Category Archives: Meme

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

Toolbox 7: Elements of a Mystery

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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What I’m focusing on is my favorite genre.

Elements of writing Mysteries are broken down into: victim, suspects, villain, hero(es)/police, support cast + series potential, clues/red herrings, violence + sex, and setting + cross genre.

Here’s what I try to do with them.

I work out who will die and how my hero will become involved in the crime. Here I determine how/why the person died.

The victim, suspects and villain must have a connection. They’ve all crossed paths and each has left marks on the others. Strong emotions  and unresolved issues flow between them, leaving room for confessions, unpleasant truths and/or discoveries. At first everyone has a motive, opportunity and an alibi (several false).

NOTE: I write out the incidents that left the marks and use these as the source of motives.

My crime solving cast will be the hero, best friend, information source, tech guy, nosy neighbor/mother/pain in the neck, possible lover. Now I mix and match and put several of the people together  in one character depending on what I need . I usually have three: Hero, best friend (pain in the butt) and information source.

When I’m putting together, my crew of crime solvers I also consider series potential each and every time. They need their own ARCs—goals and hardships—as they assist/hinder the hero.

I include romance and love interests but I choose to close the door on sex and violence. It happens off stage–mostly.

Setting brings with it a possibility of crossing genres. I’ve written fantasy, contemporary paranormal, science fiction, and am trying my hand at magical realism. The core of the story is always a mystery, with a touch of romance.

I’m still striving to improve my craft. While I’m learning and growing, I’m enjoying the journey.

what’s your favorite genre and why?

Here are some of my favorite sites:

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IWSG 45: What I Love About Mysteries

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:

Stephen Tremp | Pat Garcia | Angela Wooldridge |

Victoria Marie Lees | Madeline Mora-Summonte

IWSG Day Question: What do you love about the genre you write in most often?

I loved reading mysteries for a long while before writing a word. When I got going, I wrote shorts, learning and practicing a long list of skills. What I found for my style and ability was mysteries needed strong bones.

Therefore, planning and executing an outline turned out to be my favorite element.

Not every word, but specific plot points in the work need to be clearly placed. When the victim dies. The placement of clues and how/where to hide them. Following them up and determining if they are red herrings or more. The tripping up of the hero and the uncovering of the villain.

I also cross the genre with fantasy, paranormal, science fiction. My latest WIP is crossed with magical realism which may land up being urban fantasy, depending on my rewrites. Turns out there is a fine line between them that I keep crossing.

I’ve even tried my hand at a middle grade mystery and had so much fun.

The outline is only the beginning of crafting a story. The bones of it if you will. And from the bones comes the strength that allows me to the flesh out the rest.

How do you work out the bones—plotter or pantser?

Author Toolbox 6: Adding To Word Count

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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A new year and I’m hoping for new ideas that lead to new outlines. I’ve been throwing around an idea about dissecting and expanding some shorts and seeing where they might go as novellas or novels.

Obviously the short would be the core of the story but adding words means adding new ideas or/and adding sub plots.

Here’s what I’ve been considering:

  • add a reversal into the main plot line
  • add subplots and characters complications
  • dig, sift, and seek out places for more tension
  • deepen the point of view, descriptions, atmosphere, arcs
  • transform summaries into scenes
  • dig into the layers of the character’s past and add some regrets, grudges, and unresolved issues

The biggest challenge of lengthening a project is making the additions intricate parts of the story, to move it forward and not be bits of fluff I’ll land up cutting on my next round of revisions.

How do you add to your word count? Any advice for me.

Gleaned from:

IWSG 44: Making My Writing Stand Out

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: What steps have you taken to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?

Co-Hosts: Tyrean Martinson | The Cynical Sailor | Megan Morgan | Rachna Chhabria | Jennifer Lane.

My plan includes writing and submitting. I don’t have the nerve or experience to self-publish. I prefer getting someone else to front the bill for the editing, cover art and promotion. Although I offer my help—I don’t have expertise to do the job alone.

I know how to put a story together and that’s hard enough.

A lot of my writing has become methodical. I run through several story ideas until I can put one down in an outline. Then I peruse it and ask myself what makes this different or better than everything else out there.

I’ve read that most queries need to address what makes the pitched story stand out.

I don’t like to move forward until I’m sure the project has got something special or different (in my eyes anyway) and have been doing cross genre work: sci-fi mystery and my latest—magical-realism mystery.

My magical realism mystery is still in the outline stage and will be much more graphic than I usually write. My heroine is ferocious, passionate, too hard-headed and stubborn. At first I was going to make her psychic, but I gave her grandfather the ability instead. His love interest is a fairy that keeps offering talismans and henna tatts to my hero. Who knows if they’ll help, but it does make her feel more accepted into the family.

What makes this one special? A world where monsters might be good guys (or bad) and the person set on protecting the world from them isn’t stable enough to get the difference and sees himself as Dean Winchester saving the world one monster at a time. He helps my hero look for her lost lover. Hence the violence.

What do you do to make your story stand out? Any tips for us.

IWSG 43: Inspiration Away From The Group

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: As you look back on 2017, with all its successes and failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

Co-Hosts: Julie Flanders,
Shannon Lawrence,
Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner!

Answer: Not much but reflect and be grateful.

I met @DelilahSDawson during SWiC16. She led a workshop on writing first chapters and I’ve been following her ever since. She’s a charming open woman who shares day-to-day life as a professional writer.

The biggest message she has shared to date is: Be brave and take a chance. I played it safe and was rewarded with rejection. So I decided to follow her advice. I wrote a science-fiction mystery that’s way out there.

She teaches by example. Works hard. Shares the whole traditionally-published author experience. Goes to tons of conferences. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve met her or will meet her. Reading her tweets keep me inspired until I get back to all of you.

Which brings me to something very important–you. Thanks for your visits, commets and time. And I hope your future will be filled with boatloads of happiness and success. And I expect many more years ahead with you in my life. I lift my glass to you. Cheers.

In 2018 I’ll be taking the biggest chance of all–submitting to agents. I’ve made a list and I’ve checked it twice. Life seems better since I comminted myself.
If you’re interested in reading my latest, Symbiotic Slip, please sign up below.