Monthly Archives: January 2016

It’s mocking me

As you know we are in the editing process and polishing my current series. That means the spin-off trilogy I was working on was put on hold. I could keep working on it but I am so absorbed by edits and preparing for upcoming events I just don’t have the brain power.

When I am writing I have a white board that sits across from me. On that board are what everyone in my house considers different colored scribbles. To me it is a life-line. I can look up at that board and in seconds find the detail that I need so everything stays consistent in my books.

This white board has names, hair color, eye color, parents, siblings, significant others, even pets and their names. I can look up so when someone is gazing into the eyes of someone else I can have the correct color of those eyes.

Since I have already written the first two books in the trilogy my whiteboard has a lot of info on it right now. As the third book is clamoring around in my head waiting it’s turn the whiteboard mocks me every time I sit down at my computer.

I sit down and if I look up I see the board with is unfinished info and am reminded that story is still waiting for it’s turn. All the info is there for me to continue and finish out the trilogy but it has to wait it’s turn.

I have to admit that the unfinished board is not only mocking me but making me crazy. I hate to have things sit there unfinished. I don’t want to blur the lines between the original series and the spin-off so I have to continue to deal with the mocking.

It does keep me motivated though. With that board sitting there and the third book impatiently waiting and the stand alone that I have planned for after that is starting to throw it’s hat in the ring, it keeps me on track on the editing and polishing.

The sooner I get the edits and polishing done the sooner I can move on to the next book. This is keeping me very motivated and ready to work. Now, if I can just explain this to the characters of the next couple of books.

~Miranda

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Multitasking at its best …

I used to be such a focused creature. I was always the type that had to finish one project before I started another one. I have changed. Not sure if it’s because I’m older and have become more flexible about things or because I’m now writing and my structure of doing things is different. I find the way I look at things, and go about things, has changed drastically.

This past week has been productive for me. Since sending Phoenix Rising off to the publisher waiting to be edited, I’ve been working on Book 2. Good news, I finished today. Now, revisions begin.

The glitch is that ideas for Book 3, and even Book 4, are circling in for a landing. My head is constantly thinking of plots, characters and how to make things come together. I’m constantly taking notes, working on character bios, and searching for the perfect muse that brings my character to life for me. I’m full of details with no story as of yet. It’s a lot frustrating and more than a little scary. I refuse to let myself dwell on it. It will come when the time is right. And that time is not now.

On top of the writing frenzy, I’m working on swag. I’m constantly looking for ideas. There are tons of great stuff out there. Have to watch the pennies though, so I’m learning to be thrifty and creative. Believe me, that’s really hard for me. Thriftiness is harder for me than creativity. LOL

I’m also working on a costume for a ball I’m attending in Atlanta. Again, this is calling for thriftiness and creativity. And a hell of a lot of ribbon. I’m hoping it turns out as well in reality as it looks in my mind’s eye. Time will tell.

So, I will continue to work on all my projects, apparently all at the same time. All while continuing to hold down the day job and tend to other responsibilities as well. Just like every other woman out there. I’m no different than you. Well, probably not as creative when it comes to the making of crafty items. Give me time, I’m working on it.

Till next week,

 

~ Madison

week #5 – E

Everything we need to become great writers – “E”

By Abyrne |

As we talk about the things we have known since we were young that enable us to be great writers and get to the letter “E” in the alphabet we reach something that is skill supported but yet a non-skill item on our list. It is our Enthusiasm. We didn’t need someone to teach us how to be excited or enthusiastic; we have been since before we knew that there were words like exciting and enthusiastic. We knew from the moment we got something unexpected and wonderful what it meant, even if we didn’t understand the concept. The same is true with writing.

Enthusiasm for your project is what makes a story a joy or a drag; and truly if it’s a drag for you, it is for your readers too. When you are telling the tale because it is exciting to you it boosts your enthusiasm for the story and makes it flow. When you find that you’re distracted and willingly avoiding the writing, you will find that the story has lulled, or perhaps it’s just your enthusiasm for the project. You need to take a moment and kick start your adrenaline, reread the passage your started with, dig out the outline or the image of the protagonist that drives you to show them to the world, find a piece of music that ‘screams’ the story to you…but find your voice. Motivation is the skill to drive emotion and enthusiasm, but the enthusiasm you have or don’t is the result of being able to motivate yourself to the purpose at hand…writing the story.

As long as we’ve mentioned it, another great ‘E’ word that is a biggie in writing is emotion. I’ve heard it time and time again and it’s always true….People may not remember what you said, they may not remember what you did, but they will remember how you made them feel. This is true for good or for bad. What are you making your readers feel? Are you letting them feel at all? Are you showing them or telling them? If you are showing them you are likely drawing them into the tale in such a way to allow them to feel the story as it unfolds. It is what drives the joy and the heartbreak at the highs and lows in the tale.

Emotion is why readers cannot put the book down, where another tale with the same plotline that is telling is cast aside before the third chapter. Do we all know and understand that while you will hook a reader in the first 50 pages, if you neglect them later on the only emotion they remember is disappointment? It’s not enough to have a great hook or bait if you don’t have the strength to keep the tension on the line until the tale is done you’re going come up with an empty net. Talk about blowing your enthusiasm.

At the end of the day, the simple truth is that we all have a story to tell. Maybe it’s a story that others want to hear and maybe not. Maybe we have a story that is so compelling that it has to be shared for the greater good and when that happens we need to take up the charge to write with courage and conviction, excitement and enthusiasm to tell the story as it should be conveyed. We have it within us to remember what it means to be moved by something, enthusiasm for that emotion is everything, even when the emotion we have to convey is not joy. We have to be willing and able to recognize the difference between the low points in a story and the lack of motivation and self-correct our course to see it through and give voice the tale that we have in us wanting out. And above all, we need to remember that time and effort are better teachers than wishes and wants and get our motivation moving to make it happen. You have a voice, use it.

Editing Tips and Tricks

 Thank you to prismnet.com

 prismnet.com

Are you thinking of self publishing? Are you thinking of submitting your work to a publisher? Before you send in your love child, or hit publish on CreateSpace, make sure it is quality work.

I know, how dare I suggest that your baby is anything  less than solid gold.  It just needs a bit of . . . . polish. And maybe a fresh diaper.

There are a few basic things we can do for ourselves that will help us move towards that ‘quality work’.

  1. Don’t rely solely on spellcheck.  There, their, and they’re are all correct words, but not necessarily the correct usage.  Spellcheck doesn’t catch when you have a “real word” even if it is the wrong word. ‘Dierdra wore satan panties’ has a completely different context than ‘Dierdra wore satin panties’. (Where do you even get satan panties?  Is that a Sam and Dean special order?)
  2. Grammar – whether it’s a dangling modifier, ending with a preposition, pronoun explosion, or comma vomit please, please, PLEASE check your Grammar. I know for myself I have issues with pronoun explosion. There will be four she statements, referring to three different females and since the reader can’t see inside my head it leaves them going HUH?
  3. Overused words / Repetitious words.  I once did an editing job on a fascinating fantasy story. The author  was definitely a storyteller, but his pages were filled with numerous repetitions of all.  All of the children gathered at the feet of the great bard as he began to tell all of his tales. They all sat enraptured by his every word. All eyes were glued to the elderly stooped man with the cane, all of his hair as white as snow.  In one chapter alone, there were 200 alls.  I sent him back the manuscript and said, please fix these issues and pointed out a few more, then when he returned it to me I could properly edit the story. I have a problem with just . . . and a couple of other words. . . and pronouns. . . and sentence fragments. . . moving on.
  4. Changing perspective – This is a twofold problem.  A) head hopping – changing perspectives from one character to another.  This is a common practice in a romance, because  the reader needs to hear both characters perspectives. When you change perspectives from different characters make certain that you indicate in some fashion that you are switching characters. B) Changing from first person to third and back again.  The author needs to stay consistent.
  5. Punctuation Are the quotations where they are supposed to be? Are the question marks where they are supposed to be? Oh yes, the comma vomit. You do not need a comma every place that you take a breath, every pause that we take in thinking.   We do not, talk, like  William Shatner. Nor, do we want to read, as, if, our characters, were talking, like him. Where did all those semicolons come from? Instead of the semicolon maybe use the em dash.
  6. Suspension of Disbelief –  If your bridge doesn’t span the gap it needs revision. There are some plotholes that I don’t believe it is possible to build a bridge long enough to span, or else the black hole that the gap has created sucks everything inside creating antimatter. Don’t even get me started on the quantum physics  and time travel equations.
  7. Read it aloud! Or if you have a willing partner in crime, have them read it aloud to you!  You will hear the mistakes that you wouldn’t catch otherwise. For instance that magically reappearing bra.

If you follow these simple seven steps you’ve increased your odds of obtaining that  quality work and made your editors job better. Just think, if they can focus on storyline issues instead of  trying to choke down  yet another page of comma vomit, the sea of red may only be a tidal pool.

Ellie

Can it be teaser ‘Wednesday’?

I learned yesterday that there is this thing called Teaser Tuesday. How interesting. I thought perhaps, since I’m chin deep in the last pieces that perhaps instead of a blog about whatever, I would do my own teaser piece of the upcoming book. Okay?

Teaser Wednesday – ala Aedan style. 🙂

*unedited*
from Kingdoms Fall.

“…Once upon a time, many of the pieces I gained were Draega. That seal has been visible far longer than the Byrne one that seems to shadow behind it. It is the opposite actually. The Byrne one is newer, but not as strong. What your eyes tell you is the truth of my life. The seeds that were cast away from other trees who did not require them to become stronger, did not die or disappear. They became me.”

One Word at a Time

I may have mentioned , once or twice, that I am working on the second book of The Veil Series, The Veiled Path to Destiny. I wish I could say it has been easy breezy…but the truth is, it’s been a struggle. More of a mental struggle, I think.

When I worked at my previous job, there would be days when my shift didn’t start until late afternoon. With the child in school, I had day hours to write in peace and quiet with few to no distractions.

My new job doesn’t provide those uninterrupted days hours. Don’t get me wrong. I love my job. I love that what I am doing actually helps to make a difference and contributes to providing better services to those with developmental, intellectual, and physical disabilities. I am over the moon at having the weekends off.

The downside is there is no quiet alone time. I have struggled to find a new and effective writing routine. Hence, the writing of the second book has been slow going at best. Will it be out this year? Absolutely. I WILL find my stride. I just have to remind myself that one word leads to a sentence. A sentence can lead to a paragraph. Add enough of these together and pretty soon you have a book. One word at a time.

Until next week….Happy Reading!

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~ Jolanthe~

Perspective

There are so many connotations for ‘perspective’ in writing.

One definition of the word is: a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.

Point of View here is as a synonym, but in writing it is the application of perspective to the work.

Yeah, okay. So what?

I’d like to look at a perspective from a different example point of view. This weekend, as we near the end of getting Kingdoms Fall done and nearer to ready to print, the work load was HEAVY. My dad face-planting into the wood stack on Friday evening did not diminish what needed to be done, only reorganized the time in which we had to accomplish it. “I” may not like to, but I can force myself to stay in the seat to reach what needs doing. My co-author (ahem – you know who I mean), looked at the task and said it was impossible.

{Those who don’t know me very well should be advised that it is never wise to tell me something is impossible before it has been attempted. I’m not wired that way. I’m my father’s ‘son.’ Quitting and tears are for pussies.}

I took it as a challenge instead of a pronouncement and away we went. For hours upon hours we worked at it. I’m pleased as crazy to say, we missed. But we missed by a margin in lieu of sleep. The goal was 10 chapters. We wrapped Sunday with 9 1/2 to the count, and well over 20,000 words. I’d say, if we’d had Friday as originally planned, we would have surpassed the goal. It wasn’t impossible, only daunting.

In perspective, for those who aren’t writers…20,000 words is roughly one quarter (in many cases more) of most traditional novels. The metric for novel is 40K, but many naysay it to actually be more like 60K words, and the collective average is 70K.  Any way you slice it, for us, this weekend’s production landed between 75 & 80 pages. And for comparison, (I checked…because I’m snarky like that) Book II finished at 72,618 words. This weekend was literally nearly a third of that finished product weighing in at 28.2%.  I got your impossible dude. You need to have my faith.

Today my perspective is, I’m tired, but accomplished. I know why and it was worth it. What did you do this weekend that was?

Sav

Preparing

In everything that you do you have to prepare. As an author preparing for the signing season is very important. I have been fumbling my way through but I think I am starting to figure it out.

There are many different types of signing events. You can go to a full blown conference/convention, a two day event with parties/activities and a signing, a full day signing with an after party or just a couple of hours small signing event.

Last year was my first experience going to any events. I did go to a variety of them. They all have their good points and bad points. The one thing that is the same for all of them is the insane amount of time and resources that goes into preparing for each of them.

The more that I go to the more I realize that each types takes a different level of preparation. It depends on what all is involved on what you will need to do in preparation. No matter the amount of preparation involved, the stress I put myself through is the same.

I will stress about the small events just as much as I do the large ones. I feel that every event is important. Each one has the same purpose. Find people that will enjoy my stories. That is what it is all about.

The common misconception is that it is about selling books. For some authors that may be true. For me, that is not what my goal is. I have always enjoyed the escape I can get from a book. I want to give that same enjoyment to others.

So, I prepare for the events. I try and find a way to entice people to my table so that they can consider my books. That is all I ask, give my stories a chance. If you hear about them and decide they are not for you, then please move on to the next table and find one that you will enjoy. You won’t hurt my feelings by not buying my book if it is not something that you will enjoy. However, if it is something that peaks your interest, then hopefully, you will find the enjoyment that I intended.

As I prepare for the beginning of my new season and my first event in April I will try my best to order the stuff that will entice you to my table and hope to find some readers that will give me the best gift they can, to just enjoy my books.

Until next week, keep reading whatever books it is that you enjoy!

~Miranda

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Just keep writing …

Many of you know that by day I’m a legal receptionist. One of the perks of that position is that when the court house is closed, so are we. This past weekend turned out to be a 3 day weekend for me because of Martin Luther King Day. I’m good with that, it turned out to be an advantage for me.

I spent the holiday weekend working on my second book. I’m not going to throw amount of pages and number of words at you. Those wouldn’t impress my writer friends. But I did make headway on my story. And being more pantser than plotter at this point, I hit a major plot twist.

I used to read posts from authors about the characters talking to them, wanting their stories known. I honestly never knew how to take those remarks. I found them amusing and continued on with my day. Now I know the truth. They weren’t being funny, those authors were being dead serious about their writing. I know, it has happened to me.

When I started writing Phoenix Rising, I had a set amount of characters. There were six warriors, all would have their own story. That didn’t take long to change. More warriors popped up, mates showed up way before their story line. Some wanted their stories told NOW, they didn’t want to wait for their designated turns. Now I have secondary characters clamoring for their story to be told. I mean, really?

I’m feeling my mortality here, how can I write all of these books? Shades of Barbara Cartland … for those that are unfamiliar with the name, she was the ‘Queen of Romance novels,’ wrote over 700 books and died at the ripe old age of 98. No worries there, I’ll never compete with her or Nora Roberts. 😉 But I do hope to be able to finish the Kindred series that is threatening to be more than the original 5 or 6 books.

For now, I’m going to work on Book 2. I have no plans to release it until 2017, so it has a time to develop. Who knows? That novella that has been scratching at the door may be in the works before the year is out. I’ll just keep listening to the voices and write what they tell me.

Till next week,

~ Madison

typing-writing-keyboard-working

week #4 – D

D is for DO IT!

By Abyrne |

As we go through our list of things we have always known that enable us to be great writers, there is one core truth about anything we endeavor to achieve. YOU HAVE TO DO IT! You can’t sit back and hope success comes to you. You have to reach out with both hands and grab on as if your life were dependant on how long you hold on. This isn’t an eight-second ride, this is a lifetime roller-coaster and the air-brakes have failed.

We have to become our own little engine that could and remember that with each step we struggle to gain and each one that comes without effort that “I think I can” will get us farther than “I think I can’t.” What do you believe?

Yeah? THEN GO DO IT!