The Do’s & Don’ts

For all you writers out there you might want to listen in for a moment. I need to talk to you about something very, very important right now…you ready? Are you sure your listening? Okay, well here it is…don’t fill your pages with a bunch of meaningless, everyday “stuff”. What I mean by this is, don’t in every single chapter, all the way through the entire book, write what your character ate at every single meal…WE DON’T WANT TO KNOW THIS!

Now, the flip side to this is, you do have to make your character believable so you will need to have some meals placed in there occasionally but just make sure you have a point to it. Whatever you put in each chapter make sure that it’s building your storyline and has a purpose.

I know sometimes its really hard to write certain chapters and fill up your book. Nobody wants to read a 250 page book that lacks substance, they want a solid story. So if you’re having trouble coming up with things to say or different scenes perhaps you just need to step away from writing for a few days and come back to it.

Also, the reader wants diversity. Don’t write the same “type” of scene for three chapters. Example, don’t write, in three chapters, your character learning how to play golf (perhaps that’s a bad example but you get the picture). If you have to write it like this make it interesting. Build in emotion or build intensity (if that’s the type of manuscript you are writing). Make the reader want to find out what will happen. Make the reader fall in love with your characters!

I only bring this up because I recently read a book (no I’m not going to tell you which book it was) and almost the entire 500 pages was stuffed full of what type of foods the characters ate, what it smelled like, what it tasted like, etc. There was no back story to justify putting it in there. I felt like the writer didn’t know what to say and so she threw it in there to “fill up the pages” with something. It didn’t grow the story in anyway. So if your characters are eating please give them something interesting to say.

Pass The Info Please!

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I’m taking a break from editing my MS, for the moment, to clear my head before I get back to it. Sometimes you just have to step away and refocus before you can go on. So I thought I would talk a little bit about my writing style and how I wrote this current MS.

A lot of people have made comments like: I have a story in mind but I’m not sure how to start it. Or possibly the most common question: What are some of your writing secrets?

Without taking too much time, let’s just dive right in shall we?

When I got the concept for this story I was living in a small town in Northern California and was a stay-at-home-mom who has never wrote anything since high school. I’ve always had a creative mind, having stories and songs come to me but never really took the time to write it out. So to say I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing, is no exaggeration. I was walking into this blind. What I did know was I HAD to write it! So that’s what I did. I sat down and wrote. I wrote and wrote until my eye crossed.

Starting out I had a good idea of the structure of the book and major details (there are three big events in the first MS that needed to happen) but everything else needed to be thoughtfully planned out (it was kind of all bunched up in my head, like a big ball of yarn or a sticky bowl of noodles). I’ve heard many authors give advice as to what tools they used to plot out a story. For those of you that need to plan it out ahead of time, there are many different programs that can help. I, on the other hand, haven’t used anything like that. I guess my brain works differently.

I just take it one chapter at a time, think about what needs to be in it, how I need to get to the major event and what characters need to be introduced. From there, I just write. When I started, I was into my second month, on my second chapter trying to get it perfect, when my husband said to me, “you’re never going to finish if you keep editing it”. And he was right. For all you new writers out there, just write it out, even if it’s terrible. Just get the concept out and onto the paper. This is what I call vomit onto the page. Because that’s what it will be on your first draft, vomit. It’s not going to be pretty, it’s not going to flow right but if you don’t do it then you might not ever finish.

Another reason why I’m glad I listened to my husband about waiting to edit until the very end, was this, I had wrote several things (details) that I thought were extra fluff and at the time I thought I should possibly delete. But then I remembered what my husband had said about not stopping and just keep writing. So instead I highlighted it in red and went on. When I went back to read my work and start on the editing process I went over all the lines that I was going to take out and realized that those little details (that I thought were extra fluff) really needed to be in there to tie in with the ending! So just because you’re not sure why you wrote something doesn’t mean that in the end you won’t need it.

In conclusion, if I was to give you one piece of advice for anyone who wants to write, it would be this, don’t talk yourself out of it. It’s so easy to do. If I had listened to those inter thoughts, ‘you’re not good enough to write’ or ‘you don’t have enough time to do that,’ then I wouldn’t be here at the final stages of the publishing process. I never want to look back and ask the question, what if?

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Decisions Decisions…

For this past week I thought I would clue you in on a little secret….you ready?

I’ve been STRESSED!

I know I know, a big shocker for all of you who know me…but sadly yes.

Some of you might have seen a few days ago I posted on Facebook that I had some decisions to make and that I needed to go and clean the house and think! (A little nutty right? I mean who actually volunteers to do house work after a long day? NOT THIS GIRL! So you know “this thing” was driving me CRAZY, to do such a spur-of-the-moment thing). But that’s what happened. Because staring at your computer screen and trying to figure it out, sometimes just doesn’t work. So I decided to step away and take a break.

So here’s the deal…

Writing a manuscript and actually finishing it you would think…wow…that’s got to be the hardest part of this whole process. WRONG! The writing was easy, because at first your thought is, I’m writing because I love it, not, I think one day I might actually publish my work. So at first (at least for me) i just wanted to see if I could actually do it. Put everything that was in my head down on paper. Well, a couple of years into my writing I actually did it! I actually completed 27 chapters! To say that the piece was quality was up to interpretation, but none-the-less it was done.

Now comes the part where you might think everything should be a peace-of-cake, right? I mean, all you have to do is re-read your work, change a few things, have your friends read it and that’s it. WRONG AGAIN. That’s not how it works. I think I must have spent more time revising it then writing the dang thing. And I’m still revising it!

But that’s not the part that has me thinking I should take an entire package of Oreo cookies and destroy them one sleeve at a time (I know that sounds a little over-dramatic but you get the picture). No, the part that has me stressing out is coming up with the overview for my book. You know, the part that everyone reads to see if they even want to spend their hard-earned-money on a book that no one has even heard of or go with the safe purchase and buy one of the many books on B&N top 100 best sellers list.

YEP that’s where I’m at.

So for the record I would like to say that if I go off on some random rant about socks at Walmart that are priced $3.99 and I think they should be $2.99 or the driver who is going 34 mph when the speed limit is 35, it’s only due to the stresses of a writer who has been working at this for 4 years.