Category Archives: Meme

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

IWSG 50: WRITERS EVOLVE

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: | Nicki Elson | Juneta Key | Tamara Narayan | Patricia Lynne

OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question: What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time (if at all)?

Writers evolve because over time not only do we get better at the craft we see all kinds of possibilities we ignored in the beginning. Most of us start off modest. Well, I did at any rate.

now i have a goal

My goal lately is to find an agent, but like many of you that’s not how it started. It started with entering a contest and receiving an honorable mention. After many more words and a few published shorts, it brought me to the Insecure Writers Support Group.

Like everyone else that enjoys membership I write because I can’t stop. It’s amazing how secure I feel when I know I’m not alone.

I get lost in storytelling

Sometimes I’m secure and brave enough to start brainstorming, or outlining.

I get moments when I’m lost in my imagination and can live there for months. I don’t mind the hard work of getting the story down. I’m happiest when I’m up to my elbows and don’t worry about where it will lead.

Too scary for me, so I won’t over think it.

When I incorporate feedback and think the work is polished enough, I live in moments of bravery or madness and submit. Sometimes it pays off. I try not to over think that either.

someone else liked my work

It turned out someone thought I was worth publishing. It was validation. I got it. I guess I want more of it.

Seeking Representation is evolution

So things have changed from contests and short to novels and seeking an agent. I could be mad, as in crazy as a loon, or maybe I’m brave. In the end it won’t matter. What matters is moving forward one word at a time.

Big plans or little. How’s it going for you?

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Toolbox 11: 5 Things to Include When Building Characters

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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Someone made a comment about my method of description. It got me thinking about what I do and why I do it.

It starts with tagging

Many of you know I outline and when I’m getting the ideas down, none of my characters have names. Just as in a logline, my characters are: 16 yo misfit, honest cop, alien cop, vic, ex-girlfriend, obvious enemy, best friend. I use place holders for each character I need.

I outline the now and the history, giving most characters a common background. I’ve discussed before how a shared history can bump up the drama and motivations between all the characters. It may seem like work but once the history is in place, the rest takes care of itself.

appearance is about climate, lifestyle and how they thrive

A character’s appearance can be chosen by weather, time for hygiene, what they eat/drink. I have a cop in my latest WIP and he works hard—sometimes too hard—so he’s not clean shaven, his shirt has stains of sweat, fast food and coffee. It doesn’t bother him because he’s too focused on what he needs to do next. He lives in the Pacific Northwest and because it rains a lot, he wears a fedora and a trench coat. For the record, he’d never make it as Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe.

Tags must be unique to each character

The trick is give each character individual traits. All of them can have brown eyes but one. All of them can be dark haired but one. All medium build but one.

For example, my cop is the only character with thinning mousy hair, blue eyes, trench coat, and fedora. He may share other features with the rest but I don’t focus on them.

How they say it

My cop uses a brutally honest manner without an internal editor. He thinks he’s a people person as he storms around invading pretty much everyone’s personal space.

Early in the story he’s given a secret that he has some major trouble keeping. If it wasn’t for his partner, he’d have blabbed right away.

not actions but reactions

I tag his emotions (reactions) with specific actions. He pokes a finger in faces when he’s angry, expels breath like steam when he’s trying to maintain control and blinks surprise when others don’t see him as the person he thinks he is.

Who wouldn’t love a forthright, honest man, who would do anything to protect the innocent.

When he puts it that way he sounds great… but is he? Most see a loud mouth cop, who thrives on conflict.

(freebie) Characters bloom a little more with each revision

Every time I go through my WIP everyone becomes more unique and assertive. Feedback–thanks everyone–has helped make each character their own person.

What about you? Any tricks to characterization you’d like to share?

Update: still nothing from Nelson PD. I plan to phone and see what I can glean from the assistant that passed on my request. Feeling all shy again. *sigh*

IWSG 49: Using Word Association For Naming A Book

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.

~~~oOo~~~

 

Co-Hosts:

Beverly Stowe McClure | Tyrean Martinson

Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor

IWSG Question: What’s harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

I have fun with choosing names for both.

Here’s what I do for book titles.

I go in thinking it is a working title and try not stress about it. Let’s face it if my publisher or agent suggested something better I’ll take it. I’m a writer not a marketer. I’m sure that’s obvious.

I use word association just like a therapist. I choose words that capture the essence of the overall project. Sometimes I’m thinking mystery which often leads to murder, suspects, sleuths, motive, unfinished business, and in one occasion ghosts.

And White Light was born. I chose it because many claim to see a white light when they are brought back from death. And the idea of a white room where a spirit was trapped seemed to grow out of that tiny idea.

With one of my dragon stories I played on the words  cat’s eye, moon, and a mother leaving her child too soon.

Dragon Eye  was based on a different kind of guardian angel.

And with my latest WIP Symbiotic Slip, I wanted my title to hint at two planets relying on each other’s resources and being knocked out of sync.  ‘Nough said there I think. 😉

Characters…

My process for picking character’s names is very simple. I use the name generator I found in Scrivener. But there are tons of generators out there…. Google it and you’ll see what I mean.

What did you do to title your latest WIP? Any hints for us?

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.

~~~oOo~~~

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/”

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.

~~~oOo~~~


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.