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Advice for novices eager to write fiction

Getting going writing isn’t always a fun thing you’re doing. Sometimes there’re stuff that stops you.  Outward or inward things, either or, they create a halting place that seems likely to keep you at a stand-still.

Sometimes you can use a bit of help. When this problem comes up for me, I turn to folks who’ve already managed to get something down on the page that’s wonderful (in my eyes anyway).

I look to writers I admire, envy, and those I re-read, because I love their work.

So to get me going for the August Camp NaNoWriMo event, I took a great short story that I love and deconstructed it to see what it was made of.

It ended up that the story totaled 11 scenes. The longest scene was 51 lines long, the shortest– 5 lines.

WOW!

Wow

The whole story was about 2,500 words in length, if we go by the idea that each line of text holds approximately 10 words when you average out the whole piece.

So that’s 11 full-on scenes crafted from 250 lines of text.

That’s some sharp, clean writing. The moment I read it, for me, it became the best story ever.

The type of things I made notes on where mostly questions like these five here:

  • What’s the difference from the beginning of the scene to the end of it?
  • What’s the emotion/motivation/ or reaction of this scene?
  • How did this scene lead to the next one?
  • How did this symbol work in telling the story here?
  • What wasn’t said here at all, but I got it anyway? How’d they do that?

Then I took my investigation on to a new round of deconstruction and I asked things a bit more concrete, having to do more with structure work, the mechanics of things. I moved though the story scene by scene:

Scene one: Does this scene intro the character alone, or the character and their problem? What else, (other element) is introduced here?

Scene two: How many lines are used for far backstory? How many lines for closer backstory?  Out of the full 51 lines what’s the ratio of the present/far backstory/ and closer backstory?

And for scene three I noted: What will I need to do to get a scene this powerful, with this much subtext, into 13 lines of prose?

I don’t make notes of what actually happened in the story – that stuff belongs to the author, not me. I’d be a thief taking that with me.

It’s the questions the story brings up, in my excavation of its secrets, that I want, Not the writer’s words or their plot, or character’s roles with each other. Taking any of that is outright plagiarism.

I continue on with my dissection of this great story, dismantling it and making notes of my discoveries, until I have a page or two about how to write better than I write now.

Then I turn to my own characters,  I sit down to write. I review my notes,  ask these folks who are living in my own mind some of my questions. And together we try writing something that’s better than what I write now.

That’s all mine.

Happy August Nano (and other) writers.

Happy Writing.

 

HELP quoteSo you want to write 50,000 or more words this August for the 2012 Camp NanoWriMo event.

You’ve signed in, built a profile, maybe you added an excerpt you’re proud of to go that profile. And now you’re sitting, twiddling your pen, waiting for Wednesday the 1st to get here.

 

Here’re Some Things To Think On While Waiting

 

You can work with or without an outline.

But you will need to know if you are going to focus on plot or character in your work. Ask yourself this question and make some notes about your choice. It will serve to solidify, in your mind, a plan (vague or concise) to work with.

Knowing your focus is on plot can allow you to think of some ‘what if’s’ for the development of that plot. Think ahead for the twists and turns that lead to the end-point of your story.

Knowing your focus is on character can allow you to think of some ‘what would they do if…’ scenarios to run your characters through before you get to writing.

You can know where your story is going or not.

Some folks have already gotten into asking themselves about the plot or character aspect of their coming story and knowing that info, they now either have some  notes or a solid outline. But they still aren’t sure what their story will ‘be about’.

Not knowing allows you to explore as you write and come to that info as you go. Knowing allows you to aim for where you want your story to end up.

Both work depending on how you write. Neither are wrong or inferior to the other.

If at your basic state you think:

Plot -wise: My story is about a planet at war. Then you need to tack on a …and so…  to create a full plot we’ll want to follow.

Or

Character-wise: My story is about a girl.  Then you need to tack on a …who will… to create a MC we want to know about.

You can have scenes in your mind you want to flesh out.

Writing scenes you’ve got in your mind are not the same thing as writing Exposition (as explained on Wikipedia.).   One shows and one tells. Upfront explanation of some things in your write can be needed.  But, explaining all the way through your work keeps the reader from discovering anything on their own. Unfortunately, seeing too much exposition in your own work can be hard to do. So look at as many NaNo excerpts as you can; ask yourself if you can see an over-use of exposition there.  Do this after you’ve checked out the link to wiki. Once you can recognize exposition in the work of others, that can lead you to seeing it in your own work. And from there, maybe your writing will have less of it. Consider looking at as many excerpts as you can before August 1st rolls around, learn what not to do – it will make your scene writing more satisfying.

 

You can have dialog you want to build scenes around.

But remember that dialog without motivation is only having your characters chatting for no good reason.

Keep your narration free of too much exposition. But also keep your characters free from it too.

They shouldn’t be talking simply in order to ‘tell’ the reader things you (the author) feel the reader should know about the story. Take down what dialog ideas you have in your mind, but also take into consideration that there are ways to make those dialog ideas work even better for you.

Here’s another link with more on writing dialog, in case you can use more help.

Once you feel you can use your dialog ideas to build scenes, take the 10 page challenge of using only said or says or told, or tells as the tags for all spoken lines. Having your first 10 pages that have dialog in them use only she said, he says is a great way of proving to your self that all those other adverbs can be replaced by what is said, rather than how it is spoken.

 

If you are going for plot – what is your idea about that plot?

Plot isn’t story. You should have two ideas about what you want to write Story is one, plot is the other.

What is the story about that I’ll be writing?

Things a story might be about:

Who killed Jessica Rabbit?

What happens to a returning war vet who loses his son to gang violence?

Where can a young spy turn once he’s drummed out of Spy School?

When the war of the robots took its turn for the worst mankind stood and fought; here is their tale.

Why some good people turn their backs on the daily evil they see.

How I lost my innocence at band camp.

 

Plot on the other hand, are the steps that your story will take as you move though that story from its opening line to its last page.

A story will have a Beginning, Middle and End.

A plot can have those three things in any order, plus all the steps it takes to get from one thing to another.

A plot doesn’t have to give the reader those three things in any particular arrangement. We mix those three things up on purpose to heighten the drama and tension, holding back some info for a storytelling reason or giving some details out of sequence.

Think of a detective mystery that begins with the line, “If I’d only known danger could show up at my door wrapped in silk stockings, I’d be a free man today.” Definitely not an author beginning at the beginning there.

 

Outline or not– make some kind of notes.

Your plot’s trajectory­­– known or not, neither are a weak way to start writing, no writing process is wrong if it’s working for you.

Exposition is not the same as writing a scene– keep exposition down, and out of your character’s dialog where you can.

Challenge yourself– allow 10 pages of dialog to use only the basic said & told for dialog tags.  Make your story work in other ways to get its points across to the reader.

Plot isn’t story. They are separate things. So figure out how you’ll use the two for an easier time writing your August masterpiece.

 

Happy Writing.

Think about that famous final scene from the movie Casablanca. Imagine reading that scene as your novel’s ending.

The foggy night, the chill in the air, the rain-slick tarmac, the growl of a small plane readying for takeoff, the sweep of floodlights crossing behind the characters, the droning of the plane’s taxi-ing and lift off. And finally— a single ringing gunshot as the bad guy gets his in the end.

In this post let’s explore how adding sensory touches such as these brings a scene to the mind’s eye of the reader.

When I use the word Visceral to talk about writing I mean ‘in response to emotion’ or ‘touching deeply, inward feelings’: the words on the page that create a deep emotion we can feel.

The Physical and Visual are not hard to understand – those are what we write that shows us (visual), making our descriptions and scenes seem alive (physical).

If you had written the good-bye scene in Casablanca and you bothered adding the fog, the chill, the rain or the searchlight, you would have tapped into what makes for a scene we can see hear and feel. These visual, and auditory cues are part of what makes a scene alive on the page. The visceral requires you to step away from telling and delve into making us feel.

Think about your existing scenes and these types of cues and if need be, find the best places to edit some in if they’re missing from your work.

Scenario: Sunrise. A girl wakes up to find herself in a motel.

Why is she there? How can I show that without saying it outright to the reader?
What is her problem? How can that problem feel real without my using reader-feeder telling words?
What is unique to her circumstances? How can I bring in something the reader doesn’t expect?

Using smell, if I asked you to show us this is a bad place for her to find herself. You might go with the tired and true – Awful smells found in a motel. Girl awakes to the realization of her previous nights misadventures. But work outside of your comfort level and don’t go that way.

Be unique. Step out farther; let your imagination move on from the usual. Weave in the emotion that comes to your mind for this scenario, but remember not to name it outright.

Example:
It was early morning. Crystal hadn’t opened her eyes yet when she smelled the stench. Roses. She hated roses. The smell came from somewhere to her right, behind her head. Which meant she was probably lying crosswise on this mattress, West to East. She peeked out from under the sheet and saw a huge glass vase on the night stand; looking rosy, smelling like death.

“Crap.” Crystal rolled over onto her stomach, then curled up into a ball. Besides the stench she made out the sound of running water. Mr. Snively. In the shower. So, all of this was real. Definitely. Sliding her hands prayer fashion down between her knees, the forgotten diamond on her finger scrapped a long stinging line on the inside of her thigh.
“Sisssss. Crap, owww, crap.”
Death and scars. So this was what married life was going to be like.

Whether you write a 6 word Bio, or a 55 word story, or 500 words (known as Flash Fiction) or an average short story (about 3,000 words), or a novella (a short novel, approximately 50,000 words) writing is writing and the words you select have to work to get the Visual and Physical and Visceral on the page.

Look at any one of your scenes. Are you showing enough sensory writing to have us see the scene? Are you providing us with things to experience? To feel?

Emotions Search & What to Do When You Find Them

Emotions: Defeated – Happy – Sad – Frightened –Angry –

A fellow NaNo’er from a few years ago wrote this:

He looks in the mirror, and with his green eyes he sees his drawn face stained with dry tears. He reaches for the little orange bottle beside the sink, and clenches his teeth as he attempts to open it. The lid comes off and two pills drop into his right hand. With his left hand he pushes his straight hair back over his ear. He tilts his head back and swallows the pills. He’ll be happy in a few minutes.
— Harrison S. age 17

A very impressive start, and that last line is a killer! It uses clean words not fancy ones-

green eyes, drawn face, dry tears, orange bottle, right hand, straight hair

But the author might be missing the chance of using all this physical stuff to tell us how this character is feeling, what his intentions are, what his story is. And because of that we are not feeling the visual and physical of these nouns & verbs – of being this character. Don’t write to ‘set up’ these three things: feelings, intentions, story. ‘Put’ all that stuff in every line you write.

This draft showed a lot about how the character looks and what movements he made; let’s circle some the verbs the writer employs:

Looks, sees, stained, reaches, clenches, attempts, comes, drop, pushes, tilts, and swallows.

The writer has, in a way told us all this. Showing it to us would pull us closer and allow us to feel more of this along with the character – look at these revisions:

Green eyes and a drawn face stained with dried tears stare back at him from the mirror. The little orange bottle in his grip fights being opened, till his teeth clench; a final twist and he is the victor. Two pills drop into his stinging hand. Now he gazes down on two white eyes in his reddened palm. The mirror still holds that pale face, and he pushes his straight hair back over his ear, trying to rearrange that image. He closes his eyes; nothing that simple will work, tilts his head back and swallows the pills. Dry. He’ll be happy in a few minutes.

The break down of these edits:

He looks in the mirror, and with his green eyes he sees his drawn face stained with dry tears

into–>

Green eyes and a drawn face stained with dried tears stare back at him from the mirror.

The edits move us into being him. Try not to stand back and watch your character. Instead, let us, the reader, be the character. In-scene voices show us this. Narrative voices tell us this.
He reaches for the little orange bottle beside te sink, and clenches his teeth as he attempts to open it

into–>

The little orange bottle in his grip fights being opened, til his teeth clench; a final twist and he is the victor.

He reaches, he clenches, he attempts = writer telling reader something.

Instead, try to make even the inanimate objects have action (the bottle fights). Use action words to bring things alive and closer for the reader: grip, fights, clench, & twist. Notice none are in the ‘-ed’ word form.

The lid comes off and two pills drop into his right hand

into–>

Two pills drop into his stinging hand. Now he gazes down on two white eyes in the reddened palm.

Not all specifics are required (the lid comes off) instead, show us details of him here (his stinging hand, his reddened palm) less details of the pill bottle.

Again, make the inanimate alive – his pills as two white eyes.

With his left hand he pushes his straight hair back over his ear

–>

The mirror still holds that pale face, and he pushes his straight hair back over his ear, trying to rearrange that image.

Remember to give us the story, not just the details, (The mirror still holds that pale face) there is an intention here.

But what is he all about? (trying to rearrange that image).

He tilts his head back and swallows the pills. He’ll be happy in a few minutes

into–>

He closes his eyes; nothing that simple will work, tilts his head back and swallows the pills. Dry. He’ll be happy in a few minutes.

Action requires reaction even if only one character is on stage.

He closes his eyes; nothing simple will work, remember the visceral’ that which makes us feel; swallows the pills. Dry.

 

 

 

In this previous blog post, Anna commented to ask about finding that she was writing way too much description, and how she could address that in her first draft.

Audits before Edits

I say leave it in. But plan on editing it later. Plan on running a future audit about why it’s there. Your writer’s instinct told you to get all that extra description down. So plan on working with it once it’s on the page. You can ask all the descriptions some questions in a later edit.

Figure that for every 50,000 words you write there’s a good chance once you audit, ask some questions, reconsider your intentions, then have individual goes of at least 5 rounds of targeted edits, that you may remove a good 18,000 of those words and re-build from there.

Anna said,

How do you know when you’re using too much description? Is it like how you’re supposed to take off an accessory before you head out the door? I’m afraid I’m getting too descriptor-happy and I can’t seem to stop. :-/

Physical motions come easy to novices.  They can see their characters moving around and so they grab that information and put it on the page. But, there are times when describing physical action gets confused with telling the story. What happens is, novices get very involved in describing physical actions, (how the characters are moving) and forget that, all that movement doesn’t always tell a story.

There are certainly times to describe physical actions but there are also times when novices describe way too much. The key is this: are you writing an action scene? Or recoding the movements of a character in this scene?

Character movement is not always story action. Action has  to have an intent in a story.

Mentioning too much of you character’s movements are akin to reader-feeder or story-facts. Without motivation for those movements that will tell a story or advance a plot point, your writing down all those movement descriptions are like a camera following someone with no voice-over, recording what is done, but leaving the audience not knowing why.

What readers want to see on your pages is action, but, we get awfully bored watching each hand, foot, or eye twitch your character makes if it’s just on the page for no good reason.

Look at this line.

Sue tripped on the stairs. Bob glanced over and witnessed how her worn-heeled shoe gripped the cement of the last step; balance lost and found in a quick second.

Your Characters are PuppetsHere, Sue has movement – tripping. And Bob has an action – seeing Sue trip. The narrator’s ‘action’ is the comment on Bob’s action of seeing Sue’s movement.

The question becomes, why does the reader need to know that Sue tripped? That Bob saw her trip? Why does the narrator feel the need to describe this? Because it happened? This is always the least valid reason to use up your words in a paragraph.

Is there any subtext in the narration on what Bob is seeing?

The why

A novice writer doesn’t set out to includes things in their story because they are trivial, but because the writer saw these things in their mind. A novice writer includes things in their story because they feel those things lead to a better story. A more riveting one. The story with depth to it.  I will show you it all. You will see what I see.

The problem is that all that movement for the sake of movement is not something the novice can escape in their first draft. It seems to be a default. We start by explaining what we see in our mind. The work we have to do is to move beyond explaining what we first saw in our mind, and begin to thin that out and replace it with the subtext that brings a common story into the place where it can be an extra ordinary story.

The how

Here are tools to use to run an edit for clarity and flow of narration. These tools help delete that ‘too much writing about what they did with their bodies’ so that there’s more room for the further edit of bringing in intent and story expectations.

Bringing in intent and story expectations is where you stop telling us stuff and start in on storytelling.

Let’s go back to Sue and Bob. They’re finished with their tripping up the stairs and now they’re in a hotel room.

First draft: This is what Sue sees (and what the narrator tells us she sees)

Sue saw Bob bend at the waist ands scrunch down to peek into tiny little half-size fridge. A frown grew on her face, and she narrowed her eyes. And pursed her lips. Amoment passed then Sue sat with one leg over the other watching Bob reach in to withdraw a can of mixer; the only item in the fridge besides olives, and fumbling the pop top on the can open he then searched for a swizzle stick for mixing. Sue just frowned at the emptiness of the tiny little fridge. Pulling out a cigarette from the pack in his pocket, Bob poured them both drinks.

What we are editing for here:

  • too much body language?
  • movements used instead of reactions and emotions?
  • not enough story action, too much body movement?

Ask yourself some questions – why all this description? What’s at stake here? Why does the reader need to know this? How can this be moved from story-fact to subtext? Where can word choice make a difference?

Write out your answers – those are your intentions for the scene and you’ll need to know that stuff to move onto a new draft. It’s okay of the answer is ‘I don’t know’ because that will lead to further questions.

‘Sue saw Bob…’, ‘…then Sue sat…’, and, ‘… Sue just frowned…’  are the bits of  narration that are written ‘out-of scene’. It is the reader being told things.  You can do two things with this type of narration once you move on to a new edit. Leave it in but surround it with storytelling…

Second draft:

From the vantage point of the couch Sue saw Bob bend at the waist to peek into tiny little half-size fridge. Crossed her arms, sitting back, she moved one leg over the, her high heels dangling from the toe of her right foot. He reached in to withdraw a can of mixer; the only item in the fridge besides olives. It took him a second but he fumbled the pop top on the can open, then searched for a swizzle stick for mixing. Sue just frowned at the emptiness of the tiny little fridge. The deep lines cutting across her forehead made Bob turn away. He hated her looking like that. Snaking out a cigarette from the pack in his pocket, with shaky fingers, the blood pounding in his temple, he poured them both drinks. But thought a moment before handing Sue hers.

The questions to ask: What is going on with these two folks? Who is in charge? What is at stake? That’s the auditing mentioned above.

You can next move the paragraph further into scene with a stronger edit that brings in all the unspoken problems of this couple and have their body-language speak to the reader were the characters are keeping silent. That’s the subtext. And it rarely comes in at a first draft.

What readers want from your stories is the reveal. Notice the word reveal here. We are talking about the revelation of who these characters are and what drives them to do what they are about to do. This is not the telling of plot points by explanation.  Readers want to realize what your characters are like. And readers can’t realize something if you are explaining to them.  That is reader-feeder.

Realization has to come from the readers’ own discovery. Again, to realize what is being revealed the reader cannot be told it. Let’s look at Sue and Bob in that hotel room.

Draft three: Where subtext is added and the remaining body language, that isn’t removed, now does double duty in revealing a bit more of who these people are.

From her vantage point on the couch Sue sized Bob up as he bent to peek into the half-size fridge. Sitting back, her high heel swishing from the toe of her right foot, she held off from all she meant to tell him. He reached for the only item in the fridge besides olives. It took him a second but he fumbled the pop top on the can he’d withdrawn, then searched for swizzle stick. Anything to hold off hearing what she might have to say once she pounced. Sue focused on the emptiness of the tiny fridge; deep frown lines cutting a ‘V’ between her brow. With shaky fingers, Bob took a moment snaking out a cigarette, the blood pounding in his temple. He hated her staring like that. He poured them both drinks, but thought a moment before handing Sue hers.

Look at some of the word choices and verbs here that can replace too much body-language and descriptors of movements:  Sue is almost cat-like in the subtext the writer’s added in. the word choices for Bob’s actions, rather than his body-movements are those of Sue’s nervous prey.

SueVantage point, Sized up

Swishing, Held off

Pounced, Focused

Cutting, Staring

Bob  Bent, Peek

Half-size,Fumbled

Withdrawn, Shaky

Snaked, Pounding

During a later edit these words were selected on purpose.

 

Sue saw Bob bend at the waist to peek into tiny little half-size fridge. (story-facts)

Becomes

From her vantage point on the couch Sue sized Bob up as he bent to peek into the half-size fridge. (subtext- the opening salvo that will show us who is in charge here)

Which line tells your reader something about who might have the upper hand?

Of these two characters, whose verbs are weaker, thus showing which person may be weaker?  Did you notice the word weak and upper hand were not used at all here? Hat would be telling, rather than storytelling.

So if you find a lot of describing, leave it in your first draft.  Make note of it with ‘subtext’ if you think it’s a candidate for a revision.  Audit – ask your questions as to the intent for your scene. With those audit questions, look at your work again and revise. Descriptions are not a bad thing; they are the first step toward storytelling.

You need to get them down in order to get on with taking them out.

Draft 1: Write it all.

Audit it.

Drafts 2 and beyond: Edit it. Edit it again. And again. each time for a new editing goal.

This one post is just for cleaning up over-descriptions.

Have a further question? Post a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

ej

Epic’s avatar on NaNoWriMo

 

 A teen pen’s an epic writing pep-talk to herself, and us all.

 

 

 

 

I’m an avid NaNoWriMo’er, have been since 2001, and I’ve made many acquaintances on that site. Some who I return to year after year for more support and camaraderie in my (and their) writing.

The questions about craft run though most every thread in their forums and you can learn a lot if you are a novice and not sure how to get a grip on your writing.

Just recently I came across a fellow-Nano’er who’d posted something I thought was quite interesting and I asked if she’d care to be a guest poster to my blog.

Epic, as her user name shows, is just that. Here’s a sample of her work from the 2011 event.

She’s a teen and she’s participated in the 2011 November event as well as this year’s Camp NaNoWriMo in June and August.

It’s the wonderful post she made yesterday that brings her to my blog.

Epic’s cogent take on writing via her insights from a found volume of The Art of War just has to be shared, So here it is:

Soooooooo… Pep talk time! (Yes, this is written almost entirely for me. I write myself pep talks and then they’re all awesome-ish and I throw them out for the rest of yous)

I found this awesome website of free books and music (archive.org) and the suggestion for books was The Art Of War. Having never read it, I wandered over.

The first thing that book says? “Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?”

Hold up. That sounds exactly like any sort of writing. Can you imagine what will come down on a page if you bottle up that inner editor, tell yourself “I can write awesomely, even just for today. Tomorrow I can suck again, but today I am going to write and write well.” Bonus points: It’s never tomorrow. It’s always today. See what I did there? Moving right along.

If we could all just get ourselves to the point where we decide that we’re going to spend one hour writing, playing piano, knitting, sketching, whatever, and telling ourselves it’s good, that it’s good for something done by us at the very least, can you imagine what would show up? Now, we might not be the next Stephen King, the next Art Tatum, the next Da Vinci, but want to know their secret?

THEY DIDN’T START THAT GOOD EITHER.

So seeing as Sun Tzu was pretty awesome already, I kept reading. The next thing I found was, “Opportunities multiply as they are seized.”

Hold up. The more I take a chance, the more chances will present themselves? Well, quite frankly, yes. Think about it. A MC is walking through the woods, and suddenly, there’s a house on the left. They can keep walking, or seize the opportunity and walk into the house. The first way, nothing happens. The second way, anything can. Maybe they just discovered the secret corporation trying to rule the world, the home of a past lover, the home of a future lover… anything.

At this point, Sun Tzu sounds pretty smart. And then he said something that blew my mind.

“To find victory, you have to believe in yourself.”

Did you get that?

To win (whether the war, or just finish the first draft of a novel) you have to believe in yourself. It isn’t going to happen if you say you can’t. It just won’t. If you tell yourself you can, if you have it determined that you are going to (“The victorious man wins and then enters battle. The defeated man enters battle and seeks a win.”) YOU WILL WIN. There’s no maybe here. There’s no “see appendix A for circumstances where this is untrue.”

Nope. You will win.

So. What did we learn?

-We all start out badly. Tell yourself that for the next hour you are going to write well, and you will.
-Seize the opportunities presented to you and more will appear.
-Believe in yourself and you will win.

Since Feb 2012, on this Author’s blog I’ve gotten visitors from 26 countries around the globe, totaling nearly 1,000 visits. Of these, there are the single stop visitors:  Finland, Thailand, Saudi Arabia,  Indonesia, Turkey, Austria, Ireland & Republic of Korea.

The other 18 countries are multiple-visits. I’m not sure if it’s the same visitors coming back again and again, or a mix of new folks and returnees. If they are here because they like my short story collection, or just fell across me in their meandering through WordPress. But either way, I’m grateful.

My publisher, Inspired Quill, and I are working on book two this summer. A How-to book for novices eager to write fiction or memoir.

I thought to myself:

Maybe I’ll turn the blog into a mini-writer’s conference for the rest of the summer. Have the posts open to Q & A’s about the how to’s and the why’s of beginner writers. Hummm…

So I’m asking any visitors for Blog topic suggestions. From for now till Tell Me (How to Write) a Story  is released— What do you want to ask about how to write fiction and memoir?

See some of the other posts here about what I write about writing.

If you know other novices send them this post. Ask them to comment and ask questions of their own. I’m open to any type of query, if it has to do with writing well, ask away.

(Start any comment with what type of genre you’re writing in)

In other news:

There’s a new book trailer out on Youtube for Claiming One. Take a look.

And for all my international visitors. Claiming One on Amazon, in a few places:

US

UK

CA

FR

IT