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On Writing

Sitting is Killing Me!

Since I took up writing a few years ago I’ve spent more time sitting each day than I’ve ever done in my life. I’ve always been a skinny bean, but lately, yes, I’m packing about 20 lbs more than I’d like to.

Something needs to be done before I end up looking like this!


When I came to the States in 1996, I weighed 135 lbs at a height of 5’7″. I could eat anything I wanted to, and never had to exercise.

The difference between then and now?

The Value of a Running Mate

Writing a book is like running a marathon, one that never seems to end. In fact, it’s more like a decathlon since you need to develop so many diverse talents in order to be successful. It demands a high level of talent, craft, charm and bravery, but it also demands perseverance, tenacity, and an unwavering belief that the effort is worthwhile. That last part, for me, is the toughest and I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t do it on my own. I have to have a running mate or I’d throw up my arms in despair (at least once a week) and go eat chocolate.

Do You Keep an Idea Bank?

I received an interesting question from a writing friend on Facebook today which I wanted to share with you because I’m sure we’re not the only two writers to have struggled with this:

“Lia, my novel keeps changing, the story keeps evolving, and I’m losing all sense of control. I don’t know how to keep track of all the smallest ideas, the ones that I need to keep, the ones that go but then should come back…
At least I got everything in a single folder, and most of it in the Liquid Story Binder but still… I’m trying to plan the nth draft and got stuck at end of Act 1. I don’t know how to follow without loosing richness of details of first act.
So, question is, how do you keep track of everything? “

How Do Your Characters See Themselves?

I’m working on a new novel involving a dual personality, so I’m doing a lot of research into mirrors, perception and point of view, but it has taught me something interesting about writing in general. If you’ve truly mined every possible form of conflict that your characters go through during the course of their emotional journey you’re likely to touch on their unique internal conflict at some point because it’s at the very heart of the human condition.

An easy way to explore this concept is to ask how characters view themselves. In every case it’s going to be a different truth than the one others see, but here’s the interesting part—their perception will affect how they behave in every scene, and every possible situation. In getting to know your character, this disconnect between the way they perceive themselves and the way others perceive them is what matters most.

Found my Muse! I knew she was lurking here somewhere…

After two days with hardly any sleep (trying to do too much as usual), I finally hit the sack at 6 am this morning, just as normal people were heading off to work, and woke up nine hours later from a dream in which I had the whole book sorted out, including my character’s journey through other centuries, the people he has to meet, and why.

I keep my laptop next to me when I sleep, so I opened a document and wrote for I don’t know how long. Didn’t care if the dog peed on the carpet. Just had to get everything down. Twelve pages later I stopped and took Ivy for a walk but the ideas kept coming at me.

Strategies for Combating Post-NaNoWriMo Procrastination

NaNoWriMo is almost over, many of you have already reached your 50K goals, and some of you still have a way to go. But wherever you are in the game, 50K isn’t a novel unless you’re writing for young children. Most of us have to keep going. We have to find the motivation to complete the last third of the novel, or put flesh on the completed skeleton. But we’re tired, and we just want to sleep.

Personally, I’ve vowed that I’m not going to stare into the fire on another New Year’s Eve and wish I’d finished my project. But this video is dangerously close to how I’m feeling…