Monday, February 28, 2011

Best and Worst Advice - LTUE Report, Part II

This is a continuation of last Monday's post.

The panel was asked the question: "Who helped you as a writer or in your journey to publish and how did they help you?"

Mette Ivie Harrison said that writer Rick Walton helped her tremendously. He has a website ( that you can check out. He works in the childrens book industry, helping network authors and publishers. He happens to be her brother-in-law. Mette went on to say that it helps to have an experienced writer in your life so that you know how to "get there" by watching someone else make the journey.

James Dashner said that he can't stress enough the networking aspect of writing and publishing. Writers conferences have helped him a great deal and he finds them invaluable because not only can you take great classes but also because you meet people who help and encourage you. Usually there is also the opportunity to meet agents and editors at writing conferences. He said that most successful writers meet someone at a writers conference that has been key to their success. He named Jeff Savage as being one helpful person he met at a conference.

Frank Cole said that the person that helped him the most was his sister, who was brutally honest. He said she helped him develop thick skin. Rejection is a part of writing and a writer needs to get used to it and learn how to handle it. Frank said that having someone brutally honest early on was very helpful.

Tyler Whitesides agreed with James Dashner and said that he can trace all positive influence he has received to writers conferences. He also said that his agent has been very helpful. "He ripped my story apart but still wanted to work with me to get it publishable."

Anna Del c Dye said the best advice she received was from her son who noticed that her characters all had the same voice in her manuscript. She said many people will give you good advice, but unless you take the advice and make the necessary changes, your work won't get better. She advised writers to keep moving forward. She said we need variety in books. not everyone will like the same authors, and that is how it should be.

James added to Anna's remarks by saying that when people are critiquing your work, you have to take it with a grain of salt. You have to be able to see when they're right but also see when they're wrong. People say ridiculous things in critique groups sometimes. They are trying to find out what is wrong with your work. When people say things that conflict with others in the same group, you can reach your own conclusions. When everyone is saying the same thing, you should probably take notice. Everyone is different and sometimes after a critique you will feel hurt and crippled.

Tyler added that in critique groups it is good for people to point out problems with your work, but they should not be telling you how to change it. You alone should decide how to change it.

On the subject of critique groups, Mette advised forming a critique group of trusted friends who write in your own genre. Most authors switch from critique groups to a small, select group of friends later on in their careers.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


By Keith N Fisher

I love this time of year. Days begin to get longer, the promise of spring lingers in the air, and hope is reborn. I finally cleared the last hurdle and submitted The Hillside this week. It has five solid story lines and several points of view. It’s written like an LDS version of Fantasy Island, or The Love Boat. Four couples and a stranger check into a bed and breakfast for the weekend. The stories that follow are as diverse as the characters. There is something for almost everybody to identify with.

Now, I’ve written my elevator pitch, its time to move on with the subject.

As a writer, I’ve learned to embrace my oddities. Since childhood, I’ve enjoyed sitting in a room full of people, watching them, and imagining scenarios behind their actions. It’s really not all that voyeuristic, since it’s one of the ways I develop characters. My watching becomes fodder for new projects, a defense against writer’s block.

It’s surprising, how many different story ideas you can get in a grocery store. Have you ever seen a young mother with several kids? She is obviously overwhelmed and some, kind soul picks up the crying baby to help out. Why do the mother and the spectators automatically see it as kindness? Why don’t we suspect a kidnapper at work?

One time, I watched a well-dressed man walk past a bank of phone booths once. He checked every coin return on every phone. His dress indicated his wealth, but he searched for loose change like his livelihood depended on the quarters he might find.

On another occasion, I couldn’t avoid listening to a person on the telephone as she sat right next to me. The whole scenario played out in my head and the woman became a character in a book.

I’ve seen many beautiful women treated like crap by their not-so-handsome boyfriends, and the women seem to eat it up. In the same way, I’ve seen incredibly nice guys raggedly running around trying to please old hag wives.

Yes, watching can be fascinating, but your subjects will provide stories and strong characters for you. Have you ever wondered, however, what happens when the watcher gets watched?

In the lobby, during a writer’s conference recently, I watched the people coming and going. As usual, my mind played with many scenarios about them. Then I realized I was watching a bunch of writers and they were also watching me.

I began to wonder what kinds of stories the other writers were drafting because of something I did. Talk about self conscious, it was like being in a room full of psychoanalysts judging my sanity.

My peers were watching me watching them watching me . . . When our imaginations run wild, and our neurosis kicks in, its nice to know we’re not alone. There are others like us, but networking provides more than strength, it’s an idea factory.

Yes, it’s a great way to draft characters and plots, but be careful. I’ve had angry people ask what I’m looking at. Everyone seems to hold onto a false notion of privacy. Little do we realize how much like a play, our lives really are. Someone once said, All the world is a stage and the people, merely players or something like that. Watch it, imagine it, and write it down.

Good Luck with your writing, and your watching—see you next week.

Friday, February 25, 2011


by G.Parker

My life is highly influenced by what I read, watch, or do.  I'm sure you're much the same.  Especially when it comes to writing.  I find that what I write is directly influenced by what I've read recently. 
Currently, I'm listening to CD's of Richard Paul Evan's books Finding Noel and The Gift.  I've been a fan of his off and on, since reading the Christmas Box.  I haven't kept up with all of his books because I haven't had funds, or time, depending on if it was available at the library.  Now that my job has me driving a lot, I've discovered the magic of books on tape, and have been listening to books since Christmas.  This is also what made me think of the blog about who is going to be your voice for your book.  Fortunately, Evan's second book I'm listening to is being read out loud by someone else, and it's going much easier on the ears. 
Today I finished one and started another, and found myself a bit surprised by his subject matter.  For some reason I had pegged him as a cookie-cutter type writer.  He'd found a formula that worked, and most of his stuff was the same.  Perhaps that's true - but it really isn't.  While both these stories focus on Christmas (sort of), they are totally different in approach and how they unfold.  It's impressive.  
My point after rambling, is this - versatility is what brings lasting readers.  If you write the same stuff, just changing names and places, people aren't going to be likely to keep buying what you're selling.  But if you change the circumstances, type of characters, etc., then they are going to want to see how you spin a story each time.   
Do you always write from a woman/man's point of view?  Is it always first person or do you switch around depending on the story?  
I find that most of my work is focused through a woman's point of view.  I'm a woman - so shoot me.  But, I also have discovered I like to write in first person.  It drives some people in my critique group crazy, but they still like it and want more.  
For some reason, after writing in first person, it's hard to step back and write from outside the head.  But that's me...
Just a thought for the day.  Versatility is what lasts.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Putting My Toe In

By Cheri Chesley

This week, I had the opportunity to speak to a book club that read my book for February. If you ever have the chance to do this, I say go for it. I had a marvelous time.

Ironically, my husband took his nap before work while I was gone, and dreamed I had come home with a horror story of angry women waiting to rip my book to shreds because they thought it was so terrible.

That didn’t really happen, though I won’t deny the thought had crossed my mind as well.

Other than thinking I talked too long and probably about too many things, I consider it a success. I answered every question they asked, save one. (What’s the dumbest question you’ve ever gotten?—I have no idea lol) My audience remained engaged for the entire hour and forty minutes, and the first to leave seemed apologetic to have to go.

Because this was an LDS group of women, I felt more comfortable infusing the facts of my drive to write being directly connected with my place in Heavenly Father’s plan. I’m happy to share that, but in some situations (like school visits) it’s inappropriate to state it quite that way.

In April, the book club I’m a member of is doing my book. Depending on how that goes, this may become my new favorite thing.

What are you most looking forward to as an author?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Every Writer Needs

* A place to write. It can be a tiny table in the corner of your bedroom, but it's important to have a place you associate with your creativity. If would also be nice is it's a place where you won't be disturbed.

* A time to write. It doesn't have to be every day, but it helps if there is some kind of consistency.

* A way to record all your ideas no matter where you are. It can be index cards, a notebook, your phone, anything. Just don't let good thoughts get lost.

* A reminder of your writing goal – something to see when you get discouraged.

* A way of keeping track of your progress. This is especially important for long term projects like writing a novel, when sometimes it feels like it has no end. You can count words, or draw some kind of chart--whatever works for you.

* A way to get support from peers or mentors.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Best and Worst Advice - LTUE Report, Part I

I attended my first LTUE symposium this past weekend. I was pleased with the offerings there. I took my Dana with me and took copious notes. Copious.

So, here's part one of a report of the first workshop I attended,"Best and Worst Writing Advice." This was a panel discussion. On the panel were: Anna del C Dye, Mette Ivie Harrison, James Dashner, Tyler Whitesides and Frank L. Cole.

James dashner said that some of the worst writing advice he'd received was to set a goal each day for the number of pages you want to write. He said what worked better for him was a time goal, such as: "I will write for 3 hours/day."

Frank Cole said that the best advice he's received is not to stop writing when you have something ready to submit. He said we should continue writing and not pin all our hopes on one greatest-of-all-time book. He went on to say that our first book is usually not going to be our best work, as we get better as we progress. Publishers often will ask what else you have that they can look at.

Tyler Whitesides said the best advice he's been given is to read, read, read, in the same genre that you write. He also said not to be afraid to write what's already been tried because your idea will be original. He said as we read ideas will come to help overcome obstacles in our writing. He said to try a new genre if what we're working on isn't working.

Mette Ivie Harrison pointed out that what is good advice for one person may be bad advice for another. Bad advice for her was to create an outline, but it does work for many other authors.

Anna del C Dye said that for her some bad advice was to finish one book and try to place it somewhere. She said that for her, writing other books before sending any of them out was the right answer. She is self published and has spent so much time promoting her book after it was publish that she doesn't have a lot of time for writing.

For Next Week: Part II, the panelists answer the question, "Who helped you as a writer in your journey to publish and how?"

Friday, February 18, 2011

Strong Characters

By Keith N Fisher

I’m at LTUE this week. I hope to see you here. I’ll be the one lurking in the back someplace, looking like he knows more than he does.

As part of the conference on Thursday, I attended a panel discussion, called Writing Strong Female Characters. Since I write women’s fiction, I figured it would be wise for me to attend and learn how to make my female characters more believable. You know, Strong? As in well written?

You see I was born male and although I try, I can’t completely fathom the minds of some women. I’m the only male member in a critique group with four women. Also, I’ve learned to listen to pushy women characters, who tell me what they want me to write, but I still need all the help I can get in drafting believable women. So, I attended the class.

It was not what I expected. The panelists began to talk about women who are strong physically and mentally. Feminism was mentioned, as well as not making your characters into men with breasts.

Okay, I’m all for, writing characters who are a little heroic, as long as they have a few faults, but why should all women be able to deal with forces beyond their control? Why should any character have to be stronger than normal people?

Throughout the series, Harry Potter spends a large amount of time whining about his woes. He makes me want to pull him to his feet and tell him to man up. You see, Harry was a great character. He was real. He rose to the challenges presented to him and he made it through. Most of the time it was dumb luck, but he made it through.

So, if we can love a male character like Harry Potter, why do women characters have to be stronger? I guess the big question is why do these discussions have to turn into gender role issues?

I’ve written females who are like many of the women I have known in my life. They rise to a challenge with quiet dignity and bravery. I’ve also written females who are larger than life. Under some circumstances, they could be considered heroes.

I’ve also written males that have the same traits. None of my characters are limited to gender roles unless the plot requires it. I’ve heard many readers want characters who Are larger than life, but I want to write people who are normal.

I sat in the auditorium hoping for advice on making real characters. Instead, I worked on a part of my story that has been troubling me. I deleted several paragraphs, and tried to make my first sentence more compelling.

I’ve met a lot of new friends at the conference, renewed old friendships, and learned a lot from great presenters. Thank you to those who labor long, and hard, to produce the symposium, Life the Universe and Everything (LTUE).

Do you have a favorite female character from a book or movie? Leave a comment and tell me about her and why she is your favorite.

One of my favorites is Celie Harris, from The Color Purple. She was abused from the day she was born. Then certain events and a good friendship helped her rise above the fear and stand up against it. She is a character to be proud of. You can see a clip from the movie here, but be warned there are a few bad words.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Who Is Going To Be Your Voice?

by G.Parker

Okay.  Let's say that you get that great book published.  It's out in the book stores, sitting on the shelves and people are buying it like there's no tomorrow and you suddenly have money coming from it.  They want to do an audio version, they say.  Who is going to do the reading?  You?
Be sure to give it some thought.  
I've listened to a couple of books on CD lately, and I have to say, there is a definite difference in the reading.  If you've ever listened to one of Chris Heimerdinger's books, you have to agree that he does a great job in the reading.  He also gets other people to read with him, which adds to the enjoyment.  They aren't always who I would have picked to do the job, but he definitely does well.  I like the inflection he gets, the emotions, simply the way he comes across.
Richard Evans, I'm sorry to say, is not so easy to listen to.  Especially after having just listened to Heimerdinger.  
Who would read your story?  Would you attempt that?  I'm not sure I would.  I mean, on one hand, no one knows your story better than you.  The emotions, the action, the wording.  On the other hand, perhaps you don't have the training or experience to read the words in a comfortable way.  It might be better to hire a professional reader that does it for a living. 
Myself, I'm not sure.  I've been told that I have a nice voice.  My only problem is I tend to loose it after talking for a while, and I would definitely not be able to do it in one sitting.  How long does one of those recording sessions last, after all?  I have no idea.  But, I'm thinking I'd love to have Anne Hathaway read my stuff...I like her voice.  I'll have to give it some thought.  She's a little busy right now.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Must be Love Week

by Cheri Chesley

Of course, we all know how this got started. Hallmark decided we needed another reason to buy, I'm kidding. I mean, "love week" started Monday with Valentine's Day. :)

My brother-in-law and his wife, a dear friend of mine, celebrated their wedding anniversary on Valentine's day--along with many other couples. Happy anniversary, Larry and Mel!

My in-laws celebrated their anniversary Feb 16--yesterday, for those following the calendar--nearly 50 years of what has been more bliss than trial. Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad! (and sorry the card is late)

And, of course, Bryan and I celebrate 15 short years of marriage today. I used to think 15 years was a long time. But, as they say, time flies when you're having fun. If not for the fact our oldest son is going to be 14 this summer, I would argue that I couldn't have been married that long. :)

I write books liberally sprinkled with what I hope is believable romance. And I credit my marriage with a lot of what I know. Bryan professes to not be a romantic, but I think I know better. He never forgets our anniversary or my birthday, even if we're too broke to celebrate the way he wants. I find a lot of Bryan in the heroes of my stories. I think I've found my "romance novel" hero in real life. He may not necessarily look the part, but he's ideal in every way that counts. For me, that is.

And for anyone who may say that my novel heroes are too good to be true, I would respond that they haven't met my husband. :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Surprise - I'm Back

by C. LaRene Hall

I think the biggest surprise was that I ever left. I had been a regular blogger since day ONE, back in April 2006 without missing a single week. For those that don’t know where I went I’ll give a brief explanation. November 11, 2010 I left home to go to Colorado so I would be there for my son’s brain surgery on the 15th. We wanted a little time together before the big day. I had no idea that two days later, back home, my two children would have to rush my husband, almost at death's door, to the hospital. He spent a month in the hospital and three weeks in a rehab center. Now, seven weeks later life is finally getting back to a normal routine. No, things will never be the same again, but a regular schedule is good.

This has taught me that when writing there has to be as much conflict and drama, as I have recently experienced, to keep the readers on the edge of their seat. There needs to be as many curves, setbacks, and unexpected problems as you can create. The more unforeseen things you can throw into your story the more interest you will generate.

Monday, February 14, 2011

If You Love Them, Tell Them

Happy Valentines Day.

So often in our busy lives we forget to tell our loved ones that we love them. We assume they know, and maybe once a year on a day like today, we tell them. Isn't that sad?

Why don't we express love more readily? I think it's because our feelings aren't usually part of our conscious thoughts. Humans are naturally selfish. We don't spend a lot of time thinking about how much we love our spouse, children, parents, siblings, or even good friends.

Let's change that. Today, right now, let's think about how much these people and these relationships mean to us. And, let's take a few minutes to tell them.
Let's remember to express our love on the 364 other days of the year too. Sincere expressions of love are always welcome and always uplifting.

I have a friend who decorates the bedroom door of each of her children with paper hearts on Valentines Day. On each heart she writes something special that she loves about that child. I tried this on my own seven kids two years ago. Most of them left the hearts on their door until they faded, curled up, and fell off. Some of them are still there.

One of the sweetest things we can do is write love notes to the ones we love. Even the prickliest of teenagers will cherish a love note from a parent. If you think about it, you will think of someone who could use just such a note. A love note from you could be the greatest gift you could give someone this Valentines Day. Our words make a difference. They are powerful. They can change lives.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

St. Valentine, My Hero

By Keith N Fisher

What are you doing on Monday? Hopefully, you’ll remember to kiss your loved one and wish them a happy Valentine’s Day.

In 2007, I wrote a blog lampooning Valentine’s day and making light of the fact that I didn’t write Romance. I talked about the mad frenzy experienced by husbands who forget to buy a present or put it off until the last minute, forcing them to choose from the remaining offerings.

In 2009, I advocated we, (husbands), band together and become each other’s personal shopper, making sure we are covered, whether or not we forget.

When I sat down to write this year I realized how much had changed in my life. I write women’s fiction now, and that translates to romance. I read romance and watch romantic movies. I’ve become a connoisseur.

I’m a big fan of boy meets girl, they fall in love, overcome obstacles and have the once in a lifetime romance everybody dreams of. In my writing, I plot ways of making two people fall into each other’s lives. I cry when somebody gets a broken heart.

Last night, I watched Valentine’s Day on DVD. In the movie, several plots merge into one. I thought I knew what would happen, but the writer sufficiently surprised me on almost every turn.

It’s written in the same way I wrote my newest submission, with several plots merging into one. I worry about my readers getting confused with the story lines but I think I’ve done a good job. You will laugh, cry, hate the villains, and love the heroes all at the same time.

Anyway I digress . . . According to Wikipedia, in about 496 BC, Pope Gelasius the first, proclaimed a feast to be celebrated every year on February 14. This was to honor three martyred saints of ancient Rome. One of them was allegedly Saint Valentinus.

The feast was slated to replace an old Pagan holiday of Lupercalia that had been celebrated for many years on February 15.

In the Middle Ages, the legends and the feast became associated with romantic love.

In the movie, a character claims St. Valentine was a priest who secretly married several couples who loved each other but were forbidden by the government to marry. I haven’t checked those facts but isn’t that a romantic story?

It kind of reminds you of Shakespeare’s Friar Lawrence who in his compassion married the star-crossed lovers.

Ah, Love. So much of life, begins and ends with the three little words, I love you. Teenagers swoon, men fight wars, girl friends cry, and mothers fuss, all for the idea of love.

It must have been hard for Valentine, to follow his heart and give those couples what they wanted. To be married in the eyes of God, even though they could not live together in the eyes of society. Now that I’m of a romantic mindset, St Valentine is my hero.

Happy Valentine’s Day. Good luck with your writing—see you next week

Friday, February 11, 2011

Love is In The Air

by G.Parker

If you write romance, this is the most romantic time of the year.  Even if you don't write romance, you can't escape it -- it's everywhere you go, everything you hear, and almost worse than the Christmas commercialism that we have to deal with.  

Do you love it or hate it?  

Personally, I don't see the big deal. I ignore most of it, but I love the decorations.  The reason being my hubby could honestly compete with Mr. World's Most Romantic Man (in case you haven't heard of him, there is such a person).  He tries to be romantic all during the year, not just during February, or on Valentines.  Mr. Webb's contention is men should be romantic or try to be romantic year round.  I like that idea.  It really works well when writing romance.

You see, it's fun to toss romance around in a totally different frame of reference.  Everyone expects romance during Christmas, or Valentines.  What about the 4th of July?  The 24th?  (My hubby's sister went into labor on the 4th of July when they were picnicking and he was on a date with a girl.  It's quite the story).  How about Ground Hog day?  The middle of August?  Any day can be full of romance, it's all in the story and the telling.

Of course, it's always easier to write what you know, correct?  So the more romance you have in your life, the easier it is to describe and put in your stories, although some people live vicariously through their writing.  I don't have to.  My family knows that I usually toss parts of my personal life in my stories.  There's part a of the people in my life all through my characters, and I'm afraid it's going to get me in trouble some day -- but the good part of the men are always my husband.

For example - I mentioned the other day a specific software program I wanted to get to play on our Wii.  I even went so far as to ask the sales clerk about it.  He noticed.  I didn't remember that when he notices stuff like that he tries to get it for me, you'd think I'd pick up on it after almost 25 years, but I'm still clueless.  So yesterday he asked if we have a budget for Valentines.  He was going to try and pick up that item for me so I could actually do it last night.  What a sweetheart!!  That's what I call romantic, when he notices what you want, what you are interested in and knows you.

Remember the scene in 2 Weeks Notice where they are eating lunch and picking out what the other doesn't like about their food?  Or in The Mirror Has Two Faces when he knows what she likes on her salad and what she doesn't?  That's romance.  It's the day to day stuff, not just the hearts and flowers, though I don't know anyone that would turn any of that

Think of that when you're going through the store and seeing all the silly Be Mine stuff.  What do you see going on around you?  Do you see men trying to find something thoughtful?  Playing with their wives/girlfriends as they look at cards?  I heard a story the other day about a man who had his wife in the card section and had her read all the cards that he thought pertained to her.  I think that's sweet.  It's a gesture that shows caring and thought.  Not just spur of the moment my-heck-I-forgot-it-was-Valentine's day-and-she's-gonna-wig-out-because-I-didn't-get-her-anything panic.

I hope you look around with fresh eyes this weekend and think about your own romance.  Perhaps you can show your spouse how much you care before the 14th.  I dare ya.  It will be fun.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Fly in the Ointment

By Cheri Chesley

I woke up Monday with a plan. I love having a plan. It makes me feel better to have a sure direction.

Then I woke up today. Dang it, my wonderful plan hit a snag.

It strikes me that, as we write, this is the sort of thing our characters face. We all know reading a book where the character's life is happy and nothing really bad happens is boring--even if we sometimes wish life would be like that. But, just as in life, there can be no growth without conflict. Another reason I'm a big fan of free agency.

Some of my favorite ways to introduce conflict to a story are: a new character come into the scene, a sudden event occurs (death, car accident, etc). Sometimes conflict comes quietly, such as a character receiving a letter, but the fallout from the event is life changing for that character. Maybe the letter reveals a long-held family secret.

Of course, we must be careful that our events are believable. When I wrote my first story, I didn't feel much like I was in charge of events. I had developed characters that were "real" to me, and just let them choose what do to. Those choices led to consequences that led to other events where they had to make a choice. I think that's part of the reason my first manuscript ended up being over 400 pages. :)

What are some of your favorite ways to introduce conflict to a story?

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Relearning the Craft & LTUE

By Keith N Fisher

I had a great idea for a blog. I thought about it several times during the week. When I sat down to write, it was gone, like so much hot air from a leaky inner tube.

No, I’m not going to belabor the point of writing down ideas when you get them, or carrying a notebook so you can. I’ve written about that before, and I’m sure, you’ve given that message a prominent place in your writers tool kit.

Each week, on this blog, I try to think of subjects that are helpful and timely for those who struggle with the desire to write. If for no other reason, than to provide reassurance that you are not alone in your struggles, others toil too.

I often wonder how I can be so presumptuous? What qualifies me to offer writing advice? The answer, plain and simple, is nothing.

Each week in critique group, I labor to relearn lessons. Last time, they suggested doing something I’ve already done. I wonder if I’m not capable of holding onto the knowledge.

Still, I write to you, each week, hoping to encourage you to keep working. Knowing full well many of you will soar to greater heights. Many of you already have. I hope I’ve been helpful in your journey.

I started down the writer’s path with the assumption I would turn the LDS market upside down. When I won third place in the 2007 LDStorymakers first chapter contest I thought I was on my way.

My belief in my success, and a love of writing, have kept me going. The many friends I met along the way have also lifted me and sustained me. I know I will succeed, some day. How could I fail?

On the 17th-19th of Feb, BYU is holding a conference of sorts. Its for writers and others with a focus on fantasy, science fiction and paranormal. Yeah, that’s what I thought when I heard about it the first time. But I don’t write in that genre. It’s okay, there are plenty of great writing tips. It’s called Life, the universe and everything (LTUE).

I’m going in order to learn more about my craft, check out the cool science fiction, and re-connect with my writing friends. Being around so many creative people charges me, and renews my belief in my ability. I hope to see you there. Maybe we can give each other a boost.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Friday, February 04, 2011

It's All Perspective

by. G.Parker

Point of view in writing is a crucial element of a story.  If you are telling something from the guy's point of view, hopefully you have the proper perspective and the reader is getting that impression.  Otherwise, they're going to shake their heads and toss the book.  Nothing annoys readers more, and that includes me.  I'm always fascinated by an author who can so easily tell a story from the opposite sex's point of view and sell it to me.  There are a couple of authors that can do this, but my memory being what it is, I can't remember who they are.  I'm sure you have an author that you have really enjoyed how they were able to aptly describe a characters thoughts and emotions.

However, along with that, you need to know something about what you're writing.  If you are describing how your character has just crashed on a ski run or a snowboard, you need to be able to describe it so that the reader can relate.  If they have never done it, they'll accept what you write.  If they do it every year, they'll be sure to notice if you haven't gotten it right.  If you describe a woman sewing (I know, totally gender specific here) and have her sewing with a needle and thread, are you describing the needle?  No one needs that kind of description.  But if you're having her use a sewing machine, and the stitches gather, aptly describing her frustration is part of the readers expectation.  If they can say, "oh man, been there, done that!" they'll more closely relate to the character and the story.

Sometimes you can get away with things because of the lack of reader knowledge, but you can't count on that.  I wrote a short story once involving a prison escapee.  I have worked in the correctional department for my state, but I haven't been a prison guard.  I've been in the prison, and talked to probation and parole officers.  I've also seen enough movies that have prisons in them to be able to describe scenes that most people would accept, simply because we've all seen many of the same movies.  I had a reader ask me if I'd actually worked at a prison because it seemed very realistic.  It was a proud moment for me...grin.

So be sure you do your research and know what perspective you are trying to do.  Who's side are you telling?  Where are you at?  It will make your story that much better for the knowledge.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Remember Me?

by Cheri Chesley

I've missed the last two Thursdays' posts, unless I've lost count. I'm still here, still plugging away at my little author life. I've just also been really sick. It wasn't so much the sinus infection that knocked me off my feet, but the infection-fighting triggered my dormant Mono virus. Just as I start to feel normal-ish, I notice serious pains if I sit in one position too long. Fun, fun.

Sorry I've been such a slacker. I have, however, been accomplishing little things. My wonderfully talented nephew has gotten all the updates done on my website. I'd love for you to take a peek HERE. And, if you're in the mood for a contest, you can take part in my Feb Blog Tour hop HERE.

My editing has suffered most, with me being over two weeks behind now getting this manuscript polished enough to send to my publisher for consideration. But, the down times have given me the (forced) luxury of re-thinking some of my plot twists, and working out some rather large kinks in the story. That will give my beta readers less to question me about. :)

I've also had more time to get some reading done. I finished Michael Knudsen's The Rogue Shop, Tristi Pinkston's Dearly Departed, and Julie Wright's Cross My Heart. I'd recommend any if you're looking for an entertaining read. So, now I'm taking suggestions for my next one. What have you been reading?

See you next week.