Monday, June 30, 2014

GIVE EMOTION BY RITA KARNOPP

If you watch singing shows . . . what is the one thing they ask the performer to do – to make it believable?  It’s show emotion – in the tone and in the expression.  That will make the audience ‘feel’ and believe what you are saying. 

Well, the same thing holds true when writing.  We must create strong and emotional characters to make a plot believable – in any genre.  So how do we create emotion?  One good way is to use frustration.  It’s a driving force that gives the writer a wide-range of emotions to let the reader into the heart of our characters.  For instance: disappointment, aggravation, exasperation, dissatisfaction, disturbance, irritation, and even vexation.   You can create frustrated characters that will advance your story at a steady pace.
Plotting from frustrations will lead you to a different kind of book, as opposed to one where your character is in control and handles frustration well.  Frustration will make your characters respond differently.  They might strike out.  Maybe jealousy becomes the frustration and he/she follows their x-partner – a behavior totally out-of-character. 
How about the opposite reaction, normally he/she would have struck out and because of the effects of frustration, he/she runs . . . hides . . . feels it’s not worth living for?  His/her plans might frustrated his/her family (dirty cop, taking kick-backs, in love with a possible killer) and provide the plot for the entire balance of the novel.
A good way to tap into a character feeling frustration is to go back to a time you felt completely frustrated. Maybe you couldn’t get someone else to see your point of view, you were following someone driving thirty in a sixty mile-per-hour zone, or you were dealing with a boyfriend or spouse that just won’t listen. Take a moment and relive as much as you can about how you felt, what you thought, and how your body reacted. Jot down the noticeable points.
I just put myself in the situation of my character . . . and think, ‘how would I react?’  Maybe a better question is, ‘how would I over-react?’  Make your characters complex . . . I mean, face it, aren’t we all?  And keep in mind, how is your day going when you react or over-react.  How much do you have on your plate?  What is going on in your life that will make you ‘emotional’ and react uncharacteristically? 
We want our characters to be realistic . . . but always keep in mind we can make them behave unnatural in an emotional state.  Use that to your advantage and make your characters interesting; strong and weak, calm and ballistic, intelligent but also making unwise decisions, etc.
It is all achievable with emotion.  Real or not . . . it must be believable.
For more insights into creating frustrated characters, check out Write Great Fiction: Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint by Nancy Kress.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Round Robin Blog with Ginger - #RndRbn0614

This month, Rhobin Courtright has given us a real challenge:
Post your best explosive (literally or figuratively, physically or emotionally) scene from your writing.  Try to keep it relatively short. Tell about your reaction to writing it, background information for your purpose, for the characters, etc.

I've selected a scene from Sarah's Heart and I think what takes place explains why my heroine is worried, tense, and emotionally upset. 

 I react to Lone Wolf's treatment with the same angst, but maybe a little more so because of the way he's treated solely because of his ethnicity.  I took writing this scene very personally because almost every day, someone plays the race card and places us in a position to defend ourselves against something we clearly aren't.  I once was sued for racial bias by a co-worker I'd worked with for eight years, and when I thought of all the nights I'd carried her work home to help her stay afloat, and that I'd never done a thing to treat her any differently than the rest of my co-workers, I was hurt, mad, and confused all at the same time. At the time, I had no idea she took legal action merely for the purpose of monetary gain, and even once I figured out her motives, the whole scenario still stung. 

I wasn't guilty, but that didn't matter. In the end, ##### got my job, my retirement, and for a while, me...consumed by hatred.. After years, I finally realized I was only hurting myself by carrying around all that anger.. she probably went on with her life with no further thoughts of me.  For eight years, I considered her a friend, so wherever she is, I hope she's fine and enjoying life.

Anyhow...on with Sarah's Heart.


At the sound of approaching horses everyone turned toward a swirling cloud of dust climbing skyward. Sarah’s heart quickened until she glimpsed the familiar blue coat with gold buttons on the first two riders appearing from the haze. A cavalry troop, maybe fifty strong, in two perfect lines, reined in their animals in front of the mission. 

While the rest of the regiment remained astride, the ranking officer dismounted, removed his hat and approached. 

“Good morning, Father Brouchard. First Lieutenant Blandon Moore at your service. You might recall we passed through last month.” 

Despite a seemingly pleasant disposition, the officer’s eyes fixed a stony glare on Wolf. “May I ask your name?” 

“Only if you tell me why you want to know.” Wolf stared back, his tone defiant. 

The Lieutenant’s jaw tensed. With narrowed eyes, he glanced over his shoulder. “Sergeant Flynn, you and Private McCoy dismount and take this half-breed into custody!” 

At the rigid tone in their commander’s voice, the two men scrambled down, each grabbing one of Wolf’s arms.

 Sarah gasped. 

“Let me go, dammit!” Wolf fought against restraint until they twisted his limbs so far behind his back that his face contorted with pain. 

Sarah cast a pleading look at the priest, but instead of intervening, the man stood quietly with his fingers interlaced and a look of apprehension on his face. Despite detesting confrontation, she squared her shoulders and stepped forward. “Excuse me, Lieutenant, but what’s the meaning of this?” The quiver in her voice belied her courage. 

He removed his hat and raked a surveying gaze over her. “And who’s asking?” 

“Sarah Collins. I’m traveling with Mr….Gray Wolf. I’m sure you’ve made a mistake. There is absolutely no reason for the horrible way your men are treating him.” 

“Would that be Miss Collins?” His gaze rested on her bosom then moved to her face. She squirmed beneath the undeniable hunger in his eyes. 

“Yes.” Her voice was terse. “Wolf has been kind enough to save my life and see me to my destination. I would appreciate you allowing us to continue our journey in peace.” 

Lieutenant Moore frowned. “Traveling alone with a breed? Humph! I’m sure you would like to continue…whatever it is you were doing,” his mouth formed a sneer, “but I believe your friend is a thief. There’s a wanted poster floating around with his picture on it.” 

“Again, you are very much mistaken.” She stood toe-to-toe with the Lieutenant in the wake of the his insulting tone. His intimated impropriety heated her cheeks. 

“Well see about that.” He plopped his hat back atop his head and turned to his men. Secure the prisoner on his horse. We’ll take him back to Fort Leavenworth and see if the quartermaster can identify him as the scoundrel who helped himself to the stolen supplies. 

“But…no…wait…” Sarah’s shoulders sagged. 

“Good day, Miss Collins.” The officer made a slight bow, spun on his heel and remounted.

Sarah watched helplessly as the men tied Wolf’s hands and threw him astride Scout. She dropped her valise and ran to his side. Peering up at him, she clutched his leg while her stomach twisted into a knot. “What can I do to help? They can’t just take you away and leave me out here alone.” 


His brow furrowed. “I’m afraid there’s nothing you can do. Wait for me. I’ll get back…at least try to, as soon as I can.”

Wow...bet you can't wait for more tension.  Hop on over to the other participants' links and see what they have to offer:


Margaret Fieland at http://margaretfieland.com/my_blog
Heidi M. http://heidiwriter.wordpress.com
Beverley Bateman at http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Kay Sisk http://kaysisk.blogspot.com
Anne Stenhouse at http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com
Connie Vines at http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Ginger Simpson at http://mizging.blogspot.com
Geeta Kakade at http://geetakakade.blogspot.com/
Fiona McGier at http://www.fionamcgier.com
Lynn Crain at http://lynncrain.blogspot.co.at/
Rhobin Courtright at http://rhobinleecourtright.com

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Freebits with Ginger #frifreebits #blogshare

This Week, I'm continuing with my western historical, White Heart, Lakota Spirit.  If you enjoyed Destiny's Bride, Green Eyes continues as a character in this stand alone story.

This from the prologue:

 Her father drove the wagon while Kevin prodded their single
cow along and kept her from straying. Grace smiled, thinking of
her older brother’s silly jokes. He always seemed to find humor in
everything, and even when times got tough, he made her laugh.
Recalling a few nights back when he’d donned Mama’s bonnet and
danced a jig around the campfire to Papa’s fiddling, caused Grace’s gritty lips to lift in a smile. At twenty, Kevin should have a wife and be making his own plans, but with all the moving around, he hadn’t found a woman to share his life. Did it bother him? If so, he didn’t complain.

Lost in thought, Grace missed slamming into the back of the
wagon by inches. She swerved out of the way. Her father had
stopped the team to check the harnesses. She walked around
front and stood next to him. “Papa, when are we going to stop for
the night? My legs are tired.” Her words came out in a whine followed by a loud sigh.

He glanced at the surrounding terrain. “We’ve come a far piece
today. Don’t reckon’ we’ll find any place much better than right
here. Go gather up some kindlin’ for the fire.” The gaze in his eyes
turned dreamy. “Just think, in a couple more days, we’ll stop for
a good spell.”

* * * *
Living here, in the shadow of the mountains, two weeks had
passed. The loneliness and desolation weighed on Grace, and
made the time she’d lived in the wagon seem more like a lifetime.
She’d seen no other families, just solitary miners occasionally
passing by and working the hillsides, all too busy to share even a
howdy-do. Greed for the precious ore provided great motivation,
but left little room for making friends. The sounds of hammering
filled the days—a steady cadence that already grew tiresome.
She stared out at the miles of drying grass they’d traversed and
sighed. Surely this wasn’t to be her home until Papa struck it rich.
It might take forever. The accommodations paled in comparison
to living in a real house. The makeshift canvas tent, hooked to the
side of the wagon, served as a bedroom for her father and brother,
while she and Mama shared the wagon.

 Papa and Kevin worked during the last glimmer of sunlight
every evening on a temporary shelter built from spare planks and
pieces of wood found in and around the mining area. The lopsided
building didn’t look like it could provide much more protection
from the elements than the wagon did.



More next week.  Hop on over to the next person on the list for their offering.

Jamie Hill
Tricia McGill
Juliet Waldron
Taryn Raye
Kathy Fischer-Brown
Rhobin Lee Courtright
Margaret Tanner

Thursday, June 26, 2014

SELF-PROMOTION BY RITA KARNOPP

We may not want to face it, but self-promotion is key to success in today’s publishing world. 

So how do you get your writing the attention it deserves.

Here are four tips on how to start your self-promotion:
1. Forget modesty. -Self-promotion is based on the fact that you believe your work is so good that a lot of other people should read it.  If you don't believe it- who will?
2. Remember your contacts. -Contact the editors you’ve had previous dealings with, your colleague, your teachers, your friends, relatives, etc. Brag it up.
3. Make contacts. -Join online writers and discussion groups. Don't forget there could be some great groups in your home town.

4. Find yourself a home. -A home page is a must. Don’t know how to build one? Most host sites offer templates that even a novice can use successfully. If you can afford it, the easiest way is to hire a Web site builder. Most start under $100.
Don't wait until your publisher get's your name out there - in today's market, they just don't have time.  Self-promotion is the best way to get your books and you noticed!


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Page Straight From Tricia McGill - #apagestraightfrom

Remnants of Dreams
by
Tricia McGill


Sara followed him to the small kitchenette at the back of the house. Brian had built cupboards along one side and Sara ran her fingers along the pale yellow bench top as she leaned against the wall that was covered with pretty floral wallpaper. 
"This is so nice." She looked about admiringly as he filled the kettle and lit the burner on their new stove. "You've made a good job of it." 
"Thanks." He turned to close the door. Sara shivered and he asked, "Are you cold?" The room wasn't very large and he seemed twice as big in the cramped space. 
Sara shook her head, looking down as one of his large hands reached for one of hers. "Your skin is so white," he muttered, and she began to tremble all over. His palms rubbed up and down her arms then and she could feel the small calluses on them. 
Goose bumps rose all over her skin. "Why, you must be freezing," he said softly, his voice growing husky, as if he had a catch in his throat. 
"No." As she denied this a tendril of her hair brushed his face and he gave her a startled look. His fingers seemed to have a life of their own, for they wandered slowly on her skin, exploring. Sara sighed with pleasure. Brian stared at her mouth. 
"Don't look at me like that," he scolded, meeting her eyes. He'd moved so close his warm breath stirred the hair at her temples, wafted over her face. 
"Like what?" Her voice sounded low and husky, and somewhere deep inside a pulse throbbed. 
His palms cupped her jaw and his thumbs began to stroke her cheeks. "I hope I'm mistaken, but all my senses tell me I'm not." 
"You're not, and you know it," she whispered. "From the first moment I set eyes on you I wanted you for my own. I could have killed Jane for getting you." 
"But you're married to Dennis and I'm married to your sister--it's much too late for these declarations," he rasped, his hands moving to her shoulders and cupping them to shake her. 
"And I hate him!" 
"Ah, love." He swallowed hard. "But you're stuck with him, Sara, and I'm..." He lifted his shoulders in a helpless shrug. 
"We could run away together. You, Rosy, and me," she broke in desperately, her eyes widening hopefully. 
"Don't be daft, love." He turned to move away. 
Sara grabbed his arm and protested, "Don't tell me you don't feel something for me. I can see it in your eyes. You feel the same as me." 
His fingers curled about her upper arms as he brought his face so close she could see her reflection in his eyes. "You're a witch, Sara. And you're so beautiful you would bewitch any man with half a mind and a pair of eyes. But don't run away with the idea you can charm me into jumping through hoops for you. Because I won't be in it, do you hear me?" 

Published by Books We Love

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

TODAY’S VILLAIN CON'T. BY RITA KARNOPP

Now, here’s a real gem for you to remember.  “Your villain must be special for your novel to work.”  If the villain is a bumbling idiot or a flaming activist, what challenge is he for your hero/heroine?  Create a savvy, sneaky, dangerous, scheming, shrewd, cool, smooth, stylish, villain with a personality that borders condescending sarcasm or some other flaw(s).  No character; villain, hero, or heroine should be perfect, unless your character ‘believes’ he is . . . which is completely different than flawed.

The more charming, clever, likable, and even loving your villain is - the more invincible he is and the harder your protagonist must work to bring him/her to justice.  The villain may be loathsome and even evil inside, but he’s harder to catch if it’s hidden.  The protagonist(s) must find or understand the villain’s vulnerability.  Not easy if he’s cunning and clever. 

Bear in mind, if you create a villain that’s real, complex, and likable, the reader can empathize with the villain and his crimes can be somewhat justified.  You must make sure you reveal what motivates the villain to kill so we believe his actions.

In Atonement my reader is inside the killer’s head.  You see his perspective every step of the way.  There's no doubt why he kills . . . and the reasons for the way he kills.  The reader can’t help but understand . . . and even feel a tinge of empathy for him.

Villains develop for varying reasons.  He might want to right a wrong.  We all know revenge is a serious drive for killing.  Maybe the villain believes the law isn’t doing its job and he feels a need for vigilante justice.  Of course we all can empathize with the villain who is protecting his loved one.  Last, there are villains who feel he must reset world order.

It’s so important to make sure your reader understands - Why is the villain the way he is?  Was he deserted at birth, misused as a child, neglected, blamed for sibling’s inadequacies, or over-weight and was ridiculed by classmates, or maybe no one would be his friend . . . the reality that has molded your villain is imperative to share.  In understanding how the villain justifies his crime(s) to himself will expose what in his life triggered his crime(s).

I’ve read that you should paint your villain in shades of gray.  I don’t know who said it, but I love that!  It’s exactly what we should remember to do.
One last thing to consider about your villain – would he really commit the crime?  I know that sounds strange, but think about it.  Whether he stabbed, poisoned, strangled, or even buried his victim alive – would he have done that?

Say your villain is the chubby guy who has always been ridiculed.  He wouldn’t likely bring his victims to a rocky quarry eight hundred feet up a rocky ledge, would he?  Would your small, gentle, beloved preacher get drunk and shoot a parishioner with a forty-five magnum?  Can he handle a forty-five and would he atypically get drunk?  What if your killer is a bomber?  What gives him the expertise to be such a killer?  It’s so far ‘out-of-character’ – then it’s not believable.  The villain’s conduct must fit the crime.  His motivation must fit the crime.  The amount of rage must fit the crime.

Now bear in mind – not only must you think about what crime your villain would commit, but also ask - Would other characters in the story feasibly commit the same crime? We are trying to be discreet, give our reader options, and even surprise them when the killer is revealed.



Monday, June 23, 2014

TODAY’S VILLAIN BY RITA KARNOPP

Yesterday’s villain was shifty-eyed, dressed in black clothes, illiterate or portrays a lack of education, hair unkempt to his shoulders . . . let’s add Snidely Whiplash’s waxed moustache. 

Today’s villain is savvy, handsome, the boy next door, stylish, polite and very educated.  Most likely his IQ is above average and he gets-off on his abilities to outsmart his victim(s) and the law.

Readers love guessing – playing private detective – speculating on who the ‘bad guy’ is.  Thing is, we’re even more excited when he’s hiding in plain sight and we are completely surprised.  He was the kind neighbor, the trusting brother, the lovely step-sister.

Bear in mind – the villain should be foreshadowed and the reader must be able to say, oh . . . yeh, I missed that.  I thought he might have been the villain and I dismissed it.  Never . . . never . . . never . . . have the villain be a complete surprise … the ‘red herring’ because your reader will not read another one of your books. You’re not being clever. 

Our modern-day villain will appear to be trusting, endearing, even loving and making the ‘butler’ the killer just won’t hack it today.  A character in the background for 180 pages and suddenly is the killer, won’t put you on the best seller’s list.  You might surprise the reader, but you won’t win him/her. Disbelief will trump surprise every time unless you’ve left shrewd and even cunning clues along the way.

I’m one of those writers that usually knows who the villain is at the beginning, although there’ve been a book or two that surprised me.  I start with a situation, most likely a murder and then the story unfolds around this main plot.  My characters bring the story to life by their emotions and reactions.

I started my book Atonement with the villain.  The first line sets the scene and tone for the book.  “He bent her finger back . .  . all the way back.  It cracked loud and final.”  The reader doesn’t know who the villain is – but they definitely know a lot about him from those first two sentences.  Although we know about the killer, we don’t know who ‘he’ is.

There are times when I believe I know who the villain is . . . only to be surprised I was wrong.  You see, while we write the characters take over and develop the story. 

In the book I just finished, Whispering Wind, I was certain the youngest brother was going to be a problem, while his savvy older brother was going to sweep my heroine off her feet.  Things just didn’t work out the way I planned.  Never force who the villain is.  The reader will feel it every time.  I’m a firm believer that my characters will inevitably resolve any predicament or challenge I give them.

There are two ways to write the villain; one is to know from the start who he is and the other is really not knowing until the story unravels.  Whether you write knowing who your villain is or not, make sure you go back and rewrite, leaving a trail of clues that reveal a believable villain at the end. 

Which way is better?  You must decide which works best for you and your writing style.  But I might add, when you don’t know at all (you don’t really have a clue in your mind at all or you don’t have a plan – you could end up writing yourself into a corner or find yourself with chapters of rewriting before your story is believable. 


Tomorrow we’ll continue – I had no idea I had so much to say about villains!  J  We’ll pick up discussing why ‘our villains must be special.’

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Welcome, Romance Author, Brenda Whiteside

NOTE FROM GINGER:  OMG...this is proof that my mind is gone.  I was FBing with a childhood friend named Barbara, and I inadvertently typed Barbara Whiteside instead of BRENDA.  I'm so sorry!  I'm going to redo my promotion so people will see what a dunce I am.

****

Thanks for having me on Dishin’ It, Ginger. The Art of Love and Murder is my newest release and book one in the Love and Murder Series. I’m celebrating with a Rafflecopter giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card. There are several ways to win so please enter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dishin’ It doesn’t refer to food, but it did get me thinking. I’m not a foodie. I don’t even like to cook, although I do love to eat. Lacy Dahl, the heroine in my latest book, and I have that in common. On this Love and Murder Tour, I’ve covered just about every topic relating to the book except food. Maybe it’s high time for a few food facts. Food can be
an aphrodisiac, right?

The first food Lacy eats when she hits town is Mexican – tacos and a margarita.

The second evening in town she has dinner at the Brie and dines on grilled flatbread, asparagus appetizers, Teira Merlot and salmon.

(So far her food tastes match mine – funny how that happens when I create a character.)
But the lunch of roast beef sandwiches and red wine by a bubbling stream under a blue sky just might be the love potion that led to this scene:

He encircled her waist, his hands warmed to the touch of her beneath the thin gauze shirt. She nipped his bottom lip then laid soft kisses on his cheek and his forehead. He pulled her in, burying his face against her chest. He inhaled the patchouli-rose scent, reeling as if he’d drank more wine than he had. He kissed the warm, soft skin in the valley of her breasts exposed above the edge of her blouse. His hands gathered the gauze against his palms until the bareness of her waist ignited the nerve endings in his fingertips.

She gasped at the contact and pushed his face firmer against her breasts. His hands moved under her blouse, to the front, and cupped her lace-covered breasts. He spread kisses across her collarbone, tasted her neck while he caressed the soft heat the lace did little to hide. The pulse below her ear ticked against his lower lip when he licked at her lobe. Her breath came fast and wet against his temple. He uncrossed his legs, stretching them on each side of her kneeling posture, and she leaned into him as they lowered onto the blanket, rolling to their sides in an embrace.

Blurb:
Lacy Dahl never questioned her past until the deaths of her adoptive parents and her husband. A husband who wasn't what he seemed. Her research uncovers secrets about the mother she never knew; secrets that dispute the identity of her father and threaten her life.
Sheriff Chance Meadowlark is still haunted by the murder of his wife and the revenge he unleashed in the name of justice. When he meets Lacy he is determined not to become involved, but their pasts may make that impossible. As they move closer to the truth, saving Lacy may be his only salvation.
Lacy begins to think the present is more important than her past...until Chance's connection to her mother and a murder spin her deeper into danger and further from love. Will the truth destroy Lacy and Chance or will it be the answer that frees them?

Buy Links:
TWRP http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=726&zenid=d06039eba05c5b010fb8a707eecd4259

AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Art-Love-Murder-Brenda-Whiteside-ebook/dp/B00K0N0Y6M/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399254400&sr=1-1&keywords=the+art+of+love+and+murder

You can find Brenda: Visit Brenda at www.brendawhiteside.com.
Or on FaceBook: www.facebook.com/BrendaWhiteside
Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/brendawhitesid2 
She blogs on the 9th and 24th of every month at http://rosesofprose.blogspot.com
She blogs about writing and prairie life at http://brendawhiteside.blogspot.com/

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Freebits with Ginger #frifreebits #blogshare

Hi, and welcome to Friday Freebits, where a group of authors share six paragraphs with you each week. I ask them to link back to me where the main list is shown.  So, after you've read my contribution, hurry on over to the next person in line and enjoy their offering:

This week, I'm staring with six paragraphs from my western historical, and sequel to Destiny's Bride, White Heart, Lakota Spirit.  This is from the prologue:

Grace trudged along behind the wagon, struggling to keep up with her mother. Though the prairie grass grew knee-high in some places, the wheels found the dust hidden below and spiraled the powdery dirt into the air, covering her hair and skin. Her muscles quivered with fatigue.
The day stretched on as her father kept the family moving, in search of the right place to stop. The more exhausted she became, the more her thoughts turned to bitterness. Why did they have to leave their home?  Was it this stupid thing called gold fever?  She didn’t want to live in a wagon. She wanted her own soft bed back… and her own cozy home.
She smacked her dry lips and cursed the day her father announced the beginning of this horrible journey. He’d walked into the house, slapped his hat against his knee, displayed his usual heartwarming smile and said, “Pack up the wagon. I’ve got a plan that’ll make us rich.”
The anger she experienced then gripped her again.  Grace had just gotten used to being in one place for any length of time. She’d actually found friends her own age and enjoyed their company. Now, surrounded by endless prairie, and glancing at her family, she realized how much she missed her classmates. Tears clouded her eyes.
 The creaking wagon wheels, plodding hooves, and rustling grasses were the only sounds she heard.  Pa guided them toward the distant mountains—the Black Hills, where precious ore supposedly ran in golden veins so thick the brightness rivaled the sunrise. Funny, from where she stood, they looked like any other mountains.  Nothing more than granite peaks jutting from a sea of grass and dotted with trees and scrub brush.

Mama marched through the weeds ahead, her head held high and her shoulders squared against the growing wind. Where did she get her stamina? She seemed to be faring better than Grace. Her mother’s admirable tenacity and devotion to Papa went without saying. Even when he uprooted the family, Mama never complained. If given the same opportunity, would Grace be such a follower, she wondered? Would she ever get a chance to find out? Suitable husbands didn’t pop up in the middle of nowhere. Being an old maid seemed her fate in life. 

Next week, I'll continue, but if you can't wait, all my books are available via my author's page.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

TAKE TIME TO WRITE BY RITA KARNOPP

If I’ve heard it once . . . I’ve heard it a million times – “I just don’t have time to write!”  That’s the number one excuse why people don’t finish writing their book.  It’s a prime example of procrastination.  You make time to go fishing, the movies, shopping, out to dinner . . . hmmm . . . but you can’t make time to write?

It’s hard work – yes, and it takes self-discipline and passion to write.  That’s the plain truth.  It’s not easy to leave the world behind and shut yourself off in your office, close the door, and put your butt in the chair and write. 

So you must ask yourself the hard question.  Do you really want to write your book?  How important is it to you?  If you can’t answer immediately . . . stop . . . decide this . . . Will I be upset if you don’t ever write my book?  If the answer is ‘yes’ then you’ve got to make some changes in your life to make time to write.

See, this is where it got me!  I truly wanted to see my name on the cover of a book.  It became my passion.  It became important enough to schedule writing into my already busy schedule.  Without a goal . . . without a plan . . . without determination and passion – you’ll never get your book written.

Make writing a priority.  Soon I started saying things like; I do cooking and cleaning for the family, but I write for me.  I just finished my sixteenth book, Whispering Wind.  It took hard work, tenacity, and a willingness to give up the time it takes to write.

I know writers who write, rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite the same manuscript . . . for years.  Others are inundated with so many ideas that they’ve written the first page of fifty books.  It’s sad to say, but this process will never get your book written.  I again add this behavior, or lack thereof, to the word procrastination.

If you truly want to finish your first book . . . then another . . . and again another, you have to make some serious changes to your life plan (if you have a plan at all).  We’re all busy and every writer out there knows what sacrifices it takes to type ‘the end.’

So how do you ‘find time to write’ when you already have a full schedule?  Well, there’s only one way to decide if there is time – be honest and write down everything you do each day for two weeks.  Now write these commitments on a two-week calendar.  What things do you do that are ‘necessary,’ i.e. kids sports, meals, grocery shopping, yard work, laundry, cleaning house, church, job, pets, appointments, etc.  Okay, now what is on your calendar that’s wasted time?  Come on – you know there are spaces that can be turned into ‘writing time.’ 

How badly do you want it?  My sister-in-law has told me for over forty years now that she will ‘one day write a book.’  I think she may be the least supportive of all my family . . . and I think it’s because I’m doing what she has wanted to do.  I work full-time – she doesn’t and never has.  Yet, I’m starting my seventeenth book and she’s still dreaming about it. 

If you really want to see your name on the cover of a book you have to do more than just dream about it.

Start by learning ‘what is the best time for you to write.’  I’m not just talking about on the calendar – but when are you able to concentrate and write productively?  Some people can only write early in the morning.  My time is late at night …and into the wee hours of the morning.  I can put my day behind me and really lose myself in my characters.  The kids joke they fell to sleep with the sound of ‘click . . . click . . . click . . . of my keyboard.

Once you find your best time for writing, be consistent, and create a new habit for that specific time frame.  Don't make excuses why you can’t write.  Do you make excuses why you can’t show up for work on time?  Well, if you do – you won’t keep that job!  Writing is a commitment.  Period.

Think about this; women have more time available to us now than any other time in history.  Say what?  Think about doing laundry for eight to ten hours in a day on a washboard or hours of cutting wood to have a warm house and a hot stove.  Don’t forget the endless hours of ironing – if you want the neighbors to know how much you care about your family and how they look. the same applies to men, who in the same respect waste unbelievable time. I could go on and on.  But the fact remains we squander so much time.

Look at your schedule and decide what’s important.  What really needs to be done and how can you streamline more time into your schedule with less effort.  This will be a real shocker – trust me.

It’s actually a good idea to keep track of how much time you give yourself to write.  I now have a mental time-clock for my writing hours.  No less than two hours of writing – after I get home from my full-time job.  No less than four hours each day over the weekend.  You can be sure, most days I write more than my minimum.  The story takes over my characters . . . and the time flies as fast as my fingers on the keyboard!



This all boils down to ‘making time to write – and scheduling it into your life.’  If writing is important to you, do it for you.  Only you can make this happen.  You have to take charge of your time and fit into each day what makes you happy.  If part of that happiness is writing – I have no doubt you’ll be writing many books in the years to come!

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