Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Hard Nut Scenes

We've all struggled with them. Hit them with all the brain power we can muster. And still, they just lay on the page, mocking us. You know you've had one, or twenty. (That's being conservative. ;-)

You know those scenes that are just not quite right. It's a scene you know you have to have to tell the story you're writing. So, what do you do about it? 

Check out this discussion on the Books and Writers Forum.
Here's a list of the suggestions made by the various writers. 
  1. change the venue of the scene
  2. explore alternative choices of action
  3. give yourself more time
  4. change POV for the scene
  5. play with phrases to hunt for the kernel
  6. pretend it's written and write the consequence scene
  7. look for issues in the story that make the planned scene is not viable and decide if you need to  abandon this scene.
Now, which method will work for you? Or me? I have hard nut sitting on my desk right now. It's a booger and I need it to open up. Wish me luck! ;-)
Useful Links!

I've got a bumper crop of links for you, too!

Check out Anne R. Allen's Ten Commandments of Social Media Etiquette for Writers  There's a lot of good info here.

From Writer Unboxed, try The Art of Creating Memorable Villains Whatever Your Genre

Besides you might be writing crap and that's okay. Read Charlotte Rains Dixon's The Benefits of Writing Crap to find out why.   ;-)

Have you ever heard to start in media res? If you want to know what it really means and how to do it, check out Kristen Lamb's Starting the Story "In the Action"...

Also check Kristen Lamb's post of Character Arcs.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Rewarding Award

Sometimes life hands you a beautiful award. Today is one of those days. ;-)

I've known Jo Murphy for years. We met at the Books and Writers Forum when I joined in late 2008. Jo became a fast friend and trusted critiquer. I followed a link to her blog and I've been an avid reader ever since. After Jo's stroke, I realized that there was more than just friendship here. Jo makes me try harder, accept challenges with greater grace, and makes me laugh! I can't imagine my experience of the blogosphere without Jo's presence. Check out Jo's blog, The Murphy Saga for all of the above and some fabulous ideas about how to adapt to whatever comes your way.

On Sunday, Jo nominated me for the Butterfly Light Award for being her biggest cheerleader. As always, I'm floored by such nominations, but this one is really tops to me. Spreading light and grace is something I try to do. Finding out that someone I admire thinks I'm accomplishing this goal is wonderful and gives me the light to see by so I can continue to strive.


As always, there's rules with these awards. ;-)

Here are the conditions for accepting the award :

1. You must write an acceptance post, making sure you link back to the blogger who awarded you and thank them. You MAY NOT lump this award in with a batch of other awards.

2. You must individually name and re-award to a minimum of 1 blogger. You must let them know either personally with a comment on their blog OR a pingback.

4. You must write a short paragraph entitled either “How I’m Spreading Light” OR “How I’m A Positive Influence”

5. Display Belinda’s lovely “Butterfly Light Award” badge on your blog.
 How I'm a positive influence:
I'm constantly seeking out ways to encourage other writers. I'm the "Goals Girl" at the Books and Writers Forum where I set up a theme for each month and be sure that all those who set goals get some encouragement at mid-month and end of month check ins. And remind them that the only time they'll ever get a "teacher face" from me is when they denigrate the  progress they're making as being too little or not good enough. When the Woman's Fiction Writers Association was looking for a program coordinator for the annual Write-A-Thin goal push, I volunteered. That added another official "cheerleader" title to my resume. 
I'd like to nominate S. P. Bowers for the award for being my encourager. She had given me the encouragement to continue with my WIP and it's theme of abuse and the story of an adoption that makes a new and unconventional family possible. Thanks, S. P. I can't thank you enough!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blurbing, and how to do it...

Many readers think that writers just tell stories. Writing books takes a lot of time, effort, diligence, and craft to get the story down on paper so that readers can enjoy it.

But writing doesn't stop there. Once a book is written and polished, a writer has to sell it to agents and publishers, not to mention to readers. ;-) Doing all that requires many hours of painstaking work writing in very different forms. Query letters must be constructed to catch agents' attention. Synopses are written to show the scope of the story to publishers. And if all those obstacles are overcome, writers must construct blurbs or back-cover copy to catch a reader's eye.

Ruth Harris says it's never too early to start on a blurb. Check her 8 Tips for Writing That Killer Blurb. for more on her methods. Harris describes good blurbs as a "...little bit act, a little bit craft, a little bit commercial poetry.

Joanna Penn's How to Write a Back Blurbs for Your Book  uses examples to help explain what blurbs must do.

Mark Edwards explains that a well-written blurb/product description helped his book rise to #2 at Amazon.co.uk. Check out his five steps here: Product Description: AKA The Blurb

And Marilynn Bylery's Writing the Back Cover Blurb for genre-specific hints.


So, now for my turn. Here is a first try at a blurb for FRIENDLY FIRE.

Our deepest wounds  come from those who should be our greatest protection.

At least that's what Laura Grace Chandler wishes were true, but she knows the look of a child whose parents are MIA from her many years of teaching. And though she thinks her time binding up the wounds is over, she finds herself caught at ground zero when she looks into Samantha Smith's eyes. 

And now, Laura Grace must act, do whatever it takes to heal the abuse Samantha has suffered. Just when she has finally won her battle to adopt Samantha, she finds her biggest and most devastating battle is yet to come. 

Let me know what you think. Does this hook you? Of is it too wordy?   Come on, be brutal. I can take it... ;-)


Be sure to check out award-nominated author Lori Benton's latest book--The Pursuit of Tamsen Little John  that goes on sale today. Lori is a finalist in The Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Book Awards for 2013 in Inspirational Romance for her debut book--Burning Sky--and a finalist in the ECPA's 2014 Christian Book Awards for Burning Sky. Be sure and check out this up and coming author. I interviewed her August 20, 2013.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Happy Birthday!

Today is our doggy Doodle Poodles' fifth brithday and after all the hours they've watched me type, they demanded a turn. ;-)

Hurry up, Mommy!

 It's our birthday and we'll bark if we want to! ;-)

We won the Golden Ticket five years ago when we got to come home together with 
Daddy and Mommy.

Worn out on our first day

Yum, Mommy!

And though we fight over our toys...
Tag-Team Fetch
And worry when our family is gone...
On duty
We know we've got it good...
Max in Mommy's lap

Casey and Daddy's arm

King Max!
Did you want this?!?

Puppy Heart


And we are brothers forever!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Anniversaries and Such (and a few nifty links)

The cherry trees are in full bloom in Cherry Hill. Enjoy!
Today marks an important anniversary for me. One year ago, I took over the Goals Threads at the Book and Writers Forum from the wonderful S. P. Bowers. I hope I'm helped others keep their writing on track. I know having to check in at the beginning, middle, and end of every month has really kept me on my toes and on track.

It was six years ago in March that a dream introduced me to my two main characters--Laura Grace Chandler and Samantha Smith. I had no clue where they were going to take me, but I'm enjoying the roller-coaster ride. Through their story, I've learned about abuse, social work, foster parents, foster families, foster parent training, Georgia's Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS), and all sorts of other interesting problems in today's world. Along with Laura Grace and Samantha, I've worked through some terrible results of abuse. They and their friends and not so friendly neighbors have spawned at least three more stories. I really had hoped to celebrate this anniversary with a complete draft of FRIENDLY FIRE, but I'm not upset that I can't. A better story is preferable to a premature ending that doesn't do the story justice.

I've been blogging for the last four years and ten months and through that I've made fast friends and learned more about writing than ever knew existed. Thanks to you all!


And now for this week's LINKS! I love both of these.

Check out Kristen Lamb's Premature Editing post. I've been very prone to this problem lately. I wanted reach a completed draft so badly that I've slashed a few keepers who are starting to bud. Thanks to Scrivener, I've been able to recreate much of what's been cut.

Catherine, Caffeinated's info on Contact Forms  Be sure to check out my new Contact Form on the left. (I promise it works. I tried it out and contacted myself!) ;-)


Have a wonderful and productive week! Hopefully Spring is finally here. ;-)