Posts Tagged With: natalie

100 Inspirations

Those of you who know me, or have possibly read some of my past posts (the L in the ABCs), know that I love lists. Like Caitlin pointed out earlier in the week, they are great for compartmentalizing, categorizing and organizing things. These “things” can have to do with writing authors read, their stories, characters, settings, the lists can go on and on (horribly pun intended). But every now and then we writers get in a funk and need to be reminded why we write or what inspires us. The list below is one I’ve had laying around for awhile now, and Caitlin’s post reminded me how important it is. So I dusted it off and took a look at it again. Now I am sharing it with all of you. Make a list of your own and look at it, post it a bulletin board,  in a journal, on a folded piece of paper you carry around in your wallet, anywhere. Let it inspire you, especially on days you need it most.


Beginnings. Endings. Middles. Broken hearts. Starry nights. The warm sunshine. You. Me. Them. Us. iPods on shuffle. The breeze through my hair. Nostalgia. Playground equipment. Thunder storms. Sunsets. Love on the mend. Family, and everything that falls in between. Late night chats that spill into mornings. Clichés. Dreams. Shooting stars. Silence. Bubbles. Quotes. Walking contradictions. Oxymorons, sometimes just morons too. Art. Friends. Strangers. Acquaintances. Aimless wandering. Gerber daisies. Joy rides. Singalongs to the radio. Power outages. Photographs. Acapella. Strobe lights. Polka-dots. Plaid. Nights out. Nights in. Books. Tea. Caterpillars. Letters. Lines. Memories. Skeptics. Rearview mirrors. Smiles. Laughter. Breakfast. Cities. Green, grassy fields. Klutzes. Road trips. Believers. Adjectives. Lyrics, stuck in my head. Flash forwards. Flashbacks. Scene checks. Alliteration. Raindrops. Dimples. Befriending. Fireflies. Twisted sheets. Imaginative imagery. Teaching. Feedback. Dialogue. Sarcasm. Climbing trees. Snow angels. Talented individuals. Old souls. New pens. Journals. Baked goods. Candle lit tributes. Pop culture. Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Wonderlands. Never ending questions. Red lights. The mundane. The unique. Crunchy leaves. Blood. Sweat. Tears. Love…Life.

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Reading About Writing

We all love books, reading and writing them. But what about reading books about writing? There are tons of them out there. These are some of my favorite books that help hone author’s writing skills: stylistically, mechanically, inspirationally and creatively. Many are written by well-known novelists or others respected in the writing field.

1. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Steven King
2. Eats, Shoots and Leaves: A Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss
3. The 101 Most Influential People that Never Lived: How Characters of Fiction, Myth, Legends, Television, and Movies Have Shaped Our Society, Changed Our Behavior, and Set the Course of History by Allan Lazar, Jeremy Salter, Dan Karlan
4. Language Matters: A Guide to Everyday Questions about Language by Donna Jo Napoli
5. Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly by Gail Carson Levine
6. Take Joy: The Writer’s Guide to Loving the Craft by Jane Yolen
7. Elements of Style by E.B White and William Strunk Jr.
8. How to Write Poetry by Paul B. Janeczko
9. Manuscript Makeover: Revision Techniques by Elizabeth Lyon
10. How NOT to Write a Novel by Howard Mittlemark and Sandra Newman
What are some of your favorites? What have you found particularly helpful?
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What’s My Age Again? New Adult

This post was inspired by a well-intended, writing buddy. She asked me what audience I was trying to market my stories toward. This is a valid question and one I pondered quite a bit after our conversation. The main markets out there are Young Adult (YA for all you cool kids that talk in abrevs.) and Adult. Here’s the catch…my stories and I, we don’t seem to fit into either of these categories. This is where New Adult (NA) comes in. Curious? Let me break it down for you.

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Wielding a Red Pen

So they say, the pen is mightier than the sword, don’t they? I think the red pen is mightier than a fleet of pirates and a gang of ninjas (yep, it’s been that kind of day). I’m used to glaring red pen marks on paper, often times causing manuscripts to appear to be suffering an untimely, if not dramatic and gallant, death. This is why, as an editor and a teacher, I shy away from scarlet ink and opt for a less threatening purple or green. Or sometimes I put the kibosh on pens all together and go the techie route. This goes for editing both my work as well as peers’.

I thought I’d give you a little insight on editing, since we’ve got two wonderful give-aways going on. Well, what I do–the processes (procesi?) thrown together in a hodge-podge. I am by no means an expert or propose to be. Nor might this be what fellow writers and critiquers on the site do. This is just what works for me.

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The Pros and Cons of Posting Writing Online

I seem to get more mixed messages from the writing community than from my ex-boyfriend. Seriously. Some writing sites champion posting online and encourage it (there are more writing platforms and sites that I can count springing up, some more legit that others), some reward it through contests and the like, others warn of the instantaneous death your writing career. I don’t know about any of the rest of you, but I totally feel like I am stuck in limbo as far whether or not to post my writing online. In fact, it goes in waves. One day I’m all for it and living the dream, then the next week I am afraid I have ruined every possible chance I have at making my bestseller come true. So I did some poking around, question asking and what some might loosely dub “research”. Here’s what I came up with… Continue reading

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W is for Writing

“If plan A doesn’t work, remember that the alphabet has 25 other letters. Relax.”

A few of my fellow former inkies and writing buddies have been banding about our thoughts and organizing techniques when we go about writing a novel. It inspired me to write out an ABCs of sorts (with a few letters left for you to fill in). Different ways and tools I and other writers use to build up our stories, develop our characters, track events–in all essence prep and plan ahead, with the best of intentions.  I have yet to meet a writer that does all of these things, but some are more fervent about pre-writing than others. You can these strategies when you get stuck or based on feedback you’ve received, wanting to improve certain areas of your work. Whatever the case, whenever you may use them, hope you find it helpful, dear readers and writers

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Forbidden and Fustrating Fads

Seriously. I can can roll with most writing fads.

Sparkly undead people.
Ghosts of ex-lovers past.
Crushed worlds and uprisings.
Quests and quirky characters.
High school drama fests.
Twisted clichés.
Infuriating love triangles.

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The Boy (or Girl) Who Lived

This is actually a jump-off post, inspired by Meredith’s about how teens are sometimes poorly and unrealistically portrayed in YA literature…not a tearful goodbye to HP and the gang.

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Recently I’ve noticed, in online stories as well as mainstream published YA literature, that a lot of main characters don’t have cheerful lives (which I suppose in itself is up for interpretation). I know there has to be conflict, some angst in there. Bad things happen, usually in threes. No human is perfect, flaws must be seen. Blah, blah, blah. But seriously the heartache and drama is getting a little excessive. It’s, I fear, becoming the new cliché.

Again, I am no expert. I’m not published but am offering my advice anyways. It’s free. Take it?

*Alert: Minor spoilers, rants and assumptions ahead, read at your own risk.

Case One: Parenthood, Say What? Half of the stories I’ve read in the last few weeks propose some sort of horrid home life. One or more parents are dead. One might be an alcoholic or dying of disease, the other insane in grief, or a complete witch of a character who berates his children daily. Honestly, I think it is important that writers remember who they are writing about. As annoying as writing adults can be, as hard to work them into the plot, as much as they might get in the way of an epic love triangle…don’t just write them out. And if you do, for goodness sake make it believable and pertain to the plot. Most teens, and heck even the group slightly older, have parents in their lives in some shape or form (even if it is a monthly phone call or awkward family dinner). True story. I’m not saying you have to pack your chapters full of it, but a glimpse can be grand. This, in my opinion, can add to a plot.

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