Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

As this week comes to a close, I’m just getting back home after a week of a Day Job conference in sunny Arizona.  Among other topics, I found it interesting that the conference, which was focused on green businesses, included a couple of sessions around storytelling.

Apparently even the business community understands the power of a well-told story.

As usual, I took my latest draft manuscript along with me to work on in the evenings after the conference and, as usual, I brought it home untouched.  Long days packed full of information, networking, and sensory overload are just not conducive to creative writing – at least not for me.

Now that I’m back, the suitcase is unpacked, and I’ve gone through the stack of accumulated mail, it’s time to pull out the writing journal and get some new words on the page.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Michille: Stages of Intimacy

Desmond_Morris_(1969)With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I was reminded of an RWA session I attended a couple of years ago with Linda Howard in which she presented Desmond Morris’s 12 Stages of Intimacy as a means to build sexual tension in a story. I believe it comes from his Intimate Behaviour: A Zoologist’s Classic Study of Human Intimacy, but I can’t confirm that because it is out of print. I would love to get a copy of it.

Of course, with the recent deluge of sexual harassment/assault accusations and subsequent consequences, the can apply to that conversation also – as in – how far down this list can you go before it is considered harassment/assault.

The list is below: Continue reading

Elizabeth: Beat Refresher

As I mentioned last week, I’ve recently been working my way though an iPod full of writing podcasts that I have accumulated over the past several years.  The most recent one was a 2014 StoryWonk Sunday podcast called Dodge ex Machina.  The podcast, which featured Lani Diane Rich, is now defunct, but the insights on story and craft and a whole lot more are still valuable.

This particular podcast provided a great example, via an improv session, on how to structure the beats in a scene.  I found the reminder very helpful, so I thought I’d share the information here, just in case anyone else out there would like a refresher.  It’s also a fun exercise that you may want to do on your own, or may want to try with an actual scene you are working on (or may be stuck on).

So, let’s get started. Continue reading

Jeanne: What’s in a Blurb?

Blurb WriterAs I mentioned in last week’s progress report, I hired the inimitable Kat Sheridan to write back cover copy for The Demon Always Wins. 

Although it’s possible to write your own cover copy, and many writers do, I find it difficult to get the proper distance from my work to do that well. Kat is great at what she does, and really reasonable. Even at minimum wage, I would have spent more trying to write the thing myself.

So, I went online and filled out her Standard Fiction Work Order. It asks for title, author, short description and then descriptions of the two main characters, along with any additional characters the author deems worthy of blurb space. Continue reading

Nancy: January Accountability Thread

It’s now February. Of 2018. February 2018. I need to sit with that for a minute, because I really can’t believe January 2018 has headed for the exits. But here we are, on the first Monday of a new month, and you know what that means: it’s accountability time, people!

As I prepared today’s accountability post, I scrolled back through previous posts on this thread, and realized I just started doing the First Monday accountability posts in June 2017. I recently heard the past year described as feeling as though we lived it like dog years – that 2017 felt like seven long years. So maybe it’s no surprise I thought I’d been tracking my accountability for well over a year, but nope, this is only the ninth time I’ve shared my monthly goals.

Perhaps a bit more discouraging, though, was Continue reading

Justine: Getting Perspective on a Series

eyeglasses and deskAs some of you may know, I’ve been on a hiatus for the last two years working as the PTA president for my kids’ school (Pro Writing Tip: If you want to make progress on your book, don’t volunteer for the prez position…or any other board position, for that matter). I’m grateful that I had a hand in getting their school up and running (it was just opening at the time), but now I’m learning to say “No.” A very valuable word if you want to make forward progress on any personal endeavor.

I will say that the hiatus from writing has allowed me to see my book, when I finally came back to it this fall, in a whole new light, and some advice from an editor I met on a writing cruise in October lent even more clarity…in particular to who my book was about, and indeed who and what the whole planned three-book series is about.

Background: My historical series had always intended to be about Continue reading