Inspiring writing reminder

“I wonder how old we are when we stop thinking like kids?”  – This Kid Reviews Books  (Quote used with permission. Thanks, Erik!)

Sue Harrison’s “Writing the Third Dimension” – part 25: The End

Welcome back! Over the next several more months we invite you to return here, specifically on the fourth Thursday of each month for the newest installment of Sue Harrison’s teaching: Writing The Third Dimension. You can read all the segments by clicking on the page title WRITING THE THIRD DIMENSION, found under Writers’ Helps & Workshops on the drop-down menu. Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments for Sue. Now for the topic for month twenty-five:

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“Writing the Third Dimension” – part 25: The End

You’ve worked so hard writing the first draft of your novel, and finally, finally, there you are — one last chapter left to go. After a marathon that has required every ounce of your strength and endurance, you can see the finish line.

You gulp in a deep breath, and, on a huge burst of adrenalin, you tie up remaining threads of the plot and proudly type those two words you have been striving toward throughout the whole, long process:

THE END

TaDa!! Celebrate!!

InflatableBalloons

I hate to burst your balloons, but, before you celebrate, you need to answer a few questions. If you answer “yes,” then you really have finished your first draft. If you answer “no,” you need to go back and work on those last few chapters. Groan!

Don’t get discouraged. Even if you need to rewrite, you can handle it. After all, you’ve already written hundreds of pages. This will be easy-peasy. Well, almost easy-peasy.

Let’s dive into those Before-You-Celebrate questions:

1. Last month we talked about the climax of your novel. Does your final page take place only a chapter or two after the climax?  Yes? Then hooray! If not,  you may need to shorten this after-climax portion. You risk losing your readers’ attention if you prolong the unwinding that occurs after the novel’s emotional high.

2. In your excitement at nearing the end of your novel, have you continued to show your scenes rather than tell them to the reader? It’s so tempting to rush through that last chapter.

3. Did you avoid the classic error of allowing one of your characters to indulge in a long-winded monologue to tie up any loose ends? Good! Then celebrate. If not, rewrite so that some of the information is doled out in a short scene or two, and any necessary monologue is brief!

4. And by the way, did you tie up all those loose ends? If you are planning a sequel, then a few loose ends are fine! If not, you need to weave them into the natural progression and outcome of your storyline.

5. Did you refuse to end your novel with a “Deus ex machina” scene? In ancient Greek plays, the endings were often based around a Greek god coming down in a “machine” (a basket hooked to a pulley system) to “magic” away all the problems. Don’t allow a contrived ending to spoil your previous hard work.

All right. Now, are all your answers YES? Hooray!! Then Celebrate! (And next month, we’ll talk about second drafts. Mwahahaha….)

Tell me about your first draft experience. Do you enjoy writing first drafts or is that the most difficult part of the process for you?

Strength to your pen!

Sue

*Writing the Third Dimension, copyright, 2010 Sue Harrison*

Sue HarrisonBestselling author, Sue Harrison, has written two bestselling Alaska trilogies: The Ivory Carver Trilogy and The Storyteller Trilogy – all of which went digital in May 2013. She also wrote a middle readers’ book SISU. Prior to the publication of her novels, Harrison was employed at Lake Superior State University as a writer and acting director of the Public Relations Department and as an adjunct instructor in creative writing and advanced creative writing. For more information, click here. To inquire about booking Sue for workshops or speaking engagements this year, click here.

Thanks for joining us! Please feel free to leave your questions and comments. We invite you to come back March 26, 2015 for part 26.

Self-promotional help, Word counter & other tools for writers

Today I was checking my links for word count helps and discovered that one I had on my Writers’ Helps page no longer takes us to the page we need. That’s disappointing, especially as it was a link to more than one ‘help’. That sent me on a search. Now in its place I’ve posted four great tools I found, plus a promotional help, that should be wonderful for your use.

  1.  Rapid Word Counter not only counts your words, it counts the number of characters, including punctuation, you use in your story or paragraph.
  2. dCode changes uppercase to lowercase – and vice versa – for you.
  3. Worth a mention is something you might find will come in handy sometime – writing in reverse. How fun is that to work into a story! :)  It’s on DCode’s page where you can also see a list of other fun tools to use!
  4. I found an online typing test that rates your typing speed in a one minute test. After you type the words shown you are given a detailed report of your efforts. Very interesting.

Promotional help: Thanks to funtimesthree for this tip! An online business that looks to be a really good way to promote your book, skills, passion for writing and/or reading – or whatever – is Zazzle International. This link takes you to Zazzle.ca but you can select Zazzle.com or one of ten other sites for other countries. (Scroll to the bottom of their front page for the list.) It’s a site where you can order products that make a statement, or you can design products the way you want them – such as business cards, mugs, t-shirts and much more. I plan to use this site; it’s very similar to Café Press which I have tried. :)

You can find all the above-mentioned tools on my Writers’ Helps page. Please check them out and the many other helps listed there. I hope there is something of use to you.

Have you found anything that helps your writing, or aids in your promotional goals, that you wouldn’t want to be without?

Thank for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

“Keep love in your heart. a life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.” – Oscar Wilde

cats love

“We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” – Dr. Seuss

Aren’t those fabulous quotes? And, on that note, I would like to wish you all a Happy Mutual Weirdness Day!  And much love to you.  :)

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

A touching promotional video

Back on September 23, 2014 I mentioned a couple of sources of easily affordable promotional products that could be a great benefit to you. Reread that post HERE. One of them is Vistaprint, which you will also find on my Writers’ Helps page and listed under Needing promotional and marketing help.

Yesterday I was sent this Vistaprint ad which you are getting to see here before it airs on February 2. This ad is one of the sweetest I have seen. It had my attention from the start, gripped my emotions, and made me hopeful and anxious to see how it turned out. And, okay yes, I cried. Then I watched it again and … cried again.  *sigh* What can I say?

It’s a great ad.

Tell me what you think of it.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

 

Take the Jane Austen character quiz

There have been various things, distracting things, going on lately in my life – some of which I’ll share soon – and my blogging hasn’t been getting as much attention. I appreciate all who come by anyway, and I hope you have been finding things of help to you on the pages you can connect to from the top of this page.

Today I would like to share something fun for you to try. If you are familiar with Jane Austen’s work – and even if you’re not – you may find it interesting to discover which of her famous characters you twin.  Here is the link to follow. Once there you’ll find a quiz of eleven questions to answer to determine which character you are.

Jane_Austen

 

 

 

 

 

<–  Jane Austen

 

After you take the quiz, please come back and share what you learned about yourself.  :)

By the way, I am Anne Elliot of Persuasion!

Which Jane Austen character are you?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!

Sue Harrison’s “Writing the Third Dimension” – part 24: Way up High in the Sky

Welcome back! Over the next several more months we invite you to return here, specifically on the fourth Thursday of each month for the newest installment of Sue Harrison’s teaching: Writing The Third Dimension. You can read all the segments by clicking on the page title WRITING THE THIRD DIMENSION, found under Writers’ Helps & Workshops on the drop-down menu. Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments for Sue. Now for the topic for month twenty-four:

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“Writing the Third Dimension” – part 24: Way up High in the Sky

When my husband graduated from college, we decided to celebrate with a trip to the Rocky Mountains. As we drove west across the plains, we scanned the edge of the horizon for those fabled peaks, but mile after mile, no matter how carefully we looked, we couldn’t see any mountains. We did notice a hazy jagged band of white clouds, but we ignored them, until we finally realized that they weren’t clouds at all. They were the snow-capped peaks of the Rockies, not at the horizon as we had envisioned, but way up high in the sky. We were amazed!

800px-Mount_Massive (Photo by Rick Kimpel Jr., Common Domain)

As you know, mountain peaks and valleys are often used as a metaphor for the plot line of a story. When your readers approach the high climax of your novel, you want them to catch that same feeling of awe that Neil and I experienced when we first saw the Rocky Mountains. From chapter one, page one, you have guided your readers toward a moment of emotional intensity: joy or heartache or amazement or happiness or fulfillment. Carrying your readers to that high level requires a bit of magic beyond my ability to explain, but I hope the following tips help as you work to achieve that goal.

1. Your reader will not be lifted to a climactic level of emotion unless the character they love most or hate most is experiencing a similar emotional high or emotional release.

2. You need to ramp up the intensity of your novel through the rhythm of your words and the length of your sentences and paragraphs. (You might want to review Writing the Third Dimension #18, Tension.)

3. For the primary climax of  your novel, you should narrow your focus to the main plot line and the main characters.

4. The climax is not something tacked on or patched in, it’s the natural fulfillment of the plot line.

5.  And of course, you show, don’t tell. Nothing breaks the rise of emotion like a short, pat sentence as a substitute for action. “He released his anger.” “She would love him forever.” “The butler did it.”  ARGH! NO! Don’t tell me. Give me an action scene. Please…

I’ve had two very separate experiences when writing the climax of a novel. Usually, the words just flow, and the first draft, although not perfect, is better than I had hoped. But sometimes I have to write the climax again and again and again. How do I know when it’s right? It makes me smile, and it makes me cry. What better place for a writer to be than way up high in the sky, standing on top of the world, ready to give his or her readers the gift of tears, the gift of a smile?

Strength to your pen!

Sue

*Writing the Third Dimension, copyright, 2010 Sue Harrison*

Sue HarrisonBestselling author, Sue Harrison, has written two bestselling Alaska trilogies: The Ivory Carver Trilogy and The Storyteller Trilogy – all of which went digital in May 2013. She also wrote a middle readers’ book SISU. Prior to the publication of her novels, Harrison was employed at Lake Superior State University as a writer and acting director of the Public Relations Department and as an adjunct instructor in creative writing and advanced creative writing. For more information, click here. To inquire about booking Sue for workshops or speaking engagements this year, click here.

Thanks for joining us! Please feel free to leave your questions and comments. We invite you to come back February 26, 2015, for part 25.

What makes you smile?

Hi there!  :)

Today I thought I would give you something creative and smile-worthy to try. It’s super easy and safe. I’m sure it will make you :)  (aka smile) … and I DO love smiles.  See?  :)

Click HERE to go HERE. The website is called I will draw you as a stick man. The artist does such a great job, you just have to try it.  :)

My question for today: What makes YOU smile?

sun-patrioticHave a wonderful, smile-worthy day!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)