This page has moved to a new address.

The Rich Writer

The Rich Writer

The Rich Writer

How to Thrive on the Writer's Road

Friday, July 1, 2011

Five Writing Lessons I Learned From TV

I used to spurn TV. Why would I waste all that time sitting in front of the tube when there are so many other things to do in life? Why not spend the time writing, instead?

*Photo credit

Well, despite that lovely black-and-white vision of the world, I now watch the occasional TV series. Why? From a writer's perspective, there are numerous reasons to indulge in this visual form of storytelling:

Read more »

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Bad Boy: Girls Really DO Like Them Best

The “bad boy” has a long-standing place in YA literature. He’s mysterious, alluring, dangerous, sexy—and it’s deliciously thrilling to experience the vicarious thrill of a heroine falling for him, whether it’s a good idea or not.


*Photo credit

But I’ve always thought that, in real life, women wouldn’t find the “bad boy” image quite as appealing. It turns out I’m wrong.

A new study from the University of British Columbia suggests that women find happy guys less sexually attractive than either moody or arrogant men. From the press release:

In a series of studies, more than 1,000 adult participants rated the sexual attractiveness of hundreds of images of the opposite sex engaged in universal displays of happiness (broad smiles), pride (raised heads, puffed-up chests) and shame (lowered heads, averted eyes).

Read more »

Labels: , ,

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Writing Life: Using the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

If you’ve stopped by my blog lately, you’ve probably noticed that things have been a bit quiet. Between a sick kiddo and an exceptionally large amount of freelance work, my blogging time has been sadly limited.


I’ve also had little time to write—but I’ve been so busy "living life” that without realizing it, I’ve filled up with ideas and inspiration that are now itching to emerge on the page. I’ve been collecting bits and pieces over the past weeks: characters, settings, conversations, emotions and how I experienced them physically. I feel like my creative pond has been restocked, even though I wouldn’t have expected a time of stress and busy-ness to recharge or refresh my muse.

Read more »

Labels: , , ,

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Writer’s Survival Mode

Kelly James-Enger has a rule for never missing a freelance writing deadline: she never, ever, ever accepts more work than she can handle.


So far, that's seldom been an issue for me. I mean, I stay plenty busy, but most of the mix consists of my own, more flexible projects—books, queries, article ideas, reading (mustn’t forget the reading pile). Not so at the moment. Right now, I'm swamped. I’ve had a steady stream of freelance work this year plus a host of unexpected family-related things, and (like a true freelancer who is dependent on work for bread), darned if I'm going to ask for anyone to cover my freelance projects unless I can't complete them.

Except that burnout ain't such a great thing, either.

Read more »

Labels: ,

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Finals! (and Other Teenage Troubles)

bookwormFINALS. They have descended on our kids—and, therefore, on the entire household, a week of exams preceded by what seems like two months of building stress, final projects, deadlines, and kids with too little sleep. It brings back memories of my own high school career—the intense emotions of being a teenager coupled with the stress that comes with knowing that what I did mattered, like, for the rest of my life. Teens are in that awkward middle place where they want to be in charge of their own lives—and yet, at the same time, they don’t. Being in charge is scary. Being grown-up is scary. The stakes are starting to get higher.

Read more »

Labels: , , ,

Friday, May 20, 2011

People-Watching with Purpose: Twenty Tips

I’m a huge fan of people-watching. The more we watch, listen to, and try to understand real people, the better we’re able to get inside the heads of our characters. 

I wrote earlier this week about the mix-and-match art of character creation and how you can collect details from friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances, and strangers. Once you’ve collected a nice selection of show-stopping specifics, you can play around with them the way you might play around with a Mr. Potato Head, popping in different eyes, glasses, financial crises, psychological profiles, crazy relatives, and so on.

People-watching can yield other types of inspiration as well. It’s a fantastic way to get past first draft plot snags and a rich source of ideas for complications and surprises and…well, you get the idea.

The next time you need to replenish your pool of creative ideas, take yourself someplace with people, grab a latte, and enjoy some quality time with your idea notebook. Here’s a list of people-watching possibilities to get you started—use these as a jumping-off point, if you’d like, but above all pursue the details that inspire. Enjoy!

Twenty People-Watching Tips

Read more »

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mix-and-Match Characters

I played with a cool “puzzle” as a kid: three blocks stacked on top of one another, with a rod threaded through them so they can rotate independently. The result is a 3-cube stack with a different picture on each of the four sides. The top third of each image shows a head, the middle third a body, and the bottom pictures the legs and feet.

Line up the images, and you have four simple characters: for ex., a cartoon tiger, alligator, hippo, and monkey. You can also twist the blocks to connect the monkey body to the hippo head and alligator legs, or connect the alligator body to a tiger’s tail and a monkey’s head. (Now, of course, this puzzle is available as a smart phone app….)

Sometimes I think character creation works the same way: you borrow the geeky appearance of one person, add in the always-in-motion high energy of another, mix in a quirky turn of speech you overheard in the elevator and the girl-next-door’s fluorescent pink high tops…and pretty soon you’ve pieced together your protagonist.

Read more »

Labels: , , ,