Friday, May 17, 2013

Farewell

Dear readers,

It's a sad, sad day, because I'm saying goodbye to this blog....and hello to a new one! Okay, it's pretty much the same blog because it has the same posts and of course some new ones, but it's moved over to WordPress with a brand new, sparkly name. I prefer WordPress because it's more interactive and easier to use.
Still, this is the first EVER blog I've ever had and it has sentimental value. I'm not sure if I'll delete it straight away or if I'll still use it. Either way, for those of you who follow my blog religiously...here's the new link:
https://writershenanigans.wordpress.com/

I hope you enjoy my new blog as much as I will. There will be virtual cookies AND you can play with my pet dragons. Tea is also always at the ready. Thank you!



Sunday, May 12, 2013

Writer Identity Crisis




When you are on the hunt for a literary agent, you can’t help but contemplate the future. This may or may not involve limo rides with famous authors, chocolate fountains in your kitchen, a mansion with a secret bookcase door that leads to your writing lair, a butler with an Irish accent, book signings every month, fan mail every day and of course having your books turned into a TV series. Okay, this may be more daydreaming than contemplating, but I’m a writer, so I’m a dreamer.

The thing is, when you are thinking about your writing career, you think about the kind of books that are to come and how they will brand you as an author. Personally, I already have several ideas for stories and have started on about five of them. But when you’re very serious about having a writing career, as opposed to just writing for fun, you see your stories in a different light. In the spotlight. You have to thoroughly analyse them as if they are a piece of evidence in a murder case and you’re the lead detective. Especially when you’re a perfectionist, this can be tricky. But I suppose most people, when serious about writing, think about what kind of writer they want to be and what kind of works they want to be associated with throughout their career. And it’s good to think about this. Still, I couldn’t help but feel a bit gloomy about this for the last few days. It wasn’t until a chat with one of my Twitter buddies, that I realised it wasn’t just me, other writers go through this too. So, yay, I’m normal! And yes, it takes a stranger to confirm this for me.

So now comes the (less hard, but still) hard part. Brainstorming on the kind of stories I want to write. My Twitter buddy gave me simple, but good advice. Advice that is pretty much given to any person early in their lives (at least, if they have loving parents), which is: BE YOURSELF. My first story is definitely me, even my ninja readers told me so. But I knew it too and I'll know it again. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to write what you know, you can go out of your comfort zone. As long as your story contains elements that are very YOU. The ‘you’ can lie in the narration or any other occurring element. Which is easier said than done, I know. As I’m writing this, I’m already contemplating pulling my hair out and hurling my laptop out of the window like it’s a diseased rat. No, I’d never do that to my laptop, he’d never let me forget it.

I suppose the main thing that scares me is the not knowing. Not knowing what kind of author I’ll be. How well I’ll do. And I suppose once you have an agent and a support team around you, it gets (a bit) easier. I shouldn’t be impatient. I want my dream to begin, but I can’t rush it. I have to trust that the raindrops will fall around me. In any case I’ll keep trying, I’ll keep writing. Being scared is okay, as long as you don’t let it stop you from trying.

One story at a time.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Setting & Description


During my MA I had the choice of picking a course about description and setting and learning how to describe the perilous world inhabited by the characters currently in my head. Unfortunately they didn’t have a teacher for that…so it got cancelled. Since description is the only thing I find challenging in writing, I felt like curling up in the foetal position and cry until my face hurt. Instead, I just picked another course and ranted about it to fellow classmates. We even made voodoo dolls.
In any case, I thought it would help me (and possibly you) to do a blog post about this subject. So I’ll take you down to my writing lair and show you the jar labelled SETTING and see if we can figure out the correct dosage for the writing cauldron.



Setting is important, because it helps to paint the picture of the world you dip your reader in. You learn in which time and place the story takes place and it can sometimes even serve as a metaphor for the theme. When describing places, I like using my characters’ senses, so that the reader can ‘experience’ it the same way as the characters. You can list for yourself what the character will feel, hear, see, smell and taste and then use that in a paragraph. A character doesn’t necessarily need to use all five senses, you don’t have to overdo it and throw all kinds of sensory information at the reader. He’ll probably get dizzy. Because, even though setting is important, too much description can be a drag. Less is more. Back in the day it was okay to write several paragraphs that described the beauty of a raindrop on a leaf, but these days writing is much more fast-paced.



The devil is in the details. Or in this case, good description is in the details. Do you see a car? Or a black BMW? Do you see a dog? Or do you see German Shepherd? And keep in mind, show don’t tell. Is someone scared? Or are their eyes widened? Is a house in bad shape? Or is the paint chipped and the porch swing broken? Also choose specific verbs. Did it fall on the floor or scatter across it? Did he walk or saunter? Description of characters can add to the setting and both descriptions of places and characters can add to the mood of a story.

A sneaky way to insert description is when your characters are doing something. They spill something on their jeans or flower print dress. Or they grab something with their slender fingers.
They can also discuss their setting and for instance mention the d├ęcor of a room or the way someone looks. Of course there has to be a reason for them to mention this. Also describe what your characters would observe. If they don’t know much about architecture, they won’t be able to mention the correct terms when describing a building. And if they’re upset, they won’t notice how beautiful the soaps in their hotel room are, for instance.

I guess, again, the most important thing is less is more and show, don’t tell. If the idea of describing setting makes you lose your hair from stress at the mere thought, like with me, don’t worry about it too much during the first draft. Afterwards you can read up on tips and see what you find missing in your descriptions. For now, just write. Now!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Characterisation


Let’s talk characterisation! Characterisation is one of the elements that makes up the wonderful world of fiction. In the cauldron labelled FICTION, you put (alongside characterisation) plot, theme, setting and style. Everybody handles their dosage in different ways. I usually put a dash of theme and setting and am heavier on the amount of characterisation, style and plot. Characterisation, though, is one of my favourite ‘ingredients’ to handle. 
To me, a story can still have a plot that is lacking, but when the characters are so real I can reach the page and touch them, it makes for a gripping and good story. Sometimes that fits the story, to have the plot in the background. And sometimes it’s the other way around.
I like figuring things out, especially people. That is why I like mystery plots and deep characters. I guess as a writer, I have a preference for figuring out people instead of an actual mystery. I’m not the only one who thinks this, because 
FUN FACT: around the fifteenth century, Aristotle advocated the plot-driven narrative, but in the nineteenth century that changed and the character-driven narrative was promoted, mainly due to the advanced knowledge of psychology.


In any case, let me give you a little info on the types of characters.
-Protagonist: the main character.
-Antagonist: adversary of main character.
-Point-of-view character: the character that observes (tells) the story. Doesn’t necessarily have to be the main character. (Like in the Sherlock Holmes stories, where Watson tells the story the way he observes it to be.)
-Minor character: supports main character.
-Foil character: makes the characteristics of main character stand out. Usually has opposite characteristics of main character.
-Impact character: drives the main character forward. Forces the action much like an antagonist. In conflict with main character and uses that to help him/her, or not. Can be friend or enemy.


There is also explicit/direct characterisation, which is when the author actually tells the reader what a character is like through description by narrator/character.
Implicit/indirect characterisation is my favourite kind because that is when the reader finds out for himself what a character is like through the actions/thoughts/speech/interactions of a character. Since I’m a big fan of show, don’t tell, this is (in my eyes) the best way of describing a character. Also, as a reader I find this is the best way of getting to know a character. But again, I like figuring people out.

For me, I’ve never had much trouble putting down three-dimensional people on paper. And when I had, it was because I was linking the wrong person to the wrong story. Or the right person to the wrong story? You know what I mean.
There’s either the idea of a story which I then link with an appropriate character, or it’s the other way around. However, when I find my characters a little flat, it helps to inflate them with a secret (relating to other characters or the plot, or just themselves) that only I know. Something you might never mention or hint at in the story, but that still helps you show depth. I also like one quirky thing about my characters, especially with regard to fears. For instance, a deep-rooted fear of tennis balls.
There are writers who like to work with long lists that explore their tastes, dislikes, what shoes they wear, etc. I don’t like to think of details like that, unless they are actually mentioned in the story. I have an overall view of the character. The way you feel you know someone well, even though you don’t know many facts about them or know them that long. And based on that I know how they react to situations and characters.
There are two golden rules to remember: show, don’t tell and less is more. Hinting at things and being subtle is the best thing to do. You know how they say that a picture is worth a thousand words. It’s something like that. One small gesture, a look or one sentence can usually say a lot about that person, just like with real people. The benefit of fake people is that you can be smart, sneaky and creative with how you introduce more about them. Also, they don't talk back.  

I suppose for everyone it is different and I’m curious to learn how other writers handle characterisation. So, grab a chair and some biscuits while I put the kettle on. ^_^


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Theme


To discover a theme in an existing book is challenging enough, but to find one for your own story, well, that’s like extinguishing a fire with a handkerchief. The theme expresses a universal message and I’ve been taught that a theme is very important. You need to know what you want to say with your story, even if a book isn’t literary fiction, or maybe especially then.




There is a difference between the subject of a book and the theme. A subject is what it’s about, while a theme is about what you want to say with your story. A subject can be: loneliness. A theme can be: loneliness is just a state of mind. You then use your story to prove your theme. That is why a theme is a good thing to have, it keeps you on track and reminds you of why you are writing your story.
That is easier with literary fiction, because that usually deals with universal dilemmas, but what if you want to write a different genre, what if you just want to write something ligh
t and fun? What if the story just dropped in your lap without a yellow post-it that tells you the theme? 

With me, usually the story comes without a clear idea of its theme and I never used to think about it. Until I learned that the theme is really important, it’s the soul of the story. And even if a story is written because it’s cool or fun, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a theme. Every story has a theme, but it doesn’t always explore it or say something about it. And that’s the difference between a fun book and a good book.

So now, when a fun story comes to me—as they so often do—I write down what the characters are struggling with and make that into a subject and then into a statement about that subject. And then I make sure I prove that statement with my story. It sounds easier than it is. Especially since most of the time, but especially with the first draft, I just want to get the story written. I follow the scent in my brain that leads me to the ending. Where my reward is cheese. Hmm, cheese. But at the end of that maze I want to be able to look back and see that I’ve written something with substance. When I wrote a lot of poetry during my teen years, I always had a message in my poems, so why not with my stories? I have plenty to say and I would love to be able to reach out to people and make them think and debate. After all, isn’t that one of the wonders of books?

With theme also comes symbolism, because symbolism is a great way of hinting at your theme. For instance, if your theme relates to freedom, you could use birds to represent freedom. Also, buildings can represent strength. Darkness can represent evil. Flames/fire can represent anger, etc. Symbolism is fun, because it’s like you’re winking at the reader. And who doesn’t like being winked at? Well, unless it’s a creepy wink, but that’s not the case here. So feel free to wink at your reader all you want and throw some symbolism in your story cauldron, along with the theme. ;) 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Ninja Readers


Ah, the sweet sound of applause in your head. The euphoric feeling that settles around you like a warm, comfortable blanket. The proud grin that you can’t seem to shake, even when you walk your dog and pick up his doodoo. No, nothing can stop you from feeling on top of the world when you’ve typed THE END at the end of your story. It felt like a very long labour and you’re both sad and elated. Sad that your precious baby has to face the harsh world on its own and elated that you’ve managed to drag a whole story out of your head and onto your laptop screen.


And so you call all arms, even though you have all your arms, and request some ninja readers (beta-readers, but my term sounds cooler) to read your final version and comment. With flushed cheeks and trembling fingers you send out your story and hope for the best. Before, you thought the hard part was over, but this is the hard part. It's FREAKING scary. I always realised it would be scary, but I never thought I’d compare it to jumping out of a plane with no parachute. And I’m afraid of heights.

Still, I’ve been diligent, worked hard and have been well prepared for this battle. An MA in Creative Writing has taught me how to deal with criticism. As well as, you know, write creatively. But that was in the safety of a loving classroom as opposed to the jungle out there. Writing is art and art is personal. The rules change, you change them, or someone else. Someone will love your work, someone will hate it. We’re all different and that’s okay. All I know is that this book wouldn’t have been there if it wasn’t for me and that means nobody could have written it but me. Somehow, that’s comforting. It helps that so far I’ve heard good things from my ninja readers (and only one person talked to me like I was a four-year-old). No fundamental mistakes, only a few differences of opinions, but that’s why you need to sort out for yourself if what someone tells you is their opinion or a structural error on your part. I guess I just have to go for it and have a little faith in myself. A literary agent was already interested in the idea and that’s a good start, now I just have to use my fear to push me forward, instead of hold me back, even if it’s right over the edge of the cliff, without knowing how deep it is and if there is a giant bouncing house at the bottom. Just in case, I’m taking my shoes off. 


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Outline VS No Outline


I’ve read that Charles Dickens never knew what would happen as he wrote. Have you ever seen how big his books are? And everything connects with each other. I think that’s amazing and it proves you don’t need to outline every single thought that contributes to the plot. However, I also believe that it depends on the writer, because there are writers who have the story in their heads from beginning to end and make it work too.

I’m definitely a wing-it-person myself, I try to outline as much as I can, but it doesn’t seem to work for me. It’s like the story is already there, all I need to do is write. So that’s what I do. I just write. It starts with a basic idea, then the characters (sometimes the other way around) and then the words just flow onto the paper. Alright, it’s not always that easy, but for a first draft I just tell myself to keep going, writing for the sake of writing. Then I can always edit later on. Plus, by forcing yourself to write you usually come up with great ideas. At least, that’s the case with me. Of course I do take a little break sometimes to assess different plot turns and see which will work best, but once I know which direction I want to head in I’m good to go. And when I find that I have no idea which way to go, that’s where I just write the first thing that comes to mind and usually that sparks great ideas later on. Pressure can be a good thing, I’ve learned. If you’re stuck it’s also a good idea to write the ending, or a future scene so that you know what you’re writing towards.

The pros of outlining are that you know exactly what to write and why you’re writing it. If you do it well, then you basically already have the roadmap of your story and all you have to do is follow it to the end. Then comes the editing and you can see how well you’ve done. The advantage of this is that you’ve already decided where you’re going and figured out what works and what doesn’t. You’re focused and have a clear vision of your final destination. Now all you have to do is drive there, which goes much faster if you know where you’re going.
The cons of outlining are that there is no room for creativity, you’ve already thought about which scene goes where and after hard work you’ve come up with the perfect full circle, but what if you discover something along the way? Oh, what is that? Another character just popped up? No, that can’t happen because it’s not planned. But it can happen, because in the imagination anything can happen. Writing is a creative endeavour and no matter how perfectly planned the story is, you still never know until you actually write. You might also get tunnel vision and at some point lose track of the big picture because you’re so focussed on what your outline told you to write that it might take you a while to notice that it’s not working. I’ve heard stories of writers that had an outline and started writing, but then realised something wasn’t working and they weren’t sure what. It could be something in the plot that looked good on paper but just isn’t right, or it could be the lack of soul. Sometimes, because you don’t have a clear goal, you go places that you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. Something that doesn’t necessarily contribute to what you had in mind, but does in fact benefit the soul of the story in some way.


The pros of no outline are therefore that you have more freedom. You’ve packed your bags and are ready for the road trip of a lifetime. You know roughly in which direction you go, but anything is still possible. Predicting what lies ahead can’t always be done and sometimes you need to react on something along the way, something that’s unpredictable. Let’s just stick to the driving metaphor and say that there’s a road block, then you need to find a way around it at that moment and who knows where that might lead to? And that can be a good thing. You have room for creativity and you find that your original idea may lead you to a completely new and better idea.
The cons of no outline are that you can get lost along the way. Without a clear destination you might end up driving in circles. If you don’t at least know what you’re trying to say and what you’re writing for, it’s hard to determine what should be written in the first place. A book needs some structure in order to make sense, so it’s good to have some things planned, even if it’s just one scene at the end and one in the middle.

What works for me is the middle ground. Somewhere between plotting like a villain and winging it like a politician that was just caught cheating. However, it is up to the writer. Everybody has their own system and what works for me, won’t work for them and vice versa. So which are you? Plotter? Winger? Or plonger? 


Friday, March 15, 2013

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend: Review


Books are like people, you see the cover, you read the first page and instantly you know whether or not you’ll like the book. That’s what I had with Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend (I liked it, that is) and it has now become one of my favourite books.

Stories that provoke the imagination are always a plus in my book. Pun intended. And I also like characters with problems that aren’t easily solved. In this case that is Max, the eight-year-old boy with a form of autism. This is also the reason why he has had an imaginary friend longer than most kids, because he still needs him. Budo, the imaginary friend, is mostly afraid of disappearing and the theme of the book, in my eyes, is therefore existence. Everybody (or at least most people) are afraid of dying/disappearing and in this case that theme is handled in a very original and interesting way.

The characters have as much depth as a giant volcano, those are deep right? Even the minor characters are portrayed realistically and well. The story flows nicely and everything that happens contributes to the story, AKA no boring parts. I felt like this book was a fun, intriguing, suspenseful and creative adventure involving an imaginary friend as he tries to save his friend from an interesting antagonist. It is also really cool to encounter the different types of imaginary friends and even though, surprisingly, I never had any imaginary friends as a kid, I want one now. And yes, even grown-ups can have imaginary friends, the author said so. So please excuse me, my talking (and snarky) unicorn wants to play with me now. I am Morgan and I approve this message…I mean, book! J


PS: Follow the author on Twitter: @MatthewDicks



Creative Writing for Kids Part Two


Who knew that teaching five ten-year-old boys about writing would be this challenging? Don’t get me wrong, also fun, but mostly challenging. I suppose the main problem here was that when I asked them about why they chose Creative Writing as their talent workshop, they said it was because it was the only thing left. Ouch. I think my heart felt that. They also had the attention span of a sponge. I maintained order quite well, especially for a beginner, but I’m thinking that next time I might go Lady Gaga on them and wear a purple hat, a yellow outfit, feathers in my hair and a neon sign around my neck to keep their attention directed towards me. 

I gave them little pieces of information followed by a small assignment, like talking about plot, or characters and then making them invent a plot and a character with certain traits. They did do those assignments, though it was difficult for them to come up with things and a few of the characters were therefore Frodo and Spongebob. But hey, the thought counts and at least their creative juices were somewhat flowing, or trickling in this case.

I also mentioned setting and how to describe places, but then one of them said; ‘why not watch a film?’ Ouch, another one for my heart to take. I suppose my fear for the lack of love for books was accurate. Apparently the pages of books have been replaced by the scenes of films. Still, they said they enjoyed my little class and I gave them the homework assignment of writing the beginning of their story. They seemed quite excited about that, but then again any sort of willingness to write seemed like a giant positive step. I don’t give up easily, though and I’m determined to make them passionate about stories by the time I’m done with them. Which will only be after two more classes.
I'm looking forward to next week. It helps that I feel like I got to know a lot about them already and know that they’re good kids, even the troublemakers have something adorable about them. If only people stayed that way when they grow up. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Creative Writing for Kids


While I’m nearly reaching the end of my first novel (I’m really super close this time!) I was invited by my old primary school to volunteer at a talent workshop where they needed a writer. Luckily they immediately thought of me. (I have connections.)  And so I get to boss around a bunch of kids while I teach them about writing stories. Two of my favourite things! Not being bossy and writing, but teaching and writing. *cough*

Since their age-range will be somewhere between nine and thirteen I can’t throw all my balls of wisdom at their small and growing heads, I have to keep it simple, which coincidentally is one of my mottos: when in doubt, KIS. Though some people might take it the wrong way if you say it out loud. Anyway, I’ll start with introductions and ask them what kind of stories they like, sincerely hoping that they won’t mention stories that have been turned into films and/or computer games and that they are actually as addicted to real-life books as I am. I mean, when I was their age I’d always go to the library during the summer holiday and get a stack of books (no exaggeration, there must have been like 13 and mostly R.L Stine’s Fear Street stories) and I’d finish them within about two weeks. I’d smell them and touch them a great deal before diving into their worlds and splash around. If they don’t feel this passionate about books coming in, they will after I’m done with them.

Other than the essential information I’ll give them, such as that all books have a beginning, middle and end, have a theme, a conflict and resolution, etc. I’ll also let them do writing exercises. It’s more fun than actually sitting there and watch them write, right? So my plan is to put different nouns of animate objects in one pile, put different locations in another and then put inanimate objects in yet another, letting them pick from each pile and coming up with a plot involving those three things which they can then work on at the end of the class and at home. I’ll also let them do a few brainstorming sessions where they can come up with their own characters, locations and objectives. I’m very curious to see what their enthusiastic muses will come up with. Let’s hope it will involve some dragons and pirates with flying ships. I’ll keep you posted on my wild adventure with these creative kids. I might be teaching future famous writers! 


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Finding a Literary Agent


The mere thought of finding a literary agent already makes me mentally hide under my bed. On the other hand, the thought of actually getting a good agent makes my muse put a gun to my head so I write like my life depends on it, but you know, in a good way. A while back I researched all literary agents in the UK to make a top three for myself, based on the kind of genres they represent. I’m quite the eclectic writer and want to try my hand at a wide range of genres. Why not? The stories that drop by my muse aren’t tied to a label, they just are. And they are also relentless, but again, in a good way.

Anyhow, when I started to slack off a little in the writing cave, I started looking up the website for my number one literary agency to check it out and get myself excited to finish my story. But when I saw the website and the info on the agents, I just wasn’t feeling it. I know I must have checked it out a while back, but I was looking at a lot of websites and focussed more on the genres they represented than their overall vibe. Now that I was actually looking into it and checking out their agents, I realised this wasn’t my number one choice anymore. I just always feel that you have to follow your instincts, especially with something as important as this. I mean, trusting your book with a stranger is quite scary.
So the hunt began again! I sharpened my spear, put some mud on my face and dove into the deep forest of literary agents. And now I’ve found two really good agencies that I’ll be contacting and my writing groove is back too. I guess it goes to show how important it is to research as many agencies as you can and find the right one. Because even though the original first-place agency seemed good on paper, it just didn’t seem to fit when I read more about them. In any case, the internet helps to explore the wonderful world of literary agents in great depth. And the only way to find out if an agent fits is to talk to them and for that I have to finish my story. So, excuse me while I tie my muse to my desk and get back to writing. 


Monday, January 21, 2013

Writer's Block


Writer’s block, dum-dum-dum-dum.

They say writer’s block doesn’t really exist because it’s only in your head and that may be true, but that’s also where the stories come from, so that still makes it tricky to produce the brilliant, mind-blowing (cough) stuff you usually write. Stress, however, can also affect parts of the brain that are needed to write. And in my case too, when learning to write, you’re not taught how to explore and work out any ideas you might have. You just get graded for your story at the end. This can make you focus more on the importance of the end result instead of how to get there.

Well, as you can guess I’ve been smacked in the face with this little ‘affliction’. And it’s a frustrating feeling. It felt like I was on a remote island watching my characters sailing away on a boat. And they hadn't even left snacks. My little block probably had something to do with the fact that life stuff got in the way of my vigorous writing that I usually do on a daily anti-social basis. Nothing is as unproductive as getting out of touch with your own story.


So I did what seems to be the most logical thing to do, I started rereading the first few chapters and for some reason it all seemed crappy and sucky. So then the next thing I did was brainstorming on a new awesomer (that’s right, I said awesomer) plot that would make it far better than my original plan. This process pretty much felt like my brain had been invaded by a tornado, whirling around all my ideas. And when finally an idea managed to fall on my head, it somehow seemed less good when I said it out loud to someone. But to be fair, the best way to judge a story is to actually read it. Especially in my case since I know (from my teachers) that I have a good writing style despite any seemingly uninteresting plots. In any case, I felt more lost with each day and so I started rereading again and then I realised it wasn’t actually crappy at all. So now I’m making notes and seeing what works and what needs to be adjusted while my characters are pouring me cups of tea in the writing cave every now and then.

My point is that for me putting it away and then reading it with fresh eyes really helped. I also need to remind myself there is no rush, even if I do want to get this story written so badly and start my adventure as an author. You do it right, or you don’t do it at all. That’s going to be my motto from now on. That and: stay calm and drink hot chocolate.

So that is what worked for me, but there are also other strategies that might come in handy if your plot bunnies are refusing to come to you.
-          Talking about it with other people. Either a writing group or friends.
-          Free writing. It’s exactly what you think it is, just take a pen (or laptop) and start writing whatever comes to mind. Let it flow, as they say, and go with it.
-          List making. Make a plan or strategy as to what your process of writing should be and analyse what your plan has been so far. Ask a lot of questions.
You can also make a list of what you want to write and then figure out how you want to go about it. (You can see my post on plotting.)
-          Rereading. Delve into your story so far and read it like a reader would. What would you like to see changed? Where do you want to go?
-          Encouragement. Get your personal cheerleader or be your own. You can do it!

J Write now!