Tag Archives: Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tips

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – Does your Character Have a Mirror Moment?

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Make sure you include a critical middle moment for your character…

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

TWoMinuteTip

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

 

This is not actually ‘my’ tip, it came from James Scott Bell from his fantastic book, Super Structure: The Key to Unleashing the Power of Story  If you want to check out another of his writing books, he goes into more detail in: Write Your Novel From The Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsers and Everyone in Between

Super Structure is probably the best book on plotting I’ve ever read (including my own… :)). While the process is technically the same as in most of the other plotting books, the way the steps are laid out in this one clicked for me and made it easier to understand and follow. Even if you are a pantser and not a plotter, this book is fantastic. It teaches you how to basically go from signpost to signpost (14 in all), to create a tighter, more richly in-depth story that will keep readers engaged. He even speaks specifically to pantsers and plotters, explaining how both camps can apply his advice.

One of the most interesting things I discovered was what Bell calls the “Mirror Moment.” It is a moment, almost always halfway through a book or movie, where the character figuratively looks himself or herself in the mirror and states/questions/discovers what they need to do, how they need to change, in order to reach their goal, to survive. Some examples he gave were in Casablanca, halfway through the film, after Rick is mean and hurtful to Ilsa and she walks out, Rick is full of self-disgust and basically asks himself the question: “What have I become? What kind of man am I?” At that point, he knows he must change in order to preserve his humanity. Another example; about halfway through The Fugitive, Richard Kimball is holed up in an apartment, surrounded by police, with nowhere to run. He realizes that he’s going to die, and he wonders how he ever thought he could survive such odds. It was his mirror moment. Why did I think I could do this? I’m doomed… As it turns out, the police are there for someone else, Kimball escapes, and he now knows he has to make something happen in order to survive.

Bell suggests writers figure out the Mirror Moment for their main character before they write the book. If you do that, you will know what point the character must reach in order to change, and writing all the events up to and after this realization should come more easily.

I decided to take a look at a few of my books and see if my main characters had a mirror moment. In Devil’s Promenade, the below appeared about halfway through. My MC (main character) is intent on debunking a supernatural phenomenon, the Spook Light (which is a ‘real’ phenomenon in Northeast Oklahoma),  for a non-fiction book she’s writing. However, certain events unfold that make her realize she might be mistaken:

Brief excerpt:

Packing a blanket, a sandwich, cookies, a Coleman lamp, and coffee, I took the golf cart out to the road and parked on the shoulder, next to a wire fence. Nervous anticipation filled me at the thought I might actually see the spook light tonight. And, I now believed it, completely. How could I write a book debunking something that I knew to be true? Jillian would be furious. On the other hand, maybe she would be satisfied with a book written from another perspective, a book about true paranormal sightings? Not likely. Jillian didn’t have a reputation for being flexible.

I did know that I could no longer write the book I had planned to write. If ghosts were real then I couldn’t deny this spook light could possibly be real. I would stay out here all night if I had to. I wasn’t sure how I would keep from freezing to death in the process, but I was going to give it a shot.

The blackness around me was broken only by the blinking of the cell tower lights ahead and the glow of moonlight. In spite of my coat and the blanket I’d wrapped around my shoulders, frigid air seeped through my skin all the way to my bones. From a distance came the low rumble of cars and a keening sound I was growing accustomed to. The possibility of coyotes no longer frightened me—at least not as much as it had in the beginning—but the haunted wail still sent a shiver through my body.

The second paragraph ‘shows’ that she’s changed, it shows her new realization, and that her goal has now changed as well. Although I wrote this before I read Bell’s book, I suppose that, instinctively, we sometimes realize that a Mirror Moment is an important factor for the mid-way point of a book. I got lucky and just happened to include one. 🙂 I checked a few of my other books and didn’t find that specific moment, but going forward, I plan to pin it down in the beginning and see if it makes a difference in how the story flows and whether or not it makes the book stronger.

Try this…take one of your books (or a few), and flip to the middle. See if your character has a Mirror Moment, then let me know in the comments what you find. Come on, it’ll be fun! 🙂 

Until next time…Happy Writing!

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

Get your  two-minute tips all in one handy reference guide:

(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

11 Comments

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

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing (Marketing) Tip – A Week’s Worth of Goodreads Suggestions for Authors

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ A day by day Goodreads plan

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  haven’t been very active on Goodreads, but I am a member of several groups. The problem is, I do not participate in any of them. I intend to make some changes, and while I’m not sure how beneficial they will be in terms of marketing (and therefore you might be wondering why I’m sharing them now :)), I am still going to do it, because not only am I an author, I’m a reader. And, if participating in Goodreads never leads to sales, it will still give me the opportunity to meet other book lovers and discover new authors/books. Since we are all SO busy, we don’t have time to try all of these at once. My recommendation is to try one per day. In a week’s time, you will have dabbled in each one. 🙂

Here are some steps I plan to take…

Day One: Offer a giveaway. Goodreads provides the opportunity for authors to do a giveaway of a PRINT book. I did so a while back, and it introduced me to some new readers. My writer friend Kathy L Wheeler has been utilizing this promo tool recently, and she inspired me to try it again. https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/new

Day Two: Join a FEW select Goodreads groups, preferably related to the genre you enjoy reading and writing, and actually participate in discussions, rather than pushing your book. You will eventually make some nice contacts with whom you can share that you’re an author. This type of promo is more like a seed you plant and give it time to grow. Don’t drown it immediately, or it will die. (Nor should you give it to me to care for, because I am a notorious plant killer, and it’s demise will be imminent). As I mentioned above, I belong to too many groups. I am going to pare that list down and participate in just a few that truly interest me. A tip: Choose a group or groups that are recently active. I’ve noticed some groups haven’t had any activity in a year or more.

Day Three: Make sure you mark on your author profile that you accept author questions. And, it might be a good idea to ask other authors questions from time to time. This page will show you how to set up an author discussion:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/featured_groups

Day Four: Link your blog to Goodreads. This can be done from your author profile page. Be sure to make your blog description engaging.

Day Five: Update your bio from time to time and make it current and engaging.

Day Six: Recommend books. You can recommend books to your Goodreads friends, which is not only fun and will help you interact, but you are also helping out your fellow authors. https://www.goodreads.com/recommendations/new 

Day Seven: Update your ‘My Books’ frequently. My shelf is very old, and I need to pay more attention to actually listing the books I’m reading and have read. You can easily add and rate the books you have in your Kindle library: https://www.goodreads.com/amazon_purchases?source=r – Which reminds me…don’t be afraid to review on Goodreads and to ask for reviews there. Unlike on Amazon, your reviews will not be removed. And, the more reviews, the more attention a book will get. Even negative reviews will bring your book more attention. 

I know that some authors shy away from Goodreads because of nastiness and trolls, but I don’t think we should let them keep us away. They may or may not target you, but if you do what’s right and don’t push yourself on others, that shouldn’t be an issue. And, if it is, just ignore them. Intelligent, discerning readers can recognize trolls as well as we can.

So…what do you think? Have you or will you try any of these? If you have any tips or feedback, or just plain comments, be sure to share in the comment section.

Until next time…Happy Writing (and marketing)!

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

Get your  two-minute tips all in one handy reference guide:

(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

13 Comments

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

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – Visual Writing

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Using images and boards to visualize your story

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

TWoMinuteTip

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

Many writers are ‘visual,’ which can be very handy in our business. I am not as visual as I would like to be, but I have a few tricks to help me pictorialize my stories.

1 – Character Models: I MUST have a ‘model’ in mind for my main characters,and sometimes for secondary characters. They do not have to be celebrities or someone I know, and they don’t have to look like my character, they just need to personify them in some way. I have a current WIP (Pretentious: Martini Club 4 – The 1940’s) and an upcoming WIP (Evil Eye). Here are the models for my heroine and hero in Pretentious:

Nina Taggart - Jessica De Gouw Sylvester Morello - Raul Bova

I’m not familiar with either one of these actors, but they have the look, the demeanor I’m going for, just in these images.

Evil Eye is not a romance. I mainly needed an image for my protagonist, and I chose these two: (Different people, but the image I’m going for is a combo)

400px-B99_0119_MFumero

A beautiful police detective woman on the job with a gun

2 – Promo Images/Covers – Even if I don’t yet have an actual cover, I try to find examples of promo images and cover images that I might want for the story. I put something together in the early stages, so I can visualize the cover and the book seems more real. Here are a few for Evil Eye:

Evil Eye MEME

Eye of terrible man

3 – Image Board: I use a board to place images and notes I need to keep in mind as I’m writing. The notes might be about character traits or habits, scenes I’ll want to add but I’m not sure where, so they aren’t necessarily in my outline, and I also post notes about secondary characters I don’t want to forget about.

Here is an image of the Evil Eye board, although it’s not complete yet. I also like to include a few images of setting, which I have not yet done. (My color printer was running out of ink, so the images aren’t great, and the notes might not make sense to you, but they do to me. :))

IMG_0379

4 – Pinterest: Lastly, I create Pinterest boards of images, setting, etc. I’m afraid I don’t keep up with these as well as I should. I have not yet created one for Evil Eye, but I am working on becoming more active in the Pinterest arena.

Here is my Pinterest board for my latest release, Devil’s Promenade:

https://www.pinterest.com/aliciamdean/creating-devils-promenade/

Here is a board created by Kathy L Wheeler for our Martini Club 4 – The 1940’s series:

https://www.pinterest.com/kathylwheeler/martini-club-4-1940s/

 

Visual writing is not only fun, it really helps bring your story to life. If you haven’t tried it, I recommend you give it a shot. If you have tried it, please share some of your tips and methods in the comments.

Until next time…Happy Writing!

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

Get your  two-minute tips all in one handy reference guide:

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

2 minute writing tip final

 

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

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

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

16

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

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

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

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

Amazon: Click Here

9 Comments

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

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – Cut the Clunky

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Eliminate unnecessary phrases that make your writing ‘telling’ and wordy.

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.

 

A lot of writers, even seasoned ones, have a tendency to include unneeded ‘head’s up’ or qualifier type phrases, mostly at the beginning of sentences, that aren’t needed. Eliminating these phrases can make your writing tighter and less telling.

Some examples…

“You’ll never be the kind of woman I need, Victoria.”

Hurt by what he said, she burst into tears. “How can you be so cruel?”

See how the ‘hurt by what he said’ isn’t needed? We know that’s why she burst into tears.

He skirted the building, looking for a back way in. As he did, he drew his weapon.

‘As he did’ isn’t needed. We know he was doing it, so yes, he drew his weapon ‘as he did’ it.

Her gaze scanned the room, stopping on the photo resting on the mantel. In that moment, she realized whose house she was in.

Eliminate ‘In that moment’ – We know that’s when she realized.

Mary opened the door and stepped inside his office. As she entered, she held the stack of papers out to him.

No need for ‘as she entered’ because when she stepped inside, she’d already entered. 

 

That’s it, just some brief reminders of phrases that can clutter your writing and don’t add anything to the story.

Until next time…Happy Writing!

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

Get your  two-minute tips all in one handy reference guide:

(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

4 Comments

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

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – Creating Characters that Resonate

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Ways to make your characters memorable.

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 my weaknesses is characterization, so please don’t think that I think that I actually FOLLOW all of these suggestions. However, many of my Tuesday Tips, as I’ve mentioned, are things I need to work on myself. This is one of them.

Remember, characters to not only have to be likable, they have to be real, relatable, and memorable. And, please, please, do not make them perfect. Do you know any perfect people? Do you know those who THINK they are perfect? How irritating are they? See, you don’t want your characters to irritate your readers. 🙂

A few ways to create characters readers will want to hang out with:

  • Have a character do something. Don’t just let them sit around waiting for things to happen to them, have them make things happen. This is something I often fail at, but I am working to improve.
  • Characters should do the unexpected. Especially in the beginning. If you want readers to connect with your character and your story, you need to surprise and intrigue them. Although it’s one of my older books, I loved writing the opening scene of Heart of the Witch. The story opened in the POV of a serial killer who had a victim in his clutches. I’ve read tons of books like this, and don’t get me wrong, I enjoy them. But, with mine, I decided to change things up a bit. My killer was being all twisted and threatening and delighting in what he was about to do. However, the tables turned on him when his ‘victim’ used her witchy powers to set his genitals on fire. As it turned out, she was the heroine of the story. 
  • A symbol/trait/catch phrase/habit/object, etc, or any combination thereof (but don’t go overboard). Give your character something tangible and something intangible to make them more vivid and ‘real.’ Who can think of Scarlett O’Hara without thinking of ‘Fiddle dee-dee!’ and Tara?
  • Give your character contradictions. For example, in my Isle of Fangs series, I have a vampire hunter who is afraid of blood. That allows for some interesting (I hope) conflict.
  • Have them want something different from what they need. In Devil’s Promenade, Camille wants to prove the spook light legend to be false for the book she’s writing, but she needs to believe in the supernatural, so she can help a ghost find closure.

So…what do you think? Do you have some character creating tips to share with us?

Until next time…Happy Writing!

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

Get your  two-minute tips all in one handy reference guide:

(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 – Don’t Do What I Did

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Some examples of my errors and how to avoid the same.

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.

Without Mercy 07-09-16

Nothing can bring a story to life like listening to it on audio. I am currently in the process of having Without Mercy made into an audio book. My narrator is fantastic. She is so good that sometimes, I’m caught up in my own story, and I’m anxious to see what happens next, even though I know exactly what happens next. 🙂

On the down side, it also brings mistakes or poorly worded sentences to light in full blown clarity. Some of the issues I’ve ‘heard,’ and this doesn’t include just good old-fashioned typos and such, are…

Times when I use pronouns when I should use proper names:

1 – “Shut up.” Royce whacked the butt of the gun into his chin. Steve’s head jerked back, and he grunted in pain.

~ Sure, it’s obvious Royce wouldn’t whack the butt of the gun into his OWN chin, but this part still took me out of the story for a second. Would have been better off to word it as: 

“Shut up.” Royce whacked the butt of the gun into Steve’s chin. Steve’s head jerked back, and he grunted in pain.

2 – During the trip up, Aiden had removed the handcuffs, and Bishop made a few calls to Royce with updates, making him think all was going according to plan. He seemed convinced he had to help them for the safety of his family.

~ Better: 

Bishop seemed convinced he had to help them for the safety of his family.

3 – Bishop trailed behind him as if concerned he’d rob the place. “I don’t know what you expect to find.”

Aiden shrugged. “Maybe nothing.”

He rifled through dresser drawers, kitchen drawers, every potential hiding place.

~ Better: Aiden rifled through dresser drawers, kitchen drawers, every potential hiding place

It’s preferable to repeat names than to have readers pause or be confused, even a little.

Unnecessary information:

“Steve, I’m sorry, I told you, Emma’s ill, and I don’t think—”

“Steve!” Emma’s voice sang out from behind her, and China cringed. Damn, she was hoping to send him on his way before Emma found out he was here. “I missed you!”

If you read the entire section and know the context, it’s obvious that China was hoping Steve would leave without Emma seeing him. This part just sounds telling: she was hoping to send him on his way before Emma found out he was here. I should have eliminated that phrase completely. 

Poor word choice:

He was comfortable, a rock. Exactly what she needed.

A rock is comfortable? I don’t think so. Better: 

He was comfortable, solid, a rock. Exactly what she needed.

Misplaced modifier:

Moments later, coming from outside, he heard a grunt and a strangled yell.

~ Sounds like he was coming from outside. Better: 

Moments later, he heard a grunt and a strangled yell coming from outside.

Yes, I used a filter word, ‘heard’ as well. I could have done this:

Moments later, a grunt and a strangled yell came from outside

As many times as I went over this manuscript, those issues never occurred to me. But, with some distance and hearing it all read aloud, I’m picking up on things that need improvement. I know I’ve previously suggested reading aloud into a recorder, but I want to reiterate and show examples of issues you might not notice until you do.  So, if you can, set your story aside for at least a few weeks, a month is preferable. And, definitely read it aloud into a recorder. Or, ask someone else to read it for you. You’ll be amazed at what you pick up. You can also have a PDF read aloud to you, or you can have your Kindle read aloud to you. Those voices can be a little robotic, but it’s much less time consuming than reading it all yourself.  😉

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

15 Comments

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

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – Suggestions to Tweak Your Wording

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Words that can be rearranged or eliminated for better flow.

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

TWoMinuteTip

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

 

This is going to be very brief today, and probably not all that helpful. But, I notice this sort of thing often, either unneeded words or poorly arranged words. 

Examples: (I am aware, even with the ‘better’, that the below sentences could be improved further, but these are just quick samples of minor tweaks)

He had his hands cuffed in front of him. ~ Better: His hands were cuffed in front of him.

They both sat at the table. ~ ‘They’ is all you need, ‘both’ isn’t necessary. Better: They sat at the table.

With a sour expression on his face, he left the room. ~ Where else would his sour expression be but on his face? Better: With a sour expression, he left the room.

She refused to answer his calls, because she wasn’t going to go down that road again. ~ ‘Because’ is telling and sounds like you’re stopping the story to explain. Plus, ‘going to’ is unnecessary. Better: She refused to answer his calls. She wasn’t going down that road again.

“I wish you’d listen to reason”—with that he stood abruptly—“but I suppose that’s too much to expect.” ~ “With that” isn’t needed. Better: “I wish you’d listen to reason”—he stood abruptly—“but I suppose that’s too much to expect.”

She aimed toward the couple at the bar with her camera. ~ The couple at the bar didn’t have her camera. Better: She aimed her camera toward the couple at the bar .

In these last few, it’s not necessary to name the body parts. What else would you kick, nod, or shrug with?

He kicked him with his foot.

She nodded her head.

He shrugged his shoulders.

As I said, a brief one today. Just a suggestion to be aware of crowding your prose with unnecessary and obvious words. 😉

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

9 Comments

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

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!

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

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

 

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

*** 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

4 Comments

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