I picked up the book Driven to Distraction because my son has ADHD. I hoped to pick up some ideas to help my son thrive instead of struggle needlessly. I got more than I bargained for! Be Flexible (and non-judgmental!) Try Writing Sprints/Time Blocks Schedule your time Accountability helps Try different planners Use Visual Inspiration Break goals down into smaller tasks.
The revision process is a mystery some people. Some hate it. Some love it. For me personally, I'm still finding my groove. Right now, I'm 28k words into a 50k novel, so before too long, I'll be in the revision stage again. Part of me is biting at the bit to get started on fixing some major problems with the story. Another part of me is dreading it because there is so much to fix with this story. I've talked to a lot of authors over the last 5 years or so. No two authors write or revise the same way. Some write very cleanly in their first draft and need very little revision and editing before publication. Some revise as they write. Some overwrite and some underwrite in their first draft. For some revision means just fixing some things, but for others it means completely rewriting the whole story from page one to the end. It can even change from story to story. Once I get through with the revision on my current novel, I'll share my current method. Meanwhile, AJ Korman shared with me her method of revising her novels. AJ is the author of The Halloway Hills Middle School Mysteries. She has a ton of great advice for revision! Here is what she wrote:
Kreya lost her husband 25 years ago. She said she'd destroy Eklor's book of forbidden knowledge, but she didn't. She has been using it to try and resurrect her husband. She is almost there and just needs human bones to complete the spell. Of course, she is not going to murder anyone to get the bones; that would be crossing a line. She knows where she can get human bones, the battlefield, but she can't do it alone. When she last saw her team, they were all grieving the lost of their dear friend, her husband. And she was supposed to destroy the book, not use it! She doesn't know if they will forgive her or help her after 25 years of being a recluse. has been keeping all these years. One that she's not sure the five of them can overcome. What can we learn from Sarah's story?
Outliners and Discovery Writers, do I have some information for you!! You are going to love this! First, if you are not sure what a discovery writer or an outliner is, check out this post. https://quillandbooks.com/2019/01/04/discovery-writer-or-outliner/ Before I begin with this review, let me tell you how this might work for you. Outliners you can use this tool as a planning tool along-side your outline or as your outline. For discovery writers, you can still use this tool, but not before you write your first draft. Most discovery writers tell me that it totally kills the story if they do any planning prior to the first draft. I get it but that doesn’t make this tool useless, it just changes when you use this tool. You can use this a tool for learn what is broken and what needs a little tweaking. Or you can use it if you get stuck. Many people who get stuck or get writers block in the middle of the story, actually have something in their subconscious telling them that something is broken with the story which is why they can’t move forward. This tool can help you find that thing your subconscious is fighting with, and fix it! Read more....
Beginnings and Endings are tied together, or they should be. The best authors look at where their story begins and where it ends. If they are not linked, they go back and change something. In the beginning, the opening scenes make promises to the reader about the story. The author must pay attention to those promises and fulfil them. Read more...
Do you ever fear that you will run out of ideas? I am not one who has a million ideas jostling for paper time. I have a number of unfinished short stories that could use my attention. But I'm not busting at the seams full of ideas... yet when it comes time to write, I don't usually have too much trouble coming up with a story. You might be like me, or you might be the kind of writer brimming full of ideas. Both are okay. Both come with their own set of problems. Often people full of ideas have trouble focusing on one story. They will often have stacks and stacks of unfinished stories. We'll talk about that another day. Today I want to focus on idea generation and brainstorming. Often my best ideas don't come while I'm at my desk; they come in the shower or in the car. If you are curious about why, check out this article. In pre-pandemic days I used to drive to work for 40 minutes with traffic, which gave me a lot of time to think. Exercise is a good idea generator, unless like me, you are allergic to exercise.
I saw that an Instagram friend of mine was doing a 90 Days to Your Novel challenge thing, based on this book. I was intrigued. I mean, who wouldn't want to write a whole novel in 90 days? Can you really do that? Would it be any good? I know there are indie authors out there that crank out 4-5 novels a year. Something I've learned in the last year is that consistency and frequency really help when it comes to growing a following. For example, I started this blog in August 2016. Then, I decided to start grad school to become a librarian. So, from June 2017-Aug 2019 while I was in school and working full time as a teacher, I posted infrequently. Since August, I have (for the most part) posted every Friday. The number of followers since then has nearly doubled and views on the website are way up. I expect by the end of 2020 the views will more than double from last year. BUT that is not nearly important to me as quality content. I try to be consistent. But sometimes I've got stuff going on in my life (my MIL and my Stepdad passed away in the last 9 months) that prevent me from writing quality content for you, so I skip a week or two. Maybe that hurts the SEO, but I refuse to put junk out there attached to my name.
Sarah Rhea Werner released a podcast about her creative process. That is something I've touched on but not completely, so I thought I'd share my process to see if perhaps this might help you discover a process that can help you.
Fairytale has such a childish connotation, but bear with me on this. You don’t have to be an author of children’s books to get something from this post. I find that the best way to get better at something is to learn from the masters. I would love to sit down with any of these authors and learn all their secrets, but I doubt they would agree to meet with me. Even if they did, they cannot impart their years of toil upon me in a quick interview. That is best done by study.
Finding a critique group that is a good fit for you is HARD! You might want to create your own group. But where do you start? I have it all laid our for you here in this post!