How can I get past difficulty writing? I’ve written three stories in two years, and know how little that is. I can write about five hundred words before becoming unable to continue a story.

It helps if you have an outline, hopefully a very detailed outline, because that’ll tell you what you should be writing next.

Then, if your brain still refuses to work, look over the outline and find some part of the story that you can write. That you brain will work on. It doesn’t have to be what comes next because, obviously, that part isn’t coming to you. But if you write whatever part of the story you are able to write at the moment, then at some time in the future, you’ll be able to connect the parts you have written. And, surprise of surprises, you’ll have written the part that froze your brain. And you’ll be done.

My latest book is on Amazon

This time I did it. I eschewed self-publishing and went with a publisher. It’s a clean romance so I’m now part of the stable of writers for Forget Me Not Romances, an imprint of Winged Publications.

As you might guess, they publish only clean and Christian romances, as well as other cross-genre fiction. My latest story isn’t exactly Christian though it’s close but it’s definitely clean because every time I try writing a hot, steamy sex scene I re-learn a lesson I learned early on in my writing career. That I simply can’t write while rolling on the floor laughing. Sooooo I’m into clean romances only.

Anyway, Shhh — Don’t Tell is now live on Amazon and I’d love, love, love to have readers read it and leave a review, which are the lifelines of books, unless  your name is Steven King, and I’m definitely not him so any help in the review department will be much appreciated. Oh yes, you do have to have a valid Amazon account to leave a review. Sucks, huh?

And in case you are curious. Shhh — Don’t Tell is the story of a jilted up-and-coming corporate career woman who goes back to her small home town to recuperate emotionally, where she works in her aunt’s outdoor garden store and finds a clutch (I think that’s the correct term, correct me if I’m wrong) of Mallard duck eggs in one of the pots that’s for sale in the outdoor portion of the store. In her depressed state, as a kind of therapy, she decides to take on the job of protecting the mother  Mallard and the ducklings until they leave in the autumn and she decides no one must know of their existence because people love to watch baby birds and too many people could be deleterious to their health.

Of course, there’s a romance with the town newspaper reporter whom she won’t tell about the ducks though she tells him everything else for the aforesaid reason — he’d write about them and they’d be deluged with unwanted visitors.

Read the book to see  how everything works out. And, of course, it will work out because I wrote the book and I always, always, always end my books happily. I mean, why end a story any other way? Life is short and should be enjoyed and I don’t believe in wallowing in misery either in real life or in books.

As soon as I figure out how to link my newest book to this website, I’ll get it operational so all you readers who are panting with eagerness to buy the book can do so easily from this site.

I hope.

I love writing fiction (mostly Fanfiction and poetry) but I’m terrified that I’m terrible at it as I never get high marks on essays. How do I get better?

Don’t worry about it!

Essays and fiction are two different worlds. Completely, entirely different. In fact, each kind of writing is different from every other kind.

Once, in a conversation with a friend who writes non-fiction, we discussed the differences between our differing modes. We finally decided that if it was absolutely essential, we could— possibly— each learn how to do the other’s kind of writing but that we’d only do so if faced with imminent starvation because it would involve starting from scratch as if we’d never written a word before!

So stop worrying and start writing.

How do you deal with writer’s block? I have too many ideas and they are all trying to get out at the same time, which makes my stories a huge mess.

First you get your ideas down on paper on in a computer to wherever you jot things down that you don’t want to forget. That way, you can stop worrying that you’ll forget them because they are written down. Somewhere.

Second you organize those ideas using whatever system you prefer. Most important to least. Chronological. Most favorite to least favorite. Whatever works for you.

Third you put them aside and, now that they are in a place where they won’t be forgotten but can’t bother you any longer and keep you from thinking of your current work, you figure out what you DO want to do. What you DO want to write.

Fourth you outline that wonderful, creative work so you’ll have some idea of how you want to put it down on paper because, if your mind is the kind of mind that gets lost in a blizzard of ideas, then you’ll need to organize physically, on paper, in order to not have those new ideas start haunting you just like the old ones did and preventing you from writing.

Fifth you write.

What concepts are taught at fiction writing workshops?

  1. Dialogue
  2. Creating memorable characters
  3. How to create heroes, heroines and villains that interact properly in your story
  4. Character arcs
  5. Flow
  6. Story-boarding (This isn’t taught in all, maybe not even in most, but if you’re looking for a class, find one that teaches story-boarding. You won’t regret it.)
  7. How to create tension
  8. Plotting
  9. Outlining
  10. Creating a synopsis
  11. Story arc
  12. Description
  13. Cliff-hangers
  14. Point of view
  15. How to include necessary information without boring your reader
  16. The hero’s journey
  17. Many specialize in a particular genre, such a romance, mystery, science fiction, adventure, and so on.

What should I do if I want to be a great writer?

The short answer is: read and then write.

The long answer is:

1) Read the kind of thing you hope to write but read with the intent of figuring out what the author did that was so wonderful and how he/she did it.

2) Learn the craft of writing. Yes, writing is an art but it’s also a craft and any craft can be learned. There are classes, many free online and many more in person and there are books you can buy. Here’s why you learn the craft… because many people make a decent living as writers without having one iota of artistic writing talent. But they learned their craft and they work at honing it until it’s ever better and better and better.

3) Use paper and pencil or a computer or a piece of chalk and a rock or whatever method you choose to nail down what you want to write. A story. An article. A white paper. Whatever. Then look over what you did and change things until there’s a semblance of order to the whole thing.

4) Write the story or article. Then look at it and figure out what should be changed to make it easier to understand and to go rationally from beginning to end.

5) Make those changes.

6) Repeat numbers 4 and 5 until you are sick of the whole thing. Then put it aside for a while because, when you go back to it, it’ll seem fresh and much better than you ever thought possible.

7) Publish your masterpiece.