My Writing Progress – 3

Picture courtesy of: www.google.com

Picture courtesy of: http://www.google.com

 


I’m almost a little shocked I’ve got news in my writing progress – again. Right after Christmas, I published a blog post about sending the first book in the series to my editor.

Since then I have been working intensely on the second book in the series – and finished the first draft of the book.

Of course, there is a lot to do now until that one is ready to be sent off into the knowing hands of my wonderful editor. But the first step is done. I only decided to interrupt my current work on the book to write and schedule this blog post.

It’s time now to find out if the second book is a novella as well or if the draft will turn out into a novel. I’m very curious, I admit.

It seems with this second book, that had been resting for such a long time, I suddenly picked up where I left off and galloped towards the finalization.

I currently work alternately on book four and five of the series… I guess it’s time to think about the sixth one.

What I can see more and more into the series is, that I enjoy creating the people, building the stories, finding their path through the adventures. I feel home with a pen and paper in my hand like I belong. This is, how it feels – to be an author!

 

 

hoof-tracks

Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com

 

Can A Writer Have Too Many Ideas?

authors_feather

Picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

 


 

I’m in fact a little curious how other writers are doing this…

Do you ever feel like your head is bursting with all the ideas you got? How do you sort them out? How do you arrange them?

 

Let’s say: you get an idea:

·    where do you go with it?

·    how do you know what to do with it?

·    where do you start with it?

·    do you file it? And if yes, where?

·    do you park it until you need it or are ready to write the story?

 

At times I feel like my head is exploding, having so many ideas while at other days my brain just goes blank. But once I get these ideas, what am I doing with them? I do have a file on my computer, named “ideas.” Occasionally I go back to find out if they’re useful at that moment. And so many times I realized, that I’ve got no clue what I wanted with that idea or where to go from there. It can be annoying.

Right now I’m working on a series of novellas and novels… the first book of the series is completed and with the editor now. So is the third one.

I’m still writing the second one… but since the first and second’s character’s are “overlapping” I need to work very carefully on that second book to not make plot mistakes I don’t want to expect my future readers to put up with.

I admit, my thoughts, my idea developing and my research circle mainly around this particular series.

When I lately needed a break from working on my second book, I found myself having a brainwave. And instead of “parking” the idea in my particular file, I decided instead to start on the fourth book of the series. I have huge plans for that book, considering I briefly introduced a few of this particular’s story’s characters to my readers of this blog.

To my great astonishment, I found myself writing like crazy on that fourth book. I’m enthusiastic since it seems I only have to put pen to paper and it writes nearly by itself.

Until a few weeks ago when I discovered a new major character of the series I repeated what I did before and quickly decided not to “park” the idea until I get there, but just start the fifth book of the series.

Here I am now, at the same time working on the second, the fourth and the fifth book of the series.

I was asking myself: am I getting into conflicts? What will happen if I can’t ‘switch’ quickly enough and start making mistakes? But so far I’m good, I know exactly which character belongs where and what my plans with them are.

And still: There is this one question: Did I have too many ideas at the same time? Can I continue like this? How are other writers handling this kind of “idea attack”?

Do you ever feel like having “too many ideas”? Are you writing on one and one book or story? Am I doing something wrong?  Please, help me out, I’d be grateful for your opinion.


Picture courtesy of www.pinterest.com

Picture courtesy of http://www.pinterest.com

My Writing Progress – 2

Picture courtesy of www.google.com

Picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

It’s been months and months ago that I have informed about my writing progress, in May, to be precise. Unfortunately, 2016 was not an enormously successful year for me, and so many unexpected things happened that have delayed my writing.

Readers who have subscribed to my monthly Newsletter had the chance to occasionally glimpse to my baby steps forward, but the steps were small, and I got frustrated.

I think sometime in October I promised myself by the end of 2016 I would finish typing, checking, correcting and editing the first book of my paranormal series on my computer and send it off to my editor.

 

And I kept the promise to myself!

 

I completed my task. The first novella of my series has been sent to my editor, together with the third one. Currently, I am working on the second part and more or less at the same time work on number four and five.

It is a pleasure to write them, and I wish it would not take that much time to finally present you the first book of the series. But in fact, there’s still a lot to do.

Thanks to my editor and the cover artist, who I will one day introduce you to, I am positive that their effort is a huge part of presenting you with a, at least neat story, sometime next year!

I’m so grateful to have them in my life – and I’m still very excited: I’m an author!

Interview with one of my characters

What is your name and can you tell us something about you? 

I’m Rapha Golden. You could call me a “shadow.”

 

 

What does a “shadow” do? I mean, you don’t look like someone incorporeal. You stand here, and actually, look pretty handsome. 

Oh – thank you. – Well, to be honest, all of us “shadows” are handsome. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to do what we’re doing.

 

 

You said “all of us shadows.” You mean, there are more than “just” you? 

–laughs–

Of course, there are more than just me. There are thousands and thousands more. Let me think. At the last counting, we were 496’722.

 

 

How can you keep track of all of them so exactly? 

This is a secret. I’m sorry, but I’m mandatory to keep certain things to myself.

 

 

Of course. But can you tell me what a “shadow’s” job is? 

Yes, this I can.

We are living amongst people. Most don’t see us – but some sense us. For the ones who can see us and even talk to us, we are handsome, friendly, amazing strangers. To the ones that sense us, they just take in our friendliness and what we “let them feel.” For all others, we are designed to get as close as possible and whisper into their ears.

 

 

Wait a second: You are “designed” to whisper into human ears? Do I understand this correctly? 

–laughs again —

This is correct. But we don’t whisper nice things… it’s more the opposite. With our whispering, our influence, our advice and silent suggestions, we are steering humans into the dark direction; onto our side.

 

 

You are talking about the “dark side”… evil things? You are influencing humans to do bad things that might cause them ending up in hell? 

–sardonically grinning–

Of course, dear lady. I could even do this with you.

 

 

HA HA HA – Yes, sure! Like I would let this happen! 

There’s nothing you can do Aurora Jean.

 

 

Of course, I can. Don’t forget: I can sense you, I can see you, I can talk to you, I made you and I can easily make you disappear again. 

What?

 

 

Oh yes, Rapha Golden…. you are my creature. You are one of my characters, and as handsome as you are – It wouldn’t cost me more than a couple of mouse clicks to let you disappear. 

F%$#*

 

 

Would you mind not using words like this in my office? We are not in your favorite cave here. 

You! You b^%$*

 

 

That’s what I mean… this interview is over. Oh – you are sooooo going to pay for this in my book!


My apologies for Rapha’s inappropriate language. I just “discovered” him and thought it would be kind of fun to introduce him. Apparently he screwed it up.

I hope you had at least a little fun “meeting” him.

A. J. Alexander

Character Voice – Research by Aurora Jean Alexander

 


A couple of months ago, visiting a successful and experienced writer friend he told me, he read one of my pieces. I still am honored and flattered he took the time. He has an amazing way of complimenting and encouraging me – but also bringing on constructive criticism which I apparently deserved. Just this time I had no idea what he meant when he told me: “You have only one character voice.”

 

— ?? —

 

I was a little shocked. Not that I didn’t believe him, I just couldn’t believe it.

 

He is a wonderful mentor and of course took the time to explain to me what he was talking about:

 

All of my characters talk the same way. I frowned. I know my characters in and out, I know their looks, their abilities, their character, and personalities, whenever I write about them I can nearly hear their voices in my head – and still, they all talk the same?

 

After my visit I went back to the piece he was talking about – and I wasn’t half through I thought I understood now what he was talking about.

 

Now: What do I need to do to change that?

 

I do what I always do in such a case: RESEARCH…

 

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On “Now Novel” I found an interesting and very helpful article which helped me define the problem I apparently have: “Talking about your Character: Voice.”

 

  • What is character voice?
  • Thinking about dialogue
  • Separating character voice and author voice
  • How to develop the voices of your characters

 

In four different chapters, the article not only defines my problem but offers a helpful and informative solution. It’s easy to read and explained in a simple and understandable way.

 

 

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On Joe Moore’s “The Kill Zone” blog I read an article, written by Jordan Dane: Five Key Ways to Create a Character’s Distinct Voice

 

Jordan offers the following, excellently explained five ways to create a character’s voice:

 

  • Word Choices
  • Confidence Level
  • Quirks/Mannerism
  • Internal/External Voice
  • Metaphors/Similes/Comparisons

 

Each one of them is explained in details and is logical and, as I think, easy to learn. We’ll see.

 *****

As a bonus, Jordan offers a link to a New York Times online test, which of course I took. And this is my result: Look at that… according to this test I’m a Southern Girl. 😀

 aj_blog_post_voice2

 

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“The Editor’s Blog” offers a variety of advice in making the voices of characters sound different. I found this blog post interesting and helpful as well. Variety in Character Voices

 

  • Use different words
  • Use different sentence patterns
  • Add humor to one character
  • Cut of speech or thought
  • Let a character ramble
  • Have characters pay attention to different things

 

The article is short, simple and precise. I think it’s adding to my learning in this matter.

 

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The “NY Book Editors” blog provides us with another interesting article with six excellent tips: Character Development: How to Create a Consistent Voice

 

  • Create a Backstory for Each Character
  • Do a Character Study
  • Hone Their Internal Dialogue
  • Research How People Speak Naturally
  • Focus on Authentic Dialogue
  • Interview the character

 

Each of the tips includes a further explanation as well as an exercise, which I consider very helpful and I’m looking forward to learning more by doing them.

 

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The “Writability”-blog delivers us an excellent definition of the “character’s voice” by giving us examples and makes us feel how important the different character voices are for our writing.

 

The article can be read here: http://avajae.blogspot.com/2011/09/defining-character-voice.html

 

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Jackie Cangro has published a blog post on “The Writer’s Block” blog, providing us with the seven elements of our “character’s voice”:

 

  • Style
  • Tone
  • Personality
  • Perspective
  • Authenticity
  • Consistency
  • Originality

 

She defines each of the elements in details and delivers descriptions which are easy to follow. I very much appreciate the easy read and learn-part of this blog post. The entire post can be found here:

https://writersblock.loft.org/2013/08/14/2641/finding_your_characters_voice

 

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K.M. Weiland has published a video post on her blog “Helping Writers become Authors.” It’s easy to follow and very educational.

 

“How to find your character’s voice” not only shows us the video but also delivers us the video transcript and help us understand the difference between authorial and character voices.

 

It helped me a lot to enter this topic and understand the basics.

 

The transcript and video can be found here: http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/how-to-find-your-characters-voice/

 

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On the “Gizmodo”-Blog I found a post, written by Charlie Jane Anders  “All Your Characters Talk The Same — And They’re Not A Hivemind!”

 

This article too is very educational and gives us eight tips and hints to play with our character voices. Each of the tips comes with a detailed explanation and helps us develop our characters:

 

  • Listen to how people talk
  • Try to “hear” your characters’ individual voices
  • Realize your characters are not talking to you, or directly to the reader
  • Try giving each character a few unique verbal tics, or habitual words
  • Go one step further, and give them catch phrases and stuff
  • Realize that you may have, at most, three or four characters “voices” and refine those
  • Vary your sentence lengths, and play with punctuation
  • Adjust the French/Anglo-Saxon mix

 

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Each of this articles and blog posts has helped me a lot to get at least an idea on how to do better and give each of my characters an individual voice instead of them sounding like me.

 

But most of all I owe my writer friend a HUGE Thank you! He was the reason I started thinking about a problem I didn’t know I have! Thank you, Jim Spencer.

How To Write A Great Book Review – Research by A.J. Alexander

 

Lately, I’ve been asked by a fellow writer if I read his book and would be prepared to write a review. Even though I know how much work, effort, and heart blood a writer invests into books, I know as well, a writer is honored by a review. I was told this numerous times already. I read truckloads full of books since my childhood and of course, couldn’t review all of them. (Let’s not talk about the school book reports). And I found, even if I didn’t like a book too much, it wouldn’t be nice to ‘rip it to shreds.’ It might not be a bad book – just not the right book to read for me.

I liked what I read this time, and I agreed to write a review. If I only knew how to do so. This needed some research.

I started and found hundreds of articles, books, blog posts and lists. Are they all different? No, more the opposite! They all seem to be similar, some more simple, some more detailed, some complicated and long, with little variations. So I picked what I needed from some of them.

 

  1. The purpose of a review

I find it very important to learn what exactly the purpose of what I’m writing is. What is a review for? One of the first articles, referring to “reviews” in general, more than book reviews, in particular, was written by Karol K, a freelance blogger, and writer. He writes:

  • to learn the pros and cons of a given product
  • to find out if the product is meant for them
  • to find out if the product is of high quality and easy to use
  • to find out about alternative solutions
  • to find out about other users’ experiences with the product
  • to ultimately learn if the product is worth buying.

With those needs in mind, let’s look at what you can do to craft a truly valuable review.

His entire article can be read on: http://www.problogger.net/how-to-write-a-must-read-product-review/

 

  1. Writing Amazon reviews

Neal Wooten, author, writer, blogger, and comedian published an article on the Huffington Post Website, using six tips to writing Amazon reviews and in my opinion did a great job. At least to me it seems valuable, especially considering the “start” use of the Amazon rating.

Additionally, he mentions something quite powerful: The responsibility that goes with writing a review. Let me give you a couple of examples I picked from his article:

What if a car manufacturer was to drop off a brand new car to a person’s home, completely at random, and explain they had 24 hours to drive the car? Afterward, they would take the car to another home at random and do the same thing, and repeat for three months. They only asked that the homeowners/drivers would write a review of the automobile. What do you think would happen?

I suspect most of the drivers would do exactly what they should. They would write intelligent and informative reviews about how it handled, how it drove, gas mileage, the comfort, the power, the sound system, etc.

But there would be some drivers who would abuse this privilege. It’s human nature. Some wouldn’t even drive the car. Some would complain about everything from the visors to the texture of the floor mats. Some would complain about the color of the free car they were provided. Some would get drunk, drive 100 mph, wreck the car, and then write a bad review.

And that sums up Amazon reader reviews. While most are very helpful, many are just people exercising their basic nature to be useless. So here are some tips.

Then his six tips follow. He gives simple, easy to understand and helpful advice. To read his tips, go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/neal-wooten/tips-for-writing-amazon-r_b_6959118.html

 

  1. What do I write about in my review?

Fran Stewart, the author of the Biscuit McKee Mysteries, writes in her “Southern Writer’s Blog”: Questions to Spark Book Review Ideas 

Her idea is, to ask the reader questions which I can build my review on. Her questions refer to the characters, the settings and the plot.

This, I decide, might be a great start for my review.

To see all of Fran’s given questions, please go to http://southernwritersmagazine.blogspot.com/2015/05/questions-to-spark-book-review-ideas.html

 

  1. Am I scared to write a book review?

You BET! I’m a writer myself, of course, I one day would like to get positive reviews for the book. I want to honor the author, his ideas, his talent, his magic, his story, his efforts, his work and his masterpiece. I want to make others read the book I loved so much. I don’t want to spoil it for the other readers.

Rosie Amber wrote four quick ways to overcome your fear to write a book review. It helped me a lot. If you are suffering from the same fears, read it here: https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/2016/07/25/4-quick-ways-to-write-a-bookreview-and-overcome-your-fears-mondayblogs/

 

  1. Rules for book review writing

These are the ones that are more or less the same all across the internet. One of the blog posts I particularly enjoyed reading, is the one Tara Sparling published:

5 Book Review Rules Which Could Make Writers Hate You Less

I think, the post is very helpful – and a great read too!

 

Oh well, I figure now I’m armed with the basic knowledge of book reviews. Let’s see if I really can get a review that is as helpful as I want it to be to other potential readers!