After I edited L.H. Davis’ upcoming novel, Outpost Earth, he asked me to write the synopsis, which he then incorporated into his book proposal and agent query.
It’s always nice to know my services are appreciated, the little extra was a bonus, but this note simply made my day.
If you’d like to see a sample of Larry’s earlier work, check out his novella, The Emporium and stay tuned for the release of Outpost Earth.
We all have our “To Do” lists, our “Lifetime Goal” lists or our “Things I Gotta do before I die” lists. The 2007 hit movie The Bucket List, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, popularized the term “The Bucket List” and has helped people worldwide to think proactively about the things that are important to them, to make lists of all the things they want to do before they die.
Author Dana Sitar knows that writers, especially freelance writers, need to have their own lists of things to do to grow as writers. She has written A Writer’s Bucket List, which serves as a tangible reminder for herself and her readers of the many things writers might consider for their own careers.
She writes: 99 things to do for inspiration, education, and experience before your writing kicks the bucket.
A Writer’s Bucket List is written in a fun and easy-to-read style that will hold your attention and motivate you to create your own bucket list. Don’t worry if many of the author’s items appear on your own list. She won’t mind!
You can buy the book or read more about Dana Sitar by clicking The Writer’s Bucket List.
C. Hope Clark is the author of The Carolina Slade Mystery Series, Bell Bridge Books
Lowcountry Bribe, Feb 2012
Tidewater Murder, April 2013
Editor, FundsforWriters, www.fundsforwriters.com
Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers, 2001-2012
Today, she is my guest blogger, with a subject I know is often on the minds of many writers.
A writer recently cried on my shoulder about not being able to complete a project because he had so many good ideas.
“I’ve become a project hopper. I start but don’t finish. Like convicts who look through iron bars at nervous guards, these story ideas glare at me from their Microsoft prison cells and question my authority. A walk to clear my head. Journaling. Listening to classical music. These exercises sometimes liberate ‘the One.’ I eventually find my way clear of the forest and pick the lonely little Charlie Brown Christmas tree. But, good grief,
it’s a painful process.”
Two suggestions, my friend.
1) Set time on your calendar for a business meeting with yourself.
At least monthly, format your goals for the next month…and make sure you look back at the previous month to study what you accomplished (or didn’t). So many people waive this part of being a writer. Who likes to plan?
In my experience, some writers plan and plan, and rarely produce. They talk about what they’re going to do (you see them on Facebook and meet them in writing groups all the time) and rarely see their projects through. Their opposites write and write and don’t want to stop and plan what they will do with what they are writing.
You, however, must be different. Monthly, (or weekly is preferred) take a moment to study where you’re headed and where you’ve been. Did you write a piece last week and could not find a home for it? Did you find a market you loved but couldn’t come up with a piece that fit? Or did you start writing one piece, then stop and switch to another, and so on? How many times did you do that? Is this a habit you might need to break?
In other words, study your writing habits? Which are not good? Which came through for you?
2) Whatever project you pick, go with it to THE END.
I know you probably get tired of listening to me talk about my novel, but the lessons learned from the journey just about outweigh the results of the project itself.
I wrote Lowcountry Bribe over two years, after work, at night. I did a few short pieces in the middle of this effort for diversity and entertainment, but my focus was this manuscript. I made myself reach THE END. Couldn’t sell it. So I put it on the shelf.
It wasn’t a partial manuscript. It wasn’t an idea. It was a completed job. Eventually, an opportunity presented itself for me to resubmit. I could only do that because I had a completed project, one that I could verbalize with a beginning, middle and ending. Not just a partial attempt, and far beyond a rough idea.
When you hold your meeting and decide on your projects, lock the ones you don’t select away. Don’t look at them. Don’t look at what others are doing and get drawn away. Finish what you start. Do that a few times, and you just might find opportunity knocking harder on your door, because you have an inventory of finished products. What also helped sell Lowcountry Bribe? The fact that I had book two completed already.
Nothing is more frustrating to me as a writer than to see a hard drive full of partial projects. I delete most of those. Seeing them will only muddle your senses as they accumulate into a huge list, eventually representing your inability to complete what you start.
Bottom line: Pick what to write…and finish it. Repeat.
You can learn more about Hope by clicking the links below.
THE BLOG – http://www.hopeclark.blogspot.com
TWITTER – http://twitter.com/hopeclark
FACEBOOK - http://www.facebook.com/chopeclark
ABOUT.ME – About Hope
GOODREADS – http://www.goodreads.com/hopeclark
PINTEREST – http://www.pinterest.com/chopeclark
AUTHOR SITE – http://www.chopeclark.com
Check out Lowcountry Bribe on Amazon.
Award-winning writer John J. White believes I am the best editor ever. He may be biased, but it still feels good to see this on another website.
Would you like to see how I can help strengthen your memoir, manuscript, white paper or other writing? Send me an email and let’s talk. firstname.lastname@example.org
When you finish your manuscript, you want to be sure it is as good as it can be before you have it professionally edited and you want to have it professionally edited before it appears online or on book shelves.
If you read your manuscript aloud, you will find many errors, but if you read it too soon after writing, you may be too close to your work. Set it aside and take a break. Start your next book, have a party, dance or feed your dust bunnies. Give your manuscript four to six weeks before you tackle it, then look for these common mistakes.
Be sure to use the strongest verbs possible.
• To check verbs for strength, see if they use any form of to be, such as is, was and did. Also, check for verbs that end in ing. Typically, ing verbs are weak. Can you substitute another form of the verb?
Began to is often overused. Everything can’t be beginning all the time. It’s weaker than using the past tense of the verb.
• Be watchful for telling rather than showing.
• Notice when you attempt to tell what someone is thinking or feeling. Try to show, instead of filtering through your characters.
• Don’t over-think conversation tags. Sometimes said is perfect on its own. Said is one of those words readers don’t remember reading and doesn’t jolt as much as some other tags. It’s good to mix things up, but if your characters reply or demand too much, your dialogue loses its natural flow.
• It’s okay to skip conversation tags for a few sentences, as long as there are no more than two characters in a scene. It’s also acceptable to use he/she said in longer conversations if you sprinkle character names and attributions often enough to keep the reader engaged.
• Watch the use of clichés.
• Avoid beginning sentences with the same phrase, especially in the same, or close, paragraphs. Diversify as much as you can without being pretentious.
• Refrain from overusing adverbs, especially those ending in ly. Too many descriptors can confuse your scenes.
• Notice how often you repeat the same words and strive to avoid redundancy. Some words, such as that are often not necessary. Avoid modifiers such as very if you can use a different word. Consider very tired versus exhausted or very pretty as opposed to beautiful, lovely, or attractive.
• Less than and more than can be useful if used sparingly. It’s fine to be finite. Some things can happen two hours after another event. Your readers won’t care if a ceiling is more than seven feet tall or nearly eight feet tall. They will care if a crane scrapes the ceiling while carrying a box or if a character can touch the ceiling with his fingers when he stretches.
• Use caution when writing in absolutes. Even in dialogue, the overuse of words such as always, never, ever muddle the story.
I’d love to hear from you. Let me know if you have a question. Please, leave a comment and tell me of your experiences with editors and self-editing.
I met Dana Sitar online and subscribed to her newsletter, where I am entertained and educated.
She asked me to help edit her soon-to-be released book, “A Writer’s Bucket List,” which just might jump start the writer inside you.
When you visit her DIY Writing site, click over to her comedy phlog, too. You won’t be sorry.
It’s easy. I post photos.
I have many friends who are writers. Some of them embrace this fact and others blush at the idea. Most don’t know how to promote themselves or feel they might be breaking some kind of ethics code to say, “Hey! Look at me! Look what I wrote!”
Why write if you don’t promote yourself?
There are so many aspects to self-promotion and creating a solid writer’s platform. There are also many websites devoted to helping writers do just this – perhaps none better than My Name is Not Bob.
Robert Lee Brewer is
“Father. Poet. Editor. Occasional slap happy smack talker.”
He’s also quite the motivator. I wondered how he finds time to do all he does, then I accepted his April Platform Challenge, despite knowing I would be traveling 10 days in April and I knew that for half my trip, I would have spotty or no Internet connection.
Fortunately, when I did have connection, I could search his archived posts and I now have all the challenges logged for use when my upturned life arights.
The challenge includes:
- Create a twitter account
- Read at least one blog post and comment on it
- Do a search on your name
- Find a helpful article (or blog post) and share it with your social network
- Create a time management plan
Many of my friends write or blog for their own pleasure, but most long, as Carl Sandburg did, to
…make it pay for my living and some besides.
Robert Lee Brewer’s April Platform introduced me to Michael Hyatt’s Intentional Leadership site and many others. I want to start exploring other bloggers and link to them, for being among peers is vital to any person’s success, perhaps more for a writer.
Previously, I mentioned my friend’s blog at Half C Note, but it bears repeating. She’s clever and makes me take notice. Her partner also has a site where she bares her soul and showcases her wonderful photography.
Like my friend’s partner, I have never met Amanda Dcosta, but I enjoy reading and guest-blogging for her at Mandy’s Pages.
I meet many writers, self-published and mainstream authors and bloggers alike, including my personal friend, H.V. Rhodes, the author of The Braindead Manager. Since 2008, he has been a member of My Own Writers’ Salon and has inspired me to achieve personally and professionally.
Another friend and close, personal writing peer who has a blog is J.J. White. He is, by all standards, a smarty pants, a smart alec and a smartass. He knows it and works to perfect his snarky attitude on a daily basis. The electrical engineer is also a prolific writer. His blog is very much a tongue-in-cheek expression of his angst at not having yet published a book, despite years of tryng. He is, however a many-times-over published writer of surprising short stories that make me think of O.Henry crossed with a touch of Edgar Allen Poe. I believe he has even written at least one story about a raven or some other ominous black bird. He writes so much, I cannot keep up with him, despite our twice-a-month meetings. He earns money on Helium and has numerous national awards for his short stories.
I am honored and inspired to know, even if only through their blogs, such fascinating writers. Social networks have made it possible to get to know people who would have been complete strangers, such as Amanda, who lives on the other side of the globe.
Remember, challenges like Robert Lee Brewer’s April Platform Challenge can be done at any time during the year. They are not reserved for the month of April. If you would like to see my complete list, to save you the trouble of searching his archives for the daily posts, leave a comment or request one by emailing email@example.com
If you found this helpful, please share it by using one of the links or posting a link to your favorite social network.
I’ve been called the “family dictionary” and a friend once told me I have “encyclopedic knowledge.” Some of my friends look up to me as a sort of writing guru. Yet, despite my personal fan club, I find myself doubting my skills from time to time.
It’s easy to become complacent. In my job as an editor, I work with writers of all sorts – helping, guiding and teaching. They tell me I have a knack for helping them find or use their voices.
Yet, my own creative writing is often relegated to the “someday” file in my mind. My novels, short stories and personal essays stagnate. My growth as a writer stalls, which is why it’s important to challenge myself or to accept challenges, such as Robert Lee Brewer’s April Platform Challenge.
The daily challenges have progressed and encouraged the participants to stretch themselves as writers and as social networkers. With the Twitter hashtag #MNINB, he has motivated many writers to move beyond our comfort zones.
So far, the challenges have been easy, but I’ve learned that if I intend to have others take me seriously as a writer and editor, I need to better promote myself. The challenge, for me, is to let writers know I can help them improve their works. My challenge lies in self-promotion without spamming the very people with whom I want to connect.
Despite my status as family dictionary and encyclopedic, I have much to learn – especially about how to promote myself and my skills.