Smart Writers Expand Time – From the Writers in the Storm Blog

by Margie Lawson

You may have read portions of this blog on WITS in 2012. It’s still a winner.

Writers are all powerful. Well, in their fictional worlds they are all powerful.

Two of the 74,386 story dynamics that writers control are expanding time and compressing time. Today we’ll focus on the most fun of the two, and the one writers sometimes neglect: expanding time.

When would you want to expand story time?

When scene events justify zooming in on the POV character’s experience, minute by minute, or second by second. Maybe even picosecond by picosecond.

You’ve got to love that word. Picosecond, one trillionth of a second.

In real life, people can send and receive up to 10,000 nonverbal cues in less than one minute.

Yes. That’s a true statement.

We can process up to 10,000 nonverbal cues in less than a minute. Such a shocking number, and cool too.

When what’s happening in your scene is critical or crucial, decisive or dangerous, life-changing or life-threatening, you want to expand time, big time. Don’t hold back. I recommend writing it bigger than you normally would, then rein it back in until it’s just right.

I’ll share examples of expanding time from two mega-talented multi-Immersion Grads—Joan Swan and Laura Drake.

My first example is from Joan Swan’s debut paranormal romantic suspense, Fever. Now Joan has over twenty books out as Joan Swan and Skye Jordan.

Read the rest of this post HERE.

Nurturing the Creative Spark Through Sleep from the Writers in the Storm Blog

by Ellen Buikema

Like many writers, I am fortunate to have a varied and interesting dreamlife. However, for almost a year after beginning our retirement travels I was unable to recall any dreams.

No dreams. No writing. Not good.

My dreamtime, normally filled with weird and thought-provoking scenarios, became a void. Sleep is playtime for the brain, and mine didn’t seem like it was having any fun.

If we don’t dream, we lose contact with reality.

Normally I’d remember enough of a dream for a short film, so not dreaming was a real concern. The most I’d recall upon waking was a fleeting feeling or snippet. In one, a kitten ran at me and jumped into my arms with such joy and force that it woke me up.

As I’d prefer not to be psychotic, I needed to know why the wonderful and sometimes frightening series of unconscious escapades escaped from memory.

Read the rest of this post HERE.

An Important Writing Tool: The Wellness Wheel – From the Writers in the Storm Blog

by K. Maze

Dear Writer Friends, it’s November. The time of holidays, deadlines and NaNoWriMo.

We have lives full of responsibilities, but we are also builders of amazing mind worlds, and if we don’t take care of ourselves, our stories suffer and so do we! How can we enter the season of celebration without wearing ourselves down to a nub?

This is my debut post at Writers in the Storm and I’m focusing on gratitude. To help you show your thankfulness for the gifts you have as writer, and to offer some advice on how to take care of those gifts. 

Take a minute to check in with your overall wellness.  

Writers get upper back cricks and lower back spasms.  We have underused legs from forcing ourselves to sit in the chair and write.  We deny ourselves the pleasures of spending time outdoors and write long after the rest of the household has gone to sleep, because most of us have another job to accomplish as well.  What is the price?  How do our bodies react? 

Behold, the Wellness Wheel.

Read the rest of this post HERE.

The Heart of a Novel: Its “About-ness” – From the Writers in the Storm blog

by Barbara Linn Probst

I’m delighted to join WITS as a regular blogger! Thanks for having me.

We’ve all had that question put to us by friends, relatives, colleagues, and potential readers. It’s a reasonable question.

“It’s the story of a woman who …”

“It tells what happens when …”

But that’s the setup. It’s not what the book is about.

Coined by R.A. Fairthorne in 1969, “aboutness” is a term used in linguistics, philosophy of language, and the informational sciences to convey both the subject and intention of a text. In other words: what is said, and why.

So what’s your book about?

The question can be surprisingly difficult to answer. That’s because we aren’t used to thinking conceptually about our writing. We’re taught how to create stakes, wounds, obstacles, turning points—but those are just landmarks, coordinates, strategies in the service of the book’s aboutness.

Read the rest of this post HERE.

The Woman Who Rewrote Me – From the Electric Lit Blog

Man whose face is obscured by smoke

What happens when the person you love treats you like a character in one of her stories?

Clothes

She bought me T-shirts. They were similar to the shirts she wore, bright with colorful pop culture designs. The disembodied head of Indiana Jones floating among the clouds. A kazoo with a cursive disclaimer: Ceci n’est pas un kazoo.

It was August 2007, and we’d been dating for about two months. This was a long-distance relationship, Massachusetts to California; we wrote letters and emails, sent each other small gifts. With T-shirts she was making me over into someone else. Someone more fun and more casual, someone younger.

I was 30 years old. She was 37 and a successful writer, the author of novels, comics, and books for children. I’ll call her Cynthia.

Cynthia’s friends were writers and editors, musicians and show business people. When I visited LA, I went with her to parties, readings, conferences, dinners, shows. She seemed to know everyone.

I wanted to be a writer, too, and I was more than a little in awe of Cynthia, who wrote full time, who mixed and mingled at the intersections of Hollywood and the LA literati. I wore the T-shirts she gave me, even as I began to understand that she was grooming me for a particular role. Younger boyfriend. Hip nerd. Suitable match. I would become the right sort of character for this story, which was of course a love story, wild and daring.

We told it to one another in our letters. One of her first to me was written on the backs of sheet music pages. “I wonder if you are a dream,” she wrote. “Will you still want me in a month? Say yes. Say yes.”

Read the rest of this post HERE.

When You Just Feel Like Writing – From Amanda Linehan’s Blog

I wrote a post called When You Just Feel Like Writing… back in September 2018 on a day when I wanted to write a blog post but didn’t really know what to write about. So I decided to bring that back today because, well, I feel like writing a blog post but don’t really know what to write about. 

It’s definitely Spring here in Maryland. Obviously, the calendar tells us that, but I mean that it really looks and feels like Spring.

Read the rest of this post HERE.

The Best Writing Decisions Are Made with All Three Brains – From the Writers in the Storm Blog

Colleen M. Story

Should you spend the money to go to that writing conference?

Pay for a professional edit on your book? 

Invest in new computer equipment for your writing office? 

Risk cutting back on work hours so you can write more?

Making a decision can be frightening. What if you make the wrong one and it sets you back? 

If you’re struggling with a decision you need to make about your writing career, it’s probably because you’ve been using only one brain.

That’s right. You have more than one. And it’s time you recruit the other two into your decision-making process. It will make it a lot easier. 

The Three-Brain Decision-Making System

Neuroscience has discovered something fascinating over the past several years: we have complex and functional neural networks—or “brains”—in the heart and gut as well as in the head. 

Read the rest of this post HERE.