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Reset Sunday- Pick Up A Darn Book Please….


ws_Read_a_book_1024x768It’s been a while since I have written a Reset Sunday…my apologies; I’m back at it now. For today’s Reset column I wanted to mention a thing or two about how Sundays are the perfect “reading day”. You aren’t, after all supposed to do any writing…you are “resetting” right? But you can still read which is what I plan to do for a good part of today.

Yesterday I started keeping track of the food I eat and the activities I do for the purpose of weight loss. (stay with me…I have a point) I am discovering quite a few really disturbing things about my own habits. For instance, I snack (or graze as they call it which makes me feel sort of like a cow) a lot. I have to stop that. I don’t drink enough water…I have to fix that. And, perhaps the most disturbing of them all, I watch way too much television. I didn’t think I did, I mean I write all day long and knock off at 5 or 6 in the evening but then I have dinner and sit down in front of the idiot tube telling myself that I am “spending time with the family”. On Saturdays I knock off work at 3. So yesterday I sat down in front of the television to watch some movies with the family and I didn’t go to bed until 11 p.m. Can anyone tell me how long that is in front of the television…please raise your hands…you, there in the back with the funny hat on…what’s that? Yep, you are correct, that’s 8 HOURS!

I was shocked. 8 hours of mindless TV. I could have been doing anything else at all but there I was, snack in hand, sitting like a lump in my easy chair contributing to my early demise. It was quite the wake-up call. I hadn’t always watched television like that. I use to read more, get out of the house more, play more but at some point, over the last 10 years I had migrated into that easy chair.

So I said all of that to say this….don’t watch television today….read, then get up and do something, then read some more, then get up and do something. We as writers sit all the time anyways so more sitting time in front of the television can’t be good. And once we give up our souls to television replacing reading we are giving up our imagination, our will to create story in our minds and our sense of self replacing it with the lives of actors. So today….pick up a book and turn off the television; this is your Reset Sunday mission. Who knows maybe you will once again discover the joys of books and find that it is much easier to put down that remote control.

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2013 in Reset Sundays

 

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He Said and Then She Said and Then He said but Then She Said…


he-she-saidWriter’s Note – Reset Sunday will be back this week so watch for it….

This is one of the problems most writers face within the first couple of manuscripts they produce…the “he said/she said” problem. Now most of you are wondering if this is a column about dialogue and it is but it is more to the point about “saying”…

We have all read those books where the author feels the need to tell you who said what in every line of dialogue. I am here to tell you that you don’t have to do that. If your story is well written, you’re your reader should be able to follow a simple conversation without all the handholding. The only time a writer should have to point out that he said or she said is in the very beginning when you are defining who the conversation is between. Then using he said or she said leads the reader to the characters part of the conversation. After that, in a conversation with just two people using he said and she said is adding words to your word count that you don’t need and it makes your story sound like it was written by a 2nd grader.

Having said that, let’s talk about another closely related dialogue issue…using the word said ALL….THE….TIME. There are hundreds of words that a writer could use to convey that there is a conversation going on and many of those words serve the dual purpose of also setting tone. You don’t want your characters to always just “say” something…sometimes you want them to acknowledge, add, admit or affirm something. What about allege, agree, announce, argue, articulate, ask, assert, aver, avow, bark, beg, bid, bluff, bluster, boast, brag, butt in, challenge, chant, chime in, chirp, cite, claim, command, comment, communicate, concede, confess, confide, contest, continue, contradict, convey, correct, declare, defend, deliver, demand, deny, disclose, divulge, echo, emphasize, encourage, enquire, exclaim, explain, express, gripe, groan, grumble, grunt, imply….whew…we could go on forever. You can say something but wouldn’t it be more fun to growl it or convey it?

I understand that we have all been conditioned to he said and she said but at the end of the day when your reader is turning those pages you want him/her to be drawn in by the excitement of your story and that includes how your characters communicate. So go back over that manuscript…are you he saiding and she saiding too much? Use the hundreds of other ways to convey how your characters are speaking and bump it up a notch. Your readers will thank you and your manuscript will sound like it has been written by someone other than the author of the Dick and Jane series.

 

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2013 in grammar, Writing

 

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Reset Sunday – A “Super” Excuse to have Fun


super-bowl-kickerUnless you have been on another planet, in another universe, under a rock, inside of a steamer trunk, in a hole, buried beneath a mountain…you know that it’s Super Bowl Sunday. Yep to some this is the day their team suits up and wins one for fans everywhere who are too overweight to get off the couch let alone throw a football. For others this is the day that they get some quiet time because the spouse is in the living room screaming at the television set and too busy to notice that they have lifted their wallet and are headed out the door to hit the sales. And then there are those of us who watch because, yes, we like football, but more importantly, this is the day of the cool commercials. I am in the latter group today because my football team, the Denver Broncos, seems to have issues with finishing what they have started…but I digress…

My point is, no matter what group you are in, this is a super day to have fun. Put down those iPads, push away from that computer screen and park your behind in front of the television for some fun. In our house, my daughter and I watch the game and my spouse spends the afternoon making all kinds of crazy snacky things for us to try out. It’s fun and, although I am sure I gain a few pounds, the time to just not think about work and just yell at the television and pretend that I am a better coach is great. And then there is my daughter who is 12 and who has been a part of this tradition since she was 4. She yells too and it’s a blast to watch.

So today, in case you’ve missed it, is Super Bowl Sunday and it is your excuse to have a little fun. The work and the writing, which for most of us is one in the same, will be there tomorrow. But today…let’s yell, eat and root for the underdog because we can. Let’s laugh with our kids, our buddies, our spouses and let’s have some fun. It’s Reset Sunday after all and that’s all about taking a moment out to reset ourselves…and what better way to do that then to yell a little…..

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2013 in Reset Sundays

 

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Reset Sunday – Take in a Game…No Not that Kind of Game…


AZ-Brain-GamesYes, it’s Sunday. Yes, folks expect you to watch football. But here’s a thought…instead of veg’ing out in front of the television…how about a brain game? A what? A brain game, something to work on keeping that noggin of yours clear and bright.

A lot of folks have discovered Sudoku and I’m all for that if you are not math challenged as I am. I prefer brain games that make me think and are fun. If you have an iPad there are games galore. I have about 20 on mine that are all “zen” oriented, meaning you can go at your own pace and they are designed to relax your brain in a way that isn’t hurried or stressful. But there are also games that test your brains response time too. Nintendo DS has the “Brainage” games which were actually designed by doctors to hone your skills. These are fun too.

But if you don’t have all the electronics you can still relax on a Reset Sunday and work on your brain through crossword puzzles, word searches and even a puzzle. The whole point is to challenge your brain while relaxing and having some fun as well. So take a Reset Sunday or even weekday evenings and instead of the television, work that noggin…trust me, when you are older, you’ll be glad you did.

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2013 in Reset Sundays

 

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Reset Sunday – New Year, Take Time to Reset


il_fullxfull.207998112So here we are on our very first Sunday of 2013 and I think it is appropriate to say that we all should begin anew. One of the things I would love to see all of you commit to is Reset Sundays. The purpose of Reset Sundays is to…well…reset. We work day after day throughout the week (even on Saturdays…I know you do) and we almost never take time to do what we want to do.

So your Reset Sunday challenge today is to take some time and reflect on what last year offered and then put it away and focus on this year. Some advice I got recently was perhaps the best advice I have gotten in a long time…it was, “Don’t concern yourself with the year, concern yourself only with the day and the rest will take care of itself”. I am guilty of that, I confess, I am usually weeks or even months out because of jobs and deadlines…I need to stop that, and so do you.

Today, think about the day…watch football…read…take a walk…but get away from the desk and the deadlines and reset….you owe it to yourself.

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2013 in Reset Sundays

 

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Reset Sunday – A Day to Reflect


Reset 1I have kids….four of them…three boys and a girl. My kids are 30, 24, 19 and 12…this week I hugged each of them a little tighter. Today I would normally task you to sit back and take it easy doing something that caters to you and today is no different except that I want you to take care of your heart specifically.

It has been a long and painful week. Those of us who are parents have been hit in the face with the possibility that our children could be shot at school…again. Frankly, I didn’t need reminding but…a young man with obvious problems felt otherwise…and in case he is somewhere in the hereafter wondering…mission accomplished.

Today, I want each and every one of you to do whatever it is that you do to decompress. There is always a great temptation after witnessing a human tragedy such as this to allow it into your writing. If it is appropriate, by all means, use the emotion you have felt but don’t let it take over a story where it doesn’t belong. Journal…but leave it there if your normal project is not the place to unleash the pain and confusion you may be feeling in your heart.

We are writers so, by nature, we are guided by our experiences as well as the experiences of others. BUT…if we are “good” writers…we know when to follow the guidance and when to just observe and save what we see for later. Choose which the case is for you of course but reflect on whether or not you are making the right decision before you leap over that fence…it matters…trust me.

So today, on this Reset Sunday, we have, admittedly, a lot more to “reset” and although we cannot personally reset the world around us…we can reset our own corner of it. Hug each other, hug your kids and then let it go and go back to work….but do, by all means….reset.

 

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2012 in Reset Sundays

 

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Reset Sunday – My Birthday Wish for the Writers of the World


Birthday-wishToday is my birthday. Yep I am edging ever closer to 50, WHICH…doesn’t sound as old as it did when I was 25. Today I will be lazy, eat cheesecake (My spouse loves me) and just be me for the day. Everyone is asking me what I wish for this birthday. I have thought about it a lot this morning and here’s what I have decided…I couldn’t pick just one, so I have a list of birthday wishes for my writing community. They are as follows….

  • I wish for you the joy I feel every time I type a sentence. There is nothing in the whole world more thrilling than a well-placed sentence in a well written story.
  • I wish for you the support that I enjoy from my family, friends and the writing community at large.
  • I wish for you the clarity to see where you belong in the writing world. There is also nothing better than realizing that you are writing exactly what you are supposed to be.
  • I wish for you a quiet, comfortable space within which to romance your muse.
  • I wish for you the time to spend with that muse because she/he can be pissy when you ignore him/her.
  • I wish for you the opportunity to explore other genres. So many writers are afraid to take that leap of faith. Don’t be scared.
  • I wish for you the wisdom that comes with age. (or so I’ve heard…I’m still waiting for mine…)
  • I wish for you the thrill of being published in both traditional format and the new electronic format. These are two entirely different experiences and they are both cool.
  • I wish for you the smarts to always step back from a project before you send it out into the world. Like a good wine, a good story needs to breathe…always remember to let your stories breathe, and while doing so, breathe yourself as well.

Finally, I wish for you the writing life you want. Some people don’t want to publish, they just want to write and that’s okay. Some people want to just write short stories, or poetry or haiku’s…that’s all okay. Be you…after all no one else can be any better at being you than…well….you.

So those are my birthday wishes for all of you my friends. Enjoy your Reset Sunday…I know I will….

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2012 in Inspiration, Writing

 

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