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Sunday, February 10, 2008

ALL ABOUT WRITING


This award is yours if you've been following these handy writer's tips.

A couple of weeks ago Marie awarded me this Powerful Words award from the Shameless Lions Writing Circle. I'm not sure which individuals I should 'tag' to receive this award, so it's yours if you've been hard at work, focused and nose-to-the-keyboard accomplishing what you can of your works-in-progress.

The gist of this meme is to list three important things that help make your writing powerful and good. Well, here's three things I always stress to the people who join my writing classes:

1. If you want to succeed, you need to be dedicated, disciplined and driven. You will not accomplish a great work if you only dabble in writing once a week or once a month. You need to write daily and often even if it's in a journal or for 10 minutes while you take a coffee break. Just as a musician must practice every day to become accomplished at whatever instrument he/she plays, so must a writer write. And be prepared to do lots of rewriting. It's all part of learning the craft and making your work excellent. Being in a critique group is especially helpful.

2. Carry a notebook with you at all times. You never know when that fabulous line of dialogue, description or narrative is going to pop into your head and you need to write it down immediately. It's those spontaneous bits of writing that give your work it's zip and shine and immediacy.

3. Write about what you know or are fascinated with. And be prepared to do endless research in particular if you're writing about historical periods (and that includes 'near history'.) If you're writing a story set in New York and you've never been to that city, then you'd better take yourself there! And most of all DON'T GIVE UP.

In addition to this 'award' meme, Marie has recently posted another fun exercise.
See how many of these questions you can answer:

1. What was the last thing you wrote?
I've been editing and rewriting a piece about Papua New Guinea for my travel
web site. (It's another person's story but I had to do some additional text for it.)
2. Was it any good?
It is now!
3. What's the first thing you wrote that you still have?
A hand-written little 'novella' about pioneers, written when I was 12.
4. Write poetry?
Sometimes.
5. Angsty poetry?
Often.
6. favorite genre of writing.
historical fiction/ drama
7. Most fun character you ever created?
There's been a few but I love Nabarzanes, the Persian Court Advisor (a fiction
character in "Shadow of the Lion"; and Olwen, who I 'channeled' in "Dragons in the Sky."
8. Most annoying character you've created?
Maybe that would be Alkides, the soldier poet in my Sappho play.
9. Best plot you've ever created?
"Shadow' is written from a historical plot, so I didn't create it. I'd say the
best one I actually created is the plot for "Dragons"
10. How often do you get writer's block?
Not too often and usually it's brief.
11. Write from facts?
"Shadow" and "House of the Muses" (a play) are based on historical facts.
12. Do you type or write by hand?
I usually write notes by hand first, and often write paragraphs of narrative,
some dialogue and always jot down lots of ideas and possibilities.
13. Do you save everything you write?
I save on my hard drive file as well as on CDrom and flash disc as well as
keeping hard copy. If I erase something from the computer I always make sure I have the hard copy just in case i decide it's something I can use after all.
14. Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it?
Sometimes.
15. What's your favorite thing you've written?
Currently, I'm loving my work on "Shadow". I also feel an urge to return to my
Celtic tale "Dragons" though I'd shelved it out of frustration. I'm also quite
proud of my play "The Street" which was successfully produced in 2000.
16. Do you ever show people your work?
All the time. I believe that a good critique group is one of the most helpful
learning tools a writer can have.
17. Did you ever write a novel?
I've been writing novels since I was in my teens.
18. Ever written romance or teen angst drama?
I love writing drama. "The Street" was a drama based on a true story from
my late teens (and written first when I was 18); I tried writing romance
(such as Harlequin) but I'm not that fond of that genre. I do love putting
romance in my novels though.
19. What's your favorite setting for your characters?
In the case of "Shadow" that would be Greece, of course. And "Dragons" is set
near Stonehenge in England.
20. How many writing projects are you working on right now?
I am mainly working on "Shadow" (have put "Dragons" and "House of Muses"
on hold til it's done) But I also write travel and currently do a lot of editing for
submissions for my travel web site. Also do editing for people in my writing
classes.
21. Do you want to write as a living?
Of course! I'm now a full-time writer but I mainly make my writing money from teaching, editing, some travel submissions, and occasionally one-on-one
writing coaching or workshop groups. (Don't expect to get 'rich' from writing)
22. Have you ever won an award for your writing?
I once won first prize in a 1 page writing contest. My "awards" are publication.
23. Ever written anything in script or play format?
I began writing plays when I was about 10. I wrote "The Street" when I was 18
and rewrote it in 1998 (it took 2 years to rework it including taking a playwright's course). I have a script in progress "House of the Muses' about the poet Sappho. I love the theatre!
24. What are your five favorite words?
I love dictionaries and thesauruses.
25. Do you ever write based on yourself?
"The Street: a Modern Tragedy" was based on a true story involving me and
the first love of my life who became a heroin addict. I think the protagonist,
"Olwen" in "Dragons in the Sky" the voice of me coming from another time.
26. What characters have you created that most resemble yourself.
"Angela" in "The Street" and "Olwen" in "Dragons"
27. Do you favor happy, sad or cliff-hanger endings?
Well, I'm a drama queen and love tragedies. "The Street' was a true tragedy,
'House of the Muses" is also tragic and the ending of "Shadow" is strewn with
the bodies of people I've grown to love.
28. Have you written based on an artwork you have seen?
Yes. Art is a great prompt for writing. I have written a poem based on
artwork.
29. Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?
Not in my first drafts. I try to keep the internal editor out until I'm ready
to let her take charge for later and final drafts.
30. Does music help you write?
Music is another powerful prompt. But while I'm writing I am fussy about
what I listen to as it has to set the tone for my thoughts and what I am writing. I listened to a lot of '50's music and jazz while I wrote "The Street
I have a CD of Sappho's poems set to music (with an ancient tone) for when
I am writing writing "House of the Muses"; I have Persian and some special Greek music, classical or music from certain movies I listen to while writing "Shadow".
31. Quote something you've written
"It was my thirteenth year with the Druids. I had learned all the incantations of magic before I was ten years old. Essylt, being a sorceress and diviner of the auguries, was both my guardian and my teacher. I caller her modryb, Auntie, because she had nursed me in infancy as though she were my natural mother. The Druid said my real mother died in childbirth. I would have been exposed for the wolves if someone had not brought me to the Great Stone Circle on the plain.
Listen to my song: I am an honored child.
I am Olwen, daughter of the Earth Mother, Child of the Raven."

From "Dragons in the Sky: A Celtic Tale."




5 comments:

Sam said...

That's a nice meme - I may steal it.
Forgot to say I LOVE your travel blog - I've been reading all the articles one by one. The one with the Roman tour guide had me in stitches.
Congrats on a terrific travel blog!!

Marie said...

Glad you did the meme and I enjoyed reading your answers. Loved the quote too.

Gabriele C. said...

Congrats on the Roaring Lion. Got that one as well some time ago. :)

That's an interesting meme making the rounds.

Wynn Bexton said...

Hi folks, thanks for the complimentry comments. These are fun!

Re my travel web site
www.travelthruhistory.com
Watch for more new stories coming up soon! The young gal who wrote the Rome story is a super talented girl and she's landed a job as intern at a magazine. She's on her way to becoming a published and established writer! All the writers on the site so far are people who came out of my writing classes. I'm so proud of them!

Marie said...

I've awarded you the E for Excellent blog award. Details over at my blog.