Ten Ways to Tighten Your Writing & Hook the Reader

This is just an amazing blog post. Valuable points of view and excellent examples. Very much worth reading in my opinion. A great lesson for new authors.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Screen Shot 2013-03-15 at 9.40.52 AM Image via CellarDoorFilms W.A.N.A. Commons

When I used to edit for a living, I earned the moniker The Death Star because I can be a tad ruthless with prose. Today I hope to teach you guys to be a bit ruthless as well. Before we get started, I do have a quick favor to ask. Some of you may know that I practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu so I’ve taken on our dojo’s blog to see if we can try out new and fun content and am using the moniker Dojo Diva.

I posted about how hard it is to begin and the fears that can ever keep us from starting. The way others try to stop us from doing anything remarkable. I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories, so I hope you will stop by and get the discussion going.

Click the word “Comments” and a box should appear…

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Publishing Scam

I personally think this is an excellent article to inform in particular new authors about danger to lose money and how to identify scam. Quite informative in my opinion.

Jens Thoughts

scam-alert-picI don’t think I’ve ever posted about publishing scams, but we all know they are out there. I’m a subscriber to Indies Unlimited and they reached out asking if I would post this information concerning new scams. Since we are all writers, I thought it would be a good post.

Many Independent Authors Have Escaped from Predatory Publishing

Arlington, VA (April 7) – More than a quarter of independent authors who responded to a recent survey at IndiesUnlimited.com said they definitely had, or might have, fallen victim to a predatory publisher before turning to self-publishing. The survey results were published on the blog this week.

Indies Unlimited conducted the unscientific survey as part of its #PublishingFoul series, which featured true stories from scammed authors throughout the month of March.

“Although our 115 respondents were self-selected, I think our results are pretty accurate,” said staff writer and former journalist Lynne Cantwell…

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155th anniversary of the Pony Express

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Picture courtesy of: http://ponyexpress.org/history/

April 14 celebrates the 155th anniversary of the first mail being delivered by the Pony Express. According to the National Park Service, the first package arrived at midnight on April 14, 1860. It traveled across the Sierra Nevada Mountains from Missouri, through Placerville, California, and then on to Sacramento, down to San Francisco. There were 100 stations along the route with 400-500 horses and as many riders. It was founded by William B. Waddell, Alexander Majors and Williams H. Russell, on April 3, 1860. The Hartford Weekly Times wrote about the arrival of the first delivery saying “…citizens paraded the streets with bands of music, fireworks were set off….the best feeling was manifested by everybody.” The cost of the first delivery was $70,000 to the founders. That’s the equivalent of just over $2 million in 2015 money, thanks in part to the inflation caused by the Civil War. (article to find at: http://heavy.com/news/2015/04/155th-anniversary-of-the-pony-express-google-doodle/ )

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The “Pony Express National Museum” teaches us:

The Pony Express was founded by William H. Russell, William B. Waddell, and Alexander Majors. Plans for the Pony Express were spurred by the threat of the Civil War and the need for faster communication with the West. The Pony Express consisted of relays of men riding horses carrying saddlebags of mail across a 2000-mile trail. The service opened officially on April 3, 1860, when riders left simultaneously from St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California. The first westbound trip was made in 9 days and 23 hours and the eastbound journey in 11 days and 12 hours. The pony riders covered 250 miles in a 24-hour day.

Eventually, the Pony Express had more than 100 stations, 80 riders, and between 400 and 500 horses. The express route was extremely hazardous, but only one mail delivery was ever lost. The service lasted only 19 months until October 24, 1861, when the completion of the Pacific Telegraph line ended the need for its existence. Although California relied upon news from the Pony Express during the early days of the Civil War, the horse line was never a financial success, leading its founders to bankruptcy. However, the romantic drama surrounding the Pony Express has made it a part of the legend of the American West. (Find this information here: http://ponyexpress.org/history/ )

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Picture courtesy of: http://ponyexpress.org/history/

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According to EyeWitness to history.com the life of a pony express rider was very dangerous. “Speed of delivery was paramount. Any weight other than the mail the horse carried was kept to a minimum. Ads for riders called for: “Young, skinny, wiry fellows, not over 18. Must be expert riders. Willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred.” A specialized, light-weight saddle was developed that had built-in pouches to carry the mail. Hazards abounded, including weather, terrain, hostile Indians and bandits. It typically took a week for mail to reach its destination at a cost of $5.00 per ½ ounce.”

Two very famous historical names can be found on the list of pony express riders:

Buffalo Bill Cody                                                                                                      James Wild Bill Hickock

Picture courtesy of: http://www.becomegunsmith.org/the-10-deadliest-wild-west-gunfighters/
Picture courtesy of: http://www.becomegunsmith.org/the-10-deadliest-wild-west-gunfighters/
Picture courtesy of: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_Bill
Picture courtesy of: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_Bill

The Predator – a riddle

***

What is it that sneaks through darkness and night?

It’s soundless and careful it doesn’t need light.

A lethal predator in twilight and day,

no chance to survive for its hunted prey.

 *

It’s a magician when it comes to disguise,

only light to betray its beautiful eyes.

ears made to hear the slightest move

a body to make the successful prove.

 *

They can be tall and small and medium size

no matter how big they bring death as surprise.

They can be brown or black or red or white,

Grey or mixed with dots or stripes.

*

They can be with short tail or one very long

with stumpy, thick or thin tail it never is wrong.

They’ve got whiskers some got ear tips and some are without

some are flat nosed and some have a beautiful snout.

 *

Sometimes they’re sweet and sometimes they’re wild

and some of them are like our own child.

Some of them climb or stay on the floor

some of them purr the other ones roar.

*

But all of them have their own deadly claws

On all of their four velvety paws.

The riddle is easy, as simple as that

Of course I’m talking about “The Cat”.

***

Aurora Jean Alexander, Copyright 2015

Picture courtesy of www.forum.chatdd.com
Picture courtesy of http://www.forum.chatdd.com

Guest Post – written by Val Rainey

Many years ago, way back in 1997 I’d just come home from a very freeing and spiritual evening with a group of amazing friends. As I sat on my bed and reviewed notes that I’d taken I noticed a big daisy pin perched on the pencil rail of my calendar frame. The pin belonged to my mom.

There began the first stirrings of Sunny’s Grand Adventure.

“the daisy on the wall”

Well, travel through the years from then until the late fall of 2004, and the daisy flew from the wall to land smack dab in the middle of The Big Green Meadow (working on other ideas to expand into a series).

Sunny decides that she wants to fly. With help from Rosalita and Nahala (uh, uh, I’m not telling you who or what they are you’ll just have to get your very own copy) she sets off on her flight.

She meets some interesting animals along the way and a seven-year-old farm boy named Jamie.

So, how did Sunny and I get from the wall to the meadow? Well, it was quiet the journey for both of us.

Sunny grew from those first few words to, eight pages of double spaced hand written scribble and finally to a six chapter story/colouring book.

Most of our trip was great fun but not always easy. Sunny went through an awful lot of revisions and rewrites including adding a middle to the book. At one point I thought I was doing pretty darned good until I realized that the story had a beginning and an end but no middle…….oops!

Throughout most of the adventure Sunny and I had a very special companion…Pam (Masi) Wright. She is a very talented artist. Her favourite style is totally whimsical. She is magical person who can almost literally rummage around in your head for five minutes and emerge with the most glorious and perfect ideas for how your characters should look. Love  her!

I was also fortunate to  meet Judy  O’Shea at a local women’s trade show. She is normally a technical writing editor but couldn’t resist my charm…or at least Sunny’s. When Judy edits you need to have both the original copy and her work side by side to even realize that there is a difference. She’s that good!

I also had several author friends read the story for me and they really couldn’t come up with many problems except for the word ‘trio’. Not  bad for a newbie, eh.

Any how… Sunny was published  in 2004 by The Elf and Toadstool Press (me). She has since been spotted flying around Australia, Germany, England, of course Canada and several of the states of the U.S.A.

Not  bad for a little daisy.

 

When you want your very own copy of Sunny’s Grand Adventure just visit http://www.theelfandtoadstool.ca and click on the Book Nook tab.

A portion of the proceeds is donated to Lethbridge Family Centre right here in beautiful downtown Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.

You are also welcome to visit my business site http://www.raineydaywritingandresearach.com.

 

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Happy reading,

Val Rainey

Author Spotlight – Kay Kauffman

Welcome! 

Please introduce yourself. 

As a girl, I dreamed of being swept off my feet by my one true love. At the age of 24, it finally happened…and he’s never let me forget it. A mild-mannered secretary by day and a determined word-wrangler by night, I battle the twin evils of distraction and procrastination in order to write fantastical tales of wuv…twue wuv…with a few haiku thrown in for good measure.

I am currently hard at work on the first book in a fantasy trilogy. I reside in the midst of an Iowa corn field with my devoted husband and his mighty red pen; four crazy, cute kids; and an assortment of adorably small, furry animals.

 

  1. When did you start writing? 

I started writing as a kid. I think my love of writing developed from my love of reading.

 

  1. What motivates you to write? 

A desire to express myself, for one. Also, I love telling stories, but I’m not very good at telling them aloud. I love painting pictures with words.

 

  1. What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre? 

I write fantasy novels and poetry, and I’ve dabbled in chick lit, horror, and sci-fi. I’m a bit of a mixed bag.

 

  1. What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you? 

My goal right now is to finish rewriting my first fantasy novel and start submitting it to agents. I’d love to find representation and then get a book deal. Ultimately, I want to have a successful publishing career, one that, ideally, allows me to quit my day job so I can spend my days toiling in the land of make-believe. 

 

  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it? 

Sometimes, but it’s not really a block as much as it is an inability to find a solution to a problem and then move forward. Taking a break from what I’m working on and letting my subconscious figure things out usually helps – I’ll read a book, or hang out with my family, or spend some quality time with my camera.

 

  1. What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors? 

Don’t give up! Keep learning, keep practicing, and make new friends. The writing community is an incredibly supportive place, and my writing wouldn’t be half as good as it is without the friends I’ve made in the community over the years.

 

  1. Please, tell us about your work.  

TD-EcoverTuesday Daydreams captures the life and imagination of the author in vivid detail, touching on joy and loss, life’s everyday hassles, and the many faces of Mother Nature. A Song for All Seasons paints vivid pictures of the Iowa landscape in all its glory, in addition to intimate portraits of family life. From frost-covered windowpanes and snowy vistas to rolling green fields and bright blue skies, each poem is a peek into a fading world of untamed beauty. If you’d like to pick up your own copy of Tuesday Daydreams or A Song for All Seasons, you can find them at Amazon, Amazon UK, Createspace, Smashwords, iBooks, Kobo, and  Barnes&Noble.

My short fiction has appeared in two anthologies, 416 and Strange Portals, as well as the upcoming A World of Their Own. I am currently working on a fantasy trilogy called The Lokana Chronicles, about a prince who must choose between civil war and letting his parents’ murderer go free.

 

ASFAS-Ecover

 

 

Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!! 

It was a pleasure to be here! Thanks for having me!

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

wpaviYou can find me in the all the usual places:

At my blog, where I share random pictures and silly poems; on Facebook, where I share things about cats and books; on Twitter, where I share whatever pops into my head; on Pinterest, where I share delicious recipes and images from my fantasy world; on Instagram, where I share pictures of pretty sunsets; and on Tumblr, where I share all of the above.

 

 

 

 

 

22 Rules of Storytelling

I think this is just such an excellent blog post it needs attention. I’d recommend every new writer to go through these rules. I love them!

Jens Thoughts

I wanted to share this article with everyone. To me, it’s a gold mine that you can review over and over. I hope it inspires you.

Back in 2011, then Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats (now freelancing) tweeted 22 rules of storytelling, according to Pixar. Coats learned the ‘guidelines’ from senior colleagues on how to create appealing stories,tweeting the nuggets of wisdom over a 6 week period.

Last week, artist and User Experience Director at Visceral Games (a subsidiary of Electronic Arts), Dino Ignacio, created a series of image macros of the 22 rules and posted them to Imgur and Reddit.

Below you will find the list of image macros along with a text summary of Pixar’s 22 rules of storytelling at the end of the post. Enjoy!

[Sources: Emma Coats, Dino Ignacio, The Pixar Touch]

1.

pixar's 22 rules of storytelling as image macros (2)

Written by Emma Coats | @lawnrocket
Image…

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Touch of nature

Having experienced a slight spring storm has inspired me to write a new poem.

Picture courtesy of: http://pictify.com/295975/the-power-of-nature
Picture courtesy of: http://pictify.com/295975/the-power-of-nature

 

Being outside I enjoy so much

natures’ way my skin to touch.

So many ways for me to feel

as soft as silk as hard as steel.

*

Nature’s force has so much power,

calming you and also shower

the dried out ground with strength and fear

never doubt its breathless sphere.

*

When the golden suns’ breathe warming you,

its feather touch go through and through.

But there something real to keep in mind

The raindrops follow just behind.

 *

When summer days end up in heat

may be other forces to defeat.

in ice and storm is to prevail

the feared and scary summer hail.

*

Colder than my skin could sense

breaking through my self defence

of scarf and gloves and winter flow

I still can feel the snow.

*

But most of all it’s always been

just one thing to touch my burning skin

that nature’s gift could make me please

by sending out a summer breeze.

***

Aurora Jean Alexander, Copyright 2015