Unrealistic portrayals #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday everyone, and a happy Easter weekend to everyone. It’s time to get our chocolate on, lol! I’m heading out of town, and with fingers crossed that the weather holds out. While not unusual in Canada, no one wants snow to ruin their Easter fun.

For today’s post I want to discuss the “too perfect” characters some authors expect us to buy into. Now, to be clear, I’m talking about human characters mainly but also paranormal. Aliens are outside my realm of writing, so they are exempt from today’s roasting. Everything else is fair game, so here we go.

We humans as a species are imperfect – fact. We all have flaws whether we admit to them or not – fact. We all have at least one thing, often more than one thing, that we absolutely hate about ourselves – fact. Absolutely no human being on earth is perfect – fact. I’m sorry if this has caused anyone some upset, but it happens to be the truth. Anyone that says otherwise is a bold faced liar.

So why the fuck do authors continue to make characters flawless in every way?

Let’s be clear, I don’t mean in appearance because this is not the point of today’s post. Appearance is only the books cover. Do we occasionally get snagged first by the hottie on the cover? Sure, and there’s nothing wrong with that or admitting to it. But if that’s ALL we’re looking at then it’s a pretty shallow interpretation. We have to get to know the heart of an individual to truly understand them. Looks may be our instinctive first impression, but it should never, ever be the last. We as human beings are run by chemical and electrical impulses, but it’s the story behind the cover that gives us the context we need. And now that I’ve mixed metaphors, and realities around, let me get back on track a bit here.

Every character needs at least one flaw. Not merely hair that’s unruly or a crooked tooth giving a smile some character, although it does help, but some quirk or trait or situation that makes them more human. Yes, not every character is human, fully or otherwise. But for the readers very human brain to better relate they have to see in each character something that makes them flawed or different or unique. Maybe your character was injured, and everyday is a struggle. Maybe s/he never learned to read until s/he was an adult and still struggles from time to time. You get the idea.

Too perfect characters are the ones with every hair in place, or that just styled look that we all (at least once) wish we had going for us at some point. They have the job, the car, own their house/condo before they’re fifty, dream job, amazing high powered friends, etc. They are the unicorn among the cattle. Look too long or hard and you’ll pretty much go blind. They can do no wrong. And, let’s be honest here, they are as boring as fuck! No one, I repeat, NO ONE is perfect.

Yes, romance is fiction. Yes, there is a fantasy element to romance works. Yes, we all have had dreams about “that” guy being ours. But the sad, harsh reality is that “that” guy is either the biggest dick on the planet, would have you bored to tears before your first drinks arrived, or even worse still, he bats for the other team. Talk about depressing, right?

People screw up, sometimes in little ways and sometimes to epic extremes. This is a fact. This is a reality. And when a character (male or female) screws up and has to dig themselves from the hole they just dug. They’re driving a beater that’s being held together by duct tape and a prayer. They’ve had some unexpected expense crop up that has them sweating making rent, the car payment, or the bill payments. They got a cold they just can’t seem to shake. They have hay fever, or allergies, or something else that seems super mundane but is necessary. We’ve been there, lived through it, or known someone that’s been there, we can all relate to them.

So, authors one and all, remember the seemingly little things. The details that turn your perfect smiling, classical beauty, sex goddess into someone a little less other worldly, and let’s your readers feel closer to them. It doesn’t have to be much, but even a little something makes a huge difference. Keep it real as it were.

Raven’s Thursday thoughts on prices

Raven rambles on prices…

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(source pinterest)

Not just coffee, (anything goes there I guess), or chocolate (ditto) but books.

Yeah I know. Stop rolling your eyes and muttering things like ‘oh lordy she’s on her soap box again’ and getting out the doll to stick pins in. I’ve got enough pain in my body at the moment. I couldn’t cope with any more.

I’m chatting—honestly just chatting, not pontificating, ranting or lecturing—about book prices today, because I’ve seen a lot of shall we say unhappy readers who can’t fathom why some books, especially paperbacks cost so much. There’s been a fair few grumbles about ‘greedy authors’ as well.

We—those of us who have had paperbacks out—know that boy we do not make very much there. Nor do publishers. So much has to be done to get that book to you so you can hold and stroke it. I’ll share something with you here. For one of my paperbacks that in the UK was £5.99 I got 2p a copy. That’s right two pence. About two and a half cents. Per book. And that is correct. The publisher gets a bit more, after they have paid the distributor, but the publisher also has to pay for al the other things that need doing. Like covers, formatting and printing. Not to forget paying those who do all those jobs, plus the editor(s), who we need. (Oh boy do we)

However, it’s hard for some people to grasp that. That is author grit your teeth time. All you can do it explain and if pushed, politely suggest that the person who is aggrieved contact the publisher (sorry EP).

With eBooks you also have in the UK, VAT (value added tax) in the price as well.

And the upshot of this med-fuelled post?

You can’t please all of the people all of the time. Me? If it’s a choice between a book and a coffee in (insert posh coffee establishment of your choice) I’ll go for the book, every time.

Others might not.

But whatever the outcome, in general, books of any description are priced as they have to be. Sometimes a deal is on…Great for the reader, not so much for anyone else.

See, we do aim to please when we can.

And on that statement, I’m off to hunt out some more meds, and no doubt fall asleep. Be gently with me please.

 

Raven x

The #99cent Decision #WickedWednesday (@KaceyHammell)

Wednesdays
Good morning everyone! Kacey here, and I wish you all a wonderful Wednesday. The temperatures have been so amazing here in my area of Ontario, Canada. The sunshine has felt wonderful on my face, and we’ve had some rainy days, but the rise in temps and seeing the sun more days than not, makes up for it.

This week I want to talk about something that can stir the pot with many people in this industry. Things can get pretty heated amongst authors about the 99 cent pricing on ebooks. There happened to be a kerfuffle on social media recently that I added my opinion to, by a fairly well-known author’s (depends on  the genre you read) who expressed a serious snarl about some authors having so many books in their catalogue for 99 cents, and how the industry was suffering because of this factor.

Now, adding myself to the mix since I have a book for 99 cents, which has always been in my catalogue for that amount, I took this seriously. The word count on my book is just shy of 10,000 words. Why would I want my readers paying more than that for a story at such a low word count? It’s a second to a series (the first always free), and I like to use the 2 short stories to readers who haven’t read my work before. I don’t want to give them all away for free, and having these 2 in my backlist has worked, I’ve had readers comment that they found me because of these stories and they searched for more, and found the longer, more pricier titles.

I’m all for having an opinion in this business, everyone has one and is entitled to it. However, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth when some authors scream “wrong” when another author chooses to take a path they don’t agree with. The author I mentioned above who was quite vocal about the subject, said things like “this is destroying our industry”, “it’s bribing readers and sadly devalues the books” with regards to the 99 price point. Hell, over a decade ago there wasn’t bitching and fighting about ebooks and smaller publishers destroying the industry.

Hmm, look at things now…

But back on topic — yes, sales are down across the board, a lot of authors are second-guessing this as a career and my heart goes out to them, but honestly, who are we to dictate to another author how they run their business? And this is a business. The path I choose may not work for another author, vice versa, yada yada yada. So why does anyone have to make statuses with all caps,  and make disparaging remarks without knowing the author’s reasons for putting his/her books at 99 cents? We don’t pay their bills, don’t walk in their shoes or know their struggles. Some authors put their books at that price when they are just starting out and want to have the exposure to run ads in newsletters, etc. Perhaps they simply want to offer their books at a low price all the time for his/her readership? God forbid an author writes for the love of the art and giving readers – who may have health issues or are unable to spend much on books – something affordable?  Don’t be so quick to pass judgment on others.

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My lower priced titles will remain at their price, and out of more than a dozen stories in my backlist catalogue, it’s not that big of a deal. I don’t find it devaluing my work because the reasons are mine to do so and I love every story that comes from my heart and soul. Perhaps people who shouldn’t, again, pass judgment on people they know nothing about. Just because a story is 99 cents does NOT mean it’s because the author devalues his/her work. That is, in my opinion, the issues of others who want to belittle others.

And while the industry is very saturated and it’s difficult to get noticed or to always be a best-selling author, every author has to follow their own path. Again, it is their decision to run their business as they see fit. Also, another point is if a book is 99 cents, an author only sets the price is they are self-publishing.  Publishers have control over pricing and often have sales running to spotlight a new release, which is part of a series or simply to try some new marketing strategies.

But authors should be standing united without anyone telling them what is wrong or right. Every author has their own opinion on what success is and how they should run their business. Perhaps we should all root for everyone and write more books instead of bashing others?

Sounds like a plan to me…

 

Until next week,

Happy Writing!

Kacey xo

 


 

Triggers in Writing #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Hello, lovely folks, Doris here. As the title says, I’m talking triggers today. Specifically those reactions readers might have when they read your story.

There is some debate in the writing industry and amongst readers about this, so firstly, let’s look at how the dictionary defines triggers.

 

ˈtrɪɡə/
noun
plural noun: triggers
  1. 1.
    a small device that releases a spring or catch and so sets off a mechanism, especially in order to fire a gun.
    “he pulled the trigger of the shotgun”
    • an event that is the cause of a particular action, process, or situation.
      “the trigger for the strike was the closure of a mine”
verb
3rd person present: triggers
  1. 1.
    cause (a device) to function.
    “burglars fled empty-handed after triggering the alarm”
    synonyms: activate, set off, set going, trip

    “burglars triggered the alarm”
    • cause (an event or situation) to happen or exist.
      “an allergy can be triggered by stress or overwork”
      synonyms: precipitate, prompt, trigger off, set off, spark (off), touch off, stimulate, provoke, stir up, fan the flames of; More
    • (of an event or situation) cause (someone) to do something.
      “the death of Helen’s father triggered her to follow a childhood dream and become a falconer”
    • (especially of something read, seen, or heard) distress (someone), typically as a result of arousing feelings or memories associated with a particular traumatic experience.
      “she started crying and told me that my news had really triggered her”

     

 

What this doesn’t explain, is the gut wrenching reaction the person who triggers will have to this. I never really understood it either, until it happened to me. I was reading a blurb, and wham…. there it was a trigger I didn’t even know I had.

Or rather I knew it made me uncomfortable, due to this particular subject being a cause of considerable upset and trauma for someone very close to me and this person still struggles with her demons every day. It was a particularly painful time for us all as a family. I’m being vague on purpose, so forgive me.

This is is not the vehicle to discuss this matter, and I guess in part that is one of the reasons why I reacted so strongly to this story.

I’d come across it previously in a dark romance I read, and I had to stop reading it. It was just too close to home for me, but, at least, it was a dark romance and in this story, it was done to the heroine, not self-inflicted. I still couldn’t read about it mind you, but that’s my own personal cross to bear if you like.

I certainly didn’t blame the author for writing it – though some warnings about it would have been appreciated – but this is where the contention comes in.

As authors, we need to be able to write the stories we see fit to write. And if you listed every possible trigger or objection someone might find in your story (which in itself is an impossibility, because human beings are so unique in their likes and dislikes) the list of warnings would be longer than the actual story.

Only half kidding.

What we authors must do, however, is think long and hard if the subject matter we’re writing about is suitable material for the category we’re writing in. In this instance, an erotic romance. Personally, and again, this is my opinion, and I am fully aware that I simply cannot be objective in my assessment here, this particular subject has no place in an Erotic romance. Now a YA one, hell yeah. I still couldn’t bring myself to read it but done sensitively and in the right framework, it could be hugely beneficial to readers.

I recently watched the Netflix series 13 Reasons why which deals with the reasons why a teenager killed herself and is based on the best-selling book of that name.

Harrowing, yet compelling watching, and it highlights an important issue. Triggers galore in there as you can imagine, and I dare say lots of people couldn’t watch/read it.

Yet it was a story so worth telling in that framework,

That blurb that triggered my very intense reaction…..

Well, I don’t know, because I certainly will not be reading it. I hope/assume the author has done her research with this sensitive issue, and I shall let the readers decide on that one.

Like I stated above I would never tell an author what they can or cannot write. And as someone pointed out to me, that blurb did a good job, in so far that it told me that there was no way on this earth that I would read that particular story.

Strong words, I know, but I still feel sick when I think about it. Which is by no means that author’s fault, but it’s something to be aware of when/if you do choose to tackle a subject which can cause strong emotions.

I had to come off FB that day, read lots of laugh out loud romances to distract me before I lost that sick feeling of dread in my stomach, the clammy hands and the rage at what I had read.

It made me understand those readers better who leave incensed reviews because they came across something they didn’t expect when reading.

Triggers, when they happen to you whilst reading are painful, real and they evoke emotions that surprise the feck out of you.

Had I written this blog post then it would have been an expletive-filled rant, which would not have been fair or constructive.

After all, that author didn’t set out to ruin my day. She just wrote the story she needed/wanted to tell and that is all any of us can do.

However, keep those potential triggers in mind when you are writing as best you can.

That’s all from me today.

Do stay naughty, folks.

Dxxx

 

Conflict: Ramp up Drama by Jules Dixon #WritingTips #MondayMessages @JulesofTripleR

Conflict: Ramp up Drama

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Last week I talked about beginnings of stories and this week I’m taking on the dreaded…sagging middle of a story…aka Act II…and the part where all the drama and plot happens in a story. And as much as I want to believe authors celebrate and acknowledge this section of the story, the fact is a lack of true conflict in stories happens too frequently and too many plots are easily resolved with one question.

Act One, the beginning, is exciting to write because you’re inventing people, places, and problems. The end or Act III is easy because it’s a culmination of tension and the reveal of either love or death or a moment that changes everything—a black moment.

But it’s the stuff in the middle of those two that takes a lot of work.

Sometimes combining action, dialogue, setting, and so much more into words comes naturally–I’d say about 1.945% of the time for 1.982% of the writers. But the other 98.008% of us writers have to think about how to make a story sing and keep readers interested…and more. Because if we don’t, we can end up writing a story where no drama, no events, no problems, and no progress ever exists.

And it’s a fact…

giphy (46)Readers want drama.

Readers want problems. Readers want to see characters mixed up and torn down and drug through the mud before they figure their lives out. Readers do not want a blasé, so-so, emotionally bereft story with characters who never progress from the first chapter and remain exactly the same. But planning the drama can take energy and is always a hard examination of what your character’s goals, motivations, and conflicts really are.

So “sagging middles” happen when characters in a story are just living their ho-hum lives. Sagging middles of stories occur when characters aren’t faced with major hurdles to lead to changes in both their external lives and their internal emotions. And boring–ahem, I mean sagging–middles continue when characters don’t face problems head on in a timely manner.

Imagine reading a book where the author tells you the brand of toothpaste a character loves? Why does it matter? Normally that kind of information doesn’t. BUT…if he’s self-conscious about his teeth cause he stopped smoking three years ago after a long bout of lung cancer and the stains remind him of how close he came to mortality, knowing why he thinks about what kind of toothpaste he chooses could be the beginning of a conflict which could propel a reader forward.

It’s examining what conflict is needed to show the themes and will resonate toward a solution most effectively.

 

My writing friend, Cheryl St. John relays that in romance, the central conflict usually revolves around “Why can’t he love her?” and “Why can’t she love him?”. What is it keeping the two lovers apart?

This conflict usually involves two sides: an internal component (emotional/past event/himself) and an external component (man/nature/inanimate object).

For example:

giphy (47)

A cowboy/ rancher sets his sights on the mayor’s daughter who moved back to town after her husband died in an accident, but in the process of wooing her, he not only to find out the mayor is coming for his land to create a new state park but that the object of his affection remains loyal to her father.

So in the example, we have good conflict, but it’s always about ratcheting up the conflict that helps to make a story go from interesting to great. Hurdles for the character to overcome are those conflicts.

I’ve heard of an exercise when trying to figure out the conflicts of an Act II. Take your main conflict and write it on a 3×5 notecard. Then start dreaming up other conflicts that could happen. Fill out a new card for each, starting it with “but” or “but then”. And then other conflicts.

In our example, ratcheting and advancing might include:

But his brother wants to sell out to use the money to follow his own dream.

But then the house catches on fire on the property and our cowboy/rancher has to live in the barn.

But the property has been in his family for 200 years, he feels an obligation.

But he’s had a crush on this girl since high school when he was a geek and she was the shy girl who never spoke to anyone.

But back then he was a geek, but not anymore, he’s matured in all the right ways.

But she won’t call him back and when he sees her in town she ignores him.

But the mayor has a heart attack and his love is upset.

But she has never rebelled against her father.

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After a writer has 15-20 cards with conflicts, then they can decide which ones seem most likely and write the meat of the story off of those conflicts. When determining conflict take a look at each card trying to see if there is dilemma, denial or decision to be written out…and how much drama is there to be explored. Which ones lead to great dialogue? Which conflicts can’t be handled quickly? Do any of these hinder his ability to get his goal?

What we need to keep in mind is that drama is between two people—not one sided. If the hero and heroine aren’t actually clashing or coming to heads about something important to both of them, it’s a lost battle from the beginning and the reader won’t care. In every scene, one character wants something from another character.

There you have it–Conflict–ratchet up the drama writers! Bring on the emotional issues, the people who want to keep them apart, and the storms to drown readers on an excitement roller coaster.

Next week I’ll be talking about the end of a story.

Until then–have a great week!

❤ Jules

MONDAY MESSAGES

All gifs from Giphy.com.

Enough to fill an ocean #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

It’s that time again folks, TGIF! Which also means it’s time for another post from yours truly. So let’s get down to it.

Every single person on the planet has doubts at one time, or another. For an author they can be crippling. And while there is no tried and true method to get around them, or banish them entirely, there is one key sentence that you should hold close. For when the wolves are baying outside your window, and doubt comes knocking on your door.

YOUR VOICE MATTERS.

For an author our voice is in every story we write, world we create, and characters we bring to life. Every word in every sentence tells part of the tale that is our voice. Our voices hold power, it can rise above the masses, or be soft enough that everyone must strain to catch it. We use it to draw outsiders deep within the walls we’ve built, paint the picture we wish them to see, and move them through the full range of emotions. From shock, to anger, to sadness, to joy and everything in between.

We are artists quietly toiling at our chosen craft, quite often in solitude. We’re distracted, absentminded, goofy, spacey, and any other number of terms. Not a single one of us is the same, except in a singular matter, doubt.

What if this is too much, or not enough? What if they don’t take, or worse what if they do? No one will read this, or will they? Maybe I shouldn’t put that part in, but what if I do? Can I say/do/have that in there? What if no one buys it? What if no one likes it? What if they hate it?

As I mentioned in last weeks post, you can’t please everyone. So push those questions drilling holes in your brain and squashing your creativity aside, and write. They are doubts, some will be stronger than others, but that’s okay too. You are allowed to doubt yourself from time to time, but do not let yourself get bogged down with them. Grab hold of something real, something tangible and yank yourself up from the mire that’s trying to swallow you whole and drown you. Throw your shoulders back, tilt your chin up high and let out a warriors cry.

YOUR VOICE MATTERS.

Make yourself a compliment jar. I know, it sounds silly, but trust me on this. Put in it every compliment you’ve ever gotten, each one written on it’s own piece of paper. Put in every great thing you’ve done, whatever you’ve accomplished (big or small), and everything that instantly brings a smile to your face. Pack all those little pieces of paper into that jar and leave it in your work space. When your doubts have you up against the ropes pull out one of those little things and give it a read. Embrace it, remember it, remind yourself that you are NOT your doubts.

And when in doubt (no pun intended) it doesn’t hurt to throw your head back and scream at the top of your lungs for no reason at all. It’s definitely cheaper than therapy, and a hell of a lot of fun. Especially in a crowd.

Raven begs… please don’t shout at me…

Oh my giddy goodness. I feel like the white rabbit, late for an important date. rabbit

rabbbit

I forgot it was Thursday.

Well that’s not strictly true because I put my guest up on my blog, but it just didn’t register. Thursday… The day before Friday…

Today.

Thursday. I’m the quiller. But, dear anyone who is actually reading this and hasn’t rolled their eyes and gone in search of wine…(that’ll be me soon) may I plead extenuating circumstances? My carefully crafted post seems to have never got from my mind to my lap top. I blame that on the middle of the night musings. It was my wedding anniversary and as ever Dh forgot. Though he did try to con me with a new shelf for the fridge and an angelic, you didn’t really  think I forgot?

Good try but no. I know he did …

Actually he’d made up for it with a weekend away at some point in the future…

Argh, I’m doing the digressing again.

Anyway, I apologise for no post, hope you will understand, and just add. We are all human and sometimes…we forget things. This week, this was one of mine.

And on that note I better get back to my edits… Where I seem to have forgotten basic grammar and what house style is required.

Now where’s that wine?

wine cartoon

Next week, I promise something a bit more meaningful. Though wine is meaningful isn’t it?

After all it comes from grapes, and grapes are fruit, and fruit of one of your five a day and…

Shut up Raven. Go forth and edit. And schedule next weeks post…

happy reading, writing and whatever,

love,

Raven xxx

Convictions #WickedWednesday (@KaceyHammell)

 

wednesday

Photo cred: Dreamtoyz.com/Pinterest

Good morning all. Happy Wednesday. Kacey here on another Hump Day, wishing I had a hot fudge sundae to enjoy. Don’t ask me why, it’s nearly midnight as I type this originally, and I have this sudden craving. But I must ignore it, stay strong in my conviction NOT to late-night eat. Plus, I don’t have the ingredients for a sundae. *g*

On the topic of convictions, see what I did there? LOL Convictions. We all live by them in our daily lives. Our firm belief in an opinion or belief. As authors we all need to have ones that we live by and won’t compromise on. For me, being true to myself and my author voice is the main one. I won’t allow others to dictate my career nor do anything that I will regret later. This past week, I had a rejection in the form of a revise and resubmit (an R&R), and while some might say a R&R is not a rejection, for this one, it was.

I sat back and read the feedback from the acquiring editor for a few hours and considered all the points she made and decided what was right for my story was the original version. The particular story has been published before with a well-known publisher who was held in high-esteem years ago, and while that’s is a point to make, it’s didn’t defer my from my decision. The feedback was something I didn’t agree with, and even sent it to a couple other authors who said they didn’t agree totally, and reinforced my belief that the story was fine as is.

conviction

Photo Cred: QuotePixel.com

Every publisher looks for different elements that have to hit a certain level, from the romance to the character personalities and depth, to the writing itself. And each publisher has that right. However, as authors we have the right to feel strong with conviction about the hoops (or revisions) we want to put forth. Though I didn’t agree with the acquiring editor’s feedback completely, I value the input and will always ensure that each of my books have the elements that the publisher I submitted to was searching for, as well as everything ALL publishers might want. It is within my power to know when to make changes to a story, and not just do so in order to be published. I stand firm in my conviction that this particular story has all the elements it needs and is a great story. It’s been put through the ringer with more than one critique partner, beta readers and other authors since I originally wrote it about four years, or more, ago.

Without conviction to stay true to ourselves and the stories we write (when warranted), then what are we doing this for? While we all want to be published authors, there is no need to bow down to every opinion of others and changing things to suit others. Ultimately, first, last and always, they are our stories and we need to stand tall and proud of what we’ve accomplished. When the time is right and a publisher gives that wonderful word – YES – then it’s time for that story to shine. But don’t compromise your convictions for the sake of others.

 

Until next week,

Happy Writing!

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Positive Attitude #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Hello,  lovely peeps, Doris here. This isn’t the post I had in mind for today, but I’m finding myself in a mellow mood, so I thought I would spread some joy because so many folks seem to be disheartened nowadays.

Me, well, my current WIP is slowly taking form and while writing is somewhat slow going, I am  writing and while I’m slowly being driven round the bend by my characters… seriously we’re 13 K into the story and they have yet to kiss… what in all that is holy is that about.

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Oh, I know what. I’m writing a dragon and those darn dragons are always far too noble until they’re not anymore and then…

WEG!

Anyhoo, I digress as per usual. Guess I am mellow because I’m surrounded by all the people I love most in the world, my hubby and kids. The kids are off for two weeks on their Easter holidays and hubby has got the time off work.

Bliss.

While we’re not doing anything special, it’s simply great to be together, to kick back and just be, and to reminded what’s important in life, you know.

So, I thought I would spread some cheer and remind you all to smile more.

 

Try it, even when you’re not feeling like it. It does lift your mood and it works wonders on those around you as well.

Yes, your sales might be still shite, your book might still be stalling, and your muse be off on a tangent to goodness only where, but it’s easier to deal with all those annoyances, be they in your professional or personal life when you maintain a positive outlook on things.

It’s true you know, laughter is the best medicine and life is far too serious as it is. Let’s stay positive, shall we?

That’s all from me today folks.

 

Do stay naughty,

 

D xxx

Starting Again–Writing and Blogging by Jules Dixon @JulesofTripleR #MondayMessages

Starting Again–Writing and Blogging

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So the Naughty Quills is now reorganized and we have new posting days for most or all of us. So I get to kick the weeks off from now on and I’m excited about this!

Today I’d like to talk about starting again as the topic relates to writing…and blogging.

As writers, we start again… a lot. Obviously, every story begins somewhere. And that place holds importance.

Beginnings are scary. If they don’t hold enough power, then readers aren’t interested. If they hold too much power and the story doesn’t hold up to the grandiosity of the beginning, then readers are upset the story wasn’t as epic as promised.

Act I, as the beginning of a three act structure is referred to, is the setup of the story. This portion is usually about 25% of the book. This time not only shows the hero/heroine in their normal environment but also sets the mood, characterizations, setting, and details the reader will want to know going forward.

The beginning of the book has to have a hook, a goal for the hero/heroine to achieve or a problem for the hero/heroine to overcome. This portion also presents the main conflict, both internal and external, by jumping into the action and getting the hero or heroine to go in a different direction or to question what they thought. Along with these conflicts, we will often learn their motivation–why is this goal important to them?

Lots of writers, editors, agents, etc will say there are ways that you should NEVER start a story. And although they mean well, I say start the story and then fix it from there. Don’t worry about the rules and standards and dos and don’ts.

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We all have different styles. What works for me as a beginning won’t always work for another writer, but that’s great! Beginnings are like sunglasses–what works on my face, doesn’t work on my daughter’s, but we share a DNA like writers share a passion. So we search for the right pair, the right look for us, the right color or shape.

And the same goes for beginnings. It’s a search. It’s trying things out. It’s making the mistake of wearing Audrey Hepburn sized glasses but finding out John Lennon circle glasses work the best.

giphy (44)Same with blogging. We all have different topics, strengths, weaknesses, issues that we face, so no two blogs–even if they’re on the same topic–will ever be the same.

A few other articles you might want to take a look at:

10 Ways to Start Your Story Better by Jacob M. Appel

Why Stories Should Never Start at the Beginning by Chuck Wendig

Plotting a Novel in Three Acts Opening Scene by Janalyn Voigt

My rules that I set up in my first post on Naughty Quills still stand and can be found here, Hump Day Hangout A New Girl on the Naughty Block.

So go try on different styles and colors of sunglasses because the right beginning can be blinding!

Next week I’ll look at Act II–the middle of a story.

Until then, have a great week everyone!

Jules

All Gifs from Giphy.com