March 17th, 2015
Don’t give your backstory upfront. Begin with an explosion – emotional or physical – Explain it later.
It’s very tempting to start by telling the reader about the protagonist/world/dilemma. But the most enticing way to open a book is to plunge straight into a compelling scene – one that reveals all of the above through action rather than prose.
Many beginner writers tell too much at first, thinking they need to explain everything. You don’t. Begin with an explosion. Explain it later. What you leave out is as important as what you put in.
April 22nd, 2015
Day #22. I am a great believer in action. But sometimes I do too much. Sometimes I push & strive when what’s really needed is a little time to let thoughts percolate, to let the fruit of a story ripen before being picked. And, remember too, that you don’t need to add metaphorical glitter & bows in order to shine because you think what you’re doing isn’t enough. Readers love writing when the heart that created it resonates with their own. You don’t need to dress up your heart. Simply express yourself. This is all you can do. Trust that this is enough.
April 21st, 2015
Day #21. This is a funny little piece of advice, but I find it’s true for me. While I’m doing housework, not thinking of anything in particular, I’m very often blessed with sudden answer to a plot problem or a few stupendous sentences. So, if you find yourself staring at the blank page, just stop & do some washing up instead! It probably won’t be long before a spark of inspiration settles on your shoulder…
April 20th, 2015
Day #20. Whatever it is you want to do, whatever dream you want to fulfill, keep taking the steps to achieve it. It’s no use dreaming of being an author if you don’t write at least a few words every day. Don’t be put off by baby steps. Think of this: if you write a page a day for a year then you’ll have a novel by the end of 2015. A page a day for the next 89 days will give you a novella the size of Men, Money & Chocolate. Pretty good, huh? And, if you don’t want to write then you most likely won’t be applying your ass to the seat – probably quite the opposite – but the metaphor remains the same!
April 19th, 2015
Day #19. Everyone underestimates themselves. And, since we don’t see our own gifts, it helps to employ the eyes of friends or mentors – people you trust to see the truth. But, even then, to be told we’re lovely & amazing can, strangely, be a hard thing to hear. Most of us have a low threshold for compliments. But, once we start believing how brilliant we are, then we’re able to do anything!
April 17th, 2015
Day #17 If you want to do anything against the odds you must have great strength of will. You must be stubborn. Dogged. Tenacious. Determined. Resolute. Stalwart. Steadfast. Unfaltering. Committed. So, if you’re setting out to publish a novel, or something similar, then you need to find your inner sense of steel first!
April 16th, 2015
Day #16. If you wait for everything in your life to line up before you act, you’ll be waiting forever. Nearly everyone who’s achieved something significant has overcome great odds to do it. So, whatever your circumstances are, don’t let them stop you. & if you ever find yourself bemoaning your state, just think of all those who’ve gone before you who never gave up. Be inspired by their example & take their courage & determination for yourself!
April 15th, 2015
Day #15. Disappointments are a frustratingly common fact of life. My own life often doesn’t meet my desires, but I’m lucky to have people who inspire me away from self-pity. So, when I suffer a disappointment, when I feel the strong pull of self-pity, I reach out for support. Because I can’t fight the doubts & fears of my mind by myself. So, when you’re feeling the pull of the mattress, remember that you don’t have to go it alone!
April 14th, 2015
Day #14. I used to believe that being published would change my life and me. I believed this all the years I was writing, right up until my first book was published. I had a spectacular launch party. My cheeks hurt from smiling. But, when all the cake had been eaten, I realised I’d been wrong. I felt exactly the same as before, nothing had changed. Success isn’t going to save you. The way you feel now is the way you’ll feel then. When you realise that you can enjoy success for what it is – the icing on the cake.
Success is a journey, not a destination. – Steve Frazier
April 13th, 2015
Day #13. I love Figure Skating; it’s a beautiful metaphor for life. The skaters aim at their mark, overcoming fear of failure or injury. If something goes wrong, they can’t cry or pout. They throw themselves – with perfect precision & absolute focus – into the next spin or twirl. They remind me what’s possible in terms of triumphing over the urge to have a temper tantrum, or wallow in self-pity, and instead keep living your life with brilliance & passion. Personally, pouting when things don’t go according to plan, is my natural inclination, so I need reminding. Because one can either pout or twirl, but one cannot do both!