Ditch the Gimmicks & Tell the Story

I would like to give a big warm welcome to my friend and fellow writer, Steven James. Hope you enjoy his words of wisdom. 🙂

In fiction, story matters more than anything else.

Yet, all too often, authors forget this and in their zeal to impress readers or wow editors, they end up peppering their writing with distracting gimmicks that undermine the story.

Never let anything get between your story and your readers. Here are six ways to remove some of the most common stumbling blocks:

Continue reading “Ditch the Gimmicks & Tell the Story”

What To Do With The Craziness of The World?

Our World…

Being a creative and compassionate person, I sometimes find it difficult living in this time and age. Do you ever feel that way too, sometimes?

I once walked into a Michaels Art Store and there were so many things jumping out at me. Not literally, but there were so many colors and objects that in a way fought against each other. My senses were put on overdrive. Bright colors were bursting out at me from the shelves. Other shelves were crowded with an assortment of things. On the top shelves of the yarn department, in the back there were buckets and ceramic planters stacked on top of each other. Yes, that walk through Michael’s wasn’t that inspiring. It was more mind boggling and tiring than anything else.

It seems that is how it is with our world today too. Just like my Michaels experience, The News and Radio stations are always reporting on small issues like what Kim Kardashian is doing this week. Then, they are also reporting on issues of larger importance that need to be solved. Like what we will do about Benghazi and who is to blame. Abortion Doctors who are getting away with murder. (Sad, that this play on words is, quite the truth.) Then the President, doesn’t want people calling the Boston bombers, Terrorists because it isn’t politically correct.

These are all topics I could go on and on about, but I don’t want to throw so many things in the second paragraph. All these things leave me feeling like our world is going into a sink hole and it leaves me with a serious question.

What can I do?

What can little ole’ me do in this big confused world?

Do you ever feel this way too?

If so, I have some ideas and tips that might help you.  Continue reading “What To Do With The Craziness of The World?”

The Problem with Self Editing

Please welcome my friend, Erin Healy to the blog today. She is a novelist and an editor of novelists (owner of WordWright Editorial Services). She lives in Colorado Springs with her family, her style manuals, her red pens, and many of her editorial colleagues. Follow her here: www.erinhealy.com

Today I received this e-mail query from the editor who’s neck deep in my latest manuscript: “Erin, can the principal be named Walter rather than Walters, so’s we can avoid the whole ‘Mr. Walters’s office’ bit? Or are you feeling defiant and thumbing your nose at 7.16?”

Yes, she really did write “so’s.” We editors do thumb our noses at convention when we can.

The 7.16 reference is to a Chicago Manual of Style rule, which says an S should be added to the possessive form of proper names ending in an S, X, or Z. In other words, I should have written Walters’s, even though it looks and sounds bad. Instead I wrote Walters’, reflexively following a different rule I had learned in college. Of course, I should have known better.

I hear you yawning over this triviality of correct punctuation. Don’t fall asleep yet. There’s something here for you about self editing and the importance of having an editor.
Click to Continue

Why You Should Write With More Conflict

Do you like TV Shows?

I believe that tv show writers are some of the best writers out there. Have you ever wished that you’d be as good of a writer as some of them?

Do you want to write so well that you pull your readers into the story from the VERY BEGINNING without them knowing?

If you answered yes, I know a few pointers that may help you! Click to Continue

Sensational Springtime Writing

Please give my writerly friend, Laura L. Smith a warm welcome! She writes real stories for real girls. She is a featured columnist at Choose Now Ministries  http://nicoleodell.com/laura-l-smith-on-true-beauty/ and speaks at schools, churches and campuses around the country. www.laurasmithauthor.com

finished my novel, Laura Smith, Writer, Springtime Writing, Writing, Devin Berglund, Nanowrimo, Devin Berglund, North Stradbroke Island, Finished my book
© Devin Berglund

 

Imagine springtime this year without the earthy scent of freshly mown grass, the vibrant yellows of daffodils, the sweet trills of robins, the warmth of sunshine on your face or the rich, creamy taste of chocolate bunnies from your Easter basket.

Just as we wouldn’t want to miss a single aspect of spring, we don’t want to deprive our characters, plots, dialogues and readers of those sensations either.

I’m writing this blog from my favorite cozy coffee shop, with amazing atmosphere. But the words “cozy” and “amazing” don’t help you understand what it’s like here. I need to use better words. I need to use my five senses. So, let’s find a seat and chat about this writing tool.

We could either sit at one of the tall stools looking out the front window, in the giant orange crushed velvet couch that looks like it came out of a Scooby Doo episode, or in my favorite, one of the booths with cracked black, leather seats and glossy, polished wood tables. There. We used the first sense – sight – this one is the most utilized sense in writing. Probably, because we so predominately rely on sight in life. We are drawn to the sweater that “looks cute” in a store window before knowing if it’s comfortable, if it fits us, or if we can afford it. We often choose the yummiest “looking” dessert, before we’ve ever tasted it. Using sight, is as simple as explaining what something looks like. Make sure to use a variety of descriptions — height, color, spatial references and analogies all work. Click to Continue

Cleaning Off My Old Computer Acts As A Time Machine

cleaning off my old computer, computer, old, New, Devin Berglund
Photo Credit : http://www.Sugarpressure.com

At the beginning of the week I got a new computer. For old times sake… I am writing this post on my old one: The Dinosaur (I will post a picture of the ole guy, below!), it will be this computer’s last post on my blog ever. Kinda a sad way to think of it, because it’s been through so much with me. It really was a time machine. When I type on this keypad – my fingers dance across the keys in harmony without stumbling or hitting any wrong keys.

It takes a while to leave an old computer behind as it’s always been home. My new computer is a Macbook Pro just like this one, but maybe this guy’s worn in-ness is what makes it so familiar. But, boy am I happy I have a new one, because the back of this one is falling apart and the trackpad works no longer. (If you’re wondering… I am using a mouse.)

cleaning off my old computer, computer, old, New, Devin Berglund

Just to think of everything I did in my past with this computer…

Click to Continue

How to Write Opening Lines That Sparkle and Shine

I absolutely love going into bookstores and smelling new books. When you crack open a book, what do you smell? Does it fill your senses, like it does mine? I love that new book smell. What draws you into a book besides the cover art and back copy? What is the first thing that really determines if a reader will continue reading your book? The opening lines.

I don’t know what you do when you are looking at a book, but I flip to the first page. I find this is the test on whether I will like a book or not, as I have a short attention span when it comes to what I read. I’ve struggled getting into books when reading some first lines which resulted in my setting the book down on the shelf again. But then there have been other books where I have found myself reaching for the next page inquisitively.

Opening Lines, books, writing, writer, Devin Berglund

That is true of every piece of work out there! If the first sentence or first paragraph doesn’t make me want to keep reading, then I close the book and set it back on the shelf. I like it when an author pulls me into a story filled with intriguing characters, unique plot, and beautiful prose from the get go.

Do you want your readers to continue reading after the first line and first paragraph? Do you want your readers to be spellbound with your words from the first line of your book?

If you answered yes, then I believe I know a way to help you make your opening lines sparkle & shine. Click to Continue

Finished My Novel – On to Editing Round 1

I just finished my novel
The Mason of Hearts

Now, I am doing my first edit of the draft.

This last weekend I went away to a writer’s retreat with my boyfriend on an Island! We got a lot of writing done. I finished my book!! I know I already said that, but I’m excited!

There were moments when I thought it wasn’t possible. At times I swear it felt like a maze and to tell you the truth I hate puzzles and mazes. As a child I avoided them, because man they are difficult. Aren’t they? Or is it just me? Who likes coming to a dead end on a maze all to have to turn around and find out where in the world you are. Possibly just to get lost AGAIN!

(especially if it’s a real life maze and you are running through it trying to find the way out. I was in one in Montana last summer and it seriously took us 2 hours to get out of the maze… no lies.)

Or finding a puzzle piece that almost fits into the puzzle. I know I’ve squeezed one that didn’t belong there. All but to be told later by someone else that it doesn’t go there. Embarrassing! fit.)

I really am enjoying my characters. When I got to any dead ends – I stepped back and bumped into a character. Then they told me something completely crazy that I didn’t know before. So I guess all pain is gain! 🙂

I still feel like there is a lot to do ahead of me. This week I am going to do the first run through edit – which I am raving about inside my head. And when I say raving about… I don’t mean that my thoughts are dancing to techno music with strobe lights radiating off all the walls. This rave is more on the frightening note.

This is just a short update. What began over a year ago as another book ended in a first draft of 75,467 words. I am sure that it will grow as I edit. But Yes, I am so glad that a few months ago I decided to turn the book (I was writing a year ago) into a trilogy. This is the first book.

Hope you all have been great! I will update again soon. I am adding some pictures from the weekend at North Stradbroke Island. I will update with more as it was a beautiful Island, once I get Johan’s pics put on my computer. 🙂

North Stradbroke Island, I finished my book, writing, Devin Berglund

Nanowrimo, Devin Berglund, North Stradbroke Island, Finished my book

finished my novel, Nanowrimo, Devin Berglund, North Stradbroke Island, Finished my book

finished my novel, Nanowrimo, Devin Berglund, North Stradbroke Island, Finished my book, Johan Joubert

finished my novel, Nanowrimo, Devin Berglund, North Stradbroke Island, Finished my book

finished my novel, Nanowrimo, Devin Berglund, North Stradbroke Island, Finished my book

MUCH THANKS…

I am so grateful and thankful for everyone that has been so encouraging to me during this whole writing process.

  • Johan – The love of my life, I couldn’t have done it without your belief in me and the nudges along the way. (Ones that I needed!) I really look forward to going through the editing process with you. 🙂 AND I love you, Greatly!
  • Momma & Daddy – You two have always stood next to me – telling me I can achieve anything I set my heart on. And you were right. Those stars are reachable. 🙂 You two are the best parents in the world!
  • Cassidy & Tony – Cassidy thank you for your help and ideas when I am writing or brainstorming. And Tony, thanks for always reading my books – it’s so encouraging to actually see the biggest book worm in the world interested in my stories. 🙂 You two are amazing!
  • Grandma Doris & Grandpa Beuford –  Grandma your stories were one of the reasons that I wanted to be a story-teller and you always encouraged me to write.Grandpa Beuford, I never got to know you because you went before I was born, but I found a great delight in going through your and grandma’s love letters from the Great Depression along with your stories that you wrote and placed in that black wooden box of yours.I love you both even though you are not on earth any longer. You have placed a footprint on my heart that will never disappear.
  • Grandpa Dennis & Grandma Ruby – Grandpa, you and grandma were always encouraging with my petal girl stories. I greatly miss you. Grandma thank you for always encouraging me as a writer. Love you!
  • My Dear Lord Jesus, YOU deserve praise for the story that I just finished. I actually received the idea for this book from from you in a dream. It was exciting. I will be sure to blog on this at a later time so that you all know how this story came about.
  • ALL OF YOU – It means so much to me to have a following on here. To know that 115 people are following my blog and adventures is such a great pleasure to me. I guess one may think their life isn’t so interesting that people would want to read about it. But I am so happy you are here. If you weren’t, it wouldn’t be as fun. I hope you all enjoy my blog and it means so much to have you visit.

After finishing my book…

On Monday, Johan and I are going to the print shop to get  my book printed! I can’t wait. I think it will be more REAL to me (that I actually finished the book) when I’m actually holding a thick stack of papers in my hands.

I tried finding as much information on editing as I could, but let me just be truthful – there really isn’t as much info on editing as there was on writing. So, I will be putting together a series on the different types of editing after each of my edits are done.

Either on Thursday or on Saturday this coming week Johan and I will be taking off with his mother in a van across Australia. It shall be interesting. I will keep everyone up to date with pictures and blog posts on my blog – so be sure to visit there. 🙂

ADDED LATER: 4/17/2015 – I actually wrote up a post on different editing techniques and resources. Check it out here.

Want other tips on revising your novel?