Tag Archives: How to Plot

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

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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. 

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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

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!

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

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

16 Comments

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

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – Ten Writing Tips from Famous Authors

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ A collection of some of my favorite writing advice

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.

Today I’m sharing tips from people who know a little something about writing. Not only are these valuable tips, but being reminded that even the most successful authors suffer from some of the same issues I do gives me the encouragement to forge on.

  1. Imagine that you are dying. If you had a terminal disease would you finish this book? Why not? The thing that annoys this 10-weeks-to-live self is the thing that is wrong with the book. So change it. Stop arguing with yourself. Change it. See? Easy. And no one had to die.– Anne Enright 

I love this one because it makes you stop and think about whether you want to waste time writing to a trend and/or forcing yourself to write something that doesn’t speak to you, doesn’t inspire you. I say, you do not.

  1. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.– Neil Gaiman 

This doesn’t count your editors…you should always listen to us. 😉

  1. Write drunk, edit sober.– Ernest Hemingway

Although I think several writers take this literally, to me it means to write with abandon, lose your inhibitions, write freely and just get the story down. 

  1. Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.– Mark Twain

Yes, using ‘very’ is one of my pet peeves. It’s okay in dialogue, and perhaps used sparingly, but it’s ineffectual and weak. If you’re using it, you could probably substitute the following word for something stronger.

  1.  “The first draft of everything is shit.” – Ernest Hemingway

This doesn’t apply to all you perfectionists who have to get every scene just right before moving on. But, for those of us who need to just finish the damn book so we can begin revising, this is critical. If Ernest Hemingway wrote shit, then we’re not too good to write shit, correct? 

  1. “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” – Anton Chekhov 

LOVE this. It’s an excellent way to remind yourself to ‘show’ instead of ‘tell.’

  1. “Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.” Elmore Leonard

Thank you!!! The overuse of exclamation points in fiction drive me nuts. Readers will know they’re experiencing an intense moment by the emotion, dialogue, and action. Don’t hit them over the head with exclamation points.

  1. “If you tell the reader that Bull Beezley is a brutal-faced, loose-lipped bully, with snake’s blood in his veins, the reader’s reaction may be, ‘Oh, yeah!’ But if you show the reader Bull Beezley raking the bloodied flanks of his weary, sweat-encrusted pony, and flogging the tottering, red-eyed animal with a quirt, or have him booting in the protruding ribs of a starved mongrel and, boy, the reader believes!” – Fred East

Another fabulous tip for showing vs telling. This one deals with character rather than setting, and showing vs telling is important enough to get two mentions. 🙂

  1. “You don’t write about the horrors of war. No. You write about a kid’s burnt socks lying in the road.” ― Richard Price

To me this means a few things, make it personal. Make us care about something because of the characters involved. Also, show us little vivid details to really bring the scene to life.

10. “Good writing is often about letting go of fear and affectation.” Stephen King

YES. I often let fear stop me, but I need to remind myself not to. Also, the simplest, most direct and natural way you can convey a story is the right way. That’s your voice.

What are some of your favorite tips from famous authors?

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

16 Comments

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

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing (Marketing) Tip – Promotion: Thunderclap vs Headtalker

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Comparisons between two ‘Crowdspeaking’ platforms

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.

 

Most of you have probably heard of the ‘crowdspeaking’ method of promotion where you can launch a ‘campaign’ to gather support for your book. If you meet your support goal, then on the day of your scheduled promo, your message will be blasted from the account (Twitter, Facebook, or whichever platform the supporter chooses) of every person who supported you.

It’s an excellent way to broaden your reach, and potentially get your message trending, although there is no guarantee that it will actually compute to book sales. However, it takes very little effort, so it’s worth a shot, right?

One of the concerns people have in supporting a campaign is that the app asks for permission to access your account. The only purpose for that is so they can  send the tweet or FB post in your name and to calculate social reach. Thunderclap and Headtalker have been used a multitude of times by millions, and, to my knowledge, there has never been an issue with them illegally using or gathering information. They have no benefit or interest in doing so. I have supported tons of Thunderclap and Headtalker campaigns and have never had a problem.

I have used Thunderclap in the past, and I like it a great deal. Now, I am trying the ‘new kid on the block,’ Headtalker. If you’d like to see how ‘supporting’ works, and you wish to support me, here is my link. 🙂 I’ve almost reached my goal, but the beauty is, you can expand beyond your goal. The more, the better, right?

Devil’s Promenade on Headtalker

Here are some differences between the two sites:

THUNDERCLAP

Has a free option but also charges for some things that Headtalker doesn’t, such as campaign analytics, full supporter list, campaign updates, etc

Requires a minimum of 100 supporters

Platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr

Approval can take 3 days

Their ‘hours of operation’ are Mon-Fri, 10-6 EST

HEADTALKER

Is completely free

Requires a minimum of 25 supporters

Sends to their followers as well, which increases your social reach

Platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn. 

HeadTalker offers advice on managing a successful campaign.

Approval within 24 hours (mine was only a few hours)

Hours of operation – 24/7

Whichever one you choose, I encourage you to give this marketing method a try. As I said, it takes very little effort and it could be quite beneficial. Have you tried one or both? Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments.

Until next time…Happy Writing (and marketing)!

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

NEW RELEASE – Now Available 

(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

15 Comments

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

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – How to Write Quickly and Crappily

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Freeing yourself to truly write a horrendous first draft.

 

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 heard the advice about giving yourself permission to write badly, but I’m not sure we really understand the concept. In your first draft, in order to get the story down quickly, you have permission to write atrociously, so atrociously you might begin to wonder if you’ve ever read before, let alone written before. I know, some of you are perfectionists and can’t move forward until you have a scene just the way you want it. You like to edit as you go, and I won’t hold that against you. 🙂 But, for those of you who are like me and need to just get the story down as quickly as possible, knowing you will have to make extensive revisions, this method is for you.

The story that I just finished was a struggle. As I am wont to do, I procrastinated and it got down to the wire, then I fell ill and lost a week of writing time. Even knowing I HAD to get the story done, I would sit down to write and freeze up and my brain would say, “You can’t do this. You don’t have a good handle on the story and you CANNOT do this.”

I told myself to write badly and just power through, and I thought I was doing that, then I realized, I wasn’t writing badly enough. So, I buckled down and used all the talent I could muster to write shit. (Pardon my language). I closed my eyes and did this…  

(Forgive me, this post is a little longer than two minutes if you suffer through reading my scene examples)

EXAMPLE 1:

Scene note:

She’ll see the ghost again while she’s out watching for the light but doesn’t believe it’s the ghost. Add a bit of setting

Scene draft (this is just a partial scene, I won’t bore you with the entire scene):

Tree limbs hung in the air heavy with ice.  A howl rose in the distance.  I looked around but saw nothing.  But then, coyotes were creatures of the night they wouldn’t just be roaming around in sight.  I walked until I reached the spot I’d read online was the best place to see it.

Snow started falling more heavily in a blink of an eye and I pulled my coat up around my neck.

A three quarter moon hung in the sky surrounded by a spattering of stars.  It was so quiet out here.  I didn’t see stars like that in Miami.  From the corner of my eye I saw a glow.  IT was translucent and not fully formed figure hovered above the ditch on the side of the road.  I gasped.  My legs shook.  It’s not real, whatever I’m seeing it’s not real.

The figure floated toward me I stepped back keeping my gaze on the glow.

What was it?

Not the light.  It wasn’t in the right spot nor was it the right shape.

Final:

I parked on the shoulder and snuggled into my coat. Above me, ice-coated tree limbs drooped heavily. A howl rose in the distance. I looked around but saw nothing. Of course, coyotes and mountain lions were sneaky. They wouldn’t be parading around in plain view. From what I’d read, they kept mostly away from civilization. Even though this area was hardly what I’d call civilized, it wasn’t the wilderness either. I was certain whatever had made that sound was a safe distance away.

A three quarter moon hung in the sky surrounded by a spattering of stars. Beautiful. I didn’t see stars like that in Miami. I focused my attention back to the end of the road. From my understanding, the best spot to see the light was just to the left of a cell tower. I could see the red lights of the tower. I studied the area left of it.

In my peripheral, a brief glow appeared. I whipped my head around. A translucent, but not quite human form, wafted above the ditch on the side of the road.

I gasped, and a tremble shot up my legs. It’s not real, whatever I’m seeing, it’s not real.

The figure floated toward me. I lifted the plastic, keeping my gaze on the glow.

What was it?

Not the light. It wasn’t in the right spot nor was it the right shape.

EXAMPLE 2: (an even shittier draft)

Scene note:

First dinner/meeting Declan.

Scene draft (partial): 

There will be convo about Oklahoma weather and how this isn’t typical, but they usually get maybe one or two blizzards a year, and this one happened to fall during their visits. Also, it should be mentioned about how ice can cause problems with power lines, etc.

Also, there should be something mentioned about the lack of cell service. Maybe Cami has tried to call editor and it didn’t work. Declan says if you’re one of those who is tethered to technology, you’ll not have a pleasant stay. No wifi, sporadic phone reception, depending on carrier. We do have phones in all the rooms, or maybe a guest phone. (I later decided Loretta would be the one to relay this info to Cami)

They will have more conversation.

They should talk about the Spooklight. Wife in couple believes it and husband makes fun of her. Declan and Loretta maybe can tell a few stories about the legend. No, he wouldn’t do that because of sis. Or, maybe Cami hears about sis and it’s nothing to do with Spooklight but she hopes it might be. Or, perhaps just wonders. What do they have for dinner and who serves it?

After dinner, dessert.

Final:

“I’m so glad you could brave this weather to join us,” Declan said, favoring us all with a glance. Whether he meant it or not, I wasn’t sure, but it was a polite and hospitable thing to say. “Have you been to this part of the country before?”

“We haven’t,” Roxanne said. “We live in Arizona. We heard about this place and were fascinated.”

“I was concerned when I saw the blizzard warnings,” Jin put in. He placed a hand over his wife’s. “But this is where my sweetheart wanted to celebrate our first anniversary, and I wasn’t going to let weather ruin that for her.”

Her face glowed with happiness as she leaned over and kissed him.

I forced a smile while my gut churned with nausea. Seriously? Was anyone really that happy? You thought you and Lance were, a little voice inside my head irritatingly reminded me. Yeah, well, you see how that turned out.

I jerked my head up in a moment of panic as I wondered if I’d said the words aloud. All eyes were on me. Had I?

“Ms. Burditt?” Declan stared at me curiously, making me think it wasn’t the first time he’d spoken to me. “Have you been to Oklahoma before now?”

My face heated at the same moment relief swept through me. I hadn’t spoken aloud. “No, no I haven’t. I’m from Miami.” Then I remembered the nearby town of the same name. “Miami, Florida, not Oklahoma,” I added hastily, and unnecessarily, since I’d just told them I had never been to Oklahoma.

“Miam-a,” Declan said.

“I beg your pardon?”

“The Miami in Oklahoma is pronounced with an ‘a’ sound at the end.”

I frowned. “Oh, well, that makes no sense.”

A small grin appeared on his full mouth. “Yes, well, what are you going to do?”

I smiled back. “Right?”

Conversation rose around the table about Oklahoma weather and how this wasn’t typical, but they usually experienced maybe one or two blizzards a year. This one just happened to fall during our visits. “The worst thing for us about this kind of weather is the ice.” Declan pushed his plate back and picked up his champagne. “It can often cause problems with power lines and roof cave-ins. If we happen to lose power, we do have a backup generator.”

“What’s the deal with the spook light?” Roxanne asked. “Do you think we’ll be able to see it while we’re here?”

Jin laughed. “Now, sweetheart, I told you, that’s just a bunch of nonsense.”

“I don’t know.” Declan’s voice lowered into an almost hypnotic tone. “There have been many sightings and many unexplained happenings over the years. Who are we to say whether or not it’s real?”

“Exactly.” Loretta took up the cause, which I was certain was just a ruse to stir up interest in the spook light. “I’ve seen it many times. And, I’ve heard the legends all my life. So far, no one has come up with a logical, scientific reason for the spook light’s appearance. So…”

Silence fell. Roxanne’s eyes were round, her face animated. Jin still looked skeptical, but said nothing further, perhaps out of politeness, which is the same reason I kept my mouth shut. Supernatural spook light indeed…strange occurrences. Did they think we were children? Or gullible, like Roxanne?

After a delicious dinner of prime rib and truffle mashed potatoes, with apple crisp and homemade ice cream for dessert, Declan stood. “Would anyone like coffee or a cocktail in the library?”

So…there you have it. I went from a brief thought about the scene to a shitty draft to a less shitty (I hope) polished scene. I did that over and over until I had an entire novella. Laugh, if you must, but I wrote a 35,000 word novella in approximately two weeks, including revisions. And that was while I was working full-time, editing for The Wild Rose Press, coordinating a contest, watching television (a girl has to have some down time), freelance editing, promo, etc. (although my amazing friend and co-moderator for my AHA group, M.J. Schiller, took over most of those duties for me during that time).

It helps to tell yourself, “No one has to see this until I’m ready for them to.” (Unless you’re like me and foolish enough to blog about it and share your embarrassment.) I also tell myself, “Each pass will improve.” And, it did. Although I can now see how I would tweak my ‘final’ scenes a bit further. Such is the way with writers. We will always want to revise, but at some point, we just have to be finished. And breathe a huge sigh of relief….then start on the next shitty draft.

Until next time…Happy Writing!

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

NEW RELEASE – Now Available 

(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 – Writing Back Cover Blurbs and Tag Lines

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Sharing some articles about writing blurbs and tag 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.

 

Today’s post is going to be a bit of a cheat. I have been more crazy busy than usual these past few weeks, so I don’t have anything prepared. However, I am sharing a few links with you regarding writing blurbs and tag lines. I rely on these sites often, and they make something that is normally a torturous chore much easier. SO…without further ado…

********

This site is just a big long list of movie tag lines. But, reviewing the list helps to see the purpose of a tag line and helps to get my mind zeroed in on the important elements of a good tag line: Impact and brevity.

Movie Taglines from Tagline Guru

********

On this site, Janalyn Voigt shows how to break down your story in a handful of steps that lead to a great tag line. As a bonus, her steps for breaking down the story are helpful in getting to the crux of your novel, which is sometimes difficult (for me, at least). This site is so helpful, you might come up with too many taglines, which is great, because you can use them as promo teasers. 

Live Write Breathe: Cook up a Tantalizing Tagline for your book

********

And, finally, blurb writing. I have read several articles on this topic, but none have proved to be as thorough and helpful as this one. the author offers advice on blurbs based on genre, and even shows how to shorten them, along with some other handy tips. 

How to Write a Blurb (Back Cover Copy) by Marilynn Byerly

Please accept my apologies for my laziness. I hope you found these helpful. Do you have any ‘go to’ articles, about taglines, blurbs, or otherwise, you’d like to share?

Until next time…Happy Writing!

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

NEW RELEASE – Now Available 

(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 – It’s Not Writer’s Block…It’s Writer’s Panic

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ How to get un-stuck when you’re stuck and can’t 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.

 

I am under a deadline, an intense, terrifying deadline that I set for myself. I’ve been in similar situations, and I have always accomplished what I needed to. Right now, I’m not gaining as much ground as I would like. I know exactly what is going to happen in the last handful of scenes I need to write, but I can’t seem to get them down on paper. And I’m starting to panic. I even gave myself permission to write crappy, although I’m not sure myself is obeying my directive.

I have a list of tips for times like these, and I’m going to give them a shot. I’m sharing them today, just in case I’m not the only writer in the world who experiences Writing Panic/Anxiety/Block/Freezing. (Although, I actually suspect I AM the only one. I believe all other writers sit down at the computer (or at the paper with the pen), and flawless words flow like a river of magic from their fingertips…sigh…) 

Tips for un-sticking a stuck scene/writer’s brain:

  • Isolate the scene from the rest of the book. Open a new document and write the scene all on its own.
  • Write the scene like you’re telling a friend about it. If it helps, pretend like you’re telling a friend about a movie you saw. Write it crappy, conversationally. Just ‘tell’ what happened. You can polish and ‘show’ in revisions.
  • Write gibberish. Just string a bunch of nonsensical words together. Anything that comes to mind. Try this for 5 or 10 minutes. It can be quite freeing. And, writing is a muscle. The more you exercise it, the better it works.
  • Close your eyes, picture the scene, the setting, the characters, feel, smell, hear the scene…and spew out crap.  Total, poorly written crap.
  • Read something in the genre you’re writing (something brief, a scene or two, NOT an entire book). Try reading it aloud and/or typing/writing from the book (just remember to NOT use what you type in your story. That’s called plagiarism)
  • Take a scene (copy and paste from a word document) from one of your own books and type over it with the events in the new story. Reminding yourself you’ve done this before, and seeing how you were once able to get words on paper, can help jumpstart your brilliance again.
  • Write it like it’s the first scene in your book. We all know we take more care and time with our opening scenes. And when we are writing them, we are powerful, fearless, full of optimism and hope. The world is ours to command and nothing can stand in our way. (This is just before reality bites us in the arse, but it’s a good feeling while it lasts). Adopt that same attitude with each scene. (Not the biting in the arse attitude, the fearless one)
  • Say these words: “I am not a bad writer, I’m just having a bad time writing. I will push through it, keep writing, and it will all come together.”
  • Then, write. No matter how awful the writing is, or how hard it is to push the words out, keep writing.

What tricks do you use when you’re stuck? (Oh, wait…I’m the only one who ever gets stuck, I forgot.)

Until next time…Happy Writing!

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

NEW RELEASE – Now Available 

(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

10 Comments

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

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – Avoid the “Dr. Evil” & “Scooby-Do” Suspense Techniques

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Advice for writing genuine, realistic suspense.

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.

I love suspense (and when I say suspense, I’m using it as an all-encompassing genre to include thrillers, mysteries, and police procedurals.) It’s my favorite genre to read and write. It’s also one of the most difficult, in my opinion. Writers have to be very careful about the way the crimes are presented, the way they are investigated, and how they are wrapped up.

Here are a few devices I see often and have probably done, although I try my best to avoid them:

1) The Scooby Doo Effect 

Remember in all the Scooby Doo cartoon episodes when the end comes and the criminal is busted, and he reveals all the details of his diabolical plan and says, “And I’d have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids.”

This worked well in the cartoon, but it’s not a good device in writing suspense. You’ve seen it in books, I’m sure. That moment at the end when a killer is caught and confronted by the main character. The perpetrator explains his entire plan and motive in detail. While it might be necessary to show a brief explanation, it needs to be natural, and there needs to be a legitimate reason for the criminal to explain. Criminals are not as anxious to spill their guts as many books would have you to believe. Most are anxious to do two things; commit crimes and get away with them. If the actions of your villains show otherwise, you might want to rethink your scene. And, please when it’s necessary to have them explain pieces of the puzzle that your characters, and therefore readers, would have no other way of knowing, try to let it evolve naturally in the moment.

In a book I read recently—we’ll call it Book X because I don’t want to give the real title, and I’ll be using it in all my examples—at the end, the killer had the female detective captive, and he felt the need to brag to her, explicitly,  about how he pulled off the crime, and how he would still get away with it, once he disposed of her (that meddling detective), about how great it was to be so powerful and how his power and connections had allowed him the freedom to get by with those murders, and he went into great detail about all the players involved and their role in his scheme and his opinion on each. He basically outed himself as a narcissistic sociopath, and people rarely diagnose themselves like that. While all too typical, this type of ending scenario is unnecessary and unbelievable.

Here is a brief snippet from one of my novels. Details have been tweaked to prevent spoilers.

I drew the .22 from my jacket pocket and leveled it at him. “You’re insane. I want an answer, and I want it now. Otherwise, I put a bullet through your evil brain.”

His gaze went from the gun, up to my eyes, back to the gun, then settled on my face. The innocent mask fell. A touch of smugness came over his features. “I did it for you. For us.”

“What do you mean, for us?”

The now unguarded hazel eyes shone with maniacal glint. “Well, partly I took her to punish her dad and that blah, blah, blah, but I also figured I could use it as leverage.”

“Is she alive?” That was the burning question. Once I found out, I could proceed with trying to pick apart his demented mind and get the answers I needed.

“She’s fine. I couldn’t hurt her. Not knowing what she meant to you. I hoped I could convince you to go away with me if I promised to let the police know where she is. I was going to wait until we were far away from here before I told them. Until it was too late for you to change your mind.”

See, the bad guy has a good reason for revealing details. He’s trying to convince her to understand him and maybe to come away with him. And, I didn’t give a great deal of information. Just a few pieces.

2) Incognito Villains

This is when you want to show scenes from your villain’s point of view, but you do not wish to reveal their identity. This can be tricky, I’ll admit, and sometimes, it’s not easy to pull off. I definitely do not always succeed. One thing you definitely want to avoid is using a word when referring to the villain that makes it obvious you are trying to hide the identity. Words like, “The person,” “the shadow,” or even “the man” get tiresome and they make your scene unnatural and jarring. Sometimes, when not overdone, “the man” or “the woman” or “he” or “she” can work, but writers don’t always want to reveal the gender of their villain.

In Book X, the way the author presented scenes from the killer’s POV was to call him, or her, “the figure.” Trust me, this became annoying quickly. With lines such as… (these are not verbatim, but close):

The figure motioned the woman over to the car. She leaned in and gave the figure a sexy smile. She had no idea her life was about to end.

“Get in,” the figure said.

“Not so fast. We haven’t discussed rates.”

The figure’s grip on the steering wheel tightened. “I’ll pay whatever you want.” The figure had no intention of paying her a dime. She’d be dead before she could collect.

She winked and leaned in. The figure choked back the urge to gag at the smell of her cheap perfume.

Okay…so you get the idea. How distracting and annoying is that? I found myself thinking of ‘the figure’ in terms of the amount he would pay her, and making up jokes in my head. You do NOT want readers that distracted.

There are a few solutions, but as I said, they can be tricky. Especially if you want to hide the sex of the villain. The only solid solution I can think of for hiding gender is to write the villain POV scenes in first person. I know some authors dislike writing in first person and do not want to change from first to third points of view in various scenes. But, it’s probably the best way. See how much better this flows, and you do not know if the character is male or female:

I motioned the woman over to the car. She leaned in and gave me a sexy smile. She had no idea her life was about to end.

“Get in,” I said.

“Not so fast. We haven’t discussed rates.”

My grip on the steering wheel tightened. “I’ll pay whatever you want.” I had no intention of paying her a dime. She’d be dead before she could collect.

She winked and leaned in. I choked back the urge to gag at the smell of her cheap perfume.

You could also try giving the villain a nickname, but it would be difficult to hide when he or she appears in other scenes, where we DO know their identity, we just don’t know they are the killer. In one of my novels, I believe I pulled off the nickname thing successfully, since the ‘real’ name was only mentioned a few times in the story. And, if readers had thought hard enough about it, they might have connected. In another novel, I had my villain refer to himself as the fake name he gave when he approached young women. Therefore, in narrative, I could still call him by that name.

3) The Dr. Evil Plan – (please watch the below SHORT video)

This is funny, but it’s also pretty accurate in many suspense novels. Haven’t you read books where almost this exact thing happens? I know I have. Recently, in fact. Yes, it’s that Book X again (which, I might add, is a highly successful book, so I shouldn’t judge, but it did give me lots of material for a blog post, so judge I shall :))

In Book X, the killer has murdered 5 women, taken his time, and gleefully strangled and tortured them, reveling in watching the life fading from their eyes. At the end, when he is holding the female detective, along with the corpse of his sixth victim, he buckles the detective and the corpse into seat belts and sends the car into a water-filled quarry. Guess what? Help arrives, and the detective survives. Huh??? I’m not buying it. Why did he ‘Dr. Evil’ it and ‘assume all went according to plan’ rather than strangling her as well? He hated her, wanted her dead, had already made an attempt on her life, and she was the one who caught him. Sorry, but it just made no sense. This is a convenient, contrived device and readers find it annoying.

What I try to do in my suspense books is to make sure that there is a good reason for the killer to keep the main character alive, and sometimes show that it’s their MO (Mode of Operation), until I’ve figured out a way for my characters to get out of the mess they’re in. For example, in one of my books, the killer was exacting revenge against his wife who cheated and dumped him. With his other victims, he taunted and tormented them before killing them. When he had his cheating wife and her cheating new boyfriend held hostage at the end (and the main character stumbled onto the scene and was taken captive as well), he took time to screw with them and torment them to make them suffer. It wasn’t contrived, or at least I don’t think it was, because it made sense based on his history and his reasons for doing so.

So, while I must apologize that this tip was probably a bit longer than the promised two minutes, I feel these are important things to keep in mind in order to write a solid, believable suspense. The above devices are lazy and convenient ways to wrap up a case and reveal information to characters and readers, but these things cam be accomplished in much better ways.

Until next time…Happy Writing!

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NEW RELEASE – Now Available 

(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

15 Comments

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

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – Fabulous Ebook Contest – International Digital Awards

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Enter your book in OKRWA’s IDA Contest for more exposure and a chance to win awesome prizes!

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.

I am not feeling well today, plus, I am involved in the Candace Havens Fast Draft process with three of my writer friends, so my brain power is somewhat used up. 🙂 Instead of an actual tip, I thought I would tell you about a contest you should seriously consider entering. This is the fifth year OKRWA has hosted the International Digital Awards. I was one of the co-founders of the contest, and it has been quite successful for our chapter and for entrants.

Why should you enter? Let me tell you…

The IDA accepts Ebook entries in 7 different categories, both novel (40,000 words and above) and novella/short (10,000 to 39,999 words) lengths. Each entry is seen by three different readers, so even if you don’t place, you have the opportunity of reaching new readers.

The entry fee is low…$20 for novel length, $15 for novella/short length.

If you DO place, you receive a nice paper certificate and button for your website. Plus, your information goes up on our website.

If you WIN, you receive the following…

  • This awesome engraved paperweight (updated with YOUR info of course :)) **colors my vary

Novel Paperweight prize Short-Novella paperweight prize

  • You will be featured on a minimum of 3 blog posts

  • Your book will be featured in a “winner” video trailer that will be shared on FB, tweeted, and featured on at least 3 blogs and websites

  • Multiple Tweets and Facebook posts 

  • Featured on a special IDA Winners Pinterest Page

Why wouldn’t you want to enter??? 

Get those entries in soon…the deadline is June 30, 2016.

Detailed information on entering can be found here:

FMI: https://okrwa.com/contests/international-digital-awards/contest-categories/

 

Eligibility: Any ebook with an original copyright date of 2015 or 2016 that was eligible for sale in 2015 or 2016 and is NOT available for purchase in mass print by April 15, 2016 (Ebooks that are available as POD’s are eligible)

Entry: Non DRM PDF as email attachment

Categories: (All of the following offer BOTH a short/novella and a Novel category in each genre – Entries may contain romance, but romance is not required)

  • Contemporary

  • Erotica

  • Historical

  • Inspirational

  • Paranormal

  • Suspense

  • Young Adult

We need judges too! If you wish to judge, check out the information here: (You are free to judge, even if you enter, as long as you judge a category other than the one you enter)

https://okrwa.com/contests/international-digital-awards/judging-information/

Judges: Readers, including other unpublished and published authors.

Comments from past entrants:

  • This is an awesome contest! Not only did I receive recognition by winning the historical category, but I also received support in the form of tweets, Facebook posts and reviews from the judges. It was such an honor to have won such a prestigious contest. Thank you IDA! ~ Laurel O’Donnell, Award Winning Author of Angel’s Assassin

  • “Oh. My. Goodness! If there’s one contest you do not want to miss entering, it’s OKRWA’s International Digital Awards. As a winner in the 2013 IDA, I can honestly say that I have never gotten more bang for my contest buck than I have with the IDA: a website winner’s icon, a paperweight award, Facebook and Twitter promotion, reviews posted on Amazon and Goodreads by judges and IDA personnel along with Twitter and FB postings, plus a list of review links. Are you kidding me? No other contest does this and the icing on the cake? The IDA coordinators are AWESOME!! ~– Julie Lessman, award-winning author of The Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change series

  • “High praise for the International Digital Awards contest. Right on the mark with tons of terrific, highly-visible, effective promotions for winners.” ~Timothy Davis, author of SEA CUTTER

  • “What a wonderful contest! I’ve long admired the NRCA and read many of the winners. So glad OKRWA has created a digital award. The prize is mighty sweet as well. I appreciate the exposure to new digital readers that the IDA has given STONE KISSED.” ~Keri Stevens, author

  • “I am so glad that your hard-working chapter will continue with the International Digital Awards next year. I know it’s a lot of work — but so appreciated. Winning the IDA has been a thrill for me.” ~Cheryl Bolen, author of MY LORD WICKED

So…hurry up and get those entries in…best of luck!

Until next time…happy writing!

Oh yes, I wanted to share this boxed set, on sale for ONLY 99¢ – Six past IDA winners got together and released their winning stories in this boxed set. Genres include Contemporary Romance, Paranormal, Suspense, Historical,  and Young Adult. Check out it:

51UU92O-exL._SY331_BO1,204,203,200_

Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.com/B01F9RHLE6

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NEW RELEASE – Now Available 

(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. 

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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

1 Comment

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