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Writing Books/Putting my thoughts together


Hi There,

It would be very helpful if you could help me overcome this dilemma, I have a lot of ideas, thoughts, a lot from my personal experiences, but when I want to write a story or just a small piece even one page of something , I just can't put all the words together to give the correct expression to my thoughts. I just can't put my feelings down but at the same time I love writing and reading. I really have a lot to   pass onto adolescents specially girls from my personal experiences. What can I do to write, to truly express my thoughts and get my point across.

Hi, Shamita!

Hmm... I know a few other people with similar problems (all of them writers.) A couple of things may be happening, so let's see if we can nail down the problem first, so we know how to solve it.

1.  Do TOO many ideas come to you all at once and you can't figure out what's the most important or where to begin? If this is the problem, what might really help you is to take the ideas and write them down on 3x5 cards. *Just* the idea, like: Drugs and how I got off them (or some such.) Write that on top of the card and then do the same with all the other ideas. Don't go any further until you have all one kind of ideas (drugs, or sex, or school or etc.) in a stack. That will help your mind focus on one thing at a time.

2.  Is it just that you have a problem with organizing the thoughts you do get so it flows and makes sense? If this is the case (and to further expand on what I said in #1,)  take ONLY the experiences that have to do with each card (such as drugs) and make a list on the card, such as: 1) Time when I was ten when Mary offered me a hit off a joint; 2) The day when I tried crack the first time. 3) The day I nearly ODed. Etc., etc. What happens is that it creates a timeline of the events. If there are a lot of events, then break it down into three categories: A) When it started; B) When it got bad enough that you decided to stop; C) The steps it took to stop. Once you have that down, just write a paragraph on each event. You don't have to detail how it came about, or what you did next. You already know that stuff. This is just to organize your thoughts.

3. Is it just too hard for you to put your own experiences down because it feels too personal to put your emotions and turmoil in print? If this is the problem, it's a pretty common one. What might help is to make up a person. Call her whatever you like (or even make it a boy) and then start to give that person a "backstory." In fiction writing, the backstory is how a character got to the place in life where the book starts. The idea is that a book is a moment in time. The character had a life before the book opened and will continue to live it after the book closes. The nice part is you can make a completely different backstory for a CHARACTER than your own, but get to the same place. Like going to the mall by either driving the interstate or the back roads. Then, using the above information, you could have "Sue" get involved with drugs through a parent's addiction, but thereafter have the same experiences. This can distance yourself from the person, because it's NOT THE SAME PERSON. You can have things happen to them that didn't happen to you and make it worse or better than your own life. It makes it no less powerful to say "names changed to protect the innocent" because the reader will still know it happened.  Does that make sense?

Of course, if it's none of these things, but maybe it helped you figure out what the problem is, let me know and I'll try to give you some ideas.

Hope that helps a little, and feel free to write back if you have any other questions. Good luck! :)


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Cathy Clamp


I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.


I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

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