Emily's writing blog

Musings on novel writing, books and getting published.

Posts tagged Creative writing

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[Did] I write for four or five hours of focused time, when I did not leave my desk, didn’t find some distraction to take me out of the world of the story? Was I able to stay put and commit to putting words down on the page, without deciding mid-sentence that it’s more important to check my email, or ‘research’ some question online, or clean out the science fair projects in the back for my freezer? For me, a good writing day is when I can move forward inside a story, because I take so much pleasure in tinkering with sentences that I often have to fight my own impulse to dither and revise in order to keep the momentum of the narrative going. So if I can move in a linear way through the story, and stay zipped inside the story, not jinx myself with despair or frustration or over-confidence or self-consciousness, and be basically okay with not-knowing what is going to happen from one sentence to the next, that’s a great writing day. Writers are such excellent self-saboteurs, though. I swear, I can hijack my own writing day in a hundred ways—I can eject myself from a story because I’ve decided it’s ‘going good.’ There’s this excruciating aspect of joy, I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this, where you almost want to interrupt it. For me, the experience of losing myself in a character can feel intolerably wonderful. So I’ve decided that the trick is just to keep after it for several hours, regardless of your own vacillating assessment of how the writing is going.
Karen Russell (via mttbll)

(Source: thedailybeast.com, via writeworld)

Filed under writing writing advice writing tips writers novel writing creative writing writer problems characters plotline

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Reading with awareness

From Bloomsbury publishing:

Here is our list of 5 things to look out for when reading with awareness:

  1. Setting - where and when is it set? How does the author convey the setting? Which senses are being used?
  2. Perspective - who is telling the story? Are they a reliable narrator? How does their relationship to the story affect the way it is presented to the reader?
  3. Character - who are the key characters? What are we explicitly told about each character and what are we subtly shown? Focusing on the key characters, what are their motivations? What obstacles do they face?
  4. Structure - does the story unfold linearly or does it jump about in time? How does this affect our understanding of the events? Mark the points of crises, tension, climax and the final dénouement. 
  5. Style - how are the sentences constructed? Are they short and punchy or long and carefully embellished? How does this impact on the pace?

Filed under Reading Writing advice Creative writing Novel writing Writing tips For writers

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We often make the mistake of thinking that we “have” to be in the “right” mood to write. The truth is, any mood can be used for writing. Any mood is a good writing mood. The trick is to simply enter whatever mood like a room and sit down and write from there.
Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way Every Day: A Year of Creative Living, p.177 (‘June 5’ entry)

Filed under creativity creative writing writing quotes writing inspiring quotes writing mood The Artist's Way Julia Cameron

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Learning to write my first draft haphazardly

When I was writing the original draft of my First Draft, I spent painstaking amounts of time carefully choosing each word and crafting each sentence as I went along, which was satisfying when I read over my work but was frustrating in that I had this story in my head and it.was.taking.forever.to.get.out.

Now things have changed quite a bit: I just write. Even if the writing itself isn’t a masterpiece (or anything close), even if I use the word “scowl” five times on one page, even if the characters come across flat and lacklustre… I just write. Because my main priority is to get the story out - to just get the thing out. And then I will come back and rephrase sentences and flesh out the characters and find better words to express what I’m trying to say. And I can take out anything that doesn’t work and put in stuff that is needed.

It’s not an easy thing for me to do - writing haphazardly, with unfinished sentences and whole chunks of the story missing because I’ve skipped and jumped to the next thing (and will come back to fill in those missing parts later) - because I am naturally a bit of a perfectionist. But it’s what you’ve gotta do! And I am making way more progress this way too.

Filed under My writing progress first draft novel writing creative writing

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As artists, we wish we could always work well, but we must settle for working always. The “always” we can control. The “well” we cannot control. For this reason, we do well to simply serve, to focus more on the process of doing our work than on the product of work produced.
Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way Every Day: A Year of Creative Living, p.176 (‘June 4’ entry)

Filed under Writing quotes Creative writing Creative projects Art Art quotes Creativity quotes Inspirational quotes Julia Cameron The Artist's Way