#WriterWednesday: Grand Opening

How do you start a great and monumental scene? Do you open with dialogue? Do you start while the pressure is on your hero or heroine has to make a decision right away? Do you set the scene? Or do you mark the scene with some great philosophical quandary?

There isn’t a wrong answer, however there is one opening that is growing less and less popular–setting the scene. In the age of instant oatmeal (which I am a fan of), instant mashed potatoes, and instant celebrities. Most people want everything to happen instantly including some faithful bibliophiles who are like ‘chuck the deets give me the meat’.

If you’re anything like me what you really long to do is open a scene and spend at least a paragraph describing the way that the light refracted off of the river and illuminated the contour and freckles of your protagonist. But, “ain’t nobody got time for that.” So, is this a complaining ranting post where I talk about how much I long for the golden days of literature.

No way, it is important to do all things without murmuring and complaining and when possible I find a solution. Which I believe I have.

Magazines.

I don’t know how they figured out the formula, but magazine journalists have figured out the formula. There’s a way to set the scene and still engage the reader. Let’s look at two examples from Essence magazine:

“Keke Palmer is frozen in a selfie squat in 40-degree weather. It’s a familiar stance: knees slightly bent, chin up and a pout for the camera. We’re outside the backstage entrance of Manhattan’s Broadway Theatre, where steel barriers are the only thing separating her from a crowd of about 50 girls.” ~ “Sugar and Spice” by Clover Hope, Essence January 2015

 

“…She breezes into the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills pushing a carriage and looking like the picture of bliss. She peeks in on her little one, Titan Jewell Weatherspoon, before slipping into her seat and discussing the immense changes she has undergone over the past year.” (I’m not a fan, but I want to keep reading. I want to sip tea with them at the Four Seasons and get all into her business.) ~ “Oh Baby!” by Britni Danielle, Essence April 2015

Both examples provide the reader with enough details to visualize what’s going on without getting bogged down. That’s our job now as modern writers give the people a show-set a scene, but don’t drag them through the mud just to see it.

Sound difficult? It may be, actually it is. But try this to get you started, grab the closest magazine to you or hit the local market and pick up a magazine, turn to the feature article and check out how the author expertly weaves in details that set the scene and engage you as a reader. Nothing lost and everything gained.

Like what you see? After you finish reading try creating your own grand opening? How do you set a scene?

#WriterWednesday: Warning RWW is Prohibited

About two weeks ago one of my colleagues opened her email to show me the first few pages of a novel she’d begun a long time ago and had since abandoned. She wasn’t sure if there was any way her manuscript could be turned into a novel. The more we discussed it I realized why her few pages of writing couldn’t become more than the few pages saved to her email–she had been RWW (Revising While Writing)

Revising While Writing is Prohibited. 

If you keep mulling over your work trying to create the perfect opening you’ll never craft the perfect closing. 
The longer you spend revising paragraphs you’ll never complete a chapter. 

Warning yellow tape with tunnel as backgroundMost writers who step away from their work for an extended period of time are usually prone to revising while writing. I know exactly how it happens you leave the story unattended while dealing with your real life and then when you return and read what you’ve written you slap yourself in the face and reprimand yourself for writing such crap. Then you start rewriting. 

Stop. 

Revising While Writing is Prohibited.

Now, here’s how you curb that. When you step away from your work in progress don’t reread the entire chapter before you start writing. Reread the last two sentences you wrote or the last paragraph if you need more context before you continue. Then write. Don’t make adjustments, play with the words, or give your rebellious heroine a nose ring. Focus on advancing the story instead of rearranging the story.

You can tackle your major issues later.

What are some of the major issues you have with your writing? Leave them in the comments section so, we can tackle them before you’re done.  

#WriterWednesday: Old School

I recently embarked on very old school journey with my writing. I actually wrote. I didn’t type and save, and then back up my most recent piece of writing. I wrote it longhand before typing it. I know that sounds totally crazy and it was. It was laborious. Just when I starting patting myself on the back for having finished writing my first novella I realized I had to type the thing. However, there was a huge benefit to this process. IMG_0240

This week for #WriterWednesday I’m encouraging you to go old school. Before you shoot this idea down let’s work this out. 

Cons

  • Time consuming–It seems like double duty, but it’s not. It’s going to cut back on your revision/editing time or at the least change the process.
  • I’m used to writing on the computer not with pen and paper. It’s always good to challenge yourself as a writer and try something different. You never know when you’ll need to do this. My first novel, Born at Dawn was written long hand. The second novel I wrote, Seasoned with Grace was all on the computer, but the demands of the protagonist and narrator of Tempted to Touch would not allow me to just sit and type, but something happened in all that hassle. 

Pro

During the process of taking my story from crazy scribbled notes to a beautifully typed manuscript I had to look at my words again. I had to look at the sentences again. I had to look at the characters again. I was able to spot overused words, poor word choice, and lack of detail and/or too much detail. I had the chance to break up sentences and play with their structure and I had a chance to spot inconsistencies. Does that mean I won’t have to edit? Of course not, but it does mean that the process looks different because I examined the story more closely. 

Challenge: I dare you to go old school today, whether it be a paragraph, a page, or a thousand words. Write something longhand before typing it and watch the transformation take place. Share your transformation in the comments or just your experience in the comments.

Happy Writing! 

#WriterWednesday : Mental Health Day

Writers are wacky. Yes, I said it. We live with people and stories in our heads. Words haunt us at times and characters cajole us out of bed to tell their tales. What every writer needs to do frequently is take a mental health day, Take a break from the words and the people living in your head and connect with the real people in your life. Negatives Positives Computer Keys Showing Plus And Minus Alternatives Analysis And Decisions

Stop yelling at me and looking at the computer screen funny. I know that you need to write. You are a committed and dedicated artist who must write something every single day. Now for the reality check in order to write well you need to be well. Yes, in fits of madness, sadness, or even depression you may feel like a creative genius or you may produce your greatest work, but those moods are not enough to sustain your writing career, 

Take a break. As a matter of fact do something us writers rarely do–celebrate you. Celebrate the work that you accomplished. If you only typed one word today bust out the Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider and do a happy dance you are not where you were yesterday. Don’t even get into that self-deprecating train of thought, but I’m not where I want to be. You are not where you were and you are taking steps to change that. Celebrate. 

I give you permission to celebrate. 

#WriterWednesday: Time Thief

So, a popular question that I often receive in relation to my illustrious writing career (don’t roll your eyes, I’m calling those things that are not as though they were) is, “How do you find the time to write?”. I get this question from aspiring authors and non-authors as well who just wish they could get more out of their day. 

For #WriterWednesday I’m giving away the answer. Old vintage typewriter

I’m a thief. I don’t make time I steal time. If I was waiting for an opportune time to begin writing with a full-time job, husband, and two kids, guess what? I’d still be waiting. I wouldn’t have even written this post. What you’re reading was written on stolen time. Today I’m scheduled for jury duty and although I wasn’t supposed to arrive here until 10 am after dropping off the my sweet baby Boogie at the babysitter at her usual time I headed here. I sipped some tea and whipped out my laptop to get this post done and I’ll be moving on to my novella in a few minutes.

Wherever I find pockets of time not being used or misappropriated I steal that time and give it to my writing. For example, my commute to work consists of a half an hour train ride there and an hour train ride back. During that time I write. If the train is too crowded for me to take out my laptop I type on my phone and email what I’ve written to myself.

Trip to the laundry–I write.

Today, I challenge you to record everything that you do today and how much time you spend doing it. Identify the moments where there are holes or chunks of idle time (watching television and trolling Facebook count as idle time–don’t tell me the entire two hours you spent on Facebook was for social media promotions). Once you’ve identified those areas pull a Robin Hood. Steal that time and give it to your writing.  

Are there moments throughout your day that you can identify immediately as excellent marks to steal time from?

When are they and what will you be working on during those times?

Can’t wait to hear how much writing you get done after stealing some time. 

#WriterWednesday : 5 Simple Ways to Increase Your Blog Traffic by Faith Simone

Have you been wondering how to make your blog work for you instead of you working for your blog? Have you racked your brain trying to figure out why your readers barely engage with the content you post? Well, today on #WriterWednesday the 2014 winner of the Very Inspiring Blogger Award, Faith Simone of All Things Written to Inspire and Encourage is stopping by The Neophyte Author to steer us all in the write direction. 

 

5 Simple Ways to Increase Your Blog Traffic by Faith Simone

Blogging is not for the faint of heart, but it doesn’t have to be super difficult either. At its root, blogging is intended for two things: sharing a person’s personal thoughts on a variety of subjects and connecting with others. That’s it in a nut shell. But we all know that many folks use their blogs as a way to sell products, make a living by working with sponsors and/or building a platform for future endeavors. So whether your goal is to make connections, money or both, you need a steady flow of traffic from online visitors. Here are a few ways to help make that happen.

 

  • BE CONSISTENT-Nothing alienates a following more than posting inconsistently. Whether you post daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly do it regularly. The best practice is to clearly state your posting habits on your blog near your subscribe button. But keep in mind that you should under promise and over deliver.

 

  • PRODUCE GREAT CONTENT– They say knowledge is power, and blogging about subjects you’re an expert in is a great way to build, and keep, a solid audience. Invest time in researching and sharing relevant content on a regular basis. You should also focus on being entertaining. Plenty of blogs generate a lot of traffic simply because the blogger shares their personal life on a regular basis. If you have an engaging personality and you’re able to translate that with pictures and writing, you have all you need to keep people coming back for more!

 

  • TAG YOUR POSTS CORRECTLY– Neglecting to take advantage of search engine optimization (SEO) is something many bloggers overlook. Tagging your posts with key words consistently is a great way to put you at the top of Google and other search engines. For example, if you blog about easy quick food recipes, it’s probably a good idea to tag all your posts with the words ‘food’ and ‘recipes’. Then add specifics like ‘easy’, ‘enchiladas’, ‘30 minute meals’, etc. Do this often enough and your blog will be one of the first to populate in specific searches. When I first started blogging I Googled my name and I wasn’t even on the top few pages of the results. Then I started tagging every single post with ‘Faith Simone’. Now, my blog posts span the first couple of pages for that search. It works, try it!

 

  • COMMENTS– One sure way to increase traffic and comments is to comment on other blogs. Especially blogs that cover similar information to yours. Bloggers love comments like a mother loves her kids. I’m serious. Bloggers spend time and effort producing content for their blogs and usually don’t get a whole lot of feedback for it. A thoughtful comment makes a blogger’s heart sing. It means that not only is someone actually reading their content, but they took time to respond intelligently to it. Do this often enough and you’re on your way to building a sincere relationship with the blogger whose posts you comment on and with their loyal followers. Keep in mind that comments like ‘Great post!’ won’t fly. Be sincere and only comment when you have something meaningful to contribute.

 

 

  • SHARING– I was late to the party on this one, but I’m so glad that I recently came to understand the gift of sharing content. Taking just a minute to share a great post by a fellow blogger on Twitter or Facebook is an awesome way to build a relationship with fellow bloggers. Plus, it gives your social media followers access to more great content. It’s also reciprocal. Once you share a blogger’s content they’re more likely to share yours. You’re both helping each other reach new audiences. Sharing is indeed caring.

So that’s it folks: consistence, good content, effective tagging, sincere comments and social media sharing. Put those elements into practice and watch your visitor stats grow!

About the Author

Author2Faith Simone is a poet, playwright and novelist.  She is also an active blogger, sharing her personal thoughts, book reviews and tips for writers on her website FaithSimone.com. Simone is passionate about using her gift of writing as a tool to help promote humanity, understanding and compassion.

 

 

Contact Faith Simone

Website: FaithSimone.com

Twitter: @FaithSimone2011

Facebook: Author Faith Simone

Goodreads: Faith Simone

 To celebrate the release of her debut novel When the Real Thing Comes Along Faith is giving away Three (3) Amazon Gift Cards! Click on here to enter!

#WriterWednesday : Find the Love

This week Writer’s Wednesday comes from the Neophyte Author and is inspired by V-Day.

Writing is a craft that takes dedication and when you mix in social media, marketing, and trying to balance all the other stuff in your life sometimes the love gets lost. 

This week I not only recommend but I challenge you to find the love. Look through your old journals and writing notebooks. Go sit in the park (if it isn’t freezing where you are) or take a trip to the art museum and let the paintings become the inspiration for a scene or poem. Выбор любовь (choice love). Концепция изменения выбора

Find the love of your craft. Stop working. Stop grinding. Just love the words, honor that tap-tap sound of the keyboard, and dogeared page of your journal. 

Read the words aloud and love them. 

Find the love and after you find it share a line or two from the work that you currently in love with. 

#WriterWednesday : Dr. Ezreaonne Jackson is Digging Up What’s Buried Inside of You

Writing can be done for your own personal edification.  Some of us have purposely focused on writing a project with the thought of being a best selling author, where others, like myself just felt the urge to express some deep, significant thought or circumstance, situation or ideal that needs to be birthed for your personal sanity.

Creativity is intrinsic in every person.  Just as jewels and pearls are fostered through time, pressure, heat, agitation, and force we at times do not realize how to express the creativeness inside us until some pivotal season in our lives. When writing never been afraid to write what you see, feel or experience while your own emotions are flooding to the surface for expression just as the molten lava of a volcanic eruption tells a tale of depth, pressure, heat, and time. 

Read books that inspire you. Words are powerful and they do visit the hearts of its readers.  

Don’t be discouraged by the days of silence, just patiently wait for the flooding of an idea, a powerful sentence or paragraph that will reach into your soul pulling out chapter after chapter.  Never stop thinking about writing.

 

About the Author

headshotRetired from being a Senior Pastor and refocused to oversee her Spiritual daughter’s pastoral mandate, Dr. Ezreaonne Jackson embraces a new chapter in her life.  Her endeavors are to further her education to include Marketing and Media, serve her community, utilize life coaching skills, embark on International ministry and expand her literary expressions. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Theological Studies from the Regency Christian College in Jacksonville, Florida and received an Honorary Doctorate in Ministry from Trinity Bible College in Richmond, VA. Dr. Ezreaonne Jackson’s message is one that is precise in the strategy of developing and defining vision and purpose.

 

#WriterWednesday Michelle Stimpson Helps You Do Your Homework

This week our #WriterWednesday tips come from an author that shouldn’t need an introduction, but if you don’t know her I’m so glad that you are getting a chance to meet her via The Neophyte Author. Pay attention take notes, this may seem like the basics, but we all make mistakes and overlook certain things because we never knew it was wrong or because we’re trying to be creative.

 

michelle-stimpsonBestselling, award-winning author Michelle Stimpson has penned more than twenty-five Christian fiction books including traditional bestseller Divas of Damascus Road, the highly acclaimed Falling Into Grace, and Amazon #1 bestseller, Stepping Down. She has also published more than fifty short stories through her educational publishing company, WeGottaRead.com. Michelle holds an English degree from Jarvis Christian College and master’s degree in education from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is a part-time language arts consultant and serves in women’s ministry at her home church, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. She and her husband have two young adult children and one crazy dog.

You can find Michelle online at:

 www.MichelleStimpson.com 

FB page: https://www.facebook.com/MichelleStimpsonWrites

#WriterWednesday Publishing is a Business: Advice From Barbara Joe Williams

There are several words of advice I would like to share with new authors. However, I will begin with my main motto: Writing is a hobby, but publishing is a business. If you’re planning to have a long-term career in the publishing industry, you need to learn the business and master it. That means educating yourself and not just relying on your publisher or other authors for secondhand information.  You should do your own research via the internet and read publishing manuals from experienced authors who are succeeding in the business.

Another word of advice is to get a partner. Not a writing partner, but another writer you can share ideas with, proofread each other’s work, provide feedback, and keep each other motivated when your spirits are low. This is the one thing that has helped me tremendously over the years. My partner is honest with me and tells me when my writing sucks, and I tell her when to get off her butt and write something whether it sucks or not.

I also advise new authors to become part of a writer’s group or a local author’s network for professional development. There’s nothing like networking and sharing with a group of likeminded individuals. Instead of having one person to give you feedback, you will have a whole network of authors who can keep you motivated to write. Every writer’s group is not the same, so it may take some time for you to find one that fits or you might end up starting your own, like I did.

My final word of advice for beginning authors would be this: Don’t expect overnight success. I’ve seen many authors publish a book, promote it for two months, and then drop out of sight simply because they haven’t sold a thousand copies (or whatever number they had in mind). It takes time to build up a following of loyal readers, and it usually doesn’t come from just having one book on the market. Find your audience, market to them, and when the next book is released, they will find you.

Barbara JoeBarbara Joe Williams is the author of ten novels, a novella, several nonfiction books and short stories. Her latest eBook is titled, A Cup of Barbara Joe: Things I’ve Learned about Life, Marriage, Motherhood & People.

Amazon page: http://goo.gl/hCOkBb

Website: www.barbarajoe.webs.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/barbara.williams.31105674

Thanks for the interview. My next nonfiction eBook release is February 5 titled, A-Z Marketing Tips: A Motivational Guide to Selling Your Products. And my next fiction eBook release is titled, Holiday Hotel 2: A Valentine’s Day story.

Quality books. All the time for $2.99 or less.