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Step Away from the Desk Tags: writing colour senses

I love the autumn colours. Walking around at the moment I often stop and look at the trees, or a few scattered leaves on the ground. Having lived in Hong Kong for seven years where the definition of seasons is less defined (and there are far fewer deciduous trees), it feels like Iím experiencing this for the first time. I hope the novelty never wears off.

Recently Iíve read that colour is a good detail to add into a story and where better to draw inspiration than from the nature around us. Even if youíre not experiencing the autumnal colours like me, Iím sure thereís plenty of colour to find if you look in the right places. In Hong Kong, there was always colour everywhere, which made it easy to overlook, but you can try walking a different route, see something (as if) for the first time. Stop, take out a notebook and jot down a few lines about it, go home and write about it in detail.

As I peg out the washing in the early morning, thereís often dew on the grass, sometimes I can see the plumes of my breath as I chat to my children. The sun is now noticeably lower in the sky, casting different shadows, and effecting the light. Fewer daylight hours evoke different feelings in people, many negative, and this in turn can be used in a variety of ways. Squirrels dart around the garden and that makes me think of animals hoarding food for the winter, and others preparing for hibernation.

I think itís easy when weíre working on a story, or a section of a novel, to get stuck inside; whether that be physically inside our homes, or the places where we choose to work, or stuck inside our heads. Iíve never been a big one for exercise, but am starting to see the benefits of spending time away from the desk. Sometimes a quick walk allows me to formulate a sentence or paragraph or story that Iím struggling with and sometimes I see something completely new that I just know will one day make it into a story.

So, get up and out. Just donít forget to take a notebook and pen with you.

A Novel is Not Just for November
Category: Writing
Tags: writers abroad online writing community nanowrimo novel writing first drafts

If you've been around the writing circuit for some time, you'll know all about the annual writing challenge known as NaNoWriMo. Short for National Novel Writing Month. It takes place in the month of November and the idea is to write 50,000 words within the month. It started way back in 1999 with 21 participants and last year, in 2017, the challenge attracted over 400,000 participants.

Now there are some who are sceptical of the challenge; 50,000 words for instance does not necessarily make a novel but that's not the point. Well, not for me anyway. As with most writing advice and suggestions, it's all about what suits the individual. I have taken part 7 times and achieved the goal five years out of those. And from those words I've produced at least three (and a bit) full length, self-published novels and working on a fourth. So, I guess it works for me.

The challenge is getting that dirty first draft onto paper with the notion that it will not be the polished article≠ Ė it will be the beginning of something.

The month of October has been deemed as the preparation month; put some thought in now and during November all you have to do is write the words. Here are some of the tasks you could be thinking about to make sure that your NaNoWriMo goes as smoothly as it can.

For Your Story:

  • Ideas Ė well at least one would be a start!
  • Character Development - get to know your major players at least
  • Plot - at the very basic a Beginning, Middle and End
  • Scene list - as brief or as detailed as you like
  • Timeline - rough sketch or detailed
  • Research Ė especially if you write in a genre which demands realistic facts or world building if you prefer the stuff you can make up

For Your Life:

  • Menu Planner Ė for main meals; have a cook and freeze fest so you donít have to think about it
  • Other Work Must Do's Ė lots of us have other commitments, how can you clear your desk for the month ahead?
  • Play List Ė Like to listen to music as you write? Put together some inspiring music to help you along
  • Friends and Family Ė tell them what you are up to and how they can support you
  • Goodies Ė Chocolates, wine, a good film; whatever floats your boat and will serve as a treat when you hit that word count

For me, it's about motivation over a concentrated period of time. And having proved to myself that I can do it during November, well then I can achieve it any month of the year. If I put my mind to it.

Remember: A Novel is not just for November.

October 2018 News
Category: Site News
Tags: writers abroad newsletter monthly muse

Here is the link to our latest Newsletter if you haven't received it...and if you email us your story or poem in response to our Monthly Muse, you could see your work published in a future newsletter!

MUSE OF THE MONTH - OCTOBER

Use this picture for inspiration to write a piece of flash fiction or short poem. Could be anything from 6-100 words or a maximum of 30 lines.

Or if you prefer a word prompt... Gourds and Ghouls

Post your work to Writers Abroad and your story/poem could be published here in our next newsletter!

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