Thursday, May 26

Nuggets of Writerly Wisdom

I love writing advice. You know those little nuggets of wisdom we reap from reading author interviews?

Last month, when we did the author interviews, I asked Jennifer Brown her favorite writing advice and she said, "Begin your story on a day that is different."

I've been thinking about that a lot lately. I restarted Bix on that day and it's kind of jelled the beginning to blend in with the ending--once I finally get there.

The other night, as I was falling asleep, Ainsley from The Journal Keeper started talking to me. Of course, I got up and wrote what she was telling me--and no, I'm not switching gears and leaving Bix in a lurch--. And the next morning when I got up and read over the notes, I realized that if I start her story on the day where something is different, I can weave the back story in as needed.

It's an amazingly freeing realization.

So, now I'm going to impart my own writing advice. When you get stuck, get up and away from the computer or your pad of paper. Take a break and do something physical. For me, it's gardening or a jigsaw puzzle. Those are two activities that I can totally immerse myself into while my writerly brain plots behind my back. I can't concentrate on pulling weeds or piecing together the puzzle and think about Bix at the same time. But, somewhere inside my head, gears are turning and by the time I sit back at my computer, the words are flowing again.

What's your escape of choice?


  1. My friend and forever CP, Kim, taught me that one a long time ago...start where something changes.

    I'm in a bad writing place, can't seem to get in my groove again.

    Gardening, riding and walking all help get my mind cleared. Unfortunately, it's been raining...which for W Colorado is rare. I don't know how you stand it up there in the rain all the time.

  2. Well, it has been extra rainy this year. The Columbia River's so high they're lifting the I-5 bridge about three times as much as usual. So, so glad I don't work in Portland...LOL.

    And how I stand the rain? I look at the pictures of destruction from tornadoes, hurricanes, and blizzards. Rain's not so bad in comparison ;)

  3. I'm like you, D'Ann, not able to get in a groove, but I have discovered I can write even when I think I can't. It may read like crap to me at the time, but when I go back over it later, I don't know when it was.

    My best time for mind-clearing is while I'm walking, but the rain and cool weather here is keeping me inside.

    Great post, Margie.

  4. sewing/quilting. I can lose myself in a pattern and when I'm done, I usually have plot answers, too. That or taking a walk...walks are good for the writing soul, I think!

  5. Walking, gardening, and YES to the jigsaw puzzles for me too. I think the puzzles (Sudoku also works) are like stretches or warmups for the brain and get all those synapses firing. Likewise with walking--it moves much-needed oxygen and all those other goodies into the brain. Fuels it, if you will.

    I love the advice of starting on a day that is different. Many starter-authors try to show the character on an "ordinary day" so the reader will then see the changes when something goes wrong. However, today's reading audience wants to see action immediately (thanks to all the movies that start off with a bang), so we have to jump into the active part of the story and feed the reader bits of "normalcy" so they can see how much of an interruption the character is experiencing.

    Excellent advice.

  6. I can usually figure out plot problem when I'm bored. I guess during those times, my brain needs something to do. So it works out plot problems. Great post, Margie.