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Usually my characters write the story for me the name is very important for me.  Other times they are very hard to come up with.  Then there are times when I have a very small role and can’t think of a name.  Well, this morning I have a solution for you all, and that solution.  So here are some ideas that I use, when I don’t want to look behind the name or a site called seventhsanctum.com.   The reason I use the police phonetic alphabet and not military is because of the names they have.  For example for A- Adam and military is Alpha.

Police Phonetic Alphabet:


Adam    Letter A

Boy        Letter B

Charles Letter C

David     Letter D

Edward Letter E

Frank     Letter F

George Letter G

Henry    Letter H

Ida          Letter I

John      Letter J

King       Letter K

Lincoln  Letter L

Mary     Letter M

Nora      Letter N

Ocean   Letter O

Paul       Letter P

Queen  Letter Q

Robert  Letter R

Sam       Letter S

Tom       Letter T

Union    Letter U

Victor    Letter V

William Letter W

X-ray     Letter X

Yellow   Letter Y

Zebra    Letter Z


Dealing with Writer’s Block

Advice from Roy Peter Clark:

Every writer faces writer’s block at one time or another, but none so dramatically as the character played by Jack Nicholson in The Shining.  What a shock to see that every page of this homicidal writer’s thick manuscript contains the same sentence:  “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”  Solution?  Take ax. Attack family.

Be assured that there are better solutions to writer’s block.  If you are stuck, consider these time-tested strategies to help you build momentum.  The key is to turn procrastination into something productive – rehearsal.

1. Lower your standards at the beginning of the process.  Raise them later.

This advice, which some people apply to dating, was issued most famously by poet William Stafford.  He argued that high standards create a threshold that inhibits writers from getting started.  The key is to lower your standards at the beginning of the process.  Get that fantasy of winning prizes or of capturing hearts out of your head.

2. Imagine the story before writing a draft.

Writing begins long before your hands get moving.  The more head work you do before drafting,  the easier the hand work will be.  Such mental preparation is a form of rehearsal, the kind we do to prepare for asking someone on a date or a boss for a raise.

3. Rehearse the beginning by speaking it to another person.

You can draft a story with your voice before you write it down with your hands.  All you need is a friend willing to listen and maybe ask a few questions.  Even an attentive dog will do, preferably a Jack Russell terrier named Rex.  Let the story emerge from your mouth, to your ears, then to your hands.

4. Don’t write the story yet. Write a memo to yourself about the story.

When you write to yourself, you lower your standards in a simple and productive way.  Once your hands get moving on an informal draft, words begin to flow.  The trick is to fool yourself into thinking that your story is something else:  a memo, a journal entry, a letter, a note to a friend, a grocery list, anything that blows up the logjam.

5.  Write as fast as you can for ten minutes – without stopping.

Writers wait too long to start writing.  They find a dozen substitutes for writing, including eating, drinking, walking, shopping, checking e-mail messages, and wasting time on Facebook.  Even research can become an excuse.  Try writing early – and fast.  Your early writing – call it a “zero draft” – will teach you what you know and what you still need to learn.

6.  Tell the critical voice in your head to “shut up!”

You need a strong critical voice during revision when you standards will be at their highest.  Listen to that negative nag too early in the process and it becomes what psychologists call “the watcher at the gate,” the negative force that wards off all creative impulses.  Keep the voice in the green room until you call it on stage for revision.

7. If you are blocked in your usual writing place, try a new place.

Every writer needs about a half-dozen reliable places to work.  Here are mine, in order of comfort and productivity:  desk at work, desk at home, recliner in “man cave,” in airport waiting areas, on planes, and at my mother-in-law’s kitchen table.  Habitual behavior usually helps writers, but when you’re stuck, don’t just sit there, change your location.

8. Write on a legal pad.

Even preliminary drafts can have that finished look on a computer screen, which is always dangerous.  That clean look may artificially exalt your standards too early in the process.  Enter the yellow legal pad.  Nothing hand-written on yellow paper looks finished.  You will be amazed at how much less anxious you become by occasionally going old school and using old tools:  paper and pencil.

9. Get someone to ask you questions about your story.

When I try to help writers get unstuck, I often rely on simple, open-ended questions:

How’s it going?  How can I help you?

  • What are you thinking?
  • What’s your story about?
  • What happened?  Who did what?
  • What do you want your readers to learn?
  • What most surprised you about this?
  • What was the most interesting you learned?  The most significant?

10.  Forget the beginning for now.  Write the ending first.

When you approach a roadblock, don’t be afraid to take a detour.  If you are stuck writing your lead sentences, try drafting a passage that might end up in the middle.  Or imagine where the work might end.  The novelist Katherine Anne Porter once said that she couldn’t begin a story unless she knew the ending.  “I know what my goal is,” she said. “And how I get there is God’s grace.”

This excerpt was written by Roy Peter Clark and comes from his latest book Help! For Writers:  210 Solutions to the Problems Every Writer FacesHelp! is the third in a writing trilogy published by Little, Brown.  The first two, Writing Tools and The Glamour of Grammar, are available in paperback editions.  Roy teaches writing at the Poynter Institute, a school for journalists in St. Petersburg, Florida.

As posted on Grammar Girl


Hi all and welcome to our awesome group.  Please comment below saying you joined our group or something so I can add you all as authors to this blog.   Shawna, if you didn’t get your invite again, please do the same.


Fearless leader

Robert LOL  (A. McKay)

So I added a new partner to my writing and we are revising Gone Rogue for a second release with smoother writing.    He is very good on grammar and punctuation and is working on the books as I type this.  I should be working on the chapter we redid already.  Maybe I should have him correct this.   Anyways he is so far a good editor not losing my voice which is what you guys love.  So here is new adventures.

due to security of the agency, you needed a damn good reason to be leaving

-Gone Rogue (2nd edition)

Until Camp NaNoWriMo…

Pen is at the ready!!

MEETING 02/21/12


  1. We will ask how long do we spend on writing each day
    1. Can we improve it
    2. Can we move things around

                                                              i.      Maybe some ideas of how one could write will they take 1.5 hour drive to work

  1. Road Blocks (AKA Writing Blocks)
    1. How do we get those 8 pages done

                                                              i.      To move along with the story, get to the next process

    1. Is because you are missing a step
  • Have you kept the spotlight on your basic theme and main characters? Sub-plots and minor characters should not overshadow these.
  • Have you developed your characters fully, portraying them through their actions, reactions and interactions, and keeping them ‘in character’ throughout? Don’t let them act out of character without a good reason.
  • Has your protagonist changed (or been changed) by the end? A main character who neither changes nor grows in some meaningful way between the first and last pages will be static and unconvincing.
  • Is your story logical? Even a fantasy needs to make sense within its own terms.
  • Does the story maintain a satisfactory ’cause and effect’ sequence, with each event following on logically from what has gone – before? A plot that relies on coincidence, for example, or the convenient arrival of a new character, will strain your reader’s credulity. Coincidences do happen in real life, but they’re seldom convincing in fiction.
  • Have you kept control of your chosen narrative voice (or voices) throughout? Check for unintentional switches or slips of viewpoint?
  • Does every scene take the action forward, enrich characterisation, increase tension, or provide a calming or reflective interlude? If it does none of these, ask yourself why it’s there. Could it be cut without harming the story?
  • Check every piece of dialogue – is it ‘in character’? Does it contribute to characterisation and/or move the story forward?
  • Have you been sparing with description and explanation, leaving room for your reader’s imagination to come into play?
  • Is the writing strong, evoking all the senses? Have you used passive voice where active voice would work better? Have you used ‘to be’ verbs supported by adverbs where strong verbs alone would be more effective? Flabby writing can dull the impact of the most brilliant story.
  • Look again at the story as a whole. Is the structure balanced? Have you begun in the right place? Don’t jeopardise your chances by starting the story too early, providing too much background and taking too long to get things moving. Many a story has been saved by cutting out the first chapter and plunging straight into the action.
  • Have you sustained momentum through the middle section, moving the story on through cause and effect, action and reaction, tightening tension as you build to the climax?
  • Have you left your reader feeling satisfied that the whole story has been told? Make sure you haven’t left any unintentional loose ends.
  • Are you absolutely sure your novel is as good as you can make it?


3.  Write for 45 minutes

My new and improved writing style.  I just wanted to put this out there for anybody that was curious of my writing style.  I am currently writing three stories at once, which I don’t recommend if you are writing for your first time.

My first novel was written at once as fast as I could but needed a lot of editting which was normal and okay.  Now though I tried for NanoWrimo to write long handed.  I found out by writing long handed when I put into my computer I can add more details, or take some out.  It makes it flow better.  Then I had to cure my other problem I had.

That problem was I would write myself to death.  My story was very interesting and all but I would write to death.  Look at this way, my brain was a car, and I would write till it was empty, and then need to fill up and couldn’t write for a week.  That was very unproductive.   During this refill I would take in other surrounding items in and figure new stories out and just write a sentence or two about it and come back after the novel.  The problem with this, for me at least was that I didn’t have inspiration anymore for that story, or my mind would wonder when I was writing the current W.I.P.

So I decided to write three stories at once, when a story idea comes to me I start it until I hit that empty phase.  This is usually a scene later.  Now though I have three stories I am thinking about constantly and I rotate through the stories, it is like I have three gas tanks now.  The fun part is these stories are so different from each other I can switch from one to the other without worring about overlapping details.

This is how I do it though, I start with one scene from one story, and when I finish that scene I go to the next story and do a scene, then the next.  I was asked the other day how do I keep all the stories straight, and that is they easiest answer I can give.  I have covers or character profiles in the binder in front of each story.  My characters are so very different that each character is somewhere in my head.

By doing this though my characters have been speaking to me like I am crazy.  I have to bring my binder now everywhere I go or my smart phone for details and let the characters loose.  One thing is nice though they never speak to each other, maybe fight to be the one I want to hear but then they tell me their stories.

I usually can control whose speaking and once I am on a roll I can write for long periods of time of that character.  I hit that state that every writer loves to be in.  I hit that space that is not reality but our Muse’s land.  (more info on muses, please read the MUSE, by Stacia Kelly)

I know someone is saying well I have many characters in one story and there is no way you can keep them apart.  I just want to point out this is my writing style and might not be right for everyone by I have one story that has 6 main characters, another story with 3 and that last one with 1 main and a lot of 2nd characters that was critical to keep track of.

Just thought I should share my style.

Andrew McKay