Friday, June 26, 2015

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 82

It's been an up and down week of writing for me.  I'm stuck on another chapter.  Again.  Although it's mostly finished, getting that last 10 - 20% right has been a real challenge.  I don't expect perfection, but there are some structural problems I can't quite seem to wrap my head around.  I'm soooo ready to move on to the next chapter.  And the fact that we're almost halfway through the year isn't helping either.  I expected to be farther along in my story than this.

Oh well, at least I have plenty of material for my next IWSG post.

So what's the "up" part of the week?  I happened to look back at an earlier chapter and discovered it was a whole lot better than I remembered.

Enjoy the links!


How to Choose the Right WordPress Theme for You

My Pitch Don’ts for the Fledgling Conference Goer

New Modifications on Amazon to Look Out For

The New World of Publishing: The Real Price of Traditional Publishing

Writers: Ignore This Writing Advice. If You Want.

4 Book Categories that may Suffer under Restructured KU

How Losing Your Purse Can Improve Your Writing

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

My Trick for Entering The Writing Zone

For me, the hardest part of writing has never been coming up with ideas or following story structure. The hardest part for me is taking the scene that’s playing itself out in my head and putting it down on paper in a way that makes a reader want to keep reading. My descriptions are flat, my pacing poor, my dialogue too “on-the-nose,” etc, etc. Basically I struggle with making the reader feel as though they’re experiencing the story instead of just reading about it. No matter how many books on craft I read, no matter how many words I've written, I often feel like a color blind person attempting to paint with colors. I just don’t have a good feel for the words.

One of the tricks I’ve developed to help me overcome this deficiency is to read books by other authors. Granted, all writers should read as much as they can, but my trick is to read a chapter or two from someone else’s book just before I sit down to work on mine. I don’t know if this is a left-brain/right-brain kind of thing, but after reading someone’s else’s words, I seem to develop more of an intuitive feel for the way words should work, and if I jump right into editing one of my chapters, I find my scenes flow much better. At least until the effect wears off. :(

Although this trick works with any well written book, I’ve found some books resonate so well with me that I can go back to them again and again. As a result, I’ve built up a stable of books I often turn to before every editing session. The trick is to find a scene or chapter that most closely mimics the scene or chapter I’m writing at the moment. Whenever I’m working on my Hogwarts story, for example, I naturally grab one of the Harry Potter books and read a chapter or two before I open my manuscript. For my urban fantasy, I pull out Brandon Sanderson’s The Alloy of Law, or The Thieftaker by D. B. Jackson (a.k.a. David Coe), since the style and tone of those books are similar to the style and tone I want for my story.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to copy their words or imitate their style. But when I read their words, my mind enters a kind of zone, a mental state that I find quite useful when I'm writing my stories. You’ll never confuse my wordsmithing skills with those of Sanderson, but my stories are definitely better when I use this trick.

Question of the Day: Do you have a favorite author whose books you read over and over again in order to improve your writing?


Monday, June 22, 2015

Cover Reveal For Susan Kaye Quinn's The Duality Bridge

Today I'm excited to be part of the cover reveal for The Duality Bridge by Susan Kaye Quinn. I've been following Susan for years, ever since I read Open Minds, the first book in her Mindjack Trilogy. Her characters seem so real, and she has a flair for writing I can only dream of matching.

After she released The Legacy Human, it was only a matter of time before the sequel came out.   So without further ado, here's the cover we've all been waiting for.


Congratulations, Susan!

This cover reveal is organized by Lola's Blog Tours.

The Duality Bridge (Singularity #2)
By Susan Kaye Quinn
Genre: Science Fiction
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: late summer 2015

You can find The Duality Bridge on Goodreads

First book in the series:
The Legacy Human (Singularity #1)The Legacy Human (Singularity #1)
By Susan Kaye Quinn
Genre: Science Fiction
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: March 2, 2015

What would you give to live forever?

Seventeen-year-old Elijah Brighton wants to become an ascender—a post-Singularity human/machine hybrid—after all, they’re smarter, more enlightened, more compassionate, and above all, achingly beautiful. But Eli is a legacy human, preserved and cherished for his unaltered genetic code, just like the rainforest he paints. When a fugue state possesses him and creates great art, Eli miraculously lands a sponsor for the creative Olympics. If he could just master the fugue, he could take the gold and win the right to ascend, bringing everything he’s yearned for within reach… including his beautiful ascender patron. But once Eli arrives at the Games, he finds the ascenders are playing games of their own. Everything he knows about the ascenders and the legacies they keep starts to unravel… until he’s running for his life and wondering who he truly is.

When immortality is the prize, winning the Game is all that matters.

The Legacy Human is the first in Susan Kaye Quinn’s new young adult science fiction series that explores the intersection of mind, body, and soul in a post-Singularity world… and how technology will challenge us to remember what it means to be human.

You can find The Legacy Human on Goodreads

You can buy The Legacy Human here:
- Amazon

Susan Kaye QuinnAbout the Author:
Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the Singularity Series, the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy, and the Debt Collector serial, as well as other speculative fiction novels and short stories. Her work has appeared in the Synchronic anthology, the Telepath Chronicles, the AI Chronicles, and has been optioned for Virtual Reality by Immersive Entertainment. Former rocket scientist, now she invents mind powers, dabbles in steampunk, and dreams of the Singularity. Mostly she sits around in her PJs in awe that she gets to write full time.

GET A FREE STORY, subscribe to Susan her Newsletter

More about Sue:
- Website
- Facebook
- Facebook Page
- Twitter
- Goodreads
- Amazon
- Pinterest

There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of The Duality Bridge. These are the prizes you can win:
- 5 paperbacks - The Legacy Human or any other Susan Kaye Quinn book

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 19, 2015

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 81

It's been a fairly normal summer week over here in Michigan.  The kids are going to bed late and getting up late, my wife gets to sleep in a bit now that school is over, and the lawn seems like it needs mowing every other day.

And somehow, despite all this, I managed to make significant progress in my stories.  Yay for summer!

Have a great weekend and enjoy the links.


Why Bob Should Have Worn Sunscreen OR What is Targeted Advertising?

Rowling’s Life as an Author: What It Was Really Like Writing Harry Potter

4 Types of Author Newsletter: How to Pick the Best for You

Save Money by Designing Your Own Promo

Rules and Tips for Writing Good Queries

How Judgmental Are Your Characters?

Why All Authors May Have a "Hybrid" Future

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Write Like A Gardener Gardens

It's almost summer, which means it's the time of year I make think up bad analogies between writing and gardening.  This year, I'll keep it short and sweet.

As writers, our mission is to turn our tiny seeds of an idea and make them bloom in a way that makes us proud.

At first, our drafts are a mess, usually full of leaves, dead branches, and other detritus.

But after putting our story through several more drafts and letting our critique partners tear it to bits,  we hope for something a bit more like this.

A good start, but our story still needs more time and polishing.  So we throw ourselves into our story, trying to make it the best it can be, all in the hope that one day, when readers open our book, this is what they will see.

That's what keeps me writing every day.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Seven Writing Links -- volume 80

School is finally over where we live.  The kids are happy.  The wife is happy (at least for now)  And I no longer have to wake up so early in order to drive them to school.  Everybody wins!

That is, until the kids start getting bored and drive us up the wall.

But until then, I'll keep on writing!

Happy a great weekend and enjoy the links.


Email Newsletters for Authors: Get Started Guide

How and Where to Obtain Book Reviews

Top 10 Scrivener Features for Writers

Talking on Empty: The Perils of Empty Dialog

How Actions Determine Character and Arc

Five Free “Must Use” Tech Tools for eBook Authors

Scared of Plot? How One Author Embraced Story Structure Without Sacrificing Creativity

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Writing With Your Left Brain (or How Not To Be A Successful Author)

About a month ago, one of my crit partners (who’s also an artist) brought up the subject of left-brain versus right-brain functions. Left-brained people tend to approach things in a logical, linear way, have good language skills, and are often good at solving problems. Right-brained people are more comfortable using their intuition, often think in non-linear ways, understand spatial relationships, and are good at things like music.

Unfortunately for a left-brained guy like me, right-brainers are also good at writing.

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been a left-brained kind of guy. It’s one reason I became a chemist. Being left-brained helps me with linear concepts like story structure (which makes perfect sense to me) and applying the rules of grammar.

I don’t mean to suggest I never use my right brain. I’ve always had an active imagination, which is why I have all these stories running around in my head. And my best ideas come to me while I’m in the shower, or driving along the highway, or listening to ambient music—all times when the right-brain tends to dominate.

The trouble is, when I sit down to write, my left-brain rudely steps in and takes over. (Probably because words and language are a very left-brain function) So instead of imagining the scene holistically as a right-brainer might do, I often describe every movement or action in the scene as if I’m writing out a recipe. My descriptions are bullet lists of attributes. My words are, to put it bluntly, flat and utilitarian. For me, the process of transferring what I see in my head down onto paper is the single hardest part of writing.

The trick is learning how to keep my right brain more active when I write. I’ve already learned I can’t listen to anything other than ambient music when writing, because as soon as I begin to process the words in songs, my left brain takes over and knocks me out of that altered, creative state of mind necessary for writing. Perhaps I’ll try that old writer’s trick of writing in long-hand, another right-brain centered activity. Fortunately, the Internet is chock full of tricks and exercises for exercising and stimulating the right brain.

It’s said geniuses are people who use both parts of their brain at the same time. I don’t need to be a genius, but when I sit down to write, I need the two halves of my brain to coexist peacefully.

Then all I’d have left to do is figure out this darn telling versus showing stuff….


Friday, June 5, 2015

Seven Writing Links -- volume 79

For those of you who stopped by this blog to read my Wednesday IWSG post, I apologize.  Totally forgot it was the first Wednesday of the month.  Sigh.

For those of you who read and commented on my "non-post," thanks for the support.  Turns out I did solve the problem that had stymied me for the last week or so.  Now all I have to do this weekend is clean up the chapter and move on. Yay!

On a non-related note, my daughter started her driver's training course this week.  Yesterday she had the chance to drive on real roads for the first time, and since the route the instructor picked out went right by our house, we were able to catch sight of her as she passed by.  My wife and I were relieved to see she was actually smiling.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the links!


Let’s Talk About Dialogue

5 Key Ways To Entice Readers with Imagery

6 Major Writing Problems in Avengers: Age of Ultron – Part 3

Third Level Emotions

A Trick for Writing Subtext

How to Create a Website as a Writer (Without it Costing You Both One Arm and One Leg)

Do You Suffer From NWS?: Living With Nice Writer Syndrome

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

No Post This Week

No blog post for me today. I'm having a contest of wills with one of my chapters and I'm afraid if I blink and look away, the chapter will win.

I plan to be back Friday for my usual posting of writing links.

Take care.


Edit:  I just realized that this was the first Wednesday of the month.  Arg!  Sorry, Alex