“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.”
– E. L. Doctorow
Thanks for joining us on our publication journey!
WordsmithSix Blog will continue with monthly topics in 2020. Join us in January for Book Reviews, featuring our favorites and a few of our own. And then stay tuned for all things writing as we write, critique, and navigate this crazy creative process of writing and publishing. We are so excited to have you along for the ride. We especially appreciate your comments, questions, and shares. Thank you!
It’s time to think about your goals and dreams for the new year.
FINDING INSPIRATION IN 2020
At the beginning of every year I mark a wall calendar with project notes and goals. As I’m filling out my new calendar, I always pencil in a few conferences. Let’s be honest, your family and non-writer friends will not inspire you to write. Every creative second will be hard fought, if your days are anything like mine. You have to recharge that well and you can do that by spending time with like-minded creatives. There are so many reasons to not participate, but you will be amazed at the change in your motivation, craft, connections, and the new opportunities that will come your way just by putting yourself out there and meeting other writers, agents, and editors. Not to mention the ideas you’ll come away with for promotion, blog topics, places to submit—the list goes on and on. But you cannot sit in a corner. You have to make the effort.
WHERE TO GO
Here are a few recommendations for writing organizations and workshops that I have attended.
Texas High Plains Writers meets every other month in Downton Amarillo. All genres, and guests are welcome.
Canadian River Valley Writers Workshop, early Spring in Canadian, Texas. Dates for 2020 are pending.
Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, 1st weekend in May, Oklahoma City
NOTE: We have an Amarillo area OWFI Affiliate. We meet in Amarillo. If you’re interested, comment below and we will send you more information.
WTAMU Writers Academy June 8-12,2020
DFW.con June 13-14, 2020, Hurst Conference Center, Hurst Texas. This is huge with every genre represented, amazing speakers, and a wide variety of vendors who can help you get a book in hand. This is an eye-opening, jam-packed experience.
The universe is against you—just so you know.
Ideas are everywhere, if you can learn to recognize them. And then the stories in your head won’t go away. Once you acknowledge to yourself that you have a passion for writing, the universe will seemingly turn against you. There has been a story lurking inside you and if you’re like most of us, probably your whole life, and this will be the hardest work you have ever done.
Here are some tips to push aside the static in your life and stay on track with your writing.
My co-authors and I were at a recent event selling books. A poet stopped by our booth. Typical of most writers, he’d had a story scrambling his brain his entire life. We encourage him to pursue that dream. Now is the time!
Be open to the ideas around you. Listen to your gut. It’s never been easier to realize a publishing dream. There are so many options and people out there to help you make it happen.
FICTION DEPENDS FOR ITS LIFE ON PLACE
A few quotes about setting…
“Every story would be another story, and unrecognizable if it took up its characters and plot and happened somewhere else. Fiction depends for its life on place. Place is the crossroads of circumstance, the proving ground of, what happened? Who’s here? Who’s coming?” EUDORA WELTY
“I think I have a God complex, and I like moving mountains and writing stories that affect entire worlds, and it’s a bit hard to do that in a contemporary setting because you have reality intruding. Whereas, when you set your own reality, you can makeup your own rules and do whatever you like.” JENNIFER FALLON
“I never think of an entire book at once. I always just start with a very small idea. In HOLES I just began with the setting; a juvenile correctional facility located in the Texas desert. Then I slowly make up the story, and rewrite it several times, and each time I rewrite it, I get new ideas, and change the old ideas around.” LOUIS SACHAR
“I always strive to create a setting that leaves the readers’ imagination room to roam. That way, every reader sees the story through their own eyes.” P.S. BARTLETT
“I think setting as almost a character of its own, influencing the other characters in ways they’re not even aware of. So much of the success of a good ghost story rides on creating a creepy atmosphere; details of the landscape itself can help create a sense of dread.” JENNIFER MCMAHON
WALKING THE LAND
Your story setting is the location, environment, or atmosphere in which your novel takes place. Some authors believe in getting to know the setting by walking the land.
Here’s the link to a Youtube video with New York Times Bestselling author Jodi Thomas explaining her process. The photos featured in the video were taken by me in the Texas Panhandle, and if you like cows and Texas sunsets and such, you can see more on my blog, Prairie Purview, at nataliebright.com or find me on Instagram @natsgrams and Pinterest @natbright
Video: Walking the Land with Jodi Thomas