Storyboard Your Novel

Storyboards are a quick, fluid way to plan a novel. It is a way to see how your story events flow together, how they match up with the plotting template you choose to use, and where there are plot holes.

Mind Mapping Your Story Ideas

Are you a visual person? Do you hate outlining? Then mind mapping is for you. It is also a powerful tool for any writer. A mind map is a visual representation of connected ideas. This makes it perfect for playing with different elements of a story.

How to Brainstorm Your Novel into Existence

All the motivation and energy in the world will not produce a finished novel. We first need ideas. Focused brainstorming is one way to inspire them.

Destined to Write

Writing is an adventure with a destination. To write freely and creatively a writer needs to have a clear mind, inner joy, and a path to travel. Here are some steps to take on your trip.

Research Makes Your Setting Real

One way to create a believable fictional reality is by doing extensive background research for your book's setting.

What Can a Writer Learn from the Principles of Art and Design?

Both fine art and writing require creativity and hard work. They also require an understanding of structure and principles. Surprisingly, the same principles used by an artist can inspire excellent writing as well.

Build Amazing Characters from the Inside Out

woman peering through lights

Creating amazing characters is key to writing a story readers will remember and return to again and again.

Improve Your Focus: Try the Writer’s Magic Bowl

Bronze bowl with white glass beads next to my computer

Do you have trouble maintaining your focus while writing? Are you easily distracted by things around you? Try the habit-changing Magic Jar.

A Creative Focus for 2021

Stack of Books

Working within limitations actually forces our brains to solve problems more creatively.

3 Revision Tips and a New Book

Three revision tips based on what I learned doing NaNoWri.

Fast Draft Your Manuscript: It’s NaNoWri

Do you want to write faster and enjoy the process while doing so? Check out Fast Draft Your Manuscript and Get It Done.

Why, How, and What Writers Should Read

books on shelf

~ Do you write? Are you a reader? ~ You have to read widely, constantly refining (and redefining) your own work as you do so. It’s hard for me to believe that people who read very little (or not at all in some cases) should presume to write and expect people to like what they … Continue reading Why, How, and What Writers Should Read

3 Steps to Renew Your Writing Life

Hand holding stone

~Renew Yourself~  Are you stuck in a rut? Do you sit down to write and do the same things every time? Turn on the computer? Open your draft? Stare at the page? Then pray the words come? I do. For the past month, I have thought long and hard about ways I can renew myself … Continue reading 3 Steps to Renew Your Writing Life

Books That Change the World

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes

~ Books and Change ~ The ability to change is essential for survival. Those who refuse to change become dull, boring, and left behind. One force for change is literature. Ever since people learned to write and read, books have had the power to change the reader, and if read by enough people, a community, … Continue reading Books That Change the World

Organize and De-Clutter Your Writing Zone

Clutter around you, clutters your mind

~ Make it Beautiful ! Organizing is something you do before you do something, so when you do it, it is not all mixed up. ~ A.A. Milne   Last month, while pondering my Big Word FOCUS, I learned that maintaining one’s focus on one’s writing is a challenge that requires you to become immersed in the … Continue reading Organize and De-Clutter Your Writing Zone

How I Learned to Focus

Zara-West-Big-Word-Focus

~ Becoming a Focused Writer ~ Being able to focus is always an issue for a creative writer. No one is telling you what story world to invent nor how to get yourself in the seat, start writing, and then keep at it. Somehow, you have to shut out the world around you and zero … Continue reading How I Learned to Focus

My 2019 New Year Resolutions

New year Resolution word art

~A Dozen Hopes for 2019 ~ Time to make those 2019 New Year Resolutions. I have a long tradition of making New Year’s Resolutions. I bet many of you do too. After all, we only get a chance to revisit our hopes and dreams every 365 days. Usually, I make a list and stuff it away. … Continue reading My 2019 New Year Resolutions

My Holiday Wishes for You

~To My Readers ~ This has been a wonderful year for me. I have my health and my creativity and have published Within the Skin and have Under the Skin in press. What more could a writer want? Well, what I want is the best for all my readers. I hope you have enjoyed reading … Continue reading My Holiday Wishes for You

12 things I am Thankful for: A Writer’s List of Thankfuls

Zara West's Cat

~ What I am Thankful For ~ On this Thanksgiving Day, I thought I would make a list of all the things I am thankful for as a writer. Most of the things are simple. It doesn’t take much to make me happy as long as I can write. Time to write A computer to … Continue reading 12 things I am Thankful for: A Writer’s List of Thankfuls

W-Plot Your Way to a Better Scene

W-Plot a better scene by Zara West

~ Plot Your Scene with the W-Plot Method ~ The W-Plot can be used to lay out an entire novel, but it's true strength is in plotting scenes. I am doing NaNoWr again this year. I love being part of a huge group of writers all excited about writing and encouraging each other every day … Continue reading W-Plot Your Way to a Better Scene