Writer’s Block// How to Escape the Scrape

A new writing post has emerged!

The last one that was similar to this was 5 Reasons You Should Keep Writing. 

Today we’ll be talking about writer’s block.

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Your inspiration is non-existent. You don’t feel like writing…or maybe you do and can’t think of anything to put on that blank page (or screen 😀 ). Congratulations!

You have writer’s block.

Now that I’ve diagnosed your writing problem (which you most likely have already diagnosed 😉 ) and also given you a deceptive blog post title…we may proceed!

What??! You gave us a deceptive blog post title?

Well, yes I did. You see…there’s no one way to fix this problem. I can’t just give you tips and say “This one will totally work for you!”. Because…every person is different and what works for me may not work for you. Yay, aren’t I encouraging?

While that may sound like bad news…guess what? It can also be very good news! Putting it positively- your solution may be right around the corner waiting to be discovered. So see, it’s not hopeless!

Ideas to destroy this beast…

  1. Remove anything and everything that’s distracting you from your presence. We have so many things in life that could potentially distract us from the one thing we want to do right now. I know for me personally- I go from writing a school assignment to just- not. Whether that means I’m checking my email or doing somethin’ else- It’s distracting me from writing. So. GET. RID. OF. THOSE. PESKY. DISTRACTIONS. ONE. BY. ONE. !
  2. Find a book to read that will get the imagination flowing. If you’re trying to write something in the fantasy genre, maybe read something in that genre. For instance, my current project is a retelling of The Little Mermaid. I keep on reading the original story to get the creative juices flowing. 
  3. Find a new angle. Were you telling the story first person? Try this out: tell the story in second person. Or you can take another character vital to the story and tell it in his/her perspective. If you’re struggling to put those first words on the paper…think about a way to make the story opening something totally different than what you’d intended. Was Willemina a princess once? Why not turn her into an ugly young woman afraid she’s never going to be realized for the princess she is? Now–true, this may just ruin the story. But there really are limitless possibilities. And it’s always possible you assigned the character the wrong role. 😀
  4. Make a pinterest storyboard. This may not be for everyone. But I can attest to loving this. Sometimes images inspire the mind when nothing else can. They visually transport you into the realm you’re writing about. They help you envision what you were trying to write. If you want an example of one you can check out mine for my dystopian story Watchful here. I love doing this, and it’s especially helpful to look back on when I’m stuck or uninspired. 
  5. Story Prompts. I’m not sure when this became a ‘thing’. But I just started getting into it. One thing I used to worry about was the possibility of plagiarism. Not anymore though. Because, I have discovered that different minds think differently. And while, yes, we sometimes tend to think similarly—you’d be surprised at what I come up with VS what others come up with. So don’t worry! Story prompts are an amazing way to help you step it up. Why not try angling what you have of your story into a prompt to enhance the plot? Or start your story with a prompt!
  6. Write. There is a way that may make you upset. It’s called writing. 😀 You’re not going to beat this writer’s block without doing some writing. Most of the things I’ve suggested up until now–have been ways to get the writing juices flowing. Because I don’t want you to think that the solution is NOT to write. True, you may need a little break. You may need to go outside where the air is clean to think about it. But the solution isn’t to quit writing indefinitely until you’re inspired. That’s a sure way to either never write, or when you do–to go back off it just as soon. 
  7. Try listening to epic music. I wouldn’t recommend pop or anything where the beat is louder than the words. If you’re writing a romance novel…imagine the scene while you’re playing some soft, sweet music. Try instrumental. If bigfoot is about to stomp on littlefoot…then play something tense. Will littlefoot be trod underfoot? 🙂 I personally love listening to movie soundtracks for epic fight scenes and the like. But you may need something smooth and calming. I do too, sometimes. 
  8. Make a writer’s schedule. This is one that I’m awful at, but really need to try. If you pace yourself so that you’re writing at a certain time for a certain amount of time- it may help. Put it in a place in that busy schedule where it’s not so likely to be loud. Make it fit at a ‘smooth’ part of the day where your work load isn’t there to bother you. 

 

I hope this was helpful to you! Keep writing!

Have you tried any of these?

Name a way not listed that’s helped you in the comments!

A you a writer, or more of a reader?

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Mist & Water Droplets

Good afternoon!

I was so thrilled when I woke up and saw…a mist/fog! A thick mist, too. I ran out, stuff sticking to my bare feet- and snapped some quick photos. Then I was told to come upstairs to do yoga with Mom and H. I was literally begging the mist not to go away while I did yoga. And happily, the mist remained. I went out and took more pictures. And my feet were still bare, FYI 🙂 .

 

The first wave…

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There were many tiny little dew-touched webs all hidden in the grass. More to come later.

 

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Oh yes, I found quite a few interesting creatures inching their ways around. Here is my friend the snail 🙂 .

 

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There were so many webs around! In this picture you see webs on a leaf…

 

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Landscape of the fog…

 

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Notice the sun behind all the fog. I edited out the telephone wire, BTW.

 

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So, I hope this thing on landscapes in the fog didn’t bore you. In this picture I wanted to remove the telephone wires but found that it wasn’t working so well. This is my favorite. I guess I just don’t know how to remove those wires… 😦 . 

 

 

The second wave…

 

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Introducing you to the windmill. I haven’t shown this to you until now, but we have a ‘windmill’ in our yard. It’s little. In pictures it always looks (to me) like a guillotine. Creepiness, right? 🙂

 

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And now for a shocking burst of color. Just when your eyes were adjusted to the gray-blue landscape fog stuff… 🙂 . 

 

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This is dedicated to the curious amongst us. If you’ve ever wondered what a rotted peach looks like, here you go!

 

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The final photo! I was just going past quietly when this poor guy jumped right into a spider’s web. It was kinda’ sad 😦 But it WAS a good photography opportunity. 

 

Well, I hope I didn’t bore you TOO severely. I actually think this was one of the shortest photoshoots I’ve ever done. But I also think I got the most pictures I’ve ever gotten out of this one. Haha…I didn’t even post ALL of the pictures. 😉

 

So, have any of you ever ventured into a supposedly ‘yucky’ day to take photos?

Do you enjoy when fog/ mists come?

Which of the pictures in each category (first wave, landscape, 2nd wave) is your favorite?

What kind of photography would you like to see more of?

 

p.s. Soon I’m going to post pictures I took on another photoshoot. That post will be 1,000 (just kidding) different views of mom’s engagement ring. I probably should’ve borrowed dad’s wedding ring too…but oh well.

 

~Emmaline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pinterest Inspired Crafts Class

Howdy howdy!

(That’s for my friends who live in Texas 🙂 )

Yesterday afternoon I was given the (scary) fun task of ‘babysitting’ my three younger siblings. Mom and my older sister were off to Nashville for H’s piano lesson. And dad was sick, so I was in charge. A few moments before they left- Mom asked me if I would do a ‘fall’ craft with the kids. I had been wanting to try out a few Pinterest style crafts and so…I did. And I am happy we did.

 

The Hand Trees…

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Nathanael with his ‘hand tree’.

 

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Josiah with his…

 

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…and Ellie with hers.

Sorry about the blurriness… for some reason my siblings didn’t enjoy standing still for long! 🙂

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Ellie working on her tree…

 

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And this was the start of my tree…

 

The Fall Leaves Wreath

 

Then we went and gathered fall leaves, emphasis on color.

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I only have a photo of Ellie’s, but you can follow the link up there and check out my pinterest board. Ellie’s is more unique than the one on pinterest, and I was proud of her design skills. 

 

 

Have y’all done any fall-inspired crafts lately?

What is your #1 favorite thing about fall?

Do you use pinterest? (I’m a pinterest crazy person!)

What do YOU think of our crafts? Any ideas for another craft? 🙂

 

~Emmaline

 

 

Fake Engagement Session

Don’t get excited!

What a way to start a post… I just don’t want anyone thinking this is ACTUALLY anything close to a real engagement session. I don’t have any models for these photos. All I have is the engagement ring (which is mom’s, no I don’t have an engagement ring 🙂 ).  But I have always had a fascination for taking ring photos. I used to have a ring I’d photograph all the time. Now…I borrow someone else’s.

Note: some of the following images received minimal editing. 

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Setting one: “up on the rooftop” of our house. Dangerous, right? 🙂

 

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Setting two: “On a tree” perched high in the air. I am fond of precarious positions.

 

 

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Setting three: “the leaf”. 

 

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Setting four: “the barbed wire fence”. (Fun Fact: I once ran into one of these and the barb tore right through my pants and cut skin…)

 

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I am very proud of this one. The shadow were fun to shoot with, and I literally balanced it on a piece of bark! Oh, and the focus actually decided to work on the macro setting.

 

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Setting five: “the lexus”. I think this may have been my favorite to shoot. Dad’s car (the lexus)–was in the shade. The lexus is blue, and so it was even darker in the shade. Then I took mom’s ring and dropped it in a cup of water, then pulled it out dripping wet. And there you are!! I also got the lexus a little wet…

 

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Setting six: “The pebbles”. In this photo the ring was still rather wet. So I worked with the sunlight on this one. And the macro focus even produced some bokeh lights 🙂 .

 

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Setting seven: “The telephone”. I wasn’t as happy with this one. The focus was giving me trouble. But I DO love the shadows. And it’s kinda’ grainy 😦 .

Bonus Ring…

 

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So, do you ever do fake engagement photos?

If you were to do a real couple, what poses would you do?

Which of these photos do you think turned out the best?

 

Thanks, Mom– for letting me borrow your ring. 🙂

 

~Emmaline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teen Birthday Photos

On October 24th 2003, Josiah Matthew Figura was born.

And that is why I did this photoshoot. Because my younger brother is now a teenager. He’s 13. And so at 4:00 we headed outside…

 

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Happy 13th birthday, Josiah! I enjoy watching you grow up…the next step is for you to pass me up in height. I hope it’s not anytime soon 😦 🙂 !

 

~Emmaline

 

 

 

 

Chop the Adverbs!

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You’ve probably heard this dozens of times. But it’s worth repeating: most editors dislike a lot of adverbs in creative writing. You’ve probably also heard the horror stories of the poor victims that showed up to the editors office and were told: “I need you to remove around 100 adverbs. I would recommend either completely changing the structure of the scene or adding a good strong verb instead.”

That is scary to me! I hope when I finally get around to having an actual editor that I won’t have the worry of extra adverbs on my plate. And so that is my primary focus in my writing right now.

But let’s ask the important question first: “Why do I have to cut out my adverbs anyway?”

Why You Need to Chop Adverbs…

  1. Because it can turn the reader off by being repetitive or excess. It really can do that. Have you ever read a book that was just so…*yawn* worthy? I’m not just talking about boring. I’m talking about over-the-top descriptions.

Example:

Jill and Jackson rushed quickly about the house.

Let’s take a look at this. Jill and Jackson rushing around is fine. It gives you a sense of the urgency of whatever is going on in the scene. So why  inclusion of the adverb- quickly?  That just distracts the reader. You should always stay away from extra/excess/unnecessary modifiers and descriptions. In the above example, I just restated the verb using an adverb. Instead, I ought to have just stuck with my strong verb-rushed. The next example is a sample taken from the scene of one of my books- before I removed as many adverbs as I could.

 Example:

“Rohn?”

A short grizzly looking man with sinister eyes and a foul expression asks.

The tall man he addresses looks annoyed.

“Vice President Cain, how many times do I need to tell you I am President Rohn?”

Cain trembles slightly at the tall man’s obvious annoyance.

“I apologize, President Rohn. I am simply wondering what you plan to do about the Christian uprising that’s been occurring. It’s all over the place! Just yesterday we had to kill an old man who was making a fuss about repenting because the kingdom of God…”

“Stop! I know all this! Can’t your men even keep one old man from making a racket? I tell you to keep all the Christians in the city from proclaiming that garbage and you just allow him to do it until you must kill him? In front of all those people, too?”

“He won’t be spreading his religion any longer.”

The vice mutters in an injured tone.

“Cain, we must find the root of this rebellion and terminate it. Send someone to find the source. Do whatever you must do to end the resistance! Ever since that Paul Liberty had to defy me!”

“Paul Liberty? Isn’t that the man who refused to conform to our laws and bow the knee to you? He was a troublemaker!”

“Yes, that’s him! I never could understand him. He was offered every luxury imaginable and he chose death.”

“How irrational, Sir.”

“I know.”

“I think I have just the man to find the source for you.”

“Who?”

“He’s a ruthless man who will do anything for money. He fits into our society. He’s the same man that killed Paul Liberty, I believe. He’s a conformist, and will do whatever is best for his own welfare.”

A sly grin comes onto President Rohn’s face as his vice describes the man.

“His name?”

The president inquires.

“Martin Ashveld.”

 

You only see four ‘ly’ adverbs in this exchange. It’s been a while since I’ve actually looked at the sentence structure of this for a while. I am not sure if I should remove the adverbs I have there. I would say yes, because it seems that they’re unnecessary.

 

2. We need to focus on displaying what we’re trying to display. I write a whole lot in first person perspective. I have a big problem. I’m not so great at showing the reader what I want to show them- so I end up telling them instead. Adverbs can really be a cheap way to go. Instead of going all out…I can get away with some easy navigation.

 

Example:

The man leered at me threateningly pointing his gun at my head. I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand on end…In a flash I managed to tie him up rather skillfully.

How could we have prevented telling this? I mean we want the reader to get involved in the heat of the scene. So we want to show them what happened, not tell them.

The example fixed:

The man leered at me (threateningly is removed, because it’s obvious he was threatening the girl- he was pointing a gun at her head after all!) pointing his gun at my head. I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand on end… (In a flash removed) I managed to tie him up (I dumped skillfully as well, because it’s falling into telling them how. I stuck with the good strong verb.).

*

So that’s not near all the reasons I thought of…but I would recommend checking out Emily Tjaden’s post on cutting adverbs: http://www.thisincandescentlife.com/2015/05/9-reasons-to-cut-adverbs-from-your-writing/

Here’s another post I like on the same topic as mine and Emily’s: http://writetodone.com/shoot-adverbs/

Yet another post on the (same) topic: https://www.writingforward.com/writing-tips/writing-tips-abolish-adverbs

Another post that I think is good tells about HOW to get rid of your adverbs: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/how-to-eliminate-adverbs

 

Please don’t ‘shoot’ me when you notice that I use adverbs a lot in my posts (you might even find occurrences in THIS post! 🙂 ). I don’t have the time to sit editing my blog posts like that, but when it comes to writing—I think we can agree it’s way more important to be polished.

 

What are YOUR thoughts on cutting adverbs?

Do you tend to use adverbs a lot?

What is your stance on modifiers in general?

If you were to revisit a writing draft you wrote from long ago, would you find more adverbs or less?

 

 

~Emmaline

 

The Beauty of Fall

Good afternoon.

 

BRRR…it’s cold outside here today!

As many of you are probably aware…fall makes for some pretty amazing photos! Here is a quick sampling of my favorites from a new photo shoot I did today.

 

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What sort of things do you love most about fall?

Anyone have a wonderful warm beverage recommendation?

Has anyone been dabbling in fall photography?

What (in your opinion) is the most important thing to photograph in the fall?

What would you like to see more of on this blog? (survey to follow 🙂 ? )

 

~Emmaline