Category Archives: Voice

Merry Christmas Day 13 & 14 & 15

Merry Christmas day 13

Life has a way of throwing curveballs. We never really know what to expect. And that can be pretty darn crummy. Another thing that is crummy is when you can figure out  what is going to happen in the novel from page two or three. There’s no reason to read a book when you already know the ending from the beginning.

Look carefully at your  novel. Is it too easy to see who done it? Wha? You’re not writing a mystery novel? Well, you sorta are. All novels should have something that  has to be figured out. Giving that surprise away too soon, or writing poorly so there is no surprise, or just plain being lazy in your writing leaves the reader wanting more.

How can you change up your book so there are plenty of curveballs? Plenty of surprises?

Merry Christmas day 14

For me the name of the character is really important. My editor at St. Martin’s Press said, “Carol! I cannot believe you named your characters after your daughters.”

Well, I do. My daughters. Or other family members.  Or people I love. Or people I hate. They all wind up in my books. (I joke I should have given them each three names not just a first and middle name.)

In my newest novel, MESSENGER, I used all of my grandmother’s sisters and brothers names. That’s a family of 10. Because I love my extended family, the book became that much more  important to me.

So who would you write about?

Why?

How did that person change you?

How is that person complex?

We all know we can’t use our relatives exactly the way they are, but what are 15 things you would write about this person?  What are 15 things you would keep the same about their personality? Their mannerisms? Their speech? Their loves and hates?

I always, or almost always, have Nana smoking, drinking beer, cleaning house, wearing polyester, and laughing. Those are just a few of the things Nanny did.She died almost 25 years ago.  I miss her. When I write about her, she lives again for me.

Merry Christmas day 15

I just saw a post on Twitter about not using adjectives. And I have to admit that I am one of those people who is trying to trim my overuse of them. Or at least I’m trying to do as Lance Larsen says and turn them on ears. (We’ll talk more of this next year.)

Anyone can talk about the Christmas season in cliché ways. It’s snowy. Glittery. Cold. But using adjectives in new and different ways will make your prose sing. It will make the reader stop and pay attention. Yes! That’s what we want!

Take one chapter of your novel and mark  all the adjectives. Now go through and look at the ones that you can cut.  Which ones you can change and make more special? How can you use them in unique ways?

Ack! It must be the season. I used the word special. I really don’t like that word.

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Filed under Ann Dee, Character, Life, Revision, Uncategorized, Voice

Preparing for NaNoWriMo

On Thursday I wrote a long list of things we could do to prepare for NaNoWriMo and for some reason, when I went to post, it wouldn’t.

I pitched a fit and stomped off.

Went to the TH evening party and it was a lot of fun.

Never resent.

You have today and tomorrow to think about a few questions so you can jump into NaNo a little more prepared.

BTW, if you want to play with WIFYR, email Bruce here: wifyrdoesnano@gmail.com and make your goals. Bruce will add you to the list. The goal is 1,000,000 words as a group! Woot woot!

Novel questions:

  1. Who is your main character?
  2. What does she want?
  3. Have her write a note to you.
  4. Ask her 25 personal questions and write this interview down.
  5. Who are her friends?
  6. Her enemies?
  7. Her family?
  8. What is she afraid of?
  9. Can she sing?
  10. Dance?
  11. Is she funny?
  12. Snarky?
  13. Does he have a crush?
  14. A true love?
  15. What is the scariest thing that can happen to her?
  16. Will it happen to her?
  17. What do you see as the climax of the story? Do you have a general idea?
  18.  Name three things she will lose during the telling of the story.
  19. Are you trying to teach a lesson?
  20. What are you willing to give up to complete your 50,000 words?

Also, every Thursday evening, from 7-10 pm we will meet at Kyra Leigh’s house, eat and write.

Last year this was a lot of fun. This year it will be even more fun because I won’t have to clean every TH in anticipation of people arriving at my home. YAHOO, KYRA LEIGH! Anyway, if you want to bring potluck (which is what gets you into the house) and write for a few hours with fellow NaNoers, let me know. We have room for about 15 people.

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Filed under Ann Dee, Character, CLW, Exercises, Kyra, Plot, Voice, Writing Marathon, writing process

LAST DAY!

You have just one day–just these last few hours–to complete your writing goal of One Hour a Day.

When will that be for you?

Will you join me for one hour right after I post this blog?

 

I’ll post one more time tomorrow.

But may I just say, even if you write five times with us this last month, good for you. What we do? It’s hard. And you’ve been doing hard things.

Enjoy your last hour on this challenge.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE

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Filed under Ann Dee, CLW, Kyra, Life, Voice, Writing Marathon, writing process

TWO DAYS LEFT!

Today!

Tomorrow!

How will you finish the challenge?

We hope you’ve been writing.

I know I have tried to write Every. Single. Day.

Hint:

Put your head down.

No need to try and make up lost time. Just WRITE today.

And tomorrow.

Enjoy these last two days.

Love your words.

Love this chance.

Love your story.

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Filed under Ann Dee, CLW, Exercises, Kyra, Life, Voice, Writing Marathon

Writing Challenge, Monday Hint

Did you get your goal number of words for last week?

Did you write everyday?

Have you five hours writing logged?

Is your goal where you can see it?

Hint: Do not stare into the sun during the eclipse. Damage can occur in moments.

Another hint: Do not sing Total Eclipse of the Heart. CORNY!

(Now I will have to sing that dumb song. I will change the words to Turn around blind eyes in case one of you looks at the eclipse today.)

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Filed under Ann Dee, CLW, Plot, Revision, Voice, Writing Marathon, writing process

Three Thing Thursday–Lots of Hints for Our August Challenge

August 15 is now just a few days away.

Are you ready for our August challenge? (If you are wondering what we’re talking about, go to August 1, 2017 and see Ann Dee’s post.)

Here are some things to help you and your family get ready for your one hour a day.

  1. Decide on a time. You may want a trial run. Is 6 am better for you or 10 pm? Practicing will help you know what is best for you and your family.
  2. Make your place, for this one hour, sacred and private. Time for you and your words.
  3. Alert everyone for the next several days that you WILL be writing at this time and you’ll need this time, alone, to complete this challenge. IF you can write with children at your feet, more power to you. Just remember you are working toward 60 minutes of straight writing.
  4. If you are writing a book that needs lots of research, do that now. Perhaps, as you experiment with what hours are best, you can look up the price of chicken in 1929 (the same price as in 1969), which Apollo launch caught fire and killed the astronauts (Apollo 1), or how far Tampa is from New Smyrna (just over 2 hours down I-4). Get the pre-work done so you can follow Ann Dee’s rule of writing a solid one hour.
  5. Set a goal for how many words you’d like to write in that one hour. Anyone can sit in a chair and look at an blank computer screen  and put down a word a minute. But you want to end up with a good number of words on the page. 500 words? 1000? 2000?
  6. Do some brainstorming now. What is your story about it 25 words or less? What does your main character want? How do you keep that from happening? What are five subplots for your book? What is the climax? How do you expect this book to end? Knowing little things (not all the important details but having ideas) will help you succeed.
  7. Jot your ideas down and post where you can see them.
  8. Tangerine oil is supposed to help your creativity. I’m thinking of purchasing some and putting it in the diffuser I bought months ago and have never used.
  9. Bring your snacks with you and don’t get up to go get more.
  10. Write scenes instead of writing chronologically.

So those are a few helps. We’ll have a few more before next Tuesday.

What if we also watched this movie as a final reward?

 

Also, I won’t go see this but I really want to because RYAN REYNOLD’S!!!!!!

(for those of you with sensitive ears [like me] don’t watch with the sound on as there are lots of swears. This is a rated R trailer. I listened to them for you. Mostly I just wanted to see Ryan Reynold’s face. It is cute.)

 

 

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Filed under Ann Dee, Character, Kyra, Voice, Writing Marathon, writing process

Sketchbook Summer (and Writing?)

Over on Facebook, my friend Matthew S Armstrong is challenging artists to draw every day for one month. All this month of July! Fill a sketchbook!

Yes!

My youngest is doing this. So far, so good. She shows me each evening.

This month of July I want to–again–write one first line of a new book everyday. Five minutes to do it. Great opening lines. If it takes less than five minutes, I can write line 2, 3, 4. But it can’t take longer. Five minutes to get something new on the page, daily.

Remember Richard Peck? You’re no better than your first line? That opening is a key. The entryway.

As I have done this first line on a new novel before (three minutes to write them then!), I’ve found I need a few moments to think. Think about what I might want this book to be, otherwise I can’t do it. Not for 30 days straight. I don’t often start an idea with a line of writing.

I read somewhere that the opening line of a book should have voice, a little bit of mystery and character in it. Can you do that with each start?

That opening is also a promise of what is to come. It’s exciting!

So join in. With Matthew or me or both of us.

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Filed under CLW, First Line, Life, Voice