dialogue, Dirty Draft, NaNoWriMo, Pomodoro Technique, Writing your Book

Writing Your Book, Part Five—Getting Down And Dirty…

One of my three top tips in Part One of Writing Your Book is to create a “dirty” draft. This involves dashing off the first version of your book as fast as you can. 

If your writing time is limited, concentrate your creative energy on getting words down, rather than building images in your readers’ minds. The fun of doing that comes later, when you refine and polish your completed story.

Adapt the Pomodoro technique to help you squeeze every second out of your writing time. That is, set a kitchen timer for thirty minutes, write as fast as you can until the alarm goes off, then take a ten-minute break.

Don’t worry about adding details of your characters’ appearance, or your story’s setting at this stage. You’ll be going back over your work to add this later, along with research details, and spelling, grammar and punctuation checks. 

Getting your thoughts down in words in a high speed stream has some great advantages. You see real progress, fast. There’s nothing like a rapidly growing word count to feed your enthusiasm. Making a note of your daily word count is a real incentive to beat that figure the next time you sit down to write. If you’re taking part in NaNoWriMo, feeding that figure into the community makes you part of the successful process.
“Let me have this one night with you, to remember…”
or http://bit.ly/2euCc60 (US)

The feeling of satisfaction is amazing. When you forge ahead, trying to do as much as you can in the shortest possible time, you carve straight through those nasty briar patches marked doubt and delay threatening to block the path of every writer. Think of an icebreaker ploughing through the Southern Ocean. Keep your head down, and keep going.

You’re never lost for words. It’s impossible to edit a blank page, but once you get something down in black and white, you can go back and develop your work by adding colour, detail and shades of meaning. Conflict drives the best stories, and its most reliable power source is dialogue between great characters. Put their emotions and arguments down into conversation. You can worry about the scenery later. 

The line of dialogue; …let me have this one night with you, to remember… popped into my head as I woke up one morning. I built the story of Heart Of A Hostage around it by imagining how that conversation started, and how it would end. By writing that out as fast as I could, I made a commitment to write the book which has become one of my favourites. 
Amazon, Facebook, LinkedIn, marketing, Pomodoro Technique, Twitter, Writing

A Writer’s Life: Twitter, Amazon, LinkedIn ….

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AMetamodel_Linkedin.jpgFile URL: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/87/Metamodel_Linkedin.jpgAttribution: By Jean-Marie Favre, LIG, University of Grenoble (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Jean-Marie Favre
…and Uncle Tom Cobley and all.
If you’ve dropped by my blog before, you’ll already know technology means nothing to me. My main aim in life is to tell stories. To my mind, settling down with a notebook and pencil or my Neo  is sheer luxury, but these days that’s just the start of the process. If your aim is publication, putting words on a page is only part of a writer’s life. You have to market yourself and your work, which takes time – time I’d rather use for writing.  
Getting your name out there and becoming “searchable”is seen as a vital career move  – but what happens then? As well as  blogs, websites, accounts with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn,  author pages on Amazon (.com and .co.uk) and publisher’s sites are practically mandatory. All these pages need to be kept up to date, and that’s a continual work-in-progress. The net’s thirst for information is unquenchable, and the sea of snippets is immense. I love keeping up with gossip, so I Tweet regularly as  @ChristinaBooks. Once on-line for that, I find it hard to leave. The quick look at one site I’d intended soon stretches into half a hour of surfing far and wide. I now ration my time on line, so I can concentrate on writing. It’s difficult to break the habit of dipping in and out, so I set a target for the amount of work I’ll get done before I can have a session of idling on the net. This is where the Pomodoro (TM) technique mentioned in my last blog comes in useful. I work intensively for short bursts, then reward myself with a spot of site-hopping.
I’m still trying to find out exactly what LinkedIn is for, by the way. It seems to be full of interesting and like-minded people, but I’m not entirely sure why. Obviously there’s an employment-exchange element, but if someone endorsed my copy-typing skills I think I’d be more likely to refer them to an optician, rather than  offer them a job! 
How do you use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and the other social networking sites, and what’s the best thing your surfing has done for you?
advice, change, Pomodoro Technique, Writing

Three Top Tips For When The Writing Gets Tough….

by Antonio Litterio

POMODORO TECHNIQUE: Every writer hits a wall at some time. Home and family keep enticing you away from your project, the weather’s tempting you outside, you really fancy a coffee (so why not pop out for a cake at the same time?)…the list of distractions goes on. Deadlines concentrate the mind wonderfully, and that’s how the Pomodoro (TM) Technique works. You can find out all the technical details and backup by clicking here: but it’s basically a carrot-and-stick approach. The beauty of this system is its simplicity. Basically, all you need is a kitchen timer, and a great incentive to act as a prize when you’ve finished your writing project. That trip to the coffee shop would do!  Set the timer, then do nothing – absolutely nothing – except write until the alarm goes off. Then do a short burst of something completely different. Take a walk, make a phone call – anything that doesn’t involve your work. Then repeat, for as long as it takes.

ESCAPE, CHANGE AND ESCAPE: The brightest white-heat of inspiration can begin to cool when you’ve been working on a writing project for while. You started off with a brilliant idea,  and you’ve got an end in mind. Fine. It’s filling the valley between those two peaks with the best words in the right order that’s the problem. It can get you bogged down in a muddled middle ground.   Take a break for an hour, a day, or a week – for as long as your urge to tell your story will let you. Then change everything. Rearrange your writing day, including the place and time you do your writing. Change the point-of-view of your narrative. Try adding more dialogue, or less: write an exterior scene if you were trapped in an interior, or vice-versa. Don’t be afraid to ditch anything that isn’t working but never throw away or permanently delete anything. You never know when it might come in useful at some other time.  

SUCK IT UP: It isn’t earning money that makes you a writer: it isn’t even publication (let’s face it, there are several ways of getting into print these days they aren’t all quality-based). The only thing that makes you a writer is the urge to tell a story. It’s a compulsion that won’t let you go. That drives your determination to turn that idea into the best piece of work you can.  Finishing that project will mean sticking at it no matter what. You may come up against disbelievers in your own family. If you want to get into print, you’ll have to convince yourself that rejection from agents and publishers isn’t personal – it’s only your work that doesn’t fit, not you. Accept praise graciously, and give it generously to others where it’s due. Learn from constructive criticism, ignore the unhelpful sort and above all, avoid reading bad reviews. They are only one person’s opinion, on one particular day. Above all, enjoy yourself and it’ll be reflected in your work.