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

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

More on Self-Editing (Will It Ever End?)

Not every great writer writes a great book. That’s a given. Even Agatha Christie had a couple of truly awful mysteries. elephant (“Elephants Can Remember” stands out as boring, repetitive, definitely an un-Christie-like story.)

But still, it’s always a surprise to hit one of those disappointments, much more so when the disappointments are multiple. Three of the last four bestsellers I’ve read have fit into this category.

lawyer revised and flippedOne had so much technical information it got in the… Continue reading

Join or Start a Critique Group

Every critique group I have been in has taught me something, not only about my writing, but about myself.  Some critique groups I’ve been in have worked well, some worked okay, and some didn’t work at all.

My current critique group has been active for nearly a year, and it all started with my response to a request for a critique partner on one of the groups I belong to. It’s one of the most productive and interesting critique groups I’ve belonged to – thanks to my critique partners Lane and Carolyn

Internet Resources, Take 2

Last month, I wrote about some of the more interesting places I’ve recently visited for research purposes. Well, I’ve been at it again, this time starting with “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself into Print” by Renni Browne and Dave King. This gem of a book was hiding in full sight among the1200 or so volumes currently eating my Kindle alive. (Note to Self: Serious Housecleaning Needed ASAP.)

self-editing book coverOnce I started the Browne/King book, I literally couldn’t put it down. The advice is so well… Continue reading

Winning With Flash Fiction

ChinaFlash Fiction or Micro Fiction are terms used to describe a story that is very short, usually under 300 words, although some flash fiction can run up to 1000 words. According to Wikipedia, flash fiction in China is often called Smokelong due to the fact that the reader should be able to finish the story before he finishes smoking a cigarette.

As a writer, I’ve found that working with flash fiction has helped me with my longer work. Because of its brevity, I’m learning to write tight, telling a coherent and… Continue reading

Surprising Writing Resources

When I think of my writing resources, the first thing that pops into my mind is the Internet. I’m constantly online looking for the information I need, from names for my characters to the latest in dart guns.

Today, I’m following a suggestion that I write about non-digital resources that make my writing life easier. Well, that stopped me. Not digital? What else is there?

I can hear the groaning ghosts of writers past. “Somehow, we managed, and quite successfully.”

Of course they did. As did I not too many years ago. As a matter of fact… Continue reading

Time to Edit — Tips from the Web

Across one of my bookshelves, there’s a line of fat white notebooks, each one bearing a zippy, call-to-action name: “How to Write Compelling Dialogue. “Building Blocks of Great Fiction.” “How to Create a Page Turner.” ”The Secrets of Deep POV.” Many readers will recognize these titles as courses offered by some of the best in the wordsmithing business — Pat Kaye, Virginia Kantra, Steve Alcorn, and Mary Buckham, among others. When I decided to transition from jack-of-all-trades writer to mystery author, I sopped up every drop of information these folks could give me. Now, as I’m headed for… Continue reading

Don’t Be Afraid To Get Lost

In the process of writing my manuscript, one of my favorite tasks, the one I thought would be so boring, was doing the research. Depending on the story, research can be surprising, intimidating, unnerving, intriguing, funny, heartwarming, or scary. However, it’s always enlightening. And, an enlightened writer is an interesting writer.

demonologist_copyThe most unnerving research I’ve done was for a paranormal story about ghosts and possession. One of my Google trips led me to a book by Gerald Daniel Brittle, The Demonologist, the Extraordinary Career of Ed and Lorraine Warren.