Friday, June 26, 2015

The American Writer Verses The Europian

Hi all! I hope this last week proved fantastic for you. I am working hard on Lore. I finally received back some of my chapters from my critique partners and will be busy playing catch up this next week.

But I've decided to get back to discussing creative writing techniques and tips on this blog. There's been a lot going on that has kind of pulled me away from my original thoughts for this site. 

As some of you know my writing coach, Janet Roots, is English. And over there, across the pond as it were, they are taught a more strict regimen when it comes to creative writing skills. I'm actually glad I had her as my coach because I've become a stickler when it comes to the quality of my writing. I want my novels to be clean and tight. And I want to pass those tips on to all of you. It is much more enjoyable to read a book where the author has fantastic writing skills.

Although it is true, the more you write the better the flow becomes. But I've seen too many times where the author is not getting better. They remain with the same skill set, not growing in their craft.

I am reading an author, who is traditionally published and has probably 30 novels out. I love his stories, and the main character he uses. I haven't read any of his books in a while, but decided to check one out. I was surprised at how often he head hops and his dialog is not split up with paragraphs between the two different characters. I actually had to go back and read here and there to know which character was talking.

Not good!

Even though he can get away with it because he is a New York Times Best Seller, it doesn't mean you should write the same way. (Makes me wonder about some of the editors in this country too.)

When you are in a certain character's POV, you need to stay within their mind at least throughout the entire scene. I realize I have talked about this subject a lot, but it really is my biggest pet-peeve. If you are writing in first person, then you should stick within your main character's POV, but if you decide to split up the POV with other characters, make sure to let the reader know which character's POV you're in at the moment. You can announce it on the top of the scene or chapter. A good example of this is the book Help. 

I try to point these skills out only because I would love to see more self-published authors use them. The better our books are, the more people are apt to purchase them. I have heard too many times in the last 6 years of writing, that readers refuse to buy self-pubs because of the awful writing.

Don't let your books fall into this trap. Give it your all so that when you get reviews they are everything you hoped for. For me, I would be embarrassed if I got reviews that were less than 3 stars. Even those bug me, but they aren't because of my writing skills, they're because not everyone will like my story.

That's okay, you can't please them all, but make sure it's for the right reason, not your terrible writing skills.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! Leave me a comment if you get a chance. I would love to hear about your writing experiences!

Love, Lisa

Friday, June 19, 2015

Patience Is A Vertue

Happy Friday to all of you! I hope you have fantastic plans for the weekend since it is Father's day Sunday. We are barbecuing with the kids and hanging out for the evening - nothing too exciting, but should be nice.

Recently there have been several setbacks for me with writing, ones I will overcome, but it can make it tough to completely concentrate on the book. Things like vacation, holiday's and the like, but it will get finished.

I'm sure this happens to all of you too, but don't let it get you down. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Like anything else in life, things come up. Death in the family, loss of a job, even frustration with writing can all slow down the process. 

When these types of situations occur, try not to be so tough on yourself. Writing a book is not a normal process. There can be all kinds of things that interfere. For me, I tend to get a little depressed and stressed, but I have to remind myself that it will get finished and it will be published. 

So really, this post is more for me. Reminding myself that this is life. Nothing I do can change the things that seem to creep up and stop me from getting the book done. All I can do, and you too, is take things one day at a time. To be honest, it's the only way to make sure what you do put out there is professional and worth waiting for.

Quality verses Quantity, I always say. But I think the hardest part is I'm so close to having the book finished. Don't give up on me. It will be in the next several months as long as all goes well. My mother used to say, "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade". There is some worth in that statement.

So be patient with me. It will happen and the thing is, I'm sure it will be worth waiting for. 

Have a nice holiday weekend and happy Father's day to all you Dad's!!

Love, Lisa

Friday, June 5, 2015

So, What's In A Rough Draft

Happy Friday all! I hope this blog post finds you with great plans for the weekend and maybe even the summer.

Well, I have great news - I finished the rough draft for Lore! YAY! What does that mean exactly? It means my "second" draft is complete.

Yes, there are times when you end up writing two rough drafts. The first is usually the very basic bones, and the second is the revisions on your first rough draft that lead you on a totally different path, and adding new scenes and chapters.

It happens sometimes, okay, a lot of times.

It doesn't mean I haven't been working on revisions along the way. And it doesn't mean that I don't have more work to do, it just means I'm working on the book diligently. What I usually do anyway is read the manuscript when I'm finished with critiques and fix things that I missed. (Remember, I told you about my erase board list.)

Revisions is the hardest part. In fact, it can seem never-ending if you want your novel to be the best it can be. But don't give up, it will be right at some point and you will feel good about all the work you've put into it.

In other words - it's worth it!

I've listed for you my process for getting my books up to par, and I'm sure it showed you how much work goes into making sure it right. At least by my standards. 

Developing your own strategy is highly recommended. I have been reading a trilogy lately that shows how this writer has not worked on his creative writing skills. He has quite a few book out too. What really amazes me is he has over 500 4 star reviews. It shows how little people know what good writing is all about. Not that it's a bad story, just poorly written.

For me, I have to put in the effort for my books to be as close to traditionally published books as possible. And even some of those are lacking in creative writing skills. But most are usually written well and I want people to say that about my stories.

So, it's up to you how much effort you plan to put into your writing. I hope that you see that dedication and diligence is what will make you stand out. And that you strive for reaching that goal.

Have a great week everyone! I won't be posting next weekend, I will be on my little vacation at Cottonwood Inn!

See you in two weeks, Lisa