Lyla Campbell

I'll be back with a poppin' fresh new blog post in 72 hours, give or take a nanosecond. I'm in the homestretch of this licensure thing I've been wrestling with! In the meantime I wanted to share another of my fave posts with you from when I first started blogging back in Fall 09:

So, your main character has been asking you where to go and what to do. At this point you have a choice as to which NaNoWriMo path to take. Option 1: Approach your writing like driving at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you will be able to make it all the way home. Using this school of thought, jump into NaNoWriMo with nothing more than that "glimmer of a story line." Fly by the seat of your pants and let the characters help you unfold the plot day by day. I used this first option last year and I did make it to the finish line. So yes, it is possible.

Option 2: Plan out your plot. This is the option I'm trying out this year. If you want to play fast and loose, a simple outline will suffice for guidance as you trudge through November. However, if you are in need of more structure, creating a road map of how your character's paths and the story line weave in and out might be the right option for you. Over the past few days I've been working on mapping the layout of my plot. Here are some of the websites I've come across in my quest to inject more juice into my story:

  • This one is from an earlier post but I wanted to mention it again all the's just that good. For those of the nerd persuasion (like me) who are attempting NaNoWriMo this year. The snowflake method provides lots and lots of structure for building up your story.

  • If I've lost my direction and need some inspiration for where to take the story next I like to look through a magazine at the photos and ads for inspiration. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. And who wouldn't love another grand added to their word count?

  • Similarly to the above bullet point, when I'm stuck I also like to read a short story to get my imagination back on track.

  • This website is a compilation of eight plot thickening tips.

  • Keep a pocket sized notebook and pen with you where ever you go. Ideas for your plot can hit you at anytime and you'll need to write them down before the fade away in to the fog of your mind. I don't know about you, but mine is pretty thick and foggy most of the time.

  • One thing I learned from the NaNoWriMo experience last year is you can plan, and parse and mull over your story line as much as you want, but you can't write out your novel in your head. You have to get it out from between your ears and into your computer, onto paper, or clay tablet, which ever is your preferred method of scribing. It's absolutely necessary to make room for the next generation of plot bunnies to sprout.

Lyla Campbell

I'm currently in the process of applying for licensesure in engineering. Translation: I'm swamped. So here's a favorite post of mine from when I first started blogging. There's quite a few newcomers to my blog I thought this might be a good time to recycle some of my favorite posts from the past. There are a lot of good character building resources in this please enjoy!

So, you've got a plot bunny or two hopping around in your cranium. Before splitting hares with the plot, I like to work on my characters first. A solid plot and realistic characters go hand in hand. Knowing the characters inside and out will help you understand how they will react when being put through the rigors and trials.

If you're a first timer you are probably wondering where to begin. And, even those of you who have done this before are always looking for ways to make you characters more multi-dimensional. We've all had that moment when we were reading. (You know the one where we thought the book was wonderful till this point.) Then, all of a sudden, one of the main characters does something so bizarre in reaction to a plot twist that really doesn't ring true with who you thought they were. It makes you roll your eyes, groan, and wrinkle your nose. It's a good sign that the author didn't take the time to get to know their characters.

Here's a few resources to help you flesh out your characters:

I've made good use of these tools in the past and I hope that they will make the time you spend hanging out with the characters in your novel even more productive.

Stay tuned for "Part 2." In the next half, I'll offer up some of the useful resources I've run across that are great for cooking up a thick and juicy plot.

Lyla Campbell

When a miracle occurs and I find time to write, creative juices are churning in my brain, but the idea of spending any more time at my keyboard (after a 9 hour day in front of my computer at work) is literally too painful to bear.

During emergency situations like this, when overcoming static fiction seems impossible, I dust of my notebook, grab a pen, shut off the light, light a few candles, then proceed to kick it old school. Scribing down words and phrases with a rhythm that only writing in cursive can create. Often, this is the 180 degree turn I need from my all too computer dominated life. It feels good to do something so drastically different and suddenly, writing doesn't seem like such a chore.

In fact, today falls under that emergency situation categories. And ditching my computer is like a breath of fresh air for my head. (And I frequently need a refill of fresh air between my ears.)

So, as soon at this is posted I'm shutting down my computer and scratch out some progress on my manuscript.

What do you do in writing emergencies to keep your progress rolling?
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Lyla Campbell
Hey everyone!

I promise I haven't run away from home. (Although I have to admit that thought has crossed my mind more than a few times over the last 72 hours.)

I've worked 20 hours this weekend. Unfortunately, it was for my desk job and not on my WIP. Tomorrow I'll have a fresh new post on writing ready! So stay tuned!

...Now I've got to go make more coffee.
Lyla Campbell
This dovetailed perfectly into my previous post on overcoming static fiction...

This morning @BubbleCow tweeted a page from Mathew Hill's website: Nine ways to trick yourself into writing.

These are all great suggestions for getting the ball rolling.