Tag Archives: advice

Don’t Go It Alone!

Happy Friday! Casey Wyatt here.

I'll get you my writers!!

One of the best decisions I ever made was to be brave and attend a writer’s group meeting at my local library. That one small act of courage (okay, maybe big act of courage) led to an even more important, life changing decision – joining my local chapter of the RWA.

Up until that time, my writer’s journey had been riddled with fits and starts. I even stopped writing at one point, largely because I couldn’t seem to finish anything (see my post – Finish What You Start ). Sad to say, it was several years before I completed what eventually became Ascension. My characters weren’t about to let me go so easily. They lurked in the back of my mind, affecting my sleep and making me feel guilty!

Tormented about what to do, I began surfing around the web and found Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld Forums and the writer’s board. There, I found the outline methodology that finally broke me out of my funk. I plotted, wrote and finished my book. I was so excited. For the first time in years, I actually slept better.

Two heads are better than one!

Then, came the hard part. I knew that if I wanted to pursue publication, I had to let someone read my book. Gasp!

Doubt, fear, panic all ran through me. And a boat load of what ifs: What if it’s awful? What if my chosen reader doesn’t tell me the truth? Will I end up like all those poor deluded American Idol wannabes (“but my Mom says I’m awesome”).

I asked one of my good friends, someone I knew who would be honest with me, to read my baby (and I’m forever grateful to her!). Once I got over that initial hurdle, I took a flying leap off the cliff and went to a meeting where I didn’t know anyone. After that, I was doling out my book like cards at a poker table. The other great benefit —  I met my fabulous critique partners there.

 

And by fabulous, they tell me the hard truth, they encourage me to challenge myself, they praise when deserved and we all keep each other going. And when you join an organization like the RWA and your local chapter (did I mention CT RWA is awesome), you aren’t on your own anymore. Everyone understands what you’re going through and you can benefit from the wisdom of both published and unpublished authors alike.

And three heads are even better! Cheers Ladies!

Let’s face it, when we write, it’s a lone act. But you don’t have to be alone on your writing journey. Join a group, find trusted readers and get yourself out there. You never know who you will meet!

Tell me – what was the kick in the pants that got you serious about your writing? And if you haven’t joined a group, what is holding you back?

Breakin’ Da Rules

Happy Friday, Casey Wyatt here!

Stop me if you’ve heard these before…

  • Write every day (variation, butt in chair, hands on keyboard).
  • Adverbs are evil and should be nuked on sight.
  • Show, don’t tell.
  • Indie published writers have given up because they couldn’t sell their work to a “real” publisher.

    Get your butt in that chair and write!

And there are plenty more. If you’re a writer who’s serious about the craft, then of course you’ve heard all these maxims.

By definition a maxim is “a rule of conduct or a statement of general truth” (Webster’s New World Dictionary). The implication – this is the only correct way to do it. These laws are universal truth and must never be broken or challenged. Ever.

Well, I’m here to tell you a little secret. Lean in closer so I can whisper it in your ear. The rules can be broken – judiciously. See, there’s an adverb and I didn’t burst into flames as I typed it.

There are good, solid reasons for these rules. Three out of the four are true – to a point. And one of these maxims is flat out wrong. I’m sure you know which one I mean. Let’s address them, shall we?

1. Write every day. We tell ourselves this so we don’t get lazy. And because if you don’t write, you won’t have a manuscript to sell. In real life, this is an admirable goal and we should strive toward it. I know I do. This is also a mental trap that goes something like this – I didn’t write today, so I failed as a writer. Um…no. We all have times in our life where other priorities come into play. To beat yourself up is counterproductive. And to write engaging stories, you need to leave your house and live life once in a while. Plus, it’s okay to give the gray matter an occasional break. If you must accomplish something every day, then draft ideas for your next story or learn more about writing.

2. Adverbs are evil. Yes. Do not use empty adverbs. What’s an empty adverb? Words like actually, totally, finally, hopefully and all their ilk. Avoid tacking on needless adverbs to the end of every dialouge tag or using them to prop up weak verbs. When you complete your draft, scan it using word search and nix the vast majority of them. Adverbs, when paired correctly with the right verb are okay. So, if you’re going to use an adverb make it count.

3. Show, don’t tell. Again, true most of the time. Telling results in lifeless, flat scenes that no one wants to read. On the other hand, each action should not read like a how-to manual. For the sake of pacing, telling can be more appropriate. It’s okay to tell us your character answered the phone. Or walked to the car. You do not need to list the precise body movements involved in these actions, unless there is some plot related reason to do so. Think like a reader and consider all the “boring stuff” you pass over to get to the “good parts”.

4. Indie published writers, blah, blah. I can’t even finish repeating this one. This maxim is complete balderdash. It ranks up there with the Flat Earth Theory. Publishing is evolving and the old rules don’t apply anymore. All writers, published and unpublished, should consider both options. We have more choices available to us than ever before. We can reach readers in new and exciting ways. Do not believe or listen to this one.

Here is one maxim that is true – if you build it, they will come. Write the best story you can, professionally present it, and your readers will appreciate it.

What other rules have you heard and how do you like to challenge them?

Love in an Elevator

Happy Friday! Casey here.

I must admit – fear of writing love scenes nearly derailed my writing career. Don’t get me wrong, I love a smokin’ hot sexual encounter. Just having to actually write one for the first time was, well. . . embarrassing. So embarrassing that I’d break out in cold sweat and stop writing.

I like to read steamy sex scenes between two characters who are in love. In fact, my favorite authors – J.R. Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Jeaniene Frost (hello, Chapter 22 – fans of her books know exactly what I’m talking about here.) all write the kind of sex scenes I enjoy, er, like. See, there’s that embarrassment again. But seriously, I don’t care for sex scenes with no emotional content or point either (Laurell K. Hamilton – what happened to you???).

Again, dreaming up love scenes, while fun in your head, isn’t the same as typing the words on a page.

In black and white.

For everyone to read.

It didn’t help that my two, smart-alek teenage boys would sneak up behind me and accuse me of “writing an erotic sex book.” Fortunately for me, I was never at those bits when the commando raids would take place. They have since given up trying to read over my shoulder. Whew!

And my embarrassment, didn’t stop there. Once I took the plunge and wrote the darn pages, I then realized that others would – gasp – read them. People like my friends!! Possibly my mother!! What would they think of me? What if they were crap? Would they laugh at me?

Luckily, those things didn’t happen. In fact in a few cases I received the opposite response, like – hand fanning face- that they were of the cold shower variety. High praise indeed!

And I needn’t have worried about my critique partners. Professional as ever, they provided feedback for those scenes just like any other. Sometimes with humorous results – “I don’t think you really meant to say – he ran his fingers up her nose”. After I finished laughing at myself, I fixed the scene so it didn’t sound like a fourth grader’s rendition of the hero going on a booger dive (thank you PJ for catching that one!).

So now that I have licked (no pun intended) my fear of the steamy sex scene, the new challenge is coming up with creative new ways and places to do the deed. Without being too graphic (this is a G-rated site!) what have been some of your hang-ups when it comes to love scenes? And what spice level suits you best?

I Like it Rough

Hey, everyone. Welcome to our blog!

I’m Casey Wyatt, Friday’s Scribe. I write Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. I’ve always loved stories with magic and otherworldly elements. Growing up, I was a geek fan girl of Fantasy and Sci-Fi books. I still enjoy them. I’ve since expanded to include Romance, Urban Fantasy, manga, anime (okay, I know anime’s not a written genre, but it’s a great art form), and anything with zombies!

As a writer, I love to write steamy romantic encounters, dark scenes, and subject my characters to emotional or physical chaos.

So, about the title of this blog – I like it rough. Yes, I do. That first, rough draft.

The only draft where, creatively, I’m allowed to do whatever I want. No criticism, no doubt, and no English teacher rules allowed. No self-editing along the way. And it’s not easy to do. At least not for me. In my day job, when I write,  I’m the creator and editor at the same time. Totally efficient for business writing.

Not great when writing a novel.  Embrace this reality. There’s no such thing as a perfect first draft.  Accept this fact too – there is no such thing as a perfect manuscript either. Trust me. Believe these truths and you’ll feel a lot better.

On that happy day, when the first draft is done, for a brief shining moment, I marvel at my creation. It’s an awesome sight to behold. I savor the “I finished it” high. Ah, such sweet victory.

Then it’s back to reality. The internal critic/editor runs wild.  Here’s where I fix the typos, delete things that don’t make sense, plug the plot holes, and correct the wonky grammar (commas and I have a love/hate relationship). After that it’s off to my trusted beta readers and critique partners. And then a final round of polishing (only the changes I agree with).

I’m a firm believer (this is also from hard-won experience) in letting the book go. It will never be perfect, so please, I’m begging you – do not revise your book over and over. That is just a rat hole. An excuse not to move on. As NY Times bestseller, Jessica Anderson likes to say: “you’re re-arranging the furniture”.

Send your book out into the world and move on to the next one. If you don’t continue writing new material, you’ll never grow your skills.

Viva the first draft. Scribe on!

Welcome!

Welcome to our page. We are the 7 Scribes and we’re here to share our writing journey with you!

We are aspiring and published authors, all in different places in our writing careers. Some of us have gone the indie publishing route and some are going old school (at least for now). We write many genres from paranormal, erotica, and young adult to mystery and inspirational.

Be sure to check back regularly! The first Scribe post will be coming shortly.