Tag Archives: writing tips

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

As I mentioned last week a prompt picture at my writers meeting resulted in a short story. I thought I would share it. This is the picture inspiration.

lampost girl.jpg

Annabel kicked the tuffs of grass as she walked down the street. She was angry with herself for forgetting her door key again. She knew her mother would rant and rave about her stupidity, so Annabel decided not to try and break into the house – again! The bathroom window had seemed the easy option last time until she was firmly stuck and had to wait for her mother to arrive from a late shift, by which time her leg’s were numb and she had thrown up because of the pressure on her stomach as she was suspended in the small window frame. What made matters worse was the vomit had oozed slowly down the inside of the bathroom wall pooling beside the sink.
Her mother had screamed and stomped around for hours refusing to let Annabel have any supper. Instead she’d watched from the doorway as Annabel washed the wall and floor. No it just wasn’t worth the hassle to try and break in.
All Annabel could do now was watch the traffic and pick at the threads on her school bag until she knew her mother would be home. She thought up an excuse to explain why she wasn’t home. A trip to the library for an assignment would not raise suspicion, hopefully.
Weary of walking back and forth she sat down on the sidewalk and leaned against a signpost. Wishing she had a snack of some kind as her stomach growled. Better hungry than a smack on the back of the head from a screaming mother though.
As soon as she was home she would find that stupid key and make a necklace to hang it on. Never again locked out, hungry and fed up – hopefully.

With the imminent launch of a new cover for The Rython Kingdom, I read through the novella again and made a few changes. There are always a few little edits that need refining. I also added that there will be a sequel following Celeste and Maralynn.

Here is a teaser:

rython3dreveal

I am continuing with edits for two friend’s manuscripts and have made some progress on my reincarnation novel. Busy, busy.

What are you working on?

Books:

the-outcasts

I finished The Outcasts – a neat story with extraordinary imagination of a Grade 7 (UK) young lady. The story is full of tension and wonderful characters. Looking forward to seeing her develop and write more stories.

I browsed the library shelves and found two books. The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones and The Faraday Girls by Monica McInerney. I have begun the Uninvited Guests – so far it is enjoyable. Unfortunately my book hold had lapsed for Bookshop at Waterès End by Patti Callaha Henry but I will order it again.

What are you reading? 

Do you review books on Goodreads? Why not follow me for my reviews and books.

Writing Tip:

Have two or more projects on the go: Having more than one project on the go is never a bad idea. Although focus and dedication are paramount to completing a work, sometimes you inevitably get stuck. It’s good to be able to move on to something else instead of feeling frustrated and stagnant. You don’t have to have a few big projects happening either … maybe you’re penning a novel, but also some short stories and an article or two. Chuck Sambuchino

Do you have a tip to share?

 

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

With numerous activities requiring my attention, the revision of my reincarnation romance had stalled recently but I did manage a couple of hours last night prior to my writing meeting. This refreshed my enthusiasm somewhat and gave me a chance to decide on which segment to read tonight.

The meeting also resulted in a short story from a picture prompt. I think it could be expanded a little more. Although not sure where I could use it at this moment in time.

I continue to beta-read two manuscripts, which are polar opposites in genre and style but equally enjoyable. The ghost writing project is making good progress as well.

What are your writing commitments? Care to share?

Books:

beyond-the-precipice

Absolutely loved this book. The writing reflects the musical undertows of the story flowing with beautiful but precise notes from depths of sorrow to heights of passion. The characters are well rounded and I felt emotionally attached to them. Secrets and tension, blossoming love and uncertainty weave a complex and intriguing story.
With its locality of Edmonton, Alberta the reader has a sense of place and life in this city.
I thoroughly recommend this book.

I will no doubt read and finish the next novella, Outcast in no time at all and have already put a book on hold at the library.

the-outcasts

BOOKSHOP AT WATER’S END  Henry, Patti Callahan

index

What book are you currently reading?

Writing Tip:

“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.” — Elmore Leonard

What’s your writing tip?

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

My current flu has made concentration rather difficult so my creativity has suffered this past week.I think it is struggling against a ‘fuzzy’ head that has made creation arduous.

What illness / situation has made your creativity stall?

However, I was able to begin beta-reading two manuscripts for author friends, one is a thriller and the other a memoir. Both are intriguing in their own way. I am reading each one at separate times of the day so that I am ‘clear’ of one story line before reading the next one. I have shared a list of tips on beta-reading for those of you interested.

Books:

I continue to enjoy Beyond the Precipice by Eva Blaskovic. The writing is creative and the interwoven music elements make the story unique.With my other reading projects it is nice to let the story embrace me and lead me forward.

beyond-the-precipice

Do you tend to read one book at a time or many?

Do you lean towards fiction or factual?

I still have this novella on my pile too:

the-outcasts

https://www.amazon.com/Outcasts-Maddison-Lily-Fox-Andrews/dp/1908128720

Writing Tip:

beta

If you are unsure of how to beta-read try these steps – I found them at http://jamigold.com/2014/08/introducing-the-beta-reading-worksheet/

Opening Scene:

Does the story begin with an interesting hook, creating a desire to read more?
Does the manuscript begin in the right place?

Characterization & Motivation:

Are the characters compelling, sympathetic, or someone you can root for?
Do the characters feel real and three-dimensional, with distinct voices, flaws, and virtues?
Are their goals clear and proactive enough to influence the plot (not passive)?
Do their motivations seem believable, with well-drawn and appropriate emotion?
Are the secondary characters well-rounded and enhance the story rather than overwhelming the story or seeming like they should be cut?
Are the relationships between the characters believable and not contrived?

Plot & Conflict:

Are the internal and external conflicts well defined for each main character?
Are the internal and external conflicts organic and believable, i.e. arising out of characterization and circumstance rather than feeling contrived or forced?
Are there enough stakes and/or tension throughout to make it a “page turner”?
Does the premise avoid cliché and/or bring a fresh perspective to an old idea?
Are the plot twists believable yet unexpected?
Do the characters act or react to events in a plausible, realistic, or believable way?

Pacing:
Do scenes progress in a realistic, compelling manner and flow with effective transitions?
Does every scene add to and seem important to the story?
Does the story move along at an appropriate pace, without rushing or dragging?
Is there a hook at the end of each chapter or scene that makes you want to read more?
Is the story free from information dumps or backstory that slow the pace of the story?

Setting & Worldbuilding:
Are descriptions vivid and give a clear sense of time and place?
Do the details enhance rather than distract from the story?

Dialogue:
Is the dialogue natural and appropriate for the story, not stilted or overly narrative?
Does dialogue move the story forward and reveal the characters?
Are characters’ voices consistent and distinct from one another?
Is there an appropriate mix of dialogue and narrative?

Craft:
Does the writing “show” the scene with the senses, using “telling” only as appropriate?
Does the writing quality allow the story to shine through and draw the reader in, or are flaws jarring or intrusive?
Is the tone appropriate and consistent for the story?
Is the point of view (and any changes) handled appropriately and consistently?

Overall Impression:
Is the voice unique, fresh, or interesting?
Does the story deliver on the promise of its premise and opening scenes?
From a reader’s point of view, did you enjoy reading this story?

Additional Questions for Comment:
Are there any confusing sections that should be made clearer? (Mark in the manuscript)
Do any sections take you out of the story? (Mark in the manuscript)
Is the story a good fit for the stated genre, and if not, why not?
Who are your favorite—and least favorite—characters and why?
What aspects are especially likable or unlikable about the protagonist(s)?
What three things worked best for you?
What three things worked least for you?

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

With an ‘extra’ day off work this week (Canadian Family Day), I managed to focus on my ghost writing project. A total of four hours spent mainly in a silent house resulted in an extensive review and a lot of added content. I am confident this second draft is more in line with my clients view and deals with all the factors she requires. The draft has been sent and I await a reply.

My other freelance writing project was completed on Saturday and my client now has everything she needs for the launch of her online lesson plans. It will be interesting to see the finished product.

Have you read something to a live audience which made you uncomfortable?

As I have my ‘erotic’ reading this Saturday I will be working on that for the rest of the week, and trying not to let nerves overtake me! It’s one thing writing but quite another reading it out loud to an audience.

Books:

Beyond the Precipice by Eva Blaskovic.

Although I am only several chapters into this book, I must mention the beautifully structured writing, the rounded characters and a sense of place it has given me.

beyond-the-precipice

An old school pal in England sent me her daughter’s novella to read and it is next on my TBR pile. The Outcasts by Maddie Andrews.

https://www.amazon.com/Outcasts-Maddison-Lily-Fox-Andrews/dp/1908128720

the-outcasts

My other reading commitment is a friends manuscript as a beta-reader.

What are reading at the moment?

Writing Tip:

writer-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!

i-can-see-you

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!

post-milestone-1000

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

imagesCAPS7E6K

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.