Wednesday, May 28, 2008

An introduction to making a mess!

We'll call this exercise GOO. Your job is to make a mess, and then fix it. All you need to do is to follow a few instructions, and then watch how your mess can turn you into a writing whiz. After all, not all messes are bad; and not all messes are un-fix-able. In fact, if you can find order in chaos, you might get yourself a ticket to some great writing.

Conversely, if you can find a way to turn order into chaos – well, you're going to get into rather thorny, complicated issues that might make you go crazy. On the other hand, if you can make drama come out of nothing, then you could turn your drama queen (or king) tendencies into something productive.

So what does goo do? Well, you might get a mess of words, and you might be asked to find something common among them so that you can come up with an essay or a story. You might be asked to unscramble a sentence, or scramble an already decent one to come up with a piece of writing that borders on insanity. Whatever the goo, you can turn it into writing, too!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

How do you write?

Some people love the feel of ink scratching across paper. Others love the clickety-clack of the computer keyboard. Still, others can turn the kaching! of the old typewriter into a sign of getting a lot of work done. There are many ways to write besides, and you might have a personal niche that you can sink comfortably into. Which one is it?

If you're serious about writing, you need to do two things:

1) Know what way to write is best for you
2) Explore new ways of writing just to shake things up!

So, how do you know what kind of writing style is best for your novel needs? If you're an experienced writer, you probably already know what your writing comfort zone is. Still, it wouldn't hurt for you to see what else your writing can do: try one of the exercises on this site using another way of writing. For example, if you love writing on the computer, try doing a triad exercise by going off to the woods with your notebook and pen. You just might discover your hidden talent for writing in tune with Mother Nature! (disclaimer: please do not hold this blog responsible for any disasters that may befall you in your writing-in-the-woods enterprise)

If you haven't done a lot of writing, then choose your way to write: take out the typewriter, turn that PC on, or get yourself a notebook and pen. And then, pick a writing exercise - and write away!

When you find that niche, use it to your advantage. You can probably write best using certain stimuli, or under certain weather conditions. But don't stick to only one way of writing. Remember, doing new things and taking on new hobbies can sharpen your brain and make you do better in other tasks, whether writing-related or not.

Best of luck, and happy writing!

Monday, May 19, 2008

A New Class of Tips: Photos!

If a picture speaks a thousand words, can a picture also generate a thousand words? If I presented you with this picture, what would you write about?

This is a fresh category of tips for you to use as you practice writing. What does a picture tell you? How did the objects in the picture get there? Where will they go next? Is there more to this picture than meets the eye? What's really happening? Is there something that you know that no one else does?

All you need to do is look at the picture, maybe follow a few directions - and then WRITE.

Watch this site for more photos and prompts!

Monday, May 12, 2008

A New Class of Tips: NaNoWriMo!

National Novel Writing Month happens every November. Participants have to write a 50,000-word-or-more novel within the month. The prize? The fulfillment of having written a novel. The drawbacks? Insanity, sleep deprivation, caffeine overload, and a general air of being pumped with nowhere to go. The excitement, however, is priceless.

If you want to get that novel right out of your head, read more about NaNoWriMo and how you can actually force yourself to get started. I will also post more NaNoWriMo tips as November nears, so watch out for updates!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A New Class of Tips: The Last Sentence

And so the end had come, but the last sentence had no other sentence before it.

Here's an extra challenge in this class of tips: write the start that leads to the last sentence! You can write an essay, a short story, or even a novel chapter - just make sure that you get to the last sentence that I give.

Wait for last sentences, right here on this blog!

A New Class of Tips: The First Sentence

Once upon a time, a sentence stood, all by itself, waiting for a second to come by and join it.

This is your new class of tips, ladies and gentlemen: a sentence. The first sentence, for that matter. I will be sending sentences your way, and all you need to do is take your thoughts from there. You don't have to be profound, your work doesn't have to be perfect, and you don't need to get it published. You just need to write.

Watch for more first sentences!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A New Class of Tips: The What Ifs

Sure, every novel's plot really begins with a "what if" - but what if you couldn't think of a "what if" at the drop of a hat?

These special tips will present you with a "what if" that you can use to start writing. What if you could spend just an hour writing every day? What if you could squeeze in some writing hours and have fun with your pen or word processor? What if you could set your novel free?

Monday, May 5, 2008

A New Class of Exercises: Unblockers

Writers' block is something that everyone has. A block happens for many reasons: a person is tired, a person doesn't think that he or she can write, or a person can have so many ideas bottlenecking into each other so that they block the actual writing process.

So, then, here's a chance for you to take out that block and get yourself writing. Sometimes, it isn't the writing that's hard, but getting the writing started.

Watch this blog for unblocking exercises and free writing work where you can get the chance to just write.

A New Class of Exercises: Orchestrated Searches

Ever been on a treasure hunt? Now, have you ever tried writing about it?

What if I told you to look for the third word in the first line of the hundredth page of the fifth book on your bookshelf? And what if I told you to use that word as the first word of your story?

What if I told you to load your songs onto your media player, set it to random, and write an essay about the eighth song that plays?

There are many ways to get a treasure hunt going, and they can lead the way to a lot of novel exercises. Watch this blog for more orchestrated searches and guided treasure hunts!

A New Class of Exercises: Triads

If I gave you a penny, a pencil, and a pig, what would you do?

Well, you could sit and ponder on the profundity of the three-item situation - or you could write about it.

No, this is not one of them Hong Kong Gangster triads - it's a writing exercise that's meant to bring out the creative genius in you. "Once upon a time, a pig was sold for a penny to a pencil maker..." "Once upon a time, a penny-worth pencil dreamed it was a pig...."Once upon a time, a pencil sharpener fell amongst pigs in a pig sty - and there, it met a penny..."

Triads are meant to make you start thinking about how three things can come together logically (even illogically) in one story, essay, or even novel excerpt.

Hang on for more triads!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A New Class of Inspiration: Stuff to Chew On

A good quote can get your writing going, or it can simply open your mind to new things that you might want to write about. Watch this site for quotes such as:

"Why do writers write? Because it isn't there."
- Thomas Berger
And quotes as desperate as:
"The work never matches the dream of perfection the artist has to start with."
- William Faulkner
No matter how funny or sad or totally blah your writing day is, you can stop over for something to chew on.

A New Class of Inspiration: Stuff to Read

I will be posting article summaries from time to time, along with links to the original article. I hope you can get inspiration on how you can write better, or simply get started with your writing. We writers are here to help each other, and you may find that the best writers on the planet are not just those who can open the eyes of your heart, or amaze you with their word-smithing - they're the ones who are willing to help other writers succeed.

Happy reading!

(after all, it takes a lot of reading to make good writing happen)

Want to Write Your Novel Now?

Welcome to the blog that will help you through it!

Of course, I can't tell you how exactly you can do it, and how you can type out words in a heart beat. But I can help you with exercises on getting your imagination going. After all, it's your book, your story, and your words. Nobody can tell you how and when to write it. But you can be guided.


They say that everyone is born with a novel in their heads, and all they need is the right time to set that novel free. A novel, however, is not just words and words of a story, and there isn't any trend to follow words or length-wise. Some of the best classics are quite short (Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter) or long (Tolstoy's Anna Karenina); some of the newest bestsellers also span the continuum of brief (Segal's Love Story), lengthy (there are lots of these!), and even serial (Ludlum's Bourne Series). There is no trend, no best plot, no single way to follow.

Don't let the "critics" tell you otherwise. Bestsellers may have a formula, but once in a while, a great one comes out to shatter all records, and buck all trends.

Could that novel be yours?


Why wait to find out? Start writing! Watch this blog for exercises, useful links for writing, and articles that can help you through the novel-writing process.

Now, it's time to pick up your pen, or open your word processing software and set your fingers on the keyboard.

Let's pick the locks on the prison of your novel.

We're about to set it free.