Category Archives: Meme

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

Toolbox 20: Say, what?

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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Does anyone else have trouble finding/sharing/maintaining a narrative voice?

It’s supposed to be familiar. Similar to our speaking voice.

Easily recognized by tone, phrasing, and specific word choices.

Some might recognize our voice by the abundance of profanity—think Margo in The Magicians—or lack of it. Professor McGonagall, I’m talking about you. We may get louder the closer to heart we are, or in some cases quieter.

We might color our language with our own kind of slang. I’m thinking TV’s Buffy and Firefly. Joss Whedon was a master. Some people still use the term ‘Scooby Gang’.

Unless they’re doing a Lemony Snicket, the writer shares as much about their likes and dislikes as the characters. Examples: Love of Scooby Doo, or the colorful addition of human or fairy anatomy.

Whether we mean to or not, our voices can add our assumptions and prejudices. Personal perceptions can be in every descriptor. Pet peeves or favorite outlooks influence our themes. Not intentionally but naturally. The words flow from our fingers like magic because we see the world uniquely and we feel the inner need to share what we believe in.

We feel. We color. We decorate our work.

And it is glorious!

Don’t edit it out. It may bring on feelings of insecurity, a need to pull back, or worry about going too far. It’s natural because if the voice is too close to home, we feel vulnerable.

With our voice out there for everyone to read, it could be criticized. Takes bravery to put our work out there as it is.

It’s hard to stick to our decision when we seek out feedback.

But should their opinions or our inner editor squash the nuance of voice? What would Joss say to that?

“What! No Scooby Gang.”

We may choose not to be the next Joss, or Lemony. Many authors use a more neutral voice. That’s fine too. Whatever works.

You want to use your own voice? Then give yourself the freedom to say it how you see it.

Any other voices out there? How about books on the subject? Feel free to share.

Gleaned from:

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IWSG 60: Sticks + Stones


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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:

Lee Lowery | Juneta Key | Yvonne Ventresca | T. Powell Coltrin

“Sticks and stones break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”

From: The Christian Recorder of March 1862 (according to wiki)

OPTIONAL Question:

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

I hate to admit this but I’ve never been perfect.

*snort* I KNOW! Shocker.

Sometimes I made others angry. Some of their words left scars. Deep scars I carried with me for years. Logically, the source was angry, and I knew it. I understood it. But I also believed what they said. Their words were vicious and cruel. I still think they meant them.

I’d get sad. It haunted me. Time doesn’t heal everything. Sometimes it makes it worse. I’d hear those words over and over again.

It took time, but I learned from this.

To prevent harm:

I understand feeling anger and being cruel are two different things. When I’m angry—still not perfect—I watch my mouth.

I found a solution (for me at any rate).

And to protect myself:

I remember that I’m the one that gives those words power over me. To take the power away, I must not believe them. Sure, everyone has a right to an opinion.

It doesn’t mean it’s true—period. Or that everyone agrees with them. Or that I should accept their opinion as a fact.

I refuse. I’m in control.

With that simple opinion—my opinion which is just as valid as theirs—I take the power of hurtful, thoughtless words and make them disappear.

Behind our good manners and overall respect for others, we don’t know what we do. We all have history. Nics and cuts from long ago. So does everyone else.

One small comment. A teasing joke meant as acceptance. A thought said aloud, normally harmless, can cut to the core. We can’t prevent it. We’re not psychics.

Know this. Feel this.

Be honest if you can and gentle if you can’t.

That said, each reader has a choice to suspend disbelief and dive into a story. I hope each time they do, they have a hell of a ride.

Words are power.

Please add your thoughts on how words work for you. 😉

Toolbox 19: Building Scenes

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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When I started writing, it was about escape. I’d leave my daily troubles behind me and visit a far off land with some far out characters. I never considered conflict or tension or any other writing convention.

I felt it was time for me to review building a basic scene. Many of you won’t need a refresher, but I did find some golden nuggets that might help any one of us.

…scenes strung together like beads on a wire, with narrative summary adding texture and color between.”

quote from Writer’s Digest.

A function of a Scene is to:

  • move the story forward
  • show cause and effect
  • reveal dilemmas and consequences
  • ensure the story is easy to follow

its Building material:

Paragraphs must not be ignored. Each starts with a topic sentence and is followed with sentences that add details, imagery, impact and emotion.

Each paragraph builds a scene block by block to its crescendo.

One Method of Writing a Scene:

1. Imagine the scene and let it play out. Do this several times increasing the tension between the players. Do not write a word until satisfied with the outcome. Make quick notes to capture the important points.

Look for the emotion driving the scene.

2. Using your emotion: Even if you’ve never experienced what is happening in the scene you’re building, there must be something somewhere that prompted a similar emotional reaction. Use it. Fill the pages not with your personal experience, but with the equivalent emotion that filled to you to bursting. This is not a time to hold back.

An example: Everyone has lost someone in some way. In your scene there is a sense of loss. Pull from the moment you discovered your loved one rejected you/died/moved away. Imagine the moment building. Feel the feelings. Let those feelings drizzle out in the scene in front of you.

3. Beginnings: As we do with sentences, changing length and style changes the pacing’s rhythm, some start organically. Many start at medias res, however, it is recommended to occasionally change-up the starting point.

Late starting points create urgency. Early starting point can create a slow burn. And jumping to a beat before the end can shock, surprise or incorporate the rule of cool.

4. Balance of action, narrative and dialogue. The balance of these elements engages the reader. However, balance is used loosely here. It may not be an exact split.

For example: A shouting match between two characters will lose its sense of urgency if its broken up with equal parts of description and narration.

*Inner thoughts—my Achilles heel—falls under this section. A personal reminder to me that unlike many authors that naturally include this, I must pepper my scenes with inner dialogue.

5. Pacing: short sentences for faster pace and urgency; longer ones for a more relaxed and slow burn. Whichever you choose keep it tight—no confusion, meandering, or overdoing it.

There is a perfect pace for each scene.

6. Endings: They can include disaster, a terrible/astonishing discovery, an unexpected chain reaction, unanswered questions or a straightforward solution. However, one player’s logical solution can easily become another’s horrific problem. Often endings take one step forward and two steps back.

This may leave an obscure future–with or without clear repercussions. The anticipated fallout encourages the reader to predict what may happen next. To find out if they are right, they  must turn the page.

All Scenes Should Have:

  • A clear goal (for each player)
  • Obstacles
  • Threat of disaster
  • Outcome that urges the reader forward

Some scenes are weak. I suggest taking a hard look at whether any scene should be deleted, or chopped up and interspersed elsewhere.

It must be revised/removed if it doesn’t:

  • Have conflict
  • Built tension
  • Have direction
  • Move the story forward
  • Contain an emotional impact
  • Show believable motivations
  • Change the overall situation

how to strengthen a Weak scene

Answering these questions may help:

  • What is the overall purpose of the scene?
  • How can the scene impact the narrative (subtle or not)?
  • What players need to be included or excluded to create tension?
  • Can changing setting (for example: marriage proposal moved from restaurant to seaside cliff) increase tension?
  • What twists can the scene produce?

Anything you’d like to add? All comments are welcome.

Gleaned from:

IWSG 59: Quotes To Keep Me Going


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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: J.H. Moncrieff | Natalie Aguirre | Patsy Collins | Chemist Ken

OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question: If you could use a wish to help you write just one scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be?

If I could wish for anything it would be to trust myself enough to believe that anything I write is worth reading. The only solace I found is I’m not the only one who faced doubt in their career.

I don’t have your quotes, but I did find some others.

Quotes when searching for the right word:

“I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.”Gustave Flaubert

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”–Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”–Benjamin Franklin

Quotes driven by emotion:

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”–Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”–Anne Frank

about Imagination:

“You can make anything by writing.”–C.S. Lewis

Judgement vs understanding:

“As a writer, you should not judge, you should understand.”― Ernest Hemingway

To help find joy:

“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

I always add : “Write like no one will read it,”

Feel free to add your favorite quotes in the comments. I’d love to read them.  🙂

Toolbox 18: Third-Person Omniscient Point Of View

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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While I was soul-searching and reading about writing the mystery genre, I discovered several explanations of third-person omniscient pov.

The pros of third-person omniscient pov:

  • Narrator knows all: which is limited only by the pacing of shared information over time
  • The use of summaries, transitions and bits of telling are acceptable and encourage to maintain reasonable word count
  • Conflict shows each character’s deepest expressible traits during a scene or dramatic moment.
  • Small spurts of backstory—personal or worldwide—can introduce or quickly explain character behavior and social climate within scene.
  • The biggest advantage of the objective point of view is it allows the reader to make up their own mind about the unfolding events within the story.

Cons:

  • The lack of connection and sympathy for the characters because inner thoughts are used sparingly if at all.
  • Depends completely on descriptions of body language, dialogue, and reactions to concrete details to express each character’s emotional state.

Other Cons and their solutions:

  • Head hopping an be avoided by sticking to the narrator’s pov.
  • Info dumps can be avoided by using using restraint when including transitions, backstories, and summaries. Less is more.
  • Psychic characters. Writers must remember that the narrator knows all—not the players.

Objective vs Subjective

Objective (dramatic) third-person omniscient pov is more of a fly on the wall narration. Think of watching TV or a movie. The narrator’s voice is nonexistent. Character’s emotional state is shown through stage direction, body language, concrete details, foreshadowing, flashbacks, and dialogue. No internal thoughts are shared. Emotionally charged words like felt/assumed or angry/sad are avoided.

Therefore, the reader has to determine what each character is feeling and thinking through observation alone.

Subjective point of view has a strong narrative voice. It is intrusive and can be anyone: a child, pet, ghost, etc. The whole story is filtered through the narrator’s tone, attitude and the judgment of the players.

There is less distance, because it is possible for the reader get close to and/or sympathize with the narrator. Especially when done with a slice of comedy.

Omniscient vs Limited pov

Although both are similar enough to be used (almost) the same way during a dialogue heavy scene, they have quite different advantages.

Third Person Omniscient’s descriptors are slightly different in a tell-y kind of way. They can simply state what kind of person a character is: weak but honest, harsh and cruel. It allows for quick explanations. The showing is focused on body language, dialogue, and reactions to concrete details.

Third Person Limited has more show-y descriptors. They are the observations of the protagonist and reflect as much about the person sharing as it does about the character being described. Inner thoughts are deep and limited to the observer comments.

Why consider using omniscient pov at all?

Plot driven stories aren’t completely dependent on the reader-character connection. Depending on the scope of the story your trying to tell, it may help with an unacceptably large word count. Summaries and transitions allow the reader to traverse time and space quickly and easily. It also allows the reader to engage with the story without getting confused or lost in its enormity.

Is there anything I’ve missed? Please share, I’m glad to learn more.

Gleaned from: