Tag Archives | Christina Katz

Creativity in Literature through the ages.

I had a power point presentation for you to link to covering creativity in classic and successful works of literature through out history from the days of Gutenberg to the Harry Potters of today.

But that would be way too boring and long. Or maybe it wouldn’t be, but it would take way too much time.

We all get ideas. Some are great. Some are pure suckage. Or wait, maybe it has nothing to do with the idea and more about the presentation. And the creativity behind the presentation and the writing.

I love reading the Chet Gecko series by Bruce Hale because the words surprise me on every page. Chet Gecko’s humorous narration keeps me reading page after page regardless of what’s going on in the story.

I also love reading I So Don’t Do Mysteries by Barrie Summy, because again, the fun writing style and voice keeps me flipping pages. I just finished I So Don’t Do Spooky and it’s better than the first!

I loved reading Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson because every word reflects the dark mood of the story. And I cared about the main character. She was real to me. I would have followed her anywhere.

But all of these stories, written by someone else, might have flopped. I’ve heard that any great writer can take any idea and mold it into a great story. I read about agents stating that in their slush they see too many predictable stories with not enough tension.

I challenge you to really look at your story, your writing, your structure, your words, your scenes, your dialogue.  Are they predictable? How can you change them so every page surprises a reader and keeps their eyes glued to the page.

And yeah, I know, easier said than done.

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The Meanie Greenies.

Christina Katz coined the phrase “meanie greenie” in her newsletter, and I loved it. The meanie greenies are something all writers fight against.

Or at least I do. Sometimes.

I rejoice with fellow writers when they sign an agent or sell their hundredth book. I love promoting and seeing authors reach their dreams. Because we’re a community, here to encourage each other during the down times and celebrate good news.

But of course, there is that still small voice whispering in the back of my thoughts. And it’s not the voice of … my inner editor.



“Nice turn of phase you got there.”



“I’m stumped. Go catch some zzzs.”


“Get in there and get the job done. Kill those darlings.”

No, it’s the voice of someone else. Or something else.



He whispers his evil words.


“AHH! Sssssomeone elsssse sssigned with an agent.”

So, yeah, sometimes I feel the meanie greenies, aka jealousy.

I’m just keepin’ it real.

And there is just something very wrong about having Leo and Gollum in the same post.

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Humor. Health. Healing.

Remember the game, Operation? Using  tweezers, a player has to pull out the white plastic game pieces representing different but well known health risks. If the tweezers hit the side then the man’s red nose blinks and a buzzer sounds.

Remember the pencil you had to pull out of the man’s wrist? The injury was called writer’s cramp. But there are actually many more common health concerns when it comes to writing. Aches and pains in the neck, shoulder, back, arms, fingers – all from over use and abuse. The basic message is: sit right, take breaks, and listen to your body. Christina Katz covers Staying Healthy in this week’s ezine, The Prosperous Writer.

But I want to talk about a different kind of health.

Mental health.

After reading Elana’s post on fear, and then reading Casey’s post on fear, and then reading all the writers chiming in not only to encourage but express their own fears and self-doubts, it made me realize something.

Almost all writers/artists experience fear and stress. It comes part and parcel with being a writer. And I think it’s wonderful when writers share these kind of emotions on their blogs, because it helps us realize we’re not alone. Helps me realize I’m not alone.

But we can’t let these emotions rule our life or our writing, or we’re not going to make it very far. We all experience the ups and downs. Our emotional health affects our physical health.

Then I read this article on laughing. And I realized that I can’t give in to the negative thoughts. Somehow, I have to fight them. Express them and then let them go.

And then I read this encouraging post by Jody Hedlund. When I’m down, I can’t give into it. I must pull myself out of the miry clay, the pit of despair, the fear that binds –  and I must persevere with hope and faith.

My faith in God plays a big part in how I deal with negative emotions. But it’s not the only way. Sometimes, I eat girlscout cookies. Sometimes, I talk with friends. Sometimes, I cry. Sometimes, I just push forward and keep writing and living.

How do you pull yourself out of negative thought patterns? How have you found hope when dealing with disappointment, stress, or fear?

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Christina Katz sends out a newsletter and maintains a blog and has written books. The book I associate with her name is, Get Known Before the Book Deal. (Um, no, I haven’t read it yet, but would like to.) She is genuinely out to help other writers. Or, at least, that’s the feeling I get from her.

Her newsletter, The prosperous Writer, is not a gimmick to get people to buy her books, and I absolutely love that. (I strongly dislike the feeling of being manipulated by a newsletter or a contest.)  Week by week, she is covering what it means to be a prosperous writer.

And up on the menu last week was, you guessed it, accountability.

I found a line in her newsletter that describes me perfectly.

“Accountable people are completion-oriented. When you are accountable, you are not perfect but seek resolutions to your own stumbling blocks.”

I have critique partners, but not because that’s the only way I’ll get that next chapter pumped out. I’ve never felt the desire to do NanoWriMo in November because I already am highly motivated.

When I haven’t moved forward in my writing, I feel this pressure bearing down on me. And if social engagements (which are a good thing), doctor appointments or snow days pile up, I can get, er, a little grumpy. I call it I-haven’t-done-enough-writing-this-week syndrome. And writing can be either revising or writing.

Now, I just wish I felt that pressure bearing down on me when I see that my closet needs reorganizing.

How do you hold yourself accountable when it comes to writing – especially if you aren’t published yet?

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