Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Links of Interest

FIVE WAYS POV MAKES YOU A BETTER WRITER:


THE VACUUM OF SPACE AND THE HUMAN BODY:


FOUR DANGERS OF WRITING GROUPS AND HOW TO FIX THEM:


CREATING AWESOME SECONDARY CHARACTERS:


USING BACKSTORY EFFECTIVELY:


BUILDING A BLOG TOUR:


TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE RESEARCH:


NEGOTIATING A CONTRACT:


HELP FINDING A CRITIQUE PARTNER OR GROUP:


PUTTING BLOG READERS FIRST:


DESIGNING A READABLE BLOG POST:


HOW TO BOOKS ON FANTASY WRITING:


UNDERSTAND GIRL GROUP DYNAMICS:


PUNCHING UP YOUR ACTION SCENE:


AN OVERVIEW OF PUBLISHING’S INTEREST AND REACTION TO CURRENT CHANGES:


TWEAKING AN UNLIKEABLE CHARACTHER:


HOW STARTING WITH ACTION CAN FAIL AND HOW NOT TO:


THE PSYCHOLOGY OF A GOOD BEGINNING OF A STORY:


RAMPING UP TENSION AND PACING:



Monday, June 29, 2015

Formating Telepathic Dialog

QUESTION: I have a character who is a telepath. Should I italicize what she picks up from others' minds?

If the characters are "speaking" mentally, I've often seen authors italicize the conversation.

Mary thought to Matt, What happened to my son?

He fell into the river but grabbed a log.

If, however, Mary is picking up the images from Matt's head, I'd do something like this--

Mary tilted her head and concentrated harder on what Matt was trying to show her with his thoughts.

Darkness. A river surging past. A hand reaching out of the water and grasping a log. Then her son's head coming up out of the water as he pulls himself up onto the floating log.

"He's not dead," Mary sobbed and rubbed away her tears. "Billy's not dead."


I’ve also seen writers use colons for mental dialogue in the same way as you would use quotation marks. 

Mary thought to Matt, :What happened to my son?:

:He fell into the river but grabbed a log.:

The advantage of using the colon is that there will be no confusion about when speakers change.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Links of Interest

BANDING TOGETHER FOR PUBLICITY:


A TIP FOR USING FIRST PERSON:


CREATING AN UNFORGETTABLE VILLAIN:


QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF AS YOU ARE EDITING:


AMAZON’S PAY PER PAGE, SOME INTERESTING THOUGHS AND ANALYSIS:


STRAGEGIC BLOGGING TO FIND READERS:


BEST MARKETING STRATEGIES:


PICKING THE RIGHT WORDPRESS THEME FOR YOUR BLOG:


WRITING EFFECTIVE DIALOG:

IS YOUR MAIN CHARACTER WORTHY OF YOUR READER’S ATTENTION?


FOUR WAYS TO IMPROVE PACING:


FIVE WAYS WRITERS GET LAZY:


STORY 101, WRITING CHARACTER:


LESSONS LEARNED IN LINE EDITING:


YOUR CHARACTER’S SECRETS AND HOW TO USE THEM:


AVOIDING GUN ERRORS:


EFFECTIVE WAYS TO SHOW CHARACTER EMOTIONS:



Monday, June 22, 2015

Naming Your Characters

Finding the right name for characters involves a number of variables.

*The period the story is set in.  Names must be authentic for the period.  A number of websites are available for different historical periods as well as recent years.  Do your research, and don't have a Medieval heroine named Tiffany. 

Here are a few sites to look at

Popular first names in recent years:  http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/index.html

*The location of the story and ethnic background of your characters.

Popular first name by state: http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/index.html  

*The current impression the name gives.  Years ago, for example, men were named Leslie, but it has become a woman's name.  Naming your hero Leslie might be authentic for the period, but it will give your reader the wrong impression.

*How hard the name is to type.  I avoid some names because I can't type them.   If you must use a name that's hard to type, pick a simple nonsense string of letters then do a universal search and replace.  Be absolutely sure the letters are nonsense so you don't insert the name in the middle of words that have that string within them.

THE MAIN CHARACTERS' NAMES

The right name for your hero or heroine is one of your most important decisions.  

For major characters, I don't just pick a name I like.  Instead, I wait until I see a name, and a frission goes through me to tell me I've hit the name for my character.  Most of my character names have been gifts of that sort.  Sometimes, the character will tell me his name at a certain point in the creation process.  

The name, in other words, is as much a part of making the character real for the writer as it is for the reader.  

SECONDARY CHARACTERS' NAMES

Try to avoid  a secondary character's name that is similar to your major characters' names.   That includes names that begin with the same letter or look similar (Al, Sal, and Sally).  

Before I start writing and after I have my main characters' names, I make a list of other names I can use in the book which fit the period, etc., as well as being different from the major characters' names.  This allows me to pick a name for that waitress who has a few scenes without having to stop my writing while I think up a name.  

USING SIMILAR NAMES

I have used similar names deliberately in my writing.  In TIME AFTER TIME, my hero remembers all his past lives, and he's trying to convince the heroine they have been reincarnated lovers in each of those lives.  He restages and retells their past lives and their loves so I needed different names for them in each time period.  

I decided that I'd  use the same first letter or letters of their current names for each past name so that the reader would recognize instantly when I mentioned a name even if they couldn't recall the period that name was from.  Each name would have to fit the historical period as well as the personality of the character.

Justin was earthy Jed in the Old West, and Alexa was Annie.   In the 1940s, Justin was sophisticated Jared and Alexa was Alicia.  Their other names also reflected character and period.

THE GOOGLE TEST

For main characters, particularly villains, it's a good idea to put the name into a search engine to see if someone out there shares the name.  Put the first and last name into quotation marks so you will only receive results with both those words close together.  If you find someone with that name, you may want to consider a different name.  

This is also a good idea for book titles.

THE NAME GAME

As you develop characters and names,  you'll discover a new fascination with names and their power, and you'll probably find yourself scanning obituaries and phone books for that unusual name to add to your name list.  Enjoy this.  It's part of the fun of creating characters.

Posted by Marilynn Byerly at 4:22 PM Comments (0) pastedGraphic.png pastedGraphic_1.png Links to this post

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Links of Interest

SETTING UP AMAZON AUTHOR PAGES:


WHAT AMAZON RANKINGS MEAN:


WORKING WITH AMAZON PUBLISHING:


TEN MISTAKES THAT WILL KILL YOUR FIRST CHAPTER:


DEEP POINT OF VIEW, CRAWLING INSIDE YOUR CHARACTER’S HEAD:


3 TIPS TO MAKE YOUR READER CONNECT WITH YOUR MAIN CHARACTER:


WHEN YOUR NOVEL DOESN’T FIT A CATEGORY:


WHY FLASHBACKS RUIN FICTION:


THE USE OF TIME IN FICTION:


WRITING SPIES, FINDING LISTENING DEVICES:


DEALING WITH THE HATERS:


UNDERSTANDING THE FLASHBACK:


PROTECTING YOUR WEBSITE FROM ATTACKS:


A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO WATTPAD FOR WRITERS:


HOW TO KNOW WHEN YOU ARE READY TO PUBLISH?


THE EVIL THAT IS THE COMMA SPLICE:



Monday, June 15, 2015

Reaction versus Goal

When I started plotting my romantic suspense novel, GUARDIAN ANGEL, I decided that my plot line would be the following--

(Back story) High-powered defense attorney Lauton O’Brien hires Gard Gardner to protect his daughter Desta if one of the organized crime lords or killers he defends decides to go after him or his family.

(Book plot) Lauton realizes one of his clients is out to kill him. He sends Desta and information about who is out to kill him to Gard, and he disappears. Desta comes by boat to Gard’s lake home. The boat blows up with the information, but Gard saves Desta. 

Desta and Gard go on the run with hired killers hot on their trail.

At first glance, the plot sounded great. Lots of action, adrenaline, scary bad guys, and a perfect situation for two people very suited to each other to find love and a happily-ever-after.

Then I realized the plot had a fatal flaw. The two main characters spend the whole novel reacting to what others are doing to them. Reaction is passive, and passive creates less than stellar main characters and a much weaker book. 

I needed to give the characters a goal which is active. 

I wanted to keep the hired killers hot on their trail, but I decided that Gard and Desta weren’t running away, they were working toward their goal -- following clues to find Lauton so they can figure out who is trying to kill them then stopping that person so they can have a life together. 

When you are creating your main plot, you also need to be sure that your main character or characters have an active goal instead of being swept along by circumstances or by someone’s actions against them. 


Make them heroes, not victims.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Links of Interest

HOW TO WRITE THE FIVE STAGES OF GRIEF:


QUESTIONS FOR YOUR BETA READERS:


CONFLICT VERSUS TENSION:


SHORT STORY MARKET, MAINLY FLASH:


MICROREVISION:


POV ERRORS, ANOTHER CHARACTER’S THOUGHTS:


HOW ACTIONS DETERMINE CHARACTER AND ARC:


TWITTER SECRETS FOR WRITERS:


THE PERIL OF EMPTY DIALOGUE:


PROTECTING YOUR LAPTOP OR TABLET AND YOUR WORK:


MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN WRITING ABOUT THE MILITARY:


A SEARCH ENGINE THAT IDENTIFIES IMAGES:


TURNING OFF YOUR INNER EDITOR:


CREATING AN AUTHOR NEWSLETTER:


CONFLICT 101:


DEEP POV, WHAT IT IS AND HOW TO DO IT:


FINDING THE RIGHT CRITIQUE GROUP OR PARTNER:


HOW TO SPOT THE BAD BOOK AWARDS CONTESTS:


THREE LITERARY DEVICES FOR STRONG WRITING:


WHAT TO SHOW AND WHAT TO TELL: