Writing Rituals

Writing Rituals

We all have our special ways of doing things. Our habits, our favorite patterns, and our rituals.

In writing, it’s no different. Think about what you want your writing ritual to look like. Do you read a passage from a particularly well-written book right before you sit down to write to set the tone?

Maybe you light a candle, or incense, or open a window after a summer rain to inspire your senses. Do you like bright light or a soft light when you sit down to write?

Do you play music when you write?

I like a bright light over my keyboard, no music, it needs to be absolutely quiet for me.

Where is your most comfortable place to write? Sitting at your computer? Curled up in an overstuffed chair with a laptop? Maybe sitting on a lawn chair with a pen and legal pad. Find your most comfortable place to write.

Make sure you have everything you need so that once you get on a roll you don’t have to stop to go get something. Have your water, or wine, or whatever helps you write the best. I’ve found one drink when I sit down helps shut out the clutter from the day that’s rattling around the edges of my mind. It relaxes me just enough that it takes off the edge and frees me to WRITE!

Once you start, don’t stop. Just keep writing until you’re finished. Don’t worry about edits or polish, that all comes later. The most important part is getting the story down.

And if you do write a little buzzed, that’s okay. Just make sure you edit sober!

Rituals can come in all sizes and shapes. Maybe you have a lucky hat you need to wear when you write. Or a lucky pen you write with. Maybe there’s only one chair in the room that is next to the window and under a ceramic angel on the wall, that is your creative spot.

Whatever it is, find your ritual and stick to it. And write!

Sherry Briscoe, Gypsy Writer

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The Best Books on Writing

The Best Books on Writing

Of course Stephen King’s On Writing is top of the list, but what about some others?

Two other books really stand out for me that are filled to the brim with fantastic advice on the craft of writing. These two books really helped me.

Save The Cat! by Blake Snyder

I Could Have Written A Better Movie Than That by Derek Rydall

Even if you just write short stories or novels, these two books on the craft of writing are a must!

So I was just wondering, from all you writers out there, what is the best book on writing that you’ve read? What book has helped you the most?

I’d love to hear from you!

12 Steps of Fiction Writers Anonymous

12 Steps of Fiction Writers Anonymous

Want to enjoy being an author without upsetting the balance of your life? Have I got just the thing for you!

Join me (Sherry Briscoe) Thursday, June 15 at the Collister Library! in Boise. Class starts at 7:00pm and is open and free to everyone.

I have great information to share, and we’ll have some valuable interactive work too. Don’t miss out. Whether you’re a beginner, an intermediate, or a pro – you’ll have a good time in this workshop.

Bring a friend and come down to the Library!

Life’s A Pitch

Life’s A Pitch

Public speaking is held as one of the top ten fears in people’s minds. But it doesn’t have to be.

I’ll be talking on how building professional speaking skills can improve your writing success at May’s meeting of the Nonfiction Authors Association.

If you write nonfiction please join us. I’ll be sharing my Writers Toolbox:

P – Preparation, Practice, Presence

I – Information

T – Tales, Techniques

C – Connect

H – Hook.

Join me Wednesday, May 31, 6:00 pm at Rediscovered Books downtown Boise.

See you there…

Sherry Briscoe

4 Ways Dialogue Can Go Wrong

4 Ways Dialogue Can Go Wrong

Having a hard time writing dialogue? Here are some ways it can go wrong, and what to do about it.

  1. TRIVIAL. When characters talk to each other, the reader doesn’t need to listen to the trivial, or unimportant things we all say to each other. We ask about the weather, chat about the inconsequential details of our days, or just generally avoid talking about anything of substance. That type of dialogue clogs your storytelling and drags down the pace. Cut the trivial and only leave the meat of the discussion.
  2. BORING. Even once you’ve cut the trivial junk, dialogue can still be boring. Deep philosophical discussions, complicated explanations, and dry, technical explanations all bore the reader. Instead, enliven the discussions with conflict, disagreements, or something that leaves the reader wondering what happens next. Think of each bit of dialogue as conflict brought to the surface of the story. Build a tiny narrative arc into each set of dialogue.
  3. UNBELIEVABLE. After eliminating trivial and boring dialogue, you’ve still got to make sure it’s believable. Would the characters actually SAY that? When a character is too foolish, too opinionated, too extreme, then you have to wonder if it rings true to the reader. It’s a fine line to walk: you want the characters to be bold and bigger-than-live, but you must make those huge characters believable.
  4. TOO FORMAL. Another thing that can go wrong is the wrong level of formality. While the principal of a school may talk formally, probably your character’s voice will come through in a more informal way. Use contractions. Shorten sentences and use sentence fragments. Leave out the fancy words and let your characters loosen the ties and corsets.

Dialogue is crucial and you can easily get it right with practice. Cut the trivial and boring, make sure the dialogue is believable, and let the characters relax. Don’t let a reader close a book after one chapter just because you blew the dialogue.

The 12 Steps of Fiction Writers Anonymous

The 12 Steps of Fiction Writers Anonymous

Is writing a passion, an addiction, or both? Find out how it affects you and get tips to become a published author without upsetting the balance of your life in this fun, entertaining, and interactive workshop.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Library! at Cole and Ustick, 7557 W. Ustick Rd, Boise

Noon to 1:00 pm

Free workshop for teens and adults.

How To Write Body Language

How To Write Body Language

While dialogue says a lot, your character’s body can say more.

Here are 5 things to consider with body language:

  1. Use body language to add depth to your dialogue.
  2. More than 50% of human communication is non-verbal.
  3. It shows how your character’s emotions affect his actions.
  4. It helps to show rather than tell.
  5. Use it in moderation. If overused, it can slow your story down.

Some examples of emotions portrayed through body language:

Impatience – nod quickly, tap fingers, sigh, check the clock, tap feet, increase pitch in voice, look away

Jealousy – tight lips, sour expression, narrow eyes, crossed arms

Reluctance – cross arms, make fists, drag feet, pinch nose, put hands over ears

Shock – hands over mouth, mouth open, gasp, freeze and stare with wide eyes and raised eyebrows, smack palm against forehead, step back

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