Tuesday, October 27, 2015

When There's No Motivation ...

Like a lot of people, I used to think I had to be in the mood to write in order to create anything good. And that's true, to a certain extent - your most poetic or heartfelt words will come when you're caught up in the moment. However, there's quite a lot you can do when you're not "feeling" it, and sometimes doing those things can help spark the mojo to life.

1. Research is a necessary writing-related task that doesn't require "the muse."

2. You can look at covers in your genre and get ideas for yours.

3. You can outline the next couple of scenes.

4. You can write a bare-bones draft of a scene and come back and add the heartfelt bits later.

5. You can proofread segments you wrote previously.

See - there's still all kinds of important writing work you can do even when the muse isn't speaking to you. The important thing is to keep forging ahead - she'll come back. I promise.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

What is the Theme of your Story?

My friend RaShelle (who is awesome sauce) posted a link to a blog that discussed the three steps to finding the theme of your story. RaShelle's comment about the post really caught my eye.

"Love this. heart emoticon Knowing the theme of your 

story is an immense help during the writing process." -Rashelle Workman  (to see the original FB post and link to the article click HERE)

Just for the record, I totally agree!

I thought the article pointed out a lot of great information.

My favorite line from the article was this: The best novels and the most life-changing memoirs you will ever read are the ones that help you discover a truth about the human condition.

So, what is theme in relation to stories?
  • The underlying message of the story or the main idea.
  • What the story means.
  • It is a belief or idea that goes beyond culture and is universal, touching on the human experience.
I like to sum it up with this statement: The theme of a story is the lesson or message about life that is learned from a story.

Basically, if you know what your story is about, what its meaning is, and what the lesson is, you know your theme. (Need more tips? Click here)

Need examples of themes? Click here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Gender-Specific Language

So what is gender-specific language?

 The American Heritage Book of English Usage says :
As a general rule, it is good to remember that you should only refer to a person by category when it is relevant or necessary to the discussion at hand. That is, you should ordinarily view people as individuals and not mention their racial, ethnic, or other status, unless it is important to your larger purpose in communicating.
There are simple ways to replace gender specific language with gender neutral language (many of these are becoming widely used):
  • chairman … chair
  • manned … staffed
  • fireman … firefighter
  • policeman … police officer
  • stewardess … flight attendant
  • mailman … mail carrier
  • councilman ... councilor
But it's not just male references, though there are more of them than female references. What do you call a male ballerina, for example?

It could be ballerino (Italy) or danseur (France). On solution, like those listed above, would be ballet dancer.

Can you think of any gender specific words I've not listed?