Sunday, April 03, 2011

Dare Yourself

"There are no great people in this world, only great challenges which ordinary people rise to meet." - William Frederick Halsey, Jr.

I love a challenge. I'm preparing for a 6.55 mile race on May 7th. I also love structure. I follow a training plan that tells me what distance and how fast to run on what days, what days to rest, what days to cross train and what days to lift weights. I do what it says and I listen to my body. On race day, a friend is racing too so we have the added benefit of camaraderie to push us along.

I love a writing challenge as well. This month two different writing challenges provide the kind of structure, motivation and fellowship around writing that I'm getting for running from training for my race.

In Script Frenzy, writers attempt to write a play or screenplay script during the month of April. There are on-line forums, local groups, technical assistance and lots of encouragement. To find the central Ohio group, go here.

For National Poetry Writing Month (aka NaPoWriMo), writers attempt to write one poem each day for 30 days. This challenge has had several different homes, but is currently hosted as a fundraiser in honor of National Poetry Month by the Academy of American Poets.

And, don't forget there are only seven months until November which is National Novel Writing Month. If you haven't started plotting your novel, go here for help.

What do you need? Structure? Challenge? Camaraderie? It's all waiting for you if you choose it.

Are you up for a challenge this month? If you like, tell us about it by posting a comment below.

Plot? What's a plot?

Whether you're writing fiction or nonfiction, your story needs a plot.

The plot is what pulls the reader through the story. In fiction, you make up the events of the story based on the motivations of your characters and lay them out in an order that makes the reader want to know what happens next. In nonfiction, you detail the events and examine the motivations of the real people about whom you're writing to come up with a story that makes the reader want to turn the page. I have shelves filled with books on plot and have used several different methods to come up with the plots in the books and short stories I've written.

Recently, I took Holly Lisle's Plot Outline Course and found it very helpful.

Go here to read more about the other Holly Lisle courses I've taken.