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

 

 

A Writer’s Responsibility #WickedWednesday (@KaceyHammell)

Wednesdays

Good morning everyone! Happy Hump Day. Sorry I have been MIA the last couple of weeks. Life for me has changed this past month and I’m learning my way through balancing everything. Thank you to the other Quillers for their patience and understanding. Balancing so much has reminded me how valuable writing time is. I’m not the only writer to work outside the home, and actually have three jobs – writer, mother, and a full time day job – and for the first time since I began writing, I think I value the moments of solitude even more. And time with my characters has become golden. In many ways, I took the hours I could be writing for granted a bit because I had so much time before. I’ve learned a lesson here, and I take advantage of every five minutes I can get words down.

But in all the chaos recently, I finished my latest book. It is now fully done and self-edits were brutal. I wasn’t completely happy with it when I was done it before. Thanks to critique partners, I forged my way through the figuring out what was wrong and thoroughly revised many aspects from the original. Which leads me to today’s topic – being a vicious editor. No one else can write your stories for you and we have all said how important edits are. There are still many writers out there cutting corners and releasing stories that are not up to snuff. To each their own, but it is our responsibility to produce stories that shine.

With my last few books, I have used “Pro Writing Aid” program. It’s a godsend for me. It checks over everything from repetition words/phrases to dictation, run-on sentences, grammar, checks transitions, dialogue tags, abstract words, and more. It heavily searches through a manuscript and notes everything that needs to go. There are few things that I don’t change. I don’t want to change the voice in my stories, but I make the decisions on what I change. Nothing is written in stone. But I’ve found it a very useful tool.

I’ve mentioned my “cheat sheet” of bad habits in the past, words I use often – then, it, damn – and it is so important to thoroughly edit out those terrible habits. Readers don’t want to be repeating words over in their heads either. We’d lose readers that way. I can’t stress enough how important going back through your MS is before sending it to a publisher or self-pubbing it yourself. Be your fiercest advocate. Even if it takes you a month to do edits, then let it. Don’t publish crap that isn’t worthy. It’s that simple. Why spend a month or two, or more, on a story that you end up doing an injustice to if it’s not edited properly.

Not all writers are editors. We aren’t. However, it’s a writer’s job to also know about how to edit a story. Common story structure, grammar, to see errors, etc., is part of our job. The edits begin with the writer before sending / hiring another editor if self-publishing, and other publishers demand clean manuscripts. It’s that simple. The writer has all the responsibilities outside of simply writing the story. Too many writers are not taking this part of their job seriously and it saddens me.

It is such a disservice to your characters and stories.

A quick checklist that I tend to use when editing, even without Pro Writing Aid, which I tend to look closely for…

  1. Omit unnecessary words – then, that, it, and, overuse of the characters’ names.
  2. Redundancies – avoiding the use of ‘shrugged his shoulders’ (there’s nothing else to shrug!). ‘She nodded her head’ (there’s nothing else on us that we nod!!)
  3. NO Head Hopping!! So important. Stay in one character POV for an entire scene. If you do switch to the 2nd POV (after a few pages of one character), then make the transition easy and smooth.
  4. Limit the number of ‘ly’ words.
  5. Don’t over explain. Example – ‘Doris was angry and pounded the counter.’ I would edit this sentence to – ‘Doris pounded the counter.’ Plain and simple. We read the anger in her actions.

These are a few items on my checklist that I am mindful of with every read through / edit. They’re simple but oh-so-crucial!!  The more stories a writer creates and the more editing they do – on their own and with a professional editor when the time comes – the more their voice will shine and the better writer they will be.

 

Until next week,

Happy Writing. Happy Editing!

Kacey xoxo

 


 

50 Wild and Crazy Romance Writing Prompts by Jules Dixon @JulesofTripleR

50 Wild and Crazy Romance Writing Prompts by Jules Dixon

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Something I love to do is write from writing prompts. For me they are short little snippets of wonderful to get my brain working before I try to write in something more important. They’re the appetizer of the writing world for a writer’s brain instead of their stomach.

And occasionally I like to make up writing prompts…and sometimes those prompts turn a little wild and crazy…and romancey…and strange.

I thought today I’d share the ones I’ve concocted over the last year. These are purely just ideas for authors to take and run with. If anyone decides to use one, I’d love to hear where you went with but no credit need to be given. At the bottom I wrote a 200 word take on one of them!

  1. Raincoats and Condoms
  2. Where she left off and he began
  3. A dress to be removed
  4. Making love in Madison, Wisconsin
  5. The two left shoes she found in the morning
  6. Hearts and Headaches
  7. Flirting his way into her pants
  8. Around the corner fate and a hotdog cart were waiting
  9. The storm grate ate her patent black Mary-Jane shoe
  10. Love is love is hard, but so is a dildo
  11. Night and the morning after
  12. A glimpse into his future wife
  13. Reflections of hate in a Starbucks window
  14. Birdseed and the woman in a pink hat
  15. Her cat didn’t like him
  16. Cherry was her name and her favorite fruit
  17. He forked and served her
  18. Alex Trebek turned her on
  19. Alex Trebek turned her off
  20. Forgotten love and ballet slippers
  21. How toothpicks got me laid
  22. Where there’s a will there’s Ms. Jade
  23. Hot flashes and fireflies
  24. I don’t bite. Oh, yeah, I do.
  25. Flowing down the river to Sexyville
  26. My last boyfriend did that, too
  27. He wore his tie like a cape
  28. She owned every color of Sharpie, but only used black
  29. The milk container, like my heart, was empty
  30. He thought the playground was a good place to meet women
  31. The yesterday before today’s tomorrow
  32. Quarters for the dryer
  33. She asked for water in a martini glass
  34. He loved her raspberry-colored shoes
  35. Making love to nothing
  36. Stretching her mind, body and soul
  37. Flip-flops and mimosas
  38. He’d always called her “Kate,” but her name was Kelly.
  39. Sushi doesn’t love you back
  40. She never made it to the post office
  41. Sea glass and seagull poop on her head, she had her mother’s luck.
  42. The neighbor mowed his lawn topless in January
  43. Her boob fell out while she bought tequila
  44. The maid of honor strangled the bride with a pink feather boa
  45. They agreed that Earth, Wind, and Fire had that “it” factor
  46. Never drive through South Dakota alone
  47. The elevator never came
  48. 48 spices and she only used pepper
  49. Love will find a way to muck up your life
  50. His sheets were like sandpaper

Her Cat Didn’t Like Him

The fact stood, Miss Wiggles judged men.

I’d invited Jason back to my place after a work function at Applebee’s. I hated Applebee’s, but since I liked Jason, I didn’t complain.

He seemed to have his shit together. Accountant. Good teeth and nice breath. Hair that looked like he went to a salon and not his sister’s house for a buzz cut. He’d paid for drinks so he had a few dollars in his bank account or at least room on his credit card. And a body that rivaled Michelangelo’s David, so I wasn’t complaining there either.

But Miss Wiggles hissed and caterwauled her way around the room, never taking her big blue eyes off of him.

We started making out hot and heavy on my couch when he screamed out, but not in pleasure, “Your cat just bit me!”

“Are you okay?” I shooed the thin white fluff ball away, but she made her way onto the back of the sofa.

He rubbed the spot. “I think so. Where were we?”

And with that question, Miss Wiggles answered him by jumping onto Jason’s head and clawing at his perfectly styled hair. Clumps of brown hair flew like confetti on New Year’s Eve.

Within seconds he was out the door and I was staring at a cat that looked smugger than an IRS agent.

In the morning, I found his phone pressed haphazardly in between two cushions.

Six messages from six girls.

I’d been saved by a rescued alley cat.

Miss Wiggles was a good judge of character.

The End.

So there you have it. Writing prompt gone wild.

Hope you have a great Wednesday! Happpyyy Humping! ❤ Jules

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So You Want To Be a Writer? by Jules Dixon @JulesOfTripleR #HumpDayHangout

So You Want to Be a Writer?

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There is no higher high than when a new author submits to a publisher and the story is accepted or the author decides to take the path of self-publishing and sees their baby on a variety of publishing platforms. It’s like climbing a mountain and standing at the peak in awe of the dirt on your boots and the lack of oxygen making your head spin. In a good way. Kind of.

But first, as with any journey, it begins with a single step. And yes, that is a take on a famous saying but it still fits.

I hear it a lot…

“I’d love to be an author!” or “I have a great idea for a story.” or “I started writing this story 9 years, 6 months, and 27 days ago. I haven’t picked it up since, but I really think it would be great. Will you take a look at it?”

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And that’s great!

But writing is not easy. Writing has rules. Writing has standards. Writing is hard. 

Like really hard.

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So when someone comes to me and says those words “I want to write a book.” I am all on board. Seriously. I am willing to listen and to encourage and to cheer them on. But…I won’t write it for them. And I won’t critique everything they write. And although I will listen when they start to feel the pressure, I will not give them permission to stop writing, because only they can give themselves that. I believe in finishing what you start, but I understand when someone can’t do that. Each journey is the writer’s only.

So where do you start? 

Of course, an idea is good. But that’s only a teeny-tiny piece of a story.

First, a writer has to figure out what point of view is right for the story.

Then there are characters and setting to consider.

Then plotting, conflicts and acts to figure out.

Then arcs of the characters to solidify.

Then what ending will wrap up all storylines.

And those are basics, it gets really deep…like complicated…like crazy complicated to write a good story. A really GREAT story.

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So…where to start is here…

READ! Read craft books that talk about developing stories and the basics and the middles and all the rest.

A few of the ones I have in my library are:

Building Fiction: How to Develop Plot and Structure by Jesse Lee Kercheval

Take Off Your Pants! Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker

5 Secrets of Story Structure: How to Write a Novel that Stands Out by K.M. Weiland

There are plenty of others that can be of use, too and I’d love to know about more if you have a favorite . But the point is…read about how to write and how to write well. At least you have a foundation to build your story on. And then sit down and write. Because to get to “The End” you have to trudge through the beginning and the middle.

So if you want to write…do it! Prepare and do it!

And as always…HUMP DAY HAPPINESS to all! ❤ Jules

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