Friday, July 7, 2017

July 2017: Writers - Succumb to Summer

"Lovely July...with the evocative murmur of honey bees on the wing
 and the smell of suntan cream." ~ Cynthia Wickham

July offers writers a fertile opportunities for writing powerful images. Cynthia Wickham's quote describes uses distinct descriptions. The sound of bees and smell cream is familiar, but the reader's experiences paint the setting.

Think about it. Summer slows down all the living creatures. Shade is sought for sipping cool drinks. Man and beast seek the elusive breeze to caress the clamminess from their skins.

Writers pull yourselves out of your caves. Permit the sun  to shine on you. Slather on sun screen. Grab a hat and a soothing, icy, liquid refreshment. Make sure to take a pen and paper, or a method to transcribe your July experience. Find a location that offers an opportunity for multiple sensory observations while remaining a veiled witness to a July day.

Write with your nose, ears, feet, hands, tongue! Watch children with ice cream cones. Sit near a lake, smell the air, listen for small gnats, and feel the wetness of the sand. Walk through a park. 
Be brave and sit through your local Fourth of July fireworks display. Observe the crowd prepare for the show. Listen to the explosions. Smell the gunpowder. Do I need to say more?

Take advantage of the subtle sensual spectacle Summer offers writers. Watch, sip, write. 

Additional Sources:


Friday, May 5, 2017

Be Strategic: Select Words Judiciously

"My task, which I am trying to achieve is, 
by the power of the written word, 
to make you hear, to make you feel--
it is, before all, to make you see." -Joseph Conrad

     We all want our readers to submerse themselves in our stories. We want readers to see, hear, taste, and feel along with our characters. Words are the bricks we use to build a place where a reader keeps returning.  
    Sebastyne Young reminds writers "A picture can tell a thousand words, but a few words change a story."  Verbs move a story. We all heard about writing with strong verbs, (instead of 'she laughed,' perhaps she chortled, snickered, snorted, tittered,) or any of the other forty-two other meanings of laughter that could improve your scene. Choose the verb that one would draw your reader into the story and help describe your character?
      Writers must read. Current fiction gives the writer insight into today's style. Some successful writers have a formulaic method. While other prolific writers never repeat the place, time, and characters in future books. Go read.  
      Pawan Mishra advises writers to"tell a story with simpler words.” Writers no longer are paid by the word. Think about your audience. Examine the structure and vocabulary of the books you read. Is your writing clean? 
          Get the words down on paper. Read your work aloud. Check for the following issues:
  • repeated words - look for synonyms or an alternate group of words 
  • clichés - create your own description
  • connotation - consider the emotional and underlying meaning   of the word and how it fits with the story
  • specific words- chose words that paint a picture for the reader
  • simplicity - consider if you want your audience to be checking a dictionary
  • musicality - some this is about pacing and sound, you must read each paragraph aloud to check if you used the correct word. Some software allows you to play back what you wrote.

Writing demands, like all art forms, practice.  

"A writer takes an idea 
 uses exact words and crafts a story." 
Pat W Coffey

For more information click on the following websites:  

"Five Writing Habits to Avoid

"Ten Rules for Writing Fiction"

"Making the Right Word Choice Makes Your Writing Better"

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Book Review - The Ugly Inside

Wow! This is one 'hell of a read.' Chase Raymond's The Ugly Inside introduces Jenica Aimes, a trouble teen. While the reader decides if they can relate to Ms. Aimes, they're blown into an alternate reality known as 'Leigh.' The crafted details, descriptions, and settings of this fantasy engulfs the reader. The craft of this storyteller leaves you wanting to read the next page. Mr. Raymond's writing skill immerses the reader into the story: watching the training sessions, experiencing the healing pools, feeling every blow of combat, and struggling to balance destiny.

CAUTION: This book is addicting.
I can't wait until the next Jenica Aimes book is published.

This book is available online or in paperback on Amazon.comThe Ugly Inside: A Jenica Aimes Novel (less)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Writers $ense - Shop the Competition, Read

"Shop the Competition," is a business term used to describe a method of learning what your rival does better. Reading enables a writer to recognize good and bad writing regardless of the genre he or she chooses to write. 

Good writers broaden their horizons reading. They read everyday and anything they can get their hands on, newspapers, magazines, comic books, classic novels, anything in print or online. Writers plunge themselves in words.

Submerse yourself in Pulitzer Prize, New York Times, National Book Award books. Be bold, if a Nobel Peace Prize Winner for Literature appears in an English translation, read it. Follow the authors your audience reads. Expand your reading genres to spark your creativity and enhance your writing ability.

Reading what you write helps you learn more about your audience. It builds an inventory of good and bad writing. Exploring other writers in your writing genre sometimes reveals concepts and ideas you thought unique.  

Choose books from the New York Times bestsellers (100,000+ copies sold). Extract what the public perceives as a good book. Wander through every book like an editor and a consumer. Discover how the author triggered your emotions and maintained your attention. Make note of the writing’s quality. 

Writing is a skill, but a writer's output is artistic. Every piece of art compares itself with previous masterpieces. Writers need to shop the competition and read.

 “If you don’t have time to read, 
you don’t have the time (or the tools) 
to write. Simple as that.” -Stephen King


Friday, February 3, 2017

Writer's $ense: Breaking the Rules

Cover ImageBill Mesce, Jr's article* "What Do You Mean You Can't Do It?" brought me to this blank page to write this blog.  Mesce's writing career spans more than twenty some years. His article addresses the use of "show, don't tell." His premise speaks to the need to "tell."

Mr. Mesce defends an author's right to choose his words, phrases, punctuation, and sometimes sentence structure to move the plot. A storyteller reveals characters, settings, and emotions with words to  take the reader deeper into a story. Examples from classic and current literature and movies explain how "telling" enhances the reader's or viewer's experience.

Rules guide a writer through the writing process. Style guides metaphorically act as a manual for new scribes. Grammar rules, punctuation, stylistic preferences of publishers are like the rules of the road. Following the rules keeps the driver safe. Writing rules present the author with a platform to begin a creative process.

Just like a good driver knows when to change lanes when anticipating trouble on the road. A creative writer adjusts his or her writing to hook the reader, to maintain emotional connections, and conclude with certainty. A driver makes a quick decision to safety. A writer breaks a rule for effect.

Now, (this is for my Critique Group) I'm not throwing out all the rules. I concede "breaking a writing rule" works only if it enhances the story. As my editor told me, "It's your story."

*Mesce, Jr., Bill, "What Do You Mean You Can't Do It?", The Writer's Chronicle. December, 2016

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Writer's $ense: How do writers measure 'Success'?

Each year my blog tries to cover topics about writing, writers, and books.  The initial 2017 blog aims to stimulate writers to think about how they measure success.

Let me first state, when I worked in the corporate world all employees had to write goals and create cognitive statistics to support their contributions to the company's bottom line.  It was easy to do when you wrote policies, procedures, newsletters, manuals, and training materials. Your work was a commodity and it was valued. You felt successful.

Today I write poems and stories. I live with pencil, paper, and "Siri." They serve as vaults for my spontaneous ideas. I write for nonprofits, write not one, but two blogs, and have a presence on several social platforms. Yet when someone meets me and asks "What do you do?"

I answer, "I'm a writer."

They respond, "What books have you published?"

I stand back, smile. and say, "In due time, books are a process."
Either they change the subject or I do.

Think about this my writing colleagues. Is writing only judged by 'published books?' Tell me, is this the only way individuals see a writer? It really astounds me that my blogs and my volunteer publications aren't considered writing. Will I become a writer when a small section of my work is available on Amazon or at the local book store?

Many talented, bright, and creative individuals write with passion and commitment. They work full time jobs and maintain relationships. They find those precious calm moments and write. They submit their work to literary magazines, agents, and online publications.

Readers, please help me here. How do you describe "success" as a writer?

July 2017: Writers - Succumb to Summer

"Lovely July...with the evocative murmur of honey bees on the wing  and the smell of suntan cream." ~ Cynthia Wickham Jul...