Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category
Posted on May 3, 2012 - by Nicole Humphrey Cook
Do you do this?
I know some people write out of order, that isn’t totally uncommon. Sometimes inspiration will hit and I will find myself writing a chapter that goes later in the book, because I can see the entire scene in my head.
The book I am working on now however, while not complete, has been written almost entirely backwards. It wasn’t my intention when I set out, but the ending was what prompted me to write the book, and since the entire ending was clear in my mind, I wrote it.
I was going to go back and begin writing from the beginning, but then I started thinking about what kind of conflict would bring them to the ending – how did they get there? So I wound up writing that scene, which turned into several and before I knew it, I had the last 4 chapters of the book written.
At that point, I decided just to go ahead and try to write the rest of it backwards. No reason why, just that it seemed it was flowing naturally, so I might as well do it that way.
Have you ever done this or am I totally nuts?
Posted on November 17, 2011 - by Nicole Humphrey Cook
There has always been a camaraderie in networking with other authors and writers. I’ve been around a long time now, and it’s just common knowledge that we can all learn from each other. We’re all in this together, we’re all aiming for the same goal, and there is plenty of room for all of us. Right? That’s what I’ve always thought.
Until recently. Don’t get me wrong, I still think this way. Every day I look forward to networking and chatting with the other writers I’ve met on Twitter and on Triberr. (and quite occasionally on Facebook but I really, really hate FB now.) Networking with my friendly, fellow writers, is still very much a part of my day.
However, I’ve noticed something more recently. I had the unpleasant experience of congregating with a bunch of authors that don’t see it like I do at all. In fact, they come across as arrogant, self promoting, and with an in it for themselves only attitude. This makes me sad. Aren’t we all focused on the same goals and dreams? Aren’t we all looking for exactly the same outcome? Or at least similar outcomes? This post isn’t about this group of angry/self promoting authors though, this post is about how you can pay it forward, and keep helping others if that is what you really want from this too.
1. Retweet other writers. This is such an easy one. It requires a click of a button. Hit that retweet button and show the love. When you see a post that is helpful or just really good, go ahead, retweet it. It takes a second. I’m always surprised when someone I don’t even know RT’s my stuff, but I have made many a friend this way.
2. Shoutout their accomplishments. Don’t keep it to yourself when you are impressed with something. If you admire a writer or author or you are particularly proud of their accomplishment or maybe you just want to say hi, then for goodness sake, shout out to them. “Hey @irishwords, I am so proud of you, 1000 words on your WIP is simply awesome!” If you remember NOT to put their twitter id first, others will see this go through your stream and perhaps maybe that person will gain a new follower out of it. (Sorry Declan if you don’t get any new followers out of it! ha)
3. Talk about them. I swear, with as often as I talk about some of my great twitter friends, you’d think I meet with them several times a week and have coffee. My children know several of my twitter writer friends by name, because I talk about them so often. But I don’t have coffee with them, I have never even met most of them. But I talk about them anyway. Guess what happens when I do that? Friends and family get curious, want to know more, and often times wind up buying their book. Yes, it has happened several times.
4. Refer others. Yes, I know in some ways this is the same as #3, but it’s not. I’m talking about referring strangers. Example: Recently I was in B&N and there was a lady looking for a new book to read. She had just asked the store clerk if she had any recommendations. The store clerk gave her titles to big name books and went on her merry way. I made my way over to her and gave her several suggestions of some fantastic books, and assuring her I had read them and they were good.
She bought two from one author and one from another – based on MY suggestions. (@joannaslan – it’s easy to sell your books, they take place here and us locals like books that are … local. Plus they are just plain good.) (@sarahdessen – she said she’d already read one by you and picked up another, go figure – you’re an amazing author) … So see, I was able to sell three books to a stranger because I took the time to tell her about them. For the record, I talked about several authors, those are just the books she chose to get. I’ve done this on twitter and Facebook too, and definitely in person on many, many occasions. P.S. Results are not typical (I don’t ALWAYS get them to buy the books I suggest, I got super lucky that day)
5. Buy their books. If you are a writer, you have to be a reader. I know I tend to pick up books by my twitter friends, much more frequently than I pick up the newest New York Times Best Seller. I like supporting them. I like reading them. Plus, you can get books for fairly cheap on Amazon a good majority of the time. Support fellow authors, because I bet if you do that, they’ll support you right back.
6. Review them. If you read the book, review it. You can either write a short blurb on Amazon, Goodreads or even write a blog post about it. Or write a blog post about several recent books you read, offering a short review on each of them. But at any rate, write something about them, it gets others curious. Reviews are like gold to an author. Especially one just starting out.
7. Make friends. This seems like such a simple idea. The problem is, there are so many writers out there that are all about self promotion and not interested in making friends and networking. I think that is sad. So make friends, network with them, toss around ideas, learn from them. It’s not difficult. It’s so easy.
What do you do to spread the love and pay it forward?
Posted on October 19, 2011 - by Nicole Humphrey Cook
Do you outline your novel? How much outlining do you do? Do you use a program? Notecards? Pieces of torn paper or napkins?
In my normal daily writing, I tend to be a planner, plotting, outlining, note cards and post it’s. I used yWriter up until recently when I have been messing around with Scrivener a little. Not sure what I will be using for NaNo – yWriter or Scrivener. So planning is something that comes naturally to me.
But when it comes time each year for NaNoWriMo, I tend to go back and forth between outlining & planning and then doing the whole wing it by the seat of my pants kind of thing. The first few years (four I believe) I just sat down at the start and wrote and wrote and wrote. Slept a little, had some dreams, added some of those elements into my novel and then wrote and wrote and wrote so more. There was no outlining, no structured planning. And I’ve won NaNo several times that way – the problem is, those are the novels that need the most tweaking, the most editing, the most help when it’s all over. Those are also the novels that continue to sit with little done to them because they come across as such a mess to me.
Last year and the year before, I took time to plot and outline. I’ve used both the snowflake method, storyboarding as well as mind mapping. I’m usually more successful if I use the snowflake method or just create a basic outline/storyboarding.
I’m honestly curious, which are you? A Planner or Pantser? Does it change come November?
A couple useful articles I came across while researching outlining methods:
Posted on September 10, 2011 - by Nicole Humphrey Cook
I spent the entire summer wishing it was Fall – the heat, the humidity, being locked indoors because you could barely breathe in the stifling heat. Now that Fall is rapidly approaching and the lazy, carefree days of summer are over, I sort of wish school vacations took place now, and not during those hot, barely tolerable days. Of course, what it’s interesting to me how I had all that spare time over the summer and I didn’t get nearly the amount of writing in, that I am now.
While the pace of life picks up during the Fall for us, apparently I am much more productive when my kids are at school. So in between juggling all sorts of projects for my other blog, I am also trying to get some editing done on the book I’ve spent the last 11 months working on. Well, 11 months – 2 months of my lazy summer. I did however need that break, because when I returned to it a few weeks ago, I had a fresh outlook, a new direction and a whole lot of time to devote to making it better.
I find that when I write regularly on my WIP, I also become more active on my blog, and become more involved in the twitterverse and just generally become more online oriented. I’m not sure why this is. Maybe because I am spending countless hours starting at a white screen willing words to come out of my brain and flow through my fingertips on to the keyboard, and I need a break from that frequently. I don’t know.
I have been tossing around the idea of doing the 31 days challenge that is linked to my “other blog” link above, on this blog as well. I need to get back into the habit of blogging regularly instead of the sporadic post usually apologizing for my absence. Are you doing the 31 day challenge? If you are, comment below so I can follow your series of 31 posts for the month of October. I think it will help, and since October is typically my planning period for NaNoWriMo, perhaps that will kick my rear into gear and I’ll actually accomplish something before October 31st at midnight and I can start writing as soon as the clock strikes November 1st.
Do you feel like you have more time to write during the lazy days of summer, or the frantic days of Fall?
Posted on May 19, 2011 - by Nicole Humphrey Cook
Hey ladies and gents! Please welcome Liz Borino, debut author of Expectations and its sequel, What Money Can’t Buy published by Lazy Day Publishing to All About Writing. She stopped in to talk about dialogue, and making it sound more natural in your writing. Take it away, Liz.
Writing Natural Dialogue
by Liz Borino
In my day to day life, I talk a lot. Or I would, if I didn’t spend so much time by myself. Therefore, when I write my fiction, it’s riddled with dialogue. It’s important for me to make this as natural and realistic as possible. Any author can benefit from improving their dialogue use. Here’s why:
- Good dialogue enhances a story. It shows the emotions your character goes through during a given scene. Being able to accomplish this through the words a character uses cuts down on those dreaded adverbs. Below is a few lines from a scene in What Money Can’t Buy, the sequel to Expectations. You’ll see there’s no confusion on the emotions the characters are feeling.
“What the hell happened to you?” Aiden sat up on the couch and turned off the television.
Matt put his hands up, “Where. Is. Chris?”
Chris walked out of the kitchen before Aiden could answer. “Jesus Christ.”
“Yeah, let’s talk about what happened today. Because you know what? I missed something huge.” Matt rubbed his arms and watched Chris and Aiden exchange a look. “No, no secrets. I have a right to know what’s going on.”
- Dialogue is also an effective way to give information without exposition. In the following excerpt from Expectations, Aiden reveals a few things about himself, he’s bi, dated an older woman, and kept his private life private until he and Chris began dating.
“One of the designers we’ll be working with is my ex.” Aiden said tentatively to gauge Chris’s reaction.
“Man or woman?”
“Woman, quite a bit older then me.”
“What’s quite a bit?” Chris asked.
“When we dated I was 18 and she was turning 45.”
“Jesus Christ!” Chris practically screamed and then quickly lowered his voice. “What’d you two possibly have in common?”
Great sex. Aiden thought, blushing. “Oh, we found things to talk about.”
So, what’s the best way to accomplish strong dialogue? I don’t know, but I can tell you what works for me.
- Know your characters. Every word they say, every thought they have has to make sense for them. Factor in things like education level, family life, past experiences, and religious belief. A college educated man is going to speak very differently than one who stopped going to school after eighth grade. Perhaps if your character is very religious, they’ll be less likely to use profanity.
- Make a habit of listening to conversations around you. You’re likely to notice one person dominates most of them. It can switch, but usually one person is more passionate about a given topic than the other person is. It should be like this in writing too.
- Read your dialogue aloud. If it seems off, it probably is. Most people use contractions in informal speech, something else to keep in mind when composing it for your characters. If you decide not to use contractions, make it deliberate. Use it make a point.
Finally, have fun with writing dialogue. It’s a great way to introduce the world to your characters, allowing them to show their story, as opposed to you telling it.
Liz Borino is the debut author of Expectations and its sequel, What Money Can’t Buy published by Lazy Day. Throughout her education, including a Bachelor’s Degree from Hofstra University, she’s kept her stories to herself, but this only child is all grown up and wants to share them with the world. Her roots are in Bethlehem, Pa, but she loves to experience new cultures. As fun as that is, Liz likes nothing better than curling up at home with a good book or her work in progress.
Expectations depicts the struggle between what we desire for ourselves and our familial obligations. The struggle is personified by Chris and Matt Taylor, identical twins, who are trying to win their overbearing father’s approval and acquire their trust funds. Love, money, and desire collide as Matt and Chris decide what’s really important to them. Amazon: http://amzn.to/gBh9M3 B&N: http://bit.ly/e7mwDj
What Money Can’t Buy:
What Money Can’t Buy, the sequel to Expectations, finds the two couples, Chris and Aiden and Matt and Carley, eagerly anticipating parenthood. However, their personal struggles continue. Though Matt overcame his dependency on alcohol, new temptations present themselves. And with Carley on bed rest, these temptations put a greater strain on their relationship. Chris continues to deal with issues regarding his father. These issues increase with greater proximity. When tragedy strikes, the best and worst in everyone is revealed. Can they stick together, or will their reactions tear them apart? B&N http://bit.ly/lzDLqY and Amazon: http://amzn.to/iYZ5vk