Tag Archives: writing tips

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

LifeinSlakePatch 001

As I told you all earlier, I submitted part of my speculative fiction novel, Life in Slake Patch to our current Writer in Residence – Richard van Camp. He answered with:

I’ve had a read of your intro and it seems to me that you find your rhythm in Chapter 4. I found the first three chapters to go so quickly, too quickly, that I couldn’t get a lock on any of the characters or their back stories.  Perhaps a rewrite of your intro?  My advice is slow down; take your time. Have fun with each scene. Sights, smells, etc. Give us setting; give us tone; set the mood.

Now for new or seasoned writers, critique is a double edged sword, some is favorable, some not but all should be taken as constructive rather than destructive. Several rewrites previously I took another writer in residence advice and ‘info dumped’ at the beginning of this story to ‘set the scene’.

So do I change it or not? Do I follow my gut and revise to balance the slightly conflicting advice from these two marvelous authors? Or do I rewrite a completely different introduction? This is something I will ponder and decide after careful consideration.

Have you experienced conflicting critique?

How did you resolve the matter? Did you change it or not?

Books: My review of The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North

hope

The story was a neat concept but fell short, unlike Claire’s previous two books. The character was complex, the story arc well constructed but the use of numerous synonyms of words detracted from the flow of the story – taking me out of the narrative. I understand as a fellow author that these descriptions were an explanation of the main character’s inner most thoughts but they were too much of a distraction for me.

However, it will in no way put me off reading another of Claire’s books – her ability to engage a reader is wonderful in The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August & Touch.

I have just started reading – I Can See You by Joss Landry.

I was engaged from the first page!

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Writing Tip: Chuck Sambuchino

Remember the Three “P’s”:  Patience, Perseverance, and maintaining your sense of Purpose.

Do you have a writing tip to share?

What book can you recommend?

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Firstly I want to celebrate a personal milestone, 1000 blog posts on my blog as of Monday 9th January!

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Writing:

Over the weekend, inspired by the new Writer in Residence, I continued with an edit of my speculative fiction manuscript, Life in Slake Patch. I will send the manuscript for the WIR to review once this is complete. This particular manuscript has been through numerous edits and revisions and needs to ‘get out there’ soon.

Books:

hope

I began the third novel by Claire North called The Sudden Appearance of Hope. It is written in a similar voice as the other two I have read. It is an intriguing concept as the main character is ‘forgotten’ almost from the moment she is out of sight. Time will tell if it matches up to Harry August or Touch.

Writing TipElmore Leonard

“Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.”

What writing project did you tackle this weekend?

Do you have a writing tip to share?

What book can you recommend?

 

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

twesome-loop-002

I managed to embrace the first of two manuscripts I will be revising this year during a day’s sabbatical with a good writer friend last week. It was the jump start I required. Although this particular manuscript has been on the back burner for some time, (I have dabbled with from time to time over the last few years), I felt it was time I grappled with it to make a well rounded, finished product for publication.

The Twesome Loop is a reincarnation romance, which centers on four main characters from two time periods. The subject of reincarnation, many of you know fascinates me and I spent the second half of 2016 covering it here on my blog.

The narrative is an erotic romance novel with a reincarnation twist. The narrative starts its journey in the late 1990’s English countryside, where several characters make seemingly unrelated choices to travel to Italy. Melissa is fleeing a loveless marriage, Gerald wants to find his soul mate, Brett is motivated by greed and Nancy’s insatiable lust drives her. They are drawn not only by the beauty and life of Italy, but by an unexplained inner longing. Each is unaware that a pact made generations before, links their souls to each other and the beautiful villa they will stay in. A parallel story takes the reader to 1874, where a young woman’s happiness is sacrificed for her father’s ambition. Unable to resist she suffers at her older husband’s hands until his brother offers a way to escape.

The villa’s history has become local folklore and the mystery is perpetuated among the village elders. The sudden disappearance of Lord William and the subsequent low-key marriage of his widow, Gabriella and his younger brother, Arthur, fueled speculations as to the Lord’s fate. However, the young couple embraced the village and its inhabitants becoming well-liked benefactors in complete contrast to William’s cruel domination. Arthur and Gabriella’s love is all consuming but unable to contemplate life without each other, Arthur seeks a way for them to love beyond the grave.

Once the modern day characters converge on the villa, passions and memories rise and the pact’s legacy becomes known. Melissa falls completely for Gerald, a stranger but very familiar at the same time, Gerald is convinced Melissa is the one he has searched for and will not let her husband, Brett take her away, ever again. Nancy finds in Brett the one person, who can sate her lustful appetites and although Brett’s greed was the motivation to chase Melissa, he finds in Nancy the answer to his innermost desires.

The Twesome Loop incorporates several aspects to the romance genre of time slip, travel, and past lives. Similar works include Ferney by James Long, Again by Sharon Cullars and Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine. Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn, Maybe This Life by J.P. Grider, Across Eternity by Aris Whittier and Her Past’s Present by Micheal Poeltl.

Books:

When I choose books to read I try to find similar themes to the one I am writing. I found an excellent novel called The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire  North. As the title suggests it is reincarnation based. I was so impressed with Claire’s writing style I immediately got Touch, which is ghosts inhabiting other people just by touching them. It is again well written and I recommend both of these books.

Writing Tip: Bill Harper
Try not to edit while you’re creating your first draft. Creating and editing are two separate processes using different sides of the brain, and if you try doing both at once you’ll lose. Make a deal with your internal editor that it will get the chance to rip your piece to shreds; it will just need to wait some time.

A really nice trick is to switch off your monitor when you’re typing. You can’t edit what you can’t see.

 

Anticipation For A Future Event Can Cloud Our Current Life…


Anticipation

Anticipation: the action of anticipating something; expectation or prediction

Synonyms: expectancy, expectation, excitement, suspense

We all feel the thrill and anticipation for upcoming vacations, special occasions and seasonal festivals. During the months and weeks prior, we build them up into something fantastic. Our increased expectation impairs our day-to-day activities. We have a ‘countdown’ to the event or day, creating an ever intensifying yearning for our days to pass quickly. It is, of course, human nature to look forward to a special occurrence – it is hard not to.

However, in doing so, we risk not enjoying the everyday events that might also be special. Our anticipation can cloud our minds to everything else. I admit I have a countdown to a longed-for vacation but I realized my folly this past weekend. I became so focused on a future date; I was blurring some important dates that occurred prior to ‘the’ date.

A special friend got married on Saturday and although the heat was unbearable for many the garden ceremony was wonderful, as the guests saw the happy couple become man & wife. Shade was sort by some guest under tall hedges; there were containers of ice with water bottles in them and tiny bottles of bubble liquid to blow into the still air. The reception was held in a small community hall and everyone suffered the heat to rejoice the marriage. This was a celebration of two incredibly well suited people and I was honoured to share their day.

On Sunday, I visited a friend who has spent many months researching my family tree. The information gathered is fascinating and thrilling. We go back to 1628 in England, where records stop for the most part. I now have a binder full of my ancestors for my father and mother’s family tree. It will be part of an extraordinary keepsake book, I am compiling for my siblings and for their descendants to pass down.

So my weekend held incredible memories and my ‘countdown’ was forgotten for a while. I was fully present and will reflect on these events favorably for many a year. Every day is precious we need to relish them fully.

In writing, we also create anticipation for our readers, propelling them forward in the narrative to the conclusion. We plan the climax of our novels but anticipation is an important part of keeping your readers interest. If we develop a story arc that will have our readers asking questions about what could happen next, we are succeeding in our creation.

How do you form anticipation in your novels?

Share your tips, excerpts you are proud of or examples you found thrilling.

Fuub

Re-Blog Wednesday – Attracting Blog Traffic…


reblog

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/writing-great-post-titles/

Attracting Traffic: Tips for Writing Great Blog Post Titles

by Krista on January 9, 2014

You’ve been working hard on your blog: you put thought and effort into your About page, your site title and tagline, and you’ve even picked a funky blog name. You sweat your photography. You read and re-read your drafts to make sure they’re just so.

With over 1.4 million posts published on WordPress.com every day, how do you make sure your work stands out in the crowd? Crafting strong post titles is one way to snag reader attention, pique interest, attract followers, and earn repeat visits. Here’s a few ideas to think about as your write titles for your posts.

Photo by ullrich.c  (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Photo by ullrich.c (CC BY-SA 2.0)

GET ORIGINAL

There are plenty of posts like What Game of Thrones Taught me About Modern Society or Everything I know about Marriage, I Learned from Homer Simpson in the world today.

How many listicles have you seen recently? You know what I’m talking about: 10 Signs Millennials Will Ruin the World, or 15 Ways to Tell if You Really Are a Hipster. Sure, these types of headlines have become commonplace on the web and we too enjoy a funny listicle now and again. If you want your work to stand out from the crowd, you might want to rethink these types of constructions, unless you feel you’ve got a piece that transcends the genre. And in that case, we can’t wait to read it.

STUDY THE MASTERS

Chances are, there’s title inspiration and guidance in the blogs and magazine articles you’re already reading. Are there a few sites or magazines that you really like? Study their titles. Consider what it is about these titles that draws you in.

What captured your attention? What tickled your curiosity? Try emulating your favorite authors when you write post titles. Me? I admire Maria Popova‘s title writing style over at Brain Pickings. Never trite, always enticing, Maria’s posts always end up in my Instapaper account for later brain feeding. Here’s a few Brain Pickings post titles that caught my attention:

LEAD WITH THE END IN MIND

If you’re writing to educate, be it to share a personal anecdote or offer hard-won advice, it’s good to ask yourself: What’s the most important thing I want my reader to remember from reading this post? Crafting the answer into a post title automatically reinforces your most important point for the reader, making sure your message not only gets heard, but remembered.

Try creating intrigue or using the element of surprise with titles by alluding to something readers can only see or learn by reading the post. Consider Maria Popova’s headline above, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Little-Known, Gorgeous Art. Right away, I’m surprised — One of my favorite authors — Bilbo Baggins‘ daddy no less — was not only a writer, but also an artist? This piece of new information makes me want to follow that link and find out about Tolkien’s works of art.

BONUS: HOW DO GOOGLE, TWITTER, AND FACEBOOK SEE IT?

Your post’s title automatically becomes your post’s slug, which is part of the permanent link or URL to your post.

If your post title is fairly long, (over six or seven words) consider editing your slug to remove words such as “to,” “from,” “our,” “this,” “that,” etc., that don’t specifically relate to the post’s topic, for speedier search engine parsing. For example, this post’s slug would have been:

/attracting-traffic-tips-for-writing-great-blog-post-titles

I shortened the slug to the following to put the emphasis on the main idea: writing great post titles.

/writing-great-post-titles

If you’ve got your blog automatically connected to push and tweet posts to Facebook and Twitter, post titles are what gets sent out as a default via Publicize, so it’s important to consider how your post’s title might be perceived when it appears on your social networks.

As you write your piece, you may also want to think about the words readers will use to search for your post and ensure those words get a place in the title.

AND NOW, OVER TO YOU

Writing enticing titles is not only an art form, it takes a bit of practice. In your blogging experience, what have you found most effective when it comes to blog post titles? Share your tips with the class in the comments.

Marketing A Necessary Evil…


Ineluctable – definition: impossible to avoid or evade : inevitable

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As our writing journey begins we are immersed in our words, characters and plots – this is the honeymoon stage of writing. Our creativity runs free, there are no obstacles, anything is possible. Once our story is written there is the inevitable editing, revision and practical aspects to work through and consider. With a polished manuscript before us we need to look at the ‘advertising’ side of this journey.

Many of us have no experience of media or a promotional background so this becomes a daunting prospect. I found this great post by Jamie Sheffield, which lists tips for marketing. Go check it out.

http://www.jamiesheffield.com/2013/04/9-marketing-tips-from-writer-who-hates.html

Obviously there are companies that offer to help you with promotion and the internet is full of helpful guides and tips from other authors. You need to find your comfort level and determine how much time you want to commit to this aspect of your journey. Some of us may ‘go all out’ but in practical terms we still have to balance the other facets of our lives.

Research your options and find the ones that you are most comfortable with and focus on them. Trying to promote on multiple sites several times a day is certainly not practical and will only lead to a ‘burn out’ as well as frustration. Focus on genre specific sites and use your connections (although care must be taken here too!) Be realistic in your expectations – slowly build a following and the sales will come.

Piquant – Add Spice to Your Writing…


Piquant – definition: 1) agreeably stimulating to the taste; spicy. 2) pleasingly exciting

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We all want our stories to engage our readers. To have them sympathize with a character or actively dislike, means we have accomplished our goal. Crafting a well rounded character does take time but pays dividends. Whether a stand alone novel or a series, characters need to be ‘believable’ and their emotions concisely and clearly revealed. There must be a balance between action and scene setting, too much of one or the other will ‘fatigue’ our readers – there must be ebb and flow.

I found this delightful post, which uses cooking terminology to express these points.

http://www.chapterandverse.ca/worth-reading/214-spice-up-your-writing.html

What resources do you use to add ‘flavor’?

Our own life experiences are a great source of ’emotion’ and as writers we tend to use them and those of the people around us. Noticing how an emotion affects the physical demeanor allows us to show not tell what a character is feeling. I was fortunate enough to win a copy of the Emotional Thesaurus a while ago. It is an excellent resource and sections each ’emotion’ into physical signals, internal sensations, mental responses and cues for each one. With an additional writers tip as a footnote.

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Do you have tips you can share?

Use A Personal Experience to Add Depth…


Bog – definition: a wet spongy marsh; a poorly drained acid area in which dead plant matter accumulates and sphagnum usually grows in abundance.

wellies_tcm9-281955This word took me immediately back to an event that happened to me when I was about nine years old. We were on vacation in a quaint cottage beside an estuary. Wellies (rubber boots) over bare feet, wearing T-shirts and shorts, my younger brother and I went fishing for crabs. The tide was slowly ebbing out exposing a muddy riverbed. We happily poked around catching small crabs and fish to put into our bucket for a while. Then I spied it, a huge crab near the center of the expanse of mud. I stepped slowly hoping not to frightened it away.

Just as the crab was in touching distance I sunk. Mud oozed over the top of my boots and dribbled around my ankles and in between my toes. My brother starting laughing as did I, until that is I tried to extricate my boots out of the mud. I was stuck fast. No matter how hard I tried I could not get out. Panic set in and my brother could see it. I screamed for him to get my Dad. Thoughts of the tide coming back in and my drowning filled my mind as I waited. It felt like hours of course but was probably only a matter of minutes before my Dad appeared. He laughed at first but when he saw my face, told me not to worry. He strode towards me, grabbed me under the arms and pick me out of my wellies. I protested about leaving them but he told me they were lost, he would get me a new pair.

This sort of experience can be artfully used in our writing. Personal events and their emotional effect can assist us in describing a characters situation. Maybe one of my characters is stuck – I can remember that feeling and expand it to suit the scene I am creating. Small details make such a difference. I can still remember how that cold mud felt between my toes and how it smelt. Depth in a scene draws our readers in – go deeper into your self to find those golden nuggets, the ones that make your writing superb.

Have you used a personal experience or memory to help with a scene? Care to share?

Frustration…Call An Expert…


Invoke – definition: 1) to call on for aid or protection 2) to call forth by magic : conjure; 3) to appeal to as an authority or for support

I have to tell you I was invoking more than just a polite plea for assistance yesterday. My blog post would not format correctly and I edited it over a dozen times! Very frustrating, when the stupid thing would not line up as I wanted. The enter key on my keyboard went through a beating I can tell you. I would adjust it, save it and then view post only to find the picture inserts and text were bunched up together – again and again. A few choice words were uttered…you know those ‘magic’ words that help with things are going wrong. Well now that’s off my chest back to sanity.

Return (red/left circle) and Enter (green/righ...
Return (red/left circle) and Enter (green/right circle) buttons on a keyboard. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am sharing a post from Kristen Lamb, who is not only a great writer but generous to a fault with her expertise.

Enjoy.

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/three-phases-of-becoming-a-master-author/

Beware of Being Monotonous…


My morning was certainly not humdrum. I had to take my daughter for surgery so we were out of the house by 5.15 am – good grief! Everything went really well and now she is home and comfy with a doting mother. I will file away the experience it may help with a story sometime.

Humdrum – definition: monotonous, dull.

Paper- WritingWhen an idea for a story strikes we struggle to keep up with the twists and turns our mind creates. We write or type furiously so we can capture it all. This first draft is primarily getting the words onto the page and character development, word usage, grammar, even spelling often go by the wayside. It is when we start revising that we notice particular words repeating, mediocre descriptions and continuity errors. It might be a humdrum start but the foundation of the story has been built. Now we can begin to embellish and elaborate, delete repetitive words, hone our characters personalities and create tension. Enticing our reader onto the next page is key for any novel.

To ensure our writing isn’t humdrum there are ways to strengthen our work. Here are a few tips, but by no means an exhaustive list.

1. Use adjectives and adverbs sparingly. 2. Avoid repeating a word in the same sentence and especially if the word has a ‘double’ meaning. 3. Try to omit words such as ‘go’, ‘went’, ‘that’, ‘very’ – most sentences do not require them! 4. Avoid clichés.

The best way to ensure your writing is clear, concise and enthralling is to expand your vocabulary. Word games, actively learning new words, and using a dictionary and thesaurus are all effective ways to accomplish this.

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We all have words that we over use, mostly unconsciously but once we begin revisions they are revealed – well hopefully. I have found some internet sites that  you can paste a section of your work into and it will highlight them. This is a useful exercise for any writer.

Try one for yourself – http://prowritingaid.com/Free-Editing-Software.aspx#.USrPE0BrbIU

A creatively paced, descriptive and intriguing story is our goal – fight the humdrum and excite your reader.