Readers Want to Believe—Make Them

“If you tell the reader that Bull Beezley is a brutal-faced, loose-lipped bully, with snake’s blood in his veins, the reader’s reaction may be, ‘Oh, yeah!’ But if you show the reader Bull Beezley raking the bloodied flanks of his weary, sweat-encrusted pony, and flogging the tottering, red-eyed animal with a quirt, or have him booting in the protruding ribs of a starved mongrel and, boy, the reader believes!”

— Fred East

 

Cliché Not After My Own Heart

Strong writing is a unique feature of capable authors. It is not merely words strung together, copied and pasted, from society’s lingo.

Here are clichés to avoid…like the plague:

[found on clichesite.com]
  • A rose by any other name would smell as sweet
  • Abandon ship
  • About face
  • Above board
  • Absence makes the heart grow fonder
  • Absolute power corrupts absolutely
  • Ace in the hole
  • Ace up his sleeve
  • Achilles heel
  • Acid test
  • Acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree, The
  • Actions speak louder than words
  • After my own heart
  • Ah, to be young and foolish…
  • Airing dirty laundry
  • All bent out of shape
  • All bets are off
  • All dressed up and nowhere to go
  • All ears
  • All for one, and one for all
  • All hands on deck
  • All hands to the pump
  • All heck (hell) breaks loose
  • All in a day’s work
  • All in due time
  • All over the map
  • All paled in comparison
  • All talk and no action
  • All that glitters is not gold
  • All that jazz
  • All the bits and pieces

 

To see the complete list of clichés from clichesite.com, click here.

[found on http://clichesite.com/alpha_list.asp?which=lett+1]

 

How to Organize and Develop Your Writing Ideas

 Guest Blog by J. D. Scott

 

You may have had ideas come to you in a flood, or you may labor over them until they’re fully delivered, but they all have one thing in common: they need to be developed into literature. So let’s go over some techniques to help you make the transition from a great idea into a great piece of writing!

ORGANIZING YOUR IDEAS:

  • Do you have a lot of creative ideas for writing?
  • Have you thought of more than you have time to develop?
  • So what do you do with them all?

~ Write them down: An outline or a paragraph for the more complicated ideas, or a sentence describing the simpler ones, will help you retain your thoughts later.

~ Keep them organized: Index cards, filing cabinet, files on your computer, a binder. If you have multiple categories, you may want to divide them by color-coding the subject files.

~ Choose a subject: Now you have to pick! Consider the big ideas first. You may be able to combine a few into one story, but too many will confuse your reader. More is not always better! Consider your target audience, and focus in on that one idea. I would not recommend starting several writing projects at once. You could bounce from story to story, never finishing anything—or worse, get discouraged and give up all together.

DEVELOPING YOUR IDEA:

Now that you have your idea, it’s time to get writing! But how can this small seed develop into a thriving story? Here are some ideas…

Find a Writers Group: In person, or online.

Talk it out: One of the best ways I’ve found to develop a story is to talk it over, then talk it over again, and then some more! Have lunch with a friend or spouse, and share your ideas with them. Call another writer; you could be a sounding board for each other’s work. Using a tape or digital recorder can also be helpful. The idea is that sometimes listening to your thoughts out loud can be enough to get you moving forward in your plot.

Try Visualization: Play your story out in your mind like a movie. This is a powerful and creative processing tool. Picture your characters—what they look like, the environment they’re in, and what your senses are hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, and tasting. If you can picture it, it will be much easier to write. Photographs that represent settings or characters that you’re working on can also inspire you.

Sketch or Doodle: Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, this can be very helpful. You could draw anything from a character, a setting, such as a castle or house, or even an aerial view of the land your work is set in. They don’t have to be worthy of publication; they’re simply to help you “see” your story better.

Charts and Graphs: This could come in many forms, from: a family tree showing genealogy, a timeline with a sequence of events, a chart with the climactic moments of your story, or a graph of your characters’s personality traits. The point is, it has to make sense to you and help your writing to move forward.

Storyboarding: This is simply using still pictures (photographs or drawings) to tell a story. Screenwriters and cartoonists commonly storyboard, however, it can be a very effective tool to lay out the storyline of a book. This could also be done in small sections on a dry-erase board. You don’t have to be great at sketching; you are simply creating images that are significant to you, or using words or word groups to keep track of where you are in your story. Including character descriptions, geology, dialog, or location can also be helpful.

Puzzle-making: This method consists of writing down storylines on strips of paper so that you can shuffle events around until you’re happy with the sequence. It can also be used to arrange a family tree, show relationships between characters, or just to keep track of your ideas. This can be time-consuming, however, it’s a great way to show the flexibility in your plot.

In writing, the hardest obstacle to overcome by far—is SITTING DOWN AND DOING IT! Our lives are busy, and we have many demands on our time, but if you are able to carve out a time each day—or even a couple times through the week—you will be pleasantly surprised with the outcome. I hope these ideas have been helpful to you, and have sparked your creativity.

 

Meet our Guest Blogger, J. D. Scott:

 

1398565_625686540810471_203956950_oJ. D. Scott is the organizing member of Abba’s Writers in Phoenix, Arizona. She leads, instructs, and teaches critiquing and story development to its members.

In 2013, J. D. Scott became part of the team at A Book’s Mind as a Publishing Consultant. She enjoys working alongside writers, helping them fulfill their dreams of becoming published authors.

Before being bit by the writing bug, J. D. Scott spent 20 years working with children as a nanny, mentor, camp counselor, and youth-group leader. With a heart for today’s youth, she set out to write books that both entertain and inspire them to rise above the current culture and see their true value.

She continues to live out her life’s passions of writing, publishing, and counseling/mentoring women and children.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble  | JDScottNovels | Blog | 
 | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Email |

 

[See what J. D. Scott had to say about our editor!]

 

How To Write A Travel Guide

[found on writersworkshop.co.uk; by Robin Lloyd-Jones]
  • Do your research – pre-travel research enriches the whole experience; post-travel research adds depth and accuracy to what you write. While travelling keep notes or you will forget; and take photographs to illustrate your words.
  • Be curious – about everything and everybody. What makes many travel books enjoyable is the people encountered along the way. Talk to everyone and never stop asking questions. Listen with a sympathetic ear. Look behind the glossy façade, delve beneath the surface.
  • Have a sense of wonder – Colours seemed so much brighter when we were children. Try to see the world with that same freshness of vision.
  • Use all your senses – sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Develop a feeling for the culture and history of a place. And a sense of humour allied to keen observation can make the most ordinary of experiences entertaining.
  • Don’t neglect your inner journey – Many of the most successful travel books are as much about the emotional journey the author makes as they are about the physical journey. The resolution of a personal issue or a change in attitude adds interest and brings the reader closer to the author.
  • Write with passion – To fully engage the reader (or indeed, a literary agent) your book must have something in it that you care about strongly –  an issue, a cause, the pursuit of a lifelong ambition. Without this your writing is in danger of seeming flat.
  • Be an open door, be receptive –  Travel with open eyes, ears, mind and heart.

For more tips on writing from Robin Lloyd-Jones, click here.

[found on http://www.writersworkshop.co.uk/Travel.html]

New Writers, Listen Up

[found on goinswriter.com; by Jeff Goins]

“Getting started

  • Start small. 300 words per day is plenty. John Grisham began his writing career as a lawyer. He got up early every morning and wrote one page. You can do the same. (Need some ideas for getting started? Check out these book ideas.)
  • Have an outline. Write up a table of contents that guide you. Then break up each chapter into a few sections. Think of your book in terms of beginning, middle, and end. Anything more complicated will get you lost. If you need help, read this book: Do the Work.
  • Have a set time to work on your book every day. If you want to take a day or two off per week, schedule that as time off. Don’t just let the deadline pass. And don’t let yourself off the hook.
  • Choose a unique place to write. This needs to be different from where you do other activities. The idea is to make this a special space so that when you enter it, you’re ready to work on your project.”

For more tips from GoinsWriter, click here.

[found on http://goinswriter.com/tips-writing-book]