Greetings My Peeps!, writing help

5 Tips for Writing Scenes

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

Scenes make up everything in writing….

If you didn’t know well now ya know (Hamilton).

Writing them can be excruciating.   How do you create the right amount of emotion using only words?  I mean it’s not like you can add lens flares, choir boys singing, or dramatic music to your scenes….or can you?  Here are 5 tips to help you write better scenes.

1.   Does this scene even need to be included?

This may seem like a simple and slightly ridiculous question to ask, but it’s important.  Can you story carry on without this scene?  If the answer is yes then cut the scene.  Scenes need to convey something be it emotional development, action that moves the plot forward, or shows some form of character development or show something about the character(s). If the scene you’re planning on doesn’t meet any of that, then it might be best to cut it.

2.    Use the five senses.

Now I know this is a common suggestion but just how in the world are you supposed to do that.  Well here’s what I do using an action scene.

We heard them before we saw them.  The ground thundered beneath our feet; the terrible drumming march of a thousand demons.  My men shifted behind me, their chain mail and armor clinking softly.  The wind shifted and with it came the fetid odor that assaulted the delicate skin of my nose and caused the bile to rise to the back of my throat.  My stomach rolled in violation coating my tongue with the acrid taste of fear.  A fear that I can’t show.  Not if I don’t want my men to flee.  So I swallow it down.  It sticks in my throat and stays there.  I lift my eyes to the heavens.  Even the stars have fled from this ungodly army.  Five seconds.  I give myself over to the fear for five seconds.  After that, I cannot have any other thoughts in my head, not if I want to survive the night.

One.

Two.

Three.

Four.

Five.

I am ready.

From the tree line, gleaming eyes emerge.  They have arrived.  With a roar that turned my blood to ice and my limbs to quiver, the demon hoard descended.  The smell of carrion crashed over the field.  I grip my blade tighter; the sweat on my palms making the hilt slick.  That could cost me my life but I don’t have time to wipe them.  Summoning a roar of my own, I raise my sword to the sky.

“For Mareth!”

My men roar in reply and we surge to meet the black army that we meet with the familiar song of clashing blades and screams of the dying.  It is a good night to die.

 

Did you become the character?  Did you feel what he felt?  That’s what you need to do when you write.  Don’t be the god that observes.  Be the on in the moment.  Think of how you would feel in that situation, let you body feel it then put that to paper.

3. Want a dramatic flare to your writing?  Slow down the pacing.  Or speed it up.

When the character in the above scene counted to five I made each count it’s own paragraph.  That will naturally slow the pacing.  Up until that moment the pacing was much faster.  Play around with the pacing.  The more action you put into a single paragraph the faster it will be.  This can be applied to all types of scenes not just action ones.  In a romantic scene maybe have your characters come together slowly making each paragraph only a few sentences as they notice more, feel more.  It’s your story, have fun playing with it.  The rules that we learned in school don’t necessarily apply.

4. Use music for emotions.

I’m a music lover.  I work better with it than without.  I listen to music when I write.  I have several playlists that are just for writing.  I have my general writing music playlist, but I also have ones that are for spooky themes, villains, fighting, romance.  All the songs in those playlists play up to the emotions that I need.  When I’m working on a scene and it starts to give me trouble I start the appropriate playlist.  I listen to it for a bit and then get right back at it with the right mindset.  So play around on wherever you get your music and create playlists for the emotions that you know you struggle with.

5. Act it out

I know this sounds a bit strange but trust me.  When I get stuck, I step away from my computer and act the scene out as best I can.  This also helps with dialogue.  Acting it out will help you achieve some all too important realism in your writing.  Pay attention to the facial expressions you make when you talk.  What’s you body language like?  Now you might get some weird looks from your significant other, but they’ll get use to it.  My hubby just rolls his eyes and asks if I’ve finally lost my mind every time.  If you choose to apply this method, do so at your own risk or comfort.

 

Well that’s it.  My five tips to help you write scenes.  Do you have different methods that you use?  Let me know by commenting below.  I’d love to hear them!

 

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Greetings My Peeps!

Why I became a Writer

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

Today’s post is a bit of a personal one.  Often when I talk to people about my writing and the books I’ve published, they tend to look at me like I’ve grown three heads.  To people who aren’t writers, writing is often this crazy and amazing skill.  And then they usually follow up with “WHY?”

Such a funny question “why”.

I tend to find that I cant really answer that question.  I don’t know why I feel the compulsion to write, only that I do.  I’ve been telling stories for almost my whole life.  But the firs time I put pen to paper was middle school.  And while those stories in my head raged and demanded to be let out, I never saw them to their end.  I lacked the discipline then.  But now I’m different.

I write because I can’t imagine doing anything else.  I love it.  I love creating worlds, people, and weaving them into a story.  While I have some control over the story and the characters, they still evolve organically.

I write because it gives me peace.  It quiets the demons in my head telling my cruel lies.  I loose myself in my work, my craft, living out tiny pieces of my soul in the worlds I create.  That doesn’t mean that I self insert myself…no… just fragments of myself (the broken bits) tend to make their way into my works.

I write because as of right now nothing gives me as much joy as finally being able to hold my book in my hands.  To see all that work and pain meld into something that brings joy.

These are just a few of the reasons why I write.  What about you?  Why do you write, create, or whatever? Comment below. I’d love to read them.

 

writing help

Balancing Writing with Life

 Greetings My Lovelies!

 

Sorry I missed posting yesterday.  Normally, I write my posts for the week on Saturday or Sunday and then schedule them, but I forgot.  Things have been a little crazy with moving and trying to get my classroom ready before my students show, but hey, what a great topic to talk about today.

Now, I’m pretty sure that you’ve heard the advise to write every day.   While I like the idea behind it, I still disagree.  That’s just not plausible.  Our lives, especially if we have day jobs, significant others, children, a social life, are not always going to allow us to get behind a computer to push out a decent word count.  What you should, to me, take away from this bit of wisdom is that you should carve out writing times.  Whether it’s a particular day or a hour, carve out some time that’s dedicated to your writing life.

For me that means that most of my writing happens on the weekends, either morning or evening depending on what’s happening.  I do leave some time from 7-9 at night to get some writing done during the weekdays.  I also carve out time to work on my author’s platform and building relationships with other writers and people in the writing industry.

You just need to find time that works for you.  I needs to be easy to accomplish and something that you can do consistently.  And that right there is key: consistency.  The more you do something, the more it will turn into a habit so that it feels like a chore.  Once writing during your scheduled time becomes habit, it becomes a little easier to balance your writing life with the rest of your life.

But what happens if the muses bless me and writing takes over?

Hey roll with it, if that’s what you want.  Just remember to take a break from your writing for a couple of days.  Get out of the house.  Take a shower.  Let your loved ones know you’re alive.  writing is an organic process.  It’s different every time you sit down in front of that computer, typewriter, or paper.  Just try to not let it consume your life and try to not go three days without doing something writing related.

What do you mean writing related?

Anything that will help you on your path to becoming a kick ass writer.  Take a writing class. Read an article about the publishing industry or tips to improve writing.  Dig around pinterest for images that go with whatever story you’re writing.  Hell, read a book from an author that inspires you.  Just don’t let writing get placed on the back burner.  Put it more on your second favorite burner (you know you have a favorite).

 

Also, if you don’t make it during the time you schedule, don’t fret.  Just get it done another time.  Like me and this late post.

Question time

Do you guys have any helpful suggestions about how you keep your writing life and regular life balanced?

What are some of the problems you’re having right now?

I’d love to hear them, just comment below.

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Until next time folks!

Greetings My Peeps!, writing help

My Top 5 Favorite Vlogers

Greetings my lovelies!

 

Like many of you, I spend countless of hours on Youtube.  I watch a mix of music videos, nostalgia cartoons, and to learn stuff.  I’m a visual and kinetic learner which means that I have to see and do it in order for a skill to set in.  Plus, it’s entertaining.  As a writer it’s quite easy to get lost navigating the literal thousands of vlogers out there.  And in case you’ve been living under a rock, a vloger is a person who blogs with videos.  I have the utmost respect and admiration for these people.  I can plan an entire series in a three days but I can’t edit a 5 min video.  It turns me into a fire breathing bitch queen.

So here are my 5 ish all time favorite vlogers.

5. Try Guys/Ladylike

I can hear you guys now….”These guys are really vlogers or writers”  I know, but hear me out.  The Try Guys and Ladylike are my go to when I’m feeling fried.  After days of planning or hammering through a bought of writer’s block I need to reset my brain and these guys are the best.  Their videos are entertaining and they make my brain switch gears.  Now I set a limit as to how many videos I watch (usually 3).  This keeps me from falling down the rabbit hole.  To check them out for yourself, click the links below.

The Try Guys    LadyLike

4. Sea Lemon

Again, not a writer, but Sea Lemon is an artist.  Watching her work keeps me going.  It’s hard to not watch her make these and not want to create yourself.  Creation feeds creation people!  She’s also supper bubbly and sweet!  Check her out below.

Sea Lemon

 

3. Amy Landino

Her vlog Amy Tv is the newest addition to my list.  I stumbled across it one day and instantly fell in love.  I haven’t had a chance to see all her posts but from what I’ve seen she is the Queen of motivation.  Her vlog is about how to become and maintain success.  She as posts about habits that she’s adopted and how they’ve helped her, how to overcome things like self doubt and embarrassment.  Honestly, just check out and see for yourself.

Amy TV

 

 

2. Derek Murphy

I found Derek right when I needed him most.  I am an indie author, which means that I have to take care of everything if I want my books to be published.  I’ve used Createspace and Ingram Spark.  They have their templates that you can use for your books interior, but I’ve never been 100% happy with them.  Fonts don’t always come out right.  They can sometimes look cheap.  Sigh.  I had no idea how to make the interior of my books just as engaging as the outside.  Honestly, a little effort inside goes a long way.  Well that’s where Derek comes in.  He’s all about helping some indie writers get their shit together and his videos on formatting book interiors are easy to follow.  They’ve helped me out a lot and I keep going back to him.

Formatting Book in MS Word

 

1. Jenna Moreci

ALL HAIL THE CYBORG QUEEN! I love Jenna.  I mean seriously.  I have yet to met a vloger that I love as much as her.  She’s hilarious and incredibly kind.  She encourages everyone to go out there and get some shit done. Her videos have helped me as a writer and given me a laugh or two.  Her post include topics on story structure, outlining, and the darkest aspect of publishing….marketing….shudder.  But she also loves sharing with her audience and clearly appreciates every once of support she gets. She’s who I want to be when I grow up.  But in all seriousness, check out her and see for yourself.

The Cyborg Queen

Greetings My Peeps!, writing help

Five uses of Pinterest for Writers

There’s no denying that there are thousands of resources out there today for  aspiring authors and just writers in general.  You can find blog after blog, video after video, and article after article.  Not even mentioning the website that have popped up over the last few years all geared towards independent authors.  Sometimes it becomes too much and you run away to your favorite procrastinating activity for comfort.  Mine is Pinterest.  I could, and have, spend all day on that website.  I look up just about everything under the sun.  But there is a way to turn this into a powerful tool for your writing career.  If you don’t know what Pinterest is it’s a website that allows you to make boards about specific topics.  Let’s say you like to cook healthy meals but don’t want to (or can’t) buy a million different cook books.  You can search for the recipes and save them for later.  This site is completely free which a budding writer’s favorite word.  You can make as many different boards as you like.  You are only limited by your imagination.  Here are 5 ways to use Pinterest as a writer

1. A place to find and bookmark articles on writing and the writing process.  

If you’re like me, you’re always on the prowl for help when it comes to your writing.  Or you may have a question that just popped up and you want to find out how to solve/do it.  You don’t necessarily need that information right now, but you want to have it for future reference.  Well Pinterest is a good place to store all that information.  It’s what the site was designed to be.

2. Save all those cool tips and tricks that will take your writing to the next level.

This is one of my favorite features.  One of the coolest things I found through Pinterest was the site Notebook.ai.  It has literally made world building so much easier for me.  I’ll go into that site a bit more another time but I did a brief over view of it here in a previous post.  Another nifty thing I found was this wheel of emotion that helped you find a stronger word to convey a feeling.

3. Inspirational Quotes and writer humor.

Hey we all need a laugh or a kick in the butt.  You could have a whole board dedicated to that when you start slacking off on writing.  Or you could print them off and put them up around your writing space or where ever you feel like.

4. Half assed research.

There are historical boards a plenty on Pinterest.  Sometimes you come across a interesting historical tidbit that you didn’t know but would work for a book idea later on.  Save that shit!  This will save you time later on when you come around to that idea.  Work smarter not harder my friends

5. Inspriation

This one is my favorite.  I have boards for books that I’ve written and books that I’m planning on.  I’ve also saved some cool historical people that I might like to write about later.  But when you’re scrolling through and you see a picture that is almost exactly what your MC looks like, pin it!  Found a pretty picture of a landscape real or not…pin it.  I like looking at author’s boards for their books after I’ve finished reading the book to see where the inspiration came from and to see if what I saw was the same.

 

So there you have it.  Five easy ways to use Pinterest as a writer.  Below I’ll include links to my boards so you can see what I’m talking about.  Happy pinning and don’t forget to write!

Writing Board

Lost Guardian Trilogy Inspiration

Hell Fire Inspiration

 

Greetings My Peeps!

Finding new tools: the good and the bad

Sometimes it’s challenging to be an indie author.  You have to handle all aspects of the book industry (marketing, covers, etc) and create a compelling story at the same time.  It can be daunting but to paraphrase Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, always have your tools.  A writer, no matter if they’re a NY times best seller or just starting out, has to have the right tool for them at their disposal.

When I started this journey, I didn’t have anything really at my disposal.  But now I’ve got some sites that really love and some that while I don’t particularly care for but can’t escape using.  I should note that none of these sites have paid me to say anything about their products or services.  This opinions are strictly my own and for fun informational purposes.

  1. Istock.  This site is great if you have to make your own covers like I do.  You can buy some credits for $20 but you can get three maybe four covers out of that.
  2. Notebook.ai  This is a new discovery for me and I’m in love.  It helps you organize and link up every character, world, culture or what not you have. You don’t even have to link anything until you have a place to put it.  So if you’re like me and flashes of cool ideas come all the time, this site helps to store and organize until you are ready to use them.
  3. Storiad.  Another new site.  This site offers a lot that I don’t really have the time to go into but the main keeper points for me are the marketing plan that they help you make, the pricing calculator, press release kits, and industry networking.  All of these things I needed help with so it’s great that it’s all in one spot.
  4. Twitter/Facebook/Instagram.  I have a love hate relationship with social media.  I’m the type of person who can easily become obsessed with something that continues to stimulate me.  That’s the main reason why I’m not on Tumblr.  No one would ever see me again if I got on that site.  But social media presence is crucial to building an author’s platform or at least getting your name out there.  I try to allot a certain amount of time on each site at any given time to make sure that I stay on track.

These are all that I’m going into today.  If you want, check these sites out or research them to see if they’re the best fit for you as a writer and serve your needs.  If you have something that you think I might like, let me know.  I’m always on the lookout for new resources and tools.

 

Until next time peoples!

Greetings My Peeps!

For a Friend

Another lifetime ago, I was a Marine.  I know they say once a Marine, always a Marine but as the years increase between my time in and now it becomes harder to still feel like one.  The one thing that hasn’t changed is that I still talk to may of the people I served with.

Yesterday I got a message from one of my friends from my last duty station.  She has been a long time supporter of my writing career and a constant cheerleader and critic.  Like so many veterans, she suffers from PTSD.  She deals with it by helping other service members work through theirs.  This girl is amazing and is a source of inspiration.

Any who, she asked me to ghost write her story for her.  And I instantly said yes.  I mean how could I say no.  I’m a little nervous because I’ve never done anything like this before but she has the utmost faith and all I can do is try.  She said I was her first choice when the idea came to her.

Now I can help the person who has helped so many learn to live with or defeat their demons.  Let’s go Team Liz!!!!