Category Archives: Meme

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

IWSG 42: Past NaNo Lessons I’ve Learned

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:

Tonja Drecker | Diane Burton | MJ Fifield | Rebecca Douglass

 

October IWSG Day Question: Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

I’d like to say yes. I finished them all. I’ve had all my work published even without submitting it. The problem is, I don’t want to lie. All I want to do is be supportive of the NaNo17 participants.

Please, Accept my good wishes because that’s where my heart is.

But the truth is, no. I finished all my first drafts. I didn’t bother polishing or submitting. None of them ever were published.

The closest story to submission was called “Rags to Bitches”. I can’t tell you how much time I spent trying to bring it to life. I even took a writing course on revision hoping that would help me cut away what didn’t work and build up what did.

Nothing worked and I can’t explain it.

So I may have won, but my stories didn’t.

Rags to Bitches lives in a drawer.

Winning NaNo taught me some important lessons:

  • Plan out what the story was about
  • Each chapter should have a prompt
  • Write everyday

What NaNo didn’t let me do was stop when I needed to and let my subconscious work on new ideas. Sometimes letting things rest can lead to twists, back flips,  and crazy new directions. I love that. But that means quitting before I reach my word count.

I hate to say this, but I think I’ve outgrown NaNo.

I’m working on a sci-fi mystery called Symbiotic Slip and I’m having so much fun. I’m being brave and going where I’ve never gone before. Every day is full of surprise and joy.

Who knew I’d ever get here.

What about you? Any NaNo stories you’d like to share.

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Toolbox 6: How I found my lost Scrivener files and 65k of work

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~~~

About a week ago I gave my laptop permission to do an update and restart but I forgot to close Scrivener first. I use Dropbox as a backup and link between my laptop and desktop. A few days later I went back to work on my WIP and it wouldn’t open. I was at about 65k and ice immediately ran through my veins.

It suggested I make a copy, because another app was using the file. The problem was the file was not open anywhere else and the project’s copy wouldn’t open either.

There was an HEA

I’m writing today to explain how I made it to a happy ending even though I made many mistakes along the way.

I started by going through the rest of my files in my Dropbox and tested them for issues. There were a couple but this time copying the files worked fine.

Alas not so for the story I was working on. All the files were there but it wouldn’t open. I could see them and there weren’t any obvious issues. But every time I tried to open it, Scrivener crashed, claiming there was no application for the executable file.

A little about my WIP–A scifi mystery that involved tons and tons of research. It was hours of my time I didn’t want to repeat.

Scrivener keeps it all straight so I don’t have to memorize it all.

As I rebuilt my WIP by going through all the rtf files and putting them all in the right places, it didn’t occur to me my research would be lost. The rebuild took about eight hours.

And I didn’t mind. At least my work was there. Then I went through the project: all of my settings were gone, all my links, and all my research. I couldn’t find it anywhere.

This left me very unhappy. You probably noticed my laziness sticking its nose out. So I walked away. I kept telling myself I had the work and to quit being a baby about the rest.

So after stewing, and some pouting, I decided to revive my original Scrivener project no matter what.

It took exactly one afternoon and a coincidence to bring about my happy ending.

Windows 10 and Calibre

Before I realized my research was gone, I was trying to add a plugin to Calibre and ran into some trouble with a zip file. Yes, Windows 10 does unzip most files for easy access. It works great if you are the user, but when an application tries to access them, it doesn’t always fly.

For the longest time I couldn’t figure it out. I fiddled with the zip folder for quite a while trying to install a new plugin and landed up having to unzip it manually to make it work.

Back to the Scrivener Project.

I had run out of ideas with Dropbox. But as I searched on the internet, a post made something very clear. Scrivener does their own backups.

So I went looking.

I found them all BUT apparently Scrivener didn’t have authorization to open any of them.

Wrong! Remember Calibre.

All backups were stored as zip folders and it needed someone—me—to unzip them first and then Scrivener had access.

Fool that I am I did this first on my desktop and not my laptop. I felt like one of my characters. Failure after failure. But when I went to my laptop, I knew exactly what to do.

I’m still smiling.

I did a comparison with the copy (that would not run from Dropbox) and added what was missing to my restored backup project. Once it looked like the original, I opened it. My research, links and settings were all there and waiting for me.

There is something to be said about being stubborn and I’m all that.

So here’s a quick suggestion for the Scrivener User that also uses Dropbox.

  1. In Scrivener, go to Tools–>Options and then find the Backup tab. Check and make sure “Turn on automatic backups” is ticked.
  2. At the bottom of the Option (backup) Window choose a good place to save your backups. As in, a place you can find them easily. (You may want to create a shortcut)
  3. Carry on and hope nothing goes wrong and know if it does you know exactly where your WIPs are waiting.
  4. Depending on your memory, make a readme file with the directions about unzipping the file you’ll need, and you’re set.

Has this put me off Dropbox or Scrivener? N0pe. I love both of them. It was my fault. I should have closed all my apps down before the windows restart.

In case you don’t know:

Scrivener is an application that supports outlining, tracking research, structuring and restructuring of long documents—novels, novellas, etc. Its purpose enables a writer to go from idea to first draft as painlessly as possible. My plots tend to be intricate and this app allows me to rearrange my work for the best narrative.

Dropbox is an online cloud where data, written work, can be saved and accessed by more than one computer. It allows for collaboration as well as ease of access. For me, I can write from anywhere and save my work in one place.

Calibre is an application that maintains an elibrary. All soft copies of your books, collected or written, can be saved, organized, and backed-up in one database. I use mine to read my work on my ereader.

Here’s something else you may like.

Scrivener NaNo’17 Trial is’s available now. You can buy it for 50% off if you win NaNo or 20% off if you participate in NaNo. So if you’ve always wanted to try it but found it too expensive here’s your chance to try before you buy.

There is also a Facebook Support Group for Scrivener if you have any trouble. They are quick with answers and support.

And for someone who prefers freeware, try yWrite6.

I’ve tried both until I bought Scrivener after NaNo2015. There’s a learning curve, but it is worthwhile.

You got any freeware or trial apps I might like. Leave a link and why you like it in the comments.

IWSG 41: Truth In My Fiction

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:

Olga Godim | Chemist Ken | Jennifer Hawes | Tamara Narayan

OPTIONAL Question:  Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

I add personal information all the time. Not personal history. Not family secrets. Not even how I see the world. What I share in my work are my feelings.

I want to tell share truths.

I want to relate to my readers.

We all feel things. I don’t need to say this. We all know this to be true. Sharing my raw emotions is a form of reaching out. What I feel others have felt. I’m not special.

What I do with these feelings is chain them to my character’s life experience. They face a moment of loneliness and I look back at a time I faced being alone. No doubt it has been romanticized and it may be ballooned. I don’t think about that during my first draft and would never suggest or capture the real events that led to my loneliness. That would involve too many people—me included. But I run parallels in my imagination and take advantage of my rollercoaster past as much as possible.

But the one thing I will suggest is if a character goes through an event that brings about a visceral reaction you’ve had—dig deep and get it out. Don’t hold back.

Holding back is not what the reader is looking for. And the feelings aren’t the actual experience.

For example: Someone leaves your life and you know you’d never trade a moment of your time together. There is the loss, the adapting, healing, and the memories. What would you use?

Your main character’s situation will be entirely different.

It’s the moment the MC walks away into the sunset. The moment someone dies in the MC’s arms. The moment they turn down a wedding proposal. Or the MC leaves against their parents’ wishes; they see their sibling watching them go. What emotional road do they land up following? What are the consequences?

The list is endless.

What do you do to make your story real?

Author Toolbox 5: The Logline

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~~~

What I know about marketing isn’t much. I’ve taken part in Facebook parties—not alone—thank goodness. I’ve posted my share of cover reveals, and blog tours posts was well. As a supporter and as an author. It’s all a learning experience and all worth doing. If for nothing else, to find out what works.

I keep notes and so should you.

Authors are expected to promote their work. A publisher will pay for the editing and cover and they will promote as far as they can. But here’s the thing, our moment in the sun is only one of many they will promote that year, possibly that month.

You may think

“I can’t toot my own horn.”

then don’t, but there May be consequences.

Low sales means you not only hurt yourself but also your publisher. And maybe the next book you pitch to them will be a pass. Why? Because they didn’t make their money back. Bottom line—a business makes money.

Stand on a soapbox and shout you wrote a book.

Be proud of it. Try to get as many readers as possible to at least read the blurb.

How?

Start with your logline. You know the one. It’s the one sentence, stating the characters (not by name but by description) and the stakes they face if they fail or succeed, that keeps you on track when you’re writing,

LogLine:

If you don’t do this, then start.

I tweaked my logline into a 140 characters twitter pitch to find my readers—publishers and agents—during #PitMad and #WritePit.

Here are some examples that sold, White Light:

  • Great Aunt Alice has one dying wish. Emma, lend me your body long enough to solve my murder and maybe get lucky one last time. #PitMad Myst
  • Given a chance to prevent a murder, Emma will do anything. Even if it means, a trip back to her old room in the psych ward. #Pitmad A Myst
  • When a psychic warns two busybodies where danger lies, she doesn’t let her death stop her from joining the fun #WritePit #A Myst
  • She’s older. She’s smarter. What’s stopping her from solving her murder? Two friends on the job and the fact she’s a ghost. #WritePit #A #Myst

The goal is to come up with something that will catch a reader’s eye.

Any marketing secrets you’d care to share? I’d love to learn something new.

IWSG 40: The words began with me…

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~~~

 

Monthly Question: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? 

Co-Hosts:

Tyrean Martinson | Tara Tyler | Raimey GallantBeverly Stowe McClure

 This is hard because I sound full of myself.

The biggest and best surprise was seeing the final product. Was that really me? How did I put it all together well enough to be entertaining?

I blame the editors. If you trust them, they will bring out the best in a work.

Sure, it’s hard to rewrite sections, or remove them. To change a word choice for something that seems wrong at the time (and turns out to be exactly what the story needed). Or to expand a thought. Or to hear the truth and know there’s a load of work ahead.

The learning process can be exhausting—emotionally and mentally. A good editor is worth more than I can explain here. So I say trust them. Not with just what happens above but with sharing your vision. Team up.

It’s all right to tell them how you feel. Especially if it’s important to you. Remember to pick your battles and always with respect.

After my experience, I understand all stories are team effort. Yet I still get a little thrill when I look back at the process. It is the one time (hopefully of many) that proves someone loves and believes in your work.

It’s okay to be excited. And I was!

My genre of choice is the mystery. I’ve incorporated it in fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal, and cozy so far. I’ve had fun building the story and even more fun executing it.

Care to read something of mine. Well,  try this short freebie: Dragon Eye

What about you? When does your fun begin?