50 Awesome Moments Only Writers Understand

FWe’re already at F for the A to Z Blogging Challenge! Today I have Christina L. Rozelle talking about awesome moments only writers understand. Here’s Christina.

The world of the writer is a unique one. The way we view and experience life is definitely different from how non-writers do, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Below are fifty awesome moments most writers have or will experience in their lifetime.

50. That awesome writer moment when you type “The End.”

49. That awesome writer moment when you reread something you just wrote and it’s like reading something somebody else wrote, and you wonder where the hell it came from.

48. That thankful writer moment when you get the kids to bed and you FINALLY get to sit your ass down and write.

47. That sad writer moment when you discover that a character you’ve grown to really like/love . . . has to die.

46. That awesome writer moment when you realize that what you are writing is bigger than you, is coming from some place beyond you, and you are but a vestibule for the creative workings of the Universe to materialize. . . . When that Universal truth comes to you as a gift to be shared through your talent, humbly, a light for others to see themselves and the world by.

45. That moment when you realize you need to kill your darlings. (See above)

44. When you realize you are narrating your life in third person again.

43. That awesome writer moment when you’re writing a creepy scene and you keep looking over your shoulder, making sure no one’s behind you. In your own house. In daylight.

42. That moment when an idea to do something perfectly horrible to your characters creeps up on you and makes you smile, evilly.

41. When you are losing an argument so you start correcting their grammar.

40. When your back is killing you, your eyes are buggin’, your legs have lost all their sensation, your forearms, wrists, and elbows are achy and sore, but still you write on like the badass word-slinger that you are.

39. That awkward writer moment when you start talking to a non-reader/writer passionately about your book and they pretend like they care but it’s obvious they are more interested in the activities of a nearby Porta Potty than your book.

38. That Halleluiah! writer moment when you’ve been querying agents/publishers for eons, and you finally get that “yes.”

37. When you get a brilliant idea in the shower and you hop out with soap still on your body to scribble it down on a paper plate with a crayon (or something like that 😉 )

36. When you’re on a road trip and you put on your headphones and listen to inspiring music while working out plot details in your head the whole way.

35. That awesome writer moment when you have to pull over to write something down.

34. That moment when the best thing you ever wrote was born on a napkin.

33. That moment when your “emergency fire rescue” box in your house is too full of your writing stuff to fit any family photos, baby keepsakes, important paperwork, etc.

32. When you are constantly catching typos in places they shouldn’t be; cereal boxes, shampoo bottles, text books, signs, and your kid’s printed homework pages . . . . and you make a big deal out of it. And no one else cares.

31. When one kind comment or note of encouragement from a reader/fellow writer can pull you out of that mucky bog of motivation-less self-pity and disenchantment.

30. That sweet moment when someone you know and love reads your book and you feel closer to them.

29. When you have a child within the age bracket of your YA book. (Yes! Priceless input!)

28. When that child doesn’t want to read your book because it doesn’t have vampires in it. (Seriously?)

27. When you read a really awesome book and you have to read it again so you can pick it apart and see exactly how the author made it so freakin’ awesome.

26. When you’re talking with another writer in front of a non-writer and they are awkwardly standing there like, “huh?”

25. That inspiring moment when a big storm comes and you start plotting end of the world weather scenarios and storylines in your head.

24. That awkward moment when you meet someone who reminds you of one of your characters and you’re like, “WTF?”

23. When that plot kink works itself out in a dream, after stressing all day/week/month about it.

22. When you write your first novel and are in love with it . . . .

21. When you look at your first novel a year later and realize what a POS it is . . . .

20. When you see how necessary it was that your first novel be a POS, because you learned so much in the process of writing it.

19. That day you realize you don’t have to wait for an agent or publisher to wave the magic wand of “good enough” over you and your words, and you decide to brave the deep waters of self-publishing . . . and you learn how to swim in them. And you become a self-publishing guru, teetering daringly on the edge of absolute badass.

18. When you would rather write than sleep.

17. When your characters tell you exactly what they want you to do next . . . or else.

16. When you’re having an “off” day, and someone gives you unwarranted constructive criticism . . . and you want to tell them what they can do with their unwarranted constructive criticism.

15. When you write drunk and think it’s the best thing you ever wrote . . . .

14. That moment when you look at your drunken mumbo jumbo the next day.

13. When you have more books on your kindle than your local public library has on its shelves.

12. That amazing moment when what you are writing makes you laugh . . . . or cry.

11. That awkward moment when seeing an old typewriter is an aphrodisiac.

10. When you develop a crush on a fictional character . . . . (Hey, he’s eighteen, it’s legal, right?)

9. That moment when a blog post you wrote goes “viral.”

8. That awesome moment when you finish that rewrite. It was scary to tackle at first, but you wrangled that bull and showed it who the heck was boss! Sha-BAM! DONE!! And so much awesomer now!

7. That ancient writer memory of always having ink-stained hands.

6. When you have an elevator-pitch moment with a chance-encounter, and you totally forget what your book is about, how to speak, and that you are even an author in the first place.

5. When you base a character on someone that pisses you off . . . and they just have to die. (hehehe)

4. When you take your shitty day out on your characters . . . and it works . . . and it’s awesome.

3. When you finally meet that special person who “gets” you, and appreciates your word-nerdiness in all its glory.

2. When you light your keyboard on fire because you’re on a roll and the thoughts are flowing and the story has begun writing itself and you can barely keep up.

1. The realization that you cannot not write, even if you are not getting paid enough, or at all; because it is who you are. It is your gift, your passion, your light to shine into the world. It is your spark in the dark.

Now go! Live the moments and be great.

And as always,

Write on <3

Author Bio: Christina L. Rozelle is a mother of four currently residing in Dallas, Texas. She enjoys fiction that shines a light in the dark; has emotion, intensity, verve, depth, and truth. She writes what she’d love to read. Though her focus is currently YA speculative fiction, she dabbles in other genres as well, including adult speculative, fantasy, addiction/recovery fiction, and other general fiction.

To purchase her Upper YA Dystopian/Scifi/Horror, “The Treemakers” (summary below) Click here: http://amzn.to/1BEQykH

Sixteen-year-old Joy Montgomery, daughter of Zephyr the Magnificent, the great magician, can only reminisce of better times. Before the Superiors. Before the uprisings. Long ago. Before the dying Earth ripped the family she loved away from her. 
In this desolate dystopian future, the Greenleigh orphans are “privileged” with the task of building mechanical trees for Bygonne, so their world behind The Wall can breathe another day, and so the Superiors may continue their malevolent reign. 

Lured by a yearning for freedom, tenacious curiosity, and hunger for adventure, Joy discovers hope and magic amid the misery, and power in her promise to care for those remaining, whom she loves enough to risk her life for. To save them, herself, and the boy she adores from the abuse and slavery by the Superiors, Joy must entrust the aid of an unlikely ally who harbors a dangerous secret. 
With an intriguing stranger at the helm, Joy and the treemakers embark on an intense and terrifying, yet liberating quest for the truth about the existence of the forbidden paradise beyond The Wall. 

*Please note: This is the first book in the series. The second book will be available late 2015. This story is intended for mature young adult audiences, and contains themes that may be disturbing and/or offensive to some people. If you find abusive, sexual, violent, deeply intense emotional, and/or character death events disturbing and/or offensive, this book is not recommended for you or your children. Though please keep in mind this story balances those events and sequences with love, friendship, integrity, strength, nurturing, hope, perseverance, determination, and the fight for freedom from bondage. This story is not intended for the weak of heart.

Below are a few more links you might find useful/interesting:

A Spark in the Dark (Christina’s blog for writers): https://clrozelle.wordpress.com/

Christina’s Fansite: http://christinalrozelle.com/

Christina on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clrozellesouth

The Treemakers Superfan Rafflecopter: http://gvwy.io/wcegq9

Cindy here again!

Thanks for stopping by the blog today! Loved this list and found myself nodding through the whole thing.

Keep writing.

Editing – the hard part begins

EWelcome to week two of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Today I’ve got A R Kennedy talking about one of the most important aspects of writing. Editing. Here’s A R Kennedy!

Editing…I hear the collective sigh.  To emphasize the importance of editing, lets see what our favorite authors say…

“The only kind of writing is re-writing” – Ernest Hemingway

Editing is the real work of the writer.  You’ve never read the first draft of your favorite author.  You wouldn’t want to.  It’s riddled with typos, and scenes, maybe even characters, that will be deleted before you read the book.  The editing is where authors fix the plot holes, fine tune it, and make it better.

But it’s the work—every writer will say this.

The research is fun.  (I know more about street gangs than any suburban girl should.)

The killing is fun.  (I really hope this is never taken out of context)

Seeing where your characters go is fun.  (Because they do surprise you.)

The editing is the work.

Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” —Mark Twain

“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” ― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

We’ve all heard this one before, first said by William Faulkner.  It hurts to think about killing off one of your creations but you need to.

An editor once told me I liked my characters too much. (Please note in that same book, two beta readers didn’t like my main character, Nathan, at all.  One still wants me to kill off Nathan.  I’ve pointed out that would mean the end of the series.  I’m trying to not read too much into that.)

The reader must feel the tension— at any point any character may die.  You the author knows who will survive.  You’ll mourn a character’s death more than anyone else.  But do it. You want your readers, no need them, to be on the seat of their pants to turn the page, to read one more sentence, one more page, one more chapter.

So, kill ‘em I will

So how do you edit?  There are thousands of books written to help and hundreds of course to attend.

My favorite is Donald Maass.  If you can, go to one of his workshops.  If not, buy his books and workbooks.  After the second draft of my novels, I re-read my notes from his class and go through his workbook.  He’’ll tell you to kill off characters, combine characters, put characters in places you never expected.

In book three of the Nathan Miccoli mystery series, Gone But Not Healed, how did Alfonso make it to Long Beach?  Though Donald Maass’ workshop.

His course made me uncomfortable.  He’ll warn you that it will.  But go along for the ride.  You and your readers will be glad you did.

“Put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.” — Colette

Missed_final_eBook_brightA R Kennedy, author of The Nathan Miccoli series.  Books 1-3 (Gone But Not Missed, Gone But Not Goodbye, Gone But Not Healed) are now on special price, 99cents, this week only. Checkout her Amazon page for links to all three books. A R Kennedy on Amazon.

Book 4 in the series, Gone But Not Together, is due out in May 2015

Website – arkennedyauthor.com

Facebook – AR Kennedy

Twitter – ARK_author



Cindy here again!

Thanks for stopping by the blog today. Great post about editing.

Keep writing.


“Dialogue revisions,” she said.

DHow could you have a writing blog and not talk about dialogue on day four of the A to Z Blogging Challenge? Today I’ve got Harlow Fallon talking about the importance of dialogue. Here’s Harlow!

The most successful storytellers know the keys to a good story: an engaging plot, characters that come alive, action that jumps off the page, and a setting that spreads out before the reader, as real as any film or photo. The writing must be polished, with carefully chosen words and tight prose.

But there’s one vital aspect that threads through each of these elements: dialogue. It can either make or break a story. When dialogue is done well, readers feel as if they’re part of the conversation. When done poorly, it can throw readers out of the story or make them stop reading altogether.

A good dialogue between characters is a careful blend of three parts: the dialogue tags, the actual speech, and the actions that bring the conversation and the movement of the story together.

What does good dialogue look like? How does it work?

Let’s look at an example from an aspiring writer, Hummus Papadopoulos, who struggles with dialogue. He’s written a story about cookies. Here’s a snippet:

“I baked a batch of cookies yesterday,” Mary said.

“What kind of cookies did you bake?” Lisa asked.

“I baked chocolate chip cookies,” Mary said.

“Do you have any cookies left?” Lisa asked.

“No, I don’t have any left,” Mary said.

Hummus doesn’t understand how to use dialogue tags, and he’s used too many. The main purpose of tags is to identify who’s speaking. But tags can be useful in other ways. They can reveal the emotion of the speaker, and can contribute to the tension and pace of the story.

There’s a lot of writerly opinion going around these days that insists you limit your tags to the word said. It’s a simple, bland word that does the job and doesn’t get in the way of telling the story. I’m all for that. But I’m going to swim against the current a little and say that words like replied, inquired, yelled, whispered, retorted, and others, also have a place in dialogue. Just be sparing in their use. Do they lend depth to the dialogue? Do they fit the need? If they do, then why not use them? But remember, the key word is sparing.

Often there are natural pauses in a line of dialogue, and adding a tag at the pause instead of at the end will add emphasis to it, allowing the pause to become more significant because of the inserted tag.

Sometimes a tag isn’t needed at all. When the dialogue is between two people, too many tags can slow things down. Fewer tags can increase the pace and tension of the dialogue, but too few can confuse readers, pulling them out of the story while they try to figure out who said what. It’s important to find the right balance.

After a few revisions, Hummus’ dialogue tags are looking better:

“I baked a batch of cookies yesterday,” Mary said.

“You baked cookies?” Lisa said. “What kind of cookies did you bake?”

“I baked chocolate chip cookies.”

“Do you have any left?”

“No, I don’t,” Mary said. “I don’t have any cookies left.”

Something is still missing. The dialogue doesn’t sound natural. Why? Because it doesn’t reflect the way we normally converse. Natural speech incorporates a lot of what we would consider flaws in regular prose. There are sentence fragments, dropped consonants, even single word sentences.

So Hummus gives his dialogue another revision, and ends up with this:

“I baked a batch of cookies yesterday,” Mary said.

“Yeah?” Lisa said. “What kind?”

“Chocolate chip.”

“Any left?”

“Nope,” Mary said. “Ate them all.”

Hummus is finally getting somewhere. His dialogue is taking shape with proper tags and natural speech. But another element needs to be added. Gestures, action and exposition give depth and create balance and flow within the dialogue, so readers feel as if they are in the story, involved in the conversation. Without these things dialogue can feel dry and flat. Readers want to know what the characters are doing, thinking, and feeling while they’re talking.

So Hummus takes another stab at it:

“I baked a batch of cookies yesterday,” Mary said, grinning.

Lisa raised an eyebrow. “Yeah? What kind?”

“Chocolate chip.”

A twinge of concern edged into Lisa’s thoughts. Mary had sworn off sweets three days ago, determined to lose a few pounds. Had she given up already?

Lisa gave her a narrow look. “Any left?”

“Nope,” Mary said. “Ate them all.”

Lisa’s jaw dropped. “Are you kidding? What about your diet?”

“Whatever,” Mary said with a shrug. “I’ll start tomorrow.”

Hummus has made progress. He’s used proper tags, incorporated natural speech, and included gestures, action, and exposition. Hummus is on his way to writing a winner.

Don’t make dialogue work too hard. It should support the story. It shouldn’t be a vehicle for transporting huge chunks of information, nor should it make up the bulk of the narrative. There should be a balance of dialogue and exposition, of what is spoken aloud and what is revealed internally. Dialogue should lead readers in the direction the writer want them to go, contribute to the pace of the story, and reveal the personalities of the characters. Let the dialogue do its job, but handle it judiciously. The result will be a good, strong story that will make readers ask for more.


Harlow Fallon’s love of art and literature began when she was very young. She cut her teeth on The Wizard of Oz, and as a teen discovered the worlds of Ray Bradbury and Frank Herbert. Today, she channels her imagination into her own writing, fueled by the curiosities of the world and the mysteries of the universe. Science fiction and fantasy are her genres of choice. She and her husband have five grown children and have made Michigan their home for the past fifteen years. She released her first novel in February. All the Wild Places, Book 1 of the Elmwyn Journey is available on Amazon for Kindle. Book 2, The Reach of the Hand, will publish on April 7. Visit her at harlowcfallon.com.

Cindy here again.

Thanks for stopping by the blog. Great tips on dialogue. I’ll have to go back and check my dialogue.

Keep writing!

Confidence – do you have it?

CDay three and time for C! Today’s guest is Amy Bartelloni and she’s talking about having confidence in your writing. Here’s Amy!

You wouldn’t think it’s all that important in this business, but I was recently telling my 12 year old daughter (who probably doesn’t listen anyway,) that confidence is everything. She rides horses, I write. Apples to oranges, right? Not really.

Let me explain.

I’m a big believer in the power of positive thinking. Ever read the Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho? Well that’s a literal way of pushing you to go after your dreams, to believe in your dreams. Because how can you go after them if you don’t believe in them? And how can anyone else believe in them if you don’t? It took a big leap of faith for me to even start writing my stories down, and that was before I told anyone or shared them! I have a lifelong self-confidence problem, something I think a lot of us creative type people suffer from. But you have to start somewhere, and I started by writing for myself. Then a funny thing happened.

I lost myself in my stories. Sometimes, a lot of times, really, I have to go back and channel those days when I was writing for myself. Because it’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day work: the publicizing, the emails, the reviews, all the million other distractions, and forget that I do this because I love it. I love the stories. And it all started by taking that leap and having the confidence to write things down, even if they were only for me to see. And for a long time, they only were for me to see. I learned so much in those days, not just about writing but about believing in myself and believing in the story. I learned to stop worrying so much about what the other moms at PTO would think, because I have a story inside of me that’s clawing its way out. I have a story inside of me – how cool is that? I wrote it down just for me, and that was the first time I realized that I can do it. It’s only one step, though, and I had a long way to go.

Sharing my stories with the world is a whole different level. Or is it? Confidence inside and confidence outside are two sides of the same coin. Imagine my surprise at that little revelation. Because I was rejected. Rejected with a capital R. Rejected so many times that there’s not a file big enough to keep count. So many people give up at this point, but I have a natural born stubborn streak and I wasn’t going to let go. I lost faith, but I never lost what was important. I kept on writing. Even if there were days I didn’t believe in myself, I believed in those words. Slowly, very, very slowly, that started to show through. The rejections still hurt, don’t get me wrong, but I knew there was potential there. And I kept trying.

I don’t hear people talk about those down times, the times when you’re furiously writing and querying and you think you’re getting nowhere. I hated them. I hated questioning myself all the time. I hated thinking I was wasting my time. But when I look back, I couldn’t be where I am without them. The rejections and the practice built me up in ways I didn’t know I needed building. I became better. I learned the craft of writing, and I made friends in the reading and writing industry that have become some of my closest friends. I’m not saying this wouldn’t have happened if I had instant success, I’m saying I wasn’t ready for instant success. More than just the writing, I had to build me up.

I needed confidence.

I’m not saying I’ve gone out in the world and had huge success as a result of this, but I notice the difference. I’m not embarrassed anymore to tell people I write, I’m not scared to read my work in front of people. And the best part is – if people don’t like me or what I have to offer, I move along. I’ve discovered that there are plenty of other people who do like my writing, and the world is too short to harp on the negative.

So, my advice is to pay your dues. The more you read and write, the better you get at it. Do it because you love it, and remember that you love it. The more you believe in yourself, the more it will show to other people. And have confidence! You have something of value to offer the world. 🙂

Amy Bartelloni the author of the 3 book YA dystopian Andromeda series. She’s also a reader, writer, & coffee addict who lives with her husband, 3 children, and various animals in the northeast US. When she’s not playing mom-taxi, you can find her with her nose in a book or her head in the clouds. A people watcher and science fiction junkie, she still believes dreams can come true. Some of her favorite authors include Neil Gaiman, Jasper Fforde, Paulo Coelho, and Stephen King. She can be found on the web at www.amybartelloni.com

Find Amy on Twitter: https://twitter.com/amycipwrites
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amybartelloniwrites

Cindy here again.

Thanks for stopping by the blog. I agree with Amy on the importance of confidence.

Keep writing!

Beta-readers – they have the power

BWelcome to day two and the letter B of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Today’s guest, talking about the power of beta-readers is Kelsey D. Garmendia.

Here’s Kelsey!

Beta-reading—if you had brought that mere phrase up to me about a year ago, I would’ve given a shocked expression and said no way. I’ve always had this deep dark fear that my work would be stolen, and I would never get credit for the hard work and commitment I put into my stories. But over the past 365 days, I’ve learned that beta-readers are a gold mine.

There’s a plethora of knowledge and guidance I was offered during my undergraduate years. While I went to SUNY New Paltz, the creative workshop and craft courses were by far my favorite. But I lost all the insight from peers and fellow aspiring writers when they handed me that fancy new degree.

While swimming in the indie world, I met my friend Heaven Lyanne Flores through her blog. I was featured on her page during a takeover and decided to keep in contact with her. Let me tell you, keeping in touch with her was one of the best decisions I made in my life. Not only are we friends now, but we are also writing motivations for each other. If not for her, beta-reading would’ve never entered my life.

I was finishing up on my third novel, Disenchanted, when I hit a wall in my editing stage. Heaven suggested I use beta-reading to get through my block. I was a little nervous—ok, maybe more than a little, but I took the plunge and sent out my book to some close friends who I knew wouldn’t hold back on criticism to spare my feelings.

When the responses started rolling in, my wall that previously kept me from editing came crashing and tumbling down. The comments I received were not only helpful, but encouraging all the same. I was able to fix the issues in the storyline and flesh out the ideas and plot points that people loved.

Disenchanted has been published now for six months. Not only have I’ve gotten amazing, tear-jerking reviews on it, but I also feel even more proud of my work. All of that stemmed from the great beta-readers I worked with along the way.

In a nutshell, here’s what my opinion of beta-reading has changed to:

There’s really no downside to this so long as you get dependable, trustworthy readers who will not hold back what they think and respect your wishes to not share the work.

Keeping your group manageable is key. Having your fingers extremely wide may delay your writing process. I definitely get distracted easily. So keeping my beta group small was a great way to stay on top of things.

And last but not least, don’t be afraid to try it. Beta-reading changed the way I look at writing. As writers, we’ll never be in this alone. So why should the actual writing process be any different?


Kelsey D. Garmendia, 24, is an alumnus of the State University of New York at New Paltz. She obtained a Bachelors Degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. Garmendia is featured in Confettifall, Embodied Effigies, Penduline Press, The Stonesthrow Review, My Unfinished Novel, Poydras Review, and Midnight Screaming.
She also has three self-published novels: Burn Our Houses Down and If I Lose are both part of a book series with the next installment to be published early in 2015 and her newest novel, Disenchanted, is a stand-alone.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kelsey-D-Garmendia/343864098962779

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kelsey-Garmendia/e/B00JAFY8SG

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/redundant30

Cindy here again!

Thanks for stopping by the blog today. I’d always thought I would have beta-readers for my novels and now I know for sure.

Keep writing!

Adult Attention Deficit Disorder

AIt’s April and that means it’s the A to Z Blogging Challenge! I’ve enlisted the help of some friends and group members to help me with the challenge. Today’s letter A is brought to you by Melanie Atkins.

Here’s Melanie:

I don’t know if I actually have Adult Onset ADD or not, because I’ve never been diagnosed or even seen a professional to determine if I do have it. I have filled out an online questionnaire, however, and I answered yes to many of the questions.

Has anyone else in my family been diagnosed with this disorder? No.

Do I have trouble staying organized? Yes. I didn’t in years past, but now… yikes.

Am I forgetful and do I misplace things fairly often? Yes to both.

Do I complete daily tasks and chores? Usually, with effort. On time? Sometimes.

Am I easily distracted? Um, yes. What was the question again?

Do I have trouble sitting still? Sometimes, but not always.

How often do I get fidgety and restless? Quite often.

Am I able to follow directions? Yes, usually. I have to focus.

Am I impatient? Always. Sigh. This is not a new problem.

Am I a good driver? I think so, but I do have a heavy foot. See question above.

Do events and even TV shows over stimulate me? Sometimes.

How long have I been having these issues? Just in the past five years or so.

Did I have trouble focusing while answering these questions? Not really.

image1Do I have Adult ADD? I don’t know. What I do know is that I’ve been having a heck of a lot of trouble concentrating on my writing over the last few years, and it’s getting worse. I’ll write a sentence, then check my email. Write another sentence, and edit three paragraphs. Check Facebook. Get up and put my clothes in the dryer. See that one of the cats wants out, and stop to let him out. Since I have the door open, I decide to go ahead and check the mail, even though it’s not quite time for the mailman to arrive. You never know. He might be early.

I sit back down at the computer and pick up my phone. Maybe catching up on my Words with Friends games will help me settle down. I play, then put the phone away and write another few sentences. I’m like a bouncing ball, careening from one task or chore or game to another, unable to focus on any one thing for very long.

Maybe all the gadgets we use are part of the problem. I got to an appointment early the other day and had to sit in the waiting room for about twenty minutes. I’d brought my Kindle so I could read. I also had my phone that notified me every time someone played Words with Friends. I soon had my iPhone balanced on my Kindle. I’d read a little bit, then play a game. And not just play… I had to open a second app to help me find the right word. Once I played it, I went back to reading… until I realized I hadn’t checked my email in the past five minutes. We’re so busy, so connected, that we can’t seem to stop doing any of it for very long.

Maybe what I need to do tomorrow morning when I sit down to write is to put my phone on silent and either leave it across the room or hide it so I won’t pay any attention to it. Back in the day, before I had a smart phone and a Kindle, I had no trouble sitting down to write. So I blame the gadgets and my addiction to them for my fractured attention span. I must fix this by unplugging, even if it’s just for thirty minutes at a time, and focusing on my manuscript. Thirty minute sprints, without allowing myself to interrupt my chain of thought, just might do the trick. I’m going to set a timer tomorrow and see what happens.

Even with my disorder, I managed to finish a new book last fall. Sealing His Fate, the second book in my Bayou Bounty Hunter series, is out this month at Desert Breeze Publishing: http://www.desertbreezepublishing.com/

Melanie_AtkinsMelanie Atkins a multi-published author of romantic suspense, a fan of crime dramas, and an avid reader. Writing is more than an escape for her — it’s a way of life. She grew up in the Deep South listening to tall tales and penning stories about her cats. Now she writes gripping stories of love, suspense, and mystery with the help of her furry little feline muses.

You can read more about her here:

Website: http://www.melanieatkins.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/melanie.atkins

Cindy here again!

Thanks for stopping by the blog. I hope you check in every day this month to check out the guest topics. They will be varied and interesting reading.

Keep writing!


A is for Adaptation

Once again I am trying to get through the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Last year, trying with three different blogs, I made it to H.  I’m hoping this year I’ll get farther.

Today I’m talking about adaptations. More specifically, I’m talking about adapting one of my novels into a TV pilot for a series. The challenges are many, books and scripts are very different animals, but it is proving interesting. I’ve already made changes to the main character’s last name. I really liked her last name in the book but my fiancé had come up with the perfect series title for the books two years ago but it required the heroine’s last name to be different than the one I’d picked. Stubbornly, I held onto the name I wanted until this TVWriterChat Pilot Program came along.

What is this pilot program, you ask? It’s a program where the participants write a TV pilot. We participate in Twitter chats along the way (some mandatory to stay in the program, some not) and at the end of the program we should have a pilot script done. And there are prizes.

So, being stuck on what to write because I had a few original ideas for TV shows and I had books I wanted to turn into TV shows I had to figure out what to work on. Adapting a novel would be the easiest I thought. After all, the story is already there. I already know what happens, how it ends, what the secrets are. Yeah, it’s not so easy. I should have realized that because for NaNoWriMo I tried to turn a script into a novel. That didn’t go very well and I’m still only 14,000 words into that.

The prizes for the pilot program will keep me going this time though. And the chats have been great motivation. By June, a month before the intended release of the first book in the series, I should have the pilot done. Should. Will I accomplish my task? Only time will tell.

Don’t forget to click the A to Z button on the side to see the list of all participants.

Happy writing!


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!


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.


Science Fiction








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!


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.


“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!


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