Friday, August 30, 2013
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Seeing your writing like it is, is a bit like "looking through a glass darkly." There are times you feel as if you've just about made it, other times you wonder, "Have I been wasting away my life doing something I'm not really good at?"
|Photo by: Bohman, courtesy of Flickr|
|Photo by: Pensive Glance, courtesy of Flickr|
Do I struggle with setting, or is it dialogue? And how can I improve?
Do I use the five senses, easily, just like I do in real like when walking the mountain path, or does this aspect of my writing need work?
What about plot? What about grammar? What about theme?
I don't know about you, but I feel as if I'm always learning something new to help me in seeing my writing more clearly. Sure, a well-meaning critique can help, so can a writing class, but in the end it's about seeing my writing, really seeing it. I need to let go of excuses. I need to let go of feeling sorry for myself. I need to hold my chin up and keep writing. I need to keep learning.
Perfection isn't possible, but improvement is.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
|Photo by: arimoore, courtesy of Flickr|
Because, when it comes to writing, I sometimes find myself doing the same thing for my main character. You know, protecting him or her from the ills of life. Instead of having her face the "giant" I have her finding out the truth early on and walking away from "him."
Telling the truth is important, and sometimes, even in real life it comes out bluntly.
You may have a character that is truthful to a "hurtful" fault, and you may have another that cannot see who they are and are always pretending to be someone they're not. Both of these scenarios work in a book of truth telling; but a character that shy's away from danger just because you don't want him to "feel bad" is not the truth.
The truth is, you may not want your character to have to go through difficult stuff, and this will hurt your story.
You need tension.
|Photo by: Leonard John Matthews, courtesy of Flickr|
You need a character who struggles and overcomes.
And you can only do that as a writer if you tell your readers the truth.
Monday, August 26, 2013
2. How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?
6. How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?
7. What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?
8. Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.
My project-in-mind, on the back burner, is a small book about some spiritual adventuring I have tried over the years and its results.
(I am well into March 2014 for author interviews, but if you'd like to be interviewed, or know of a writer who would, drop me a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Friday, August 23, 2013
Learn more about Nancy at:
Thursday, August 22, 2013
But sometimes the task is necessary.
Sometimes, you have terrific characters, a nice setting, but the plot? Well, it sucks.
There is not enough intrigue, not enough tension, not enough (dare I say it) problems in the book to make the reader continue to read until the last page. Or you may have a lot going on in terms of problems, but the problems are all over the place and don't necessarily reflect the main struggle your primary character is going through.
|Photo by: @Doug88888, courtesy of Flickr|
Yes, I'm well aware that some books don't need that climb up the mountain (such as a memoir, for example) but most books need the intrigue. They need the tension.
Without it, you have nothing but beautiful words that lead the reader to the kitchen for a bite to eat.
Starting over isn't all bad. You have the characters in place. You have the setting. Now, create some problems for the character that continue to get worse (based on the main issue) before they get better.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
I wanted to focus today specifically on the reviewer who reviewed this book, and share some good things that she accomplished on her blog that you can do on yours to bring in the readers.
1. The photo of my book is large; probably the largest I've seen on a website. And this is good if you've got the space. There is no missing it.
2. The blogger has included a brief description of the book; something short to give readers a heads-up on what the book is about.
3. She has also included many links. Not only within the copy, but at the end of the article. People love to clink on links.
4. There is also an excerpt of my book. Read the first few pages of my book (including links that I have added in the copy) for free.
5. My book trailer is included; something most bloggers don't add, (including myself). But what I know about trailers is that people like to watch them.
6. Her review is included.
7. The post ends with my own thoughts about how and why I write.
Many writers consider marketing the hard part about being an author, and while I agree, I also think there are many, many things a writer can do to get their work out there that aren't so tough. Here's a link to the post.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
The void was palatable.
Before leaving she said, "I guess it's time to get back to reality."
Her reality? Raising two girls, working full time and trying to keep up with everything else.
Well, it's this, and starting up with my mentoring again, and pretty much doing a catch up. It's what we all do when we return from vacation.
Still, her "well used" comment, made me wonder.
|Photo by: nualabugeye, courtesy of Flickr|
Is it only about the work? Is it only taking care of our children or making a quick trip to the grocery store? Or is it something more?
I'd like to consider those times that I get that "ah-ha" when I'm writing, a reality. I'd also like to think that writing without really thinking, is the best way to write; when I'm really tapped into the best kind of reality, because that's when my writing flows.
Reality. What is it for you?
I hope it's not all about work, but that it is also, for you, about vacation; those times, when you kick back a little and breathe in all that the world has to offer.
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
We will be having a splendid time vacationing the next few days, so I wanted to give you a heads-up on upcoming posts.
I won't be writing anything new until next Tuesday, that's that 20th. That means you'll not see an author interview on Monday the 19th, or any of my other lovely posts.
But don't despair.
There are plenty of posts to catch up on if you haven't already, and I expect you'll find at least one gem to take you until Tuesday, whether the post is on writing, publishing, marketing, or simply what I do on a day I have no idea what to write.
|My grand-daughter Bekah|
Until then, happy writing, publishing and marketing!
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
And you'd be right.
But there is also that other side of editing, the side called choice, when it's really is up to you to decide how you want your story to go. Allow me to share some examples:
|Photo by: the Italian voice, courtesy of Flickr|
2. Editing and editing and editing, for the sake of making something "perfect" will usually ruin a nice piece of writing. Edit. Stop. Pass your manuscript on to someone else. Have them edit. Read your manuscript again. Edit for a final time. You may even want to edit after two weeks of shelving your manuscript, but edit and then move on.
3. Move on! Once you've finished that first chapter, move on to chapter two, don't try and fix chapter one. Move forward. Get at least halfway through your book before going back to chapter one and trying to fix it. This will keep you from staying on chapter one forever more.
4. Incomplete sentences work sometimes. Made up words work sometimes. It's okay to break the rules, but make sure the sentence or paragraph works.
5. If you're going through a traditional publisher, you will have less control of what is edited; so be aware. If you feel strongly about a scene, a phrase or even a word change, mention your concerns to your publisher. You may win them over, but you may not.
|Photo by: Sean MacEntee, courtesy of Flickr|
Editing is kind of like cleaning out a cluttered room. Sure, you want to get rid of excess baggage, but you also want to keep the natural beauty intact.
Monday, August 12, 2013
Mark Messick has also dabbled in short story writing
(see end of interview).
~ What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?
Friday, August 9, 2013
In this life, there are many and varied opportunities; many of them good. But that doesn't mean you must tackle each and every one you encounter.
Like writing, life is filled with these choices. And like writing, you must be open to weeding out and taking in.
Balance is often a difficult place to find. And I think this is because so much of the 'daily' stuff is always vying for our attention. The trick is, not to get overwhelmed with it all but to make time for writing, for family, and for personal renewal.
|Photo by: Shira Golding, courtesy of Flickr|
One of my favorite singers is Hilary Weeks. She's a Christian singer who has a song about this very thing. About not washing the dishes in favor of spending time with her loved ones The song's called "If Only I had Today." Click here to read the lyrics. Listen to the song here.
Do yourself a favor. If you feel as if your plate is full with all you have to do, both writing and otherwise, take a moment and just take the song in.
Have a great day!
Thursday, August 8, 2013
But consider a romance; one that keeps you jumping. Will they ever get back together? Will he ever tell her why he doesn't want to get married?
Sometimes the secret is for the character; the reader knows, at other times, neither the character nor the reader has an inkling of what's going to happen next.
|Photo by: @Doug88888, courtesy of Flickr|
Why does she come to the park alone?
Consider a novel that spells it all out and never leaves anything to the imagination, or worse, tells you what everyone is thinking and the secrets they've been keeping. Consider knowing it all in the first chapter. Would you want to go on to chapter 2?
Of course not.
Secrets, well kept, still lend themselves to some hints, of course. You want to lead the reader along, probably not by a dog collar, but by a thin thread that keeps them wanting more. The secrets can be between the characters, or the secrets can be between the author and the page. In either case, keeping secrets adds great tension to your story and keeps the interest rising.
Why doesn't he tell her he's been previously married? Why does she act so strangely around cats? What makes him cower whenever he sees a mushroom?
Sometimes secrets are meant to be kept, and when it's time to release them, timing is everything. Like a perfect ending to a less than perfect life, you want your reader to feel rewarded for having spent the time trying to figure it all out.
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Since I married into the Jones name, I often smile when people say things like,
"Just trying to keep up with the Jones'."
|Photo by: booyaa, courtesy of Flickr|
Since I am a Jones, I'll be the first one to admit there's not a lot for you to keep up with. I don't write in every genre, I don't make tons of money or drive a new car. I just purchased a house that was built in 1964.
But I think that many writers (myself included) often get trapped into thinking that they need to keep up with it all. A book a year, daily marketing, monthly classes and teaching opportunities... and do everything equally well.
You want to sell books, right?
I'm of the firm opinion that the best thing a writer can do in the selling of his/her books is to take one thing at a time. No one person can be the ultimate writer if he/she is too busy marketing their books. A great marketer needs time to write. There are opportunities to take classes, read books on writing, and even teach a few, but none of these things need to happen at the same time.
Instead of keeping up with your favorite writer, and all you believe he/she does to make his/her books a success, consider what you want to do to make your books a success, and focus in on a few things rather than on many.
While it's true that a good book is essential to success, so is marketing, and so is every other writing opportunity out there. For me, if I make my primary focus writing, and second to that marketing, I don't have to keep up with anyone. I just do what I can.
I may do some online marketing one day, and a week later teach a class. But I try to stay true to myself and what I really want in life. Is it to make the big bucks, or is it to share my writing with others?
Staying true to myself is the bottom line. For amongst all writing and marketing has to offer is life, and this life doesn't always include making it to the New York Times bestseller list.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
And while some of these letters came back, "no interest," there were many other things that happened too, both internally and externally. Allow me to share them with you.
|Photo by: The D34n, courtesy of Flickr|
1. The first thing I learned right away when receiving a rejection letter, was that I needed to have a new query already ready to send to the next publisher. This helped ease the pain of the rejection, and allowed for hope that the next query would be accepted.
2. I also learned that one publishers opinion was simply that, an opinion. Another publisher might like my story idea and accept it. This happened with A River of Stones.
3. I learned that I needed to be patient with a response to my query. Most answers to queries take roughly 3 months, but they can take up to 6 months or longer. So I learned early on to get many queries out there so that I always had at least one publisher that I hadn't heard from yet.
4. This meant I had to be organized. I needed a way to track what I'd sent out. I used Excel, but you can use whatever works for you.
5. I paid special attention to hand writing in the margins of my query letters. I always paid attention to letters that came back that were personalized; that meant the editor, or editors, had actually read my work. Form letters are the standard rule, but if you get something up and beyond this, be grateful and take notice.
6. I realized I wouldn't be published overnight, and occasionally, a publisher would say, "We like this, but would like you to make thus and thus changes. Then we'll look at it again." Make sure you are up to the changes; make sure that you agree with them. And don't plan on your book being accepted even after you've made the changes. Even after all of this, the changes may not be quite what the publisher is looking for. But then again, with the changes made, your work may just be accepted.
The most important thing when it comes to rejection letters is that you keep on writing, no matter how many rejection letters you receive, and that you continue to write no matter the perceived barriers to your success receiving them brings.
Monday, August 5, 2013
1. Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?
I always have several projects on the back burner! It’s almost an epidemic with me. I’m currently working on a Medieval Romance inspired by a friend’s photo in a stunning blue dress she made. Then there are the several YA fantasy tales that aren’t related to Jeweler’s Apprentice/Traitor’s Knife… not sure when these might get finished, but they’re fun to sneak over and work on from time to time.
I blog at E. Kaiser Writes-A-Blog
On FB at: E. Kaiser writes.
And Twitter: EKaiserWrites
Stop by and say something! Connect! ;-)
I'm also on Goodreads now, so if you need a friend on there shoot me a line! E. Kaiser.
Saturday, August 3, 2013
Friday, August 2, 2013
One of the questions was, should I get published traditionally or should I do it on my own?
Because I don't believe every author should be self-published just because I am I gave her the pros and cons of each. They went something like this:
Provides you the big-time name. Everyone knows who Penguin is, for example.
Does much of the work including cover, layout and editing. You don't have to pay for any of that.
Gets you in the bookstores (although I have my own thoughts about how important that really is).
An author must find an agent or a publisher on their own, and finding the right publisher might take them years.
The author has little control over the cover (if any) or the layout, or any other aspect of their book.
Pays you little. 20% or less on each book. Royalties for no name authors are slim to none.
No big-time name. You might publish under CreativeCommons (Amazon) or Idea Creations Press (My company 3 years in the running).
You do the work yourself or hire it out. You pay for that.
You probably won't be in bookstores. But this is okay in my humble opinion. Most books today sell better online and through author speaking engagements.
Pays you up to 70% on each book.
Some say that you can tell a self-published book from a traditionally published book. Though this may be so, authors are continually getting smarter and the line is getting thinner between the two.
Author has full control over their book, even if they hire the work out. Just check what we do at Idea Creations Press.
Publish when your book is ready. Shorten your wait.
When it comes to getting your book ready for publication, you really need to know if you're going to farm it out or do it yourself. In either case, the marketing will be up to you for the most part.
Yes, even if you go the traditional route.
Thursday, August 1, 2013
I mean, you may make a little money here and there, but it could never support you. But you keep writing. Why is that?
I don't think there's any question about the answer.
You write because you love it. If you write for beans (or for money) you may find yourself running out of steam before you've frankly even got started.
|Photo by: goobimama, courtesy of Flickr|
When I began writing years ago I made a few beans during the first five years, but this didn't include a published book. And once the book was published, I actually lost money because my book cost too much, I paid too much for the copies and I did most of the marketing. When the rights were bought back for the book, I made a bit more money and got myself out of the red.
But it was still beans...
Today, I actually make a part-time living at writing. I sell a few copies of my books monthly and have taken on some writing clients.
|Photo by: snail's trail, courtesy of Flickr|
That remains to be seen, but what I know right now is that the beans add up. Just get yourself a jar and count them up for yourself. Every time you make a sale. Every time you make a new connection that may purchase in the future. Every time you market. Every time you write, add another bean.
Writing for beans may not make you a millionaire, but it will bring you some pretty fine treats. And yes, these treats do add up.