Category Archives: Meme

Meeting like minds is so refreshing. I so this just for fun.

Toolbox 10: To Hook is to Engage

This post was written for the Author Toolbox Blog Hop where we share our new discoveries on the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, and blogging tips. Posted every third Wednesday of the month. For rules and sign-up click here.

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As writers, we’ve all read about hooking our readers. It starts by grabbing their attention with cover art, and book blurbs. Then piquing their interest with the first sentence and sealing the deal with each following chapter.

Hooking readers is not a magic trick

It’s industry lingo for connecting with other people.

We read about hinting at what’s to come. Or weaving a sampler of our abilities into our first chapter, offering a taste of our style and voice. It’s suggested that we create characters that are likable or at least relatable. Drop readers into the action and not into mid conversation. Forget about description if it’s more than a paragraph. No info dumps. No backstories. No lengthy explanations.

All these rules we stress over make it clear: there’s no sure recipe.

Consider this

People naturally connect through sharing. They gather over meals, call, or texted. Verbal or written words spouting about the latest happening. What’s exciting?

Finding love at any age is thrilling. Someone driving another crazy, even in a good way, is worth seeking a sounding board. What about dreams, regrets, and everything in between? Most of us don’t try to keep it quiet.

Unless it’s a secret, all of us need to share. Besides a few good manners, we have no rules on reaching out. One advantage remains however, when face to face, we can see if we’ve engaged our listener.

engagement

A spark in our chests burns bright with anticipation. Our eyes shine and our breath catches in our throat. This feeling… this rush hits us when we have something exciting to share.

Engagement happens everywhere. It’s being done right now over a backyard fence, or at the grocery store among the breakfast cereal. Gossip spreads for a reason. Curiosity draws people together in masses.

And writers? What do they have?

a story to tell

Some of us write details that spin a story into a comedy of errors. Others express a volcanic venting, or heart pounding encounters. All stories, personal or otherwise, come from the same place. We forget sometimes because our stories take a while to get right. We want to perfect them. And as we work, our enthusiasm may slip.

They don’t seem new and fresh because we’ve reread them twenty-thirty times. We’re human and humans get tired.

But never forget

If the public is able to entertain over a coffee cup, we have no excuse. Before you release your work, make sure the reason you began the project is still thriving within its pages and each carefully chosen word shines as bright as your eyes.

When polishing your early chapters, what do you focus on? I’m dying to hear.

More on the subject:

A quick note: I’ve reached out to the Nelson Police Department and they promised to bet back to me. The communication has begun. Yay, me. “\o/”

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IWSG 48: How To Set Up an Interview

This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.

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Co-Hosts:
JQ Rose | C. Lee McKenzie | Raimey Gallant | E.M.A Timar

No optional question today…

Because I’ve got something else on my mind—Interviews for research.

After being stuck in Small-Town-Heaven, I need to get out. Most of my research is done online. It makes sense mountain roads can be dangerous in winter, and I’m miles from almost everything.

But I do have another reason I’ve not reached out. More of an excuse really.

We all know the feeling of rejection.

One of my biggest fears when researching is being rejected before I can ask any questions. It happened when I reached out to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police a few years back. They have a contact webpage. It looked so inviting.

They responded almost immediately telling me that it would take some time to get back to me. The answers never came. My questions were sucked into the black hole of indifference and I’ve listened to crickets for years.

I’m definitely not a reporter—chasing leads, pushing to the front of the crowd, and ignoring any and all snubs.

I’m really sorry it was my first attempt at reaching out because it’s left me gunshy.

Unfortunately for me, most of Canada is policed by the RCMP. There are exceptions: Ontario and Quebec have their own force and so do some cities throughout the country.

I just discovered one place that has city police—Nelson BC. It’s not far from me. I’m excited and terrified. They may be too perfect for me.

I like writing about small towns and small-town cops. Nelson is not huge. An interview would be great. If I find the nerve to contact the Nelson Police Department and set something up.

I’m not sure if failure is imminent but it sure feels like it.

Help me, please.

If you’ve reached out successfully for an interview, how did you do it? And yes I mean step-by-step directions, or any advice that may help me do this right.

TOOLBOX 9: MERGING FEEDBACK

This post was written for the Author Toolbox Blog Hop where we share our new discoveries on the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, and blogging tips. Posted every third Wednesday of the month. For rules and sign-up click here.

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How

In the Review Tab of MS Word I Select Compare & Merge. I put two feedback documents together and choose a new document naming it–Project Title All Feedback. Then using the All FB Doc, I add another feedback doc, using the revised document bullet. I repeat until I’ve got all feedback merged into one document.

Immediate and Spontaneous Reactions

I truly enjoy spontaneous comments and my readers know this. Everything is fair game. There are surprises where something is funnier than I expected. Other things fall flat. Those comments help me see if I’ve connected or not. Every writer needs to know where they land.

Red Flag

If everyone shares a negative about a portion of the story, it’s a huge a red flag and can’t be ignored. Hopefully they are clear and precise about what the trouble is. If not, emails would be in order asking specific questions and quoting from the project as a reminder.

Green Light

Now just as Red Flags are obvious, so are the Green Lights where everyone agrees that something is wonderful. Savor those moments. Bookmark them when things get tough.

Tie Breaking

Reading two entries that contradict help me see that feedback is subjective and I’m the tie breaker. I make my decision based on where I want the story to go and what I’m trying to achieve. Again I’m thinking hard about what I should do and what my vision is for the work.

Side Note

No one gets rave after rave without criticism….. So if you are, then you need to find new readers. Your friends and family love you too much to hurt your creative feelings.

I understand this. But the consequences are you’ll never grow as a writer. Find some honest soles that will offer constructive criticism. They will fuel change, make your work better, and that is one step closer to being published.

Why One feedback document

One document is time efficient and stops me from being overwhelmed. I focus on one chapter at a time—I’m so Sagittarian it hurts.

Enthusiasm can ebb away with repetitive tasks. Mistakes get missed and we all get tired.

I guess what I’m saying is…

“Work Smarter…Not Harder” by Allan F. Mogensen

Being Grateful

If the work does get published, make sure to thank everyone who took the time to help you. It takes a team to get any project out in front of readers.

IWSG 47: KINDNESS IS IMPORTANT TOO

This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.

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OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question:

When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

Co-Hosts:

Olga Godim | Chemist Ken | Renee Scattergood | Tamara Narayan

Sometimes I land up very insecure about what I’m doing or not doing. I get carried away by what I think everyone else is writing and I think I’m not good enough. Maybe we all do this.

The only thing that makes me feel better is remembering…

I used to partake in the NaNo month and camps until I dug so deep I felt like a dry well. That scared me more than not writing for a few weeks when I needed a break or when I needed to think about where my story was going and how I was going to get there.

We all are different. We should allow ourselves to create the way we need too. Some of us push creativity out like toothpaste from a tube and others let it happen. Whichever way you create doesn’t matter.

Creation is a gift and so is your talent.

Follow your heart. It’s all about nurture and self-care. Talk to yourself as if you are your best friend or a vulnerable child. Be respectful of who you are and how you function. Know it is okay to take a long time or pump it out. It’s your journey. Jog. Walk. Smell the flowers.

Nothing about creativity is standard.

The only thing that matters is it feeds your soul and you’re proud of the final product. Something I try to remember when it’s cloudy and the rain is falling.

Toolbox 8: Feedback Makes Us Better Writers

This post was written for the Author Toolbox Blog Hop where we share our new discoveries on the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, and blogging tips. Posted every third Wednesday of the month. For rules and sign-up click here.

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“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”

~William W Purkey

Some Writers add:

Write like nobody will read it.

“The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself at some later date. Otherwise you begin excusing yourself. You must see the writing as emerging like a long scroll of ink from the index finger of your right hand; you must see your left hand erasing it.”

~Margaret Atwood from The Blind Assassin

To get better we have to let go, share our truths, then seek out feedback

And yet we do let people read our work. We start with ourselves as we rework the prose and revise, revise, revise. Then on to our support team of critters and beta readers. Then there is submitting.

Sometimes I wonder which is worse.

It’s no wonder as writers we feel fragile.

Feedback is huge

Yet the best advice I can offer any new writer is be sure to listen to your support team. Put the hurt feelings away and mope later. If you want your work out there, it’s got to be the best you can do. Let your beta readers point out flaws, perk new ideas and help you discover your blind spots.

Once you’ve done this a few times you’ll know your weaknesses. From there you can make lists for self editing, ask specific questions and dive in deeper for more self discoveries.

The trick to improving is being open to any and all feedback.

Use it or toss it

That doesn’t mean incorporating every suggestion into your work. It means considering each suggestion and asking if it will improve your project. Not all feedback will and your source of feedback already understands that only you know where the story needs to go.

In my case, I’m always surprised when someone finds a plot hole after I’ve fussed over my narration for hours. I’m blinded because I know the stuff that is not on the page. That’s the trap.

When reading for other writers

And here we go again with writing the truth.

To keep it from becoming an attack, I’m very specific about what I share. I call myself a reader and focus only on the words in front of me. If I don’t usually read the genre, then I focus away from that aspect, knowing another reader will offer feedback on genre. I zero in on structure, characters, dialogue, style, and immediate impressions. I strive for only one thing and that is to improve the work in front of me.

To be honest, I don’t see a fragile ego waiting for the ax to fall; I see a hard-working author striving for a bright and exciting future.

More advice if you’re interested: