Monday Muse – Sleep…

Time for sleep…

I’ve been a bit MIA with the posts on here. It’s time to start Monday Muse posts again.

Last night, I ended up in emergency with my 8 year old and an asthma attack. He’s fine, but we are all very tired, as we didn’t get home until after 2am.

So, the prompt for this week is sleep!

Sleep can mean anything in your writing. You can write fiction or non fiction, poetry or prose, or any other style you want to. It can be a continuation of something you are already writing (featuring an odd sock) or something especially for this prompt. You can either do a five minute stream of consciousness or just write – please keep it to around 500 words.

When you post, please link back to this site to share the exercise and so readers can share in the posts of others. We don’t have a banner for Monday Muse as yet… but hope to soon. If anyone is interested, please contact me.

I still haven’t fixed the linky issue, so add your links to the comments section. You can also post them on our Facebook page. Don’t forget to visit and comment on the pieces from the others who take part.

Monday Muse – Queen’s Birthday

Tiara fit for a queen…

Welcome to Monday Muse. Here in Melbourne it’s the Queen’s Birthday public holiday. Between that and the Diamond Jubilee celebrations last week, there is only one choice for a Monday Muse prompt.

This week, write something about a Queen’s Birthday.

You can write fiction or non fiction, poetry or prose, or any other style you want to. It can be a continuation of something you are already writing (featuring an odd sock) or something especially for this prompt. You can either do a five minute stream of consciousness or just write – please keep it to around 500 words.

When you post, please link back to this site to share the exercise and so readers can share in the posts of others. We don’t have a banner for Monday Muse as yet… but hope to soon. If anyone is interested, please contact me.

For some reason, the linky didn’t work properly last week. While I look into other options, please add the link to your post in the comments section below. Don’t forget to visit and comment on the pieces from the others who take part.

Friday Five – Tips for Revisions

Tips for revising your work

As writers, few things probably strike more fear into our hearts than revision.  It’s overwhelming.  How are you supposed to tackle a giant manuscript, chipping away at all the rough-draft ugliness and polishing it down into a beautiful gem of prose?  The short answer:  One word at a time. Here’s the longer answer:

1.)  Give it time to rest.  You need fresh eyes when you look at your manuscript or you’ll miss important things.  Set it aside and forget about it for a few weeks, months, or years — however long it takes for you to look at the story with detachment, not vitriolic loathing.

2.)  Assess its structure.  All the line edits in the world won’t help you if the structure of the plot itself is in trouble.  If you didn’t outline before the first draft, do it now.  Even if you used an outline in the first place, write a new one based on what scenes actually made it into the book.  Review that outline and figure out if it has any structural issues — plot holes, loose ends, sagging middles, characters that disappear, deus ex machinas.  These are all OK in rough drafts, but they have to be swiftly and summarily destroyed before it goes into the world.

3.)  Get a second opinion.  Better yet, get three.  Have as many trusted, knowledgeable people as you can find read over your book.  Find a critique group or join a website for writers that offers peer critique.  Reach out to other writers that you know and offer to exchange chapters.  Send your manuscript off, wait for feedback, and then really listen.  You don’t have to do everything they suggest, but if all of your readers have a problem with X, you’d better be prepared to deal with it.

4.)  Rewrite.  Good revisions are more than just moving words around on a page or cleaning up comma splices.  You have to get elbow-deep in your manuscript and tear it apart.  You’ll delete whole scenes and chapters.  You’ll write new material.  You’ll cut away subplots that you really, really liked.  It might be frustrating, but all of it will make your story better, and that’s the important part.  If it makes you feel better, save every word that you cut and put it into a separate file.  Who knows, you might find another use for it later.

5.)  Do it all over again.  Some projects are clean and only take one revision to sparkle.  Some take multiple drafts to hone and polish.  After you finish your second draft, set it down, walk away, and forget about it.  Come back some time later and re-read.  If you still sense any weaknesses, repeat steps 2-4 until it’s perfect.

The real magic of writing happens during revision.  Don’t let yourself get bogged down in revision despair; instead, comfort yourself with the knowledge that every author goes through this, and you’ll be better when you come out on the other side.

T.L. Bodine is an aspiring novelist, freelance writer and self-proclaimed super-geek.  Her short stories have recently appeared in Freedom Fiction Journal and anthologies from Whortleberry Press and Static Movement.  When not tooling around the Internet, runs a small-scale rat rescue from her apartment and launching urban homesteading projects with variable success rates.  For more details, go to http://tlbodine.blogspot.com

Tuesday Tools – Thesaurus

Paula Vince shares her writing tools with us

The tool I wouldn’t be without is my Thesaurus. My dad gave me one for Christmas when I’d just turned 14. He knew I had aspirations to write novels and I wondered why a book full of words had a dinosaur-sounding name. It’s one of the presents I’ve always remembered, so satisfied and excited was I, having never seen anything like it before.

Since then, I’ve never been without a Thesaurus on my desk. I prefer having a proper book to simply using the computer because there’s something about leafing through the pages that I like. I don’t use it during my first drafts of chapters when I’m just letting words and ideas pour onto the pages. It’s for my many edits later on. When I’ve written a word that I sense is a bit ordinary, out comes the Thesaurus. It’s also vital for those times when I have one I know is good but have used twice or more in the same paragraph. The great side-effect of my Thesaurus is that I’ve developed a fondness for words and their inherent beauty, descriptiveness and aptness. I’m sure we all appreciate that inner buzz of confirmation in our hearts when we pounce on the right word, as if our muse is agreeing with us.

Until just a few years ago, I had the same Macquarie Thesaurus my dad had given me when I was 14, but it was getting tattered and falling apart. I held off on replacing it, because it was like saying farewell to an old friend. When I eventually decided to buy a new one, I found it hard to find one as good and comprehensive. I’d test them in the shops by turning something up and thinking, Nope, I can think of at least a few words they’ve missed. Eventually I found a very good Oxford Thesaurus. My rule of thumb is that if they aren’t thick as planks, they’re a bit dodgy. That proverb about cooks also fits here; “Never trust a skinny Thesaurus.”

I can honestly say that without a good Thesaurus, I wouldn’t bother sitting down to write. After all, it’s been a privilege to be a guest on this blog, but I like having the option to also say it’s been an honour, pleasure, delight or joy.

Paula Vince is the author of several contemporary novels set in Australia. Her suspenseful, romantic mystery, Best Forgotten won the CALEB prize for 2011 and Picking up the Pieces won the faith-inspired section of the 2011 International Book Awards. Visit her at www.appleleafbooks.com or her blog, www.justoccurred.blogspot.com.

Monday Muse – First line

Just a line to get you started…

Over the weekend, I went browsing through Pinterest for an idea. I was looking for an image, but discovered a cool website. This site is a Writing Prompts Generator.

I had fun looking through the different prompts before finding one that I liked.

The prompt for this week is:

The tune reminded him of something he couldn’t quite put his finger on

You can write fiction or non fiction, poetry or prose, or any other style you want to. It can be a continuation of something you are already writing (featuring an odd sock) or something especially for this prompt. You can either do a five minute stream of consciousness or just write – please keep it to around 500 words.

When you post, please link back to this site to share the exercise and so readers can share in the posts of others. We don’t have a banner for Monday Muse as yet… but hope to soon. If anyone is interested, please contact me.

Don’t forget to add your links below. Link directly to your post rather than home page of your blog. The link up will close on Friday.



Friday Five – Hub Pages

Five tips on using HubPages

This week, we welcome Amanda sharing tips on using HubPages. This is another way to share your writing.

Have you ever heard of HubPages? HubPages is a vibrant author community with easy-to-publish tools, giving Hubbers (Hub Authors) opportunities to earn money by publishing original content-rich articles (Hubs) on the Internet.  Utilizing Google AdSense and the eBay and Amazon Affiliate programs, you could be earning money right now simply by writing about topics you know and love.

Best of all, it is all free.

If this sounds like something you are interested in pursuing, here are my 5 tips for getting started on writing and publishing content-rich hubs on HubPages

 1. Ideas and Topics

You’d be surprised at how much you actually know.  When you stop to think about it, you could most likely write at least a few paragraphs, if not more, on topics that inspire you from your childhood to your family, websites you enjoy, products you use, skills you have acquired, books you enjoy and even tried and tested recipes.  Stick to what you know you will never run out of ideas.  There is nothing wrong with using the internet to provide inspiration, but be aware that HubPages does not allow duplicate content so always use your own words and your own take on ideas.

2. Quantity and Quality

Try to write hubs with 500 to 1500 words.  Any more can be too long, and any less is not going to stand up to the test of time.  Utilize images to attract the eye, preferably your own however there are many sites with public-use images.  Consider adding a quiz or a poll to your hub if it is relevant and don’t forget about including links to Amazon and/or eBay products, as this is how you can increase your earnings. Use Google Analytics Keywords for ideas for tags and try to keep them on the topic.  Write in paragraphs and not bullet point lists and vary text sizes, add quotes and use bold and italic to provide some extra interest.  Get the balance between quantity and quality spot on.

3. Planning 

Spend a moment to plan the layout of your hub, how you want the content to flow and the most appropriate placement of any images or other inclusions. Less is more. Once you have prepared your hub, save it as unpublished, or in draft mode.  Allow it to sit and allow your mind to take a break. You never know what you may decide to alter or add in with fresh eyes.

4. Community

HubPages is a growing community after all and with so many experienced Hubbers with years of experience it is wise to pick their brains for hints and tips. Ask questions or join in the forums.  There is an almost endless supply of wonderful knowledge to be learnt.  HubPages itself has a fully stocked learning centre with answers to almost every question you could ever ask.  Take the time to familiarize yourself.

5. Challenge and Competitions

If you like the idea of a personal challenge, embark on one on HubPages.  It can be formatted and run in any way you like. I set myself a “100 hub in 100 day” challenge.  Some prefer to challenge themselves by joining competitions, others use the weekly inspiration topics provided by HubPages to challenge themselves to investigate a topic they may have never considered and publish a hub.

By Amanda Delatycki from http://hubchallenge.blogspot.com

Despite being brand new to HubPages and writing, I have received over 8 accolades within 2 months of writing and won HubNugget Awards for two of my published hubs. I am undertaking a personal challenge to write 100 original content-rich hubs in 100 days, which I am also documenting in my HubChallenge Blog.

Tuesday Tools – Baby Name Book

Naming characters with a Baby Name Book

I struggle to name my characters, some days I wonder how my kids got names! I have invested in a couple of Baby Name Books (currently on loan to my sister who recently had a baby so I couldn’t take a photo).

These books were picked up on clearance tables, so they were really cheap.

As well as the baby name book, I have also downloaded a Baby Name App for my smartphone, but there is something about flipping through a book.

I’ve discovered some wonderful and unusual names. Most of these haven’t ended up in stories as yet, though it’s mostly because I haven’t created the right character yet…

I love my baby name books, and even my kids have started looking through them to help name my characters!

Melissa is a pre-published author of children’s fiction and short stories for work at home Mums. You can read her blog at www.melissagijsbers.com and follow her on Facebook here.

Do you have a favourite writing tool? Share it with us for Tuesday Tools.

Monday Muse – Odd Socks

Where do all the odd socks go?

I spent most of the weekend sorting out a huge pile of washing! It’s been cold and wet, and very busy, so we’ve got a little bit behind.

Why is it that there is always at least one odd sock left in the bottom of the washing basket after all the clothes have been sorted out and put away?

I have an odd sock box that is full of odd socks in the hope that one day they will be reunited with their mate. Some of the socks have been there so long that they no longer fit my kids!

That is this weeks Monday Muse prompt:

Write a piece that features odd socks, or one odd sock.

You can write fiction or non fiction, poetry or prose, or any other style you want to. It can be a continuation of something you are already writing (featuring an odd sock) or something especially for this prompt. You can either do a five minute stream of consciousness or just write – please keep it to around 500 words.

When you post, please link back to this site to share the exercise and so readers can share in the posts of others. We don’t have a banner for Monday Muse as yet… but hope to soon. If anyone is interested, please contact me.

Don’t forget to add your links below. Link directly to your post rather than home page of your blog. The link up will close on Friday.



Friday Five – Writing Tips

Brenda Harris shares 5 tips

Welcome to the first Friday Five post on this blog. We would like to welcome Brenda Harris to the site, she is sharing five tips for writers – with a couple of extras…

I hope you enjoy them.

1.   Join a writer’s group like 12×12 to force yourself to write at least one draft a month.
2.   Join 2+ critique groups.
3.   Have an FB account & “Friend” everyone (no spam)
4.   Become a member on blogs and comment
5.   On your FB group- give insightful comments, ask questions, cheer good news, share ups and downs.
And two bonus tips…
6.   Set up a blog (using your name on the web address if possible).
7.   Absorb!  Read everything you can about writing.
By Brenda Harris from www.drawacircle.net
After a year of writing, illustrating,  studying, and doing (free) freelance work,  I’m about to launch my company Draw A Circle and promote my book ADOLFO AND ATHENA.  Future projects include Collaboration with HS Publishing, they assist self-publishing authors, looks very promising.  Also, ( I’m keeping my fingers crossed) possibility of working for my town doing writing, editing, and graphic art.

Would you like to submit a Friday Five? Check out our submission guidelines.

Tuesday Tool – Sharp Pencil

A nice, sharp pencil

One tool that I carry around with me is a sharp pencil. For some reason, I prefer a pencil to a pen, especially when I’m editing. It’s funny as my 10 year old has just been awarded his pen licence at school and is always hunting for a pen, while I am hunting for a pencil.

When I’m editing, I print out a copy of whatever I’m working on and site and edit with my pencil, writing all over the paper with changes. It’s not unheard of for me to erase my edits to edit them again.

The pencil has to be nice and sharp. As it gets blunt, you’ll find me hunting around for a sharpener. A blunt pencil just isn’t the same.

When I’m using a sharp pencil, the ideas seem to flow much better, and not just for editing. I also like to use one while writing, along with a good note book. Unfortunately, pencils don’t tend to stay sharp in my handbag, the tip often gets broken… so I tend to carry a pen with me. A pen does the job, but a sharp pencil is always my first choice.

Melissa is a pre-published author of children’s fiction and short stories for work at home Mums. You can read her blog at www.melissagijsbers.com and follow her on Facebook here.

Do you have a favourite writing tool? Share it with us for Tuesday Tools.