The Advantage of Writing Competitions

Write to see victoryThere are many opportunities open to aspiring writers today that were rare privileges years ago. The traditional publishing system has taken a back step to the rage of self-publishers and that has brought about a whole new era of book marketing and publishing.

Today, literally anyone can write anything and have it published. No censors. No standards. No one to say it’s loaded with typos and format errors. This seems like a great reprieve for new authors who are desperate to get their work out there without any restrictions, but it’s not necessarily a good thing if they want to produce quality material.

Ideally, every person who wants to become a writer should take some kind of literacy course so they know how to plot a story, how to use correct grammar and spelling, and how to properly insert dialogue to make the story really dynamic. If you’re creative and have the gift to write, then why not perfect it and make it worth reading?

However, few new aspiring writers take any writing courses, and even fewer give any attention to the market or what is in demand. But for those writers who want to improve their writing skills but who don’t have the finances for any courses, a great training tool may be to enter writing contests.

These contests are more than just added venues to display written work. They have guidelines and restrictions that will train aspiring writers to adhere to specifics, which in turn will polish their writing skills. These competitions not only challenge the writer, but they teach them some great lessons.

Contests often have selected outlines to write to, and this encourages the writers to create a title that not only applies to their story, but draws in the reading audience. Poor titles turn away readers and good titles invite them.

They usually have a specific word count to write within and this trains the aspiring writer to write the story with as much packed information as possible into a specific number of words. When a story has too many words to describe something that could be done in few words, readers are often put off – confused – bored with reading. A shorter, well worded description will captivate readers and keep them reading.

2352972915_f7d4b70c6a_mSpelling typos and grammar errors are something that editors check for in writing contests, and knowing this the aspiring writers will take the time to edit their submission for these before they enter their work. This puts them in the habit of editing before publishing.

Most writing contests have a specific story line that is to be used and this is a great strategy for writers to realize that they are at the mercy of the reader. When the book rage was werewolves every new aspiring writer had a story to write, but as that rage left the books kept coming anyway and they got wasted because no one wanted to read about that anymore. The time was over and a new rage was on. Aspiring writers need to pay attention to what is in demand if they want their stories to be appreciated.

Dialogue is necessary in many stories, but a submission that is all dialogue won’t even make it to the judge’s desk because it can get too confusing to follow, and too many of “he said” and “she said” makes the story boring.  Readers want to read some background and some description so they can use their own imaginations and become part of the plot.

Guidelines are necessary for every competition and are essential for the aspiring writer to read and to follow. When the writer decides to enter the contest and disregards some of the guidelines – or all of them – they show that they have no respect for the competition and in turn, they lose out because their story is tossed out. If you want your story to earn respect, then you need to begin by giving respect.

This author runs a monthly writing competition on LinkedIn and the winners are collected into a yearly anthology that is published each spring. The purpose of these competitions is to give writers an opportunity to write according to the selected title and within the designated guidelines, and to get the best ones published – for free!

Many of the earlier aspiring authors no longer enter the competitions becausestock-photo-a-guy-grabing-his-hair-with-angry-3211190 they’ve learned how to write and are on to bigger and more rewarding challenges. But lately, many of the new aspiring authors submit their stories without reading any of the guidelines, and instead of having their work read and even published their stories are discarded immediately because they did not follow the guidelines.

Following guidelines are crucial when entering writing contests, so if you want to be part of a winning challenge then you must stop putting yourself above the others and start writing what is being asked.

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Writing competitions are opportunities for aspiring writers to get their work out there and read. You may enter many times before you win, but if you learn from each rejection then you’ll continue to improve your skills and move closer to writing a winning story. When the reward is publication, it’s a sure feather in your hat that shows other editors who are waiting in the shadows that you know how to write.

 

If you’re serious about writing and don’t have an opportunity to enrol in courses to improve your skills, then take advantage of writing competitions and learn from them how to become a winner.

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How to Write a Dynamic Story Title

4016721687_42b302e953_tAs readers, we all know that there are titles to certain articles or stories that grab our attention immediately and challenge us to read on, while others send up red flags that say, “Boring. Pass.” So, as authors we need to learn how to impress our readers by learning how to write dynamic titles.

There are basically six things to know about writing titles.

1) The title should introduce the article or story. Many authors treat the title as a label and head their written work with whatever comes to their own mind of reference. This is great for the author’s file, but bad for the reader’s interest. The title must reflect what the content is about. More distinctly, the title should represent the “point” of the content – the highlight or the purpose. Readers who are looking for information on this specific content will be drawn immediately if the title appeals to their own needs and interests. They don’t want to guess at it or be mislead and read an article that really didn’t help them.

2) 523705_397703833603601_270229513017701_1149158_770611845_nThe title should be short and to the point. We live in a fast-paced world that boasts of “instant” everything and that includes titles to written work. A long, drawn out title not only takes too long to read, but it’s boring. The title must fit within the three-second window of reading it out loud. Anything longer than that will be passed over because no one wants to take the time to read a long title and then have to think if this might be what they’re looking for.

3) The title should challenge the reader.  Since the internet has become a digital replacement for libraries and resource centers, many readers search online for information to help them with something. If the article you’re writing is to provide information, then use titles such as, “How to” or “Tips for” or “Reasons to”. These titles catch the reader’s attention right away, especially if he or she is looking for instructions or information on something as a quick reference.

4) The title should follow title format. Titles should always have each word begin in Upper Case with the exception of words with two letters or less, with three-letter adjectives such as “the” and conjunctions such as “and”.  One of the most frequent errors that I see in writing titles comes from within my online short story competition group where writers will only use upper case on the first word of the title and lower case for the rest of the words. The title is not part of the body and needs to be written in title format, not body format.  (You can click here to learn about prepositions.)

5) The title should be easy to remember.  girl thinkingAuthors want their work to spread quickly among the groups of readers and the best way to do this is through word-of-mouth. Nothing puts a writer’s work onto the back of the shelf faster than a title that readers can’t remember. And nothing puts the article on the front of the shelf faster than a title that is on the tip of every reader’s tongue.

6) The title should use SEO words.   Computer screen and hand with cardSearch Engine Optimization is a system where major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing will select specific words based on demand and popularity.  So if a reader is searching for information on how to build solar panels, and that is what your article is about, you need to learn what words readers are using to search for this information and then have them included in your title. Click here to learn more about SEO.

7) The title needs to be unique and not one that’s already used. Sometimes it pays to do a bit of research and see if the title you want has already been taken.  You want your title be the only one of its kind so that when readers search for it, they’ll see it right away and not have to shuffle through a page of similar titles to find it.

8) Finally, the title does not end with a period, nor does it have quotations around it. Punctuation is reserved for the body unless some of the short-form words require it such as “it’s” or “wouldn’t”.

Since the title is the first thing that readers will see, it should be a strong introduction to the quality of writing by the author. If the title attracts readers then it also helps to establish the credibility of author’s work. The same rule applies to a badly written title because if it turns away readers, it also prevents the author from being recognized and their writing from being read.

Whether you decide on your title first and then write the story around it, or write the story first and choose a title from the content, make sure the title is one that will grab the attention of your designated reading audience. This is one instance where first impressions really do count.

8 Tips to Being a Professional Writer

Write to see victoryMost aspiring writers want to uphold the element of pride as they try to write and present their work as professional as possible. So, how do aspiring writers look professional?

The first thing you do is realize that you’re not a recognized author yet, and that there are things you need to learn as you travel the path that leads you to success. Here are eight tips that will help you toward that goal.

1. Read the guidelines. Whether you’re entering a writing competition or submitting a manuscript to a publisher, there are specific requirements for each kind of submission that must be met. You need to understand what each particular publisher is looking for and submit to their demands; it does not work the other way around.

When publishers see that you adhere to their requests and expectations, they will keep you in the corner of their mind even if your current entry is rejected or doesn’t win. They’ll see that you are submissive and talented and will look forward to each future entry with hopeful potential. However, when you disregard what they have plainly stated they’re looking for, your name gets flagged and they’ll simply disregard all future submissions.

2. Check for typos. Publishers are easily turned off when the work they read is filled 2352972915_f7d4b70c6a_mwith typos. In fact, some won’t even read past the first typo because they feel that the author hasn’t edited it properly and that it is not their job to edit it for them.

3. Check for the use of correct grammar. When the grammar is correct, the story flows easily and properly and will captivate the publishing editor. But, when incorrect grammar is used, such as “there instead of they’re” or “your instead of you’re”, they are quickly put off and will assume that the author doesn’t know how to write.

4. Check your facts. If you’re writing a non-fiction of any kind, make sure that your facts are correct and supported with authentic reference. Many publishers will list the sites that they will and will not accept, so make sure you know which sites to use for reference. Never state a fact that you don’t support, and never “assume” any fact as your opinion for most non-fiction writing, with the exception of a first person article or story.

5. Be consistent. If you’re writing in the first person [with you being the narrator] then you need to keep that voice going throughout the story, and if you’re writing with a main protagonist, then you need to keep the protagonist’s thoughts and words as the main thought. This means that you can write what she is thinking and why, but you can’t know what other characters are thinking so you would draw conclusions from their actions only.

6. Keep the story tense consistent. If you’re writing in the past, keep it in the past and don’t bring in words that refer to the present or the future. Each paragraph must maintain this consistency even though you can skip ahead or go back in time through the character’s thoughts or actions in other paragraphs. Many aspiring writers use words such as “was” and “is” in the same paragraph and this is incorrect.

7. Never give quotes without permission. You can’t say that John Doe, for example, said such and such and then write the quote without that person’s permission. What you would do if you wanted to use their quote is state that it was published in a certain place and that you are repeating it.

An example would be, “It was reported in the Central Star Magazine in July of 2012 that John Doe said, ‘Mr. Smith joked to me several times that he was taking money from petty cash.’” This allows the statement to be said without any consequences coming back to you, and readers can verify the statement through the source in which it was originally given.

8. Use easy flowing character names. Even though authors today include many cultures in their stories and even though some of their names may be long and difficult to pronounce, you need to give your characters names that roll off the tongue. Nothing steals the reader’s captivity faster than a name that they can’t pronounce. So, even if the name is authentic for the character you need to state at the onset that the name is this, but she known to everyone as this.

Publishing editors look for these details in every story an author submits, and they not only make the submission worth reading, but they describe the author’s credentials and become the key that will lead to success.

* If you enjoyed reading today’s blog, please subscribe and have every new post sent directly to your inbox. Thank you.

* Please visit my site and enjoy free reading excerpts from all of my books, which include four books in the action-adventure series, Misadventures of Sarah Davies, one adult suspense, Web Secrets, and one Inspirational, Let Faith Arise!

 

 

Believable Characters

6350139368_1ec582b9e3_mMany aspiring authors have no concept as to how the characters build a story OR how they draw in the readers. Some have a favorite name or personality that they want to write about and just put them into the story without matching that character with the reality of the story line. One thing that every good writer knows is that choosing believable characters is as important as writing a dynamic plot.

How to Create Characters

168706169First of all, we need to have one protagonist – that is, one main character who is the hero or the star of the book or story. This will be someone who the reader can identify with and who will be the one character of the story that will captivate them into wanting to read more stories from the same author. Remember Nancy Drew? But then sometimes there are two characters who work as a team throughout the story and who both take the lead in characters. Remember the Hardy Boys?  There were hundreds of books to these two series because the readers loved these main characters and wanted to read more.

Secondly, there needs to be secondary characters that the readers can also relate to, but there shouldn’t be too many or else there will be confusion.  This number would depend on the story, but it’s usually between four and six. Remember the TV show, Friends? The show was about six characters, but each episode usually involved only one or two of them, and the rest became secondary characters.

Then there needs to be add-on characters that challenge the main characters. 535274267_5a1604bf87_mThese would be ones who have small, yet necessary, roles in the story. There can be many throughout the story because their part is usually small, but unique. An example could be a boss who challenges the main character’s abilities, or a store clerk or the paper boy who throws the newspaper into the bushes every day.

The names of the characters are as important as the characters. They need to be easy to pronounce so they roll off the tongue and don’t cause the reader to stop their captivation with the story to try to pronounce the name. An example might be a character whose full name is Ziggliangilola – not easy to pronounce – but one that can be shortened to Ziggy.

The dialogue of the characters has to match the persona of the characters.  If a character is a visitor from Australia, for example, he or she may have very different expressions or not be up on all the latest American jargon. They may even have a poor understanding of the English language. As an author we need to write their dialogue correctly into the story. And we have to make sure that the wording, expressions and speech matches the age bracket, as well.

Character dress code is also important to ensure the reality of the story.  The story may be about teens, for example, but an old or older character likely won’t dress the way teens do in America today. And teens from other countries may also have their own standards for dress codes.

The time or era of the story and the props must also match the characters in dialogue, dress code and mannerisms to make the story real. For example, if we’re writing about a teen situation in the 50’s, we would not talk about cell phones or texting because that was not in existence at that time. As well, if we’re including older characters, they may not be fluent in the use of electronics and the art of texting, so we need to be wise in how we deal with these issues in our story.

Reality in stories will draw in the reading audience. We can’t write a story about a time in history or a specific culture or even a real life incident without learning some of the background information first. It’s not enough to guess; we need to know for sure because our readers will find the flaw right away. Readers enjoy great fiction stories, but there has to be enough reality in it for them to connect to the plot and to the characters.

So, if we have a specific character in mind, then we can write that character into the story and know that their lifestyle, dialogue, habits and mannerisms are believable for the age, culture, era, education and general persona of that character. Of course, a fantasy or a satire may be the exception to the rule, but for most fiction stories, believable characters add strength and quality to the story.

4016721687_42b302e953_tThe Clever family from the “Leave it to Beaver” TV series would be written very differently in today’s world and that’s because there are changes in lifestyle that would adversely change the characters and the plot. So, if we’re writing a story with the Clever’s lifestyle and era in mind, then we need to do a little research to make sure the characters and the plot are believable for that time.

 

Favorable characters captivate the reader and put us on the road to giving them a best seller!

* I’ve written an action-packed series called The Misadventures of Sarah Davies, which is about a modern-day young adult who is always at the right place, but at the wrong time. She is the protagonist in all four books and her cousin and two guy friends are the secondary characters that bring her character to light. Check these books out at my website where you can read excerpts from each book. They would make an awesome yet inexpensive Christmas gift for any young adult reader. Raging Waters for Booktango

 

 

 

 

Author with a Purpose!

downtownmichaelAn author friend of mine, Michael Brown – you may know him as the sax player for the rock group Sha Na Na – wrote an emotional book about his wife’s battle with cancer. He was featured on this blog a few months ago with his book, “Finding NED: No Evidence of Disease”, but now he has taken another mighty step in his mission to teach people about this horrendous disease.

Next month, Michael Brown will go on tour to share his heartbreaking story of his wife’s battle with melanoma cancer, and his hope is to share with over 2500 high school students across the country how to prevent this disease. The tour is called, “Amanda’s Message Tour.”

The tour starts on November 12th in Erie, PA and will continue through eleven other U.S cities including Mansfield and Cincinnati, OH; Owensboro, KY, St. Louis and Springfield, MO; Mustang, OK; Amarillo, TX; Albuquerque, NM; Winslow and Kingman, AZ; and Las Vegas, NV. The tour will benefit the Melanoma Education Foundation.

This tour is inspired by the book that Michael Brown published in 2012, “Finding NED: No Evidence of Disease,” where he shares in passionate detail the story of his dear wife Amanda, and the horrors that she endured right up until her death.

Michael recalls, “After hearing him intone, ‘Michael, sit down, I have some bad news,’ my entire body went limp and my brain numb. He proceeded to tell me what no loved one ever wants to hear.”

“Finding NED: No Evidence of Disease” is a compilation of his wife’s journal entries that untitledare interspersed with his own thoughts and memories as he recalls walking with her down the long painful journey. He shares the struggles and the sorrows that came with his wife’s cancer.

Published by Tate Publishing and Enterprises, the book is available through bookstores nationwide, from the publisher at http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore, or by visiting barnesandnoble.com or amazon.com.

Michael is looking for people to support this tour – people who know what it is to lose someone to cancer and who would like to be part of something big that can help prevent others from getting it. Please help Michael make this tour a success and visit his website “Amanda’s Message Tour,” for details on this fundraiser. Whether you give one dollar or a thousand dollars, every gift brings this tour closer to success – closer to helping the sunbathing teens of America know about melanoma cancer, a dangerous and preventable disease.

 

Grammatical Errors Will Hurt You

chicky2There are many aspiring authors who are trying desperately to be recognized for their written work, but who will more accurately be branded as authors who don’t know how to write because of their improper use of grammar. I read a lot of articles and short stories for different writers and I notice that these errors are occurring far too often in the professional world.

I read an ad today that was put out by a realtor in his description of a property that he had listed for sale – a beautiful property, I might add. The very first line read, “If your looking for a spectacular country property with city amenities than this is the home for you.” I loved the property, but this first sentence with two obvious grammatical errors made me question the credibility of this business person.

The word “your” is frequently used incorrectly. It refers to something that belongs to or relates to a person, known or unknown, who is being spoken to. Yet, it is often used in the place of the word, “you’re”, which is an abbreviation for the words “you are”.

Some examples would be, “This is your house.” “How is your father?” “What is your name?” These sentences would not read properly if they were written using the unabbreviated form of “you’re” -  “This is you are house”, “How is you are father?” or “What is you are name?” These sentences would not make any sense at all.

But more noticeably is the reverse of this error where people will use the word “your” to mean “you are”.  Errors such as “Your welcome” or “Please let me know what time your coming” are being made constantly and it shows that the writer is not a professional writer. I read these in different online postings and that alone is a poor representation of the writer, but I see this just as often in published articles and short stories.

The second most popular error that I’ve noticed in my reviews just happens to be in the same sentence that I quoted above, and that is the word “than”. It is very often mixed up with the word “then” and yet the writers do not seem to be aware of the difference in their meanings.

The word “than” is a conjunction that is used to introduce a rejected alternative in contrast between two alternatives for the purpose of stating a preference.  For example, “I like the red one better than the blue one.” Another one might be, “I won’t walk more than five miles.” The word “than” refers to a preference.

The word “then” is an adverb that can indicate a specific time in the past or in the future, OR can depict an order or position of timing. Some examples of this might be, “I remember all the fun we had then” [referring to a time in the past], or “Write your short story and then edit it” [referring to the order in which to do something].

A third grammatical error that I find just as annoying is the confusion of the words, there, their and they’re.

The word “there is an adverb and can be used in several different applications. One is to indicate a place or point in time that is distant from the person in subject such as, “Let’s go over there and check it out”. It also refers to completion of a task as in, “Once we get there, we’ll decide what to eat”.  The word is also used to identify someone or something such as, “They ate the food that was there”. It can also be used to begin a sentence to introduce something that exists such as, “There was a song playing on the radio”. Another meaning is the reference in respect to something such as, “I understand what you are saying there”.

The word “their” is an adjective that refers to the ownership of a specific group of people. An example of this is, “This is their cat”. It also refers to the ownership of him or her, such as, “It’s up to them to make up their own mind”.

The word, “they’re” is an abbreviated word meaning “they are”. Some examples of this meaning might be, “They’re all in the kitchen”, or “They’re wonderful people”.

The invention of texting and the need to short form as many words as possible has likely 2352972915_f7d4b70c6a_madded to the dilemma of using these and many other words incorrectly, and that’s fine for casual chat amongst friends. However, in the professional world writers should maintain proficient writing habits and ensure that they use the correct words for the intended context.

This may be a pet peeve for me, but it’s also a strike against the professionals who are trying to impress the world with their expertise in whatever business they are promoting. When editors read manuscripts and see errors like this at the beginning, they will toss the entire project to the side because they realize the authors are not professional writers and they don’t have the time or the interest to train them.

So, whether you’re writing a short story, an article or a novel, make sure that there aren’t grammatical errors that will turn editors away because then you will have the confidence to know that your work will be judged on its merits and not on their negative opinion of you as an unskilled writer.

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If you are not sure that you are using the correct grammar, go to the Grammar Checker and get it edited. It’s FREE and it will help you to write professionally.

 

 

The Quest of One Man in a World of Terror

31b082dMy friend and published author, Gerard de Marigny, has written a series of books featuring Cris De Niro, the world’s most indispensable security agent. It’s called the Archangel Series and it’s a combination of creative fiction, real facts, implacable fear and highlighted captions of his own wit and humor.

After the horrific terrorist attack on America on September 11, 2001 The_Watchman_of_Ephraim-AmazonCoverthat claimed the life of a close friend, Gerard de Marigny was inspired to write his first fiction book, THE WATCHMAN OF EPHRAIM. This is where we first meet Cris De Niro and where we realize his hurt and his anger as he deals with the loss of his wife who was killed in the attack. De Niro is left to cope with his children and the reality that the world is going into chaos and it needs to be protected against further terrorism.

Watch this video as Gerard talks about The Watchman and why he wrote it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=il-9HcObLVc

Signs_of_War-AmazonCover

 

With his first book being such a hit, de Marigny went on to write his second book, SIGNS OF WAR, and once again Cris De Niro is on a mission to stop secret terrorists from destroying innocent lives.

 

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RISE TO THE CALL is the third in the series and Gerard’s imagination and ability to  keep readers hanging just keeps getting better and better.

 

 

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PROJECT 111 is his latest release and this, too, will keep you glued to the chair as you read faster and faster to see who wins the battle.

 

 

Coming this fall is the fifth book to this action-packed series, NOTHING SO GLORIOUS, and this book will open your eyes even more to the trepidation of terrorism and the need for the God of Heaven to watch over us – through Cris de Niro.

Please visit Gerard de Marigny’s website and check out his dynamic collection and then get ready …

…for the adrenalin rush of a lifetime.

G2

Where do You Start When You Want to Write a Book?

2284950973_c1ced20b93_mMany aspiring writers have thought about writing a book, but have no idea how or where to begin. The more they think about it, the more complex and confusing it gets, and before long the idea is tossed to the side from frustration. But out of sight is not always out of mind if it’s something you really want to do. So where do you start when you want to write a book?

The first thing you need to do is select your reading audience. Do you want to write for children or adults? Do you want it to be fiction or non-fiction, mystery or action-packed, picture book or novel? You need to know this before you begin so that you can know how to write it, what kind of words to use and what dialogue to add.

When you know what you want to write, you need to get yourself a notebook that you can use to outline the plot of the book. You take the thoughts you have and you WRITE THEM DOWN, and you would begin with the basic outline of the story. It doesn’t have to be detailed, just the basic idea. An example would be: “This is a children’s story book about a little girl, Missy; she’s maybe seven years old; she spends a week on her grandparent’s farm; she meets a new friend and finds a little kitten that she has to hide because she wants to give it to Nana at her upcoming birthday party.”

This simple outline is known as the “pitch”, and it’ll be the benchmark that you relate to as you’re writing to keep168706169 yourself in check throughout the writing venture. It will remind you what your story is about so that your writing won’t wander off the subject.

Then you’ll need to list the characters that will be in the story. You’ll want to have one protagonist and one or two secondary characters. You don’t want too many because you’ll lose the readers. They need to be able to relate to one of the main characters and if there are too many then the story becomes complicated and the children won’t want to read it. As well, you’ll need one or two background characters that are part of the story. You’ll also want to list other characters that do short appearances such as a clerk in the grocery store or the newspaper boy.

So, for this book you’d list:

Main protagonist – Missy

Other main characters – Hailey

Secondary characters – Nana and Papa

Background characters – the lady at the market, the newspaper boy, guy down the street, Hailey’s mom

If the background characters will have a name, then list those names as well because since these characters are not always present, it’s easy to forget what you called them and inadvertently give them two different names throughout the book, and this will confuse the reader. Be very careful that you have researched some background information on the cultures you choose so that your characters are realistic and believable.

You will want to have one main story line, known as the main conflict, and several smaller conflicts to make the story interesting, challenging and exciting. In this story, the main conflict will be that Missy and Hailey find a kitten that they have to keep hidden until Nana’s birthday. Other smaller conflicts might include a thunderstorm, finding a basket to make for a bed, getting the kitten to drink milk, and helping Papa prepare for Nana’s birthday party. Make a list of the smaller conflicts so that you blend them into the story to make it more exciting.

 

4016721687_42b302e953_tBy setting out the story in point form, you are able to plan the entire book more easily. The points don’t have to be written in the  exact order that you list them, but they help you to realize what you want to write about.

Select a location and time for your story that you are familiar with. Do not attempt to write and guess at what it could be or how the people may dress or what their dialogue might be. Readers are smart and they’ll find that flaw immediately and be turned right off. So, keep your details as realistic as possible because it’s these fine points that can build or destroy your credibility as an author.

Other things to consider are when and where to write. If you can schedule a time to write each day when there’s a break in your daily demands such as your job or your family responsibilities, then not only will you use that time productively, but your family will realize that you’re working and hopefully give you the time to write.  It will seem almost futile to try to write in a heavy traffic area where distractions are all around you, so you might want to find a quiet place away from everyone. Take a chair and your lap top into the closet if that’s where you can go to get some privacy.

Once your outline is complete, you can begin to write your story. Sometimes authors choose to get their thoughts onto paper as fast as they can and then edit and re-edit it as much as it takes afterwards. This is a great way to get your story down while you’ve got the drive to do it. Other authors prefer to perfect each chapter as they go. Only you can know which is better for you.

Once you are ready to begin writing, other thoughts and ideas will come at you and there may be many changes and add-ons from the original outline. Write these down, too, so that if for some reason you get busy with life and can’t write for a few days, these great new ideas won’t be lost.

Always stay positive about your book and don’t let anyone’s negative opinion prevent you from doing what you want to do, and that is to write a book. When you’re all finished, take it to an editor and let their constructive criticism help you to produce the next best seller.Best seller

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT IF….the internet was no more?

523705_397703833603601_270229513017701_1149158_770611845_nChildren and  teens have been raised with the internet. It has become part of their very being and is the hub for their social life and their personal entertainment. Who needs TV? Why bother with the movie theater? Where else can they go to play such great games?  And adults love the internet for all these same reasons, plus they can shop and do personal banking right in the comfort of their home - or if they have an iphone, then literally anywhere.  The applications available online are mind boggling and we have come to depend on them for almost everything. But, what if the internet was no more?

Adults over 40 can look back in their lives and remember life without the internet, but most children and teens today have no concept of what life would be without it. Take away their electronic devices for a week – or even a day – and they would be lost, devastated, frustrated and would feel totally isolated from the civilized world.

41FtFA4lYyL__AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-47,22_AA300_SH20_OU15_David Nicholls has written a fiction book called, Outernet, and it’s all about the life-changing experience of losing the internet and how some people dealt with it.  He’s added a few twists and turns in this action-packed thriller that will draw you into the plot and hold you captive.  It’ll make you think; it’ll challenge your imagination; and it’ll even scare you. But you need to get a copy and test yourself so you can know how you would react to a life with no internet.

Outernet is available at Amazon.com in every e-book format. Check it out and read the free  excerpt. Will you be brave enough to read the whole book? Try it – click here.

*if you enjoyed this article, please like it, rate it and even subscribe to my blog so you’ll get them all.

Persuasive Words

253599_552284874793005_1213668136_nHow would you describe this picture? Just a garden or something more?  With the right descriptive words an author can turn a simple garden into a colorful and desirable masterpiece.

Words are the author’s greatest tool to build a good story and when simple words or thoughts are highlighted with descriptive words they can become very powerful suggestions. Authors can influence readers and bring them into their emotional control through words that captivate and persuade.

Words added to a simple thought can literally convince the reader to think like the author. A good example is the sentence, “It is raining”.  From this we learn two things – that the weather is now producing rain and that it’s happening in the present tense. We have no idea how hard it’s raining, how long it might last, what fears or anxieties are being caused by it or what anticipations are triggering the reader’s emotions because of it. All we know is that it is raining.

We can add words to persuade the reader to feel the emotions we want them to feel.

Example 1:

“My heart pounded with excitement as the summer sky quickly gathered the clouds and gently released warm drops that danced on the grass all around me and tickled my skin.”

From this sentence we can feel the romantic attitude of the protagonist and we can sense that the anticipation of the rain has brought forth a relief and a calmness that makes her happy.

Example 2.

“My heart pounded with fear as the rumbling skies quickly became dark, aggressive clouds that pitched chilling rain pellets on the grass all around me and pricked my skin like millions of tiny spikes.”

This example turns the rain into a threatening storm that scares the protagonist, and we can sense that fear through the descriptive – or persuasive – words.

Many authors don’t use descriptive words to their advantage – to captivate the reader. A perfect example is when they use ambiguous or generic words to describe something that could draw the reader deeper into the picture with more description.

Example 1:

“Sarah peeked through the gate and saw a beautiful rose garden. She couldn’t believe that anything could be so beautiful and after a minute she  ran home.”248220_521142997949931_1337045841_n

We know that Sarah saw a beautiful garden, but what does “beautiful” entail? The option is wide open to lure readers into something that will leave them wanting more of what the author has to say. When there is no description it stops there because the word “beautiful” does not paint a picture in the mind.

Example 2:

“Sarah peeked through the iron gate and gasped at the beauty of the rose garden that was hidden on the other side. Large white trellises covered in deep green foliage with vibrant red and pink and yellow flowers lined the back fence. Short single bushes of white and lavender were spread around the old wooden garden swing. The arbour was covered in deep, red blooms and planters spread along the short path were filled with orange and pink roses. She inhaled the intriguing fragrance and then ran home.”  

As readers, we now have a better picture of what “beautiful”  is. We see the rainbow of colors; we note the majesty of the garden and its size; and our senses are aroused to appreciate the alluring rose fragrance from the page. Readers need descriptive words to paint the picture so they can imagine it in their own minds.

At the same time, we don’t want to swing too far with the pendulum and add too many descriptive words because that will cause confusion and boredom.

Example 1:

“The drive was really, really long and it was so boring and totally uninteresting, and I hated being in the small, overcrowded little car for such a long period of time.”

The author has possibly broken the thought pattern through the use of redundant descriptive words.

Example 2:

“I hated the long and boring drive in the little, overcrowded car.”

The words are easier to read as they flow from the tongue and everything that was needed to be said was said in fewer words.

We don’t want to write paragraphs of description because that will steal from the captivation of the story and will prevent the reader from staying on the path that we’ve set out for them. As well, we don’t want to add too many adjectives to describe one thing or incident because it’s a story, not an English essay.

What we want to do is give enough description to keep the readers caught up with the story so that they won’t want to put the book down. We want them to feel what we want them to feel, and to see what we want them to see and to react how we want them to react by adding some selective descriptive words – persuasive words that bring our thoughts to life in a world that the reader can live in.4951618678_0fda13d84b_m