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The Ideas' Shop
Category: Writing
Tags: writing not writing

(The might be part of the problem - its called sun and is a fairly rare occurence where I currently live...)

                                   The Idea’s Shop
I’m having a lean week, by which I mean, not that I’m on a diet but I haven’t written much. This is partly because we’ve been busy with other things but sometimes being busy gives me ideas to jot down. This week no ideas have come. 
     I’ve tried the usual tricks — listening to conversations in cafes, looking at news headlines, reading, checking the Writers Abroad muses — but so far, nothing. 
     I do keep an ideas book where I jot down possible story titles and themes but even this hasn’t yielded anything this week. 
     I could just write. Free write. But I like to have a story idea roughed out on my head and know the ending before I begin otherwise I know to my cost, I end up with many, many half written pieces that just end up getting binned. 
     The situation isn’t worrying me yet, but it is niggling. I have time to write but nothing to work on. I know ideas will come back. This has happened before, usually when my routines are disturbed. I need to get back into the groove.
      And I have plenty of reference books and ideas sheets to turn to (a personal favourite is Linda Lewis’s Writer’s Treasury of Ideas), but I should like to get through this myself. Meanwhile I’m trawling through old stories that haven’t got anywhere but are still lurking at the back of my computer. Hopefully I can rework one or two of them and that will jump start my writing again. 
      Or maybe I can pop out to the ideas shop…
      Any tricks you use to help with a lean patch?
      Any favourite books which help?
      Do you keep an ideas book to help with motivation?
      And do you have the same problems if you are writing a novel? Or have you done enough planning to get through the blank patches?
This week on Writer's Abroad 5th February 2018
Category: Site News
Tags: writers abroad

Angela has posted the blog for this week on magical objects and asks whether we are writers have any superstitions we uphold and would a talisman make a good catalyst for a short story. I think it probably would - if people's beliefs are strong enough they are bound to create conflict and thus a story is born.

Jo has added the muses for this week. A wide selection including keywords, dialogue, plot and setting along with some photos. Excellent prompts for those in need of inspiration. 

A forum is open with the question of whether to replace the WA magazine with a newsletter. This subject arose at the last formal meeting. If you haven't voted, please go over and add your thoughts. 

Vanessa has posted details of an opportunity to be interviewed on expat radio - they want guests to talk about bookish issues which would probably be a good opportunity to promote your own material.

On the bragging stool this week are the Ad Hoc crew of Sue, Chris and Angela. Hopefully Laura will get time to join them again soon. Sue's interview with Bath Flash is there to read too and I know Nicola has news but she hasn't posted about it yet. 

A selection of opportunities are available on February Challenges and Opportunities. Feel free to add any more to the list.

And finally Bruce's novella Medium Rare is on the works in progress forum for comments.

Hopefully I've missed nothing for this week. Have a good writing week all. 

Jazz up your Writing Tags: writing words

Jazz up your Writing

Finished writing something and think you’re happy with it?  But then you come back the next day to edit and polish you find it’s a bit flat? This certainly happens to me. The sparkling prose that I thought I’d captured has escaped and left something dull and ordinary. How do you make your story cutting edge, so stands out from the slush pile?

            One method you can try is word substitutions. Check through your text and change mundane words for something unusual. One example I’ve seen recently is a story where the heroine ‘marinates in self-pity’. This makes the sentence more interesting than having her wallow in self-pity, which is a bit of a cliché anyway.

            “Marinate’ and other cooking terminology can ‘spice’ up stories. Words like chopping (someone can chop into your thoughts, chop through conversations), slicing (wind can slice, words can slice, sadness can slice), blending, and glazing all come in handy. Or what about scallop, garnish, baste?

            Take another trade and think of some of the terminology that goes with it. The building trade maybe: chiselling, plastering, scaffolding, grinding or hewing. Or hairdressing: feathering, styling, and layering. Or dancing: foxtrot, waltz, samba, or tango. Using any of these terms in a different way will add interest to your writing.

            Another vogue at the moment is to add an ending to words such as ‘rage’ as in deskrage or roadrage, or ‘ista’ as in barista, or ‘erati’ such as glitterati. Invent your own words for something your audience will understand.

            Combining two that are familiar to readers — such as eyecandy or mallrat — adds humour. Outside at the moment I can see children having a snowball fight. They are covered in snow and look like snowgnomes. Companies do this combination thing when they create names such as Wikipedia (wiki + encyclopaedia) and instagram (instant + telegram). No reason a writer shouldn’t as long as it’s not too far removed from the original and is recognisable to readers.

            Sometimes changing a noun to a verb will work. To blade for example from rollerblade or to waterfall – tears waterfalled down her cheeks, perhaps?

            Of course the spell checker won’t like any of this and wriggly red lines will appear throughout your text, but used sparingly some of these ideas might give your writing a bit more bite and hopefully find favour with an editor.

            Have you any favourite unusual words or phrases that you use to jazz up your writing? Any tips that will chisel you out from the crowd?




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