Friday, February 17, 2017

Your Novel in One Sentence

by Rebecca Talley  @rebeccatalley
Indie Author Hub Member


Before you begin your novel, you’ll want to focus on the core of your novel.

One of the best ways to find the very center of your novel is to use only one sentence to describe it. This will not only serve to keep you focused on the story as you write it, it will also help you to pitch your novel to potential agents or publishers. Think of this one sentence as your twenty-second selling tool.

Try to boil the story down to one sentence. Though it may seem difficult, if not impossible, it is an excellent exercise for you to pinpoint the main plot of your novel.

For example, the one sentence for Gone With The Wind might be, “A spoiled southern belle must learn to readjust to life after the Civil War.” Of course, this doesn’t begin to touch on all of the subplots, but it gives you an overview of the story.

For the Harry Potter series it might be, “An orphaned boy discovers he’s a wizard and must use his newfound powers to battle evil.”

One sentence to describe Twilight could be, “An ordinary teenage girl falls in love with a vampire and must sacrifice her normal life to be with him.”

Learning to condense your story in one sentence is an art form. Research one sentence book blurbs in newspaper book reviews or on the internet to see how effective one sentence can be. Write your own one-sentence descriptions for books you’ve read. Once you have the hang of it, try it on your own novel.

Take your story-in-a-sentence and post it next to your computer or near your desk so you can see it while you write. You’ll find that it keeps you centered on your story.

If your focus is on traditional publishing, you’ll also find that you can use your sentence in your query letter when the time comes to send out your novel to potential publishers or agents. You can whet the appetite of industry professionals with a well-written sentence.

Go ahead and try it. It may take you an hour or it may take you all day, but see if you can describe your novel in one sentence.
~~~


Rebecca grew up next to the ocean in Santa Barbara, California. She spent her youth at the beach collecting sea shells and building sandcastles. She graduated from high school and left for college, where she met and married her sweetheart, Del.

Del and Rebecca are the sometimes frazzled, but always grateful, parents of ten wildly-creative and multi-talented children and the grandparents of the most adorable little girls in the universe.

After spending nineteen years in rural Colorado with horses, cows, sheep, goats, rabbits, and donkeys, Rebecca and her family moved to a suburb of Houston, Texas, where she spends most of her time in the pool trying to avoid the heat and humidity. When she isn't in the pool, she loves to date her husband, play with her kids, swim in the ocean, redecorate her house, and dance to disco music while she cleans the house.

Rebecca has always loved to write and has authored novels, stories for print and online magazines, and children's books. She now focuses on writing romance because she believes everyone deserves their happily-ever-after.

You can find Rebecca on her website, her author page on FaceBook, and on Twitter at @rebeccatalley.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Inspiration and How to Get It (or Beating Writer’s Block)

by Anna del C. Dye @AnnaDelC
Indie Author Hub Member
 

Inspiration is an integral part of the writing process, without it you are stuck. I don’t have a lot of problems with inspiration; it seems to overrun my mind. However, once I started a book with giant eagles and was so busy with promoting my published books that a year went by. When I tried to continue writing it, I wasn’t sure what to write. So, I watched a movie about eagles and went to an eagle presentation in the aviary and asked some questions and I was on my way again.

Watching movies on the subject you are writing will help with ideas. Have a notepad when you watch anything. You never know when a face, a place or a scene will spark an idea.

Watching a documentary on something that pertains to your book will also help.

Read books and magazines in your subject. You can use them for free from the library.

Google the theme you are going to write about and see what ideas you get.

Visit author’s blogs and read about writing.

Be a people watcher (without staring.) It is amazing what people do or say, that may inspire you.

Music can be an inspiration by itself. I wrote a romance novel while I listened to my favorite romantic music. My fingers couldn’t go fast enough for my brain.

Fine arts or a museum could help to start the creative juices. The color and the scenes portrayed in paintings are inspiring.

Watch children at play. They do and say the cutest things and have great imaginations.

Now go, and happy writings to you…

~~~

Shared with us from Anna's blog.

Anna was born in the extreme South. She loves reading, but had few opportunities to do so while growing up. As a young woman, she moved North to marry Rodney Dye and has resided in Utah since then. They are the parents of three princes and a princess. With her husband and his family she has had the opportunity of traveling to many of the United States, (most of them camping!) and to four other countries. She would like to visit castles in European countries. She is fluent in both English and Spanish and understands Portuguese.

After she married, Anna was introduced to the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books that she admits to having collected. A number of years ago she was introduced to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and to J. K.Rowling's writings, which she loves. She also loves romantic music (she listens to it every day), theatrical plays that she attends at least six times a year, and cats (when they are not shedding).

Anna wears her dresses down to her ankles and likes them to be very feminine, with lace being one of her favorite trimmings. "I am afraid that I do not follow fashions," she has said. "I wear what I like."

You can find Anna on her website, her profile on FaceBook, and on Twitter at @AnnaDelC.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Revision Shouldn't be Endless

by Rebecca Talley  @rebeccatalley
Indie Author Hub Member


For some writers, the word revision makes them squirm.

Many novice writers go into the writing process fantasizing that they will only have to write one draft of their novel. Perhaps they envision themselves sitting next to an open window, ocean breeze wafting gently through the fragrant air, sipping an exotic drink, while their muse easily supplies them with perfect sentences and a flawless plot.

Isn’t that how it works? Hardly.

Writing is work. Getting a first draft down on paper takes time, thought, energy, and persistence. But, once that first draft is finished, the real work begins.

Revising a manuscript can be grueling. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart. However, here are some tips when revising:

Print out your manuscript and read it as a hard copy. It’s easy to skip mistakes on a computer screen. On paper, with a pen in hand, it’s easier to spot misspellings, awkward sentences, and plot holes.

While reading your hard copy, be sure to mark it up. Rewrite sentences, cross out sections that don’t support your plot in some way, add in characterization, spice up the dialogue.

Revise the entire manuscript before making the changes on your computer file. You want to go through the whole story and make sure that it all works before you start making any changes. By the end of the process, you should barely recognize your manuscript.

Once you’ve completed this process, go back to your file and input all the corrections. Do not be tempted to make more corrections at this point. If you feel that you need to make some changes, go back to the hard copy and work them out on paper before you transcribe them to the computer.

You don’t have to make endless passes over your manuscript. Being a writer means you finish projects. You write a book and then you write another one and another one. Don’t waste time endlessly revising one manuscript. If you feel that you don’t know how to improve it anymore, think about hiring a professional editor with reputable references.

The point is, don’t spend the rest of your life revising a single manuscript. Write the first draft, go through it word by word making it the best you can, and then get it submitted. That’s how you become an author.
~~~


Rebecca grew up next to the ocean in Santa Barbara, California. She spent her youth at the beach collecting sea shells and building sandcastles. She graduated from high school and left for college, where she met and married her sweetheart, Del.

Del and Rebecca are the sometimes frazzled, but always grateful, parents of ten wildly-creative and multi-talented children and the grandparents of the most adorable little girls in the universe.

After spending nineteen years in rural Colorado with horses, cows, sheep, goats, rabbits, and donkeys, Rebecca and her family moved to a suburb of Houston, Texas, where she spends most of her time in the pool trying to avoid the heat and humidity. When she isn't in the pool, she loves to date her husband, play with her kids, swim in the ocean, redecorate her house, and dance to disco music while she cleans the house.

Rebecca has always loved to write and has authored novels, stories for print and online magazines, and children's books. She now focuses on writing romance because she believes everyone deserves their happily-ever-after.

You can find Rebecca on her website, her author page on FaceBook, and on Twitter at @rebeccatalley.

Friday, November 11, 2016

A Bible?

by Marsha Ward @MarshaWard

I recently took time away from writing to put together a big project, a collection of the five books of The Owen Family Saga as a box set. It was a huge job of work.

"What work?" you may ask. "Just slap all the books into one file and you're done!"

Not so.

I had to tinker with scenes that don't exactly play well with each other over the scope of the saga. Gotta be consistent.

"Is that kid named Ezra or Harry?" I picked Harry.

"Did Rod Owen meet Julia Helm's brother before they got married?" I thought they had in The Man from Shenandoah. As I write my current writing project, it appears that I was wrong, so I had to fix that in the existing work to jibe with the upcoming story.

Now that I've written Gone for a Soldier, that passage about Rulon and Mary's relationship in The Man from Shenandoah seems off. (Rewrite passage.)

Did he or didn't he during the Mexican War? Hmm. That question may remain forever unanswered.

How to explain the bit about the wedding ring? (Rewrite passage.)

Such fun!

I wish I had started a series "bible" when I wrote The Man from Shenandoah, to keep all the facts and characters straight, but I didn't know then that the tale about the Owen Family was going to expand into a series. Creating the "bible" now is going to be quite a task, but it's one I really need to do. When I'm done, perhaps it can become something new, maybe something called The Owen Family Companion.

After all, it's been done before: "Little did Louis L'Amour realize back in 1960 when he published The Daybreakers, a novel about two brothers who came west after the Civil War, that he had begun creating what would become perhaps North America's most widely followed literary family: the Sacketts." From The Sackett Companion: The Facts Behind the Fiction.

Every author should keep handy a notebook for facts (was the dog black or brown), characters (am I reusing too many names, or do all names begin with a single letter?), items (was that letter written in pen or pencil?), and the like, whether or not he or she is writing a series. Every little thing will come in handy for checking consistency within that story.

Can oxen run?  No, but they can perambulate pretty quickly if motivated. (I asked a large animal vet.)

Did people ride in wagons when on extended journeys? Not if they had a lot of belongings and/or foodstuffs to carry.

How many stories tall is the house? What does the general store look like inside? How far away from the house should the stable/barn/pigsty be? Is the bar/saloon/pub well lit, smoky, smelly, just a "belly-up-to-the" bar, or does it have gaming tables and sit-down tables, too?

You're the author. Make it easier on yourself with a "Book Bible."

Friday, November 4, 2016

It's Not About Luck (Part 3)

by Kimberly Loth @kimberlyloth
Indie Author Hub Member

This is the final part of this series, but I really think it’s the most important. It’s about faith and passion. I know those are two different things, but they go hand in hand.

Do me a favor and watch this video before you keep reading. It’s short, just two minutes, but the rest of the story will make more sense if you watch it first.


https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2009-02-06-create?category=mormon-messages/mormon-messages-2009&lang=eng

This video is a small part of a talk that was given at a church conference several years ago. Before that day I’d never really considered writing. I’d dabbled, but nothing serious. I had no idea that day that a talk would be given that would change my life. But it did. A fire was lit inside of me. I wanted to create something incredible. I wanted to create worlds. I understand that that may make me sound arrogant, but please understand that at that moment in my life, I was at a low. I was depressed, bankrupt, and frustrated by the direction I was heading. Even my faith in God was wavering. Suddenly I had a passion and faith that I could do something with it.

The very next week, I signed up for a writing class and during that class I discovered Obsidian. The scene where Aspen meets him as a dragon on the mountain and he smashes her camera was the first thing I wrote.

Over the last several years, that passion has only grown and I rarely lost faith in what I was doing. (I think there was a time, right after my dad died, that I decided to quit. It didn’t last very long.)

I’m not saying the path was easy. But it’s been so worth it.

Find a way to create and find a passion for it. Don’t limit yourself to normal modes of creativity like writing, art, or music. Those are traditional (and awesome if you can pull them off). But I see people passionately creating all around me in many endeavors. My husband creates these amazing lessons for his students without even thinking about it half the time. I’ve always been in awe of his ability to teach. Virginia (you all know Virginia, by now, right? She’s the one who keeps me on track and does a lot so that I can focus on writing.) She somehow manages to create this system that makes it look like I’m in a thousand places at once. She’s amazing and endlessly passionate about EVERYTHING she does. (Sadly, I’m passionate about only three things—writing, my family, and travel.) There’s a woman I go to church with that I swear creates sunshine. Whenever I’m with her I can’t help but be happy. I admire her people skills. All of these things have one thing in common. Passion and faith.

Find your passion.
Then have the faith to put it out there.

~~~ 

This is Part 3 of a three-part series first posted at kimberlyloth.com.
Kimberly Loth can’t decide where she wants to settle down. She’s lived in Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Utah, California, Oregon, and South Carolina.She finally decided to make the leap and leave the U.S. behind for a few years. After living in Cairo, Egypt for 2 years, she’s decided to go to the Far East and currently calls Shenzhen, China home. She loves romantic movies, chocolate, roses, and crazy adventures.

You can find Kimberly on her website, her Author Page on Facebook, and on Twitter at @kimberlyloth

Friday, October 28, 2016

How Do You Describe a Place?

by Anna del C. Dye @AnnaDelC
Indie Author Hub Member

In the same way you describe people and feelings,  you want the place to be seen in the reader’s mind as vividly as if they were there. It also has to do with the “show don’t tell” technique that is so desirable for a good author. You want your readers to feel it, touch it, see it, taste it and smell it. Every time you can use a combination of the senses or all of them in your book, you have the best descriptions ever.

Here are some ideas that can help inspire your own descriptions:

The sea of golden waves spread before my eyes while the breeze caressed it back and forth. I knew we had been blessed with a great crop this year. (wheat)

The rumble threatened to split the earth under our feet, and the dust settled on my eyelashes. (earthquake, mine accident)

The tormented waves sent their salt-water hands to slap my ship as if that would calm her pain. (stormy sea)

The furious rain fell like wet knives over my cold body.

The cracked soil thirsted for water and relief from the sun. (desert)

The heat was magnified with fury over the massive white rocks, bright enough to blind us.

The majestic green trees spotted the forest with their beautiful leaves.

The velvety darkness seemed the perfect bed for the diamonds that lay in many intricate forms while they glistened in the night. (night sky)

Now go, and happy writings to you

~~~


Shared with us from Anna's blog.

Anna was born in the extreme South. She loves reading, but had few opportunities to do so while growing up. As a young woman, she moved North to marry Rodney Dye and has resided in Utah since then. They are the parents of three princes and a princess. With her husband and his family she has had the opportunity of traveling to many of the United States, (most of them camping!) and to four other countries. She would like to visit castles in European countries. She is fluent in both English and Spanish and understands Portuguese.

After she married, Anna was introduced to the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books that she admits to having collected. A number of years ago she was introduced to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and to J. K.Rowling's writings, which she loves. She also loves romantic music (she listens to it every day), theatrical plays that she attends at least six times a year, and cats (when they are not shedding).

Anna wears her dresses down to her ankles and likes them to be very feminine, with lace being one of her favorite trimmings. "I am afraid that I do not follow fashions," she has said. "I wear what I like."

You can find Anna on her website, her profile on FaceBook, and on Twitter at @AnnaDelC.



Friday, October 21, 2016

Finding Ideas

by Rebecca Talley  @rebeccatalley
Indie Author Hub Executive Committee Chair

I’m often asked where I find my ideas. My picture book, Grasshopper Pie, was based on an experience I had when my children tried to feed me a live grasshopper. I tweaked the experience enough to make it an interesting story and sold it to a publisher.

After I wrote Grasshopper Pie, I worried that I’d never have another idea. Wrong. Writing ideas are everywhere and now I have so many ideas I have to write them in a notebook to keep track.

Many of the stories or articles I’ve written have been based on my own experiences. A story that was recently published in the Friend magazine was based on an experience with my German neighbor when I learned to sing a song in German and shared it with her at Christmas one year.

Finding writing ideas is easy if you take the time to notice the world around you. Newspaper headlines, bits and pieces of a conversation on the subway, stories your kids share, fables, or television shows can form the basis of a writing idea.

With the invention of the internet, you can easily mine idea nuggets while you surf the web. Look for personal interest stories, new discoveries, or science articles to prick your imagination. Visit forums, check out blogs, or research certain topics to find even more ideas.

You might find ideas by reading books. Sometimes you can read a book and think about how you might change the story. Would you have a different antagonist? A different goal for the character? A different setting? Would the ending be different if you wrote it? Of course, you should never copy someone else's work, but using a previously written book can be a beginning point to creating your own unique story.

Be sure to write down all of your writing ideas no matter how ridiculous they seem. You never know when one of those ideas will be perfect for writing a story.
~~~


Rebecca grew up next to the ocean in Santa Barbara, California. She spent her youth at the beach collecting sea shells and building sandcastles. She graduated from high school and left for college, where she met and married her sweetheart, Del.

Del and Rebecca are the sometimes frazzled, but always grateful, parents of ten wildly-creative and multi-talented children and the grandparents of the most adorable little girls in the universe.

After spending nineteen years in rural Colorado with horses, cows, sheep, goats, rabbits, and donkeys, Rebecca and her family moved to a suburb of Houston, Texas, where she spends most of her time in the pool trying to avoid the heat and humidity. When she isn't in the pool, she loves to date her husband, play with her kids, swim in the ocean, redecorate her house, and dance to disco music while she cleans the house.

Rebecca has always loved to write and has authored novels, stories for print and online magazines, and children's books. She now focuses on writing romance because she believes everyone deserves their happily-ever-after.

You can find Rebecca on her website, her author page on FaceBook, and on Twitter at @rebeccatalley.