Monday, November 18, 2019

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Nano & Plot twists

I started NaNo and I'm at a paultry 3412 words. And it's November 18th already! WTF?
So I have my story idea but it's only that. A basic idea with nowhere to go. :(

Tonight after our NaNoWriMo write in I realized how pitiful this story is and that I have nothing. It's getting to a blah, blah, blah phase.
So I came home and googled "plot twists" with the intention of just grabbing number 3 on whatever list I found and to just write it.
I didn't do that.
Instead I found the most amazing plot twist sites.
Check out my  fav which lists movies and how they used plot twists. That one is called. Reedsy Blog. 
The next awesome plot twist site was found at the Writer's Den. This was a generator where you just click and you get your twist. This was fun! Gave me some good future story ideas, too.
My 3rd required more info. Add some details and you get the twist. That one was out of the UK (love that country!) The twists are here. Check them out and find some unique ideas.

That's it, I'm back to NaNo-ing! I have some ideas and I'm ready to write!
Write on, my friends. I'll see you in the pages....

Monday, November 11, 2019

Blub on the Book Cover?

The blub on the back of the book, or now on Amazon, is one of the most important things in your book. It should give us info as to what kind of book it is, what I can expect from the plot, and tease a bit.
What it should not give is list of reviews.

I found this link shared by J.A.Konrath on Facebook.

So, I'm thinking Kool! Free Books! New Authors to love!
Then I go and start reading the blubs on Amazon.  For those of you who don't know, the blub is that bite of information on the back of the book or via kindle, the write up under the title on Amazon.

That's where I hit the brakes.  One had a quick; this person and this person now have this mystery to figure out...followed by 10 reviews. Gee, if I had wanted to read the reviews, I would have clicked on those little stars on top. Basically, I now know nothing about this book that hooked me. Pass.

Another gave too little info. Detective has to solve a murder but will it lead him into trouble?  Gee, that told me nothing. All murder mystery books just got covered by that blurb.  Pass.

Reading these blurbs annoyed me and got me thinking about how important and how much skill goes into writing them.  Don't tell me the story, tell me why it's an interesting story. I had a writer friend who could spit this stuff out like candy. I told her my one book was about an angel who saved someone who was destine to die and then she had no destiny and another angel doesn't want her to marry his human and on and on... that's a crappy blurb. I know. I struggled. 

My friend turned it into this;
"When an angel appears to tell Shay Deville she can’t marry her fiancĂ© because she will forever alter his destiny, she thinks she is going crazy. Shay learns she was supposed to die seven months ago, but Merrick, her own guardian angel, broke angelic law and saved her. Now she is a woman without a future – or a guardian.

In spite of the angel’s warning Shay refuses to give up her dreams. She hunts down Merrick, her renegade angel, and demands he help her.Guardian Angel Merrick knows the Heavenly Handbook better than anyone, but when the time came to help Shay Deville cross over, he just couldn’t do it. Now Merrick is stripped of his wings and banished to the earthly realm until he corrects his mistakes and completes the destiny of his charge. But how can Merrick arrange to take Shay’s life when he has fallen in love with her? How can he not?

Will Merrick give up his wings and forever be cast to Earth for the woman he loves?
Can a woman without a destiny ever find happiness, or true love?"

Well, why didn't I think of that Heavenly handbook thing? So seamless. So easy and it gets the gist of the story across. 

Bottom line? Tempt me, make me excited to see what's going on inside those pages. Go check out the link of free mystery books. I did buy/get a few of the one's with the best blurb. 

These books hooked me with their blurb. 
  • Someone Elses Daughter by Linsey Lanier
  • A Gluten Free Murder by P.D. Workman
  • The Ink Man Lies by Julia Hughes
  • Last Call by J.A.Konrath
  • Murder in the ER by Jackie Holiday
  • Justice by Ann Voss Peterson 
Peace out! I got some reading to do.

Saturday, November 02, 2019

NaNoWriMo Begins

NaNo is here! Wo0T!
Yesterday I was tooo crazy busy but got some words done today. So since NaNo is  a worldwide challenge I'm going to try to post my progress here every day or so. To the right is my word count.
Wish me luck!

Before NaNo I wrote a quick blurb for the story. Now I have no idea where to go with this story so it's a bit of a challenge.
Woman stumbles into a grounded angel and they fall back into a bar where wayward angels meet. This gathering of angels have been put back to earth to earn their wings. They're a rag tag bunch and the woman can't be sure if they'll help her or not. One catch; she's trapped and can't figure out how to get out of the bar and back home.

Day 1 of NaNo, 231 words
Woman (Casey) is running from a mugger and runs right into an angel. They fall back into the bar that only angels can enter or even see.

Lordy! This is going to be a hard story to write.... Hello NaNo challenge!
See you tomorrow.

Monday, October 21, 2019

The Pitfalls of Admitting You’re a Writer

I'm a writer and proud to admit it. It never was that way, but it's okay now. I think once you accept you're who you are, writing gets easier. Talking about who you are and what you do gets easier, too. 

Any professions should be something to be proud of whether it’s sweeping floors or flying airplanes. It’s what you do, what puts food on the table and a roof overhead. However there is one profession where people think you should work for free or at least on their project for free.

“What do you do for a living.”

“I’m a writer.”

“I have a great idea for a book. You could write it and I’ll split the money with you.”

Yes, I’ve had the conversation many times and I used to bite my tongue every time. I used to say, “Sorry, I really don’t have time. I do have a book I’m working on now.” This reply has either brought no response or something along the lines of, “But this will be a best seller. You should still write it.”
Aside from the fact that most lay people have no idea how much work goes into writing a book. The late hours, pages upon pages of edits and revisions and when the book is finally done, searching for a publishing house or agent. Some writers are fairly prolific and others spend years perfecting their books. People outside of the profession just don’t get it.

So what do you do when someone insists you’re missing that best seller if you’d only write their book? You know, and do all the work so they can “split” the profit? And POOF! Have that magical best seller?

Here’s what works for me;
“Okay, give me an outline by chapter and character sketches. I’ll also need a timeline in detail to make sure I get it right.”

No one has ever given me any of this and most never come back asking. If they do, I reiterate how important it is getting the outline, character sketches and timeline is to create the book.

Next time they ask you to write that book, give them the list and watch that glint go out of their eye. Oh wait! Writing a book is work???? Who knew!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Where to Find Ideas for Your NANOWRIMO

Face it. There is a lot of pressure with NANO. We want to write the story all the way through to hit 50,000 words. We want to write that book that's been peculating in our brains. But what if....

The dreaded "What if..."

We have no story idea. Nothing is coming that could form into a plot. Our brains that usually has stories starting everywhere we go....goes silent.

Been there, multiple times. So where do you go when your writing brain wants to take a vaca?

1. Google. Of course you can find anything on Google. I've always thought Google and Amazon are taking over the world. If you need it, Google can tell you where to go. Just type in Writing Prompts.

2. Writers Digest. This is one of my favorite mags and they have a great article about prompts right here.

3. Another site is Awesome Writing Prompts on tumbler --> Here

4. My fav is the everything idea shop aka Pinterest! Just type in writing prompts and ka-powie! You got a whole page of them. Awesome!

5. Then there's the awesome advice from the Aimless Writer; 10 Prompt to Start Your Novel.  :)

So if you're looking for something to do the best NANO ever... just pick one and start writing down some ideas to go with it.

15 days till NANOWRIMO.  Tick Tock.

Monday, October 14, 2019

5 tips for a Successful NanoWrimo

This year I'm going to do it. Years ago I did. (now a book on Amazon) So why not again. What got me to the finish line was a lot of things. Life gets in the way? Sure! But here's a few tips to make it to November 30th.

  1. Have a designated writing space. Whether it's a desk or a square of kitchen table stake it out and claim your space. Let them all know this is a writing space. It's kind of holy. 
  2. Schedule your writing time. And guard it. Sorry honey, it's writing time. Bring dinner to my desk.  It's Nano time! 
  3. Join a group. There are Nano groups all over the country that will meet and write together. No one understands your Nanowrimo like another Nano person. They know they pitfalls, they know the challenge and they understand that thing inside you that drives your Nano compulsion. You can go to the national Nanowritmo and find one in your area. 
  4. Find a nearby Nano writer to help keep you on point. Report your word count, talk about your plot, work through those little niggling details. Most of all encourage each other to keep writing. 
  5. Stay true to Nanowrimo and remember missing a day or two won't kill your Nano challenge. Jump back on the Nano wagon and know you're not done until the end of the month. 
See you at the finish line. GO NANOWRIMO! 

Friday, October 11, 2019

The Dreaded 2nd Draft

Writing that second draft is a killer. The story is all there, inside your head but now you have to do it over and over and over until it's polished to perfection.

I think my mind has gone numb. I know what happens next, I've read and reread all 125, 331 words until they've become tattooed on my brain. I want to move on. I want to be free to write the next story.

There's another big D word out there and it's what I need to exercise now; discipline.  That thing that makes us do what we should do and not what we really want to do.

No wonder Hemingway drank. It was probably due to that second draft.

I'm on chapter 3 for the 2nd or maybe it's the 3rd round. Then it goes on the shelf for a bit... not intentionally! Then I bring it back out and start over.

 Ok, NANOWRIMO is fast approaching so it's either finish it now or it might push into next year. The first time I pushed a book through to the finish line I scheduled it. Up at 6 am every morning and right to my desk. Write till 7 or 7:30 and then work that full time job. So, it's time to straighten up, put writing back on the schedule block and just do it.

First I have to clean off my desk. It's always best to have that writing spot to go to where the world doesn't intrude.
Second make a tracker. Visual aids always help. When you can look up and see that progress it helps to see how far you've come and how close the finish line is. Anything here works from a calendar to just a list with dates.
Third? Is there a third?

What do you do to get through the polishing process and ready for publication?

Monday, August 05, 2019

Old Ideas - Scare Me

I write... a lot.
I don't finish a lot, just get that idea down on paper, file it away and maybe come back on a day when I have nothing else to do.
Weird or writerly?
I think most writers do this. I ideas are fluid things that come and go so quickly if we don't get them down on paper (or puter) they get lost into the darkest recesses of our mind never to be seen again.

So today in one boring moment I pulled up a file from some time ago. It's title was simply; Emails.
I have no idea what the thought behind this story was to be, but it sure did give me the creeps. Now I have to think where to take it next. Suggestions?

by the Aimlesswriter

March 9th
From Email;

I know we haven’t spoken in a long time but I just wanted to reach out to you one more time. How have you been? How’s the kids?
Your brother,

March 10th
From Email;
Who is this? It’s not funny.

March 14th
From Email;
They say time heals. We’ve had time and now I think we should talk. Please don’t be upset. You know it’s what mom would have wanted.

March 15th
From Email;
You are not Mason and this has to stop. Don’t email me again.

March 27th
From Email;
I saw you getting in your car at the grocery store last Wednesday. Your wife was with you. She’s still as pretty as ever. Please tell her I said hi.
Can we get together?

March 28th
From Email;
Who the fuck are you?

April 10th
From Email;
Remember when we tried to seal watermelons from that farm on Cove Road? That rock salt sure did sting. Farmer Ben was a good shot. Remember how mom yelled at you. Older brother’s always get the blame.
I’m still waiting for you.

April 11th
From Email;
If I find out who you are I will kill you.

April 14th
From Email;
We’d love to have you visit soon. Bring the whole family. I think little Suzy must be getting big by now. How old is she? We’ve been apart too long. I don’t even remember the last time I saw that little tyke. How about sending me a photo?
See you soon,

April 15th
From Email;
Don’t talk about my kid or my wife. I’m having this IP address traced and when I find out who you are I will put you in the ground.

April 30th
From Email;
It’s getting warm down here. Can’t wait to see you. It won’t be long now. Bring that pretty wife of yours too. I know she’ll love this place. It really is her kind of haunt. 

May 1st
From Email;
Listen you sick freak Mason has been dead for 8 years now. For you to pull this crap is really sick. I don’t know what your game is but it’s not going to end well for you.
From Email;
Remember when Mom wanted to call you Jamie and you said it was too girly? Can I call you Jamie now? Does your wife know you wet the bed until you were 7? Eight years is too long a time not to talk. Let’s get together.

From Email;
How do you know this stuff? Who are you? Contact me one more time and I’m calling the police.

May 26th
From Email;
Did you know it was all a mistake?

May 27th
From Email;
Mason Tyler Scandish July 8, 1962 to September 7, 2011
Beloved son of Abgail and Martin Scandish, husband of Regina Benson Scandish and Father to Miles and Abby was taken too soon by a freak accident. He was active in his church and with the 4 H club. Mason always said he never met a man he didn’t like. Services are Thursday and Friday at the Day Funeral home.

Stop emailing me!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

10 Prompts to Start your Novel

One of the most common writer laments I hear is, "I want to write, but I just don't know what to write" or "where do you get your ideas?"

First, ideas are everywhere!
      Look around and imagine "what else."
I used to play a game we called, What if, with my kids where we'd pick an object and tell a story about it. In a restaurant we'd pick a painting on the wall or object on the table and challenge each other to tell us the story about it.
A spoon suddenly had a story that dated back to the civil war. A painting was actually about a a buried treasure. It was a exercise in creativity that carried tons of possibilities. Okay, so maybe these stories might not morph into a full novel but its a good exercise in creativity and who knows? It just might spark something that will work.

Here's a few short and sweet prompts to get you started. Pick one and write for 20 minutes. See what comes from it and if you want to share,  post it below.

  1. Finally, she had him. The man who destroyed her life. Now he would pay. 
  2. The dog sat by the road and when Max pulled his truck to the side, it came up to him, but looked back toward the trees and whined. "Are you trying to tell me something?" Max asked as he looked toward the dark woods. He didn't have a good feeling about this. 
  3. He was the last person she wanted to meet here. The man who could tell all the secrets she had so carefully hidden. 
  4. She opened the door and ducked as a large parrot flew in. "Bad man! Bad man! Agggh!" 
  5. A sad looking cat walked across the grave beside me. I leaned down to read the name on the tombstone and gasped. It was mine. 
  6. Dragons never listen and mine was no different. Now I was stuck in this tower and he was trapped below. 
  7. The shabbily dressed man approached me. I had no time for vagrants today and started to walk away. Then he called my name and when I looked into his eyes I saw my first love. 
  8. The surf was wild today. Big waves hit the shore with all of mother nature's raging power. As I grabbed my board Joe touched my arm. "Hey man, don't surf in a hurricane. It's crazy."
  9. She was ignoring me and that wasn't going to work. I stepped in front of her and held up the knife. 
  10. Lies never start big. They're little mean things that grow like weeds. One leading into another until they tangle surrounded you and take you down. Ask me, I know. One little lie and now I might not make it out alive. 
The best way to keep that writing muscle growing is simple; Write! Write what you know, write what you can imagine. Just get it down on paper (or computer!) and make it happen. The muse only shows up when it knows you're writing. 
Go to it, make it happen. 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

7 Tips for Writing a Book

Face it. Writing a book is work. Creative writing? Fiction? It takes getting into the zone. That place where you block out all else and become part of your story. Where you're inside the heads of your characters and feeling their thoughts and emotions. Your niche could be essay writing, creative writing, journaling, or memoir writing.

Getting it done is the challenging part.

So how do you do it?

  • Ass in chair. This is the simplest tip anyone can give you. Sit down in front of that computer and just write. The muse will come when you show up. It's not going to call you or send you some mystical signal on when it's time to write. Pick a time and plant your ass in the chair. 
  • Ignore the fear. Stop with the "am I good enough," "will anyone like it," or the worse, "will it sell?"  Stop it! Put that ego in the backseat and just write your story down. 
  • Read. Sorry, you can't write in a vacuum. Best advice about writing? Read a lot. Reading introduces you to different styles and voices that could totally enrich your own writing. Read multiple genres. Don't be tied to your old tried and true favorites. Explore the world of books in every category and see what's out there. 
  • Get good at Grammar. Yes, it's important and even if the reader doesn't know all the technical grammar rules they'll feel it when something doesn't sound right. Others will know and will just not want to read what you've written. Grammar is one of the most important things in your tool box. Make it work for you. 
  • Set goals. Pick a page count or slice of time when all you do is write. Stephen King wrote in his book On Writing that he does 10 pages a day. Sometimes he's done early, sometimes he's burning that midnight oil. So pick your goal and stick to it. Slice of time? I used to write from 6 to 7 am before work. It was my most productive time because it was before the family woke up and started moving around. It was a quiet time with just my characters, coffee and the story. It worked for me. Find what works for you. 
  • Hold precious your writing time. Choose that time and make it your job. Its a sacred time between just you and your work. Go to it and get it done.
  • Go to writing conferences or join writing groups. Be around other writers and be open to learning what they have to share. No one is perfect and everyone can learn. Hanging around these kind of people will help keep your focus and motivation. 
These are just a few tips that will get that story written. After all this is done the editing process begins. Don't edit in the middle. Get it all down on paper, put it on the shelf for a couple of weeks. Then come back and read with fresh eyes. The story is the foundation, editing is the walls, and that last draft is the finishing decor. Polish it, shine it, and make it happen. 

Friday, January 11, 2019

Discovering Patreon

Still working on The Midnight Brain and figuring out Patreon. Truth? I've been busy with another project (so many projects!) and haven't invested the time I need to get all the answers.

Today I'm doing more research. One of the things on Patreon is setting up tiers for donations. So if someone wants to donate $1 per month they get X, if they donate $5 per month they get X and Y. So, this is not what I thought, but I'm not giving up. I think I can still set it up as donate whatever you want and I'll keep writing. I've been exploring other author sites on Patreon to see what their set up is and how it's working for them. Here's a good article on those authors.

Should I offer a once a month short story for the higher tier? If so, what genre? Maybe an autographed copy of something I have up on Amazon?  Would that be something anyone would want? (personally I love autographed books and have a bit of a collection) I write in a few genres and I'd want whoever donates to get something that they'd like, so should I shift the Brain to just one genre? Decisions, decisions. Of can I just keep going with my multi-genre plan and write whatever comes down from the universe?

The story on the Brain  now is something I wrote a few years ago and it's a fully finished piece. I have more fully finished pieces in the desk that can follow this and have done quite a few short stories. Most of the shorts were more toward the romance genre as I used to write for the confessions. (So sad they went out of biz!) And of course there are plenty more unfinished pieces lying in the dust around here, too. So now, what to give if I set up tiers?

Any Patreon people around here? Advice? Your experience?
Anyone here a Patron on Patreon? What do you look for? Why do you give?

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Gone Indie, Where to Now?

I went Indie a while ago but slacked in marketing. Really, I know marketing. I've worked in the field (along with Human Resources, Sales, Office Management and a few others that don't apply) so I know what to do. I'm just a slacker and used that "life happens" excuse to not get it done.

I do have several books finished that are just sitting on my computer waiting to be edited. That's the real work. Editing. It's like you worked hard to create this art project you love and someone leans over your shoulder and points out all the things that don't work with it. BUT IT WAS SO BEAUTIUFL! before that editing muse stepped up. Sheesh! What a nag!

So here's my new experiment.

I took a book I loved and I'm posting it to a blog, placing adsense on it and a link to Patreon.

I first discovered Patreon from podcasts. Another thing I long to do, but (insert "life happens" excuse here) just haven't done. It's a place where creative people can post for donations to keep the creativity flowing. Podcastors do it, You-tubers, and artists all do it on Patreon and people just donate towards their work. Some do exceedingly well, other's just float along. Some have no donations. :(
Then I figured since my "life happens" excuse was blocking my podcasting abilities, why don't I use it for my writings? And so, a new blog was born; The Midnight Brain.   I put an age warning on it for violence and or sexual stuff. Mostly I did this so I don't scare the kiddies.

First two chapters of Eyes of My Killer are up and the next two are set to launch over the next couple of days. I'm editing each chapter as I put it up. This forced editing is getting things done! Wo0t!

Patreon is almost set up, too. Still learning the technicalities on the site, but I've been approved. Yay!

To all my fellow writers, I'll keep you posted on this experiment.