Finding What Works
by Donna B McNicol
When I started to get interested in fiction writing fifteen years ago, I bought every book I could find. I joined Writer’s Digest Book of the Month Club. I bought magazines. I joined forums and other online groups. The result? I spent more time reading and researching than I did writing.
When I decided to try my hand at fiction writing again in January 2012, I started down that same route. Joining online groups, buying Kindle versions of books about writing, chatting with other authors and ordering online magazines. It wasn’t long before I realized that I was falling into that same bottomless pit.
Then I ran into a group of writers who posted weekly flash fiction from several sites on their blogs. Could it be that easy? Just write and put it in my blog? Surely not. Even if I did manage to write something, could I possibly let someone else read it? I didn’t know anything about writing, did I?
I took baby steps, it was easy since almost no one read my writing blog yet. I wrote something I called “The Surprise”. I had a lot of followers of my personal blog and they were kind enough to read it and leave some positive comments.
Taking a deep breath, I tried it again. Umm, no comments. No surprise since I didn’t really like the story much myself. Then I found Lillie McFerrin’s “Five Sentence Fiction”. Each week we were given a word and a photo and had to write five sentences, no more.
Eureka – visuals! This is where I found what worked for me. Give me a photo and I can write forever. I continued to do flash fiction, often finding my own photo to represent the word, phrase or situation. Words flowed so much more easily.
When I decided to expand into writing a full novel, I wasn’t sure I could do it. I’d done so well with flash fiction, cutting my words to the bone, Slicing and dicing, no fat left. Could I manage to expand my words to 50,000 for Camp NaNoWriMo?
Once again, I fell back on what worked for me – visuals. I found photos for the location of the book, then I went searching for photos that showed me what I wanted my characters to look like. I started a board on Pinterest and pinned them all up there.
Next hurdle, where to write? Since I had a deadline, 50k words in 31 days, I knew I had to write almost every day for hours. Working from home was difficult, too many distractions so I packed up my new ultra-portable and headed to the local McDonalds. It worked!
The key here is to find what works for YOU, what helps you be creative, what helps you be productive. It might be a corner of your dining room, a chair on the deck, a local cafe or in your office, if you have one. A favorite pen or pencil, I have a few, a special notebook or your computer. A word prompt, a photograph – take it and use it.
Now go write….
When Cherie Marshall catches her fiancé and best friend in a compromising position, she cancels her upcoming wedding and jumps at the chance to escape to quiet Klondike, Pennsylvania to care for her elderly aunt. She thought her biggest issue would be adapting to life in the middle of a National Forest, so very different from her upbringing in the deserts of Arizona.
But that was before she met State Trooper Fire Marshall Jamison “Jazz” Maddox at the scene of a mysterious fire. As they both become acquainted with the close-knit Klondike residents, things get complicated as Cherie and Jazz find themselves in the middle of a local crime wave where arson, kidnapping, embezzlement and a decades old murder are just the tip of the iceberg.
Be sure get your free copy of the Klondike Kompanion from the author’s website and read the “Meet the Characters” interviews.
J.L. Hopf: What a great read. I didn’t see the end coming. Can’t wait until the next book is out. Fast paced, twists and turns and a little romance thrown in. WTG!!
J.E. Nichols: “Fantastic Donna! Best book I’ve read in a long time. Excited to hear more about these characters.”
Genre – Cozy Mystery
Rating – PG
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