Tag Archives: Writing 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

A Plethora of 99 cent ebooks!!

99 Cent Ebooks galore

Check out our monthly list of 99 cent reads. All different genres, all great bargains! 

***Just click on the cover to be taken to the purchase page.

PLEASE CONFIRM BEFORE ORDERING!!! – We are not responsible if prices are no longer 99 cents

Hope you discover some enticing reads!

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

thicker than water 310_BO1,204,203,200_

A deadly, long ago secret and an old love resurface in this short romantic suspense. 

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

1

Take a naughty trip around the world this summer!

Naughty Escapes: Eleven Naughty Vacation Getaways including BBW, BDSM, Contemporary, Dark Fantasy, M/M, Ménage, Paranormal, & Shapeshifter romances from bestselling authors known as The Naughty Literati!

Check out the Naughty Literati Bookshelf for more 99¢ anthologies! http://naughtyliterati.com/naughtybookshelf/

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

2

She’s lucky he’s a charmer; he’s lucky she doesn’t bite … much. Lindi Parker works hard at being human, not an easy task for a snake shifter. She has no desire to search for others like her—until a new case changes everything. When Lindi learns that she she’s not the only shapeshifter in the world, she also realizes she might be next on a killer’s list. 

Find Margo Bond Collins here: http://www.margobondcollins.net

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

3

My name is Zoe Tempest. Don’t let this blonde-haired, blue-eyed Barbie Doll exterior fool you. I’m a vampire hunter.

Find Sandra here: http://www.amazon.com/Sandra-Cox/e/B002BM3AKC/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1468509031&sr=1-2-ent

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

4

Kidnapped by aliens? By mistake?

When wise-cracking Jessie Wyndom is beamed from her farmhouse in Ann Arbor, MI aboard an Alliance starship, she meets a regular Mr. Spock. Captain Marcus Viator’s well-organized life is turned upside down by a free-spirited Terran. Fate brings them together. Treachery tears them apart.

Find Diane Burton here:  http://amzn.com/e/B00683MH5E

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

5

Devlin Sawyer, a retired Navy SEAL turned gun club owner meets Summer Riley, a yoga instructor and also a powerful elemental witch, when she enrolls in a women’s weapon’s class.  Their attraction is immediate.  But both have dark secrets they may not be willing to share. Will love find a way?

On sale for .99 from July 22 – July 29.

Find Tena Stetler here:   http://www.tenastetler.com

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

6

When Detective Brittany Russell goes undercover to expose a murderer, she had no idea what she was getting herself into—especially after meeting wealthy businessman, Austin Reeder…who happens to be a suspect.

Marie Higgins’ blog – http://mariehiggins84302.blogspot.com

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

7

Lindsay Lennox, worries she’ll never have the chance to meet a man and fall in love. Disaster strikes when she meets a handsome sea captain and is mistakenly whisked across the sea to England. Unfortunately, the devastating Captain Braxton proves more temptation than her lonely heart can resist.

Marie Higgins – http://mariehiggins84302.blogspot.com

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

8

Time Travel / Erotic Romance

With visions of battle still fresh in his mind, Roane Bradfield returns home to find the woman he loves betrothed to another. He corners Kendrick Moreland at Dowager Huggins’ Grand Ball and whisks her into the secluded library. One way or the other, he will know the reason the duplicitous beauty cut him from her life when she promised to wait forever.

Keta’s Amazon Page – http://www.amazon.com/Keta-Diablo/e/B002BODURI/

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

9

Western Romance Boxed Set

From firefighters, bronco busters, and wealthy ranchers to bad boys, we have them all for you! If you’ve ever wanted to fall in love with a sexy, alpha cowboy of today…now’s your chance.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~    

11

Gillian traveled to the Dalmatian Coast to close the door on tragedy. But an adventurer with a private yacht may be just the type of enticement she can’t resist…for better or for worse.

Find Carly Carson at http://www.carlycarson.com

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

12

High school sweethearts meet 12 years later & sparks still fly. Both are shocked to learn the truth of their breakup & who was responsible. Is it too late to rekindle the love once shared or will their dreams be shattered forever?

Find Diana Stout at http://sharpenedpencilsproductions.com/

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

 13

Heartwarming and sassy romance… Sparks fly in this small-town romance when a city girl arrives in Whistle Stop determined to strike a deal that will save her father’s company from bankruptcy. But she hasn’t counted on clashing with a sexy but stubborn cowboy who has no intention of selling his ghost town–or on falling in love… 

Find Jennifer Faye here:  http://jenniferfaye.com/ 

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

14

Harmony Duprie enjoyed her quiet life as an internet researcher until her arrest for drug trafficking. Cleared of all charges, she needs to find out what is behind the series of events that throws her life into chaos and why. And she better take it seriously, like her life depends upon finding the right answers.

Find P.J. MacLayne here: Facebook: https://facebook.com/pjmaclayne

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

15

Ljluka is the enforcer for the Vargas Dynasty, and he’s up against his most intriguing enemy on his quest for the Book of Life. Nalini is sent from a secluded harem to kill the immortal Prince, but that would foil destiny’s plan for them to be together.

Find Elizabeth Alsobrooks at: http://www.elizabethalsobrooks.com

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

16

Prince Nicholai must participate in the Betram ritual, a sexual rite for all unbonded Stiyaha of age. Hidden behind a mask a certain honeyed female takes him by surprise, but as much as he longs to forget her, he can’t, for she’s unforgettable.

Find Rosalie Redd at: http://www.rosalieredd.com

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

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NEX4Z5Q/

17

A French MBA grad with a magical legacy. An investor in search of his great-grandfather’s gravesite. Can these two independent freethinkers work together to prevent chaos from triumphing and find love in time in the labyrinth of roses?

Connect with Beth Barany at her site http://author.bethbarany.com/ .

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

18

Sarah Redman, a bank project manager, wants adventure in her life, and trainer extraordinaire, Josh Kleine, needs to pull off a successful presentation at a Paris conference to land more clients and save his company. Together they may hold the key to the strange disasters striking the City of Lights. Can Sarah unravel the secrets of the city and of her heart in time to save them all?

Connect with Beth Barany at her site http://author.bethbarany.com/ .

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

19

She must choose between a life of adventure with the man she loves or a settled, secure life with her betrothed. Flora Vass forced Gavin Munro out of her heart and mind until he returned to Scotland after an adventurous five years in the New World. Gavin leaves no doubt he returned to make the bonnie Flora his own and intends to fight for her.

Connect with Brenda: http://www.historicalheartbeats.com

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

20

Seventeen magical stories from NY Times and USA Today bestsellers and award-winning authors that will entice you to the darker side of faerie tales! Discover this anthology full of adventure, dark powers, and ultimately the enduring power of true love.

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

519ICE1TAsL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_

Christmas this year feels full of loss and strife, but a star in the East, an abandoned child and a quest for holiday cheer might just convince these two that love is the best gift of the Season.

Find Deb Marlowe, the Half Moon House series and fun features at www.DebMarlowe.com 

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

61usgvrUacL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_

It’s warring nations, dueling philosophies and the battle of the sexes as American-born Miss Liberty Baylis takes on Simon Lansing, Viscount Brodham, in the fight for her friend’s happiness.

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

51yQC54hNoL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_

Smart-mouthed Meg Quinn and former Marine Easy MacLain, co-guardians of a dying woman’s seven-year-old son, are drawn into a search for a missing veteran and soon find out the truth about life, love … and murder.

Connect with Edie Ramer at http://edieramer.com/

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

23

Sometimes in order to find yourself, you must become someone else!

She’s a runaway bride…he’s looking for a wife.

Connect with Sylvia McDaniel at www.SylviaMcDaniel.com

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

24

Tappe Vanderberg, Kate’s childhood friend and high school sweetheart, has sold his lucrative internet security business to return to Little Heron Shores and fulfill his dreams of owning a marina. Now the handsome Dutch-born businessman is making waves with single women all over town—including loony, post mistress Eva May Poole. Can he find away to shake the dingbat post mistress and convince bistro owner Kate to give him a second chance and the sweet kiss he remembers from an earlier time?

Connect with Judy: http://judyanndavis.blogspot.com/

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

25

Covert CIA agent Matt Kincaid, back in his hometown, finds the girl he left
behind, Janey Blackmon, waiting to ask about her missing brother. Janey hasn’t
forgotten her first love but Matt can’t divulge government secrets. When they
find themselves trapped by a flood, will their second chance turn into more than
just dancing in the dark?
Find Virginia Kelly here: 
http://www.amazon.com/Virginia-Kelly/e/B001KDD8FK/

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

26

Getting him in handcuffs was the easy part… Keeping the star system’s most wanted psy-criminal out of her heart might be too much, even for the system’s best bounty huntress.

Find Athena at http://athenagrayson.com and at

http://www.amazon.com/author/athenagrayson

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

27

What if a life-changing letter arrived in today’s mail? Now imagine it leads to love and adventure! From the northern British Isles, across the mainland of Europe, and on to Turkey, nine international Award-winning and Multi-published Romance Authors share spellbinding love stories told across time.

Connect with the World Romance Writers: http://worldromancewriters.blogspot.com/

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

28

In a small southern town where everyone normally knows each other’s business, veteran detective Larry Robbins must solve the disappearance of eighty-year-old widower, African-American George Beason.

Connect with Cathy: http://www.amazon.com/Cathy-Perkins/e/B006K0IKUQ

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

 

510KdoDACSL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_

Witty banter, suspense, romantic comedy, and fantasy and paranormal elements make for an entertaining romp set in the present day, but touching on history from medieval Chartres to the Civil War. It’s a fairy tale where “Da Vinci Code” meets “Murder She Wrote. 

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

51GzOI0+puL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_

I’m having wild, superpowered adventures despite being an absolute beginner. Reluctantly, I’ve embraced my destiny as a superheroine.  Big problem: I have no clue how to save the day.

Connect with me at http://www.irenevartanoff.com

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

31

Can a famous pop star right the wrongs of her past and embrace the life she was born to live?

Corinne has returned home not only for the offer of a lifetime but to change her life. She’s sick of the secrets and lies she was forced to show the world in order to become a pop culture phenomenon.

Now is the perfect time to reveal her true self to her fans. But it might be too late to right the wrongs of the past and embrace the life she was born to live.

Lesbian Rock Star Romance for only .99 cents! 

For more great books by KT Grant, check out her works at https://ktgrnt.wordpress.com/

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

33

All bodyguard Tess Miller wants is a vacation. But when a wounded stranger stumbles into her isolated cabin in the Arizona mountains, Tess becomes his lifeline. And in the days to come Shane Burkhart will need a guardian angel while being hunted by someone who wants him dead.

Find Margaret Daley here: http://margaretdaley.com/all-books/

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

2 minute writing tip final

NON-Fiction Writing Book: A ton of quick and helpful writing tips for the busy author.

 

6 Comments

Filed under Ebook Deal

Writing Tip: The Middle Third by Author Michele Drier – Plus, her Vampire Novel, SNAP

Please help me welcome Michele Drier with an informative article and her latest release.

Thank you for joining me, Michele! Your series looks awesome…right up my alley. 🙂

SNAP_I_Vampire_eBook[974457]

The Middle Third

Most writers know the Dreaded Middle Third. The roughly one-third in the middle of the book where you can get bogged down in telling the story.

You start with a bang, It’s a new story, you’re developing the characters (and you like them!), you have action, maybe a new romance, a dash of fear, all the things that get your adrenaline moving

The last third, well you know the ending and it’s fun tying up all the loose ends, resolving conflicts, settling into a relationship.

But that middle third. This section is where you build the bridges to get from the excitement of a new adventure to the resolution at the end. It’s many times the crux of the book. The characters get depth, sometimes so much they take over. The tension increases. Does Character A know the background of Character B…let alone how s/he’s overcome it? Or is it still there, sabotaging every move?

Will Character C really go in that small, creepy basement?

Will they or won’t they fall in love?

What challenges raise their ugly heads? How many fears are standing in the way of a happy ending?

All good stuff. Harder to write.

What happens when Character B takes off with the narrative and you find that she’s developed an aversion to all those traits that intrigued her about Character A? Wow, this feels like a much stronger story and you like her new, feisty personality. It’ll never get her from the first to the last third, though.

Do you leave her like this, go back and rewrite the first third? How will that change affect the other characters? The plot?

Will the resolution change?

Probably plotters have a little easier time with the middle third, but for pantsers like me, one has to tread carefully. You give the characters space to tell their story, guiding them toward the resolution, but you don’t always know until you’ve written it, what’s going to happen.

Will the protag get pushed off the boat? Will an old lover show up? Is there abuse in the past? What’s he lying about? How will this affect the relationship?

It’s more difficult writing the middle third. A lot of times it’s like juggling four, five, six balls or kintting a sweater without a pattern. Oops, I have three sleeves! This is the time, though, where you can let the plot grow organically, following faint paths of desire, defeat, dishonesty, deceit.

I’m deep in the middle third of my thirteenth book, a stand-alone psychological thriller with a working title of Ashes of Memory.  It’s different from anything else I’ve written and juggling the balls is trickier. I believe one can learn from any experiences, no matter how weird, no matter how old. And this exercise is teaching me not to be complacent, stay open to new ideas. I have one character who will turn out to be the opposite of what he appears and I’ve never written a villain like this before.

I’ll finish it this summer and I’m hoping to emerge at the end a stronger plotter, stronger writer, stronger story-teller.

How are you planning to spend your summer vacation?

mybiopix[1740990]

Michele Drier was born in Santa Cruz and is a fifth generation Californian. She’s lived and worked all over the state, calling both Southern and Northern California home.  During her career in journalism—as a reporter and editor at daily newspapers—she won awards for producing investigative series.

Her Amy Hobbes Newspaper Mysteries are Edited for Death, (called “Riveting and much recommended” by the Midwest Book Review), Labeled for Death and Delta for Death.

Her paranormal romance series, The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, has received “must read” reviews from the Paranormal Romance Guild and was the best paranormal vampire series of 2014. The series is SNAP: The World Unfolds, SNAP: New Talent, Plague: A Love Story, Danube: A Tale of Murder, SNAP: Love for Blood, SNAP: Happily Ever After?, SNAP: White Nights,  SNAP: All That Jazz, SNAP: I, Vampire .

Visit her webpage, www.micheledrier.com

facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/AuthorMicheleDrier or her Amazon author page, http://www.amazon.com/Michele-Drier/e/B005D2YC8G/

 

31 Comments

Filed under Author Blog Post, For Writers, New Release

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

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

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

TWoMinuteTip

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

 

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

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

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

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

Devil’s Promenade on Headtalker

Here are some differences between the two sites:

THUNDERCLAP

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

Requires a minimum of 100 supporters

Platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr

Approval can take 3 days

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

HEADTALKER

Is completely free

Requires a minimum of 25 supporters

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

Platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn. 

HeadTalker offers advice on managing a successful campaign.

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

Hours of operation – 24/7

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

Until next time…Happy Writing (and marketing)!

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

NEW RELEASE – Now Available 

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

2 minute writing tip final

 

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

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

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

16

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

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

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

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

Amazon: Click Here

15 Comments

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

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

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

 

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

 

TWoMinuteTip

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

 

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

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

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

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

EXAMPLE 1:

Scene note:

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

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

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

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

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

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

What was it?

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

Final:

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

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

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

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

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

What was it?

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

EXAMPLE 2: (an even shittier draft)

Scene note:

First dinner/meeting Declan.

Scene draft (partial): 

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

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

They will have more conversation.

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

After dinner, dessert.

Final:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Miam-a,” Declan said.

“I beg your pardon?”

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

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

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

I smiled back. “Right?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time…Happy Writing!

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

NEW RELEASE – Now Available 

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

2 minute writing tip final

 

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

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

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

16

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

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

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

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

Amazon: Click Here

7 Comments

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

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – Writing Back Cover Blurbs and Tag Lines

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

 

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

TWoMinuteTip

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

 

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

********

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

Movie Taglines from Tagline Guru

********

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

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

********

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

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

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

Until next time…Happy Writing!

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

NEW RELEASE – Now Available 

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

2 minute writing tip final

 

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

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

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

16

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

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

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

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

Amazon: Click Here

8 Comments

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

Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – It’s Not Writer’s Block…It’s Writer’s Panic

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

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

 

TWoMinuteTip

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time…Happy Writing!

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

NEW RELEASE – Now Available 

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

2 minute writing tip final

 

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

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

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

16

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

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

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

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

Amazon: Click Here

10 Comments

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

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

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

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

 

TWoMinuteTip

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

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

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

1) The Scooby Doo Effect 

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What do you mean, for us?”

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

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

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

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

2) Incognito Villains

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

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

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

“Get in,” the figure said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Get in,” I said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time…Happy Writing!

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

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 – Fabulous Ebook Contest – International Digital Awards

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

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

TWoMinuteTip

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

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

Why should you enter? Let me tell you…

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

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

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

If you WIN, you receive the following…

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

Novel Paperweight prize Short-Novella paperweight prize

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

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

  • Multiple Tweets and Facebook posts 

  • Featured on a special IDA Winners Pinterest Page

Why wouldn’t you want to enter??? 

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

Detailed information on entering can be found here:

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

 

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

Entry: Non DRM PDF as email attachment

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

  • Contemporary

  • Erotica

  • Historical

  • Inspirational

  • Paranormal

  • Suspense

  • Young Adult

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

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

Judges: Readers, including other unpublished and published authors.

Comments from past entrants:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time…happy writing!

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

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

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

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

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

1 Comment

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