They keep you up at night or wake you early in the morning. They are the characters that are swirling and dancing in all writers. They want out of our brains and onto the paper or screen. It’s time to let them out! Send them on their story journey. Let your characters flow into the story you weave. It’s National Novel Writing Month, your designated month for unabashed writing.

November is the month, and the challenge is on by NaNoWrIMO.ORG to write 50,000 words in November. This equates to a strong and very rough draft of your novel. It’s your jump start to get your story out of your head.

How can this be done? In simplest terms, 1,667 words per day. Just sit down and let them flow. All the excuses are out the window according to a post by NY Book Editors. I need a plan. I need an outline. What about my plot chart? For those of you who are planners, this may be hard. I count myself among you. But when I wrote the first draft of my book during Nano-WriMO a few years ago, it was the most freeing feeling to just sit down everyday and write. My story lines and characters took me in many directions I could have never planned. I ended the month and the draft with 55,152 words and a giant YIPPEE!

To make this fun and a way to connect with others doing the same thing, check out the NANOWriMO website and log in. There are resources and community forums by region of the country, and around the world, that let you know you’re not alone in this challenge. Check around your local community for other writers taking the challenge. Some writer groups hold writing events to help encourage one another. These events include just time to write among other writers, word games to stimulate wordsmithing, and other fun writing exercises for getting those novels drafted.

Move the Halloween candy wrappers aside, and welcome November with a challenge that could be the first step in your next (or first) published book.

I’m in, are you?


7 Tips for accepting the challenge:

  1. If you hit writer’s block, stop and get a glass of water. Drink it. Sit down and write a scene with one of your other characters.
  2. Phone a trusted writing friend if you find yourself slowing down and talk about your story. A fifteen-minute conversation may spur some new ideas.
  3. Even if you are writing a scene and you know there are flaws, keep writing. Something good will come of it in the next draft.
  4. Carve the time anywhere – lunch, carpool, a few minutes before bed.
  5. Mid-month slow-down? Look how far you’ve come! Connect with other writers and keep going.
  6. Feel like you are getting behind in your word count? Keep going. On the off chance you don’t end up with 50,000 words, you will be so much further along.
  7. Remember, no editing, just writing.

Let’s connect:
Facebook and Twitter: @KHRWriter
Instagram: KHRichardson5

Writer’s block can be very real. Sometimes to get started on what we really need to be writing, we need to do a little warm-up. Set a timer for 30 minutes, use the photo and or the passage below to start those words and stories flowing!

The sun took way too long to sink below the horizon. The day had been way too long. The waiting was unbearable. The shadow felt secure. The blanket felt warm and provided a shield from the reality that waited.


Click to tweet: a picture, a described scene, and 30 minutes could be the start of something wonderful.

Creating #characters who are believable and are relatable is an important part of the writing process. As we build a character’s personality, we have to be sure to carry that personality throughout the story. There are 4 fundamental personality types. They are sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic. There are researchers and studies that explain personalities and reactions in a deeper manner, but for our purpose in developing characters, lets explore character development with these four.

Generally, the sanguine is the fun-loving, life-of-the-party type. This personality could be the your comic relief in the most intense parts of your story. The choleric is the leader. Still out-going, but will be taking charge and solving problems. The melancholic is organized and very steady when it comes to emotional reactions. And the phlegmatic is a quiet introvert, and hard to know what they are feeling because they don’t share unless asked. Any of these sound familiar?

Each personality type has strengths and weaknesses. Typically those who study personalities will explain that when any given personality is under stress, upset, or in crisis, their strengths can become a weakness. For example the sanguine might make sarcastic jokes when stressed or in an awkward situation rather than address the issue at hand.

As you get to know your characters through writing them into scenes, keep in mind their personality. Are their reactions to outside stresses and successes consistent with their personality?


Click to tweet: Creating #characters who are believable and relatable is an important part of the writing process.

 

 

their there they're

Farnsley-Moreman Historic HomeA few weeks ago I attended a community festival at the Farnsley-Moreman historic home at Riverside. There were families and individuals of all ages and sizes. As I walked through by myself taking pictures of the event this gentleman was strolling through. He didn’t talk to anyone (including me when I asked to take his photograph he just stopped and looked at me), he didn’t interact with any of the vendors except later in the day I did see him get a hot dog from the food truck. I’m still thinking about this man and his story. Had I not seen him eat, I may have wondered if he was the ghost of Farnsley or Moreman. With that thought, I will challenge you to use this man as your writing prompt for this Wednesday. By the way, it was 95+ degrees out that day. Why wasn’t he sweating?

egg huntWriters are always looking for fodder to enhance their next story. Holidays with family or friends is a gold mine for these morsels. I’m not suggesting you add crazy uncle Frank as a character. Keep an eye out for little things like who talks the most, are they loud and want everyone to hear their stories? What are the roles everyone plays in the holiday? Are they the picture-taker of the family, the one that brings more dishes than they signed up for, the one that is always late, or the one that always brings an extra person?

Think in terms of your senses. Look around the room and make mental notes of what you see. What are the conversation circles like? Beyond the typical gathering around whatever sports event aligns with the holiday, how are others conversing? How do the parents converse with their children? Is there one child not joining in with the other kids.

Are you overwhelmed by the smell of warm home cooking when you walk in? What isn’t being said? Is it one of those times in the family when there is an issue that everyone has chosen to ignore because it’s a holiday? How is everyone dressed? Is there a faction of the family that shows up dressed to the nines and another who looks like they just rolled out of bed?

This weekend is Easter; a sacred holiday. But beyond your spiritual experience, when it comes to families getting together, whether it’s the obligation, or because they want to, over-eating, lots of candy, and hunting for eggs that may have cash, things with the family can get squirrelly. Consider it a gift for your writing and use it!

#Easter #egghunt #amwriting

Sharing from Shirley Crowder’s blog, Inspired Prompt, Pros and Cons of Self-Editing.

It’s good for writers to do self-editing. By all means use the spell, grammar, and context tools you have to go through the manuscript. But when you feel like it’s done, as clean as you can make it, call on a professional. They are going to come to your work with a fresh perspective, completely subjective.

When I chose an editor, in addition to their reputation, I chose one who is in my reader demographic. While my story will be new to her, she is my potential audience, making her comments about the story more valuable to the project.

Just a few thoughts. Let me know your thoughts on self-editing.