Tag Archives: WritingTip

Life Changes When You Start the Day Writing #MFRWauthor #IAN1

The first monsoon clouds from my terrace

On many summer weekends, Jonathan and I leave the city for our camp in the Skylands of northwest New Jersey. Two days later, unfortunately, we return from all of that relaxation with a list of city-life things to do long enough to bring stress barreling back big time.

The next day, an act of iron-bound determination will be required to make myself pick up my notebook or pop up a file in my computer and write. Too often the notebook and the word doc file lose out. The post-weekend lists seem so much more crucial to our weekday existence. They are about keeping our real-world life running on the smooth track rather than the bumpy one after all, which is crucial to the max. That is what I’ve tended to believe most of the time.

But something happened this past weekend at camp that disrupted my customary way of thinking. I started a new book, not an adaptation like my last two books have been. The first, A Vacancy at the Inn, a novella that was orphaned when I decided to leave my agent. The second, A Villain for Vanessa, a re-imagining of a previously published novel whose rights I’d reverted.

This new book is neither of those things. It is a brand-new story, fresh out of my creative brain matter and growing word after word into scene after scene like a miracle on the page in front of me. Maybe that is why, when I work up Monday morning, I ejected the To Do lists from their previous priority position and replaced them with a long writing session. Maybe the magic had me in its thrall.

When the same thing happened on Tuesday morning, my doubts disintegrated. I was enthralled indeed. Caught up in an alternate world of story that seems somehow more truly my reality than my day-to-day down-to-earth one. And here is something else equally enthralling. After each writing session, an aura of the magic remains. My mind feels less fettered. My worries press less heavily. The To Do lists have lost a huge dollop of their tyranny.

Voila. Because I start my days writing, my life has changed for the much, much better. Alice is in Wonderland again. What do you think about that? I think things are getting curiouser and curioser.

Alice Orr – http://www.aliceorrbooks.com/

– R|R

Book 5 of my Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series – A Time of Fear and Loving – will debut on Saturday, September 16th, our 45th wedding anniversary. A Villain for Vanessa – Riverton Romantic Suspense Book 4and my other books are available from Amazon HERE.

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Write It Down – Ask Alice Saturday

Idea LampQuestion. What is your biggest mistake as a writer?  Answer. Sometimes I don’t write important things down.

 I know this has happened to you too because it happens to everybody. You have a knock-your-socks-off idea. It’s so good you are blown away. You can hardly believe this super great fortune has been given to you.

What has been given is a thing of perfect beauty and elegant symmetry. Best of all – it is just right for you and what you need to accomplish. I call it the Idea from Heaven. Because nothing short of paradise could deliver such a priceless gem.

This concept has struck you so deeply and moved you so profoundly you are certain beyond any possible uncertainty it has imprinted on your psyche forever. All the same you know you should write it down immediately.

But for some reason – often fairly trivial – that notetaking moment isn’t altogether convenient at this particular moment in time. You don’t intend to put it off for long – only until whatever you’re into right now is out of the way.

Besides – this is the Idea from Heaven. The bolt of lightning that has zigzagged across the deepest blue of blue skies. You absolutely will not forget it… Except you do forget it.

You look for it – maybe only minutes later – and it is gone gone gone. You search and search. You employ every memory jogger trick and technique you’ve ever heard of but all you can recall is the feeling.

All that remains is a whiff of the euphoria this once-in-what-feels-like-forever idea carried with it. Everything else has disappeared – evaporated – turned invisible like the words on those plastic-faced pads I had when I was a kid.

Maybe you had one too. You write or draw or doodle on the surface. Then you pull off the plastic covering and every mark goes with it. Finito forever. The true tabula rasa.

This is what happened to the notion that was bound to catapult you to the stars but has now flitted off – like a fickle tease – to another imagination never to return. Brain science may have a theory or twelve about this phenomenon. Or maybe the universe if just screwing with you.

Whatever the explanation the upshot is always the same – at least for me. I’m plunged into mourning. The Kubler-Ross five stages of adjusting to great loss lie ahead. And it is all my fault because all I had to do was write the damned words down. But I did not.

This happens to me less these days. I’ve learned to value these brainstorms as I do the ornaments that festoon the branches of my holiday tree. Those ornaments were made by my grandchildren and I accord them the love and attention and tender care they deserve.

I write my brainstorms down – even if I have to resort to my Idea Lamp. Because the goddess of creativity is a jealous gal and if I don’t do due diligence when gifted by her – she will get me good.

So – WRITE IT DOWN. And always remember that the only thing worse than great loss is those blankity-blank five stages of grief.

Alice Orr – www.aliceorrbooks.com.

                                                                             RR

 My eBook A WRONG WAY HOME – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 1 – is FREE online. My 13th novel   A YEAR OF SUMMER SHADOWS – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book #2 – is available too. Find them both – along with my other titles – at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B000APC22E. I wrote their ideas down.

 

 

How to Knock Their Socks Off on Page One – Ask Alice Saturday

Socks Knocked Off imageQuestion: How do I write an opening that knocks their socks off?

Answer: Let’s talk about openings that keep the footwear solidly in place.

This is my second “Ask Alice Saturday” post about story openings. This should tell you how critical I believe they are. This is also “Ask Alice Saturday” happening on Friday because I’m on the road tomorrow debuting a new workshop called WE’VE GOT THE POWER: How Choice Changes Everything about Publishing Today. Wouldn’t it be great to see you there?

Back to story openings. First there’s the nineteenth century standby – the weather. Contemporary writers too often forget what millennium we’re in and default to this outdated opener. As a general rule weather is a non-starter start – a wheel spinner – a bore.

UNLESS – the weather is actually foreshadowing. A haunting hint at what’s to come that sets the reader on edge. OR – a blatant contrast with what’s to come that sets the reader up to be shocked and surprised. In each of these cases there’s a plot purpose for the meteorological beginning. Otherwise it’s just – ho hum – the weather.

Ho hum no-no number two. Transportation scenes. On a plane or in a car are the transportation alternatives most popular with writers. Unfortunately cars and planes are confined spaces. This dooms your opening scene to a static bit of non-business. Talk talk talk and little action.

UNLESS – the vehicle is involved in a chase. OR – is about to crash. OR – is being hijacked. OR – is the setting of a truly traumatic character interaction. All of these are high tension situations that serve the purposes of a taut story line.

A high tension situation gives your story and your reader a slam bang start. Slam bang is the pace to pursue when crafting the opener for any piece of writing – fiction or nonfiction. Start slam-bang into the middle of things where the action is for fiction. Start slam-bang into a high interest anecdote for nonfiction.

Don’t ease us in. Drop us in. Straight to the thick of things before we have a chance to get away. Or put the book back on the bookstore shelf. Or stick the magazine back on the newsstand rack. Or switch the device to a different screen. Hook us into intensity before we can make any of those dismissive moves.

Do this and we’ll be hanging on your every word and hungry for more. Plus we won’t want to walk away and leave our knocked-off socks behind.

RR

A YEAR OF SUMMER SHADOWS – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book #2 – Mark & Hailey’s Story. Launches with summer on June 22nd at amazon.com/author/aliceorr. This is my 13th novel and by the end of the Prologue you just might be barefoot. Alice Orrwww.aliceorrbooks.com.