Saturday, June 02, 2018

More plotting and planning for blog hiatus

Last week I asked for ideas on what to do for the coming blog hiatus (June 30-July 8)
Many of you had ideas.

Some of you asked for guest posts by authors, or other agents.
That's more work than you know, so we'll do that another time.

Steve Forti  said nine days, nine contests, results for all nine on day ten.
Mr. Forti is on his way to Carkoon.

There were ideas for pictures:
of writing spaces
of places in nature that inspire you
of ordinary things at your home
of vacation spots

There were ideas for listing favorite bookstores, or favorite books.

And the idea that seemed to get the most traction was nine days, nine questions.

I'll need some help on what the questions should be.
If you've got some ideas, post them in the comment column here.

And if you have another idea for blog content, do post that as well. We've got some time to cogitate!


CED said...

Here's an idea for one of the days that combines the contest and picture ideas (though it's not really a contest, and won't require judging... please don't send me to Carkoon).

We should create a Reef exquisite corpse.

Janet can post a picture for inspiration and start the story (a sentence or so). Each commenter has to continue the story from where the previous comment ended. One comment per person, 50 words max. We might have to be careful of simultaneous posting, but I think it would be fun and crazy even if (especially if?) we mess it up.

Sarah said...

For Nine Days, Nine Questions, I'd love to know what quote, advice or encouragement folks keep going back to: those sentences that you scrawled on a Post-it and stuck to your wall/computer screen/desk. (Or forehead for the really rough days.)

Kristin Owens said...

How about: What's the first sentence from your current WIP?

Sam Mills said...

Nine Days, Nine Questions: What hobbies have you given up to make more time for writing? What hobbies did you keep to get a break from writing?

Jen said...

@Kristin- Love that idea!

I'd love to know the one (yes, only one) writing tip that each writer feels has helped them the most.

Dena Pawling said...

Have you participated in NaNoWriMo? Did you finish? What did you learn? Has your family stopped believing you're crazy?

Have you participated in writing-related twitter contests? Which ones? Why? What did you learn?

Do you submit short stories for publication? Where? What has been your experience, good or bad?

Have you ever submitted anything to a contest? Which ones? Why?

Where do you do most of your writing? Why? How many chairs have you had to replace?

Of the books you read, what percentage are purchased and what percentage from the library? How do you choose which to buy? Have you had to purchase a larger house to accommodate all your books?

Do you use writing software like Scrivener or similar? Is it better/easier than a basic word processing program? Why?

What do you see as your main strength as a writer? Main weakness?

Besides this blog, which writing-related blogs/sites do you visit? Why? Why are you reading blogs instead of writing?

What category/genre do you write? Why?

In the past year, which book have you read that impacted you the most? Why? How many copies of that book have you purchased and/or stolen and/or given away?

Have you ever let someone borrow a book and it comes back to you damaged, or does not come back at all? Does this make you happy or sad or mad? Who posted bail for you?

Have you ever borrowed a book and never returned it? Is that person still your friend? Does that library still welcome you? How many community service hours do you still have left to complete?

Julie Weathers said...

1. I think Reiders should either do a blog post one day with a description and picture of their writing space or post a link to a picture of their writing space. I'm curious.

2. Share tips on how you keep writing even when you don't want to.

3. How do you organize your books? If you organize them by color, I don't want to know.

4. What were some of your writing goals this year? Are you on track?

5. Do you have a "posse" that keeps you on track with your writing?

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

As you're taking a break from the blog, I feel we Reiders should take a break from contests and thinking too much (meaning here on the blog, not while you're driving or anything like that). I love the idea of learning more about each other. Sharing our writing spaces sounded fun.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I do like the questions idea - to learn more about fellow Reiders.

Mike Howard said...

How about simply posting your word-or-idea count for the day, each day, every day

Eileen said...

1. What are your three favorite books?
2. What are you reading now?
3. Give us a writing prompt.
4. What's your best advice for an agent or editor on how to deal with the strange mind of a writer?

Elissa M said...

I like the questions submitted by Julie Weathers, especially tips on how to keep writing even when you don't want to. A companion to that could be tips on getting through writer's block.

I also like Dena Pawling's questions asking where you do most of your writing and what writing software you use.

I guess I'm mostly interested in other people's writing methods.

Colin Smith said...

Steve: I recommended double-thickness asbestos underwear. Don't worry. Janet only exiles those she likes. At least that's what I kept telling myself last time... :-\

I'm against posting word counts or daily achievement markers. Often word counts for the day are ZERO because life happens. And that's okay. Work completed, whenever you accomplish it, is far more important than daily word counts.

The nine questions could be fun. Especially if they're not all writing-related questions. Maybe some interesting but not-too-personal questions about other things. E.g., What did you do after high-school? If you went to college, where and what did you major in? What's your favorite non-writing activity? If you could change one thing about yourself, what would that be? (That could get a bit personal, but I can think of things I wouldn't mind sharing.)

Anyway, you get the idea.

There's my thought or two. :)

John Davis Frain said...

What one idea has most helped your writing practice? (I have to thank Julie W. for the idea of a sand timer. It sits on my desk, and when I turn it over, I WRITE.

And it works!

No internet, no phone, no interruptions for one hour, one minute and twelve seconds. Even the sand timer wants me to write more--I timed it and there's an extra minute-twelve of sand in there, so I get an extra paragraph every time I play.) <<<---Longest parenthetical note ever!

Denise Beucler said...

You might think of posting a highlight reel of some of your most popular/best/favorite posts from years past.

Lennon Faris said...

Weirdest writing experience.

Or creepiest!

Colin Smith said...

Denise: This blog has been going for about 10 years, so careful there... that's almost a Carkoon-worthy suggestion! Besides, I've been collecting useful blog posts in the Treasure Chest. Check out the "Gems" page. :)

One Of Us Has To Go said...

I like the suggestion by Kristin Owens. Beginning of current WIP, maybe first hundred words rather than first sentence only.

Hundred-word-comments are just as long as the flash fiction contests.

BrendaLynn said...

Dena, I love the borrowed/damaged book question. I can feel my blood pressure rise just thinking about it.

Blog content ie.
Things That Probably Only Fascinate Brenda But She’s Too Much Of A Narcissist To Let That Stop Her From Asking.

1. What are the pitfalls authors drop into when trying to sketch a character of a gender, race, sexuality or socio-economic background other than the author’s own?
2. Have you ever written a book? If not, I wish you would (in your spare time). If so, where is it?
3. Are agents who reside outside New York at a disadvantage?
4. The benefits of having an AAR agent.
5. The pitfalls of getting unprofessional query critique.
6. How did you get the Shark nickname? If it was given to you as a toddler your teeth must be worn out by now.
7. How does the whole film rights thing happen? Does Hollywood come looking for books or do agents go looking for Hollywood?
8. What’s the toughest sell you’ve ever had to make? Professionally, I mean, not that time you talked an author into paying her own bar tab.
9. Why write? Why publish? Is there a higher calling here? Can the average Joe Writer make the world a better place?
10. Is the publishing world a tough place for people who are differently abled?
11. May we have a re-run of your favorite post/s and has your advice changed since you wrote it/them?
12. What do you do when you disagree with an editor?

You’ve probably already answered some of these already but my inquiring mind wants to know.

Colin Smith said...

Brenda: I think the idea is that Janet poses the questions for us to answer, not vice versa. :)

Also, a general tip I learned the hard way: the quickest way to Carkoon is to suggest something Janet should/could/must do on the blog, especially if it will take a lot of time (e.g., having her go through her voluminous blog archive to select favorite posts). As I mentioned above, I'm trying to collate some of the choicest pieces for the Treasure Chest. Don't hesitate to let me know if I've missed any.

BrendaLynn said...

Oops, I misunderstood. Sorry.

Craig F said...

I don't blame anyone for passing by those weird ideas I had the other day.

Days 1,4, and 8: Fifty word short based on a song title. Something like 'Born Under a Bad Sign'. Maybe listen to the song once and pump out fifty words under the influence of it.

Day 2: Ways to distract yourself so you can refocus on writing

Day 3: Shore or mountain vacation and why. Fifty words

Day 5: Plot or pants

Day 6: Dialogue: Literary or street?

Day 7: Comedy or tragedy preference in the classic sense.

Day 9: Writers block, shaken or stirred, olives or pearl onions?

Endless Fairytales said...

Love the ideas of getting to know each other better and seeing writing spaces.

Emilya Naymark said...

I like Dena's list too. It would be useful to have questions that are practical: what software, where do you submit, are you a plotter or a pantser and why, what's your favorite outlining method.

I'm always interested in craft related tidbits.

But photos of everyone's favorite writing spots would work too.

Karen McCoy said...

Maybe one of the "nine questions" days could cover stories of when we met authors (or agents? or editors?), and what we learned from each experience.

Also love all Dena's ideas.

KDJames said...

Oooh, Forti is exiled. This would be a great time to have a contest! Er, I mean, sorry about that Steve. We'll miss you. Hope you packed sunscreen and a laptop that gets an internet connection in Carkoon.

I love how Dena sounds so much like an attorney grilling a witness. :) Good job.

Here are a few non-writerly questions that came to mind, in case we decide to go that route:

-Where do you live and is it where you were born? If not, why did you move?

-What is something special or unique about where you live?

-What is your favourite local food? Fav non-local food?

-What did your grandparents do for a living?

-What is your dream vacation, if money were no object?

-Other than writing, fill in the blank: "I've always wanted to __________." What's stopping you?

-What life skills do you bring to the zombie apocalypse, and can I be on your team?

-Why is Blogger suddenly making me log into my gmail account before I can comment? (OK, so that's not a question for the blog)

-What's your favourite way to procrastinate (other than thinking up questions for this blog hiatus)?

Jeanette Lee said...

You've always posted pictures. Why not let us post one? If a picture is worth a thousand words, how about letting everyone post ONE picture? Perhaps something that explains how we feel about writing? :-)

Julie Weathers said...


If someone isn't here to moderate and people can post pictures it could get dicey. Spammers could post anything. On the Litforum, they don't allow people to post any pictures that don't belong to the person who took them due to copyright issues or unless the image is public domain.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Nine days, nine questions:
1. Where do babies come from? (ideas)
2. Will there be peace on earth? (How do you calm your rodent wheel?)
3. Why was I born? (Why writing and not knitting?)
4. Will someone ever love me? (First published piece?)
5. Is God real? (How I got my agent?)
6. What is my purpose in life? (Fiction or non-fiction?)
7. When will the world end? (What would make you quit writing?)
8. Will the sun come out today? (What is you WIP?)
9. When will I die? (What is your writing epitaph?)

Margaret Turkevich said...

Editing prompts. Does your WIP....?

have a saggy baggy middle? suffer from a lack of scene transitions? protagonist arc. antagonist arc.

In other words, other than formatting, typos, and lack of originality, what drives you crazy when you read a submission?

Claire Bobrow said...

Jumping in late by a day. Oops.
Still love the nine days, nine questions. So many great suggestions for that. I concur with:

1. First sentence from current WIP (Kristin Owens)
2. Hobbies when you're not writing (Sam Mills)
3. One "most helpful" writing tip (Jen)
4. Where do you write (Melanie + many others) - BUT, how about guessing-game style? We have to describe it in 50 words or less without stating explicitly where it is?

5. What are you reading now?
6. Favorite book of all time (desert island book)
7. College major, or some field/topic of study that's been of major interest to you?
8. Writer's block antidote - shaken or stirred, etc. (Craig)
9. Any of KD's questions (zombie apocalypse skills!!)

Julie Weathers said...

Mark Twain did some wonderful, if biting, critiques of writers. Poe, Ambrose Bierce, Hunter Thompson did also.

It might be interesting to share a bit of writing wisdom you've picked up from an author from the past.

Ambrose Bierce kept a cigar box of ashes and a human skull on his desk. When people asked about it, he said the ashes were of a friend, the skull was from a critic.

What's something(s) you keep around your work/writing space that is iconic to you?

Do you have a particular saying or motto you keep handy?

Sherin Nicole said...

Endless Fairytales said: Love the ideas of getting to know each other better [Colin] and seeing writing spaces [Julie].

I second those. Also, how about 4 Books that Shaped Your Writing Style?

Panda in Chief said...

Julie's last comment with question of iconic objects in your writing space made me laugh (big time) about myself. There pictures of pandas (surprise!!!!) including one taken by a friend on the China trip: it appears that I have just told a really funny joke to a panda and she is laughing at it. Or at me. It's not entirely clear.

Loving all the suggestions.

Jeannette Leopold said...

I like the questions idea, and especially anything related to our current WIPs-- someone mentioned first line. How about first or last line? Favorite line? Favorite character in WIP? Aspect of WIP that makes you most nervous to share with beta readers?

James Leisenring said...

The anxiety of reading "nine days, nine contests" followed by the relief of realizing it was not the idea that was chosen. What a roller coaster of emotions that was.

Not that I wouldn't have been interested, just that I would have spent way too much time writing/reading entries that I may have gotten in trouble at the day job.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

Man, Real Life swallows me for a few weeks and i miss all the fun.

I like 9 dz 9 Qs.

My q: If you couldn't be a writer, what would you want to be when you grow up?