Monday, April 01, 2013

Charlotte Babb's Magic Wand

Need a magic wand to help with your writing? Try a deadline.

When a deadline looms, the brain chemicals start flowing, either to shut down your creative center or to ramp up the story neurons.

If the former happens and the brain freezes, breathe deeply, drink some water, and calm yourself. What would your character do in such a crisis? How would he rearrange priorities? Whom would she call for help? What is at hand that could be used as a tool?

What do you have on your desk right now that would work? No, don't throw the stapler at the monitor. The monitor is your friend. It shows you how far you've come. If you can't stand its unwinking eye, close your own eyes and type anyway. You can always delete later.

If you get a "fight" response, instead of a "flight," start typing. Make the letters fly off the ends of your fingers. It may be crap at first, but keep pushing out one more word, one more word, one more word, and at some point, the idea will come. Give it five minutes of typetypetypetypetype.

Take five deep breaths to get more oxygen in your brain, and then start typing again. If you do it, it will come.

No deadline? No Worries!

Set one for yourself, and then call a friend and commit to it. Ask the friend to call you on it. Do you really want to tell your friend that you wimped out and didn't write?

What are you afraid of? It hurts less to write than it does not to write. Don't let the unwritten pages stack up into a mountain ahead.

As writers we have to trust ourselves and our connection to our muse, whatever that is: a higher self, a fairy godmother, a voice that whispers or shouts the next word,  a mental screen that brings up the next image. Writing is making magic. There's a reason that performing magic is called a spell, an incantation.

Words shape the will, and the will is what gets you through, even if you don't know what happens next, even if you are taking a step into the dark without being able to see where your foot will land. Isn't that what your charcter has to do? Take that step

Once you get past the blank page, you can reassess, see where the character is and think about what her reaction to the situation is, and how she has to make a different choice to overcome the Big Bad.

A confession: I've been stuck on my current WIP as I've worked on other things, made notes and outlines, and filled out index cards of structure and characterization. But I have not just jumped in and written until this morning, when I had a conversation with my Big Bad. She taunted me, showing more of herself than she ever has, and while I still don't have her backstory, I know in a deep, true way who she is, and how she is dangerous, how she menaces my fairy godmother. 

This process works for me. It got this guest post written in the 30 minutes I had this morning before going to work. Give it a shot. Even if you don't get a finished piece, you've primed the pump and greased the gears. Do it again tomorrow.  Make every day a deadline. 

Charlotte Henley Babb is a web designer and college writing instructor in Spartanburg, SC. She loves Fractured Fairy Tales and writes them for your enjoyment. Her website is  Her novel is Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the Veil

Maven’s new dream job–fairy godmother–presents more problems than she expects when she learns that Faery is on the verge of collapse, and the person who is training her isn’t giving her the facts–and may be out to kill her. Will she be able to make all the fractured fairy tales fit together into a happy ending, or will she be eaten by a troll?
Title: Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the Veil
Series Title: Maven Fairy Godmother (book 1)
Author: Charlotte Henley BabbGenre: Contemporary Fantasy Humor
Publisher: Muse It Up Publishing
Format: ebook  Available: Kindle, Nook, pdf,  epub, mobi
ISBN: 978-1-77127-000-7 ASIN: B007QD2XW2
Price: $5.95Publisher:    (1 scene excerpt)
Amazon Kindle: (read first 6 chapters free) 
B&N Nook:            http://bit,ly/Maven-bn (read first 3 chapters free) 


  1. I don't have a problem. I discipline myself. Each morning, I re read the previous day's work and then write for 6 to 8 hours.

  2. Are you April Fooling us, Marian? If not, then I'm impressed with your dedication.

  3. I want YOUR magic wand! Maybe you developed it as you went along?

  4. Deadlines are a great idea. I belong to a writers' group that meets weekly, which provides a deadline to crank out at least a few pages. Interesting that if we skip a week, few of us write anything until the next week rolls around. Great post, Charlotte!