Thursday, June 11, 2009

Writing Prompt Thursday

Today, a little something different. I went to my handy-dandy Field Guide to Weeds by Lawrence J. Crockett. Weeds can have picturesque names. Here are three to get you started:

Creeping Jenny


Devil's Bootjack

Really, I'm not making any of these up.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Writing Prompt Thursday

I feels the need to share some prompting joy. So here goes. Start with one of these. Give it at least 17 minutes. Why 17? 'cause I said so, that's why. (Yes, I am a mother.)

1. What's worse: public speaking or a chocolate shortage?
2. If you had to leave the country -- for good -- what would you pack in the one suitcase you're allowed to take with you? (You can do this one for a character.)
3. What if you (or your character) could save someone (stranger, friend or family member), but to do so would cause the saver to become disfigured in some way. Would you (or your character) choose the someone's life, or not?

Happy paper trails!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Writing Prompt Thursday

I'm inspired!

Check out the latest innovation (tongue firmly in cheek) -- Flutter!

Now write down one verb and one noun for each letter of the alphabet and execute a mix 'n' match. Or, try writing a story in just 26 words. Then tweet it (because, sadly, we can't "flap"). Too much challenge? How 'bout a Twitter tale? You can have 140 whole characters!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

3 Writing Prompts

The Better Blog task for yesterday was to write a list post. (I signed up in the final hour, so I seem to be getting my tasks a day after the sell-by date. No matter.) I thought I'd start a little tradition and build on last Thursday's Writing Prompt post. So here are your Three for Thursday:

1. Write outside. Yes, go out into the great outdoors and do some scribbling. If it's cold where you are, how does that affect what you write?

2. Turquoise. Write about the colour turquoise. What do you remember that was turquoise? What smell do you associate with turquoise?

3. Tell the story of a painting. Check out that painting on your wall, get an art book from your shelf, coffee table, or library or look up artwork online. Choose a painting and write about what is happening in it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Build a Better Blog

I blog, but I know it could be better. I don't have wads of time to work on it though (I do have to get some writing done, sometime). So I've taken the plunge.

I signed up for 31 Days to Build a Better Blog.

Brought to you by ProBlogger, each day you get a bit of teaching and a task to help make your blog better. Today it's the Elevator Pitch.

Friday, April 3, 2009

kc dyer, James McCann and Lee Edward Fodi Signing on Sunday

If you happen to be in or near Surrey, BC, Canada this Sunday, April 5, be sure to head over to the Strawberry Hills Chapters.

kc dyer, James McCann and Lee Edward Fodi will be signing their latest tomes. There will also be prizes, giveways and cupcakes.

I mean really. How could you miss any event that involves both books and cupcakes? Well, there are the trifling matters of airfare and family obligations for me. But if you don't have those issues, get thee to Strawberry Hill. Have a cupcake for me.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Writing Prompts

It's Thursday, the sun is shining, and the phrase, "butt in chair" seems a bit menacing. Time for a few writing prompts to get those fingers tapping.

1. Try opening with this: "The last time I was here..."
2. Type with your eyes closed. Become one with your keyboard.
3. Write down the first line you wrote yesterday (or whenever you wrote last). Now continue, but turn a different corner. If your character turned down the job offer, let her accept it. If your character broke her arm, let her leg be broken instead. See where that line takes you today.

Keep writing for at least 15 minutes.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Darby Interviews Diana Gabaldon

Don't miss Darby Christopher's interview with bestselling author Diana Gabaldon tomorrow.

I'll definitely be dropping by Darby's blog. Diana Gabaldon writes the Outlander series, featuring Jamie and Claire Fraser. She's a preeminent storyteller, a wizard of words and one really smart (and funny) woman.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Very Hungry Caterpillar's Birthday

Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar has turned a big, fat 40. Catch a video of Carle speaking about his classic picture here.

TV Interview Tips for Writers

Writers take note: Amy Baskin has an excellent post up on the PWAC blog about doing TV interviews .

Amy Baskin is the co-author of More Than a Mom—Living a Full and Balanced Life When Your Child Has Special Needs.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Pat's!

Top o' the morning to ye!

The sun is shining, the mercury's rising and the likelihood of my butt staying in the chair today is dropping. Fast.

In the spirit of going green, here's what I do to write green:
  • Get my ink cartridges refilled, instead of replacing them.
  • Do the majority of my editing on-screen.
  • Meet with clients via phone or email, rather than face-to-face. (Though sometimes face-to-face is necessary.)
  • When I do print, single space on recycled paper.
  • Use online resources whenever possible.
How do you write green?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Deborah Kerbel on Blog Tour

Head on over to The Story Siren. Deborah Kerbel riffs on the best things about being a YA author. There's a contest, too. Be sure to check out the guest post before Thursday, March 19. You could win a signed copy of Kerbel's novel, Mackenzie Lost and Found.

Well, if I don't win.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Getting Started

The blank page.

Those have to be the most beautiful -- and scariest -- three words in the writer's lexicon. Depending upon my mood, the blank page can be anything from a delectable expanse ready for creation to a very smooth, slippery wall of hard plastic that will not take ink no matter how hard I try.

Luckily, there are ways around the latter. Here are a few of my favourites (in random order, because I'm a random kind of gal):
a. Pick a colour. Write from the colour.
b. Snatch up a book like Room to Write: Daily Invitations to a Writer's Life by Bonni Goldberg. Find it here. It's stuffed from cover to cover with writing starters. Another of my faves is Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg. Find it here. (Why are they both Goldbergs? Is there a genetic predisposition to inspiring writers?)
c. Take the words out of someone else's mouth. Open a book you haven't read to a random page. Write down the first line. Then continue. You can start with this one: "It was even more money than he had delivered the time before." (Daughter of War, Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, p. 56. Get it here.)
d. Take the words out of someone else's mouth, part two. Sit down in a coffee shop and write down the first sentence you hear. (Be sly about this one.)

Now, go fill a page!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Character Enters Blogosphere

kc dyer has a brand-new book out: A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW. She's started up a nifty-cool blog "written" by the main character, Darby Christopher. Check it out. (kc dyer blogs as herself here.)

I think this is just about the neatest way I've seen the blogosphere used by an author. kc has just set her character loose from the book's bindings.

In order to allow a character to have her own blog, I think she must have enough life that she can leap off the page. Now, is that literally, or virtually?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Salt Mining

Over at the Compuserve Books and Writers forum the other day, Diana Gabaldon mentioned that she was "Back to the salt mines..."

As usual, she has the exact way of it. Writing fiction is an awful lot like mining. Salt, in particular.

First, there's the descent into the deep dark, tools at the ready. Everything from hand tools to heavy machinery is involved in getting the raw material loosed from the earth around it.

And what do you get? Those fine crystals that add spice and flavour to narrative. The gifts of an unseen primordial sea of the imagination.

It's hard work. Every day you must turn your back on daylight.There's the heft of tools, the muscle-popping business of digging. Creating your own space to work, chipping away until there is enough space to swing your pick. It's a daily grind to free the salt from the earth. Then there's the tough job of getting it up to the surface. To say nothing of the packaging.

Worth it, too.

Diana Gabaldon's An Echo in the Bone (7th in the Outlander series) is slated for release September 22, 2009.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Crit. It's the quickest way to better writing and self-editing. Find a critique partner or group. Crit actively and often. It's a beautiful thing.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Baba Speaks

Reisa Stone, creator of Baba, has put up a sound bite of the Ukrainian culinary tour de force. She sounds just like I imagined her. You can listen on Reisa's blog, here.

I heart Baba!

Story Trumps All

Sure, setting is important. Character can be a driving force. Atmosphere is the blanket you use to wrap up the reader. But without story, they are all dead on the page.

A good story brings all its parts to life. A good story can be told. A good story is remembered.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

New Site for Freelancers

If you're a freelance writer (and even if you're not), head on over to The Freelance Survivor. Writing tips, tech tips and profiles. Ms. LeBlanc, you're now on my list of faves.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tweeting about Library Books

Today I'd like to direct your attention to the top right corner of the Ink Gleanings home.

Yep. I've started tweeting.

My Twitter life will be all about the library books I'm reading. Old books, new books, fic, non-fic, the good, the bad and the ugly. Check in often, or follow me!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Working Smarter from Home: Review

If you telecommute, work from home or are considering doing either, Working Smarter from Home: Your Day -- Your Way by Nancy Struck is worth a look.

There isn't a great deal to read, but there are plenty of thought starters throughout the book. Struck guides the reader through a series of questionnaires and tables designed to turn the vague into the concrete. For example, instead of whining about wasted time, write down your own specific obstacles in a list.

This book gives you the opportunity to identify your strengths and weaknesses, your goals and your obstacles, as they relate to working from home. It also gives you the opportunity to say that perhaps, for you, working from home isn't all it's cracked up to be. And that that is OK.

Working Smarter from Home does not offer step by step solutions. That part is left in the reader's hands. That seemed a lack at first, but on further reflection, made perfect sense. If you are going to be successful working from home, you must be able to come up with workable solutions to your problems and challenges. What Struck's book does is help you identify those problems and challenges, and help you see how your style, peak work times -- and your limitations -- can be used to find effective solutions.

Bookshelf Worthiness: I'd keep it on the shelf for the project evaluation questionnaire alone.

Want it? Check it out at Amazon.