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Strike a Balance in First Impressions #AuthorToolboxBlogHop #amwriting

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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Live Everything Now by Rainer Maria Rilke

When you meet a new person, what makes you take interest?

  • Maybe it’s the passing conversation as you walk, where the topic is something that grabs your attention, or the humor in the way they say it that makes you laugh.
  • Maybe they actually saved you from some sad disaster, like toilet paper stuck on your shoe, or a piece of lettuce between your teeth before you go to that next meeting.
  • Maybe it’s the way they handle others you work with, scribble notes, ask questions, and do things to let you know you’re in their world, and both worlds matter.

In any case, what I’m trying to say is first impressions are a careful balance of action and conversation. Being somewhere that matters, and revealing something that makes one person stand out to the other.

This is also what I find true about writing.

Recently I’ve come across a great resource called “Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers,” by Mary Kole. Kole spells out plenty of tips in how to strike a balance in the introduction.

Action writers should consider the facts and the world building laced through the conflict.

Dialogue writers should consider a push into action and a cut off limit on information.

As invested readers, we want to move forward, with a certain level of intrigue. We want to know what makes a plot different to the character so we do care and turn the page.

One of my favorite analogies Kole made was with a stage: “Know that where you shine, that’s where your audience will look.”

She continues with the stage and states, “Use your spotlight powers to draw attention where you want it and to minimize the reader’s investment in things that don’t really matter.” (54)

Kole says even when the stakes are high they can’t be “generic.” The reader needs to know the world.

I think one of the last things I read that really stuck out about introductions is grounding the reader with every new scene and chapter like:

The next morning I stared out the window at the sun rising over the cold city. I still didn’t have the answer to that one dying question Lisa had asked me. Why do you care so much about someone who doesn’t give two craps about you?

 Kole says, “If you confuse us, you lose us.”

I agree. I’m in love with this resource. If you write young adult or middle grade, it’s definitely a must have resource.

Breathe. Chin up. Begin Again. #IWSG #AMWRITING

[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 feature other fabulous writing friends with me, Natalie Aguirre,Jennifer Lane, MJ Fifield, Lisa Buie-Collard, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!

Check out our IWSG homepage for recent news and events.  And as always, thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂 

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I needed an extra push to start writing again.

I recently received editor feedback on my second draft of my work in progress. The nine-page letter sent me on a roller coast of ups and down, smiles and frowns. My shoulders sank an inch with each of the seven main points I realized I still needed to change and consider.

I’m coping. I’m smiling again.  Seven points isn’t all that bad, right?

If your lost and floating someplace away from your words like I am, I’ve found some inspiring writing thoughts to get us both grounded again:

“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”
― Jodi Picoult

“Yes,” I can’t help thinking to myself, even though I’m still glaring at the computer monitor.

I think all writing is a disease. You can’t stop it.”
— William Carlos Williams

I’m lifting my rib cage a little higher and a one-sided smile tugs at my mouth. Of course I’ll write and revise. I have no other choice.

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
— Anne Frank

I’m rolling my shoulders back. My mind begins to race with possibility.

A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”
— Richard Bach

I’m lifting my chin, and now I might be popping my knuckles and wiggling my fingers super excited, eager to begin one of the seven points at a time.

“Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river.”
― Lisa See

Wow! Just wow!

Okay. I’m convinced. I have four whole days of vacation ahead of me.

I’m ready.

How about you?

Minor Forces of Change #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop #amwriting

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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How often have you said, “They’ll never change.”

Maybe you met someone in grade school, your friendship waned, you became friends again, only to fight and separate for like the fifteen-hundredth time.

Maybe you have a parent who you could never make understand what you were saying. Maybe they’ve said back, “I’m too old to change.”

Maybe a teacher you met got stuck in an educational pattern afraid of new curriculum or props. In any case, what’s true in our worlds may also be true in writing.

This week, I’m focusing on a writing question on character arc and minor characters. Are arcs necessary for characters beyond the protagonist?

Personally, I don’t tend to spend a lot of time thinking about how I can make minor characters change. If they do change because my MC does, then great. If not, *scratching my head* I’m not really sure if the need is there to the same depth as the protagonist.

To address my question, I cruised some of my writing sources and found a great chapter on the topic by K.M. Weiland in Creating Character ARCS: The Masterful Author’s Guide to Uniting Story Structure, Plot, and Character Development.

At the very back of the book I found exactly what I hoped to find:

“…Every prominent minor character should have an arc. Just not a full arc.”

So what qualifies as a minor arc?

According to Weiland and her screenwriting resources, minor arcs should include:

  • Goals
  • Motive
  • Reaction to goals
  • Lastly, are these goals fulfilled in the end?

As far as I can tell, these minor arc qualifiers seem real to life.

Weiland later states, “Your protagonist’s arc is the story (and if it’s not, then he’s not the protagonist). All other arcs must be subordinate to that arc. (254-255)

From what I gathered in reading the chapter on minor character arcs, the basis of your decision should be theme. All minor character arcs should be tied to a goal, a conflict, and a resolution relevant to the same themes as the main character.

Happy Hop Day 🙂

Facing First Person Demons #IWSG #AMWRITING

[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 feature other fabulous writing friends: Diane Burton, Kim Lajevardi, Sylvia Ney, Sarah Foster, Jennifer Hawes, and Madeline Mora-Summonte!

Check out our IWSG homepage for recent news and events.  And as always, thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂 

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First person narrative is my favorite story to read. Especially when done well. And by doing well, I mean while I’m reading, I feel myself lying, crying, making mistakes and biting my nails with wrong choices right along with the character.

This month’s IWSG Question asks: of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?

Young Adult Literature seems to resonate best with this style. Even if the character is a young character, the strifes and struggles are all too human. No matter the world the book builds, Young Adult draws me in. I relate.

And that’s a great story.

A few months ago, I wrote a post on artificial intelligence bots used in marketing. I explored one, and interacted on Facebook with the Bot. It found me a book. I admit, I didn’t buy in, but now I’m reading it. I’m loving it. It’s first person and brilliantly done.

The Young Elites by Marie Lu.

Heard of it?

I highly recommend the read if you like magical worlds, misfits and lots of human struggle.

Happy IWSG Day everyone. My insecurity this month? Polishing up edits. I made it through a second draft, but I keep rereading before the editor gets it. I keep finding more and more places to tighten sentences and describe scenes. How do you know if it’s good enough?

I don’t know. I guess you just have to trust.

A last thought for the day is one by Helen Keller:

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”