EditZone: It’s on the tip of my tongue…Give me a minute…It’s…

How many times have you had a word on the tip of your tongue but it won’t come to you? As a writer, I have to find new words and synonyms all the time. The worst thing you can do is keep on repeating the same words through a manuscript. But sometimes it is harder than one thinks to find new ways of saying the same thing. It can also be difficult putting an action into words. Sometimes even us writers just draw a blank when it comes to “that perfect word”.

 

I am in the middle of editing one of my manuscripts and I cringe at how many times I have overused certain pet words. Yes I use a dictionary and yes I use a thesaurus but sometimes even these great reference tools are not enough. What about those times when you can’t think of the exact word but you can describe what you are trying to say. Then what? A dictionary nor thesaurus won’t cut it at these times.

 

Well recently, I found the perfect tool to solve my word issues. I came upon it quite by chance and it was a fortunate chance indeed. Realising I needed an updated dictionary and thesaurus, I thought I would search for one in the App store (Apple) that I could download onto my iPod Touch. So I entered a search term for dictionary & thesaurus. There was a whole list of various dictionary&thesaurus combinations but one app stood out to me…

 

 

 

The Reverse Dictionary

Cover of "Reverse Dictionary (Readers Dig...
Cover of Reverse Dictionary (Readers Digest)

 

 

Never having heard of a reverse dictionary, I opened it up and read the description:

 

Reverse Dictionary is a great way to explore words, definitions and concepts.

Have you ever had a word on the tip of your tongue but just couldn’t get it out? Then this app is for you! Reverse Dictionary can also help you expand your vocabulary in many ways.

For example, you can:

• Find a word if you only know its definition or a phrase describing the idea
e.g. 1000 years, museum guide, search for food, plastic thing over end of shoelace, ceremony to crown a king…

• Find related terms
e.g. baseball, clouds, coffee…

• Generate a list of words related to a category
e.g. large birds, green fruit, outdoor sport…

• Solve crossword puzzle clues, or find words if you only know some of the letters
e.g. ??lon:synthetic fabric, pi??apple:fruit…

Special thanks to OneLook® for providing data services.

This app is free, and will remain free so enjoy!

– quoted from iTunes App Store

I couldn’t believe my luck. This is exactly the application I had been searching for. It took me less than 10 seconds to download it. I have been using this application for about 2 weeks and it has changed my world! Now if I want to say something is green I have a whole list to choose from to describe green. The application also works a bit like a word association game. If you type in a phrase, it comes up with all the synonyms associated to the words in that phrase as well as the actual phrase.

 

Wildcards can also be used in the search terms to customize the results…

Find words that start with bl and have a meaning related to snow >

bl*:snow

Find words and phrases that start with blue >

blue*

Find any words related to snow >

*:snow

(These are just some of the more specialized ways you can use Reverse Dictionary. All info quoted from the App’s store’s app.)

The great thing about this application is that it also contains a number of full dictionaries and thesauruses. So if you have found a word but you want an expanded meaning of it then you just click on the “more definitions” and it will take you to a list of dictionaries and thesauruses: Everything from Dictionary.com to the Oxford Dictionary. There are also a couple of useful dictionaries for fiction authors: Rhymezone, Mnemonic Dictionary, Idioms and the Urban Dictionary and for Word Nerds – The Online Entymology Dictionary.

 

The good news is that this application is available in both Apple and Android.

 

Apple: Reverse Dictionary

 

Android: Reverse Dictionary

 

(For those without a smartphone/ipod: Reverse Dictionary – Desktop Version)

 

All downloads are FREE.

 

So if it’s on the tip of your tongue and you just can’t find the exact right word… If your manuscript is covered in red pen from your editor with large “Please find another word!” all over it… Don’t waste time. Download the Reverse Dictionary. This little app will change the way you write and make your editing life super-simple. Your editor will love you and your manuscript will shine.

 

 

Writers on Writing Exercises

Monday has rolled around again and another week has begun. How are your Mental Muscles coping this year so far? Is 2011 being a kind year to you creatively? Are you feeling inspired? Is your Muse in daily attendance?

Today I have decided to post and share writing exercises that our favourite authors use. Often times the best way to learn a craft is to follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before us. So I share their words of wisdom here with you today…

  • Ernest Hemingway’s Exercise / Challenge

Tell an entire story in only 6 words.

His story was:

For sale: baby shoes, never used.

  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez

One of the most difficult things is the first paragraph.

Choose 5 of your favourite books and study the first paragraphs. What has the writer done that hooked you? What can you learn from these paragraphs?

  • Stephen King

In his book “On Writing” he says that he writes 10 pages every day without fail.

Challenge: This week set down a task to write 10 pages every day without fail.

  • Joyce Carol Oats

She writes in the morning before breakfast. She writes in longhand. She writes for a minimum of 45 minutes to an hour.

Challenge: Set aside 45 minutes in the morning to write. Put away the laptop, get out your pen or pencil and write.

  • JK Rowling

Unclutter your story. JK Rowling is famous for creating Harry Potter. But she is also famous for being a plotter. She used a 1 page gridded outline.The grid outlines the chapter, month, chapter title, explanation of how that chapter relates to the over-arching plot of the book, and then columns for each of the book’s six subplots (prophecies, Harry’s romantic interests, Dumbledore’s Army, Order of the Phoenix, Snape and crew, and Hagrid and Grawp).

Challenge: If you have not outlined your story. Outline your story using JK Rowling’s method. Stick to only 1 page for the outline.

Well I trust these tips and exercises from great authors will keep your mental muscles supple and flexed this week.

Happy Writing.

 

Gaga for Circus Ponies

Carved Circus Pony
Image by Atelier Teee via Flickr

I think that I have mentioned in previous posts that I have a small problem. It costs me in time and money but I am addicted. The thing is I don’t want to be cured. They say the first step in recovery is admitting you have one. While I will admit an addiction but I do not believe that it is a problem. In fact, it has been an asset in many ways. But in case this is the first time you have come across one of my posts about it I will clue you in:

I am a software junkie…Any software – photography software, graphic design software, organisational software and my favourite writing software. Lucky for me I also happen to use an OS (Operating System – computer speak) that is RICH in PHENOMENAL software development. I am a MacGal.

Well today I came across a new yummy program and it’s called….

Circus Ponies Notebook version 3.0

But before I tell you anymore about this. I am going to confess, here and now, to another addiction in my life: I am a stationery junkie…Since I was very young, I have loved pretty pens, pencils, highlighters, notebooks, writing paper and all things stationery related. As I grew older this grew to include white boards, pin boards, cork boards, filo-fax binders, journals and the ever useful sticky notes.

Now, I guess you are wondering why I mention my stationery addiction in the same post as my software addiction. Well, it all has to do with this little circus of a program.

This is going to be a review in progress since this program has just come to my attention and I have just downloaded the (very generous) 30 day full featured trial version. But just looking at the videos on the developer’s website had me hooked.

From the little that I have been able to figure out, in an evening, a truer name could not be found other than the current moniker. This really does seem to be a digital notebook of circus ponies. Like any decent circus pony, this program has lots of tricks up its sleeve.

So today I am going to do a very summarised review but I will be linking through to a number of review sites at the bottom of this post where you will find more concise reviews.

The first thing that sums up this program is the top blurb on the developer’s website:

Organization for a Creative Mind

Circus Ponies NoteBook is the revolutionary award-winning application that helps Mac OS X users get

organized. With its intuitive notebook interface, versatile content handling, and powerful searching and

sharing capabilities, NoteBook has become the tool of choice for clipping e-mails and web pages; taking

notes; managing to do lists and projects; writing papers, books, and novels; getting organized for school;

building electronic notebooks for trial; managing film and TV shoots; and more. (from their website)


What do I love about it on first download?

  • It looks just like a notebook. (Perfect for that traditionalist with a modern touch)
  • You can tag and note anything with sticky notes – digital style
  • You can keep all your internet research in one place
  • It keeps a record of all the websites addresses you download your info from.
  • It has a number of formats including pdf
  • It allows you to make draw simple diagrams or sketches
  • It is a place to store images
  • You can upload it into a website form through web hosts like MobileMe
  • It syncs with your iCal
  • It makes to-do-lists
  • It automatically indexes all of your work in a comprehensive index
  • You can write a book in it,
  • Prepare court trials,
  • Organize a tv/film shoot,
  • Use it as a journal
  • Record your notes in voice annotation

So that is what has hooked me?

But I am going to test it out properly now and then get back to you with a full review. Why don’t you give it a try? You might just be like me…..

Gaga for Circus Ponies!


© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning

Rhythm. Space. Timing. Serendipity.

Blur
Missed Moment
Perfect Rhythm: Space. Timing. Serendipity.

Today’s Photo of the day was the 3rd in this series of 3. With the assistance of my creative assistant, Jazz (my Papillon Puppy), I managed to finally capture the shot I wanted. This series of shots got me thinking about today’s Thursday Tips post.

EXTRA!! EXTRA!!!

TODAY’S NEWS – THURSDAY TIPS!

GET IT NOW!!!

COPIES ARE SELLING OUT!!!

RHYTHM. SPACE. TIMING. SERENDIPITY.

 

A story is composed of many parts just as a photograph is composed of many elements. For a photograph you need a subject, a tool (camera), a placing in space, rhythm and perfect timing. For a story you need a plot, characters, a tool (imagination), a setting, rhythm and perfect timing.

So today’s Thursday tips is focused on: Rhythm, Space, Timing and Serendipity. What do I mean by “Rhythm”? There are 2 types of rhythm that I am thinking of: Musical Rhythm and Poetic Rhythm.

Musical Rhythm

Noun: A strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound.

Now you may argue that you do not have an ear for music. You do not realise that your own body has a perfect musical rhythm of its own: Heart beats. Yes. Heart Beats. Now close your eyes, place your finger at your pulse point and listen to the rhythm as you feel the drum beat of your life’s blood flowing through your body. Now if your heart’s rhythm was slightly off, too quick or too slow or skipping a beat, there would be a problem with the way your body functioned. This problem could even be fatal in the worst case scenario. In the same way, this can be an allegory for the importance of having cadence and rhythm in the construction of your story. If one word is not placed in the right space on your page the beat will be off.

Poetic Rhythm

Noun: a regularly recurring sequence of events, actions,

or processes : the measured flow of words and phrases

in verse or prose as determined by the relation of long

and short or stressed and unstressed syllables.

You may think you know nothing about poetry but if you were a child at some stage, you will know all about poetic rhythm. I am talking about the wonder and simplicity of Nursery Rhymes. Now I am sure if I ask you to close your eyes for a moment and think of a nursery rhyme from your childhood you will be able to come up with more than a handful. So why is this poetic rhythm so vital to your story? It is vital for the same reason that it took you less than a minute to recall more than a handful of nursery rhymes. Rhythm is strongly intertwined with memory. If something has a catchy rhythm, it tends to be locked in the vaults of your memory bank. But the connection and resonance of the “Rhythm” allows you to re-access this vault at a moment’s notice. So I ask you, what is common to successful stories throughout the ages? They are a perfect synchronicity of musical rhythm and poetic rhythm. The sentences have a resonant beat to them and they flow easily through your mind. The words are perfectly placed and sequenced. The sentences are sharp and neat. The punctuation is perfectly placed, accenting and pausing through the rhyme of the words on a page.

Space and Timing

The other two vital elements to a perfect story is setting (space) and timing. A setting can make or break the story. At times a setting can make or break a genre. Setting is an oft-forgotten but vital element in a successful story. Just as space and setting is vital to the perfect camera shot, setting is not something to be overlooked. So if you have found yourself concentrating too much on plot and character remember to include setting in your focus. After all, your characters need “Somewhere” to have a story. They cannot be in a Vacuum throughout the whole story.

Now I come to one of my favourite elements in a story: Timing. There are two types of timing in a story. The first is the Story’s sequence of events and the second is the timing in the placing of chapters, paragraphs, openings and endings. The timing of events in a sequence will make your story a well-loved hit with your readers or on the other hand the incorrect timing in sequence can alter the story at best and confuse / lose your reader at the worst. You cannot rush the sequence in your plot and you cannot go too slowly. You need to use the second type of timing I spoke of to set the correct sequence. At the same time, you cannot spend an uneven amount of time on any element of your plot. Too quick an opening may leave the reader floundering for a life raft but be too tired in the end to bother. Too slow an opening could bore your reader. Even though you may have put your best part of the story in the middle of your plot, the reader needs to still get there so time your story with care. Don’t rush your plot too quickly that you lose your reader and that your story becomes a blur in their mind. Don’t slow your plot too much or your reader will miss the suspense of the moment. Don’t rush your characters through their dialogue or accelerate their development – your reader will find them unrealistic and have no connection to the story. Don’t go too slow with your characters as by the time you have got your character to the next day, your reader will probably have fallen asleep.

Serendipity is the tie of these 3 elements: Rhythm, Space (Setting) and Timing. I love the word “Serendipity”:

Serendipity ~ the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way….

Isn’t this the perfect way to describe a story that will imprint itself on your reader’s memories?

I leave you with my Poem for the day inspired by my photograph..

Flying Free on the Wings of Time


If you rush through Life,

Moments will pass by in a blur;

If you take things too slowly,

You will miss the Moments.

Like a Photograph

Life is all about being in the Moment:

Perfect Rhythm of Space. Timing. Serendipity.

~ Kim Koning ~


© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning

Thursday Tips : In the Classroom of NaNoWriMo

 

Well another week has rolled around and the first week of January is almost at its end. How is your first week going – creatively speaking? Are you feeling inspired? Are you reaching out for inspiration?

As promised, at the beginning of this month, I am going to be doing a weekly post on Thursdays called Thursday Tips. What day is it today? Thursday. So time for some tips.

This week’s tips are going to be what I learned in the Classroom of NaNoWriMo 2010. Have you studied writing? Have you done NaNoWriMo? If you answered “No” to the first question but “Yes” to the last question: Congratulations! You have been awarded a degree of excellence and achievement in both the art of self-discipline and writing from the School of NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo really is like a crash course in a writing qualification. The only difference between NaNoWriMo and a traditional classroom is that in this school the past students are your mentors, your class monitors and your teachers. So I enrolled in NaNoWriMo in November 2010. I was not quite sure what I was expecting but I know that in hindsight the school of NaNoWriMo taught me more lessons in one month than I had learned the whole way through. So let me take this time to share the lessons that most impacted me.

01/11/2010 The Bell rings, School Begins.

I sit down. All my materials for the course are in front of me. I have the notebook, the loosely plotted storyboard, the pens and pencils, the Macbook and more importantly I have my fellow students all ready at desks around a global classroom.

The first lesson of the day is about to begin.

  • Lesson 1 ~ To write the words you need a blank page in front of you.
  • Lesson 2 ~ You have to unpack your internal editor and send it away for a month.
  • Lesson 3 ~ Don’t think about 50000 words or 25 chapters. Think only of your first word. Put that down.
  • Lesson 4 ~ Now turn that first word into a first sentence.
  • Lesson 5 ~ Now turn that first sentence into a first paragraph. (You have now officially gained your first commendation. Well done.)
  • Lesson 6 ~ Write to a timed limit. Set your clock to either 30 minutes or 60 minutes. Write without stopping and when the limit is up,stop. Walk away. Stretch your legs. Make yourself a coffee.
  • Lesson 7 ~ Sit down again within 3 hours. Your brain feels refreshed but the story is still fresh in your brain.
  • Lesson 8 ~ Do not read over what you have written 3 hours ago. Instead begin again. Set the timer and write.
  • Lesson 9 ~ Walk away again giving yourself a 2 hour break this time. Then go back to the story.
  • Lesson 10 ~ Finish writing for that day. Do not read over what you have written. Remember since you have sent your internal editor – Ethel / Nigel – away, you have nobody checking up on your grammar or your plotting. E-mail what you have written to yourself as the first backup and then drop-box your writing for a second back-up. Back-up is essential: It is like fastening your seatbelt when you get into a car. This is your safety net.
  • Lesson 11 ~ Second day in, break away from the story and write a scene for your main character. Set a timer and write strictly to the limit.
  • Lesson 12 ~ Have a 3 hour break. Go back and now write a scene for your antagonist. Set the timer and write strictly to the limit.
  • Lesson 13 ~ Stop and have a 2 hour break. Go back and write a scene where you create the atmosphere in your setting. Set the time and write strictly to the limit.
  • Lesson 14 ~ Stop for the day. Switch off your computer / Put down your pen/paper. Rest.
  • Lesson 15 – Go on this same way for the next week. Alternating from character building and scene setting to the story itself.
  • Lesson 16 ~ Week 1 is finished. Your energy is still high and you hope you can keep it going for the next week. Stop. Don’t think about a whole week ahead. You have only the page in front of you. Focus on getting down your words in the three timed word wars you have scheduled preferably with your other students/classmates.
  • Lesson 17 ~ After 6 days of writing, take a day of rest. You will need it to refresh and re-energize your imagination. Do nothing that is writing related. Spend some time outdoors in the fresh air. Take the time to spend with your family and your friends.
  • Lesson 18 ~ Day 7, sit down at your desk. Read over the last day’s writing. Now read over the last day’s character sketches and scene settings. Do not edit. Read. With eyes and not pen/pencil. Now the story is refreshed in your mind. Set the timer. Write to the timed limit. You are in a rhythm now. Your brain is slowly forming the habit to write when a timer is called by a Word War Mediator or when your timer alarms goes.
  • Lesson 19 ~ Continue the same way that you did the first week but this time write for 5 days. Add an extra timed writing time / timed word war in every day. So you are writing to 4 scheduled times.
  • Lesson 20 ~ On the 6th day rest again. If by the end of the 6th day, you are still weary, take another second day to rest. Do not worry about your story. It is not going anywhere. It also will not progress if you write while tired. It is important you rest.
  • Lesson 21 ~ You are now in to the third week. Do not break the rhythm. Do not look at the calendar. Do not count how many days you have left. It is just you, the page and the story. Time will take care of itself. Your job is to sit down and have your fingers ready to write the seeds that enter your mind.
  • Lesson 22 ~ Write for 6 days. Then take a day of rest.
  • Lesson 23 ~ Have you backed up?
  • Lesson 24 ~ You are now into the fourth and final week of NaNoWriMo. Keep to the rhythm that you have created. Write for 5 days with 4 word wars or timed writing schedules a day. Take a day of rest on the 6th.
  • Lesson 25 ~ Put your finishing touches to your work.
  • Lesson 26 ~ You are done. Take 2 days of rest. Pat yourself on the back and celebrate. You have completed a month of disciplined writing. You have treated your story like a job. You showed up for it and you did the hours.
  • Lesson 27 ~ It has been over 28 days of writing to a discipline and you have rewired your brain. It takes 1 month to form a habit. You are now in the habit of daily and disciplined writing.
  • Lesson 28 ~ Do not count the words. You may have under 50000, you may have over 50000. The important thing is not the quantity but the fact that at the beginning of the month you only had a blank page and some ideas. Now you have what is a story or the beginning of a full length novel.
  • Lesson 29 ~ Try not to take longer than a few days break. In this time like in your previous breaks, do nothing writing related. Once you feel refreshed, go back to the writing. You now either have a task of editing to begin or you need to continue your writing.
  • Lesson 30 ~ Whether you are taking a break from the current WIP and starting another one or whether you are continuing / editing with the current WIP – keep to the timed schedules. Try to do no more than 4 a day. If you do 3 a day, write for 6 days. If you do 4 a day, write for 5 days and take a 2 day break.
  • Lesson 31 ~ Your story / writing is now as important a focus to you as a 9-5 job. You are both your manager and your employee. Like any employee, you need to be rewarded every now and again for a job well done. Make your imagination feel rewarded. Keep treats on hand for certain accomplishments you have achieved.
  • Lesson 32 ~ Keep every word you have written. Even if you don’t think there is a place for it in your story now. File it away in a separate file. It might come up handy later on in your story or it may even be the seed for a new story or a sequel. Those words you wrote are precious. Treat them as such.
  • Lesson 33 ~ Have a trusted person read what you have written and give you their honest opinion. Listen to their opinion. Do not change anything. Ask them to make notes on what they think. File the notes away.
  • Lesson 34 ~ Now give your story to a writing partner or writing mentor. Ask them to read it and to write notes for you.
  • Lesson 35 ~ Let someone else read the story aloud to you now. Be the listener. Make notes on what you think about your own work. Think objectively.
  • Lesson 36 ~ Call back your internal editor from her/his holiday. It is time for them to begin work. Give them the 3 correlated notes; your trusted friends, your writing partner, your own. It is now their job to take control of the wheel. You are now a navigator and your internal editor is in the driving seat. They are in control of the driving but you have the map. Be clear in your navigation.
  • Lesson 37 ~ Once the editing is done. Do the same thing. Give it to your trusted friend, your writing partner /mentor and have it read aloud to yourself. Make notes again.
  • Lesson 38 ~ Give your internal editor the notes again. The second editing begins.
  • Lesson 39 ~ Your story is almost complete. Now go back to your file where you filed the words you edited out. Can you use them now? Are they better for another story? Now is your time to decide.
  • Lesson 40 ~ Put your finishing touches to your work. You now have a third draft in your hand. Well done.

The bell rings for final period. School is out.

Well done! You have just completed the course of NaNoWriMo. A challenge of timed discipline and forming a daily writing habit. A time when you showed up ready before a blank page and filled it with a story. You are now a writer. Whether you are published or not, you ARE a Writer. You have written a Novel. You are Now a Novelist.

These were the tips and lessons I learned from NaNoWriMo. They are lessons that can translate into any of my writing. NaNoWriMo taught me a vital lesson. That if you show up and you are disciplined, the words will come. It also taught me that it is ok to send your internal editor away on vacation for a while. The world will not come to a halting stop if you do not correct every punctuation or timing element. You can always come back to a piece that is bothering you when you feel refreshed. It is important to reward yourself with treats. It is important to have a day away from your writing every week. It is important to keep your brain fresh from alternation between character / dialogue scenes to setting scenes. Do not make your work monotonous. When you are writing, you are in the driver’s seat. When you are editing, you switch to being the navigator. Listen to the opinions of beta readers, writing mentors, your own voice but stick to your writing instincts. Do not ever throw out anything. File it away in a POSSIBILITY file. More importantly than anything Back-up, Back-up, Back-up. Show up for your writing like you would for a 9-5 job. This is something you enjoy doing. Give it the same time and importance as you would your daytime job. Don’t look at a calendar. Don’t look at the amount of words still needed. Just focus on those timed word wars. The words will come and the story will follow. Trust in the words.

That’s it for this first Thursday Tips post. Good luck for the week of writing ahead of you. Remember show upthe words will come and the story will follow. All you have to do is show up.

© All rights reserved Kim Koning

 

2011 Monday Mental Muscle #1: Visual Prompts & Vision Boards

Think you already knew the old saying: "A...
Image via Wikipedia

I follow an online poetry site called One Stop Poetry that never fails to inspire me. They have some amazing poetry but more than this they do great creative prompts each week.

So for today’s Monday Mental Muscle and the first Monday Mental Muscle of 2011, I am going to borrow from this site.

So the first exercise for the week is to follow the picture prompt from this week’s One Shoot Sunday. Look at the picture at the bottom of this link in this prompt and write a poem, flash fiction or a piece of prose from this picture prompt.

Visual prompts are something I use quite often creatively speaking. I am a very visual person and am often inspired by things I see and observe. I guess that is why I love photography so much. When I look through the viewfinder on my camera, I see things that I may miss when looked at just with the eye. The viewfinder tends to focus on one specific scene and everything else seems to fade away.

Visual prompts are also a fantastic writing tool when recalling the adage:

A picture is worth a thousand words.

People are very visual creatures. We often have to see something to believe or understand it. So this week, think about what visual prompts you use in your writing or other creative prompts.

The second exercise of the week for Monday Mental Muscles is in line with visual prompting and visual inspiration.

Vision Boards

  • What is a vision board?
  • Why do you need one in 2011?
  • How do you make a vision board?

Vision boards are something that I have been using the last couple of years. I believe a vision board is essential to any and all areas of your life. Vision boards are not a new idea. If you spend enough time in the blogosphere, there will be numerous methods of Vision Boards. If you google “Vision Board”, you will get 4, 400, 000 results in 0.20 seconds. I have read many of these online links to Vision Boards but one of the best explanations of Vision Boards that I have read is written by Christine Kane. These are three links that tell you why Christine uses Vision Boards and how to create and use one for yourself.

Vision Boards: A Quick Story

How to Make a Vision Board

The Complete Guide to Vision Boards

So your exercise for the week/month is to create a new vision board. You can either do this manually with paper and scissors or if you prefer you can have one online. The following are links to sites where you can host/create your own online digital vision board:

Oprah’s O Dream Board

Vision Board Site

Catalogue of Dreams

I have used all three sites myself with ease and success. I use both a digital vision board that I save as my desktop wallpaper and a manual vision board that I keep above my desk in my study. The digital one is great if you spend a lot of time on your computer or your laptop. It is especially useful to save your digital vision board as your desktop wallpaper because it will be a constant visual prompt.

Why use a Vision Board?

Many people, including all the above links expound on why you should use a vision board. The reason why I use a vision board is because as I mentioned before I am a very visual person. For me a Vision Board or a Dream Board is a place where I put visual prompts to inspire and encourage me to reach out for different goals in my life.

Every year, I do a new vision board for the month ahead that is a 12-month vision board. On top of this I also do monthly vision boards for short-term goals. I also focus on different areas in my life as well as my writing and do vision boards for those. The way I understand the intention of creating a vision board is to have a visual tool of focus that you can look at each day and imprint in your thoughts. in other words, you open up your mind’s eye, so to speak. For me it is like the ultimate figurative viewfinder on my goals, aspirations and dreams for both the present and the future. I use it to visually carry out my goals and aspirations.

I am not a list person. I try to make lists and then invariably end up misplacing those said lists which defeats the purpose of list making. So if you are not a list-making person, try the idea of a Vision Board. The visual part of our brain is incredibly powerful. It is said that most of what we see, we do not immediately take in consciously but it enters our sub-conscious and is stored there. So letting the images of a vision board enter your mind’s eye on a daily basis can have the power to rewire your brain and focus your intentions towards the visual images, prompts and inspirations that you allow to saturate your internal mind’s eye.

So these are your tasks for this week. Make this week a week of vision and let it saturate your focus. Put a viewfinder frame around your goals and aspirations and then take/make a picture. That is why and how I use Vision Boards.

Sharpen your visual skills and focus your viewfinder.

Happy Exercising!

Feel free to share with others, by commenting, the way visual prompts and vision boards work for you.


© All rights reserved Kim Koning.

The Story-Place ~ Crafting the Art of being a Storyteller

This weekend was like an IV of oxygen straight into the arteries of my creative self.

I had been anticipating my first writer’s conference for about 2 months. I researched all the best online advice I could find on the net. I was ready to network,to observe,to question and to learn. However, nothing could have prepared me for the tremendous dose of inspiration and knowledge on offer at the RWNZ 2010.

From a VP of a top publishing house, to an Editor of another publishing house to an Agent to the many authors, scriptwriters and experts that gave workshops: It was this writer’s jolt of creative electricity. The questioning and learning was definitely achieved. The observing and networking was constant throughout the weekend. The conference venue was tangible in the creative energy that was enclosed in its hallways, ballrooms and boardrooms for 3 incredible days.

Personally, I had registered for this conference with the aim to garner knowledge from experts in the publishing industry. What I have gained from this weekend is immeasurably superior  to what I had hoped to gain.

One of the highlights of my weekend was finding critique partners that I can connect with. As much as I enjoy and appreciate the feedback from online critiques, it has been a task set for myself to find critique partners within my home city. This task I can now tick off my to-do list.

Being a writer though, I do not plan to selfishly keep all these creative pearls of wisdom to myself. I am a writer after all and I am a blogger. This means that my writing process is meant to be shared to the benefit of one and all.

Over the next few days I will break down all the workshops I attended into gourmet food for thought. For this blog post though I will give a bite size synopsis of all the tools and tips I learned this weekend.

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In the history of all cultures throughout the ages and throughout the world Story-telling has been and is crucial to human health. Every good story has at least one of the crucial elements at the heart of every culture: Love and Romance; Justice and Crime; Trials and Triumph of Good over Evil, Myth and Spiritual. Every story-teller is there to pass on the stories that record the history of nations, that inspire the actions of the present day and that influence the future of tomorrow.

So how do we define good story-telling?

There is a simple test that is a universal standard:

A) Does the story achieve what it sought to achieve?

and

B) Does the story communicate the story-teller’s intentions to the audience?

There are three critical aspects to ensure the correct outcome of a story:

1) Story

2) Inspiration

3) Language

In the first aspect, the audience simply seeks entertainment. This entertainment needs to satisfy them. The cardinal rule to any story, whether it be audio, visual or written is to never disappoint the audience. In the story they must be supplied with sympathetic protagonists that are believable. These protagonists need to grow through overcoming a conflict. Your antagonist is the instigation or the culmination of this conflict. These characters are the vehicle to carry the emotions of both the storyteller and the audience. The audience will mimic the emotions and actions of the characters that they are invested in emotionally. Though we are rational beings the audience needs its emotions engaged to invest their belief and their hopes in the story.

In the second aspect: Your inspiration needs to be at the heart of your story and needs to be communicated through any means necessary to your audience.

Memory is the mother of Inspiration. For both emotions and rational thought to be in balance, the storyteller needs to be AMUSED in the truest sense of the word. The story-teller needs to be in the presence of the Muses.

The third aspect of a storytellers’ toolkit is Language. You can alter the part that the audience plays in your story by the subtle mastering of some language tools. Painters use different colours of paint to portray a visual image. Musicians and composers use musical instruments and voice to entrance audiences. As story-tellers we need to use our greatest and simplest tools: we need to use our words to paint a picture and to create a world that the audience enters into through the doorway of our language.  In a story we are the composer, the painter and the director through the subtle mastery of words.The way we utilise them can bring the reader into the mind of a character or we can put them in the room observing our character.

Our words become our voice. Our sentences become our compositions of sound. Every storyteller needs to learn the art of language and words like a mime uses body language. The language needs to match the scene of the tale. If the scene is full of action, then the language needs to be staccato and terse in character. If the scene is full of conflict the language needs to be restrained and held back. If the scene is emotional, your words need to state the emotion. In any scene your characters need to be infused with depth and emotion. Your characters need to have strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately your audience needs to either recognise a reflection of themselves in your characters or a reflection of people in their lives.

Through all three of these crucial aspects we have the unique power of communicating a world we imagine to the audience’s imagination and touching both their hearts and their minds. For a magical moment in time whilst the reader is engaged in the tale: they begin to believe this world we have created through our words and they begin to be a part of the story themselves. The STORY-PLACE has now become a favourite destination for both the reader and the storyteller. The pen is a powerful weapon that has the power to change thoughts; mold views; create worlds; give power to the weak by giving them knowledge;  lastly it has the ability to take us, storyteller and reader, into a world where anything is possible...

Storyteller

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This is just a bite size appetiser of this weekend’s conference. Watch this blog for further illuminations on: The Story-Place ~ Crafting the Art if being a Storyteller.

I leave you with this thought:

In unsettled times like these, when world cultures, countries and religions are facing off in violent confrontations, we could benefit from the reminder that storytelling is common to all civilizations. Whether in the form of a sprawling epic or a pointed ballad, the story is our most ancient method of making sense out of experience and of preserving the past.” – William Collins quote

© All rights reserved Kim Koning.