Kill Writer’s Block Today

Kill Writer's Block Today

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Belief in writer’s block is like belief in failure. If you believe you will fail, you will fail. If you believe in writer’s block, you will be blocked. There is never a good reason you can’t write. There may be a reason you can’t write well. The story isn’t coming alive for you or you don’t have a good explanation for the next section. Don’t let that stop you. You’ll catch it in the revision.

You Can Always Write Something

If you don’t know the material you’re writing about, you’re writing the wrong thing. If you are stuck on what to write next, don’t do something else. Stay right there until you find something to write. You never need to stop a valid writing project because of some imaginary block. Write about being stuck and then write the details of the problem. Propose theories, even impossible ones, and keep working over the problem. As long as you keep writing, you will get to the solution eventually.

I’ve written before about having more than one project as a way to beat writer’s block. If you really can’t move ahead on a project that may be the solution.

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Published in: on August 22, 2014 at 6:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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Isaac Asimov’s Prolific Writing Method

Isaac Asimov's Prolific Writing Method

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Isaac Asimov wrote over 400 books. He wrote non-fiction because that’s what he liked to write the most. He wrote science fiction and other genres of novels because that’s what his fans liked most and it paid better.

If you’ve never heard of Asimov, welcome to Earth. But seriously, maybe you don’t read science fiction. His best work was the Foundation series, but if you’d like a stand alone book, my recommendation would be Nemesis. His writing was very down to earth and easy to relate to considering how many of the stories happened on other planets. In interviews, he said that he always wrote what he knew. Thus, there are very few aliens in his stories and the cultures are similar to America, especially New York.

We’ve got the first tip from him right there. He wrote what he knew. It’s another planet, 500 years in the future, with robot servants, and the culture is the same as his own. That would sure make the writing go faster.

What else might have made Asimov so prolific?

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Published in: on August 20, 2014 at 7:06 am  Leave a Comment  
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How I Learned to Write 45 Times Faster

How I Learned to Write 45 Times Faster

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When I made my first attempt at writing a novel many years ago, I had read nothing about how to write. I had read thousands of novels. I was reading as many as three books a day and was sure I could write one. I gave myself a challenge. Could I write a book in a week?

The answer was “no”. I didn’t have the writing skills. It took me five years of writing and re-writing to finish and the result was a short story, Grun on the Run.

I can now write a short story in a day. That’s how fast I wrote Oliver Troubles. That’s 1825 times faster.

But, Grun on the Run was 8000 words while Oliver Troubles was only 4000, so that’s only 912 times faster.

But, the Grun on the Run writing was off and on while I worked and did other things. Let’s say only a tenth of those days were spent writing. That drops the difference to only 91 times faster.

But, I did spend some time editing and proofreading Oliver Troubles the next day before posting it. That makes it a two day effort, so that’s only 45 times faster.

Only 45 times faster. That’s some difference. Why did my writing speed improve so much?

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Published in: on August 18, 2014 at 7:01 am  Comments (2)  
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Writer on Fire’s 10 Best Writing Tips

Writer on Fire's 10 Best Writing Tips

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Since 2010, I’ve written many writing tips. These are the ten best.

How to Take a Break While Writing is about writing more by using two writing projects as breaks from each other.

Write More By Reading Yourself is about how pieces you have written in the past can be written again if you’ve continued learning your subject.

Cut More and Improve Your Writing emphasizes the importance of cutting your writing to improve it.

What Are Your Writing Limits? is about pushing your limits by exploring different writing types and working on your skills in the various writing tasks.

Write What You Know discusses the full implications of this concept.

Are You Using Swipe Files? is about using examples of good writing to improve your work.

Create Tension in Your Writing discusses the importance of tension in fiction and suggests some ways to build it.

Fiction Genres looks at 14 movie genres to give you an idea of the many possibilities for a novel.

Great Start – Better Start Over is about recovering from a stalled writing project.

Stages of the Writing Process outlines the full 11 steps that can be used to complete a piece of writing.

These articles cover a variety of writing types. You’ll have to forgive me if fiction writing seems to predominate. It’s my favorite type of writing. I hope this helps.

Article by Ivan Izo.

Published in: on August 16, 2014 at 10:26 am  Leave a Comment  
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How to Write Shorter Articles

How to Write Shorter Articles

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If you can answer a reader’s question in 500 words instead of 1000, you’re doing them and yourself a great favor. Most readers just want to know how to do something or learn something interesting about your blog topic.

That’s one reason to write short articles. There are others. It’s an easy way to start your day with writing because it gives you a feeling of accomplishment right away. Shorter articles also give you practice at cutting needless words and sentences.

There are several ways to write short articles.

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Published in: on August 14, 2014 at 6:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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Enid Blyton’s Prolific Writing Method

Enid Blyton's Prolific Writing Method

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Enid Blyton was a children’s author who wrote over 600 books, sometimes as many as 40 per year. Her first book was published in 1922, so a lack of competition could partly explain how she got published. How did she write so many books?

Her first book was 24 pages long. If that was her average book length, we’d know her secret already. It wasn’t her average. When I was a child, I bought 10 of her “Secret Seven” books at a library book sale. If memory serves, and sometimes it doesn’t, the books were between 200-300 pages each. Are there any clues as to how she could write 600 books?

In the 1950s, her work was criticized as unchallenging and biased. Keeping the stories simple and one-sided would help make them easy to write, but it’s not enough. We want more clues and there are some.

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Published in: on August 12, 2014 at 7:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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14 Methods for Writing Short Stories

14 Methods for Writing Short Stories

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There are plenty of different ways to write short stories. Some are genre specific while others will work with any kind of story. And never forget that you can also just write a story without looking up any method. Tell your story like you’d tell it to a friend. On the other hand, sometimes we need a little prompting.

First, a few novel writing methods that could be used for short stories.

The Basic Story Method

Introduction, preferably including the initial conflict.

Initial conflict to propel the story. Can be the main conflict or lead to it.

Escalation of conflict. Everything gets worse for the protagonist.

Climax or reversal. Now the protagonist is the active agent.

Falling action as the enemy is worn down. The enemy may be a person, a difficult goal, or even the environment.

Resolution of the conflict. The enemy is defeated or the problem is solved.

Almost every story uses the basic story method. You can write a simple short story using only this method or you can try some variations. Some sound a lot like the basic method re-written. Let’s look at some more.

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Published in: on August 10, 2014 at 4:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Solutions to Getting Stuck on Your Novel

Solutions

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One day you’re writing your novel like you’ve finally got writing figured out and the next you come to a scene or transition that stops you dead. Why does this happen?

The problem is you haven’t had enough practice yet at what comes next. That’s a good thing. It means you’re challenging yourself. It’s going to take some thinking, some imagination, to move on. What can you do?

There are three methods I use to get unstuck.

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Published in: on August 8, 2014 at 7:18 am  Comments (1)  
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Six Proofreading Tips

Six Proofreading Tips

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After years of trial and error, I’ve gotten to where I combine proofreading with revision. Even though I never deliberately studied proofreading, my university papers were considered well proofed. You can pick up what you need to know by doing a lot of reading.

On the other hand, you may need to proofread now. For whatever reason, you may not have picked up the habit of proofreading effectively. First, I’ll explain my method and then list the tips.

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Published in: on August 6, 2014 at 7:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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Novel Report – The Third Draft of Book 5 is Complete

Writer on Fire

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As predicted, I finished the third draft of my novel on the weekend. Today, that is. It’s a local holiday here, so a long weekend. Now that I finally have the whole story written, I can’t wait to read it. I’ve always had to settle for bits and pieces… or outlines. I’ll let it rest for a month while I write blog articles and begin the outline for my next novel.

I try to give some “lessons learned” in these novel reports. The main lesson I’ve learned is that writing a full 100,000 word novel is a long job. It was about two years of effort over a three year period. For most of 2013 I was focused on other tasks. Now that it’s done, I wonder if there isn’t some way to concentrate the effort more. I’d like to cut the number of days to write even if I don’t cut the number of hours. I have a precedent to work from; my article writing blitzes.

Twice now, I’ve spent a month writing articles about writing. In 2011, I wrote 38 articles in one month. In March, I wrote 56 articles in one month and the total articles in the blitz were around 70. I need to invent a chapter writing and revising blitz. So, maybe I won’t be writing the outline of my next novel during my August article writing blitz. It should be more successful if I launch an outline blitz in September.

I hope you’re enjoying my many writing experiments. Writing is a combination of learning and doing. Learn in order to do it and then do it to learn more. When I read my novel at the start of September, I’m sure it really will be at the final draft. The outline is so complete that I know there are no major revisions left. The job will be typos, minor cuts, and a few additions.

The latest manuscript writing lesson I’ve learned is to narrate slow scenes fast and narrate fast scenes slowly. Can’t remember where I read it. The idea had to sink in. A slow scene needs to pass quickly so your readers don’t get bored. Fast scenes need to pass slowly so your readers don’t get lost in the action and to build the tension.

One last tip. The solution to getting stuck is not to do something else for a while. Okay. Yes. It is one solution, but not one that I find works. If I step away from writing to read, watch TV, or surf the net, two hours will pass and I’ll be back at the same place. Instead, stop writing and think, daydream if necessary. Your mind will wander and the name or plot point has a good chance of coming to you. There’s little chance of finding an answer in pre-programmed media that has nothing to do with your book.

August is going to be an easy writing month. During the four months of work on the third draft, my “writing article ideas” file has filled up. It should be a blast writing the articles. I hope you will enjoy reading them.


Article by Ivan Izo.

Published in: on August 4, 2014 at 8:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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