Tag Archive | #amwriting

Reviews for Writers: Super Structure

SuperStructureSo, you have a terrific idea for a book and then you get to the middle and suddenly remember the refrigerator needs cleaning out. You were so passionate about writing your novel, but now your mind is wandering.

Even after writing many novels, novellas and short stories, I still run into scenes that aren’t going anywhere, stories that sag and characters that no longer  amuse me.  At a friend’s suggestion I picked up a copy of James Scott Bell’s Superstructure: The Key to Unleashing the Power of Story.  It was a fast read and oh-so-valuable.

First, because writers are always in edit mode–let’s change the title. Sorry James. This needs to be “The Roadmap”. Yes, you’re lost and yes, it’s time to ask for directions.  In his 14 signpost scenes, Bell takes you from the first paragraph to the last page of your book. When I was reading the book, I was right down to the very last set of scenes on a novel and found myself looking out the window saying, “Hmmm….what now? Maybe I’ll clean a closet….”

After reading through the scene list, I checked through my story and found I had many of them already, but there were a few I needed to add. It was like being near the end of a jigsaw puzzle and suddenly realizing where everything went!  He uses examples from current movies and books that most people know.

The signpost I loved the most? The “Q” factor. This is the part in James Bond when Q gives him a secret weapon like an exploding pen which will come out at the finale when Bond is fighting off the enemy. Since reading the book, I started finding Q factors everywhere, including my own manuscript.

If you are new to writing, or like me,  an experienced writer who still needs to learn, check out Super Structure. Your refrigerator will keep.

Happy Homicides Valentine’s Day Update: The book is almost here! Betsy Livingston is back on Valentine’s Day with her mystery,

<3 A Heart for Murder<3

Camp NaNoWriMo–I’m In! Time to Get Lost and Write

I have participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for several years but opted out last November because I was in the middle of writing a book I didn’t want to put down for 30 days. The rule of NaNoWriMo is you can’t write a single word until the first day and must try to get to 50,000 words by the last day.  Camp NaNoWriMo is the same idea as NaNoWriMo except it’s in July and not in overscheduled November.  I just finished a book, so I’m up for a new one.  For the month of July I’ll be commenting on my experiences with Camp NaNoWriMo as well as providing a few of my special writing days for others who are also taking part.  If you are a writer, established or newbie….or an established newbie, you’re welcome to row your writing canoe along with mine.  Here are some days a fellow writer and I made up to mark on the calendar.

July 4- Sparkler Day–After writing your word count today, go back to the first line in your book and work on making it sparkle.  It needs to engage the reader and make them want to read the rest of the book.

July 10- Blisters and Splinters Day- Put a fight somewhere in your story

July 14- Burning Marshmallow Day – Make a sweet character burn someone either physically or metaphorically

July 22 – Chiggers and Skeeters Day – Put something in that annoys your main character

July 25- Starry Night Day – Put in something that is beautiful but out of reach

July 27 – Dark and Stormy Night Day – Put in something that is really frightening to your main character

July 31 – Back Home on the Bus Day – Have your main character do something that gives them a time to rest and be at peace

Cold Weather and March/April Appearances

Baby TomatoesHere it is spring already.  It is spring, right?  Even in South Texas we’re getting the arctic blast that is wreaking havoc everywhere else.  I have about 8 tiny tomato plants sitting in my kitchen window waiting to get planted.  I’m hoping this is our last cold spell, because my little window garden is ready to go in the ground!  I know that by summertime I’ll be dreaming of these chilly days and trying to remember what it felt like to wear a sweater.  Right now, though, there’s chili on the stove and lots of writing to do!

Good news, I’m finishing up the first book in my Piney Woods series.  I have a whole new set of characters (that I’m already crazy about) and lots of surprises in this book.   I’m not sure about the status of this one- if I’ll go Indie or try traditional.  It’s in the “what if column” for right now.

Here are some exciting places I’m going to be at in the next month or so!

I will be doing an author visit at Freeman Memorial Library in Houston, Texas on March 9.

I will be appearing at Katy Budget Books in Katy, Texas on April 12 from 2-4 for the Dear Texas Event.

You Are Never Too Old To Write

Never to old to write!

Never to old to write!

I love this article that came out today about an 86 year old woman who has self-published a steamy romance novel.  It just goes to prove you’re never too old to write!  Not only that, but it’s a great exercise for your brain.  Personally, I have to make myself lists not only in my writing but in my day to day activities.  Writing causes a person to constantly reorganize and re-evaluate work.

I write several drafts and as I go through each draft I make little notes that will have to be addressed in the next draft.  For instance in the book I’m working on now my notes look something like this:

*Where is the dog?  Write him in!  For goodness sake, you have a whole book dedicated to him and he can’t score a single scene in this one?

*Give Leo’s mother more lines.  She’s melting into the background.

*Make sure you haven’t mentioned this fact before scene 2.12

And on and on and on.  I really do take on the “character” of an editor in my notes.  If I feel snarky about something, I just go on ahead and write that too.  If I don’t constantly” laundry list” what I need to do, then I end up wasting precious writing time rethinking what is wrong with my manuscript.  Sorry to have to tell you, I ALWAYS find something wrong.  Maybe it’s perfectionism, but all you have to do is look at how I load a dishwasher to know I’m no perfectionist!  I just don’t always get it right the first time.

I hope to be writing at 86.  I know I’ll still be making mistakes, but that’s just part of the journey.

Just a reminder-my book Burnout will be free on Kindle from August 26 to 30!  If you don’t have a copy, save the date!

August 26-30!

August 26-30!