I’ve noticed in the several years I’ve been on twitter, and followed many writerly folk, that interactions have changed. Instead of us all sharing our experiences, new behaviors have taken shape.

The only interaction you have with anyone is, “Hey, I have a book. Buy it now!”

I don’t mind if you tell me you have a book. I’ve gotten some cool books from people I already liked on Twitter. What I mind is when you only try to sell me a book.

Try to sell me a book. every. 5. seconds.

When does slamming someone with advertising ever work? If someone asks you to do something over and over, and never says anything else, does that work on you? Me, either.

Hop on to hash tags, like #amwriting, with their book or blog posts not about writing.

Hash tags are not a secret meeting that if you could get into, everyone would notice your thing and ooh and ahh. Hash tags serve a purpose and providing you with a ready-made audience isn’t it.

Retweet 17 random things in a row.

By in a row,I mean your random retweets are all I see in a very fast moving feed. It means you’re just pointing-and-clicking, boom, boom, boom. And I know why. You’re hoping people will retweet your ‘on sale now’ tweet.

Don’t give social media advice when you clearly don’t get how to do social media as an author.

I once had to unfollow someone who wrote a book on how to be on social media and sell your book. They were guilty of all the above. I shudder to think what their book was about.

Instead, just be genuine.

All the research shows that being genuine and interacting with people on social media will go much further than harassing or ignoring them will.Check out Kristen Lamb’s web site and books for better info on how to use social media in your favor. By the way, notice I said use social media. Everything I mentioned up there just smacks of using people.

siglori

Being genuine and interacting on Twitter will always work in your favor. Click To Tweet

Then

12.19.08
The Importance of Pre-Writing

I tried looking at pictures. Incidentally, Apartment Therapy is an awesome site.  So I bought a graph paper pad and I just drew the dance studio/apartment in no time.  I then described the way the rooms looked.  I included whoever’s viewpoint popped into my head, because different people see different things.  This helps me in two ways: 1) I can visualize these important places and the events that took place there easier and 2) I’ve got ready made description when I write scenes in those places.

I was amazed at how much such simple pre-writing work actually ignited my imagination.


Now

I still pre-write like it’s a lifeline to storytelling.  I call that creative time when you’re first planning a story, and the ideas are flowing like Niagara Falls, creative crack. It’s amazing and fun. And so much of writing isn’t all fun–it’s hard, hard work.

Using Pre-Writing as a Tool for WritingIn that post, I talked about planning out spaces to make our fictional places more real. Since then, an incredible tool has taken over the internet. You can look on the right and see it’s become a passion of mine: Pinterest. Obviously, I don’t just use it for writing.

But, with Pinterest, I can see my characters, interiors & exterior places, and even crucial items. And it’s “in the cloud,” accessible to me from any device, anywhere I can use the internet (which, let’s admit, in this age, is everywhere). In the novella I just finished writing, I used Pinterest for character placeholders, info about Vegas in the fifties (the setting), and clothing trends of the time. I deeply needed my research to make that story happen.

I’ve also noticed a trend: other writer’s are using it, too. I went to an online book release party, and all the authors shared their Pinterest story boards. Are readers interested in these? I was. I loved seeing the historical clothing, the shipwrecks, the cool clubs.

siglori

Pinterest has become the author's new best friend, letting us pile up valuable research. Click To Tweet

writeresI once wrote a post about the Hero’s Journey structure in the movie Clash of the Titans. That post is my second most popular post (by a long shot). Clearly, structure is something we all want to learn about. It’s one of my favorite topics. Structure is the skeleton on which our entire story hangs.

In light of that, I wanted to share the most awesome resource I found. Okay, found is a strong word. Let’s try, ‘I received in a newsletter because K.M. Weiland is an awesome writer folk and I like to know what she’s talking about.’

She created the Story Structure Database. To see an example of this tool at work, check out the structure for Pride and Prejudice. (If you haven’t read it, run to your bookstore now and grab it. Yes, it really is that good.*)

From the site:

Austen begins by masterfully hooking us with her famous opening line, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” The subtle irony gives us a sense of conflict from the very first and lets us know that neither the wife in search of the fortune nor the man in search of the wife will find their goals so easily.

Of course, we all know it’s a great first line. But, now we know exactly why. And we can try to accomplish something similar in our own first lines.

This database is full of books and movies, and other people can contribute. I highly recommend using this writer resource if you are having any difficulty with or just want to learn more about story structure.

Tweet: Structure is the skeleton on which our entire story hangs. http://goo.gl/C91TEz

*Link: $0.99 e-book Pride and Prejudice from Amazon.

Notice a whole bunch of Benedict Cumberbatch to the right.

Added WIP board from Pinterest. I get inspired every time I see him. So. Much. Yum. Right?

My Pinterest Board for the story set in the 1950s that I don’t even know who would possibly publish such a thing

The Museum of Idiosyncrasy is a Tumblr blog about sexytimes and romance. I once told @EroticClara that her site was like poetry in images to me.

If you’re under 18 or easily offended, you absolutely should not check out this site; otherwise, go there and see for yourself.

I go there to get inspiration when I need to write sexy scenes. Every image, to me, tells a story. It evokes a feeling. Every quote speaks truthfully. And, I love it.


CJ Redwine, whose query workshop I’ve mentioned before, got a great new book deal. Unfortunately for the rest of us, she’s only going to be doing one more query workshop and then she’s calling it quits.  She says she still has room and the last one starts Monday!
You missed your chance. I hear she’s creating an eBook with this info. I’ll update you.

Title: Show Up Naked: Writing the Male

POVInstructors: Chris Redding

Date: August 2 – 27, 2010

Classroom: Mile High

DESCRIPTION: This class is a fun, but informative trip through a man’s mind. Scary thought, I know, but when you finish this course you will know more about that man in your life and, more importantly, you’ll write believable male characters.The lessons will include:

• Male Emotions, yes they have them

• Stages men go through

• Bad boys, why we love them and how they got to be that way.

• Insight into why men can be so sweet one minute, and then the next say the most boneheaded things.

BIO: Chris Redding lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids, one dog and three rabbits. When she is not writing she works part time in the Emergency Medical Services Department of her local hospital. Her latest, release, Incendiary, will be out this Spring.

via Colorado Romance Writers Inc. – the Denver Affiliate of Romance Writers of America®. The site listed previously no longer exists. While you can no longer find info about the class, the Colorado Romance Writers Inc. can be found here.

I deeply wanted to take this class, but time constraints prevent me from doing so right now.  If any of you have the opportunity, I highly recommend it.

On Kathy Carmichael’s awesome site, she has a form to aid in creating a short synopsis and plotting your story.  You should go download that now.  I’ll wait.

She suggests, on the first page, to list ten events that will help change a character’s core belief and to keep in mind the stages of change.  This opened up a whole new way of looking at structuring character arc for me so I wanted to share what I’d found on the stages of change.

The earliest stage of change is known as precontemplation. During the precontemplation stage, people are not considering a change. People in this stage are often described as “in denial” due to claims that their behavior is not a problem. If you are in this stage, you may feel resigned to your current state or believe that you have no control over your behavior. In some cases, people in this stage do not understand that their behavior is damaging or are under-informed about the consequences of their actions.

via Stages of Change – Precontemplation Stage.

We’re going to be dealing with 4 of those stages, so it would make sense, I think, to divide this arc into quarters.  For example, the precontemplation stage would be the first 1/4 of your story.

During this stage, people become more and more aware of the potential benefits of making a change, but the costs tend to stand out even more. This conflict creates a strong sense of ambivalence about changing. Because of this uncertainty, the contemplation stage of change can last months or even years. In fact, many people never make it past the contemplation phase. During this stage, you may view change as a process of giving something up rather than a means of gaining emotional, mental, or physical benefits.

via Stages of Change – Contemplation Stage.

Of course, our heroes and heroines will make it past this stage because that’s what makes them heroic.

During this stage, you might begin making small changes to prepare for a larger life change. For example, if losing weight is your goal, you might switch to lower-fat foods. If your goal is to quit smoking, you might switch brands or smoke less each day. You might also take some sort of direct action such as consulting a therapist, joining a health club, or reading self-help books.

via Stages of Change – Preparation Stage.

What’s key here is small changes.  Our hero or heroine isn’t ready to full on commit yet, so explore ways to make small concessions to change.

During the fourth stage of change, people begin taking direct action in order to accomplish their goals. Oftentimes, resolutions fail because the previous steps have not been given enough thought or time. For example, many people make a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight and immediately start a new exercise regimen, begin eating a healthier diet, and cut back on snacks. These definitive steps are vital to success, but these efforts are often abandoned in a matter of weeks because the previous steps have been overlooked.

via Stages of Change – Action Stage.

There’s another stage, maintenance, but I think that stage comes after the HEA.

To me, it makes sense to structure your characters change, and that what it’s all about–the character’s journey–in a way that is scientifically proven to be how real people handle change.

Again, you should check out Kathy’s site or follow her on twitter (linked above) because she is clearly brilliant.

An excellent article on how to create a set of rules for what’s selling and, more importantly, what you like reading in your romance novels.  It makes it a lot easier to know what to write when you know what you like.

But I needed help—some guidelines when it came to spinning a story that was right for the market.

And that’s when I realized I should turn to the bible. No, I wasn’t getting religious. This was all about research and the creation of my own bible—a set of rules to follow and requirements to incorporate. This was all about identifying the sort of things that had to appear in a book.

I’m not merely talking about love scenes. I’m talking about lifestyles, backgrounds of characters, how to get to that happily ever after at the end of the book, and a myriad of other elements.

How to Dissect Romance Novels and Create Rules for Writing.

Writing is entirely too hard to not take seriously.  Like the decision to go on living, the decision to decide between life and quality of life, writing is a choice.  It’s not something we’re called to (though it may call to us, like the siren); it’s not something you do halfway, because maybe you can make it.  You commit to it, the way you commit to a career, to a marriage, to having children.  Because once it gets into your blood, there’s no quitting.

Is writing fun?  All too rarely.  It can be thrilling, heartachingly frustrating, gut check time, and some of the highest elation you’ll know.  But it’s not for fun.  It’s for real.  It’s for grown ups.

It's for those of us who don't consider life lived if it doesn't include writing. Click To Tweet

I’ve written it before–if you can quit, you should.  It’s just too damned hard.  But, if you can’t, come sit by me.  Let’s share our heartbreaks and successes.  Let’s cheer for one another and mourn for one another and, most importantly, brainstorm for one another.  Let’s inspire one another, knowing at least someone else has been there already and survived it.  Let’s share motivational quotes and pat each other on the back.

If you are writing and feel alone, I strongly suggest you join twitter, (add me, because I love following fellow writers and promise to follow you right back), and start joining the #amwriting movement.

It’s a job. It’s not a hobby. You don’t write the way you build a model airplane. You have to sit down and work, to schedule your time and stick to it. Even if it’s just for an hour or so each day, you have to get a babysitter and make the time. If you’re going to make writing succeed you have to approach it as a job.

ROSELLEN BROWN

via AdviceToWriters – Home – You Have to Sit Down and Work.