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Jul 032013
 

There is a lot of advice out there for writers. Almost everyone who is a writer has advice for other writers. Me included. One thing that isn’t said often enough is that you have to be careful about what advice you follow. I don’t mean that some advice is bad in general, rather that not all of it will apply to you.

 

Dean Wesley Smith, a very prolific and varied writer, talks about Heinlein’s rules. The rules are simple enough:

1. You must write.

2. You must finish what you write.

Feb 062013
 

How long is your story? How long should it be? Is a novella better than a novel for a first time writer? Should you write something as epic as War and Peace or keep it under 100k words? Such weighty problems that some new writers obsess over are really simple to figure out once you realize what the real questions are.

First a brief discussion of the different story lengths. These are rough estimates and can be flexible depending on the market you are submitting to. Be sure to check the guidelines. If you are self pubbing, it’s kind of up to you but your readers will expect something like this:

Jan 162013
 

Back in high school, I remember arguing with my teachers about how to take notes and outline papers. I get it now that they were just trying to teach me a method of organizing my thoughts and I really shouldn’t blame them for not realizing that my brain doesn’t work in the standard outline form. I made it through high school and on into college where the professors no longer cared how I took notes just so long as my papers were organized and I could answer all my test questions. That is when I learned how to take notes in the way that my mind actually processed things, and suddenly school became a lot easier.

Jan 142013
 

In my role as and Educational ASL Interpreter, my students have learned that I make a darned good tutor when it comes to their English papers. And a frustrating one as well. What causes this particular set of feelings is the way that I tutor them. Word by word, without ever telling them what to say, I pick apart their sentences until each one is grammatically correct. Once one sentence is correct, I send them off to fix the rest of the paragraph on their own. I can totally understand their frustration. It was the same method that my favorite (and most hated) interpreting teacher used. I know that frustration well, and I know the results.

Jan 112013
 

If you ask a bunch of writers about how to find time to write there are two basic camps: Butt In Chair (BIC) and Steal Minutes (SM). If you go to any writer’s group and ask a general question like “How do you find time to write” you’ll get a nice smattering of about equal weight of the two camps. No one will deny the other camp’s position and they’ll be quite polite about it.

Jan 022013
 

If you are looking for the New Years Blog Hop from Carrie Ann’s Blog Hops, please click here.

 

The Next Big Thing is a rolling blog hop that’s been going around for a while. I was tagged by the lovely and talented Devin Harnois.

 

What is your working title of your book?

Hero’s Call

 

Where did the idea come from for the book?

When I was working on what will now be book 2 – The Queen’s Own – I realized that much of the back story really needed to be told. So I started digging into it and noticed that a story I thought would be a stand alone novel is really a trilogy.

Dec 072012
 

There are three really tough parts to any writing project.

– The beginning

– The middle

– The end

As we have seen, there are land mines in every step of the writing process. Monday and Wednesday we covered the beginning and the middle. Today we will go over the end, but let me caution you. I’ve only covered the parts of the process where the initial writing takes place. Once the story is written, there is the editing process to contend with. But that’s a topic for another week. First we have to contend with the end.

Dec 052012
 

There are three really tough parts to any writing project.

– The beginning

– The middle

– The end

Monday we covered the beginning. So here we are today, Wednesday, the middle of the week, so let’s get on with “The Middle”. The middle is where you find all the juicy bits, the fun parts that get you from “Oh no, I just lost my job” to “Why yes, I am Lord of all I see”. Or something like that.

The Middle

Nov 262012
 

One of the rules of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month – just in case some of you missed it) is that you aren’t supposed to edit as you go. If you just sort of make it up as you go the way that I do, you frequently run into a moment when you realize something about your plot that you need to go back and add so it doesn’t come off as cheesy. For example in my NaNoNovel this year, I’m about 3/4 of the way through the plot and all of sudden I noticed that the side effect of being a telepath is that you can hear when the gods are influencing people’s thoughts. Yeah, the character has been a telepath from the beginning so there should have been some hint of that before now. Maybe, just maybe, I was brilliant enough to hint at it without noticing. Not likely which means I’ll have to go back and add it in. But that’s editing and you aren’t supposed to do that. Aaaack, what’s a writer to do?

Aug 172012
 

I first heard of White Room Syndrome on the OWW (Online Writering Workshop)  to describe the issue many first drafts have of forgetting to describe the environment.

I’m guilty of this in my first drafts, particularly when the action gets wild and I’m really into what the characters are doing. I’ve even heard from some prolific and famous authors that this is a constant struggle in first drafts. “That’s what second drafts and first readers are for” – Mercedes Lackey (CONvergence 2008). Unfortunately for many new writers, it is a problem that persists into later drafts and may be one reason they find their stories hard to sell.