Tag Archives: writing

RRBC Book & Blog Block Party

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Greetings and welcome to Rave Reviews Book Club’s BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOK & BLOG BLOCK PARTY at The Indie Spot!  Location: Lansing, Michigan, USA.

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Here’s What I’m Giving Away Today:

** PRIZES HAVE ALREADY BEEN AWARDED**

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I invite you to check out my books and the book trailers that go with each title. I’ve included an excerpt of Jazz Baby and a short blurb for each book to help you become better acquainted with the stories!

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Jazz Baby Chapter Four Excerpt

722 Dauphine Street promised little in the way of excitement—from outward appearances. What once had been a Digby’s Department Store now went by the somewhat famous Crescent Club.

Revelers of every color, size, and persuasion lined the sidewalk out front, passing around flasks of bootleg hooch, eager for the doors to swing open so nighttime could finally begin.

Nobody paid us any mind as Tanyon and I split the crowd on our way down a side alley leading to the rear entrance.

Tanyon laid a coded knock against the heavy red door.

A fella’s chubby face filled the small peephole.

“I have Miss Teegarten with me,” said Tanyon to the man.

That door swung wide; entrance was granted.

Dozens of round tables lay scattered willy-nilly throughout the cavernous main room. A wide stage rose five feet above the floor. Four colored boys worked up a number I could sing in my sleep.

I said, “I’m ready,” drinking in a dream fixin’ to come true.

That chubby fella let go a laugh. “How’s about we open for business before you get started, huh?”

Waitresses lit candles and set ashtrays on each of those tables.

Tanyon snatched the one closest to the stage, and ordered a pint of bourbon from a dark-haired girl dressed out like a flapper.

“Tell me something,” I began to say.

’Cept Tanyon, he had an answer all lined up. “Your mama was not a whore—if that’s what you’re meaning to know.”

Fine enough by me.

Even if I really didn’t believe him.

Frank Rydekker himself brought Tanyon’s pint to our table. “So this is the little songbird,” said the short, stocky man, pulling me into a splash of orange glowing off a candle. “Can you sing any of these songs?”

My eyes tumbled down the list he presented. “I can sing ’em all,” I gladly admitted.

Rydekker nodded toward a big fella up near the bar and hollered, “Let ’em in, Bill!”

“Don’t be scared, Baby,” Tanyon said, handing me a go at that pint.

I raised the hooch to my lips, had a good pull. “Don’t call me Baby anymore.”

*      *      *

Cool blue dripped onto the stage from lights burning high above.

My body stood in its gathering puddle.

A boy on drums got us going with a slow shuffle that took up with the bass like a couple of long-time lovers knowing each other’s next move before it’s even been considered. Sullum Cass kissed his shiny saxophone with the breath of something painful and delicious, tossing delicate notes into the smoky air. When the boy on piano sprinkled all the right keys into the mixture, I eased my body against that skinny silver microphone stand, closed my eyes to the fractured night, and told all about that man done me wrong.

Everybody on that parquet dance floor caught on real quick. It’s me they stared at.

Me!

Emily Ann Teegarten.

And wasn’t a single one gave a tinker’s damn about my age or my station in life. Faces opened in welcoming smiles as wicked rhythms spun us all toward a whole new place—a place tucked up high as heaven.

Bodies shimmied and twirled at my feet.

One song blurred into another with nary enough time to breathe.

If I’d dropped dead then and there on that Big Easy stage, I’d have no real complaints. I reckon I’d tell the first angel I set eyes on I’d lived a full life.

I lived out my dream.

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Jazz Baby

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While all of Mississippi bakes in the scorching summer of 1925, sudden orphanhood wraps its icy embrace around pretty Emily Ann “Baby” Teegarten, a young teen.

Taken in by an aunt bent on ridding herself of this unexpected burden, Baby Teegarten plots her escape using the only means at her disposal: a voice that brings church ladies to righteous tears, and makes both angels and devils take notice. “I’m going to New York City to sing jazz,” she brags to anybody who’ll listen. But the Big Apple—well, it’s an awful long way from that dry patch of earth she’d always called home.

So when the smoky stages of New Orleans speakeasies give a whistle, offering all sorts of shortcuts, Emily Ann soon learns it’s the whorehouses and opium dens that can sidetrack a girl and dim a spotlight…and knowing the wrong people can snuff it out.

Jazz Baby just wants to sing—not fight to stay alive.

Click here to view the Jazz Baby book trailer

Click here to buy Jazz Baby

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Slivers of Life: A Collection of Short Stories

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These twenty short stories are a peek into individual lives caught up in spectacular moments in time. Children, teens, mothers, and the elderly each have stories to share. Readers witness tragedy and fulfillment, love and hate, loss and renewal. Historical events become backdrops in the lives of ordinary people, those souls forgotten with the passage of time. Beem Weeks tackles diverse issues running the gamut from Alzheimer’s disease to civil rights, abandonment to abuse, from young love to the death of a child. Long-hidden secrets and notions of revenge unfold at the promptings of rich and realistic characters; plot lines often lead readers into strange and dark corners. Within Slivers of Life, Weeks proves that everybody has a story to tell—and no two are ever exactly alike.

Click here to view the Slivers of Life book trailer

Click here to buy Slivers of Life

Once again, thank you for stopping by. Don’t forget to share your thoughts and comments below.  Good luck on winning my giveaways!  I’ll see you at the next stop of this awesome BOOK & BLOG BLOCK PARTY!

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Writing Less To Say More!

Indie author Kim Cox is standing in the Rave Reviews Book Club Spotlight! I invite you to discover this talented writer in her own words! Take it away, Kim…

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Last month I read a few articles about writing less to say more. I’ve come a long way but I still struggle with this. Writing a story came much easier before I learned so many rules about it.

Okay, I’m from the south, born and raised in North Carolina. I’ve lived in the southeast of the United States all my life. I moved to the western part of the state about twenty-seven years ago. I now live in the North Carolina mountains. People move here from everywhere. Most of those I work with lived somewhere else, Texas, New York, and Virginia are three of the places I know for sure.

Being southern, I naturally love to use lots of words to get my point across. I don’t really write flowery or try to use big words but I do talk and write in a wordy manner. Why use two words when I can use five or ten instead. For example, I used to say (until someone made fun of me), “I need to go do that now or I’ll be forgot.” Trying it again in a shorter manner, “I need to do that now before I forget.” Even shorter. “I’m doing it now.” See how easy that was. Not really but you get the idea.

In other words, coming from the south, I grew up in a passive speaking atmosphere. I try my best to write active instead. I even try to talk better.

At work, I write in a business manner, so I’m forever changing the words “You need to” or “You should” to “This needs to be” or “This should be” in order to not come off to others as accusatory.  So, sometimes I have to use more words than are needed to not sound harsh to the person I’m trying to train or explain something to. This doesn’t help my fiction writing where I need to write shorter and less stilted. Business writing is formal, especially the reports I have to write.

Does anyone have a trick they use to keep their writing short and less wordy?

For more information on the subject of Writing Less to Say More:

Write Less, Say More: The Power of Brevity

How to write less and say more

Embracing Brevity: How to Write Less and Say More

Saying It Short: A ‘Less Is More’ Guide to Effective Writing

About Kim Cox

KC - Author PhotoKim Cox is an author of Paranormal, Mystery, Suspense and Romance. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina with her chain saw artist husband, their West Highland White Terriers–Scooter and Harley, and a Yorkie mix, Candi. Kim is published in novels, short stories and articles.

Sign up for Kim’s Readers List for exclusive information, new releases, contests, giveaways, and free books.

Visit her at the following sites:

Author’s Website: http://www.kimcoxauthor.com

Blogs: Kim’s Musings, Kim’s Author Support Page

Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/kimcox

Social Media locations:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kimcoxauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KimCoxAuthor

Google: https://plus.google.com/+KimCoxAuthor/posts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/kimcox

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kimwrtr/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kimwrtr

ALL THIS TIME

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Style & Profile Series – Book 1

At thirty, Jenny Morgan’s biological clock is ticking. But as a fashion magazine CEO with a busy schedule and no significant other, her wish is unlikely to come true. When her father receives a potentially terminal diagnosis, he longs for a grandchild before he dies. With her religious beliefs, a sperm donor isn’t an alternative. Jenny’s only immediate available option is her single co-worker and best friend, Trevor Drake. Can she really trust him to be a good husband?

Trevor has loved Jenny since college, but she only sees him as a friend with no ambition. After he learns of her predicament, he proposes and sets out to prove he can provide everything she needs. Jenny is determined to have a prenuptial agreement with an “out” clause after one year. Can Trevor convince Jenny of his love by then?

As if they don’t have enough on their plate, someone at the magazine is out to stop their wedding and their impending parenthood, and destroy the magazine’s reputation. Jenny is nearly killed in a sabotage attempt. Can Jenny and Trevor to make a life together while uncovering a common enemy?

Available now in print and electronic formats through Amazon Kindle and Amazon Print,  24Symbols, Barnes & Noble Nook, iTunes iBook, Kobo, and Page Foundry.

Read more . . .

Coming up next in the Style & Profile series, book two, BEFORE WE WED: With her family visiting from Atlanta, Sarah Martin is left at the altar when her fiancée, Jon Clayton, is carried off in handcuffs for running a car theft ring. Is Jon being guilty or being framed? If was frame, can Sarah find out who’s behind it without getting herself killed?

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When Does It End? (And Other Writing Matters!)

Writing entertaining stories and articles takes skill and know-how. But there’s more to writing than simply constructing sentences, scenes, and characters—though these are worthy and necessary talents to possess.

Outlining helps keep the plot in place. An outline is merely a road map meant to guide the author from the beginning of the journey to its ultimate climax many chapters later. An outline allows for travelers (both writer and reader) to exit the highway and visit attractions found in that area between start and finish.

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Creating characters that are compelling and alive will ensure the reader retains interest throughout the story. This is perhaps the most important aspect of telling a great story: If your characters are dull and lifeless, than so too will be your story. The only good dead characters are zombies and vampires.

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Okay, so you’ve outlined your story. You’ve developed believable characters that you can actually hear inside your head. They have personality and charm; they can even make your readers laugh or cry or feel anger. You sit at your desk (or wherever it is you feel most comfortable) and you begin your story. This is actually the easy part. The scenes unfold with ease as your fertile imagination gives birth to word combinations that nobody else has considered. Time ceases its existence. Days blur into weeks, weeks run together forming months. Before you know it, the journey is almost over.

Next on the itinerary is the ending. That perfect place to bring the characters, the plot, and the months of your hard work to its ultimate close.

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But how and when and under what circumstances will this story end? The ending can make or break a story. A misplaced ending will sink even the best stories. So how do we decide on the finish line? That is something the author should always have figured out before putting the very first sentence onto the page. You should know exactly where you are going before you load the kids, the dog, and suitcases in the car and jump onto the highway. The getting there, those spaces in between start and finish, are open to changes and tinkering along the way. The ending is something that must stand out. It is the very last moments of your creation. It’s what remains with readers in their immediate memories. An ending that lingers and comes back to a reader without invitation is usually the best sort of finish.

Road ends

There really is no stock answer for a proper ending. Some authors prefer to tie up all loose ends, leaving little to ponder—Jimmy and Thelma eloped and ran off to Fiji, where they grew old together and lived happily ever after. However, some authors choose to leave endings loose and open to interpretation—Jimmy and Thelma ran away together, but did they marry? Did they ever get to Fiji? Or did they decide on Hawaii, because Jimmy had gone there as a child and had always dreamed of returning?

By tying up loose ends, the author signals closure to this particular journey. By leaving ends dangling in the breeze, this invites readers to become part of the journey. We get to decide what has happened to these characters that we’ve invested time into getting acquainted. Neither way is wrong.

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When do we end our story and prep it for that first rewrite? Only the author will truly know that answer. Have your characters and plot line arrived at that point you imagined before beginning? Is Disney World in sight? Check the map; make sure your destination isn’t supposed to be the Eiffel Tower. If everything feels right, go back to the beginning and start that rewrite! Most importantly, have fun.

 

He Said, She Said: The Art of Dialogue

Here are a few thoughts on writing dialogue. This is NOT meant as a teaching lesson. These are simply my opinions.

Dialogue. It can make or break a story. Dialogue is the lines your characters speak aloud in a written story. They differ from the narrative voice in that even the peripheral characters are given a voice through dialogue.

Writing lines for your characters is not always an easy task–though it doesn’t have to be difficult, either. In real life, people speak in ways that may seem impossible to capture on paper. Consider the varying dialects within the same languages. British English has its own patterns and words that differ from American English or the Aussie brand of the language. (And that’s not even counting the varying dialects within the same country.) A skillful writer should be able to illustrate that, of the three characters conversing in the opening scene of chapter seven, two are from England while the third is from Australia–without mentioning this every time they speak.
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If the writer can hear those voices in his/her head, they should be able to drop in little vocal hints within the written dialogue that give life to the characters and to the stories they tell. But it’s not always easy.

When writing my novel Jazz Baby, I had to research the era (1920s) and the region (Deep South, USA) in order to capture the voice of not just my narrator but of each and every character that utters a line in the story. Some were Louisiana Cajun. They spoke with a twang, had a particular way of saying things, which is not always easy to put onto paper.
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What about Neesie, the young laundry girl, who befriends the main character? These two girls are the same age, but they come from vastly different backgrounds. Though both were poor, one came from Mississippi and the other from Alabama; Emily is white and Neesie black. They would have had differing speech patterns–as would the better-educated adults who crossed paths with my young narrator. These differences have to come through in the dialogue. There’s a rich stew of slang going on in these characters’ words. Slang is part of language–no matter where you come from. This is where good research pays off. It takes time, searching for words and idioms used in certain regions and eras, but that extra effort is worth it in the end.
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Dialogue is probably my favorite part of writing fiction. These are words and accents that give personality to characters that did not exist until I put pen to paper (or tapped those computer keys) and gave them meaning, reason, and life.

So here’s my advice to any writer who might be struggling with dialogue issues: Just write what you hear. Listen to voices on the street or those being spoken inside your head; read works by other authors; study classic films. That little extra effort will usually show up in the finished product. The great thing about language is: it’s all around us in so many differing forms.

Connecting With Readers

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As writers, most of us are thrilled to read reviews of our work posted on sites like Amazon and Koobug. Unsolicited, these words can spur sales of our books. They can also let us know where we lack in this craft we’ve chosen.

Then there are those messages that are of the personal nature, not intended for anybody but the author. I receive these every so often in the message box of my Goodreads account. These come from readers who were touched by something I’ve written or were reminded of some lost memory stirred back into their conscience by one of my short stories.

“Thanks for the message in your story,” they may write. “It brought back an event from my younger days—an event I’d long forgotten.” We never truly forget, though. It may slip from our thoughts but it’s always there, tucked away until the moment it’s challenged to reappear.

The thing is, I don’t set out to weave messages or lessons into my work. I write to entertain. But even so, messages appear. I believe these are out of our hands. Our egos tell us we are just creating. But there is somebody somewhere who has experienced what we’ve written.

I recently wrote a short story called Remaining Ruth, in which a teenaged girl cuts herself with a razor blade, in the privacy of her bathroom, just to have that one thing her parents can’t take away from her.

The messages were almost immediate: “I, too, was a cutter.” “I knew a girl just like Ruth.” “I didn’t cut myself but I did develop an eating disorder.”  “My sister did this for years.” This particular story touched a nerve with so many readers, though that wasn’t my intention.

My novel, Jazz Baby, has prompted many such comments as well. Talk centers around the race relations within the story; Emily’s sexuality; the struggles Emily faced to achieve her dreams; women’s rights issues. I was asked by one reader why I chose to not use the N-word in the story—after all, it is set in 1925 Mississippi and New Orleans. The truth of the matter is: that wasn’t a conscious decision. I hadn’t even really thought of it until the reader brought it up. I suppose there may have been a desire to avoid the stereotypical racist clichés. The very real racism of the deep south of early twentieth-century America is indeed present within the story; I just found more creative ways to express it without resorting to what’s been written a million times in a million other stories.

And somebody found a message in that unintentional deletion.

Not every message need be heavy, either. After I wrote an essay about a childhood incident entitled Bigfoot Was My Father, I received many wonderful stories from readers wanting to share some silly moment their own fathers provided. I am honored and humbled that so many people consider me worthy of their memories.

As authors, we create worlds and characters that wouldn’t exist without us. It’s what we do. We convince ourselves of a story’s originality, of its uniqueness. But there will always be somebody somewhere who will be reminded of a long lost moment in time. It may not be spelled out in exact detail, but it’s there. It may be the metaphor you used to describe the loss of a loved one or the silly joke your main character’s love interest tells while trying to woo the girl. It will remind somebody of something. And that’s a blessing. It means you’ve written a piece in which others find a connection. It means your story matters to another human being.

There’s a verse in the Bible that says: There is nothing new under the sun; that which has been will happen again.

I believe that. We just tell it in our own personal way.

The Chicken or the Egg? A Writer’s Dilemma.

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What comes first: the title or the story? Until recently I figured this to be a silly question. You know, a rhetorical thing meant to mock the foolish. Of course the story comes first, Goofus! Nobody writes a story based on a title.

Or do they?

I discovered recently that there are authors who do indeed come up with a title first, adding the story afterward. I happened to be snooping around in a writers’ chat room the other day; you know, one of those internet sites where people group together to discuss whatever may be the topic. Anyway, the question was asked: When do you come up with the title, before or after the story is written?

Okay, so call me old fashioned. I’ve always written the story before deciding on a title. It just makes sense to me. I write a story, get the rewrites out of the way, develop a feel for the content, and decide on what to call the work. I’ve never considered starting with a title and crafting a tale according to it. That very idea seems so foreign to my way of thinking.

But here’s the kicker: nearly half of those commenting on that thread claim to start with a title first. How does this work? I mean, do these authors sit around dreaming up titles to turn into stories? I can see this as a practical means in the case of a low-budget film.

“Hey Bob,” Danny said, speaking over the drone of silliness filling the room. “I have a great idea for a movie called Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.” The title is self-explanatory. There’s little need to plot out something so ridiculous. Just write the script and surely somebody in Hollywood will green light the project.

Books and short stories are different, though. Novels take time in plotting, outlining, and writing. Certainly the title wouldn’t reveal itself until everything is in place, right?

The title for my debut novel Jazz Baby didn’t come about until the week I sent the manuscript to the publisher. Even then it came down to a pair of titles—the loser being the moniker In the Time of Jazz.

The way I see it, until the story is written, nobody, not even the author, fully realizes the personality of the work. Once the story is finished, the plot and all those characters—the story’s personality—shines through, giving the author a clear understanding of what the story is truly about. This is why so many people get nicknames in life. Personality traits that weren’t recognizable at birth take time to show up.

But the thing is, starting with the title apparently works for some authors. So who am I to disparage another writer’s means to an end? Just write. That’s what we authors do, isn’t it? It’s the end result that counts.

And just for the record, the title of my work-in-progress, The Secret Collector, came about at the fifth chapter. Certainly not the beginning, sure, but not the end either.

Just write. A productive writer is a happy writer.

Why Do We Write?

Why do we write? It’s a simple enough question. The answer, well, that’s not quite as cut and dried. Every writer has his or her own reason for putting pen to paper in an effort to entertain, educate, or just let off a little steam.

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I’ve been writing since about the age of eight. It’s just something I’ve always enjoyed. My motivations have changed over the years. Early on I wrote with the notion that I’d be the only one reading my work. I’d put down on paper some grand idea I’d find wandering through my head, an event from the day, or maybe a song or a poem. There has always been a need for me to create with word combinations belonging only to me.

In my teen years, for the first time, I wrote knowing that others would read my words. These writings took the form of record and concert reviews published in my high school’s newspaper. I went to a large school, with a student body of nearly 2500 members. People began to give me feedback, advice, compliments. I absorbed it all like a sponge. I felt a calling on my life; a calling to write.

To this day I am not able to make a living with this craft. And that’s fine; I didn’t take up my pen for financial gain. If and when it comes, that will be the clichéd icing on the proverbial cake!

I still enjoy writing. Whether it’s a novel, short stories, book reviews, or blog articles—like this one here—writing is my passion. I also find pleasure in writing communications to friends; letters that I’ll compose using pen and paper, stamp and envelope. I just don’t write every day the way I once did. Mood is my major motivating factor these days. Do I feel like writing something today? If I do, what form will it take? That’s just me, though.

Some writers must create each every day. Many even establish a daily word count. The day is a complete loss if they’ve not sprinkled a thousand words across their keyboard. It’s all selective depending on the individual.

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Ann Frank needed to write. This girl’s existence consisted inside four walls of a silent room that became her family’s prison for many years. She wrote every day, detailing a life most human beings could never imagine. Writing is all Ann Frank had to keep her connected to the world—as dark as her world became.

Harper Lee didn’t need to write. Oh, sure, early on she wrote short stories, essays, and articles. But then she wrote a novel called To Kill A Mockingbird and basically walked away from the craft. Her sister claims the author knew she’d never again approach the level of success Mockingbird achieved—no matter the caliber of book number two. So why bother? Rumor has it there’s an incomplete book with the Harper Lee name attached to it. We’ll probably never have a chance to read it, though.

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J. D. Salinger, though he ceased publishing his work after the mid-1960s, continued to write, taking a few hours each and every morning, creating stories only he had opportunity to enjoy. Upon his death, it was revealed that several of Salinger’s unreleased manuscripts would be published. The man loved writing but hated the attention his work drew from across the world.

Some people have never written anything outside of personal letters to friends and family. That doesn’t make them any less a writer than those with books or short stories on their resumes.

Everybody has their own reasons for writing—regardless if they publish or not.

Why do I write? I write because I have a passion to write—just not every day.

Why do you write?

Spontaneity In Your Writing

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When writing a story, be it short or long, do you outline your project first? I do—to an extent. When I sat down to write my novel Jazz Baby, I wrote an extensive outline, diagrammed every twist and turn my story would take from the beginning to the end—and all points in between. Then I wrote the story and so very little of that original outline actually made it onto the pages of the finished product.

Let’s face it: Real life cannot be diagrammed. Life is spontaneous. Things happen that we could never foresee. Death is seldom predictable, yet it visits each and every single person born on this planet.

Spontaneity brings realism to fiction.

That doesn’t mean an author should write by the seat of his/her pants. I’ll outline the bare bones of a story; work up a feel for where it will start and where it will end. But all of that in-between stuff, that’s where spontaneity comes into play. This is usually the fun part of writing. Even I, as author, won’t know the full extent of what a character may say or do until the moment arrives.

But allowing spontaneity to take root is not as simple as just writing whatever comes into your head. If the hero does something that’s out of character, you risk losing readers. In other words, if your hero is an honest guy, you can’t have him stop a robbery in one scene, then watch as he steals money from a Girl Scout in the next scene—unless you’ve already established this guy has those sorts of flaws. This is where a good outline comes in handy. If you’ve taken time to flesh-out your characters, discovering likes and dislikes, quirks, behavior patterns, and such, you’ll be able to insert these characters into scenes that are believable.

However, doing things out of character doesn’t necessarily make for bad storytelling. If there’s a reason, a situation, or even the unexplainable—and it’s done right—a character may behave in a manner that is unrecognizable by even those closest to that person. The American TV series Breaking Bad pulled this off in brilliant fashion over the course of five seasons.

Short stories are a different animal compared to novels—at least for me. I don’t usually outline my short stories (at least not extensively). They begin life as a few words jotted on Post-It notes. These words usually consist of an idea that comes to me while I’m busy doing other things. Last night, I had an idea for a short story. The words on the Post-It read simply: Girl, closet, candle, heroin; trouble with parents. Moody. Eventually, after much consideration, I’ll begin building the story inside my head. When I feel it begins to make sense, can hear the characters voices, and know where I want to go with it, I’ll then start writing the story.

Outlines are important—to an extent. They help keep a story on track, giving the author an understanding of where to start and where to finish. Just don’t get so caught up in the outline that you’ve squeezed all of the spontaneity from your story. Life isn’t diagrammed, it’s filled with shock and surprise and joy and horror. Your writing should be that way, too.

Daily Word Counts

I see it on many sites, in chat rooms, and posted on message boards all across the internet: Authors boasting of daily word counts. “I force myself to write at least a thousand words per day,” one claims. Another swears by two thousand words per day—even if the mood has all but vanished! Other writers attempt something within reach, like perhaps a daily word count closer to two hundred—no need in pushing too hard.

Word counts are fine for motivational purposes. I have no problem with daily a limit—so long as it inspires.

But inspiration is often the casualty of daily word counts. Just because an author has forced him- or herself to post two thousand words on Microsoft Word doesn’t mean all of those words are worth another person’s time (or money) in reading.

I speak from experience. I, long ago, had placed a daily count on my writing. I decided that if I had any real hope of being a legitimate author, I needed to complete at least five pages of text each day—whether I felt up to the challenge or not. As a result, I ended up wasting time, effort, and paper. (Yeah, I wrote all of my original work on paper until just the last couple of years.) I’d spend hours pouring “great” ideas onto paper, certain that my first novel was writing itself. Of course, later in the day, just before bedtime, I’d snatch up the day’s five pages and have a proofread. Horror would fill my blood, polluting my sense of being an author, as I’d read awful tripe I’d been proud of only hours earlier. Don’t get me wrong; this wasn’t a daily occurrence. Terror would only strike on those days I wasn’t motivated to write—those forced moments of “creativity!”

Any author will tell you that creativity can’t be forced. I learned years ago that if I am not motivated to write at any particular time, then there’s no sense in going through the motions. It took many years to comprehend this situation. My ego and my confidence took a serious beating during those moments of forced writing. I’d read that garbage and become convinced I would never write anything worth reading. I mean, if I couldn’t stomach my own writing, how could I expect intelligent readers to part with their hard earned money in purchasing my work?

But here’s the thing: Word counts actually work for some people. There are writers out there who, the moment they sit down to create, find immediate inspiration. I’m just not one of them. And neither are many other authors. So don’t feel pressured to write just for the sake of writing. Don’t get sucked into the notion that just because a favorite author demands two thousand words a day from himself that you have to match that count. Quality is always better than quantity.

Happy writing! file0001372359562