Monthly Archives: July 2016

Laziness never pays

If you have been following me on Facebook you know my laptop decided to stop working. Last year I was having a a lot of issues with my old one so I was pre-emptive and got a new one. A year and a half later I tried to get the old one out and couldn’t use it. Every time I typed a letter the cursor jumped three lines then went back to the beginning. This post is coming to you from the trusty kindle!

When I was having issues I was adamant about backing everything up on a flash drive. After I got the new computer I got lazy. I had a new computer I didn’t have to worry about that kind of thing. Now that I had to pay a specialist to retrieve the documents from my hard drive I realized the saying that laziness doesn’t pay is literal!

The lesson to be learned is that summer storms create power surges which will fry the power port, hard drive, and motherboard in your laptop no matter how new they are. Always back up your work.

I didn’t lose anything (other than ego) so I refuse to sit here and just moan and complain about it. I only bring it up to remind you that it happens. Don’t get complacent. You may think I am exhausted. I just put a ton of words on paper today I will back up tomorrow. Don’t fall in that trap. Take the extra time and back it up!

 

Learning from my Mistakes

I’ll be the first to tell you that when I wrote Phoenix Rising I knew absolutely zilch about writing a book, much less having one published. I was supported, and guided by two wonderful women that took me in hand. And while I’m learning as quickly as I can, there are a few mistakes I made in the beginning that are coming back to haunt me.

I knew when I picked the title Phoenix Rising and named my series, The Kindred, that there was another book already out with the same name and series title. It was about vampires, Phoenix Rising was the 5th book in that series. I let it go. I was so set on my book’s name and series title that I didn’t look at the big picture. Enter, Big Picture. I recently received a four star review on Amazon. While that usually thrills me, the compliment to my writing got left by the wayside. The reviewer had seen the other book and gave it a ‘Who knew?’ Shake it off, right? I tried, until I pulled up the other Phoenix Rising and saw that the fonts of the two titles were almost identical, and while the other book’s lettering was in flames and mine is blocked, they were still the same exact color. There were a few differences, but it was close enough. Huh? Was my cover artist aware of this? (Note: I checked with her and she was totally unaware. She felt bad enough about it to want to redo the cover for me. Not something I will do now, but it’s a thought whenever I have it reprinted later on.) I sure missed it. Redoing the cover is an option, but an added expense I’m not prepared for. Just going to have suck this one up as a lesson to be learned.

Here’s where I’m learning from my mistakes. Book two of my series has been titled ‘Eternal Embrace’. I like the title, it plays into the story. I checked Amazon for books under that title, oh yeah, there are several. So, I’m now changing the title of my book. I’ve given myself a headache trying to come up with something that’s just as fitting. This weekend, my third book goes on the shelf and I’m pulling the second one out again for revisions before it goes to the beta readers. Hopefully, I’ll stumble upon a new title in the process.

The devil is in the details. I’m learning to move slower, and pay closer attention to everything that revolves around my series. It’s a lot of work, but I’m determined to do this, and do it well.

Enjoy a good book and be sure to leave a review. Good or bad, we want to know how you feel!

Till next week,

~Madison

300 dpi final

Crazy is as crazy does

I walked into the market the other day, and front and center was proof that it’s my favorite time of year…Stock the office, I mean, Back to school sales. weeeeee.

I’ve not been writing recently, but that does not mean that I cannot stock up on supplies for when I climb back inta the saddle and do. Composition books, pens, folders, labels, tape, colored marks, stickem notes, near everything office supply related has gone on sale. And, they’ve moved the whole lot to the front of the store so I dinnae even have ta walk far….ain’t it grand?

I don’t have any grubbers in school anymore, but you’ll find me in the aisles for hours picking and choosing items. If the parents, who look at me so impressed for braving the crowd now, only knew that it were all for me? I bet the looks would be different. I’m a happy happy and soon to be fully stocked happy…win-win for me.

Go shopping.

Plan With Me – Step 9

This week  is step 9 out of 12.  I know you’re tired of waiting. I know you want to just get on with it.  Be patient grasshopper.

Here’s a quick review to catch you up before we move on. People learn by repetition. Trust me, this is going to be beneficial in the end.

This twelve step process is thorough. If you follow the guidelines, then you will be able to map  your success. For those that stick through to the very end, I’m going to give you a BONUS 3 Step Short Cut. You’re almost there.

Step 9- Create Your Templates

I debated  about putting this right after step 7  and before research. In my process,  research usually occurs before  I set up my chapters because I  want to make certain that I can do what I am planning to do. This involves research.  If a pneumatic nail gun is not strong enough to pierce  a man’s  chest and puncture his heart, I need to know that before I plan to  use  that method of murder.  If a heroin addict doesn’t behave a certain way, I need to know that to lend realism to my character. Therefore,  research was slipped in before this step, but this ties in directly to step 7 of setting up your structure.

A simple template will help you move forward so that you are not reinventing the wheel each and every chapter.  Think about that for a second.  If your book is 30 chapters long, a template is going to save you numerous hours.

Tailor the template for your purposes.  You are going to create a one of a kind custom made template for YOU. Not for your friend, not for  the people in your writing group, but a custom fit for YOU.

In each chapter, we need to have  the basic set up of the book:

  • beginning
  • middle
  •  end

Each chapter should be able to stand alone on the scene  or scenes that are happening at that  time.  Your basic model as listed above ( beginning, middle, end) may be  expanded to the Freytag method: exposition, inciting incident, complication, climax, reversal, falling action,  resolution, and the denouement.

Not every chapter may include every aspect, but if you have a spot for it in your template,    it’s easy to plug in the parts that you need.

Here’s a breakdown of  parts:

  1. Title – I like to title my chapters, but you don’t have to. Numeric chapters work fine.
  2. Epigraph – again, not necessary but can lend to the story if the epigraphs are pertinent. In Valkyrie’s Curse I use epigraphs from the poetic edda,  sort of a Bible for Viking lore.
  3. Anecdote –   if you are writing humor this is important.  If you are writing about a serious issue an anectdote may soften the  hard topic.
  4. body of chapter –  this is where we break out the elements of story as listed above
  5. illustrations –  if you are writing a children’s book you may need illustrations. If you are writing a nonfiction you may need to include an illustration of your topic.
  6. conclusion – most often used for a nonfiction, but always good to remember  so that you have wrapped up a scene and not left a gaping plot hole.

By knowing what needs to go into each chapter, your mind can focus on the story instead of structure. Creativity gets bogged down when details of structure are weighing on your mind.

Even though I have a rough outline for my story, when the characters go off on a tangent that wasn’t included in the original outline,  you need to think fast to either change your outline or adjust the story to get them back on track.  These points give you  some general guidelines of framework of which to work within.

Honestly, this is like  the rough 2 X 4 construction of a new house.  There are framed walls,   doorwars, windows, but at this  stage in the construction it’s difficult for anyone outside the construction industry to discern  what it will look like in the end. The electrical work isn’t in, the ductwork isn’t installed,   it looks like a maze of lumber.

But by the time the drywall is up and the homeowner can put their finishing touches by selecting  paint, tile, flooring, fixtures, the house becomes a home. That’s how it is with this. Your template becomes a story bringing the characters to life on the pages.

You should be getting excited now.  You should be  getting out your notebook or opening your Scrivener file  inspired with possibilities.  Why are you still here?  Click like and start  planning!

 

‘Til next time

Ellie

 

 

Just Keep Writing

Ack! I almost missed my post day! I got lost getting words on the page. And now my brain is fried. lol. I have lots of rambling thoughts, but when put together, they don’t make a lick of sense. So if you’re writing…just keep writing!

Until next week…Happy Reading! 84ee6ad36aaa4b9fa994c51074550bf3f9221df1dc66dab42a44bda8c78cac74

http://www.quickmeme.com/p/3vzz6f

~Jolanthe~

Brain soup

Sorry folks. My brain is absolutely in the blender lately. I have been racing to the finish of so many projects, and finding others that I forgot were on the plate. I’m going to try, but not promise, to be around next Monday. It is month end, but also scamper like a madwoman to finalize packing and weighing of bags to go on the plane bright and early Tuesday…I’m going to the final AAD in Savannah Georgia…who’s joining me??

Meanwhile, this week I have 2 federal compliance audits to complete for other field locations for my company…the job just won’t lie down so I can pack. And, I have some promised shopping to do for mini #2. Guess I’ll be sleeping on the flight home, cuz everything from now until then is booked.

Read something great!

Coffee, it plays an important role

I stared at the blinking cursor with a blank mind  while listening to the coffee pot waiting for it to be done. I had no idea what to write for my post this week. No idea were forthcoming. I was hoping inspiration would come with that first cup of coffee.

After that first cup inspiration did indeed hit. Coffee plays an integral role in what we do as writers. Without the caffeine it provides to our brains I’m not sure we could come up with half of what we do for our stories. We mainstream the substance into our systems to keep going when we are on a roll and the result is a draft. Then we continue to mainstream it and the next result is a second (or third, etc.) draft. Then edits, then formatting. Finally, we end up with a book.

Coffee is one of the main ingredients that we need to write. I had a hard time even getting started on writing even this blog post without it. It is hard to admit it, but I think it is time to put it out there. I’m not sure I would be where I am without coffee 😉

~Miranda

logo 01

When that doesn’t work …

I may have to change my status of ‘pantser’ to ‘plotter’. While my plotting method doesn’t come close to Ms. Adair and her many colored post it notes, it does help. I find that my writing is going faster and smoother now that I have a known direction.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks that I inflicted on myself is this hang up I seem to have with word count. Since I have a full time job, it’s hard to focus on a daily word count. My writing just doesn’t work that way. I’m learning, albeit slowly, to be content if I can complete a chapter in an evening. Sometimes my goal is simply to fix a previous scene because the story line changed a little. Regardless, it’s less frustrating for me this route. I just have to quit comparing myself to the authors that write full time, and have over the top daily word counts. It’s never going to apply to me.

I’m happy with the way book 3 of my series is coming along, however. It was originally meant to be a novella, but I have a feeling that may change. Once again, the characters are having their say on how this book gets written. And I have learned not to try and ignore them. After all, they are the story, I just write it down.

And speaking of which, I need to get back to work.

Till next week,

~ Madison

300 dpi final

Plan With Me – Step 8

 

The finish line is within sight! This week marks 3/4 of the way there.  This is the last lap. Don’t quit on me now!

Plan With Me – Halfway Mark

Plan With Me – Step 7

Step 8 – Research.

Using one of my own stories as an example,  I needed to research several things.

  • Sailing terms
  •  All about marinas
  • Beachfront community
  • Tourism
  • Pneumatic nail guns
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  •  heroin addiction

 

Maybe you need to research dragons,   werewolves, vampires,  anaphylactic shock, or mythical beings.  Whatever it is that you need to do research on, you will need a way to keep it  organized.

I needed to have an  organized system to keep my data, unlike the usual stacks of paper scattered across my desk that I can’t put my fingers on when I need it. Do you remember back on step 4 when I talked about your toolbox?  One of the tools I recommended was Evernote. This is a valuable software for keeping your Research organized. One handy-dandy place to keep all of my stored information,  web addresses,  bits of fun facts and miscellaneous points of interest organized  by categories within the program.

By creating a system of tags for your book, you can collect your stored data, by placing them in an easy to access manner.

Examples:

Primary tags:                                                    Secondary tags:

Chapter 1                                                                                   epigraph

chapter 2                                                                                    murder weapon

chapter 3                                                                                    sailing terms

chapter 4                                                                                     police procedures

chapter 5                                                                                      heroine addiction

 

Whatever headings you decide,  you are able to keep all of the information organized and ready to access.  Is it mandatory? NO.  But why not help yourself with  the proper tools?

Whatever it is you need to  research, make a system to keep the information organized and available.

What’s next?  Rounding the second corner of the last leg  will take us to next week’s topic.

‘Til then

Ellie

 

 

So Many Books…So Little Time

One of the things you often hear/read well-known writers tell new and aspiring authors to do is read. Read a lot. Read books in your genre. Read the authors whose style you wish to emulate….not work…just style of writing. (plagiarism is a BIG no no.) Anyway, I’m good with the reading advice. I love it.

Here’s the problem. Finding the time to read. Not having anything to read isn’t a problem. Trust me…I’m constantly buying books. Print…e-book….sometimes both. If all the books on my Kindle were in print, there’d be no room for furniture in my living room. As it is, my to be read pile is growing by leaps and bounds and I’m so behind on series by some of my favorite authors that I wonder if I’ll ever catch up. Probably not, but there is always the hope. 😉

I have a story I have to finish before I can indulge. Once The Veiled Path to Destiny~The Veil Book 2 is complete and off to the printers, I plan on taking a week to do some catch up reading before starting a new story. Such is the life of a writer…you read when you can, and you enjoy it all the more.

On that note…There are readers waiting for the second book in the Veil series, so I’m off to put some words on the page.

Until next week…Happy Reading!

business cardsf1d235a9-c918-4b2a-b693-3a3be06b468e

~Jolanthe~