When I was little the doctor used to prick my finger to test blood for something I didn’t understand. The prick never really hurt that bad, but the doctor squeezing my finger to get enough blood out into the tiny capillary tube hurt like crazy! That is what writer’s block is like. The type of writer’s block I’ve had was more of a 10+ year paralysis. After college I wrote 1/3 of a novel. I decided to research the craft of writing. Great idea in theory. It was like drinking from a fire hose because I decided it would be a good idea to read every book that I could get my hands on. I had no idea there was so much to learn. I became overwhelmed and didn’t know how to implement ALL that I had learned ALL at once. So I stopped writing. Life got busy anyway. I changed careers, got married, had a child, moved a couple times. Ya know…Life.
It has been a while since I’ve written about what is going on in my writing world. So things are starting to settle down a bit now. *Knocks on wood* Grad school is done! Middle school is in session and I finally feel like I got my head above water for the moment. So I can focus on writing a bit. I have three projects in mind. 1- A novel based on the short story I published, 2- a nonfiction book, 3- short stories.
Ray Bradbury said "Write only for yourself" This is excellent advice! At times I've gotten stuck in my writing, and after thinking about the cause, I usually find that I'm attempting to write for the wrong reason. For the past couple years, I've been writing short stories in hopes of getting published in one of the SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association) recognized magazines so I can become a member of SFWA. Sometimes I catch myself trying to write not from my heart, but with an end goal in mind, publication. This means I'm on step 2, but thinking about step 12.
Writers throw around terms like alpha and beta readers. But really what is that? Why two different groups? Alpha readers Part of the confusion is that there are subtly different definitions depending on who you ask. Some will say that an alpha reader is simply the first people to read it–no other qualifiers. That’s how I defined it for many years. Then I read another description of it which made sense. This definition distinguishes between readers who are writers and readers who are readers. Both types of readers are critically important.
“Write what you know.” I’ve heard this attributed to Mark Twain but I’m not sure if this is accurately attributed. If you know more about who first said this, I’d love to hear from you in the comments or email me! The librarian in my is very concerned with giving attribution to the correct people! Many people get frustrated by this piece of advice. I was one of them because I’m a fantasy/sci-fi writer. How can one know about a creature that doesn’t really exist…dragons, unicorns (although maybe they are real, but really good at hiding), and trolls (these do actually appear on the internet all the time, just not in the literal form that I write.) I have a friend that writes about an ICU nurse who turns into an amateur sleuth. As far as I know, she’s never investigated an ACTUAL murder, although she was an ICU nurse. You get the idea right?
What are the stages of writing from start to finish?
There is a ton of advice out there, some of it great and some of it misunderstood. A great deal of advice is taken out of context. Stephen King's advice is often taken out of context. Sometimes it is rather self explanatory, sometimes not. Here is a quote that had me a bit baffled as I read it.
There are many terms for these two types of writers. Discovery Writers, Pantser, Plotter, Outliner. (To name a few). What are they? And what kind of writer are you? Is one better than the other?
You have a rough draft...now what?