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Showing posts from December, 2017

Signs of a Bad Writing Day

This post was first published here on January 12, 2011. You know you're having a bad writing day when... •You're convinced that blanking, blinking cursor is mocking you. You can almost hear it saying "Not...writing...not...writing..." •Your pet has crawled up into your lap, looked at your work, and yawned. •You've pulled out a calculator and (for fun) figured out how many hours you've spent on this particular manuscript. WARNING: This knowledge will have you (no matter the hour) reaching for a bottle. • You decide to take a short break from writing. Days pass. • You realize your decision to write on the computer was an error as you have no physical paper to rip from the typewriter, crumble up into a ball and hurl across the room. • You have worn a pathway across the carpet with your pacing. • Cleaning the oven with a toothbrush seems like a more efficient use of your time. • You decide to close your eyes and just type - who knows something

The Author Blog: Easy Blogging for Busy Authors - #FridayReads #GiftsForWriters

The Author Blog: Easy Blogging for Busy Authors by Anne R. Allen  Anne R. Allen is the author of the Camilla Randall Mysteries and a number of humorous novels. She blogs with New York Times Bestselling Author Ruth Harris. Their blog is listed as one of the top 100 websites for writers by both Writer’s Digest and The Write Life , and is visited by tens of thousands of readers each week. Anne has learned how to blog the hard way by trial and error (she even had to deal with a hacker locking her out of her own blog!) and now she is sharing all this knowledge so other authors can take a short cut. I found myself nodding wryly several times, and I wish I’d had a book like Anne’s to help me along when I started out on the wild Web. It might be satisfying and character-building to work something technical out for yourself, but writers really should be doing more fictional character-building and less fiddling with WordPress plug-ins. Anne makes the important distinction between

Little Fixes

This post was first published here on October 17, 2012. I am a firm believer in the benefits of going back through a manuscript several times. The first rewrite is to deal with story issues, but a second or third draft should focus on ways to improve our use of language. Sometimes we write in such a hurry that we overlook the fact that the word placement and usage may not be quite right. "Sirens screamed, bouncing off the buildings and deafening me. " Wait a minute. Were the sirens bouncing off the building or the sound?  "Sirens screamed, the noise bouncing off the buildings and deafening me." "As I pulled into the warehouse parking lot, the smell of smoke lingered in the air." For some reason that just didn't read smoothly to me. Perhaps it is better this way? "Stepping out of my car in the warehouse parking lot, I caught the lingering odor of smoke." "She tapped my forehead with the revolver then slipped it int

Once upon a Revision

This post was first published here on July 30th, 2014. This isn’t a typical manuscript revision—that was done some five years ago. This is a book revision, a published book revision. Why revise it now? Why not just move on? I asked myself these questions when pondering this task that didn’t appear in my original writing schedule for the next two years. I had planned to correct a few typos I discovered after publication and submit a new file, but feedback from readers had been good. Overall, it had garnered very positive reviews. Originally, the story was intended to end with one book. As it drew to a close, however, the probability of a sequel emerged. Tying up loose ends would have evolved into a longer novel than I wanted, so the sequel idea took shape in a shadowy sort of way. A few months ago, I pulled Book 1 out of print and began to write that second story. Yes, it was too long to wait after publishing its predecessor, but I had never made any effort to market the first

A Book Birth Day (with the longest gestation period ever): Wishing Caswell Dead

Thanks so much to the Blood Red Pencil team for letting me announce my new book release here. I’m happily rejoining the Blood Red Pencil blog in 2018 as a monthly contributor after a long break to work on other projects. It’s great to be back working with this excellent team of writers and editors. About the book: It took ten years, five rewrites, the refusal to give up on the novel of my heart, and the miracle of the right publisher creating the right fiction line at the right time. That’s the story in a nutshell of the conception and finally the birth of Wishing Caswell Dead , a historical novel from Five Star/Cengage Frontier Fiction (December 20, 2017). In 2007, I had a short story about Jo Mae Proud trying to escape her horrid life in the fictitious Village of Sangamon in the early 1800s. As I read and reread that tale, I kept thinking how much more I could write if I developed each one of the flawed or evil characters in the story and told how they all came together on the

When Outlines Make Revisions Easier

This post first published on September 20, 2016. We hope it helps you with your #NaNoWriMo2017 novel revisions! ~ Dani G. Photo by Ron Bieber  © 2006   ( Flickr ) I used to find it difficult to move on to writing the next chapter of a book until I had the previous chapter down solid. I used to write a draft, read it, then revise. Then I’d read the revision, feel something was still missing, and revise again. Thus began an endless loop of revisions, pursuing the illusion of a perfect chapter but making little progress on the book. What’s an obsessive writer to do? I’ve always refused to start with an outline because it makes me feel inhibited. My characters are unruly, and after just a few pages we’re wildly off-track. So I started my current novel based on a synopsis and a list of “things that might happen,” which I believed was a smaller time investment. But when I began revising each chapter ad-nauseum, I knew I was not saving time at all. Then I learned a simple