Writing tip Wednesday: “Novel ideas”

Source: http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/how-to-write-a-manuscript-5-excellent-tips?et_mid=669375&rid=239626420

How to Write a Manuscript: 5 Key Tips

Getting started on any writing project is always the toughest. For years I talked about turning an idea I had from college into a novel so amazing that Oprah would beg to have me on—probably twice! I had notes for the novel in my head and, once in a blue moon, I’d actually sit down to try to write the damn thing. But what did I know about how to write a manuscript? The most I could ever hammer out was about 2,000 words. Considering most first-time novels fall between 80,000-100,000 words, I think it was safe to say that I was more likely to publish a sneeze than this book.

It wasn’t until I got serious about it that I started to make real progress (not on that manuscript, mind you, but on a nonfiction project). I don’t think I would have had any luck writing a manuscript if I hadn’t learned these five tips. I recommend them to anyone who is serious about writing a manuscript or has even toyed with the idea of writing novels. Here they are.

1. Don’t worry about format until you are finished.

Details like this only stand in your way from writing a great story. Worry about cooking the meal first before concerning yourself with presentation. You can wait until much, much later to adjust your manuscript and adhere to formatting guidelines. And, when you are ready, read this piece on how to format a manuscript.

2. Set aside 45-60 minutes a day to write your novel.

Sometimes, finding the time isn't easy.

Sometimes, finding the time isn’t easy.

Who are we kidding, we all have super busy lives of driving kids to soccer, caring for sick parents, paying bills, posting witty Facebook status updates (after all, we are writers so our updates are the best), and who knows what else. But the dirty truth is if you can’t carve at least 45 minutes out of your day to dedicate to writing, then you aren’t serious about writing a manuscript. It’s time to take it seriously. If you need extra help, check out 90 Days to Your Novel —it’s a great resource.

Other information includes outlining, first and lines sentences, and having fun. Details at: http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/how-to-write-a-manuscript-5-excellent-tips?et_mid=669375&rid=239626420

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Monday morning writing joke: “Look at me”

Q: How many narcissists does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: One. He holds it up, and the world revolves around him.

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New words to live by: “Biercism”

A young Ambrose Bierce

A young Ambrose Bierce

“Cynic. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be.”
–Ambrose Bierce

Biercism, n. dry wit on par with that of Ambrose Bierce.

Old biercism (original): Love, n. A temporary insanity curable by marriage or by removal of the patient from the influences under which he incurred the disorder. This disease, like caries and many other ailments, is prevalent only among civilized races living under artificial conditions; barbarous nations breathing pure air and eating simple food enjoy immunity from its ravages. It is sometimes fatal, but more frequently to the physician than to the patient.

Modern biercism: Love, n. a meeting of the mind and the loins, one hopes somewhere around the heart. A volatile mixture often given to displays of insanity, vitriol, and occasionally violence. The world seems turned upside down by love – and often is. You fall in love and fall out of love, but the violence appears to be less to the shins, knees, hands, arms, or back, and more to the internal organs.

[Editor's note: one might consider this both a new word to live byand a Devil's Dictionary entry all mashed up (or rolled up) into one. In our continuing quest to revisit a classic, or even a curiosity from the past and see how relevant it is, we continue with The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce. Originally published in newspaper installments from 1881 until 1906. You might be surprised how current many of the entries are.

Click on Devil’s Dictionary in the tags below to bring up the other entries. Click on new word or new words below to see some other new words, such as congressed or obsurd or fogget or awfulizer. Words that should be in the modern lexicon, but aren't ... yet.]

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Photo finish Friday: “Why?”

"And this was a good idea, why?"

“And this was a good idea, why?”

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Haiku to you Thursday: “Morning Pie”

Sunlight crusts the sky /

crimping red and orange hues /

to the mountains’ edges.

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Writing tip Wednesday: “Makar’s Mark”

Follow top tips on writing from Scotland’s Makar Liz Lochhead

Makar Liz Lochhead

Makar Liz Lochhead

Here, Scotland’s Makar Liz Lochhead, our national poet, gives would-be writers some tips to tell us their story of home.

All the good advice about writing is very simple. So straightforward it’s all been said before but it’s probably worth reminding ourselves of it.

I know I have to tell myself all this and I have to do this every time I get going on something new.

1 Write what really interests you, not what you think you ought to be interested in.

2 The old five senses. See it, touch it, taste it, smell it, hear it. Turn yourself into it, said Ted Hughes, and then the words will look after themselves. Well, certainly I have to turn all my censors, inhibitors and ego, and false sense of myself as a writer, and certainly any attempts at cleverness, off – in the first draft at least.

See, it’s only when you read back what you have written down, tasting and testing the words as words and sounds, you can see where you have captured a bit of life in the language, an image, a wee detail – and that won’t be necessarily in the bit that felt like it flowed or had the fancy words, but often in the bit that you struggled over and in the end, och, just put down what would have to do for now.

3 Throw away all the bits that don’t have that bit of life in them, keep the surprisingly real or surprisingly honest and vivid bits, the bits that, to tell the truth, surprised you – maybe by their simplicity – and start again with them.

4 Don’t explain. You don’t have to give the reasons for going there or the co-ordinates on a map. Consider cutting off the beginning and the end paragraph or stanza of what you have written – and do this once you think it’s finished and cut down to the bone already.

Source and rest of the article at: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/follow-top-tips-writing-scotlands-3274256

[Editor's note: In case you're wondering, makar is Scottish for poet or writer.]

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Dangling toes may or may not have anything to do with dangling modifiers.

Dangling toes may or may not have anything to do with dangling modifiers.

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