Blog

Side Notes

Side Notes

Side Notes

I’ve been gone for a bit, sorry about that. There was a reason and I do have some news I think is fantastic. I have finished my newest book and have begun the primary revision. I’m very excited about this story and can’t wait to share some information.  I’ll be composing a tentative query letter for it soon and I’ll post about that process as I’ve done a whole bunch more research on the subject.

For me, the writing process for this story became very involved. My writing time is limited (Full-time job + a family + summer = busy me) so when it came to writing I was deeply engrossed in the new story.

While I write, I often have thoughts or ideas. Whether they are yet to come or they are things to add or even things to change. I try not to go back while I’m in ‘writing’ mode and change things. For one, it throws off my groove and for two; I might change my mind before the story is done.

So, what do I do about the little or big ideas that pop into my brain? I make notes. I keep a pad of paper at my desk at all times. The more detail the better, I write down the idea and my reasoning. There is nothing worse than going back to see “Make the tablet a pen and pad of paper.”  If I forget why or the significance I could make mistakes in the change or lose the great idea because of lack of explanation or supportive information.

Here are some things I might jot down

  • A clever line or two of dialogue

  • A foreshadow for something ie. “Go back and foreshadow Belfast knowing about Lex”

  • Change in character name, behavior, quirk or appearance

  • A reminder to go back and add a quirk to a character

  • Location change idea

  • Add a character in

  • Notes to remind me to check whether or time of year ie. when is sunset in July or when do daisies bloom.

  • Add an interaction or moment in

(I just looked at my actual notes for examples)

Anything that is added after the fact, a quirk, character or moment are things that come to mind because of a new idea. I’ll be writing along and a clever scenario pops into mind. However, to make it work I’d have to change a conversation. I write a detailed note and either go back when I’m done writing or at least done writing the new scene.

Nothing in my story is set in stone until I’m certain I’m done with it. I add stuff all the time, just as long as it’s relevant to the story or scenario.

A word of caution, anything added needs to fit. Magically appearing or disappearing objects or people are frustrating, confusing and a clear indication of a novice or careless writer. If I change something, I go through with a fine-tooth comb to make sure all references or moments surrounding the change make sense.

My notes can get messy; sometimes I’ll make a spreadsheet or word document to keep track of the more important ones. Alternatively, I’ll transfer the handwritten notes to a word file so I can actually read them. (Yes, I have chicken scratch handwriting)

This pad of paper I use for side notes is often written on just after a shower or just before I fall asleep. It’s not the best time to have inspiration strike, but I’ve written many notes to the light of my wireless mouse so I don’t wake anybody by turning a light on.

My advice about Side Notes

Whether it’s a novel, poem, blog post or song, keep a pad of paper handy for when inspiration strikes. I recommend making notes or explanations on the notes so they don’t get forgotten or misunderstood later.

-Sheryl

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

Tentative

Advertisements

Something To Write About

I’ve been taking some family time off this summer and posting a little less frequently.  My newest book is taking almost all my free time and it’s amazing how much fun I’m having writing it.

When I look back over my year since I started blogging I have to admit I’ve learned a lot. Things that I didn’t know and might never have discovered if it wasn’t for starting a blog.

Grammar is something that can always be improved upon (IMO) since I know I’m not a grammar genius I take all the advice I can get. I have also done a lot of research to find out the little things I had no idea about.

I’ve blogged about dashes, commas, tenses, filter words (A huge issue for me), Interjection, dangling modifiers, exposition, hyperboles, clauses, fragment sentences and so much more.

I’ve also learned that inspiration can come from anywhere. Honestly anywhere!  My new book was inspired by an insignificant everyday thing. I’ve blogged about people watching, seeing the world and not just what’s in front of me, I’ve talked about sources of inspiration such as vacations, the beach, amusement parks, the bar, barbeques, and anything that involves people, places, and things. Being more aware and seeing the world around me has become a great source of inspiration.

I’ve met a great number of writers since I started this journey, both online and off. Each and every one of them a unique talent that brought my attention to various styles of writing. I’ve since dabbled in first person perspective writing and it’s a lot of fun.  I’ve also found that reading others works’ and appreciating

I’ve also found that reading others works’ and appreciating their style is a wonderful way to understand my own. Whether it is books, poems, short stories or songs everyone has a voice. I may absolutely love how someone else writes, and they may influence me but I have my own voice and copying someone else’s style or voice is a waste of time. It won’t read as well as my own.

Distractions and writer’s block are a writer’s worst enemy. Through other bloggers and writers and research, I’ve learned what can be done to minimize both issues. Breaks and living life are necessary for both getting the creative juices flowing and for keeping the mind active and able to focus.

Story structure or the arc of a story is important and I have spent a good amount of time researching the various styles and methods used to write a story. Some people plan it all out before they start writing. While others go with the flow. Myself I’ve discovered I’m a little of both. I think and think and plan it out but I go with the flow and if things change along the way then so be it. I do know having an end in mind is of the utmost importance. Otherwise, the story becomes either too long or pointless.

Keeping the reader engaged and delivering an entertaining story is the most important part of writing. I know if I like what I write, then others will too.  Therefore I don’t worry about what others think and I never let it influence my writing. I write for me and then I share it.

I’ll continue to touch on these key aspects of writing and since I’ve learned so much and still have plenty more to learn I’ll be revisiting some of them with more information.

I don’t think anyone can know everything about writing and there is always room for improvement and expansion.

My advice about writing 
Never be afraid to try something new, or visit something old. Looking back momentarily is a great way to move forward monumentally.

-Sheryl

My Posts From The Start

Independent Clauses depend on nobody.

Influential Words

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved
Delivery

Distracted By Distraction

Time is always an issue for me. Finding it to write and really get into it. Somedays I can plug along and find the simple errors others I can dig in and really get to the meat of some problems.

I’m in the middle of BiaAtlas re-write and it’s going well. My word count is coming down slowly but steadily.

When I’m writing there are several things that can cause me to become distracted or lose focus. Not all of them are bad and often they can be a reminder to take a well needed or deserved break.

Other people – It’s important to remember there are real living people in the world 😉
Television
The weather
My own thoughts – yes this is a real problem sometimes
Other projects (I have a new storyline I’m in the beginning stages of plotting)
Sleepy or tired – sometimes it’s just hard to stay focused on anything.
Work – this one is a necessity… but still…
Cleaning or chores
Reading

There are other distractions that I don’t have time for and have suffered for it such as video games and Facebook. The bottom line is there will always be distractions and I don’t freak out about them. I’ve talked about this before but I think if I’m being distracted there might be a reason for it.

The funniest distraction is the distraction by distraction. When I’m distracted simply by thinking about being distracted.

When I sit and start to work on editing my book it can be overwhelming. I’ve been through it countless times, I’m probably missing things right in front of me because I’ve been through it countless times. I have a plan for that and I’ll dive into that plan in a later post once I’ve done enough research to explain it properly.

For now, it’s one objective at a time seek out and destroy superfluous text and simplify. I’m on the hunt for repetition of ideas, phrases, comments, actions, descriptions, and anything I’ve mentioned more than once.

I will keep at it and keep my self-inflicted symphony of distractions to a minimum while addressing the important ones, the ones that tell me I need a real break. After all, a distraction is only a distraction if we need to be distracted.

My advice about distractions
Don’t ignore that you’re being distracted and figure out why it’s happening. Maybe take a break or do something random to reset your attention. Distractions are not always a bad thing.

-Sheryl

Other posts

Squirrelly concentration at best

More is less, and vice versa.

My Posts From The Start

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

Symphony

ONE YEAR BLOGGING ANNIVERSARY

Hello, It was one year ago today that I posted my very first blog The “Word Count” Down, post.

Happy one year anniversary to myself!

I have come a long way since that first post. It was so short and sweet and the beginning of a lot of progressively better posts.

The “word count” down.

Exactly one year from the day I started:

I have posted 247 posts, not including re-blogs and blogging awards which would make it 256.

I have 763 WordPress followers and 118 followers on other platforms totaling 881.

Since day one I’ve had the honor of 16299 views, 7457 visitors, 6972 likes from awesome visitors and 2236 comments from those who deemed me worthy of a shout out or even criticism, all of which were welcomed and appreciated.

I have had visitors from 117 different countries around the world. This is amazing and fascinating to receive comments from such a variety of people from amazing places.

I don’t mention all this to brag, but to show how one year of hard work can be broken down to statistics. I have learned so much from my year of blogging and I know I have so much more to go. With every post, I write and read I become stronger and more confident as a writer.

I started this blog to strengthen my writer’s platform and in addition, I have strengthened myself in many respects. I know what it means to be rejected repeatedly. I have received praise, congratulations, along with scorn, criticism, and negativity. All of it is a resource to learn from. Nobody is perfect and I shouldn’t expect to be.

When I began this journey, I was in the process of editing and revising BiaAtlas, the very first book that I wrote. I’ve toiled and revisited this book many times and the funny thing is I’m at the same stage all over again one year later. I’m working to bring the word count down even further to make it more appealing to literary agents and in the process, I’m employing all the tips, rules and tricks I’ve learned throughout the year of blogging.

I’m not upset that I’m back at the start because I’m not all the way back at the start. I made fantastic progress to the point I was happy with what I had accomplished. Now I’m back at it and making it even better.

I’ve shared my journey thus far with anyone interested in reading. I am excited for the next 365 days that will hold more information, updates and even some rewrites of old (now substandard blogs) that need updating badly.  I hope to share more of my personal journey and the range of emotions I go through as I struggle and persevere.

I plan to try yet again to get BiaAtlas in the hands of an eager Literary agent all the while I will begin the process of revising my new book that is not yet titled. This is all so very exciting for me and I hope to have some fantastic things to report on throughout this next year of my journey.

I have toyed with the idea of writing a short story and posting chapters regularly as I have seen other bloggers do, but I’m not quite ready for that just yet. I did sort of attempt it previously but they were based on my blog character examples and I had to set that aside as it developed too quickly to a novel.

I’m not sure what this next year of blogging holds for me, but I hope you stick around to see how it goes. As always I’m open to comments and constructive criticism and will give an honest consideration to any legitimate suggestions or post subject requests.

Thank you to everyone that reads and follows, to those that comment and care. You make blogging an experience, not a chore.

My advice about blogging.
Write what means something to you and write for yourself. If you like it others are bound to enjoy it as well. Stay strong and never give up on your dreams.

-Sheryl

Here is a list of all my posts from the start My Posts From The Start

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

ONE YEAR BLOGGING ANNIVERSARY new

Substandard

The Fault In Our Comparisons

When I write I often compare things. Directly or indirectly doesn’t matter, but it needs to be complete and correct. There’s nothing worse than wondering… then what? Or the sentence is simply not making sense.

There are at least two things needed when comparing.  After that, there is how they are compared. First and foremost being complete when comparing is important.

Completeness in comparisons

Complete the sentence. Two items are needed for any comparison.

Incorrect: The shallow water is two degrees warmer.

Two degrees warmer to what?

Correct: The shallow water is two degrees warmer than yesterday.

Incorrect: She studied so hard.

She studied so hard, then what happened?

Correct: She studied so hard and failed the test anyway.

Now ‘so’ has been qualified.

Now that completeness is addressed on to the next issue with a faulty comparison, clarity. One must be clear when comparing otherwise things become… unclear.

Clarity in comparisons

Incorrect: Dale gave Amber more cake than his sister.  

This is unclear and could mean: Dale gave Amber more cake than he gave to his sister, or Dale gave Amber more cake than Amber gave his sister.

Correct: Dale gave Amber more cake than he gave to his sister.
Correct: Dale gave more cake to Amber than he gave to his sister.

If it’s unclear the reader is left to interpret the writers meaning. This can be a problem since everyone thinks differently and might not understand what the writer was comparing. Now that clarity is more clear on to the last faulty comparison. Consistency.

Being consistent is important for so many things and for so many reasons. In comparisons, it is important so the reader knows what is being compared to what. Doing this will eliminate the potential confusion or odd imagining of events in the reader’s mind.

Consistency in comparisons

Incorrect: The Apples from the market are cheaper than FreshMart.

This compares Apples to Freshmart

Correct: The apples from the market are fresher than the apples at FreshMart.
Correct: The apples at the Market are fresher than those at FreshMart.
Correct: The apples at the Market are fresher than FreshMarket’s apples.

Now I’m comparing Apples to Apples.

Here are a couple more examples.

Incorrect: “Amber is more beautiful than anyone I know,” Dale said.

This means Amber is more beautiful than Amber since Dale knows her.

Correct: “Amber is more beautiful than anyone else I know,” Dale said.

Now Amber is compared to other that Dale knows.

Incorrect: “This cake is better than any I’ve tasted,” Amber said.

Again amber is tasting the cake now so…

Correct: “This cake is better than any other I’ve tasted,” Amber said.

Now she’s comparing it to cakes other than the one she’s eating.

It is easy to miss these types of errors of comparison especially when speech and dialect can influence how we write. We are bombarded with improper grammar and speech ‘quirks’ that it can be difficult to notice that what is being said isn’t complete. I know I don’t always see these and will have to defer to a professional to get them for me.

My Advice about faulty comparisons.
Check for completeness, Clarity, and Consistency when writing comparisons. I recommend having more than one set of eyes take a look for them. 

-Sheryl

Other Posts

Are you inging too?

My Posts From The Start

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

Shallow

Title

Title. It’s a little word only five letters long. It is a descriptive heading or caption used to give a book, chapter, song, poem, picture or anything that needs an appellation.

For such a small word it holds a significant importance. I put a lot of thought into the title of my first book, and I mean a lot.

Here are some things a title of a book should convey or contain

  1. Be part of the story at some point. Don’t call it “My blue button.” and never have anything to do with a blue button tangible or imagined. Unless blue button is a euphemism that is a major part of the story, it might not be a good title.
  2. Hold some significance to the story/characters
  3. Be short and meaningful – It’s a title, not a log line
  4. Catchy / Interesting – I’m often drawn to alliteration titles or punchy hard words.
  5. Clever – boring titles suggest a boring book
  6. Not borrowed or stolen from another book – Just don’t. Google and search to make sure it’s not accidentally copying someone else.
  7. The feel or even genre of the book –  “Loved to death.” Might not be a good romance title but might be a good suspense…

So back to my title. The title of my book has significant meaning and plays a big part in the story as it progresses. However, now I’m rewriting the book to a point where I can re-submit to Literary Agents.  I’m changing the tone of many chapters, reducing the word count by more than 24000 words(Yeah seriously ugh, at least I’m almost half way there). The catch is that I will need to change the title or it will be passed over completely. This was not advice given lightly and was given by a professional in the industry.

So I will come up with a new title for the next round of queries for the Literary agents. I will likely either work BiaAtlas back in as a subtitle or ask for it to be the full title once my book lands a publishing deal.  I’m doing this so I can give my book a second chance. Typically you cannot resubmit the same story to the same literary agents for the second time. Unless the story/prose has been changed significantly.

It is hard to say what makes a title but I know a title can make or break the chances a story has being picked up by literary agents let alone publishers. In the self-publishing industry, it is even more important as it is what will make a potential reader stop or keep scrolling past the list of titles.

So how does one find out what a good title is? Take a look at books that are in the same genre. Even ones that aren’t. What are the similarities? Whats popular? Take a look at unsuccessful books on Amazon, how do their titles differ from top sellers? A great place to get a feel for what might or might not work is a bookstore or online stores. I personally like to go and physically look at the covers.

It’s daunting to think a one to five words can make or break my chances or success. No pressure right? I’m not going to stress about it as I said before, I can change it back or work it in another way. I was told at the beginning of my journey to be flexible and not be stone hard set in my ways or having my way. It was fantastic advice that I took and take to heart.

My advice about Titles of a book.
Be willing to change it if a publisher want’s to change it. Take a look at what’s working for others but don’t copy or steal. Be creative and meaningful.

-Sheryl

Other posts that are related

The many faces of Rejection

The “word count” down.

My Posts From The Start

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

 

 

A Million Things

A million things make up our days. From the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed and even during our sleep, little things happen. They happen around us and in our heads.

Those things make up the basics of our everyday life; sometimes they’re mundane like clipping toenails to the fantastic like going for a hot air balloon ride. Daily events can be predictable like how long it takes for the bread to toast all the way to unpredictable such as parking on the side of the road and dropping your car keys down a sewer drain.

When I’m writing I tend to shuffle the predictable moment to a generalization in the story. Using mundane every-day tasks in storytelling to show something about a character is… boring.

Exhausted, Amber picked up her toothbrush, applied the toothpaste in a modest amount. She dipped the bristles and paste under the water and raised it to her mouth with a grimace. Slowly in circles, as she was taught, she meticulously cleaned her teeth. The minty taste causing a frown as it always did. With all her teeth scrubbed and clean she spit out the foam into the sink. Grabbing her cup she took a mouthful of water and sloshed it about rinsing out the offensive mint paste.

Using a predictable moment like this, one that is done daily by everyone is boring. It is a terrible way to convey that amber is hygienic and hates mint flavor. It can be assumed that someone would be brushing their teeth daily. The only time to mention this is briefly or in an opposite way that makes the moment more memorable.

Exhausted, Amber applied the toothpaste to her toothbrush and grimaced as she prepared for the disgusting mint flavor. It was all wrong; the fragrance of the mint was too strong and it tasted bitter, not sweet. Her eyes flew open wide as She looked quickly to the tube in her hand realizing she just put A535 in her mouth. 

While still a mundane moment it wasn’t as boring to read because something unusual happened. Unpredictable things make life interesting. Therefore they make stories more interesting.

If I find a chapter is dragging on or isn’t quite right I’ll look for the mundane everyday crap that I’ve plunked in as filler. I’ll decide if it needs to be removed or if I can at least make it more interesting to read. Usually, it can be taken out unless it’s a foreshadow for something important later on or if it’s genuinely needed for character establishment.

If I find a chapter is mostly mundane I might even just slash it all out and sum it up in conversation.

Amber sat heavily in her desk chair.
“You look tired,” Dale asked peeking around the divider.
“Ugh. I used A535 on my toothbrush last night and to top it off the freaking mint smell kept me up all night.” She scowled at Dale as he snickered behind his hand. “It’s not funny.”
“Totally is. Did ”
Dale started laughing, her frown turned into pursed lips before she laughed along. He had a way of making her feel better. 

My point is that I try to hunt out these drab moments where I might use hair brushing to describe characters physical features or an everyday action to make a point. Leaving a paragraph or chapter of boring everyday happenings might turn the reader off and might make me look lazy as a writer.  I take my revision process to add in foreshadows for later and adding tidbits to boring moments is a great way to do that.

My advice about ordinary moments.
Try to find them and either take them out or spice them up. Try something startling, funny or dramatic. If it can foreshadow an event later, even better. 

-Sheryl

Other posts

Blood

Sweat

+ Tears

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

Fragrance

Toothbrush

Whether or not it matters

I’m going to give a quick shout out to something that affects us daily in one way or another. Something that can change the course of plans in a heartbeat. Emotions are tied to it directly and indirectly. It is something that is talked about so much that the news and special television stations dedicate time to it.  I may have touched on this before, but recently it was brought to my attention again. The ultimate setting maker or destroyer.  Everyone everywhere is affected buy it and it’s completely out of our control.

The weather. Whether or not I use it, whether or not it matters, is solely based on my remembering to include it.  I’m not talking about a full paragraph or two describing the shape, color, and texture of the cumulonimbus cloud or how the sun hits the sidewalk perfectly. I’m talking about basic behind the scenes acknowledgment for a simple scene. A casual injection of what the outside world is up to beyond that it is day or night, without dragging it out unnecessarily.  I can wax poetic on the sun and moon all I want, but they are not the weather, they are part of the setting for weather and a time of day indicator. Sure, I mention them.  So what? The sentence says it’s sunny. That doesn’t tell me if I need a bathing suit, sweater or full on arctic snow gear because sunny in February means your face will be hurting for sure. “It’s sunny and warm out” is boring. In fact, I’ve read some pretty lame “show” of the sun and rain etc. I’ve read some over the top super-flowery, oh-my-God-will-it-ever-end descriptions of the rain. It’s rain we all know that it falls from the sky and it’s wet. But how is it falling? How does it physically interact or effect?

Different weather can bring different interactions we all know how to look up alternate words for the specific weather to bring in the variations of artistic description. Here are some examples of showing the weather and the results of it in the environment.

Windy

Blowing hair
Something was taken from a hand by a gust
Things falling over like trees or signs
Something important blowing away
Leaves rustling or skittering across the ground
Skirt fluttering

The gust pushed her to the edge of the sidewalk, her shoe tipped and her ankle rolled. Falling to the ground she yelped in pain.

Snow

Flakes landing on lashes
Can’t see the car ahead for the whiteout
The crunch beneath the boot
The cool fresh smell The sparkle of the newly fallen flakes in the lamplight

The sounds of the night were muffled by the large tufts of white, floating gently to the earth.

Rain

Dripping down the face
Sticking the hair to the neck
Soaking the clothes
The patter against a window pain
Rinsing away the dirt on the street
Washing away the evidence

The umbrella did little to protect her as the wind pushed hard, soaked in seconds she trudged on.

Fog  A splendid setting for horror or suspense. But also romance if you want it to.

Reduced visibility
Subdued details
Cool damp micro droplets gathering on the hairs of one’s arm
The swirl in the mist as a car drove by

Jess walked slowly and listened for what she couldn’t see beyond two meters around her. The soft grey-white air smelled as damp as it felt on her skin.

Heat

Sweat, trickling, dripping, running, glistening etc.
Sticky clothes
Lethargy
Mirage
Bone dry
Cracking soil
Burning hot surface

Alice sat back on the porch. As wonderful as a new glass of iced lemonade would be, the effort to get it was too much. The meager shade provided no refuge as she waited for her brother to get home.

Cloudless sky aka sunny (Yeah I know)

Applies sunblock
Puts on a sun hat
Puts on sunglasses
Pulls down the visor of the car while driving
Shades eyes with hand as she opens the gate
Shadow play: The disappearing shadows of noon. The elongated evening shadows.

Kevin squinted as he looked up at the sign. He lifted his hand to shade his eyes and sighed heavily. “Four more blocks.”  

 When I’m writing weather into my story if it’s not a significant part of the chapter or story I will keep it just for setting embellishment. But if it can be melded into an important interaction…

 Sasha gingerly sidestepped the glittering puddle. She didn’t see the man approaching deep in conversation with his partner. He bumped Sasha’s arm teetering her off balance and directly into leftovers of last night’s storm.
“Seriously?” She jumped out of the water stomping her feet to shake off the dirty water.
The man turned long enough to mutter, “Sorry.” Before continuing on.
“Bad morning?”
Sasha looked up from examining her shoes to see Cal holding out a real cotton handkerchief. “It’s clean.”
“Thank you.” Before she could shift her briefcase to take it he squatted and patted her shoe dry than the other. “You didn’t have to do that.”
Cal stood and tucked the handkerchief into the inside pocket of his gray suit jacket. Tall dark, handsome hero in a well-fitted suit the color of armor. She nearly giggled at his sincere gesture.
“You have your hands full, I don’t.” He casually waved his hand at the café behind him. “Coffee?”
“Well, since mine was knocked from my hands earlier by a jerk kid on a skateboard and you were so medievally kind, the least I can do is buy you a cup Detective.”
“Hmm bad morning indeed.”
They walked the short distance to the Cozy café and he held the door open for her. The name did it justice, dark wood, and cushioned booths. The tables near the windows all taken so they found a booth.
“How were you carrying a coffee with all that?” He nodded toward the briefcase, laptop bag, lunch bag, and camera case she set down before taking off her jacket.
The warm café was a welcome reprieve.
“Way earlier and I didn’t have my hands full then. Surveying the area she sat across from Cal. “Cops.” She frowned.

“The station is just around the corner Sasha.”
“I know, I don’t usually come this way. I was…” She stopped explaining while the waitress filled the mugs already on the table.
“Anything else?”
“Just coffee thank you.” Sasha started putting sugar in hers with cream.
Cal agreed and eyed the camera case. “You stopped at the park to take pictures of rain on the leaves and flowers as the sun came up.”
Her mouth fell open. “I did.”
“Don’t look so surprised. Those old-fashioned gardens on a morning like this are bound to draw an artist. Though you’re not dressed for it.”
“Oh, I changed my shoes in the car. I left it by the park and thought the walk would improve my mood before I have to face… um, go to work.”
“Hmm.” Cal sipped his steaming black coffee

…  

Valery squinted at the early morning sun and tugged at her scarf. She unzipped her jacket as she got into her car. Sliding the key into the ignition, she started the engine immediately turning the heat off. She slipped her sunglasses into place thinking of bagels and hot coffee as she drove the short distance to work.

Chancing a sip of her coffee at a red light Valery watched the people cross. The cup paused halfway to her mouth. Setting it in the cup-holder, she stared open mouthed until the couple deep in conversation passed.
Sasha you little minx. What secrets have you been keeping from me?Valery’s chuckle startled herself. You didn’t even notice me. I sincerely need to know what you’re up to.
Smiling as the light turned green, her tires spun on the still wet road as she hit the gas. Going to work was less of a drag now. Why was Sasha walking to work with the handsome guy from the bar last week?

If I needed to make the weather more of a factor I would, but unless an epic journey is delayed by a snowstorm or two someone’s are trapped romantically by a sudden downpour I don’t punch my readers in the face with the weather. It’s there, it always is and should be, I just don’t think it has to rule every scenario if it’s not needed.

My advice about the weather and whether or not to use it.
Even if it’s not a key part of the plot/story mention it to set the scene, it’s as important as clothes. The reader might not need every single blow-your-brains-out detail but a little tidbit is enough to fill in the mental canvas adequately.

-Sheryl

Other posts

Doubt clouds out creativity

Tulips in July

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Gate

Too Much To Do…

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the story writing process. There is so much more to it than just writing the story. There’s plot structure, the story arch, characters, character development, sub plots, side stories, foreshadows, and so much more.

There’s plot structure, the story arch, characters, character development, sub plots, side stories, foreshadows, settings, story flow and so much more.

Then there is the editing and revision portion. This part seems to be ongoing for me. With this, there are options too. Self-editing, friends editing, professional editing and computer program assisted editing.

Following the editing, there is the ‘getting your book’ published phase. Once again there are options. First, is finding a literary agent by querying them with a query letter and synopsis. Second is vanity press/indie publishing and third is self-publishing.

It all seems rather daunting when summarized and that’s because it is. It is a big task and hard to do. Of course, there will be those that seem to ‘luck’ out and get published with minimal effort and those that struggle and give up after years of rejection.

When I look at this process I always have the grand scope of it in my mind, however, I only focus on the task or ‘stage’ at hand. Right now I’m re-writing and revising my book. It’s a big task but a necessary one. I know the next step will be putting it out there again to literary agents.

This will require me to rewrite my query and synopsis completely. A task I know is coming up and is in my mind but not my focus at the moment.

Once I have the rewrite done I will move on to the next phase and that’s using a computer program to assist with grammar and structure revision.

After that, I have plans to look into a professional editor to assist with the polishing of the book, the query, and synopsis. That’s not soon so I think about it but not too much. One thing at a time for me.

It can quickly become overwhelming if I think too far ahead to all that needs to be done. I get that ‘too much to do’ panic and it can bog me down or derail me fast. So I slow down, sit back and take stock of it all then get back to focusing on what needs to be done first.

My advice about thinking too much.
There is enough stress in life you don’t need to add the anxiety of over thinking the book writing/publishing process and adding to it. Be aware of it, and plan for it but put most of the focus on the task at hand.

-Sheryl

I couldn’t find a way to work Edible into this blog so I’ll link one that already had it… Redundantly Redundant Redundancies 

Related posts

Read, revise and repeat. The shampoo process of editing.

Glance back to look forward

My Posts From The Start

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

 

Outside Forces

On my vacation journeys, I found ample time to people watch. I saw some pretty interesting action/reactions that I myself would not do or say. This is important as a writer to understand that other people are different in many ways.

I talk about behavior a lot because it’s important to any character and story to evolve characters and who they are. Or even make sure they don’t evolve, that they stay exactly who they started off as. Or make them de-evolve into the ‘bad guy’. Either way, as they bumble along, it’s important that they have reactions to situations.

Personality can be affected by outside forces. These extenuating circumstances can often cause a character to act… well out of character.

What outside forces am I talking about? The kind that can suddenly or even gradually force a person to act irrationally in one single moment or over a designated period of time.

Here are a few examples:

hunger/low blood sugar
Sun/Overheating
Sudden weather change

Thirst
Headache/Illness
Other people’s screaming children/loud noises
Bad Drivers

Greif*
Shock/fright
Injury/Pain
Exhaustion
Drugs
Alcohol

*While grief is an emotion, it is caused/forced by outside forces and is not(hopefully not) an everyday emotion.

It’s important to make sure that they still have some of their personality within the moment or shortly after. Also, note that it can be frustrating to have everyone that’s “Drunk” Behaves the same or have everyone “grieving” reacting exactly the same. If you’ve ever been to a funeral or watched a movie with one in it, you can see that individuals act individually. While variation doest mean I would have people acting in extremes (Unless necessary) I would have subtle differences or meaningful moments of uncharacteristic behavior that has a poignant place in the story or character development.

My advice about outside forces.
When used well they can add a dynamic and depth to any character. They can show perfect Pauline has a limit to her seemingly unending patience or that Fury driven Frank has a soft spot for kittens being abandoned in a garbage bag at the side of the road. 

-Sheryl

Other people posts

People Watching

Static Vs. Dynamic

My Posts From The Start

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

Bumble