Category Archives: Promo Tips

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – Flesh out Characters Using Facebook Games

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Using the ‘getting to know’ you games on Facebook to get to know your characters

Hello and welcome…I am a freelance editor and an editor for The Wild Rose Press, as well as an author. I often struggle with my own writing, and I have found that sometimes, a little reminder of ways to improve the process can be helpful, so, I like to share these moments of brilliance with others :). But, in this busy world of ours, who has time for pages and pages of writing tips? That’s why I’ve condensed mine down to quick flashes you can read in (approximately) two minutes. Enjoy…

TWoMinuteTip

Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest.

We’ve all seen them, and, admit it, many of us have played them. Those Facebook games where we answer a list of questions about ourselves, then challenge our Facebook friends to do the same. It occurred to me, if this helps us get to know our FB friends, might it also help us get to know our characters? Below are a few examples of the questions that have found their way around Facebook:

Set One:

💉Tattoos…….
🚼Children……….
😷Surgery….
🔫Shot a gun……
✌Quit a job……..
✈Flown on a plane…
🚙💨100+miles in a car….
😨Gone zip lining…
😢Cried over someone…
😍Fell in love….
🏃🏽‍♀️Skipped school….
👶🏻Watched someone give birth? 
💀Watched someone die?
🍁Been to Canada…
🚑Ridden in an ambulance..
🌴Been to Hawaii?..
🐫Been to Europe…
🏦Been to Washington DC
🌞Visited Florida…
🏖 Visited Texas …
🎲Visited NY, NY….
🎤Sang karaoke….
🐶Had a pet………..
🏂Been sledding on a big hill…
🎿Been downhill skiing…
💨Rode a motorcycle…
🐎Rode a horse…..
🏥Stayed in a hospital….
💉Donated blood…
🚗Driven a stick..
🚓Rode in the back of a police car..

Set Two: (Forgive me if some are repeated)

1. Are you named after someone? 
2. Last time you cried? 
3. Do you like your handwriting?
4. What is your favorite lunch meat? 
5. Do you have kids? 
6. Do you use sarcasm? 
7. Do you still have your tonsils? 
8. Would you bungee jump? 
9. What is your favorite kind of cereal? 
10. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? 
11. Do you think you’re strong? 
12. What is your favorite ice cream? 
13. What is the first thing you notice about someone? 
14. Football or Baseball? 
15. What is the most favorite thing you like about yourself? 
16. What color pants are you wearing? 
17. Last thing you ate? 
18. What are you listening to right now? 
19. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? 
20. Favorite smell? 
21. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone? 
23. Hair color? 
24. Eye color?  
25. Favorite food to eat? 
26. Scary movies or happy? 
27. Last movie ? 
28. What color shirt are you wearing?
29. Favorite holiday? 

 

Of course, not all of the questions are applicable. If you’re writing a historical, you won’t answer the ones about the last movie they watched or who they last spoke with on the phone.  Others might not work for various reasons, but if you answer at least a portion of these for your character(s), it seems to me like it would help to make them more real, more well-developed. And, for some of the questions, you might want to expand a little. If your character has been in the back of a police car, what’s the story there? For me, the answer is ‘yes’ but not because I was arrested. I attended a Citizen’s Police course where we had the opportunity to ride in the back of a police car while an officer took us through the obstacle course. Your character might have a MUCH more interesting experience. 🙂

So…the next time you see a post asking you to share intimate detail about yourself, consider answering them about your character instead, or in addition to, it’s your life. 🙂

Until next time…Happy Writing!

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ONLY 99 cents!! 

(Click on the cover to be taken to the Amazon Buy Page)

2 minute writing tip final

 

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*** If you would like to send me a few sample pages (around 7500 words or so, even though I will not edit that many on the blog. It just gives me more to choose from) for me to edit and share on an upcoming blog post, please do so in the body of an email to AliciaMDean@aol.com. Please use the subject line: “Blog Submission” This is for published or unpublished authors. In the email, please include whether you would like me to use your name or keep it anonymous, and whether or not you would like me to include any contact info or buy info for your books. Also, you can let me know if you would like for me to run my edits by you before posting on the blog. Please keep in mind, this is for samples to use for blog posts. I will not edit or use samples from all the submissions I receive, but I will use as many as possible. 

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16

How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)

Amazon: Click Here

5 Comments

Filed under For Writers, Promo Tips, Tips from an Editor, Tuesday Two-Minute Tips

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – A Quick & Easy Character/Plotting Form – December 20, 2016

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Using Google Forms to plan out your novel

Hello and welcome…I am a freelance editor and an editor for The Wild Rose Press, as well as an author. I often struggle with my own writing, and I have found that sometimes, a little reminder of ways to improve the process can be helpful, so, I like to share these moments of brilliance with others :). But, in this busy world of ours, who has time for pages and pages of writing tips? That’s why I’ve condensed mine down to quick flashes you can read in (approximately) two minutes. Enjoy…

TWoMinuteTip

Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest.

If you’re like me, although, thank God, very few people are… Each time you are ready to begin a new novel, you approach it differently. Even after writing 25 plus novels and short stories, I am still working on my process.  I end up having notes scattered here and there, in different files, documents, in email, notepads, flash drives, etc. In an effort to organize and condense my notes, I decided to try Google Forms., and I thought I’d share my tip with you.  The questions can be as brief or as in-depth as you wish, from just a brief character sketch, to plot, to scene notes. Even pantsers might find the Google Form method handy.

Here is the link for Google Forms: https://docs.google.com/forms/u/0/

You simply create a new form and add whatever questions you want to use for your story. For each question, I suggest changing the ‘answer’ method to ‘paragraph’ to give you the most room for each one.

Here is a sample with the questions filled out (these are not the exact questions I use, but just an example)

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf561D59SjE1cB_QPY0jkA5rxIpIBX3Mv8uWTWYn3nKJvRKIg/viewform?c=0&w=1

A partial screen shot of the above form:

character-form

You can email this form to yourself and you can click on the option to have the form appear in the email. Then, you can go to the email, or to Google Forms, and fill in the blanks. You can download as a CVS file, although that’s not the best format to work with, in my opinion. Instead, you can access your completed form on the Google Form site by going to ‘responses.’ You can print from there if you’d like.

Below is an example of a completed form (Click on the below link to see the entire form):

character-plot

A screen shot of part of the completed form:

completed-character-form

What do you think? Is this something you might try? Feel free to share any tips you have for your method of organizing/gathering story info.

Until next time…Happy Writing!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

ONLY 99 cents!! 

(Click on the cover to be taken to the Amazon Buy Page)

2 minute writing tip final

 

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

*** If you would like to send me a few sample pages (around 7500 words or so, even though I will not edit that many on the blog. It just gives me more to choose from) for me to edit and share on an upcoming blog post, please do so in the body of an email to AliciaMDean@aol.com. Please use the subject line: “Blog Submission” This is for published or unpublished authors. In the email, please include whether you would like me to use your name or keep it anonymous, and whether or not you would like me to include any contact info or buy info for your books. Also, you can let me know if you would like for me to run my edits by you before posting on the blog. Please keep in mind, this is for samples to use for blog posts. I will not edit or use samples from all the submissions I receive, but I will use as many as possible. 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

16

How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)

Amazon: Click Here

6 Comments

Filed under For Writers, Promo Tips, Tips from an Editor, Tuesday Two-Minute Tips

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – Writing the Emotional Love Scene

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Infusing feeling into romance

Hello and welcome…I am a freelance editor and an editor for The Wild Rose Press, as well as an author. I often struggle with my own writing, and I have found that sometimes, a little reminder of ways to improve the process can be helpful, so, I like to share these moments of brilliance with others :). But, in this busy world of ours, who has time for pages and pages of writing tips? That’s why I’ve condensed mine down to quick flashes you can read in (approximately) two minutes. Enjoy…

TWoMinuteTip

Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest.

Those who know me might be surprised about today’s topic because, quite frankly, I suck at love scenes. They are not my favorite part of a story to write, or read. However, I can still recognize when they are well-done, when they evoke emotion and make me truly believe the depth of the characters’ feelings. Now, since I can’t write those kinds of scenes myself, I am using examples from someone else’s book. I don’t know exactly how to advise you in creating romantic, compelling, emotional love scenes, but I believe it has something to do with getting inside a character’s heart and ‘showing’ the feelings they have for the other person, the effect the moment has on them, and actually playing out what is in their mind, their soul, their sensations, rather than just listing the actions.

This is a brief love scene, and to me, is dry, with no emotion:

He moved to kiss the corner of her mouth. She opened her beautiful green eyes and stared straight into his. He lost it. Coming apart, he ground his mouth to hers. Her lips seemed to be made for his. Heat soared between them as their tongues mingled in a dance as old as time. He skated his hands down her sides as his mouth continued to devour hers. Fully erect, his hardness pressed against her center. She lifted her hips closer to him. If they didn’t stop soon, they wouldn’t be able to. He almost couldn’t bring himself to break off the kiss. When he did, he immediately missed the contact with her soft body.

This, however, is a love scene that is played out more, showing the action, the emotion, the sensations:

He trailed his lips to the corner of her mouth, his tongue darting out to take the barest of tastes.  He heard a resounding gasp of surprise from her, and he kept going, blazing kisses along the line of her jaw as if sipping from her, drawing in the very essence of her desire.  Finally, he reached that spot behind her ear, the cool, pale skin beckoning his kiss.  But he backed away, and he watched her eyelids flutter in confusion.  But before she could fully open them, he pressed his lips to that spot, felt the shudder course through her body, and he reveled in her reaction to him.

Derek moved slightly then, drawing her closer, pivoting so that he leaned into her.  Her head slid along the back of the sofa until it fell loose, her neck exposed to him.  Pausing again, he just looked at her.  The graceful lines of her throat, the careful angles of her face.  In the dim light of the lamp, she looked almost ethereal, as if she were not quite of this earth.  And in that moment, he almost believed it.

For his good luck had never brought him a woman quite like Jessica.  Had never brought him anything that may bring him pleasure the way she did.  But it was something more than just fleeting pleasure that he found in her arms.  It ran deeper than that, hotter than that, and he feared that it may never go away.  Looking at her then in the flickering light, he asked himself if he had ever truly imagined taking a wife.  And then on that thought came another.  Could he live without her?  Could he live without Jessica?

Without answering himself, he leaned forward, licking his way down the long, white column of her throat.  She exhaled, and he felt the rush of her arousal as it shimmered into him.  Her hands gripped his upper arms, and he knew she hung onto him, clinging as if she might fall if she let go.

Reaching the delicate curve of neck melting into shoulder, he scooped her onto his lap, tilting her all the way back into the crook of his bent elbow.  She rested there, safe within his grasp, and he felt her response almost immediately.  Her body went loose about him, her hands coming free of his arms to slide inward, trailing along his chest until they pressed into his core.  He felt the heat of her skin through his shirt.  He thanked whatever deity it was that made him garden in only a lawn shirt for he did not think he could take the disappointment of so many layers of clothes between them.

See, as far as the steps taken, not much more happened in the second example than the first, but I bet you ‘felt’ a lot more with the second one, am I correct?

Now, for me, I am not interested in page after page of detailed, explicit sex scenes. But, if I am reading–or writing–a romance, I definitely want to be ‘shown’ that these two people have a deep, emotional connection, even before they’ve completely recognized, or declared, their love. What about you? Do you agree? Are there any tips or secrets you use for ‘showing’ and evoking feelings of passion and love between your characters?

Until next time…Happy Writing!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

ONLY 99 cents!! 

(Click on the cover to be taken to the Amazon Buy Page)

2 minute writing tip final

 

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

*** If you would like to send me a few sample pages (around 7500 words or so, even though I will not edit that many on the blog. It just gives me more to choose from) for me to edit and share on an upcoming blog post, please do so in the body of an email to AliciaMDean@aol.com. Please use the subject line: “Blog Submission” This is for published or unpublished authors. In the email, please include whether you would like me to use your name or keep it anonymous, and whether or not you would like me to include any contact info or buy info for your books. Also, you can let me know if you would like for me to run my edits by you before posting on the blog. Please keep in mind, this is for samples to use for blog posts. I will not edit or use samples from all the submissions I receive, but I will use as many as possible. 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

16

How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)

Amazon: Click Here

7 Comments

Filed under For Writers, Promo Tips, Tips from an Editor, Tuesday Two-Minute Tips

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – How to Get Characters from Point A to Point B

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Using smooth transitions when moving characters through your story

Hello and welcome…I am a freelance editor and an editor for The Wild Rose Press, as well as an author. I often struggle with my own writing, and I have found that sometimes, a little reminder of ways to improve the process can be helpful, so, I like to share these moments of brilliance with others :). But, in this busy world of ours, who has time for pages and pages of writing tips? That’s why I’ve condensed mine down to quick flashes you can read in (approximately) two minutes. Enjoy…

TWoMinuteTip

Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest.

Do you have problems deciding exactly how many of your characters’ movements you should reveal? I sometimes do. It can be tough to capture the correct balance between noting every tiny step/detail and having them appear and disappear like the witches in Bewitched. Over the years, I’ve gotten a little better at naturally moving my characters around, but it can still be a challenge. And, based on some of the books I have read, I’m not the only one who has difficulties. Here are a few examples…

From Haunting at Spook Light Inn (Formerly Devil’s Promenade):

I slept fitfully in spite of the comfortable bed. The next morning, I awoke groggy and annoyed with myself. Ghosts, pshh. If I weren’t careful, I’d become one of those gullible sheep I targeted in my books. I showered and dressed in worn jeans and a ruby red mock-neck knitted sweater. I pulled my long hair back into a ponytail and decided not to bother with makeup.

It was eight, and I’d missed the communal breakfast at seven. No worries. I’d just as soon grab something and have a bite alone.

The maid from last night—Jean, Declan had called her—was in the kitchen, which was attached to an informal dining room. It was large with a marble center island and copper pots hanging from racks along the walls.

The above is an example of how I transferred the character down the hall to the bathroom and back in her bedroom upstairs and then downstairs to the kitchen with just a few transition sentences, rather than something like this…

I got out of bed and left my bedroom and walked down the hallway to the bathroom. I went inside and stepped into the shower. After my shower, I got out and left the bathroom. I went back down the hall and into my bedroom. I dressed and opened my bedroom door and left the room, closing the door behind me. I walked across the landing to the stairs and went down them. I crossed the living room to the kitchen at the back of the house. I went inside the kitchen.

Yes, this is a bit of an exaggeration and most authors would not do this (hopefully), but you might be surprised at the times I’ve seen every little detail of motion played out.

Then, you also have issues at the opposite end of the spectrum where a character is suddenly in a new spot without a transition. Have you read passages like this?

“It’s over. I’m sorry.” Mary sat back into the sofa cushion and sipped her coffee.

Dexter paced over to the window and stared outside. “It’s because of him, isn’t it? You always were a slut.”

Mary gasped and slapped him across the face. “How dare you!”

Whoa, whiplash! How did she slap him when she was sitting on the sofa and he was over by the window? Unless, she’s Inspector Gadget or Elasticgirl…

16354048571_39e31d5028_b helentrioa_sm

In this example from Soul Seducer, my character goes from the nurses’ station, down the hall into a patient’s room in, what I hope, is a smooth transition:

Audra raised her head from the notebook, and something down the hall caught her attention. At first, she wasn’t sure what it was. Nothing unusual that she could see; a few patients meandering along, hospital employees bustling about, performing their tasks by rote.

Then, she spotted something that was definitely out of the ordinary. A figure outside Mr. Neufeld’s room. Entering without opening the door she’d shut behind her. Walking right through solid wood.

Fear seeped into her chest, growing into panic and settling in the pit of her stomach. She skirted the desk, starting down the hallway, her speed increasing to match her heartbeat. She barely heard, didn’t acknowledge Tonya’s shouted, “Hey, Audra! What’s up? Everything okay?”

She reached Mr. Neufeld’s room and entered—using the door like a normal person.

Only moments before, she’d wished the man gone. Now he was. But she hadn’t meant it this way. His vacant stare pointed to the ceiling, his arms outspread, lying limp at his sides.

“Mr. Neufeld?”

No response. Although she didn’t have to check to know, she rushed to the bed and pressed her fingers against his wrist, then to his neck.

Movement from the corner grabbed her attention.

Gaylen leaned against the wall, smiling, his golden eyes feral with excitement. She opened her mouth to speak, but her throat froze, and no words came out. Didn’t matter anyway. Gaylen gave her a wink, then faded through the wall.

Just keep in mind that you can convey activity without giving a list of choreographed steps, yet you don’t want to have a character suddenly appear somewhere without some kind of transition. 

How about you? Is this something you struggle with or have you mastered it?

Until next time…Happy Writing!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

ONLY 99 cents!! 

(Click on the cover to be taken to the Amazon Buy Page)

2 minute writing tip final

 

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

*** If you would like to send me a few sample pages (around 7500 words or so, even though I will not edit that many on the blog. It just gives me more to choose from) for me to edit and share on an upcoming blog post, please do so in the body of an email to AliciaMDean@aol.com. Please use the subject line: “Blog Submission” This is for published or unpublished authors. In the email, please include whether you would like me to use your name or keep it anonymous, and whether or not you would like me to include any contact info or buy info for your books. Also, you can let me know if you would like for me to run my edits by you before posting on the blog. Please keep in mind, this is for samples to use for blog posts. I will not edit or use samples from all the submissions I receive, but I will use as many as possible. 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

16

How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)

Amazon: Click Here

7 Comments

Filed under For Writers, Promo Tips, Tips from an Editor, Tuesday Two-Minute Tips

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – Stop Showing, Start Telling?

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Lee Child’s advice: Tell, don’t Show

Hello and welcome…I am a freelance editor and an editor for The Wild Rose Press, as well as an author. I often struggle with my own writing, and I have found that sometimes, a little reminder of ways to improve the process can be helpful, so, I like to share these moments of brilliance with others :). But, in this busy world of ours, who has time for pages and pages of writing tips? That’s why I’ve condensed mine down to quick flashes you can read in (approximately) two minutes. Enjoy…

TWoMinuteTip

Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest.

Lee Child is one of my favorite authors. I LOVE the Jack Reacher books. He, like a lot of my favorite suspense/thriller authors, does not write with a lot of emotion. It’s a style that is part of that genre, and it works well for me. I don’t need a ton of emotion, especially when I’m engrossed in an intense thriller. I hadn’t really thought about his voice/style, but after reading his advice on ‘showing,’ I wondered if he did a lot of telling, which is supposedly a no-no, and I just hadn’t noticed. Here is what he had to say about it:

Picture this: In a novel, a character wakes up and looks at himself in the mirror, noting his scars and other physical traits for the reader.

“It is completely and utterly divorced from real life,” Child said.

So why do writers do this? Child said it’s because they’ve been beaten down by the rule of Show, Don’t Tell. “They manufacture this entirely artificial thing.”

“We’re not story showers,” Child said. “We’re story tellers.”

Child said there’s nothing wrong with simply saying the character was 6 feet tall, with scars.

After all, he added—do your kids ever ask you to show them a story? They ask you to tell them a story. Do you show a joke? No, you tell it.

“There is nothing wrong with just telling the story,” Child said. “So liberate yourself from that rule.”

Child believes the average reader doesn’t care at all about telling, showing, etc. He or she just wants something to latch onto, something to carry them through the book. By following too many “rules,” you can lose your readers.

I think he has some good points. We don’t want to get so bogged down in rules that we lose our story.  Also, you can overdo it with the showing. However, I think Mr. Child does more ‘showing’ than he would lead us to believe.

Excerpt from “Worth Dying For” by Lee Child:

Reacher checked the window. There were four tires in total, big knobbly off-road things, all of them on a Ford pick-up truck. The truck had a jacked suspension and lights on a roof bar and a snorkel air intake and a winch on the front. There were two large shapes in the gloom inside. The shapes had thick necks and huge shoulders. The truck nosed slowly down the row of cabins and stopped twenty feet behind the parked Subaru. The headlights stayed on. The engine idled. The doors opened. Two guys climbed out.

They both looked like Brett, only bigger. Late twenties, easily six-six or six-seven, probably close to three hundred pounds each, big waists made tiny by huge chests and arms and shoulders. They had cropped hair and small eyes and fleshy faces. They were the kind of guys who ate two dinners and were still hungry afterward. They were wearing red Cornhuskers football jackets made gray by the blue light from the cabin’s eaves.

The doctor’s wife joined Reacher at the window.

“Sweet Jesus,” she said.

Reacher said nothing.

The two guys closed the truck’s doors and stepped back in unison to the load bed and unlatched a tool locker bolted across its width behind the cab. They lifted the lid and one took out an engineer’s ball-peen hammer and the other took out a two-headed wrench at least a foot and a half long. They left the lid open and walked forward into the truck’s headlight wash and their shadows jumped ahead of them. They were light on their feet and nimble for their size, like football players usually were. They paused for a moment and looked at the cabin’s door, and then they turned away.

Toward the Subaru.

They attacked it in a violent frenzy, an absolute blitzkrieg, two or three minutes of uncontrolled smashing and pounding. The noise was deafening. They smashed every shard of glass out of the windshield, they smashed the side windows, the back window, the headlights, the tail lights. They hammered jagged dents into the hood, into the doors, into the roof, into the fenders, into the tailgate. They put their arms through the absent glass and smashed up the dials and the switches and the radio.

Shit, Reacher thought. There goes my ride.

“My husband’s punishment,” the doctor’s wife whispered. “Worse this time.”

The two guys stopped as suddenly as they had started. They stood there, one each side of the wrecked wagon, and they breathed hard and rolled their shoulders and let their weapons hang down by their sides. Pebbles of broken automotive glass glittered in the neon and the boom and clang of battered sheet metal echoed away to absolute silence.

Reacher took off his coat and dumped it on the bed.

The two guys formed up shoulder to shoulder and headed for the cabin’s door. Reacher opened it up and stepped out to meet them head on. Win or lose, fighting inside would bust up the room, and Vincent the motel owner had enough problems already.

The two guys stopped ten feet away and stood there, side by side, symmetrical, their weapons in their outside hands, four cubic yards of bone and muscle, six hundred pounds of beef, all flushed and sweating in the chill.

Reacher said, “Pop quiz, guys. You spent four years in college learning how to play a game. I spent thirteen years in the army learning how to kill people. So how scared am I?”

Sigh….when you’re Lee Child, and your character is Jack Reacher, who needs showing? However, lines like this: ‘Pebbles of broken automotive glass glittered in the neon and the boom and clang of battered sheet metal echoed away to absolute silence.’ In my opinion, are showing. As far as emotion, you don’t need melodrama. I felt the emotion in that scene, easily. Even though Reacher is not given to hysterics, and even though it was brief, the doctor’s wife’s emotions were clear. And, Reacher’s intent to do bodily harm was clear. I was completely in the scene. I could see it, feel it, hear it. I will say that, writing in first person helps. You naturally ‘show’ more when in first person. 

Bottom line, I think it’s about a few things…

  1. Don’t worry about showing in the first draft. Write it as quickly as you can, just get the story out. Perhaps even write in first person (you can switch to third in the second round) so you’ll be inclined to ‘show.’
  2. When you are revising, look for places where you can make the scene a little more vivid by using senses and unique descriptions and avoiding ‘filter’ words such as ‘saw’ ‘heard’ ‘realized’ ‘noticed’ ‘felt’ etc.
  3. Find a balance between showing and telling. Like in the excerpt above, a few well-chosen words can put us immediately in the scene, right with the action.

Until next time…Happy Writing!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

ONLY 99 cents!! 

(Click on the cover to be taken to the Amazon Buy Page)

2 minute writing tip final

 

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

*** If you would like to send me a few sample pages (around 7500 words or so, even though I will not edit that many on the blog. It just gives me more to choose from) for me to edit and share on an upcoming blog post, please do so in the body of an email to AliciaMDean@aol.com. Please use the subject line: “Blog Submission” This is for published or unpublished authors. In the email, please include whether you would like me to use your name or keep it anonymous, and whether or not you would like me to include any contact info or buy info for your books. Also, you can let me know if you would like for me to run my edits by you before posting on the blog. Please keep in mind, this is for samples to use for blog posts. I will not edit or use samples from all the submissions I receive, but I will use as many as possible. 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

16

How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)

Amazon: Click Here

9 Comments

Filed under For Writers, Promo Tips, Tips from an Editor, Tuesday Two-Minute Tips

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – The Lost Art of the Beautifully Turned Phrase

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Evoking imagery with lovely literary lines

Hello and welcome…I am a freelance editor and an editor for The Wild Rose Press, as well as an author. I often struggle with my own writing, and I have found that sometimes, a little reminder of ways to improve the process can be helpful, so, I like to share these moments of brilliance with others :). But, in this busy world of ours, who has time for pages and pages of writing tips? That’s why I’ve condensed mine down to quick flashes you can read in (approximately) two minutes. Enjoy…

TWoMinuteTip

Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest. 

Although beautiful, unique, metaphoric phrases and similes are normally associated with literary works, there is no reason that non-literary authors cannot use them as well. It’s not something I do well, or that I have even attempted in my writing, but when I run across it in other books, I get the warm fuzzies, and just a tough of envy. A book I’m currently reading, THE KIND WORTH KILLING, has some great lines. I’ve shared a few below.  

  • It had been raining in Boston, but in Maine, the rain had become biblical, my wipers on full speed barely able to clear the windshield. 
  • I had watched Lily, in the course of her short speech, become briefly passionate, her face pushing toward me like a sun worshiper tilting toward the sun to get most of its rays. 
  • Deep shadows accentuated her curves, and her face, cast in the TV’s light, seemed a black-and-white version of herself.
  • I’d been waiting for two things since killing him. Waiting to get caught and waiting to feel bad. Neither had happened yet, and I knew that neither would. 
  • The following morning the rain was done, the clouds all swept out to sea, and it was one of those October days that sell calendars.

A few of these are more vivid description rather than great lines, but they still evoke an image of the setting, the character, etc. But, I still thought they were memorable, melodious. Although I know part of this is ‘voice,’ and comes naturally, I also know that, if we work at it, we can come up with cleverly turned phrases of our own. Or, at least, I’m going to try. 

What are some lines you’ve read in contemporary fiction that stick with you? Or, perhaps some lines you’ve actually written? Please feel free to share in the comments. 

Until next time…Happy Writing!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

ONLY 99 cents!! 

(Click on the cover to be taken to the Amazon Buy Page)

2 minute writing tip final

 

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

*** If you would like to send me a few sample pages (around 7500 words or so, even though I will not edit that many on the blog. It just gives me more to choose from) for me to edit and share on an upcoming blog post, please do so in the body of an email to AliciaMDean@aol.com. Please use the subject line: “Blog Submission” This is for published or unpublished authors. In the email, please include whether you would like me to use your name or keep it anonymous, and whether or not you would like me to include any contact info or buy info for your books. Also, you can let me know if you would like for me to run my edits by you before posting on the blog. Please keep in mind, this is for samples to use for blog posts. I will not edit or use samples from all the submissions I receive, but I will use as many as possible. 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

16

How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)

Amazon: Click Here

11 Comments

Filed under For Writers, Promo Tips, Tips from an Editor, Tuesday Two-Minute Tips

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – Loving What You Write

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Writing what you love and loving what you write

Hello and welcome…I am a freelance editor and an editor for The Wild Rose Press, as well as an author. I often struggle with my own writing, and I have found that sometimes, a little reminder of ways to improve the process can be helpful, so, I like to share these moments of brilliance with others :). But, in this busy world of ours, who has time for pages and pages of writing tips? That’s why I’ve condensed mine down to quick flashes you can read in (approximately) two minutes. Enjoy…

TWoMinuteTip

Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest.

This is more a reminder than a tip. It’s important to love what you’re writing, for a few reasons. One, if you love your WIP, you’ll look forward to writing and, therefore, accomplish more. Also, if you love it, your joy will show through and readers will be more likely to love it as well. I know that’s not always easy to do, and sometimes writing can be a grind and sometimes a story frustrates and confounds us, but overall, we need to love our work. We don’t always have to love our characters, as a matter of fact, creating characters that are not all that lovable can make a story more interesting. All you have to do is know your characters, although, hopefully, your protagonist is lovable, or at least sympathetic.

Ask yourself these questions about your current WIP:

  1. Is this a story I’d want to read? Why? (if you can’t give a good, solid answer to this one, you might need to rethink at least certain elements of your story)
  2. Do I look forward to picking up where I left off? (If not, readers might not look forward to picking your book back up to read it. Try this trick, at the end of a writing session, jot down a few sentences of something HUGE and shocking that could happen. Even if it’s something that you have no intention of leaving in the book. It can help to invigorate you and make you anxious to get back to your manuscript. And, your mind might, even subconsciously, work on the outrageous idea and turn it into something that actually DOES fit your story but makes it more exciting)
  3. What do I love about this story? Take it a step further and ask yourself what you love about each scene. If you can find something in each one, your readers most likely will too.

That’s it. Just a few things to make you think about your story and whether it’s something that is bringing you entertainment and pleasure, and therefore, can bring the same to readers.

In the comments, tell me one thing you love about a story you are currently writing. For me, it is my Martinic Club 4 1940’s story, and I love that it intertwines with the other three MC4 stories written by my friends, Krysta Scott, Kathy L Wheeler, and Amanda McCabe. Of course, I need to find more than that. And, I will, promise!

 

Until next time…Happy Writing!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

ONLY 99 cents!! 

(Click on the cover to be taken to the Amazon Buy Page)

2 minute writing tip final

 

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

*** If you would like to send me a few sample pages (around 7500 words or so, even though I will not edit that many on the blog. It just gives me more to choose from) for me to edit and share on an upcoming blog post, please do so in the body of an email to AliciaMDean@aol.com. Please use the subject line: “Blog Submission” This is for published or unpublished authors. In the email, please include whether you would like me to use your name or keep it anonymous, and whether or not you would like me to include any contact info or buy info for your books. Also, you can let me know if you would like for me to run my edits by you before posting on the blog. Please keep in mind, this is for samples to use for blog posts. I will not edit or use samples from all the submissions I receive, but I will use as many as possible. 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

16

How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)

Amazon: Click Here

3 Comments

Filed under For Writers, Promo Tips, Tips from an Editor, Tuesday Two-Minute Tips

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – Making the Most of Twitter

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ A list of handy Twitter tips

Hello and welcome…I am a freelance editor and an editor for The Wild Rose Press, as well as an author. I often struggle with my own writing, and I have found that sometimes, a little reminder of ways to improve the process can be helpful, so, I like to share these moments of brilliance with others :). But, in this busy world of ours, who has time for pages and pages of writing tips? That’s why I’ve condensed mine down to quick flashes you can read in (approximately) two minutes. Enjoy…

TWoMinuteTip

Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest.

 

Tips to get noticed, get retweets, gain followers, or to simply make your Twitter life easier:

  • Although Twitter allows 140 characters, it’s best to not use them all. Shorter tweets are more effective.
  • As everyone knows by now, tweets with images get more notice
  • Ask people to retweet you. The most effective way is to simply add: Please Retweet
  • Use no more than TWO hashtags. More looks spammy
  • Size matters… Images that are smaller than 440 x 222 will not show up in your timeline, only a link to the image does. The max image size is 3MB
  • If you do not want people to tag you without your permission, you can go to your Twitter Privacy settings and specify the tagging you wish to allow. You can remove tags by going to the … ‘more’ beneath a tweet and select ‘remove tag from photo’
  • Use #tweetchat to set up chats by using an exclusive hashtag. I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m going to. Worth a shot, right? http://tweetchat.com/
  • This is more than just a Twitter tip. I’m not sure I understand exactly, but from what I’ve read, it’s worth checking into. It is a service that you can use to trigger actions throughout various web/social media services. It’s more than just linking Facebook and Twitter. There seems to be a number of amazing things you can do with it. IFTTT http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2424077,00.asp
  • Did you know Twitter backs up everything you tweet? In settings there is a “Request your archive” option. You will receive an email containing a link to download a ZIP file of your tweets.
  • Track the clicks you get on links you share. Many sites provide this service, for example, Clicktotweet provides full analytics on clicks from your followers. You can also click the Gear icon on Twitter.com and select “Twitter Ads” for a quick look at how many people clicked the links in your recent tweets.
  • To share an image of a tweet on other social media outlets, or blogs, etc, use the ‘embed’ feature. Click on … more and choose ‘embed’ to get the code.   
  • Direct link to FB post or Tweet –  Click the ‘more’ and an option to ‘copy link to tweet’ will come up.
  • Retweet for others frequently. The more you do, the more others are likely to RT you.
  • If you wish to add an image to a composed tweet so that, when others share the tweet (copy and paste the content, not share a link), an image will appear, you’ll want to use Hoosuite. (A tip…I always try to keep all my links somewhere to refer to. Once you have an image link, you can use it over and over again.) Send out a tweet containing the image. Go to Hootsuite and find the tweet in your feed. Below the tweet, find the ‘retweet’ option and click on the drop down arrow. An option will come up to ‘edit.’ Choose that option and your tweet will appear in a box at the top of the page. The very last link in that box should be your image link. Copy that and insert it into a tweet and the image should show up.
  • Find and gain more followers by using http://twiends.com/home
  • Tweet the same content multiple times. The lifespan of a tweet is about 18 minutes. To increase the likelihood of a tweet being seen, tweet out the same tweet multiple times in one day. I wouldn’t do this to several tweets, but if there is something in particular you want to be seen, focus on tweeting it several times. This is when Buffer and Hootsuite will come in handy. You’ll need to make some minor tweaks so you won’t get a message that you’ve already sent that tweet. 
  • Add questions in your retweets and/or tweets to increase engagement and visibility. You can also create polls for more interaction. 
  • I’ll end with a list of the most retweetable words:

You

Twitter

Please

ReTweet

Post

Blog

Social

Free

Media

Help

Please retweet

Great

Social Media

10

Follow

How to

Top

Blog post

Check out

New blog post

(words to avoid, for some reason, ‘Game’, ‘going’, ‘haha’ and ‘lol’)

Until next time…Happy Tweeting!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

ONLY 99 cents!! 

(Click on the cover to be taken to the Amazon Buy Page)

2 minute writing tip final

 

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

*** If you would like to send me a few sample pages (around 7500 words or so, even though I will not edit that many on the blog. It just gives me more to choose from) for me to edit and share on an upcoming blog post, please do so in the body of an email to AliciaMDean@aol.com. Please use the subject line: “Blog Submission” This is for published or unpublished authors. In the email, please include whether you would like me to use your name or keep it anonymous, and whether or not you would like me to include any contact info or buy info for your books. Also, you can let me know if you would like for me to run my edits by you before posting on the blog. Please keep in mind, this is for samples to use for blog posts. I will not edit or use samples from all the submissions I receive, but I will use as many as possible. 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

16

How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)

Amazon: Click Here

8 Comments

Filed under For Writers, Promo Tips, Tips from an Editor, Tuesday Two-Minute Tips

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – The Backstory Conundrum

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ How and when to share backstory 

Hello and welcome…I am a freelance editor and an editor for The Wild Rose Press, as well as an author. I often struggle with my own writing, and I have found that sometimes, a little reminder of ways to improve the process can be helpful, so, I like to share these moments of brilliance with others :). But, in this busy world of ours, who has time for pages and pages of writing tips? That’s why I’ve condensed mine down to quick flashes you can read in (approximately) two minutes. Enjoy…

TWoMinuteTip

Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest.

The age old question…how much backstory is too much? The answer… in your opening pages, pretty much ANY backstory is too much. Readers want to be dropped into the middle of the action. They don’t want to know about what a rough week your protagonist has had (we’ll call him Jonathan). How when Jonathan was a child, he  dreamed of being a fireman or an astronaut. But boy did things take a wrong turn. Stuck in a crappy job as an insurance adjuster. He hadn’t wanted to take the position, but his father had recommended him and he had little choice. After all, his father had pretty much controlled him his entire life. A dead-end job and a crappy relationship. Although, he didn’t have to worry about that anymore. His girlfriend had dumped him. They’d been together since college, since the time they met at that party. It had been an immediate attraction. They’d begun dating and hadn’t been apart since. Until two days ago when she told him it was over. That she was seeing someone else. Oh well, they’d drifted apart. It was inevitable. Better that it happened now, instead of when they were married with kids. But, would he ever find the right person? Was there truly one soul mate out there for everyone? If so, he might never meet the person he was meant to be with. Heck, he might not survive the night. Jonathan took a deep, trembling breath and stared at the man aiming a gun at his chest.

What????? He has a gun aimed at his chest and we had to read all that prattle about his job and relationship and past? Nooo….let’s open with the guy holding the gun on him. If any of that other stuff is important, you can trickle it in later. When the situation calls for it.

Many authors, especially beginners, want readers to know everything about their characters up front. It’s not necessary. In fact, it’s boring. You want to engage readers in the here and now. If you want to briefly establish your character in their normal world before the inciting incident, that’s fine. But ‘briefly’ is the key word. And, establishing the character in their normal world is different than explaining about their childhood, letting us know how they met every character in the scene, how they got their job, how they ended up moving to their current location, what happened in the days preceding, etc.

A few examples of my openings (not that they are the BEST examples, but they are the only examples I can use without getting into trouble:)And, unfortunately, neither of them have riveting opening lines, but that’s something I can’t always pull off. Sigh…)

From Devil’s Promenade:

I peered through the snow-dusted windshield at the large house looming in the evening dusk, and an unwarranted shiver of foreboding washed over my flesh.

From behind the wheel, my driver, Rita, made a sound that was somewhere between a squeak of trepidation and a sigh of admiration. “It’s huge. And gorgeous, but kind of creepy, don’t you think?” Her eyes were big and round behind the lenses of her black cat-eye frames.

“It is indeed.” The sprawling structure was a combination of Southern plantation and Greek revival architecture; painted white and trimmed in a darker colored molding—perhaps forest green. The exact color was difficult to make out in the descending dusk. Narrow, darkened floor-to-ceiling windows peeked from between a portico of six Doric columns. Hanging by chains above the porch, a wooden board flapped in the icy wind. Spook Light Bed and Breakfast. The sign should have been welcoming, yet apprehension clawed at my heart.

Might as well get over that silliness. This would be my home for the next two weeks while I learned all I could about the Hornet Spook Light. The phenomenon, also known as the Tri-State Spook Light, Joplin Spook Light, Devil’s Jack-O-Lantern, and a few other nicknames, had supposedly been spotted multiple times over the last few centuries in this area, at the border of Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kansas. I was here to do research for my book—The Myth of Otherworldly Occurrences. I chuckled and rolled my eyes. The only thing otherworldly about this place was its location thousands of miles from my warm, sunny home in Florida.

I gave a brief reason for her being there, but I didn’t say that her fiancé had jilted her for her sister, that she’s always wanted to be a writer, that she actually wanted to write novels, but had ended up writing non-fiction. That the flight to Oklahoma was smooth, except for the annoying man who sat next to her and talked loudly on his phone the entire time and smelled of garlic, that she didn’t have many friends, that she’d written several books already about various supposed supernatural phenomenons, that she was in the business of debunking them, what kind of childhood she had, etc, etc. Some, but not all, of those facts are sprinkled in later. Readers don’t want to know them just yet.

From Without Mercy:

China Beckett darted a glance across the bank lobby toward the front door. What were the odds she could escape undetected?

Not good, she decided. Even if she managed to slip out without being seen, her absence would be noticed. And Sophie would have an aneurysm.

Did she want to be a lousy employee or a lousy mother?

The choice was simple. She rose from her desk and headed past the teller line toward Sophie’s office.

“Everything okay?” China’s best friend, Vanessa Hanson, said from behind her desk.

This establishes China in her normal world, and in just a few pages, it explodes, almost literally. I didn’t go into detail about how she came to be a single mother, how she got the job at the bank, how long she’s been there, what she liked and didn’t like about it, how she’d met Vanessa, what had happened in the days leading up to now, etc. Again, I sprinkle that in as needed, much of it in dialogue. Which brings me to another point, you don’t have to provide details about characters’ history and/or traits in narrative. You can do that in dialogue, which readers often find more engaging. You don’t want to do it in an obvious way, unnatural way, such as, “China, you know your daughter Emma, whose father died while you were pregnant with her? Her asthma is really bad, isn’t it?” 🙂  Reveal it in a more natural and logical way.

But, getting back to backstory. It’s difficult to strike the perfect balance, and I certainly don’t succeed all the time, or even most of the time. The trick is to be aware and try to only share the details that matter at that moment. Save the rest for later, if it’s needed at all.

Try this…go through your story and highlight any section that is not in real time. If your story is riddled with highlights, and if the highlights are in the early pages, you might want to trim and/or move those paragraphs around.

Until next time…Happy Writing!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

ONLY 99 cents!! 

(Click on the cover to be taken to the Amazon Buy Page)

2 minute writing tip final

 

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

*** If you would like to send me a few sample pages (around 7500 words or so, even though I will not edit that many on the blog. It just gives me more to choose from) for me to edit and share on an upcoming blog post, please do so in the body of an email to AliciaMDean@aol.com. Please use the subject line: “Blog Submission” This is for published or unpublished authors. In the email, please include whether you would like me to use your name or keep it anonymous, and whether or not you would like me to include any contact info or buy info for your books. Also, you can let me know if you would like for me to run my edits by you before posting on the blog. Please keep in mind, this is for samples to use for blog posts. I will not edit or use samples from all the submissions I receive, but I will use as many as possible. 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

16

How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)

Amazon: Click Here

9 Comments

Filed under For Writers, Promo Tips, Tips from an Editor, Tuesday Two-Minute Tips

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – White Space is Your Friend

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ A technique to keep readers engaged

Hello and welcome…I am a freelance editor and an editor for The Wild Rose Press, as well as an author. I often struggle with my own writing, and I have found that sometimes, a little reminder of ways to improve the process can be helpful, so, I like to share these moments of brilliance with others :). But, in this busy world of ours, who has time for pages and pages of writing tips? That’s why I’ve condensed mine down to quick flashes you can read in (approximately) two minutes. Enjoy…

TWoMinuteTip

Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest.

Readers are impatient, as they should be. Everyone is so busy these days, they want to use their time wisely. Long narrative passages with long paragraphs and no dialogue can turn a reader off quickly. 

This also goes along with ‘showing’ instead of ‘telling.’ Below, I’m using examples from my novella, Devil’s Promenade, showing two different versions of the same partial scene:

Example 1:

That morning at breakfast, I found a newspaper that contained an article about a woman who’d died near the Bed and Breakfast. She was an attractive woman but she gave off an unpleasant vibe in the photo that accompanied the article. As it turned out, the housekeeper at the inn, Jean, knew her. Her name was Eleanor Chaney. The article mentioned that the woman had drowned in nearby Spring River, and her body was found close to Devil’s Promenade. The name of the location confused me. I thought the area itself was called Devil’s Promenade, but as it turns out, that is also the name of a bridge that goes over Spring River. Jean seemed to think Eleanor’s death might not have been an accident. The dead woman grew up in the area and swam in the river often. Yet, she’d gone out, alone, at night. Then somehow drowned. Jean was right. It didn’t add up. I asked Jean if she thought it was suicide, or murder. But according to Jean, while Eleanor was unhappy, she wasn’t suicidal. But then, people never think those they care about could possibly commit suicide. Apparently, the police didn’t find anything suspicious, since they didn’t investigate it as a murder. Shockingly, Jean also informed me that the victim, Eleanor Chaney, was Declan Rush’s sister.

Example 2:

“Something catch your fancy?”

I started at Jean’s voice. My hand that held the coffee cup shook. “Sorry to be so jumpy. No, just engrossed in the news.” Should I ask her about the death? Maybe not just yet, not on my first morning. I didn’t want to seem like a nosy reporter, or that I was pumping her for information. She most likely knew the woman. This was a small town. Most people in the area probably knew one another.

Jean took the decision out of my hands when she eyed the paper. She wiped tears from her eyes with her fingertips. “Poor dear. God rest her soul.”

“Did you know her?”

“Yes of course. Eleanor Chaney. We were real close.”

I looked back down at the paper. A photo of the woman accompanied the article. She was attractive, but her expression showed an unpleasant emotion—anger, disapproval? Without it, she would have been much prettier. “She drowned in Spring River,” I said. “They said her body was found near Devil’s Promenade? I thought this area was called Devil’s Promenade.”

“It is. But it’s also the name of a bridge that goes over Spring River.”

The name made the death…the whole thing…even worse, somehow. “So tragic.”

“Yeah. They say it was an accident but …” She heaved a deep breath. “I don’t know. I wonder how that could be. She grew up swimmin’ in that river. And I don’t believe she’d go in the water alone, at night.”

A quiver ran through me. “Do you think it was suicide? Murder?”

Jean lowered onto a chair next to me and picked up the newspaper. She ran a finger lovingly over the picture, a sad smile on her wrinkled face. “Eleanor was not one of the happiest people I’ve ever known, but she thought too much of herself to commit suicide. I don’t buy that she’d take her own life.”

“So you think someone killed her?”

“I don’t know. The thought makes my skin crawl. This is a small town. Everyone knows each other. Eleanor wasn’t exactly well loved. And, her family history caused some hard feelings around here, but I don’t know anyone who hated her. Leastwise not enough to want her dead.”

Was Jean right? Had the woman been murdered? Surely if that were true, there would have been evidence pointing to foul play. “Well, either way, accident, murder, or suicide, it’s very sad.”

“Yes. And poor Mr. Rush. He’s beside himself.”

“Mr. Rush? He knew her too?” Was she his girlfriend? Not his wife, their last names were different. But then, not all women took their husband’s names…

“Knew her? Well, I’ll say. She was his sister.”

Which did you find yourself wanting to skip and which one kept you reading? When you’re editing/revising, skim your manuscript and if you see areas with little or no white space, take a closer look and see if you can revise to make them more engaging.

Until next time…Happy Writing!

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ONLY 99 cents!! 

(Click on the cover to be taken to the Amazon Buy Page)

2 minute writing tip final

 

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*** If you would like to send me a few sample pages (around 7500 words or so, even though I will not edit that many on the blog. It just gives me more to choose from) for me to edit and share on an upcoming blog post, please do so in the body of an email to AliciaMDean@aol.com. Please use the subject line: “Blog Submission” This is for published or unpublished authors. In the email, please include whether you would like me to use your name or keep it anonymous, and whether or not you would like me to include any contact info or buy info for your books. Also, you can let me know if you would like for me to run my edits by you before posting on the blog. Please keep in mind, this is for samples to use for blog posts. I will not edit or use samples from all the submissions I receive, but I will use as many as possible. 

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16

How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)

Amazon: Click Here

16 Comments

Filed under For Writers, Promo Tips, Tips from an Editor, Tuesday Two-Minute Tips