Another tool for managing a story, scene, chapter, blog, character, or planning a novel is "Mind Mapping." It is not outlining in the traditional sense. It doesn't require a writer to use Roman numerals, the alphabet, or Arabic numerals. The following link takes you to a utube.com site that demonstrates various types and uses of mind mapping. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLWV0XN7K1g
Mind mapping maintains status among management skills. It cuts through clutter for several Quality Process Improvement systems. It keeps a group of highly charged and motivated individuals on task.
Mind mapping tools are simple. A large white board, an erasable marker, and eraser works fine. My preference includes large "stickie" pads. Write you ideas down. Paste them on a wall. You can move the parts around anytime in the writing process.
Have a terrific idea, can't wait to meet the rest of your characters, mind mapping helps with you get it down on paper. Write a description about each of your characters at the moment of concept using a mind map. You can place the character in a character file for your current book or a future one.
Wake up in the middle of the night with a story idea. Map it.
Writers need tools to store and organize ideas. Mind Maps help authors write it down.
The children returned to school. The garden produced the last fall fruits and vegetables. Mother Nature paints the foliage. All writers and inspiring authors' thoughts turn to November-National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) when hundreds of thousands creative individuals worldwide take on the challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days.
If you have a book you want to write, but need motivation to launch the endeavor, check out this link. This event is made for you. Got a list of book ideas you want to write? No excuse, NaNoWriMo is the ignition switch for hesitation. It powers individuals to write 1667 words a day.
Yes, write 1667 words daily to get to 50,000 by midnight November 30. This mean you write, write, write. No proof reading, editing, or fooling around with the dialogue and such...you write a 50,000 word rough draft. The story running around in your head and tugging at your heart can't get on the paper unless you write it. Remember a "rough draft" is the first step in the journey to a finish product.
The challenge is free. You compete against yourself, unless you want to form a group and compete with your writing friends. The Office of Letters and Lights (the nonprofit that conducts this event) provides participants groups to join to commiserate, rejoice, and share with other WriMos (participants). Daily tips, encouragement from successful authors help experienced and fledging WriMos get through the prep (October) and the writing (November).
This challenge makes you want to write. It helps you become the writer your soul know exists. Take a few minutes and peruse the NaNoWriMo site. Who knows, it may be the start of the next best seller.
This story grabs you with the discovery of an old trunk. The trunk takes the narrator back to France at the time of the Nazi occupation and introduces you to two sisters. The story immerse you into the lives of these two woman as they survive the Nazi occupation in France. It describes the hardships of the citizens of an occupied country. It gives you an idea of what is happening to women and children in occupied countries today. It is an eye-opening story. This books draws you in and keeps you up till early morning...you can't put it down.
It is a great read for a book club or even for an women's study group. Thanks Kristin Hannah, I loved it.
Today I'm launching "The Sunday Book Review." Writers must read to immerse themselves in the writing of others. Reading helps writers to see how other writers conquered the blank page. We need to investigate what type of events inspired an author to scribe. Reading other authors' products opens the window to understanding what lures a reader to a book.
My first choice is Alive, Alive Oh!(And Other Things That Matter). Itis a rare book. The author, Diana Athill Hill was born in England, in 1917. She spent most her life as a literary editor. She scribed her reflections on life. In her nineties, she asked an agent friend to read these "bits" of writing to see if they were worth publishing. Those "bits" became this book. This small publication shares her life as a woman passing through the twentieth century. She reveals her impressions of the tumultuous times experienced by world events. She opens the door to a world never discussed by women of her time. The reader glimpses into her private life as she discloses her reasons for not marrying, for loving a married man, and for deciding not to terminate a pregnancy at age 43. It is a perspective from the "silent generation" and never discussed with such candor.
It is a gem of a book, a great book club selection. This book solidified my premise that everyone over 80 years of age has a story to tell us. It made me feel that I need to communicate more with my elders.
The book is available in hard copy and on electronically.
A couple of months ago, Paul, a published writer friend of mine and I were talking about self-publishing. After he went through all my concerns, he asked, "Who is your editor?" My heart sank. I felt foolish. I had done my do diligence on so many levels for my book. I hoped to publish, but I didn't follow through on the editor.
He said, "Pat, Pat, you can't publish that book before you have a "professional" editor review it.
With a humility I asked, "Paul, who is your editor?"
He spoke her name.
I asked him. "Does she take new clients?"
He said, "I'll see her in a couple of days. I'll tell her you'll be getting in touch with her."
His concern about my editing was pivotal in helping me become a better writer. I am indebted to Paul Genesse.
The process of working with an editor can be daunting, educating, and sometimes awe inspiring. I educated as a business communicator. My focus was research, newsletters, emails, presentations, speeches, letters, instructional materials, to name a few products.
Novel writing is a new product. Yes I can sit down write 50,000 word in 30 days. I read books on plot, structure, point of view, characterization, but it was my editor who placed me on the novel writing path.
Yes, successful writers have written books without an editor, but they are like a 'walk on' to a professional baseball or football team - rare.
If you want to send the best of your writing to an agent, attached to a query, or publish on the multiple self-publishing platforms, get an editor who edits for a living. Your relative or friend with an English major helps you when your developing your book, but when you say "I'm done." Contact someone who is a professional editor.
How do you find one? Ask your author friends who they contract with to review and edit their work. Editing is not proofreading. Editing is making sure your story is professional.
Be Strategic: Find a professional editor to take you to another level of writing.
The sites below are sources for making a decision about an editor:
Roll out the flag and bunting! Strike up the band! Light up the barbecue grills
Despite all the tough times, hardships, the bickering, and the mean-spiritedness we experience, this country is still worth celebrating.
We grow and expand.
We make noise and rabble rouse.
We make it through hard times.
We are an Americans first, not Liberals or Conservatives, not Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Tea Partiers, or Green Partiers.
If we are born here or we landed here to become American, we all are Americans.
Recently, my husband said to me, "I am grateful for being born in the United States." Think about that for a minute. Would you be able to say the same thing? As a woman, I am thrilled I was born a American. Where, during my life time women have had the opportunity:
to seek political office
to seek a higher levels of education
to work with men as equals
to compete in sports
to break the "glass ceiling"
to bring social issues to the fore front
to let our daughters know there are more careers for women besides teaching and nursing.
My husband's and my grandparents were immigrants. They came to this country and couldn't speak the language, took the worst and hardest jobs, but wanted more for their families. My maternal grandmother who only had a third grade education became a successful business woman and so did my husbands maternal nana.
We thank our grandparents for coming here.
So, next time you think politics is messy, just think of the representatives from the 13 original colonies locked up in a non-air-conditioned building in Philadelphia arguing about the wording of the Declaration of Independence. It was hot, muggy, and very time consuming with a pen and quill, no electricity, and far from their farms and businesses.
The same group of colonies who declared themselves the United States stated further their expectations for the newly established country's citizens in the United States Constitutionwritten a few years later. It states:
We, the Peopleof the United States, in Order
to form a more perfect Union,
insure Domestic Tranquility,
to provide for theCommon Defense,
promote the General Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity,
do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
This is our heritage. The legacy we should preserve. This is what it means to be an American. So celebrate, tell the story of the innovation called a "democratic republic." It is a day to be proud to be an American.
Writers groan about blogging. "It's a horrendous undertaking. You have to get an URL. You have to create a blog site. You have to come up with ideas on a regular basis." This last lament is perhaps the easiest of all issues to tackle.
Selecting topics to blog about can be annual even or quarterly event. Some writers use a blog as a journal, while others advertise. Both avenues are correct, but if you want to gain an audience, you need to offer something. Readers come back if there is something in it for them.
Your offerings need to evolve from an overarching theme. "Be Strategic" is my choice this year. I started out with two ideas in January. Every time a strategic idea burst forth, a new blog draft is made. Sometimes the first draft consists of only a title. Other times the blog begins with sketchy notes or links from researching the subject.
These little "blog seeds" germinate while I write, live, and think. When a blog is due, I read through my blog kernels. I have a bed of ideas to develop. These seedlings also give me more ideas.
Writers think about writing. Place your blog ideas as drafts. Cue them up when you are parched for a a fresh idea.
I don't know how many times I've heard "Writing is a solitary action." Whoever made that statement mis-spoke. The act of putting the ideas down on paper or keying them into a computer or phone sis a physical act a writer does alone. It is the only time a writer takes his or her collective ideas, experiences, and sensory inputs create sentences, ideas, and sometimes characters. Writing is a culmination of multiple external and internal inputs.
One of the most important inputs is discussion with other writers. Now don't start giving me an examples of writers who never left their homes. If you can't leave the house, you have this wonderful tool you are using at this moment to read my blog. There a legitimate Writers' Communities on Gmail, FaceBook, Goodreads, theProse.com, Use your search engine to work for you and be discriminating.
Writers need other writers to talk the talk. If you can't attend your local writers' organization meetings, join it anyway. Their newsletter, group on Facebook, and conferences opens opportunities to meet, eat, and speak with other writers.
One of the best forums to use on your road to becoming a better writer is to join a writers group. Find or form a group that meets to read aloud unpublished work. A group that doesn't nit pick about grammatical rules. The purpose of a writers' critique group is to strengthen the bones, characters, and the plot. Think of your writers group as your first beta group. You talk about the story.
Writers need writers to talk about "writers block," social platforms, submission experiences, literary magazines that work, marketing. In other words, successful authors need to share with up coming authors to stay humble and novice authors need experience writers to walk beside them as guides.
The best thing that happened to my writing was forming a writing group. I have gained more knowledge about audience expectations, visual imagery, character development, and creating a world with these diverse, direct, diligent individuals . The Salt Lake Writers Group has been my salvation in the world of the lonely writer. It has taken me beyond just producing stories. This group, some who weren't even born in the era I write about, have made my novel richer with stronger verb suggestions, encourage nouns and descriptions that place the reader in the scene, and helped me transcend my mid-twentieth century story to a relatable for a twenty-first reader.
Once you have established your blog's goals and objectives, make a plan for your blog's installments. Unless you are going to journal your life as it happens, your blog needs to be planned to garner an audience.
Attracting an Audience What attracts an audience? Who are the readers you want to reach and maintain? This assessment is the first step in establishing a successful blog. Knowing your "people" and getting them excited about what you write establishes your base. These readers help share your information. When considering your audience, check out Google's Communities. This resource not only gives you ideas for your blog community, but one or two of the Google communities can become part of your distribution list.
Plan a Blog Campaign Blogging is marketing. It is marketing your brand as a writer. Plan an introduction blog that state's
your blog's goals, objectives, and enlists readers to become contributors. Your subject matter needs a schedule, you plan the subject matter you want to talk about monthly or weekly.
The key to having a return audience is consistency. Your readers can count on you to have a new topic every two weeks. Yes, you may want to blog weekly, but I caution novice bloggers to not stretch themselves. Remember, in the planning stages you are thinking and writing about what your blog's message. Brainstorm twelve relevant topics.
After you have your topics, plan your research time, writing time, searching for photo's or clip art that are not copyright protected unless, of course, you are going to buy them. You also have consider editing time, layout time, seasoning time, (you know the time you let your product sit before you hit the publish button).
Blogging Is a Writing Form Writing on a screen or phone is different than pen and paper. It demands crisp clean sentences. Concise information and an easy to read type. A blogger writes interesting and captivating subject matter that brings the reader back for more.
Blogging for business is information you give to readers so they want to read more. A blog needs a personality, but be careful. If the purpose of your blog is to build a large social audience, the blog's personality must attract all readers. Keep Learning
Read other blogs
Use analytics to discover information about your readers
Understand the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and what it can do for your blog
Read your blog aloud to yourself, then have someone else read it before you press PUBLISH.
Put a link or resource in every blog to keep your readers coming back.
Blogging creates an identity, brand, and culture for a writer, business, product, instructional institution, or service. The creator of the blog needs to identify the goal and objectives of the blog before looking for the right platform (program).
A blogger platform is a program used to create a blog. These programs are either free or charge a monthly fee. How do you decide which platform works for you?
Well, it depends on the what you goals you want you blog to achieve:
Are you creating a word heavy blog?
Do you need the versatility of templates?
Are analytics critical to your blog success?
Is your blog personal and only for you to read?
Do you want to grow a social platform?
Will your blog be rich with photos or video?
How critical is the analysis of feedback?
Do you want to make money with your blog?
I use Blogger because it was part of my Gmail offerings and several of my writer colleagues suggested it. Wordpress also was suggested to me, but I personally did not find it as easy to set up as Blogger. Again, your blogger platform depends on your needs (visual, statistical, technical) and your ability to manage those needs.
Platform is important. You want it flexible enough to work for you while your developing your social network while it gives you enough room to experiment with your site. You don't want to have to change your platform in a year or even three years.
The platform is like finding a business location. You want a place that handles your traffic and encourages new readers
These links can assist you in finding the right platform for you.
Caution! Selecting your URL (Uniform Resource Locator) or reference (address) on the Internet. Is among the most important decision you make about your blog. An URL is permanent.
If you are blogging about one particular subject, e.g., parenting, podcasts, sports, teams, you may want to use a pithy web address (URL) for your blog.
A cautionary word about being pithy: my blog was originally a just a rant on political observations, then I started writing books and my blog morphed into my writer's platform. I did some fancy research to make my author's name and my pithy name interchangeable.
The domain needs reflect your product or business.
Your domain needs to be easy to read not only on a computer, but on a phone, ipad, and a business card.
Make sure it ends with the correct suffix (.com, uk.com, edu)
Keep your domain professional. It reflects you and your product.
Is My Selection Available? You need to register your domain aka web address. Web address are registered so choose more than one web address. You need alternate choices if your first choice is already registered. Click on https://www.easywhois.com/ to check your domain choices has been taken. How do I pick a vendor? Multiple vendors offer various registration opportunities. You need to be cautious.
Ask other writers which vendor did they choose to register their web address.
Read reviews from business and technology magazines for critiques and ratings on these vendor services. The links below are samples of what you can find by "googling - Reviews on Domain Registration Companies:
Before we even place our fingers on the keyboard, let's explore the origin of the word 'blog.' The word 'blog' is derived from the term weblog. The act of journaling on the web became know as "blogging." The person who journals on the web is label a "blogger."
A blog consists of short concise valuable prose use by information seekers. This audience receives something of value. Your blog readership helps to build and expand a platform for your books, speaking engagements, articles, and classes you create.
The key components of successful blogs:
Choose a name or URL (It is your brand)
Make sure the software platform works for you and readers
Consistency is key for building an audience
Define the purpose for your blog
Create a flexible annual blog plan
Make it easy for your readers to find your blog
Learn to use 'Post Settings'
Analyze your blog's data
Make sure your audience responds to your blog
Have fun with your blog
Your blog is a reflection of you as a writer. Once you commit to taking the mantle of blogger, you are wedded to your audience.
These links are resources to help you start a blog:
Take a few hours this week to find out how the world sees you as a writer. Visit your profile on your social platforms. I'm not just talking about your Linkedin.com site. Right now make a list of all the sites you maintain and don't maintain. Allow me to help you brain storm: How many email sites do you own?
How many Facebook sites.
How many blogs?
How many Twitter accounts?
What about your Instagram? Goodreads? Pinterest? Stumbleupon? Reddit? Digg? Tumblr? Just to begin the litany of possibilities.
Step 1: Decommission any site you are not updating or hasn't proven to bring in a sufficient audience. If you have sites dedicated to books published several years ago, consider if they reflect who you are today. If you wish to maintain them, update them or link them to your current site. In other words, it is time to "declutter" you social footprint. You are not the same person, let alone the same writer you were five years ago.
Step 2: Update your profiles. Potential employers, literary agents, publishers, and above all readers, check profile sites. In this "info at our fingertips" world, you need to be consistent on all profiles and above all - current.
Step 3: Ah! the dreaded head shot, let's be frank, no one likes to take one, pick one, or post one. Your professional social platform needs to reflect you, the professional, successful, writer. Hey! I love my family and yours too, but the craft of writing is half of the story. The business part makes us all nervous and putting ourselves out there in a photo is business. Find a way to keep your profile photo fresh and professional.
Step 4: List your writing achievements and development(conferences, workshops, contributions, etc.).
Step 5: Keep list of social platform profiles. Set a reminder to help you refresh profiles every quarter, okay if you can't manage quarterly, try biannually, but get a social platform profile schedule reminder on all your calendars A.S.A.P. A profile is just that: a profile. It is an economy of words describing who you are today.
There are multiple sites and choices on writing an author's profile. Here are a few links that may be helpful:
Well, I never thought this would happen to me as a blogger, but I missed the opportunity to blog for an entire month. I could blame NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), my Critique Group, Thanksgiving, housekeeping chores, but the real culprit was the conflict between my story idea and my main character.
I was drowning in a sea of ideas and misdirection for two weeks. Yes, I did outline my story. I had a neat, readable mind-map on the wall in my office. I had a character, a plot, and an ending. Then it happened, the main character took over the story. I've had characters do this in other NaNo Challenges, but this one had her own plot in mind. She took over the story in Chapter Three.
What I had planned to write changed. The story bore no resemblance to my map. My main character decided to bring in four more characters, and three more dramatic incidents. My character's disregard for my plot threw me into a serious case of writer's block.
I looked for help. I found it in the pep talk written by Charlene Harris published November 17, 2015. Miss Harris suggested to write your story's ending when you can't more forward. Following her advice was magic, my wild character became cooperative. Yes, once my main character knew how the story's ending, she started following the plot. I made the 50,000 mark with a few more words to spare.
This isn't the finest first draft I've written during a NaNoWriMo Challenge. It's okay. I have a first draft of 50,000 words of a novel that needs some serious work. I can't wait to wrestle with this story, plot, and these characters in 2016.
Ghosts, goblins, and pumpkins don't fill my mind during October. It is the multiple ideas that come to me at odd times that need to be jotted down as potential book ideas for November's National Novel Writing Month's (NaNoWriMo). It is writing at its best. It is you, your ideas, and your imagination. Some WriMos (NaNoWriMo participants) have an outline, some just write by the seat of their pants (better know as "pantsers") all write for 30 days to attempt to achieve 50,000 words,
Now, there are doubters out there reading this blog saying it is not possible. Well, it is possible, with a little dedication and determination. The Office of Letters and Lights sponsors this world-wide annual event and helps all participants with tips, newsletters, and writing sprints for daily warm-ups.
Sponsors of this writing celebration give authors several free 30 day trial options for new or standard writing tools.
You can be a loner and write each day without talking to another writer or you can form a group of WriMos who meet and discuss their writing and write together. This event is for every level of writer. You can take on the challenge and let your mind, heart, and muse echo the spirit of creativity.
Yes, I am a big fan. I have written four books in four years. Are they all published? Hell no, the revision process alone takes a year, and then there are the beta readers, editors, and proofreaders, Formatting for submission and much more, but if you want to write and you have a story to tell, jump in, and have the time of your creative life.
Now is the time for those of you who have been writing forever and have never participated in NaNoWriMo to jump start your imagination. Stimulate that rush of being on a roll as the words fall onto the screen or page. Bring back the memories of wanting to do an all "nighter" because you can't stop writing.
Writers everywhere. Go to nanowrimo.org and join with authors around the world and scribe. Link up with other creative types on the following links:
When a writer's computer is out of commission, (mine left me for three days) you find yourself using another technological tool. My phone became my life line, "Galaxy" the android version of "Siri," understood me clearly by the end of the first day. This app was never on my radar until my computer became ill.
Urgent Facebook replies to family and friends accomplished with my phone's voice activated feature. The absence of my trusty computer lead to many an "ah-ha!" moment on my phone. "Galaxy" became my new 'modus operandi' for returning text messages.
My office took on the appearance of being organized. The family calendars coordinated with my phone. I even took on my husband's iPad to do some critical financial checking.
Yes, my handheld device provides multi-purposes, but it does not give me the creative tactile feeling of my fingers on a keyboard responding to the impulses of my brain to form letters to words, words to sentences, sentences to paragraphs and paragraphs to a draft. All of the technological wonders of the my phone cannot replace the feeling of sitting in my recliner with my laptop on my thighs typing away my next big idea.
These last few weeks have taught me a few lessons about myself and my writing processes. Let's examine the question: "How will I publish my book?" I lost count of the number of revisions Changing Habits morphed from its conception two years ago. After multiple beta readers, critique group examinations, selected readers to critique it, I felt ready to publish, but fear held me in its grip until I remembered my theme this year is "Be Fearless."
I knew I wanted to e-publish. Taking my mantra to heart, I started studying the various avenues and choices of e-publishing. My notebook was filled with questions. The vendor choices are prolific.
I wanted hard copies for friends and family members who don't read online. Can I set up a"print on demand" system? Do I have to commit to a large run? How many times have I listened to individuals who told the tale of spending thousands of dollars to print their book only to still have cases of copies still in their garage five years later?
Frustrated with all the information and no one to really give me advice except the vendors, I reached out to author Paul Genesse who has published several books. This generous soul knows me through a writer's organization and through a hospital where I volunteer.
This decision to ask someone in the writing world about how they distribute, promote, and manage their books helped me become an entrepreneur. Paul clarified my questions and fears in a ten minute phone call. He told me how he made his decision based on which e-publisher had the largest market share. He talked to me about the quality of a published book from several 'print on demand' vendors. He asked me if I considered how much energy I was willing to invest in promoting my book. He probed to see if I understood niche market recognition, meta data, the importance of a professional cover, and more. I thanked Paul for his valuable time and his generosity. He said he would send me an email with links about e-publishing,
Paul 's openness propelled me. I will publish. I understand the 'business-speak' of the e-publishing world. Thank you Paul for your time. Your expert opinion helped me.
Here are the sites Paul shared with me and I am sharing with you:
On my way toward the "e publishing" finish line, the requirement to write a 'synopsis' and a 'summary' of my book stalled my progress. You would think this would thinks these task would be easy, especially after working for months sharpening my verbs, enhancing and adding dimension to my characters, and authenticating and burnishing the scenes of my book. Yet, day after day, draft after draft, frustration prevailed. What is a Synopsis? The synopsis shows how the plot, theme, characterization, and setting converge to form the big picture. This document "needs to be concise, compelling and complete, all at the same time." (D. Matriccino, Writers Digest, February 1, 2010.) Read about writing a Synopsis.
What is a Summary? Book store buyers, agents, and editors are the summary's audience. Finding information on writing a summary for a novel is difficult. Few writers blogs about it, or haven't used a label to identify their experiences or information. Write Summary gives some ideas for writing the basic summary:
write in present tense
write in third person
write to include cliffhangers and teaser
do not reveal any conclusion
Seek Peer Council
The tug of war between the blank screen and the printed page continued for months. Then, after hitting the bottom of my creativity well, I asked my critique group members for help. Why I didn't ask before? I can't answer that question, but I know the synergy of the group and the cold, honest truth, hit me like a Pacific Ocean wave.
Results WOW! It was cathartic. The first draft of the synopsis is complete. The summary, well I have a problem summarizing the entire story. This hurdle is personal and it too shall be conquered.
As I sit in my office, a small room tucked in the basement of my home, I'm attempting to maintain my writing schedule. The writing schedule repeated on the pages of my planner.
My room contains a desk, couch, reference volumes, books read and to be read, and even a PC in case my laptop blows up. The sign on the door warns intruders: "Do not disturb. Novelist at work." You'd think with these lovely digs and furnishings I'd keep my schedule religiously. Maintaining my writing schedule remains a consistent challenge.
Those of you who know me would say "How can that be? You are retired." Retire doesn't mean I don't volunteer, have appointments to keep, household chores to do, the need to eat, family interactions by phone,"'skype" or in person, a garden to maintain, critique group preparations, a blog to write, do I need to go on?
What I can't figure out is how those of you who write, work a full time job, have all the stuff I do on my list and still maintain a writing schedule. Every writer who elicits advice on writing parses out the wisdom of having a writing schedule. I would like to know how they do it. It is late Sunday afternoon and my fingers have just touch the keyboard. Monday morning's schedule tugs at me. Do I work with my husband in the garden or sit down with my novel and do the last revisions? Life, it gets in the way of my writing. Life the well which gives me my inspiration also drowns me in interruptions and distractions.
My desire to do nothing but write is overpowering. It is a drive that makes me angry when I don't have any time to hide out and write in my inner sanctum. Here lies the lesson. If you want to write you will write. Stephen King wrote in a laundry room, John Cheever in a basement near a furnace. King advises your writing space needs only one requirement, a door. He believes a door is important for uninterrupted writing.* If you need to leave the house, write at a library, coffee shop, park, you're a writer get creative.
The important step is to keep a writing schedule. Place your writing time on your planner, set the timer on your phone, or put it on the family calendar, but let your household, the world, and yourself know you are writing everyday.
*King, Stephen, On Writing.Simon&Schuster, NewYork, NY, 2000, p.155
One of the events of summer is the launch of the annual O magazine 2015 Summer Reading List. Okay! snicker if you must, but as writers we also must be aware of the competition.The following link includes forty-two books reviewed by Natalie Beach, Hamilton Cain, Leigh Haber, Sarah Meyer, Elyse Moody and Richard Nash. If you just scan where the books are available you will see "IndieBound." Do you know what that means? Do you know who they are and where they published and who owns it the company?
You may never read a book from Oprah's 2015 Summer's Reading List, but you can find out a lot about the publishing world and book distribution by looking through the list. We as author's must become business managers, public relations gurus, and sales managers.
Take a moment and look at what happening in the book world. Take a moment and review the link below:
I won a book in a drawing and promised the author I would review it. It is the first book in a trilogy.The book's concept is wonderful. It presented another world where elves and ogres exist. The plot includes a young woman captured from earth by an elf who was betrothed to her at birth. He risks entering the human world because he needs her to avert an uprising in his world. The author's creative mind and the storyline both have great potential.
My eagerness to read this story was halted by the abrupt changes in point of view, inconsistent verb tenses, run-on sentences, incomplete phrases, grammatical errors, spelling errors, and missing words. These writing errors plague me and many of my colleagues. It is the reason why writers use alpha readers, beta readers, and attend a critique groups. Even though I can write a book in 30 days. It takes me months to clean up my creations.
My heart went out to the author who paid someone to edit her book. She needs to get a refund. Her editor did not serve her well. This jewel of an idea wasn't polished. The lesson for all of us is don't print something if it is not ready.
As frustrating and hard it is to hear someone else correct spelling, verb tense, misplaced modifiers, point out capitalization needs, and split verbs, a writer must accept a well-recommended editor or proof reader's suggestions. You book reflects you and when you publish it, the world sees you. Editors are important to producing the best publishing product. Self-publishing authors need to practice caution when selecting someone to assist them in revisions. Think of your manuscript like your child, perfect until you get that call from his or her teacher, the principal, or the truant officer. Yes, it is a great story, but it needs a bit of a revision. The links below direct you to other blog sites discussing what to look for in the editing process and in a freelance editor. Remember editing takes you to the "re-vision" journey.
More than a century ago, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, a Cambridge University lecturer, authored the term, "murder your darlings." William Faulkner, F.Scott Fitzgerald, Stephen King, and Mark Twain also received attribution for the writing advice: "Kill Your Darlings." This phrase instructs the writer to edit and revise without emotional attachment.These three words remind writers to weed their writing of extraneous descriptions and flowery language.
Every writer is guilty of harboring 'darlings' in my manuscripts.They include characters, settings, favorite words, phrases, and places.When I take off my writer's hat and put on my editor's glasses my darlings become glaring.
One must plan to "kill their darlings." 1) Put the manuscript away.Give your document a rest.Clear your mind and desk of any evidence of its existence. 2) Exam your work as if is you are editing someone else's manuscript.Search for the following 'darling' symptoms:
cliches:they make the writer look lazy
rambling descriptions:the reader wants the plot to flow
semicolons:if you think you need a semicolon, check to see if you need a period instead
characters names starting with the same letter or rhyming with another character:readers want each character to be an individual
redundancies:words or following a perfect sentence with another sentence with the same message.
3) Clear language is a goal. Eliminate excessive use of adverbs and prepositional phrases. 4) Ensure the pacing and momentum of the story is smooth and steady. 5) Read your manuscript aloud.
Seems simple, but these are our "darlings." We are attached to them.We like them or don't even recognize how comfortable we are with them.So if you are paralyzed by love and can't remove your darlings, create a file and place the remains of all your "darlings" in this file.The removal of your words won't seem as final if they are in exiled in a file named "darlings." Perhaps one of our stashed "darling" can be resurrected in another story.
The longer I write the more I appreciate the work of other authors. Some scribes have characterization down to a science. While wirters of suspense weave mysteries holding the reader's interest long into the night. My personal reason for reading these days is not only for the joy of a "good read." I use my reading as an opportunity to observe how other writers deal with those writing issues that send many a writer into the abyss of frustration.
I just finished reading, All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. I chose this book because of the reviews on Goodreads.com., Oprah's Book Club, and Barnes andNoble recommendations. I wanted to see why readers, not critics, not publicists, but readers called the book, "Excellent."
The book's two main characters have separate plots. The author writes about each in a separate country with different obstacles to overcome. The author's description of the settings and characterizations pull you in the story. The story answered a criticism from two of my beta readers.
My current work in progress has multiple characters with different storylines. Two of my beta readers said it was difficult for them to keep track of "who was who." Another beta reader pointed out, it was difficult to keep track of the places the action took place. Anthony Doeer helped me realized how to fix my issues. His writing process lead me to solutions with the issues I was having with my own book.
Reading is a must for a writer. We learn from other writers. We can step back and observe how they apply writing techniques. Thank you for a great read and some "teaching" moments
"You cannot open a book without learning something."Confucius*
* Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/search_results.html#TTcVlgwIkveDpTq2.99
Society under values its poets. If you ask a reader to name an author, they rattle off several names of their favorite fiction writers. Ask that same reader who is today's up and coming poet? (Expect a pause.) Better still ask who is the poet laureate of their state? (They will change the subject.)
April is National Poetry Month and I am appealing to all my readers and writer friends to promote poetry this month. The following activities are simple and offer support to your poet colleagues:
Seek out the poets in your life. Ask them about their work.
Buy a collection of poetry and read it. Send the poet a thank you note.
Go to a Poetry Group reading during this month.
Drag out any piece of poetry you have written in your lifetime. Read it, polish it, and submit it.
Poetry is the emotional reflection of life. It is an intellectual exercise in expression. Some forms of poetry have constraints and strict rules, while other forms are flexible and flowing. Don't be afraid of poetry: seek it, read it, write it.
Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance. – Carl Sandburg
Self-employed writer. Currently writing a four book series. Writes, designs, and edits small projects. Speaks about on topics that motivate individuals to seek the best in themselves. Check out my writing and projects at www.patwcoffey.com
Volunteer Newsletter/Public Relations Chair / Intermountain Medical Center Volunteer Bd of Direct
Currently serve on Board of Directors as Newsletter/Public Relations Chair for Intermountain Medical Center's Volunteer Service Organization. -write, format, and see to publishing of quarterly and special editions of The Volunteer Communique - design, write, and publish more than 400 flyers for the Gift Shops, and more than 345 mailings on an as need basis to volunteers - work with Director of Volunteer Services and other Board members on recognition events for volunteers including publicity, invitiations, posters, etc.
Curriculum and Evaluation Consultant and Editor / Western Governors University
Worked on teams of educators to define and refine educational goals and assessments for new courses.
Six Sigma Black Belt / American Express
Specially trained to hone in company process to improve process and maximize productivity
Employee Communications Manager / American Express
Responsible for internal employee communications. Coordinated with all diversity groups and business units to ensure company standards. Produced a weekly electronic newsletter for more than 500 employees and a quarterly newsletter. Conducted weekly one-on-one luncheons with line personal to listen to employee issues and to clarify company policies. Coordinated, developed, and conducted monthly monthly meetings for middle management on issues important to them, upper management, and their staffs. Once a month met with an Editorial Board that represented all the business groups. This group would give input and evaluate employee communications.
Human Resource Specialist / American Express
Had multiple positions:Training developer, Training Specialist, Human Resource Specialist, descriptions of jobs available.
Master of Professional Communication
Millennials your vote counts in this 2016 American Presidential Election. You showed us your political passion with your support of Bernie Sanders. You knocked doors. Handed out information reminding us to register to vote. You reminded us that we could register and vote online. You diverted your energy to helping local candidates by door to door canvassing.
Like the main event itself, NaNo Prep is always better with an incredible writing community around you. Luckily, our forums come with such a ready-made community. Inspired by the Plot Doctoring forum, we askedDerek Murphy, NaNoWriMo participant, to share his thoughts on plotting, and he outlined his 9-step plotting diagram:
Here’s a truth: you must write badly before you can write well.
Everybody’s first draft is rubbish. It’s part of the process, so don’t worry about it. The writing can be polished and fixed and improved later, after NaNoWriMo, during the editing stages.
What most writers get out of NaNoWriMo is a collection of great scenes that don’t necessarily fit into a cohesive story—and that’s a problem if you want to produce something publishable.
Nearly all fiction follows some version of the classical hero’s journey: a character has an experience, learns something, and is consequently improved. There are turning points and scenes that need to be included in your story—if they are missing it won’t connect with readers in an emotionally powerful way. And it’s a thousand times easier to map them out before you write your book.
In schools we talk constantly about protecting girls from harm. We teach them about paedophiles, on-line grooming, sexting, and the harm caused by drug and alcohol use. In reality, the more likely destructive influence on an adolescent girl’s day to day life is the damage they do to one another in their friendship groups…Relational aggression.
Relational aggression is the psychologist’s name for what the rest of us call ‘mean girls’ behaviour, or straight up ‘bitchiness’. It is a pattern of behaviour typically played out by school age girls, but it is not exclusive to them. In fact, where do they learn it if not from their adult role models? Adults are just more subtle about it.
Chances are, you’ve experienced relational aggression. You know it when it happens to you. It’s an emotional slap in the face and you often feel a sense of shame and confusion. What distinguishes relational aggression from just being mean, is that it focuses on damaging a person’s sense of social place. I see it as using relationships as weapons.
Relational aggression may include:
The silent treatment
Belittling (Often hidden behind the expression ‘just joking’)
The first four are self-explanatory, but ‘conditional friendship’ is more difficult. The child knows there are unspoken rules about behaviour and ‘going along’ with the group. It is why many lovely girls behave very poorly. Inclusion is incredibly important to their developing psyche and they will do anything to remain within the inner circle.
Relational aggression is about power and exclusion and it can be very destructive. It has nothing to do with friendship, yet many people see it as a normal aspect of young girls’ relationships. It has become normalised and it shouldn’t be. The terminology around it is often softened. It is referred to in schools as ‘friendship issues’, and in society we say things like, “That’s just girls”.
Why does it happen?
Part of being an adolescent is finding your place in social networks. Your peers become incredibly important and there is less focus on parents and significant adults. As a result, impressing and belonging become very important. Traditionally boys have achieved this pecking order with physical strength and humour. Girls use their communication and interpersonal skills.
Girls learn from a very young age that when you create exclusion you create inclusion. And if you can knock someone else off balance emotionally, it defines you as balanced. It is an interesting, if not disturbing, phenomena to watch in a school yard. From the cliques of socially elite ‘it’ girls to the mixed mob of outsiders, there is a power dynamic constantly at play. None of this has anything to do with friendship. Hence the creation of the term ‘frenemies’.
Another feature of this form of aggression is that most kids get a turn. You can be in the inner circle one day and then for no apparent reason, on the outer the next. Groups also work in formation with one another. If a child has been frozen out of one social group, they are unlikely to be accepted by another. It’s like watching a sick game of pinball with a confused hurt child being bounced from one group to another, deflected at every turn until it is their turn to be re-embraced by the ‘friendship group’.
Santa Maria College psychologist, Jane Carmignani, says that kids often know that what is happening is wrong, but they don’t have the language and confidence to stop it, even when they are the one being the mean girl. She says that in her office, girls will tell her about their mean behaviour and show remorse for it. So why do they keep going? The need to be mean comes from a place of fear, fear of not belonging or not being good enough.
This is not to say that girls don’t have genuine friendships, they do. Some kids are lucky enough and emotionally literate enough to enjoy relationships with genuine understanding, and empathy. They support one another and spend time sharing common interests. In my experience these kids are usually involved in a lot of sport, have varied interests and are exposed to a lot of different people of varying ages. The focus is on participating and being involved. However, even these kids come face to face with relational aggression from time to time.
How is it managed?
Relational aggression is incredibly difficult to manage in a school. It is hard to see, it’s covert, often innocuous looking, and kids will deny it. It is very frustrating when a girl is being charming to you and you know that she is deeply upsetting another child. Sometimes she will lie to your face so often that she starts to believe the lie herself. A simple example is a girl posting an embarrassing photo of a ‘friend’ on Instagram or Snapchat. When confronted about it she will say, “But I thought she looked pretty”. Where do you go with that?
Making girls feel personally responsible is about the most effective technique that is used in schools. If the girls can sit with a psychologist or suitably equipped adult, as a group, and discuss what is happening and how it is making each person feel there is a chance that it can be resolved. If not the cycle just keeps on going.
How can parents help?
It isn’t all hopeless. This is learned behaviour and learned behaviour can often be unlearned. But there are commitments that need to be made by parents. We need to:
Make friendship cool. Modelling by adults is the most powerful way of doing that. Talk about the great qualities of your friends to your kids. Too often we niggle at our friends’ weaknesses instead of verbally celebrating their greatness.
Explicitly teach kindness, compassion and empathy. We know kids have the capacity for these qualities. They are often evident at home or with people of different ages, but they are not being engaged in their relationships with peers.
Explicitly teach emotional intelligence. Help kids recognise who is loyal and who is safe. Talk to them about relational aggression. They should be able to recognise it and name it.
Teach kids to be:
Upstanders –These are people who stand up for victims. It’s been proven that if you can stand up to a bully for 8 seconds, they are likely to back down. Some kids are stronger than others. We need to make it cool to be strong and able to defend others.
Distracters – It is important that kids be able to recognise when a mean moment is coming and distract participants away from it. It’s a skill that adults eventually learn themselves, but if kids are given instruction on how to do this it can be learnt more quickly.
Supporters – Kids can be encouraged to do something as small as make eye contact with a victim while aggression is happening. That shows the victim that the behaviour is seen and acknowledged. It makes the victim seen and acknowledged. They aren’t alone.
Carefully manage on-line activity. A lot of relational aggression happens out of school hours, in cyberspace. Kids need a break from their friendship groups.
Create opportunities for children to meet lots of new people outside of school and get to know them well. I love sport for this reason and many more. Team mates are people you have to understand and communicate with. Assumptions about people get tested.
Please…. Never say, “That’s just girls”, or “boys will be boys” for that matter. We can be better than that. Or at least we can try.
All through National Novel Writing Month, published authors will take the whistle, take over our official Twitter account for a week, and act as your NaNo Coach. This week’s NaNo Coach, Claire Fuller, author of Our Endless Numbered Days, shares six ways to get through the middle of your novel:
You’re probably hitting the middle point of your novel about now, and for all writers this is often where your story starts to sag. You might have an idea of the ending, or even have it all planned out, but how you’re going to get there is unclear. Here, then, are six ideas to work those saggy middles to keep them strong, toned and looking good:
Make things even more difficult for your main characters.
Google is about to change the way its influential search engine recommends websites on smartphones and tablets in a shift that’s expected to sway where millions of people shop, eat and find information….
Today is the 160th anniversary of Oscar Wilde’s birth. Celebrate with some of his best quips.
The only thing we can depend on in life is that everything changes. The seasons, our partners, what we want and need. We hold hands with our high school friends and swear to never lose touch, and then we do. We scrape ice off our cars and feel like winter will never end, and it does. We stand in the bathroom and look at our face and say, “Stop getting old, face. I command you!” and it doesn’t listen. Change is the only constant. Your ability to navigate and tolerate change and its painful uncomfortableness directly correlates to your happiness and general well-being.