Posts by lcelum@yahoo.com

On Podcasts, Cave Dwelling, and Studying the Art of Writing | Author Toolbox Blog Hop | writing podcasts, writer podcasts, list of writing podcasts, best podcasts for writers, top podcasts for authors

Posted by on Jun 21, 2017 in #AuthorToolboxBlogHop, Creativity and the Writing Process | 5 comments

On Podcasts, Cave Dwelling, and Studying the Art of Writing | Author Toolbox Blog Hop | writing podcasts, writer podcasts, list of writing podcasts, best podcasts for writers, top podcasts for authors

Unless you have been living in a cave in a very, very secluded part of the world, you have most likely heard about, if you are not actually engaged in, the trending phenomenon known as the podcast.

I, myself a resident of said cave, have heard of the term only thanks to the fact that I teach high school. Were it not for my students, my technical savvy would be lacking on a much greater scale. My students keep me updated on all things trending, and we have a secure enough relationship that they don’t laugh too much when I ask them how to use whatever new technological marvel currently obsesses their media-saturated interests.

For those of you who are quite content in caves of your own and are unfamiliar with this new-ish technological marvel, a podcast is an episodic, radio-style talk or video show you can subscribe to, most often for free. Once you are subscribed, new episodes will download automatically to the media-playing device of your choice.

I tend to ban myself from excessive use of media. It is easy for me to lose hours in the time-sucking vacuum created by the computer or television screens dotted throughout my life. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it… I enjoy it too much, and I don’t have a lot of down time. So when I first heard of podcasts, I noted the idea, then filed it in the portion of my brain labeled “Highly Interesting but of Unlikely Benefit” and moved on.

Oh, how wrong I was.

As a writer who is addicted to research, one of the ways I work myself out of being stuck is to dig deeply into researching the concept I’m stuck on or the technique I’m wrestling with. I am new to the marketing game, so as I was researching marketing strategies, I discovered for myself what a wonderful thing the podcast is. I discovered that podcasts are portable, free, and abundant. I subscribed to one focused on marketing for authors, and now consider podcasts one of my first go-to resources, especially for research on the go. I can listen to podcasts while completing mindless chores, such as folding laundry or washing dishes. Thanks to current technology that allows me to sync my phone to the sound system in my car, I can even listen to podcasts while I’m driving. As I spend a lot of time driving, this is a beautiful thing.

I should come out of my cave more often.

For those of you who are new to the podcast form, or for those who are looking for some new podcasts to try, here is my current lists of writing-helpful podcasts.  They are listed alphabetically with brief descriptions of major focus in the parentheses. I hope you find something among them that meets whatever need you are experiencing on your current writing journey, and I’d love to hear of any writing or creativity based podcasts you are listening to. Happy listening!

  • #AmWriting with Jess & KJ (writing in general)
  • Ann Kroeker, Writing Coach (writing in general)
  • Book Launch Show (book marketing)
  • Create If Writing (authentic platform building)
  • DIY MFA Radio (writing-specific how-to)
  • Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing (grammar how-to)
  • Hastag Authentic (social media how-to)
  • HopeWriters (writing in general)
  • Podcast Communicator Academy (writing and creativity)
  • ProBlogger Podcast (blog tips)
  • Save the Cat! Podcast (story structure and form)
  • Story Grid Podcast (story structure and form)
  • The Author Hangout: Book Marketing Tips for Indie & Self-Published Authors (book marketing)
  • The Creative Penn Podcast (writing in general)
  • The Portfolio Life with Jeff Goins (book marketing)
  • The Sell More Books Show (book Marketing)
  • The Writer Files (writing in general)
  • Write Now with Sarah Werner (writing in general)
  • Writing Unblocked with Britney M. Mills (creativity and inspiration hacks)

 

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlobHop, or to join in, click here.

Read More

The Button Girl | Book Review

Posted by on Jun 7, 2017 in Book Reviews | 0 comments

The Button Girl | Book Review

You NEED this book in your life.

Repentance Atwater is a headstrong girl with a resolute spirit and a plan… and she will enact that plan no matter who she hurts. Because of this, I had a hard time with this story at the beginning. I understood Repentance’s reasoning for her goal, and I certainly related with her stubborn determination, but I was angered by the way she refused to see beyond her nose. However, her growth through that selfishness to learn how actions have consequences that ripple out beyond just ourselves is one of the main themes of the story. It is what makes The Button Girl an excellent fantasy dystopian novel.

As with the character of Sara in Jim Henson’s movie Labyrinth, I was frustrated with Repentance through the first part of the novel. However, the author is a friend of mine, so I kept reading. I am very glad that I did because, again as with Sara in Labyrinth, The Button Girl shows how Repentance grows from short-sighted girl to a compassionate and generous young woman. By the half-way mark I was totally emotionally invested, and by the end I was an emotional wreck. I enjoyed this novel so thoroughly that I plan to buy a paper version (instead of reading it on my reading device) so I can display it on my bookshelf in my hall of favorites. I am confident you will enjoy this novel just as much.

Do yourself a favor – skip the digital version and buy the paperback one first.

Read More

No Plot? No Pants? No Problem! | Author Toolbox Blog Hop

Posted by on May 17, 2017 in #AuthorToolboxBlogHop, Creativity and the Writing Process, Uncategorized | 4 comments

No Plot? No Pants? No Problem! | Author Toolbox Blog Hop

“Are you a plotter or a pantster?”

Utter this question in a group of writers and watch from a safe distance as the formerly unified whole splits into two parts like the ground on a fault line in an earthquake (and with about as much noise). Notice the shifty glances cast as writers discreetly shuffle to one side or the other of the gap now forming, ever-so-subtly aligning themselves with those who are likeminded. Look on and wonder, “What have I done?”

What you have done, my friend, is broached one of today’s literary hot topics.

While the divide is not nearly so dramatic as an earthquake, many authors are firmly established as one or the other, and knowing which side you stand on could be foundational in your career as a writer.

A plotter is someone who outlines an entire work before sitting down to actually write it. Writing this way gives authors a detailed map, allowing them to plan minute details before even writing a word.

A pantster, on the other hand, is someone who writes without the outline, literally “flying by the seat of the pants”. Pantsters prefer this method because it allows the story to grow more organically, and allows the writer to be surprised during the writing process.

Well known plotters include Katherine Anne Porter, John Grisham, R.L. Stein, and J.K. Rowling. Nora Roberts, Margaret Atwood, Pierce Brown, and Stephen King are among the pantsters. Many authors fall into one of the two camps, and you can find a lot of resources online to help you identify which style suits you the most.

Me, however… I’m more of an excavator. As I’m playing with my initial idea, I find scenes scattered throughout the plot like bones peeking through surface dirt. I craft those scenes carefully, executing the tools to hand as precisely as an architect excavates fragile skeletal fragments from the earth. Once out in the open, I hang them on a plot diagram in rough-guestimation about where they belong. As I write, more of the current work’s structure is exposed, and a better picture of the overall whole begins to form, allowing me to plan the positioning and execution of the elements of the work accordingly.

Much like exhuming a fossilized skeleton from the ground, my method is slow, painstaking work. It requires many drafts, but what work-in-progress (WiP) doesn’t? And, oh, the surprises I find along the way!

If, like me, you find you are neither a plotter nor a pantster, never fear. Writing is subjective, even down to its very creation, and no to authors work exactly the same way. My suggest is to experiment with both plotting and pantsing, borrow what works from each method, and meld them into a combination of your own. Then, when your WiP is completely excavated and ready to be viewed by the masses, look on and wonder at the amazing thing you have done.

 

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlobHop, or to join in, click here.

 

 

Read More

The Emotional Connection | Author Toolbox Blog Hop

Posted by on Apr 18, 2017 in #AuthorToolboxBlogHop, Creativity and the Writing Process, Uncategorized | 17 comments

The Emotional Connection | Author Toolbox Blog Hop

I am knee deep in the revisions of my current WiP—a sequel to my debut fantasy novel The Healer’s Rune—and I’ve come upon a problem. Although my plot is technically correct, the story itself lacks the spark of life. This is not an uncommon problem among authors, so I turned to two Internet-based writer’s groups that I belong to for help. In the course of the discussion, I was introduced to The Emotional Craft of Fiction by literary agent Donald Maass.

In the opening pages of this writing resource, Maass states: “The most useful question is not how can I get across what characters are going through? The better question is how can I get readers to go on emotional journeys of their own?” (2).

Maass goes on to argue that, although a manuscript can be well written and technically correct in every aspect of plot, those characteristics don’t guarantee that readers will be caught up and carried away by the story. He proposes that what is lacking in this instance is an emotional connection.

Ah ha! I thought. This sounds like exactly the problem my manuscript is suffering from.

My guess is, I’m not the only one. If Maass is right when he states, “Emotional impact is not an extra. It’s as fundamental to a novel’s purpose and structure as its plot. The emotional craft of fiction underlies the creation of character arcs, plot turns, beginnings, midpoints, endings, and strong scenes. It is the basis of voice” (4), then the emotional impact of our stories is something all authors should look at more closely. But where to begin?

In The Emotional Craft of Fiction Maass proposes three primary paths to producing emotion in readers. He calls them “inner mode,” “outer mode,” and “other mode.”

  • Inner mode involves the telling of emotions – authors repot what characters are feeling so effectively that readers feel something, too.
  • Outer mode involves the showing of emotions – authors provoke in readers what characters may be feeling by implying their inner state through external action.
  • Other mode involves causing readers to feel something that a story’s characters do not feel themselves.

Maass does not spend a lot of time on inner mode and outer mode. While he discusses them in sufficient detail in chapter two, and includes advice on how to wield them most effectively, he postulates that writers are already most familiar with these two modes. With this in mind, he devotes the rest of the book expounding upon what he calls other mode, which he says is not a single technique or principle, but a “vast array of elements tuned like the instruments in an orchestra to create a soaring emotional effect” (30). He spends the remainder of the book detailing these elements and includes writing exercises to help authors develop or enrich the emotional levels of their current works in progress.

As I write this blog, I am half-way through Maass’ book. Working through each of the writing exercises has helped me discover and develop the missing spark that my work lacked, and I am once again excited about my current WiP.

How about you? How important do you think developing an emotional connection is to the full development of a novel? How easy or difficult is it for you to include/develop the emotional layer of your work?

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop, or to join, click here.

Read More

The Healer’s Rune from Aodhan’s Perspective

Posted by on Mar 14, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Healer’s Rune from Aodhan’s Perspective

The Healer’s Rune from Aodhan’s Perspective

As I’m in the process of writing the sequel to The Healer’s Rune, I’ve had to make many stylistic decisions. One of them was to decide whether or not to introduce a new perspective in the second book, namely Aodhan’s. I chose not to for many reasons, but I did do some playing around with the idea first. Here, for your perusal, is Aodhan’s perspective on Sabine at the opening of The Guardian Prince (the working title for the second book):

________________________________________________________

At first, I couldn’t stand her. She’s Human, after all. That, alone, is enough to make her unworthy of notice. If it hadn’t been for that night at the portal, I never would have disturbed her insignificant, self-absorbed life.

But… the portal. She could have let me die. I would have. Torian knows, I’d have slit her throat instantly and put her out of her misery.

*sigh* Okay, maybe I wouldn’t have. I’ve been watching her, as I’ve gone back and forth, keeping tabs on her to make sure she was unaware of our presence. I have to admit – she has spunk. The way she stood up to that Rüddan officer… I wish I could have seen it, rather than just hear the Dryht reporting what his bird saw.

Not only that, but she saved me. She could have killed me at any moment, but she let me live and nursed me back to health. She even delivered my warning to my sister without revealing our presence to the Rüddan, which she could have done at any time without hinting at the fact that she was hiding me in her own home.

So I rescued her from the Rüddan for two reasons: because I owe her a life-debt, yes, but also because I need a Human to use the godstone. Since she didn’t kill or betray me when she had the chance, she’s my best option.

What about the Wereden? Actually, she was right about that. Just because her father was Wereden, and the bond does pass to her, that doesn’t automatically mean she’s obligated. She has to accept it, first. I only used that to push her – to motivate her to do something instead of just sitting by, complacent.

Now that she’s with us, I find her – intriguing. She has a presence about her that commends her to my people. It was all I could do not to laugh when she put Amala in her place that first morning at breakfast. She certainly has spunk. And she doesn’t whine and moan as much as I would expect of a Human. it’s obvious to see she’s not used to riding a horse all day, yet she keeps getting back in the saddle without complaint. I’m willing to be there’s fire in her. Even if she never tells me what happened to her while she was in the Tower of Khapor, the fact that she came out of it alive speaks of her strength of spirit.

So, she’s with us to use the labyrinth map, and maybe she’ll find a place among us. We’ll see how well she fits and what we can do to maximize her usefulness.

Read More
Seo wordpress plugin by www.seowizard.org.