Friday, October 28, 2016

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 146

My presentation on story structure last night went well, so I can finally get back to writing again. As usual, being forced to organize my thoughts on the subject reminded me of things I need to fix in my story, so it was definitely worth the effort.

It didn't occur to me until just before the talk that this was the perfect time to be giving such a presentation, since NaNo is right around the corner, and trying to finish NaNo without a good outline is just plain hard. Hopefully a few of the attendees will be psyched for entering NaNo this year.

This week I'm also including a video you might enjoy. Chemists answer the question: How Much Candy Would Kill You?

Yes, we chemists are a strange lot. For example, the old timey name of lead acetate is "sugar of lead." Why did chemists call it this? Because it has a sweet taste. How did those chemists know this LEAD containing compound tasted sweet?

Take a wild guess.

Chemists didn't always live so long back in the old days.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the links!


P.S. For those of you watching on mobile devices, please let me know if the video doesn't work properly.


Promoting a Sequel in a Book’s Back Matter

Understanding Goal, Motivation, and Conflict: CONFLICT

Instafreebie as Lead Generator

13 Reasons Authors are Mistaken for Serial Killers

3 Reasons Your Manuscript Gets Rejected by Agents

7 Questions To Ask When Creating Character Goals

Generic Dialogue—Staaaahp

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Giving Back To The Writing Community

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

This will be a rather short blog post today. Between helping my daughter with her pre-calculus class, decorating the outside of our house for Halloween, and preparing for a presentation on story structure I’ll be giving tomorrow at a local writer’s group, I simply don’t have the time. 

At first glance, it might seem surprising I’m giving a presentation on a writing related topic when I have yet to finish my first book, but it makes sense when you know more about me. My glacial writing pace stems from my difficulty in translating the ideas inside my head to words on a page, not from a lack of understanding of story structure. In fact, that subject is one of the few things about writing that I actually get. 

I still struggle with showing versus telling, my descriptions often sound like bullet lists on a PowerPoint slide, and my dialogue needs lots of work, but story structure just makes sense to me. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I’m a heavy plotter deep down inside. Maybe it’s because story structure feels like a science to me, and I’m good at science. Whatever the reason, it's easy for me to spot problems with story structure both in my own stories and in the books I beta-read. 

After all the help and wisdom I’ve received from other writers over the years, sharing what I’m good at with the writing community is the least I can do. 

Question: what aspect of writing are you best at, and how do you share that knowledge with your fellow writers?


Friday, October 21, 2016

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 145

Kind of took a break from writing this week.  After pounding away on my submission for the IWSG Anthology, I came to the conclusion that I wouldn't have it finished by the deadline, so I decided to set everything aside and concentrate on the Story Structure presentation I'll be giving at a local writer's group next Thursday. Maybe next year.  Sigh...

One of the links this week leads to a YouTube video explaining the character types in "The Hero's Journey."  I've embedded it into the post so you can watch it without leaving the blog, but I'm some problems getting it to work right.  If it doesn't work for you, just click on the link instead.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the links!


Book Marketing: How to Use Bookmarks to Market Self-published Books

Creating Single-Author Box Sets: Part One

Do Your Settings Contain An Emotional Value?

Should Published Stories Be Set in Stone?

Don’t Make These 5 Mistakes Make When Writing Romance

Story Structure: What Are Pinch Points?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

What I Learned About My Writing Process This Week

Last Friday, I submitted another chapter of my WIP to my critique group [it was due Thursday, :( ] and I thought I’d use this post to muse on two lessons I learned in the process. 

Lesson #1. I don’t write well on deadlines. I spent two weeks trying to whip that chapter into something I’d feel comfortable submitting to my CPs, but as the submission deadline approached, my progress slowed to a crawl. I eventually turned in what I had, not particularly happy with the words, but figuring they were good enough for my CPs to spot pacing issues. 

The next morning, I slept late, relieved I no longer had to worry about the chapter. I eventually got up, had some breakfast, then fired up the computer and glanced at the WIP again. Almost immediately I realized what needed to be done to fix many of the trouble areas that had stumped me the night before. Within a couple of hours, I had fixed half the chapter to my satisfaction. Then it occurred to me that if I finished the revisions by that evening, I could resubmit the improved version to my CPs. Of course, as soon as I set that deadline, my progress slowed to a crawl again. Lesson learned. Deadlines are not my friends. 

Lesson #2. It’s not unusual for me to hit a wall when I’m working on a scene or chapter, and this chapter was no different. The scene was 80% ready, but there were sections here and there that just didn’t work. I rearranged words, rewrote paragraphs, etc. trying to determine what the problem was. I eventually figured it out, but this time I noticed a pattern. In each case, the problem stemmed from trying to rush through that part of the scene. Places where I had crammed too much stuff into too small a space, like I was in a hurry to move on to the good stuff. As soon as I fleshed out the scene, the problem disappeared. Now if only I can train myself to spot that problem earlier in the writing process. 

On a happier note, today’s my birthday. 

Picture courtesy Creative Commons

One of my friends gave me a White Castle gift card for a present. Guess where I’m heading for lunch today?

Question: How many of you enjoy White Castle? 


Friday, October 7, 2016

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 143

I would have finished this post last night, but midway through I discovered Janice Hardy's new book "Understanding Show, Not Tell" had just been released and I ordered the Kindle version immediately. Janice's blog, Fiction University, is one of the most consistently useful writing sites I've ever come across, and many of the links I post on Fridays come from her or her guest posters.

Needless to say, I curled up in bed with my Kindle and stayed up late reading, so it was Mountain Dew for breakfast this morning. <Yawns>

I only hope I'll be able to concentrate on writing this weekend instead of spending all my time reading her book.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the links!


10 Quick Marketing Fixes For Authors

Indie Publishing Paths: What’s Your Newsletter Plan? Part Three

4 Tips for Preventing Flat Descriptions

Understanding Goal, Motivation, and Conflict: GOAL 

How to Cultivate a Winning Author/Blogger Relationship

Free Book Promotions: Are They Worth It?

A Checklist for Publishing Your Book

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Insecure Writer and Knowing When Your Story is Ready

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

What makes me an Insecure Writer this month?

To be honestnothing.

Okay, to be more precise, I have no new insecurities this month. All the old ones are still around to keep me warm at night, so I know I’m still a writer. But now that that's out of the way, let’s concentrate on October’s IWSG question.

“When do you know your story is ready?” 

Funnily enough, my September IWSG post focused on almost the exact same question.  And my honest answer was, "I don’t know." Since I haven’t finished a story yet, I have no experience in these matters. But if pressed, I’d guess I’d feel my story was ready when two things happened. 

1. My critique partners tell me it’s done and suggest it's about time I move on to something else. They also hint that they never want to see that story again. 

2. When all subsequent changes by me consist of nothing more than cosmetic wordsmithing. 

I know I’ll never really feel my story is ready, but sometimes you just have to shove your children out into the world and let them go.