What a week!! I started this week out with some stress from the weekend and lemme tell ya…the days decided they were gonna speed down some super-bumpy roads and they did not care whether or not I had a helmet on! Good news is that I’m at home today and will be spending the entire day doing nothing but writing and editing (I was supposed to do this yesterday also, but Thursday was one of those days that decided it was going to really take me for a ride!).
Now onto the Top Ten – er, fifteen – this week since we missed last Friday due to The Week of the Writer :0)
15) “A Method in the Madness: Outlining As You Write” by Jody Hedlund. I love learning about the process of other writers. I enjoyed reading about how Jody approaches her writing – from research, brainstorming, plotting, character worksheets then writing (she even shares her character worksheet if you’re interested in case you don’t have one yet). THIS is just one of the many things I love about the writing and blogging world – writers are more than willing to put themselves out there and share what they know, what they do, and how they do it for others to learn from.
14) “Do You Write for Yourself or Your Readers?” by Jami Gold. Hmmm…..what a great question!! This particular post actually got me to think back on who I’m writing for. At first, I think we all write for ourselves, but when it comes down to editing, re-writes, revisions, etc., our focus begins to shift from ‘writing for ourselves’ to ‘writing for the readers’. This was a great post by Jami and I love how posts like this get you to dive into yourself to find the answer since sometimes, the answers are not right there on the surface.
13) “Setting Goals” by Lisa Gail Green on Paranormal Point of View. When’s the last you really sat down and thought long and hard about what it is you really want? When’s the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror and told yourself that you could accomplish those goals? I asked myself these questions while reading Lisa’s post, which was a wonderful reminder to think about the goals you may or may not have set for yourself, and how you plan on getting there. A week later, Lisa followed this post up with “Is Your Writing Cup Half Empty or Half Full?”, which I think goes hand in hand in with goal setting – especially when you’re looking at that goal list and feeling overwhelmed about how you’re going to meet them.
12) ”No Fear, No Envy, No Meanness” by James Scott Bell on The Kill Zone. Want a bit of inspiration? THIS post was inspiring to me (mainly in the first section). In this post, Mr. Bell takes a quote from Liam Clancy to Bob Dylan, “Remember Bobby, no fear, no envy, no meanness” and explains “That is a trinity of sound advice for writers, too.” I won’t spoil the article anymore than that for you, so I suggest you click on over there and read this article.
11) “Creating Strong Female Characters” by Sierra Godfrey on Roni Loren’s Writing Blog: Fiction Groupie. I enjoyed this particular article because I’m editing and working on some characteristics of my female characters. This helped me to ensure that I’m injecting all of the aspects of a strong female into these characters – there was one or two that I missed between the three females I’m working on. Now? I’ve got this article’s main points imprinted into my membrane so I’ll never forget!
10) “On the Internet There is No Such Thing as a Brand. There is Only You.” by Nathan Bransford. Let me quote Nathan here for a sec: ”My advice for people who are trying to carve out their own space in social media is not to think about what you think your blog or your Twitter presence should be, but rather embrace who you really are. Be yourself.” ‘Nuff said! Go read the rest. LOVED this!
9) “Consistent or Confusion? Keeping Your Story Details Straight” by Janice Hardy. Now this is exactly why writers write everything down! I keep one notebook (or accordion file) per story and it contains all of the research I’ve done, as well as the details of the characters, the world and its rules, pictures of the locations, etc. With everything that’s in our heads – especially when there’s more than two or three stories in there at a time – it’s hard to keep the details straight. This was a particularly great article as it actually related to the little details that can change in the middle of revisions or major re-writes. Keeping an eye out for consistency is the key to making sure your MS is fluid and doesn’t confuse the reader….especially when you’ve got them invested in the story. Nothing’s worse than finding an inconsistency in a character or the world and getting confused right when you’re just getting into it.
8) “Making Characters Multi-Dimensional” by Jeannie Campbell, The Character Therapist. A-ha! This is exactly what I needed today and I’m so glad I found it…so naturally, I wanted to share with you all! :0) This particular article is about dominance and submission and finding the balance for your characters…meaning that one character may be dominant in her home, but get her out and she’s submissive and maybe a little uncomfortable. It adds much-needed dimension – because, as you know, we all act differently depending on where we are and what company we’re keeping at the time.
7) “Nouns and Verbs” by Kim Pearson on The Blood-Red Pencil. Here’s a writing exercise that I actually enjoyed doing last week. If you’re like me, age is only making my brain a little slower when it comes to finding and using the right words. This is why I try to keep myself sharp by playing Scrabble and Words with Friends. And now I can add this exercise to the pile of ‘How to Keep Melinda’s Brain Sharp’. Give it a try and see how it works for you! :0)
6) “Never Trust a Character! (If You Want to Find a Clue)” by S.P. Sipal on Harry Potter for Writers. This article is part of the mystery plotting series and I loved this one in particular because I have a sneaky character that I, as the author, don’t really trust. And if I don’t trust him, I sure hope my readers won’t – at least not until he does something worthy of it. As I’m going back through with editing, I can see a clue here or there of how he may turn out to be in the end (which could be 1-2 books before we actually experience it). Susan’s lines toward the end of this post are what will stick in my head while I’m writing the first draft of the next two books: “As writers, we need to always remember that our characters do not always tell the truth, whether from telling an outright lie to believing untruths. But there’s a very fine line between an unfair lie and a well-played twist.”
5) Here’s a little treat from Simon’s Cat: “Hidden Treasure”
4) “Cover Me, I’m Going Back: Writing Flashbacks” by Janice Hardy. I know we’ve all read about this topic before. Am I right? I’ll admit that whenever I get to a point where a flashback was called for, I get nervous. Just a little bit. Then it grows a little. To me, flashbacks don’t necessarily have to be handled delicately, but they only work when they’re in the right place at the right time, are completely relevant to the story – in that moment – and are also something that you, as a reader vs. the author, would want to know if you were reading your story. Janice gives great advice here on how to handle writing good flashbacks.
3) “Are All Distractions Bad?” by Jami Gold. I am sooo glad that I’m not the only one out there who feels like hitting herself in the head if she’s spending time reading a book or articles about the craft, or participating in online workshops, or typing out blog posts instead of just writing the story during every available minute of the day. Jami breaks down these distractions into what’s considered good/necessary or bad/evil. This is exactly what I think other writers need to hear in order to keep from beating themselves up when it comes to the necessary distractions that actually further our careers in writing when you take a look at the bigger picture.
2) “Revision – It’s the Little Things” by Lisa Gail Green on Paranormal Point of View. Ah…yes! The editing process that I really do enjoy! :0) But I will be the first to admit that tackling the list of revisions that I’m getting back from the second round of edits can be quite overwhelming at times. Especially when you find you’ve confused your reader with a sentence that contradicts (see #9) what they already know to be true from your story thus far. Lisa’s advice here is spot on – especially when it comes to looking at the writing and seeing that maybe a major rewrite isn’t needed. Maybe the reason why something isn’t working is because of a sentence or two? Believe it or not, those little things can really throw the entire page (or scene) off. For me, when they’re corrected, I feel as if a fifty-pound weight has been lifted off my shoulders and this is one of the reasons why I love the editing process.
1) “6 Tips for Your Final Edit” by Marcy Kennedy on Girls With Pens. Speaking of editing! Here is a must-have list of the items every writer should have in their back pocket when it comes to the final editing process. I would like to give Marcy a big THANK YOU for posting this. Go over there, read it, print it out, and use it. :0)
Hope everyone has a happy & safe Labor Day weekend!
Happy Reading & Writing!!