Author Tools to Keep A Story Together

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Share how you keep your characters, storylines, etc., organized. Do you use an outline? Notecards? Post-its all over your walls?

I am back, everyone. I’ve missed writing for this blog hop, but I was slammed…hard…with a number of illnesses and was laid out for weeks.

Yeah, it took a while, but I am better now and ready to go!

Okay. How I keep track of everything needed to write a cohesive novel, novella or short story. What fun! And how convenient that I recently wrote articles about high and low-tech productivity for the awesome Haute Hijab blog. Below are some tools I use to keep things in check while story writing, even rebellious characters like Quinn Ang and Raad Khouri.

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High-Tech Tools

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Author Interrupted – Dealing with Distractions

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What are your top three distractions and how do you deal with them?
Note: I am writing this post on the road. Please forgive any typos.

A writer’s life is full of all kinds of distractions, which can make finding the time to develop ideas and getting out of one’s head and onto paper (or the screen) difficult. I have mentioned that time management can be an external factor hindering writing.

Damn those twenty-four hours in a day. They just won’t listen and become more. Authors have professional (novel writing is not the main source of income for most) and personal lives, each demanding energy and time. Finding sufficient time to develop a plot, construct character arcs and write content can be difficult.  One cruel irony is that creative often burgeons when there is no time. Authors scramble to find a moment to weave a story, but frustration usually sets in when the brilliance blazing in their minds flickers into embers because that’s how it often works. Write right now or risk losing everything.

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Continue reading “Author Interrupted – Dealing with Distractions”

The Dual Life of the Self-Published Author

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How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

Control is something I have a difficult time relinquishing to anyone. I can delegate easily enough but must maintain the power to make the final decisions, especially when it comes to my writing.

Like many authors, I put a lot of myself in my books. I have been exhilarated while writing some scenes and depleted by others. More than time and talent, storytelling requires energy. After completing a fleshed-out plot, I am usually vested in it and the characters, making it hard to detach myself and place it into someone else’s hands. I figured out pretty early into the novel-writing process that I did not want to let go.

Mis Quince Años (24) Continue reading “The Dual Life of the Self-Published Author”

Dry Those Writer Tears: Dealing with Reviews

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Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

Ah, book reviews. They can send an author’s heart soaring or sink it like a stone into a deep abyss of despair.  Because a writer is often intimately connected to their works, reviews can have a substantial impact on the creative process.

I have warned new authors to be mindful of the effects reviews have on them, particularly negative ones:

All authors get negative reviews. Reading is subjective. There will always be at least one reader who doesn’t like something about a book, and some will express it in reviews. A lot of new authors are simply not ready for people to express any level of dislike.

Mis Quince Años (13) Continue reading “Dry Those Writer Tears: Dealing with Reviews”

LWL Interview: Huma Z. Ahmed Helping Others Heal

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In her new book 37 Lessons on How to Gain from Loss: A Believer’s Journey from Trial to Triumph, spiritual coach and trainer Huma Z. Ahmed uses her expertise and personal experience with loss to offer advice to help others see their way through grief.

Huma Z. Ahmed is an Author, Certified Spiritual Self-discovery & Mindset Coach, Trainer, Inspirational Speaker, Youtuber and the initiator of Trial to Triumph movement which is all about learning “how to take your trials, losses and lacks as turning points of your life and transform them into triumphs, gains and abundance“. 

Her mission is to heal, align and lead Women from trials, losses and lacks to triumphs, gains and abundance by empowering them with Spiritually Healthy Mindsets for Success and Excellence. Her methodology involves guiding women to use their hearts, heads and hands in harmony to create everlasting happiness in their lives. Her writing like all her other work focuses on the spiritual art of allowing restrained caterpillars the freedom of being enlightened butterflies.

37 Lessons on How to Gain from Loss

Available at Amazon

Blurb

God created trials, so He could test you with your truth. You are born free, but you must learn to be free. 37 Lessons on How to Gain from Loss is my own story of remembering, realizing and reaffirming this basic human truth.

Drenched in pain, I had limped so far on the Road of Loss that I had lost my way back home. I finally approached the point of no return. However, upon setting my last step on the fall’s edge, I was thundered by yet another torment—of losing my mother. Finding myself trapped in the most turbulent flight for the next twenty-four hours, I was taxed by a tremendous choice, not between action and non-action, or belief and unbelief, but rather between choice and none at all. Would I resist or submit to my tribulation?
My story will resonate with every human being waiting to transform their tragedy into treasure.

Huma shared her thoughts on writing, productivity, good habits and writer’s block. Continue reading “LWL Interview: Huma Z. Ahmed Helping Others Heal”

I Don’t See No Stinkin’ Writer’s Block

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How do you move past writer's block?

I never get writer’s block. I may say I do but not really. What I usually experience is more like a hurdle to clear and keep things moving. A basic definition of writer’s block is, “the condition of being unable to create a piece of written work because something in your mind prevents you from doing it.” Other definitions describe it as an inability to write—as if there a mystical wall keeping words stuck in the mind or a force imprisoning creativity. There are reasons why a writer can’t write, and it is not always psychological or due to “having something on your mind.”

Through years of academic, professional, teaching and coaching writing, I learned a few things about the ominous “writer’s block” and the external and internal factors that drive writers to fall back on what is ultimately an excuse, a justification, for a blank screen.  Covering everything in one post is not possible. So, I will highlight some prevalent ones.

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Internal Factors

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Character Building: I Made This

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What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?

I may (or may not—I admit to nothing) base a character on someone I respect or despise, so I will have to be salty and sweet with the response to this week’s OpenBook blog hop post. Let’s start with the people I like.

Sweet

I’ve explained in a Black Glue Podcast interview how the Prophet Muhammad served as inspiration for the male characters featured in the Brothers in Law series.

I reflected on the Prophet (Muhammad’s) life and how he was as a husband … lover … someone out in the community and how he transitioned between those things. What he did when his women were mad at him, and what he did when his women were acting out. [The brothers in law] don’t act exactly like the Prophet, but there are characteristics each one of them has.

Simon is the one who keeps things at a level where it doesn’t get too bad. He doesn’t allow things to get to him as much.  Marcus is the alpha, alpha. He’s the leader. He expects things to happen the way he needs for them to happen because he’s progressing the nation. Adam is that inner reflection.

Continue reading “Character Building: I Made This”

LWL Podcast–Book Reviews: Author Drama

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LWL Widescreen (10)Book reviews can invigorate authors, but it is not all rainbows and sunshine. Negative reviews may drain and stress writers. In this episode, Lyndell talks about the need for anybody sharing their words to put reviews in their proper perspectives and avoid having them crush creativity.

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3 Books, 1 Author: Eclectic Reading that Feeds the Mind

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What are the best two or three books you've read this year?

This was supposed to be an easy question but not so much for me. I read a ton of different things over the course of the year. In addition to reading novels, I am always looking for books that will help me improve my writing skills as an author and writer.

I also am constantly gathering titles to read and analyze with my colleagues at the Muslim Anti-racism Collaborative. I am a strong proponent for life-long learning inside and outside of one’s professional spheres. My collection of books that help me develop as an anti-racism trainer, instructor, managing editor, and self-published author grew quite a bit this year. A few of them gripped me, so it is difficult not to mention any of them.

As usual, I will take the convoluted way to answer the blog hop prompt and include a shortlist of three of the best books I have read so far this year in fiction and nonfiction, connecting each to my life’s work. Continue reading “3 Books, 1 Author: Eclectic Reading that Feeds the Mind”

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