Shake Up Your Writing

We have all heard about mixing into our stories unexpected twists and cliff hangers (or “To Be Continued” as the Kdrama “W-Two Worlds” puts it).  Making a list of “What ifs” is another good writing-shaker exercise. I’m sure you know about these, and hope you continue to use them to push your reader further into your story. But by Shake Up Your Writing, I am not talking about any of these good things. I’m talking about turning ninety degrees from what you normally do, and go off on a designated writing tangent.

For instance…

Last spring, a friend invited me to a GoodReads writers group. They have monthly, themed short story contests. I don’t normally write short stories, but I like my friend. She was hosting the contest that month so thought I’d encourage her efforts by joining the group and writing a story for her. Anyone of the 140 members can vote each month. You just can’t vote for your own story. That first month I won first place.

Huh. Did I mention I don’t normally write short stories?

I’ve remained in the group even though I don’t participate each time. The result is that this fall, I will have three of my stories published in two different anthologies. I hadn’t thought about anthologies (or short stories) for a long time. In 2012, two of my short stories were published in an anthology put together by a former writing group (The Black Hills Writers Group). And about five years before that, a non-fiction article got published in another anthology. My WIPs are novels. The present one is a l-o-n-g series. So the DWT (designated writing tangent) of writing short stories has served me well. It has stretched my brain. It has been a lovely distraction so that now I am ready to get back to my poor wandering hero with his war unicorn.

Whether you try your hand at non-fiction, or picture books, or biography, shake up your writing! Then get back to work.

 

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What inspires me as a MG/Tween writer?

My publisher, MuseItYoung, has a blog for MG/Tween/YA/NewYA. We authors are presented with a topic and asked to respond. The topic for this Saturday is “What inspires me as a MG/Tween/YA/NewYA writer.” I responded. So this is a reprint part of a future blog post. I added one more thing in this post.
What inspires me as a MG/Tween writer:
I write what I like to read, or what I like to do…even though I don’t actually, however much I wish I could, ride unicorns through mountains nor eat with dragons in their fall caves.
I’m inspired by people around me – the best and the worst.
I’m inspired by silence.
I’m inspired by shortness of breath on a mountaintop or by nearly tumbling off a dock into the sea during a raging storm.
I’m inspired by stories of real life heroes, those who make me cry and cheer.
I’m inspired by seven deer leaping a fence in the colorful fall, and by tiny stalks and flowers bursting through the snow in early spring.
I’m inspired by elderly people with all their experiences, and by newborn babies continuing the circle of hope.
What inspires me? Life inspires me. Hope inspires me. You reading this inspires me.