Archive | July 2015

How to Get More Followers on Your Social Media Sites

Yay! 🙂

Savvy Writers & e-Books online

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Joining Goodreads, Twitter, Google+, Facebook or Pinterest is only the first step in creating a community platform. To make these sites working for you is only possible if you have lots of followers, friends or people in your Google+ circles.

Don’t be a Tweep with a pathetic following of less than 100 people. And don’t sign up with only one or two Social Media sites. Take advantage of the great possibilities of sharing among all these sites. It is almost the same “work” if you are on one site, compared to having a presence on six or eight sites through the help of plug-ins and sharing buttons, as outlined in former blog posts.  So can visitors on your Goodreads page click on the Google+ or the Facebook icon and send a message about you and your book to thousands of their followers. Google+ then sends the…

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Fleshing Out Your Characters

fictional characters

When I reflect on my favorite characters (those I’ve created and those I’ve read from other authors) they seem so real to me. I remember them. I long to read their next adventure and often wait impatiently for that next juicy book to hit bookstores or library shelves. I’ve met twisted characters. Characters who weren’t necessarily good, but had a kind heart. I’ve met characters with bittersweet backgrounds and I’ve met characters who I’ve wanted to tackle and backhand or slap —  repeatedly.

Characters with this much depth are not accidental. Writers create these characters with deliberate intent. Every action is deliberate, every thought has been carefully constructed. Their features have been drawn with a careful, steady, loving hand. In a sense, characters are real. They become very flesh-and-blood in the minds of readers, but first in the mind of a writer.

While drafting, revising, and editing Book two of the Gabriel Lennox series, I’m comfortable with knowing what the main character will do and will simply NOT do, due to his temperament, his fears, his strengths, his likes, his dislikes, and even the mood he’s feeling during a particular scene. I will use all of this and more in order to drive him to action . . . or not.

However, there’s a new character, who is equally important that has been added to Gabriel’s world (a potential love interest — oooh la, la) and though I see her clearly in my mind, it’s hard to pin her down consistently on paper. And I know why. It’s simply because I don’t know here quite like I know Gabriel and the other cast of mortal, immortal, demonic, angelic, and bloodsucking characters. Yet.

So, I dug through my writing materials and found a wrinkled gem of paper titled, “Fifty questions to ask of each character, but not necessarily to place in the story” (long title, verbatim, I kid you not):

1. What length is your hair?

2. Do you like your hair?

3. What is in your right pocket?

4. Left?

5. Back pockets?

6. What sort of pants are you wearing? (If a woman, you may include a skirt)

7. Of what material are they made?

8. Where did you buy them? (Macy’s, Frederick’s, JC Penny, some shop in Paris, Thrift Store, consignment shop, hand-me-downs).

9. Are these pants (or skirt) provocative? Baggy? Are they clean?

10. Apply the same questions to shirts or blouses.

11. Is there any printing on the clothes you wear everyday? What?

12. How much money do you carry?

13. How much is in your account?

14. What are your debts?

15. Can you pay them off, or are you in financial trouble?

16. What sort of physical shape are you in?

17. How many times a week do you exercise?

18. How often are you sick?

19. Do you have any physical impairments? (count even little ones, like a bad knee).

20. What is your favorite movie?

21. Name three musical groups that you listen to regularly.

22. Who is your favorite author(s)?

23. Where did you grow up?

24. Would you rather be too cold or too hot?

25. What animal do you fear the most?

26. What place do you fear the most?

27. Which movie star is most like you?

28. Which would you most like to be like?

29. Who is your real-life “hero”?

30. In what city do you live?

31. Do you rent or own your dwelling?

32. Is your dwelling old or new?

33. Is it messy or clean and tidy.

34. Is it a house, an apartment, or an efficiency?

35. Do you share your dwelling with others?

36. Who cooks your food?

37. What sort of food is your favorite?

38. What is your favorite dish?

39. What foods are in your average meal?

40. What furniture is in your living room?

41. Your bedroom?

42. What do your sheets look like?

43. How many and what kind of shoes do you own?

44.What’s in your closet?

45. Your desk?

46. What kind of car do you drive? Is it new? Old? Rusty? Manual?

47. What pets do you have? (If none, which do you hate?)

48. What is your favorite sport to watch? To play?

49. How often do you have your teeth cleaned? Eyes checked?

50. Are you a “morning person” or an “evening person”?

These questions can be used to create and/or revise your characters. When I first read this list, I wondered where I would squeeze all of this information in the actual story. However, it’s not necessary to. I plan on answering all of the questions, but I will only include significant details within the story itself.

The excess? I’ll call it research and a referring guide as needed when I’m having trouble writing. I also intend to use these questions for minor characters too because I want them just as real and engaging as my main characters.

I hope you find this list helpful! Happy writing. Happy creating! 🙂

Flash Fiction Fridays. KABOOM!

bike

Flash Fiction is a type of story with extreme brevity — no more than 1000 words. I invite you to study this photograph, write a 1000 word story (or less — at least 100) to go along with it or inspired by it. Have fun and happy writing! 

I look forward to reading some fabulous stories in the comments section. You have until next Friday . . . or whenever. 🙂

 

Priceless Lessons From Rejection

So, I’ve been wondering what it would be like to write incredibly short stories and how it could possibly help me to become a better writer.

And believe it or not, rejection, which is often perceived as a negative thing has been one of the best events that has happened to me as a writer.

I remember years ago when I first started to write. To seriously write. Not just for my own pleasure. Not just for my family, but for an audience besides my teachers. An audience of strangers in different states.

I submitted a short story to Weird Tales of 123 Crooked Lane. At the time, back in the 90s, they were THE MAGAZINE to submit dark fantasy, horror, and all stories with strange twists and turns, involving the dead, the magical, the blood-sucking, and well, you know, the weird.

I read what I could from them. I brainstormed story ideas. I wrote, I drafted, I wrote.

Then I finally submitted . . . and was rejected.

Writing short stories is hard! I’m so glad I was rejected. And I’m so grateful that the editor tucked in my rejection envelope some much needed advice that he lovingly highlighted, bracketed, and underlined. And boy, did I need his help! In hindsight, even back then, I realized how bloated, pretentious, and sickly my short story truly was. I shudder to think of the poor dear, shuttered away in one of my many binders, containing submissions, rejections, rejections, and rejection letters. I promise, some day I will return to that story and fix it. But don’t hold your breath because I promise it might take a while.

Here are some of the priceless tips from him to me to you (hugs):

*Appeal to the senses — go beyond how things look, go on to the sound and smell and feel of the setting. But don’t overdo it; omit everything that doesn’t advance the story.

*Don’t lecture: exposition is all dead matter.

*Avoid clichés like the plague!

*Learning to avoid triteness in word and phrase and in ideas, plots, characters, and backgrounds is easily half of becoming a good writer.

*The author shall use the right word,  not its second cousin. (Mark Twain)

With this precious information, I joined a writers’ organization, revealed my delicate, newbie writer’s soul to other writers.

Man, oh man! Critiques are difficult! They are difficult to accept and to give, but I need them like a flower needs water, air, and sunlight. Critiques (properly done) are what helps to improve a writer and to push them into fabulousness.

What advice or lessons did you learn from rejection letters? Please share them in the comments and/or vibe with me on Twitter. 🙂

 

Drafts, Revisions, and Plans, Oh MY!

Plans, plans, plans. Thou shalt not procrastinate. BIC (Butt In Chair) Monique. 🙂

charles french words reading and writing

draft

I finished the first draft of a novel I have been working on the first part of the year. While it is very rough and in need of a great deal of work, it is time to put it aside for a while. I am not sure what my overall goals for this novel are, but at least I have completed the initial draft. So, I need to continue with the overall writing plan I put in place a while ago, one which I was not sure I would be able to maintain. So far, I have done it.

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This writing plan is to draft, as first drafts, two books per year. In addition to the drafting, I am also constantly working on revising previous books. I focus on one at a time, or at least I try to. My writing time is divided into drafting first, and then I…

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Katiebird reviews YA heroines

🙂 Great research tool for writing Book Two in the Gabriel Lennox Series: Bloodlines (working title).

Bookish Temptations

I will always be grateful for the YA genre because if I hadn’t read the Twilight series all those years ago, I wouldn’t be reading like I do now. Nor would I have made the friends and connections I have now. There may be people out there who shy away from reading YA books or feel like it’s inappropriate for them. My thought is that just because the main characters in the book are younger doesn’t mean that I can’t relate to them or understand their perspective.

If an author writes a great story, I am in no matter what the age of the characters. I recently read two amazing books that are from the YA genre. The heroines in these books are unique and really stood out for me. I could totally relate to them because they were strong, curious, and intelligent.

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