Wednesday, January 25, 2017

When the Words Won't Come by Mary Ellis

     Every writer has wrestled for hours when they can’t string seven words together into a concise sentence. We doubt ourselves, our mentors, the process we thought we’d perfected, even the quality of beans that went into our cup of java. It happens to the best of us. There is no one-size-fits-all solution since writers are as different as that shade of navy you’re trying to match. I can only give you my humble opinion to tuck into your first aid kit on possible cures.
     When the words won’t come I see two possible reasons, both of which involve turning off and moving away from your computer. How many times have we fallen asleep in our easy chairs, but tossed-and-turned in bed for hours? If you get out of bed and put the TV back on, you’ll doze off by the next commercial. Same is true about trying to force creativity in front of your laptop. Once you are seated in a lawn chair or a booth at the coffee shop, consider the first reason your well is dry: You need more story. This happens more often for seat-of-the-pants writers than plotters, but even plotters can reach a lull when the action or romantic drama needs help from a subplot to thicken the stew. Ask yourself: What can come along to blindside your characters? What’s the worst thing they fear? Make it happen. Often writers concoct a thrilling opening and know exactly how to bring their story to a tasty conclusion. They might even have some plot twists in mind, but in long novels, not even the most devout “plotter” can pre-conceive enough scenes to keep the pace moving. Go where it’s quiet, where you can roll your eyes back into your head. Suddenly story ideas will flow faster than you can jot down on your Starbucks napkin.
     The second problem we sometimes experience is the haven’t-I-said-all-this-before-syndrome. We’ve got our story; we’ve got our multi-dimensional characters. But we’re trotting out the same old metaphors and tired verbs. It’s time to get away to someone else’s creative work that’s not in the genre you write. Read a book by a writer whose work you admire to see how they craft a story. No time to read a full novel? Go to a movie, again one with a screenplay by someone you love. Sit back, sip your soda, munch your popcorn and enjoy. I’ve been known to utter things like: What a delightful black moment, much to my husband’s dismay. The key is getting away from yourself. Then when you return to your work-in-progress, the well will be primed with fresh creative waters.
     Mary Ellis is currently writing the series, Secrets of the South. Her next book, Sunset in Old Savannah, releases in March. When a philandering husband turns up dead, two crack detectives find more suspects than moss-draped oaks in charming old Savannah. She can be found on the web at www.maryellis.net


     Please leave Mary a comment for a chance to win a hot-off-the-presses copy of Sunset in Old Savannah. US and Canada only, please. 

46 comments:

  1. Hey Mary, one of my absolute favorite authors cannot wait to read this. So happy the day I was at the library & stumled upon your books.

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    1. you're actually one of my fav people as well. hope to see you s00n.

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  2. Great advice for writers....seasoned or amateur. I'd love to win this book. Thanks for the opportunity.
    debsbunch777(at)gmail(dot)com

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  3. Beverly Duell-MooreJanuary 25, 2017 at 10:15 AM

    Oh, how I love this series! Looking forward to the next one! Can't wait for it to come out!

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  4. Hi Mary Ellis, you know I want to read this one, lived in Savannah for many years and now outside about hr away in a rural quite area. Want to see what you think about the "Old Savannah".

    Paula O(kyflo130(at)yahoo (dot)com.

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    1. Savannah is one of my favorite cities on earth. been there many times. you're so lucky to have lived there.

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  5. I would love to win this book. You are a wonderful writer. Thank you for the opportunity.

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind words. good luck

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  6. This sounds like a great series. I love the old South and especially Savannah. Thank you. rackylemaire (at) Gmail (dot) com

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    1. You are entered. thanks for posting a comment.

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  7. Thanks for sharing this glimpse into the writer's life and for the chance to be a book winner!

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

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  8. I'm wanting to read this one!!
    dkstevensne AToutlook *DOT*com

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  9. Can't wait to read this new book.

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  10. Love your books Mary and I would love to read this one.

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    1. Thanks Stella. Good luck in the drawing.

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  11. I have read all your books. I enjoyed all of them. God bless you in all you do.

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    1. thanks so much for your kind words. they're music to this writer's ears.

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  12. Your upcoming book sounds neat!
    Martha T.
    CRPrairie(1)@imonmail(dot)com

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  13. Looking forward to this series. Enjoying your mystery/ suspense writing!

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  14. Thanx for the giveaway!!! I can't wait to get into the mystery!!!! Enjoyed learning about getting through writer's slump. Keep up the good work!
    j4hibdon(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. thanks Jennifer. good luck in the drawing.

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  15. The series sounds really intriguing. Enjoyed reading the article about writing.
    betsylu2@msn.com

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  16. I needed this post today! Thank you! And I'd love to win a copy of your new book.

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  17. So excited about this series. Mary, thanks for the good advice.
    Connie
    cps1950(atgmail(dot)com

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  18. Mary, this sounds like my kind of suspense. And being from the south it haves double appeal to me!
    tumcsec(at)gmail(dot)com

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  19. Sounds like a good book to read to get those suspense writing juices going. Great advice here. Someone once told me to just sit down and start writing whatever comes into your mind, even if it has nothing to do with your story--just write! Not sure if it would help or not. One thing that I do, is go back & reread my previous work, & sometimes that can get me going again. Still struggling to get ONE finished... LOL
    Put me in the drawing please!
    Vicki

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  20. Sunset in Old Savannah sounds great! Looking forward to reading your book. Thank you

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    1. Congrats Linda! You're my lucky winner of Sunset in Old Savannah! Congrats. I will contact you via email.

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  21. Nice to meet a new to me author & a series which sounds like a wonderful adventure to read. doward1952(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Nice to meet you too, Doward. good luck

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  22. Secrets of the South sounds like an intriguing series. Mysteries are my favorite genre. I would love to read this series. Thank you for the chance.

    psalm103and138 at gmail dot com

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  23. I am adding my email, and also I failed to say I am excited to read your book.
    mamawnana7 at g mail dot com

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  24. Hi Mary! I'm not a writer, but I've heard so many things from writers about what they go through sometimes; the doubts, the fears, the "writers block", etc! But I'm so glad authors press through to complete their WIP, because readers like me appreciate all the hard work & dedication it takes to give us books to read!! Keep up the good work :-)

    I have to say, I love this cover! My husband and I went to San Francisco in October and rode one of those old-fashioned street cars to get down to Pier 39. It looked EXACTLY like the one on this book!! Brings back great memories :-) Thank you for the chance to win a copy of "Sunset in Old Savannah", it sounds like one I'd very much enjoy!

    teamob4 (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. thanks so much for leaving such a lovely comment. I'm so glad you enjoyed my post.

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  25. What an interesting, very historic, and very scenic location for a story! Enjoyed the interview - Thanks! dixiedobie at yahoo dot com

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    1. thanks Cathy. good luck in the drawing.

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