Tag Archives: Writing about writing

The Weird Habits of Writers | House Blog

And here we see the elusive ‘Writer’ in its natural habitat… Be careful – we don’t want to scare it off…

 

Speaking for myself, I tend to do some weird things when I write. Usually I do this in the safety of my own home, where other people can’t witness these oddities, but sometimes the weird cannot be contained and spills out into the rest of the world…

 

As we can see, sometimes the writer’s face will suddenly contort into strange expressions, as if warning unseen enemies not to get too close…

When I’m writing a scene between two people, I’ll often find myself trapped in dialogue, so I’ll toss in some descriptions to break it up a little. If I want to describe how someone’s face looks, it’s easiest for me to make the face I want and go from there. If a character’s conflicted, I’ll pretend I feel that way and then I’ll notice how my eyebrows come together and the left corner of my mouth tightens. If you ever see me making weird faces for no reason, it’s probably because I’m working on a story.

 

If we get a little closer we can hear the writer talking to itself, repeating words over and over, as if invoking an ancient spirit…

I like my dialogue to sound natural (well, as natural as something entirely scripted can sound), so I’ll say the lines to myself – sometimes acting out entire scenes. If a line’s not working, I’ll try saying it a few times to figure out what’s not working. Do I need to find a better word? Rearrange the sentence order? Start from scratch…? What sounds better?

 

Sometimes, the writer will sit still for hours, not moving in the slightest. We suspect that this is some kind of strange meditation, and yet they do not seem very relaxed…

Yeah, I’ve been there. Staring at the screen or page in front of me, willing words to suddenly appear – afraid that if you move you might scare the words away. I’ve found this to be one of the worst ways for me to get over writer’s block, and yet I cannot stop doing it. I did it at least 5 times while I was writing this blog post…

 

Here we see the strange, awkward dance of the writer. Although there are no other people around, notice as they move about in strange ways, dancing to music that only they can hear…

Confession time: I like to act out fight scenes. It gives me a better idea of what’s going on and how the characters are moving, plus I get a better idea of tension and momentum and pacing. Also, it’s really fun to act out fight scenes.

 

I’m sure there are many other odd habits I’ve failed to mention, but I’ve got to go stare at my computer screen for a few hours and will some words to appear.

Do you have any strange writing habits you’d like to share? Any habits here seem familiar to you?

And remember, if someone sees you doing something strange and confusion clouds their eyes, just say “I’m a writer” and that should be explanation enough.

How to Blackmail Yourself into Finishing Your Writing | House Blog

Maybe you’re one of those writers who has no problem sitting down and writing a story from start to finish, or maybe you’re more like me and you get side-tracked multiple times before you can get to the end.

Although it’s romantic to think of yourself as a tortured writer who’s utterly desperate to finish that one big novel you have inside of you – which is so eager to come out, but can’t because you’re too weighed down by the massive ennui you feel just by existing – it’s much more practical to actually finish your darn projects.

Here are few problems that I’ve encountered while trying to finish a story/novel, and what I do to try to keep myself motivated*.

Continue reading How to Blackmail Yourself into Finishing Your Writing | House Blog

Write Place, Wrong Time

I did a dumb thing. In the grand scheme of things it’s not that big of a deal, but I’m still sighing about it.

One of my resolutions* for this year was to get more rejection letters. I say this, because even though I’d much rather get acceptance letters, I tend to prepare myself for the worst. If I try and get accepted then Yay me! If I try and get rejected, then I’m succeeding at my resolution! Yay me!

I don’t care if the glass is half-full or half-empty, but I’d like to know if the liquid inside is poison.

Continue reading Write Place, Wrong Time

“Where do you get your ideas?” | House Blog

For me, the simplest answer is:

My Brain. 

My brain is a very strange little thing, and it comes up with weird ideas all the time.  Some ideas are half-formed and need to be thought about before they become something I can actually work with.  Some are fully-formed scenes that merely need a story.  Some are just an object or one sentence.

I don’t think there’s a wrong way to come up with ideas.  There are probably a vast many different ways that a person can be inspired – and what inspires me might not inspire someone else.

However…

If you’re looking for a longer answer, let’s get into detail:

Where do my ideas come from? Continue reading “Where do you get your ideas?” | House Blog

THE ULTIMATE EXERCISE IN WORLD BUILDING | Patreon Blog

Matthew LeDrewFor the last few years I have been using the term ‘World Building’ incorrectly. I always took it to mean the Tolkien-like appendixes and appendices that some authors chose to but in the front and backs of their books, often with maps and diagrams and schematics and character histories that had little to nothing to do with the story at hand, and which I often found exhausting.

However, my fellow author JJ King has recently educated me that this is not the case: World Building can simply be the slow process of letting the reader know what can and cannot happen in your world, a set of rules that you write by and provide information on on an as-needed basis, ideally.

I say that I used the term ‘World Building’ incorrectly because I only associated it with the sort of pedantic info-dumps I try to never do, but apparently this is just bad or expositive World Building. Good World Building can happen organically an naturally, giving small snippets of the larger world in book after book… much like I did with the Engen Universe. I was embarrassed to learn that such a pivotal term had escaped my vernacular, but such is life, we all have our knowledge gaps.

Since then I have spent months ruminating on all the wrong-answers I have given regarding World Building in my previous Writing Panel experiences. After some serious thought, I think I’ve come up with the ideal World Building scenario for those who have an exhaustive world and cast of characters in their heads without knowing where to start – and it works for any genre!

The rest of this post can be viewed for as little as $1 for any of our Patreon subscribers! Click here to go to this post’s page on the Engen Books Patreon!

Coming Soon: The Write Project Podcast!

podcast01As announced previously, Engen is going to be kicking things up a notch with an all-new twice-monthly podcast starring Amanda Labonté, Ellen Curtis, and Matthew LeDrew! Each 60 minute episode will have three topics / segments: Writing Chat, Publishing Chat, and General/Reviews Chat!

The Write Project Podcast starts in November as a part of the Engen Books / The Tutoring Center’s NaNoWriMo 2017 celebration! Subscribe to the Engen Books YouTube channel and make sure and hit the bell icon when you do, and you’ll be notified when we upload new episodes! ❤

Going Full-Time | Distractions | Matthew LeDrew’s Blog

This might have to be my final post under the ‘Distractions’ banner, if only because I will, very soon, not be able to abide distractions anymore. That is to say, as of January 1 2018, I will be going Full-Time writing and publishing through Engen Books.

This is a massive step forward for me personally and for the company as a whole. We’ve made great strides in the last ten years helping to build ourselves as Atlantic Canada’s premier small-press, indie, and genre publisher. We’ve taken on a massive amount of new projects and new authors which has helped expand our library exponentially. This is going to give me the time to  really pour gasoline on that process. We’re going to be expanding into new areas and taking on new authors, as well as making sure our existing stable of amazing talent like Ali House, Ellen Curtis, Amanda Labonté, and Paul Carberry remain focused and driven to succeed.

It isn’t, however, without risk. While we’ve had an amazing year in 2017 and this was a part of a 5-year plan for us, this wasn’t a strategically-planned and calculated move. This came out of necessity because of some upheavals in my person life that I’ll disclose as I become able. Suffice to say, we’re viewing this as a positive and bravely making this leap forward. 🙂

As a part of this building though, we’re going to be needing the support and patience of our fans more than ever. There are going to be some changes. First and foremost will be an increased focus on Kindle and other eBook formats, as there is very little overhead to producing fiction in those methods. We have a dedicated print fan base we know, and our most popular titles (like the ‘From the Rock’ anthology series) will still be available in print day-of release, but some titles may see a digital-only release for short periods of time so that we can bring our work to those who want it. Continue reading Going Full-Time | Distractions | Matthew LeDrew’s Blog