Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Review of Messenger

I'm taking time off from the blog this week, but I posted a review of the YA fantasy Messenger on the SheraHart blog today.  If you're interested in reviews of MG or YA, you should bookmark the site.

See you next week.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Links -- Volume 40

Began editing a new chapter this week and was appalled by how much work it's going to need.  So it's pretty much business as usual.  I'm still waiting for that moment when I go back to one of my older chapters and think "Hey, this is in pretty good shape!"

Have a great weekend!


Writing Active Settings, Part 2

A Better Way to Open Your Novel

Do you know who owns your book cover?

Building a Killer Email List

Are Your Scenes Causing an Effect?

Why You Should Be Mercilessly Hacking Apart Your Favorite Stories

Build a Story, but Leave the Door Open

Kindle Unlimited: The Key Questions

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Do you write scared?

As writers, we become accustomed to dealing with fear and uncertainty on a daily basis. What if no one likes our story? What if this story isn’t as good as the last one? What if we can't find an agent? The list is endless.

However, most of these fears come after we’ve written and edited our words. We face them when we're ready to send our chapters off to our critique partners or our editors, or when we're about to upload our precious manuscript to Amazon. But what about the fears we face when we’re in the middle of writing?

In my case, I’ve come to the conclusion that, for the past couple of years, I’ve been writing scared.

It wasn’t always that way. When I first began writing six years ago, it didn’t occur to me to be scared. I wrote what made me happy, blissfully ignorant of the rules of writing. But then I learned about showing versus telling and story structure and active versus passive sentences—and everything changed.

Some of the writing blogs I visited back then would nitpick over the smallest hint of “telling” or deride any use of the word “was.” These writers/editors convinced me that allowing these problems to remain in my manuscript would be a sure fire way to brand myself a newbie and render me unworthy of consideration by an agent. So it’s no surprise that whenever I sat down to write, I concentrated more on avoiding these kinds of mistakes than I did on the story itself.

It's the main reason I waited so long before searching for a critique partner. Based on what I’d read, I was under the impression that any CP worth their salt would be horrified if they came across a telling line or two and wouldn’t want to waste any further time reading my manuscript.

But now, after two long years, I’ve learned most CPs (and readers in general) aren't nearly as worried about the “rules” as I thought. They’re much more interested in whether the story is entertaining, makes sense, and is easy to read. Don’t get me wrong. I still try to “show” as much as possible and weed out passive sentences whenever I can, but I no longer feel as if my CPs pull out their hair while reading my chapters. And since I don't fret over the rules so much, my writing moves more quickly now.

It feels great to no longer be writing scared.

P.S. I’m saving my fears for when the story is finished. :)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Links -- Volume 39

After a lot of futzing around with my latest chapter, it's finally beginning to come together.  Good thing too, since I'm about at the point where I can't stand to look at it anymore.  :)  I'll polish it a bit more tonight then move on to something else.

I wish you all a great weekend.  And if you haven't already seen it, check out Wednesday's post on Crystal Collier's Cover Reveal.


The Links:

Building a Character Arc: Start at the End

Picking the perfect name for your character

3 Steps to Taking Your Character Further and Deeper With…Anger?

Pricing Strategies for Ebooks in a Series

How To Find The Right Editor For Your Book And More Editing Questions Answered

The Self-Pub Diaries Part III: Asking For It

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Soulless Cover Reveal

Instead of boring you with another post today, I have something much more exciting.  It's cover reveal week for Soulless, the new book by Crystal Collier. So hop on over to Crystal Collier's website and say hello.

See you there.


Have you met the Soulless and Passionate? In the world of 1770 where supernatural beings mix with humanity, Alexia is playing a deadly game.

SOULLESS, Book 2 in the Maiden of Time trilogy

Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she's forced to unleash her true power.

And risk losing everything.

What people are saying about this series: 

"With a completely unique plot that keeps you guessing and interested, it brings you close to the characters, sympathizing with them and understanding their trials and tribulations." --SC, Amazon reviewer

"It's clean, classy and supernaturally packed with suspense, longing, intrigue and magic." --Jill Jennings, TX

"SWOON." --Sherlyn, Mermaid with a Book Reviewer

Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and "friend" (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

COMING October 13, 2014

PREORDER your print copy
Sign up for Crystal Collier's newsletter to receive release news and freebies.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Links -- Volume 38

I spent most of the week on vacation, so not much progress on the writing front. You'd think that having all that time away from work would mean lots of writing time, but it never works out that way, no matter how many computers and writing pads I drag along with me.  I'm guessing I only managed about an hour of writing in six days. Almost makes me glad I'm back to work.

At least the week is ending well. We returned from our vacation to find that the family computer wouldn't start, no matter how many times we kicked it. Turned out the power supply was fried, so I picked up another one at a local store and now everything is back to normal. I wasn't too worried about my manuscripts. They're backed up on multiple computers as well as Dropbox, but every minute I spent getting the computer back up and running was one less minute I could spend writing.

Does anyone have any scary computer stories to tell?

Have a great weekend and enjoy the links!


Having Trouble Plotting Forward? Try Plotting Backward

Hidden Emotions: How To Tell Readers What Characters Don’t Want To Show

Are You Showing or Telling Your Internalization?

How to build better relationships with your readers using Goodreads’ “Ask the Author” feature

Navigating the Next Frontier in Digital Publishing: Audiobooks

Mark Coker's Tips On How To Sell More Books

New Authors, Should You Self Publish or Seek a Traditional Publishing Deal?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Vacation (and Computer) Break

No Wednesday post this week.  I returned home back from a vacation late last night, only to discover my computer refuses to start.  Sigh.  At least it's only two more days until Friday!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Insecure Writer and Losing Your Voice

Today is July's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

Why am I an Insecure Writer this month? 

Because I seem to have lost my voice.

 I don’t mean from yelling during the World Cup. I’m referring to my writing voice. That little piece of you that goes into everything you write, whether you realize it or not.

Voice is one of those hard to describe things, but I like to think of it as the sum of all those choices you make when you write. It’s the kind of humor you use (or don't use). It’s how close or distant you make your POV. It’s the ratio of showing vs. telling that feels right for the story. In other words, it's the things that makes your story different from all the other stories out there with the same plot as yours. It’s what agents and editors look for when they read your manuscript.

My voice borders on the whimsical, which is probably why I liked the Harry Potter series so much. But I spent this past week looking back over earlier chapters of my story and my voice seems to be missing. It's there in the earlier drafts, but it's been steadily disappearing with each subsequent draft. Turns out I'd tried so hard to follow the rules, I'd driven the voice right out of my story. Not good.

So my new goal is to make sure my voice comes through loud and clear in each new draft. I can’t guarantee anyone will like it, but at least it won’t sound like everyone else's stories.