Monthly Archives: February 2016

3 Ways To Show A Text Conversation In A Book – And One Right Way

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I received this most appropriate blog in my box this morning. Since it’s a subject that many writers will face in this world of ours I thought I would pass it on. Thanks for sharing, Dan.

Dan Alatorre - AUTHOR

head shot Your humble host

We know how to write a sentence: noun, verb… a period at the end.

We know how to show dialog when our characters speak.

Dan scratched his head. “We do?”

“Yep,” she said.

But it turns out, we DON’T know how to depict a text conversation in a story! I checked.

There’s no uniform way.

Oh, The Chicago Manual Of Style (CMOS) has a suggestion in the Q&A – but it sucks.

And other authors are trying to nail it down, especially the YA writers. Or they write around it.

Look, anybody can do this:

“how r u,” he texted;

“ha ha Daddy I can’t believe you use ‘r u,’” she replied.”

AWFUL. You wouldn’t use so many tags in a conversation showing speech, or regular conversational dialog, but here it’s supposed to be okay?

No.

No, no, no, no, no, no.

I (accidentally) used several styles…

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Why writers should help writers #amwriting

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Why writers should help writers #amwriting

I loved this blog with this great video on leaders. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Shirley

G.L. Cromarty

I came across the video below during a leadership training course. At first there might not seem to be an obvious connection between writing and leadership…but stick with me 🙂

The  Ted Talk reminds us how important positive feedback is. All too often in life we focus on what is wrong. How often is it that bad service prompts you to complain? And how often after good service do you take the time to tell the company or individual? All too often it is the complaint that drives us to action, and all too often we fail to praise what is good.

Most of us will be quick to point out that we offer good feedback sometimes, but do we offer it often enough?

Feedback on Writing

Writing a review is such a simple and easy way to show the writer that you enjoyed their work. Sure you can drop a star rating on a…

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My Introspection

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Princess Adeles Dragon3I am in the final stages before I launch my new ebook on Amazon. It is a Young Adult Fantasy called Princess Adele’s Dragon. Based in Medieval times with Kings, Knights, Castles, Witches and a myriad of other things to make this a fun and intriguing book.
 
I’ve worked on this book since March of 2015. It’s hard to believe next month will be a year. Most hours of my day were spent thinking about some aspect of my book. How was Adele going to deal with the day, Prince Anthony or even the bad guys?
 
Book writing is fun for me. I like getting wrapped up in the stories. I do the same when I’m reading a book if I like it. Since I’m an eclectic reader and writer, I never know what world I’m going to be spending my time.
 
I’m learning new things every day which is a wonderful thing for me. It keeps my mind active. If I didn’t keep my mind active, I would be useless to myself. My learning has added to my guilt when I write. I see the passive voice in my sleep or that voice that says you can write that line better. So many rules but at the same time, nothing is written in stone. A lot of standards change with the wind or who’s writing.
 
When you write, the bottom line is “does it fit you, the author?” Everyone has an opinion and most of the time they are different. That in itself can be confusing, but if you hang on and keep trudging forward you will end up with work that is yours alone. Notwithstanding the help, you received from reading, researching a topic or any other avenue you use.
 
I must be needing to share my introspection today on the almost completion of my book. It’s a fantastic feeling knowing I only have a few little things left to do before my work can be published. The beautiful thing is that it has nothing to do with selling. It has to do with completing the task I set out to do, the best way I know how.
 

Update Your Kindle… or else!

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I’m reblogging this very informative post so you can check to see if your Kindle needs to be updated.

The eBook Evangelist

Kindle 1If you have a older, pre-2012 Kindle that you haven’t updated recently, Amazon is letting customers know that it’s time to do something about that.

This morning, I received an email from Amazon reminding me that I have devices that need to be updated.  Now I am being told that unless I update them, I will no longer be able to “continue downloading e-books and using Kindle services.”

According to the email,

If you do not update the devices’ software by March 22, 2016, you will no longer be able to access Kindle services or get the update via Wi-Fi or a wireless connection. To resume access, you will need to manually update the software on each of your Kindle devices.

Note that you WILL still be able to update your Kindle after that date. You will just need to manually download and install the update.

The frustrating thing about the email is that it…

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Sorting out your Amazon 1099-MISC forms from KDP and CreateSpace (Tax Year 2015)

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Good information for us writers to have. Thanks Chris for sharing.

chrismcmullen

Taxes

AMAZON KDP & CREATESPACE 1099-MISC TAX FORMS (YEAR 2015)

I received 12 different 1099-MISC forms for tax year 2015 from Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), and 3 more 1099-MISC forms from CreateSpace. I obtained my KDP tax forms online, but received my CreateSpace forms in the mail (on February 5).

Check yours against my list below to see if you’ve received them all.

Also, my list below will help you check which international marketplace each form corresponds to.

Verify that the amounts are correct. Occasionally, a mistake is made. (One year, they issued replacements a few weeks after mailing the originals.)

Note that, contrary to rumor, there is NO limit of $600 for book royalties. For book royalties, the limit is $10, meaning that if you earned at least $10 in royalties, you should account for this in your tax return. Amazon will have sent the information to the IRS. Most…

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7 Tools For Pacing A Novel

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PACEPacing is a crucial component of fiction writing. After all, it’s important to keep your readers “hooked” throughout your story. Whether you are just getting started in writing or looking to break into fiction writing, you’ll need to know the basics of how to pace a novel. Read today’s tip of the day from Crafting Novels & Short Stories. In this excerpt written by Jessica Page Morrell, she explains what pacing is and seven ways to keep your story moving at the right pace.

What is Pacing in Fiction?

Pacing is a tool that controls the speed and rhythm at which a story is told, and the readers are pulled through the events. It refers to how fast or slow events in a piece unfold and how much time elapses in a scene or story. Pacing can also be used to show characters aging and the effects of time on story events.

Pacing differs with the specific needs of a story. A far-reaching epic will often be told at a leisurely pace though it will speed up from time to time during the most intense events. A short story or adventure novel might quickly jump into action and deliver drama.

Pacing is part structural choices and part word choices and uses a variety of devices to control how fast the story unfolds. When driving a manual transmission car, you choose the most effective gear needed for driving uphill, maneuvering city streets, or cruising down a freeway. Similarly, when pacing your story, you need to choose the devices that move each scene along at the right speed.

Seven Literary Devices for Pacing Your Story

You need speed in the opening, middle, and climax of your story. Sure, you’ll slowdown from time to time, especially to pause for significance and to express characters’ emotions, but those times will usually appear just before or after a joyride of skin-tightening speed.

There are lots of tools to hasten your story. Some are better suited for micropacing—that is, line by line—and some are better suited for macropacing—pacing the story as a whole. Let’s take a closer look at each device.

ACTION. Action scenes are where you “show” what happens in a story, and, when written in short- and medium-length sentences, they move the story along. Action scenes contain few distractions, little description, and limited transitions. Omit or limit character thoughts, especially in the midst of danger or crisis, since during a crisis people focus solely on survival. To create poignancy, forgo long, descriptive passages and choose a few details that serve as emotionally charged props instead.

CLIFF HANGERS. When the outcome of a scene or chapter is left hanging, the pace naturally picks up because the reader will turn the page to find out what happens next. Readers both love and hate uncertainty, and your job is to deliver plenty of unfinished actions, unfilled needs, and interruptions. Remember, cliffhangers don’t necessarily mean that you’re literally dangling your character from a rooftop as the scene ends. If your characters are in the midst of a conversation, end the scene with a revelation, threat, or challenge.

DIALOGUE. Rapid-fire dialogue with little or no extraneous information is swift and captivating, and will invigorate any scene. The best dialogue for velocity is pared down, an abbreviated copy of a real-life conversation that snaps and crackles with tension. It is more like the volleying of Ping-Pong or tennis than a long-winded discussion. Reactions, descriptions, and attributions are minimal. Don’t create dialogue exchanges where your characters discuss or ponder. Instead, allow them to argue, confront, or engage in a power struggle.

PROLONGED OUTCOMES. Suspense and, by extension, forward movement are created when you prolong outcomes. While it may seem that prolonging an event would slow down a story, this technique actually increases the speed, because the reader wants to know if your character is rescued from the mountainside, if the vaccine will arrive before the outbreak decimates the village, or if the detective will solve the case before the killer strikes again.

SCENE CUTS. Also called a jump cut, a scene cut moves the story to a new location and assumes the reader can follow without an explanation of the location change. The purpose is to accelerate the story, and the characters in the new scene don’t necessarily need to be the characters in the previous scene.

A SERIES OF INCIDENTS IN RAPID SUCCESSION. Another means of speeding up your story is to create events that happen immediately one after another. Such events are presented with minimal or no transitions, leaping via scene cuts from scene to scene and place to place.

SHORT CHAPTERS AND SCENES. Short segments are easily digested and end quickly. Since they portray a complete action, the reader passes through them quickly, as opposed to being bogged down by complex actions and descriptions.

SUMMARY. Instead of a play-by-play approach, tell readers what has already happened. Because scenes are immediate and sensory, they require many words to depict. Summary is a way of trimming your word count and reserving scenes for the major events. You can also summarize whole eras, descriptions, and backstory. Summaries work well when time passes, but there is little to report, when an action is repeated or when a significant amount of time has passed.

WORD CHOICE AND SENTENCE STRUCTURE. The language itself is the subtlest means of pacing. Think concrete words (like Prodigy and iceberg), active voice (with potent verbs like zigzag and plunder), and sensory information that’s artfully embedded. If you write long, involved paragraphs, try breaking them up.

Fragments, spare sentences, and short paragraphs quicken the pace. Crisp, punchy verbs, especially those with onomatopoeia (crash, lunge, sweep, scatter, ram, scavenge) also add to a quick pace. Invest in suggestive verbs to enliven descriptions, build action scenes and milk suspense.

Harsh consonant sounds such as those in words like claws, crash, kill, quake, and nag can push the reader ahead. Words with unpleasant associations can also ratchet up the speed: hiss, grunt, slither, smarmy, venomous, slaver, and wince. Energetic, active language is especially appropriate for building action scenes and suspense, and for setting up drama and conflict.

A fast pace means trimming every sentence of unnecessary words. Eliminate prepositional phrases where you don’t need them: For example, “the walls of the cathedral” can be written as “the cathedral’s walls.” Finally, search your story for passive linking verbs and trade them in for active ones.

By: Courtney Carpenter

Writer’s Digest

21 Tips from Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style”

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21 Tips from Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style”

I received this wealth of information from Chris, the Story Reading Ape who always finds the best stuff for us writers.

WordDreams...

When you read your story, does it sound off, maybe you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know you’ve done something wrong? Sometimes–maybe even lots of times–there are simple fixes. These writer’s tips will come at you once a week, giving you plenty of time to go through your story and make the adjustments.

Strunk and White’s 105-page how-to-write classic, Elements of Style was first published in 1959 as a guide for writers and secretaries (remember what those are?). Because of its pithiness and focus on critical elements, it is still considered the gold standard in college classes and writing seminars. In 2011, Time Magazine listed what many refer to as the ‘Little Book’ as one of the 100 most influential books written in English since 1923. The most recent edition was published 51 years after Strunk’s death.

Strunk (E.B. White–better known as the author…

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