The Road to Hell …

… is paved with good intentions.

Yup that sort of reflects my writing life this past month.

I intend to write a blog post and then life intervenes.  My cat has an abcess on his shoulder and demands a vet appointment with twice a day doses of pink bubblegum flavored antibiotic that I am sure he objects to because he is a masculine kitty not some namby-bambi gum chewing kitty.January 2012 007

I intend to write a blog post and then my blind – deaf Springer Spaniel lost… Continue reading

Location, Location, Location

                We all know setting is important to a story or novel.  It can add atmosphere or sometimes even function closer to a character.  I’m working on a short story that relates back to a specific time period and place.  Except that my story is now in present day.  My research started with the internet – doing what most likely other writers do as well – searching for answers as to the history of the place, landmarks, etc.  In this instance, I looked at… Continue reading

Acquiring editors’ pet peeves

Are you unwittingly turning off an acquiring editor by committing one of her pet peeves?

Two acquiring editors spoke recently about what works – and what doesn’t – at a panel at the Left Coast Crime convention in Colorado Springs.

Denise “Deni” Dietz, a senior editor for Five Star publications, says any manuscript sent to her should follow the submission guidelines, and authors should be professional in their dealings with her.  She isn’t looking for perfection in a manuscript, but she is looking for someone with a “good voice” and for solid “characterization, plot, and pacing.”… Continue reading

Lists – Do, Doing, Doh

A funny thing happened to me on the way to write yesterday’s blog post….

Hey, wait a minute – isn’t that how humorous stories start?

It sure is – but unless you want to classify what happened as black comedy I’m not sure it is humorous at all.   I certainly don’t feel like laughing, not even in a ‘ha-ha, that’s ironic’ kind of way.  I have my serious face on – the one with the three lines etched above my eyebrows.  It’s my ‘what the heck happened’ face.

You see, I knew I had a blog post… Continue reading

Gender Conumdrum

An odd thing happened on the way to publishing my first book. I wound up writing it in Male First Person Point of View.

There are lots of books out there by women writing from the male perspective, but not so many I could find who’d gone the next step and carried it into the first person. In the same way, writing courses now abound on Male POV but are just beginning to incorporate the special challenges of writing cross- gender in first person.

Why is that?

I think intimacy is the key.  We can all learn… Continue reading

Self-Editing, Part 2

In my last post, I spoke about showing versus telling.

You can do that through dialogue, as well. Good dialogue serves to show, versus tell.

On the other hand, if too many of your characters’ emotions are being described through narrative, or through tags appended at the end of the dialogue, then you probably need to rewrite your dialogue.

Words such as she grimaced, she laughed, he bellowed, he growled—in place of he/she said—are the mark of an amateur. Just as unnecessary and clumsy in dialogue tags are the –ly adverbs: angrily, grimly, harshly, etc. Again, your… Continue reading

Schedule, Schmedule

Schedules work well – until they don’t anymore.

The problem is that schedules, like good habits, take a long time to become second nature and are very easily broken.  The fallout from a broken schedule can be numbing.

A schedule that is working well is wonderful.  It provides structure and focus.  The issues arise when life interferes and throws the schedule out-of-whack.   An interrupted schedule can lead to self-reproach.  Self-reproach can lead to inactivity.  Inactivity leads to more self-reproach.  This cycle of inactivity and self-reproach is a slippery slope, one that is hard to recover from.

This… Continue reading

“How I Write” by Janet Evanovich with Ina Yalof

“How I Write” by Janet Evanovich with Ina Yalof  2006

I listened to this book as an audio book so any comments that I have can only be referring to that format.  I drive on average of 3000 miles a month so if you have any questions regarding what audio book to listen to I can recommend many ranging from children’s to adult — scatological humor to college level history courses and anywhere in between.  This sort of falls in between!

How Scrivener Saved My Life

Most people in the writing world know of Scrivener by now as a stellar program that facilitates the writing process. There are so many sources of information on Scrivener that I couldn’t begin to compete with them.  Here are several of the better ones I’ve run across.

First, if you don’t have Scrivener and want to try it, go to the following link and download the 30 day trial. Read the excellent manual and tutorial, and visit the users forum. The people who staff the forum are fantastic. How many programs can you say that for?

Local Writer’s Groups

Do you belong to a local writer’s group?  When I moved, one of the ways that I thought I could meet like-minded people in my community was through a writer’s group.  A writing friend introduced me to a local chapter.

After joining both the local chapter and the state organization, I found that as in most things there were good aspects and not so good.  My chapter is made up of a lot of poets so there’s a high focus on poetry.  The programs are a mix of speakers and open readings sessions.  The speakers are diverse which is… Continue reading