Write Tip

Unleashing the Words

For the record: I don’t believe in writer’s block.

I do believe sometimes it takes more effort to get the words on paper (or screen), but this six sided, three-dimensional bogey man that plagues writers from under the bed or in the plumbing or wherever it hides? No, I don’t believe in that.

But most people would argue that whatever you call the manifestation known as “writer’s block”, or whether you believe in it or not,  is irrelevant. It exists, and it’s a real problem.

When I feel a little stuck or stultified (a brilliant word meaning: cause to lose enthusiasm and initiative, especially as a result of a tedious or restrictive routine), I draw.

More specifically: I draw maps. Without a clear picture in my noggin of where the story is taking place, the words get flat and shallow. More importantly, they become sluggish, and this is not good.

Currently, I’m working on the first draft of book five of the Guardians of the Path series, taking off to a new region of my world, and I was having trouble getting the words to flow as opposed to merely trickle. So I sat down and worked out a simple schematic of where the story was taking place. This may not be “simple” for some, but quite a bit of time was spent browsing the interweb, looking at pictures (also a good method of invoking the gods of inspiration) of European cathedrals and prestigious English college campuses, buildings which were reduced to squares on my diagram.

I give you: the Coven of White and Black –

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This probably doesn’t mean anything to anyone at this precise moment, but take my word for it, it’s awesome!! And yes, Laboratorium is now a word.

And away we go!

Just a little something for you to try if you get particularity desperate 🙂

Good writing!

❤ DragonBeck

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Omens teaser I – “Under the Waves”

The Guardians of the Path Omens, published by Witching Hour Publishing, is to be released on 23 November 2016. I thought it would be fun to give you a few teasers to whet your appetite!

This first excerpt is a song. I like to put songs in my books for two reasons. One: because my book is based heavily on music, and the magyc thereof. Two: It rounds out the world I’ve created.

World-building is a crucial part of writing a fantasy or sci-fi story. It orients the reader, and if you don’t let him know the rules, he won’t have stable point to evaluate what’s happening. I think it’s important to maintain a balance in world-building, though. It’s easy to get lost in the details of the world, so much so that you never write the story! The story is a sequence of events that take place (the plot), involving certain people (the characters), and where the story takes place should enhance it, not detract from it.

When I first started writing Guardians of the Path, I had a very rough sketch of the world, and as I wrote further, I fleshed it out with more details: of history, of people, places, the currency they use, and so forth. I tend to just make up names and dates on the spot, and figure it out later. This works for me, and I find that it just fits together. Some people may find that they contradict themselves too easily and often, and they will work out another method for getting the facts of their world in order.

All cultures, from primitive to modern, have music, songs, and singing. In truth, songs are just another way of telling a story, with poetry and lyric instead of prose. This song has three titles: one is the name of the song – “Under the Waves”. It was written by a man named Wind, whom we will meet briefly in Omens, and get a glimpse into his life, hence the second name. Wind was a big influence on the dark Guardian – Luca Lorisson – and this is Luca’s favorite song, and thus the third name.

“Under the Waves” (“Wind’s Lament”, or “Luca’s song”)

The sun rises cold
upon my final day
Calling me home
to the wind and the waves

All of my friends
Have forgotten my name
The don’t hear me speak
And they don’t know my face

All I have left
As the sea takes me home
Are memories I’ve stolen
From the places I’ve gone

Ghosts and pipers come back to haunt
And collect their due
But my coffers are empty
I’ve nothing to give, and less to lose

All has gone and faded away
Ghosts and pipers
They care not
They come anyway

All I have left
As the sea takes me home
Are the memories I’ve stolen
From the places I’ve gone

The paths that I’ve tread
are claimed by Time
In His sands they lay
Out of sight, out of mind

Scars cover hurts
That I’ve made my own
They are my friends
And I’m never alone

The sun sets with fire
On my final day
Where I go now,
I cannot say

Death stands a-waiting
In the wings of my stage
To His Realm I will go
And in His Realm I’ll stay

The deeds that led here
To this place, and my fate
Are times I fought, and times I cried
When I loved, and when I lied

Now these golden things
They are no more
Than faded paintings
On someone else’s wall

Ghosts and pipers come back to haunt
And collect their due
But my coffers are empty
I’ve nothing to give, and less to lose

All I have left
As the sea takes me home
Are memories I’ve stolen
From the places I’ve gone

All I have left
As Death takes me home
Are the memories I bring
and these songs that I sing

_____________________________________________________________________

Look for Omens and other great books from Witching Hour Publishing coming soon!

❤ DragonBeck

It All Adds Up

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Greetings!

A few days ago, I had a random train of thought, a random writerly train of thought, and as such I was inspired to share.

I, Nicole DragonBeck, have been a member of the Ink Slingers Guild for over 5 years now.

ISG meets every second Wednesday, as a rule, from 7:30 – 9:30 pm, and we generally have one month off a year (which means one skipped meeting) in December for Christmas and New Year’s.

In those five years, I have missed only one meeting (I was camping and didn’t have wi-fi).

The largest part of the meeting is taken up with our exercising – no, we don’t do crunches and push-ups: 3 members each choose a word and we have 5 minutes to write whatever we can, or please, incorporating those three words. Sometimes we do 4 words and 8 minutes. Some of us, and by some of us I mean me, may ignore the timer, but not by that much. When the timer goes off, we go around the table, in no particular order, and read out what we’ve written. We do 2 to 4 exercises in a meeting.

This is a great way to get those writer’s synapses jumping and the creative juices flowing. Note: there is NO critiquing. By anyone. At All. Ever. And there is NO self-invalidation allowed, either. The point is to practice writing, not to demean, degrade, or discount your writing, or the writing of another.

Some members write long-hand, some type in Word. I type my ISG exercises in a text document. I have all of them, since the very first time.

Recently, I dumped it all into Scrivener (the writing program I use and highly recommend) so I could get a word count.

Ready for it?

55,000.

That might not sound like much, but let me put it into perspective for you.

The word count of a novel varies depending on who you ask, and what genre you write.

For example, Wikipedia says:

Novel: over 40,000 words
Novella: 17,500 to 40,000 words
Novelette: 7,500 to 17,500 words
Short story: under 7,500 words

From another website, (www.novel-writing-help.com):

A novel is anything over 50,000 words
A novella is between 20,000 and 50,000 words
A short story has a word count of under 20,000 words

Writer’s Digest suggests (depending on the genre) 55,000 – 110,000.

55,000 words, per all the above, is a novel. That would only be the first draft, you understand, but a writer has to start somewhere, and that would be the first step.

Now, time for some maths (if you don’t like maths, don’t worry, I’ve done it for you): writing once every 2 weeks for about 20-30 minutes, for 5 years = 55,000 words = 1 novel.

If that doesn’t sound incredibly gratifying to you, we can double it: writing 1 evening a week, for about 20-30 minutes, for 5 years = 1 novel of 110,000 words (or 2 novels of 55,000 or 1 ½ novels of 85,000…you get the idea)

Double it again: writing 2 evenings a week, for about 20-30 minutes, for 5 years = 2 novels of 110,000 words, or 4 novels of 55,000, etc…

And double it once more: writing 4 evenings a week, for about 20-30 minutes, for 5 years = 4 novels of 110,000 words (or 8 novels of 55,000, or 6 novels of 85,000…).

That’s one novel written* per year. At about 2 hours a week.

Those are all very rough figures, and I’m sure someone could come up with a hundred reasons why it doesn’t work like that, but forget the maths. The point is, it all adds up. You don’t have to sit down for one weekend and pump out 250,000 words of the greatest American novel ever. Publishers wouldn’t even accept that, unless your name starts with Stephen and ends with King, or something like that. You don’t have to write your novel in a week or a month either, in 5-hour stretches every day, and 19 hours on Saturdays and Sundays.

Just spend half an hour in an evening, or in the morning, or on a lunch break, or whenever, three or four days a week. In a year, there’s the first draft of your novel written*.

And I don’t believe there’s any restriction on writing more, if one wanted to 😉

Food for thought, for anyone who may care to write a book 🙂

Good writing!

❤ DragonBeck

*Note I qualify the statement with “written”. There’s a lot more, and I mean A LOT more to getting it ready to publish, and then getting it published, but those are other stories 🙂