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sk lamont Do You Write Organically Story Trumps Structure Giveaway

Do You Write Organically? Story Trumps Structure – Giveaway!

sk lamont Do You Write Organically Story Trumps Structure Giveaway

Do you write organically or do you plot out your novels? I don’t think there is only one way to write. Different writers choose different paths, and the main question to ask is, what works best for you?

We must each find our own path.

I really wanted to be a plotter. I mean really. I bought books and their accompanying workbooks. Downloaded seminars, audio books, and software for my computer. Then tried to get my ideas to behave themselves, and allow me to organize them into the nice tidy outline had planned for them.

Did it work?

In one word … No!

Not for me, which, to be honest was a bit surprising, I can be a scatter brain, but I also like to follow rules a lot. Especially formulaic rules. I like a nice tidy path to follow, with step-by-step instructions, to make sure I’m getting it right.

A side note on rule breaking – I’m also a bit of a rebel. I like to break the rules too, especially if they’re authoritative, and I love to follow my own path. But, the security of a rule book is a nice addition, so that I don’t get lost.

Breaking The Rules

I’m also a bit OCD: I like to line up my pens, coordinate my sticky notes, and color code everything. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that outlining was not the vehicle for me–at all!

No matter how hard I tried to force my wild and crazy ideas into the box of outlining, the more they refused to communicate. In fact my imaginative ideas dried up completely, and sat in the corner like a glowered faced five-year-old with arms folded refusing to communicate.

Reading Books on Writing

Reading books on writing is very important aspect of improving our craft. We should be like sponges, and devourers of information to become masters of our trade. But, book after book I read kept talking about outlining and all its merits, and referred to pantsing as if it were some dirty little secret. Pantsing, if you don’t know, is the idea of writing without an outline, also known as flying by the seat of your pants.

Set Your Imagination Free

Do You Write Organically Story Trumps Structure GiveawayAs much as I didn’t want to be a pantser, I thought I would give it a whirl–never say never, right? And, I was surprised by the results! I was truly astonished as my imagination was set alight. My little storytelling five-year-old loved it, she wouldn’t shut up. It was all I could do to keep up with her, as story after story poured out of me and onto the paper.

I believe it’s worth giving your imagination the freedom to fly. You jump off the cliff and see what happens.

No matter what kind of writer you are, you should fill yourself up to the brim with great resources. Have a thirst for knowledge. Even if you’re a pantser you should still know how to outline–at least in theory. You gotta know the rules so that you can break them, well. Read books on how to write, listen to audio books, go to seminars, drink it all in.

Fire Up Your Imagination

If you are a storyteller then read great stories that inspire you. Read what you love. Watch copious amounts of movies. If you watch movies then you already know how story works, it’s innate–it’s in you!

I read a great book at the beginning of last year called Story Trumps Structure by Steven James. In his book he talks about a style of writing he calls organic writing. Here are some of his ideas:

I would rather …

  • Write a story than plot one.
  • Tell a story than outline one.
  • Follow the narrative than follow a formula.
  • Pursue a process that allows for surprises.
  • Save time.
  • Live in the joy of discovery rather than fill in the blanks.

I also listened to one of his seminars online, through Writer’s Digest, and I picked out this idea of his:

“Art requires trust – Fear will always drive you back to an outline.” – Steven James

There are lots of arguments for and against writing organically. But, I did enjoy his book immensely, so I thought I would give away a copy to one lucky reader in this week’s post. Please feel free to fill out the rafflecopter below.

To Enter

Use the Rafflecopter widget below!

      • You get an entry for every item you complete in the Rafflecopter widget (up to eight entries!)
      • You can also come back once a day and ‘tweet about the giveaway’ (for extra entries!).
      • You also get two entries, if you leave a comment!
      • If you already follow or friend any of the items listed, please help yourself to free entries in the Rafflecopter! Just click the appropriate checkbox in the widget.
      • You must have a US postal address to enter.
      • The winner will be announced here March 22nd, the winner will also be contacted by email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will run till March 21st at midnight (EST).

What are your thoughts?

I would love to know what you think! What have you found to be your best methods for getting a story down on paper? Are you are plotter or a pantser? Or are you still trying to figure out what works for you? Do you believe we are innate storytellers? Or, do we need someone to show us what story looks like?

sk lamont Do You Write Organically Story Trumps Structure Giveaway

Please share your comments in the comment box below, along with any other ideas you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

What kind of writer are you?

Follow me on twitter @sk_lamont


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Fearless Writing – How I Write with Wild Abandon

sk lamont Giveaway Neil Gaiman 3 Book Box Set

Giveaway! Neil Gaiman 3-Book Box Set: Coraline; The Graveyard Book; Fortunately, the Milk

sk lamont Giveaway Neil Gaiman 3 Book Box SetIn this week’s blog post I’m giving away the 3-Book Box Set: Coraline; The Graveyard Book; and Fortunately, the Milk, by author Neil Gaimen. Please note these are the British versions! I like this box set in particular because it is the British version and also because of the fun illustrations by Chris Riddell.

You can enter here or scroll to the bottom.

Bedtime Stories

In the fall last year I decided that it was time to bring back bedtime stories to our family. It’s such a wonderful time for us to connect and be together. It used to be part of our regular bedtime routine but managed to slip through the cracks, the year before last, when our newborn baby became deathly ill. Our baby boy had to go through thirteen surgeries including two liver transplants in 2014–he was not expected to make it–but remarkably he did! You can read a little about his story here.

It was enough to flip our family upside down for the last couple of years, so I was extremely happy when our life began to settle down once more. I loved bedtime stories when I was a kid and I wanted to make sure that all my kids could experience the magic that my older kids had, before life got in the way! So we began with Serafina and the Black Cloak to enrich our new bedtime routine. I even got the chance to interview author Robert Beatty, the article was featured on Writers Digest, you can read it here.

A Bit Spooky

Serafina and the Black Cloak was rather creepy and scary, and I could never of handled a tale like that when I was a kid. But my kids asked me for it repeatedly until they finally wore me down, and they they loved it. So I decided to pick up this lovely Neil Gaimen box set as our next set of bedtime stories even though they have the creepy factor too. There is a wide diversity of reading ages here–I’d say, five through eight for Fortunately, the Milk; Eight through ten (or older) for Coraline, though watch out this one is a bit creepy, especially if you have a sensitive child; and The Graveyard Book, is probably about ten and up, my 15-year-old snatched this one out of my hands and devoured in a matter of hours.

My daughter loved it, and it renewed her interest in reading again. Having spiraled into the world of all things teenager, her love of reading had been put on hold for months, so I was particularly excited that The Graveyard Book inspired her thirst for reading once more.

Here is what my daughter had to say about it:

“It was a really great book! I enjoyed the characters, all the different elements, and how everything tied together. I loved the plot twists and turns throughout the story, and overall it was an exciting ride. I just wish there was more!”

Our family has been enjoying these books immensely and I think they’re fun for adult readers too, Fortunately, the Milk, may be a little on the young side, but it is stuffed full of fun and interesting illustrations.

From the Back Cover of the Book Set:

Giveaway Neil Gaiman 3 Book Box SetAn exclusive box set containing three Neil Gaiman classics, including the Newbery Medal and Carnegie Medal winner The Graveyard Book; Coraline; and Fortunately, the Milk, all illustrated by acclaimed and award-winning artist Chris Riddell.

These editions, containing the British illustrations—which are both hilarious and moving—have never before been published in the United States.

From the back covers of each individual book:

The Graveyard Book

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts.

There are dangers and adventures for Bod in the graveyard. But it is in the land of the living that real danger lurks, for it is there that the man Jack lives, and he has already killed Bod’s family.

Coraline

There is something strange about Coraline’s new home. It’s not the mist, or the cat that always seems to be watching her, or the signs of danger that Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, her new neighbours, read in the tea leaves. It’s the other house—the one behind the old door in the drawing room. Another mother and father with black-button eyes and papery skin are waiting for Coraline to join them there. And they want her to stay with them. Forever. She knows that if she ventures through that door, she may never come back…

Fortunately, the Milk

Mum’s away. Dad’s in charge. There’s no milk. So Dad saves the day by going to buy some. Really, that’s all that happens. Very boring. YAAAAAAAWWWN. There are absolutely definitely none of the following inside: Globby Green Aliens! Intergalactic Police! Pirates! Angry volcano gods demanding human sacrifice! And most definitely NOT a time-traveling hot-air balloon piloted by the brilliant Professor Steg…

To Enter

Use the Rafflecopter widget below!

    • You get an entry for every item you complete in the Rafflecopter widget (up to eight entries!)
    • You can also come back once a day and ‘tweet about the giveaway’ (for extra entries!).
    • You also get two entries, if you leave a comment!
    • If you already follow or friend any of the items listed, please help yourself to free entries in the Rafflecopter! Just click the appropriate checkbox in the widget.
    • You must have a US postal address to enter.
    • The winner will be announced here February 16th, the winner will also be contacted by email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will run till February 15th at midnight (EST).

Please share your comments in the comment box below, along with any other ideas you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

sk lamont Giveaway Neil Gaiman 3 Book Box Set

Who has been your most memorable character or characters, and why?

Follow me on twitter @sk_lamont


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Do You Use All Five Senses — Do Your Characters?

SK Lamont interview with Robert Beatty Serafina and the Black Cloak

Giveaway! Win a copy of Serafina and the Black Cloak

In this week’s blog post I’m running a giveaway for a hardcover copy of, Serafina and the Black Cloak!

Robert Beatty Interview on Writer’s Digest

Recently I had the of honor interviewing local author Robert Beatty, the interview was featured on Writer’s Digest, you can read all about it here!

Writer’s Digest interview with best-selling author Robert Beatty.

To celebrate I’m giving away a hardcover copy of his best-selling novel Serafina and the Black Cloak. After the interview was released, I heard from a few folks that they would like to read the book, so I thought it would be great to give a copy away to one lucky reader!  The giveaway will run till December 14th at midnight (EST), so you should receive your prize in time for Christmas! (Click here to enter the giveaway or scroll down the page.) You can read it yourself or give it as a gift. My children and I have enjoyed the novel immensely, though it may be a little frightening for younger readers, you can read the first chapter below.

About Serafina and the Black Cloak:

SK Lamont author interview with Robert Beatty - Serafina and the Black CloakSerafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture beyond the grounds of Biltmore Estate. There’s plenty to explore in Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt’s vast and oppulent home, but she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa, the estate’s maintenance man, have lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember. She has learned to prowl through the darkened corridors at night, to sneak and hide, using the mansion’s hidden doors and secret passageways.

But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows the clues to follow. A terrifying man in a black cloak stalks Biltmore’s corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of Biltmore’s owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloak’s true identity before all of the children vanish one by one.Serafina’s hunt leads her into the very forest that she has been taught to fear, where she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must not only face her darkest enemy, but delve into the strange mystery of her own identity.

Here is the first chapter: Chapter 1 Excerpt

About Robert Beatty:

SK Lamont author interview with Robert BeattyRobert Beatty writes imaginative fiction for middle grade and young adult readers from his home in Asheville, NC.

His novel, Serafina and the Black Cloak (Disney Hyperion, July 2015), is a spooky mystery-thriller about a brave and unusual girl who lives secretly in the basement of the Biltmore Estate during the late 1890s. It’s an idea that grew from the author’s love of writing stories for his three daughters and from the rich history and beauty of Western North Carolina, particularly the forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Biltmore.

A former software entrepreneur, Beatty writes full-time now, but previously was one of the early pioneers of cloud computing, the founder/CEO of Plex Systems, and the chairman/CTO of Narrative Magazine. In 2007, he was named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year. He’s co-founder of Beatty Robotics, an enterprise with his two oldest school-age daughters that designs and builds custom robots for science centers and museums around the world.

Recently, publisher Disney Hyperion gave the go-ahead for two more Serafina books. Look for Book 2 in the series, Serafina and the Twisted Staff, in August 2016.

To Enter

Use the Rafflecopter widget below! You get an entry for every item you complete in the Rafflecopter widget (up to seven entries! – you can also come back once a day and ‘tweet about the giveaway’, for extra entries!). You also get one if you leave a comment on the Writer’s Digest article, that is relevant to the interview posted. (If you already commented on the Writer’s Digest interview page last week, just hit I entered, and I will take that as an indication that you wish to take part in this give away!) You must have a US postal address to enter. The winner will be announced here December 15th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The giveaway will run till December 14th at midnight (EST), so you should receive your prize in time for Christmas!

Please share your comments in the comment box below, along with any other ideas you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

What book or books have influenced you the most as a writer or reader?

Follow me on twitter @sk_lamont

 


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Why I Write