Advice, Craft, Fun Fridays, Humor, Novel, Tips, Writing

How to make a novelist melt down in 5 minutes … or less!

Rant alert, you have been warned. As previously stated on this blog, I no longer read “how to” writing books and blogs because they are generally either contradictory or repetitive. But some of you, my blogging writer friends, are sabotaging me.

I’m almost afraid to read your posts because you might have written about the three-act structure, the novel hook, author intrusion, unbelievable plot elements, or—heaven forbid—the 10 biggest mistakes writers make. You’ve probably written a brilliant post. You’ll probably get dozens of comments thanking you for such helpful advice. You won’t get one from me.

It won’t be because I disagreed with what you wrote. It’s just that your words had a strange effect on me. I read your post with a smug smile because the problems you talked about are not in my novel. Not my perfect novel. No, no, no.

Well … but …

[eyes dart wildly, shaking commences]

What if? And what about that? Is it? Could it be? Do I even have three acts? Is that too much a coincidence? And what exactly is a hook anyway?

[assumes fetal position]

My novel is a mess. I just know it. Now that I think of it, I’m sure I made all 10 mistakes. Where on earth did I get the idea I could be a writer? I was too arrogant to use spreadsheets, or flow charts, or even index cards for Pete’s sake. I can’t blame anyone but myself. I’m just too stupid to live.

[beats head on desk]

So, dear friends, go ahead. Keep writing those evil excellent posts. And if you wonder where I am, you’ll find me sniveling in the corner, sure that somehow—somehow—you’ve read my novel and aimed those posts straight at me.

Please note: This has been a Fun Friday post. Any resemblance to actual persons or events is entirely coincidental. Really.

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Blog Stuff, Fun Fridays, Questions, Writing

What’s up with the name?

I’m a curious person; I think that’s a given for writers. Today I’m curious about the “names” you go by: your blog name, user name, Twitter handle, email identity, whatever. Why did you choose them? What do they mean to you? Do you wish you had chosen differently, but now it’s too late to change it?

I’ll go first. My blog name: Out of My Mind is meant to refer to where my writing comes from, not my mental state. I was new to the blog world when I started mine, which I’d already determined would focus on my experiences as a writer, so it’s appropriate in that sense, but now that I’ve seen so many other thoughtful, funny, or evocative blog names, I wish I’d given my blog name more thought.

My Twitter handle: Since we’re aiming for name recognition, I tried for the obvious, but Twitter said no. So, cassidylewis is the closest I could get. What can I say?

My WordPress user name and biz email identity are the same: lindacassidylewis … surprise! For personal email I use my studioelle account, which is one I created several years ago when I worked as a part-time portrait artist and website designer. I used just my first and married names for those personas (Linda Lewis) so “Studio L” it was.

Humor me here on this Fun Friday post. What’s behind your names?

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Fiction, Flash Fiction, Fun Fridays, Writing

Let’s try an experiment

It’s Friday and I feel like doing something exciting. (Keep in mind, I’m a writer and I don’t get out much.) I’d like to propose an experiment. The other day, Christi Craig, tweeted a link to a flash writing prompt. I don’t usually take prompts, but as you may have read, I’m living on the wild side now. Actually, the link gave several prompts to choose from: single words, a photograph, a line beginning.

Nothing came to me when I read the single word prompts, I wasn’t inspired by the photo, but when I read the line beginning, a scene flashed on my internal movie screen. So I typed the four-word prompt and kept going. I wrote only three paragraphs, 217 words, but it felt complete to me … or maybe that was only as far as I had the heart to take it. As is, I think it would qualify as a flash story … or maybe that would be micro flash. (You tell me … on Monday.) Although the opening could lead in just about any direction, I went dark. It wasn’t intentional; I just used what came to mind in that instant.

So, I’m inviting you all to experiment using the same prompt. Write a flash story, an opening paragraph, or just an intriguing first line and share it with us here. I’ll post mine on Monday. I think it will be interesting to see the variety of storylines our creative minds come up with. (If you come up with good piece and don’t want to risk wasting your electronic rights by posting it on my blog, just share the first paragraph or two.)

Here’s the prompt: Through the open window

Fun Fridays

Oh what a night!

partymess On Friday, I innocently sent out party invitations. I had no idea I could have so much fun on my blog or that the festivities would roll over into Saturday. Somehow news of the party got to the A-listers and we had celebrity guests!

All right, I admit, I pestered Meryl with so many questions she had to hide in the bathroom. It’s just that she’s worked with so many leading men … and that accent thing …

But I take no responsibility for the arrival of those cops … or their subsequent suspension. By the way, I’m happy to report that Cynthia has been cleared of all charges. It was all a case of mistaken identity.

Karen showed up in fancy new shoes, Christine came in pjs and Cynthia in her exercise shorts, and they all looked Fab-u-lous.

Kasie and Candice dropped by and then backed into a corner to shake their heads when some of us acted like drunk monkeys … oh, wait, I think there might have been drunk monkeys here. The rumor is, Kasie started six new novels while she here.

Danielle was having so much fun, she left Brad (Angelinaless) to run home to send an invitation to her friends.

Lisa popped in for a beer and a dance on her way out of town (smart move, Lisa.) Mireille kept the dancing going … with Brad, no less.

About dawn, Danielle’s friend Joseph got the message and wandered over here. He dropped off delicious cupcakes, and then Cristina brought a full breakfast spread.

Jessica and Ann behaved themselves and stuck to civilized games. Tricia, Danielle, and Karen got wrapped up with Johnny Depp, Brendan Fraiser, and Paulo Costanzo in clothing optional Twister. I’m keeping mum on whether they were the ones who corrupted the cops, but Twister was involved.

Pamela had one too many margaritas and outed Professor Snape. She coveted my blog banner; I coveted her hair color.

Some of us discussed those immensely important writing topics … like shortened links for Twitter and blog stats (but, of course, we don’t really care about stats.)

Jennifer’s been laid up with a bad back, but couldn’t resist the lure and finally got some hot guys to carry her in on a golden litter to squeal with delight at the sight of a fellow Quebecer.

Joseph Grinton dropped by, but took one look at the mayhem and decided to go directly to the office and record his thoughts on writing software.

Unfortunately, Cathryn and Judy couldn’t make it, but I hope Judy enjoyed the cheesecake Karen took her.

Thank you, friends, for coming over and letting your hair down. We’ll do it again sometime.