Friday, November 17, 2017

Grounding the reader using "The Pyramid of Abstraction"

In my geekery on writing education, I have stumbled upon a concept introduced in both of these sources by Brandon Sanderson (whom I have never personally read, but he has so much writing education content out there, that I'm a fan of his as a student of the craft).

The Pyramid of Abstraction. 

In Writing Excuses 8:31 Dialogue, Blocking, and Description he briefly describes it, but in the following BYU lecture on characters, he goes into great depth on the concept.

                                      (The Pyramid of Abstraction starts at about 7:46)

I know this is my second post like this, in a row no less.  I feel a little bad about that, but I really think this is worth sharing with new and aspiring writers.  It articulates grounding the reader in a scene so well, and that can be a tough concept to explain.  So, I hope you find this interesting, and useful!

Happy writing, and happy NaNoWriMo!


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Writing lectures...just in time for NaNoWriMo 2017

Over the years, I have mentioned a few (dozen) times that I'm a regular listener and big fan of the Writing Excuses podcast.  It has taught me more about writing than any writing book I've read, and I have read more than I can say. So. Many.

Anyway, the creator, and one of the hosts of the Writing Excuses podcast is the bestselling author Brandon Sanderson.  He also is a professor at BYU, and he has a lecture series on writing available on YouTube.  I'm enjoying it while I fold clothes or do dishes (Multi-tasking is my super power these days).

I like this type of thing. I like to hear, read, and try all sorts of writing articles and lectures. I know this isn't every one's cup of tea.  But if anyone out there wants a way to sharpen and explore different writing tools, but doesn't have the time to read writing books without losing some writing time, this may be interesting to you. 

Happy writing, friends!


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Taking time to mentally prep...

I've spent years teaching myself to write.  Turns out, I've also spent a few recent years teaching myself some pretty unproductive habits.  I've always known that I'm prone to bad habits. I'm probably not alone on this by any stretch, but I tend to fall into ruts easily.  And stay in those ruts for far too long.  Journaling helps.  It calls out the things that I may not see right way.  Meditation helps.  But I'm thinking that the way my life is paced right now, the number one thing that I need is action. (duh, right?) 

Keep moving.

Preferably forward, but not always.  Sometimes a lateral move to a fresh project can serve to just keep those creative juices flowing, if nothing else.  You don't want that flow to dry up.  It takes a long time to get it back.

I used to read writing books, or listen to Writing Excuses (still love), but as a mom, I do not have that kind of time.  So my new motto is KEEP IT SIMPLE.

Just write.

Sit down, and write.

This helped with some things. Not all. I find there are some areas where I'm getting in my own way here a little bit. Sometimes its exhaustion, as I mentioned in my last post. But sometimes is more than that. Some days I'm rested (or my new mom-version of rested), and I have my coffee.  I even have a little energy. I'll set aside writing time, then when I sit down to the keyboard, I'm blank. I've got nothing.  I have a WIP.  I know what's going on with my characters, but I'm not in the right frame of mind.  I almost feel like I'm too alert. Too in reality. There is heavy news in the world.  Preschool and family realities.  Work.  I'm in a totally too "adult" state of mind.I have not prepped my creative self to do the work it needs to do, so one of two things happens:
  1. I tough it out and get to work, eventually cranking out some pages, but wasting a lot of my precious writing time.  
  2. I feel too discouraged, and I go watch Goliath. Vowing to do better tomorrow, without really understanding what went wrong today, thus feeling like a lazy fraud.
I am, as always, a work in progress.  So, some current goals.  For one thing, to take it easy on myself.  Not let myself get lazy, but not be too hard on myself if I slip a bit. I would like to say "I'll think on my WIP throughout the day. I'll be forever brainstorming." But this is very unrealistic.  I have a husband and a three year old.  I have a small business. I have demands that require my whole (available) brain for large stretches of time.  They don't allow me to be thinking much on my WIP or my characters.  This can create a real disconnect. Even if I write every day. So, I must recognize this is happening, and prep for it.  I'll set an alarm on my phone. for about a half hour before my writing time.  A reminder to calm my mind, and get it ready for the work it needs to do.  I'm hoping it can help me bridge that disconnect a little more smoothly. 

I'll let you know how it goes. 

Happy writing, friends.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Hanging on...

Another crazy day.  Another naptime dash at the keyboard.  My only quiet chance to write. I am writing slower than any other time in my life, peppered with a few weeks of high productivity here and there.  It's those times that keep my dream alive.

I'm still writing.  Just in the background.  I write for me.  I write because I have stories that need told.  I have characters that are alive to me.  Too important to me to let them down.  I sometimes fall asleep with my notebook, or laptop in the evenings.  The moment I sit, my eyelids start to feel heavy.  I start to slouch lower and lower.  I wake up the next morning when my alarm plays its melody, with less than my word count goal.  But I'm writing.  It feels good to reconnect with my WIP when I find a rare chunk of time.  Like an old friend.

I look forward to NaNoWriMo 2017.  Something inspiring happens in the fall. Not just NaNo, but the change of season.  The cooling of the air.  The colors, and fragrances.  It makes me smile, and want to put on a thick sweater, and cozy wool socks, then curl up with my laptop and just write.  Coffee, or tea and dark chocolate at my side.  And just...write.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Post-NaNoWriMo 2016

Hello blog friends!

Another NaNoWriMo has come and gone, and I am a little sad to see it go.  I love November.  I love the guilt-free late nights of writing.  I feel less stress about ignoring dirty dishes for that thirty day stretch.  And I love the buzz of excited creative energy that tends to accompany NaNoWriMo season on Facebook, Twitter, and of course the NaNo forums. 

Crisp fall leaves, brisk air with a hint of fire place soot, seeing your breath for the first time all year, hot cocoa, reading and writing by a crackling fire, and a fresh stack of newly typed and printed pages.  Add to all that the beginning of the holiday season, and I am in my very favorite time of the year.

I didn't win NaNo this year, but I did reboot my writing process.  I'm back to working on it daily (even if just notes in a notebook), which had slipped off and on this last two years.  I been working, but things would arise and I would stop for a month here, a few weeks there.  I hate not writing.  I never feel satisfied, no matter how clean the house is... I'm always a bit off.  But when I'm writing everyday, I feel very content.  And I managed to fill some gaps, and rewrite an unsatisfactory beginning this NaNo.  That's right, I cheated... I used NaNo to add new material to the book I first drafted in 2013 before life got more hectic.  But I'm committed to this book, so until you can find it in your local Barnes & Nobel, it is what I'm working on.

Hope you're all doing well, and Happy Holidays!

Happy writing as well!


Friday, October 18, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013!!!

I have a lot on my plate... and I'm in edits on my WIP.... but you know what?

 Screw it!

I love NaNoWriMo!  I'm going to do it!

I may not finish.  I may regret it.  But the idea of letting this November pass me by without immersing myself in the creative abandon that I enjoy so much just makes me sad... so I'm going for it baby!

I'll edit my work in the mornings and make my night time the play ground for my NaNo-ing. 




Hell yes. :D

I love writing.  That is all. 


Saturday, October 12, 2013

What a crazy year...

Ahhh.... another inadvertent absence in my blogging.  I'm terribly sorry to just bail like that!  Life has really been... um... interesting.  (In a scary and awesome way.)

I have always taken a long beat to think before sharing too much personal stuff here, since this is a blog about writing... but you know what?  This is a blog about balancing crazy ol' life with trying to launch a writing career while working full time and having a healthy personal life.  So... yeah, okay... I can share a bit more... :)

 I hope that I don't bore you with this. *wink*

What a whirlwind of a year!

Just a quick recap:

 I had surgery with a longer recovery time than I'd hoped for, which really screwed up my running routine more than I could have expected (with an unsavory side effect of a little weight gain).

 A family member broke an important bone and needed to move in for a few months. 

 My company shut it's doors forever forcing me to find, not only a new job, but a new career. 

 I researched, dotted my i's and crossed my t's and launched my own business.  (Which I love!)

 I have started a writing group that meets every weekend with a friend and fellow writer from another town.

My 12 year old puppy, Abby, had an impromptu paw problem and needed taken to the vet for a semi-traumatic procedure and cauterization.

She cried. I cried. :(

 She's fine, and actually has eaten quite well since we got home an hour ago.

And I have one more piece of really exciting news that I cannot yet share... but stay tuned!! :D  It's really good.

My point? 

Life happens.  It's crazy, and messy and there is always one more thing.  Timing is never perfect.  There is always a reason to put aside writing.  And that is one way to go... but I feel that no matter how crazy and hectic life gets... as long as I take a tiny bit of time... even if its just a half hour or and hour... I'm making progress. 

Just because I haven't met my really tight deadline for publication, doesn't mean I'm not working towards it and making progress. 

I will not be too hard on myself anymore.  AND I will not give up.  I've said it before... I'll say it again... tortoise and the hare baby!

I actually take great joy and comfort in the moments when I am done with my day, or my day has yet to begin, and I can steal a few moments to go into my office and work on re-polishing my WIP. 

I do miss blogging, and I hope to be able to return to my weekend posts... I feel like in some ways the dust is starting to settle... but in others... the dust is just beginning to get kicked up.   But no matter what happens, I hope to take it all in stride, and be the best version of myself that I can be. (and maybe encourage others in the process.)

Grounding the reader using "The Pyramid of Abstraction"

In my geekery on writing education, I have stumbled upon a concept introduced in both of these sources by Brandon Sanderson (whom I have ...