Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Giving Back To The Writing Community

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

This will be a rather short blog post today. Between helping my daughter with her pre-calculus class, decorating the outside of our house for Halloween, and preparing for a presentation on story structure I’ll be giving tomorrow at a local writer’s group, I simply don’t have the time. 

At first glance, it might seem surprising I’m giving a presentation on a writing related topic when I have yet to finish my first book, but it makes sense when you know more about me. My glacial writing pace stems from my difficulty in translating the ideas inside my head to words on a page, not from a lack of understanding of story structure. In fact, that subject is one of the few things about writing that I actually get. 

I still struggle with showing versus telling, my descriptions often sound like bullet lists on a PowerPoint slide, and my dialogue needs lots of work, but story structure just makes sense to me. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I’m a heavy plotter deep down inside. Maybe it’s because story structure feels like a science to me, and I’m good at science. Whatever the reason, it's easy for me to spot problems with story structure both in my own stories and in the books I beta-read. 

After all the help and wisdom I’ve received from other writers over the years, sharing what I’m good at with the writing community is the least I can do. 

Question: what aspect of writing are you best at, and how do you share that knowledge with your fellow writers?


Friday, October 21, 2016

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 145

Kind of took a break from writing this week.  After pounding away on my submission for the IWSG Anthology, I came to the conclusion that I wouldn't have it finished by the deadline, so I decided to set everything aside and concentrate on the Story Structure presentation I'll be giving at a local writer's group next Thursday. Maybe next year.  Sigh...

One of the links this week leads to a YouTube video explaining the character types in "The Hero's Journey."  I've embedded it into the post so you can watch it without leaving the blog, but I'm some problems getting it to work right.  If it doesn't work for you, just click on the link instead.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the links!


Book Marketing: How to Use Bookmarks to Market Self-published Books

Creating Single-Author Box Sets: Part One

Do Your Settings Contain An Emotional Value?

Should Published Stories Be Set in Stone?

Don’t Make These 5 Mistakes Make When Writing Romance

Story Structure: What Are Pinch Points?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

What I Learned About My Writing Process This Week

Last Friday, I submitted another chapter of my WIP to my critique group [it was due Thursday, :( ] and I thought I’d use this post to muse on two lessons I learned in the process. 

Lesson #1. I don’t write well on deadlines. I spent two weeks trying to whip that chapter into something I’d feel comfortable submitting to my CPs, but as the submission deadline approached, my progress slowed to a crawl. I eventually turned in what I had, not particularly happy with the words, but figuring they were good enough for my CPs to spot pacing issues. 

The next morning, I slept late, relieved I no longer had to worry about the chapter. I eventually got up, had some breakfast, then fired up the computer and glanced at the WIP again. Almost immediately I realized what needed to be done to fix many of the trouble areas that had stumped me the night before. Within a couple of hours, I had fixed half the chapter to my satisfaction. Then it occurred to me that if I finished the revisions by that evening, I could resubmit the improved version to my CPs. Of course, as soon as I set that deadline, my progress slowed to a crawl again. Lesson learned. Deadlines are not my friends. 

Lesson #2. It’s not unusual for me to hit a wall when I’m working on a scene or chapter, and this chapter was no different. The scene was 80% ready, but there were sections here and there that just didn’t work. I rearranged words, rewrote paragraphs, etc. trying to determine what the problem was. I eventually figured it out, but this time I noticed a pattern. In each case, the problem stemmed from trying to rush through that part of the scene. Places where I had crammed too much stuff into too small a space, like I was in a hurry to move on to the good stuff. As soon as I fleshed out the scene, the problem disappeared. Now if only I can train myself to spot that problem earlier in the writing process. 

On a happier note, today’s my birthday. 

Picture courtesy Creative Commons

One of my friends gave me a White Castle gift card for a present. Guess where I’m heading for lunch today?

Question: How many of you enjoy White Castle? 


Friday, October 7, 2016

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 143

I would have finished this post last night, but midway through I discovered Janice Hardy's new book "Understanding Show, Not Tell" had just been released and I ordered the Kindle version immediately. Janice's blog, Fiction University, is one of the most consistently useful writing sites I've ever come across, and many of the links I post on Fridays come from her or her guest posters.

Needless to say, I curled up in bed with my Kindle and stayed up late reading, so it was Mountain Dew for breakfast this morning. <Yawns>

I only hope I'll be able to concentrate on writing this weekend instead of spending all my time reading her book.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the links!


10 Quick Marketing Fixes For Authors

Indie Publishing Paths: What’s Your Newsletter Plan? Part Three

4 Tips for Preventing Flat Descriptions

Understanding Goal, Motivation, and Conflict: GOAL 

How to Cultivate a Winning Author/Blogger Relationship

Free Book Promotions: Are They Worth It?

A Checklist for Publishing Your Book

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Insecure Writer and Knowing When Your Story is Ready

Today is October's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

What makes me an Insecure Writer this month?

To be honestnothing.

Okay, to be more precise, I have no new insecurities this month. All the old ones are still around to keep me warm at night, so I know I’m still a writer. But now that that's out of the way, let’s concentrate on October’s IWSG question.

“When do you know your story is ready?” 

Funnily enough, my September IWSG post focused on almost the exact same question.  And my honest answer was, "I don’t know." Since I haven’t finished a story yet, I have no experience in these matters. But if pressed, I’d guess I’d feel my story was ready when two things happened. 

1. My critique partners tell me it’s done and suggest it's about time I move on to something else. They also hint that they never want to see that story again. 

2. When all subsequent changes by me consist of nothing more than cosmetic wordsmithing. 

I know I’ll never really feel my story is ready, but sometimes you just have to shove your children out into the world and let them go.


Friday, September 30, 2016

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 142

It's been cool and rather rainy around here over the past week, and all I can say is, "Woohoo!"

Maybe some of you detest the rain, but I love it.  And combined with the cool weather, it feels like fall is here, my favorite time of the year.   Fall charges up my writing batteries like nothing else, so I'm looking forward to this weekend.  Give me this kind of weather, a howling wind, a deserted castle to write in and I'd be in seventh heaven.

Oh, and I'd probably need spare batteries for the laptop, too.

Have a great fall-ish kind of  weekend and enjoy the links!


How to Make the Most of Goodreads Giveaways

"Going Wide" Part 2 - Gaining Traction on Kobo

Tips for Making Yourself More Promote-able

Bloggers: 10 Sites With Public Domain, High Resolution, Images
I keep telling myself that I need to add pictures to my posts. Maybe this is just the push I need.

Become a Story Genius: How Your Character’s Misbelief Drives The Plot

10 Things Authors Need to Stop Doing on Social Media Immediately


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