Tag Archives: Writers Resources

On getting better

Having fun and not being the best does not mean I am happy with my current level of profiency.

I recently put Colours of the Rain up for critique at Critique Circle.

I feared putting up something on Critique Circle. I didn’t want to hear “you suck, quit writing.” I feared that was the truth.

The feedback has been good. And helpful. Overwhelmingly helpful, I’m not sure where to start. Only one thing said I didn’t agree with. Which was that the starting scene shouldnt’ be there. But it’s the tie in to the title of the story, so I can’t cut it. But I have a better way to tie it in.

The good is that I don’t tell, I do show most of the time. What I’ve not shown was written when I was working out the characters etc. Good to know and something I couldn’t see. My characters are likeable. The plot is followable and enjoyable.

The bad is that a few typos. I tend to write “your welcome” instead of “you’re (you are) welcome”. I overuse WAS. It was, there was. Was, was was. I’ve been working on things so hard that when I write first drafts I worry about my use of WAS.

Does being imperfect mean I should have kept Colours of the Rain to myself?

No. I do have moments of panic when I worry that letting my imperfect writing will wreck my chances of being read as I get better.

Y’know what? The best authors in the world with legions of fans who support their every move and will claw your eyes out if you say something bad about them, these authors have readers who HATE them. A handful, a hundred.

Sure, it will deter some people.

Just as some people don’t shop at the Dollar store.

I don’t wholly want to infer that my writing is of bad quality. It doesn’t have the benefit of a $1,000/hr editor. But, some of those books aren’t worth the price you pay for them either. So …it’s not that bad of a metaphor. 99 cent book. Maybe you do get what you pay for.

I question the assumption that every written world there must be PERFECT. How much do computer companies get to charge for their software that crashes, freezes and is less than perfect? Why do we put up with the cost?

Publishing companies have taught us to expect it because they held the gate for many years. They said was good enough and what wasn’t. now the reader can decide. And I really don’t expect people to flock to my book and heap praise upon me because it’s the best thing ever written.

I know I limit my success due to the imperfection. I’m just refusing to stay in the shadows until I reach some goal. I’m putting my shit out there and a few people are reading it and liking it.

If in five years, I find that Colours of the Rain and Second Chance Romance and the rest of the imperfections are hurting my sales. I’ll dump the name. It’s not that hard to find another one. Especially when your entire premise is that you make shit up and people pay for your made up shit.

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Why you should be imperfect

I wrote a long post justifying my imperfection in my novels.

When what I wanted to say was this:

Imperfection is okay.

At least I’m out there letting people read my words. And while I let people read my attempts so far, I’m working getting better. Everyday.

I would rather have 100 people tell me my grammar isn’t perfect but my stories and characters are great (which all my feedback so far has said) than to have my novels sitting on my hard drive.

Writer’s have a great opportunity before us. We can write something and put it out there. Chances are at least one person will read it. Or we can sit with our thumbs up our butts and in 10 years look back with regrets.

My husband has a theory that when people feel crappy about hitting 30 or 40 it’s because they feel like they having accomplished enough. If you want to be an author, then be an author. If you want to start a business, do it. Whatever you want to do, you can do it.

Now is the time.

Not everyone can deal with my writing “mistakes”. Not everyone will like my writing. (If you buy something you don’t like there is a period in which you can get a refund from most retailers).

You know what? Not everyone likes Twilight or Harry Potter or whatever. A lot of people do. Should we deprive the world of them because one, a hundred, a thousand people don’t like them?

I won’t even go into the people who run around going “but who is checking on the quality?” Woe is me the sky is falling because someone published some crap. People have been publishing crap for ages.

Some people like the crap (Quentin Tarantino keeps making movies, I know a lot of people who live for the reality series the Bachelor save us from the world where love is a contest and bad writer’s get published by “the big six legacy publisher’s).

So I say, fuck everyone who demands perfection.

They might be people who are afraid of failure.

Failure and imperfection mean you are doing something. You are trying and you aren’t afraid to do things that might not work. I’m not suggesting that if you release a novel you edited yourself that you’ll be the next bestseller. Lower your expectations. You might not even pay your electricity bill for a summer month with the proceeds.

And people might give you crap for promoting the image that indies aren’t professionals.

We try to teach children not to worry about what other’s think about them. And then we are too afraid to try for our dreams because of what other people might think of us. do what you are afraid to do.

Releasing a book that has a misspelling or grammatical error is not a matter of life and death. No one is going to come to your door and yell at you. The grammar police may have a little tantrum in the corner. A reader or three might ask for refunds. (No one has asked for a refund of anything yet). But not following your dream can have a huge impact on your life.

No one can stop you from trying. Let’s see what happens when they see us coming.

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Finding Time

One of most frequently asked questions (okay the one I imagine people asking me when I’m famous) is how do I find time to write? I have 2 children, no housekeeper, no cook and a husband who wants me to have sex with him. Occasionally. When the baby goes to sleep and stays asleep.

Anyway when do I write:

After everyone is in bed. I stay up too late and write. And play Free cell.

During nap times. Like right now. DS is sleeping on me and I am writing. And reading Twitter and not writing fiction. I should be writing. I feel guilty, but this SS is kicking my ass!

I read this once in a book of Julia Cameron‘s. You know creativity guru Julia. ANyway, she said she learned it from her mother. She would write when she could. Five minutes here, ten minutes there. In between life happening. She didn’t have an hour or three where she could just sit and write, so she would write when she could.

I used to always keep my WIP open on the computer and while I played with my DD two feet away on the floor, I would kneel in front of the computer (as I am now) and write a couple of sentences, then it would be my turn in Candyland and I would break.

I don’t do this because I hate this computer screen. It’s great for games and watching movies and things like that. But it is huge and makes my paragraphs into HUGE long things that go over the screen. I prefer the laptop’s tiny screen and lack of internet connection. I don’t use it in the living room because my son loves buttons and I’m afraid he’s going to wreck the ancient laptop and then I will be forced to write on the giant screen.

Maybe I should try wordwrap to make them look more like book paragraphs. Okay, I’m on that for later. It’s lunch time right now.

Funny, I’ve been planning this post for days in my head. And yesterday Write it Sideways posts about writing an ebook for busy moms trying to write.

I wanted to get my post in first.

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Interesting crap #2

Justine Musk on should you release fiction on your blog

I love everything Justine says on Tribal Writer. More or less. Read it.

Skelliewag on writing (or blogging) for the sake of creation, not money-making

Why do ebooks cost so much? Doesn’t answer the mentality behind the pricing scheme. Reminds of Dean Smith’s myth of books as Events. Given all the books out there, it isn’t hard to write one. The first good one for me was an event, but now, not so much. My last round of editing was momentous as I realized how terrible my grammar and such was, but that’ s in the past as well. Formatting an e-book, also not so difficult. Covers- well I’m not an artist, but I don’t think mine are HORRIBLE.

Anyway, it is not as difficult to write, edit or format a book as New York would have us all believe. It does not cost $5000 for a cover. You are paying for expensive lunches, offices, and egos.

Gina Marie on best life lessons

Working a dead-end job taught me…

13. Life is too short to be wasting time not doing what you love to do despite the risks or odds against you

14. Hard work doesn’t always give you the results you want, especially if you aren’t aligned with your purpose in life

Better Writing Habits is giving 30 days of tips to makeover your writing. Cute tips,

Ditchwalk on one or two spaces? Apparently there are a bunch of OCD-types who say if you ever use two spaces you should be flogged. Publically. I didn’t know people could tell without the benefit of Show-all-characters in Word.

28 workers in Bagladesh were burned alive while making cheap clothes for the GAP, Target and others.

Is Heinz the best ketchup? I recall Streetcents doing this in the 90’s on CBC and the cheapo won there as well. Hehe Streetcents was awesome.

How different would you be if you lived in a different country? Fun. And depressing.

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Passive and was

I’m learning this writing thing. And one thing I’ve noticed recently is my passive verbs. I don’t know if readers take note or not, but when I do a grammar check thing it tells me I’m using the passive voice a lot.

I never thought much about it. But it keeps coming up in blogs I read. I feel like the universe is beating me over the head. Universe if you are listening, you can stop now, I got the message.

I do the ‘was’ thing a lot.

As in:

She was trembling

blah. So, what did that look like authoress?

When ‘was’ is used, it’s mainly telling not showing.

Her hands shook so bad her arms moved.

or

Her whole body vibrated.

So, universe, I got the message, I will edit the was out of everything. Tone it down just a little so I can finish the first draft. If it isn’t polished, the world won’t end. I will go and edit all my writing later.

After this draft of Baggage. Please.

(WordPress only found one instance of passive voice in this blog post. I edited it out.)

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File names

A while ago I downloaded a bunch of free books from places like freeonlinenovels and obooko and feedbooks. OIh yeah, Smashwords too.They came in various formats: pdf, epub, rtf.

Then they sat on my hard drive while i caught up on my blogs. (Calibre is lovely in that it allows me to turn rss into epubs).

I used calibre the other day to transfer all the files into epub. Kobo reads pdfs or epubs. Pdfs are fixed width format which makes reading them on a small screen difficult. Calibre (I should really pay for how much i use this beautiful program) can convert any file into epub. Not all files transfer well.

Now I have all these lovely files on my Kobo for reading.

The problem?

Some of the files I downloaded are downloaded as what the author saved the file as.

I have one file entitled this: Save_Me_Needs_Revising.

Doesn’t inspire me to start reading it. It’ll be at the bottom of the pile.

Many of the files don’t have title pages. Not pictures but the title of the book and the author name and website at least.Additonally I would add a version ie if you submit your file to Smashwords it says Smashwords version. Obooko gets a different title page.

My mission for the next week is to change my files to Title_AuthorName. That way no matter how the book is downloaded it has my name on it. And I shall also be adding a title page that has where the book was procured from and the title.

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Starting Over

I’m staring Corey’s novel over.

Saturday I woke up and was thinking about the conflict. I wasn’t entirely sold on it. And then it hit me. The Perfect Woman for Corey Porter …

There is no way I can release (working title) “Baggage” as is.

It does not fit Corey. He isn’t the same in the book as he is in the two previous books. He was much more serious and I just didn’t like it at all.

I was physically ill about it at first.

I went back and forth. I’ll leave it. I’ll scrap it. I’ll leave it. I’ll scrap it.

Finally, while I was doing a lot of things that are really meaningless to the novel, I decided I had to rewrite it. For Corey’s sake.

As I started to look things over, I realized that the story was terrible. I changed details alluded to before to fit the new story line. For example, I had Doug, Ky and Corey living together, when Corey and Ky definitely had their own places.

There are several scenes I will be pulling for the new version of “Baggage”. I’m taking the old version and morphing into something else, which will also take extensive re-working.

Baggage has to come first and then Luke or Jake or Scott’s story. (i have a lot of details to nail down).

For now, while I write as fast as humanly possible (I wish I were sorrier but I have to do this!!), you can check out the new cover I did for Second Chance Romance. I’m trying to make it not look like a DIY project gone terribly wrong. Offers of help only.

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