Friday, August 31, 2012

Five Weak Words that Make Your Writing Less Effective

Five Weak Words that Make Your Writing Less Effective

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Book Review - Blood Rights (House of Commare Series) by Kristen Painter

Blood Rights by Kristen Painter was an interesting, yet frustrating read.  The world building and mythology behind the book were wonderful.  The invention of the blood slaves bought and owned by Vampires was intriguing.  I enjoyed the fact that the blood slaves were not mere donors who had no more skill then to be good in bed.  Painter did a great job at making them formidable fighters and quite intelligent as well.

I enjoyed the main male character Mal.  He was every part the brooding, lonely male Vampire in need of some companionship and understanding.  Outcast from his society because of his previous crimes, I found it an interesting twist that he is living on a ship in port, as opposed to a fallen into ruin house.  I also liked that he was not rich as King Midas.  Those two elements brought a very updated feeling to the story.  His desire for Chrysabelle and his torture for not feeling he deserved her, was genuine.  His not wanting to get involved as a means of self preservation, also genuine.  All in all, I like Mal.  He is the one I cared most about and wanted to see a happy ending for.

Chrysabelle is a decent female, though confusing at times by her words and behavior.  Torn between moving forward and wanting to go back, I found it hard to decide if I liked her or not.  At times she wants Mal to feed from her, and at others she says he sees he as just food.  She refuses to let go of her traditions, though she clearly wants to become her own person.  That worked in the first book.  It worked a bit in the second book.  But by the third book, all I could think was, "Come on now, move on!"

The villain Tatiana I thought was a good yet predictable character.  You don't find out till the end who she really is, but you see it coming hundreds of pages earlier.  She is selfish and self serving.  Goes through men like clothing, and thinks of no one but herself.  Sounds like most stereotypical Vampire women.

I must say.  I read the first three books in the series, thinking they were the only three books in the series.  They got a bit strange in the last two, with the love triangle not working well , in my opinion.  I read all three books, through the stripping off of Chryabelle's sacred symbols that make her blood pure, to her finding a way to get them put back on.  Through a ghost who is dead, but not dead when she wants to have sex with her shifter boyfriend.  A villain who loses but then becomes more powerful.  And backwater witches who manage to do an amazing magical feat, which they are truly not powerful enough to do, only so that I could see Chrysabelle and Mal do more than a little light kiss once and again.  To no avail.

I do understand wanting to write a complex relationship and draw out the "will they, won't they" factor as long as possible, to build the moment.  However, this book was listed in the Romance section of Amazon.  And in my opinion, it falls very flat on it's face.  There is little to no romance after the first book. 

So, my opinion is, the world building is great.  The curses and the abilities of the different Vampire houses were very cool and well thought out.  The first book was good enough to make me read more, but the books go down hill from there.  If you are looking for a romance, look somewhere else.  If you are looking for a new take on things, feel free to read this series.  For me, I won't be buying the fourth novel in the series, because frankly, I no longer care.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

3 Great Self Editing Websites

So as I am on the 7th draft of my book Dead Awakenings.  I am focusing soley on the editing factor this time.  My great friend and fellow author Darin Calhoun, has turned me onto three websites that I find to be extremely helpful in editing.

Grammarly has been a wonderful and in depth website that has a myriad of things it will search your work for.  It gives you an explanation as to why you don't use that form, and examples as to how to fix it.  The great thing about grammarly is that you can also down load it and import it into microsoft word, so that you don't have to copy and paste your text into their website.

Editminion is a very easy, free to use website that has no bells and whistles at all. But hey, it's free!  It looks for 8-10 major editing issues and gives you a log you can print out with all of the items needing to be corrected.  It also tells you your most used words.  In my 148,000 word book Dead Awakenings, it told me that I use the word "That" over a thousand times.  It is my most used word. Which I found to be quite comical!

This is my favorite website.  I think this website breaks everything down nicely and easily into sections, making it easier to focus on certain areas.  For instance, unlike you can choose to skip over the adverb, section and look specifically at the ending in preposition section.  In Grammarly, it goes from the beginning of your writing to the end, skipping from one grammar rule to the next, instead of focusing on just one at a time.

All in all, these are great resources that I think would benefit any writer trying to get their manuscript the best they can before sending off for submission, or to a professional editor!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cut it, or Create it the Dilemma!

My book Dead Awakenings has begun to generate a small amount of buzz with a few people in the entertainment industry.  Now before we all get too excited, it was just a few.  And they want to see a script.  Uh...yeah... Oh!  And did I mention they want to see it in the next thirty days?

So here I am sitting with my book, trying desperately to get it ready for Christmas publication, and now I have to switch gears completely and write a script.  But not just A script.  I have to write a feature film version as well as a TV series version, with a 5 year synopsis and at least the first 3 episodes written as well.  You know, nothing too major.

Anyway, so as I was sitting pondering these giant castles that I have to build.  I realized that when you adapt a novel in to a movie, you basically have to play the surgeon.  Nipping and tucking and cutting and stitching everything smaller an smaller to fit inside a beautiful 90-120 minute movie.

And when you write a TV series, you are a creator.  There is so much more time.  So you can take those smaller characters and write them their own stories.  Make them bigger, play with their lives more.  You can show more from the bad guys points of view.  Give them back story and real lives.  All those things that you leave out in a novel, you can now put in, in a TV series. 

So I find myself being sad, that I will have to be a surgeon, but excited at the prospect of being a creator!  And so now, I am off to work on outlining these two castles to try and bring them to life in the next 30 days! 

Pray for me!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

It has Begun!

When I first heard the idea from a friend, four years ago, about a book premise that publishers said they were looking for, I was intrigued.  For days it sat in my mind, like a small flickering ember.  I tried and tried to blow on it and make it grow.  But it didn't work.  Finally I settled on just not letting it die out.

But after a couple of weeks, the embers still glowed and I got an idea.  I got a bit of kindling and sat it on top.  Those idea kindlings caught fire!  And the embers glowed brighter and brighter.  Before I knew it I had more ideas, and I placed the sticks ideas on the fire.  When those caught fire in my brain, I was hooked.

Log upon log I stacked on top of my now brightly burning idea, until I had a complete framework of ideas, strung together and burning brightly in my mind.  That framework became my book Dead Awakenings.

And now, four years later, I have taken that framework, structured it, pounded it, nailed it all together into a house surrounding my initial fire.

Yesterday I received my first Beta reader edit on my book.  It was scary, and amazing at the same time.  I received the review and quickly when through the grammatical problems, noting where I had missed a word, misspelled a word (cringe) or had other problems, and thought, Great!  I made it through!

Then came the plot analysis and character analysis session, and it seems that there are a few leaks in my roof, but my foundation is solid and the walls are still intact! 

So onward and upward I go!  Now to patch up the leaks and furnish my house a bit better, making it as grand and glorious as possible before I set it in the hands of my next group of Beta Readers!

A special Thanx To author Darin Calhoun, who has been my first set of eyes on my novel!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

There is a great website called Screenwriting University.  They have tons of free seminars and online help for writers in general, not just screen writers.

Today on their facebook page they posted a link to a new segment called How to writer a deeper scene, even if it is talking heads.  by Hal Croasmun. 

It is a really great piece.  It breaks down the ending scene from Jerry Maguire and explains why it is such a great scene.  I would suggest to everyone, not just screen writers that you take a look at it and listen to the suggestions.

So many times dialog scenes are just exposition, but these tips can help them be something more.
Thanx Hal for writing this piece and Screenwriting U for publishing it!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

7 Ways to Use Brain Science to Hook Readers and Reel Them In

In my world scientists come in only one variety.  Mad.  As I think of a scientist, I think of a man with crazy red hair and a white lab coat, pouring bubbling mixtures from beaker to beaker waiting for color changes and eventual explosions.  Yup!  That's me. (insert evil cackle)

However, This was a very cool and helpful scientific article about how to hook readers, that I thought was well done in a logical way.  Which is interesting for me, because I am more of an emotional person as opposed to a logical person.

But you can't argue with science, right?  Well, this time I can't!  Here are the main points of the article written by :
Lisa Cron is an instructor in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, and author of Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence. Visit her blog.

Here are the seven main points.  If you would like to read the whole article, which I suggest you do if you are a writer, the link is at the bottom of the page.

1. Surprise Us
2. Make Us Feel It
3. Let Us In On The Protagonist’s Goal
4. Only Tell Us What We Need to Know
5. Give Us Specifics
6. Give Us Conflict
7. It Must Make Sense to Us

I loved this article.  It is short and concise and really hits home with what a novel or a screenplay should strive to do, to get an audience to fall in love with it.
Here's the link:

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Cutting less painful

As I sit listening to the wails of my three year old, who is most despondent from having been told he must clean his room or suffer the execution of his toys into the eternal bid of waste, I think about the cuts I just made to my novel Breeders.  I am struck by the fact that I just cut a seventeen page prologue down to just nine and feel none of the sadness that my wailing son feels.  Therefore I am sure, that it must be a good decision.

I have come a long way over the years.  At first, as a teen writer, I was loathe to cut even a word from my work.  Know that everything that flowed from my brain was pure platinum.  Now, an older and much more season writer I am aware that sometimes, I can add too much.  Therefore leading to a cut.

I like to read fast paced novels without the lag.  Novels that grip you from page one and keep you turning through the night until bleary eyed and mostly incoherent I close the book with bliss on my face, sated by the feeding of books.  Yes, I am a book Vampire at heart.

So when I write a story, and do not find that I myself want to keep turning the pages to see what happens, I know I need to cut.  There are a great many books I have read that I believe could have been better had they simply cut a page or hundred from it.  However, it is not mine to judge.  I can only go forth and cut apart the little slownesses of my own novels to hopefully create works that people want to keep reading.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

First Book Review - Easy by Tammara Webber

Okay!  My first book review on my blog.

Easy - Tammara Webber
A girl who believes trust can be misplaced, promises are made to be broken, and loyalty is an illusion. A boy who believes truth is relative, lies can mask unbearable pain, and guilt is eternal. Will what they find in each other validate their conclusions, or disprove them all?

When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup two months into sophomore year. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she's single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, and failing a class for the first time in her life.

Leaving a party alone, Jacqueline is assaulted by her ex's frat brother. Rescued by a stranger who seems to be in the right place at the right time, she wants nothing more than to forget the attack and that night--but her savior, Lucas, sits on the back row of her econ class, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. Her friends nominate him to be the perfect rebound.

When her attacker turns stalker, Jacqueline has a choice: crumple in defeat or learn to fight back. Lucas remains protective, but he's hiding secrets of his own. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy.

Review -
Let me start by saying I looked at this book for over a month before I finally said, Hey!  It's 4.00 in kindle edition, what are you really out if it sucks?  I waited a month too long to buy it!  The book was great.

The assault scene was hard for me, as someone who went through the aftermaths with a friend who had been assaulted.  That said, I though the author did a good job with it. 

I found the story plot normal, guy loves high school sweetheart, she drops her dreams to follow him, he drops her to sow his oats.  But that is where the basics end with this book.  The new love interest Lucas is such a well written sympathetic bad boy that all you want is for Jacqueline and Lucas to get together.

I found the twists and development of their love story refreshing and sweet.  And the heartbreaking back story to Lucas was not what I was expecting, but very well written.

I give this easy day read 4 out of 5 stars and would read it again and again!

Out with the old...

I finished my fifth draft of Dead Awakenings last night and it was bitter sweet.  Bitter, because I finished, sweet because... I FINISHED!!! 

So now what?  Now I am going to send it to my first beta reader and get his opinion as to what I need to do to change it before I do my last in depth toothbrush on the grindstone editing, and then I will send it out to my other beta readers :)

If you would like to be a beta reader for me just comment here, or on my facebook page or Twitter and I will put you on the list.

So what is next on the docket for me?  Well, I have already begun the next rewrite of my Vampire Romance book Breeders.  I will put up a synopsis in the next couple of days, so stay tuned!

I am off to eat a cookie and then get ready for my Writers Group tonight :)