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!


Writing goals for the New Year

I should have posted this January 1 but things happen (I’m a procrastinator). But better late than never, right? A new year usually means resolutions for a lot of people. I don’t like the word resolutions. I could never stick to them. I call them goals. I’ll be focusing on writing goals here but if you want to see all my goals (and why I didn’t blog at all last year) check out my blog post on my personal site.

Indie publishing has given writers new opportunities. A chance to write the stories we want and reach readers hungry for new ideas. With that in mind I started self publishing in 2013. Just a few short stories, but I want to release books as well this year. I have high (but realistic) hopes for my writing career. For it to have any chance of taking off though I need to write. A lot.

This year’s writing goals include writing 600,000 words, editing six novels (at least), blog regularly, grow the group. Part of the writing goals also include reading at least 25 books this year. I try every year to read more and every year I fail. This year I’m hoping that will be different.
Tools to help me

The first tool I’ll be using to help me is a spreadsheet that lists my yearly word count targets. I’m posting a picture of it here to keep me honest.


To keep track of my word counts I went to a post by Sidney Bristol. She has a great word count tracker on her blog that is great for seeing how my progress is going for various projects. Check out her post here: http://sidneybristol.com/2014/12/30/writer-resources-tracking-word-and-page-counts-2/

I’m also creating a business plan this year. To help me with coming up with the plan, what to include, what I should think about, I found these guest posts by Denise Grover Swank to be very helpful:




What are your writing goals for the year?

Happy writing!


21 Ways to Embellish Your Scenes

Welcome back to the blog. Our second Monday of the month guest post is late because I was sick last week. By the time I felt well enough to do anything online it made more sense to post it for today. Today we have Cyndi Faria on the blog talking about scenes!

Here’s Cyndi!

As always, I’m excited to guest blog for Guelph Write Now. I’d like to thank Cindy Carroll for having me. Last month, I participated in a writing challenge called National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The object of the challenge was to write a 50k novel. With that complete, the month of December is titled National Novel Editing Month (NaNoEdMo), and I’m editing my heart out.

Sometimes, however, I need help making sure my scenes have certain elements. By creating a check list, I can embellish each scene until it sparkles!

Lucky for you, I love to share my writing craft tips. Next time you’re editing, make sure you include in each scene a good sampling of the bullet point items below. Then watch your scene shine!

  1. Touch
  2. Taste
  3. Sight
  4. Smell
  5. Hearing
  6. Temperature
  7. Pain
  8. Balance
  9. Motion
  10. Acceleration
  11. Time
  12. Direction
  13. Breathing
  14. Heart Rate
  15. Vasodilatation (flushing and blushing)
  16. Intestinal Distress
  17. Swallowing
  18. Ethics
  19. Humor (funny or sarcastic)
  20. Style
  21. Mannerisms.

To download a PDF of the Scene Embellishment List (shown below), click here.

Scene Embellishment

Cindy here again!

Great tips, Cyndi. I love that checklist. It’s great to have handy when you’re doing revisions.

Happy writing!


4 Ways to Brand Your Hero

Welcome to the GWN blog! Today we have Cyndi Faria talking about branding your hero!

Here’s Cyndi!

Author Photo B-W



Cindy, thank you for having me guest post for Guelph Write Now. As always, I’m excited to be here!

Over the past month, I’ve been paying special attention to how writers, whether in books or movies, brand their heroes. This marking happens around the halfway point and can be presented in the following ways:

1. Secondary Character Dialogue

2. Physical Wound

3. Clothing/Uniform Change

4. Identity Realized

The above methods are used to remind the reader, and main character, of the theme, inner conflict, and the fear/path the main character must overcome before they can move into essence and defeat the villain.

To highlight by example, I’ve chosen several movies below:

After Earth:

Kitai Raige wants to be a fearless Ranger, like his father Commander Cypher, but Kitai’s emotions keep getting in the way of his advancement. He joins his father on his father’s final mission, but the ship is struck by asteroids, leaving the two stranded on the uninhabited planet Earth. However, Cypher is badly wounded and must convince his son he has the power to overcome his fears and save them both.

About the 50% mark, Kitai arrives at the falls overlooking a great expanse. Because of his emotional reaction to the treacherous environment, he’s used up valuable resources, and his father tells him to return to the ship. Kitai is not willing to give up. He blames himself for his sister’s death and for his father’s estrangement from the family. After an emotional breakdown, he questions his father, saying “You wouldn’t treat your Rangers this way.” His father shoots back: “You’re not a Ranger.”

Only by accepting who and what he is—a kid who doesn’t really want to be a Ranger—will Katai forgive his father, overcome his fear, and save both from death.


Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade:

Indiana is searching for his father. They’ve had an estranged relationship. His father still sees Indiana as a careless kid and Indiana wants to be seen as a man.

Around the 50% mark in the movie, Indiana, using his whip, swings out one window and crashes into another only to be hit over the head with a vase. His father is holding the broken vase when he realizes he’s hurt his own child. He exclaims, “Junior!”

In this way, both physically injured and verbally named (Junior), we begin to understand the relationship between father and son and what must change. The father will show he’s more childlike and Indiana will prove he’s no longer a child.


Cowboys and Aliens:

Waking as an amnesiac, a man is searching for his identity. He’s short tempered and emotionless and learns he resembles a wanted man, Jake Lonergan, which he denies.

Around the 50% mark, Jake is inside an upside down paddle boat in the middle of the desert. And aliens exist. Under a stream of rain, he removes his shirt to reveal a wound he has no memory of receiving. He believes the wound was inflicted by one of the aliens. A beautiful and mysterious woman, Ella Swenson, has been following him. She tells him the answer to finding peace lies within. By reinstating the theme of the movie, Jake begins to move into essence and we start to see the softer side of Jake. However in the next scene, Jake and his group are ambushed by outlaws. The outlaws call him boss and confirm Jake is a wanted man.


Man on a Ledge:

The movie opens with a man on a ledge of a New York skyscraper. Through the first half of the movie, the police are trying to identify him and we know something is up. Lydia Mercer is the detective in charge of talking him down. They share a cigarette and she hands off the butt to her ally for DNA identification.


About the 50% mark, she sticks her head out the window and says his name—Nick Cassidy. She marks him as a fugitive for all of New York to target. Now we know the reason he has escaped from prison—to absolve his family name and bring the men who put him in jail to justice.


Next time you’re watching a movie or reading a book, look for similar ways the writer has branded their hero.

Happy Writing,


Cyndi Faria



Cindy here again!

Thanks for being here today, Cyndi. This is some great information. I will pay more attention when watching movies and see if I can spot how the writer branded the hero.


Part 4: Unleashing Your Muse – Free Writing Act III

Happy Thanksgiving! On this holiday Monday we have Cyndi Faria finishing up her series on Unleashing Your Muse.

Here’s Cyndi!

Cindy, thank you for having me guest post on GWN. Today, I’m wrapping up my 4 part series on Unleashing Your Muse by Free-Writing Act I, Act IIA, Act IIB, and Act III. To review the prior blog posts, click on the highlighted Acts.

Act III is my favorite 25% of the novel. It’s where all the action takes place, the plants are revealed, the loose ends are tied up, the villain is defeated, and the H/h prove they’ve changed and attain their happily ever after. Below is the information you’ll want to include in your free write:

Plot and Characterization Combined:

  1. The challenge;
  2. Acceptance of the challenge;
  3. Allies from Act 1 show up and join forces with allies from Act II to help defeat the minor villains;
  4. Minor villains are defeated or killed off or punished;
  5. May, briefly, interact with main villain;
  6. Gifted tools/information for journey;
  7. Lose ends from the plot are resolved;
  8. Romantically, the H/h come together;
  9. Character transformation is shown (Example: change of clothes);
  10. Character transformation is proved by facing greatest fear;
  11. Final battle against the villain;
  12. Hero uses his tool/talent to defeat the villain;
  13. The hero is shown transformed (show new behavior);
  14. H/h is recognized as a true hero;
  15. Hero gets the girl (heroine gets the guy);
  16. H/h  get their HEA/goal; and
  17. Final Image Opposite of Opening Image.


Using the movie The Village by M. Night Shyamalan, I’ve free written the bullet point items into a paragraph format (note: the numbers preceding each sentence correspond to the numbers above):

At the end of Act IIB, the heroine Ivy Walker is devastated when her fiancé Lucius is struck down by the villain (Noah). (1) Unless Lucius receives “medicines” from the far away towns, he’ll die. And, because of the village rules, the only person who is allowed to save Lucius is Ivy. (2) She volunteers to seek “medicines” that will save Lucius’s life, but the towns are only reachable by traveling through the forbidden forest. (3) With the help of her father, she details her intentions to the Elders, (4) who after consideration grant her permission to “preserve innocence of the village inhabitants”. (5) Before she leaves, she faces Noah and slaps him, further angering Noah by rejecting him fully. (6) Her father presents her with the tools (gold watch and medication list) she’ll need to save Lucius. Her father shares an Elder secret: the monsters in the forest are, mostly, “farce” and a ploy to keep the people from leaving the safety of the village. (7) Loose ends are tied up, when it’s discovered Noah has found a hidden monster costume and is the one who’s been terrorizing the village. (8) Romantically, Ivy goes to an unconscious Lucius and promises him she’ll save him. (9) Transformed, she wears a yellow gown. (10) All her life she’s dreamed of becoming one of the boys who prove their courage by turning their back to the forbidden forest. Lucius holds the record. Ivy enters the terrifying forest with two boys that are too scared to venture further. They leave her to face her quest alone. In the forest, she lets go of the belief that her gender and handicap (she’s blind) are what keeps her from facing her fear of being useless. After all, she’s proved braver than the boys. Her love for Lucius keeps her focused. (11) Then Noah, dressed as a monster, attacks Ivy. (12) Because of her blindness, Ivy uses her gift of spatial awareness to relocate a hole she fell into earlier. With her back to Noah—like the boys’ game—she stands in front of the hole. Noah rushes her, but she ducts just in time and Noah falls into the hole. He dies. (13) With renewed determination, she runs to the town. (14) Because of her transformation and compassionate nature, she’s aided by a patrolman who gets her what she needs. She returns to the community as a heroine. (15) The final scene shows Ivy and Lucius holding hands, his steady breath can be heard, and (16) someone says Lucius is going to live because of Ivy. (17) The final image, Ivy is no longer an incapable but has transformed to a knowledgeable Elder.

Now it’s your turn. Practice on movies. It’s fun.

Or unleash your muse and free-write Act III.

This can be a combination of sentences, thoughts, dialogue, or whatever pops into your mind. There are no rules.

I usually write 3-5 pages, single-spaced. Sometimes information that belongs in other acts creeps in. That’s okay—just start a new section titled Other Acts and when finished move the information to where it belongs.

Thank you for joining me and I hope to see you next month!

Happy Writing, Cyndi Faria

Visit Cyndi’s website:   http://www.cyndifaria.com
Visit Cyndi’s Amazon Page: Amazon Author Page

About the Author:

“Cyndi Faria writes with passion and her stories touch the heart.”

—Virna DePaul, Bestselling Author

Author Photo B-WCyndi Faria is an engineer turned romance writer whose craving for structure is satisfied by plotting heart-warming paranormal romance stories about Native American folklore, cursed spirits, lost souls, harbingers, and even a haunted coastal town. If you love a tale with courageous heroes and heroines, where their unconditional love for each other gives them strength to defeat their inner demons, Cyndi Faria invites you to enter the pages of her stories.

On and off her sexy romance pages, this California country girl isn’t afraid to dirty her hands fighting for the underdog and caretaking rescued pets. Find her helping fellow writers and leading readers to happily-ever-after at www.cyndifaria.com

Cindy here again!

Thanks for being here, Cyndi! Great series of articles and lots to think about!


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