The new Topic is up: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/720983.html
Which means it's time for a new Work Room!
One of the features that we have had in the past is that I recruit someone to come in as serve as your Mentor for the week. They have a post where they give some advice and then pop their head in during the course of the week to help answer any questions you might have. Think of them as your Tim Gunn.
For this first time out, I've invited back Season 7 winner amenquohi!
So I'll turn this over to her!
Hello everyone! It's so nice to be back on the Idol stage looking at all you poor schmucks as you pound your way through this. God love you.
I must say, I alternately envy and pity you.This contest is exhilarating in the extreme but it's also a real bear. And the best way to eat a bear? One bite at a time.
So Gary has asked me to impart some wisdom to all of you, since I am - thanks to the confidence I gained from this very contest - a paid, professional writer.
I blog five days a week on two (http://www.womansday.com/sex-relationships/divorce-diaries) platforms (http://www.singlemomtism.com), I write freelance articles (http://www.blogher.com/i-got-my-feelings-hurt-internet-1), I have self-published two (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/415225) thirds (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/419430) of an erotic romance book trilogy, and in a little over two weeks, I am pitching my YA novel to a room full of traditional editors and agents in New York. Cross your fingers for me.
So the bottom line of all that attention whoring I just did is that I write. A lot. Every day. I even write fanfiction in addition to that just because. And I've found that the more I write....the more I write. And the better I'm getting at doing it, I think. So here are my little pointers, and a few resources:
1. Just write. Stop second guessing yourself. Put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and just write, no matter how rambling, no matter how pedantic, no matter how weird or out there or not gonna work it is. You can always go back and tweak it or rip it apart or rework it. But you have to write it first. Stop waiting for it to flow perfectly from your brain.
2. Save the stuff you cut. Seriously - put it in a running word file or something. Those two paragraphs may slow your story down or send your character in a direction you don't want them to go, but just because they need to be cut doesn't mean they aren't still good. You may be able to rework them into another story somewhere.
3. This list (http://imgur.com/a/fPLnM) is an incredible resource, but number 4 on that list is invaluable.
4. When you hit a block, ask yourself what would happen if your protagonist didn't get what he or she wanted. Kill somebody off. Make someone secretly evil - or good. Write a grand story, kill everyone off and have someone wake up and it was all a dream and then they have a stroke and go back to the dreamworld again. In other worlds, make a big, bold, ridiculous choice and fly with it. You never know where it will take you and at the very least, it'll stretch your writer brain and get the blood flowing again.
5. Don't forget to play to the crowd. When this contest gets down to a smaller group, and your ass is hanging by a thread or you barely eeked through last round, it's time to pull out all the stops. Comment on everyone you can - more so than usual. Don't write a long epic of a story - some people pass the long ones over automatically (sad, but true), Post your entry as early as you can. If you wait till twenty minutes before the vote, who the hell will have time to read it? Play smart.
That's my two cents, and now, a few more resources. The first two I'm sharing from my Google drive and they are awesome writer tools. The first one, Saying Said, gives you alternatives to the word "said" grouped by emotion/descriptive response. The second one is the Wheel of Adverbs. Great to have, but don't get carried away.
Saying Said: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7hra5032IWYYmhrYjdteGwtV09vSjd4emNKUnlLN0tRUDlJ/edit?usp=sharing
Wheel of Adverbs: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7hra5032IWYVUZoby15dXp2ZlU/edit?usp=sharing
And then there are these:
Forty-five ways to avoid using the word "very" - http://writerswrite.co.za/45-ways-to-avoid-using-the-word-very
Ray Bradbury on how list making increases productivity - http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/10/18/ray-bradbury-on-lists/
I hope some or all of that is helpful. Now go out there and write, you magnificent bastards! Write!!
(or as Gary likes to call me - "Seven of Nine")