Guest Post: Faster Editing with Track Changes

Today we welcome Cyberdyke to Mostly Mystery for a guest post on Track Changes.  I use this in Word but didn’t realize that it was common in most programs so am thrilled to add this to my toolbox.

I recently gave an article of mine to a friend to proofread. I recommended that she use Track Changes, as it would make it faster to see her suggestions. She had no idea what I was referring to. Every writing/word processing program has a form of Track Changes which can help you do just that.

Track Changes are a way… Continue reading

Scrivener Tip – Synopses

The more I work with Scrivener, the more I realize just how fantastic this software is.

At the moment, I’m busy querying the first novel in my planned CACHE series – COLD, HARD CACHE.   About half the agents on my query list want a synopsis.  Most do not specify how long the synopsis should be, while the remainder request between one paragraph and three pages.

I’m a pantser and not a plotter, which means that I don’t have a blueprint I can use as a basis for my synopsis.

Once again, Scrivener to the rescue.

In… Continue reading

Scrivener Tip – Multiple Story Lines

I’m currently doing the final read through of my contemporary fantasy novel, Unholy Triptych, and it’s been difficult for a number of reasons:  Firstly I have three main characters; secondly each has their own story arcs that only merges near the end of the book; thirdly they have alternately chapters: and lastly I’m using their ‘voice’ to differentiate them instead of relying on, say, describing them every time I start their chapter, or using their name in the opening paragraph.

Scrivener to the rescue…

I’ve just discovered that I can compile the document and include (or exclude) certain… Continue reading

Book Review

I just finished a mystery/thriller by a New York Times bestselling author,nyt courtesy victorfarmington library.org someone whom I’ve read sporadically over the years, usually quite happily. This particular book is set in the 1980s but was published not long ago, so it’s not one of the author’s early works. Yet reading it was a slog when her technique and years of writing experience should have made it a slam-dunk.

We all know the phenomenon that happens when a book is truly good — time is suspended as we enter… Continue reading

On the Right Side of the Law

I’ve always liked stories about lawyers and the law,atticus “To Kill a Mockingbird,” starting me off in a big way in childhood. Being from the South, the book has always had a special resonance with me, and, really, who doesn’t love Atticus Finch — or Gregory Peck?

Now that I’m writing my own novels, I’ve learned to appreciate lawyerly books – and movies and TV —  even more, not just as pure entertainment but also as little instruction manuals on how to tell rich and satisfying tales, no matter the… Continue reading

Mysteries: Why I Love Them

I’d like to add to the often quoted phrase that “we are what we eat.” I also think “we are what we read and sometimes write.”

9781450250986_COVER.inddIn 2005, when the idea of writing a book first appeared in my head, I decided to start with a memoir. Looking back, that made sense. Start with what you know, right? My book, The Education of a Teacher (Including Dirty Books and Pointed Looks), is a piece of my heart. I’d spent thirty-four years teaching high school English in a small town… Continue reading

Mind Mapping

Recently, I came across some software for “Mind Mapping,” a snazzy virtual visualization technique that is currently all the rage.  Although the concept of Mind Mapping dates back some 25 years, Mind Mapping software is much newer. So, always on the lookout for things that will help organize the gazillion bits and pieces of information I collect in the process of writing a novel, I set off to investigate this phenomenon. Little did I know what I was getting into.

First, I found the motherlode site, http://www.biggerplate.combiggerplate a… Continue reading

Things I Have Learned about Writing That Run Contrary to Accepted Practice: Installment #1 — Contests

Go anywhere on the web and you’ll see this warning:

DO NOT 4Everybody’s BFF, “Preditors & Editors” http://pred-ed.com/predlogo100, says:

“We strongly advise writers to enter only those contests without a fee. P&E does not recommend any contests with entry fees.”

http://thewritelife.com/thewritelife3 also pans fee-based contests, saying:

“…often a fee can be a red flag for a scam” and “you may want to… Continue reading

Theme? My Story Has a Theme?

 

Begin bookAs we all know, writing, especially fiction, is not as simple as deciding on a story and penning it. Each chapter, scene, paragraph, and sentence must work together to tell the story you want and ensure reader satisfaction. A story has many crucial elements: plot, characters, pacing, setting, point of view, etc. Then there are things like arcs, story and character, to consider. It’s hard to believe how much goes on behind the scenes of each printed page. As an author in the midst of editing, I often find… Continue reading

Resources – What Supports My Writing

Most of us have some form of resources that we use for our novels and other writings.  I am no different but mine have changed over the years as I’ve grown as a writer.  Below are some of the things I use.

Classes

My first resource started years ago when I came back to writing more consistently.  I knew I had a lot to learn and so I went on a writer’s retreat that was more a class in writing than a place to simply write.  That was a turning point for me because I met a writing… Continue reading