3 Ways to Overcome a Cartoonish View of the Writing World

blog picI didn’t watch much TV as a child, but what I did watch was definitely cartoon heavy. Rocky and Bullwinkle, remember that one? I’ll never forget the villain Natasha saying “Moose and Squirrel” in that heavily racist Russian accent.

In cartoons, bad is punished and good triumphs. And the characters can survive any setback. Bugs Bunny can get exploded or pushed over cliffs etc. for the fifty millionth time, and yet he still emerges smiling with just a hint of singed fur.

It doesn’t take too many years past those preschool cartoon watching days to realize that life doesn’t work like that. Hard work is not always rewarded. Laziness and irresponsibility is not always punished. Genuinely terrible people succeed in life while genuinely delightful people fail.

Never is this more true than in the life of an author. Go to the bookstore or the library and browse a couple sections. If you’ve been writing for any length of time, you probably won’t flip open too many covers before you find a story that is worse than ones you have collecting dust in your computer’s hard drive. You write and write, polish your craft for hours. And yet, where are your New York Times bestseller mentions and royalty checks? Even if you do get a book contract, you might not sell that many. While junk writing (*cough* refraining from mentioning names, though a certain very popular book and movie release comes to mind *cough*) is flying off shelves, your books remain shrouded in obscurity.

So what do you do when writing life doesn’t offer as many rewards as the cartoons? Pitch a Popeye style fit? Well, that is one option. But here are three others.

1. One_Sad_Coyote_by_StarSaberPLChannel the Coyote from Road Runner: Never, ever, ever give up. Coyote has been trying to catch Road Runner ever since 1949, but do you see him giving up?

2.  Elmer_FuddChannel Elmer Fudd: Always have a new idea for how to succeed. When Elmer Fudd fails to catch that “wascly wabbit” once again, he comes up with another far-fetched scheme. If one writing door closes on you, brainstorm how to break in a window. With the explosion of the internet, more and more writing options have become available for authors. If you don’t get that one million dollar deal with Random House, try an alternate route.

3. bullwinkle1 Unlike Boris & Natasha or any other cartoon villain ever, know when a certain writing avenue just isn’t working for you. They say the definition of insanity is trying the same thing and expecting a different result.

Many years ago I made peace with the idea that I would never be a vocal performer. I just don’t have the voice or ear for it. I tried as a teenager. I worked really hard and practiced and practiced. But it was just becoming a time drain as hours vanished and I didn’t improve. As the famous Kenny Rogers lyrics in The Gambler go, “Know when to hold them, know when to fold them. Know when to walk away; know when to run.” I know I’m not very good at walking away when I’m failing, but it’s something we all need to do sometimes.

Remember: Completing one of our Writing Prompts gains you an extra entry in our quarterly drawings! Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments.

Writing Prompt

Bugs Bunny (or another favorite cartoon character of yours) goes to the psychologist. Write a few paragraphs of their conversation.

Tech Talk – Start Writing Like a True Scrivener

by P. H. Solomon

Introduction

Thanks to the Writing Prompts Crew for hosting me today – it’s a gracious opportunity. I’m honored that they thought of me to write about Scrivener today as part of their ongoing series regarding the tech side of writing. On that note, let’s get started…


 

WPTI Scrivener An artist’s work area can seem rather messy with paint, brushes, and other tools lying in seemingly haphazard order. There are finished projects, at least one painting in progress and several waiting in the wings nearby the easel. But if an artist doesn’t keep track of important tools and ideas then time and creative energy can be lost.

Writing is much the same way. There are various project ideas waiting to be written. There are notes lying around to do research, corrections for scenes or any other writing tasks. It can get overwhelming to an author. This is where Scrivener is most helpful. The software is an outstanding organizational tool that engenders an author’s creativity such that less time is spent sifting through disorganized projects. As a result, you can spend more time doing what you love – writing. Think of it as a virtual studio.

How Scrivener Helps

So what are several ways Scrivener improves your writing? For me it helps in the following ways (these are based on my blog post: 8 Ways Scrivener Aids My Writing):

  1. WPTI-Scr-1I’m better organized from the beginning of projects.
  2. I can easily make changes to structure.
  3. I can turn out short projects at a faster rate.
  4. I can use different media to assist my efforts.
  5. Since I’m more organized and faster with short projects I have more time for longer projects.
  6. In relation to number 5, I don’t waste time staring at a blank screen since all the preliminaries are out of the way.
  7. In relation to number 2, I can edit more effectively which is a plus for a novel.
  8. It’s my multi-function tool. As I’ve written in earlier posts, the software is so flexible I can use it for any type of work that I’m doing as a writer.

Where To Start

WPTI-Scr-2For many people Scrivener is a new way of developing their content whether it is fiction or non-fiction, short or long projects. So here are some ways to approach using Scrivener:

  • Take time to work through the tutorial. You won’t remember everything but it helps get you started.
  • Learn to use project templates which are extremely helpful based on the nature of your content.
  • Learn to use document templates which are even more helpful. These templates are internal to your project and allow you replicate documents easily by embedding common formatting and content.
  • Take time to format your projects and documents well to avoid lots of frustration later.

Conclusion

There are numerous ways to use Scrivener and I readily admit that I continue to learn about using it. But I’m committed to gaining proficiency so I can be a better writer. Fortunately, Scrivener has a lot of great help tools from the manual to forums. Also there are numerous blogs where people share their knowledge and resources. You can access some of my own posts via Archer’s Aim. Also try joining the Facebook group for Scrivener users. Never tried Scrivener before? You can download it for a free trial – the tutorial loads by default.


 

About P. H. Solomon

  1. PH SolomonP. H. Solomon is a fantasy fiction author who lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a computer whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. He is currently finishing the first book of a fantasy series, The Bow of Destiny and hopes to see it in print soon.

 

His blog/website features articles about Scrivener, writing and fantasy. You can connect with him via any of his links below:

Twitter  Facebook  Goodreads  Website

Pinterest  Google +

VIP Member, Rave Reviews Book Club

New email followers to his website can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of his book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

Bow Destiny WPTI

Just as a note: I am not affiliated with Scrivener in any official capacity. For support questions, pricing and other concerns please contact the vendor.

“Loony” for Looney Tunes

By Betty Boyd

“What’s Up Doc”?  This was Bugs Bunny opening line in many of the cartoons he starred in. I grew up watching many cartoons, but my favorite is Looney Tunes, by Warner Bros.

Elmer_FuddThe Looney Tunes cartoons had a way with sarcasm that was unique to them.  Bugs Bunny was wise beyond his years. He always had many tricks up his sleeve when he confronted Elmer Fudd and convinced him not to shoot.

Tweety Bird had a sweet disposition but knew how to make sure that Sylvester never got the better of her.

No matter how hard Daffy Duck tried, he could never outsmart Bugs Bunny.  Yosemite Sam was my brave cowboy of cartoons. Foghorn Leghorn kept the chicken hawk at bay. While watching the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote I had the desire to visit the Southwest. While I lived in Arizona I did see a real roadrunner, it just wasn’t the same as in Looney Tunes.

My favorite of all is Bugs Bunny. The carrot he ate was more like the carrot and the stick concept. Bugs always seemed to get his way, and get out of some tight spots he always got himself into.

I cannot image myself not growing up and watching these marvelous cartoons.  They made me laugh and cheer them on when it looked as if all was lost. Today’s young children are missing out on such an iconic legend as Looney Tunes.

Even though they have made movies with the Looney Tunes characters, and I did enjoy those, it is just is not the same as the originals that aired on television for so many years.

I will treasure my childhood more, knowing that for a brief time each Saturday morning I could laugh, and marvel at how Bugs Bunny was going to get out of his latest predicament

“That’s all Folks”

Complete the prompt below for an extra entry in our quarterly drawings!

Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments.

 Writing Prompt:  Stanley gazed at his editor’s face as she read the latest post on his blog. After what seemed an eternity, she looked up. “You know what you need to make this post really interesting?” …

“Elmer Fudd” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Elmer_Fudd.png#/media/File:Elmer_Fudd.png

3 Questions Wednesday with Tracy Ruckman

Today’s 3 Questions Wednesday guest is Tracy Ruckman of Write Integrity Press, Pix-N-Pens Publishing, and Imaginate Magazine.

Tracy Ruckman HeadshotWe’re so glad you could join us, Tracy. First question:

Which author would you never get tired of, and why?

Tracy:  Would it be cheating to say all our authors? 🙂 However, if you mean authors other than our own – I’m not sure I have an answer. I love series, so I read from series to series as I can. Right now, while I’m in graduate school, all my “fun” reading consists of screenplays and textbooks.

I appreciate your love of your own authors’ books, since I am one of those authors! Now…

Who is your favorite fictional villain?

Tracy: My head seems to be in TV shows as I think about the answer to this question. A few years ago, after some recommendations, we binged on a couple of series we’d not previously seen. Both series consisted of ensemble casts, with numerous villains, and some of them became my favorites.

When we were watching Prison Break, I felt guilty the entire time I watched because I kept rooting for them to break out. At the time, I remember thinking what great writers they had – to make people like me (normally not lawbreakers at all) – cheer on the “bad guys.” Of course, Michael Scofield and Lincoln Burrows weren’t villains, but the heroes of the story, even though they were in prison. But the villain that still boils my blood is the character of Theodore ‘T-Bag’ Bagwell. Robert Knepper did such an incredible job with the character that to this day, if I hear his voice, I get the creepies up my spine.

Lost is the other show we binged on. Sawyer will always be my favorite – and Josh Holloway is from the county where I live! – but Linus is the unforgettable villain. Anytime I see Michael Emerson on screen, I want to yell at him! LOL!

You’ve chosen some great villains. I’m in complete agreement with Linus. One last question:

What project are you currently working on?

Tracy: So many projects, so little time. 🙂 Our Valentine book goes to press the week I’m answering these questions, so look for The Love Boat Bachelor on Kindle. Then, in the next few months, we’re launching new releases by Joan Deneve, Tammy Blackburn, Fay Lamb, Betty Thomason Owens, Marie Wells Coutu, and … I know I’m forgetting some. Bookmark the blog to get the latest updates: www.WriteIntegrity.com.

We’re also in the process of launching a new digital magazine for readers and writers. IMAGINATE will include articles for writers, as well as creative pieces like short stories, flash fiction, poetry, and special features for readers. We’re currently accepting submissions and advertising, with a deadline of April 1. The quarterly magazine will debut on June 1, 2015. For more information, visit our website: www.ImaginateZone.com

This is exciting! You have some wonderful projects in the works. The Writing Prompts Crew wishes you great success on all of these. And thanks so much for taking the time to complete our 3 Questions.

Readers, please read Tracy’s bio then leave a comment to win (drum roll) a three – book bundle (Kindle E-books)! Reader’s choice of three books in a series, or three separate books from Write Integrity Press or Pix-N-Pens Publishing (see the list below–some links are supplied so you can see them). Again, please leave a comment to be entered to win this valuable prize. The winner will be contacted via email and you can let us know at that time, which three (3) books you’d like.

More about Tracy Ruckman:

Tracy Ruckman is publisher, student, screenwriter, wife, and mom. She’s seeking her MFA in Screenwriting, and stays busy with her three publishing companies. In her spare time (in her dreams), she loves to cook, travel, explore.

Books from Write Integrity Press and Pix-N-Pens Publishing

Amazing Grace Series by Fay Lamb:

Stalking Willow

Better Than Revenge

Ties That Bind Series by Fay Lamb:

Charisse

Libby

Nonfiction for writers: The Art of Characterization, Fay Lamb

The Sisters Redeemed Series, Jerusha Agen:

This Dance

This Shadow

This Redeemer

For Such a Moment, Marie Wells Coutu

Cracks in the Ice, Deanna Klingel

Towdah, Sheryl Holmes

Imperfect Wings, Elizabeth Noyes

Entrusted (Adirondack Surrender Series), Julie Arduini

Amelia’s Legacy (Legacy Series), Betty Owens

Multiple Authors:

A Dozen Apologies

A Ruby Christmas

The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt

Cartoons, Interviews, and Winners…Oh My!

springSpring is officially here and we’re kicking it off here at the Writing Prompts Blog with a winner. Marlene won Kelly Ann Riley’s latest book For the Birds and the $10 B & N gift card. Congratulations Marlene!

Don’t miss any of our posts this month on cartoons. Make sure to leave a comment on a Monday or Friday post and be entered to win the $25 Amazon gift card to be given away on May 1st. Use our writing prompt in your comment and be entered twice.

It’s that easy!

Our interviTracy Ruckman Headshotew tomorrow is with publisher Tracy Ruckman. You’ll have a chance to win 3 ebooks from Write Integrity Press or Pix-N-Pens Publishing. See you there!