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Posts Tagged ‘Writers Resources’

Wisdom Teeth are A Terrible Thing

Hey all,

It has been a little too long between posts, and I must confess the most I have been doing is getting too big for my pants.  So a couple updates on my life.

1.  I got my wisdom teeth out last Thursday.  Only two and no pain but as far as productivity goes I did no writing at all.  I did not even blog stalk as much as normal.  While I never got loopy I had no desire to do more than play online games and watch SVU marathons.  Also Percecet is the worst ever, only take it before bed with the nausea stuff.

2.  Tomorrow I am posting the last part of my Tell Me A Story since there has been no response.  Don’t worry, there will be more to come, but this one will possibly be entered into a contest.  It is the right length, just needs to be modified and molded.  Maybe then I can be a real author and step up my game!  Anyway, feel free to comment on part 4 all day today.

3.  If you work out well for about 2 weeks, it only takes about 3 to 4 days to undo it all.  So the getting in shape plan will be back on track later today.  I find that once you get over the pain of running, you can push yourself far more than you expected you would.  And that applies to everything.  Pain is a good thing.  When it goes away, push yourself until you hurt just a little more.

4.  Only three days left before my main squeeze heads to Guam for work.  Not sure if I had said anything before but Glenn is going to be on this teeny tiny island for a month doing Air Force stuff.  I am excited and nervous all at once, so here is hoping I can really learn to channel that into my writing.  Too many manuscripts need to be finished already!

5.  My writer friend Shawn (also from a million years ago) is having a baby!  If anyone has come across her blog please give Shawn Kirsten Maravel a congrats and check out her four (yes, four) self published books.  She is a very talented author and who does not like some traffic now and then?

 

That is all for today, happy writing everyone!

Touring Blogs Is Fun, Can You Make The List?

Hello!

Something I have not done in a while is explore my blog inbox and share what I find. Perhaps they could create a show about it somewhere. Like storage wars where the bad guy is a negative bank account because the storage unit had diddly squat. Any way.

Today on my tour of blogs I found the following.

Piper Bayard always delivers with a healthy helping of sass and disturbing humor. Today she shares some new guidelines for how to approach TSA Agents (always a great topic)

Onward to Amber West and her Tell Me A Story post. Seriously, you all should check it out because it is brilliant! So much so that I stole borrowed her idea.

Next up on my wayward path is Kristen Lamb who told an inspiring tale of the path of the artist. Not to mention she gives killer advice that has helped me for the past couple years in my blogging methods. One of these days I will make sure to read her book…. >_>

To those who enjoy cooking or food in general I suggest you meander to Willow Bird Baking and take a peek at some of her delicious ideas. Julie is amazing and her recipes are top notch for any level cook.

Anyone who enjoys fixing plot holes and sassy reviews should check out Kate with her Twilight thoughts. Just prepare to laugh your butt off. This young woman will go far!

Trick question.  Who has ton’s of free time and can make those word goals of 2k per day and a best seller by Christmas?  Yea that is what I thought.  That is ok. Kait Nolan has offered the world Round of Words in 80 days. Just trust me when I say you don’t want to miss this.

Last because I had to save the best for last, Jenny Ford has taken a big leap and will be in an anthology with only four other writers.  Meaning she is officially published! If you have a chance head on over to her blog and throw her a quick congrats. Her post is the same kind of tale many of us are living, and no matter what it is possible to get to the coveted status of published author.

 

Thats all for today folks!

Back?

Hey all,

 

After 3 + months with no posts, it was time to get off my butt and start writing.  But what?  I did not really have a tip to contribute, nor did I have any progress on the novel.  It was so boring at 30k pages and I had no desire to fix it really.  When in doubt go back to the beginning.

So now on to resuming old projects.  In the Camelot novel, would it be cheating and lazy to add a time traveling person from the future to the past to “learn about a mysterious unknown figure in Arthurian lore”?  I think a little bit.  But it would make things easier for the first novel and maybe would boost more projects in my queue.

 

Speaking of my queue, I want to share something I got yesterday.  Remember when all this writing stuff happened because I had a kids book?

 

 

I am hoping there will now be more than 4 views on the video.

 

My new plan is to make this into an e-book and release through self publishing.

 

Another plan is to take the Twilight Challenge, which involves reading the books and re writing them with fewer adjectives, some research, and adding a plot.  Should not be too hard.  Right?  Right?

 

Back to the work desk, but I do have a lot planned and soon.  Time to get super motivated, complete with a montage of a hard work and soul.

 

Woooo time to get to it!

Do You Want Cheese or a Book? Plot Hole Sammich with Swiss Please

October 24, 2011 5 comments
NCI swiss cheese

Image via Wikipedia

Hi everyone. 

8 days including today until NaNoWriMo officially starts!  Next Sunday will have a lot of kick off parties, writer style.  Um, if anyone knows what that entails please let me know.  Otherwise I am just going to show up with a small notebook in hand and a flask of vodka Red Bull.

I was getting some outlining done when I discovered some major Swiss cheese action.  I am talking plot holes.  Major ones.  The kind that if not addressed ASAP means some major amputation and reconstructive surgery later on.  Not fun so let’s try to clean up now. 

So my character needs to get out of town.  She gets into a feisty argument with my BBT (Big Boss Troublemaker) who pretty much says to get out and never come back.  Very Lion King, I know.  But there was almost no build up.  The argument was out of the blue.  So I needed to make sure I had more instances of mini conflict where MC and BBT grow to dislike each other more and more. 

Then my other bigger plot hole rears its ugly head.  When MC needs to get out of town she decides to go with this other guy.  Who just happened to be leaving anyway.   Wait a second.  He happens to be leaving at the same time?  Why, how come all of a sudden this guy feels like taking off?  Um, where is my credibility and why has it taken a vacation?  So I had to go back and point out instances where the priest guy says he has to leave to complete training to be full priest.  Eventually he needs to return home.  He has already asked my mc to join him so she will stop acting like a love sick fool over a dumb jock guy.  The fight is the tipping point to leave. 

 

This is my first book.  Even if I mess it up beyond repair I plan on avoiding as many silly mistakes as possible.  One of my biggest pet peeves is the convenience method.  I do not want something to happen just when I need it.  I want there to either be a reason or some sort of build up to that choice.  In some cases I want to force my MC to do something she won’t like because nothing should be a piece of cake. 

Conflict is key.  Being easy won’t sell a story and I am not talking money.  If everything is easy it gets boring.  If you are bored with a book there is an 80% chance you won’t tell anyone about that book and if you do it is to say how dull it was.  Yes I am making up statistics. 

********

In other news, Halloween frenzy is kicking up a notch.  On Saturday I tried going to a nightfall corn maze near my house.  9 PM I showed up with Glenn and my sister.  The ticket line to get in the maze put Six Flags to shame.  It was so packed that waiting an hour in the cold just did not seem like a fun idea.  

Also this weekend, my one kitty has finally lost her neck rolls.  Molly was so fat when I got her that she had these neck fat rolls and it was bad.  Now that she is on a much leaner diet plus getting some exorcise she has less trouble jumping into my lap and her body is noticeably thinner.  Seems both of us have that Get-In-Shape goal. 

Back to outlining, happy writing everyone!

The Cheese Stands Alone: Why Your Book Needs a Hobby

September 27, 2011 15 comments

Hi everyone.

One thing we all write about is conflict.  What is this concept?  Basically you have a goal (write 5000 words a day).  You need to reach that goal BUT something happens to stop you (work).  So you have to defeat that something or work around it (give up sleep and drink more coffee).  Keep doing this over and over.  Goal, conflict, resolve, repeat.  That is how you build a story and keep it moving.  Our story is about getting main guy from point A to point B and that is our major conflict.

This journey can happen in one book, or 3, or 7+ if you are an over achievers.  For example, in Harry Potter the ultimate goal is to defeat Voldemort.  Well we did not need 7 books to do all that, but Harry needed 7 years to mature and learn as much as he could.  So each book gave us smaller conflict.  Each book has its own bad guy.

Why else did Harry need 7 books if he just needs to learn a lot of spells?  Because Harry has a life and that is critical to the whole series.  He has friends and plays Quiddich and goes to class.  He has a mini plot line with Snape that serves as entertainment for the entire series and that conflict does not resolve till book 7.  Harry has a love life with Cho and Ginny and each conflict keeps the book moving AND has a point in the story.  Those Quiddich reflexes save his life later on.  The Snape conflict gives Harry the answers in the ending scenes.  Harry is a character to fall in love with, someone to relate to.  You forget he is not real and magic is fake.

On the other side, there are books that focus only on that main conflict with empty fluff to throw away in the long run.  I know it is overdone so often but here is another look at Twilight, specifically New Moon.  The ultimate conflict of four books is Bella wants to be a vampire with Edward.  The only time she is denied this is in New Moon.  Edward leaves and Bella collapses.  She has no hobbies or interests.  She goes to school and avoids her friends.  Even when Jake fixes the motorcycles Bella is still too focused on Edward.  The side ‘plot’ of Victoria is half-a$$ed and an afterthought because even that turns into something Edward related.  Alice ends up being the only character to give the story movement and she cheats by using visions.

The point is to show that Bella is nothing without Edward but does that endear us to her?  No, and most Twilight fans are not a fan of Bella anyway.  They go for the possessive stalker or the man-child who is just talking abs.  Guess what?  Edward likes to listen to music, watch Bella sleep, play piano and is very well read.  HOBBIES!  Jake fixes engines and loves to hang out with his two best friends who are like brothers to him.  What does Bella do when alone?  Hmmmm.  Btw I am on Team Jake ^_^

What about us writers?  My objective is to write a book.  That is my conflict and my ultimate goal for the year.  But it is not my entire life and it is not yours.  Reading is good.  It fills your time when you are not doing the following: Writing, stalking, working, eating, sleeping, conflict solving.  Guess what?  Reading is a hobby that provides mini conflict O_o.  You need to get to the end of the book but there are other things to do.  It takes time to resolve the conflict.  But you do it and each little conflict helps to build up to that final resolution.  Each mini plot helps us grow until we are mature enough to reach our final goal.  We have depth as people and our characters need to be the same.

One thing you can do with your main character is interview him or her.  Ask them what they do in spare time.  Do they like spicy food?  Have they read any good books?  What is her ideal date with a man?  Do they have pets?  Does he do sports?  If your character lacks depth guess what?  You have power as the writer to make it up and develop your person.

Another method is to use this nifty chart from Maggie Madly Writing to show what your characters are like.  Are they super mean?  Do they have a lot of charm?  Find out what kind of person your character is because if you don’t know, no one will.  Do not be afraid to invest time working on just your character for a little bit.  Step back from the main story and let this person’s voice develop.

Finally, ask for some help.  Talk to a person who has high interest in books similar to your own.  If you read Kristen Lamb (start now if you have not already) you know all about Social Media and WANA and how important it is to network with people who have similar interests and hobbies.  Get feedback on your main character.  How do you think I got that chart?  By following other writers and borrowing some tricks and learning from mistakes.  In return post feedback to them.  Share other tips you discover and for goodness sake be polite and say thank you.

Remember, readers love books that relate.  Conflict cannot stand alone.  You don’t build a house with just a roof on stilts and you cannot have empty plot leading to the major conflict.  Your story needs walls and furniture and doors and windows and really cute pillows from TJ Maxx.  Without those little pieces your house will blow over and so will your story.  The editor huffed and she puffed and said no. 

So, how do you build your characters?  What are your methods?  Do you know your main goal?  I want to know!

Happy Writing everyone.

Lessons from Vampmeyers – Not Everything is Bad

September 23, 2011 6 comments

Hey everyone.

As a break from the usual, I will share the day’s current trend.  In my mailbox I found a few ‘Twilight’ related posts.  One of the authors of said post, Maggie Madly Writing, introduced me to the world of Dana and ‘Reasoning with Vampires’ which is a snarky online edit of the [Twilight] series.  Essentially, the blog creator has gone through each book and picked apart the grammatical errors for each book.  She has also pointed out various sentences that describe Bella as a weak female who is nothing without her boyfriend.  Ok she is something – a hot mess.

What I would like to point out are two rules to follow:
1 – Edit your work before publishing it by using Word as well as a red pen.  The red pen is wonderful.  Do not be afraid of mistakes just avoid the really easy ones.  Failure to do so will result in excessive mocking.
2 – Find someone to edit your work after you have already finished the first run, preferably someone who is a grammar Nazi.  Don’t be lazy and give them the whole mess but remember you are biased and the WIP is your new baby.

I do not have an issue with the books because if I do not like them I can chose not to read them.  What is even better is I can learn from them.  The best lesson is finding hilarious blogs to break down the structure.

What I do have an issue with is a lazy author who decided to focus all her energy on marketing her baby without making sure the baby was ready for the world.  I feel as though Meyers brought out her child dressed in fancy new clothes but this child has not been bathed or had hair brushed or been taught how to communicate.  This child uses growls and makes faces to share ideas which make little or no sense.  Bella is not finished.  Bella needs work.  She needs to brush her teeth and get some coffee before going outside.  She needs to get dressed.

Imagine if Meyer had written a book with a narrator who was not full of unnecessary contradictions. Imagine a character that changed in ways that made sense rather than what is convenient to the story line.  Imagine some editor saw how popular the first book was and stopped all the bad writing before it started.

Current and future writers can learn some valuable lessons from Twilight.  Here are my top 10 inspired by ‘Reasoning with Vampires’

10 – Let thy sweat pour from thy brow and take pride in thy fruits of labor.  Be prepared for hard work ahead.  Be prepared to dig in deep and learn some hard lessons about what you want to do and what is possible.  You cannot grow corn in a rock field and you cannot write a book on pure fluff.  Unless you are Meyers.

9 – Thou shall create rules and live by them.  An idea on page 15 might be great for your main gal.  Making her whine to get her way can work in one scene but if this is part of her character she is either going to have to learn to whine less or the writer must be consistent.  Do not change personalities to suit the scene, find a way to make both work together.

8 – Read from thy book and let not the words runneth over.  Word count can make the difference between a novel and a novella.  It is a big deal.  But make those words count.  Don’t complicate a sentence by adding too much just to get a higher word count.   

7 – Let not what was said be written word, and they shall rejoice.  This is a common mistake made by many authors – using slang all the time.  In small pieces when it will help the story slang can be good.  Using it in excess will drag the reader down.  Bella does not usually need slang because she is speaking thinking to herself or to another person when she is narrating.  We are thinking with her.  Also try not to write like a stuttering fool.  The only person who can get away with random and awkward pauses is Christopher Walken and he is AWESOME!

6 – Fear not the Red Death, for it shall cleanse thee.  Edits are a good thing.  They let you grow.  Don’t be afraid to have mistakes.  What does not kill your novel makes it stronger.

5 – She who enjoys her work shall bring forth a wonder to others.  Enjoy your book.  Have fun with it and let your creativity flow.  There will be good times and there will be bad times but this is more than a piece of work.  This is a relationship you have with your creation.   

4 – Ye shall remain from repeating thyself upon the pain of others.  It is not a bad thing to put emphasis on a certain action.  It is ok to say a narrator is tedious.  But if you are the writer please refrain from using the same word or phrase over and over.  Readers will pick up on it, just like you point out the kid who always said cool.

3 – Be wise in the words used, for misuse shall make thee a fool.  Big words are awesome.  There are tons of ways to use them.  But make sure they fit both the scene and the character.    

2 – Show mercy upon thy characters and ye shall be rewarded.  Before writing a whole story, get to know your characters.  See what makes them tick.  Discover their flaws and strengths and learn to guide your character through the story. 

1 – Respect thy followers.  Let readers figure stuff out for themselves and treat them respectfully.  The readers are your meal ticket faithful followers.  A good teacher does not give kids the answers; she lets them discover the cheat sheet in the back on their own.  A great teacher removes the back pages.

I know this was long but it is part of the word challenge training I am doing for NaNoWriMo and I am hoping most of you are still reading.

  • Thank you to Maggie for the original inspiration.
  • Thank you to Dana for the secondary inspiration.  I eagerly await more from you.
  • Special thank you to Kristen Lamb because you were in my head for this entire post telling me what works and what would not.  Many of these lessons come from your frequent posts.

Thank you everyone and happy writing!