Category Archives: Writing

Decluttering Time

Have you ever taken the time to de-clutter your workspace or home?  I know that I have.

Today, I am de-cluttering my external hard drive.

Perhaps, you are like me.  If not, count yourself lucky.

I have the tendency to save pdf files, jpegs, etc. that I find on the Internet, telling myself that one day I will get around to reading the information or doing something with the jpegs.  I save these because I know that I will not be able to find that one piece of information again! (I tell myself the same thing with emails.)

The result of all this saving is having files that I never get around to viewing.  So, today is my decluttering (deleting files I don’t want to keep and organizing the ones that I want to keep) time.

Here are the titles of a few files that I deleted from one file folder.  I still have several folders to go.

  • 15 Daily Actions For Making Your Feel Happier!
  • 21 Powerful Ways to Persuade People to do What You Want
  • 22 Powerful Tools to Transform Your Fear Into Happiness, Peace, and Inspiration
  • The 30 Second Secret to Blasting Your Energy Levels Through the Roof in the Morning
  • The 60-60-30 Solution
  • 70 Inspirational Quotes
  • 88 Fun Thoughts About Life
  • 101 Negativity Killer: Learn to Stay Positive & Achieve Your Goals
  • 179 Forward Steps: Life Power Tips for Everyday
  • 404 Self Improvement Tips
  • 1001 Tolerations  (a master list of things to stop tolerating)
  • How to Publish a Book
  • Abundant Thinking: Achieving the…Rich Dad Mindset
  • Amazon Bestseller Checklist: Download & Check Off Before Publishing!
  • Awareness Building

 

Here are a couple of jpeg files that I deleted.

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7 Ways to Build Suspense

This post was originally posted by the late John Yeoman on October 4, 2012.  His title was “Seven Simple Ways to Build Suspense.”  John’s website http://www.writers-village.org has been disabled.

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How many ways can you hang a page? Or a scene? Or a chapter? That old ploy, the cliffhanger, has made a comeback of late in the penny dreadfuls of Dan Brown. Every episode ends upon a note of intrigue, horror or mystery to entice us to turn the page.

His counterpart in melodrama Kathy Reichs uses so many hangers – around three per scene – that she must pluck them out of a database.

Can we use page hangers without appearing to be formulaic? 

Yes! (Please turn my page. I shall reveal the secrets soon…)

Continue reading

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5 Tip for Writing Biographies

Here are 5 tips I have learned while writing biographies.  This could also work for any of your writing projects.

  1. You will never have all the research evidence you need to write the story. So, stop looking for that “one more thing” that you hope will turn out to be the “wow” factor.
  2. Create a timeline of the person(s) life.  I create a Table document in Word for my timeline.  I create a column for date, place, event/notes/references. This also helps me organize my research materials.  This has also saved me hours of looking through printed articles trying to find something.  With my Word/Table document, I can click on “Find” and fill in the search box.  This gives me the reference article title and date and then I can locate and view the printed document.
  3. Create a To-Do List.  My to-do list includes names of people I want to interview, archives I need to contact, phone calls I need to make, etc.
  4. Create a writing schedule.  Try to write at least 1,000 words each day or at each scheduled writing time.
  5. Backup all your work.  I save my work on my laptop, then back it up to an external hard drive, then put a copy into my DropBox account in the Cloud.

 

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Featuring Children, Tweens & YA Authors

Are you a Children’s Author?

Do you write for tweens?

What about Young Adults?

I am paying it forward in 2017 by featuring authors on my blog.

Sign up for me to feature you on the Feature Calendar page!feature-md

Occasionally, there will be bonus material, giveaways, reviews and more!

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I’m a Writer

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If you take a “think break” while writing and there are people about.  Do you ever think they would make a good or bad character for your story plot?

If not, perhaps you should.

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Using Dialogue to Develop Characters, a Guest Post

FEATURE ARTICLE: Using Dialogue to Develop Characters5ebe9474a58e163b3d0c1d0522bc6438

By Mike Klaassen
“One of the most important functions of dialogue is characterization,” states Randall Silvas in The Writer (February 1985). “Through his own words, a character comes alive. Through his own words, a character defines himself and reveals who he is . . .”

Dialogue can provide the reader with critical information about each character:

  • Background
  • Personality
  • Values
  • Attitude
  • Goals
  • Motivation
  • Emotion

Nancy Kress, in Dynamic Characters, offers insight into characterization, especially about the relationship between dialogue and a character’s thoughts: “What your character thinks about helps to create his personality for the reader. So does how he thinks: in what words, with what sentence structure, with what level of grammatical correctness. The result of this matching of diction, sentence structure and level of sophistication to a character’s personality is twofold. First, a given character’s dialogue and thoughts will end up sounding consistent with each other. Second, the closer the distance between author and character, the more alike thoughts and dialogue sound.”

A character’s thoughts (what he thinks and how he thinks) help the reader understand the character. Likewise, a character’s spoken words (what he says and how he says them) reflect that character’s thoughts and provide insight into the character. What a character says depends, of course, on the specific needs of each story and needn’t be further addressed in this discussion. But how a character speaks also shows the reader a lot about a character, and that warrants additional attention in several aspects:

  • Distinctiveness
  • Organic nature
  • Mechanics

DISTINCTIVENESS

Many writing coaches agree that each character should have a distinct voice. According to Gloria Kempton, in Dialogue, “Giving your character a particular manner of speech can go a long way in characterizing him and helping your reader recognize him when he appears onstage. It distinguishes him from the other characters, setting him apart.”

William G. Tapply (The Writer, October 2008) advises writers to “Give each character – – even secondary ones – – a distinctive voice.” Stanton Rabin (The Writer, March 2009) notes that “If you cover up the names and just read the dialogue, you should still be able to tell which character is talking. Your characters should be unique and speak in distinctly individual ways.”

Evan Marshall, in The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing, advises writers to create distinctive voices, so characters don’t all sound the same. Janet Evanovich, in How I Write, agrees: “Nothing is more tedious than reading a story where every character uses identical speech patterns.”

ORGANIC NATURE

Characters need to be distinct, but not just to help the reader identify the character. As observed by Gloria Kempton, the “Quirkiness of a character’s speech . . . should rise organically out of who the character is and what his purpose is in the story.”

According to Randall Silvas (The Writer, February 1985), a character’s “. . . speech pattern will identify him as erudite or obtuse, an Okie or a New Englander, a stuffed shirt or a clown.”

MECHANICS

“The challenge for us as writers,” notes Gloria Kempton, “is to find a way to show our characters’ speech on the printed page.” This may be accomplished at various levels:

  • words (word choice, contractions, trigger words, unnecessary words, spelling,)
  • sentences (sentence structure, diction, phrasing, sentence fragments, grammar, elimination of words, word order)
  • punctuation
  • rhythm and pace (cadence)
  • voice quality (inflection, pitch, timbre, enunciation, voice volume)
  • background (accent, dialect, colloquialisms, trendiness, profanity)
  • coherence (straightforward, disjointed, misdirected, or cross-purposes dialogue)

“Dialogue’s first task is to convey characters,” observes Peter Selgin, in By Cunning & Craft. Fortunately for fiction readers, there is so much to learn about characters through their own dialogue. Fortunately for fiction writers, there are numerous tools available for helping develop characters through their own words.

 

Author Mike Klaassen publishes “For Fiction Writers,” a free monthly e-zine. 
ABOUT MIKE

Mike Klaassen is an author devoted to writing novels and to helping others understand the craft of writing fiction.

“My goal as a novelist,” says Klaassen, “is to write fiction that even the most reluctant readers will enjoy.  My goal as a nonfiction author is to help fiction writers achieve the cutting edge in fiction-writing technique.  The objective in each of my articles is to present the most comprehensive analysis of the subject matter available anywhere.”

Mike lives in Kansas.

You can learn more about Mike and his novels at www.mikeklaassen.com

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Spotlight – Author, Robert Kimbrell

Rave Review Book Club’s Spotlight Author Blog Tour – Author, Robert Kimbrell

She Wanted My Advice?

So a female friend recently asked me for advice on writing and self-publishing a book. I am always happy to talk about writing! She wants to self-publish her first book and wanted to know some things that will help. While not an expert by any stretch, I have published works and read the works of others and therefore had some things to share with her. I am happy to pass on these things to you too.

Self-publishing is not, as most know, a reason to settle for less. Self-publishing, while bypassing traditional publishers, does not and should not mean a book is less professional.

When someone reads any sizable amount of Indie books, sooner or later a book will appear before them that is amateur-ish. Perhaps that sounds judgmental, but readers want to know they are not wasting their time with misspells, bad formatting, repetitive sections and the like. These all add to a bad experience in which the reader loses faith in your story. The person you hope will read and enjoy your book has every reason to then put down your work and move on to something else. Even the casual reader can tell when the story has, “been worked hard on”, when it rises to a level of class and professionalism; or when it doesn’t deserve their late, sleepless nights from reading your intriguing story.

So when I say self-publishing is not a reason to settle for less, I mean that we as authors and self-publishers need to be sure the end product is top notch. This goes without saying, but how sad it is when some turn to self-publishing as an easy way to churn out books. This waters down the perceived talent among those who self publish. What can you do to put out quality work?

  1. When entertaining your idea for a story, think about it A LOT. Think about possible plot issue, characters and so forth and write everything down, no matter how trivial it may seem to you.
  2. Write everyday. Author Janet Evanovich has a great audiobook titled, HOW I WRITE. In it she suggests writing every day as if it were your job. Among other reasons, it keeps the juices flowing.
  3. Don’t bother family/friends for their opinions.
  4. Read it, read it, read it.
  5. Self edit. Then rewrite and self edit some more. Do this many times, then reread everything to be sure there are no plot issues.
  6. Get a professional editor/proofreader. For the record, having someone to go over your work with a fine-toothed comb is perhaps the best thing you can do.
  7. Get a professional cover design.
  8. Whether paperback or ebook, get a pro to format the interior for you. This will make all the difference.

There are people that know more about writing than I, and surely they can give you some words of wisdom. But if you want to put your work out there, if you want it to have a level of professionalism so that readers won’t put it down and move on, these tips will help you.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00043]Book Blurb:

Because Annie has no recollection of her birth parents, her life is full of unknowns. Still, she seems relatively content with her simple existence in Washington, DC. Marcus, her new Italian boyfriend, adds much desired spice to her life despite secrecy about his position at SecureVest. But when Annie becomes mysteriously ill, it is the catalyst for a life far from simple.

Seemingly by luck, Annie discovers that she is maturing into a dhampir (a vampire/human hybrid), and to survive she must feed on fresh human blood. With Marcus fully aware of Annie’s predicament, they concoct a scheme: find the evil living among us and act where justice does not.

Vigilante Annie is born.

 

Amazon Link:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01A7BHIU6

author-pic

Author Bio:

An only child, (in the seventies, mind you), little Robert could be seen running in the backyard playing superhero, with a bed sheet serving as his cape. He also spent many hours drawing or writing in his mid-sized Ohio town. Having also battled depression earlier in life, Robert now sees how his low points have brought him to a more creative, stronger sense of being. Now he is where he wants to be, and is telling the stories he is meant to tell. His other interests include reading, motorcycle touring, fitness and classic movies.

 

Twitter:  @VAAuthor

Website:  www.VigilanteAnnie.com

 

 

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St. Martin’s Minotaur/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition

smedhead-e1371623899716St. Martin’s Minotaur/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition is open to any writer, regardless of nationality, aged 18 or older, who has never been the author of any Published Novel (in any genre), as defined by the guidelines below, (except that authors of self-published works only may enter, as long as the manuscript submitted is not the self-published work) and is not under contract with a publisher for publication of a novel.

All Manuscripts submitted must be original works of book length (no less than 220 typewritten pages or approximately 60,000 words) written in the English language.

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Revise with Confidence

downloadJoan Dempsey has some resources that writers might need.

Do you know the proper way to use a hyphen in your writing?

Do you know how to write good dialogue?

Do you know how to cut the clutter from your writing?

Do you have problems writing character’s expressions?

Whatever the problem you have with writing, there might be an answer at Joan Dempsey’s website.

It is always good to check out different resources.

Happy Writing!

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How I Met Sally

CindyThis is how I met Sally.

Do a relaxation technique.

Find a comfortable spot where it is quiet and you will not be interrupted.

Close your eyes.

Take a deep breath through your nose and pretend your stomach is a balloon that you are filling up with air.  When your stomach/balloon is full, let it out slowly through your mouth.  Do this a few times until you feel yourself relax and your limbs are starting to go limp or you think you might fall asleep.

Now, imagine a peaceful place.  It could be a quiet park, a walk in the woods, standing on a beach, anywhere you like.  Imagine a gently breeze brushing across your face.  It could be warm or cool.  The sun could be shining, or it could be raining, or cloudy, or snowing, if your peaceful place is a winter mountain retreat.

Take a look around at your surroundings.  The peace and tranquility is very comforting.

Do you see a child?  If not, continue looking.  S/he has not found you yet and you have not found them.

When you see the child, how does the child react.  Does s/he walk up to you and tell you their name?  Do they hang back?  What are they doing?  What are they saying?  Is anyone with them or are they by themselves?

Approach your child and say hello.  Ask them their name and tell them yours.

Once you have connected, what are your doing?

Do the activity for a few moments, then explain to your inner child that you have to go because you have responsibilities and work to do.  Say good-bye to your inner child and let them know that you will be back and that they are welcome to visit anytime.

Open your eyes, and remember that when your inner child visits you or your visit your inner child, that you are the adult and that you are in charge.

Set some rules with your inner child.

Pam Young’s inner child is Nelly.  Pam met Nelly several years ago and both Pam and I would love for you to met your inner child and to get to know them better.

Now that Sally is awake, I must go have a talk with her about how I need to stop procrastinating and do the daily chores that I need to get done and to read all those books that I promised people I would read.

****

“Some of those books are boring.”

“I know Sally, but I promised.”

“Some of the books are not well written.  And, you know that you stop reading if the story does not hold your interest.”

“I know Sally.  I must, however, be fair to the writers of those books.  They worked very hard to put their stories together for folks to read.”

“Some not hard enough!”

“That’s not fair, Sally.  They all did the best they could do.”

“If you say so.  I am just not totally convinced,” Sally said as she stomped off to her room.

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