Category Archives: Preambles to Writing

5 Bad Writing Habits You Can Break Today (infographic)

Thanks to GrammarCheck.net, here is an infographic that will help you improve your writing. As you read this through, it’s quite possible you can find habits you’ve formed in your writing, habits that can be eliminated with practice.

 

The chart is small here, but you can easily enlarge it. Left click on it to open another page similar to this one. Left click on the chart there, which should give you the infographic again but with a plus sign on it so you can enlarge the image. Left click to open it to a large readable size. Did you get it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What bad writing habit(s) are you now aware you have? I seem to have several … Oops! See what I did? I should have said I have several.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

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Books, writers & writing

Saturday was an interesting day, and now I get to relive a little of it with you.

Just before noon my husband and I treated his mom to an early Mother’s Day dinner at a restaurant we all like. Sunday would be busy so this was pleasant for all of us.

In response to my invitation to the 2:00 book launch of Laura Best‘s newest middle grade novel, Cammie Takes Flight, we parted company with Mom after dinner and my husband and I set off on the hour-or-so drive to the community hall hosting the event. Laura has tremendous support in her community, so, of course, the hall filled up with people before 2:00. She was busy signing MANY copies of her book before and after she read a chapter from it. The representative from her publisher, Nimbus Publishing, was very impressed. He is fairly new with Nimbus and had been warned he had to be well stocked with her books. I know his load was much lighter when he left.

At the launch I was delighted to be able to talk with Syr Ruus whose books I have reviewed: here, here, and here, and Jan Coates whose books I reviewed here, here, here, here and here. There are more to appear on my blog from both of these authors. I reviewed Laura’s first two books here and here, and I later will be reviewing Cammie Takes Flight.

As an introvert, to go to these things took much effort at first, but it’s getting easier as I’m happy for these authors and delighted to go when I can. 

My own writing is coming along. Although my revisions are less than what I should have so far – only 2 instead of 5 – I can fix that this month. The really good news is that my new drafts stand at 11! I have to “buckle down” and pick one to focus on and get it presentable for critique. It would be wonderful if I can get a few stories ready for submission. 

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. For some reason, this year it was a difficult day for me as I am missing Mum so much lately. I hope you mothers out there had an especially wonderful day.  

Do you go to book launches? Do you support authors’ work in other ways?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

A reminder; my writing, & an invitation

Today I’m writing to remind you to put your name into the draw for Melanie Florence’s book, Missing Nimâmâ. Even if you think it would not interest you because of … whatever reason … please enter the draw and in that way be supportive of authors. If you are the winner you have a book to donate to an elementary school library or your local public library. It really is a beautiful book.

Read my review of Missing Nimâmâ

Read my interview with Melanie Florence and enter the draw.

On another note …

As you know, I joined the 12×12 challenge again this year. (I participated in its initial year – 2012 – and again in 2016.) The challenge is to write a new story draft each month, and do a revision of a draft each month. Amazingly, so far I have kept up with writing new drafts, and, although my revisions have been less than five to date, I should be able to remedy that this month. My problem is that when I sit down to work on a revision of a previously written story I come up with a totally new one! What’s up with that?

As you can see on my main page here, I am a member of Inscribe. This month I accepted the challenge of writing a 500-word story, everything included (title, any scripture used, and so on) using a prompt assigned to me. I have until midnight (actually, it’s 1:00 AM for me but I hope to be sleeping long before that!) of May 12 to send in my submission, and so far I have ideas written down which I have yet to work into a sensible story. This is not for picture books.

Another writing opportunity was offered me which I have been mulling over, but as yet I’m not settled on anything for it. Maybe the time isn’t right yet.

Last weekend I visited a local independent bookstore and met two local authors. It was an all-day event with several authors taking different times of the day to meet with people and chat up books they like. Following that I enjoyed an early lunch with another writer friend, after which we attended an information session put on by WFNS (Writers Federation of Nova Scotia, of which I’m a member). During it I learned that I have absorbed more knowledge than I’d been aware I knew! Most of the information given us I have learned over the past few years, much of it through 12×12 and its extensions. It’s encouraging to realize I’m actually taking it in when I often feel it’s zooming right past me. 

On yet another note …

Author Laura Best has a third middle grade novel just released! Cammie Takes Flight. I was excited to recently receive an invitation to her May 13 book launch which I hope to be able to attend. I appreciate paper invitations – helps me remember better in my jumbled up life. 🙂 Of course, you know this means another book review coming up eventually. (I have several books in queue now to be read and reviewed.)

That’s it for this time. I’ll leave you with these words by Stephen King, “If you want to be a writer you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”

What have you read lately? And/or what writing project are you working on?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

Update about writing & books; & remember: set your clocks ahead tonight!

Today I realized that I should say something about the contests I entered recently.

My 50 word story, Magic Rainbows, for Vivian Kirkfield’s #50 Precious Words challenge, did not place. There were 251 entries; 40 were chosen.

You already know my 214 word story, Valentine’s Day Surprises, for Susanna Hill’s Valentiny contest, did not place. There were 117 entries; 10 were chosen as winners and 18 received honourable mention.

I like my stories and felt they had promise, so, I admit, I was quite disappointed they didn’t make the cut when it was hard to put them out there in the first place. Once I got past those gloomy feelings I paid attention to the positive comments and urges to work on my stories to develop them further. I am going to give that a try. There could be picture books hidden in there. 

Right now I am involved in reading others’ stories (although I’m still writing) because Reading For Research Month is underway, and a book study (Writing Picture Books), both of which have required reading. I have been borrowing books from the library and keeping our lovely librarians busy. Look at the pile of books I have home right now, plus I have a smaller pile at Dad’s to bring home Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isn’t that fabulous?  🙂  Including the ones not shown here I have 73 checked out, and 41 currently on hold to come to me when available. My list keeps growing in either direction because I keep asking for more books.

For the books I borrow I try to write a brief review on Goodreads where I again entered a reading challenge. I set my personal challenge at a total of 150 books to read, which I surpassed by one last year, and I know I can do it again this year with probably even more. Of course, most of them are picture books, but that’s my field of study right now. Picture books. And that’s what I most want to write. Picture books. So most of the books I borrow are … picture books.  🙂

On another note …  For those of you who have to change your clocks (early Sunday morning) …

set your clocks ahead one hour tonight!

Do you use the library much? On that other note, do you have trouble adjusting to the time changing by one hour?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Are you a night owl or an early bird?

Have you ever wondered about the writing habits of famous writers? Here are some interesting facts I found about when they preferred to do their writing. 

 

NIGHT WRITERS:  

night-owl

 

 

 

 

  • Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805) – German poet, philosopher, physician, historian, playwright
  • Tom Wolfe (1931 – ) – American journalist, author
  • Robert Frost (1874-1963) – American poet
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) – Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist, philosopher
  • J. D. Salinger (1919-2010) – American writer known for his novel The Catcher in the Rye
  • Franz Kafka (1883-1924) – German-language writer of novels, short stories; widely regarded as a major figure of 20th-century literature
  • William Faulkner (1897-1962) – American writer of novels, short stories, a play, poetry, essays, screenplays
  • Rachel Carson (1907-1964) – American marine biologist and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement.
  • Marcel Proust (1871-1922) – French novelist, critic, essayist
  • John O’Hara (1905-1970) – American writer of short stories; a best-selling novelist before the age of thirty
  • Mary Louise Booth (1831-1889) – American editor (including Harper’s Bazaar), translator, writer
  • James Baldwin (1924-1987) – American novelist, essayist, poet, playwright, social critic
  • Alan Ginsberg (1926-1997) – American poet; a leading figure of both the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the following counterculture
  • Pablo Neruda (1904-1973 ) – Chilean poet-diplomat and politician; 1971 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature
  • James Joyce (1882-1941) – Irish novelist, short story writer, poet; one of the most influential and important authors of the 20th century
  • T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) – British essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic
  • Honore de Balzac (1799-1850) – French novelist and playwright
  • Danielle Steel (1947 – ) – American novelist currently the best selling author alive and the fourth best selling fiction author of all time
  • Carol Ann Duffy (1955 – ) – Scottish poet and playwright; Britain’s Poet Laureate in May 2009
  • Richard Brautigan (1935-1984) – American novelist, poet, short story writer

old-typewriter

 

 

 

MORNING WRITERS:

 

At 4:00 A.M.
  •  Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) – American poet, novelist, and short story writer

At 5:00 A.M.

  • Jack London (1876-1916) – American novelist, journalist, social activist; a pioneer in commercial magazine fiction; one of the first to obtain fame and fortune from fiction alone, including science fiction
  • Katherine Ann Porter (1890-1980) – Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist, essayist, short story writer, novelist, political activist
  • Toni Morrison (1931 – ) – American novelist, editor, Pulitzer and Nobel prize winner

At 5:30 A.M.

  • Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) – English novelist of the Victorian era
  • Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) – American writer of novels, short story collections, plays, works of non-fiction
At 6:00 A.M.
  • W. H. Audsen (1907-1973) – English poet; later became an American citizen
  • Graham Greene (1904-1991) – English novelist regarded by some as one of the great writers of the 20th century
  • Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) – American novelist, short story writer, and journalist
  • Victor Hugo (1802-1885) – French poet, novelist, dramatist of the Romantic movement; one of the greatest and best-known French writers
  • Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977) – Russian-American novelist and entomologist. First nine novels were in Russian; achieved international prominence after he began writing English prose
  • Edith Wharton (1862-1937) – Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, short story writer, designer; nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1927, 1928 and 1930.

At 7:00 A.M.

  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1794-1832) – statesman and German writer of a wide variety of genres

At 8:00 A.M.

  • Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964) – American writer and essayist; an important voice in American literature, she wrote novels, short stories, reviews, commentaries.
  • Wallace Stegner (1909-1993) – American novelist, short story writer, environmentalist, historian; 1972 Pulitzer Prize winner; 1972 U.S. National Book Award winner

At 9:00 A.M.

  • C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) – British novelist, poet, academic, essayist, medievalist, literary critic, lay theologian, broadcaster, lecturer, Christian apologist; author of the Narnia Chronicles
  • Thomas Mann (1875-1955) – German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist; 1929 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1927-2014) – Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter, journalist
  • Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) – Russian writer Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (in English Leo Tolstoy); regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time
  • Gore Vidal (1925-2012) – American writer and a public intellectual with a polished style of writing
  • Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) – an English writer; one of the foremost modernists of the twentieth century
  • Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) – an American fantasy, science fiction, horror and mystery fiction author and screenwriter

At 9:30 A.M.

  • Carson McCullers (1917-1967) – American novelist, short story writer, playwright, essayist, poet

At 10:00 A.M.

  • Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) – British playwright, novelist,  short story writer; among the most popular writers of his era

 

It amazes me how much one can accomplish at the earliest times in the morning. I wouldn’t be able to function during the rest of the day!

Now my question to you is … are you a writer who prefers a certain time to write or a reader who has a preferred reading time? Or maybe you have a best time for exercise or meditation? What time works best for you, and why?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Vote on your favourite story!

This morning I woke before dawn, and since I was awake anyway I checked Susanna Hill’s blog. Yep! She’d posted the winning stories in her Valentiny contest. I admit that I was disappointed to see mine was not among them, but I voted on one of the stories listed.  Thank you, by the way, for reading my story that I posted here on my blog on February 14.

valentinywriting-contest2017

 

 

 

 

Please go HERE to read the top twelve and place your vote. You have to scroll down a ways to do it, and I hope you’ll take the time to read what Susanna says before the vote widget comes up. The stories that made the cut are creative and appropriate for her contest.  Susanna will announce the winner  on Friday.

Do you enjoy entering writing contests? Have you ever won?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

NaNoWriMo speaks out! “Stories know no borders”

My dear friends,
I deliberately avoid political discussion here, and anywhere online. Today I have to share something that I believe is really important. 
I am not a US citizen; I am happy to be a Canadian, although, of late, it’s beginning to look as if our nation also could be entering the arena of political stupidity. It’s disheartening to witness the fear, anxiety and grief of my US friends who are greatly affected by the turn of events of their 2016 election. In the writing world there is opportunity to make things better, one word, one page, one book at a time. So to those who are worried, I say WRITE ON! Be positive, be hopeful, take the high road and DO NOT allow yourself to be pulled into the mire. Avoid hate. Be sure your words are the best they can be because somebody needs you, and that somebody could be someone you will never meet in person but who will read your words and be encouraged.
Yesterday I received an email from the National Novel Writing Month desk. I’m sharing it with you because, as I said at the start, I believe it is really important. This letter came, addressed to Polilla-Lynn – my NaNoWriMo name , because I participated in NaNoWriMo in 2010 (and won!) and in 2011-2013 (adding to my novel of 2010).
Read it and be encouraged, my friends.   Love to you, Lynn

 

What we stand for, what we stand against.

Writing together

Dear Polilla-Lynn,

As a creative writing nonprofit, we’re not a political organization. We don’t endorse candidates or support any particular party. In an ideal world, we would focus only on empowering people to write.

Yet we find ourselves in a time where people’s ability to tell their stories—and even to safely exist—is at stake.

NaNoWriMo strives to be a gateway and sanctuary for people’s voices. Our guiding belief is that every person’s story matters, and we celebrate the inclusion of all religions, races, genders, sexualities, and countries of origin. We help people find a safe space to be who they are—creators, storytellers, and world changers.

Because of this core organizational value, we join the many voices standing against the presidential executive order that bans refugees and people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

For over 15 years, we’ve had the privilege of writing alongside a community from over 200 countries, including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. We don’t build walls. We strive to dissolve borders through stories, the vital human narratives that expand our worlds.

 

So while we are not a political organization, we feel moved to take action.

In response to the executive order, as well as any future government efforts that threaten people’s basic freedoms, we will:

  • Celebrate creativity over apathy, diversity over fear, and productivity over despair.
     
  • Welcome all stories and continue to make NaNoWriMo a safe space for all writers.
     
  • Advocate for the transformative power of storytelling to connect people and build a better world.
 

If you have concrete ideas for how we can work toward these goals (or if you have feedback about anything in this message), please share your thoughts.

Thank you for being part of NaNoWriMo. We are all individuals of different beliefs and backgrounds, but we come together through a shared passion. We pledge to remember that, and to look to our community as a model and inspiration, as we get to the work ahead.

With gratitude and optimism,

Grant Faulkner
Executive Director

 

Future Actions

We are also concerned about upcoming issues that may affect people’s self-expression, like the President’s desire to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The NEA is a crucial source of support for many nonprofit writing organizations, and has provided funding for NaNoWriMo in the past. The NEH has awarded $515 million to libraries, many of which provide local writing spaces through our Come Write In program.

If these cuts are proposed, National Novel Writing Month will respond and advocate.

Your thoughts? You have two places to share this time if you wish, here and on their form. 

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂  YOU CAN DO IT!