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Showing posts from September, 2016

5 Tips for Starting to Write a Story

This month I am teaching a class on writing short stories and while working on it I came up with my own idea for writing a story. It's in a genre (young adult) that I haven't written before so as I sat down to get started it occurred to me I had no idea what I wanted to say or how. I had a concept, but where do you go from there? That got me to thinking about how I normally start out writing a story. I realized there isn't one set way that I start. I just do.


It's something I started learning many years ago when I started out in writing for TV news. You don't have much time to think about how you want to get started. You have to do it or the time will pass and your story won't make it on the air. So I would just start. As Nora Roberts says, "you can't edit a blank page." Anything else can be fixed. So start. How and where? Anywhere can be a beginning. You don't need to sit and consider the perfect first line.


1. Begin with a conversation. Th…

5 Tips for Starting a New Project

Writers always seem to be starting a new project.  We don't always finish them, but new projects or stories can be exhilarating. sometimes they are just what we need to get us out of our writing doldrums or excited simply because they are new.


Okay, you have a new idea.  What should you do about it?


1. Develop a concept.  That means what are you going to do with it?  Do you want it to be an adventure story about a girl lost in time?  How about a story about a woman who learns she is more capable than she realized? Or a man who finds he really does have something to live for. Think about your characters and what they want or what you want to do with the story.


2. Develop your people.  That can mean your main character, of course, but it might also mean something fun like developing an evil villain. Or maybe you want to feature the old lady next door with a secret she's hiding? (bodies in the basement?)


3. Give yourself a location.  Writing a setting can be fun, but don't ge…

5 Tips for Getting Back to Writing

We've officially come to the end of those golden days of summer and the kids are getting back into school.  Now is a good time to get back into our writing habit as well.  But where to start?  And how? Summer may be a fun time for vacation and just hanging out, but it's time to start thinking of a new project or working on one.  So how can you get back in the mood or better yet, how can you get started?


1. Try a research trip.   This might seem like a good way to delay getting started on actually writing, but it can also energize you. Fall is a wonderful time to explore those places that were crazy busy during the summer.  If you're thinking about writing a new historical fiction book, this would be a great time to visit a local history museum.  One of my plans for the coming winter is to finish my romantic suspense set in the southern Colorado plains. It can be a hot road trip in the summer time, but it's a pleasant drive in the fall. Another favorite research spot is…