Ten Ways to Tighten Your Writing & Hook the Reader

laurieboris:

Some fantastic tips for taking up the loose stitches in your writing, should you wish to do that, courtesy of Kristen Lamb.

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

Screen Shot 2013-03-15 at 9.40.52 AM Image via CellarDoorFilms W.A.N.A. Commons

When I used to edit for a living, I earned the moniker The Death Star because I can be a tad ruthless with prose. Today I hope to teach you guys to be a bit ruthless as well. Before we get started, I do have a quick favor to ask. Some of you may know that I practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu so I’ve taken on our dojo’s blog to see if we can try out new and fun content and am using the moniker Dojo Diva.

I posted about how hard it is to begin and the fears that can ever keep us from starting. The way others try to stop us from doing anything remarkable. I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories, so I hope you will stop by and get the discussion going.

Click the word “Comments” and a box should appear…

View original 1,899 more words

Mindfulness and the B Word

iStock_000006823591XSmallIt’s alarming enough to have something growing on your body that’s not supposed to be there without the added joys of waiting for a professional to tell you what it is and what should be done about it.

Several times in my life, these stowaways have required a biopsy. So far, most have been benign or at least precancerous, and they were handily dispatched. Right now I’m wearing a bandage on my left temple while a recent removal is healing. It’s benign, which is one of my favorite b-words.

But don’t fret—I’m not here to get all TMI about icky skin things.

It was the wait that got me thinking.

I’m sure it’s not intentional on the part of the office staff to leave me hanging overnight to call about test results in the morning. Not the first time that’s happened, either. But there I was, alone in the house with a message I couldn’t return, an answer I didn’t have.

I did the human thing for a few minutes and worried. What if I wasn’t lucky this time? I’m from a family of fair-skinned people who have dermatologists on speed-dial. What if it required more treatment, more cutting, more money I didn’t have?

And then it hit me.

I’m alone in the house. My husband works from home. I’m almost NEVER alone in the house. And there I was, wasting that precious time and energy with worry about something I couldn’t control. Something I didn’t know. Something I couldn’t, at that moment, know, unless I felt like getting my stalker on and paying a visit to the dermatologist’s office, and perhaps the local jail.

I smiled.

Then I bopped around the house doing my bad Annie Lennox impression, had a conversation with a few of my characters to work out a few of their issues, then sat down to edit for the rest of the evening, without a thought that my style of reading aloud would bother anyone.

If I’d spent that evening coiled like a spring, regardless of the test results, I’d have regretted it. Learned from it, maybe, but regretted it.

Score one for living in the moment and not letting the worry win.

Against All Odds—What’s Our REAL Chance of Becoming a Successful Author?

laurieboris:

Wise and inspiring words from Kristen Lamb:

“Show me a struggling author and I will show you someone spending too much time shopping the same book. Instead of writing more books and better books, these writers are worried about querying the same book over and over, or (if published) they fret over sales, marketing, blog tours, or algorithms.

We cannot control what will be the next hottest thing. We can’t control the marketplace or the tastes of readers or whether matte bookmarks sell more books than pink beer koozies. This means we shouldn’t waste precious time on things we cannot control at the expense of things we can.”

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

Image and quote courtesy of SEAL of Honor on Facebook. Image and quote courtesy of SEAL of Honor on Facebook.

Many of you were here for last week’s discussion regarding What Makes a Real Writer? When we decide to become professional writers, we have a lot of work ahead of us and sadly, most will not make the cut.

I know it’s a grossly inaccurate movie, but I love G.I. Jane. I recall a scene during Hell Week (the first evolution of S.E.A.L. training) where Master Chief has everyone doing butterfly kicks in the rain. He yells at the recruits to look to their left and look to their right, that statistically, those people will quit.

Who will be the first to ring that bell? Who will be the first to quit?

Image via www.freerepublic.com Image via http://www.freerepublic.com

Years ago, one of my mentors mentioned The 5% Rule. What’s The 5% Rule? So happy you asked. Statistically, only 5% of the population is…

View original 1,727 more words

Real Life into Fiction

Typewriter - Once upon a timeThink about your favorite novels. There might be a ripping good story and great writing, but I bet it also stars characters that leap off the page. Even if the characters inhabit a fantasy world and have two heads and green fur, they feel as real as the person sitting next to you. That being feels…real to you. You care what happens to she/he/it. Ever wonder how writers do that? I can’t speak for all writers, but here are a few secrets some of us use to take our real life experiences into fiction. Continue reading

The Clean Reader Ap Uproar

laurieboris:

Mark Twain once said that the difference between the right word and the wrong one is the difference between lighting and a lightning bug. I choose my words with care and like to think I get them all in the right order, but it’s done for a reason. With intent. I hate the idea of some app that will strip my intent because of a few words some readers might find “objectionable.” I don’t think I”m all that salty, but still. There’s a reason I’m all over the interwebs crowing about Banned Books Week every year. Because words mean things. And a watered-down version does not have the same meaning. Thank you, DV Berkom, for posting this.

Originally posted on DV Berkom Books:

Censored stampUnless you’ve been hiding under a rock (or editing your manuscript, or are on safari in the depths of the DRC) you’ve probably read about the uproar surrounding the Clean Reader Ap. I’ve read several posts about it and thought I’d share the two I enjoyed most: Charlie Strossand Chuck Wendig.

Gotta say, Ernest Hemingway’s turning in his grave right now. I remember picking up a used copy of For Whom the Bell Tolls years ago and being puzzled by his word choices (unmentionable was used several times in place of his original text. I freely and somewhat sheepishly admit it took me a couple of pages before I realized I had a censored copy as I’d never run across one before.) The replacement words absolutely destroyed Hemingway’s intent, not to mention totally messed with my reading experience. Talk about jarring the reader…

Thankfully, Mark Coker over…

View original 69 more words

Plotting for pantsters

laurieboris:

Plotting versus pantsing… AC Flory lays this out so well, unbearable GPS and all.

Originally posted on Meeka's Mind:

NC route2Most writers who identify as pantsters do so because they can’t or won’t use outlines for their work. They like the thrill of the unknown, of putting finger to keyboard and jumping into a story without any idea of where it’s going. I know this because I am one. In fact I can’t outline to save my life.

But plotting and outlining are not quite the same thing. A plot is like a road map; it defines the destination of the story, and offers possible pathways for getting there. But if you don’t want to take the highway, or even those twisty country lanes, a plot will allow you to set off cross-country with just the position of the sun as your compass.

Outlines, on the other hand, are more like a GPS device. They tell you when and where to turn. They can even tell you how long it will be…

View original 873 more words

Playing Charlie Cool Nominated for Readers’ Choice Award

Charlie_Cool_kindle500Those of us in the community of independent writers and readers might know there are few book review sites that focus exclusively on indie authors. Big Al’s Books & Pals is one of those sites. They also keep the bar high. Name recognition might get you moved up the list, as blog founder Big Al himself said in an interview with Martin Crosbie, but you know that review is going to be fair: no passes here. That’s why I’m so excited Playing Charlie Cool was nominated for one of their 2015 Readers’ Choice Awards in the category of contemporary fiction. Out of the thousands of books that Books and Pals received last year, just over three hundred were reviewed. And an even smaller selection made it into the thirteen categories for the award. I love writing Charlie, and even though we’re on a little hiatus right now, I’d definitely pour him a scotch and put some Sinatra on the playlist if he decided he had more stories to tell me. I’d like to ask for your vote, if you think Charlie and I are worthy, in the contemporary fiction category. It’s easy and you don’t have to vote for every single category, although the more votes you submit, the greater your chances to win some goodies, including a selection of the nominated books and a sweet, sweet $75 Amazon gift card. BPnominee2015_200Just click here to go to the Rafflecopter page where you can vote. Scroll down to see the instructions and categories, and click on the category name to see the nominated books. (Note: Older versions of Internet Explorer don’t like Rafflecopter much, so if you use a different browser, it might work better.) A few of my author compadres were also nominated, so I hope you’ll check out the stellar work of Lynne Cantwell (Scorched Earth, nominated in Fantasy), DV Berkom (A One Way Ticket to Dead, nominated in Thrillers), Julie Frayn (Mazie Baby, nominated in Women’s Fiction), Donna Fasano (Following His Heart, nominated in Romance), Jackie Weger (No Perfect Secret, nominated in Romance), and Shawn Inmon (Rock ‘N’ Roll Heaven, nominated in Paranormal). Thank you for your time, and thank you for continuing to give independent authors a chance. Voting ends March 28.