When Writing Strictly by the Rules Ruins A Story by Jules Dixon @JulesofTripleR #Mondayblogs #amwriting

giphy-downsized (39)Writers generally fall into categories. Plotter or pantster (person who doesn’t plan a story and just lets their fingers and brain fly). Marketers who have a plan for release, promotion, and sales and those who just write for the love of writing and if readers buy it they don’t care. Those who study craft methods and those who choose to write off of instinct. Just to name a few ways.

There are reasons for striving to be a better writer by learning some story development techniques. Quicker writing because you learn your own voice and flow of writing. Happier readers because there’s organization and the story can be entertaining. And lastly, if you’re looking for a publisher or agent then being able to write with some standards and general organization principals can make your story stand out or at least make sense.

giphy (86) However…

Yes, Jensen, I think that, too, and thanks for the distraction, but I’m not talking about you. I’m trying to say…

Knowing what GMC (Goal, Motivation, Conflict) and what a 3 Act Structure is (Intro of Conflict, Escalating Action with Increasing Stakes, Crisis and Falling Action or Resolution) or what the “Hero’s Journey‘ is, just to name a few, doesn’t make a great story. Sure, it can help an author to have mechanics down and possibly a place to start but…

The writer still has to use intuition, competence, and their gift to come up with a killer idea and conflict that’s realistic, relatable and grips the reader.

giphy-downsized (40).gifWhen a writer only relies on techniques and craft knowledge then a story can and often does come off stilted, stiff, and dry. It takes more than knowing what good writing consists of to make it good writing.

So how does a writer prevent that from happening?

I see three different ways.

  1. Have a plan. You don’t have to be a true plotter to have an idea of where a story is starting and where it’s going. Then set that aside and write the story and see where it goes. If it starts going off the plan and you like it cause it’s fresh and original and has life, then KEEP GOING! But if you’re struggling, go back and look at those ideas, what did you miss–did you miss a conflict? Did you not set up the motivation and the character doesn’t have anything to lose?
  2. Let someone else read it and then accept what they say with grace and poise. I know, easier said than done. That’s for sure. But if more than one person, or even one person you truly trust says that a story isn’t working and they struggling to connect with the characters, plot, setting, etc, then maybe you overworked the story with revision or excessive planning or maybe characters aren’t developed enough. Maybe all those techniques over came the story.
  3. Learn the techniques, but guess what? Forget them. Yep, just use your gut and write the story as it comes to you. There is something to be said for following your gut as a writer and allowing the characters to lead you, instead of you leading them. If that’s not your style, no problem. Just keep it in mind that it’s okay to go off track once in a while. Sometimes those side journeys can be the best ways to know our characters and story.

So there you have it. Don’t let your story become stale and only based on techniques and only “sound writing principles” (dun, dun, dun) because there is a place and reason for balance between knowledge and innate skill.

Good luck to all writers!

Have a great Monday and week!

❤ Jules

MONDAY MESSAGES

 

 

 

Fake News! #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday one and all, hope you had a great week, and also have a fabulous weekend. Let’s get down to business…

** WARNING **

The following is for Adult audiences only, as it may offend the weak willed and those with guilty consciences. It is my personal opinion, and only an opinion. It will contain profanity, several cliche’s, and likely sting those where it strikes too close to home. Enjoy.

First off, the title. I’m not talking about Fox News, Breitbart or whatever the hell it is that comes from the White House briefings. We’re authors after all, and all that crap is really nothing more than inspiration, and fodder for our next villain(s). It’s also a lot of shitty white noise that is unfortunately on nearly every station you tune into, even here in Canada. Personally I institute the mandatory eye roll, and go about my day.

No, what I mean by “Fake News” is the bullshit that certain authors like to sell, much like a bridge in the Sahara Desert. Sounds good, unless you really think about it or investigate even a little. These authors appear open, genuine, caring, and as having your back. In reality they are two-faced liars, scumbags, and would sell their own mother if it got them onto the New York Times.

The realists among authors, those of us who write for the sheer pleasure of creation, who enjoy talking to ourselves in public hashing out a story line, babble incoherently around folks who don’t understand about muses, and who will randomly tune out of conversations because they just thought of something that would make their story better, we know the odds of hitting the Times list are slimmer than fucking slim. But we all have dreams, and if it’s still sitting in the back of our mind in a dusty corner, so be it. We’re allowed to have our dreams too after all.

The fakers though will gladly stick a blade in your back, and climb over your still twitching corpse if it gets them even a millimeter closer to being “big time”. The worst part of it all is, while they are charming to you or in public, in private they are more vicious than a nest full of vipers. And you often have no clue until some unaware individual asks some random question, makes some strange remark, or gets in your face about something you are clueless about. Fakers will literally say anything, and they are usually the “victim” of the tale.

But they aren’t. What they are is cold, calculating, and willing to toss the innocent under the bus. They like to snuggle up to those in power, sell them their bullshit with sprinkles or even a cherry on top, and they always cover their asses. Sadly outing them is nearly impossible because they are slicker than a used car salesman. They are, I hate to say it but it’s really a great analogy, the current US government of the author world. They have followers who believe they spew rainbows and shit gold bricks. They can do no wrong, but you (the target of their malicious bull shit) are evil incarnate. And there’s shit all you can say otherwise. How the fuck do you proof you’re not the person they claim you to be? You can’t.

While the idea of keeping your head down, and staying out of the way seems the safe plan it will only hurt who you are as an author, and probably affect your bottom line. So instead I suggest you take care with your words online, find true friends who don’t care if you have a few screws loose – like the gals here on NQ do about one another – and do your own damn thing. Chin up, shoulders back, and tell the world at large to go fuck itself. You are your own superstar, and that’s all that damn well matters.

When one lying, conniving, bitch of an author goes down for the count another three will rise. Going head to head is not advised, and is honestly exhausting to even think about it. Instead be you, write your stories, and be gloriously giddy like a kid in a candy store each time you publish one. Live for yourself, not others. And remember this – no one can ever know you like you do. No matter what the shitheads may say, they don’t and will never truly know who YOU are. Wear that shit like a badge of honor.

Raven’s Thursday thoughts on bleeping-minded muses…

Raven rambles…On muses

Or should that be a-musing-we-will-go?

Whichever, this is a blog post about the will of the muse.

The bloody mindedness of my muse to be precise.

Or how not to ignore your muse. It has a stronger will than you do. And listen to it because it knows best.

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(Source, pinterest)

This last month or two my muse has been incredibly obstinate. It seems it thinks that writing hot is not for me any more. Or at least not for the moment. That was a bit problematic to say the least, as I was half way through writing the last book in my Kera Faire, Death Isle series.

I begged it shook its head. I pleased it turned its back. I cried, it relented enough to let me finish the story. I think in a hot as hades, all holds barred, got to get flustered and jump your partner way. Thankfully.

And then.

Nada. Zilch. B all.

I tell you it got me worried. How could I write if I could only do half a job?

Well to be honest, the answer is…easily.

My muse whispered in my ear. So you can’t write hot anymore? Then don’t. Write warm or sweet or wrap around velvet chocolate. Gorgeous men. Feisty heroines. Toe curling drama or laugh out loud instances that make you want to cringe. The lead up, the anticipation, and of course the happy ever after.

Hint, tease, think about things. Leave a little to to your reader’s imagination.

Do something different.

Any enjoy it.

So I did, and I am.

Now, I’ve told my muse, never say never, and I won’t. But for now? i’m enjoying what I’m writing. And that’s the main point. If you write what you do not enjoy, it will show in your work.

And as Bob Marley sang…

every little thing alright Marley

(Source, pinterest)

Happy writing,

love Raven x

Happy Hump Day #BeInspired #WickedWednesday (@KaceyHammell) #Writing

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Good morning all.

We’ve been having spotty internet for a few weeks and this morning, woke up to being offline. Again. Nothing like pissing off a redhead at five in the morning. So I am using data on my phone, and this won’t be a long post. My apologies.

I hope all my fellow writers are feeling inspired and writing like the wind and words are flowing off your fingertips. Be sure to take all that remarkable inspiration and let it all out. Do not stop. Do not question the plot or characters’actions or the doubts that may creep inside your head.

Simply write. Type all those words and worry about the editing/revising/questioning later.

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(All pic sources from pinterest)

 

Until next week,

Happy Writing!!

Kacey xoxo

Mean Girls #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Happy Tuesday, folks. I should probably warn you, this might get a tad ranty. As the title says, I’m talking mean girls today, specifically those in the author playground.

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Hmm, yes. I heard something this week, which left me stumped, namely authors in one publishing house talking trash about a fellow author in the same house.

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Come on now, peeps that is so not cool. Now, I get, it, personalities clash,  things said are taken out of context, the ugly green-eyed monster rears its head…. we’re human… I. Get.It.

But for the love of all that is holy try to keep things professional, especially when you’re voicing such opinions in front of readers. It makes us all look bad and like the mean girls. Really, haven’t we left those antics behind on the playground?

We’ve said it many times on here, there is room for all of us. This is not a competition. Sure we’d all like to sell tonnes like some authors seem to do so effortlessly, and yeah, it can grate if you perceive your stories to be that much better than the ones that sell.

Here is the rub, though, that is just your perception. What sells, what doesn’t, what grabs a reader’s attention is all so very subjective and that is as it should be.

There are as many different stories and authors out there as there are readers, and that is a good thing.

Variety is the spice of life and all that. There have been plenty of times I read something and shaken my head in wonder, and asked how the hell?

That’s fine, we’re all entitled our opinions. What none of us is entitled to do is voice those opinions at the expense of some one else’s feelings, especially when they’re not in the room, so to speak to give their side of the story.

And this is the other thing. There are always, always two sides to every story, or more if more than two people are involved.

And here is the other rub, both sides of that story might be right. So much is down to individual perception of things, after all. Rarely do two people see exactly the same thing, or take away the same impression from a book, painting, even a conversation.

What has sparked all this, you might ask. Well, if you’re one of the people involved and you’re squirming in your seat right now, take a good long hard look in the mirror, that’s all I’m going to say.

None of us is perfect. We all make mistakes, that’s a given, but there is never, ever an excuse for being one of the mean girls.

To further clarify, as far as I know, no-one has been spouting rubbish about me, or if they have I’m blissfully unaware.

*smiles*

And you know something else, knock yourself out if you are. That sort of thing always says more about the person who’s doing it then the person they’re talking about.

It reminds me of when I first started what you would call high school in the UK back in the day in Germany. I very quickly fell in with the popular crowd. I was tall, reasonably pretty, skinny, and sporty if a tad quiet.

I was happy with the status quo, why wouldn’t I be, until the new girl started. She was on the chubby side, with dark hair and ugly glasses, none of which were her fault, and of course, the popular crowd picked on her straightway.

Well, I’m happy to say my gran raised me better than that. I couldn’t just stand by and join in with the taunting. I stood up for that girl, and we became the best of friends.  Naturally, that also ended my spell as the popular girl. I became the picked on one, but you know what?

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and all that. I learned a valuable lesson back then, to be myself, to not be a sheep, to not follow any bandwagon and to stand for what I believe in.

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What you see is what you get with me, and that can be brutal honesty at times. It’s a shame most folks don’t seem capable of extending that same courtesy.

*side note… Jamie…. Outlander….drool*

Erm, where was I? Oh, yeah, I was ranting, as I do. 😉

Seriously, though, let’s stop the playground mentality and support each other. Don’t be the mean girl. We’re all better than that.

And another side note, with all this drama seemingly going on behind the scenes all the time, how does anyone find time to, you know, actually write.

Baffles me, I have to say.

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Anyhoo, that’s enough from me today and my attempt at putting the world to rights. ( I wish!)

Stay naughty, folks.

D xx

Sharing Time by Jules Dixon @JulesofTripleR #amwriting #Mondayblogs #MondayMessages

Almost five years ago I started my first story. And now seven novels, two novellas, and seven short stories later…I’m still going…strong? Well, I’m still here.

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Thanks. I’m celebrating, too.

 

I’m going to put myself out there and answer a few questions. I invite others to join in and answer so we can get to know each other better. And please, if you want to know something…comment away!

  1. Why do I write? I write because I have these voices in my head. No, not bad voices, although those might work, too. I’ve always been the person who can walk into a room and create stories about people I don’t know. I figured I’d put it to good use and create worlds and characters that readers might want to know better, too. 
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  2. What do I read? I read mostly contemporary romance, but my second love is classics. My favorite book of all time is Pride and Prejudice. I read it every Christmas. But contemporary wise, I love broken men and strong women.
  3. What’s your favorite movie? Ugh, this question’s hard…and I’m making up the questions! My favorite of all time is probably “You’ve Got Mail” with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, but quickly following on its heels “John Wick 1.” I know, those are about as polar opposite as can be, but I love them for different reasons. YGM–because of how he woos her in the end and that line “I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so badly.” Swoon. And John Wick because I’m impressed with the story building of the author/screenwriter. I won’t give anything away, but there’s a dog in the beginning and what happens tore me apart. Keanu Reeves is amazing, and did all his own driving stunts. I love fast cars and his car–69 Mustang…be still my heart.
  4. How many pairs of shoes do you have and what are your favorites? Well, right now all my shoes are packed away because I’m wearing (still) an orthodic boot to help my Achilles tendon heal. Find out tomorrow where we go–so good thoughts. BUT…I am very much a shoe hoarder. I did downsize because we recently moved into a smaller home, but I’d say I have a dozen flip flops, three dozen heels and wedges, a dozen and half pair of boots, two pair of Converse, and another dozen other shoes. And that’s 1/2 at least of what I used to have. But hopefully, someone out there is enjoying my other shoes as I donated them to a second-hand clothing charity.       And as for favorites…my cowboy boots!IMG_2656
  5. What else do you enjoy doing with your time? After writing and reading, I enjoy food. Whether I’m making it or someone else is, I love eating. I love trying new foods and love traveling to eat new foods. My latest food adventure, burrata–it’s a soft, fresh made mozzarella…and dang, so good. I’m sure it’s not low in calories, but who cares. Just ridiculously delicious.

 

So there you have it. A little about me. I’d love to know a little about you. Come on, it’s not scary! Answer one of the questions!

Hugs to all and have a wonderful week!

❤ Jules

MONDAY MESSAGES

 

 

Take time to chill #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday one and all. It’s been a crazy, hectic week so this will be a short post. To that end, I’ll get down to business.

We’ve all been exhausted at one point or another in our lives. Being an adult is pretty damn exhausting when you consider all we do in a day. As authors we need to be aware that when we’re tired this can have an effect not only on our lives, but also our writing. One thing I know from personal experience is that as the day wears on and I’m writing, the more likely it is that I write my characters being worn out, yawning, thinking about bed. It’s perfectly natural, but something to remember and be aware of. Especially if you don’t want your characters climbing into bed every second chapter – at least not for sleeping, lol!

Now, not only does our sleepy mind create issues in our writing but it also, sometimes severely, affects our health. While there is still a stigma surrounding mental health for whatever idiotic reasoning, don’t let this deter you from doing what’s right for you and your well being. You need to be in tip top mental state to write that story that’s waiting to break free. So if you need to get away for a weekend, do a day spa, or hide in the pantry eating chocolate for a couple hours, do it. Do not feel obligated to explain why to anyone. We each have a responsibility to ourselves, first and foremost above all others, even our loved ones. Because if we’re not in a rested mental state how can we do what needs to be done for others?

So remember to take a moment, an hour, a day or whatever you need to refresh, for yourself. Stressing out does no one any good. With that thought, I hope you all have a lovely weekend with whatever plans you might have.

Raven rants on… well read it and see

The other day, I heard two women who should know better chatting. They were talking about the body shape of someone else, and not to put too fine a point on it, their talk verged on the offensive.

Seriously it was as if their speech had been taken over by teenage boys and gutter talk, locker room trash, spewed out of their mouths.

Horrible.

Totally unacceptable.

Unacceptable Unwelcome Hand Cut Word Split Concept

(Source deposit photos)

They stereotyped someone in such a way, I felt sick.

If women talk about each other like that, what hope have we got?

Hell’s bells we should support, not denigrate each other. If we talk in such a derogatory way about our fellow women (or indeed if men do the same about men) how can we expect the opposite sex not to do the same?

Many years ago I read a book where a woman fluttered her eyelashes at her ex lover, and said to another woman, who had a responsible job, “Ohh I’m much too frivolous for things like that.”

Quick as a flash the second woman spoke up. “You shouldn’t describe yourself as frivolous. It means paltry or without worth. People do tend to take you at your own assessment of yourself.”

(Today, frivolous probably has a slightly different meaning, but you get my drift.)

My point is, if you say something negative about your own body, you’d be bloody annoyed if it was taken as gospel. We all have our bad hair, hate my boobs day. We all know when we need to adjust our body weight if possible.

But…

There’s that word again.

To think it is okay to do it about someone else is even worse. We are much more than our bodies.

But…To be wanted for your imperfections isn’t right, is it? Those woman saying someone was…well I’m not going to say it, but take my word it was shitty, is so not on.

We should be wanted in spite of our imperfections. Loved for who we are not because of what we are.

I’m happy to say, that a third woman leaned over and blasted those first two women. Told them they were the disgusting ones.

That we should work together for what is right, and how would they like it if a bloke only wanted their boobs or ass and nothing else?

“Oh,” she added in a voice dripping with saccharine. “If I ever see a piece in the paper saying two women, one with buck teeth and one with saggy boobs, were arrested for libel or slander, I’ll know who it was.”

The point of this rant?

A book title I saw, that to me, is offensive to a large number of women.

Rant over,

love Raven x

PS Is this related to writing? Yes I think it is. Just my pov, mind you. 

You should be writing! #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Hey peeps, Doris here with a very short and sweet post today, as I really shouldn’t be here at all. I’m on a tight deadline. Nothing like a bit of pressure to get the fingers flying and all that.

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For once I know the story. Heck, I have a synopsis and everything….

*passes the smelling salts*

Yes, I know, unheard of, but necessary for this particular submission process. I’m waiting to hear back on a first chapter and just in case the powers that be will want more…. well, I kinda need the rest of the story, right?

Hence the deadline.

I tell myself I work well under pressure…. yeah, right… erm…

So, with that in mind, I best get off here and crack on. I left my hero with a severe case of blue balls and the heroine has just turned up, so there is a whole lot of different pressure going on.

*snort*

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Erm right, that’s my cue.

(Incidentally, Rhett Butler, so wonderfully portrayed by Clark Gable here, was the first literary hero I ever fell in love with.)

*swoons*

idris-elba

Eeek, def going now!

*catches one last glimpse of Idris*

Stay naughty, folks!

 

Dxx

 

Story Titles: What are we doing to romance? by Jules Dixon @JulesofTripleR #amwriting #MondayMessages #Mondayblog

Story Titles: What are we doing to romance?

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Thanks, Ironman, I thought it was timely and decided to give my two cents. Hope you’re ready to listen.

For the last year, I’ve seen book/story titles that have made me do a second glance. Mostly because of their shock-and-awe nature, but some because I’ve started noticing a trend of escalation.

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Escalation? Yes, with some titles making me cringe.

Some of the titles started out as puns on words, “Pucked” for well, I’m assuming you can figure that one out and I actually found that title to be endearing and appropriate for the book, as it was about a hockey player and comedic in nature. Kudos to Helena Hunting for a great title and series.

But then came other titles that I found harder to find a real reason for the extreme facets of the title. The specifics aren’t important, but what is important is that I’ve now laid my eyes on titles that are pushing the boundaries of what a romance title probably should be.

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In my opinion, a romance title should do these three things:

  1. It should give insight into a plotline or character of the story. For instance, if the story is about cowboys, then maybe Riding Again, which also indicates that maybe it’s could be a second chance love story or a person who found love, lost it, and is finding it again.
  2. It should tell a reader what they can expect. If it’s one word, I believe it’s harder to accomplish that, but I’ve seen it done. Especially in the case of Jay Crownover’s Marked Men series–all named with the guys’ name that is the lead character. Fun reading and great heroines. But promising something with the title and then not delivering, that’s a quick way to lose readers.
  3. It shouldn’t be created to disturb or shock readers. When we do that as authors we aren’t holding our writing accountable for being the story, the title is the story. Plus, if the story doesn’t deliver and the title created a bunch of attention then do we think readers will come back for more? No, they have expectations of the genre, including story, characters, plotline, and titles.

I know what you’re saying, but it’s the author’s right to decide the title. Sure. Up to a point, then if they have a publisher then someone needs to step in and say when a title isn’t appropriate or even offensive. If it’s self-published, I think beta readers need to voice opinions.

And in the end, if the author gets negative feedback because of a risque or politically/socially loaded title, then they need to be willing to accept the criticism and move on. No apologies. No regrets. No “sorry, but not sorry”s. Take it like a champ, because you chose it.

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But if a title is just for shock factor, I would encourage writers to think twice. Is that what you really want to be known for?

Titles are so important. Why choose one that might start judgment of the novel right out of the gate? I guess that might be something I’ll never know the answer to.

I want romance writers to respect the genre and their work, because if we don’t, who will? No one.

What do you think? Seen any titles that pushed the envelope for you? Don’t have to name names, but what about it triggered emotions for you?

Hope everyone has a wonderful Monday!

Take care, ❤ Jules

MONDAY MESSAGES