Monday, February 10, 2014
I was busy writing a scene which read:
…a blush stained her cheek…
The word stained stopped me for a second and I backtracked and crossed it out and wrote “colored” over it. Even as I wrote “stained” I knew that it was the wrong word. It didn’t convey the true meaning of what I wanted my heroine to feel or my reader to witness.
…a blush colored her cheek…
The imagery is much better with my new word choice. Plus, I didn’t want a negative connotation associated with any part of my heroine. Colored gave just the right image.
As writers we make these word choices intuitively. Sometimes we are not even aware that we are changing the words because we are in the zone. Then when we are editing and polishing, again we review our word choices and change some for dramatic effect.
We’ve shared some of our favorite words on the Craft Loop, like loathsome, perch, ethereal, whimsical. Each word choice carries its own meaning, its own identity. And it is those word choices that populate our novels. (FYI, I had colored our novels but changed it to populate our novels. More dramatic, no?) It is those word choices that will create our world, that motivate our characters, that move our reader.
Eliza Doolittle may have been sick of words, but they are an author’s bread and butter. The more words we know the better we can manipulate them and the better our writing.
Alice Orr has two pages of action-words she likes. Thea Devine has a little black book of sexy phrases she likes to refer to. How many of us don’t have “favorite” words somewhere, whether it’s jutted down in a notebook or filed away in our heads. By selecting the correct word, we can stir the five senses in our writing and in our readers, and that makes our job easier (hopefully!) and gets us fans for life (hopefully!).
How and where do we find these words? By reading everything – novels, magazines, newspapers, tweets, subway ads. By listening everywhere – at the coffee shop, on Pandora radio, other people’s conversations, TV shows, movies.
So next time you sit down to write or are writing down ideas, watch your word choices. Why did you pick that word over another? What does that word choice convey? Does it pack a punch? Does it delight the senses? Do you love it?###
Thursday, January 9, 2014
Exceptional Things Come
When Passion Comes First
That rang so true to me. I had to take a picture and make it my new opening backdrop.
It’s a New Year. Time for a new beginning. Time to start a new book, where "exceptional things (will) come." Why? Because "passion comes first."
Passion comes first for all writers. More than the fame and fortune --stop laughing! -- we writers are enamored of words, of settings, of characters. We can look at a picture and imagine a life. We can hear a word or a sentence and imagine the whole scene and its aftermath.
What marvelous powers we have! We can create worlds in numerous ages and times and colors. So as you start your New Year, maybe start a new novel, let’s all remember these five tips:
1) Write what you know
2) You can’t edit a blank page
3) Every word counts
4) Just do it
5) Passion comes first.
Happy New Year! Happy New Beginnings! ---mcf
Monday, December 2, 2013
Keep Calm and Take Time To Write.
Here are three tips to keep you motivated during the holidays:
1) Get up one hour earlier every day during the holiday season to write or do some research. Even if all you do is think about your characters and plot some scenes that one hour is worth it. Disappear for an hour or two. Sit on the subway platform to get some writing done or at the local library or neighborhood Starbucks. The people in your house – yes, even the dogs! – can wait an hour until you get home and get the party started, as it where.
2) Keep pen and paper handy. In your pocketbook, your coat pocket, in the car, by the bed. And, make sure the pen has ink! You never know when you just HAVE to write something down. In case of emergency, napkins and post-it notes will do.
3) Write when you can. If you only have 30 minutes on the bus, and 15 while waiting at the car wash, and another 30 after the kids are asleep, take them. Write down what you can, when you can. Every word counts.
The Holiday Season doesn‘t have to put a stop to your writing or your creativity. Take the time. That 15-minutes, that one-hour will keep you sane and motivated. Give yourself the gift of time. It‘s the best present ever.
Friday, November 1, 2013
The secret to winning this challenge is to write, write and write some more.
Write whatever comes into your head --- dialogue, narrative, lists, et al. If your character is thinking of a song, of a poem, of a blog post, then write it out. It will keep your writing juices flowing.
Remember that EVERY word counts.
Don’t cross out any words.
Don’t delete anything.
And, don’t stop to do research or track down references. Make a note in your manuscript that you have to research this and that and keep writing. You can do the research later.
You want to write as many words as possible every day. The mathematical formula states that if you write 1666 words a day, you will reach your goal of 50,000 in 30 days. But let’s be realistic, some days you’ll write more than 1666 words, others you’ll write 66.
It doesn’t matter how many words you write per day. It only matters that you make the 50,000 by November 30.
So, don’t get discouraged.
Remember that every word counts.
And write, write and write some more.
Good luck. Happy Writing.♥
Maria Ferrer has entered NaNoWriMo four times and won twice. She is looking for a few good men and, oh yeah, her third NaNo win.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
You’ve finished your book and have submitted it to an editor or agent. Hallelujah. Congratulations!
However, you just can’t sit around and wait around for “the call;” the wait will drive you crazy. And drive others around you crazy as well with you checking your phone every other minute. Here are some things to entertain yourself with during the wait:
1) Greet the Family. They may have grown while you’ve been in your writing cave.
2) Treat everyone to dinner out. They are probably tired of takeout food. If you live alone, then treat yourself to a day at the spa or a long hot bubble bath and a good book.
3) Clean the house, because you know they didn’t do it properly. Of course, if you have the means, contact a cleaning service and just supervise. Cleanliness is good for the start of a new book.
4) Catch up on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Maybe move up a couple of levels on Candy Crush.
5) Pull out the outline for book number 2. It’s time to flesh it out so you have something else to show when you get “the call.”
Good luck! ---mcf
Thursday, August 29, 2013
Do It Anyway. A wonderful motto I first heard from author/editor/agent Alice Orr. It was true ten years ago, as much as it is true today.
Your writing does not have to be perfect. Does not have to be vast. It just has to be. Like Nora Roberts has said at numerous conferences, she can fix a written page; she can‘t fix a blank one.
If you want to see results, you have to write.
If you want to sell a book, you have to write.
If you want to be a published author, you have to write.
Writing is not easy. We all have productive days; other days it‘s a struggle to squeeze out even one line. And, life too does not make things easy. There are distractions everywhere – family, friends, work, responsibilities, duties, et al.
Do It Anyway. Whether you write one sentence, one page, one chapter, just write. If you have to force yourself, then you know what? Force yourself to write. Every day or every week. Don‘t go more than a week without writing because, like in exercise, it will take much longer to warm up.
Writing is like a muscle. You have to keep using it and often. And on those days that nothing seems right, when the energy is at zero, Do It Anyway. You‘ll thank yourself in the end.♥
Thursday, August 15, 2013
We asked Malle Vallik, Editorial Director of Harlequin’s Digital Editorial Initiatives, who heads this new line, how they planned to marry “Happily Ever After” and “Happy Right Now”?
MALLE: Great question! Most of our heroines will be in their twenties so I think Happy Right Now may lead to Happily Ever After. While I am a fan of the happily ever after story and read them all the time, I think these shorter (30,000) word stories featuring women living and loving and figuring out their lives and how to achieve the happily ever after can mean finding the great guy who may be the forever guy, but these books can also include plot lines where she realizes she is better off kicking him to the curb and considering his friend who didn’t lie or isn’t afraid of commitment. These stories will be truly current romances. Cosmo readers and romance novel readers will enjoy the HEA but I believe they will also be more than accepting of the heroine having a slightly untraditional HEA.
Congratulations to Harlequin, Cosmopolitan, Malle and Sylvia!♥