100 x 100: Will you commit?

100x100 writing challengeAfter telling a friend that I struggle to find time to write, we had the following conversation.

HER: Do you send text messages?

ME: Of course.

HER: Write tweets?

ME: You know I do.

HER: How many in a day?

ME: I know where you are going with this, but –

HER: How many?

ME: Two or three, usually.

HER: How long does it take to write a text message or a tweet?

ME: A few minutes, but –

HER: No buts. Can you commit to write the same amount toward a novel each day?

ME: What will that prove?

HER: What about we just see. I challenge you to 100 words for 100 days.

I did not commit to anything yesterday. I needed to think through what my friend was saying. It turns out that 100 words for 100 days can be quite productive. 100 x 100 is 10,000. That is approximately 1/8 of a novel in about three months. Even if I did not write one word over 100 each day, if I did it for a year I would have 40,000 words.

We all know that if I write 100 words I am likely on many of those days to hit my stride and keep going. If I keep going on even half of those days and if that nets me 500 words on those days, I have a novel in less than a year.

For context, note that the conversation I recalled above is 113 words. It took me seventeen minutes to write and revise.

I timed it.

And then I committed to writing 100 words per day for 100 days.

Now I challenge you. Will you commit to writing 100 words for 100 days?

 

Building a masterpiece: 5 reasons to resist throwing your WIP in the trash

Do not let fear stomp on your dream

Every morning I spend thirty minutes or so scrolling through posts from fellow writers who contribute in Facebook groups geared toward writers. And every morning I read posts from those who are at the point in their novel where they want to scrap it and never look back. If you are like most of us, you know exactly what I am talking about. Maybe you have even done this in the past.

What I want you to realize is that in most instances, this has more to do with fear than it does reality. Do not let fear stomp on your dream!

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Five reasons you should not give in to the desire to trash your work in progress:

One: In the first draft you are telling yourself a story. You already know the background of your characters. You see them in your mind. However, the reader cannot see them unless their movements in a particular place and time get onto the page. What you see but do not relay creates gaps in your writing. This means that for the reader there is just this talking being hanging out in a void. Do not scrap your WIP because characters seem flat. You know where they are. When you revise, build their world so the reader knows, as well. You also know what they are doing. Are they scratching an itch? Writing in a notebook? Looking destitute with their back against the wall of the local high school? Tell us. Continue reading “Building a masterpiece: 5 reasons to resist throwing your WIP in the trash”

Going back in time: 10 Key Steps to writing a flashback scene

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On my way to completing my first manuscript I had to figure out how to get all of the important backstory pieces into play. I knew the importance of immediacy as a main ingredient to fiction writing. I knew going back in time should be used sparingly because it halts the forward motion of the story.

I want my readers involved in the here and now of the story. But the readers also needed to know that Katia lost her mother when she was fifteen and that she took on the role of mother to her five-year old little brother who has autism spectrum disorder. I needed them to know WHY she doesn’t have many friends now and WHY she is a bit dark and WHY she chose to become a paramedic instead of going to college as she dreamed of doing.

I needed flashbacks (something from the past to help a reader understand what compels the protagonist now). I thought that it was important to give the background early so the reader could understand the moment.

My mentor didn’t agree. She put a big red ex through 90% of my first draft of the first chapter. In the margin, she wrote two very important notes: Continue reading “Going back in time: 10 Key Steps to writing a flashback scene”