THE CANARY IN THE COAL MINE FOR WRITERS

“People on the outside think there’s something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn’t like that…” – Harlan Ellison   In January, I focused on a few ways to light that spark of inspiration.

HOW TO WRITE WHEN THERE’S NO TIME TO WRITE

I read somewhere that it is helpful to have a mantra that you repeat over and over to help you get in the mood to write. I’m thinking mine should be something like this quote from Natalie Goldberg. Seriously!  Every day that I don’t write, I chastise myself for not accomplishing what I had intended

CAUTION: BRAIN STORM AHEAD

According to Don Hahn, the producer of The Lion King, and Beauty and the Beast, in his book, Brain Storm, the foundation for creative thinking is formed from three key elements: A huge amount of information Untiring interest in your work. The ability and the ruthlessness to take out the trash. This week, we’ll get

RAINING CATS AND DOGS – Fun With Idioms

“Children see magic because they look for it.” Christopher Moore This hyperbole meaning torrential rains has probably around since the sixteen hundreds according to Charles Earle Funk in his book Heavens to Betsy & Other Curious Sayings. We don’t use it much anymore, which seems a shame. It’s such a colourful, playful expression conjuring up

IMAGINE – the road not taken

Another Point of View activity that I have found super helpful, is to go through the writing prompts in some of my books  and then respond to the prompt as my protagonist would respond. This is actually a lot of fun and provides a whole new twist to the writing prompt. But the best part

How to Begin With A Character

An alternative to giving students  a writing prompt, try having students begin by getting to know a character.  I have spent the past several months studying character development for my work-in-progress. Now I have put together some activities to help students get to know their characters. We start with the more superficial elements as students

I Did Not See That Coming : What Happens When You Listen

Last week my theme song was “showing up” and listening to your characters. Well I did that. I got back into Lily’s story. I put myself in her ballet flats. Felt her pain. Her frustration. Her despair. And I listened. At first Lily’s voice was quiet. Barely audible.  Just a hint of a different idea.

Dragon or No Dragon, You Have To Show Up

For those of you who have not been drinking. What? Sassy, you know for a fact that is NOT what I said. (Sassy is my voice recognition Dragon.) I distinctly said “for those of you who have not met my Dragon.” And I was going to go on to say that she, Sassy, has been

Happy New Year!

Ah, September 1st. The lazy days of summer are officially over. Not on the calendar, but definitely on the schedule. While it is still warm outside, the yellow tinge in the leaves warn of colder days ahead. Days when I’ll be happy to curl up by the fire and summon the muse. Days when the

Tuesday’s Tips from Sol Stein: Our Native Language Is Not Dialogue

Today’s words of writing wisdom can be found in Sol Stein’s book How To Grow A Novel. In his chapter titled, Our Native Language Is Not Dialogue, he describes three techniques to use in making dialogue interesting: impatience, misunderstandings, and differing underlying attitudes. I love that. Stein has a way of getting inside the issues