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Pep Talk Week 4: Brain Drain? Take a Hike by Rayne Hall

When you’ve worked on your novel intensely for three weeks, your brain may feel like it’s been boil-washed and tumble-dried. However hard you wring it, you can’t squeeze another drop of creative juice from the shrunken, crumpled rag.

Here’s an instant fix: go for a walk.

I find walking does miracles – and I’m not alone. Many writers observe that the steady rhythmic movement clears stress from the brain and makes room for creative ideas.

After twenty minutes, ideas pour into my mind: solutions to plot problems, insights about my characters, and little details to flesh out the current scene.

The thoughts flow faster and faster, and after forty-five minutes of walking I need to pause and write them down lest I forget. For this, I always carry a hardback notebook and a supply of pens (and sometimes an Alphasmart) in my backpack. Then I sit on a park bench, on the sandy beach or in a coffeeshop, and write for a while until it’s time to walk again.

On sunny days, I walk and write for hours. My favourite routes are through fields and meadows from the village of Newenden to Bodiam Castle along the meandering River Rother, and from Hastings to Bexhill along the seafront – the latter has the advantage of several nice cafés along the way, and in summer the chance to swim and sunbathe on the beach.

When it rains – which happens often here in England – my walks tend to be shorter, though I still walk half an hour at least.

If you’ve reached a point where the creativity has dried up, where the fun has evaporated, when you’re bored with your writing or you’re stuck with a plot problem, put on comfortable shoes and the right clothes for the weather, and just walk.  Don’t think consciously about your novel at first, and don’t torment your brain with demands. Wait for the dam to burst naturally, which for you may be earlier or later than the twenty-minute mark.

Once it happens, direct your creativity to the book. Don’t waste it on designing the quilt you may make next year, or mentally redecorating your bathroom. A gentle prod in the direction of your story is all your subconscious needs, and the creative thoughts will come gushing.

The rhythmic exercise of walking also eases the tightness in your shoulders and the stiffness in your neck, and at the same time, it burns up calories.

The only time it doesn’t work so well is immediately after a meal, because the digestive process reduces the brain’s activity. However, walking can help with the digestion, so if you plan to write after dinner, consider going for a short walk first.

If the weather is too awful to go out, or if you simply don’t fancy walking, try some other steady rhythmic exercise instead: aerobics with music, spinning, a spell on the climber or the cross-trainer, or low-intensity cardio. Your brain will reward you with refreshed creativity.

Try it and see how it works for you. I’d love to hear about your experiences, and also if you have other techniques to share. Leave a comment, and I’ll reply.

Rayne Hall

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RayneHall - Fantasy Horror Author - Portrait by Fawnheart

Rayne Hall has published more than forty books under different pen names with different publishers in different genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction. Recent books include Storm Dancer (dark epic fantasy novel), 13 British Horror Stories, Six Scary Tales Vol 1, 2, 3, 4 (creepy horror stories), Six Historical Tales (short stories), Six Quirky Tales (humorous fantasy stories), Writing Fight Scenes, The World-Loss Diet, Writing About Villains, Writing About Magic and Writing Scary Scenes (instructions for authors).
She holds a college degree in publishing management and a masters degree in creative writing. Currently, she edits the Ten Tales series of multi-author short story anthologies: Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Scared: Ten Tales of Horror, Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft, Spells: Ten Tales of Magic, Undead: Ten Tales of Zombies and more.
Find her at: Rayne Hall’s Dark Fantasy Fiction

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You might also be interested in:

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When You Want to Quit

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Three Tips for Reaching Your JuNoWriMo Writing Goals

The Editwock Will Steal Your JuNoWriMo Soul

The Editwock Will Steal Your JuNoWriMo Soul

JuNoWriMo Featured Author: Linda Hamonou

Meet some of your fellow JuNo WriMos in our Featured Author series each Monday and Wednesday during June.

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Background

Linda Hamonou

I started to write as soon as I could hold a pen and pestered everyone around to have them read my stories. After high school I entered university and stopped writing as much as I used to, it seemed that I couldn’t find the inspiration anymore. It’s only when a friend told my about NaNoWriMo in 2009 at the end of my PhD that I decided to start writing again. I won NaNoWriMo that year in 20 days and started to accumulate the experience with that sort of contest until now. I wrote 6 finished novel drafts, two of them have been self-published and one vampire story still unfinished. I participated to script frenzy as well, I have a finished script but I’m not much of a script writer.

JuNoWriMo Plans

I haven’t decided yet on my JuNo novel. I’m still pondering between three possibilities: The first one is to start working again on “Vampire Heart” and to finish it. My recent blog post about it has been well received. The second possibility would be a sequel of my demon novels which would be called “Blue Angel” or “The rise of the angels”. This one doesn’t have a plan yet, only ideas flying around and waiting to be caught. The third one is called the “Bayard’s house”, I already have one or two parts for it but nothing consequent. I would use secondary wizard characters from the demon novels and from “Attic Mirror” as main characters. I seems to be lighter and more fun than the two others at least for the moment but it requires a lot of planning as well. All those are fantasy novels for young readers.

Backstory and Behind the Scenes

Map of Europe which should evolve with Viorel's progression

Map of Europe which should evolve with Viorel’s progression. Starting point: Sighişoara

I’m interested in Magick and supernatural characters who are not human or are humans with powers. I like to scientifically analyze the possibilities. I also like to travel and my characters tend to travel a lot. In “Vampire Heart”, Viorel is taking an odyssey from Transylvania to western Europe (he is in Praha so far) and he should arrive in Russia and China.

My demon novels started with a love story and is continuing with mysterious ancient gods being reborn in the Demon World and people trying to stop them by all dirty means possible. The “Bayard’s house” is inspired of course by Harry Potter I want to follow a long line of Wizards and see how they evolve in the magical world I created. As all my worlds are linked together through a special place, the magic involved is different for every kind of characters which makes it more complex and enjoyable to write and I hope to read.

If I work on Vampire Heart, I hope to at least finish one volume (currently at 53235 words), as I am hoping to make it a trilogy. If I work on any other not yet started novels, I hope to pass half way through the first draft.

Find Linda:

Twitter | Facebook | Blog | Goodreads

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Enjoying JuNoWriMo? Help us make it bigger and better for next year! Donate, and you’ll receive personal fanfare from our Facebook page.

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Featured Author: Lisa Voisin

Featured Author: Lisa Voisin

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JuNoWriMo Featured Author: Christen Krumm

Meet some of your fellow JuNo WriMos in our Featured Author series each Monday and Wednesday during June.

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Christen Krumm

Christen Krumm

My name is Christen, and I’m a dreamer. I’ve always been a dreamer, and I could never decide what I wanted to be when I “grew-up”. For a while it was a doctor, then an actress (which is funny since I can’t act, or preform in front of crowds), and there was a short stint I wanted to be a tornado chaser. All the while I was writing. I remember at six years old writing my first book about a dollhouse and the dolls that lived in it.  Eventually everything else faded away, but writing stayed—that and being a mommy and I figured I could do both.

My current project, working title The Black Knight, is a YA Fiction semi-dystopian? I’m not quite sure how to categorize it, but it’s set in the not too far future. The United States has been fracture between New America (the majority of the East coast) and Southern Republic (Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana). There are car chases, damsels in distress, and romance.

The Black Knight was originally going to be one book, adult fiction, and somehow it was based off of the movie Speed (but is nothing like Speed, so I’m not sure what Speed has to do with it — maybe I was just watching it while I came up with the story line), but I quickly realized I’m not cut out to write adult fiction and my story somehow morphed into a trilogy.

I’ve been working on this story in some way or another since I was about thirteen. Now, being twenty-seven and with a goal of having something, anything, finished by the time I’m thirty, I’m really feeling the fire under me. It’s currently about half written—I’ve been writing on it seriously since January/February of this year and I’m hoping to finish it up during JuNo.

I blog about writing and life at ChristenKrumm.com, Tweet at @ChristenKrumm, and Instagram under KrummCake. I love meeting new people and would be thrilled if you stopped by and said hello!

Bio: Christen is a  book lover by default. She solemnly swears to always have a pile of books or two (or four) around her  house for you to trip over. She graduated from the University of Arkansas Fort Smith with a BA in English in 2007. She’s a coffee drinking, stay-at-home mom and Nester at Litfuse Publicity Group by day and a writer by night. She currently resides in a semi-small Arkansas town, with her rock star, super-hero husband, daughter E and son D.

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Enjoying JuNoWriMo? Help us make it bigger and better for next year! Donate, and you’ll receive personal fanfare from our Facebook page.

You might also be interested in:

Featured Author: Lisa Voisin

Featured Author: Lisa Voisin

Featured Author: Brooke Carpenter

Featured Author: Brooke Carpenter

Featured Author: Vicki Trask

Featured Author: Vicki Trask

 

 

Pep Talk Week 3: The Editwock Will Steal Your JuNoWriMo Soul by Courtney Cantrell

Greetings, O Ye Warriors of the Mighty Pen!

Word documents. Word wars. Word mongering. Wordiness. WORD COUNTS!

If you’ve signed up for JuNoWriMo (and if you’re reading this, which you are, then that is exactly what you’ve done), then you’ve signed up to immerse yourself in words for the entire month of June. Some of you have done this before, either for last year’s JuNoWriMo or for its progenitor, NaNoWriMo. Some of you are doing this for the first time. But whether you’re an oldtimer or a newbie, you know that words are key to succeeding in this month of crazed noveling.

Well, duh. It’s kind of hard to write a novel without using words. I suppose you could try using music notes instead, but you’d probably end up with some kind of post-postmodern, Wagner-derivative opera suffering from an existential crisis, and I don’t think any of us want to hear that. And writing your novel using Morse code might be tedious. So, words it is.

But the thing about words is…they’re tricksy. They flit like pixies across your page or screen, all innocent-like with their serifs and curlicues…and then they just squat there. Brooding. Staring back at you from your work-in-progress and making you care about them. Making you want to change them. Daring you to change them.

If you change one, you’ll want to change others. You won’t be able to help it; editing when you’re not an editor is some kind of weird addiction. Once you start, you can’t stop. AND THE WORDS KNOW THIS, PEOPLE.

One minute, you’re writing merrily along, something about Our Heroine rescuing the doomed prophecy puppies and drinking the magic elixir in the nick of time. Next minute, you start editing, and before you know it, your Plot Point #3 has turned into Carrot Magnetic Demolition Force 7 and there’s really no turning back after that.

What I’m getting at here, y’all, is that while you’re JuNo-ing, you must avoid editing. The words will tempt you to edit. They will lift their lovely faces to the morning sun, open their lovely mouths, and give voice to lovely siren calls of editing bliss. Do not listen to them! “Beware the Editwock, my son! The affixes that bite, the compounds that catch!”

*ahem* Sorry. Slight Carrollian digression there. But you get the point. Editing and JuNo-ing don’t mix. If you let yourself edit, you’ll slow yourself down. 1667 words per day don’t write themselves, y’know. You gotta put in your butt-to-chair time, and if you take that time for editing instead of writing, you’re going to be hard-pressed to slog through the Week Two Blues or have the energy for the Finish Line Sprint.

Your best friend, dear writer, is the admonition emblazoned upon the JuNoWriMo homepage:

JUST WRITE.

Don’t worry about the “mistakes” (better known as “happy little accidents,” right?). Don’t worry about the typos, the synonyms, the passive voice, the dangling participles. After June is over, you can give in to the sweet seduction and edit all you like. But for now, resist. Don’t worry, and just write.

You have a novel to finish. And the great news is, you can finish it and you will finish it. You’re sacrificing sleep to get there. You’re sacrificing time with friends and family. You’re sacrificing the calm that comes from not over-caffeinating 24/7. And yes, you’re sacrificing the luxury of poring over your own every word and tweaking each word to perfection.

But all this sacrifice is worth it. In the end, you’ll have a first draft in your hands — and editing it will be glorious. So just write, hon. That’s your only job this month, and you can do it.

Now stop reading this and get back to it. : )

Courtney

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Courtney CantrellCourtney Cantrell is the author of epic fantasy series Legends of the Light-Walkers, paranormal fantasy series Demons of Saltmarch, and several fantasy and sci-fi short stories. She’s also a 7-time NaNoWriMo winner. Her writing career began when she was 8 with “a Tiger that growld”; continued with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing; and most recently grew to encompass vorpal unicorn morphing powers. Those are real. She has the blog post to prove it.

You can find Courtney at her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

Enjoying JuNoWriMo? Help us make it bigger and better for next year! Donate, and you’ll receive personal fanfare from our Facebook page along with other goodies.

Not getting pep talks sent directly to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss one.

You might also be interested in:

When You Want to Quit

When You Want to Quit

Three Tips for Reaching Your JuNoWriMo Writing Goals

Three Tips for Reaching Your JuNoWriMo Writing Goals

3 Keys to a Writer's Block Free Life

3 Keys to a Writer’s Block Free Life

 

 

JuNoWriMo Featured Author: Lisa Voisin

Meet some of your fellow JuNo WriMos in our Featured Author series each Monday and Wednesday during June.

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Lisa Voisin

Lisa Voisin

My name is Lisa Voisin and I’m a young adult fiction author. Last year was my first JuNoWriMo, and I’m happy to say I completed it, by writing the first 50,000 words of a YA paranormal romance called The Warrior (a sequel to my debut novel, The Watcher, which was published by Inkspell Publishing in March). I finished the rest of the first draft of The Warrior back in December and I’ve been revising it ever since.

As far as writing goes, I’m a bit of a pantser. I tend to write a book from start to finish and see what I’ve got once I’m done the first draft. This process is fun and freewheeling, but it relies very heavily on edits and revisions to make the novel readable.

For JuNoWriMo this year, I’m going to try something completely different: planning my novel first. Yes! I’m hoping to be a recovering pantser and learn to plot first! The idea actually makes me really nervous and reminds me of things like taxes or housecleaning. I’m afraid if I know everything that’s going to happen, I’ll lose interest.

As far as this year’s JuNoWriMo goes, what I’ve got so far is some character ideas and a premise. I’m thinking it will be a YA fantasy. Other than that, I’m keeping pretty quiet about it, just in case I change my mind, fly by the seat of my pants, and write something completely different!

If you know of any great planning/plotting tips, or links to them, please let me know in the comments below! Or, if you’re a pantser (or recovering pantser) too, I’d love to hear from you. Which process works best for you?

About Lisa:

A Canadian-born author, Lisa Voisin spent her childhood daydreaming and making up stories, but it was her love of reading and writing in her teens that drew her to Young Adult fiction.

A self-proclaimed coffee lover, Lisa can usually be found writing in a local café. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her meditating or hiking in the mountains to counteract the side effects of drinking too much caffeine!

Though she’s lived in several cities across Canada, she currently lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her fiancé and their two cats.

Find her: Twitter | Facebook | Website | Blog

About the Watcher

The_Watcher_Final_Cover_60

Millennia ago, he fell from heaven for her.

Can he face her without falling again?

Fascinated with ancient civilizations, seventeen-year-old Mia Crawford dreams of becoming an archaeologist. She also dreams of wings—soft and silent like snow—and somebody trying to steal them.

When a horrible creature appears out of thin air and attacks her, she knows Michael Fontaine is involved, though he claims to know nothing about it. Secretive and aloof, Michael evokes feelings in Mia that she doesn’t understand. Images of another time and place haunt her. She recognizes them—but not from any textbook.

In search of the truth, Mia discovers a past life of forbidden love, jealousy and revenge that tore an angel from Heaven and sent her to an early grave. Now that her soul has returned, does she have a chance at loving that angel again? Or will an age-old nemesis destroy them both?

Ancient history is only the beginning.

Check out The Watcher Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/ukoCDlW05-Y

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Enjoying JuNoWriMo? Help us make it bigger and better for next year! Donate, and you’ll receive personal fanfare from our Facebook page.

You might also be interested in:

Featured Author: Brooke Carpenter

Featured Author: Brooke Carpenter

When You Want to Quit

When You Want to Quit

Featured Author: Vicki Trask

Featured Author: Vicki Trask