Room to Breathe: Negative Space in Writing.

“Space is the breath of art.”

American architect Frank Lloyd Wright

Nowadays, a lot of us have had the experience of reading a fast-paced, action-packed book that jumps from one disaster to the next with no room to breathe. And according to most writing advice, escalating plot tension is the “correct” way to write. But it is not a reflection of real life. While many events may happen to us in a row, there is also downtime between events for us to grieve or process changes. There is also a baseline “before”, a status quo before things change. Life before the zombie apocalypse /oppressive government regime/ regulation of magic / dragon extinction, etc…

In a book, these “before” and “during” spaces give the reader room to breathe. A temporary release of the tension allows readers to process what they read and to form strong attachments to your characters. Repeat after me: A story needs downtime. A story needs room to breathe.

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FRIDAY PHOTO PROMPTS: Art Installations

Happy Friday everyone! It’s time for – you guessed it – Friday Photo Prompts! Today I decided to post photos of art installations.

I love how art installations alter our perceptions of the world around us. They make us reconsider mundane objects. They transform ordinary spaces. I think there is potential for some great fantasy world-building in these photos. How could you incorporate elements of these pictures into a fantasy or sci-fi story?

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Writing Rituals: Creating a Third Space.

Let’s cozy up together…and talk about…writing rituals.

You might ask yourself: what’s the difference between a ritual and a habit? Well, habits are things we do every day without thought – drinking water, brushing our teeth, tying our shoes. Through repetition, these tasks have become effortless. Unlike habits, rituals are not passive. Rituals require mindfulness. Rituals are a choice we make, over and over again.

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Friday Photo Prompts

For today’s Friday photo prompt, I chose photos of people that invite you to tell their story. As writers, it’s easy to get caught up in the physical details – hair color, eye color, skin color – and lose a big portion of what makes us human. Characterization isn’t just what someone looks like – but what they do – their small gestures, habits, idiosyncrasies, the way they dress, the work they do, the things they create, the way they interact with people…

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April: Camp NaNoWriMo

Happy April everyone! I’m happy to report the weather is finally sunny here. While I have some free time, I’ve been trying to work on the last few chapters of my novel. Since it’s good to have a goal and something to work towards, I’ve decided to join April’s Camp NaNoWriMo.

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Friday Photo Prompts

If you’re looking for writing inspiration, go no further. These ten images will get ideas percolating in no time. Let these strange and awe-inspiring landscapes from real life inspire your next project!

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How to Write a Novel Synopsis

There comes a time in every writer’s life where they’re asked to write a synopsis of their book. Not to be confused with sales copy (which is persuasive marketing to get readers to buy your book) the synopsis discloses a book’s entire narrative arc. It divulges to an agent or publisher what happens in your story, from start to finish. And it reveals all the twists and surprises that are held back from your reader. A synopsis needs to convince an agent or publisher that your premise is exciting and marketable. It assures them that character actions and motivations make sense. On the flip side, it can reveal plot flaws, lack of structure or hackneyed or cliched ideas.

The dreaded task of writing a synopsis is not fun or easy, but necessary. Most agents or publishers will ask for a synopsis (in addition to a query letter and manuscript sample) before considering taking on a book. Unfortunately, there is no one “right” way to write a synopsis, but the general consensus is that it should be 500-700 words, single-spaced. So how do you convey everything about your book in a modicum of space?

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