On a journey as the main character of your novel, you come to a river cutting a deep channel across thirsty land. Spanning the river is a wooden bridge that looks like it’s seen better days. Are you happy to be here or wish you were somewhere else? Why are you traveling? Where have you come from, and what is your destination? Is a companion with you, or are you alone? Are you running away, being pursued, or are you chasing someone? Continue Reading>>
Cluttered Writing Life Causes & Cures: Writing Creativity Killers, Part 5
Novel writing, social networking, blog posts, newsletters, promotions–oh my! You have too much going on, more or less all the time. Everything seems important and necessary, but you are stretched thin and entering the red zone of author burnout. Or maybe you crossed that boundary line a while ago but are slogging on out of a sense of duty. Your office is a mess. There’s paper clutter everywhere. And you can’t even hope to deal with cluttered computer files. Your schedule is more like a wishlist these days, with only a few items crossed off on good days. Writing just isn’t fun anymore.
In a scenario like this one, something has to change. Continue Reading>>
Writing Creativity Killers, Part 4
While checking in a day early to a writing conference where I was booked to sing, a poet who was one of the presenters helped me carry my luggage to my room. We had a nice conversation, during which she confided she was learning to take time to ‘breathe and be.’ That resonated with me so deeply it became a turning point that changed my life.Continue Reading>>
No matter how tight my schedule, I always make time to breathe and be.
Writing Creativity Killers, Part 3
So much to do, so little time. Does this sound like your life on an ongoing basis? You either enjoy the challenge, look wistfully back to when you had the freedom to create without a schedule, or both.
When your ambitions overwhelm your available resources, burnout isn’t far away. Determination can keep you going while tapped out, but your creativity inevitably suffers. Let’s take a look at some of the causes of time stress and how to remedy them. Continue Reading>>
Writing Creativity Killers, Part 2
Standing for what you should be writing when everyone wants you to fit the status quo takes a strong mind. I know. I had to deal with the expectations of others while sorting myself out as an author. It wasn’t easy, because I just naturally like pleasing others, and the crowd mentality can be hard to contradict. I had to realize that while listening to advice can be good, only I have the insight to decide what is best for my writing career. Continue Reading>>
The price of letting others define you is that you won't live your own dream.
Writing Creativity Killers, Part 1
If you’ve been writing for any length of time, you’ve probably figured out that having a writing career is not for the faint of heart. It takes courage to bare your soul in a manuscript, only to face the possibility of rejection and criticism. And then, there are the inner fears. What if you fail? What if you succeed? What if______. As a writer, you’re creative enough to fill in the blank. Continue Reading>>
Conflict in Fiction, Making it Real Series, Part 5
Ever paint your main character into a corner? Yeah, me too. Since we are on the topic of conflict in fiction, let’s take a look at what psychologists know about how people react to conflict in real life. As we’ve done in the past several articles, we’ll apply conflict in psychology to fiction writing. I can’t promise you’ll never get stuck again, but arming yourself with information can’t hurt. Continue Reading>>
Conflict in Fiction, Making it Real Series, Part 4
Understanding the dynamics of inner conflict in psychology can help you create believable characters who tap into emotions common to us all. Portraying inner conflict believably in fiction requires that we understand its ways and means. In this article, we’ll cover the four models of inner conflict in psychology, with examples from my own writing. Continue Reading>>
This post is a continuation of "Tap the Psychology of Conflict in Your Fiction," which I recommend reading first.
Conflict in Fiction, Making it Real Series, Part 3
One of my writing retreat partners is a mental health professional with licenses that add lots of letters behind her name. While on retreat, the other writers (myself included) have been known to shamelessly pick her brain for help in developing our characters. A keen understanding of people is a job requirement for those in the mental health field, with conflict its stock-in-trade. Drafting from psychology for your writing would seem a wise choice. Continue Reading>>
Conflict in Fiction, Making it Real Series, Part 2
Conflict in fiction is created when the main character strives to achieve a goal that solves the story problem, only to be frustrated by obstacles. The force introducing these obstacles can be internal or external. A battle rages between a protagonist and antagonist, arising from opposing motives that put them at cross-purposes with one another. This battleground exists inside or outside the main character’s being. Continue Reading>>