Monday, November 30, 2015

What Do Writers Have in Common With Squirrels?

By Andrea Merrell

Winter is definitely upon us. The colorful days of autumn are gone, and Christmas is fast approaching. The days are shorter—at least they seem that way with fewer daylight hours—and we have to reprioritize our activities.

So, what does that have to do with writers and squirrels, you might be thinking.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

30 Things Writers Have to be Thankful For

by Alycia W. Morales

Sometimes, as writers, we tend to focus on the negative things happening in our writing life rather than the positives. Maybe you've been waiting to hear back from an agent or editor ... for months. Maybe you've gotten discouraged as you watch the end of NaNoWriMo approach, and you've only got 15,000 words written - a far stretch from the 50,000 needed to "win." Maybe life is overwhelming, so you've had to put your pen down for a while.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I thought it would be a great time to encourage you with 30 things we writers STILL have to be thankful for.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Writing Prompts to the Rescue

Merriam-Webster’s describes prompt (noun) as: Something that reminds or prompts (verb). To prompt is to cue, stir, incite, or move to action. Let’s dig a little deeper and find out more.

A writing prompt is:
  • A word, phrase, paragraph, thought, object, or picture to give you an idea.
  • A creative kick-start.
  • A brainstorming session with your inner muse.
  • A way to overcome the notorious blank page.
  • A way to exercise your writing muscles.
  • A distraction from an intense project to get the creative juices flowing again.

A writing prompt is not:
  • A cure-all for writer’s block.
  • A magic potion that will make you a better or more active writer.
  • Something to take you away from a deadline.

Writing prompts can come from anywhere:
  • A single word or phrase.
  • An overheard conversation.
  • A sign.
  • A television program, movie, or video.
  • A child.
  • A dream.
  • Any inanimate object.

Writing prompts can be found everywhere and used anytime to get creativity flowing. Keep a list and pull it out whenever you need a boost or a distraction. Sometimes when we’re stuck on a project, it helps to change gears and work on something fun. Don’t limit yourself and—for all you natural editors—don’t try to edit, proofread, and make it perfect. 

Give yourself the liberty to be funny, serious, or totally outrageous with your words. Who knows … you might have the beginning of an article, great devotion, your first flash fiction piece, or the next best-seller. If you can’t use it, tuck it away and read it later when you need a good laugh.

Here’s your prompt for this week:

He begged for mercy, but . . .

If you’re up for the challenge, write two or three short paragraphs and leave them in the comment section. The winner will be announced on November 30. First prize is a $10 Starbucks gift card. Second place is a copy of Murder of a Manuscript: Writing and Editing Tips to Keep Your Book Out of the Editorial Graveyard.

Thanks for participating and happy writing!

(Photos courtesy of Miles.)


Monday, November 9, 2015

Edit with a Style Guide

by Bethany Kaczmarek

Whether we’re talking clothes or conversation or writing, everyone’s got his own style. Style is part of who you are, part of your voice. Your writing has nuances, and those make your style unique. With each new manuscript you write, certain habits of yours will be evident again and again and again.
And this is why—as both an editor and as a writer—a client style guide has become my new best friend. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

10 (Very Bad) Excuses Not to NaNoWriMo

by Alycia W. Morales

NaNoWriMo 2015
Maybe you've heard of NaNoWriMo. Maybe you're wondering what on earth the writers around you are talking about. Maybe you're one of the first in your region to sign up to participate. Maybe you're sitting on the fence, unsure. Maybe you've flat out said no and refused to join in the crazy.

If you're wondering what on earth NaNoWriMo is, it's an opportunity to write 55,000 words (a great start to your novel) in 30 days. Hence, the name NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth. For more information and how to get involved, visit the NaNoWriMo website {click here}.

If you're sitting on the fence, let me give you ten reasons to say "heck no."

10. You're just too darned lazy to do it.

 9. You can't afford to miss the latest episode of any number of TV shows.

8. You ate too much candy on October 31, which left you ill on November 1, so you're already a day behind schedule. Surely you can't make up that word count.

7. You've got to start Christmas shopping. Because, there are only 8 Fridays until Christmas (and we don't count Christmas really, there are only 7).

6. You have family coming in for Thanksgiving. And since your house looks like a tornado hit (thanks to the kids), you must get cleaning. And it will take you 20 days to get it done.

5. Maybe if you had a cabin in the woods with a cozy little fireplace, you might be able to get 55,000 words on the page before November 30. But since you don't, it isn't happening.

4. You ran out of coffee. And you're only paid monthly. So you won't have coffee again until December. Who can write without coffee?

3. Your dog ate your chocolate...

2. You don't believe in good ol' friendly competition.

1. You're not a panster. Which is a lousy excuse, because you had all of October to outline your novel. So you should really get to it.

I and several of my friends are geared up and getting our words on the page. We'll be a step closer to publishing a book than those of you who have given NaNoWriMo your thumbs down. So what's holding you back?

To join me in the pursuit of 55,000 words, find me as AlyciaMorales at


10 (Very Bad) Excuses Not to #NaNoWriMo

10 Reasons to Refuse to Participate in #NaNoWriMo