Friday, May 29, 2009

Becoming a Writer --- FREEBIE----

Whenever I really need to reawaken my creative side, I read my favorite writing book, Becoming A Writer by Dorothea Brande. Are you guys sick of hearing me mention this book yet??? Good, then read it!! LOL!

In this book she talks about genius being our creative side and that it CAN be taught. We just have to nurture that side of ourselves by evaluating our environments. What inspires us? What makes it hard for us to write? Are there some friends that light a fire within us and makes us anxious to write? Are there others that bring us down to the point of blocking our creative thoughts? One example she gives is of an author who reads books by this one writer, even though he detests the writing style, because when he reads that author's books, he can suddenly see sentences and paragraphs coming together. On the other hand, he can't read his favorite author when he is writing because he starts to feel so inferior. We need to surround ourselves with things that inspire us, but first we need to figure out what that is. That requires us to take a good hard look inside. Here's a writing exercise from the book:
You are near a door...get up, and go through that door. From the moment you stand on the threshold turn yourself into your own subject of attention. What do you look like, standing there? How do you walk? What, if you knew nothing about yourself, could be gathered of you, your character, your background, your purpose there at just that minute? If there are people in the room whom you must greet, how do you greet them? How do your attitudes to them vary? Do you give any overt sign that you are fonder of one, or more aware of one, than of the rest? There is no deep, dark esoteric purpose behind this exercise. It is a primer lesson in considering oneself objectively, and should be dismissed from your mind when you have learned all you can from it.
So here's where the freebie comes in. If you do this exercise and post a small excerpt of it in the comments you will be in the drawing for this book, Becoming A Writer by Dorothea Brande. The deadline for entries is next Thurs. at midnight, the winner will be posted next Friday. Happy writing!


  1. Love a fun contest....

    I gave it a go. It's not my best writing (I can't do impromptu stuff very well) but it was still a great exercise.

    I'll pull this line from it to share:

    She had a halo of sponge rollers and chipped, orange nail polish. She was her own brand of pretty.

  2. EEEK! You want me to write about myself as I appear to myself? YIKES! This would not be a good thing. Gonna have to give this some thought and get back to you. I am interested to see how others do in this little challenge, though and definitely want to put my name in the hat for the book, so...hmmmm....the wheels are turning.

  3. Here's what I got out of this exercise:

    A bone-tired but happy mama, with mascara rings under her eyes and too many chocolate chip cinnamon oatmeal cookies in her tummy.

    She's thinking of sleep but wanting in her heart to still greet everyone coming through that doorway with a bleary smile and all the left over cookies still warm in her kitchen.

    Before leaving, she wants to whisper to them one of life's secrets: she held her two year old son in her arms tonight, heart to heart, until he went to sleep. While the cookies and company were great, her son asleep was the best.

  4. Tess - I think "She was her own brand of pretty." is my new favorite sentence!!! I love it!! Thanks for giving it a go.

    Christine - Don't over think this exercise. Just look at yourself in a mirror and pretend you are seeing this person for the first time, what do you notice? That's it! It's not supposed to be prose, or grammatically correct. It's just your first thoughts.

    Terresa - Perfect. The first time I did this exercise I did it in the morning and had to mention the circles under my eyes too.

    To everyone else who hasn't done this yet ---- Don't let the exercise intimidate you. You only have to post one little sentence. You can do this and trust me, the prize is worth it. I'm not talking about just the drawing for the freebie, but the act of trying to write yourself from an unbiased view really does help when writing characters. Please give it a try!!!

  5. With the sun barely shining, she walked across the hall shoulders slumped and feet shuffling to the bathroom, only to get a glimpse she wished she hadn't. There was much to be desired about her look especially at the moment, dark circles looked more like black holes and her disheveled hair was anything but sexy.

    Okay Nikki-- I did it.

  6. I just found your blog and love it! I am an aspiring LDS writer, and hope to be published someday! Thank you for all of the great tips! Here are my few sentences...

    She poked her head into the kitchen, taking in the two beautiful children eating lucky charms. She watched as they smiled, and chatted happily with one another. Wishing she could have such an attitude at six in the morning, she sighed. Stating from her disheveled hair, and the creases still embedded on her face from sleeping on the edge of her pillow, she was anything but cheerful. Her children noticed her at that moment, and smiled brightly at her. Though she was tired, not to mention her face looking ten years older without makeup, her children didn't seem to mind. She took a step into the kitchen, a smile on her face, and shrugged off the lost hour of sleep to embrace a new day.
    I tried...:)

  7. More like a paragraph, but oh well! Sorry about that!;)

  8. Okay, girls. You asked for it. I actually had fun thinking about all the comments you're going to make. LOL

    "Her tired, worn body approached the threshold, each step a sluggish attempt to carry the folds of flesh she tried unsuccessfully to hide under her tight clothes. She braced herself against the door jam, making a desperate attempt to squeeze through the doorway and enter the forbidden room that lay before her—the kitchen."

  9. Okay, I'm very disappointed that you guys haven't commented on my little reflection. You were forewarned that I was a bit "Sassy". I think it's funny. Slightly over exaggerated, but still funny.

  10. Jenni James still isn't able to comment, but she sent me this in an email.

    "I can't comment! but i just wanted to say, I thought it was HILARIOUS! LOL! I was totally laughing! I thought it was awesome! Jenni"

    Thanks Jenni.

  11. Chantel-Welcome to the blog!! I liked your paragraph! I pictured beautifully smiling Children reason for some reason. Maybe because it's so rare at my house :)

    Christine-LOVED IT!! Sorry I didn't comment sooner, I have a job now (note the lack of enthusiam in my voice!) I loved the dragging motions and the forbidden kitchen!! LOLOL!

  12. Okay, I'll play:

    She'd been skinny during her formative years and still walked with the purpose, confidence, and bounce of someone 50 pounds lighter... but not today. Today her feet were reminding her that heels were best worn beneath lighter frames, so there was a drag in her drive, a hesitation in her hop, and a moment of pause before each tortured foot met the punishing pavement.

    Yeah, I like alliteration too much. :)

  13. Thanks for the post! It was an interesting exercise :)

    She steps through the doorway and right away I notice she is at ease with herself; she could use a fashion make-over but that is overlooked as she smiles and looks around. She is happy; it can be seen on her face. (I am going on vacation tomorrow! So yes! I am happy!)



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