If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book next year, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our March author interviews: Karen Pullen (3/1), Lowcountry Crime authors: Tina Whittle, Polly Iyer, Jonathan M. Bryant, and James M. Jackson (3/8), Annette Dashofy (3/15), Edith Maxwell (3/22) and Barb Ross (3/29).

Saturday Guest Bloggers in March: Maris Soule (3/4), and Virginia Mackey (3/11). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 3/18--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 3/25--Kait Carson.

Julie Tollefson won the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter's Holton Award for best unpublished manuscript (member category) for her work in progress, In The Shadows. Big news for a new year. Congratulations, Julie.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on June, 13, 2017. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Linda here in June!

Cross Genre Publications anthology, Hidden Youth, will contain Warren Bull's "The Girl, The Devil, and The Coal Mine." The anthology will be released in late November 2016. The We've Been Trumped anthology released by Dark House Press on September 28th contains Warren Bull's "The Wall" short story and KM Rockwood's "A Phone Call to the White House." KM writes under the name Pat Anne Sirs for this volume.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for pre-order.

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Let’s Shock Writer’s Block!

What's your opinion about writer's block. I have one to be sure and you'll read my thoughts in the comments. Salad Bowl Saturdays is pleased to welcome Lala Corriere to share her thoughts. I'll be interested in the reactions from both our writer and reader friends.

~ Jim
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You’ve heard the wails, whimpers, and whines. Writers scurrying into their caves, or their spas and retreats, or home to Mommy, just to heal the wounds of a numb mind. Trust me on this. You may find a sense of quiet and peace, a deep-tissue massage, and your mother’s home cooking, but you won’t find your muse.

It happens to all of us. Maybe. Just maybe, you haven’t lost your muse at all.

Sure. I get stuck on storylines. I get stuck on plot scenes, and sagging middles.

My little tricks might work for you.

First, give up all notions of such a thing as writer’s block. Make it non-existent. Zap! But once you deny writer’s block, it’s time to fill-up that void with your Think Tank.

This is my encouragement. Become a supreme eavesdropper. That’s it. People are amazing, crazy, kind, and nefarious. People are three-dimensional beings, and sometimes, I think, SIX.

A good writer is an expert in the art of observation.

Even if you are unsure of your plot, what about your characters? Who are they? Who do you want to resonate and spend time with for the next many months, or even a year? Will they be shopping at Neiman Marcus or the thrift store? Coffee houses or pubs? No better people-watching than at an airport. Hospitals? The Ritz Carlton? Denny’s, or Ruth’s Chris for steaks, or a quirky vegan restaurant?

Go there. Spy, my ace detectives! Caveat… no back alleys. Use your imagination on the dicey locales, or take mega-backup!

One of the best things I did to ward off any such thing as writer’s block was to register for the Citizen’s Police Academy. I live in a suburb and was surprised the local police department offered this program which is, indeed, widely available. It’s usually about a sixteen-week session, once a week. More surprises. My sleepy little suburb isn’t so sleepy! We had classes on gangs, drugs, illegal trafficking of humans, and two great field-trips with the SWAT team and weaponry demonstration, and the K-9 Unit. You will gather tons of fodder with this program. The final graduation is a ride-along in a patrol car. Check it out. No homework!

And what to do with all of this fodder? It doesn’t matter your system, whether it’s a Smartphone app like Evernote, or a small pad and pen. Keep it with you at all times. I stick my notes into a big folder: great names I hear, phrases and sentences, fascinating scenes, and even full-plot ideas. All by spying, or the preferred word… observation. It’s an art, I’ve heard.

I can’t argue with Stephen King and his Cujo and walking utility poles, but what scares me most is the man next door. Check that guy out, in your mind, and let your imagination soar!

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Lala Corriere is the author of three titles in suspense, with the next book, Kiss & Kill, scheduled for release this spring. Her credits include the endorsement and long-term mentorship from the late Sidney Sheldon, and blurbs from Andrew Neiderman [author of the Devil’s Advocate], J.Carson Black, Paris Afton Bonds, KT Bryan, and CJ West. Lala’s a desert rat. She nestles there with her husband of twenty-five years, two Teacup Yorkies, and an American Curl.

10 comments:

James Montgomery Jackson said...

I let my subconscious work on stuff whenever I am "stuck." With multiple projects going on at all times, I can put the problem on a back burner, turn up the heat on another project and more times than not a solution to the first problem appears "like magic."

I don't completely understand the unconscious process, but I do trust it.

When I need to be more proactive about solving something, I'll go for a long run or walk.

~ Jim

Warren Bull said...

Excellent suggestions. I suggest you avoid restaurants with loud music and/or overly-efficient staff. It's hard to hear over noise and staff invariably shows up just when something interesting is happening with the people you're listening to.

Gloria Alden said...

Lala, welcome to WWK. You have some good suggestions. I don't exactly get writers block, but I find if I keep a brief synopsis of each chapter, who is in it, what went on, etc. and then decide which characters need to be brought back and what I need to advance the work. I might not always know what's going to happen, but once I start writing with pen on paper, the story takes off on its own.

I also find writing other things is a good break from my WIP, plus I'm a great collector of newspaper or magazine articles that just may work into a plot or create a character. And yes, I've picked up on conversations in restaurants or doctor's offices, etc. and written down a line or two to use in a short story or book.

Lala Corriere said...

Thanks for your comments, Jim, Warren and Gloria! It's so fun to hear what other writer's do. I think some sink into a lacking-of-words abyss only because they've heard of writer's block.

Shari Randall said...

Hi Lala,
Thanks for stopping by! These are some great suggestions. I love eavesdropping, er, observing. One must dodge the loud cell phone talkers, who generally have conversations like "What's for dinner?" or "Watcha doing? Not much." Rarely does one hear something like "Darling, meet me in Budapest on Tuesday and bring the package" -
Maybe I have to change my coffee house.

KM Rockwood said...

I'm more likely to get discouraged than have writer's block. A "who would ever want to read this?" mentality can sneak in, and that's hard to overcome.

Thanks for your tips. I have printed them out & will use them.

Kara Cerise said...

Thank you for the great suggestions, Lala. The Citizen's Police Academy sounds fascinating.

I do enjoy eavesdropping and people watching. Usually the conversations are about mundane topics, but every now and then I hear something that arouses my curiosity. Unfortunately, many people in the D.C. area speak multiple languages and switch from English to another language just as the conversation begins to get intriguing.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Excellent suggestions, Lala!

Shari, you'll have to come to my coffee shop. One time I listened (and typed into my laptop) for over an hour as four adulterous fundamentalist ministers counseled one of their number about his affair with a teenaged girl in his congregation. "You'll find, like I did, that teens are nothing but trouble. Go for a married woman. She's got as much to lose as you do." And they all agreed. One guy had a married woman in his church and in another where he was filling in for an ill pastor. I get stuff like that all the time.

Lala Corriere said...

So we have a lot of spies here!

Thanks, Shari and Linda. KM... don't we all get discouraged? One of my favorite lines from a song is from Johnny Mathis...'what a writer has to feel like, when suddenly he's discovered he's been read'. I was a teenager when this stuck with me. I had no idea why.

And Kara, I do encourage you to check out your local police or sheriff's office to see if they offer the Citizen's Police Academy. Not only do you walk away with fodder, but also a deeper understanding of your community, AND the extra services that are available to protect you and yours.

Shari Randall said...

Linda, I'll be right over! ;)