How to spice up setting with an event (#IWSG blog hop)

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.

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.

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.

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.

On balancing and weighting writing advice (#IWSG Blog Hop)

You’re stuck on a question about how to use a writing device, and off to the Internet/library/bookstore you go. Perhaps you stop after article number one, thinking certainly this must be the definitive answer, because this publishing professional has game to spare. She may well, but still your search should continue. Why? Click the title above to continue reading.

2 foreshadowing techniques to reduce new information overload #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Reading a book is like jumping on an exercise bike for the brain. The reason is because every sentence is a piece of information the reader needs to process. Some sentences are easier to absorb than others. For instance, a sentence that speaks about characters, themes, and plots the reader has already gotten to know doesn’t require as much processing as a sentence introducing new characters, sub-themes, or subplots. We want readers to keep pedaling and processing this new information, but as so often happens in books, there comes a point when the reader decides to take a break. Click the title above to continue reading.

15 tips for interviewing experts for your novel #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Interviewing has played a large role in my career as a journalist and marketer, and now, as an author. Sure, I still get all flustered when I’m reaching for a big interview, but for the most part, the fifteen tips and techniques below work for me. Click the title above to continue reading.