Archive for September 2019

#OpenBook – How do you move past writer’s block?   Leave a comment

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This week’s topic is easy for me. I have never had writers block. I don’t think I have been writing long enough for it to have struck yet.

I started writing in January 2015 and published my first Sir Chocolate book, Sir Chocolate and the strawberry cream berries story and cookbook in August 2016. Since then I have written the following books and WIPS:

  • Five further books in the Sir Chocolate series for young children, aged between 3 and 7 years old, with three more written and more or less final;
  • One book for middle school children called Silly Willy goes to Cape Town, with another book in this series, Silly Willy goes to London three thirds finished;
  • One historical novella for older teens about my mom’s life growing up in WWII in a small English town in Suffolk, England. Book 2 in this series, After the Bombs Fell, is…

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Posted September 30, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Open Book Blog Hop – 30th September   1 comment

Stevie Turner

This week the topic is:

‘How do you move past writer’s block?’

That’s easy … I don’t start another novel until the inspiration strikes again!

Readers can always tell if you’re writing just for the sake of trying to write something.  What usually comes of this is shite.  Sometimes it will take me 6 months to come up with another idea, but until then I’m happy writing blogs, reading more and writing reviews.

I don’t feel the need to be writing all the time.  This is a hobby for me, and so it becomes less pleasurable if I’m trying to force words out because I feel guilty if I’m not writing.  What’s the point?  I’ve got my paid work to keep me occupied, and I like taking long walks to see if inspiration might strike, but hey, if it doesn’t then I’m not really that worried.

I now write…

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Posted September 30, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

I Don’t See No Stinkin’ Writer’s Block   Leave a comment

Lyndell Williams

LWL Blog Banner - Widescreen#openbook

How do you move past writer's block?

I never get writer’s block. I may say I do but not really. What I usually experience is more like a hurdle to clear and keep things moving. A basic definition of writer’s block is, “the condition of being unable to create a piece of written work because something in your mind prevents you from doing it.” Other definitions describe it as an inability to write—as if there a mystical wall keeping words stuck in the mind or a force imprisoning creativity. There are reasons why a writer can’t write, and it is not always psychological or due to “having something on your mind.”

Through years of academic, professional, teaching and coaching writing, I learned a few things about the ominous “writer’s block” and the external and internal factors that drive writers to fall back on what is ultimately an excuse, a…

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Posted September 30, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Blog Hopping, The Dreaded Writers Block   Leave a comment

Posted September 30, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Wall of Despair   6 comments

September 30, 2019

How do you move past writer’s block?

Rules:1. Link your blog to this hop.

2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.

3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.

4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.

5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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Being Honest

I don’t really believe in writer’s block. Every time I hear someone describe it, this little voice in my head goes – “Oh, they’re freaking themselves out. Don’t do that. Stop doing that. Move on, folks.”

I think every writer experiences inevitable moments when their prose are mushy and they can’t find a creative bone anywhere in their body. I’ve experienced that. I just don’t consider it a time to panic. It’s not writer’s block so much as it is often writer’s boredom.

Sometimes it’s not the right time to write about the story I want to write about. Maybe my ideas need to marinate a little longer before I can write them down.

Sometimes, if I’m really honest with myself, I am afraid to put my ideas and myself out where everyone can critique them and me. After all, who really wants to walk into the middle of a wolf pack with nothing between them and those teeth but a shield of toilet paper and a lace dress? Right?

Today, perfect is not an option – what a relief! But it’s still a struggle to want everything to be just right before you even put pen to paper or touch a keyboard. We all want that smashing-GREAT first line. I never write it in the first draft and that’s okay because that’s what second drafts and even third drafts are for. What a relief!

We all have self-defeating habits and fears that can tangle us up in personally-created red tape. Are there solutions to that dark night of the writer’s soul? Sometimes. I know what works for me, which is why I can say I don’t really believe in writer’s block.

I feel it. The huge brier wood of writerly complications that I must hack through to get the story I want to write. I hear the whisper of the voice of defeat every now and again. But instead of letting it block me from my goal, I start hacking away at it. The trick is to find something that works for you — this time.

“I’ve often said that there’s no such thing as writer’s block; the problem is idea block. When I find myself frozen–whether I’m working on a brief passage in a novel or brainstorming about an entire book–it’s usually because I’m trying to shoehorn an idea into the passage or story where it has no place.” Jeffrey Deaver

Anti-Solutions

What I don’t do — what I know will backfire every time — is to refuse to write until I feel “inspired.” Inspiration is the stuff of movies. Writing is work. It’s work I love, but it is still work. I don’t want for “inspiration.” I don’t feel sorry for myself. I don’t procrastinate and make excuses. Yeah, yeah, yeah – I don’t feel creative. So what? Create anyway.

Solutions

So I’m all bound up and I can’t create? Naw, maybe I just need a break. I go for a walk (up to a three-day hike). I make some coffee (or tea). I read someone else’s book for a while (I’m using “The Cold Dish” by Craig Johnson as my current distraction-cum-relief valve). I call an old friend. I spend time with someone who makes me laugh (Brad needs to come back from Texas). I go to the coffee shop and set up my computer there.

It doesn’t really matter what you do, so long as it works for you and it creates momentum. I have been known to write nonsense. After all, it’s just pixels. No harm, no foul, I can erase it later. Once you start heading in a direction — any direction — it’s easier to pick up speed and to guide yourself to the path you should be on. I never have just one writing project going. I have a primary, secondary, and tertiary project currently and I also have WIPs that aren’t anywhere near seeing the light of day — and it’s all fine because if I get bored with my primary project, I can switch to one of the others and still be writing — still making progress. And, in a few hours or a day or a week, I’ll come back to my primary project and, viola, I’m ready to write it again.

The fail-proof solution

You might already have guessed what my fail-proof strategy for overcoming writer’s block is. I write. I start somewhere, anywhere. I write a few lines. I say anything. I see what happens. I don’t think about it too much. Sometimes I write nonsense. I don’t try for the next great American novel. I just write. It probably isn’t eloquent or presentable. It’s just words on a computer screen — or sometimes a notebook. I write for the joy of writing, because writing is what I do. It’s how I talk to myself.

The fact is – if you’re not illiterate, you can write. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be. Just type a few words and get past the hump. You can fix it later. It’s something I learned in journalism. The difference between professional writers and amateurs is both encounter obstacles to writing, but one pushes through to the other side while the other gets paralyzed and stops writing altogether.

Bow to Only One   Leave a comment

Character Building: I Made This   Leave a comment

Lyndell Williams

LWL Widescreen (18)#open book

What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?

I may (or may not—I admit to nothing) base a character on someone I respect or despise, so I will have to be salty and sweet with the response to this week’s OpenBook blog hop post. Let’s start with the people I like.

Sweet

I’ve explained in a Black Glue Podcast interview how the Prophet Muhammad served as inspiration for the male characters featured in the Brothers in Law series.

I reflected on the Prophet (Muhammad’s) life and how he was as a husband … lover … someone out in the community and how he transitioned between those things. What he did when his women were mad at him, and what he did when his women were acting out. [The brothers in law] don’t act exactly like the Prophet, but there are characteristics each one of them…

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Posted September 24, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Open Book Blog Hop – 23rd September   1 comment

Stevie Turner

This week’s topic is:

“What do you owe the real people on  whom you base your characters?”

A few of my books are based on real people, although some characters are a mish-mash of several people’s quirky traits and stories they have told me.  Let’s start then…

I attended Pilates exercise classes for 18 months before I wrote ‘The Pilates Class‘. The class consisted of about 15 ladies and one man, Noel.  Noel always laid his mat in the front row, as he stated quite loudly that he didn’t want to be accused of ogling any of the women.  This gave me the idea for Neville, who makes sure his mat is placed at the back of the class so that he can feast his eyes on Roz in her tight lycra.  Thanks Noel, you gave me a great character!

‘Finding David’ is the result of many visits…

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Posted September 23, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Blog Hopping. If only they knew!   Leave a comment

Posted September 23, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Avoiding Lawsuits   10 comments

September 23, 2019

What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?

Rules:1. Link your blog to this hop.

2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.

3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.

4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.

5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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Legal Issues

Whether we mean to or not, we authors all write characters based on people we know or admire. It’s inevitable. My husband recently pointed out that Chief Joe Kelly reminds him of someone we knew 30 years ago. We haven’t seen this guy in all that time and I wasn’t consciously basing the character on this old friend, but yeah, there are some elements that appear in Joe Kelly’s character that are reminiscent of that long ago friend. I didn’t wholesale base Joe on that young man, but I borrowed a few turns of phrase and I did it without meaning to.

By and large, basing characters on real people is problematic. You can find articles on writer sites saying “Don’t do it!” There’s the hurt feelings, the defamation suits, the cease-and-desist orders. It can be a problem. I don’t recommend it … but I’ve done it – carefully.

Homages

When a long-time friend died during the rewrite of “Objects in View” I decided to pay homage to him and introduced the character of Dick Vance. That led to another character homage in Calla Thomas. They are minor characters and both died soon after their introduction because homages limit my literary license, because when you write a character based on a real person, you owe something to the person you’re basing the character on.

Everything the character Dick Vance does in Transformation Project is something my friend would have done in the circumstances Dick finds himself in. I took great care in considering his dialogue to assure that everything the character said would be something my friend would have said. That additional work at rendering the character faithfully is why I don’t usually base whole characters on real people, though I do borrow elements from real people. It’s a lot of work to be that faithful, especially when the character doesn’t talk to you. My fictional characters tell me their stories. That’s not how it worked with my homage to my friend. Instead, I had to do all the work and that was exhausting.

Now, clearly, my friend is not going to show up and call me to task for getting something wrong, but I can imagine how I would feel if he did and so, I owe him faithfulness to who he really was. That’s how I pay homage to him, by showing how I think a real person would have reacted in an apocalyptic situation. To continue to write him as a character would have been to create a caricature and that would have been extremely dishonoring to my friend. I’m glad I included him in the book, but after I wrote about him, I just sort didn’t feel inspired to write about him any further. So I gave him a hero’s send-off exactly how I think my friend would have liked to go out and I walked away knowing I had treated my use of my friend’s personality with respect and care — like I would have treated him in real life.

Respect

So, I guess the overall answer is we writers, when we use real people as characters in our books, owe those people respect for their personhood … which is why I have never based a character on someone I don’t like. If I’m having trouble respecting them when we’re face-to-face, I think I’d have trouble treating them with respect as I write them — and that, my friends, is what causes hurt feelings, defamation suits and cease-and-desist orders. Best to avoid those if at all possible.

Posted September 23, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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