In Jessica Strawser’s debut Almost Missed You, two characters have a life-changing date at Cincinnati’s Lumenocity, an orchestra-curated light-show. Anyone remember the scene when Harrison Ford’s Richard Kimble slips into Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade to evade pursuers? How much more exciting does Pride and Prejudice become once the Bennett sisters have a ball to look forward to? Some of these events are more integral to plot than others, but all of them make the stories they’re included in more interesting as a result. Click the title above to continue reading.
Don’t kill your darlings; shelve them (#IWSG Blog Hop)
One of the hardest lessons I had to learn as a new writer was how to be okay with killing my darlings. What I determined was that while some of my darlings warranted murder-by-delete-key, others deserved a less permanent fate. I developed a two-step process to be able to refer back to all the darlings I’ve killed along the way. Click the title above to continue reading.
The Lady Bird way to show passage of time #AuthorToolboxBlogHop
I was watching Lady Bird recently. It’s summer in the beginning when the protagonist breaks her arm, and then a whole bunch of stuff happens, including Thanksgiving, and then cut to her cast being taken off, and I instantly had a sense of how much time has passed. Click the title above to continue reading.
Careful what you read while you write (#IWSG Blog Hop)
At the beginning of this year, I was ready to write the last 60,000 words of a novel. Me, my laptop, and my research were tucked away in a tropical paradise, but the words I was writing, they were reading like they’d been spewed out of a meat grinder. I decided to take the day off and finish the book I was reading instead. A few pages in, I realized I had no interest in finishing the book in question. The prose was uninspired, as was I. Click the title above to continue reading.
How to beta your book for emotional responses of readers #AuthorToolboxBlogHop
Test screening is to films what beta reading is to books. In film, studies are being done on technology that can gauge a test screen audience’s neuro and biometric responses. Suffice it to say, when this technology proves viable, I will not be able to afford it. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want a way to know which parts of my books make people laugh, cry, or want to throw their e-reader against the wall. Click the title above to continue reading.
Negative space, as important to author marketing as it is to writing (#IWSG Blog Hop)
There are no books traditionally published in the modern era without paragraph breaks or negative space. And so it follows, that if readers appreciate negative space in books, they appreciate it elsewhere, as in every representation of your author brand (with the exception of book covers and related print materials such as bookmarks.) Click the title above to continue reading.
How to vary your syntactic use of metaphor #AuthorToolboxBlogHop
I noticed recently that Sylvia Plath, in her novel The Bell Jar, favored verbs as delivery vehicles for metaphor. Don’t get me wrong; the woman could work a metaphor along the syntactic spectrum, but the verbs really stuck out for me, and it occurred to me that in my own work, which contains a fair amount of metaphorical language, I hadn’t yet mastered Plath’s skill with verbal metaphors. Hence, this post in which I workshop one metaphorical image using different parts of speech and different phrase types. Click the title above to continue reading.
Authors, read for what irks you (#IWSG Blog Hop)
Easily avoidable misunderstandings as a device to create conflict, whether reading or watching it, I dislike this so much, it elicits an eye roll from me every time. The conflict just doesn’t feel logical. And because I’m aware that I don’t like this, I’m (hopefully) careful not to let this or any other of my literary pet peeves happen in my own writing. Click the title above to continue reading.
Handling author Q&As to ensure a more positive experience #AuthorToolboxBlogHop
As a frequenter of book readings and author workshops, I’ve sometimes noticed a moment when the author loses part of their audience, the part that cares about how the author is reacting to questions. Perhaps the author becomes dismissive, defensive, passive-aggressive, or skirts the question entirely. Below is a list of common question types with example answers that can leave an aftermath of negativity as well as alternatives to keep audience members in that book-buying zone. Click the title above to continue reading.
Why book marketing is a numbers game (#IWSG Blog Hop)
I feel like it’s the job of every high school math teacher to drone on about how no matter a student’s desired profession, they’ll need math, and it’s the job of every right-brained student, myself included, to believe that teacher is lying through their teeth. Years later, I found out that marketing is intertwined with so much math, I had to take seven courses steeped in numbers before they would give me my diploma. Click the title above to continue reading.