Friday, December 29, 2017

One Genre—or Two?


By Irene Hannon 


I write in two genres—contemporary romance and romantic suspense—and I’m often asked how this came about and how I make it work. So let’s talk about that for a few minutes.

My very first book was a romantic suspense novella—and it was really, really, really bad. (Sorry for all those adverbs, but they capture the badness!) One of the many reasons it was so bad is because I had no contacts in law enforcement (a serious problem if your main character is a police detective) and there was no internet. We’re talking the Dark Ages here.

Stymied, I decided to switch to contemporary romance. While most books in that genre do require some research, in general it’s less intense and technical than the kind needed for a heavy-duty suspense novel.

After writing three books, I connected with a publisher and was off and running in contemporary romance.

Or so I thought.

Problem was, after two of my three contracted books were published, the line I wrote for was discontinued.

I did connect with another publisher eventually…then another…and my career picked up momentum.

Twenty-six books later, I got the urge to try romantic suspense again. This time, I not only had contacts, I had the internet. Piece of cake, right?

Wrong.

My 26 mass market series romance books didn’t mean a thing to single-title, trade-paperback publishers—especially since I was an unknown in romantic suspense.

In the end, I did connect with a wonderful publisher, and now write both contemporary romance and romantic suspense for them under the same pen name.

I think this has worked well for me because my books share three common elements.

First, romance is central to all my novels. A reader who picks up an Irene Hannon book knows it will contain a central love story and that the ending will be happy.

Second, my focus in both genres is on my characters. I use the plot to deepen character development as well as to propel the story. As a result, my suspense books are not action/adventure novels, where characters’ lives hang in the balance on every page while shots fly and bombs explode and planes are hijacked. Instead, I build toward a suspenseful climax while delving deep into my characters’ minds (including the villain’s), taking readers along with me. Those who read my books know they’ll get an in-depth character dive in every story I write.

Third, all my books contain moments of mirth, deeply emotional scenes, and relatable heroes and heroines the reader can connect with and root for.

As a result of these common elements, I have many readers who enjoy my books in both genres.

That said, some of the suspense readers have dinged me in Amazon reviews because my contemporary romances weren’t to their taste. There are also some readers who enjoy my contemporary romances but find my suspense tales too scary. So the crossover isn’t one hundred percent.

My publisher does differentiate between the two genres with two very different cover styles, and that helps readers make choices consistent with their tastes. It’s pretty obvious that Sandpiper Cove and Dangerous Illusions are not in the same genre!

Bottom line, writing in two genres has worked for me for the reasons outlined above. But if you’re thinking of writing, say, young adult dystopian fantasy and regency romance—different pseudonyms might be in order!
_________________________________________________________________ 
Irene Hannon is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than fifty contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. In addition to her many other honors, she is a three-time winner of the prestigious RITA Award from Romance Writers of America (the “Oscar” of romance fiction) and is also a member of that organization’s elite Hall of Fame. In 2016, she received a Career Achievement award from RT Book Reviews magazine for her entire body of work. She loves to chat with readers on Facebook!


Thursday, December 28, 2017

Your Changing Technology – Avoiding Techno Clutter


By Doyne Phillips, Managing Editor for Southern Writers Magazine


“Today is the slowest rate of technological change you will ever experience in your lifetime.” Shelly Palmer Report, 2016

If you are like most of us you love technology or even better if you are like most of us you love change? But who doesn’t love changing technology?  For some of us the above statement from the 2016 Shelly Palmer Report literally strikes fear in our hearts. Technology has proven to be good and bad. See my Suite T Blog from November of 2013 concerning Technology Gone Wrong.  
Bad technology can occur but is usually corrected without experiencing the fanfare the error received. 

Also in a March 2017 blog I shared an account of Technology Crying Wolf . It is accounts like these that give the faint of heart an excuse not to embrace new technology. The truth is technology works more times than not.

The positive side of technology for writers is the endless resources we have at our finger tips. One devise affords us the luxury of a research library, type and print, distribution, marketing and sales. This device and its programs are being updated constantly. The big concern is the change involved. Most of us love change as much as we do technology but we must embrace it.

I recently have been involved with a major programming change with a company’s email system. The system is much faster, powerful and has more business applications. It is being well received by the employees and I believe one of the major reasons it is being received well is due to the similar look of the program. Management had an option to make the change to the new system without a major change to the look and operation of it. It is like getting a new engine in your old car. It runs better but looks and operates the same. This makes for a favorable transition.

If you are like most of us you have a younger generation in your midst that has all types of recommendations of new technology you need. I do and honestly I have adopted some of these out of self-defense so I can communicate with these youngsters. But now when they come to me with such suggestions I put them to the test with 3 questions: What does this do? What are its benefits to me? 

How will I use it in my work life or personal life? If all three can’t be answered to my satisfaction I doubt it would be of benefit to me at this time.  Just because it is the latest thing doesn’t mean you need it. Odds are by the time you may want to try it out the 3rd generation will be available. So why settle for Newthing 1.0 when Newthing 3.0 will be out in a few months.

Take your time and question it. This allows you to have an open door policy should that need arise and it will also allow you to avoid the techno clutter in your life.

 
      





Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Making the News, Create Buzz with a News Release


By Tim Bishop


A news release can be an effective and inexpensive means to help market a book. Unlike more costly advertising, a release can generate free publicity to a broad audience. It can also reside online indefinitely where you and your ambassadors can share it through social media. When designed well, it increases online search results for both a book and its author.

The purpose of a release is to communicate potential news stories in industry-acceptable format to anyone who develops and/or reports news content in any type of media—print, broadcast, or online. These individuals act as gatekeepers who add credibility and objectivity to your story.

What constitutes news?

Publishing a work is news that some people want to know. My wife and I also wrote a release when Wheels of Wisdom won an award. We even used one to announce that Bookbub had chosen to feature that title. Let creativity be your guide.

What to say in a news release and how to say it

A release should include the essentials of news reporting—who, what, when, where, why. Provide enough relevant details for clarity. Include location, date, and contact info at the top and a URL at the bottom for further information. Embed a quote from you and/or reviewers of your work as well as one or two helpful links. Avoid bloat, brag, and bluster. Create a release in AP style that a news outlet can run as is, one that sounds like it comes from a credible, independent source. Don’t forget to include images, such as a book cover and a headshot.

There are two primary formatting considerations:

First, media report news with their busy audience in mind. Write in order of declining importance. Remember, a news service may truncate the release after any paragraph. While authors already know how to write, a release requires a unique format. Consider hiring a news editor to tweak your release. I have used Barry Scheffel, an experienced journalist who does outstanding, affordable work.

Second, you want Internet search engines to pick up keywords that will improve discoverability. Consult with an SEO expert.

Where and how to share a news release

You can distribute a news release very broadly online using a newswire service. I found PRUnderground effective and reasonably priced. It archives releases for news sites to link back to them. You can share them anytime on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can even embed a link in your email signature. Here is a link to our latest release on PRUnderground.

You may obtain or develop a list of email addresses to which to send your release. Be careful not to spam recipients. See this FTC website for further information.

Send your release to local media as well as people and organizations that are familiar with you and may well cover you. Share it on your website and with interested parties in the future, such as book reviewers.
_____________________________________________________ 
Tim Bishop left a successful career as a corporate treasurer, married his dream girl, and embarked with her to parts unknown – on bicycles! Tim and Debbie have since coauthored four books about their midlife bicycling adventures. Wheels of Wisdom won the 2017 National Indie Excellence Award for inspiration and Gold Medal in the Christian-Devotion/Study genre of the 2017 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards contest. Publishers Weekly dubbed the book “a roadmap for life.” In addition to their coaching experience on TheHopeLine, the Bishops bring a strong Christian foundation to their inspirational, self-help books. Tim is a three-time Maine chess champion, a CPA, and a consultant for small businesses. He has also written a business book, Hedging Commodity Price Risk. He is still out to prove that the writing contest he won as a college freshman was not a fluke. The Bishops blog at www.OpenRoadPress.com.


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

On the Second Day of Christmas


by Gary Fearon, Creative Director, Southern Writers Magazine


If "my true love gave to me" has already popped into your head, congratulations!  Your musical memory is alive and well, even though we've heard "The Twelve Days of Christmas" for the last time this year. Technically, however, today is the second day of Christmas, so in that spirit I thought we'd take a second look at Christmas past.

I can get a little nostalgic thinking about Southern Writers' first Christmas, in 2011.  It was an exciting time of promise, adventure, and new friendships with authors and each other.  One thing I remember fondly was that, for the month of December, every day on this Suite T blog was devoted to a different "gift".

These classic posts are a little hard to find, unless you go looking for them.  So I went looking for them.

The Gift of a Writing Partner by Kelli Zaniel
The Gift of a Reader by Shannon Milholland
The Gift of Counting the Cost by Doyne Phillips
The Gift of a Time Out by Gary Fearon
The Gift of Time by Susan Reichert
The Gift of Humor by Jenny B. Jones
The Gift of Great Food by Shannon Milholland (includes recipes by authors and the SW staff!)
The Gift of a New Beginning by Doyne Phillips
The Gift of Gab by Gary Fearon
The Gift You Get When You Give by Susan Reichert
The Gift of Mystery by Sandra Balzo
The Gift of...Gifts by Shannon Milholland
The Gift of Great Art by Doyne Phillips
The Gift of Music by Gary Fearon
The Gift of Poetry by Susan Reichert
The Gift of a Family Heritage by Renee Rowell
The Gift of Leadership by Londa Hayden
The Gift of Hope Deferred by Doyne Phillips
The Gift of Goals by Gary Fearon
The Gift of a New Year by Susan Reichert
The Gift of a Rich Childhood by Sarah Loudin Thomas
The Gift of FREE Marketing by Jessica Ferguson

Maybe one or more of those "gifts" will resonate with you on this second day of Christmas, which, by the way, is immortalized in another yuletide chestnut.  December 26 is the "Feast of Stephen" mentioned in the song "Good King Wenceslas".  I hope you'll "feast" on the joys of the season still to come, and will continue to celebrate all the way up to that twelfth day of Christmas, on January 5th.

Now that it's stuck in your head, feel free to hum "Good King Wencelas" today. (If you know the words, I'm impressed.)


Monday, December 25, 2017

When is the Story Ready for the World?


By Shelly Frome


There’s a wise old saying that fiction isn’t written, it’s rewritten. Even after revising draft after draft until the narrative seems to flow effortlessly, in truth you’ve probably just reached the eighty percent mark. From there, if a publisher feels your work is good enough but in need of a development editor to “really take it home” (make it marketable), you’re in for at least an additional three revisions. In short, you’ve managed to earn a B+ but only an A+ will do.      

Take my recent foray into the world of the traditional village mystery for example—a double transatlantic “cozy” involving two sister villages located on both sides of “the pond”. Not at all the same old, same old, like a Miss Marple, with its sedentary armchair detective, idyllic sense of place that hasn’t existed for decades, and unpleasant victim or victims leaving the reader free to focus solely on the puzzle. Nowadays, the sleuth has to be someone to identify with, the sense of place provocative, the victim simpatico and worthy of the quest for justice, etc. All of this in the light of leading authors working today in this genre.  

With all of this as a given, here is where the first developmental phase comes in. Call it a spring forward/pull back overview. As a prime example, we can cite New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny’s Still Life.  This first of a series starts off with the demise of Miss Jane Neal, a seventy-six-year-old spinster, walking in the woods on the outskirts of the remote village of Three Pines on the Quebec border where she meets her untimely end. At this juncture, it seems that readers expect to pull back and get to know Miss Jane, meet her friends and neighbors and become acquainted with her various relationships, get familiar with this quaint locale, learn the significance of Three Pines, Jane’s “Still Life” and it’s double meaning during a telling scene, and so forth.

For my part, having been assigned an editor from Australia, though my narrative had “pace and drive,” my consultant insisted that the circumstances surrounding Emily, my intrepid tour guide’s quest were only touched upon. The demise of Emily’s beloved mentor and father figure was fine as a catalyst, but now was the time to pull back in terms of the overview. Where are we? What is her quaint, Connecticut hometown village like during the leaf-peeper season? What exactly led to her mentor’s dreadful fall? How does she feel about the three siblings she’s about to guide across the pond?  In short, it appears that a cozy writer can’t just get on with it.

The second pass, what this Aussie editor calls “the nitty gritty,” is twice as picky. Anything and everything that might give the reader pause must be dealt with. Why is Emily meeting Harriet (a person of interest and Emil’s chief client) in Bath of all places? How did Harriet’s testy note wind up in the rose garden in Penmead? What is Emily’s prior experience venturing into the foggy, mist-sodden moors? And on and on it goes.   

No doubt the third critical foray will consist of dealing with the gaps I failed to adequately address as she checks over how things stand and what more has to be done. I’ll just simply have to wait and see. Needless to say, at this point I’m amazed at how fond I was of my original final draft.

And I can’t help recalling a while back, when asked for the mark of success, a Doonesbury political candidate said, “Like any endeavor, it’s all a matter of feeling good about yourself.” Apparently, there’s a bit more to it than that.    
_________________________________________________________________
Shelly Frome is the film columnist for Southern Writers Magazine. He is also a member of Mystery Writers of America, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at the University of Connecticut, a former professional actor, and a writer of crime novels and books on theater and film. His fiction includes Sun Dance for Andy HornLilac MoonTwilight of the Drifter and Tinseltown Riff.  Among his works of non-fiction are The Actors Studio and texts on the art and craft of screenwriting and writing for the stage. Murder Run, his latest crime novel, was just released.  He lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina.
  

        

Friday, December 22, 2017

How Do You Discover an Authentic Narrative Voice?


By Steven James


At one of my book signings a couple of years ago, the bookstore owner exclaimed, “Oh, Steven, if someone gave me a page to read and didn’t tell me who it was by, I could always tell if it’s a Steven James novel.”

I was intrigued. “How?”

“Your voice,” she said matter-of-factly. 

It made me wonder if my writing was too similar from one book to the next, but then I realized that, for whatever it was worth—good or bad—at least this one reader found that my writing style was easy to identify. 

And I guess that’s not necessarily a bad thing. 

Voice is the unique flavor of your prose, your distinctive slant, the way your words resonate with readers. It’s authenticity rather than posturing. I sometimes teach aspiring novelists to favor relevance over eloquence as they develop their own narrative voice. 
In real-life conversations you can usually tell when someone isn’t being straight with you, or contrariwise, when they’re telling you what they think they’re supposed to say. 
I think it’s the same with writing.

When I review the work of aspiring authors, I often find that, although they might render a scene with technical proficiency, the writing feels forced or worse, dishonest. The characters don’t ring true. They’re artifices. Automatons. The voice is bland. The writing could be coming from anyone.

In a world filled with people concerned about impression management, authenticity is one of the most attractive qualities about a person.

And about a writer. 

So, how do you uncover your voice?

Here are four steps to take.

(1) Drop pretenses. 
Stop thinking about what people will think of your work. Let your story ring with emotional resonance and you’ll have been poignant without even attempting to be. Confidence speaks volumes.

(2) Stop showing off.
Whether that’s in the form of stylistic conventions or research, strip all that nonsense away. Readers will notice when you’re not being authentic, but when you are, they’ll just be drawn into the story and won’t really notice it either way. 

(3) Don’t be Avant Garde.
Don’t be different just for the sake of being different. Let the voice grow as you write, make sure it’s consistent throughout your story, and let it emerge naturally rather than trying to force things to go in a preconceived direction.
Let the story emerge from a genuine place inside of you. Voice doesn’t come from narrative tricks or literary gimmicks. 

(4) Treat your readers with respect.

Don’t “write down” to them or try to get things past them. Assume they’re smart, discerning, and that they value their time.

Trust them. 

Avoid explaining too much.

And let every page come from the honest core of who you are. 
_______________________________________________________________ 
Steven James is a national bestselling novelist whose award-winning, pulse-pounding thrillers continue to gain wide critical acclaim and a growing fan base. Suspense Magazine, who named Steven’s book THE BISHOP their Book of the Year, says that he “sets the new standard in suspense writing.” Publishers Weekly calls him a “master storyteller at the peak of his game.” And RT Book Reviews promises, “the nail-biting suspense will rivet you.”Equipped with a unique Master’s Degree in Storytelling, Steven has taught writing and storytelling on four continents over the past two decades, speaking more than two thousand times at events spanning the globe. Steven’s groundbreaking book on the art of fiction writing, STORY TRUMPS STRUCTURE, won a Storytelling World award. Widely-recognized for his story crafting expertise, he has twice served as a Master CraftFest instructor at ThrillerFest, North America’s premier training event for suspense writers. Respected by some of the top thriller writers in the world, Steven deftly weaves intense stories of psychological suspense with deep philosophical insights. As critically-acclaimed novelist Ann Tatlock put it, “Steven James gives us a captivating look at the fine line between good and evil in the human heart.” After consulting with a former undercover FBI agent and doing extensive research on cybercrimes, Steven wrote his latest thriller, EVERY DEADLY KISS—a taut, twist-filled page turner that is available now wherever books are sold.




Thursday, December 21, 2017

Inventing Christmas with One Book


By Annette Cole Mastron, Communications Director for Southern Writers Magazine


If you are thinking about The Bible when you read that title, that’s not the book I’m talking about. The Bible will tell you the story and events leading up to Jesus birth and beyond. It’s truly the reason for the Christmas season. 

It’s interesting as much as I love the book, The Christmas Carol, I knew very little about how it came to be a centerpiece of the Christmas celebration that we observe. I’ve blogged about The Christmas Carol and readings performed by Dickens’s great grandson. The blog post titled about the readings I read is at this link, 
"Writing a Christmas Legacy That Will Last For Generations."

After reading the book by Les Standiford and watching the movie, The Man Who Invented Christmas, I learned things that would help every author. I urge every writer to see this movie. I googled and learned things that amazed me. By dissecting Dickens’s process portrayed in the movie and book, you get a glimpse of his work from his inspiration to distribution of the book. 

Dickens had much success with his books prior to The Christmas Carol. However, his last three published books from a London publisher were failures. He needed a hit. He pitched the idea of his Christmas tale. His publishers were not impressed and refused to publish. Dickens believed in the story which, mind you, was still forming in his imagination. He was almost broke with another child on the way, and his philandering father landed on his doorstep. All while he was fleshing out his Christmas Story and trying to get it published. Was he the first author to self publish a story? Probably not. It was fascinating to watch his process of balancing creativity and real life problems, while forging ahead with a deadline of 6 weeks. Can you relate? 

At that time in England, Christmas was not really celebrated like we have all come to know as “tradition.” Author Randy Singer, who I interviewed for Southern Writers Magazine wrote a Christmas book, The Judge Who Stole Christmas. In his book, a judge relates the story of the reign of King Charles, when mobs would roam the streets of London, banging on doors demanding food and drink. The carol, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” was written during that era. It gives a whole new meaning to the song lyrics once you know the origin. “We won’t go until we get some...so bring some out here!” Who knew?

During Dickens’s time, London was as bleak as his books reflect. Queen Victoria was queen and Albert was her husband. He was from Germany, introducing the tradition of the Christmas tree at court. When his publishers rejected publishing his story he just kept moving forward, writing, and self publishing. In the movie, characters come to him and follow him throughout the publishing process. All authors would benefit from watching this movie and get a kick out of his character development process. 

I can’t close this blog post without referencing the title. It’s true that Christmas celebrations were forever changed by Charles Dickens imagination/invention, via one little novella, The Christmas Carol. I read The Bible story of Jesus birth and The Christmas Carol every Christmas season. It sets the tone for the Christmas season and both gives hope for the new year. 

To all our readers, in the words of Dickens’s Scrooge after the ghostly visits,
"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!" In Tiny Tim’s words, “God Bless Us Everyone.” From me, Merry Christmas, one and all and Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

David Parle writing as Roger Rapel


By Roger Rapel


Where do I get the inspiration from to write?

In some respects I’m very lucky that I can refer back to my previous occupation to draw on real life experiences. Although when I do start writing the original idea sometimes fades away as the pen takes over and can take me off on tangents from the first thoughts.

On other occasions people-watching or meeting strangers can all of a sudden spark a thought or a series of thoughts leading to the commencement of a book.

As a for instance: I was due to fly from Birmingham, UK to Spain and was shuffling along the aircraft aisle as I looked at my ticket, seat 3f. On arrival at my allocated seat a lovely young woman stood in the row. I asked her what was her seat number. It was the middle seat so offered her the window seat allocated to me. We chatted and on arrival said our goodbyes (I still keep in touch). It was then I had a spark and thought, what if a murderess chose her victims who sat in seat 3f, and so off I went which turned out to be a psychological thriller entitled ‘Seat 3f.’

On another occasion I met a woman in my bank in Spain, we chatted had a coffee after where she declared she was a tarot card reader; then suddenly, I had another inspiration which resulted in writing a spy novel ‘Gift or Curse.’

I am no different than other authors, I require peace and quiet to write, although the radio is always on as it helps me concentrate, but no people around, unless they make coffee then leave me to write!

I now living in Spain which provides me with, give or take, around 10 months of brilliant sunshine which does help; although when temps reach 45C/120f it does take some effort to concentrate.

Have I any advice to others: I consider myself to be a novice author and am still learning, so I can only pass what I have picked up from others and reading.

One of the best pieces of advice was when two people are talking give the reader the sense to know who is talking instead of he said–she said. Open the conversation between two people, Jim said to Yvonne ‘how are today?’ ‘I’m fine but tired from all the work.’……………………. There’s no need after the opening question to Yvonne to say she replied………….

Also not to over embellish, as it can lead to people skipping pages or even putting a book down never to be picked up again. I have picked up some books that go off into tangents that have nothing to do with the plot.

I read somewhere to keep writing as you can’t edit an empty page, even if what you write is rubbish get it down and edit later.
______________________________________________________________________ 
Roger Rapel was born just after the Second World War, and brought up in the austerity of rationing in the fifties. I left school with no formal qualifications at 15, entering the University of Life. I bummed around from job-job, including service as a merchant seaman, I then joined the police. Spending 30 years in the UK police; retiring as a detective sergeant. During that time I served in many depts. including tactical firearms, drug squad,CID and Crime Squads to name a few, but was always front line. I’m the author of RetributionMissingGift or CurseAbducted and Cindy Where Are You. My social media links are: Website: www.rogerrapel.com  Twitter: https://twitter.com/david_parleFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/david.parle1Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-parle  


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Put the Bat Down


By Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief for Southern Writers Magazine 


Okay, it’s almost time to go into that room. Got to check my list, make sure I have everything. Let’s see, I’ve got my gum, jelly beans, two bottles of water, four aspirin, tums, emery board –– oh, got to have my chocolate. Better take two Hershey bars with me today.

Now, got all that, what else will I need? I never know if everything will go smooth, flowing like a stream or if it’s dried up.

Does this sound like something you experience before you go in your ‘room’ (your writing office}?

Sometimes we don’t know what will happen when we sit down at the computer, turn it on and the screen turns white. We pull up our word program and look at the page. Staring at a blank page can be terrifying or mesmerizing.

Then it begins. Conversation with myself. It goes something like this. “Let’s see, what should I write about. How do I want to start this story? Oh, I know, I heard at the writer’s conference it is good to ask, “What if” and go from there. But wait, what if what? What about what?”

Before we know it, we’ve been in our writing room a few hours and written nothing. There is not one word on the page. We’ve gone through two bottles of water, two Hershey bars, chewed several sticks of gum, the jelly beans are almost gone, eaten three tums, and had a couple of aspirin.

The conversation now takes on a different tone.  “Why can’t I write? Why does this have to be so hard? What’s wrong with me? How can I be so stupid? I’ve written stories before, even sold a few. Why won’t the words come? I’ve lost it, that’s all there is. I’m done. What’s wrong with my brain? I’m usually able to at least start a paragraph.”

Well, the dialogue goes on until finally we get up; turn the computer off, leave the room and go fix lunch. We've convinced ourselves we can’t write, won’t ever be able to write again.

As you can see our self-compassion and confidence in our ability left before we even went into the room. We set ourselves up sometimes to fail without realizing what we are doing. 

We need to put down the bat, get rid of it. Stop beating ourselves up. Sometimes the words will come, sometimes they just need to be primed. This is very important. You must put gas in your car before it will start the motor to take you anywhere!

We can prime our creative juices by reading good books. I think reading the genre you write in is important. It fills us with food for being creative, and we learn from others.

Another good way is an exercise I talked about here a few weeks back. Take three words at random, use one to begin your sentence and the other two use in the first paragraph.

Another way to prime the pump is just to start writing down words that pop in your mind. Don’t try to think about them, just write them down. They don’t have to make sense. Maybe twenty or thirty words, then put them together, breaking sentences, you may have a crazy poem of sorts.

The point? Getting our minds off can’t do and putting our minds on can do.  How? By taking action.

Give it a try! Let me know if you have other suggestions that are helpful.

.