Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Mr. President, Your Modifier Is Dangling.

By Laura Mahal

Three writers met at a coffee shop. I know, it sounds like a joke, but I take my grammar seriously. My copy editor ears perked up when I overheard several colorful renditions of Dump the Trump Talk.The writers were discussing the political importance of punctuation.

Writer #1: ‘Dump the Trump talk.’ Finally, a writer who is ready to move on! I can’t wait to read what she has to say.

Writer #2: Umm, I think she meant, let’s have a ‘Dump the Trump’ talk. There is no way this author supports that particular President-Elect.

Writer #3: No, you are both wrong. She clearly means, dump the ‘Trump talk’ – the meanness of the things he has to say.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Mind-full Writers

By Sheala Dawn Henke

Winter is here. Time to face the dreary underbelly of the season and along with it, a recurring theme.

One many of us are still schlepping around in our subconscious pockets like gong-sized mantras, chanting, “Slow the fudge down!”

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

You Say You Want a Resolution

By David Sharp

We all love a new start. Is the day you begin by nursing a New Year's Eve hangover really the best time to kick it off? People seem to think so. Or maybe you're one of those ironic souls who resolves to not make any resolutions. You'll start 2017 in a catch-22 of your own design.

Of course, I'm talking to a bunch of writers. What are the odds, you'd like to have better writing habits in 2017? New Year's resolutions are notorious for failing. A fourth of them won't make it past the first week. However, improving our work habits is not unattainable. And starting in January is not a prerequisite.

How can you ensure your resolutionary success?


This time for sure!
I'm going to make it!!
This is my year!!!

...I have to pee!
Success isn't always about discipline and drive. You can swear to yourself you'll go to the gym every day, but if your gym is across town, you're setting yourself up for failure. We must embed new habits into the fiber of our existing lives. Find the easiest space in your schedule to block off for writing, preferably a time when it offers you a chance to get away from the stress of the day. Make sure you have a comfortable space prepared to work in and that it is well supplied so you won't need to interrupt yourself to go get something. If you're not an early riser, don't schedule it at 6 AM.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Write What You Know

by Deborah Nielsen

If you take this advice literally, fiction would be a non-starter. How do you write about new worlds filled with things and beings never seen or heard about before? What happens to sinister cars or evil houses that want to kill their occupants, or dragons and vampires and girls falling rabbit holes?

And writing nonfiction would be limited as well. If you don’t know about something, how do you write about it?

Trust Calvin and Hobbes to Nail It.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

On Scrambling to Fill A Post

By J.C. Lynne

Yeah, yeah, you just heard from me last week. Believe me, I'm not too thrilled about this either. I am typically a planner. A long range planner. I am also a doer. When conversations turn to activities, gatherings, or travel I get moving. Just ask my friends. I'm a logistics beast.

Taking on the scheduling for The Writing Bug was cake and pie. I made calendars. I made spreadsheets. I color coded each blogger's date with a space for their blog topic. If I'm really on my game I send out gentle reminders. I don't know if you know this cuz you're writers, but herding writers is like herding cats.  All writers are masters of procrastination. We are experts in the hem and haw two-step. It doesn't matter what level of experience. It doesn't matter published or not published. Writers love to dither.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

On How I Missed a Blog Post

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By J.C. Lynne

Wow, time flies. I can't believe how fast this fall has gone. I think I skipped September and just moved on to January. Okay, okay, not January, but November is over. And don't even get me started on Daylight Savings's not Daylight. It doesn't save daylight, and it just mucks up my entire schedule all over again!

That said, looking at my blog schedule, I realized I completely forgot both a blog on my own site and a blog for NCW. I'm blaming it entirely on DST.

I'm not one of those folks who's in a great hurry to see December disappear. Yes, 2016 has been a doozy, but I'm holding my breath because 2017 doesn't look to be a winner in my book either.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Is It "Ready" Yet?

By David Sharp

With fond memories of another turkey day gone by, it occurs to me that there should be a meat thermometer for books. Writing books is not unlike roasting poultry. It can look like it's done on the outside, but if you send it off to an agent before it's ready, you could get worms! Something like that, anyway.

What if there were some nifty device you could stab into your manuscript that would tell you whether or not you need to keep cooking it for a while? Sadly, there isn't. But here are some items I've added to my own checklist:

Word Count
Don't give your readers salmonella.
If you do, they won't be back for seconds. 

Agents won't want to champion manuscripts they don't feel they can sell. 90,000 words is the typical target for a novel-length work. Even if you feel your 120,000 word opus is an exception, agents and editors may reject it if they look at the size of it before they read it! It may be wise to save your mammoth texts for later in your career. Stephen King published Carrie long before he published The Stand.

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