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The Helpful Writer.com

  Posted by Jean Oram , 30 January 2013 · 62 views

<p>Come see what I built!</p>
<p>I’m moving my writing posts over to The Helpful Writer.com! That means the great posts you’ve come to enjoy here will now be found over on The Helpful Writer.com. But don’t worry if you have linked to something here, your link will still work as the archives will still be here, hiding, waiting to be snooped through.</p>
<p><a href="[url="http://jeanoram.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/helpfulwriterwhatibuilt1.jpg"]http://jeanoram.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/helpfulwriterwhatibuilt1.jpg[/url]"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-3267" alt="Come see what I've built" src="[url="http://jeanoram.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/helpfulwriterwhatibuilt1.jpg"]http://jeanoram.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/helpfulwriterwhatibuilt1.jpg[/url]" width="479" height="359" /></a></p>
<p><a title="The Helpful Writer" href="[url="http://wp.me/p374XQ-1x"]http://wp.me/p374XQ-1x[/url]" target="_blank">Click here</a> to read the latest post on <a title="The Helpful Writer" href="[url="http://www.thehelpfulwriter.com/"]http://www.thehelpfulwriter.com/[/url]" target="_blank">TheHelpfulWriter.com</a>: <a title="How to Write a Killer Scene" href="[url="http://wp.me/p374XQ-1x"]http://wp.me/p374XQ-1x[/url]" target="_blank">How to Write a Killer Scene</a>. And if you have subscribed to the posts on JeanOram.com so you don’t miss one, you can do that over on The Helpful Writer as well!</p>
<p>I look forward to seeing you there!</p>
<p>Thanks for reading.</p>
<p><a class="embedtweet" title="&lt;strong&gt;Tweet the news&lt;/strong&gt;" href="[url="https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=Jean%20Oram"]https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=Jean%20Oram[/url]'s%20writing%20tips%20blog%20has%20moved%20to%20The%20Helpful%20Writer.com!%20Join%20me%20there.%20~%20%40jeanoram" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Tweet the news</strong></a>: Jean Oram’s writing tips blog has moved to The Helpful Writer.com!</p>

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How ‘The Little Train That Could’ Got it Wrong

  Posted by Jean Oram , 16 January 2013 · 87 views

<p><a href="[url="http://jeanoram.com/blog/2013/01/16/pep-talk-success/littletrain/"]http://jeanoram.com/blog/2013/01/16/pep-talk-success/littletrain/[/url]" rel="attachment wp-att-3245"><img class="size-full wp-image-3245 alignright" alt="the little train that could should have asked: Can I climb this mountain" src="[url="http://jeanoram.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/littletrain.jpg"]http://jeanoram.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/littletrain.jpg[/url]" width="483" height="362" /></a>Short and sweet take away: Telling yourself “You can do it!” doesn’t cut the mustard long-term.</p>
<p>Did you know that those ‘pep talks’ where people say to themselves: “I can do it!” is actually less effective than if they were sit themselves down and ask: “Can I do it?”</p>
<p>According to author Dan Pink, people who ask themselves <em>if</em> they can do something opens the door for some serious cognitive engagement. They get the ball rolling in terms of arguing to themselves all the reasons why they <em>can</em> do it. (As well as a few arguments why they can’t.)</p>
<p>For example, say you want to become a popular, best-selling author.</p>
<p>Saying to yourself: “Yeah! I can do it! I can become a bestselling author, woot!” is great. You probably feel pumped up for at least two minutes afterwards. Maybe you even get the courage to stand up in front of a group of high school kids on career day to explain why being an author is the best job ever. But then what?</p>
<p>How about you say to yourself: “<em>Can</em> I become a bestselling author?” Hmmm. Well. That opens the discussion with yourself, doesn’t it? So, can you? You might then list all the reasons to yourself why you this is within your reach by reminding yourself of such positive traits and abilities such as having a wonderful work ethic, the ability to create build characters readers fall in love with, your background in sales, etc. But then you might also identify the reasons why you might <em>not</em> make it. You might identify that you always get caught up on grammar and it takes you too long to get a book out and you can’t seem to get on top of the rollercoaster you need to take to bestsellerdom because of it. And then you realize you need to get yourself a grammar editor or to take a serious grammar course.</p>
<p>Voila.</p>
<p>Because you identified what you are good at, you can hone it and cherish it–meaning you are less likely to inadvertently destroy it. BUT, you also now realize what some of your pitfalls and hurdles are. By identifying them you can form a plan to overcome them.</p>
<p>The lesson here–Be the skeptic not The Little Train that Could. &lt;–<a class="embedtweet" title="Tweet that" href="[url="https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=Be%20the%20skeptic%20not%20The%20Little%20Train%20that%20Could%20~%20%40jeanoram%20Find%20out%20why%3A%20%20http%3A%2F%2Fjeanoram.com%2Fblog%2F2013%2F01%2F16%2Fpep-talk-success%2F"]https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=Be%20the%20skeptic%20not%20The%20Little%20Train%20that%20Could%20~%20%40jeanoram%20Find%20out%20why%3A%20%20http%3A%2F%2Fjeanoram.com%2Fblog%2F2013%2F01%2F16%2Fpep-talk-success%2F[/url]" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Tweet that</a>.</p>
<p>Sorry.</p>
<p><strong>Go play mind games on yourself and report back on how it worked out. I betcha you get further channeling that inner kiddo by asking yourself all those pesky ‘why’ questions. Good luck! I’m right here rooting for you!</strong></p>

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How to Create a Successful Writing Habit

  Posted by Jean Oram , 11 January 2013 · 208 views

<p>I assume you are a writer if you are reading this and that you want to take your game up to A-Game level. You want to create a writing habit that is efficient, effective, and ultimately successful.</p>
<p>Being within the first few weeks of the new year, some of us have grand and lofty writing goals and resolutions such as: I will write every day. Or: I will finish this story draft by summer holidays.</p>
<p>But how do you create a habit? Or flipping that around, how do you break bad habits in order to form good ones?</p>
<p>I was listening to a podcast on Social Triggers the other day while driving across the frosty prairie and Derek Halpern was interviewing <a title="Charles Duhrigg. How to Change your Habits. How to Break Habits" href="[url="http://charlesduhigg.com"]http://charlesduhigg.com[/url]" target="_blank">Charles Duhigg</a>, the author of “The Power of Habit.” He had some interesting things to say about habits. Namely that there is a cue that pops us into a reward system that creates a routine or habit.</p>
<p>For me, the cue is my son’s morning nap. He’s in his crib and that is my cue to ‘reward’ myself with a big cup of green tea and sit down and write (also a reward). If I don’t have that big cup of tea I begin thinking about it instead of writing. Drinking tea while I write in the morning while my son naps is my routine. It is a habit that works for me. I have even managed to transform a less efficient time of day into an efficient one with this habit.</p>
<p>But what if you don’t have a good writing habit? How can you make one? Well, I suggest you check out this awesome flowchart of Charles Duhigg’s. (Used with <a title="Changing your Habits Flowchart source." href="[url="http://charlesduhigg.com/flowchart-for-changing-habits/"]http://charlesduhigg.com/flowchart-for-changing-habits/[/url]" target="_blank">permission</a>.) As well, you can get more background on this by checking out <a title="Interview with Charles Duhrigg on Social Triggers." href="(You can listen to the interview with Charles Duhrigg right here on your computer.)" target="_blank">Derek Halpern’s podcast</a>–you can listen to it straight from your computer–or reading Charles’ book “<a title="Power of Habit" href="[url="http://www.amazon.com/Power-Habit-What-Life-Business/dp/1400069289"]http://www.amazon.com/Power-Habit-What-Life-Business/dp/1400069289[/url]" target="_blank">The Power of Habit</a>.”</p>
<div id="attachment_3229" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 660px"><a href="[url="http://jeanoram.com/blog/2013/01/11/how-to-create-a-successful-writing-habit/how-to-change-a-habit/"]http://jeanoram.com/blog/2013/01/11/how-to-create-a-successful-writing-habit/how-to-change-a-habit/[/url]" rel="attachment wp-att-3229"><img class="size-full wp-image-3229" alt="How to Change a Habit Flowchart by Charles Duhrigg" src="[url="http://jeanoram.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/How-to-Change-a-Habit.jpg"]http://jeanoram.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/How-to-Change-a-Habit.jpg[/url]" width="650" height="717" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">How to Change a Habit from Charles Duhrigg–click to enlarge. (Then click again until you get the ‘+’ button on your cursor.)</p></div>
<p><strong>So how about you? Do you have a cue that signals that it is time to write? Do you have a routine that makes you successful? Think about it. If you do, share what works for you. If not, share what you think you might be able to do. Let’s make 2013 our best writing year yet!</strong></p>

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Setting Goals Work Better Than Resolutions

  Posted by Jean Oram , 02 January 2013 · 95 views

<p>Happy New Year.</p>
<p>Smack, smack, smack.</p>
<p>What was that? Me smacking the sense back into us.</p>
<p>New Years is a fabulous time to make promises to ourselves we just can’t keep. Instead of grand resolutions and promises to ourselves we know we aren’t going to keep… how about we make some goals?</p>
<h3>Why goals?</h3>
<p>People who set goals accomplish them. People who set goals accomplish <em>more</em>. As in 80% more according to some sources.</p>
<p>Setting goals also gives us something to work towards. But you have to write them down. This makes them REAL.</p>
<p>Did you know that making a to do list–or a daily goal list–each morning BEFORE you do anything else is the more beneficial than writing it down even an hour later? In other words before you have coffee and check your email, jot down your writing goals for the day. This prioritizes it in your mind.</p>
<p>It also makes it clear to yourself what you hope to accomplish. Where you plan on heading. It gives you a target to move towards.</p>
<p><strong>So? What are your writing goals for the year? What do you need to accomplish them? Where can you find the resources you need?</strong></p>

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Sneak Peeks: The Next Big Thing (Week 30)

  Posted by Jean Oram , 27 December 2012 · 121 views

Last week Calista Taylor asked if I wanted to be a part of this blog hop. Knowing how difficult it is to keep these things going, I said sure. She shared information about her latest series [url="http://asteampunkreverie.blogspot.ca/2012/12/the-next-big-thing-week-29.html"]Highlander romances on her blog[/url] and… well, I decided to pull on my big girl pants and share a little something I’ve been working on as well.
What is it? A novel, of course. A book I plan to release [b]for free[/b] in about a month’s time. (I was going to release it in November but then, of course, quickly realized it needed some major overhauling.) To coincide with some of these big changes, I am also planning to do a little remodeling around here. (Doing a little back-end work on that today.)
Sneak Peek Secret: this blog is going to become The Helpful Writer in the near future. But no need to worry about that now. I still have a lot of work to do to get that all in order.
On to the blog hop!
[b]What is the working title of your book?[/b]
[i]Champagne and Lemon Drops.[/i]
Ready for another Sneak Peek? Check out this [url="http://www.coversbycali.com/"]AMAZING cover Calista Taylor made[/url] for me:
[url="http://jeanoram.com/blog/2012/12/27/sneak-peeks-the-next-big-thing-week-30/champagneandlemondrops_337k/"][img]http://jeanoram.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/ChampagneAndLemonDrops_337K.jpg[/img][/url]
Sneak Peek of Upcoming Novel by Jean Oram
[b]Where did the idea come from for the book?[/b]
This was my first attempt at plotting a novel. Not just having the opening scene and going from there. It wasn’t a flash of an idea like most of my stories; this one was built with method in mind. And no. It didn’t save me edit time. I still ended up slashing this story apart and rebuilding it several times over.
[b]What genre does your book fall under?[/b]
Women’s fiction with a splash of chick lit.
[b]What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?[/b]
Beth wants marriage and kids with her fiancé, Oz, more than anything in the world and figures she has it in the bag–until Oz drives his car off a bridge sending her dreams down river. The question is: will she fall in love with Oz all over again, or will she end up falling in love with someone new?
[b]Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?[/b]
This one will be self-published.
[b]How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?[/b]
Not that long (maybe a month or two). However, it has taken YEARS to whip this bad boy into shape. (I’ve written several other novels in that time, but this novel I just keep coming back to. Whenever I think it is good enough I learn something more about the craft and go at it again. This is a novel I should have walked away from ages ago. But I just can’t seem to do that.)
[b]What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?[/b]
[i]In Her Shoes[/i] by Jennifer Weiner
[b] Who or What inspired you to write this book?[/b]
Er. A book on how to write romance. <ducks and winces> I sat down and plotted this novel with the book in hand–I sheepishly borrowed it from the library. (I’m not writing a novel–don’t look at me!–as she sprints out of the library with the book under her arm.)
[b]What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?[/b]
I am going to put this book out for free. This is the one I mentioned in my bio in the back of [i]The Fall: Tales From the Apocalypse[/i]. It’s also one that I realized needed an overhaul and ripped it down to less than half and then back up to genre word counts again. (I wasn’t planning on doing that, but I am hopeful that it will be a much more enjoyable read now.)
[center]~~~~[/center]
[i]Tagged for next week (Week 31) is the helpful Charlee Vale who answered my plea for someone to pass this hop on to. She is a writer, poet, book blogger, and intern at Entangled Publishing. [url="http://www.charleevale.com/blog"]Check out her blog [/url]next Wednesday, January 2nd, when it’s her turn to post answers to these same questions about her works-in-progress.[/i]
[b]So? What are you working on? Share it in the comment section. Any big plans up your sleeve that are ready for a big reveal?[/b]

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End of the World Winners

  Posted by Jean Oram , 22 December 2012 · 114 views

I’d like to thank everyone who entered my giveaway. I LOVE your support and really appreciate it. Before I announce the winners I’d like to mention something from the publisher of [i]The Fall: Tales From the Apocalypse[/i]. Matt Sinclair (head editor and publisher) has mentioned that he has a couple of extra copies of [i]The Fall[/i] for people who wouldn’t mind posting a review online whether on your blog, Goodreads, Amazon, Kobo… etc. If you would like to do so, you can send me an email and I’ll pass it on to Matt. (contact at jeanoram dot com)
[url="http://jeanoram.com/blog/2012/12/22/end-of-the-world-winners/reviews/"][img]http://jeanoram.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/reviews.jpg[/img][/url]
Copies for reviews.
Now… without further ado… the winners of two copies of The Fall: Tales From the Apocalypse:
[url="http://jeanoram.com/blog/2012/12/22/end-of-the-world-winners/hat/"][img]http://jeanoram.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/hat.jpg[/img][/url]
Using a high tech method… okay. I put all the names in a hat and had my husband snag two while he was hurrying out the door with the puppy.
Carol and Stephanie!
Congratulations!!! I hope you enjoy the 14 short stories in [i]The Fall[/i]. We’ve got everything from zombie-fighting cats to deities with iPhones to robots after kids to ancient prophecies to girls looking for love in the time of war. There really is something for everyone in this book.
If you haven’t won a copy but would like one for you or your friends and family, you can find [i]The Fall: Tales From the Apocalypse[/i] here:
[url="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009ZVVDOM/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B009ZVVDOM&linkCode=as2&tag=jeaora-20"]Amazon.com[/url] ($2.99 ebook & $7.99 print) [url="http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/The-Fall/book-l68Cf93iVEicQ9_ixgFkLg/page1.html?s=-M2fT-DYekCfoak7dYHo1w&r=2"]Kobo.com [/url]($2.88)
Thanks to everyone who entered! And now… a little silly something from yesterday–when, I might mention, the world did NOT end. Now my kitty is going to have to find a new way to get back at the puppy.
[url="http://jeanoram.com/blog/2012/12/22/end-of-the-world-winners/yunaendofworld/"][img]http://jeanoram.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/YunaEndOfWorld.jpg[/img][/url]

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Celebrate the End of the World With a Free Book (Giveaway) – The Fall: Tales From the Apocalypse

  Posted by Jean Oram , 21 December 2012 · 83 views

It’s the end of the world.
12-21-12
It’s like a locker combination. A locker combination to doomsday.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever, right? I’m going to an end of the world party tonight to enjoy my last moments on earth… but in the meantime I had an idea.
[url="http://jeanoram.com/blog/?attachment_id=3186"][img]http://jeanoram.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/endofworldplant.jpg[/img][/url]
And yes, this plant started it all last Friday.
And then (FINALLY!!) on Wednesday night (two days ago) these arrived at the local postal outlet:
[url="http://jeanoram.com/blog/?attachment_id=3187"][img]http://jeanoram.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/thefallred.jpg[/img][/url]
[b]Want one?[/b]

It’s easy. Really, really easy.
As a thank you for reading my blog (even if you are new around these parts) I’d like to give one lucky reader (oh, okay two lucky readers–why not? The world is ending I can afford to be generous.) a copy of The Fall: Tales From the Apocalypse. Either ebook or a print copy–your choice.* If you want to more than double your chances, check out [url="http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/39596-the-fall-tales-from-the-apocalypse"]Judy Croome’s Goodreads giveaway of The Fall: Tales From the Apocalypse[/url]. She is giving away 20 copies! Whoa!
What do you have to do? How many hoops do you have to jump through?
None.
Just leave a comment–even if it as simple as saying “count me in.” Be sure to leave your email address in the comment’s sign in box thingy so I can contact you if you win. (That way you don’t have to keep checking back–or better yet, subscribe on the right to the blog so my posts come right to your inbox. I’ll be posting the winner(s) on Saturday, the 22nd.)
[url="http://jeanoram.com/blog/?attachment_id=3188"][img]http://jeanoram.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Screen-shot-2012-12-20-at-2.53.26-PM.png[/img][/url]
The box thingy where it says “Mail.”
Since the world is ending today, let’s leave this book giveaway open until midnight tonight, End of the World Friday, December 21, 2012.
And if the world really does end, well dang! I guess that’s it. It’s been nice knowing you and thanks for reading.
[center] ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~[/center]
[center][color=#008000][b]What is The Fall about?[/b][/color][/center]
[center][color=#008000][b](14 short stories by 13 authors.)[/b][/color][/center]
[center][color=#008000][b]What would the end of the world look like?[/b][/color][/center]
[center][color=#008000][b]What would end our civilization?[/b][/color][/center]
[center][color=#008000][b]Would it be a dark and scary place or would it be full of hope? (Hint: It is the latter of the two.)[/b][/color][/center]
[center][color=#008000][b]Find out in The Fall: Tales From the Apocalypse[/b][/color][/center]
[center] ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~[/center]
[b]P.S. Curious about The Fall: Tales From the Apocalypse? You can [url="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009ZVVDOM/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B009ZVVDOM&linkCode=as2&tag=jeaora-20"]buy copies on Amazon.com (print) or ebook[/url] as well as on [url="http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/The-Fall/book-l68Cf93iVEicQ9_ixgFkLg/page1.html?s=-M2fT-DYekCfoak7dYHo1w&r=2"]Kobo.com[/url] ($2.88 for ebook). Proceeds go to charity. If you have already read it we would [i]LOVE[/i] it if you dropped a review–even just a line or two–on your favourite online site whether your blog, Goodreads, Amazon, Kobo, or… where ever! Thanks![/b]
* I am willing to send the ebook version anywhere in the world, but I ask that since this is a charitable project–all proceeds from the book go to charity–and I, like the other contributing authors, donated my story, [i]Crumbs[/i], to The Fall (as well as at least 80 hours editing the anthology) that only American or Canadian addresses request a print version as the shipping elsewhere will kill me! Er… no pun intended. Tee, hee.

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Podcasts for Authors and a Giveaway Sneak Peek

  Posted by Jean Oram , 14 December 2012 · 121 views

Happy Friday everyone!
Some good news for you and some good news for… well, you again!
First you.
I’ve discovered a great way to fill my writer’s brain with even more information about writing, branding, publishing, selling books and more. And it is so easy. And you can do it on the go. And it’s free.
Know what it is? Podcasts. Yep. You can learn more about my top five favourite, [url="http://www.fromthewriteangle.com/2012/12/five-must-hear-podcasts-for-writers.html"]must-listen-to podcasts for writers [/url]over on From the Write Angle today. Let me know what you think. Have you checked out podcasts? What’s your favourite?
And the second bit of good news…
I’m planning a giveaway. (Assuming my copies of [url="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0985202335/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0985202335&linkCode=as2&tag=jeaora-20"]The Fall: Tales From the Apocalypse[/url] ever come… it’s been one mishap after another for the past 6 weeks. You’d think this book was about the end of the world or something. [img]http://jeanoram.com/blog/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_wink.gif[/img] And seeing as the world ends next Friday, December 21, 2012, I’m giving away a copy of The Fall. Why? Just ’cause. I’ll tell you more next Friday.
BUT, if you want to enter a contest right now… you can also enter the giveaway on Goodreads being held by [url="http://www.judycroome.blogspot.com"]Judy Croome[/url] (fellow The Fall author) by clicking on the nice little button over on the right. Click now. You’re free to go. Good news over. Clicky, clicky.
Thanks for reading and have a happy Friday!

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Turn Pages With Internal and External Conflict

  Posted by Jean Oram , 06 December 2012 · 199 views

Characters working against each other, against themselves, and against events. That’s the heart of conflict.
But how do you make your scenes come alive? How do we make them gripping? But most of all, how to make those freaking things cause our reader to keep turning pages long into the night?
The answer?
With conflict.
[b]Conflict Creates All Those Things You Want[/b]

[url="http://jeanoram.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Badge_Conflict.jpg"][img]http://jeanoram.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Badge_Conflict.jpg[/img][/url]
Conflict creates tension.
Conflict creates hooks that bring the reader in and make them want to know what is going to happen–i.e. how will this conflict be solved?
And no, I am not saying your book needs to be one big conflicting piece of tension that overloads your reader. Because that’s no fun for anyone.
[b]Every Scene Should Have Conflict[/b]

Yes. Every scene. Scenes without some sort of something going on get boring. Each scene needs something that either sets the character back, or moves them forward, but always causes a new problem, conflict, or set back. This can be miniscule, or huge. It can involved the main plot thread and story question, or it can deal with a subplot storyline. But it needs to have something that drives the reader forward.
[b]Why Conflict Works[/b]

When you introduce conflict, it gives us readers something interesting to get involved in. What will the characters do? How will they handle this? How will this affect the outcome and help or hinder them in their quest for their goal? I must read on!
[i]Worth Stating Again: A scene’s conflict does not have to be major to draw the reader into your story. But conflict has to be present. [url="https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=A%20scene"]<– Want to Tweet this? Click here.[/url][/i]
For example, this is part of something I’ve borrowed and compiled from the lovely [url="http://carolahughesauthor.com/authors/"]Carol Hughes[/url] (from her Deep Story class–it rocks, take it. And she’s putting it out in a book in January–buy that too. No, really.) that I find really helps me focus in when I write and rewrite a scene:

[color=#008000][b][b]CHARACTERS GRAPPLE WITH PROBLEM PONDER DILEMMA:[/b][/b][color=#000000] (The very thing that sets the scene in motion. What they need to accomplish or do. How are they going to solve things and move forward?)[/color][b]
[b] DECISION AND COURSE OF ACTION:[/b][/b] [color=#000000](What the character plans to do or does. And of course, you are not going to make it easy for them, are you?)[b][color=#008000]SCENE GOAL:[/color][/b][/color][/color] (What is the purpose of the scene. What will be conveyed?
[color=#008000][b] EMOTION OF SCENE:[/b] [/color](What emotion do you want the setting, word choice, etc., to convey to the reader? If you know it, it is easier to convey in the details, making for a powerful scene.)
[color=#008000][b] CONFLICT (WHO WHAT WHY):[/b][/color] (who is having a conflict with who, over what, and why?)
[color=#008000][b] Conflict Internal:[/b][/color] (Conflict going on inside of character–often different than the external stuff.)
[color=#008000][b] Conflict External:[/b][/color] (Conflict going on outside the character.)
[color=#008000][b]DISASTER:[/b][/color] (Uh oh. Set back. Things aren’t quite what they wanted… This does NOT have to be major.)
[color=#008000][b] CHARACTER REACTION TO DISASTER:[/b] [/color](How do they react to the way things pan out?)

If you use something like the above ‘reminder’s when working on a scene, it can help you stay focused and ensure that your scenes have conflict of some kind. A nice little effect of knowing what you are going for is that it becomes natural when you write to convey it to your readers–either explicitly or not.)
[b]An Example[/b]

As an example, in [i]Champagne and Lemon Drops[/i] (currently in rewrites) I have the ‘on break’ lovers Beth and Oz in a scene. They both want the same internal things–not to sell their once-shared home. However, Beth needs the equity from their home in order to get her own place and she tells Oz to sell the place–an attempt to force his hand thinking he will never actually sell it. He doesn’t want to sell it because he thinks they will get back together again and will want to resume living in their home, but he also wants to do right by Beth. If they sell the place neither will have a home to come back to and it will signal a finality to the romantic break that neither of them really wants. Neither of them are saying what they really want (which creates new conflicts)–each other and their home. Hello conflict! Either way, any action is a no-win situation for the characters as they will be set back in their long-term goal (getting back together) if they sell as well as their short-term goal (a place to live). And if they don’t sell, it will up the conflict between them.
Here’s what it looks like:
[b]CHARACTERS GRAPPLE WITH PROBLEM PONDER DILEMMA:[/b] How is Beth going to get Oz back (romantically)? How is she going to get money to live off of?
[b] DECISION AND COURSE OF ACTION: [/b]This is the scene that plays out. She goes to Oz to talk to him about not selling the house but convinces him to sell.[b]
SCENE GOAL:[/b] Beth tries to get Oz not to sell the place.
[b] EMOTION OF SCENE:[/b] Hurt. Both positioning themselves around each other not to get hurt.
[b] CONFLICT (WHO WHAT WHY):[/b] With each other. Beth doesn’t want him to sell the place, but needs the money from it. Oz doesn’t want to sell it because he thinks he will get Beth back once he gets his life sorted. But he loves her and will do what she wants him to do. It’s the least he can do.
[b] Conflict Internal:[/b] Doesn’t want any of things saying she wants. Doesn’t want him to sell, but she needs money. And she wants him to force a move in his life–hopefully towards her again.
[b] Conflict External:[/b] She wants him to keep the place, but can’t let him ruin her life financially or be unfair and keep everything. A little tit for tat going on.
[b]DISASTER:[/b] He is not reacting and she corners him, making him think and feel that selling the place is the only way to go.
[b] CHARACTER REACTION TO DISASTER:[/b] Gets a bit nasty. Raises the stakes for both of them. Regretful words and actions. Makes things worse.
In this example, I hope the reader will feel the need to find out who ‘wins.’ Which won’t happen until many scenes down the road. And in the meantime I will introduce new conflicts, big and small which will… you guessed it–keep the reader turning pages.
As well, this kernel of a conflict will gather other incidents around it and grow larger. It will become the elephant in the room in their future interactions.
This is why some books are really difficult to put down and why action movies keep us on the edge of our seats. This go from bad to worse, to worse–and that is all due to conflict.
[b]Note For the Pantsters on Building Conflict[/b]

Reading this you might be thinking, uh, no. Not for me. I like to write by the seat of my pants (panstster) with no outline or idea of where I am going. That’s fine. I don’t actually fill this out until I’m at least 250 words into a scene. I have to know what’s going on and where they are and what needs to happen before I can fill this out. When I go back to the writing, I can hone that scene in nice and sharp.
[b]The big thing with using conflict to your advantage:[/b] Your reader won’t put down the book until they’re ‘good.’ It’s your job to make sure that isn’t until the last page. [url="https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=Your%20reader%20won"]<–Click to Tweet this.[/url]

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How to Finish Your NaNoWriMo Novel After NaNoWriMo

  Posted by Jean Oram , 01 December 2012 · 84 views

[url="http://jeanoram.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/NaNoWriMo.jpg"][img]http://jeanoram.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/NaNoWriMo.jpg[/img][/url]There’s no doubt about it, [url="http://www.nanowrimo.org"]NaNoWriMo[/url]* is a rush.
And it’s over.
If you were participating this year you either made it past the 50,000 word mark or you didn’t. Yes, it is that simple.
The problem [i]isn’t[/i] whether you got down your 50,000 words or not. The problem is getting [b]stuck[/b]. At some point in the long haul to 50,000 words in 30 days (or even regular novel writing), the words slow down. It’s like a small pothole. It may not be honest-to-goodness writer’s block, but it also isn’t that fast paced OMG-I-am-writing-like-a-fiend type stuff that happens early on in the NaNoWriMo month–or any novel writing process.
So, what can we do to keep ourselves going when the end of our novel begins to feel farther away than Antarctica (and we’re in a row boat)? Here are five things that have helped keep me moving forward and finish writing that novel sticking to me like a burr in my side:
[b]How to Get to the End of Your Novel–In Other Words, How to Finish Your Novel and How to Get Past Writer’s Block and How to Keep Your Writing Motivation Up[/b]

(Wow. That was quite the heading. Obviously the words are flowing today!!!)
[b]1. Don’t take more than two days off in a row.[/b]
Keep the momentum going. It’s much easier to stay in the rhythm and remember where you are going if you keep writing. Even if the first 1000 words per day feel like crap, keep writing. If you take days off it becomes easy to stay stopped, it gets more difficult to get back into the story and ultimately, to not finish. Plus, you spend all your writing time trying to recall where you were and where your story has been and is going.
[b]2. Allow yourself to write crap–it may act as fertilizer. <–[url="https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=Allow%20yourself%20to%20write%20crap--it%20may%20act%20as%20fertilizer.%20~%20%40jeanoram"]Click to Tweet This[/url]
[/b]
You are writing the first draft. It’s an experiment. Characters are not going to be fully formed. There will be plot holes where you jumped ahead. That’s normal. Leave yourself notes (right in the document if you can) on where you are going, where you’ve been, what you want to change, but don’t go back to edit. You can change it, remove it, or edit it later. Right now, it is vital to keep it moving forward and not break your momentum.
[b]3. Allow yourself to change direction.[/b]
Sometimes I stop writing because I’ve discovered I need to change direction on a plot line or internal character motivation. In NaNo there isn’t time to run back and change everything that has been written and will now be wrong. Shake it off. Keep going. Make notes to yourself. But don’t go back. Make your switch and keep going. (Sometimes that stuff you were going to change ends up being keepable in the end anyway!)
[b]4. Screw the details.[/b]
I have one NaNoWriMo draft that literally looks like this: [i]She ran down the street [INSERT SEASONAL DETAILS]. Arriving out of breath…[/i] Don’t stop to research or figure out tiny continuity pieces. Leave yourself a note, comment, or whatever you need and keep moving. You can fill in the seasonal/clothing/timing/right word/technical aspect/character name continuity bits later on. That’s what edits are for. Right now you need to keep the flow going and that story barfing onto the page.
[b]5. Ignore the blocks. [/b]
If you feel blocked, ignore it. No, really. Keep applying fingertips to keyboard keys. Re-read the last 20 pages if you need to. Start writing a chapter or two ahead if it helps. (You can always go back and fill the in-between bits–there is no rule you have to write in the exact order it will be read.) And if all else fails, do the unexpected and push a character off a tower. No really.
I did this in a NaNoWriMo “now what?” moment. Turns out that it not only unblocked the scene, but it also provided insight into my characters, their relationship, and provided all sorts of great tension for the next couple of chapters. When I wrote it I told myself “It’s okay, nobody needs to read this. I’ll delete it later.” But it became an important pivotal moment in that story. So you just never know.
[b]Remember:[/b] You can’t edit a story you haven’t written. Keep writing. Even if you have to trash thousands of words in edits, it’s okay. Just keep moving forward and don’t be afraid. I’m rooting for you!
[b]Have you participated in NaNoWriMo? What are your best ‘get through’ or ‘keep writing’ tips?[/b]
[i]*NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. Writers first-time to very experienced try to write a 50,000 novel (or more) in a month. Those who do it are able to claim a badge to display on their website or blog.[/i]

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