Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Writing Different Sexes

No, this isn't a kinky post.

What I'm talking about is when women write male characters or men write female characters. Sometimes it can be tough to get it right.

I love this article by Rob Preece, titled Women Are from Venus; Men Are Annoying. He raises some very important points, including:
I do think that a good writer, of whatever sex, must be able to create convincing characters of both sexes—characters who are recognizably male or female every time they open their mouths, every time the author dips into their internal dialog. Yet, if you read some romance, you’ll come across male characters who just aren’t convincing. Certainly in romance, we aren’t looking for completely realistic male characters (most readers are women who already have an all-too-realistic male in their lives).
Rob goes on to provide some things to watch out for when women are writing about men. It was certainly something I considered when I decided to write Torn Canvas, which is mostly from Jori's point of view. You can see what those cautions are by reading the entire post here. It's definitely worth the time.

The following video is also a very visual (and hilarious) presentation on how differently men's and women's brains work. When we understand that, I believe it makes it easier to keep this in mind as we write our characters. Seriously, there was one point where I almost wrote "Jori went to his nothing box." The video is a little long (13 min) but it's well worth it.

I especially like the section toward the end of the video where he talks about some of the things that can irritate us in our interactions with with close members of the opposite sex. So now, rather than being irritated at my husband when he offers suggestion to fix a problem I'm venting about (and not asking for suggestions to fix the problem), I realize he's trying to give me his very best solution for when he has challenges.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

There are 12 1/2 Rules, or so I'm told.

I saw this poster the other day on Pinterest and thought I would share it here. I found it lovely that there are only 12 1/2 rules to being a writer. Sounds easy enough right? :)

But really when you break it down, it resembles more closely the daily ins and outs of writing. Here are the ones I need to work on to become a better author:
1- Writing every day, finding the time, chasing down the muse and pushing through the wall.
2-Stepping back and really being honest with myself about my writing. Did I just skip that paragraph? yeah, I did. My reader will to. Sharpen it or pull it out.
5-Widen my characters interests and looks. I don't fit perfectly in a social norm box, and neither should my characters, make them memorable and as unique as people really are!
8-Some stories are there to just be enjoyed, not necessarily to have a moral, don't stress if mine is on the enjoyment side.
9-Inspiration strikes when you can't find a paper or pen, I'm sure of it. I have many grocery receipts and eyeliner scrawled notes from moments I was caught unprepared without pen and paper.
12- I've personally found that if I'm stuck, I think of what the story would sound like written from another characters POV and I find I can break through my wall of worry and get back to the scene I have to finish.

And there you have it!

 What rules do you like best?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

September Retreat Classes

iWriteNetwork Retreat
September 2014
Theme: Polishing Your 2nd Draft

Here's the class list for the retreat:
Emotion By Donna K. Weaver
Plot Holes by Canda Mortensen and Deanna Henderson
Character Arcs by Cindy M. Hogan
Basic Editing by Tristi Pinkston
Sentence Style by Canda Mortensen
Betas vs. critique group and how to give and take critiques by iWN Directors
And of course we'll have the Brainstorming Session too! 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Free Indie Author and Book Awards- The Howeys!

It can be hard to get the recognition you desire as an indie author. A lot of contests/awards not only don't allow indie authors to enter, but many that do are skewed toward traditionally published books. 


Who knows. Thanks to the indie revolution, there are, thankfully, some groups banding together to create meaningful and awesome awards for indies.

Here's a good example.  The Howeys!

 http://indiereconlive.com/contests Click it to enter.

There are a ton of "free to enter" contests but also a couple really great paid options. If you enter the Total Package contest you could win a free edit, free cover and free formatting- all for only $15 bucks.  There's also two $5 contests for Best back cover copy and best cover. Go enter and be an award winner. 

By the way, the Total Package is being  judged by 5 awesome editors-this is the big one. 

Nominate yourself or your favorite author or book for all the free awards and if you would like to win the total package or best back copy or cover-go enter here.   Don't wait! The contests end in the middle of July-only a few weeks away.

Show some love to your favorite indie authors today with a nomination for a Howey.

And, I have it on good authority that the conference still has a few spots for you to sign up and attend. But don't wait, there are a limited number of available registrations left-like only 50. It is going to be amazing. Get all the details by clicking here.  It's only $55 for 2 days-unheard of value. 

And it includes the Pajama Rama, too.
Friday, October 10th, 8-10 p.m.

I hope to see you all there at the Howeys-taking home some amazing awards. 

What contests have you entered lately?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Time For Every Season

When I was a young mother, I'd often greet my husband at the door with the words, "Thank goodness you're home! I've needed to go to the bathroom for three hours. Can you watch the kids?" It baffled him that I couldn't just go to the bathroom when I needed to.

But then one day when I'd been out running errands for several hours, he greeted me the same way. "Now I understand," he said. "They just don't stop needing things, not even for one minute!"

Yes, being understood is nice.

I was thinking about that today. Now that my kids are older, I can go to the bathroom any time I want - unless someone else is in there. Their needs are not as insistent and constant. I have more flexibility to do many of the things I couldn't when they were younger, like writing.

Right now, you might feel as though you don't have the time you'd like for writing. You might have young children or you might be working at a demanding job or you might be the caretaker for an ailing parent. Whatever your situation, your schedule might not have room in it for all the things you'd like to do. But as the wheel of time turns, our situations change, and down the road, you might find that you do have more time.

The trick is to use whatever time you have and make the most of it. When I wrote my first two books, I was writing during my children's nap time. Book three was written late at night because the older children weren't taking naps anymore. Then I was able to start writing during the day. Today, because my children have grown up with a mother who writes, they understand my schedule and are (mostly) pretty respectful of it.

Make each moment count, knowing that this phase of your life won't last forever. And then make the next phase count as well. There is a time for every season, and the magic happens when you make the time within the seasons of your life.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

July Workshop Canceled

Some years, July is a good time to host a workshop.

Some years, it's not. 

This year, it's not.

Since not enough people were able to attend
the great workshop we had planned for July 12th,
we're sad to announce it has been canceled. 

The few who did sign up will be reimbursed.

Maybe January will be better ...

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Being a Reader

“I owe everything I am and everything I will ever be to books.”
 Gary Paulsen

"The most important thing is to read as much as you can, like I did. It will give you an understanding of what makes good writing and it will enlarge your vocabulary."

I read because I love stories, I love the movies that play in my mind as I read. I read because I write and it makes me better as a writer to be a reader first. I often look to my favorite books for inspiration to get me through my writers blocks and use them constantly while editing. I find that I read books in a similar genre like an action romance if that's the genre of my current or next book. It helps me get into the right frame of mind. 

So what's on my current to read shelf?

  • The Different Girl By Gordon Dalquist
  • Daring Greatly By Brene Brown
  • Allegiant By Veronica Roth 
  • The Iron Knight By Julie Kagawa
  • Project Paper Doll Rules By Stacey Kade
Those are the books that are sitting on my night stand waiting to be read for the first time--I often slip a favorite re-read in here and there. :)  

What's on your current to be read list?