Writers – It’s what we are

Today I’ve got Elysa Hendricks on the blog talking about why we write. I loved this piece and I completely agree with Lisa.

Here’s Lisa!

Writing is hard work. Whether an author writes fiction or non-fiction she spends weeks, months, sometimes years working alone to create her prose. She opens her literary veins and bleeds her hopes and fears, dreams and insecurities onto the page, a process much like giving birth, in the hope that her words can convey her ideas to some unknown reader.

Then once she writes those two glorious words – The End – she discovers that the process has merely begun. Now she has to revise, edit and polish her opus. And after that the hard part begins. She carefully packs up her imperfect infant and ships her off to a harsh stranger, the ultimate judge – The Editor.

If she’s fortunate The Editor will like her carefully crafted words and want to publish them with only minor revisions and edits– say, 299 pages out of the total 300. Most of the time though the answer comes back – Thanks, but no thanks – with little or no explanation as to why her baby didn’t make the grade.

Writing is hard, lonely work. Rejection is more common than acceptance. And with few exceptions the monetary rewards are small. So why do we continue to write?

Why do we breathe? Why do we eat?

We write because it’s not what we do, it’s what we are. We’re writers. Storytellers.

Mankind’s need to communicate goes back to the caveman. Even without the benefit of the written word, or pen and paper, cavemen were compelled to put down their history and stories on the walls of their caves. The human need to share our thoughts, dreams and stories was so strong we created the written word.

Each of you feels the same compulsion that long ago caveman felt. Inside your head the voices of your characters clamor for their stories to be told. You’re reading this because you want to learn how to better tell those stories. To learn more about the craft of writing – the rules.

Sommerset Maughm said, “There are three rules to writing, unfortunately no one knows what they are.”

This is both true and untrue. Writing is a both a craft and an art. And as with any craft there are skills you can learn – spelling, grammar, POV, Show Don’t Tell, Goal, Motivation, Conflict, Scene & Sequel, etc. These are the so-called “rules” of writing. They can be learned and practiced and used to enhance your writing. And once you know them there will be times when you’ll chose to break them.

But writing is also an art. You can learn the craft of writing, but it’s the art that gives writing its life.

Maybe it would be clearer to call the parts – mechanics and talent – rather than craft and art. Like Lance Armstrong I can ride a bike. I can even go fast – for a short bit. Maybe with training I could improve my mechanics of riding to ride faster and longer, but would I ever have the talent for racing that Lance displays? I’ll never know for sure, but I doubt it, because I don’t have the desire to be a bike racer. That doesn’t mean I can’t continue to enjoy bike riding and continue to improve my skill.

Over the years I’ve attended writing workshops, read books on writing, and most of all I’ve written to improve my writing mechanical abilities, but do I have talent? I like to think so, but I’m not sure. In the end it doesn’t really matter. The need to write, to tell my stories is overwhelming. I’m a writing addict. Talent or no talent I’d rather stop breathing than writing. So like the song says, “I’ll just stay addicted and hope I can endure.”

Talent is a gift, but like a tender young plant it must be protected, cultivated, supported and fed. Rejection forces us to grow tough outer skins to protect the bud of talent in our souls. To cultivate that bud we take writing workshops to improve our skills, and by improving our skills we support our talent. Every word, every sentence, and every story we write nourishes and makes our talent stronger.

So read, learn, grow, and write.

About Elysa:

Elysa Hendricks is 5’6″ tall. She has curly hair and brown eyes. She’s an author, a wife, a mother, and a daughter. Everything else is subject to change without notice. She loves hearing from readers and other writers. You can find her on her web site: http://www.elysahendricks.com or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elysa-Hendricks-Author/137316289643103

Blurb for The Baby Race:

Race Reed doesn’t want a wife, but to save his ranch he needs a baby. To gain custody of her stepsister, Claire Jensen needs a husband, but she wants love. Wants and needs are bound to clash when they run The Baby Race.

Race Reed reserves his love and attention for the abused horses he cares for on his ranch. Because his mother changed husbands as often as she changed clothes, doesn’t believe in wedded bliss. Now to save his ranch he needs the money his paternal grandmother is offering as a marriage incentive. The bizarre contest she’s set up between him and his two cousins to produce her first great-grandchild is another matter. His only option – cheat in The Baby Race.

Claire Jensen wants two things out of life, home and family. During her younger years she never questioned her father’s nomadic lifestyle as he hunted for treasure, but as she grew older she longed to put down roots. When her father remarried and gave Claire a stepmother and baby stepsister, she’d thought her prayers were answered. Instead, she took over the parental role to her stepsister as her father and stepmother continued to search the world for treasure. In every way that matters, the six-year-old is Claire’s daughter. When Claire’s father and stepmother are killed on their latest quest for treasure, without a steady job, husband or home, Claire is about to lose custody of her young stepsister. Her only option – run the The Baby Race.

To everyone who visits today Elysa is offering a FREE ebook copy of my contemporary romance COUNTERFEIT LOVE. To download your FREE copy of COUNTERFEIT LOVE go to: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/83527
Use Coupon Code: MM24E (Expires 12-31-12)

Cindy here!

Thanks so much for joining me today, Elysa. I’m going over to Smashwords now to get my copy of your book!

Happy writing!

Cindy

Not a Picky Reader. Not Really, Anyway.

Hi everyone. Thanks for stopping by the blog today. I’ve got Jordanna East here talking about what makes a non picky reader annoyed.

Here’s Jordanna!

I’m a reader. I know what you’re thinking: “ME Too!” But no, I’m a reader-reader. Just this year alone I’ve read more than seventy books, both indie and traditionally published. That’s some serious reading, right? So, it’s no wonder that I’m not an overly picky reader. I used to only read crime novels and horror, but I’ve recently branched out into historical fiction, YA, paranormal romance, and dystopian. I even read a few contemporary fiction novels. My point is, well, you get the point.. HOWEVER, there are a few things that bother me, that steal me away from the focus of the story, that cause me to roll my eyes in annoyance.

Here they are:

1. I can’t keep track of your characters. Sometimes a story has too many characters and they all have a name. The gas station attendant doesn’t always need a name if he only appears in one scene and has nothing to do with the plot. Also, I can’t keep up if several of your characters have the same or similar names. I don’t want to have to keep a notepad on hand just so I don’t keep confusing Bobby with Jim-Bob, or Bobby-Joe with Bob Jr.

2. Purple Prose. Don’t get me wrong, I love description. Probably more than I should. I love to be able to envision a character’s appearance or their surroundings. But I don’t need pages upon pages to do so. A well-crafted sentence or two will do just fine. Stop rambling on about blades of grass in the wind.

3. You have a thesaurus, we get it. I have a pretty extensive vocabulary (and I don’t mind expanding it even further), but when an author uses words I don’t think I’ll ever see again, I get annoyed. What’s worse is when the words don’t fit the context. Oh no, wait! What’s even worse than that is when the words are included in everyday dialogue and you as the reader just know in your heart of hearts that no one speaks like that. Gosh that’s the worst!

4. Jargon. I couldn’t be happier that you left your law firm/corporation/secret spy network to become an author, or that you did a ton of research on said vocations. But I never worked for a law firm/corporation/secret spy network and wasn’t aware that I had to do my own research before being able to understand a lick of your book.

5. Repetitive words and phrases. I recently read a book that overused the descriptions “smile held no humor” and “face clouded over.” As I read those terms over and over and over, they began to describe my own face.

Ok, so maybe I am a bit picky. But I’m sure it’s not just me. 😉

About Jordanna: Jordanna East is currently working on a full-length novel entitled Blood in the Paint. It’s a psychological thriller in which a seductive female serial killer and the ambitious young cop on to her are both seeing the same psychologist, who also has deadly ties to their pasts. She is also concurrently working on the prequel novella entitled Blood in the Past, which she plans to release in the Spring of 2013, followed by the novel in the summer. She’s married and living happily in Southern New Jersey with her husband and their slightly obsessive love of sports. Visit Jordanna at her blog, her Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter @JordannaEast.

Me again! Thanks for being here, Jordanna!

What about you? Are you a picky reader?

Happy writing!

Cindy

The Way You Do The Things You Do

Hi everyone! Today I’ve got Steve Liskow on the blog talking about learning about process and structure.

Here’s Steve!

When I first started writing seriously, I followed the conventional wisdom that you had to write every day. Some people said you should set a word goal, too—in Stephen King’s case, two thousand words.

I tried that for about five years, no matter how I felt and no matter how good or—in most cases—how bad they were. At the end of that time, I could sit down at the desk with a pencil, fountain pen, crayon, or a keyboard, and produce words on command. If they weren’t great, I could make them better.

That’s how you learn to write words. People don’t tell you that it’s also how you learn your own process. Do you need to outline or not? Do you start with a character, a situation, an image, or an evocative line? How and when do you revise?

Basically, you should progress from writing words to writing a story. Then you write a good story. Then you write a good story well. It takes a long time.

Nobody mentions that in addition to learning how to write, you’re learning what to write. I used to get an occasional student who hated to write long work, but produced such evocative images that I suggested they turn to poetry. Some people adore description so much that they can kill a story before it gets off the ground, but their love of detail helps them write excellent technical journals. And we’re all such narcissists that it seldom occurs to us that nobody would want to read our memoir unless we really DO find the cure for cancer.

Since I grew up in a realm where history (my father’s love), mystery (my mother’s passion) and the so-called Great Books all held sway, I didn’t even realize a hierarchy existed for years. My first attempts at mystery were a little on the literary side (and terrible), but I was always comfortable in the form and found that I could produce pages without too much trouble. My high school honors English (and later teaching English) meant I knew the mechanics of the language well enough so I could treat revision as a technical exercise. The big problem for me continues to be structure, but I’ve found writers who can show me the way.

Find someone you enjoy reading—contemporary, please, nobody will buy Thackeray now—but who doesn’t deal with your chosen subject matter. Write out a few pages of their stuff longhand to get the rhythm into your own ear and muscles, and then go wild. I’ve looked at S.J. Rozan’s Absent Friends (among others) for structuring, but you’ll probably never notice it. I often use present tense because I saw Don Winslow use it to inject energy into a story. Kate Atkinson and Laura Lippman use literary or pop allusions to make a point. Dennis Lehane, Lynne Heitman, and Karin Slaughter treat their characters badly and raise the stakes to the stratosphere. I’ve recently discovered Mo Hayder’s way of continuing a subplot in one novel as a larger plot in a second book. I can learn from that.

Samuel Jonson said that good writers imitate and great writers steal. Maybe the biggest trick is figuring out what’s worth stealing.

Cindy here! Thanks, Steve! It’s true, they don’t tell you any of that when you’re first starting. Hmm. If I want to sell like Stephen King I’m going to have to up my daily word count.

About Steve:

Steve Liskow is a former teacher, director and actor and holds graduate degrees in both literature and theater. His award-winning short stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and several anthologies, including the MWA collection Vengeance, edited by Lee Child. His four crime novels take place in Connecticut, and Run Straight Down, released two weeks ago, concerns a shooting at an urban high school. For more about Steve and his writing, visit http://www.steveliskow.com

Bringing in the Senses – by Brenna Zinn

Thanks for stopping by the blog today! I’ve got author Brenna Zinn visiting this fine Wednesday to talk about using the senses in your writing.

Take it away Brenna!

Ever run across the sweet, heady smell of honeysuckle while driving in the country? Can you close your eyes and visualize the vibrant reds and pinks of a sunset, or the pale greens of a newly budded tree? Can you imagine the brush of a feather against the backside of your knee? When you think about licking a freshly cut lemon and allowing its tangy juice to linger on your tongue, does your mouth water? Does the sound of honking of horns and screech of tires make you cringe?

Now think about what you’ve just read and how those words affected your senses. Did you smell the honeysuckle? See the reds, oranges, and greens? How about that lemon? Could you almost taste it?

The human mind tends to react to sensory suggestions, even suggestions taken in through written words. After a person experiences a sound, touch, taste, etc., the mere mention of the experienced sense can quickly evoke a sensory response.

For a writer, this is powerful information. Why? Because you can control what your readers see, smell, taste, hear, and feel simply by choosing one word over another. For example, consider the impact of changing just a few words in the following sentences.

 

I rubbed my hand against the furry softness of the cashmere sweater.

I rubbed my hand against the slick, almost wet skin of the snake.

I opened the door and was nearly knocked down by the oppressive heat and humidity.

I opened the door and was nearly knocked down by the frigid north wind.

 

Below are two paragraphs from my current work-in-progress. At least three senses (sight, sound, touch) are used to help my reader get into the scene.

     Dagger parked the Vette alongside the white picket fence framing the front yard of the Benson’s conch house. The old two story home, a combination of Victorian and Bahamian style architectures, had been built by someone in the Benson family over a hundred years ago and had stayed in the family since. Though the home was ancient, the paint job wasn’t. The last time he’d been here, the house had been a bright yellow. Now a light blue with bright white gingerbread trim, the place had never looked better.
     The sound of music drifted from somewhere inside the house as soon as Dagger killed the engine. Strolling up the steps to the covered veranda, he could feel the twangy beats of some country song vibrating over his skin. He knocked on the door several times knowing good and well no one inside could possibly hear his arrival over the din, then let himself in.

When you write, carefully sprinkle in sensory words to for greater reader involvement. You want the readers to experience what your heroines and heroes experience and become immersed in their story. If you can coax the people who buy your books to completely lose themselves in the make-believe worlds of your stories, maybe they’ll come back for more.

Me again.

Great advice, Brenna! Don’t forget to check out Brenna’s website at http://www.brennazinn.com. And follow her on Twitter @BrennaZinn.

How about you? Do you work to put the senses in your writing? Do you stick mostly with sight and sound?

Happy writing!

Cindy

Susan Santangelo – Writing what she knows best

Thanks for stopping by the blog today! I’ve got Susan Santangelo on the blog talking about Baby Boomer Mysteries.

Here’s Susan!

I’m frequently asked at book talks, “Why do you write a Baby Boomer mystery series?” My answer is, “Why not?” There are 78.2 million Baby Boomers in the United States, according to the latest census figures. And many “senior” Boomers, myself included, are starting to hit the magic age of 65. There’s so much written about the financial piece of growing older – taking care of your IRAs, 401Ks, etc. – but nobody seemed to be taking a look at the emotional piece. By that I mean, how do couples who have been married for years, raised a family, and been leading fairly independent lives, now cope with the fact that the husband and the wife are no longer going out to a 9 – 5 job every day? Instead, they often get into each other’s way as they struggle to re-define their roles. Of course, nothing like that ever happens in my house! 🙂

I’ve always loved the mystery genre. I was hooked on Nancy Drew books when I was a child, then I graduated to Agatha Christie, and I’ve just keep on going. I love what is traditionally called the cozy – no blood and gore for me. I like to be entertained. And, especially, I like to laugh!

I was diagnosed with breast cancer years ago, and that was a real wakeup call for me. I’ve been a freelance writer, editor and drama critic for years. I’ve also had my own p. r. company and done special events for a variety of clients, including Carnegie Hall. Writing press releases, articles, brochures – I did it all. But I’d always wanted to write a mystery. After the cancer diagnosis (I’m fine now!) I thought, why wait? Who knows what other curve balls life might have in store for me?

The original idea of the series was that my husband and I would do it together. He’s been writing non-fiction professionally for years. But it didn’t work out that way.

The series deals with typical Boomers Carol and Jim Andrews as they navigate the rocky way toward their golden years. In the first book, Retirement Can Be Murder, released in April 2009, Carol dreads Jim’s upcoming retirement more than a root canal without Novocain. She can’t imagine anything worse than an at-home husband with time on his hands and nothing to fill it, except interfering in the day-to-day activities and driving her crazy. Until Jim is suspected of murdering his retirement coach. The second one in the series, Moving Can Be Murder, was released May 1 2011. This one deals with Carol and Jim selling the family home and downsizing, with one dead body thrown in to keep things interesting. Book 3 in the series, Marriage Can Be Murder, includes a destination wedding on Nantucket, and was released in July 2012. There a total of 7 books planned for the series.

My books are written in the first person, so many people think I’m Carol. I’ve even been introduced at book talks as Carol! We’re both sarcastic and like to be in charge. We value our family and our close women friends. Oh, one more thing – we both love English cocker spaniels. There are two English cockers in the books, Lucy and Ethel.

My characters have become my best friends. The more I write about them, the more I want to write about them. And I have a sneaky suspicion that when I’m not keeping an eye on them, they get into trouble. Or, maybe it’s the other way around?

The subhead for each book title is, “Every wife has a story.” The more women I connect with, either at book talks or via the Internet, the more I realize how true that is!

The books are available on Amazon and a number of independent book stores, as well as on Kindle and Nook. And through the website: www.babyboomermysteries.com.

Thanks for the opportunity to make some new cyber friends. I always love to hear from readers. I can be reached at ssantangelo (at) aol (dot) com

Susan Santangelo

Me again!

Thanks for being on the blog today, Susan! The series sounds great. Love that the cocker spaniels are named Lucy and Ethel! I’ve wondered about that first person issue. I only write in third so I’ve never thought anyone would call me by a character name.

Happy writing!

Cindy

Your story’s logline – will you be ready?

If someone asked you what your story is about would you know the answer? Really know the answer? The logline isn’t plot, twists, sub plot, dialogue. It’s your concept. At the most basic level, it’s the spine of your story. It’s what holds everything together. Okay, now what is your story about? A lot of writers don’t. If you’re writing to publish, whether that’s through a traditional publisher or self-publishing you need a logline. They don’t just grab an editor’s or agent’s attention. They can entice readers.

There was a time when a logline was associated only with scripts. Hollywood uses them to gauge potential projects. To hook people. A good logline will prompt the listener to ask questions and want to see the movie. More and more editors and agents want to see a logline for your book. In queries or in person or online pitches they want you to condense your story down to 25 words that allows them to envision the whole story.

Why do editors and agents want loglines now? Because if you can boil your concept down to 25 words or less you know your concept. Really know it. And knowing your concept can help you stay on track when you’re writing the story. Oh, yeah, I recommend coming up with the logline BEFORE writing any of the story. When you’ve finished writing the book it’s actually a lot harder to figure out what that spine is. Boiling it down to a succinct logline is hard. You want to put in everything you think makes the story great. But you have to pick out the basics, just enough to catch someone’s interest and get them asking questions.

The general consensus is the logline should be twenty-five words or less. If you go over by a few words that’s fine. But the twenty-five word limit forces you to be as precise as possible. Trim the excess words and get right to the point. The logline should tell us WHO the story is about, WHAT he wants (Goal), and WHY he can’t have it (Conflict). A good logline will have the GMC. I like to start my loglines with the inciting incident or character motivation. Why does the protagonist need to go through this story? What prompted him to take action?

Loglines should, usually, use generic characters. A sexy librarian, a happy go lucky cop, a cursed witch. The reason for the descriptor and then noun for the character is impact. It tells you more about the character then just the name.

To stop a murder, a sexy librarian must deliver a rare first edition from the library to the man holding her sister hostage, but the library burns down.

That tells me more then: To stop a murder, Lexa Tome must deliver a rare first edition from the library to the man holding her sister hostage, but the library burns down.

Need help coming up with your logline? You’re in luck! There’s a Loglines class at Savvy Authors starting August 6th!

If you sign up for class be sure to say hi and let me know how you found out about the class.

Happy writing!

Cindy

H is for…High Concept

So much has been written and debated about high concept. Do you need it? Does it matter if your story isn’t high concept? Will it still sell? Who cares if it’s high concept? And the most important questions – what the heck is high concept? And how can I get it?

So, first, do you need it? Depends. If you’re submitting to agents and editors then I would say probably. They’re always saying they want the same but different. Translation – high concept. They want something with inherent marketability. Does it matter if your story isn’t high concept? Will it still sell? Yes, it can still sell. Just because editors and agents are looking for the same but different doesn’t mean they always get high concept stories.  Stories have sold and continue to sell that aren’t high concept. Who cares if it’s high concept? You should. It’s easier to sell if it is.

What the heck is high concept? People tend to think if they can boil their concept down to that twenty-five word logline they have high concept.  That’s not what makes it high concept.  I can do that with a lot of my stories but only a handful are actually high concept.

So then what is it? From my workshop on loglines:

The concept must be unique

The concept must appeal to a wide audience

The concept should have a likeable protagonist (though this isn’t always the case)

The there should be high stakes

The concept can be told in a single sentence and you see the whole movie (or book)

High concept pitches can make it easier to communicate up through the chain of command.  If your idea is too complicated, by the time it reaches the top, it may sound like a totally different idea.  Anyone ever play telephone as a child?  It also forces you to determine what the story is really about.  What the core of the story is.

How do you get high concept if your story isn’t already there? First step is to not be married to your concept. All too often writers will get an idea and start running with it. Developing plot points, characters, dialogue. At that point they are reluctant to change the idea, even a little bit, to make it better. Me, I don’t get married to any of my concepts. I have a book that I’ve completely rewritten once and now I’m thinking of rewriting it again to add another element that will make the story better. Probably half the pages will need to go to accommodate the new story element. That’s a rare instance. I usually don’t even start writing anything for the story until I narrow down the concept line. Once I’m happy with that I move on to the story.

The example I use in my high concept lesson for the loglines class is:

Original:  To prevent an assassination a delusional hooker must get married but her cover is blown and her fiancé becomes a target.

Rework one:  To prevent the assassination of the president a delusional hooker must get married but his cover is blown and his fiancé turns out to be the enemy.

The first rework isn’t great but it’s higher concept than the original.

So, anyone want to share concepts so we can brainstorm ways to elevate them to something higher concept?

Happy writing!

Cindy

G is for…Genre

In the writing world, what genre is your book is the equivalent of the singles scene what’s your sign. At every writing meeting I’ve been to one of the first questions that gets asked is – What do you write? That translates to what genre is your book. The answer to that question is easy when you only write in one genre. A recognizable, defined genre.

I write in more than one genre and some of my books combine two or more genres. Why do we even care about genres? I think we shouldn’t worry about them when writing the book. Some say you shouldn’t care about them at all even when submitting. It’s the agent’s job to figure out what genre your book falls into and which editors take what genres. But I do think it’s important for the writer to know what genre the book is. On the agent’s submission page they list the genres they accept. If you don’t know what genre your book is how will you know if it’s one of the genres the agent accepts?

Say you don’t want to submit to an agent or an editor. Say you’ve been there, done that and it got you nowhere so you’re going to self publish. Great! But you still need to know where your book fits on the virtual bookshelf. Readers search by genre. At least this reader does. If your book has more than one genre, which genre is more prevalent? With the exception of my erotica (under a different name) all of my stories contain some sort of crime or suspense aspect. I would then have to figure out if I should put my book in the suspense/thriller category or the paranormal or urban fantasy.

So think about your book and see which of these genres it might fit into. These are probably not all the genres out there.

Romance

Science Fiction

Fantasy

Horror

ChickLit

Suspense

Thrillers

Western

Historical

Urban Fantasy

Young Adult

What’s even more confusing are the sub-genres. I won’t get into all of them here but in the romance genre alone there are no less than ten sub-genres. So keep the genre at the back of your mind as you write. One day you will need to know the genre one day.

I might actually get some writing done now before bed.

Happy writing!

Cindy

F is for…Flash Fiction

Flash fiction is not just short fiction. It’s stories that are 1,000 words or less. How on earth can you tell a whole story, beginning, middle and end, with characterization in under 1,000 words? I found it hard enough switching from 85,000 word novels to 2,500 word short stories.  There was no way I could write a flash fiction piece. All the flash fiction pieces I write, though under 1,000 words, could be turned into more. The endings aren’t really endings. You be the judge. Here’s one I wrote based on a sentence I found somewhere.

“Not many people would have required stitches after washing the dishes, but then again I’ve always thought of myself as special.” Fiona Scott held up her middle finger to show off her war wound.

“No! What did your mom say?” Karen’s wide eyes stared at the stitches. The grimace on her face made Fiona smile.

“She practically fainted,” Fiona said.

“She’s a nurse.”

Fiona shrugged. “She said it was different when it’s your own kid.”

“Does it hurt?”

Fiona wiggled her fingers and plunged her hands into the dishwater again. “Nah. Hurt like hell yesterday though.”

“And she’s making you do the dishes again?

“It beats having to take my brother shopping.”

Fiona sighed, enjoying the relative quiet of the house. With her little brother there she never had any quiet time. She cherished the moment.

“Why doesn’t she get a dishwasher?”

“I’m cheaper, apparently.” Karen jumped off the kitchen chair and grabbed a tea towel. “You know you don’t have to help me.”

Karen grinned. “I know but the sooner you finish the sooner we can get out of here.”

Fiona swooshed her hand around in the water to see if she’d missed anything. There was always a fork or a spoon languishing at the bottom. A sharp pain in her finger made her jerk her hand. But she couldn’t get it out of the water.

“Ouch!”

“What is it?”

“I think I cut myself again and now my finger is stuck.”

Karen reached her hand into the water. “It doesn’t feel like it’s stuck on anything.”

A tug on her finger sent fresh pain up her arm. “Something’s wrong.”

Before she could say anything else the tug on her finger changed to something yanking on her arm. As she was pulled closer to the sink all she could think was it’s not big enough for me to fit. But a splash echoed in her ears, water surrounded her, her lungs hurt and everything went black.

#

“Fiona, wake up.”

Karen’s voice pulled Fiona out of what had to be the weirdest dream she’d ever had. She opened her eyes and groaned. When had the sky turned purple? Where was the kitchen?

“Where are we?”

Fiona looked around, a chill running up her spine. “I don’t know.”

Happy writing!

Cindy

E is for…Editing

Every writer knows (or should know) that once you finish writing the book, it`s not done. You need to edit. A lot of writers I know hate to edit. But I love it. For me, that’s where I find most of the gems I my stories. The really great turn of phrase. The excellent description. The better solution to a plot problem.

 

What should you look for when you edit? Depends on how you edit. I like to leave the book for at least a few weeks before I even look at it again. I do a general pass, reading through the story to find plot problems. Then the meat of the edits begin. I dig out my Margie Lawson class notes and start applying her classes to my work. I highlight all the main components (plot, character, dialogue, action, introspection) with different colours to see if I’ve over used one. Under used one. Once I fix those I go back and really edit for the rhetorical devices, the dialogue cues, the cliched phrases. I’ll read the whole thing out loud, not just the dialogue bits. You can always tell when something sounds clunky if you read it out loud. And I should say, that’s the process I’m GOING to do when I finally finish this NaNoWriMo 2010 book. By the end of it the novel should sparkle.

 

Wish I could say I’m going to write now. But it’s late so it’s bed for me.

 

Happy writing!

 

Cindy

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