Thursday, February 26, 2015

Let's talk about POV

by C. Michelle Jefferies

POV is not the easiest thing to understand. Especially for the TV generation who watches TV shows with mostly omniscient POV perspective.

While omniscient point of view is great for sitcom and other television, it is a very hard POV to pull of in a book. This is why a lot of beginning writers fail with their first attempts at creating a story.

Point of view is basically who the story is being told by. Who sees the story and experiences it.

There are a few types of POV they are:

Omniscient - Which is a "fly on the wall" perspective. This perspective sees everything and can hop into anyone's head and hear anyone's thoughts. this is extremely hard to pull off and make it readable and relateable for the reader.

Exclusive - This is, honestly, my favorite POV. Exclusive is the story told from one persons POV through out the whole book. You need to present the entire story, the good, the bad, the fun, and the not so fun all from one persons perspective. There's no skipping to the bad guys perspective to tell the reader who did it, or why, or how. It is challenging, but I love the challenge.

Multiple - This is where you have more than one POV character to tell the story. This is easier because other characters can have experiences and see and hear things that the MC doesn't and they can fill in the blanks. The challenge with this POV modality is that you need to be careful that the other POV characters don't pull "duct tape moments" and save the MC when he should be saving himself.

My opinion is to try writing stories in both exclusive and multiple POV to get a handle on how to do them. Then when presented with a story idea, you can choose which POV works best for that story.

What is your favorite POV?

Have a fantastic writing day! 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

WRITING PROMPT WEDNESDAY


You've been walking alone in the snow, but when you turn around, there are two sets of footprints…

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

It Ain't For Better, But It's For Good



Never did the things I thought I would
Would'a left just didn't know I could
Things don't work out like they should
It ain't for better but it's for good


Main Street, In the life of Chris Gaines, Garth Brooks

One of my weakest points in writing is conflict.  I might as well admit that it's one of the weakest point in my entire life.  I would walk a mile to avoid a conflict if I could help it.  I'm a lot like my Dad in that.  I don't like to fight. I'd much rather live a comfortable, if a little boring, life where everything glides uneventfully along.

How does that translate into fiction? Not well.

Not well at all.

I am not good at digging up conflicts for my characters to go through, because it makes me uncomfortable.  Really, really uncomfortable.  So uncomfortable that there are some days I just can't do it. 

This is why I surround myself with fellow writers who are really good at conflict. I have one friend in particular (yes, you, Michelle!) who is fabulous at conflict. I envy her! Her conflicts usually end up with blood stains.

Conflicts don't always have to be that drastic, but we need them.  If we had no conflict in life, we wouldn't learn anything, and we'd grow up to be spoiled brats with no real understanding of this world we live in. They're never comfortable - we learn about gravity, the hard way, at a very young age. Like it or not, gravity gets more painful when you try to defy it as an adult - the last time I tried, it required surgery to fix.  There's a conflict you can always rely on!

A book with no conflict is a textbook at best, a dead snore at worst. We want to see conflict. The human nature in each of us longs to know we are not alone, and that there are others who are going through things that make our life seem easier than it might be.  We need fictional conflict, adventure in writing or suspense in print, to take us away from our own problems for a while.

So in a way, putting our fictional people through the wringer is a service to humanity at large.

It may not be better for them, but it is good for those who read.

I've often thought of covering a wall with squares, and in each square write a conflict ranging between losing a job to being attacked by a rabid coyote. Then when I reached a crossroads, I could just huck a dart at the wall and let luck decide what my character would go through next.  Somehow I doubt it would work as well as I hope, but it might be worth a try.

I would love to know what you do. How do you find the conflicts that keep your characters on their toes? Do you come up with your conflict first, or your characters? Do you borrow from the current news, or from history? Do you throw darts?  

Please share! I need all the help I can get!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Heather Justesen---Guest Blogger.


Hi, it’s been a long time since I’ve been a writer for this blog and Keith asked me if I’d just pop in and update everyone on what’s being going on for me over the years.

First, a very condensed history. I’ve been writing on and off for fifteen years now but I didn’t start submitting until about eleven years ago. I got a request for a rewrite, did that, received some feedback from critique partners and an editor, did more rewriting and got another rejection. A few years passed (during which I wrote on the Blogck for a while) and about the time I hit my one millionth word written, I got a contract from Cedar Fort. That was the fall of 2008. That book was released in 2009. I published a few books with them and began self-publishing.  In the next month or so I’ll have 20 books published, which is a mind-boggling number, or at least, it would have been six years ago when I was still waiting for the first book to be released.  My husband and I moved halfway across the country in 2013—the first time I’ve ever lived more than a couple hours from my parents. That change and our new involvement in our community has played havoc with my writing schedule, even though we absolutely love it here.

In addition to my self-publishing and first publisher, a few of my books were published with BigWorldNetwork.com, and I have put my books in anthologies and collections as well. This has taught me a few things.

1)      Sometimes a book sells great. Sometimes it sells poorly. Sometimes what you do influences that, but sometimes no matter what you do, nothing makes much of an effect on sales. And other times you get great sales without doing much of anything. It’s weird, and a little frustrating.

2)      The market is ALWAYS changing. If you want to keep up, you need to pay attention. What worked for someone to promote the book/get the acceptance/wow readers a year ago may mean nothing now. Everything changes.

3)      Don’t box yourself in with one publishing plan. I’ve published traditionally, I’ve published with a less-traditional publisher, worked in concert with other authors, self-published, and have a plan for other stories where I’m coordination ideas with other authors as well as ones where I work alone. This is an exciting time in publishing—there are so many options and opportunities out there.

4)      Publishing is a business. If you want it to be more than a hobby, do your research, read up, and understand what you’re getting into.


Some things haven’t changed, though:

1) Publishing is hard. It has its ups and downs. You have to love it or it’s time to get out.

2) Publishers pay for all expenses when they put out a book. If they want you to kick in some of the costs (Author Solutions, anyone?) they’re scamming you. Run away.

3) Publishing contracts are not pretty, they’re getting worse over time. Chances are your agent is not an attorney. Hire someone who can break it down into real English so you understand what you’re signing.

4) Try new things, play with your art, study it and keep writing—there’s an element of luck to all success, but lots of hard work definitely increases the luck. Don’t give up!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Life Has Changed Without Me


By Keith N Fisher

This blog post will probably date me. It might sound like an old person wrote it. It’s just as well, I feel old. When did saying certain words and things become acceptable in our society?

Recently, on Facebook, a writer asked whether it was okay for her character to say a certain word. To be accurate, she asked how offensive the word is for her character to say. Her character is abrasive and she wanted to know if she was writing him right.

After reading the other comments, most of which, said the word was tame, I chimed in that it was not tame. I was quickly outnumbered in my opinion. Not that it matters, but many of those who disagreed with me, are writers in the LDS Market.

Yes, society is changing, and I’m not going to tell you what the word is, but unless we wanted to fight, when I was young, the word never came out of our mouths. The word, or combination of words, was almost taboo. It was a low class insult. Apparently it’s okay, now.

When did life change? I wonder what kinds of words and phrases will be acceptable in the future? Also, in the past few years I’ve noticed a big drop in correct word usage. It seems our language is going away. Will civility go next? Has it already passed?

In the recent LTUE symposium, I attended a panel called Common Grammatical Errors. The subject of the wrong word usage came up. The whole lie/lay/lye/laid thing resurfaced. I turned to my friend and told him about my current pet peeve.

More and more, especially in the news media, I hear people say may when they really mean might. If somebody may do something, it means they have permission. It doesn’t mean there is a possibility. Pay attention sometime, you might be surprised. (Notice I didn’t say may?) Then again I might be wrong and you may correct me if you want.

I’ve mentioned it before, but several years ago, an editor expressed her concerns to me. She felt society was losing the language. Writing styles were changing. And they were. Writing tends to reflect the changes in speech in our culture. Is that a good or bad thing? I’ll leave it for you to decide.

I remember an argument, not so many years ago. I took the position that writers need to write to their audience. If the reader has to consult a dictionary it takes them out of the story. My opponent claimed they had an obligation to educate. Big words were part of that. No matter what I said, my friend was immovable.

Recently, on a panel, I heard that same person take my side of the argument. I’m not going to name that person, because I believe everybody can change, but it proves my point about our language. Writers reflect life, and I still believe we should write to our audience. There is a line of stupidity, however, and we all cross that line. I just hope other, literary, writers will carry the torch. I hope they will keep our language pure, even if there is nobody around who understands.  

Good luck with your writing—See you next week.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Beauty of New Years

by C. Michelle Jefferies

XINNIAN QUAILE  New Year Happiness!!!

I love this week! It is the lunar new year.

Time for reflection, cleaning out things that slow your energy, lots of good food and time spent with family.

I don't set goals and resolutions on January 1st. It's too close to the insaneness of the holidays. Too busy, too party like in atmosphere.

This week and the days leading up to this week are time I like to spend in quiet contemplation. Time to look back at my life, remove things that no longer serve me and that keep me from attaining my goals. Time to reflect and journal thoughts and future plans. Time to focus on the year ahead especially my writing.

My books come with a very strong Asian leaning slant. We love the food, traditions and nuances of Asian life. My life and my writing reflect this love. Its become a central part of my life.

Do you journal and set writing goals? Do you adopt or adapt other cultures ceremonies and celebrations as your own? How do you look forward at the changing of the year? Whether it is the solar or lunar.

dumplings, oranges, red packets, and fireworks for everyone!


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

WRITING PROMPT WEDNESDAY


Your hero and your villain are locked in a room together. Write the scene with lots of dialog, starting with this line:

"What are you afraid of?"

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Feminine America/The Death of Chivalry?


By Keith N Fisher

I wasn't intending to post this for Valentines Day, but maybe its a good thing. Happy love day to all of you.

When I write about gentlemen in my novels, I make them real. I know that many women want to read about the hunky testosterone laden guy who sweeps the main character off her feet. He does all the right things and he’s a manly man.

In real life there are no manly men. Well, I guess it’s a matter of definition. I’ve met guys who think life and everyone in it, revolves around them. Why are women attracted to men who treat them badly? Recently, the picture above floated around Facebook. The fact that so many women shared it on their timelines fascinated me. I found it a little offensive, but read on, I’ll explain why.

As you can see, the message is clear. A woman can do anything, but a real man wouldn’t let her. Really? How many women do you know who would let a man take over? How many will actually wait for a man to open her car door, or expect to be helped at all?

I’ve written characters who were “bad boys” and the women in my critique group loved them, but I doubt they would marry them. Have you read Nights in Rodanthe, by Nicholas sparks? The main character was married to a man like that. He was a macho type, and he treated her badly.

At first, she probably loved the way he took charge. Then he cheated on her and the marriage ended. As the story progressed, she fell desperately in love with the doctor who was far from a macho type. He wasn't a manly man, by many definitions.

The point I’m trying to make is that men are men. Relationships with men like her husband often don’t work. As for the perception of a man who won’t let a woman do things for herself, I say:

Chivalry is NOT dead. It is, however, buried in the hearts of all men who were taught to be a gentleman.

Most boys in our culture were brought up to believe it was their duty to treat women right. They were taught to open doors for girls. They were taught to be considerate. They were taught that a man does the asking for a date, and he pays the check.

In the real world they were shot down with words like:

“I can open my own door thank you.”
“Get you hand off my back, I don’t need to be directed.”
“I’m perfectly capable of finding my own way home.”
“I’m going to have to break our date. You don’t mind do you? I’ve been waiting for another man, and he finally asked me out.” 

The days of men taking care of women are over. The concept fell victim to woman’s rights. Because of the schemes of certain lobbyists and right to work laws, there are many more women in the work force. Not necessarily, because they want to be, (although many do). Some don’t, but its impossible to make ends meet, without two incomes per household.

Yes, women are capable, but they always were. Don't hate me, but I think, many women have a secret desire to be dominated. At the same time, the fear of losing their independence makes them reject offers of assistance.

With the popularity of Pride and Prejudice, and other books that support my claim, consider this:

Women in those days had no autonomy. They were entirely dependent upon men to provide for them. It was written into the law.

As many more women rise, or are forced into professional prominence, we might see more of a drop in chivalry. Trust me, however, it’s not because gentlemen have ceased to exist. It’s a cultural thing.

True Gentlemen will always be there watching, waiting for openings to assist. Believe me they don’t offer to dominate, they offer, because of the woman who taught them years ago.

Writing tension, is one of the first lessons taught to beginning writers. The differences between the genders are perhaps the best way to do that. Also, some advice as a parting note: Keep your characters real. There are as many different gender traits as there are people in the world. Men are sometimes frail. Women are sometimes powerful. Learn who your character is and don’t force them to be people they are not.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

I'm going to give it a try

by C. Michelle Jefferies

Note: I'll be at LTUE today. I'll be teaching my seven point structure class. Come by, introduce yourself.

I keep hearing about journaling. How good it is for you. How it enhances creativity. How it can help you be a better writer. Considering that alone, I need to try it.

Some of the things it is supposed to help.

Keep your mindset positive
Reconnect with your goals
Keep productivity high
Rewrite negative talk
Record gratitude
Record daily insight
Record daily affirmations
Release worrisome thoughts

As someone who makes and collects journals, I am really terrible at using them. Unless they are series bibles, then I use them daily.

So here we go. Starting this week I am going to try to keep a journal daily for all of these reasons.

Do you journal? If so, how do you do it? How Often? Do you write, draw or a combination of both?

Write on!  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

This Weeks Comments Award Winner Is:

Our winner for last week's comments drawing is:

Dina!

Please email me the mailing address to which you would like your prize sent at westonelliott.wendword (at sign here) gmail (dot) com,

Keith will be sending you a one pound Hershey's Chocolate bar!  Congrats, and thanks for dropping by!

WRITING PROMPT WEDNESDAY


Describe yourself from the view of the fictional character that is falling in love with you.