Shannon Bolithoe : A Writing Life


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How to Storyboard in Scrivener 

How to Storyboard in Scrivener

by Matt Herron

“Storyboarding as it pertains to novels and short stories is the process of mapping out your story, often using index cards, in a high-level way that allows you to see your story visually and rearrange it.

Scrivener’s corkboard view provides the perfect interface to storyboard your novel digitally…”


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Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 45: Avoiding “Said” 

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 45: Avoiding “Said”

“What’s this, you say? Avoiding “said” is one of the most common writing mistakes? How can that be? Surely writers overuse this ubiquitous little word more often than not, don’t they? As a matter of fact: nope. Indeed, trying to avoid this hard-working little speaker-attribution tag can, in most instances, lead you into some major prose problems.

If you run a word-frequency search through your manuscript, “said” is probably the verb that shows up the most. For some writers, that sets off alarm bells in their heads. If a word shows up that frequently, then surely you must be overusing it. Readers will notice its repetition and stumble over it as it clutters your prose.

As a result, you might be tempted to start replacing “said” with more colorful alternatives. After all, writers are always being told to look beyond pedestrian verbs like “walked” for more specific and “showing” choices, such as “sauntered,” “limped,” and “marched.” The same must be true of “said,” right?

It’s a legit question–so let us take a look…”

http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/kmweiland.com/podcast/mistake-45.mp3

Click the “Play” button to Listen to Audio Version (or subscribe to the Helping Writers Become Authors podcast in iTunes).

The post Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 45: Avoiding “Said” appeared first on Helping Writers Become Authors.

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Editing 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Editing
By Anna Elliott

I realize that my timing isn’t perfect for this post. At least, not for all of those WU-ers who are participating in NaNo this year– which after all is largely an exercise in letting your creativity and your story flow by NOT thinking about editing. But it’s been several years since NaNoWriMo fit into my writing schedule, and since for me this month happens to be largely devoted to edits, I wanted to share some of the things I’ve been thinking about the process. If you’re in the process of an edit, maybe some of my strategies will work for you, too. And if you’re NaNO-ing, maybe it will come in handy once the month is over and you’ve (hopefully) got a solid part of your first draft down. So, my editing do’s and don’ts:

DO: Give yourself some time between finishing a draft of your story and picking it back up to edit. I’d say at an absolute bare minimum a week, but more time is probably even better. The distance will help you to see your story with fresh eyes during the editing process, which is vital to figuring out what weak spots need to be strengthened, what character arcs need to change, etc.

Don’t: Be afraid of the process. I actually love editing– once I get started. But when I first open up a book file with an editorial eye, I usually have a moment of near panic: Oh no! What if I read it and it’s absolutely terrible! That’s when I just have to remind myself to breathe and dive in. Messy first drafts can always be made better– that’s the point of an edit after all. And if your book was truly, irredeemably bad, it’s unlikely you would have managed to finish it to the point of having a draft to edit. So take heart and just click open the file. You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised when the draft you thought was in shambles isn’t nearly as messy as you feared.

Do: Be willing to cut, cut, cut. Depending on your process, this step may vary for you–I know some authors write a very bare-bones first draft and then expand on it during edits== but for me, the first draft is all about getting everything in my head onto the page. Everything. Descriptions, long internal monologues, etc– I throw it all in. Your mileage may vary, but it works for me; that’s how I discover the essentials about my characters and their journey. Then the editing step for me is all about condensing that first draft down, eliminating the unnecessary and making each page of story as lean as possible while still holding onto the essentials I discovered in the first draft. I look at each sentence, asking myself whether it’s absolutely crucial to the story I want to tell. If not, out it goes.

Don’t: Push yourself to edit too quickly or work through too much in a single editing session. It can be easy to get sucked into your own story and start reading it as a reader instead of as the story’s architect that you are. Obviously when we read books for entertainment– even when we read critically– we’re probably not examining every single sentence with an eye to deciding whether it could be better/tighter/more effective. That effort is exhausting– but also essential. I find that I start losing focus after editing 4-5 chapters and need to take a break if I’m going to keep up with the intensity of the edit.

Do: Celebrate the process. Editing can feel overwhelming– after all you’re effectively spending your working days staring at a giant list of everything that’s wrong with your manuscript. But I’ve found that just taking it step by step cuts down significantly on the overwhelm. Even major plot issues are usually resolved much more easily than I feared if I just tackle them one at a time. And without wanting to sound too Pollyanna-like, I try to be grateful for the process, too. If you’re editing, that means you’ve finished a book– which is definitely cause for celebration. Even if the book isn’t ready for any eyes but yours, you’re still another step further down the road in your writing career.

 

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Don’t hate me cause I’m marketing!

Source: Don’t hate me cause I’m marketing!

By Ana Spoke

“My previous post on pricing a first self-published book at $0.99 generated quite a discussion! Once again it shows just how many opinions are out there – some support my strategy, other authors are unhappy with having to give the work away practically for free. My personal view is “this is just what it is” – a free market, where prices are set by the laws of supply and demand. I do think my 2.5 years of hard work are worth more than $0.99, but I will just concentrate on promoting it so hard that before you know, it will be a series and a movie, and I will buy a pair of Manolos, just to see what all the fuss is about. My goal is to get the book into hands of as many readers as possible, with the hope that one of them knows Coen brothers. Seriously, does anyone here know even one of those guys?…”


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Writing With Heart: Creating An Emotionally Engaging Character

Writing With Heart: Creating An Emotionally Engaging Character

By Ryan Lanz

“Someone recently asked me about writing with emotion.  This is really about creating the emotionally engaging character because if you don’t write emotion into your character, the reader won’t connect with that character on an emotional level.  It’s hard to explain the difference between a great story and an emotionally satisfying story because the distinction is subtle…”

 


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How to write a children’s book and get it published

How to write a children’s book and get it published

By Miles Salter

“Miles Salter reflects on the slow process that led to the release of his new book for children, launched in York this week

Six years ago, I had a moment of inspiration. What if, the little mental bang inside my brain went, I could re-write Little Red Riding Hood for today’s audience, rather like Roald Dahl did when he wrote Revolting Rhymes in the 1980s?

My version would be a cracking story with adventure and humour and fun, eccentric characters. It could, I thought, be irresistible to kids…”

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.yorkmix.com

See on Scoop.itA Writing Life


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5 Ways to Take the Vanity Out of Your Non-Fiction Book

 5 Ways to Take the Vanity Out of Your Non-Fiction Book

By Ken Dunn

“No one wants to hear about how you struggled with adversity and came out on top without learning some lessons along the way.

The idea of writing a non-fiction book to help bolster your credibility, draw in new clients or educate people is not new. Unfortunately, there are more people than ever that are deciding to pen their stories and publish a book that outlines everything they have been through. Their hope is that their story will inspire others and maybe even land them a few new clients.

With the ever-falling costs of creating, producing and publishing a book, we are being overwhelmed with more books being publishing on an annual basis than ever before.  Over 1.1 million new books were published in 2013, according to Bowker, an international research agency that focuses on the publishing industry. Sadly, most of these new non-fiction books are poorly written and never sell more then a few dozen copies to friends and family. Most of these books are all written the same way: “I was born, I grew up, when I was young I had challenges, when I grew up I had more challenges, something tragic happened, it made me realize, I made some changes, now I’m successful and you can be too.” Yuck!…”

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.entrepreneur.com

See on Scoop.itA Writing Life