FUN WRITER’S BLOCK HACK YOU SHOULD TRY

If you’re stuck in a rut, try this proven method to power through your writer’s block:

Keep a little notebook or use an app like Color Note to jot down strange little happenings in your day.
image

How strange?  How little?

It could be a conversation you overhear at the convenience store, like, “that’s about as common as teeth on a hen.”

Perhaps a former coworker mentions her ailing aunt Dottie and you remark how wonderfully school that name sounds. Jot it down, maybe you’ll immortalize Dottie in your next novel.

I tried this method myself and it was fun. It certainly made me more aware of my day; more present in “the now.” I treated it like a game.

Try it and share your results, I’d love to hear from you.

Keep writing and keep sharing! – Cronin Detzz

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3 GREAT RESOURCES FOR POWERING THROUGH WRITER’S BLOCK

Power through that writer’s block!  There are many resources out there, and below you’ll find 3 links with many tips and tricks – one of these is bound to help you.  Please leave a comment if any of these have helped you.

Power Through-Cronin Detzz

I was pleased to see an academic resource for writer’s block at The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign: Writing Tips: Strategies for Overcoming Writer’s Block, Copyright © 2013 University of Illinois Board of Trustees.   This site states that perfectionism in the draft stage is a sure way catch writer’s block. One tactic they suggest is what they call piecework; I call it fragmented writing. Fragmented writing is perfectly normal and has helped me tremendously. If I feel moved to write the end although I’m only half-way through my work, I jump ahead and write the end. Read more about fragmented writing in this post: 3 TIPS FOR FRAGMENTED WRITING: I’M BATMAN.

The 10 Types of Writers’ Block (and How to Overcome Them) by Charlie Jane Anders lists the following problems and suggests tactics to overcome them.  Here are the types of writer’s block identified:
1. You can’t come up with an idea.
2. You have a ton of ideas but can’t commit to any of them, and they all peter out.
3. You have an outline but you can’t get through this one part of it.
4. You’re stuck in the middle and have no idea what happens next.
5. You have a terrible feeling your story took a wrong turn a hundred pages back, and you only just hit a dead end.
6. You’re bored with all these characters, they won’t do anything.
7. You keep imagining all the reasons people are going to say your story sucks, and it paralyzes you.
8. You can’t think of the right words for what you’re trying to convey in this one paragraph.
9. You had this incredibly cool story in your head, and now you’re turning it into words on a screen and it’s suddenly dumb.
10. You’re revising your work, and you can’t see your way past all those blocks of text you already wrote.

Top 10 Tips for Overcoming Writer’s Block – Ginny Wiehardt suggests implementing a writing schedule and thinking of writing as a regular job, setting deadlines and keeping them. I admit that this is not a glamorous suggestion for those artsy/creative types, but anything worth doing deserves some goals. Remember to celebrate your achievements and let your friends and family know how much progress you’ve made; their excitement and praise will encourage you.

Keep writing and keep sharing – power through your writer’s block!  Please leave a comment if any of these have helped you.   – Cronin Detzz

CATCHING A FEW ZZ’S

If you thought that we were going to discuss sleeping as an aid to better writing – well, that’s true but that’s not the type of zz’s we are going to catch.
Cronin Detzz Pen Names

What do these names have in common:
Eric Blair
Francois-Marie Arouet
Sam Clemens

Ah, you saw Sam Clemens and you caught on. These are pen names. Eric Blair wrote as George Orwell, Francois-Marie Arouet was Voltaire, and of course you know that Sam Clemens was Mark Twain. Have you considered using a pen name? If you use your given name but were given the option for a pen name, what name would you choose?

Cronin Detzz is my pen name. I use it for two reasons. First, my real name is very common and forgettable. Second – and more importantly – my mother was a writer and she mentored me. Cronin Detzz was her pen name. Ironically, I am a junior so my mother and I not only share the same “real” name, we also have the same pen name.

Mom was killed by a drunk driver when I was 24. She was only 45. I thought it would be a fitting tribute to use her pen name. I asked my sister if she minded, especially since she likes to write, too. She was glad to let me use it.

My mom chose this name for very specific reason. In her time, female writers were still trying to break barriers. One of my favorite coming-of-age books, “The Outsiders,” was written by S.E. Hinton. Suzy Hinton used her initials to hide the fact that she is female. Similarly, Mary Ann Evans wrote as George Eliot. So my mother chose Cronin because it can be a male or a female’s name. Detzz was her own creation, and she liked it because of the double z’s. She felt that the “zz” combo was catchy.

Maybe using a pen name isn’t a big deal. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But with a writer’s need to be memorable or to have a name that is easy to pronounce, some people really should use a pen name.

Now that you know my reasons, I again ask you: If you use your given name but were given the option for a pen name, what name would you choose? If you already use a pen name, what is it and why?

Look forward to your comments. Keep writing & keep sharing! Cronin Detzz

Poem: Be Here Now

BE HERE NOW
In the now,
time drips like a leaky faucet
I’m pulling weeds
the sun warms my back
my family rests in the safety of inside
my mind rests in the safety of my skull


No poisoned darts of yesterday will find their mark
No future entanglements ensnare this precious moment
And when this moment slips into what was
another moment jumps in joy, blaring his trumpet of arrival

 

I go on pulling weeds
Thanking the sun, thanking Spring
Thanking the now for the safety it can bring
Thanking the weeds for pulling me outside
Thanking the illusion of time for pulling me aside
Grateful to grandfather clock
for showing me the why, the how,
The peaceful surrender
to be here now

-Cronin Detzz

Be Here Now-CroninDetzz

When writing, we are often  not in the present.  We are thinking ahead to our next chapter or we are applying lessons and characters from our past.  Next time you encounter writer’s block, try living in that very moment.

Keep writing & keep sharing! – Cronin Detzz

3 TIPS FOR FRAGMENTED WRITING: I’M BATMAN

This teenage boy I know says, “I have a great idea for story: Batman goes into this virtual reality game in a contest against Ra’s al Ghul, only Batman doesn’t know that the game actually creates real events. At the end of my story, Batman must be the one who goes back in time to kill his own parents.”

3 Tips for Fragmented Writing

So this boy writes the best parts of his juicy, action-packed story but get’s writer’s block when it comes to storyline rules, such as writing a compelling first page, creating masterful segues and crafting spine-tingling page-turners.

This type of writer’s block is okay, and very normal! Don’t let it stop you!

Go ahead and write all your favorite parts. You can fill in the gaps later. Your favorite portions are the heart and soul of your masterpiece. If you find that you are lamenting over fragmentation (how to string the pieces together), just have some trust in yourself and give it time.

Three key tips on fragmentation that I have found to be useful in overcoming writer’s block include:

  1. Before you go to sleep, write down your problem on a piece of paper. You can phrase it in the form of a question, such as: “How do I get Batman to accept a challenge from Ra’s al Ghul?” This allows your subconscious to contemplate the issue.
  2. Many writers have fragments of other stories in their treasure chests. Why not incorporate elements of your other stories into your current endeavor?
  3. Use real events. Although we have never played a virtual reality game against a villain, we have had to deal with bullies at some point in our lives. How did you meet that bully? How did he make you feel? What elements in the bully’s life formed him into such a tyrant?

I don’t normally create an outline until the primary sequence of events are clear. You may find that writing an outline is helpful at some stage, and I’d love to hear from you on this topic.

Keep writing and keep sharing! – Cronin Detzz

EMANCIPATED FROM RHYME-REMOVING WRITER’S BLOCK

Quatrains-Cronin Detzz

EMANCIPATED FROM RHYMES

Here is a great tip for removing writer’s block – try writing a short poem!  When writing short poetry, writers often focus on Haikus or Tankas.  Another fun writing concept is to write in quatrains.  Quatrains, quite simply, are four lines of verse.  A quatrain normally has a rhyming scheme.   Below is an example of AABB from one of my poems entitled “Red on the Inside.”

Bend like the willow trees

Quiet as the summer breeze

Laugh like a gentle stream

Joyful as a baby’s dream

        Cronin Detzz

 A quatrain can also have a rhyming scheme like this familiar verse, where lines 2 and 4 rhyme:

 Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

Sugar is sweet,

And so are you

 A fantastic writing challenge is to write an impactful quatrain that does not rhyme.  Fellow poet, Teresa E. Gallion, is masterful in this style:

I stared down a wolf

Claiming the edge of the forest

This is not the first time

Courage has dominated my life 

        Teresa E. Gallion

 

From these four lines, we can imagine ourselves encountering a wolf in a forest.  A great aspect of this poem is that it can also be looked at in a more metaphorical sense; for instance, staring down “a wolf” could be thought of as staring down a fear.  If someone is afraid of heights, the wolf becomes a symbol of that fear.

Short poems can offer a snapshot of emotion. In this next quatrain, consider the abundant feelings when gazing upon a sleeping loved one:

I lay a prayer on your chest

To soothe your burning sleep

It is selfish to hold back

When love flows in my river

        Teresa E. Gallion

A quatrain can also provide a chuckle of irony:

A thought of you so powerful

It breaks my wine glass

I cannot afford such thoughts

Crystal is too expensive

        Teresa E. Gallion 

Now that you have been emancipated from rhyming schemes, try to remove your writer’s block by penning four lines of poetry.  You can do this!

A special thanks goes out to Teresa E. Gallion for sharing her beautiful quatrains.  Her work can be found at the links below:

http://teresagallion.yolasite.com/my-new-book.php

Note:  Also available at Amazon Kindle store:

http://www.amazon.com/Contemplation-High-Desert-ebook/dp/B007SO8CYC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1336355015&sr=8-2

Keep writing and keep sharing! – Cronin Detzz

MY NAME IS SUE. MARY SUE.

MARYSUE
Writer’s Block implies that our creative well has dried up. When creating an epic hero, be certain to dip into your creative well and create a hero that is relatable. If main characters have depth and fallacies, readers will more easily connect. How can we create depth?

Ensure that your hero has fallacies and makes mistakes. Norwegian author, Jo Nesbo, created an award-winning series of crime fiction novels revolving around a detective named Harry Hole. Harry Hole asks probing questions, notices clues that others miss, and contains all the desired aspects of a great investigator. However, Hole is an alcoholic. He sabotages his own romantic relationships. He smokes, he makes mistakes, he struggles with depressive thoughts – in short, he is human. He is a hero, but he has depth.

Nesbo does not spend a lot of time describing Hole’s physical attributes, other than to say that he is tall and has blue eyes which are frequently bloodshot. If a writer spends too much time describing a character, the writer will be accused of self-insertion. Let the reader fill in some of the gaps of physical details, and the reader will subconsciously insert himself and get hooked.

A “Mary Sue” is a character that is simply too good to be true. Roger Moore’s portrayal of James Bond is certainly a “Mary Sue.” He gets the girl, kills the villain, saves the day, and still has fantastic-looking hair. (He had fantastic hair in the television series “The Saint” as well!) I am an admitted Bondophile, and own all of the Bond books. The books are much better than the movies because the author, Ian Flemming, created a hero who often made mistakes. In the novel Casino Royale, Bond questions whether he himself is the bad guy, realizing that a Russian spy would perceive Bond as an arch enemy. Bond is unsure of his mission in life and considers leaving the service. He doesn’t have perfect Roger Moore hair. His hair is described as dark, forming a “cruel comma” above his brow. He often gets captured and is a victim of incredible torture, and the author takes us to the dark shadows in Bond’s mind. It is an interesting journey and a great study into character development.

In short, don’t make characters too perfect, too brilliant, or invincible, unless you’re Roger Moore, who is successful despite his perfect hair.

Keep writing and keep sharing! – Cronin Detzz