4 Tips on Promoting to Educators

Put your Book in Educator’s Classrooms

A friend and I recently sat down with two librarians to talk about what they like to hear in presentations. Their needs were different: one teaches in an elementary school and one in a high school. Yet, they agreed on several things. Educators are one market for most authors of children’s books, YA books and many adult books – here are 4 tips. Continue reading

Develop Sympathy with Character Traits 9

Use Character Traits to Make Your Character Sympathetic

Yesterday, we looked at 9 character traits that can be used to develop sympathy for your character. Today, we’ll look at using those traits in your story. It’s not enough just to tell yourself, or write on a checklist, that your character has these traits and is, therefore, instantly sympathetic. You must USE these traits. How? Continue reading

9 Traits of Sympathetic Characters

Creating Sympathetic Characters, Part I

I am working on characters in my VNovel. Apparently, I generate initial sympathy for my protag, but at some point, the reader loses the connection to him. So, there’s work to do. Here are things I’m looking at.

9 Character qualities that generate support

Help Your Readers Identify with Your Characters. We tend to identify with characters who are like us in some way. They play certain roles Continue reading

How to Prioritize Your Writing Tasks

Prioritize Your Writing Time

Does your To-Do List look anything like mine? I constantly have to carve out time to put my writing first. How do you prioritize? By Urgency – the deadline for this one is close? Or by Passion – I’m most interested in this project?

To Do: Writing

  • Revise my VNovel. I’m putting off reading your critique, D. Too scared!
  • Tweak and submit ILYMCB project to another publisher
  • Continue reading

The Dog, the Chicken and the Boxer Shorts: Real Events Inspire Novel Events

Stealing from Life: You Can’t Make this Up

I was talking to my friend, LFP, and he told me about a funny thing that happened on the way to work.

It started with a retriever. LFP reads electric meters in a rural area, driving a company truck from house to deer camp to trailer to house. Yesterday, a retriever started following the truck, just keeping them company. The roads were clear, but ditches, fields and driveways-in-the-shade still retained some ice from last week’s winter storm.

Retriever PLUS. Driving along, retriever following, LRP drove up to the next house. It was a nice house, with a two-car garage which was open. Chickens Continue reading

10 Checkpoints for Scenes

Does your Scene Pass this Checklist?

  1. Where/When. (Setting) Did you orient the reader at the beginning of the scene? Does the reader know where this takes place: room in house, city, state, country, etc? Does the reader know when this takes place: time of day, season of year, place within chronology of story? If the answer to where or when is no, do you have a firm reason for leaving the reader disoriented?
  2. Do NOT Pass Go Until You've Passed this Check List

    Do NOT Pass Go Until You've Passed this Check List

  3. Stakes. Are the stakes of the scene goal clear? If the protagonist fails, do we understand the consequences? Are the consequences substantial? Can you put more at stake, or make it matter in some way?
  4. Structure. Is the structure clear, with a beginning, middle, pivot point and ending? Is the chronology of the scene clear (did you use transitions such as then, later, before, after, etc.)?
  5. Actions. Are the actions of the scene interesting, and told with active verbs and great clarity?
  6. Emotions. Are the emotions clearly stated or implied? Can the reader empathize with the characters? Does the reader weep or laugh, even when the character can’t or won’t?
  7. Dialogue. Does the dialogue move the scene forward or is it empty chit-chat? Are there minor conflicts embedded in the conversations?
  8. Language. Are you telling or showing? Does your storytelling have clarity and coherence?
  9. Voice. Does the language create the proper mood, tone, voice?
  10. Transition. Does the scene make a smooth transition to the next scene? If you use a scene cut, does the reader have enough information to follow the cut without getting confused?
  11. Cohesive. Do all the elements work together to create a gestalt, a scene that is better than the sum of its parts?

Where does your scene fall down? Revise. You know the drill.