Thursday, October 31, 2013

Writing from Your Dog's Point of View


By Annette Cole Mastron, Communications Director for Southern Writers Magazine


Do you ever wonder what your dog is thinking? Especially, during today's holiday, Halloween, I often wonder what my dog thinks. 

Eager, costumed children with trick-or-treat bags and masked faces tentatively approach our decorated yard and porch. They are seeking a candy treat. Seated just inside the entry hall looking out the glass and metal security door sits our big dog. It's easy to know what the children are thinking but what is the dog thinking as he watches the children walk up his porch? 

Stories written from a dog's point of view are unique and can be a challenge but fun to write. A canine point of view makes for a unique perspective and sometimes a classic tale. A writer obviously does not know what a dog is thinking, so fiction is created. 

Dog storytelling has made for great classics, still being read by school children worldwide. One such classic, Jack London’s, The Call of the Wild about Buck and his adventure, still entertains its readers. 

When writing a story with a dog protagonist, you should remember;

1. Keep the language simple. Short sentences work best. Dogs don’t think in human words, although they may respond to human commands. Care must be used to filter out our human perception and speak canine in our writing.

2. Make sure you give your dog actions that match his perspective. 

3. Your dog's traits need to lead your readers into a dog's secret world. Consider how a dog might think, respond, feel, remember, and behave in different situations. 

4. If you write "he shakes his head when you try to pet him," it doesn't really convey anything. However, writing "he remembers something hurtful whenever a hand is raised towards his head," draws the reader into the dog's story that has yet to be revealed.

5. Draw your readers to your dog hero. Don’t tell them this is the dog everyone wants. Instead, imply that this is the dog nobody wants. That is what the reader wants to hear and will keep them reading to the end of your story.

With a dog as the main protagonist, in a Halloween tale, telling the story encompasses their heightened senses. Sights, sounds, smells, touch and taste will be different for dogs than us human writers. For one thing they are shorter, and more at a trick or treaters eye level. 

Come this Halloween evening, as the trick or treaters approach your home, watch your dog and try to write about what he might be thinking. The story you create will have an unusual perspective.

Happy Howl-o-ween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Armchair Book Promoter


By Clarissa Johal



You know who you are. The author that writes in your little hidey-hole, but doesn’t like to get out and promote yourself. I’m not judging I get it. Somehow, the cleverness that rolls off your fingers, doesn’t translate when you meet people face-to-face.

Okay, so let’s talk about what you can do as a writer via armchair when it comes to book promotion.

I’ve been promoting my paranormal novel BETWEEN since December 2012. I’ve concluded that “getting out there” may be more effective, but (fear not!) there are online things that work too.

Facebook
I love connecting with people on Facebook and consider them friends. Set up an author page and put yourself out there in the cyber-world. But remember—nobody likes a 24/7 book promoter, so mind you don’t overdo it.

Arrange a guest post/interview/review with a book blog
Find a blog that falls in your genre and read through the posts. If you like the blog, email the owner with your request. Most are happy to set something up.

Run a special promotion or contest for your book
Donate your royalties to a charity. My birthday is in July and I decided to donate 100% of my July royalties from the sale of BETWEEN to two animal shelters. They agreed to set up a small display with my business cards, “Proceeds from the purchase of this book during the month of July goes to this animal shelter,” and I agreed to promote the shelters. It was a win-win situation for everyone.
Run a contest where the winner gets to pick the name of the main character or setting for your next book.

Be creative! 

Sign up for a blog hop
Blog hops are everywhere! Look for one that falls in your genre and sign up for it.
How it works: Write a post for your blog, cut and paste an HTML code generated by the blog hop organizer at the end of your post (in HTML mode) and voila! You’re part of a blog hop. A reader can “hop” through the participant’s blogs via the links generated at the end of the posts.
*Most blog hops require a giveaway, which you arrange yourself.

Create a Goodreads author account
Goodreads offers two great options for authors; book reviews, and advertising. Join a group specializing in your genre. If your book needs reviews, offer R2Rs (read to review) of your book via the group. Set up an ad campaign on Goodreads to advertise your book. Here’s the link: http://www.goodreads.com/advertisers .I’ve garnered over 100 readers who put BETWEEN on their shelf “to read” by using the ad campaign.

Here’s something to ponder too. When doing any promotion, do your research. A group composed of all writers who promote to other writers, makes no sense whatsoever. Not that writers don’t read—but they’ll be promoting themselves just as hard as you are. Unless you’ve made promises to cross-promote to readers (and everyone complies) this doesn’t work. Be smart.
____________________________________________________________________________
Clarissa Johal has worked as a veterinary assistant, zoo-keeper aide and vegetarian chef. Writing has always been her passion. When she's not listening to the ghosts in her head, she's dancing or taking photographs of gargoyles. She shares her life with her husband, two daughters and every stray animal that darkens the doorstep. One day, she expects that a wayward troll will wander into her yard, but that hasn't happened yet. STRUCK Coming January 17, 2014 from Musa Publishing BETWEEN, a story of the paranormal. PRADEE, a young adult fantasy.*Second round finalist in Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award Contest 2012. Author website:  http://clarissajohal.com/

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Literal versus Virtual Followers


By Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief for Southern Writers Magazine


Social Media. We all use it. This is where we share information with people.  For an author this is supposed to be very helpful. Let’s see, what would be an author’s goal? An author needs to tell the people about their book. Is that your goal? They need to entice people to follow them. Is that your goal? How about, getting them to buy your book, is that your goal? Maybe all three combined are your goal. Let’s go back in time for a few minutes.

Do you remember what it was like before the Internet? Do you remember how we socialized? 

We would meet someone, introductions made, and then we would proceed to find out about the person? Within a few minutes, we would determine if we wanted to get to know this person or to move on and meet someone else. Do you also remember we tried to find what we had in common with the person? What we actually did was share with that person information about ourselves. Once we determined we liked each other we then moved on to eventually sharing ideas. In many ways, that is what the Social Media is today. Instead of an actual meeting, it is a virtual meeting.

When we meet someone in person, we can see each other visually.  On Social Media, the only way they see us is by the picture we upload. If possible, unless you are writing under a different name, put your picture on Social Media. Many people are hesitant to engage with someone who has no face. If you can’t use your picture, then use your latest book cover. At least that goes with your branding. This should be your first step in developing your above goals.

Now it is time to tell them a little about you and have them tell you a little about them. That’s where we run into problems. We don’t get much feedback in Social Media sometimes. Therefore, I would suggest you go back to the fundamentals, tell them something about you. Ask them…yes ask them something about themselves. What do they do? What do they like to read? Which genre do they like best? Do they write?  Get to know them. This is a key to unlock your followers on Social Media. 

Spend a little extra time with this on the front end-create relationships-makes friends and they will follow you. Be interested in them. But always keep in mind you also want them to like you as an author. So be sure and talk with them about what they like in books, what they are currently reading, why they like it, etc.

We always tell our friends when we achieve something new, so be sure and tell your friend followers when you have a new book out. Tell them a little about it. Or be smart and as you are writing about the book, talk with them about your book. Get them interested in your book way before you publish and they will be standing there the day it’s released to buy your book, because they were in on it as you were writing the book. This is one of the best ways to create relationships with your readers.

One last thing; when you meet a new friend on the social media highway, find out what other social medias they are on, then tell them you want to follow them on those, and will they follow you.

Treat the person on social media similar to how you would in person and you will have a new friend, who will tell their friends all about you.




Monday, October 28, 2013

Write What You Really Want To Write


By Lee Fullbright


It is almost a cliché that the hardest thing about writing is actually sitting down and doing it.

And this avoidance can be perverse—just ask me. The starts of my writing sessions, whether on a new outline or new chapter, have semi-consistently produced countless well-honed excuses for not writing. However, if the computer is actually turned on (and opened at Word, not Facebook), and the coffee’s the right temp, I can generally churn out a few things not immediately destined for the toss to the diaper pail at the far end of my office (to wit, my award-winning novel, The Angry Woman Suite).

Though yesterday morning, dragging my feet, a question popped into my head, which was:

What is it you really want to write about?

And as soon as that question moved in, my thousand excuses for avoiding,
Word moved out.

Because the answer is always the same.

People. I love the inconsistencies of people, and, thus, their fictional counterparts, characters. I love the way they look, move, speak, and hold their forks. I love trying to figure out what they’re hiding and what they’re afraid of.

I was once writing character sketches for a class, and loving it, particularly the one about a shooter holding up a grocery store and everybody in it, yet the shooter’s neighbors are shockedthat their “fine, upstanding” friend is actually a nut case. (We’ve all heard stories like this, wherein I wonder, how is it that everybody’s always so surprised? Do we really think unstable people become unstable overnight? That they weren’t dropping clues to what they really are along the way?)

This shooter sketch led to the development of a main character in my first published novel, a character that is good and bad, and sweet and mean: in short, a paradox.

And paradox is my chocolate. I absolutely cannot wait to sit down and start writing about characters (and creating paradox)—which begs the question: why am I not starting every single chapter writing character instead of madly (and uncomfortably) conjuring up plot devices? Why don’t I let character lead? Don’t I trust myself or my characters?

Of course, fiction is made up of many components, and a story doesn’t grow out of characters only … just like it’s a no-brainer that many of us are uncomfortable with noticing the shooters among us.

Just like I was uncomfortable considering the possibility, I’d been looking for fun (writing) and “no fun” (suffering for my writing) at the same time. See? Another paradox.

So I decided to get out of my own way. I told myself that if I really loved creating characters so much, then do it instead of making excuses for not doing it—and, sure enough, yesterday something different grew out of letting my characters go out unleashed:

This piece—and a chapter fully realized by characters who stumbled, spent, and showed their true paradoxical selves, unlovely sides and all.
_______________________________________________________________________
Lee Fullbright and her cattle dog, Baby Rae, live in San Diego, California. Baby Rae, a thirteen-year-old Australian cattle dog, was an incredibly sick puppy when I and my unruly day-tripping compatriots rescued her from a federale drop-kicking her across a Tecate, Mexico plaza. She still fears and distrusts men. And anything with wheels (no clue there). Her loves are me, children, grass, and me . . . and then more me. She is my compass and comfort, and was co-pilot for my novel, The Angry Woman Suite, curled up at my feet the entire time I wrote, rewrote, and then rewrote at least a billion times more. The Angry Woman Suite, about a 1920′s celebrity double murder and its effects on two subsequent generations, is the 2012 Discovery Award recipient for Literary Fiction; a Kirkus Critics’ Pick; also, a Geisel Award winner (San Diego Book Awards), and winner of a SDBA for “Best Mystery,” and a Readers’ Favorite 2013 International Book Award Gold Medalist, “Historical Mystery.” She can be found blogging at Rooms of Our Own. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Diapers and Dialogue


By Kelly Martin


At thirty, I got the writing bug. I’d written fan fiction on and off for years… yeah, I admit it. However, I never imagined writing a full-length novel with characters I created. It seemed too much like a faraway dream that couldn’t possibly happen.

I also happened to be a mommy to three small girls: six, five, and one.

Was there even a way to juggle diapers and dialogue? Characters and chaos?

In November 2011, I decided to take the plunge. A month later, I had the very rough draft of what would become my first published novel, Crossing the Deep.

I know we, as parents, find it hard to make time to do things ‘we’ love. When we have kids, it is as if our lives take a backseat to taking care of them. 

So, how can you balance writing, marketing, social media, and kids—along with a house, clothes to wash, dishes, a spouse, etc?

1) Have a good support system. It doesn’t have to be your spouse but have someone who is excited about your books. It can be an internet friend or sibling. My support system has always been my sister who has read every draft of everything I’ve written.

2) Don’t take rejection personally. By rejection, I mean people in your life who think writing and trying to get published is a waste of time. Smile, nod, and go on with achieving your goals. Lean on your supportive friend.

3) Buy a laptop. The most helpful tool I have in writing with small kids is my laptop. I can take it into whatever room they are playing in, write, and do my social media routine for the day while they are playing. I can also interact with them and stop when a game of play pretty, pretty princess is in order.

4) Have your kids involved in your writing. We have play laptops for the girls. When Mama sits on the couch and writes, my youngest will get hers and drag it up beside me. She dictates her own books while Mama is writing. She’s now three and can make up some good stories—mostly about cats and the potty.

5) Make writing a priority, but not your MAIN priority. Don’t forget you are a person. You have hopes and dreams, plans and goals. Don’t give up on them, but include your kids in achieving them.

It can seem daunting when the dirty clothes pile is growing and the cleaning has to be done. Take five or ten minutes to pick up, throw a load of laundry in, sit back down and write. Write every day, even if it’s just one sentence. 

My favorite writing moment was when someone asked my oldest what job Mama had. She didn’t say teacher, which I am. She said, “Mama is a writer. She writes many books and people love to read them. I wanna be a writer when I grow up too.”
____________________________________________________________________ 
Kelly Martin a southern girl who writes... a lot. She is the author of Grace Award winning, CROSSING THE DEEP. She is also the author of two other Amazon bestsellers, SAINT SLOAN and THE DECEPTION OF DEVIN MILLER. By day, she is a teacher. By night, she has her hair in a bun and her fingers on a keyboard. She loves God, is addicted to chocolate, and would rather write than sleep. Kelly loves a good mystery and believes in Sherlock Holmes. You can find her at http://kellymartinbooks.blogspot.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/martieKay Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kelly-Martin-Author/136506059763138


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Challenge Your Beliefs


By Doyne Phillips, Managing Editor for Southern Writers Magazine 


Belly is a cement pig seated on my patio. Belly is a great companion, conversationalist and guard hog. Although Belly is made entirely of cement, he is no different from many of us. His mind is all mixed up and permanently set. There is no changing it. Don’t waste your time. He believes what he believes and that is that. 

Malcolm Gladwell is the bestselling author of The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw and his most recent work David and Goliath. Gladwell stated, “I write for people who are curious and don’t mind having their beliefs challenged.”  I enjoy his books and they do indeed challenge what society accepts as the norm. Obviously there is a market for people that like to be challenged.


As writers we should consider this direction. We tend to go with what we are comfortable with. We write about topics, characters and places we know and even stick to our beliefs a large part of the time. But what if you wrote from a standpoint where you challenge the very core of your beliefs. What if you set out to disprove your beliefs? Where would that lead you? Probably in a most unfamiliar place which would lead to research that is unimaginable. During the process we may learn something. We may even truly challenge our beliefs.     

I am not suggesting you set out to change your beliefs on politics, religion, Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. I am suggesting this is another direction to take in your writing. You may find this to be too uncomfortable for you. I can understand that but it may be worth a try. Now that I think of it, Belly has never challenged my beliefs. Maybe that is why I am so comfortable with him.
   
       


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My Best Writing Tool


By C.L. Roth


As the mother and caregiver for a disabled adult son, I have some unique difficulties in maintaining a writing schedule. No matter what my goals are, I always have to consider his goals too.

My son has cerebral palsy, he’s in a wheelchair, non-verbal, and needs help in all areas of his life. He’s also a talented artist. He requires time for his art with the same drive and enthusiasm I have for my writing.

In order to meet my writing goals, I have chosen to get up early. I’m usually up and at the computer by 5:30 in the morning. I am able to work until 9am. The rest of the morning I use for his needs, running errands, whatever household chores need done.

In the afternoon, my son paints. Using this schedule, I’m able to get in about twenty hours a week for my writing and my son will manage about ten hours for his painting. This works fine until I have a deadline. Deadline’s change everything.

When a deadline looms the first item I look for is the timer. I use one that I bought at the cooking section of the grocery store. The cheapest one they sell. When I need to work during the day, I set the timer for one hour. I work hard during that hour editing, revising, or whatever job is needed at that particular moment.

The bell rings and I set it for another hour only this time the hour belongs to my son. And he paints, or does whatever he chooses to do. My time and attention is his until the timer rings. Using a timer keeps us fair. It allows me to get my time in without forgetting his time.

So my how-to tools are the alarm clock that wakes me up in the morning allowing me to maintain regular working hours. Consistency gets me farther than any other tool. And the kitchen timer that allows me to divide my time and make sure I share my energy with the ones around me who need it.

There isn’t any magic when it comes to writing. You just get up, and you do it.
____________________________________________________________________ 
C.L. Roth is a wife, mother, grandmother, artist, and author. She lives in Illinois with her husband, son, two dogs, and a cat. She writes Middle Grade fantasy, Young Adult paranormal mysteries and SF, and adult cozy mysteries. Website: www.clroth.com





Tuesday, October 22, 2013

10 Things Writers Can Learn from Frankenstein


by Gary Fearon, Creative Director, Southern Writers Magazine


Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was only 19 years old when she wrote Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus. While she wrote an impressive number of later works including poetry, travelogues, biographies and children's stories, nothing solidified her stance in literature like the story of a boy and his monster.

If you've ever poured your heart and soul into a writing project, you know it can feel like a matter of life and death to make the right words come alive. With props to Mary Shelley, here are tips from the crypt to give your creature life.

1. FIND THE RIGHT BITS AND PIECES
For all his faults, Victor Frankenstein was a discriminating monster maker, selecting only choice cuts that made the grade. Like a postmortem Paula Deen, he'd be quick to reject, say, a lopsided brain. We must be equally willing to discard a weak plot point or a character who drags our story down.

By the same token, we can bravely borrow tidbits of ideas from the vast laboratory of literature that already exists. Be a grave robber if the spirit strikes, and dig up elements of Treasure Island or The Shining to reanimate.
 
2. DREAM A LITTLE DREAM
Mary Shelley is said to have concocted her outrageous tale in a "waking dream".  Today we call that a daydream, and some authors do their best work when they are indeed away from the keyboard. Mulling over ideas while driving, walking, or lying awake at night takes away a surprising amount of pressure.

3. DRAW FROM LIFE
Shelley's original classic contains enough death to fill a mausoleum, but so did her personal life. Her mother, her sisters, even her own daughter, had all met with untimely ends, and the women in her book were no more fortunate. Mary's familiarity with the unfairness of death permeates her pages.

4. KNOW WHAT SIZE YOUR IDEA IS
Frankenstein was originally going to be a short story, but Shelley soon recognized it had too much potential to be caged in, and needed to be fleshed out.

5. INCLUDE A LITTLE ROMANCE
It'll never be confused with Casablanca, but like most popular stories, Frankenstein contains a hint of amor to keep the ladies interested.  Even the monster communicates his need to be loved, and asks the good doctor to sew up a spouse for him.

6. SET A TREND
Dracula may claim he's hundreds of years old, but Frankenstein beat him to the marketplace by a good eight decades. Frankenstein was the frontrunner of fear, the gruesome grandfather of all monsters to follow. Would that we all could craft a story so ahead of its time that future generations of writers will be forced to follow in our footsteps. If a newcomer of 19 pulled it off, why can't we?

7. MAKE THE FANTASTIC BELIEVABLE
This tale of messing with the laws of nature is no less science fiction than The Matrix. But what makes Frankenstein the chiller that it is, is the believability factor. We're not asked to accept alien life forms or devote mental energy to learning the workings of a fictitious subculture. Instead, we're fed possibilities with some basis in truth. In 1818 scientists had already proven that lifeless human tissue could be reactivated using electricity. It was just a hop, skip and a jump away to accept that a brain could start thinking again, and what might happen if it did.

If we're going to take readers on a fantastic journey, it helps to make sure it's not so fantastic that they can no longer relate to it.

8. ENGAGE IN FRIENDLY COMPETITION 
Frankenstein wouldn't have been written had Shelley and three of her writing friends not decided to compete to see who could write the best horror story.  A little motivation, obviously, can create a monster.  Today, writers who participate in National Novel Writing Month (just around the corner) or one of the other organized events for writers have found it a fun and communal way to breathe life into a manuscript.

9. DON'T LISTEN TO CRITICS
Mary Shelley's tale of terror was soundly rejected by the first publishing company that read it. And after it was published, critics dismissed it, condemning it just as much for the fact that it was written by a young woman as for its horrific subject matter. You'll do yourself a favor if you accept up front that your creation will be hideous to certain hapless townsfolk, who may seek to torch it. But in a very short time, Frankenstein found its audience, and so will you.

10. THINK SEQUEL
The Bride of Frankenstein was only the beginning, and of course we're talking movies now. Son of Frankenstein, Ghost of Frankenstein, Curse of Frankenstein, House of Frankenstein; they only stopped short of International House of Frankenstein. The book you're writing right now could well be the beginning of a series. If you've created characters your audience can't get enough of, you don't have to stop at "The End". Leave that door partly open and you'll be able to walk right in again.

Writing isn't brain surgery, but we can take a few of these cues from Dr. Frankenstein.  If we do, we stand a better chance of being able to step back from our creation and maniacally declaring, "It's alive!"

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Pesky Word


By Bette Lee Crosby


Whether you realize it or not, you’ve probably got at least one pesky word—a word that slides into places where it doesn’t belong and slows the sentence. A pesky word can pop up anywhere; most of the time it’s unnecessary, unwarranted and lumpy. Okay, you’re working on a 50,000-word story, but I seriously doubt you want 5,000 of them to be dragging their heels rather than moving the action forward.

My pesky word is “that.” Instead of saying, “It was a letter I intended to mail,” the word that squirms itself in and the sentence becomes, “It was a letter that I intended to mail.” My pesky word all too often shows up in dialogue and makes the characters sound stinted and dull. In common everyday speech, people do not include those extra words. They say what they have to say without adding flowers and bows. If you get rid of your pesky words, your characters will shine through as the stars they were intended to be.

I write in a Southern voice and when pesky words creep into my character’s dialogue, they lose the sound of the South.  Southerners are by nature gentle souls, they don’t use over-structured language. When I strip away the unnecessary words, those characters become as natural as your Aunt Sally or Uncle Oscar.

“That” isn’t the only pesky word around, there are lots of them—and, but, the, when, because, almost—the list is endless. So how do you find these critters? How do you flush them out into the open and get rid of them? The best place to start is by reading your work aloud. If you stumble over a word, the probability is it shouldn’t be there. If dialogue doesn’t sound natural to your ear, it won’t sound natural to the reader either.

Try it, and if you suspect you’ve got a pesky word, search it. If the result page is filled with highlighted boxes, you’ll know for sure you’ve found the bugger and you can start being a bit more wary about using it.

Good luck and have fun. But if you happen upon a big bunch of that’s don’t send them my way—I’ve already got more than I can use.
_______________________________________________________________________________
Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby brings the wit and wisdom of her Southern Mama to works of fiction--the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away. She received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript in 2006. She has won another NLAPW award, three Royal Palm Literary Awards, and the FPA President's Book Award Gold Medal.Her published novels to date are: Cracks in the Sidewalk (2009), Spare Change (2011), The Twelfth Child(2012), Cupid's Christmas (2012) and What Matters Most (2013). She has also authored "Life in the Land of IS" a memoir of Lani Deauville, a woman the Guinness Book of Records lists as the world's longest living quadriplegic. Crosby originally studied art and began her career as a packaging designer. When asked to write a few lines of copy for the back of a pantyhose package, she discovered a love for words that was irrepressible. After years of writing for business, she turned to works of fiction and never looked back. "Storytelling is in my blood," Crosby laughingly admits, "My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write."The Twelfth Child" won First Place in the Royal Palm Literary Award Competition for Women's Fiction! "Cupid's Christmas" won Third Place Award.



Friday, October 18, 2013

When Words Have Lost Their Magic


By Adam Blumer 


When I was a boy, filled to the brim with dreams of writing, I went through a Hardy Boys phase. I gobbled up every Franklin W. Dixon novel I could get my hands on. All I dreamed of was tagging alongside Frank and Joe Hardy on one of their hair-raising capers and chasing jewel thieves across Bayport. Those books ignited my desire to be a writer.

Then one day while I was sitting in church, of all places, my mom nudged me. “Do you see that man over there?” she whispered. “He’s a detective.”

With one glimpse at the man in the pew across the aisle, my Hardy Boys fantasy dissolved into a wisp of smoke. He was middle aged, paunchy, slightly gray—certainly nothing impressive. What left an indelible impression was his tired and joyless expression. He had probably seen more than his share of death, larceny, and general misery of this world.

What was I expecting? Maybe a muscular frame and perceptive eyes that scanned the crowd, not missing a thing. Perhaps a magnifying glass clutched in one hand and a revolver in the other. Either way, this certainly wasn’t it, and just like that, the Hardy Boys magic was gone—poof!

Life has a way of doing the same thing to the creativity, the magic, behind our words. The pressure of deadlines, writer’s block, poor sales, and industry competitiveness can steal the magic and leave us staring at a blank screen, our creative juices all but evaporated away.

How can we regain what we lost? Here are some helpful tips:

1.      Return to what sparked the magic to begin with. Maybe this is a certain book you read as a child, the one that made your imagination soar. Reach for this book, find a random place, and just begin reading. Does the magic of words take you back to the love of story that began your writing trek?

2.      Watch a favorite movie again. Ask yourself why you like it so much. Take notes as thoughts come to you. More than likely, the appeal has something to do with mystery, plot, or characterization—elements that may arouse the dormant storyteller in you.   


3.      Start with a story cliffhanger and finish the story any way you choose. For example, “John reached the cliff’s edge just as sunset colors washed over distant hills. His ears perked up. Was that a footfall? Someone was coming up behind him—he was sure of it.” Finish the story.

4.      Watch a documentary about a topic that fascinates you. Since I’m a suspense author, I especially enjoy CBS’s 48 Hour Mystery. Each time I watch an episode, I find new plot ideas, and my imagination itches with new stories to tell.  


Most likely your love of writing isn’t far away. Sometimes the magic just needs to be resuscitated.
_____________________________________________________________________ 
Adam Blumer is the author of suspense novels Fatal Illusions (Kregel Publications) and The Tenth Plague (Kirkdale Press). A print journalism major in college, he works as a freelance writer and editor after serving in editorial roles for more than twenty years. He lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with his wife, Kim, and his daughters, Laura and Julia. Website: http://www.adamblumerbooks.com/  Blog: http://www.adamblumerbooks.com/blog/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AdamBlumerNovelist  Twitter: @adamblumer