Writer Wednesday – Writing tools I use

So I’ve prepped a bit for Camp NaNo and getting The Alchemists of Archangel completed.

Some authors Love Scrivener and there are some wonderful features, that can be very helpful when developing characters, plot lines, timelines for series, etc.  I actually debated purchasing it, but have opted to use Google Keep in conjunction with Google Docs and Word.

I find myself looking back at tools I’ve used in the past.    Here are some tools I use during my rough draft phase:

  1. Cherry Adair’s – Plotting with Post its.   I admit I loved this when I learned it, but I still found it daunting.  The Pantser in me fought it, hard.  I still use a form of it today in Google Keep.
  2. My friend Arden uses an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of Character Profiles and Plot devices, Chapters, etc.   It is daunting.  And I admit I never mastered it the way she did.   Bob Mayer uses an Excel Method as well.
  3. Google Keep – So this is where I use a bit of Cherry’s technique and start mixing in my own blend of stuff (research, worldbuilding, character profiles, setting, and plot)
  4. Source Sheet – I keep a word doc of where I find all my research for the novel.  I also include worldbuilding notes in here.  My outline may not survive the process but this almost always does.  I usually turn in a copy with my manuscript when I begin the editing process, to help the copy editors.
  5. Sex in Romance Website – I don’t use this as much as I used to but it is still a great place when you want variety in your manuscript during a love scene.
  6.  Word Counter – I got this idea from Allie Pleiter’s Chunky Writing Method.   She has some freebie’s on her website for this.  Basically, you are counting words whenever you work on your ms.   I made some modifications to mine. 🙂
  7. Pinterest – Before Google Keep I would create character profiles for my stories.  I actually found looking at pictures beneficial to driving my description of clothes and setting.  Once my book is published, I’ll make the pages private.  The Courtesan of Constantinople is the first book I did this with so Y’all will have to wait. 🙂
  8. Pandora – I love listening to music without words when I’m writing.  Usually, I pick a channel based on the mood of the scene.   I’m sure part of this has to due with the fact that I learned to type to music in school.   Nothing like typing words to the William Tell Overture.

And I haven’t even started on the Reference Books I use regularly…

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Writer Wednesday – Editing

book-editingI’m not talking about dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s here, or finding spelling mistakes, although those are important.

I’m talking about looking at your work as a whole and saying to yourself – is this working or why isn’t this working.

I’ve finished up my 2nd round of layering and usually when I do the layering I find other issues.  And I’ve found some frivolous plot lines that need to be dealt with.  I can still use them, but they don’t make sense so I need to dig deeper.

I need to make these plot points stronger to thread through this series on a bigger level.  I have a lot of side notes like “Needs to be more significant” or “what are you trying to say”

This is an interesting process – I have to be objective looking at these items and I’ve been fortunate that I’m usually willing to change plot lines if necessary and I think this is necessary.

I’m off to it.  ~Tina

Writer Wednesday – A few of my favorite things

A lot of writers get asked what kind of tools they use when writing and editing.  Here are a few of mine:

Books

The Romance Writer’s Phrase book by Jean Kent and Candice Shelton – It’s a handy little phrase book, used for tag lines, body language, etc.

A more updated version would be The Emotional Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.   I use these books when I’m in the layer process of my book.   I used to use them during the rough draft, but found I got too bogged down with particulars rather than just writing the damn book.

The Novel Writer’s Toolkit by Bob Mayer – I have an old copy of this, but found it useful for understanding aspects of the business like Sell-thrus and royalties.   I believe he has an updated version.

And of course I have a Thesaurus, Dictionary and Two Style Guides.

Online Tools

Pinterest – I use Pinterest to store a lot of my pictures for characters, setting, clothes, etc.   Of course you can totally get lost on there.

First Draught – I have to give a shout-out to these ladies, because they cover a range of topics and they talk about everything from craft to publishing.  I love their Vlog!

Jenna Moreci – Jenna is a YA Indie Writer and she has this Vlog where her topics are humorous and based on her writing experience.   I highly recommend this if you are exploring Self-publishing or are a YA writer.

Google Keep  – I sort of stumbled across this recently and use it in place of Scrivener.    I make up all these little notes on characters, settings and scenes I need to write and then I can have it on the side of my Google Doc.   I’m sort of envious of Scrivener, but the feature I was really wanting was to replace my post-it plotting system that I learned from Cherry Adair.

Last week I covered the importance of finding your tribe, and of course my tribes are some of my favorite things.

~Tina

 

 

 

Writer Wednesday – Find your tribe

Writing-GroupOn my writing journey, I know I would not be where I am today without the tribe of writers around me.

Having a supportive partner and family is important too, and I’m fortunate to have that as well.

But when I write myself into a corner, cuz I’m a pantser and we do that, DH is of no help.   But I can call my friend Arden Richards, whose not yet published but is the best plotter I know.

I belong to a number of tribes –

The F-M Word Weavers – This is my local critique group.  Arden is a member as well.  Also in my group are published Authors Maddy Barone and Mary Jean Adams.  The wealth of knowledge in this group is wonderful, and my writing has greatly improved over the years thanks to these ladies.   I found this group on Meet-up and It helps that most of the group is made up of Romance Authors.

Romance Writers of America – I highly recommend this group if you are looking to establish a career in the Romance Writing Industry.   I’ve been a member since 2004 and belong to an online chapter.   I met my first critique partner Holli Winters through RWA.    If you want to learn more about this particular tribe I recommend, if you have Netflix, that you watch “Love Between the Covers”.  First time DH watched it with me he said, “Sounds like your writer friends.”  Yes, yes it does.

Of course there is also Mystery Writers of America, Horror Writers Association and Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers or America.  As I do not write in these genres, I’m unfamiliar with their membership. 

Romance Divas – I’ve recently joined Divas, but I have friends who have been members for years and rave about the mentorship and learning there.   It seems too that Divas is on the leading edge of trends within the Romance Industry.    Also they are FREE, so that is helpful for those watching their budget.

Marketing for Romance Writers – Despite the name, more than Romance Writers belong to this community.   If you follow my AuThursday interviews, many of the writers are from this group.  This group is also FREE. 

Writer Zen Garden – I’ve been with Writer Zen Garden for about five years, brought in by my friend and founding member, A. Catherine Noon.   Writer Zen Garden has authors of different genres.   They are wonderful for writers just starting out and maybe not so Romance focused.   To me the focus is very creative and  wonderful  cheerleading group. And Guess what – also FREE.

I continue to join groups as I see what they have to offer and if it is a good fit for me.   I highly recommend that if you aren’t a member of a tribe that you join one.   There is something about the writing journey that shouldn’t be done in a bubble.   I mean you can, but there are so many options to connect with people and learn, why wouldn’t you. 

The groups above have helped me through Writer’s Block, Rejection, Plotting, Marketing, Networking, and supporting me through my writing journey.   I can’t imagine writing without my tribes. 

~Tina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AuThursday – Izzy Szyn

IS author photoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

Well I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. Worked in customer service jobs most of my life, currently work in a call center for ATT in iphone tech.

I’ve been a bookaholic since I was ten. I’ve been involved online with writers ever since I first came online. At the time, I had web tv and the first thing I did was search for Jayne Ann Krentz and Diana Palmer.

I’ve been a reviewer, book promoter and author stalker, known for locking authors in a closet so they can write faster.

Started writing three years ago, while in a chat I was dared by a friend to write. You can either thank her or ask her what was she thinking. LOL Email me and I will tell you who.

Are you an Introvert or Extravert?  How does this affect your work?

I’m an Introvert until you get to know me. Then I’m a bit of a smart ass. I think some of it comes through in my writing.

How do you make time to write? 

I make time. I work full-time, so I write in between phone calls, during breaks and lunches and after I get home from work.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

I couldn’t work to an outline to save my life. I just let the characters tell me their story.

How did you come up with the idea for your book, BELLA AND THE BEAST?

I had just finished Wendi and Tink when Beauty and the Beast was coming out. I thought what if?

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?

I’ve done a few boxed sets.

I see you write Gay and Lesbian fiction.  What do you think is the greatest misconception about LGBT Romance?

That it’s all erotica. It’s simply two or more people that find their way to each other.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Just write. I wish I could have started earlier.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I live on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/izzyszynhome/

Twitter: @izzyszyn

Instagram and Google Plus J

Join me on Saturday when we read an excerpt from Izzy’s book, BELLA AND THE BEAST. ~Tina

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Writer Wednesday – Request

Last week, right after I posted my rejection post.   I received a request for an additional 50 pages from another Agent.   The Universe must have a plan.  

I had met this agent at an RWA conference a couple of years ago when the manuscript was just getting started in my head and on paper.    She had given a talk on agents and how they help you in the business.  That talk made me look at querying agents for this book that was an idea in my head.     Especially since what I had written was such a bit of a departure from my current work.   

I will still have to wait a few more weeks before I hear back, but this is exciting news.  I remember listening to her talk, and getting a good vibe.  

As you read this, I’m heading to the airport to go on my annual retreat with the WZG Founders.   And plotting my next book.   More on that next Wednesday. 

~Tina

AuThursday – Adam Mann

Adam 200Please welcome Adam Mann back to the Clog Blog. Welcome Adam,  Thank you, I’m delighted to be here. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

I’ve worked in what is called developing economies most of my working life, and usually in remote areas with limited facilities.  I’ve now retired and find myself working even harder – no days off – as a writer.

What are you working on at the minute? 

I’m just completing my first Box Set – 4 or 5 short stories.  I pitch most of my stories in places where I’ve worked, but that can be a problem for a lot of readers.

What draws you to write in the romance genre?

Quite frankly from my own personal experience.  I have been married four times – widowed, divorced, marriage annulled as she had forgotten to get divorced, and finally happily married to a widow for the last nineteen years

How much research do you do? 

Quite a lot; a recent story took me to an area of Pakistan where the landowners are largely Parsee, and I managed to collect a lot of data about the origin of the Zoroastrians.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you? 

I usually start with a specific plot, but often the story ‘wanders’ off-line and I have to review the MS.  Most of the time I get ideas for plots very early in the morning, and if I wait I’ll have forgotten the plot when I get up in the morning!  So I write myself a note, even if it’s midnight.

How long on average does it take you to write a book? 

Usually a week or ten days after I’ve thought about the plot, but then I spend the next three weeks editing and reviewing the MS, and it may be some time before in publish it.

Do you ever get writer’s Block? 

No, not really, I’ve a lot of stories to tell.  I find that I can always write about something.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Put your head down and write, and worry about grammar, editing, and proofreading later.  Book promotion is a much greater problem!

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web? 

Mainly through Twitter.  I’ve considered buying in readers, but it’s expensive and I haven’t done that yet.

My contacts are:

Website:  http://www.adammannauthor.com

Twitter:  @adammannauthor

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/adammannauthor.com

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/author/adammannauthor.com