Showing posts with label write more and stress less. Show all posts
Showing posts with label write more and stress less. Show all posts

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Five Idea Engine Kickstarts – Just to Get You Writing by Alice Orr @aliceorrbooks #MFRWauthor #writingcommunity

Alice Orr - Author of No More Rejections


Every Now and Then the Idea Well Runs Dry
. That's what it can feel like anyway. And it is likely to give a writer what, where I come from, they used to call a conniption fit. Not to worry. As Anne Lamott says, "Help is on the way. One hundred percent of the time."

Get Out Your Writer's Journal. Remember the Writer's Journal? I talked about in my last column, "Your Life as Idea Central." A notebook that is special in some way for you personally. If you don't have one, get one. If you have one, open it up. Either way, prepare to be gifted with help ala Alice.

Read Through the Following Story Idea Kickstarts. Do so quickly. It's a gut reaction you're after, not a head one. Pick the possibility that strikes you hardest. Maybe because you'd love to write it. Maybe because you dread writing it. Either way, your gut is engaged. Your imagination is sure to follow.

Here we go. Five Story Kickstarts.

You have a particular fear. What would happen if that fear materialized? For example, what if those brakes you've been meaning to repair on your car gave out? Think of all the possible consequences of that occurrence. Make the absolute worst of those consequences into a story situation or a scene for a novel.

Make a list of people who frequent a place with which you are familiar. Your neighborhood laundromat, your favorite deli or diner, the place you most enjoy stopping for a cocktail or a beer or a diet soda. Choose the three most intriguing, or potentially most intriguing, of those people. Imagine past histories for them and present circumstances. Go way beyond what you actually know about them. Specifically, give each of them a serious life problem they are struggling with, and write how those pressures cause them to interact in a story or a scene set in this place.

Choose a favorite, or better still, a least favorite relative. Recall an incident from that person's life, or create an incident that could have happened to that person. Choose a situation that puts this person in extreme conflict, maybe even life versus death. Build a scene or story around this person, that incident, and what happens to her or to him.

Think of a close relationship you envy. A family relationship, or a romantic one, or a friendship. (The envy lends emotional intensity on your part.) Imagine a situation that alienates these individuals from each another, maybe causes them to hate one another, or even makes one want to kill the other. Build a story, or the beginning chapter of a story, around what happens. Maybe make yourself a character in that story.

Go through photographs of people and scenes. Choose two photos. Imagine a connection between them, and build a story or scene around that connection. Make sure there is something disturbing or unsettling or even dangerous involved in the way these people and scenes connect. Make that threatening element the heart of your story.

If You are Using Real-life People or Situations, Change the Details. The names, the physical descriptions, anything else that would make these folks recognizable to themselves or each other. In other words, fictionalize everything, for your own safety. Never forget we are an extremely litigious society, and this story or scene might get published someday.

Consider Yourself Kickstarted. Don't worry. It won't leave a bruise. But it could lead to an injection of imagination juice straight into your psyche. Now, there's one thing left for you to do. JUST WRITE!!

For more insights into writing and publishing – Visit my blog at www.aliceorrbooks.com.

About Alice Orr

Alice Orr is author of 16 novels, 3 novellas, a memoir and No More Rejections: 50 Secrets to Writing a Manuscript that Sells. Hero in the Mirror: How to Write Your Best Story of You is in progress. A former book editor and literary agent, Alice now writes full-time. Her latest novel is A Time of Fear and Loving – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 5. Find all of Alice Orr's books on Amazon. Alice has two grown children and two perfect grandchildren and lives with her beloved husband Jonathan in New York City.
Author Website www.aliceorrbooks.com
Author Blog www.aliceorrbooks.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/aliceorrwriter
Twitter https://twitter.com/aliceorrbooks
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Alice-Orr/e/B000APC22E


Friday, April 3, 2020

Editor Alice Orr on It Takes Two to Tangle: Relationships that Move Your Story @AliceOrrBooks #MFRWauthor #amwriting


Editor Alice Orr on It Takes Two to Tangle: Relationships that Move Your Story #MFRWauthor #amwriting
It Takes Two to Tangle, in real life and in storytelling. But, whether a fictional connection is romantic or not, the other person in your main character's relationship exists, mainly, for the purpose of moving and intensifying your hero's story.
The second character gives your hero someone to talk to, moves her thoughts into dialogue. Which cuts down on internal monologue that slows the pace of the story. Dialogue appears more active on the page than paragraphs of uninterrupted narrative, and more active to the reader's consciousness also. This dialogue must, of course be interesting and compelling.
How do you make dialogue interesting? First, by creating a complex, fascinating story mate to match your complex, fascinating hero. A mate whose opinions and attitudes differ from those of your main character. They may be mates in general, but they debate, irritate one another, and even openly conflict on occasion.
These conflicts are usually variations in attitude rather than violent disagreements. They force your hero to articulate her feelings and beliefs. This allows your reader to know her better and identify more closely with her, which is critical to hooking the reader into your story.
The second character need not be portrayed as sympathetically as the hero. This mate character may be in the process of evolving, with something major yet to learn in life. He or she may or may not accomplish that goal in this story, unlike your hero who must learn and grow.
You should also contrast these two characters in more external ways. Family and cultural background, life experience, economic and social status, physical appearance. These differences provide potential for fireworks in the relationship, which may be sexual or not. Either way, they enflame reader interest, and that heat serves your storytelling purpose.
In real life, we prefer people to get along, but, in fiction, too much harmony is boring. Conflict in a story relationship makes that story more interesting. However, you, as author, must understand what storytelling conflict is. Banter back and forth between characters, no matter how clever, is not strong enough conflict to create compelling fiction.
There must be a crucial problem between the characters for real conflict to occur. The greater the problem, the more intense the trouble between them becomes, and intense conflict is the heart of strong storytelling. These two characters may basically like, or even love, each other, but if they get along too well for chapter after chapter, they lose the reader's interest.
You must create characters with the potential for legitimate contention between them. Most importantly, create an active hero with the strength to stand up for herself and what she believes, and to defy opposition. She is a person who refuses to remain passive while bad things happen to her, or to those she cares about. This portrayal makes her defiance believable.
Next, create a mate character strong enough to be a worthy adversary. Now, you have a relationship that is a juxtaposition of equals, with potential for true tension between them. Without this tension, conflict that grips your reader will fail to ignite. With this tension, and the sparks it produces, the relationship, and your storytelling, set fire to the page.
For more insights into writing and publishing, visit my blog at www.aliceorrbooks.com.
Alice Orr is author of 16 novels, 3 novellas, a memoir and No More Rejections: 50 Secrets to Writing a Manuscript that Sells. A former book editor and literary agent, Alice now writes full-time. Her latest novel is A Time of Fear and Loving – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 5. Find all of Alice Orr's books at amazon.com and other online retailers. Alice has two grown children and two perfect grandchildren and lives with her beloved husband Jonathan in New York City.
Author Website www.aliceorrbooks.com


Sunday, March 3, 2019

6 Ways to Write More and Stress Less - Kayelle Allen @kayelleallen #MFRWauthor #Amwriting


6 Ways to Write More and Stress Less - Kayelle Allen @kayelleallen #MFRWauthor #Amwriting
When the world is screaming for your attention, it's hard to write more. A few years ago, I had a bout of chest pain that landed me in the hospital for a week and forced me to re-examine some priorities. It wasn't a heart attack. It was stress.
The event provided a life lesson: focusing on the important (versus the mundane). Hard to do. I struggle with it often.
Here are six things I've learned that eliminate stress and let me write more. I hope they help.

Write more by saying no to what is not important

How hard is this? Very, if you can not figure out what's important. As a writer, time to write is the top priority. Are you a writer if you don't write? I'm thinking not. Bears some thinking about, doesn't it? When you write, write. When you do other things, do them with all your strength, but don't try to do both at the same time. It will add stress and you won't do either one as well as you could if you focused.

Stress less by asking for help

You can't do everything. Your friends, coworkers, kids, and editor know this. Goodness knows your spouse knows this. Why don't you know it? Could it be a little bit of a stubborn streak? The superman/woman complex? Break down your tasks and see what parts of each you can delegate.

Write more by hiring help

Yes, you can do things for yourself and you do them. Especially if you're an indie author. But here's a thought. You can hire someone to help you with Facebook, deal with your website, set up a profile on social media, etc. But guess what? No one else can write your book. Hire help where you can so you free up time to write. Fiverr is a great place to look.

Stress less by facing the hard things

Do something difficult first thing every day. If you face a hard thing first, the rest of the day will be downhill.

Write more by going outside

Sounds counterintuitive, but it's true. Spend time outside. Sure, you need the BICHOK rule to write (butt in chair, hands on keyboard), but sunshine does wonders for your body and soul. It's a natural source of vitamin D, which is good for bones. Your body can't make it without help. And oh my... there is nothing like the feel of grass under your feet when you've been cooped up in the house. Is it snowing? Step out, breathe some icy air, and duck back inside. But change your environment and you'll stress less and write a whole lot more.

Stress less by not letting dust bother you

At the Mercy of Her Pleasure, by Kayelle Allen - sweet scifi romanceDo you need a house that's a hospital or a house that's hospitable? Families (and single people, and couples) need a house that's enjoyed and filled with laughter and love. So what if there's dust? Break out the dustcloth half as much, write twice as much, and see which makes you feel better. Stack the dishes neatly in the sink and let them wait. I promise they will still be there when you get back from writing for an hour. No dishes I ever owned have washed themselves. Chances are, yours won't either. Housework can be done by anyone.
Remember, only you can write your book.

Here's to a stress free life with plenty of joy and laughter. Oh... and more time writing.
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Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She's also a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she's tenured.
Author of At the Mercy of Her Pleasure, a sweet and rollicking science fiction romance.