Tag Archives: How to Plot

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tips – Characters Who Talk to Themselves

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Advice on using a character’s first person, internal thoughts sparingly.

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.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of allowing your characters to talk to themselves too frequently, especially when you are trying to write in ‘Deep POV.’ However, deep POV doesn’t really mean using a lot of italicized first person thoughts. You can write in deep POV by connecting with a character’s emotions and avoiding filter words. But, if you have characters talk to themselves too often, it can be distracting and make your characters seem a bit unstable. 🙂

Here are some examples from my short story, Thicker than Water (I’m using this as an example as an excuse to share my new cover, which I love…see below):

This is Julia’s POV:

“Julia?” The voice came from her right, and even before she turned, she recognized the owner. No way could she mistake the smooth, deep baritone, tinged with that slight Okie drawl. A sound that had always reminded her of honey oozing over a warm biscuit.

Jake Devlin.

Heart threatening to explode from her chest, she inhaled, then exhaled a slow, steady breath, before she turned to face him. Somehow, he seemed taller than she remembered. He wore cowboy boots and a battered Stetson with a chocolate-brown uniform shirt tucked into blue jeans.

That felt pretty much like deep POV, don’t you think? We could feel what she felt, we knew her emotions. I might have been tempted to write it like this:

“Julia?” The voice came from her right, and even before she turned, she recognized the owner. No way could I mistake the smooth, deep baritone, tinged with that slight Okie drawl. It has always reminded me of honey oozing over a warm biscuit.

Jake Devlin.

My heart is going to explode from my chest. Breathe, in, out, slow and steady. She turned to face him. He’s taller than I remember.  He wore cowboy boots and a battered Stetson with a chocolate-brown uniform shirt tucked into blue jeans.

Here is a scene from Jake’s POV. For some reason, male characters talking to themselves seems worse that female. Probably because, normally, men don’t talk that much anyway.

Normally, watching the Sox take the Yankees down would have Jake riveted to the television, but he could barely concentrate. All he could think about was Julia.

How could he even be around her with the burden of the secret he carried?

Knowing the truth would crush her. Not telling her would damn him to an eternity of torment. He owed her the truth. The truth would kill her.

Back and forth, his thoughts circled and collided with one another. He needed to solve this damned case, so she’d get the hell out of town. That way, he wouldn’t be forced to hold back any secrets. He could carry it all on his own.

Doesn’t that work better than if I’d done this?

Normally, watching the Sox take the Yankees down would have Jake riveted to the television, but he could barely concentrate. All I can think about is Julia.

How can I even be around her with the burden of the secret I’m carrying?

Knowing the truth will crush her. Not telling her will damn me to an eternity of torment. You owe her the truth. The truth will kill her.

Back and forth, his thoughts circled and collided with one another. I need to solve this damned case, so she’ll get the hell out of town. That way, I won’t be forced to hold back any secrets. I can carry it all on my own.

So, can you see how you can write a scene with internal thoughts, yet not have them first person, italicized thoughts, which can be a little distracting?

And now, for my revised cover for Thicker than Water…First, the previous one:

11. THICKER THAN WATER 8.12

The new one…

perf5.000x8.000.indd

What do you think? Better? I modeled my hero after Raylan Givens from Justified, and I think this cover captures him much better.

Until next time…happy writing!

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NEW RELEASE – Now Available (and still 99 cents for a brief time!!!)

(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. 

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

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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4 Comments

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

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip/Vent – Sometimes, Even the Big Guns Misfire

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick…rant ~  Recurring missteps by famous, successful authors…

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.

Rather than ‘tips,’ per se, I just want to point out/vent a little about how lesser known authors, especially Indy authors, are held to such high standards and picked apart for every little error. Yet, almost every time I read a book, even by the most successful and well-known authors, I am pulled out of the story by errors and poorly executed prose. I know that being an author and editor myself, I notice things the average reader doesn’t but I just have to think, these writers are in the big time, can’t they put a little more care and finesse into their work? (Having said all of that, I am WELL aware that my writing is far from excellent and error-free, but I admit it, own it, am still working to improve, and I am not a millionaire NYT best-selling author).

I won’t name names, but I would like to share some issues I’ve found with some of the recent books I’ve read…

The first one is a suspense by a male author that I LOVE, and I am usually captivated by his books.

Problem 1:

The main character (we’ll call her Suzie), made it clear, early in the book, pretty much on the first page, that she thought very little of her former brother-in-law (her dead sister’s husband), and his fathering capabilities. As a matter of fact, when BIL offers his condolences over the death of Suzie’s husband, and asks if there is anything he can do, she has the thought, you can take better care of your children

Then, at the end of the book, Suzie plans to sacrifice her life in order to bring murderers to justice. Before she dies, she sets it up so BIL will be the one to raise her two-year-old daughter. HUH???? He sucks as a parent, yet HE is the one to whom you entrust your daughter?

Problem 2:

I’ve noticed this with a lot of the ‘big’ guys and gals…distant writing. I’ll give you a few examples. We’ll call Suzie’s daughter Shelly. And we’ll call Suzie’s friend Mark. In a scene where Mark was holding Shelly in his arms, and we are in Suzie’s POV, we have this narrative:

The little girl laid her head on Mark’s shoulder…

(I’m thinking…the little girl??? Wait, I thought he was holding Shelly. You know, your daughter, who you know quite well, well enough not to refer to her as ‘the little girl’)

And another line:

Shelly looked at her mother…

(Wait, I thought YOU were her mother)

This sort of thing appeared several times in another book I read recently by one of my favorite male authors. The MC had a teenaged daughter (who was a BRAT, by the way), and we are in her father’s POV. Lines like this appeared regularly:

Brittney seldom listened to her father.

(Yeah, well, she seldom listens to you either!)

Problem 3:

(There were actually several plot holes, in my opinion, implausible actions, etc, but I won’t go into all that, I’ll just focus on one issue in particular.) This sort of thing really bothers me, although many authors seem to think it’s okay…

Cheating the reader. DON’T do it!!! In this case, the book starts out at the funeral of Suzie’s husband who had been shot by thugs when she and her husband were at a park together a few nights earlier. The ENTIRE book is in Suzie’s POV. We go through this big long mystery and cat and mouse kind of thing, several interviews with the police, etc, etc, her internal thoughts about the night the murder happened, about her marriage, her daughter, about what’s going on now and who and why it’s happening, etc, etc. Well, guess what we find out at the end of the story? SHE killed her husband. On purpose. Shot him down. Dead. In the entire book, not once did her internal thoughts wander to that little bit of information. That’s not a twist, it’s a major cheat. Since she knew she killed her husband, and we were privy to her thoughts during the entire book, at least ONE of those thoughts should have been about how she KILLED her husband! Am I right?

Problem 4:

Something minor, but it still didn’t sit right with me. She is speaking with a detective who is asking her some questions that indicate he’s a little suspicious of her. They are discussing the weapon that killed her husband, and she says, “Are you familiar with revolvers, Detective?” And he says, “No.” and she goes on to explain the difference between revolvers and semi-automatics, or something like that. Uh, I’m sorry, but a seasoned homicide detective who isn’t familiar with revolvers?? Nope, not buying it. (She is a former soldier, so she was an expert…on everything.)

Another book by a female author who has published a series of probably 20 books about this same MC (and the MC is very unlikable, BTW, I couldn’t finish Book 1, I wanted to punch her the whole time, and I figured that probably wasn’t very healthy)

Anyway, this MC is a woman who worked closely with the police, frequently, and for years, and her best friend is a detective and she is literally THE BEST in her field, that was made painfully and repeatedly obvious. Someone violently vandalized her studio. The perpetrator killed her neighbor’s cat and smeared cat blood all over the destroyed room. The cat’s body was still there. She calls the police, then while waiting for them, she takes the cat’s body over to its owner. REALLY???? You are so intelligent and know everything about the law, yet you removed a vital piece of evidence–and, technically, the VICTIM–from a crime scene?

Okay, I’m done. Sorry. I don’t mean to be critical, and I don’t know if anyone will learn anything from this, but it was on my mind. And now it’s off my chest, so I feel better. 🙂

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

12 Comments

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

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – Miscellaneous Tips You Can’t Live Without

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ A handful of editing, writing, and marketing tips to make your life easier…

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.

Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way that have been helpful to me, and I’m hoping they will be to you also…

Writing Habit:

I know it’s very difficult to carve out writing time each day. Writers need a large chunk of time to be ‘in the zone’ and undisturbed. However, if you want to work toward a habit of writing each day, try to make yourself write one paragraph a day. The advantages are…

  • At least you’re writing SOMETHING, and a trickle can become a stream
  • You might be surprised at how much more than just that one paragraph you are able to write
  • If you’re like me and you have scene notes but don’t have a good handle on exactly how the scene will play out, writing a paragraph about what you DO know can serve as a placeholder and when you go back later, your scene might flow. Or you might determine it should be cut. Either way, you can resolve that particular scene. If you keep doing this, you can build a nice outline for your novel

‘Word’ tips:

I’m sure you’ve all seen those squiggly blue and red lines that indicate, according to ‘Word,’ you’ve made a booboo? Did you know that there is an option where you can actually be taken to each of these potential errors? Under ‘Review’ you should see an option for ‘ABC ✔ Spelling and Grammar.’ If you click on that, it will take you to each instance of errors and you will have the option to correct them or ignore. It doesn’t find ALL typos and mistakes, but it finds many.

Word also has a ‘Compare’ function in the Review section that comes in handy if you can’t recall which version of two documents is the most recent, or if, for any reason, you wish to compare the differences in two documents. Once you click on ‘compare’ it’s self-explanatory.

Facebook and Twitter:

When you draft a Facebook post, before actually posting, you can delete the actual link and just leave the content and image to make your post look a bit ‘cleaner’ and the option to click on where the link leads will remain in your post.

You can schedule posts  to your ‘page’ ahead of time on Facebook. Once you draft a post, click on the arrow next to ‘publish’ found beneath your content box. An option for scheduling will come up. You can schedule a week’s worth of posts at one sitting.

You can embed tweets for sharing rather than screen-shotting them. Beneath your tweet, you will see the … option. If you click on that, one of the options that comes up is to ’embed’ your tweet. Copy and paste that link.

If you wish to share a link for a Facebook post or a Tweet, you can get a direct link by clicking on the time/day of the post/tweet. A new page will come up that will contain the direct link in the search bar. Copy and paste. This is handy if you want to ask others to share a tweet or post for you, or if you want to, say post a link from your fan page into your profile page, etc.

That’s it for now…just a few little bite-sized tips. Hope you find them useful!

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

5 Comments

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

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – Quick Characterization Tips

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ A few things to remember when creating 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.

Characterization is not my strength. I’m more of a plot-driven writer, but I realize that the two are equally important. (Some feel that characterization is the most important, but without a strong plot, I’m not going to give a rat’s behind about your character, regardless of how interesting they might be) So, I am trying to remind myself of ways to make my characters more real, more vivid. Characterization is much more than physical description, and even background or favorite foods and music. Of course, there are a multitude of things you can do to flesh out your characters–character profiles, interviews, charts, etc. I’m not going into that much detail, but I do have a few suggestions (things that I need to remember myself)…

  1. Give your characters, mainly your MC (Main Character aka Protagonist) and your villain, a quirk, a certain way of speaking, etc. Maybe give them a catch phrase or a habit like chewing on a straw. Also, give them strange little quirks, such as an aversion to slimy foods or a fear of birds or have them like something that others would find odd, such as the taste of castor oil or give them an irrational hatred of something (such as, for me, I can’t STAND the Muppets). Little things like this can make your character more alive in your own mind, and therefore,  you will more likely project them in a more vivid way in your story.
  2. This has been drilled into our heads over and over, but it bears repeating. Give your MC flaws and your villain at least one admirable quality. I have difficult giving my characters flaws that are still relatable/understandable/sympathetic. I find it easier to give my villains a positive trait. Weird, right? I’ve often been told that readers found it easier to relate to my villains than my protagonists. NOT a good thing. I am working on changing that though. 🙂

What do you think? What are some elements of character you feel are important?

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

22 Comments

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

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – How to Give Your Sentences More Punch

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Backload your sentences with powerful words to give them more impact

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.

One of the tricks to adding more tension, more impact and punch to your writing is to use the powerful words toward the end of sentences, and especially to paragraphs and scenes.

Here are a few examples from some of my books:

Caster’s Unfriendly Ghost:

“Not only will I continue to screw with you, even on the job, but I’ll appear to Emily, tell her about our little scheme. What do you think she’ll think of you then?”

“You’re bluffing. You wouldn’t hurt her like that.”

Joey shook his head and closed his eyes. When he opened them, they were suspiciously damp. “I don’t want to. But I’ll do anything to keep her from making the biggest mistake of her life.”

Caster let out a resigned sigh and shook his head. “Nah, getting mixed up with the two of us was the biggest mistake of her life.”

Weaker:

Caster let out a resigned sigh and shook his head. “Nah, the biggest mistake of her life was getting mixed up with the two of us.”

Without Mercy:

Did you hear about that?” Stacy asked. “A couple gunned down in a Java Hut. Apparently a sniper. No one knows why. They still haven’t caught the guy.”

The others joined in on the discussion, but China remained silent. The waitress, a perky blonde wearing black shorts and a tight white shirt, brought over another pitcher of beer. “Guy over in the corner sent this to you.”

China’s gaze followed where the girl pointed, and the knot in her stomach froze. Royce. She hadn’t noticed him before, because his table was nestled in a dark corner. He smiled and lifted his glass in a silent salute. Her jaw tightened, and she clenched her glass so hard she thought it would shatter.

Weaker:

Her jaw tightened, and she nearly shattered the glass in her fist.

Lady in the Mist:

I shrugged as though my interest were casual curiosity. From his reaction, Sebastian did know her—and either didn’t like her, or liked her a great deal. “Just curious. I heard she broke up with Drew, then left town. That it’s possible she’s missing?”

“She’s missing, all right.” The words came out strained. “Maybe dead.”

A chill raced over my skin. “Dead?”

The anger in his eyes faded, replaced with something that looked suspiciously like pain. “I don’t know.”

Weaker:

The anger in his eyes faded, and something that looked suspiciously like pain replaced it. “I don’t know.”

It’s actually very simple, and we probably do it instinctively, for the most part. But, it doesn’t hurt to be aware as you’re making a pass through your manuscript,. Try to arrange wording for the most pizzazz.  Just think of it as ‘saving the best for last.’ 🙂

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 – Learning from Stephen King

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Advice from the Master

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.

Whether or not you have read, or enjoy, Stephen King’s writing, you can no doubt benefit from his wisdom. While I did not love every one of his books, I can easily say, I’ve loved MOST of them, and of all the authors I’ve read, regardless of how well they write, none is the ‘storyteller’ that Stephen King is. Actually, the word ‘teller’ is misleading (and can be a bit frightening as a writer, when we’ve had it hammered into us to ‘show’ not ‘tell’ – but trust me, this is a different kind of ‘telling’), because when you’re a brilliant storyteller, the reader is swept along on a journey, immersed in the story to the point that they forget they are reading. And that is the highest form of ‘showing.’

Some of my favorite tips from Stephen King:

Don’t use passive voice. “Timid writers like passive verbs for the same reason that timid lovers like passive partners. The passive voice is safe. The timid fellow writes “The meeting will be held at seven o’clock” because that somehow says to him, ‘Put it this way and people will believe you really know. ‘Purge this quisling thought! Don’t be a muggle! Throw back your shoulders, stick out your chin, and put that meeting in charge! Write ‘The meeting’s at seven.’ There, by God! Don’t you feel better?”

Avoid adverbs. “The adverb is not your friend. Consider the sentence “He closed the door firmly.” It’s by no means a terrible sentence, but ask yourself if ‘firmly’ really has to be there. What about context? What about all the enlightening (not to say emotionally moving) prose which came before ‘He closed the door firmly’? Shouldn’t this tell us how he closed the door? And if the foregoing prose does tell us, then isn’t ‘firmly’ an extra word? Isn’t it redundant?” Avoid adverbs, especially after “he said” and “she said.” “While to write adverbs is human, to write ‘he said’ or ‘she said’ is divine.”

But don’t obsess over perfect grammar. “Language does not always have to wear a tie and lace-up shoes. The object of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story… to make him/her forget, whenever possible, that he/she is reading a story at all. “

Leave out the boring parts and kill your darlings. “Mostly when I think of pacing, I go back to Elmore Leonard, who explained it so perfectly by saying he just left out the boring parts. This suggests cutting to speed the pace, and that’s what most of us end up having to do (kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your ecgocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.)”

Write primarily for yourself. Write what you love. Love what you write. King says, “I did it for the pure joy of the thing. And if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever.”

Tell stories about what people actually do. “Bad writing is more than a matter of shit syntax and faulty observation; bad writing usually arises from a stubborn refusal to tell stories about what people actually do — to face the fact, let us say, that murderers sometimes help old ladies cross the street. The people in your stories are what readers care about the most, so make sure you acknowledge all the dimensions your characters may have.”

Write every single day. “Once I start work on a project, I don’t stop, and I don’t slow down unless I absolutely have to. If I don’t write every day, the characters begin to stale off in my mind … I begin to lose my hold on the story’s plot and pace.”

If you do not write consistently and visit your story, your characters, day after day, you will lose your enthusiasm, your connection. As King describes it, this is  “the smooch of death.” No matter how little time you have, write SOMETHING on your story daily, even if it’s just a paragraph, or as King says, “one word at a time.” This is something I need to practice myself, and believe me when I say, I do not. With a full-time non-writing job, editing for The Wild Rose Press, freelance editing, promo, side projects, spending time with family, etc, I have little spare time, and I do not devote enough to my writing, but I vow to change that immediately. 🙂 (Many of the tips I share on my blog are meant for me as much, or more than, for anyone else. I certainly need to ‘practice what I preach.’)

 

What do you think of these tips? Which is your favorite? Are there any that you need to apply?

(If you haven’t read ‘On Writing’ I highly recommend it. Not only does it offer a great deal of writing advice, it also offers a look into the fascinating life of King. You can find it here:  ON WRITING)

Until next time…happy writing!

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

NEW RELEASE – Now Available – Only a few more days at 99¢! (I know I keep saying this, but I really mean it this time…the sale price ends this Friday, April 29th) 🙂

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

2 minute writing tip final

I have released an e-book with a collection of Two-Minute Tips I have shared on my blog. Now, you can have them in one convenient place for easy reference. sale price is 99¢ – Regular price will be $2.99.

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

*** 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. 

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

*** Find the Magic is FREE through Tomorrow, April 6th!! Click HERE 

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

22 Comments

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

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing (Promo) Tip – Making Facebook Work for You

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ A few suggestions on how to utilize Facebook as an author

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.

Some marketing experts feel it’s better to use your Facebook profile for author promo, mainly because you already have a built-in audience of followers. However, not all of your profile followers are necessarily readers, and, it is easy enough to migrate them to your Facebook author ‘fan’ page by asking for likes, and sharing some of your FB author page posts on your profile page. A couple of advantages to your Fan Page–other than just that, it is a FAN page, and it’s where you can really interact and connect with fans–are that you can pin a post to the top of the page so that it’s the first thing people see when they visit. Also, you can schedule posts. So, if you wanted to send out a daily post, you can schedule it all at once, for an entire week, etc. And, lastly, you can utilize your Call to Action button to lead people to your website, your blog, your Amazon book page, etc.

I am just now starting to focus on my author page, and I recently created a new one. SO, my advice is more about suggestions I’m going to try and things that SEEM to work, rather than tried and true. But hey, it’s worth a shot, plus, it might be fun.

Here are some quick tips and suggestions for the various ways to use your FB page and what kind of posts to share…

  • First of all, try to always share applicable images with your posts. Those with images are noticed much more than those without.
  • Run a contest – I sponsor a ‘Guess the Line’ contest, that I previously shared on my profile page but have now moved to my fan page. Guess the Line  (I also sponsor a fun, Fiction Fanatics Feud contest in a separate group: Fiction Fanatics Feud
  • Share your good news. Your followers will enjoy receiving updates on the good things that happen to you, career wise, and your accomplishments, as long as you don’t sound braggy. 🙂 
  • Let them into your writing world. Share little tidbits about your progress, or lack thereof, or how you came up with an idea, or interesting things you discovered in research, etc. 
  • Share pictures of the inspirations for your stories and setting.
  • Share for author friends. Post about books or blog posts or contests or sales, new releases, etc, for fellow authors.
  • Perhaps have a daily question, just a fun thing to get people to interact. Something like, ‘if you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?’ And, answer your question yourself. Or, ‘if you were stranded on a desert island, what three books would you want with you?’
  • Be upbeat and inspiring. Perhaps share inspirational quotes, or share acts of kindness you witness or read about (not ones you do yourself, you don’t want to seem like you are boasting).

I’m sure there are plenty more, but this should be enough to get you started, right?

While we’re on the topic, I would be ever so grateful if you’d pop in and like my page. 🙂 Thank you!

Alicia Dean Author Page

When you do create an author page, be sure to invite your friends to like you. You can also go here and gain likes: Like for Like

Do you have ideas for entertaining and engaging readers through Facebook?

Until next time…happy writing (and marketing)!

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

NEW RELEASE – Now Available – Only a few more days at 99¢!

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

2 minute writing tip final

I have released an e-book with a collection of Two-Minute Tips I have shared on my blog. Now, you can have them in one convenient place for easy reference. sale price is 99¢ – Regular price will be $2.99.

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

*** 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. 

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

*** Find the Magic is FREE through Tomorrow, April 6th!! Click HERE 

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 – Commonly Misused Words

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ A list of words that often confuse writers.

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 see the following words misused often, so I thought perhaps having them listed in one place might come in handy…

Affect / effect

‘Affect’ is normally a verb and ‘effect’ is normally a noun:

The effect of the storm was devastating.

The storm affected the entire town.

Sometimes, ‘effect’ is used as a verb, when meaning ‘to bring about’:

The movement was a great way to effect change.

It can also describe belongings:

The police released her personal effects to her family.

‘Affect’ can also mean to display a false sentiment, or an affectation:

He seemed to like the gift, but I think his reaction was an affect.

It can also describe a facial expression or demeanor:

In spite of her anger, she displayed little affect.

That / which 

Use ‘that’ for restrictive clauses for specific, identifying information, and ‘which’ for non restrictive clauses, for general, non-essential information. Normally, the clauses that require ‘which’ will be set off by commas.:

Sitcoms that are funny are my favorite TV shows.

(This sentence is saying that only FUNNY sitcoms are my favorite)

Sitcoms, which are funny, are my favorite TV shows.

(This is basically indicating that all sitcoms are funny, but that sitcoms in general are my favorite TV shows.)

In other words, if you can do without the clause and not change the meaning, the correct word choice is ‘which.’ If eliminating the clause would change the meaning, the            word choice is ‘that.’

Blond / Blonde

‘Blond’ is a male noun and ‘Blonde’ is a female noun. There are different schools of thought, depending on which style guidelines you use, but for the most part, ‘blond’ is         considered an adjective for either sex. However, in order to keep it simple, the best rule of thumb is ‘blond’ is always for males, and ‘blonde’ is always for females, whether     used as a noun or adjective. For non-gender situations (a blond brownie), ‘blond’ is correct.

Discreet / discrete

‘Discreet’ means low-key, modest, cautious.

‘Discrete’ means ‘separate or distinct.’

Alright / all right

‘Alright’ is the incorrect usage of ‘all right’ and doesn’t ‘officially’ exist, although it is becoming more widely accepted.

Lightning / lightening

‘Lightning’ means the flashes in the sky during a storm.

‘Lightening’ means to make lighter, or to lighten

Taught / taut / taunt

‘Taught’ is the past tense of “to teach”

‘Taut’ means tight.

‘Taunt’ means to tease or goad

Mantle / mantel

‘Mantle’ is a cloak or wrap

 ‘Mantel’ is a shelf above a fireplace

Peak / peek / pique

‘Peak’ is a high point, such as a mountain peak

 ‘Peek’ means to look or peer at something.

 ‘Pique’ means annoyance or anger

Further / farther

‘Further’ is abstract (time, amount, feelings)

‘Farther’ is distance you can actually measure

 

So…do you have trouble with these? What are some words that trip you up?

Until next time…happy writing!

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

NEW RELEASE – Available April 15, 2016 – Pre-Order for only 99¢!

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

2 minute writing tip final

I am releasing an e-book with a collection of Two-Minute Tips I have shared on my blog. Now, you can have them in one convenient place for easy reference. Pre-Order price is 99¢ – Regular price will be $2.99.

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

*** 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. 

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

*** Find the Magic is FREE through Tomorrow, April 6th!! Click HERE 

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 Writing Tip – Dangling and Misplaced Modifiers + FREE Book on Plotting

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FYI:

FREE FTM 20572756

Click HERE to download to your Kindle for FREE

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

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ How to recognize and correct misplaced or dangling modifiers that change your intended meaning.

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’m surprised I haven’t already blogged about this, since I see it so frequently, even with very skilled/experienced writers. However, I searched my past posts and didn’t find it, so here goes. Dangling & Misplaced modifiers seem to be a little confusing for some. I will attempt to briefly and clearly explain. 

A dangling modifier is when a word or phrase of your sentence refers to or ‘modifies’ the incorrect thing. Some examples:

Trying to focus on the target, the gun shook in his hand. (It sounds like the gun is trying to focus)

Glancing down, a snake slithered across the path. (Sounds like the snake glanced down)

Looking up at the screen, the flight was delayed once again. (Sounds like the flight looked up at the screen)

Trying to catch up to the taxi, rain poured from the clouds, soaking my dress. (Sounds like the rain was trying to catch the taxi)

Once you recognize them, they are easily fixed: (There are several ways to fix them, I am just offering one option for each)

The gun shook in his head as he tried to focus on the target.

I glanced down. A snake slithered across the path.

Looking up at the screen, I discovered the flight was delayed once again.

As I tried to catch up to the taxi, rain poured from the clouds, soaking my dress.

A misplaced modifier is a word or phrase of your sentence that is so far away from the word or phrase it refers to, the meaning changes. Some examples:

Teresa sifted through the bin and spotted a pink girl’s shirt. (The ‘girl’ is not pink, the shirt is)

The damaged package lay on the desk with the sides caved in. (The sides of the box are caved in, not the sides of the desk)

His reputation was enough to strike fear, even without the fact that he’d just shot a man with a gun. (The man didn’t have a gun, that’s what was used to shoot the man)

The diamonds were too expensive in the store. (‘In the store’ seems to be modifying ‘expensive)

Possible fixes:

Teresa sifted through the bin and spotted a girl’s pink shirt.  

The damaged package with the sides caved in lay on the desk.

His reputation was enough to strike fear, even without the fact that he’d just used his gun to shoot a man. 

The diamonds in the store were too expensive.

Make sense? The problem, though, usually lies in recognizing them. Once you do, as I said, they are easy to fix. I actually had a misplaced modifier in my novel, Soul Seducer, which is being edited for publication with Edward Allen Publishing. Here is my faux paus that the wonderful Leah Price caught:

 “Wish I was that dedicated,” Audra said, motioning toward the woman with her chin.

It sounds like the woman had Audra’s chin. 🙂

 I corrected it to:

“Wish I was that dedicated,” Audra said, motioning with her chin toward the woman.

Now, isn’t that better? 

Until next time…happy writing!

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

NEW RELEASE – Available April 15, 2016 – Pre-Order for only 99¢!

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

2 minute writing tip final

I am releasing an e-book with a collection of Two-Minute Tips I have shared on my blog. Now, you can have them in one convenient place for easy reference. Pre-Order price is 99¢ – Regular price will be $2.99.

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

*** 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. 

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

*** Find the Magic is FREE through Tomorrow, April 6th!! Click HERE 

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

4 Comments

Filed under For Writers, Promo Tips, Tips from an Editor

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – Don’t Think It, Say It

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Giving your story more impact by giving your characters more dialogue

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.

Everyone knows readers like to read dialogue, so be sure to capitalize on every opportunity to put more words in their mouths. Also, it can often bring a little more impact and depth to a scene. So, why have your characters think something when they can actually say it?

Here are a few examples from some of my stories, the first two being published works where it’s too late, but looking back, my characters should have said it, not thought it…

End of Lonely Street:

As it is:

“I’ll have none of this nonsense at a school function. Rock and roll? Are you out of your mind?”

No rock and roll? No Everly Brothers or Little Richard or Buddy Holly? No….Elvis?

“But, sir. The kids are really looking forward to it. We’ve sold more than three-hundred tickets so far, and we just know we’ll sell more. That’s over three-hundred dollars for Miss Murdock’s expenses—well, once we deduct the operational costs. Many of the kids will want their money back if we don’t have rock and roll music at the dance. Besides, Miss Murdock already gave her approval, before she had to retire.”

Mr. Rivers crossed his hands on the top of his desk. “It doesn’t matter how many tickets you’ve sold. I’m in charge now, and I’m not going to coddle students like Miss Murdock did. I won’t have my kids exposed to that devil music, especially that vulgar, immoral Elvis the Pelvis.”

“Vulgar? Devil music?” Toby clenched her fists. It made her so angry when older people spoke that way about rock and roll, especially about Elvis. He was a nice boy, respectful and polite. Kind to his fans, to his mother. And he was the dreamiest. “Rock and roll is not devil music. It’s just a way for kids to have fun, to have their own—”

As it could have been:

“Vulgar? Devil music?” Toby clenched her fists. It made her so angry when older people spoke that way about rock and roll, especially about Elvis. “He’s a nice boy,  respectful and polite. He’s kind to his fans, to his mother.” And he was the dreamiest. “Rock and roll is not devil music. It’s just a way for kids to have fun, to have their own—”

There was really no point in only doing it in narrative. This gives her a little more backbone, I think.

From Death Notice:

As it is:

“I’m sorry,” he said softly.

I nodded. “It wasn’t their fault. Katie’s parents knew my parents were going out. Knew we were spending the night in the back yard. It was a safe neighborhood. They weren’t worried. But after…” I shrugged. “I guess they just needed someone to blame.”

“I’m sure they did,” Lane said, but I was barely aware of him speaking. I was lost in that time. Now that I had started, it all kept pouring out.

“Although Mom and Dad felt guilty, they were defensive when Katie’s parents accused them. It caused a huge rift, and they never spoke again. Funny, but Katie’s parents didn’t hold it against me or Josie. As a matter of fact, I became even closer to them as the years went by. Katie was an only child, and I guess it helped to have me around. My parents didn’t mind. They felt terrible about what happened. Almost guilty about the fact that they had four children left when the Broussards had none. My brothers were devastated. Especially Gabe, since he was left in charge. Coburn, as usual, was a rock, but Mitch and Gabe went to pieces. It had the opposite effect on each of them. Gabe, who’d been wild and out of control, settled down, became quiet. Wound up becoming a priest. Mitch went a little crazy for a few years. Got really heavy into drugs. Josie did, too. Only, Mitch came back.”

“Must have been horrible.”

“It was.”

We started junior high that year. It was miserable. I already had a reputation for being a little morbid since my dad was a mortician. After Katie’s death, rumors circulated about my family being cultists. About how we’d put some kind of curse on her. Some even said we’d sacrificed her in a ritual and eaten her flesh. Josie became a stoner and I became an outcast. My brothers, oddly, went unscathed. They were just too good-looking and had too much personality to let a little thing like ritualistic murder affect their popularity.

As it could have been:

“It was. We started junior high that year. It was miserable. I already had a reputation for being a little morbid since my dad was a mortician. After Katie’s death, rumors circulated about my family being cultists. About how we’d put some kind of curse on her. Some even said we’d sacrificed her in a ritual and eaten her flesh. Josie became a stoner and I became an outcast. My brothers, oddly, went unscathed. They were just too good-looking and had too much personality to let a little thing like ritualistic murder affect their popularity.”

I think this is not only less boring, being in dialogue, but it opens her up a bit to Lane, the guy she’s falling in love with.

Lastly, and very briefly, in my latest WIP, Evil Eye, I am writing a rough draft and I have a scene where my protagonist’s dad has been roughed up by some bad guys to whom he owes money. (He’s an addicted gambler/alcoholic). He wants Scarlet (my protagonist) to ask her estranged, criminal sister for the money. I wrote it like this:

Scarlet twisted a strand of hair and tucked it behind her ear. “I can cash in my retirement, but I’ll only get half of what you need. I’ll take that to them, let them know I’m a cop. Maybe I can convince them to settle for that. At least for now.”

Her dad groaned out a sound that was something between a laugh and a cry. “These people don’t make deals and they aren’t afraid of cops.”

“Do you have a better idea?” Irritation sharpened her voice.

“Yeah, I do. You can ask Ivory. She’d as soon spit on my corpse as to look at me, but she’d do anything to connect with you again.”

Scarlet would rather take a beating from Hector’s goons than speak with her sister, but was she willing to let her dad be killed? She let out a weary sigh. “Fine, I’ll talk to her, on one condition.”

Then I realized that  it might play better, have a little more impact and get across to her dad just how reluctant she is, if I turned it into dialogue: 

Scarlet snorted. “I’d rather take a beating from Hector’s goons than see Ivory.” But, was she willing to let her dad be killed? She let out a weary sigh. “Fine, I’ll talk to her, on one condition.”

What do you think? Is dialogue often better? We can’t always apply this. After all, we don’t want a story with nothing but dialogue. Plus, our characters often think things that definitely shouldn’t be spoken aloud. But, perhaps keep this in mind as you’re polishing, even if you don’t do so in the first draft. Are there things your characters can think that they’d be better off saying? 

Until next time…happy writing!

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NEW RELEASE – Available April 15, 2016 – Pre-Order for only 99¢!

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

2 minute writing tip final

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I am releasing an e-book with a collection of Two-Minute Tips I have shared on my blog. Now, you can have them in one convenient place for easy reference. Pre-Order price is 99¢ – Regular price will be $2.99.

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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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*** Find the Magic and the book I use for examples in FTM, Without Mercy, are both on sale for 1.50 each. Click HERE for Find the Magic and HERE for Without Mercy ***

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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