Elizabeth: The Call to Action

call_to_actionAs writers, we’re taught that a story rightfully begins with an inciting incident; an event that changes something for our hero/heroine, throwing them off their traditional path and setting everything in motion.   It can be as simple as meeting a cute guy in the bar, the death of a family member, or being transferred to a new job, or more complex, like being transported into a whole new world.  Typically, the inciting incident is something that happens to the hero/heroine, rather than something they actively do.

Simply put, before the inciting incident there is equilibrium.  Afterwards, the balance has been upset and there is a problem to be solved. Continue reading

Jilly: Filling the Well

filling-the-wellWhat have you done to recharge your batteries/top up your creative well this week? I’ve spent most of the last three days with my nose in a book (well, pressed against a Kindle.) It’s been wonderful.

I had great plans to read and recharge over the holidays. That didn’t happen, because I used all my spare time to work on my Golden Heart entry. I wrote a new opening scene—it took multiple attempts before I finally found one I liked. I figured out an opening sentence that made promises about the story instead of just plunging into the action. I filled in plot holes. I checked the etymology of every significant word to make sure it was appropriate to my world. I tailored my metaphors. I wrote a new synopsis that reflected Alexis and Kierce’s relationship arc instead of wandering off into the mystery sub-plot. And then—yay!—this week, I uploaded the lot to the RWA website.

I have a lot of work left to do on this story, but I needed a breather so I decided to treat myself to the book binge I didn’t get in December.

Continue reading

Elizabeth: Time to Refresh and Refocus

Twinkly lights make everything seem better

Twinkly lights make everything seem better

November is (almost) at an end.  I had planned spend the next few days basking in the success of a second year of NaNoWriMo, but that turned out to be overly optimistic on my part.

Drat!

As I mentioned last week, my writing progress stumbled around week two and never did get back on track.

Though I may have missed out on the satisfaction of getting to upload my 50,000 words and put that “Winner” icon on my profile, I’m still going to count this month’s effort a success, for a couple of reasons: Continue reading

Elizabeth: I Read it in a Fortune Cookie

fortune_cookieNaNoWriMo is less than a week away and, as I mentioned in last week’s post, I’ve been laying some ground work to (hopefully) ensure my November is as productive as possible.  Tonight’s fortune cookie message seems to agree with that plan.

“Prepare today for the demands of tomorrow”

On a whim, I gathered up the other discarded fortune messages from the dinner table this evening to see what other helpful advice I could find.

“You will enjoy doing something different this coming weekend”

Hmm.  Continue reading

Jilly: Hooked by the Olympics

Hooked by the OlympicsWhat have you been up to this week?

I got back from Scotland on Tuesday evening to a mountain of laundry and a couple of real life annoyances. Dealing with those took me until Thursday morning, and then the decks were clear for me to get back to my romantic fantasy WIP.

At least, that was the idea.

Elizabeth reported earlier this week that her Girls in the Basement had absconded and were presumed drinking Margaritas on a beach somewhere, leaving her to stare at a blank page. My Girls are here, but I can’t seem to get them under control. They spent ten days in Scotland spinning off idea after idea for my contemporary Gilded Lily series, which is exciting but doesn’t help with my long list of current story questions. Now they’re busy sparking off the Olympics, which is even less productive. Still, it’s a fascinating, once-every-four-years spectacle, so I’ve decided to go with the flow for one more day, until the end of the weekend.

The great thing about the Olympics is that it’s more than a showcase of world-class sports from the familiar to the mind-bogglingly esoteric. The event is built on human endeavor, triumph and disaster, which makes it a story masterclass. I’ve been thinking a lot about that. Continue reading

Justine: No More Excuses

6490798 - classic glossy black chair, isolated on a white background

Last year at this time, I attended RWA Nationals in NYC, including the awards ceremony on Saturday night. This year, I watched the ceremony via live stream from the comfort of my living room. No high heels. No tight dress. No edgy excitement. Just my rainbow cozy pants and a tall glass of milk.

I debated whether to attend Nationals this year and ultimately decided not to for one important reason: Continue reading

Justine: Messy vs. Neat Workspaces Equals Better Productivity or Creativity?

9061771 - interior fashionable room rendering

A clean, Zen-like workspace may improve persistence.

Yesterday, Jilly talked about the barrage of ideas and inspiration she’s had in her writing life (and how it’s perhaps a bit out of control), and on Wednesday, Elizabeth told us about how she’s been cleaning office lately. Both of those posts have got me thinking about my writing environment and how distracting it is.

I once read an interview with a writer who has a very cozy reading room, so she can be comfortable and enjoy her books. But the room where she writes is very Zen-like in order to avoid distractions, and I’ve decided I need to take that on if I’m ever going to get this book finished, because instead of sitting down and looking at words on the page, I look at the plethora of junk that’s filled my desk (for example, right now on my desk, in addition to Continue reading