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The Rich Writer

The Rich Writer: February 2011

The Rich Writer

How to Thrive on the Writer's Road

Friday, February 25, 2011

Seven Strategies to Keep Momentum When You Don’t Have Time to Write

Over the past week, I’ve had a flood of freelance and contract writing—which is wonderful and fun, but makes it much more difficult to maintain momentum on my work-in-progress (WIP). Back in January, blogger Jill Kemerer wrote about how momentum is vital to success


I wholeheartedly agree. When I lose momentum on a project, I often dread returning to it. I know it will take me days to get rolling again, and I’ll be plagued by the ghosts of ideas that I meant to write but can’t quite grasp anymore. So how do you keep writing momentum when your time is limited?

Here are a few tricks that have worked for me:

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Inspiration: First Sale Tales!

Last week, I got to participate vicariously in something wonderful and exciting: Twitter friend Jenny Torres Sanchez (@jetchez) on Twitter sold her first book! I read her announcement on Twitter and her blog recounting her initial reaction, and I basked in the shared joy.


On the road to selling a novel, “wins” can be few and far between. It takes a loooong time to write a book, and even longer to learn the craft required to write a good book. What keeps you going along the way? Jenny’s recent book sale reminded me that sharing other writers’ successes is a great way to stay energized and motivated, so I thought I’d collect tales of writers’ book sales here, stories of celebration for inspiration and encouragement.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

When the Words Won’t Flow: Four Tools to Try

Stalled scene? Lagging action? Flat description? Sometimes when you’re writing it feels like there’s no way forward—and all you want in the world is to trade in your pen and paper for a nice, mind-numbing sitcom.


Most of the time, though, a scene stalls for one simple reason: you don’t have enough information. And that’s an easily-remedied problem. Try these jump-starts the next time your words won’t cooperate.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day! …or: Ten Ways to Embarrass Your Characters

First: Happy Valentine’s Day! V-day happens to be my birthday…


Photo courtesy of terra in Virginia from Flickr Commons

…and it started me thinking. About how EMBARRASSING it was (when I was a teen and EVERYTHING my parents did was embarrassing) when my parents revealed my birthday.

Invariably, someone would say, “A Valentine Baby! How sweet!” And I would blush the same shade as all those frilly red hearts that seemed to decorate the WHOLE world for the SOLE PURPOSE OF EMBARRASSING ME.


Now that I’m older and much more mature, I can’t help thinking of ways I can use this memory to torture…I mean, breathe life into…my characters. I write about teens and pre-teens. And, in my experience, teens and pre-teens in the 21st century are just as prone to embarrassment as I was. Because, as every good writer knows, the more trouble you can cause your character, the more interesting the tale becomes.

Ten Ways to Embarrass Your Character

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tool for Writing Longhand

If you love to write longhand (like me), you know that it can be a bit hard on the wrists. This pen saves my life: the Pen Again.

It’s an ergonomic pen that relies on the weight of your hand to keep the pen in position, rather than your grip. This pen takes a bit of practice, and thus far only comes in a rather drab black ink, but it eliminates writers’ cramp.

**Ooh, according to their web site they have a new “twist-and-write” pencil version for smaller hands. I’ll have to try one out!

Anyone else have a fave writing gadget to share?

:-) Cheryl


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Handwriting, Learning, and the Science of Writing Longhand

Longhand? Keyboard? Pen on parchment? Number 2 pencil on graph paper? Blood on strips of birch bark?

4564378252_35fe9897b5_bAsk a roomful of writers for their methods of putting words on the page, and you’ll spark a debate as passionate as the outline vs. seat-of-the-pants writing methods.

For speed, you can’t beat typing your story straight onto the computer—and that’s a skill I’m working on. When I hit a creative slump, though, I find that writing longhand lets me tap into my subconscious in a way that clicking keys don’t.

*Photo courtesy of D Sharon Pruitt at the Flickr Creative Commons

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Writing Craft: Show-Don’t-Tell*

iStock_000009339689LargeCranking through the rewrite of my current WIP, I found a lot of “telling” that I needed to replace with better writing. In the spirit of show-don’t-tell, I attempted to come up with five ways to show that it’s cold without saying “it’s cold.”

1. Let the character experience the cold: Gooseflesh prickles up my bare arms as soon as I push off the covers.

2. Let her observe the cold: Ice filmed the inside of the cabin windows. I started shivering even before my feet touched the frozen floorboards.

3. Let her think about the cold: I didn’t expect the day’s chill, not in June. If I’d bothered to check the weather, I might have brought along a sweatshirt or jacket. Instead, I’m here in shorts and a tank top, resisting the urge to curl into a ball or warmth.

4. Let her worry about the cold: As the sun drops beyond the mountains, shadows lengthen, bringing with them the sharp-edged chill of the coming night. It pierces through my thin sweater and I wonder how long it will take before I turn into a human icicle. I have to find the cabin. Quickly.

5. Let her discuss the cold: Brrr!” I tuck my hands into the sleeves of my rain slicker, drawing deeper into the sheltering overhang. “My fingers won’t bend, they’re so frozen.”

Not masterful prose, perhaps, but the exercise helped to get my brain moving in the right direction.

Do you have a technique you’re trying to master? A bit of concentrated practice can help you learn incorporate a new technique smoothly into your writing, the way a batter might practice hitting a hundred balls before the actual game. Pretty soon, the technique becomes second nature. Give it a try!

:-) Cheryl

*This post was originally published Jan 2010


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thursday’s Thing to Love About Being a Writer

Writers can work inside. In front of the fire. When the temp OUTSIDE drops to a ridiculous –13 degrees Fahrenheit. Just sayin’.


That is all.

:-) Cheryl

*Photo courtesy of knottyboy at Flickr Creative Commons


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

When the Book Is Finished…Tips for Surviving the Post-Novel Mourning Period

After months of living, breathing, and dreaming about my YA paranormal, VOICE, I'm finally finished with the rewrite. I’m sending  it off to my agent, and if he doesn't have any suggestions, it will soon be on its way to editors again. I feel...odd. At loose ends.

iStock_000011856107LargeI think I go into a period of mourning after completion of a novel. It's strange, because I'm happy—ecstatic—to be finished; but after spending so much time with a book, it can be difficult to move on. Anyone else experience this? It reminds me of how I felt as an actor, the day after a play closed. I was apt to wander back to the theater, expecting another hectic afternoon and evening of rehearsal, only to discover an empty stage where there used to be sets, costumes, and a frenzy of activity.

Luckily, I’ve been through this a few times. I know it’s normal to feel a little down; I know it will pass. Meanwhile, here are some strategies that help:

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