Category Archives: Writing Life

Keeping Readers Reading (And Yourself Writing)

steampunk readingIt’s becoming easier and easier for people to put books down these days. With so many entertaining distractions in the world, writers have to fight for readers’ attention more than ever.

Normally, I approach these articles only from the stance of a writer. However, today I’m going to wear two hats: one small writer’s beret with an over-sized reader’s fedora over it.

While it’s sometimes hard to think in two different modes, thinking as a reader can help you answer the age old question, “Is this story worth my time?” Continue Reading

Channel Your Inner Samurai – How Being an Author is Like Performing Martial Arts

This article is by K.S. Crooks.

SamuraiI began my life-long journey with martial arts at the age of eight, when my mother enrolled me in my first judo class. Being a very small boy, she thought that it would give me strength and confidence. It gave me those, plus much more.

In high school I took up wrestling, becoming city champion and provincially ranked. During university I went back to Judo, started Jeet Kune Do and Karate. Martial arts became one of the staples of my life. Continue Reading

Putting Your Novel Where Your Mouth Is

book over mouthTalking about writing can be fun. Hell, I love it.

But a year ago I realized that I needed to stop yapping so much and start tapping more. The keys, that is.

It’s lonely, hair-pulling work sometimes, but I had to keep my nose to the grindstone. No matter how much I wanted to chat and blab about my newest creation, I tried to refrain.

It sucked.

I know some people view writing novels as mystical shamanism channeled through the hair strands of a thousand muses. I don’t find it to be such. I absolutely adore it, yes, but it’s work.
Continue Reading

Pilfering Your Novel Graveyard

graveyard“Finish what you start” is some of the best advice one can give a burgeoning writer.

However, what happens when you absolutely can’t finish something? It’s not Writer’s Block nor Creative ADD. You’ve reached critical mass. No matter how long you edit, send off for critiques, and outline, it’s just not coming together.

Writing can be like making a soufflé: if it’s imploded, sure, you can still eat it, but do you want to serve it to others? So what do you do when the recipe is screwed and you have a burnt dessert?

Scrape off the blackened parts and salvage it, right?

Maybe. Continue Reading

Cover to Cover IV: Learning to Love Editing

editThis is the fourth entry in my Cover to Cover series which follows a story idea from inception until potential publication.

Several months back in my third entry, I talked about owning a first draft and how to get through it to the end. Well, in August of this year I finished my first draft. Allow me a moment to do a happy dance. I spent the next two months editing. I’ve made it publicly known to anyone that will listen how much I hate editing.

Something happened through the process though. I started to actually enjoy my editing sessions. “Love editing? I’d sooner feed myself to a chimera.” Maybe. But I’ll show you how I changed from an edit-hater to an edit-relisher. Continue Reading

30 Ways to Resuscitate a Dying NaNoWriMo Novel

novelIf you’ve done National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) you know there sometimes comes a point when you think, “Why in the hell am I doing this?”

This is a normal feeling albeit a demoralizing one. You’ve been tap-tapping away when suddenly the juice runs out, the muse falls off her glittery pegasus, or writer’s block smashes you square in the face.

You need a pick-me-up, something to keep you moving along towards you goals, whether that be 50,000 words or some other suitably insane feat of writerly badassery. Even if you’re not doing NaNoWriMo, maybe you can find a nugget of wisdom buried underneath my sagely ramblings. Continue Reading

A New Page for a New Year

blank pageA writer, in my experience, is very good at looking to the future. We plan the course of our novels and look to a time when our works in progress will be complete and make us piles of money. Or at least I do.

As Michael Kanin once said, “I don’t like to write, but I love to have written.”

And it’s so easy to fantasise at what our writing might bring us, such as a future of prosperity where we might leave our day jobs to write full time. My personal dream involves a well-stocked personal library with a view of the Wrekin where I will spend my days writing in comfort. Continue Reading

Confessions of a Lone Writer: A Journey Into Collaborative Creativity

Aurelia: Edge of Darkness

If there’s one quality that seems to characterize writers, it’s our need for time alone. Time to think. Time to daydream, to play with our words.

History elevates the solitary writer as a kind of legend: that elusive genius, scribbling furiously in a forgotten attic, until at long last (usually upon completion of their magnum opus) they expire, penniless and unsung.

Public gratification, it seems, always comes too late.

Today, though it’s much harder to hide in any attic long enough to write a magnum opus, we still strive for that ideal. The penniless and unsung part, too, we also to accept as a matter of course.

But what if the two are related? Continue Reading

TimeCraft – Squeezing the Most Out of Your Writing Schedule

My car radio is dead.

It doesn’t bother me much yet, because I have a couple things going for me: 1) A love of exercising my mediocre singing voice, and 2) a ton of stories I don’t have enough time to write.

While there are no doubt authorial aspirants whose schedules would make my own look positively spacious, I can say without exaggeration that I am currently a very busy person. It has been roughly one year since I decided to make a go of this “independent author” thing, and I’m going to stick with it. That means making my writing a priority, and finding ways to make progress regardless of difficulty. Here’s how I go about it. Continue Reading

Finding Strengths in Your Weaknesses as a Writer

The key to finding your way as a writer is to discover what kind of writer you are.

Are you the type that talks about writing but doesn’t really do it much? Are you the kind that works diligently every day, but always ends up deleting or scrapping the whole manuscript? Are you the perfect planner, but awful at execution? Or vice versa?

Finding your strengths and weaknesses as a writer can help you navigate your way along the path to being the perfect “you.” Sound flaky? Maybe, but the sooner you can chip away at your problems the earlier you can fix them.

I’d like to preface this by saying I’ve fallen into every one of these categories before.  So if any of these describe your current writing situation, I feel your pain. Continue Reading