Friday, March 23, 2007

How to be a parent and a writer

When you are a writer you will need to treat it like another job. It shouldn’t be something that completely takes over your life because then it becomes an obsession. If you are a parent and a writer it is even more important to treat it like a job. Depending on the age of your children will help to determine the time that you work on your writing and how long you are able to work.

If you have small children who haven’t started school yet, then you will need to work around their schedule. This means that you will have to work while they take their nap or after they go to bed at night, which means you will have to work with your spouse to be able to have the time you need to write. If you feel you need to write while they are awake, then set up a small desk with crayons and paper for your child to be able to draw while you work. This will help keep them entertained and you will be able to get the idea out of your head.

If you have school-age children then you are able to work while they are at school. It might help to keep you aware of the time if you set up an alarm clock or reminder on your computer for thirty minutes before they come home. This will give you time to finish the train of thought you have and still be finished with your writing for when they get home. If your train of thought continues after they come home, it is all right to finish it, just don’t make a habit of it. They deserve some of your time also.

The best part about being both a parent and a writer is being able to pass the love of writing onto your children. My daughter has started writing books that she would like to publish. It is a way to bring out their creative imaginations. It also helps to talk to them about writing and your story ideas. This will help them to understand what you are doing and will help you to feel out the idea of your book with someone else.

It would also be helpful if you set up a specific place to work and when you leave that place you are leaving work. You will then be able to have things set up the way you like them and not have to worry about moving your papers and notes around and possibly losing them. Children will then be able to learn that your writing area is for your work and they will be more likely to leave it alone, especially the older children.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Book Review: Facing Your Giants

Background on the Author:
Max Lucado is the Senior Minister for the Oak Hill Church in San Antonio, Texas and has written several bestsellers and is considered America’s leading inspirational author.

Facing Your Giants is a book that tells you the story of David and Goliath, which most of us have heard. It explains that all of these men were standing their afraid to fight the giants because they outnumbered them and were stronger. Goliath knew this and every day twice a day came out to the battlefield and would mock the other soldiers. Now David was young, he handled his father’s flock of sheep, he was also small compared to the soldiers but compared to the giants he was miniscule. But when he came to the encampment he was intimidated by the giants because he knew God was on his side and he challenged Goliath and won. But there are a couple of things to note that I hadn’t thought of before. He chose five stones, because besides Goliath there were four other giants that he was prepared to eliminate also, if he needed to. The book continues along this thread and explains how well David did in his life when he trusted and talked to God first, but when he didn’t and dealt with things on his own, he had problems. He was marked for an assassination attempt by the king, he lived in a cave and even dwelt in the land of giants for a while. The camp he created in the desert was ambushed while he went to battle and all of the women and children were taken. But he didn’t give up, he asked for God’s assistance and went after the women and children and were able to save them from slavery and death.

The book takes the trials and tribulations that David dealt with throughout his life and shows you how you can apply it to your life. For each scenario that David goes through, Mr. Lucado illustrates how you can use the information from David and get through your own personal giants. It doesn’t matter if your giants are small in comparison to others; they are still your giants and something you need to overcome. Mr. Lucado takes David’s life and applies it to your life and what you need to do to defeat your personal giants. Until we can overcome our giants it makes it difficult to become productive members of society and good Christians. It explains how you need to turn a deaf ear to discouragement and look at the new choices that are available to you.

I would recommend this book, even if you don’t feel like you are going through a rough time right now. At some point all of us go through difficult times and if you know what to do ahead of time then the rough time won’t be as rough. It is a well-written book that is easy to read and understand. You can follow the logic of the author and it is easy to understand how to apply it to your life. It also includes a study guide at the end of the book to help you continue your studies into the bible.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The sanctity of a writer's work area

My writing process started when I was a child and we lived in a three bedroom house. I tell you this because it will help you to understand the need to stay organized even at a young age comes from necessity. I grew up with my two older brothers, there are 8 of us total but the three of us were the last ones in the house. I learned early on that if I wanted something to stay private or to keep it in tack I needed to know where it was located and how to hide it from my brothers. So I endeavored to keep my room clean so I knew where my writing was, or my art supplies, as I loved to draw at that time. If my room was clean my brothers figured that there wasn’t anything to hide so they wouldn’t have to look for anything in my room. This mind set has continued on into today.

When I started writing my first book, I found that it helped me to stay organized and keep my work area neat. I created charts and a lineage that I hung on the wall so that I could keep the characters straight and not have to worry about confusing the story line. I bought a file chest to keep my story lines in to keep my desk clean, because I have found I work better with a clean desk.

As we recently moved, I now share my desk with my husband. To be able to maintain my workspace, I have created folders for each of my stories that I am working on and keep them in a separate file cabinet so that my husband doesn’t move my papers. I have found that if I am working on a story and he moves all my papers around, I am lost for half the day when I try to work on it again, but if I put it into a folder in the order I was working with then I don’t have a problem.

As writers we need to learn to adapt and I know that isn’t always easy. My husband doesn’t always understand that moving papers around on the desk can ruin a train of thought, but he does always know what it means when I get that faraway look in my eye. He knows I have gone into another world and he might not get to talk to me for the rest of the night. If a story is pushing you there is nothing you can do but let it come out. I figure my work area is actually in my head so I don’t have to worry about have it messed up and the parts I need to worry about I have learned to adapt with.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Writing Tips: Creating a Setting

To create a believable setting takes attention to detail and patience. You might not be able to create the perfect setting for your book right away. You might have to fine tune it over the entire period of writing your book.

It normally helps to write about a place you are familiar with whether it is where you live or an area you have visited. This way you already know some of the things about the area and if you need to research it won't be for the whole area. I have read books by top authors and when the book is situated in the town I live it, you just want to laugh at some of the things they believe about the area. I lived in Las Vegas for 11 years and many people wrote books with the setting in Vegas. Either they didn't visit the city and just wrote about what they thought about the town or if they did visit they never left the strip. One of the books I read talked about leaving the strip and traveling to this one area of the town and their directions that were listed in the book took them to a completely different area of town and had two roads cross that ran parallel. These are the kinds of things you need to look at when you are writing a book. If you don't know the area don't just assume things about it, or use information you received from TV and the movies. Normally it isn't completely accurate.

When you are creating a setting that doesn't exist then be mindful of what information you put into the setting in prior areas of the book. I have found if I write down what was in an area it helped me to remember when I had the characters walk through the area in a later chapter.

As with all writing creating a setting is all about the details. You need to make sure it is consistent throughout the book not just the part you are writing. When you are able to do this then you will be able to add details to the setting to make it come to life. Which will make it real for your readers and this is what you want to do to keep them coming back for your future books.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Creating Worlds

Today we are going to discuss the different worlds you can create when you write fiction books. I think this is what I love most about fiction is because you can create anything you want, there isn't anything to hold you back because it is your world. If you want the sky to be pink, then the sky can be pink. If you want the main characters of the books to have 4 eyes instead of 2 that is your prerogative. You can even stay in modern day earth and make it seem like you are talking about some one's next door neighbor. This is the great part about fiction it is literally your world.

There are things you need to keep in mind when you are creating a new world. One of those things is consistency. You need to make sure that if you create your world to have 2 suns then in the next chapter you can't talk about their only sun exploding. A well written book is in the details. Any body can write, but it is up to us how good we write. If you just write a shallow book that doesn't have any details then it won't hold a reader's interest. Your book needs to be rich in content but the back side of that is that you have to make sure that it is consistent.

The next thing you need to keep in mind is that if you are writing a book about earth and you want to change some things then make sure that it is feasible. What I mean by this is if guns have become obsolete in your new world then don't have someone shooting someone else. Make it believable.

When you create a new world you can do anything you want, but the goal is to bring it to life for the reader. You want them to be able to smell the rain falling and the tulips blooming. You want them to be able to picture themselves sitting on the river bank watching the waterfall. With everything you do in writing you are painting a picture for the reader. A place that they can visit and feel like they are part of the world. If you can create this environment then you will be a successful author. Remember it is all in the details. Don't just write a book, paint a picture to go along with it.

Explore your new world and find something new and exciting