Calling All Short-Story Authors!

For more information, Email patty@mustangpatty1029.com

Would you like to get your BEST short story put into an Anthology of Facebook writers?

My Partner company,

‘Adams Creative Solutions,’

is putting together an Anthology of Short Stories.

Submissions are open to the writers and groups

I’m a part of as ‘Mustang Patty Talks.’

Do you want to be a Writer?

I think it’s safe to say that if you follow my blog or belong to any of the Facebook groups I’m a part of, then you want to know more about the writing process.

According to national statistics, approximately 89% of the populace wants to write a book—they are sure they have something to say. The sad statistic is that only 1% of the original 89% will actually write a book. The numbers decrease when you look at a second book ever being written.

Why?

There are people who do not realize that writing is hard work. It takes a great deal of determination to bring the words from your imagination to the blank page. Not only is it hard work, but there is also a learning curve.

The learning curve I’m talking about is what it takes to turn your thoughts into thoughts that other people can understand. Communication of your ideas is key, but it does take learning the skills of writing.

Today, I have a blueprint of how you can learn to write or improve your writing skills.

First of all, pick up a good Style Guide. There are several around, but I think ‘Elements of Style 2017,’ is the easiest to start with. It uses the same principles as ‘Element of Style’ by William Strunk and E. B. White, but it includes some of the recent changes to the writing style.

Next, look for an online writing course. There are a ton of them available online, and they vary in cost and what you need to do. (I have found a few free ones, but you don’t always get good feedback on your writing.)

Subscribe to Grammarly. I’m not saying you should install Grammarly and use it and never learn the rules of the writing highway. No—use Grammarly as a tool. There are both free and paid subscriptions.

Organize your work. If you use a computer, create a file for everything you write. Back it up with a thumb drive. One of the most horrible things to happen to a writer is the loss of their work.

There are online tools like Evernote and Scrivener, to help you. While Evernote is a note-taking guide, Scrivener is used for the creative writing process. It includes built-in formats to plan your plot, character, theme, and a lot more.

Lastly, look into the writing organizations available to you. Use Google Search and hunt for the one you feel would fit your needs.

The more you build your writing world, the more you will feel like a ‘writer.’

I hope this helps some of you who are ‘stuck’ in place and wondering where to go.

Until next time,

~Mustang Patty~


Older Blogs:

Mustang Patty Presents:

On Writers and Writing by Margaret Atwood I will be giving away a copy of this book sometime in the next week. Would YOU like to add it to your library? Simply send me an email: patty@mustangpatty1029.com and tell me how you think this book would help You and Your Process. Everyone who sends meContinue reading “Mustang Patty Presents:”

Verbs

The definition of a verb is a word showing an action, a state of being, or express a time. Verbs are sometimes called the ‘doing’ words, and they are also known as the ‘working’ words. When you use a verb, you also set the tense with the action. I walk. (Present tense) I walked. (PastContinue reading “Verbs”

Decided to move my site to WordPress

Started a new challenge from a mentor: 1000 words a day for 28 days

Writing every day isn’t anything new to me. It is, however, something new that I’m actually going to keep track of how much I write. Sure, some days I will work on my blog and some days I will work on my latest project – but how much do I actually write. I think on the days I’m editing, I may not write too many new words, but my mind is thinking about the writing. I will probably turn this challenge into something like NaNo because I don’t see me just journaling to hear myself write.

Okay, that sounded stupid.

But for today, let’s work on a blog entry.

So, you’ve finished a project, and you celebrate with your happy dance, and you post all over Facebook about what a great writer you are. You beg for permissions to post links to your latest accomplishment and you feel great for all of a day – maybe.

How do you get started on your next project? Are you stuck for days trying to come up with a new idea, or are you one of those lucky people who always has an idea?

I remember way back I’m talking way back when I first started writing. I was about twelve, and I asked my English teacher if she could give me any suggestions about the writing life. (I imagined being a best-selling author by the time I was twenty.)

So, Mrs. Whatever-her-name-was gave me my first pieces of writing advice.

First and foremost, write EVERY day.

Second, start a file of story ideas. This file will be used whenever something strikes you. It can be anything you feel comfortable storing those random ideas you have during the day. So, I asked my mother to buy me some 3 x 5 cards and a little metal box to keep them in. I carried no less than five cards with me wherever I went.

The habit of writing those story ideas paid off for most of the writing I did in high school and the creative writing classes in college. The idea stayed with me, and while the little metal box full of cards gave way to file folders and using the sticky note feature on my phone. (I absolutely love that – I can write an idea down whenever I want, and no one thinks it weird that I’m on my phone – whereas I think some people found it odd that a twelve-year-old would suddenly take a 3 x 5 card out of their pocket and scribble something down.)

In case you’re wondering why I’m going on and on about this process, you may or may not know that I just finished a big project. I took my rough draft of a novel, written during NaNoWriMo of 2019, and polished, edited, and formatted it. I ‘hit publish’ last week.

Now, I feel lost.

So, I’m doing my best to find the idea that will get me fired up and writing furiously every day.

I just pulled out the box where I keep 3 x 5 cards. The box is no longer metal or small. It is about a foot long, and the cards do not have just a simple idea, but a developed idea and a kernel of where to start.

I’m stumbling because I need to write the third book of my trilogy, but I’m wary of those characters right now. I have a novel idea that I’ve been developing for years and while it would be a good project to start, it is research-intensive and going to be much longer than anything I’ve written previously.

Oh, and I have an idea for a non-fiction book about writing. My blogs from the last two years can easily be turned into chapters, and I think it will be fun. But, I’m not sure I want to take that on right now.

See my dilemma?

Of course, I could develop a new idea – right?

I recently read the book, The Idea, by Erik Bork. He uses seven elements to test your idea. The point of the book is for you to test your idea before the writing process begins. You have to admit; it is disheartening to work on a project and then realize the story doesn’t really go anywhere. (I do think the time isn’t wasted—you’ve learned more about what works, and what doesn’t.)

Basically, Bork’s method of evaluation the idea is based on the acronym, ‘PROBLEM.’

Punishing:

Will the problem your MC faces take you through scene by scene for the length of the book until he/she solves the problem? Or is it too easy to solve to carry a book, screenplay, etc.?

Relatable:     

If readers can’t relate to the story, they will desert your book after the first few chapters, or worse, leave it where they found it. No Bueno.

Original:

We all know most storylines are a new version of the basic stories we’ve read over and over. But does your story have a new twist?

Believable:   

Your readers need to believe in the world you’ve created. From science fiction, fantasy, and even stories set in the real world.

Life-Altering:           

Will reading your story give the reader some new insight?

Entertaining:

Let’s face it – readers need to be involved and want to keep turning the page. If you aren’t keeping them entertained, the book gets put down or taken off their eBook list.

Meaningful:

Do your readers come away with something to hold onto? Some concepts, ideas, OR a story they will keep close to their heart.

Bork also suggests that before you start the project, bounce your idea around with some people. Your friends, family, and folks who think your writing is awesome are good places to start, but then you need to find a peer group. (I personally find Facebook groups to be a good place—but you need to be aware that someone may steal your idea, so tread lightly.)

Well, I’ve written over 1000 words for the day, so I’ll stop here. But I know I’ve already stirred things up for me to find the next idea. The next project. The next six to eight months of my life.

until next time,

~Mustang Patty~

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