Monthly Archives: April 2016

Too err is human, don’t make a habit of it …

I am one of those people that is positively insane about errors, be it a simple misspelling or some other grammatical snafu. For some odd reason, when I’m reading, my eyes are automatically drawn to a mistake. They make me nuts.  Enough of them, and it actually takes the pleasure of the story away from me.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. Well, as much reading as one can fit in on a lunch break or an hour or so before calling it a night. I still manage to finish 3 or 4 books a week.

One of the books I recently finished had me groaning out loud through most of it. The story itself was interesting and drew me in. The errors, however, were horrendous. I have learned quite a bit from one of my fellow authors and from my editor. One of them is about the over-use of words. Using the same word over and over is not only redundant; to my mind, it shows a lack of creativity in using one’s vocabulary. There are a zillion ways to say things. Experiment, use a thesaurus. But when you come across a certain word, used over and over again … and it’s spelled/used incorrectly … arghh! It made me want to send off an email to the author. I didn’t. There were several words that this particular author misused or misspelled. Which made me wonder if she used beta readers? She did, she thanked several in her acknowledgements. Did she have an editor that went over her book? I checked, she did. Not too much I can say to that. Someone was slacking.

All in all, it makes me extremely grateful for my friends that had my back at the proofing and editing stages. Between the two of them, I knew nothing like that would happen in my book. And I’m not saying my book is perfect. It’s not. I was responsible for that final pass. I found a few errors after it was published, but nothing that was going to cause my OCD to stand up and howl. I only whimpered a few times when I saw the final published version. 😉

I know that no book is perfect. There is always going to be a few glitches that sneak under the radar. We’re human, and it happens. But I have learned the importance of beta readers and editors. Without them, our stories would leave a lot to be desired. As usual, the ones behind the scenes are the ones that keep the fore runners looking good.

I hope you enjoy your next book. Till next week,

~ Madison

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Quiet, Quotient, Quit

Week 18 has arrived. The big “Q”

Q is one of those tougher words to come up with, upon initial glance anyway. With closer inspection comes a conflagration of choices and I had to narrow it down to the three.

Quiet – I personally cannot get nearly enough of this commodity. I feel over run and exhausted more than anything these last couple of years and I am in dire need of a long break. There has been, and continues to be, too much on my plate to manage to balance it with any consistency or overt ability. Something is always dropping and lately, it’s my writing world that just has no place at the table. I long for the day when I get more than a water closet visit worth of personal space & time. The dream is alive, just in the background.

Quotient – generally speaking this math term is a result of division, however from the original Latin, it literally translates to ‘how many times’…or as an implication of multiples. So why is this a word for today? Because writing is a habit, one that I am sorely out of practice in. Are you working your writing muscle to keep it tone and on point to action? What steps are you taking every day to keep the mind sharp and the words flowing? How many times does it take to rework a passage to reach satisfaction? These are the quotients.

Quit – Life happens. Sometimes, it becomes the director of our adventure without so much as a ‘hi, how are ya’ and we’re left with a canvas that’s been painted, not by our own hand. Times like those/these make quitting an almost undeniable urge. Deny it. Quitting is the stuff of regrets. Life happens and sometimes it’s all we can do to keep our heads above water and breathe, keep breathing, keep going. Whatever you do, delay if you must, but don’t quit.

Abyrne

 

Left Brain, Right Brain

Many of my writer friends have confessed that they edit while writing. This is bad. Very bad!

Writing and editing are both very important. They should be done sequentially and not simultaneously. Resist the urge to edit as you write.

But why? I’ve edited as I go for years now. 

It comes down to left brain, right brain.

LEFT BRAIN                                    RIGHT BRAIN

detail oriented                                                                   big picture oriented

facts rule                                                                               imagination rules

present and past                                                                present and future

math and science                                                              philosophy and religion

reason                                                                                   faith

knowledge                                                                            intuition

acknowledgment                                                              appreciation

order perception                                                               spatial perception

forms strategies                                                                 presents possibilities

practical                                                                                  impetuous

safe                                                                                             risk-taking

Editing is a left brain function.  Depending on the analytical mind,  tapping that sense of order, words, language, details, reason, logistics ( math and science).

Writing is a right brain function. Depending on imagination, symbolism, philosophy, intuition, spatial ideas, possibilities –  what if – and risk taking.

If the writer tries to edit while writing, they are using different parts of their gray matter.  It’s not impossible, but  you will be more efficient at either function if you are focused on one or the other, not trying to go back and forth between the two.

Another factor that comes into play is your natural body clock –  are you a morning person or a night owl?  I am up bright and early every morning but I am not a morning person. The world operates on a daytime schedule.  I’m naturally a night owl. I am the most alert and creative  after 3 pm. Day time schedules demand coffee. Lots of coffee.

It’s nothing for me to stay up until 3 am because I got a brilliant idea for a story and  started typing away, zoning out, losing track of time and by the time I come up for air, the house is dark, everyone has gone to bed and left me  in my zone.

This is when I do my best creative writing. Not at 3 am necessarily, but on the night shift. I can function in the morning,  but my imagination hasn’t awakened yet. In the mornings is when I do my best at editing. It taps the logical, reasoning parts, and the grammar nazi is alert.

For me, editing works best in the morning. Whether it’s my own work or that of someone else, I am able to see the fine details that need to be brought out. I can see the tense problems, the pronoun overage, and the comma vomit.

(Just so you know that I am not feeling über  empowered by trashing some other authors work,  I’m just as guilty of this.  My first draft often looks like something a junior high kid on a sugar high thought of. Instead of comma vomit,  I need to buy a few. Over usage of semi-colons –  omg how did those get in there? I don’t remember writing those. I have yet to read an author’s work that compares to moi- the pronoun queen.  In one chapter I had she  used six times, with  4 women  in the scene. My alpha reader sent it back –  which she are you referring to here? and here? and here? Names hon,  use names.  This is confusing.)

Another aspect is our personalities. A good place to start is one of the online personality profile tests like the one at 16Personalities. Work on your weaknesses, build on your strengths  and learn what works for you.

I’m an ENFP – the Campaigner. Enthusiastic,creative and sociable free spirits,who can always find a reason to smile. Yep, that’s me.

I believe most of us want to improve our writing and be masters in our craft, not just dabblers.  In order to do so, we need to continue to learn. We need to  make the most of who we are,  how we are wired, and get the highest level of productivity out that we can.

  1. Decide your natural body clock – morning/night
  2. Decide which role fits where – writing/editing
  3. Work with our natural style – strengths/weaknesses
  4. Conquer the world – be the best YOU that you can be!
  5. Realize that you aren’t in competition with anyone else, only yourself.

Live it – Own It – Love it!

~~~~

Ellie

 

 

 

Just for a moment

It is something akin to having bairn I think, the intense feelings. Eclectic Bard Books is in its third year now and as I sit back and look at it, I’m amazed.

Giving over full control to one of the founding partners has resulted in the house growing and flourishing. I am stunned to see 7 authors now on the roster. I am shocked too to hear that there have been other inquiries about joining our merry band of misfits.

Pride runs deep, but also goes before the fall, so for just a moment I want to puff up me chest and beam at what this has become, before I pull it back and say thank you to those who helped us grow, and continue to keep us grounded to the future…whatever it may bring.
-Aedan

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Stumbling Blocks

I don’t know about every writer, but I comfort myself with the belief that every writer has a type of scene that is somewhat of a stumbling block….or speed bump on the road to Words on the Page. If that belief is not true, please don’t tell me. Let me live with the delusion I’ve created for myself. lol

My speed bump is love scenes. Not because I can’t write, but because I have read some really wonderful, make you pant, squirm, and wish for a cold shower love scenes. BUT, I have also read some cringe worthy, WTH did I just read, love scenes. There is the whole, what do you call parts and what are synonyms for those parts? There are words that make people shudder in disgust. “Moist” would be one of those words. I’m not sure why, but I’ve seen enough rants on it to know not to use it. You have to be sure that what you’re writing is even physically possible. There is also the emotional connection, and let’s not forget the dialogue.

So why is it a stumbling block for me, because I strive to make my scenes land somewhere between Is It Getting Hot In Here…and…”There Is Not Enough Bleach To Erase That Scene From My Brain.”

The struggle is real, people….It is real. 😉

Until next week….Happy Reading!

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~Jolanthe~

Mental Acrobatics

WOOOSH!

That’s my life now. Wake up, BLITZ, go to sleep (or fall asleep mid-something).
I returned from Georgia revitalized but stilted. I had a couple personal hurdles to leap before I could get my work on track. Now, the bone grafts have been done and are trying to heal, the writing agenda has been fully realized (and is also scaring the shit out of me), the information has all come in and the summation is that I’m going to be one crazy, busy, insane person until at least January 10, 2017.

I’m not one to live my personal life out in front of everyone…but a wing and a prayer would describe things neatly for so many aspects right now. Fast forward to the writing part: I have one book on the verge of dropping, another that I’m committed to finishing and releasing AFTER a sneak peek at it in Savannah, Georgia at Authors After Dark (you really want to be at this!!), one for Cherry Adair’s FTDB challenge, and a collaborative venture that I pitched to a bunch of writer friends recently that I’d really like to see happen (or at least start) by the end of this year. Yeahp, insane.

I’m leaving in a couple of days for another signing event…North Iowa Book Bash, which is shaping up to be incredible. I have a SHORT hiatus to work on words after that between Prom, graduation, and a couple other things before the summer signing season hits. I have Writers on the River in July, followed quickly by Florida Author Take over Event, and two weeks later…a week of OHMYGODS bookstuff at Authors After Dark! Start your engines, and fill mine with rocket fuel, I’m going to need it. The signing year for me concludes in St. Louis at Penned…and I’m just giddy to be a part of that event.

So, I’m not ignoring…I’m just running 220 with my hair on fire trying to make everything happen. I know, I know…nothing new. If you see me, and I miss you, just trip me or something. My head is probably entwined in 3 different tales I’m writing and trying to keep straight. .Sav

Excitement

Now that I am back from the wonderful experience of TNEE I am running full speed into the edits and polishing of my series. The books are all in different stages but are moving along.

I am also plotting out the next two books in my head. When the series is done and re-released I will be going back to the spin off trilogy. The first two books are written and just need me to go through them one more time before they go to the editor. That means I will soon be able to get back to what I love the most, writing! I will be starting on the final book of the trilogy soon. I waited to start this book until I could give it my undivided attention. As it will be the end of the story for my beloved characters it will need to completely wrap up and let us say goodbye to the characters from the series as well as the trilogy (no pressure or anything).

I also have a contemporary romance rambling around in my head as well. I will be writing that one when I am done with the trilogy. It is an idea that has been culminating for quite some time. My witches were just louder and demanded they go first.

When I am done with the contemporary romance I will be moving away from romance stories. While there are more situations I can come up with for more romance books, I feel it is time to move on to what is really exciting me.

I have started doing research for the paranormal suspense series I will be writing. I have  a large stack of books to go through and more on the way. My hubby and kids are looking at the growing stack with horror. They don’t understand why I would have to read so much to write.

I have a very complex story line with so many characters and issues that I might have to take a plotting class from Savannah to be able to keep it all straight! The fact that I am even considering plotting should tell you how complex this is going to get. I am a die hard pantser not wanting to be boxed in to anything.

I have plenty of time to figure out how I want to do it as I do my research while I write, go through edits, and publish the next books. I had planned it out so that I would have that time to figure out how I want to proceed.

As for now I am focused on getting the series to the best it can be and back out there. I am looking with pride as my hard work finally starts to resemble what I always dreamed it would be!

~Miranda

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Back to work …

This past week had totally caught me unaware. Before I realized it, the weekend was upon me and I hadn’t prepared anything for my Saturday blog. The day job has kept me hopping and I’ve been spending my evenings working on revisions of my second book.

Putting Eternal Embrace on the shelf while I prepared for, and then attended TNEE, gave me what I now realize was a much needed step back from the book. Rereading the story, I find myself changing the way the character’s think about things, adding or changing dialogue and strengthening the story, as a whole. At least, that’s my intent.  I’m nowhere near close to finished, but I AM getting back into the groove of writing again every evening. I like to think that I’ve learned a few things since Phoenix Rising and can apply them to future writings.

In addition to working on the Kindred series, I’ve got a couple of projects in mind for the coming year. Between those, and learning to promote Phoenix Rising effectively, are going to take up most of my free time. I did come back from TNEE with a few books from authors I met and a list of books to add to my TBR list… somehow, I need to find time to read too. It’s a vicious cycle, there is never enough time to do the things that you enjoy the most. Unfortunately, like almost everyone else, I have to deal with that make-a-living-thing.

So for now, I’m going to get back to work and write.

Till next week,

~ Madison

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week #17 – P

REPOST

Potpourri and other “P” words

By Abyrne | December 1, 2013

We’ve been doing this alphabet through writing for awhile now. Partly because I have been inconsistent in my posting, but partly too because it was a formulistic way to approach the notion of blogging. For a plebeian effort, I think it has worked well for us.

Today is December 1st, and while we should have finished the alphabet a couple months back, we are only just entering the last 1/3rd of it. I actually don’t feel badly about that at all. Mostly because when I look back at the posts (after going through and deleting all the spam crap cheap NFL jersey bullshit responses), I think we have gained ground. We have persevered toward the goal of remembering what it is that we know to do what we aspire to do…to write.

I realize that this novice approach to writing is perhaps not what the greats would advise us to do, but then again, wouldn’t they? If we dilute down the sage advices from writers through the ages aren’t they really telling us much of the same things in different ways? Sure, we can say ‘peel the onion’ to get to the heart of things, go layer by layer to reach that elusive truth…or, we can say practice makes perfect, fake it til you make it, or smile through the rain until the sun shines. All essentially mean, we have to be persistent in our efforts, whether it is analytical, or of the philosophy of failing forward to grow.

The great virtues count patience among their core values and writing is no different. The agents and publishers out there would reinforce that well, which you would know if you’ve ever sent off your labor of love and waited the weeks and sometimes months for a response, or lack thereof. Patience is not only a virtue, it is an imperative need as we dream and hope for someone else to aid our promotion unless we elect to do it all ourselves…which also requires patience to learn the ropes of the processes along the way.

There are lots of ways to reach the top of the publishing mountain, which path is yours? Only you know. What I know is that there are a few key truths that line every path. One, find your passion…be it subject, process, or audience and write to that strength. Two, know the distance and be ready to run the whole way there. The path is paved with obstacles, they too are the path. Three, be aware of those along the way who are making the journey and be willing to exchange ideas and pay forward the knowledge you have gained. We all need allies and peers, they make us who we are and define how we arrive. Arrive with your head held high knowing that you made it, and made a difference as you went.

The richest, wisest man had not money nor gold,
but an immeasurable commodity, not bought or sold.

He walked with his eyes up, a smile criss-crossed is face,
As he worked toward success and a coveted space.

His arrival was heralded with shouts, whistles and cheers,
At the journey’s last station after many a year.

And he counted among the myriad blessings,
Not the money nor gold, but the friendships & lessons.

In this season of Thanks, please accept my gratitude for each of your contributions to this year of remembering why we do what we do and how to bring it out to pursue our passion…and write.

As always…may you ne’er run out of ink and a fresh page call you to create.

Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta

In the world of Indy authors, there are some things that are done a little differently than in traditional publishing.

Way back in the day when I was writing articles for the local paper, a couple of my writing friends were preparing their manuscripts to send to traditional publishers. Keep in mind that this was before Facebook, before digital files were acceptable, back in the day when  submitting a manuscript meant sending a print copy, single sided to a publisher.

They were heartbroken when they received rejection letters. At that time, we were in a local writing group. The idea at our meetings was to share our work and get a critique from our fellow writers. The works that were submitted  had not been read or shared in the group. After the rejection slips, one writer agreed to share pieces of it with  the group.

Indy authors in my circle have a system for  evaluating their work before hitting publish. I personally think it’s a good system. It certainly would help all authors from submitting less than their best work.

After writing the first draft, the writer goes back and self-edits, and makes revisions. Some authors use all of these and some use one method.

Alpha – readers that review a work in progress (WIP)

Beta – readers after the first draft, first revisions and self – editing.

Gamma – readers that review your story after second round revisions are made from alpha or beta readers , these are most often proofreaders.

Delta –  the final proofreader before it goes to press. The delta squad is crucial as  the most detailed proofreader looking for punctuation, spelling, correct grammar usage, and details. This is more fine tuning than anything. At this point, all plot holes should have been addressed.

It takes more eyes on your baby than just yours. In other words, it takes a village. Just make sure that your Delta squad isn’t the town drunk and  the village idiot!

Till next time

Ellie