Posted in promo, Thoughts

Making Goals

Some weeks I can’t get out of my own way. I sabotage myself. One of my problems is taking on too much. I often struggle to get my writing done amid my other obligations such as two writing groups, a full-time job, and large family. I want to do it all and I want to do it yesterday.

While I’m not a planner by nature, after taking Sarra Cannon’s HB90 program I’ve learned to be more reasonable about my goals and try to plan accordingly. I still don’t always get it right. Things happen and derail a tightly scheduled plan but I’ve lived most of my life by the seat of my pants. I may have a plan but if that doesn’t work I have a plan B, C and D. Of course, D is duck and cover, but hey, it is a plan.

This past week due my failed attempt at being a stunt double (I flew over the dog’s lead and landed on the sidewalk) I was not up to my usual performance level. One good thing about not being completely mobile, is I managed to surpass three of my writing goals: 1) I wrote every day, 2) I wrote over 10,000 words, and 3) I reached 30,000 and even made it to 40,000 words in my work in progress.

I am close to the end of the first draft and I’m sending out the call for advanced readers. If anyone wishes to read Trent’s Melody before it is published just message me here or through social media. As an advanced reader I would appreciate being made aware of any grammar or story errors you find, your help promoting the book and your review when it is published.

I have been an advanced reader for several of my favorite authors most recently, Reese Ryan and Sabrina Jeffries. It can be fun being a part of the promo team especially if you are a fan of the books or author. I wish I had more time to be an advanced reader for authors I adore but that is one of the worst things about being an author, the lack of time to read except for research.

Last year and again this year, I have made a point of making time for pleasure reading. It’s not as easy amid the critiquing and classes, as well as research reading I need to do but I am determined to have a little fun with my old time favorite hobby, reading.

In case you missed the announcement, the winner of my name the renovation show contest is Pamlico County School teacher, Susan Long with Renovate-ology. Congratulations, Susan! Renovate-ology will be the name of the show in Trent’s Melody. Susan won a $5 Amazon gift card and will have a brief acknowledgement in the book. I felt the name was unique but still familiar, and would work if I decided to use it in another series. Thank you to all of you who sent in ideas. There were several really good ones. Two of the runner-ups were: Debbie’s Renovation Innovation and Barb’s Second Chance Renovation. There were some others who were memorable but just didn’t quite fit for future stories: Property Reboot, Sextacular Renovations, Form and Figure Fabrications, Bros who love M & M’s and many more.

Don’t forget to send in your poems or songs for Trent’s Melody. The contest ends April 24th. Already there have been some great submissions.

Posted in event, inspiration

RWA 2020 Virtual Conference Day One

It’s day two of RWA’s virtual writer’s conference. I have dreamed of attending a Romance Writer’s of America conference for years but never expected my first one to be online. Thank you, Covid-19. Our world changed this year but as librarian keynote speaker, Virginia Kantra said, the need for stories hasn’t changed. We shouldn’t wait until we’re dead for someone else to tell our story. If you are a writer or a storyteller, tell your story now.

“Use your words. Find your voice. Don’t be afraid to share yourself, to tell your story. Your experience matters.” I felt Virginia was speaking straight to me. For years I’ve ducked my head afraid to speak. I felt no one wanted to hear what I had to say. I wasn’t even sure what it was I wanted to say. Who am I and why does my story matter?

Each time I brave a new crowd whether it is online or in person, I discover many people feel the same way I do. They want to be heard but they are unsure of the message they want to deliver. They want to think about it and speak with care often losing their opportunity to voice their views. As writers we can tell our side through our characters’ perspective. We can show readers our stories without preaching. We don’t have to raise our voices to be heard over the crowd because in the silence of the pages a whisper has much greater impact.

If you are a writer and you don’t have a writers’ group, you need one. Whether it is online or in person, a writer’s group offers support and a sense of community to what is a very lonely profession. I joined the Romance Writer’s of America in 2009 after attending a Romantic Times Convention. I was lucky enough to have been chosen for the first Ann Peach Scholarship for New Writers where I met the late author, Judi McCoy. She encouraged us to believe in ourselves, our craft and to find others who shared our passion. With a love of romance, I joined RWA and later the Heart of Carolina, our local chapter. I also went in search of a writer’s group closer to home and found the Pamlico Writer’s Group.

Well, I should get ready for my next program, I’m hosting a Writer’s Block Meet Up. Do you suffer from writer’s block?  

Posted in Thoughts

Learning to Self-edit

I posted this previously on the Pamlico Writers’ website under Word Detective. Finding the right word isn’t always the problem. Sometimes spelling or using it correctly, is the problem. The more I write and the more I participate in writing challenges, the better my writing becomes.

Words not use or over use. Now I’m taking this from my own manuscript. These are words and phrases and things I did too much of. I’ll start with a quote from the illustrious Mark Twain via Jon Winokur @AdviceToWriters, “Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very”, your editor will delete it and the writing will be as is should be.”
My first and I kind of caught this myself but my critique partners said, no, it’s no longer cute if everyone is doing it. Rolled his/her eyes, it was bad enough I even had my character comment that her eyes would stick if she kept doing it and then he rolled his eyes. Too much of a good thing.
The next was shaking his/her head, he/she shook their head, a whole lot of shaking going on. I searched for other ways to show it either with dialogue or another action. Example 1: She shook her head, smiling. “Yes, that’s what I want.” Okay, that’s not too bad unless you have a lot of shaking. After a while all the characters resemble bobble-head dolls. Example 2: She nodded, smiling. “Yes, that’s what I want.” Again, not awful but I have even more nods than I do shakes and, yep, that bobble-head thing is still happening. Let’s change it completely. Example 3: “Yes.” Tears filled her eyes as she clapped her hands together bringing them to her lips, she said, “That’s what I want.” No more bobble-head, the emotion is stronger and more visual.
The list continues:
Shrug down saw/see/seen wait inside feel/felt
Glare blinked do/done met glance frown
Sigh check know/knew face grip gaze
Suck like think/thought shift act up
Turn return took/take stare still meet
Look blush sure meet could believe
Change try/tried would/should can will that
Smile started it/it’s/its

I am sure these are only a few of my faux pas in writing. In your rough draft, you will make these mistakes unless you are a disciplined writer. I am not, I just put my fingers to the key board and write. I make up my own contractions even. But as I’m reading over my work afterwards, I look for those mistakes. I also ask my friends and family to read for me and I do a search and destroy. With my Word document, I can go into editing and find words. It will tell me how many times certain words show up. Like “that” 85 times!! That should rarely be included in your manuscript, I know that but because it’s an easy word to use, I used it a lot.
I used “do” 42 times and “like” 51. Some weren’t as bad but “very” 22 times, and as Mark Twain said, shouldn’t be used in writing at all. We each have our fall back words, place holders if you will. Do the editing, have others read and thank goodness for computers that can give us the information we very much need.
Happy hunting, I mean writing.