The World Inside a Book

6a0148c76e8722970c0147e3cfb865970b-300x300Reading is a huge part of my life. I have my parents to thank for that, because they always encouraged us to read and value books. They read to my two brothers and me when we were small, and there were always books in the house. When I buzzed through my school’s and community library’s collection of “age appropriate” books, I’d pick up whatever my mom or dad had started and left on the coffee table, taking care to keep the bookmark at their place. If there was a book they didn’t want me to be reading, they knew to keep it out of my sight! (Most of the time.) Continue reading

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Flash Fiction in Triplicate

file00066854965When Friday afternoon comes around, I’m ready to play a little. Lately that means hopping over to JD Mader’s website and “posting my two” as we’ve started calling it. Grab a timer – mine’s been failing me lately – write for two minutes (usually) and post it in the comments. Even if you’re not into writing exercises, check out all the great writers who are just killing this thing week after week. Anyway, I’m not sure what caught me by the tail this time—a little nostalgia, or wondering what happened to Aunt Sylvie and her cats, perhaps?—but when I started, these three pieces popped out. [Edited just a tad for spelling and eye-rolling grammar errors.] Continue reading

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The Writing Process Redux in E Minor

Strange golden smoke taking away from coffee seedsMake more coffee…running out of coffee…double-check if “double-check” should be hyphenated…should I have written the back half of that scene in the other character’s point of view? Maybe I should vacuum more often…

This is some of the chatter going through my head during the average day. Then author Karen Dodd materializes (yes, like Barbara Eden) and asks if I want to be tagged in her blog hop about what goes on inside a writer’s head. Since I’m already halfway there, and I’ve been a big fan of Karen’s since I was lucky enough to edit her fabulous novel, Deadly Switch: A Stone Suspense, I said, “Um. Wait. I’m gonna need more coffee.”

But here’s a twist: I’m not tagging anyone. Mainly because when I ask for volunteers, I imagine that at the other end of my request is an expression people make in July when you offer them the extra zucchini from their gardens. Writers, if you’d like to play along on your own blogs, have fun. No pressure. No zucchini.

1. What am I working on?

TPOC_cover300On a typical day, I’ll be editing, writing, or doing freelance work. I don’t talk much about the manuscripts I’m editing—client confidentiality, and all. If I mention some of my freelance projects I’d have to kill you, and it’s such a hassle to dispose of a body these days, what with all the OSHA regulations.

So let’s stick to writing. Right now, I’m preparing the final draft of Playing Charlie Cool for copyediting. Okay, that just gave me chills. Not only because it’s one of the first times I’ve typed the title out loud. But it’s also part of a series, and that’s new to me, too. This full-length novel is the sequel to The Picture of Cool and Don’t Tell Anyone. Technically, Playing Charlie Cool will be the third book in a series I’m calling Trager Family Secrets. And there might be more.

Yes, you read that right—I’m hiring a copyeditor. Even though I edit, I need a fresh set of eyes after I’ve read a manuscript sixty-seven times or so. I’m working on the cover, the description, the series branding (ack!) and some advance marketing: all those fun things indie authors get to do leading up to a book launch.

2. How does your work differ from other works in the genre?

First I need to figure out which genre I’m in. I like to float around a little in the categories, depending on the characters I’m working with and the story I’m telling. Mainly I write contemporary fiction and women’s fiction, most of which has a romantic thread. The characters interest me the most. I like to get to know them; I like them to feel as realistic as the guy sitting next to you on the subway. I don’t know if that makes me different, but it’s something I like to do, and something readers have commented on.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I’ve thought about this a lot over the last few decades. Especially when I get odd looks from family and friends when I talk about the topics I’m working on. I think I try to write so I can better understand the world around me. Frequently I’ve written about people and families going through some painful, complicated stuff. Maybe they haven’t made what I consider to be the best choices, but they’re doing the best they can at the time with the resources they have, and I want the world to understand them. I want to understand them. They deserve to have their stories told.

4. How does my writing process work?

First I light a candle and sacrifice a goat. Kidding. Goats are too hard to sneak into the house. And if you think OSHA is bad about human disposal, imagine how tough they are on goats. So I don’t do that. Much. Anymore. At least since that night in Rio…

Anyway, I used to be a dedicated and vociferous pantser. I’d sit down at my computer or with my notebook, do some deep breathing exercises, and feel the character enter the scene. It worked pretty well. Still does, sometimes. Eventually, the character would reveal a story, and I’d be off and running from there. After the first draft, I’d write a summary of each scene on an index card and outline the story. That helped me see where I needed to rearrange, delete, or add scenes. With the input of my writing group and fabulous, fabulous beta readers, I’d revise and rewrite draft upon draft until I felt like the manuscript was done.

When I began self-publishing, I met some great, supportive colleagues, many of them through Facebook groups and Indies Unlimited. The wise and talented Lynne Cantwell clued me in to a process she uses that’s a little bit outline, a little bit on the fly. I’ve modified that some. For the last couple of projects, I’ve worked with a very rough set of plot points (I know. It’s basically an outline, but the word “outline” scares me.)

So I can wave my pantser flag and (sort of) know where I’m going. With the caveat that if I arrive somewhere else and it fits the story, I can change the outline.

We all deserve the right to change our paths, yes?

I hope you’re enjoying your summer (those in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway), and that you aren’t beleaguered by too many zucchinis. If you’d like to read about the writing processes of my fellow tagees, check out…

Mary Novik has written two novels about minor characters in the lives of great figures of literature. Conceit, about the daughter of the poet John Donne, was hailed as “a magnificent novel of seventeenth-century London” by The Globe and Mail, which chose it as a book of the year. Conceit was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Mary’s new novel, Muse, is about the mysterious woman who inspired Petrarch’s poetry in fourteenth-century Avignon. She is part of the Vancouver writing group SPiNand welcomes you to her website at www.marynovik.com

Diana Stevan is a Jill of many trades. Writer/Actress. Formerly a family therapist, model, teacher, freelance television broadcaster, librarian. Married with 2 kids, 3 grand-kids.  Debut novel, A CRY FROM THE DEEP, coming October, 2014. Currently working on her grandmother’s story during the Great War and the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia (what is now Western Ukraine). Find out more about Diana at dianastevan.com 

Kat Flannery’s love of history shows in her novels. She is an avid reader of historical, suspense, paranormal, and romance. When not researching for her next book, Kat can be found running her three sons to hockey and lacrosse. She has her Certificate in Freelance and Business Writing. A member of many writing groups, Kat enjoys promoting other authors on her blog. She’s been published in numerous periodicals. Her debut novel CHASING CLOVERS has been on Amazon.com’s Bestsellers list many times and hit #62 over all their titles. LAKOTA HONOR and HAZARDOUS UNIONS are Kat’s other two books, both have also made bestseller lists. Kat is currently hard at work on her next book. Visit Kat at katflannerybooks.com.

 

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Editor Interview Number Nine – Laurie Boris

laurieboris:

The gracious and talented Alex from Library of Erana is hosting me on her blog today, where I get to talk about editing. I hope you’ll pop by. Thank you!

Originally posted on Library of Erana:

Hi, welcome to the Library of Erana and thank you for talking to us today. Hi! Thanks for the lovely welcome, and thank you for supporting so many authors and editors.

Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your editing experience. I’m Laurie, but you probably already know that. I’ve been copyediting, proofreading, and doing light developmental editing for about twenty years, back in the days of red pens and stuff. My educational and early professional background is in journalism, advertising, and marketing. I edited and proofed novels on the side, at first informally, for writing colleagues and my own work. About seven years ago, I moved into it professionally. Now, nearly all the authors I edit are indies.

How did you get into this line of work? It’s been an odd, slow climb. My mother went back to school when I was a kid, and by the…

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Two-minute Fiction: The Therapy Dog

horowitz02Sometimes when I hit the timer for JD Mader’s two-minute freewrites (or three- or four-minute freewrites, depending on the week), I have a seed of an idea, but mostly I just start typing and run with it. The first was inspired by my neighbor’s labradoodle, Wendell. He’s a therapy dog and one of the most gentle, mellow beings I’ve ever met. Just a look into his eyes makes me feel better some days. Continue reading

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Where You Stumble

file5721279006391“Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.” ~Joseph Campbell 

I have been picking up and putting down the same novel-in-progress for the last year. It’s romantic suspense, could grow into a trilogy, and I’ve plucked a teeny bit from one of my real life adventures to get me started. Each time, though, something else has drawn my interest…another story, something shiny out the window, a sudden urge to alphabetize my penguin collection. And each time, I’ve lost my mojo at the same point—just when the switch gets flipped and my protagonist is confronted with the down side of the bargain she has made. Continue reading

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Broken Things: Four-minute Fiction

Writers BlockFour minutes this week for JD Mader’s Friday Freewrite. Here are two of the pieces I posted. Four seems like a luxury after all those two-minute timed freewrites, but when you sink into something, it doesn’t feel that long at all. I’m not sure where the inspiration came from for these. A random comment about crazy cat ladies, a memory of playing with my kneaded eraser when I should have been listening to my art teacher? Nothing in life is wasted.

Anyway, the writers kicked it this week; hop over to JD’s website and check out some really great flash fiction. Maybe one week, you’ll join us. Continue reading

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