Monday, July 19, 2010

Busy as a BEE!

Hi all,
I have really neglected my blog lately. I am working on my first manuscript and have joined the critique group with ACFW and I have not had one minute to blog.

I love blogging but finishing my manuscript is more important. I plan to attend the ACFW conference this Sept. and I am trying to complete my first 10 is going very slow.

I must cofess that I take after my father....a perfectionist at heart.  I will rewrite and rewrite until I get it like, or almost like I want it before I move on.  You you are probably asking where exactly am I in my novel....Chapter Four....see what I mean??

Oh well...I realize that if I do a lot of revision up front that is less that I have to do at the end.

So bear with me and I'll try to get back to blogging at least every Friday.
God bless,

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Importance of Words

I learned how important words are in writing. It is not just a matter of using the first word that pops into our mind. We should strive to use the best word for that particular sentence.

In the book Stein on Writing by Sol Stein he states that Diction involves the choice of words for their precise meaning and sound, the arrangement of those words, and their selection for effect. Excellence in diction is the most important characteristic of fine writing.

There are two types of writers:
Commercial writers and literary writers. You as a writer will most likely write for the audience of which you are a part of. If you read commercial than you will write commercial.

Don't misunderstand me, I am not saying one is better than the other...they are just different.

I love playing around with different words and interchanging them to get the best effect. I do care how the sentence sounds and will spend hours and weeks perfecting each sentence until I get it exactly the way I want it. 

You can have several words that have the same meaning but are individual when it comes to which one would serve the sentence more accurately.

I would define a writer's "voice" as being the use of words in constructing sentences.
I continue to study the use of words and how they relate to the sentence. It does take longer to write but it's worth it in the long run.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Writing workshop for inspiring fiction writers

I was so blessed to be able to attend a free writing workshop at my local library.  The speakers were Dianna Love and Mary Buckham who co-wrote the book Break into Fiction.  It is a great book on how to keep your writing on track and avoid the "writers block" that writers tend to fall into. If you do the exercises and fill out the forms you should be able to work efficiently through your book in a reasonable amount of time.

Mary said that if you follow the format and answer the question in the will not experience writers block.  Writers block happens when you don't know where your story is going.

I really appreciate the fact that these two very successful writers came out (Mary even flew from her home in Washington state) to give this workshop. Dianna lives here locally. They cared enough to share their experiences with us and I will always remember their kindness and encouragement. 

One thing I would like to share with you that Mary Buckham taught is the steps a reader will take in purchasing a book.

1. The first thing a person will do is look at the front cover of the book.  Publishers will pay money to have a book displayed with the cover facing out.  They know that the cover will be the first thing that draws a potential reader to your book.  If you will notice large book sellers such as Barnes and Noble and Boarders will have several books displayed on the shelf showing the front cover instead of the spine.

I always wondered why certain books were turned that way and how they picked which ones would be.

2. The next thing that he/she will do is flip the book over and read the back cover to find out what the story is about.  If they like what they read they will...

3. Open the book and read the first paragraph.  If they like it they will go on to the next paragraph.  If they like that one too they will usually read the first page.  If they like the first page, your are pretty sure of a sale.

Mary also said that people go into a bookstore pretty much knowing what they are looking for.  People don't go in saying "I'll just wonder around in the store and the first book that falls on me I'll buy."  A lot of people go straight to the genre that they like to read. 

If you are a new author it is very important that the reader is attracted to your book enought to pick it up and find out what it is about.  So marketing is very important. 

Dianna and Mary also said that what ever way you choose to market your book: Self-pub, ebook, large publishing house, you need to research each aspect of it so you can make an educated decision. 

I think that is very good advice.

Please post any comments that you would like to share as well.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Too Many Irons

     Heard the ole expression "too many irons in the fire?" Well I am living it first hand.  I try to blog on Fridays and it has been many, many Fridays ago, since I have written anything. UGH! 

We have just added an 8 week old puppy to our family.  His name is Jesse and he is a Shih Tzu.  He is so lovable and sweet (when he isn't chewing on you!) and is settling in very nicely.  The cats love him when he isn't trying to bite their tails off.  I have to take him out to potty about every hour during the night so when he naps during the day .....I DO TOO!! 

I have been very behind in my writing: my novel and blogging.  I am starting to get back to some sort of normalcy around here. 

I am attending a workshop on fiction writing this Tuesday for free at my local library, so I am very excited about that.  I think next Friday I will blog about what I learned during the workshop and share it with all my writer friends. :)

So stay tuned next Friday for some writing tips! :)
Blessings, Pamela

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Feeling overwhelmed :(

Sometimes I get overwhelmed with writing a novel.  Will it all come together?  Do I have enough description of scenes?  Enough Dialogue?  Are my characters interesting enough?
     Some days I approach the keyboard of my computer with total confidence.  I CAN do this...this is something that I love to do.  I have read enough books, that I should know how it's done.  My family is very supportive.
     Then there are the days where I drag myself to the computer and I feel so inadequate.  My self esteem is at an all time low.  I feel there is no way that I will be good enough...after all this is a very competitive business.  No one will want to read my book. 
     Today is one of those days where I am overwhelmed.  I am spending each day writing my manuscript and several hours devoted to learning the craft.  Will I ever make it??? 
     Don't get me wrong ....I LOVE writing and even learning the craft of writing, but I want to be a published writer...that is my goal.  But then again, isn't that every writers goal?  I don't write because I want to be famous....actually that is the part that is least appealing to me.  I hate the thought of being on national television promoting my book.  I see myself as a very private author...who just enjoys the art of WRITING!  I do realize that book signings and promotions are part of the package of being an author, but that is not why I want to be successful.
     I have a real passion to write books that are very clean.  I know that in this day and time I need to  clarify what I mean by clean.  Clean= no profanity and no explicit scenes (if you know what I mean).  I become so frustrated with all the wonderful authors out there that write beautifully (and who I use to read, before the Lord convicted me to set higher standards of what I should allow my eyes to take in) but they have incorporated so much profanity and graphic scenes that it ruins the story.
     Don't authors realize that if they cleaned up their books that they could sell more of them.  There are Christians out there that have set high standards and refuse to read such books.  Could it be that they are feeling pressure from the publishers to put certain things in to sell the book?  I don't know the answers but my plan (Lord willing) is to write top quality suspense novels that you can read without worrying about what is in it.  My goal is to write in the secular market, and hopefully have an impact on other authors to "clean" up the books that are being published.
     I have not decided exactly how my suspense will play out as far as being a Cozy, Mystery, or Thriller type book.  I am very interested in forensics and murders and how crimes are solved so my books would not be suitable for children.
    I do picture my books having humor in them as a balance with the suspense....I do not like gory, novels that are on the "dark" books will be "edge of your seat" with some funny stuff thrown in here and there.
    Well I guess I have rambled on back to writing. :)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

How will the Lord find you?

Be dressed, ready for service, and have your lamps shinning.  Be like servants who are waiting for their master to come home from a wedding party.  When he comes and knocks, the servants immediately open the door for him.  They will be blessed when their master comes home, because he sees that they were watching for him.  I tell you the truth, the master will dress himself to serve and tell the servants to sit at the table, and he will serve them. (Luke 12:35-37)

The day of the Lord will come like a thief.  The earth will be destroyed by fire and everything in it will be burned up.  Peter tells us what kind of people we should be.  "You should live holy lives and serve God, as you wait for and look forward to the coming of the day of God." 2 Peter 3:11-12

Hope of the future is not a license for irresponsibility in the present.  We need to not just wait, but wait forwardly.  We sometimes forget to look.

It is those of us who are strong in waiting and weak in watching that our Lord was speaking when he said, "No one knows when that day or time will be, not the angels in heaven, not even the Son.  Only the Father knows.  We must always be looking, because you don't know the day your Lord will come.....The son of Man will come at a time you don't expect him" (Matt. 24:36, 42, 44)

We are to wait "forwardly" or be patiently vigilant.  Not so patient that we lose our vigilance or the other way around vigilant that we lose our patience. 

Lord may I always be waiting patiently but vigilant for your coming and in great anticipation. 
God Bless!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

To Write or Not to Write

I am having a hard time making a decision.  Part of me wants to stay in and work on my manuscript and part of me wants to go outside and soak up the sunshine!....decisions, decisions!! 
I know what you writers out there would say....write outside :)  What a great idea...I can take my laptop to the deck and have the best of both worlds.  Now why didn't I think of that....oh yeah ....I did!

Whether you choose to stay indoors or out today, just make the most of it. 


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Are You Making a Scene?

The past couple of days I have been reviewing my first three chapters. I have learned if I read them aloud to myself I can better determine if the story flows or not. I wrote an outline of how I want my scenes to evolve, but I am having a hard time picturing the scene. I need to put details in so that the reader feels as though he is in the scene himself. Those little touches that make it "real."
When I write a scene I try to picture it, like a scene in a movie. I play the scene in my mind like a movie reel moving forward. What is happening, where are the characters and what do they see, smell, feel, taste.
If you are having trouble with scenes in your story, I would like to recommend the book Make A Scene by Jordan E. Rosenfeld. His book is very clear and precise and easy to understand. I love the way he breaks down the elements that make up a scene. Instead of looking like a scene as being a single thing, think of it as many elements working together.
Here are the basic elements that make up a scene:
Interesting and layered characters that have undergone some type of change since the beginning of the story.
Pov for each scene. (from whose eyes will you view the scene).
Action that takes place in real time.
Dialogue that is memorable and necessary for the scene.
New plot information that moves the story forward.
Testing of your characters through conflict and drama, revealing their personalities.
Using many senses to describe the physical setting, causing your reader to be drawn into the scene.
Exposition and summary in small amounts only.
I realize that what makes a scene a scene is action but well-balanced scenes include a little bit of everything above.

Happy writing!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Forensics & Faith: Five Reasons Why the Unpublished Can Stop Writing

A great post from Brandilyn Collins blog....It really spoke to me. Enjoy.

Forensics & Faith: Five Reasons Why the Unpublished Can Stop Writing

What about the "P" word?

This morning I was reading the book Fiction Writer's Brainstormer by James V. Smith on Plagiarism.  I never knew before reading this, exactly what constituted Plagiarism. 

Plagiarism is presenting another's writings as one's own.

So how can you borrow from these great writers without adding footnotes to your novel?  Well James V. Smith says to read. Take notes and lots of notes.  I about fell out of my chair when he wrote that he reads with a pen in his hand.  That is EXACTLY what I do!! 

I thought to myself ....well Pam you even act like a writer and you didn't even know you must BE a writer..ha.

Since I have been on this Novel Journey I can't read a book now without a pen...I mean you never know when you will need to underline some great line or write some notes in the book.  (Make sure the book you are writing in is yours and NOT someone elses).

You should never copy a large section without giving credit.  You can however, take something out of a sentence and tweak it to serve your purpose.

Hugs ;)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Cool 360 degree photography

360 deg. photography

This is amazing! What technology is now available......

Look all the way up and all the way down.

Use your mouse to move around. Click the mouse and move it in any direction.

A very dear friend sent this to me and I thought I would share it with you....enjoy!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Learning from the experts

One of the best ways to learn how to write a great novel is to study the books that other authors have written.  I love suspense/mysteries and naturally that is what I want to write.  All the books say to write what you like to read, which makes a lot of sense. 
     Brandilyn Collins is a very talented Christian writer.  I love reading her books.  They are suspenseful and keep you on the edge of your seat...that is why her books are called "seat belt suspense." She is also very good with character development.  I decided to critique her book Violet Dawn, to see how the book was structured.
     The first thing I did was read the book from cover to cover, and write the POV (Point of View) at the top of each chapter.  I was reading this book at the same time that I was learning about "Story Threads."  Story Threads are different stories that are taking place in addition to the main story plot....this is what will help to keep your story interesting as well as give depth to your story.
      So on the computer I would type chapter one and titled it Main Story Thread (because this was the main theme of the book).  Then the second chapter switched scenes to another character and what was happening during the same time as chapter this was Story Thread Two....then in Chapter Three the scene switches back to Story Thread One.  Chapter Four adds a new character and what is happening with her so that becomes Story Thread Three.  I did this at every chapter until I reached the end. 
     Then I color coded each story thread a different color and printed it out.  I was able to see the weave of the different story threads all through the book ....since I am a visual person this really helped me see how this is done.  In this book Brandilyn has Six Story Threads!  If you are a visual person this might help you too.
     This also showed me that at every chapter she would switch scenes and some of those chapter would end in cliff hangers and you would just HAVE to keep reading.  Each character that she introduced was dealing with their own issues which really gave her characters depth.
     She also uses background in a very cleaver way, but that is for another post.  By keeping her chapters short, she is able to switch scenes smoothly. 
     If you like a good Christian Suspense please check out Brandily Collins. You can visit her blog at check out her books they are very, very, good.  I pray that someday I will be that good.  Lord willing. 
     Well better get back to my own writing.
 Blessings and hugs!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wanna write a novel?

I started my writing journey about a year ago.  I decided to teach myself the art of writing fiction.  I love to read a good suspense know, the kind that keeps you turning the page at all hours of the night.  My desire is to write clean mystery/suspense novels that are hard to put down.  I thought that as much as I read, it would be a piece of cake to write a novel.  I was totally wrong.  The last year has taught me that there is a lot to learn.  But, I believe that if you have the passion and desire to write, you have already won half the battle. 
     Here is a list of my favorite books on how to write fiction. 1. Don't Murder Your Mystery by Chris Roerden  2. Getting into Character by Brandilyn Collins  3. Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell  4. First Draft in 30 Days by Karen Wiesner  5. Stein on Writing by Sol Stein  6. Self Editing for Fiction Writers   7. Dialogue by Gloria Kempton  8. Description by Monica Wood  9. Beginnings, Middles and Ends by Nancy Kress  10. Conflict, Action and Suspense by William Noble  11. Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass.   Study these books and you will be on your way to writing your bestseller.

This is a picture of me working on my manuscript at a friends mountain cabin in North Carolina.  It was very peaceful and relaxing.  Here I am learning about using description in a story.

God Bless!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


This is my new blog where I will share my novel writing journey. I love to read suspense/mysteries, and it is my desire to be a published writer.  Only the Lord knows if this will ever come to pass but I believe if he puts the desire in you, and you write to please him then you can't go wrong. 
     I get so discouraged at the bookstores, trying to find a good book minus all the profanity...etc.  My goal is for anyone to be able to pick up one of my books and not have to worry about the language or content.  To be able to read a great story with incredible characters that you consider part of your family.  I will be sharing many things that I have learned along the way.
     Jesus Christ is Lord of my life.  He has carried me the past two years due to great sadness in my family.  I truly felt his presence every step of the way and will share that as well.  Digging into scripture and having daily devotionals is a relaxing time for me
     Treasure Hunting is what I do.  If I find something that really speaks to my heart, or something new that I have learned, I call them "Treasures."  I will post them on here as well. 
     Thanks for visiting my blog.