Writing Resolutions

A short post here because I’m working on my own writing resolution (okay, maybe not a resolution more a goal)


Are you wondering what to do for a new year resolution when it comes to writing? Try some of these.


1 I will revise my work – first drafts are exciting but not ready for publication


2 I will try something new – breaking out of a habit can help boost creativity


3 When I submit to a publisher, I will read and follow the submission guidelines – it makes you seem more professional when you take the time to present your work properly.


That’s all. I posted my writing goals on my blog at P.A. Wilson feel free to borrow any that may work for you.


Happy New Year and Happy Writing.



Scrivener for windows – post nano bright shiny

So I’m feeling good. I’ve exceeded the NaNo minimum count and I’m within reach of my own goal. I know, what a way to jinx it.


I decided I could take a half an hour to look at a bright shiny. Scrivener for Windows is in Beta and I wanted to see what it’s about. No, I didn’t download it. I’m not completely crazy. I did look at the video here. After looking at the video, I went to my calendar for December and made a note to try to get on the beta if it’s still open.


Two reasons I think this will be a great tool.


You can edit on line. Up to now, I’ve printed out my manuscript in scenes and analyzed each scene for revision. I printed it out because Word isn’t that easy to navigate when you are looking at it piece by piece. With Scrivener, I can update the index card with a note on each scene and save a tree.


The other reason, I can plot and research all in one document. Yay.


Finally for all you Apple lovers out there, I’m still not going Mac. Why? Well, with Scrivener I can save in a number of different formats, but not a .doc. Most services that upload and prep books for e-publishing need a .doc format. So, I’ll hang onto my Windows laptop and applications.


One more big tip. If you complete NaNo and verify your win, you get a 50% discount on the purchase price of Scrivener for windows. Here’s the info.


Happy Writing



NaNo Tips

Hi, it’s almost half way through National Novel Writing Month. How are you doing?


Sometimes people get stuck in week 2. The passion meets reality and you realize that it takes a lot of time to write the minimum words. Your story still calls to you but life keeps getting in the way.


Don’t be disheartened. This week ends eventually. Keep dropping words on the page. Even if you can’t manage the whole 1,667 you can make some progress. Take the words you didn’t write and add them to the weekend, or another day where you might be able to find more time.


Good luck.



NaNo Day 1 – pacific time.

So, how is it going. I know that might sound crazy – it’s only day one for us – but its a good idea to manage your NaNo time. This month, our posts will be about surviving/thriving through National Novel Writing Month.


Sue will be giving you tips from her pantsing point of view – I think she started the month with an idea of her story and maybe some characters. I’ll be giving you tips from a plotter point of view – I started the month with a clear outline of my scenes (and I have the idea noted of the next two books in the series). What’s important is to remember whether you think you are a pantser or a plotter, you can find value in all the tips.


So, my tip of the day is to look at your calendar, where will you be challenged to find writing time? Take your word count goal and divide it by the number of days you know you can write. Now you have an idea of what you face.


It doesn’t mean it will work, but I have to write about 3K a day to make my goal based on my calender (several days where I probably won’t be able to write). Now I know for every day I don’t make 3k, I have to add a catch up day – I can do 8k in a day but it’s pretty intense.


Happy NaNo



how to find those typos and repeated words

A quick tip on finding those typos and repeated words – and maybe awkward sentences – that you and your critique group missed.


We all groan when we see that typo that everyone missed (I’ve seen them in published books). The best way I’ve found to help minimize – or eradicate – them is to listen. Not read out loud but listen.


Reading out loud can be a great way to hear the dialogue but I find that I tend to read what should be there rather than what is there.


Have someone read to you – if you can find a careful reader who is also patient with your need to stop and change stuff.


Use an online text to speech program. You can Google text to speech and you’ll find tons of free downloads. I use NaturalReader and find the mechanical voices helpful. It stops me from getting lost in the story and forces me to listen.


With NaturalReader, I copy blocks of text in and open the document separately. That allows me to pause when I hear something that doesn’t sound right and make the change in the document. When I’m done, I just copy the corrected text in and listen one more time.


Important to know.


This is my last step in revision. Doing it too early means you’ll correct text that will change and you are spending energy for no purpose.


Happy writing



Tips on surviving NaNoWriMo

It’s only 15 days until you can type your first words into your NaNo novel.


Unless you are one of the adventurous few who decide what to write when you sit down on November 1st, you probably have some idea of what you are going to write.


Between now and when you type your first words, there are things you can do that will help you survive and thrive.


Sign up at National Novel Writing Month and poke around the forums. Look for tips people have posted and find your region.


If you live in the Vancouver BC area, there’s VancoWrimo where our great Municipal Leaders post the information on the kick off, local write ins and eventually word wars.


Find buddies who are also participating in NaNoWriMo, you may be able to set up a challenge between your buddies – if you are at all competitive, a challenge will help you get the last few words on the page every time.


Work on your characters, profile them, interview them, write a little back story. If you know your characters inside out, they will carry you through the days when your plot falters.


Practice – try writing for 15 minutes with no interruption, figure out how many words you crank out. This will be useful when you need to get past the block. If you can write something for 15 minutes you might find the creativity starts to flow.


Above all, remember that NaNo is supposed to be fun too.


Happy writing



How to handle difficult subjects in your writing.

Happy Thanksgiving Canada. Happy Columbus Day America


We’ve been receiving a number of submissions lately that deal with difficult subjects like child abuse and sexual orientation. These subjects can make for a story with depth and meaning – if handled well.


Unfortunately, the subjects are not often handled that well. The top two issues seem common: preaching and jamming on the delicate subject for no story value.


Preaching – no one likes to read a sermon about why they should feel a certain way. Preaching is not just paragraphs of exposition. You are preaching when your characters have a fight and their dialogue is a simple iteration of a stance.


Jamming the subject in means you don’t have a real story reason to have the subject. For example, your story is a mystery and your character doesn’t know he or she is gay. This plot line would be great if the character’s sexual orientation was critical to the solution of the mystery. It’s not useful if you just use the story to tell the reader they should be more compassionate or understanding.


How do you make sure you aren’t putting your soapbox into your story? The most simple approach is to ask yourself ‘is this critical to the story?’. If you can’t easily point to why it is, do one of two things: take it out of your story or change your story so that it does become critical.


Keep trying to bring difficult topics to the page.



Looking for help with writing craft?

I was on my Goodreads group this morning and I found all kinds of posts asking for help. One post was specific to one sentence the author was trying to revise. She got responses right away and three great ones (okay one was mine but it was great, really).


I guess the point is, look for help everywhere. You never know where you’ll find that gem of advice that takes you to the next level.


Happy writing



Friday link – good advice

Hi, this is from Ask the Publishing Guru – great advice on writing like a pro.


Five Writing Tips.


Happy writing



Fodder for future novels

Well, experience is always good, sometimes it takes a while to get to that point. When you are going through something difficult, or many things difficult, it can be impossible to remember that you might want to use the experience in a book. That’s what write what you know is all about, isn’t it?.


Right now I’m handling my brother’s estate and it’s not easy. I am running around trying to get information, and taking a half step forward and three steps back most days. I’m sitting here in Starbucks waiting for his apartment to be cleaned – special cleaning required – and trying to keep a positive attitude about this huge task I’ve been handed. Why am I doing it, oldest sister syndrome – it has to be done and no one else will do it.


So rather than grouse about it, I’m thinking about how I’ll use the experience in a new book.


I’m not quite there yet, but I am trying to keep notes on what I’m doing, not only for research, but also for the estate records.


Anyway, the message is everything you do is useful – at some point in your life.


Happy writing,





For sale and coming soon from PaperBoxBooks.