Visualizing Exercise for Fiction Writing

dream cast FINALI highly encourage any fiction writer to try this fun exercise to help bring your characters to life in your mind. Okay, I do feel a little nuts doing something like this, but when I actually did it, I was running up and down the stairs at home, I got so excited! This is something I just came up with on my own – I didn’t read it in a book. I just decided it would be a fun thing to do.

As I became more and more engaged with the characters I was writing for my new book, I began to imagine who would play my characters if the book ever became a movie. I tried to be somewhat realistic about it, really putting myself into the role of Cast Director for the movie based on my book (ha!). I became so enthusiastic about this idea, I took a little break from writing and decided to make a little movie poster (representing cast members) for my book’s movie!

This might seem totally wacko, but not only did it seem like a very positive idea to get the whole “Law of Attraction” thing going, but it also became a very fun exercise in character development (which wasn’t my plan – it was just something I felt like doing). When writing my dialog, I could actually see and hear these “actors” I’d chosen in my mind, playing out these roles and interacting with each other. I ended up printing the little poster out and pinned it up on my office wall as part of my personal inspiration while writing.

The result of this impromptu exercise was a much more fluid way of writing. I simply began to dictate the movie that was playing in my imagination. It all became very real. I tried describing tone of voice and mannerisms to help convey character. I chose actors I personally love, but also actors who would physically match the character traits I had in mind.

I shared the poster with my daughter and she had a fun time giving her input on the characters as well (since I had been sharing the book with her while I was writing it). This dialog was extra fun!

Fellow fiction writers, I highly recommend you give this activity a try! Sometimes I have to step away from the writing part and just tickle a different part of my creative brain to get excited again. This worked!!!


Two Challenges in One Month (PiBoIdMo & NaNoWriMo)!


I’ve decided to tackle both of these challenges for the month of November. NaNoWriMo is more of a tradition for me. I don’t really expect to meet 50K words in one month (which is the goal in Nano). I have my own word count goal I am working toward instead.

PiBoIdMo is my REAL goal for the month, which is to come up with a picture book idea every day for the month of November. I did this successfully for the first time last year and I grew a LOT from it. Plus, I have a book filled with ideas for picture books – one of which I am finishing up this year, hoping to get it out for sale online before mid-November!

I’m also hosting a Young Writers Program at my home as well as an online classroom to encourage the young people I know to write as much as they can this month as well!

30 Book Ideas in 30 Days! (I’m a WINNER!)

vinvogel_piboldmo_winnerEvery year I participate in NaNoWriMo and have yet to actually meet the 50K word goal. I am always busy with projects in November, so Nano always ends up being a losing battle for me.


Coming up with 30 Picture Book ideas in 30 days seemed like a challenge I could really dig my creative teeth into!

I was right!

On day one, I immediately realized how this was going to stretch me. Coming up with ideas is the easy part for me. Concentrating FULLY for a WHOLE MONTH on purely idea generation was the true challenge for me. Normally when I get an idea, I work with the one idea, bring it into something great, and then move on to the next thing before I’ve been able to really figure out how to make the idea into something solid. I’ll wear the idea out or overwhelm myself, and another idea will start pestering me and interrupt my flow of executing the current idea.

So I LOVED this challenge, and gave myself permission to move on every day to a new idea, staying with the flow of idea energy. On day TWO I struggled big time with tis, coming up with a book idea that I totally LOVED. I ended up writing the whole manuscript (picture book length). It rhymed and everything! I even had the main character sketched out. When that idea came to full fruition, I moved on to the next day. It was frustrating and freeing at the same time. Everything inside me wanted to start sketching layout plans for the book. But I had my permission slip to say NO. I HAVE TO KEEP COMING UP WITH IDEAS. WHEN THE MONTH IS OVER, THEN I CAN SIFT THROUGH MY IDEAS AND HOPEFULLY THIS IDEA WILL STILL LOOK GOOD TO ME (as it does, thank goodness!).

I also have another idea brewing which I am looking forward to bringing to life in 2015. A Monthly challenge of my own to share with the world… purely based around idea generation for professional creatives. It’s an idea I had last year and shelved it when once again I became too overwhelmed.

I am very excited to enter 2015 with 30 book ideas and a new Create-A-Way project to introduce to the world!

The Publishing Dream of a 12-Year-Old Girl FINALLY Comes True!

1499473_10202539900319288_2051712005_nLet me tell you a story.

This is a story about a book that took 28 years (YES… YEARS) to become a glossy-covered reality!

In 1986-87 I hand wrote my book in two blank books when I was thirteen years old. Then I typed it up (104 pages typed – with a typewriter) to send out to publishers. I don’t remember how many manuscripts I sent out, but I received 3-4 rejection letters back. The first letter was a Canadian publisher and was quite a nice, supportive letter. The last one was merely a postcard form letter with my name written in the blank.

NC deck2

Young author, Wendy, in Monroe, NC (that’s me in the flowered skirt in front) – sister Laura behind me, and Daddy at the grill!

I quickly lost hope of getting my book published and plummeted into a pit of self loathing for even trying. I burned several pages of my book (the ones I KNEW were horrible), and I cannot thank my younger self enough for NOT burning the whole thing.

In the year 2000 I took a Creative Writing course at my community which turned my writing life around. I needed material to bring in every week for eight weeks of the course, and with a lack of inspiration to write something brand new, I turned to my old manuscript to see if it was worth saving. There were bits of it that I still thought were good, and one chapter that even won an award when I was in high school. I decided to use the course to see if I could turn the book into something I could be proud of.

The course, taught by Debi Bucci, was the best writing course I’ve ever taken – not only because of Debi, but because of all the amazing and gifted writing friends I made through the class. I took this 8-10 week course TWELVE times during a 5-year span, and by the end I had two out of the three books COMPLETED, and learned more about editing my own material than I’d ever learned before – and I say this having graduated with a Minor in Creative Writing from CASE Western Reserve!

writing group

CAWG writing group turkey fry gathering (around 2005-ish). Left to right: Craig, Christy, Christine, Alan, and me. Craig’s dog, Tucker, in front wearing the cone of shame.

When our teacher, Debi, decided to move on, I was fortunate enough to be included in a writing group formed by my writing workshop classmates. I continue to meet with most of these people and we call our group CAWG (Cleveland Area Writers Group). Our group still meets monthly at The Coffee House in Cleveland’s University Circle, and I try to make it as often as I can (which has been seldom these past couple years, but not giving up).

Finally in 2012 I discovered NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo as convenient and cost-free resources to motivate me to add to my collection of chapters and to revisit them once more to fine tune and explore how I should actually complete the book(s). I decided I wanted to include illustration and ultimately decided to use loose doodle art in the book to make it look like something I would have scribbled down in my journal when I was twelve.

All along I’ve kept the original humorous and adolescent tone as was originally scribed. That was important to me, to keep it authentic to what the story was originally – a collection of thought-provoking memories by a 12-year-old girl. I was just as thoughtful at age twelve as I am now – I just know a lot more about writing, thank goodness!

My finished cover!

I’ve known for years that self publishing was the way to go for this book. Really, I have to admit… What publisher would say yes to an autobiographical story about a 12-year-old girl who moves from Canada to the States? I’m not interested in trying to morph my story into something a publisher would say yes to.


What I am interested in (and this brings tears to my eyes) is to make Little Wendy’s dream come true. To publish her intimate stories of struggle, and to tell her she doesn’t need a busy editor behind a desk to give her validation that her story deserves to be printed and shared around the world. I love this little girl, Wendy, and I admire her for her courage and gusto to never give up on her dream.

So what was the final “boot in the rear” to getting this book OUT?

Perhaps it is because I’m turning forty soon.

Perhaps it is because I look at my own daughter, age eight, as she also exhibits an interest in writing and passion for books.

Or perhaps it’s because I have a huge pileup of book ideas that I need to get moving on, and this series just HAS to get out the door before I can move forward with the other projects.

Regardless, I’m glad the “boot in the rear” finally came.

Please check out my book website – the platform I set up for the book series. You can order an autographed copy directly from me, a print-on-demand copy from, or a Kindle version – links are all on the book website!

If you are a writer who is interested in self publishing your book, feel free to contact me. I am happy to share more about my experience with you! We writers need to stick together!  🙂 We need to CREATE-A-WAY!!!!

Blessings and YESsings to you!

The NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program – Launching my first Young Writers Group!

logoYeah, I know, don’t I have enough going on? Well, I just couldn’t stop myself.

When I realized my daughter was into writing a couple years ago, I totally flipped out. Oh yeah. Cartwheels.

I’ve been a write-a-holic ever since I received my first blank workbook in grade two – well, maybe before then.

I remember before I ever knew how to read, I used to flip through novels on my parents’ bookshelves and try to figure out why words were grouped certain ways (what were paragraphs all about? I wondered).

Yeah, I’m a nerd, all right  🙂 

And my author grandmother would give me recycled paper to type with on her old manual typewriter – it would keep me occupied for hours, and I was slightly annoyed when I would tap too hard on the keys and my “o”s would punch holes through the paper (How does one use white-out over a HOLE in the page?). I sent my first manuscript (104 pages typed) out to publishers when I was thirteen, and got my first pile of rejection letters back the same year.

So of course when my daughter showed interest in writing, OH yeah – I totally FLIPPED and signed her up last year for the YWP. This year I thought it would be fun to try getting more of her friends involved. Luckily she has several brainy friends (that’s my girl) who also have an interest in writing, so I thought we should be able to get a small group together from her classroom. We’ll see how this goes!

Celebrating Programs and Classes I’ve Enjoyed in 2012!

workshop group

I can’t believe all the teleclasses and programs (free and paid) I’ve attended this year! I’m sure I’m missing some in my collage above, also!

I’ve grown tremendously this year with my business plans, “lightning bolt” ideas, my website, my blog, business explorations, and online relationships! I know it’s because of all this wonderful activity I’ve enjoyed this year!

What can you get out of joining a free or paid online program or class?

Not just learning a new technique, trade, or information, but it will also provide you with incentive – motivation – to move forward with something. It will open your mind to something new and most likely create lightning bolt ideas for you!

And best of all, you will meet all kinds of new people – kindred spirits. Many of these programs involve communities you can join, therefore meeting so many others who have gravitated toward the same interest. It’s a wonderful chance to network online with others who are interested in the same things you are. You will meet new mentors, new friends, and new clients!

I encourage you to have a year like this where you say YES more often – even if you’re not sure you can complete the whole program (most likely you will be provided downloads and links you can return to later).

Another thing I love about this, is it’s a way to support others in the same field. Support your friends by subscribing to their blogs, FB pages, and free newsletters. Learn from them. What are they doing, and how are they doing it? Observe and learn from your online peers. There is a WEALTH of knowledge out there, and it’s SO easy and fun to absorb it all.

Here is my list of website and program links that I recommend you check out for 2013 (hopefully some of the free programs are still available – you really need to catch them before they disappear):

Programs/Classes I started AND FINISHED:

Programs I started but still need to finish:

I invite you to check these out and see if any of them seem interesting to you. Even the ones I still need to finish, I am fully enjoying and gained so much just from dipping my toes into the waters (even if it the best part was just to meet some new people)!

I wanted to give thanks to all these courses for contributing to my growth and joy this year!

Nanowrimo: On a QUEST to complete the LONGEST writing project of my LIFE!

I’m participating in Nanowrimo for the first time (I participated in Camp Nanowrimo twice during the summer). Over the summer, my focus was to get as much written for this book series as I could. What started out as a 104-page book in 1987 (I was thirteen) has transformed into a three-book-series for Young Adult Readers.

I am so excited – I have the first two books completed, and thanks to Camp Nano I have four chapters of the third book written as well (edited is another story).

I think it’s neat that this book has been a work-in-progress for so many years. It was shelved for a long time, and then in 2000 I picked it back up to completely rewrite it.

I totally believe in Divine Timing, so I’m not lamenting that it’s taken me this long to finish it. I really believe that some great insights will come while writing and editing now. I can write my book now with an adult’s mind, but through a child’s eyes. And now having children of my own I have an even greater perspective to understand, as I write my parents into my story.

If you’d like to check out what I have written so far on this book series, I have all the chapters available for free on my book website (until I have the whole thing edited). I plan to add illustrations as well to have even more fun with it.

The byline for the book will probably be with my maiden AND married name (Wendy Carrick Fedan) to pay homage to the original author, my 12-year-old self.

If you’re participating in Nanowrimo, you can find me there – my Nano name is “wfedan” – I’d love to meet you and your novel there!

NaNoWriMo 2012 – a kick in the butt for writers!

Nanoo Nanoo WriMo!

November is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and it’s almost here! This is my first year participating in Nano, and I’m happy to be sharing the experience with my daughter, Rose (Rose is in the Nano Young Writers Program)!

Why am I writing about and promoting Nano so much on my Create-A-Way blog?

Because I feel it’s the perfect motivational tool you can use to finally get moving on that writing project you’ve been thinking about for so long. I think writing is the easiest thing to put off. We give all the excuses in the world NOT to write: a lack of time, energy, ideas, blah, blah…

NaNoWriMo is basically a kick in the butt for writers.

And it’s FREE (as all kicks in the butt should be).

So check out NaNoWrMo and join in on the fun!

Who cares if you don’t get to the 50,000 word goal? How much are you writing NOW? If the answer is ZERO, what do you have to lose? Even if all you write is 5,000 words, that’s 5,000 words that would have never existed if you hadn’t at least tried!

Go for it!