Saturday, August 20, 2011

Writerly Accoutrements

And no, I’m not talking about chocolate or wine. Both of those help, don’t get me wrong, but I’m speaking of things that get me over, or through, writer’s block and Blank Page Rage (BPR). (Yeah, you know you’ve had it). Here are my tricks...

There are two free podcasts that I download and listen to when I’m walking the dog, or running errands. The first is The New York Times Book Review podcast. Hosted by the editor, Sam Tanenhaus, it covers the best seller list, features on new books, and industry gossip. The thirty minutes (or so) fly by.

The second podcast is Writers and Co. This is a series of interviews with usually just one author, discussing their body of work, their craft, or just their most recent release. These episodes last anything from 40 minutes to an hour and a half. Both the podcasts can be found on iTunes. And listening to either one makes me feel like I’m ‘working’ at my WIP, even when I’m not…

Then there are times that I absolutely cannot have another cup of coffee without moving my whole writing station to the bathroom. That's when I turn to the anti-cellulite gel. I slather it on—it’s good for the legs (allegedly) and it’s jam-packed with caffeine. It’s handy for all nighters, but don’t, for the love of sleep, use it after 3pm if you’re planning to go to bed at a normal time. Just don’t.

What about playlists for each character in your WIP? It might sound a little crazy, but writing their dialogue (in particular) while listening to appropriately themed music, really helps keep the voices authentic. Try it. You might like it.

When all else fails: TV. If I’m stuck for snappy dialogue, I turn to the TV series ‘Castle’, for inspiration. I’m not sure who writes it (mental note to find out), but it has totally hit its stride with quick repartee and plot twists. Also? Nathan Fillion.

And when I absolutely have to be inspired, anything by Aaron Sorkin will usually get me off my butt with the desire to practice, practice, practice. Watch any episode of any show he has done. He never wastes so much as a word. It’s a true masterclass in writing, right there, on your TV screen.

Does anyone else have any writerly tips to help us keep on, keeping on? Please share!

8 comments:

Linda G. said...

Oh, I love Castle! You're right -- brilliant dialogue. Plus, I just like looking at Nathan Fillion. ;)

But, seriously, there's a leg cream with caffeine? Geez, what will they think of next?

Chad Kallauner said...

Good advice! For my current WIP, I have made a playlist based on each chapter. I am using quotes from the songs as epigraphs to each chapter. It's a fun way for me to get inside the protagonist's head.

Suze said...

*laughing* I found out by accident (after a long, sleepless night), but nearly all anti-cellulite creams and gels contain the mega-load of caffeine. File under: strange, but true :)

Suze said...

Ohhh, Chad... playlist for each CHAPTER. I am definitely going to try that - especially for the big action scenes. Thanks!

Chad Kallauner said...

Thanks, Suze!

My WIP is a quirky thing, so the song quotes really set up each chapter. Plus, they're all tunes that the protagonist likes.

(Did I mention that the story is semi-autobiographical? Haha.)

Jeff King said...

I just think about waking up tomorrow and going to a job I hate… that is motivation enough for me.

Chick Author said...

Great tips, girl. I subscribed to the NY Times blog but couldn't find the other. Wah!

Suze said...

Jeff: I feel your pain :)
Chick : just put 'Writers & Co' in the iTunes search box. Actually, just putting in 'writers' brings a good list of podcasts about writing. More procrastinational tools!