Friday, 25 November 2016

Finish That Story!

This. Is. It. The home stretch. You have just six days left to complete the National Novel Writing Month challenge—5,000 words in 30 days. (Unless you tried for the 50,000, in which case, I am in AWE of you!)

It’s tempting to give up. I mean, Christmas is around the corner and between holiday baking, putting up decorations, doing fun crafts with my sister, and—cough cough—drafting my annual wish list for Santa, it’s a BUSY time of year.

So, how do you keep your butt in the chair to keep writing? A few ideas from my author friend:
  1. Don’t edit! It’s tempting to look back at your words and want to perfect them—it’s a form of procrastination. But remember, the goal is not to write 5,000 perfect words—just get the words written.
  2. Eat a good breakfast. Sounds silly, but if your brain isn’t fueled, you’ll find other things to do rather than write. No time to make a big meal? Don’t worry—a smoothie is perfect. (Add a teaspoon of canola oil for the healthy fat your brain needs!)
  3. Re-read last week’s post on crushing Writer’s Block. No, really. Here’s the link.
  4. Stop being afraid. Look, I understand self-doubt. Most of the time, I think my words suck. But they don’t suck. And even if they did, who cares? Forget that fear of “what if it isn’t good?”—just…yeah you guessed it…write? 

If you’ve stuck with me through November, GREAT! And even better if you’ve been writing. Want to share your story? Email it to me at If I publish it on my blog you could win the entire set of Superman Duffy comics!

Gotta jet! May the words be with you on the home stretch.

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 18 November 2016

Story Stuck? Tips for Crushing That Writer’s Block

It happens to the best writers (I’ve heard). That point in your story when things aren’t moving forward. The words are slowing vs flowing. It’s frustrating at the best of times—but when you’re trying to write 5,000 words in 30 days as part of the National Novel Writing Month challenge—it can be crippling!

Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but I’m feeling a little panicked with less than two weeks left in NaNoWriMo and only half a story written. This weekend, I need to buckle down—just as soon as I get rid of this pesky writer’s block.

I asked an author for some tips and here are five she suggested:
  1. Eliminate distractions. Yup, time to shut down that Facebook page and disconnect from the Internet. (Not forever!)
  2. Read a book. Sounds counter-productive, I know, but reading inspires writing. That’s a proven fact. (I’m going to re-read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory because it ALWAYS inspires me.)
  3. Change your environment. Do you always write in your bedroom? Try the kitchen table, or the local library. I’m going to set up shop in my grandpa’s tool shed!
  4. Listen to music. I have a writing playlist on my iPod, but some of the songs are distracting because I sing to the lyrics. Maybe I should switch to classical or something without words?
  5. Brainstorm ideas in bullet points. That will at least get the creative juices flowing even if you don’t quite have the right words to say what you mean…yet.

BAM! Writer’s block crushed! Not quite? Well, there is one fool proof way to combat it: WRITE!

Gotta jet—I have just under 2,500 words to write and less than two weeks to do it! Good luck and write on.

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 11 November 2016

While We’re on the Subject of Remembering…

Today is Remembrance Day and I certainly will take time to remember the soldiers who were involved fighting for our freedoms during the first and second war. My sister and I have already done a few great poppy crafts, including some from this website.

And of course, we’ll have a family two-minutes of silence at 11 a.m., and after dinner, our annual reading of In Flanders Fields: TheStory of the Poem by John McCrae. Did you know that Mr. McCrae was Canadian? Cool, right?

But as I head into the weekend with lots of words to catch up on for my National NovelWriting Month (NaNoWriMo) project (how are YOU doing?), I thought it might be a good time to look at some things to remember when you’re writing. In no particular order, my top five are:
  1. Sketch the basics of your story. Who is your character? What does that character want? Do you know the beginning, middle, and the end of your story? (It’s okay not to know the details, but you should have a road map of the character’s journey.) Jot it all down.
  2. Who IS your character? No, really. Describe him or her with as much detail as you can. This is who your reader will love, dislike, root for, and stick with until the end of the story…you hope. What makes him or her interesting? Character sketches can help you get “unstuck” when you run into writer’s block.
  3. Create a conflict. This kind of goes with #1, but it’s important to remember that the more conflicts and obstacles your character faces, the more entertaining your story will be. There are many kinds of conflicts—brainstorm them and choose the best one!
  4. Practice your dialogue. What your characters say is important! Dialogue can reveal plot, advance the story, bring scenes to life, and adjust the story’s pace. Plus, it takes up space! If you’re writing 5,000 words this month with me, you want to keep the words flowing. Aye, matey?
  5. Start with a bang! Your opening scene is important. Writing fast is good for NaNoWriMo, but if you’re going to spend extra time on a scene, the first one is vital! Start with a day that is different. Use action. Let us get to know your character. We want our readers to keep turning the page… 

I know, that’s a lot to remember on a day of remembering! But YOU CAN DO IT! Now get writing…

Gotta jet!

~ Chase Superman Duffy