New Story, New Tips #AuthorToolboxBlogHop #writetip

Author Toolbox Blog Hop

The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.

Thank you Raimey!

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Or at least a refresher on some old ones 🙂

I imagine we all have our own ways when we want or need to generate a new story totally different from anything we’ve ever written in our pasts.

In my own previous tips, I’ve talked about flash fiction and idea generation based on quick pictures I select on pinterest then combine two to three to get my own visuals rolling strong.

Recently, I’ve come across a new resource called The Marshall Plan Workbook: Writing Your Novel From Start to Finish, by Evan Marshall.

I wish I had this planner when I first started. It answers so many basic questions I clumsily stumbled through. And even if you have your own favorite resource, I thought this one is definitely worth mentioning today.

Where to begin? Genre. Research what the market requires and then the story may begin:

Loosely Define the “Lead”

“A novel must be about one person’s quest to attain a goal and it must be clear that this person’s actions are of primary importance in the story.” (Marshall, 35)

So what does loosely mean? According to The Marshall plan, know the age and sex of the character based on the genre and what is expected in the genre. Some genres may care more than others, like Romance. Romance genres tend to have more female protagonists then male.

Define the Crisis

What event occurs to “upset the normal order of things for the subject of the story?”

We need to know our character’s goal to fix this crisis.

What I really liked from Marshall’s book was the Suppose List to help generate the crisis of the story. I liked the permission given to generate any and all ideas from the news, our lives, people watching or interviews we conduct. I personally started with researching current news in the city where I plan to base my entire story.

I Googled the local city and found a daily newspaper website. Of course it wanted me to subscribe and though I wasn’t interested in paying a subscription for all the stories, I did find the same news on Facebook, which in my opinion was even better.

Keep a Trends Journal

For me, Scrivener will be my hub instead of an actual journal. I’ll use the index card set up and the research section to house pictures, fashion, and news stories I find of interest. Also important to do to help write for the senses is a character photo collage. Then develop a list of mannerisms from studying the pictures and let your mind wander about backgrounds and pasts. All of these mannerisms should relate back to your “Suppose” brainstorm.

Story Goal Worksheet

I’ve seen quite a few story goal worksheets. The one in the Marshall Plan has some specific evaluative checklists to consider after each goal section you brainstorm.

My favorite checklist questions:

_ Will upset lead’s life enough so that he/she must try to solve it?

_ Most logical under the circumstances?

_ If Lead fails, he/she will suffer terrible consequences?

Lastly, Research

Marshall talks about an excellent point worth noting, “When Not to Do Background Research.”

Marshall questions the length and time of a person’s research relative to the length in planning a believable and intriguing story to the reader of the genre. It’s suggested if we know nothing about a topic and we have a story deadline to meet, we might want to pick something else to write in order to make a year deadline for a publication.

There are so many other wonderful worksheets for specific focus of all the players in your book. Next month, I’ll go over thoughts on romance, and how to know if it’s important to the story or not. 🙂

Start Today, No Matter What #IWSG #nevergiveup #Writetip

[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome co-hosts are: Me, Sandra HooverLee Lowery, and the hilarious Susan Gourley!

There’ something very exciting you should know. Check out our IWSG homepage. Find out the news on the theme of the next anthology. I’m terribly excited! And as always, thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂

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The beginning by plato

“Where should I start? I texted my old Jiko this question, and she wrote back this: … You should start where you are.”
― Ruth OzekiA Tale for the Time Being

When you begin something new and different, it’s a silent mystery …

… unknown stories and characters unfold and develop across your page.

You set first deadlines. You’re excited when you meet them. Then before you know it you’ve done what you’ve set out to do so then what?

This month’s IWSG question asks: What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?

Back in 2008, I made plenty of mistakes. You know what? I don’t regret a thing in the writing process. I do have one wish, and a wish isn’t really a regret, right? In any case,  I wish I’d been armed with more information about the industry and today, it’s easier then ever to find out what works and what expectations publishers have for submissions. So here’s a list of my five top tips, and I must say I am by no means an editor.

  1. Genre word count.
    Over a year ago, I attended a writing workshop and an agent mentioned my story synopsis was interesting, then she asked me if I knew what the standard word count for Young Adult was. I had no idea a cap existed and my word count would have sent a flurry of query rejections being 10,000 words over acceptable submissions.
  2. Wordiness Hurts more then Helps.
    Be careful about describing a place or character too many times. Unless of course something changes drastically to change the mood or hint at the growth. Also combine setting with character action with the use of strong verbs and adjectives relative to the character.For Example from Victoria Schwab’s This Savage Song:

    • “Still humming, Kate returned to the liquor cabinet on the pew and uncorked the various bottles, anointing the seats, row after row, trying to make the contents last. She saved Mother Alice’s whiskey for the wooden podium at the front. A Bible sat open on top, and in the moment of superstition, Kate spared the book. Lobbing it out the open front door and onto the grass. When she stepped back inside, the damp, sweet smell of alcohol assaulted her senses. “
    • In this example, we see not only strong verbs and adjectives, but they match with the character’s superstitious nature and a hint of where she’s been. Religious boarding school. And she’s trying as hard as she can to get out.
  3. Telling and Showing Action Scenes
    I can’t begin to explain how difficult this task was as I started writing. So many people told me about it, but I couldn’t see it. Not until a fellow writing and author friend took my story and shared examples from it with me, then gave me a showing way to write the sentence. Finally, I got it.
  4. Effective Use of Dialogue Tags
    Said and asked are correct dialogue tags to use. They’re natural transitions and become invisible to the reader:
    “Sara’s head dipped for a fast moment in class, but she caught herself. She pinched her arm and willed her eyes open larger, up and down to stay awake.
    “Rough night?” Betsy asked, gripping the back of Sara’s chair.
    Sara elbowed her back and sat up straight. “Understatement of the year,” she said.
  5. Misplaced Modifiers
    I learned about modifiers in a corporate writing training class. There are things called dangling modifiers and even misplaced modifiers. Be aware. The use or absence of them clouds the clarity of your writing.

So that’s it for today. Wow! A lot, I know, my head is spinning 🙂

The important thing to note is you have to do what you love. Write. Set deadlines. Write some more because you love it. Because you need to do something for you, even if it’s only 5 minutes a day 🙂

Happy IWSG day everyone! I’ll be jumping around visiting you too 🙂

P.S. The article I used for tips:

https://blog.reedsy.com/six-common-writing-mistakes/

 

 

Whose Voice Matters Most? #AuthorToolboxBlogHop #writetip #writing

Author Toolbox Blog Hop

The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.

Thank you Raimey!

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Have you ever read a book and wondered if a supporting character should really be the one telling the story and not the one chosen for the book?

Secondly, I wonder how we writers should decide on a character and are we ever blind to one voice because this character resonates better to our own preference versus the success of a better storyteller closer to the mystery in the plot?

I’m not sure. What I do know is a great exercise I’m been using these past couple of days to really flush out the theme of my own book in a 5th or 6th draft. It’s helping me question my own choice.

In a post by the beginningwriter.com, the author states POV is “who’s eyes we see the action through, who’s head we’re inside of, and who’s feelings we experience as that character feels them.”

The author goes on to say, “This is why  it’s so important to choose the right POV character for your story. It will “determine what you tell, how you tell it and, often, even what the action means.”

As I’m working with 90 Days to Your Novel with my revisions, I have been experimenting with the following writing exercises:

1. I’ve chosen three characters from my story and I first wrote a quick scene illustrating a powerful emotion in spine tingling situations all on the same day of pivotal event which shakes up a sleepy seaside town and launches a mystery of why the captain did what he did and how he managed to disappear. This exercise taught me several things about the story. I learned what different clues each character noticed, the dejavu experiences in some and the separate unique reactions, body language cues and emotions spiraling out from this scene and character. I almost fell in love with another character’s version of the mystery and am now scratching my head. Can I drop it into the book somehow with the same impact? Again, I’m not sure but what else do I have to lose?

2. Then I took these three characters and I dropped them in the same scene per the exercise in Domet’s book on POV and character. One character experienced a life changing or mood altering paradigm. One character envied the change. Then the third character, make them natural to the situation.

3. Lastly, reflect on the differences. Write out a paragraph for each scene you review and ask these lovely questions from Domet:

  • Which perspective did you find the most natural?

  • Which perspective offers the most interesting vantage point?

  • If you started your novel today, which character would you pick to narrate the story?

Good luck with your writing. Next time I’ll let you know what I decided about my POV.

Final thought:

“You must look within for value, but must look beyond for perspective.”

~ Denis Waitley

Be at Odds with the Odds #IWSG

[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome hosts are: Nicki Elson, Juneta Key, Tamara Narayan, and Patricia Lynne!

And thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂

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The odds shouldn't scare you.

In the beginning, because there is always a beginning, in my little writer’s mind I wrote for me. I wrote to prove to myself I could form words and craft paragraphs and pages of word paintings. I wrote young fantasy dreams to feel important in my little fun worlds. I wrote for acceptance, adventure and to fly because what 7-year old wouldn’t want to be a bird and let the breeze carry you far above the ground where you could see it all and feel it all so differently?

This month’s IWSG question asks: What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time (if at all)?

Elon Musk, a brilliant businessman has it right. I wish I had it as right as he does, but we are exactly where we are supposed to be. And today, yes,  my goals have dramatically shifted. Instead of hiding my words, I want to share my worlds with young people. Instead of fearing what other’s may think, I aim to get my novels off the ground and out there and welcome helpful feedback. One thing is still true, I’ll shoot for the sky and hope for the best. I’ll work for exactly where I want to be, selling my books, teaching young kids how to dream and believe, and to do.

Goals shift. We shift. I’ll never give up though and neither should you 🙂