Tag Archives: writing

Retreat, Day 3

Words achieved today: 5022 Current Hearts of Tabat wordcount: 85264 Total word count for the week: 10022 Total word count for this retreat: 10022 Worked on Hearts of Tabat, Christmas story for anthology (“My Name is Scrooge”) Time spent on … Continue reading

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Guest Post from Halsted M. Bernard: Critiques, Counts, and Quests: Motivational Tools for Writers

When I first became aware of BIC-HOK a few years ago, it enthralled me. I love a good acronym, and doubly so one that promises to whisper the secret to being a writer right into my eager ear. Butt in … Continue reading

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Guest Post from Everett Maroon: Becoming a Writer

Everyone always wants to know the writer’s writing origins, when for many of us we can’t recall the first time we scratched out a story. Was it a moment of inspiration, they want to know, a story we’d run across … Continue reading

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Writing Through Pain

…sometimes bad stuff happens. Sometimes you’re dealing with a loved one’s illness, or your own, or a natural disaster, or something else, because the world is one filled with tragedies, large and small. Continue reading

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Writers and Natural Talent: More About that MFA essay

Recently, Ryan Boudinot wrote an essay for The Stranger titled “Things I Can Say About MFA Writing Programs Now That I No Longer Teach in One“. Among other things, he observed: Either you have a propensity for creative expression or … Continue reading

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Guest Post from Kim Mainord: Mileage May Vary

Note from Cat: March 2 kicks off two months of blog content dedicated to promoting my new (first!) novel, Beasts of Tabat. There’ll be guest blog posts, original fiction, essays about writing, feminism, and life in general, and even some … Continue reading

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Video for the Flash Fiction Class

I’ve been having enough fun with the free version of Powtoons that I’m thinking about upgrading. Here’s a video for the flash fiction that I’m 90% happy with. Please like it or share it if you enjoy it.

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On Writing: When A Story Clicks

One of the things I stress to students is that you cannot wait for the muse. And, in fact, the more you wait for her, the less likely she is to arrive.

For example. The last few days I’ve been working at getting back into the flow of writing daily. I held myself accountable and post daily word counts here or on Twitter. And lemme tell you, some of those words were difficult to wrestle out of my skull and onto the page. One way I can tell things are going in difficult fits and spurts is that I’ll hop around a lot from story to story.
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More About That Comfort Zone Thing

I was thinking more about the idea of writing outside your comfort zone, and found something that’s happened recently pretty applicable.

I have never been a good swimmer. It’s quite possible I never will be. When I was a kid, my parents kept enrolling me in swimming lessons, and I kept being a terrible swimmer who refused to put my head under water. Part of it was that I’d learned by then that if I got water in my ears, an ear infection wouldn’t be far behind, so every lesson was a silent battle to avoid putting my head underwater. It wasn’t till high school, when several friends decided I would learn to swim (bless you, Ann, Ann, Anne, and Maureen), that I actually got to the point where I could float long enough to survive a (fairly brief) period if I ever fell off a boat. Couple that with an illness that made me extremely self-conscious in a swimsuit for a long time, and you can see why I just don’t get in the water very much.

So here we are in Costa Rica, with a swimming pool right outside our balcony, and a temperature that makes that pool pretty darn inviting.
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Writing Outside One’s Comfort Zone

We’ve all got a comfort zone, the place where we can function easily, where we know what to expect. It’s a nice place. It’s…well, it’s COMFORTABLE. Hence the name. It would be easy to stay there all the time.

But for writers, I think it’s very important to go outside on a regular basis. For one thing, your characters are going to be outside their comfort zones, being challenged, tested, thwarted, more often than not, because one thing about comfort zones is that they can be pretty darn boring to read about. Who wants a character for which everything goes right? (This is, I will argue, why the Richie Rich comic books were pretty darn bland.) How can you write a character outside their comfort zone if you don’t know what it’s like?
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