Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Scariest Moment is Just Before You Start Writing

On the second day of the OCCBWW conference, Noa Wheeler from Henry Holt presented. She was lively and funny, and thankfully did not need a microphone. (The sound system at OCCBWW was awful. It popped and scratched.)
The stuff in [brackets] are my thoughts

-Learn to Laugh at Yourself
-Don’t Panic
-The Scariest Moment is Just Before You Start Writing
-Write something-anything-to open the writing door

[I love this following piece of advice] ** Write about something you know really well, but write about it as if you have never seen it before. Approach everything as if for the first time [this forces you to focus on details] the interaction between the subject and writer makes it new.

Turn OUTWARD- listen to dialogue- note it- change one word to extrapolate- layer it
Ask questions about things around you to help you arrive at something new
“What if?” take something ordinary so it does not resemble the original at all
Research –[but not everything. Enough to get the details accurate].

Set limits
Make a date to share writing with writing buddies [Open mic, write-ins]

Do writing sprints- for an hour on writing. Just write without a plan. Do NOT reread and revise[kind of like we do for NANO]
Set word ;limits ie 1000 a day no matter what [again Nano]

If you are in the middle of a story, novel and you’re stuck- switch writing locations [go outside if you’re in or vice versa]
Change position inside your story. Better to write SOMETHING than nothing
Make a slight change to alter the story [ ex. used in Charlotte’s Web, If White had been stuck, , Instead of Where is Papa going with that axe, he could have asked where is MAMA going? [See how it changes the perspective?]
Any story is a series of questions and answers

Skip over what gives you trouble and go back to it later [I will often make notes in my own drafts like “Fix This Later”]. This helps preserve momentum.
If you write drafts in longhand, use a PC or vice versa. Helps you use a different part of your brain.

-Moving physically can get your mind moving
-Forward motion is also rhythmic- like defibrillating your writing.
-Read or watch something outside your genre
-Don’t revise right away [Cindy S.!!!!]
-Ask “What more do I need?”
-Read out loud- you can hear the verbs and nouns
-Don’t back away from the jugular
-Reverse outline- outline mss as if you haven’t written it yet
-Get out of your own head

Later in the week Ms Wheeler had some submission advice, but I will share that at the end of this series when I go through the agent and other editor’s submission suggestions. First we write, do massive revisions and editing THEN we worry about sending it somewhere.

Happy Writing.

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