IWSG — When the Going Gets Tough…

Today’s the day for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) where, on the first Wednesday of every month, writers get together to share their insecurities and offer encouragement. The IWSG was created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and you can learn all about it and sign up for it here

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June 1 question – When the going gets tough writing the story, how do you keep yourself writing to the end?

When the going gets tough, the tough switch things up. If I get bogged down in a scene, I have a few go-to strategies to get things moving again. Sometimes, a short break is all that’s needed to give a fresh perspective — taking a long walk or a hike or watching a movie. Doing something different allows the brain to reset. Other times, I brainstorm, playing the ‘what if’ game to see what comes to mind. I get some of my best ideas that way. Another way I get my brain back in gear is to go to a spot earlier in the story and start reading from there. By the time I get to where I was stuck, the story just flows on through as the characters take over once more.

When all else fails, I jot down actions and dialogue that I know belong in the scene and work through it in phrases and incomplete sentences until I figure out exactly what’s going on with the characters. If things aren’t working, it usually means I’m trying to force the story to go in the wrong direction. Eventually, if I keep at it, the right direction presents itself and the story goes on its way again. The key is to not give up or get discouraged. Perseverance pays off.

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Has anyone else ever dreamed about seeing their story up on the big screen? I’m sure the answer is Yes! I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a screenplay for my first book, Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble. I bought Final Draft 12, the industry standard software and have been dabbling with it. I found it really easy to use and was able to bang out a scene in a short time. I also read two screenwriting books, Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder and Story by Robert McKee, which have been incredibly helpful. Then I discovered the Internet Movie Script Database. It has the actual scripts from so many movies, including Lord of the Rings. What a resource! I’ve been skimming though scripts to get a better feel for how they should be put together. It’s all quite fascinating.

Has anyone else out there tried writing their own screenplays? What software and resources did you use? Did you find it easier or harder than writing a novel? Big screen, here we come!

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© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2022. All rights reserved.

IWSG and A to Z Challenge: My Bucket List! – Past, Present, and Future: A is for Ancestral Castles

Today’s the day for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) where, on the first insecure-writers-support-group-badge Wednesday of every month, writers get together to share their insecurities and offer encouragement. The IWSG was created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and you can learn all about it and sign up for it here.

For me, insecurities come and go, but the one that seems to be hanging around the most right now, as I work on the third book in the Trouble series, is: What if this book doesn’t live up to the first two books in the series? I’ve had people tell me they love the series so far (which I love hearing!), and sometimes I worry that maybe future stories won’t be as successful. But I keep telling myself there’s no way to answer that question until I get the book done, so I need to push those worries aside and keep on writing.

 

Now on to the A to Z Challenge!

I’m taking the long way around with A to Z this year. My plan is to post every couple of weeks, so I will have time to visit other blogs in between and still have time to write.

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A is for – Ancestral Castles

I had always wanted to go to Scotland. My heritage, and that of my late husband, both lie in that beautiful isle. Her wild, purple-heathered moors, centuries-old castles, and rugged Highlands still call to me, and the sound of bagpipes is music to my soul. Twenty-five years ago this summer, we visited Scotland and went in search of our ancestral castles.

Clan MacLachlan hails from the lands of Strathlachlan on Loch Fyne in the county of Argyll on the west coast of Scotland. It’s one of the oldest Scottish Highland clans. According to clan history, the clan is descended from Lachlan Mor, who lived on Loch Fyne in the late 13th century. Old Castle Lachlan dates back to that time. The MacLachlans were Jacobites, whose goal was to restore the Stuart line to the throne of England and Scotland. According to the Old Lachlan Castle website (http://www.oldcastlelachlan.com/about/clan-maclachlan):

“Lachlan, the seventeenth chief of Clan Maclachlan, supported Bonnie Prince Charlie in the Jacobite Rising of 1745, and died leading the clan at the battle of Culloden in 1746. Following the defeat a Government ship is believed to have sailed up Loch Fyne and shelled Castle Lachlan, forcing the chief’s family to abandon it.”

When we visited, the castle was a pensive ruin, overgrown with grass, trees, and vines. I loved imagining what it must have looked like in its heyday, the stories it could tell.

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My family traces back to Robert the Bruce, seventh lord of Annandale, who was crowned King Robert I of Scotland in 1306. In the war for Scottish independence, he and his forces defeated the English at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Clan Bruce lands lie in the Lowlands of Scotland in the county of Dumfries and Galloway. One of the seats of the lords of Annandale was Lochmaben Castle, originally built in the mid-twelfth century by the first Robert Bruce as an earth and timber motte-and-bailey fortification. Scottish history describes the castle this way (http://www.castlesfortsbattles.co.uk/dumfries_galloway/lochmaben_castle.html):

“Once a mighty Royal fortress at the forefront of the Wars for Independence, Lochmaben Castle changed hands between English and Scottish forces over a dozen times as the fortunes of each side ebbed and flowed.”

The castle ultimately fell after being bombarded by the English in a two-day siege in 1588. A few of the walls still stood when we were there, a tribute to the stubbornness and indomitable spirit of the Scots.

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Our trip around Scotland was amazing, full of adventure, discovery, laughter, and love. Scotland is a truly magical place, so it’s not surprising that her National Animal is the Unicorn. Alas, I didn’t see any while I was there, but maybe next time…

 

And now for the Writing Update:

I added almost 6,000 words to my WIP, Trouble Times Three, during the month of March. That’s way more than I’ve been accomplishing, so I’m excited about my progress! Crossing my fingers I can keep it up!

 

Anyone else have any bucket list items beginning with A?

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2020. All rights reserved.

IWSG — The Fleetingness of Summer

Today’s the day for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) where, on the first Wednesday of every month, writers get together to share their insecurities and offer encouragement. The IWSG was created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and you can learn all about it and sign up for it hereinsecure-writers-support-group-badge

I had writing plans for this summer. Not big ones, but small ones I thought would be doable. I’d market my new book and get started on my next one. I’d get back into blogging. As I’m turning the page from July to August, I’m realizing the summer is nearly over and I’ve hardly accomplished any of the things I’d wanted to. This will be my second blog post since last year, so there’s a tiny bit of progress. I just need to build on it.

The idea was to continue to get up early over the summer and use that time to write before having to go to work. That doesn’t work well, though, unless I go to bed early enough to still get 7-8 hours’ sleep. A foggy brain does not a good writer make. It was a great plan, in theory. But I can’t believe how hard it is to make myself go to bed early. Between after-dinner family time and doing what needs to be done, it’s 10:30 – 11:00 PM before I know it.

So my insecurity for this month is that I won’t be able to turn my schedule around, salvage the summer, and at least get my next book started. Can I do it? We’ll see. Wish me luck!

The ISWG question for this month is: What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?

I think the biggest pitfall for an independent/self-published writer would be to not go the extra mile to put out a quality product. Professional editing, proofreading, and a professionally designed book cover are essential if a writer wants to be taken seriously. It’s the only way self-publishing will lose its stigma of being inferior to traditional publishing. Self-pubbing has come a long way, and we need to keep it moving forward.

 

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2018. All rights reserved.