I just canâ€™t seem to get motivated to write this time of year. All the distractions of holiday shopping, decorating, cooking, eating have my mind in a whirl. How do I stay focused long enough on my story to get some writing done?
Signed: Preoccupied in Placentia
Get it together, girl! Sit down right now for one minute and close your eyes. Put everything out of your mind except your story. Here, Iâ€™ll do it with you. Iâ€™m sitting, thinking, getting excited . . .
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Oh, sorry, where was I? Oh, yes. I just worked out a whole scene. See how easy that was? Now, do that twice a day. You gotta have at least two minutes in a day! You go, girl!
I donâ€™t know what Iâ€™m doing wrong. Maybe Iâ€™m not really a writer. I hear other writers say their characters visit them at night, sit on the ends of their bed and talk. The characters come to life and reveal their deepest darkest secrets and innermost feelings. I lay awake at night but have had no such visitations. Maybe I lack the imagination to be a writer.
Signed: Baffled in Brea
Frankly, Iâ€™d be terrified if one of my characters showed up and started talking to me. Except for the hero of my latest story, of course. He could visit me in my bedroom anytime! Seriously though, writers are – um â€“ a different breed. And every one has their own method of constructing a story. You find what works best for you. And hey, get some sleep!
Iâ€™ve hit a saggy middle in my Romantic Suspense. Any suggestions on how to spice it up?
Signed: Dull in Diamond Bar
Visit this column next month for more sage advice from Dear Barbara!
by Barbara DeLong
Thank you so much for giving us a chance to review your work. We have enjoyed taking a look at your project but, while there are appealing aspects to the story, it does not ultimately meet the present needs of xxx .
â€¦the hero was sexy and likable, but the story never quite came to life. There was a lack of that fantasy element we look for. Also, the pacing of the story seemed slow.â€
These are some of the comments from the rejection letter that earned me my Pro pin, and landed my manuscript under the bed with the dust bunnies (aka tumbleweed).
For the past couple of years, I have started a number of projects and many versions thereof, only to toss them aside because I didnâ€™t feel the thrill, the passion to complete them like I had my dust collector. Iâ€™d find myself working on a scene for one of those stories and end up thinking about the one under my bed.
Finally I succumbed to the inevitable and dragged it out. My critique group, always at the ready with an abundance of suggestions, provided much-needed encouragment. I re-read the whole thing in one day while I jotted notes on a yellow lined pad. Damned if that editor wasnâ€™t right on the money with her comments â€“ yes, my hero sure was sexy! New ideas began to flow, along with a renewed energy I hadnâ€™t felt in years. Writing is fun again! In the spirit of The Secret (read it, please!), I created a mock-up of my book cover and posted it on my Vision Board. My goal is to finish the rewrite by the next National Conference so I can pitch it.
So, if you have a project under your bed that just wonâ€™t let you alone, drag that puppy out and give it a read. Itâ€™s bugging you for a reason. It just might release you from the doldrums and kick-start your engines. Happy writing!