Time-Savers for Writers: Ways to Automate and Delegate

For two weeks this summer, I got to set aside other writing projects to focus on transmedia storytelling. (I know, I know…you never would have guessed!) In case you’re curious, here’s a screenshot of what I’ve been working on (and will *hopefully* unveil before the year’s end–fingers crossed!!):

MTAX_Home

It was pretty darned exciting: my brother-in-law flew into town to help with website and database coding and my husband/co-conspirator and story inventor took time off work to help with writing, story structure, and all the little details involved in telling a story through multiple media channels. We started each day early with an update on where we all were and worked pretty much nonstop, bouncing ideas off each other, brainstorming, troubleshooting, critiquing…

Sounds like fun, right? It was! It was also a ton of work. And a ton of time. We only had two weeks together, and needed to make the most of it.

Can you say BUSY? Yes, that would describe us!

The truth is, though, we writers are often usually busy. Even if life and work obligations don’t fill up your to-do list, don’t you find yourself cramming in as much as possible, because there are so many cool ideas to explore, so many projects you want to work on? Or maybe you’re simply busy because it’s November now, and with or without NaNoWriMo to fill your spare time, this time of year can easily get out of hand.

Whatever the cause of your busy-ness, I thought you might appreciate some of the time-savers that help me stay afloat when my schedule gets crazier than usual :).
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Character Date Ideas #3

This week, we’re taking a look at different ways to spend time with our characters.

Why “spend time” with them, you ask? Because we want to learn more about them…and since most of us don’t have a crystal ball, we’ll have to actually get to know those characters up close and personal-like.

Santiago_Nicolau_Flickr_Creative_Commons-ribbet
Photo courtesy of Santiago Nicolau, Flickr Creative Commons

If you want your characters to trust you with their innermost thoughts, feelings, fears, and desires, you need a good relationship with them. Or–if your characters aren’t the trusting types–then you’ll need time to learn to read between the lines of whatever they DO tell you.

We looked at a few “character date” ideas on Monday and Wednesday. We’ll wrap things up today with some more general resources on creativity. If you have any to add to the list, please give me a shout in the comments!

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Character Date Ideas #2

This week, we’re taking a look at different ways to spend time with our characters.

Why “spend time” with them, you ask? Because we want to learn more about them…and since most of us don’t have a crystal ball, we’ll have to actually get to know those characters up close and personal-like.

Beverly_Flickr_Creative_Commons-adj
Photo courtesy of Beverly on Flickr Creative Commons

If you want your characters to trust you with their innermost thoughts, feelings, fears, and desires, you need a good relationship with them. Or–if your characters aren’t the trusting types–then you’ll need time to learn to read between the lines of whatever they DO tell you.

We looked at a few “character date” ideas on Monday. Now it’s time to explore a few more active options. Have fun!

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Getting to Know Your Characters

You know how I wrote about my recent return from a trip to upstate New York? Well, what I didn’t mention was the poodle. The paranoid poodle, who has been slinking around ever since I returned, as if she’s sure I’m going to beat her with a wooden spoon at any second.

Lily, Poodle Muse Extraordinaire

I swear, I have never beaten her, with or without a wooden spoon, but poodles are very intelligent…in a paranoid sort of way.

Finally, this morning, I invited her up on the bed and spent forty-five minutes brushing her. After five minutes, she was still eyeing me suspiciously (“What?” I asked. “Do you think I’m going to disappear while leaving the brush behind to cover my tracks?!”), but did consent to rest her head on the pillow.

After ten minutes, her eyes drifted closed.

After twenty, she twisted to lie fully upon her back, legs splayed wide and belly exposed–so I’d get the hint and start rubbing it.

Now she’s sprawled beside me, legs twitching occasionally in a squirrel-chasing dream, snoring and contented. I guess all she needed was time.

The Power of Time

I think people–both those in the real world and those populating our fiction–operate much the same way. Spend too much time away from them, and they may become a bit withdrawn. You don’t know what’s going on in their day-to-day lives; maybe you don’t care; maybe you don’t even know them anymore.

Yeah, even characters (especially characters?!) can get a bit paranoid. It’s amazing what a little concentrated time can do for your relationship.

What do I mean by “spending time”? You can’t exactly invite your characters out for dinner and a movie, after all, so you may have to get a bit creative. Fortunately, you’re a writer. Creative is your best thing!

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