Idea-Mining for Writers, 102
As many authors are fond of stating, "Ideas are all around!" when asked to be more specific. Well, in a way, that's true. Ideas ARE all around. You just have to know how and where to look for them. If anything, you will have to read like a writer.
Reading like a writer means focusing on items that catch your attention, make you wonder, or make you angry or happy. So after you've read the paper or a magazine, don't throw it out or put it aside yet. If that paper or magazine belongs to you, go back and mark or clip stuff that caught your attention and held it. Perhaps you read the entire article or skimmed it for information that mattered to you.
Chances are that you may have come across a sentence or paragraph that stated an idea much too briefly in passing. But there was something about it that engaged your curiosity and for a few seconds, raised questions. Perhaps you felt that it was too bad that the author did not explain his or her idea just a little further. Pay attention because this may be just the idea that you can develop into an article, story or book with more research.
At this point, consider clipping or highlighting that idea trigger and save it. You can do this by pasting or taping it on a blank notebook page and writing your questions and ideas below it.
Books, journals, pamphlets, fact sheets and even references are full of interesting stuff that can spark ideas. Of course, you will not be able to clip or highlight all of them, but no matter. Jot the idea trigger down, along with the name of the source and page numbers, if possible. If you need to refer to that source again, you will be able to locate it by looking at your notes.
And while you are at it, remember to take a look at your own published and unpublished articles and book manuscripts. As you reread, focus on seemingly little things that could have been expanded a bit more. For example, maybe you can grow that unpublished article into a book!
Another good source is that magazine or book subject that you've only been mildly interested in, but didn't look at again. Even if you're not "into" subjects such as RVs, astrology or mechanics or skiing, you might find it useful to at least skim magazines on those topics. How can one of those given topics be connected or related to your favorite activity or interest? And who else might be interested in it, or at least have problems understanding it or its implications? And be sure to peruse magazines such as Mother Jones, Utne, Harper's, and Atlantic Monthly. You'll notice stuff that may or should concern people, but isn't getting a lot of attention --- yet.
By the time you're finished, you will have accumulated a number of ideas to write about. I can almost guarantee it! Happy hunting, reading and writing!
Dorothy Zjawin, a published writer, has included more ideas in her website, http://www.profitable-pen.com
Writers Helping Writers - A Noble Legacy
It is satisfying to be a part of such a noble tradition and to know that as a whole, writers are still inclined to lend a hand and encourage others in their craft. I think it is an inherent trait in the writer's soul, to be so generous. And in our time the Internet has allowed these efforts to be more obvious, has provided more opportunities for this warm tradition to be observed on a global scale.
6 Tricks To Squeeze Your Letters Onto One Page
Anyone who has read any of my articles on the subject ofletter writing or resume writing will know how important I believe it is to minimize the number of pages, preferably limiting them to one page whenever possible.
COULD YOU (not) REPEAT THAT PLEASE?
I recently read a book where everything was akimbo. Arms were akimbo, legs were akimbo. Akimbo appeared on every page. Okay every page is a slight exaggeration, but akimbo was in every chapter more than once. I started thinking of the hero in the book as Adam West's posturing Batman persona. Every writer is guilty of the akimbo type of repetitiveness once in awhile. Most of the time we're not even aware that we're echoing ourselves. How do these unconscious akimbo dittos creep into our work? The English language is so rich with descriptors, why would we rob our manuscripts of the warmth and color that this richness brings to our work? Simply put -- we're lazy. When the afore mentioned writer was feverishly scribbling away on her book, she arrived at a moment when her character took a stance, and the first word that popped into her head was akimbo. Writing akimbo was easier than it would be to stop the flow of her writing and come up with a different way of saying akimbo. The only problem is instead of going back to edit out ninety percent of the akimbos, she left them in and it became a distraction to the reader (and humorous to me, which I'm sure wasn't her intention). Don't let yourself get lazy. Go through your work and get rid of repetitive words. Especially if they're words like akimbo that are not used in everyday conversation. If you need help, go to the Georgetown Linguistics website and use their frequency index tool (see the web address below). Copy your text into the box provided and click on the "Do it!" button. This website will give you a list of every word and how many times it was used in your manuscript. I would suggest (and this is just my opinion) that if you discover that you've used akimbo more than twenty-nine times, get rid of all but one of them. By the way akimbo appears 13 times in this passage. Annoying wasn't it!
Writing and Self-examination
Good writing requires self-examination. Why is one writing? What part of the writer will be shared with readers? Will it be only information or will it include the essence of the writer? This, then determines what will be written: poetry, essays, articles, short stories, novels, or any other genre of writing.
How to Publish a Book: Key Differences Between Publishing and Self Publishing
For many authors just starting out, it can be a confusing and overwhelming decision whether to self publish a book or to seek out a traditional publishing house. It is important to know that the decision you make can have a huge impact on the success, or the failure, of your book.There are many factors to consider, and the right decision is going to be different for every author and for every book.
Writer?s Web Resources
The Internet has truly revolutionized the careers of writers worldwide. Now you can work for publishers, corporations and a whole range of other clients on a truly global scale. Whether you are in the heart of a big city, or in a remote mountain village, all you need is an Internet connection to run your writing business.
Rejection ? Have the Right Perspective and Don?t Quit
If you're getting rejections from your submissions, please don't quit yet until you read the following article. I want you to get a perspective on rejection.
The journey to having my first novel for children published has been riddled with road blocks and shonky bridges. The good news? At every rickety stage I've picked up tips (and anti-tips) which I'm happy to share with everyone...
7 Devastating Writing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Mistake One: Don't take that tone with me!
Hero?s Journey ? The First Threshold
Beyond three and four act story structure, lies the Hero's Journey.
Power Writing 101: Tips and Tricks to Get You Taken Seriously!
In my ten years as an advertiser, I've encountered plenty of folks with a flair for writing. They were born having some idea of where to put the words within the sentence, and the sentences within the paragraph. They usually know what words to use ? when to say 'bloom' instead of 'grow,' or 'confused' instead of 'befuddled.'
Have You Completed A Character Questionnaire?
Creative Writing Tips ?
Focusing Your Reading and Finding Ideas
Many experts recommend reading as a way to get ideas, but usually do not offer more specific suggestions, such as pinpointing and identifying areas that you can select from and write about. From my own experience, I know how frustrating this can be. I took endless notes and saved countless newspaper clippings, only to discard nearly all of them a few years later.
The Prologue - When to Use One, How to Write One
What is a prologue? When should you use one? Should you forget about a prologue and simply start at Chapter 1?
Writing IS a Business
Why is it that so many people don't take writing-as-a-job seriously? I once heard it said that writing is one of the most under-rated cottage industries in the world. I believe it.
Editing and Polishing - How Much is Enough?
A few days ago, I critiqued a chapter for a writer I'd been working with for some months. The main thing we'd been working on was 'de-cluttering' her writing. In many sections of her work her natural style came through: it was smooth and easy to read, and I could see the promise there.
Help! I Cant Write!
Writer's Block can strike like a King Cobra, paralyzing every little golden nugget you try to create. What can you do to lick it? Below are some fun suggestions to crack the nut! (write about each prompt for twenty minutes)
Is Your Title Compelling?
Short Story Writing Tips:
Autobiography: Installment No.3
How To Break Into Print Publishing
The big question. Do you submit directly to the publishers, or doyou find an agent who will do that for you? Based on anecdotalevidence I've heard, it can work either way. The bottom line is,if a publisher reads what he can sell, he'll buy it. It doesn'tmatter if it comes from an author or an agent. The trick isgetting him to read it. That's always your focus.
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