the group. We have a rule; give the good before pointing out the weaknesses.

What’s your writing routine like?

I’m not one to force myself to look and the computer daily and get frustrated when the words don’t come. I tend to go on writing binges when my characters are talking to me and demanding I tell their part of the story. I don’t sit down after a critique session and make the requested changes. I’d rather keep going forward, and editing when the inspiration is just not there.

How do you reach that personal place that allows the writing to flow?

Silence the phone, put on some music or turn on the news (the news is easy to block out). I read a few paragraphs from the last point, and start writing. Once I get going, I don’t stop until I need a break for food or something to drink, or until the session ends itself.

Are you an outliner?

No. I make lists or do timelines, but outlines stifle my creativity. I find myself writing to the outline instead of responding to my characters nagging.

What has been your biggest writing challenge?

Coming from a broadcasting and business writing background, I find settings and details are often overlooked. When the action is moving forward, I will neglect the setting and concentrate on the action.

What are you working on currently, future?

I have a memoir and a novel I’m trying to edit and I’m actively writing book five, a suspense novel with the working title Three by Three.

What advice would you give to new writers?

Write your story. Don’t disregard the advice of critique partners or beta readers, but remember it is your story. If you think the character would not respond as a reviewer suggests, stick to your guns. If you are honest with yourself, you will be able to make the right choice between your gut instinct and the reviewers’ suggestions.

What’s the most positive thing you could tell writers today?

Opportunities are unlimited for writers. Network studios need material. The Netflix and other independents have opened doors for us. Ebook outlets are exploding. Movie studios need original material. Don’t overlook opportunities in magazine articles, technical writing, and training manuals. I truly believe we are limited only by ourselves. That said, do your homework. Learn what the media and publishers are looking for. Watch the trends in releases. And above all, be sure your formatting, grammar, and facts are correct before submitting to an agent or editor.

 

The New Comer


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

The New Comer

By Nandy Ekle

I’m not sure how long Neil Gaiman has been on the writing scene, but he’s fairly new to my list of faves. I had seen his name around the forums. I’d heard he was unique and his stories were excellent. Then, the movie Stardust hit the theaters and I was immediately in love.

Now I know better than to ever judge a story by its movie, at least if there’s a book that gave birth to a movie as a some version of the story. But I think that’s a testament to my interest in the book. The fact that the movie thrilled me enough to want to read the book should say volumes to the idea I had of the story.

And I have to say this was one time my instincts were spot on. The book, as much as I enjoyed the movie, was even better. Cute, fun, clever, layered, completely brilliant. The book has elements that the movie didn’t come close to touching on. And I was completely enthralled.

Then, Mr. Gaiman sealed verified my new found love for him again when I heard him read Stardust. I am a huge fan of audiobooks, and even though I’d read the paperback version, I used my chance to purchase the audio to listen to as I drove. And the fact that Mr. Gaiman was the reader gave me a feeling that I had found something special. I was wrong. It was not just something special. It was my find of the century.

As a British man with a deep smooth voice, listening to him read his own work had me so hypnotized there was no way I could shut the book down at the end of my allotted reading/listening time. As I mentioned his voice is deep, smooth, and very British. But also, as the writer, he knew the story and he knew how to use that incredible voice to make the story come alive in a way Hollywood could not.

So I obtained more of his books. Neverwhere had my attention almost as tightly as Stardust. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, another story read by himself, amazing.

So, whenever it was that his first book was released, I wish I had met his writing much sooner.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Deus Ex Machina


Deus Ex Machina

by Adam Huddleston

 

The next literary term I would like to discuss is “deus ex machina”. It is a Latin phrase which means “god from the machine”. While it may sound like an interesting plot device to use, it is actually something which should be avoided.

“Deus ex machina” occurs when a difficult problem in the plot gets suddenly solved by an external source that had yet to be introduced into the story. It’s basically a “cop-out”. The term originated from ancient Greek plays when a crane (the machine) would bring an actor (playing a god) onto the stage to aid in the climax of the story.

It is still used when an author writes themselves into a corner and can’t find a way out. Some writers are able to use it for comedic effect, but for the most part, it is a good idea to imbed the conflict’s resolution earlier in the story.

Happy writing!