Introduction My participation in the A World of Gothic series was my proudest moment as an author last year. Talented, award-wining authors penning suspenseful stories with a definite Gothic vibe, each set in a… More
There’s no better way to introduce this super useful book than give you the author’s book description right away. In the words of Nicholas C. Rossis:
Publication Date: September 11, 2016
Because of the way our brains are wired, readers empathize more strongly if you don’t name the emotion you are trying to describe. As soon as you name an emotion, readers go into thinking mode. And when they think about an emotion, they distance themselves from feeling it.
A great way to show anger, fear, indifference, and the whole range of emotions that characterize the human experience, is through beats. These action snippets that pepper dialogue can help describe a wide range of emotions, while avoiding lazy writing. The power of beats lies in their innate ability to create richer, more immediate, deeper writing.
This book includes hundreds of examples that you can use for your inspiration, so that you, too, can harness this technique to easily convert your writing into palpable feelings.
I don’t know about you, author friends, but when I edit my first draft, one major roadblock I need to overcome is finding fresh ways to show not tell feelings. I write in “deep point of view”, and I can’t have my characters be “surprised”, “sad”, “angry” or “frightened”. But they tend to “look” a lot or express their feelings through their eyes, and it’s only so many times one can “narrow her eyes” or “widen her eyes” before the reader will, well, roll her eyes.
To me, this guide is a life saver. I’m definitely getting it in paperback because I want to be able to physically turn the page to the relevant emotion and see what kind of language beats best portray it. And if you need an example of the wealth of beats included in Emotional Beats, here it is:
- He shot up an eyebrow
- He whipped his head around
- She clamped her mouth shut, but her jaw went slack when she saw him. “You!”
- His face remained a plank of wood, his amazement hidden by a slow breath.
- His mouth slackened.
- Her brows shot to her hairline.
- She slapped a hand over her mouth.
- He facepalmed.
And that’s just a selection.
Fastest one-click ever! Here are those purchase links again:
Do you enjoy mystery stories set in remote locations, laced with romance that blooms alongside danger from the world beyond? Then keep on reading because the book I present today (alongside an enticing excerpt) not only includes all of the above elements, but it’s the first in a series of many similar stories that will be published monthly, featuring locations from around the world. And I’m also part of the tour! My Greek story will be published on May 26.
First stop on the tour? The Scottish Highlands.
Marie Treanor promises excitement and hair-on-end reading pleasure with Ghost in the Rain, featuring a reclusive rocker and a researcher who visits his remote residence to study valuable letters that are in his possession. Mysterious vanishings and a dead body leave Dr. Kate Yorke wondering: does Invershiel House host a man that will claim her heart or a ghost that will claim her life?
Ghost in the Rain – A World of Gothic: Scotland
by Marie Treanor
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/242zolj
Genres: Gothic, mystery, paranormal, romance
A haunted Highland house, battered by storms and murder…
Notorious rocker Dan Stewart isn’t anything like Dr. Kate Yorke imagined. Arriving at his remote home in the Scottish Highlands to research some valuable letters – only to discover he’s forgotten their appointment – Kate soaks up the Gothic atmosphere of Invershiel House. But it’s the owner who truly fascinates her.
Reclusive and abrupt, Dan is haunted by the deaths of his fellow band members, especially his one time lover Islay Lamont, whose shade seems to flit around the grounds in the rain. But the ghost is not the only mystery Kate encounters. Light bulbs disappear around her – and only Dan knows she’s scared of the dark. Then she trips over a dead body which inexplicably vanishes.
It becomes a race against time to find the identity of the body and the killer. And to discover if she and Danny have any kind of future together. Or even at all…
A World of Gothic is a Gothic Mystery Romance Series of stand-alone novellas by authors from all over the world. For information on other titles, check out A World of GothicFacebook page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1105411939511452&fref=ts
I had to acknowledge that my peace was churned up by his unexpected presence here. It wasn’t even an unpleasant feeling; in fact it felt rather…exciting. But it was disturbing.
I took off my glasses and rubbed my eyes. I suspected Dan Stewart carried such disturbance wherever he went. If I thought about it, the whole house felt different now. As if its peace had gone too; as if it had sprung to life, eager, waiting.
Mocking my own silly fantasy, I stood abruptly and paced around the room, trying to recover my lost concentration. I suspected I was just tired and would work much faster and much better after a good night’s sleep.
I paused by the window to watch the storm. Although the thunder had stopped, the wind and rain were still blasting the trees and rattling the window. Close-up, I could feel the draught through my thick sweater. On impulse, I retrieved my phone from my bag and tried to capture the raging storm on its camera. But it looked too tame on the screen, not deep or dark enough, no real movement in those black clouds still scudding and swirling across the sky. I wished I could paint. For a moment, I even wished I could be part of it, to go outside in it again. There was nothing to stop me, except common sense.
I smiled to myself and lowered the phone, just as a movement in the garden below caught my eye. Someone was out in this. Someone not remotely dressed for it either. Through the darkness and the almost opaque mist of rain, I could make out only that it seemed to be a woman wearing only some kind of floating, white, wispy garment, more like the loungewear of wealthy women of past centuries than anything anyone would wear today for any purpose. The odd garment shimmered as the figure glided across the lawn, impossibly graceful.
On impulse, I raised my phone again and snapped.
Perhaps she moved too quickly. Nothing of her showed on the screen except an indistinct blur of light against blackness. Frowning, I looked again out of the window, but the woman had gone. Vanished.
Gone back inside if she’s got any sense whatsoever.
I could tell myself that, and believe it. I just couldn’t quite silence the tiny voice in my head that whispered I might just have seen a ghost…
And then, before I could laugh myself back to sceptical normality, another figure strode into view. Two figures. A man and a large dog. The dog was trotting along at his side, sniffing the grass. Even in darkness, the man was unmistakably Dan Stewart. He seemed to be wearing the same old khaki jacket. I could see the rain running off him in rivulets. It hadn’t seemed to touch the ghostly woman…
He stopped, gazing ahead and slowly turned as if looking for something, or someone. Just for a moment, I was tempted. I even raised my phone hand. But it felt too wrong to take a picture of him without permission in his own home. He was facing the house now and without warning, he tipped back his head and caught me staring down at him.
I felt frozen in that distant gaze. Forcing myself, I gave a feeble wave and dragged my eyes free towards the black, wooded hills and the furiously scudding sky. Still, I was aware of him striding back towards the house. I even heard his voice calling to the dog which loped after him.
Restlessly, I abandoned the window. I needed to go to bed. My eyes, my mind, were all far too tired.
Ellie had been quite blasé about leaving the letters out of their locked cabinet. “Even if anyone knew about them, who’d steal them round here?” she’d said reasonably. I took her at her word and just stuffed my own notebook into my bag before picking it up and heading for the closed door, where I paused, because I could hear footsteps pounding up the stairs.
My heart drumming, I waited for them to pass before I left the room. They strode closer, along the hall, and I held my breath. He’d go past; he must go past…
The door flew open, and Dan Stewart stood there, scowling at me. Raindrops stood out on his wet hair and clothes.
No, he wasn’t pretty. But there was something devastatingly attractive about that rough, bony face and those big, grey eyes that seemed much darker than before.
“Did you take any pictures?” he asked abruptly.
About the Author
Marie Treanor lives in Scotland, in a chaotic house by the sea, together with her eccentric husband, three much too smart children and a small dog who rules them all. Most days, she avoids both housekeeping and evil day jobs by writing stories of paranormal romance and fantasy.
Marie is the award winning author of over forty sexy paranormal romances – Indie, New York and E-published.
You can find out more about Marie and her books on her website: www.MarieTreanor.com.
Subscribe to her New Release Mailing List: http://www.marietreanor.com/marie-treanor-newsletter/
Catch more latest news on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Marie-Treanor-Paranormal-Romance/105866982782360.
Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarieTreanor
And on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/marietreanor/
First of all, I should officially announce that Fate Captured, my upcoming contemporary romance, won an award! First place in the Contemporary category of the 2015 Heart to Heart contest, organized by the San Francisco Area chapter of RWA.
I submitted only part of my manuscript to the contest, and it took me a while to shape it the way I wanted, but it’s ready to pop out of the oven. I love the story, I’m head over heels in love with Trish and Markos, and I hope readers will love them, too. Again, I prepared two versions: a “clean” story (closed door bedroom scenes) and a Spicy one where nothing is insinuated. 😉
Fate Captured is Book One in the Greek Tycoons series. It’s a standalone contemporary romance, featuring a cocky Greek hero, a meddling heroine who’s set on fixing him … after she breaks him, a Greek island setting, hot conflicts, hotter makeups and an epic HEA.
The book will need a boost from early reviewers, so I’ve decided to send out Advance Reader’s Copies to readers who enjoy reading romance books. If you’re interested in receiving a complementary copy of Fate Captured before its official release on April 21 in exchange for an honest review on Amazon, please sign up, using the following form:
The beautiful covers for the two versions are credited to Alex of 187Designz.
And here is the blurb:
Can two wrongs win Mr. Right?
Trish Swan is living her dream. She gave up chilly Boston for a sunny Greek island to write her novel. But she likes hot crime between the pages, not before her eyes. Yet, she doesn’t think twice about turning in a video she captures of a cop roughing up a man–but maybe she should because fate throws her a curve ball she least expects.
The mind-numbingly hot Greek from the bar isn’t just a cocky bad boy in need of a little love. He’s a shipping heir wrongfully accused.
Career in ruins, Markos’ life is a hot mess, all thanks to one sexy do-gooder who keeps popping up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Touching her becomes addictive, so maybe he could forgive her for doing her civic duty. But when she dredges up ghosts from his past, messing with his sanity, she gets a real taste of what he’s capable of.
With a man’s life on the line, Trish prepares for a head-on collision that will push Markos over the edge. What does she stand to lose anyway? Her heart?
He already owns it.
Here’s the link to the signup form again: http://goo.gl/forms/0kb0h8h7ek
In case, you remember my previous release, Fate Accompli, this book has been pulled down from Amazon, I’ve thoroughly edited it and will relaunch it early summer as Fate Awakened, Book Two in the Greek Tycoons series.
Whether you sign up to get an ARC or not, thank you for visiting my online home! I should blog more, but this year I work full time, and it’s not easy to juggle everything. I promise I’ll try harder though. 🙂
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
While stateside today is a day to lay back and feast, for the rest of us it’s business as usual. The “as usual” part can be seriously improved, though, following simple, doable tips. And what’s a better way to digest them than an infographic?
Today, I’m pleased to welcome Emily Johnson from Omnipapers.com, a website about writing life of students and everyone who creates content for the Web. Emily also is a contributor to many websites about blogging, writing, and content marketing. She shares her writing experience with others, and you can always find more works of hers on G+.
In this article, she will give us insights on how to boost our writing productivity through paying more attention to the organization side of things. She’s also sharing a great infographic to illustrate her points. Emily, the floor is yours.
How to be a Productive Writer at Home: Workplace Organization
Every writer wants to be creative, innovative, and interesting. The most common way to achieve these goals is to boost productivity. There are many writers who work from home where it’s nearly impossible to stay focused. However, there are several tips that might help you become a productive writer.
In fact, a well-organized workplace impacts your attention, cleverness, and productivity.
While you are thinking about the best ways to organize your workplace, pay attention to OmniPaper’s infographic ‘Your Writing Cabinet Organization’, as here you can find an incredible piece of advice. Keep on reading to reveal more.
Clean Your Writing Desk Up
Being a writer means thinking about new ideas, insights, and creative drafts. A writing desk is an important workplace for all writers. Sometimes you can turn your desk into a messy table where you can’t find anything: drafts, utensils, gadgets, cups, etc. If you want to stay productive and don’t waste time, form a habit to clean up your table every day. Use lockers, boxes, and bookshelves to keep everything organized.
Organize Your Writing Cabinet
The writing process is not just creating drafts and texts, editing, proofreading, and publishing. It is also communicating with clients, setting up goals, learning something new, and boosting inspiration. Thus, you need to divide your workplace into two zones: computer and non-computer ones.
- A computer zone is for work;
- A non-computer zone is for inspiration and relax.
If you want to stay healthy, you need to add some comfort. Your office chair should support the lower back to reduce a risk of health problems. Plus, you need to work standing sometimes to prove upper back and neck pain relief. Take care of your health!
Definitely not following most of this advice. I have to step up to the plate and become more oganized if I really want to meet my goals for 2016.
Thank you, Emily, and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating!
Coincidentally, the two authors I first connected with when I set out to become an author both revamped the covers of their debut novels recently. I’m also in the process of re-examining my published book’s cover, so I thought it would be useful to discuss the matter further.
How does a writer’s perception on covers evolve?
Before I start the Q&A with both Effrosyni and Nicholas, note that they both have amazing offers running right now.
Effrosyni Moschoudi’s The Necklace of Goddess Athena which we will further discuss is FREE from 19-22 November.
Nicholas Rossis’ first book in the Pearseus series is FREE until November 20 and again on November 30.
Have you grabbed your copies? Now let’s talk covers.
Effrosyni Moscoudi has received accolades for both her paranormal romance trilogy The Lady of the Pier (an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards quarter-finalist) and her debut time-travelling fantasy The Necklace of Goddess Athena. When the book first came out, Effrosyni had chosen this cover for it:
If you click on the book’s title above, you’ll see this new, amazing cover. Let’s ask Effrosyni about this need to give her debut a fresh look.
Hi, Fros! The new cover is awesome. Really eye-catching! But I’m sure you loved your first cover when you chose it. What were the elements you intended to bring out back then?
Well, as you know, they say you live and learn and, boy, is this the case when you’re an indie author! By the time I felt the need to give the sales on this book a boost via a new cover, I had picked up a thing or two on book covers and what makes them more appealing to the reader. They say, “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but it’s a fact that we all do. It’s human nature. So, for the new cover I knew I wanted the wow-factor to be taken under consideration more than anything else. Also, I knew the first cover was static and I needed to have a couple and an action thrown in there for a more dynamic result. I also learned at some point that colors play a very important role and that every genre has its secrets when it comes to the colors its expected to have for the genre to speak for itself. So, for The Necklace of Goddess Athena I imagined dark colors to convey mystery, danger, and to add tension – everything you would expect from a mysterious fantasy story.
And then some. How did the new cover come about?
As I mentioned earlier, I needed a new cover as to give the book a sales boost. This time round I was able to afford a professional designer specializing on e-books and I knew, more or less, what the cover should look like. My graphic designer, the talented Alex Saskalidis of 187designz was, like, in my head! I gave him the blurb and told him I wanted an antique clock and a couple on it, mentioning also the Parthenon and Athena, of course, in case he could find something suitable. Alex worked miracles with that. He came up with this awesome cover that made my jaw drop, and it was his very first proposal. It was exactly what I had in mind. He picked the dark colors without me even talking about this, and picked these incredible graphics too. The glint inside the Acropolis and the clock convey the time travel element perfectly while the couple running hand in hand were straight out of the first chapter. It’s the scene of Daphne and Phevos arriving in modern-day Athens at night. One thing I know for sure – I’m done looking for graphic designers. Alex was a breeze to work with – polite and easygoing, and that’s equally important to me. Alex was a real treasure to find and I recommend him highly!
No need to use special powers of persuasion. Your cover speaks on its own. I’m already using Alex to work his magic on my own cover.
Readers, if you think the cover is attractive wait till you delve in this book. I did and easily 5-starred it. Here’s my review.
And don’t forget. This awesome book is FREE from tomorrow until November 22! Don’t miss out! Here’s that link again: The Necklace of Goddess Athens.
Nicholas Rossis’ rampant fantasy constructs fantastical worlds for grown-ups and imaginative tales for kids. His Pearseus epic fantasy series has reached the No. 1 spot on various Kindle categories, and Runaway Smile, his heart-warming children’s story has earned notable distinctions. You can read Runaway Smile for free on Nicholas blog.
Nicholas, let’s talk about your Pearseus series. If I remember correctly, you created the first version of the cover, right?
Yes, and I was insanely proud of it at the time. I used a couple of designs my illustrator friend, Dimitris Fousekis, drew for me—the Pearseus logo and the scales of Themis. I hand-drew a map of Pearseus, scanned it and used it as the background, along with some paragraphs from the book in script font.
I then arranged everything to create the cover, using the best of my artistic abilities.
And why did this enthusiasm wane?
We are such terrible judges of our own work, aren’t we? That’s why we need nice people like editors and beta readers. We fall in love with our work, but can’t be sure just how great—or poor—it is until we verify it with the world.
In my case, I uploaded the covers to Rate Book Cover—a website that allows visitors to rate your books covers using a simple one-to-five star voting system. To my horror, my covers rated between 3 and 3.5 stars. That’s when I decided to have a professional designer, Alex Saskalidis of 187designz, redesign them.
I love the texture in the new cover.
Alex is great with fonts. First, he got rid of the Pearseus logo, which was intricate and impressive, but hard to read. Instead, he used a simple, modern font that hints at science fiction, thereby better conveying the unique mixture of fantasy and sci-fi of my books.
Second, he redesigned the scales of Themis, using photographs. The new scales are much more realistic and eye-catching.
Last, he used photorealistic backgrounds to create a tactile image that suits the books well.
In short, Alex’s approach was more professional than mine. You can tell he does this for a living, can’t you?
The final proof that the redesigned covers work better came when I uploaded them on Rate Book Cover. The new covers got an average score of 4.5 stars. One could argue that a difference of a single star is insignificant, but there are three reasons why I felt it was worth it:
First of all, my book covers now reflect the professional writing and editing of the books.
Second, as Pearseus has been Indie published, it has to compete against professional publishing houses. How can you do that with an amateurish cover?
And last but not least, my professional pride (fine, vanity) has now been fully satisfied. Which is priceless 🙂
Hear, hear! Alex did a great job on Pearseus as well!
And if you want to see more work of the talented Alex Saskalidis, here’s his Facebook page.
Last time I invited Kim Linwood over to talk about the spanking success of Rebel, her debut stepbrother romance (no blood-related MCs, big HEA) and her method, I ended up publishing one of the most read and widely shared posts on this blog (here is the interview if you missed it). Her second outing with Bossy in the same sub-genre was equally successful, proving that she’s here to stay. I’m super excited to have Kim back to give us the lowdown on how she repeated her feat of producing a book that topped Kindle categories and shot up the Kindle bestseller list.
Welcome back, Kim! Are you ready for another third degree? Your success is too good not to be shared. Let’s start with your writing process. Bossy was published four months after Rebel but still, having read both books, I felt you have grown as an author. What are the writing areas that you worked on more this time around?
Thank you! I feel like Bossy is a better book, but it’s really difficult to evaluate when you’re so close to the source. By the time you’ve read over the book for the millionth time, you’re convinced it’s terrible, completely unfunny and hopelessly unromantic.
This time I tried to work on character depth and story depth, without losing the humor and plain fun that I try to inject into my stories. Declan and Claire’s relationship builds more naturally in Bossy, I think, and there’s a subplot narrative beyond just “I love/hate you” that helps drive the story and their relationship forwards. Obviously, the readers will determine whether I succeeded or not, but that was at least what I was going for. 🙂
You target a commercial, trendy romance niche: the stepbrother romance. Do you adjust your story to fit a specific mold? Do you follow a specific recipe or do you go by instinct?
This is a difficult question to answer. By writing to a niche, I suppose the answer is always going to be yes, since I keep the niche in mind while planning the book. On the other hand, it’s a type of book that I really enjoy writing, putting my personal touch to it. I think my books have a definite comedic aspect to them, and I try to make the characters bigger than life with a bunch of over the top antics, all while writing a solid romance with real emotions and a happy ending at the core of it. I think my style works pretty well for the stepbrother/bad boy tropes, so I guess the answer is yes and no. The niche guides my decisions when I plan the book, but they’re usually decisions I might’ve made anyway, so I’m not sure if those count as concessions or not.
You published Rebel in May with great results. What knowledge have you gained since in terms of marketing a book? What did you do differently this time?
To be honest, I’ll be following more or less the same plan. Rebel was #11 in the Amazon Kindle store at its best, and it’s impossible to not be very happy about that. Obviously, I was hoping for a repeat success, but while I was hopeful, it’d be crazy for me to expect it. It could be quite possible that Rebel was a fluke, or just happened to show up at the right place at the right time. It was my first novel, and with a sample size of one, it’s difficult to glean any meaningful data. So for now, I’ll keep going with what I know worked last time, and then in a month or two, I’ll look back at this launch and see if there’s anything I feel needs to change.
Do you see the stepbrother romance trend holding up? Is there another romance niche on the rise?
There are definitely fewer stepbrother novels hitting the top ranks these days, so the trend might be dying down, or there might just be a lull right now. That said, I still see authors doing well with them and I know there are more coming from authors I respect. I have a lot of fun with the trope, so I’ll probably keep at them while readers enjoy them. That said, bad boys and sassy heroines don’t really seem to go out of style, even if the specifics change. Whether they’re werewolves, bikers, stepbrothers, MMA fighters, or something else, I think they’ll be around in some form for a long time to come. Who knows, maybe I’ll even write a few with different tropes just to mix it up. 🙂
As for coming genres, I have hopes for science fiction romance. The new Star Wars movie comes out around Christmas, and authors like Ruby Lionsdrake and Mina Carter have had good luck with them. If they’re going to get to top 10 material, I don’t know, though. I think writing sci-fi would be a ton of fun, but contemporary romance does seem to be the vast majority of the bestsellers, but there was certainly periods for werewolves and vampires in the past, so maybe the fantastical will get another chance. There are many authors who are still doing really well in those categories.
I guess my answer is, I don’t know, but if it’s not stepbrothers, I think it’ll be difficult to go wrong with the bad boys in some format. 😉
I know you sent out over 300 ARCs which got you over 100 reviews on the first day of Bossy’s publication. With only one book out and a budding platform, how did you connect with such a large number of potential readers and got them to give up their email address?
Well, for Rebel, I sent out 113 ARCs, I think it was, so the first thing I did was to ask them to sign up if they wanted to do an ARC again. I do a new signup each time to keep the list fresh. I figure that’ll get rid of those who didn’t care for the previous book and probably aren’t a good match as an ARC reader anyway. Also, my mailing list had about 230 people on it at the time, so I offered all of them to sign up as ARC readers.
At the same time, I try to get to know other authors, especially ones who write in similar genres, and we’ll do newsletter exchanges, so several of my friends sent notes to their mailing lists asking for ARC signups. In addition, I used Facebook, but I do think the majority came from the newsletters and previous ARC reviewers.
Endorsement through newsletters. Awesome! I keep seeing indie authors adding a whole other book at the end of a new release (two even). You’ve also added Rebel in its entirety as a bonus novel in Bossy. Why an entire book when it’s already up on Amazon and not just the one chapter?
With the way Kindle Unlimited has changed to paying authors by the page, there’s really very little reason to not give the reader as much content as you can, with as low of a barrier as possible. If it’s as simple as flipping a page to start reading another of your books, the threshold is virtually zero, at least so long as the reader likes your writing to begin with. You still have to generate quality product, writing good stories well, or they’ll never get there. But so long as they do, it’s a win/win situation for author and reader.
That makes so much sense. So, readers, you see that writing well is just one of the talents a successful author possesses (although it’s the number one talent, and that will never change). But if sales matter to you, then you have to keep abreast of trends, pool resources with others, and keep those books coming out! (Maria, are you listening?)
Kim, thank you so much for allowing me to tap into your insights for the second time. Here’s to you coming over a third with another bestseller, equally jaw-dropping stats and more useful tips.
Thank you so much, and believe you me, I hope so too! 😉
Links used in this article:
Connect with Kim Linwood
I haven’t posted a Q&A in a while, but I will compensate through introducing you to today’s guest, author, blogger and freelance editor, Alicia Dean. Alicia likes spinning spine-chilling stories, but she’s successfully delved into romance and paranormal as well. Scarred is her latest release, a Gothic short that appears in the Mysteries of the Macabre, a Halloween anthology, available just in time for the creepy holiday everybody loves.
Apart from her author’s work, we’ll talk about PoVs and newbie writer errors, so come join us!
Alicia, thank you so much for being here. Before we talk about your WIP process and your editing services, why don’t you tell us a few things about yourself?
In addition to writing and editing, I work as a legal assistant for a family law firm. I am a huge Elvis fan. I love MLB and NFL. And, I love watching tv. You would think that takes away from my editing/writing time, but I get a lot of work done in front of the television…promise! J I have three grown kids who come over and hang out with me on a fairly regular basis, which I love. So far, none of them are married or have children, so I still get some of their time.
Being an author. I’ve wanted to write for as long as I can remember. Although, now that I think about it, I was officially an editor for The Wild Rose Press before my first book was published. So…
Exercise in lean writing: give us a synopsis of your current WIP in under 200 words.
As a teen, High School teacher Sabrina Spencer survived a serial killer attack at Christmas that took her entire family. Ten years later, a few weeks before Christmas, bizarre gifts begin arriving with a threat linked to the Twelve Days of Christmas. At the cabin she rents each year to escape the holidays, she meets Josh, a sexy handyman and a playboy who is the opposite of the kind of man she needs. The threats escalate and her students could be in danger as the Twelfth Day approaches. Sabrina must determine if she can trust Josh or if he is the one sending the twisted gifts.
Ha, just over 100!
Well done, and an enticing story you’ve got there! When you set word count goals, do you usually follow through? Do you have an effective writing method or time saving tips that you would like to share?
Honestly, I am usually behind on my goals, mainly because I have so many other projects that need my attention. The only time saving method I have is to use the speech to text function in Word. I am still trying to get used to it, but if I close my eyes and visualize the scene and just ‘speak’ it, I seem to write more quickly.
I’ve read that although this seems like a strange process, it gradually grows on you and you can indeed add words to your WIP. You run a very interesting blog. My favorite column is your Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip where you post excellent editing tips and sample edits of authors’ WIPs. You go for “deep PoV” edits”. Could you define “deep point of view writing”?
Thank you! I enjoy blogging and I enjoy sharing tips with others. Deep POV writing is when readers are brought closer to the experiences of the characters, rather than being distanced. It’s closely related to ‘showing’ vs ‘telling.’ Using filter words that distance the reader (such as ‘saw’ ‘heard’ ‘felt’ ‘wondered’ ‘thought’ etc) are signs that you might not be in deep POV. Also, using phrases that a character wouldn’t think about themselves, for example: (Let’s pretend we’re in my heroine, Sabrina’s, POV)
Sabrina wondered if Josh was the one sending the gifts. Surely not. If so, she was in more danger than she realized. The teacher’s blue-gray eyes filled with tears. She jumped in fear when she heard the phone ring. (or, another common way sentences like the first one are stated: Josh could be sending the gifts, she thought).
There is no need to tell us she wondered or thought. And, believe it or not, some writers DO say things like ‘the teacher or detective did this or the woman did that’ when they are in a character’s POV because they don’t want to keep using the names or pronouns, but that distances the reader, as do words like ‘heard’ and that last sentence is “telling” and distant POV. Also, a character won’t think of the color of their own eyes, or any of their physical qualities unless they are looking at them or it has something to do with their thoughts, such as: “She hated the way the humidity made her hair frizz.”
This is better:
Was Josh the one sending the gifts? Surely not. If so, she was in more danger than she realized. Please, don’t let him be the one… Tears rose, and she wiped her eyes. The shrill ring of the phone made her jump. Her heart thumped loudly in her ears. (This could all be worded better, but my aim was just to make it deeper POV, less telling. No need to tell us she was ‘in fear’ and using ‘when the’ gives readers a head’s up and puts it in past tense, more or less)
Going deep in writing seems to be the name of the game. I attended a relevant course, and the teacher said that a writer stands no chance being picked up by an agent if she doesn’t go deep. Is that so? And does that apply to all genres?
I can’t speak for all agents, but I would say that it would be difficult to pick up an agent or get published without going deep. They may reject you without telling you that you didn’t use deep POV, but oftentimes if you hear phrases like ‘I wasn’t engaged in the story’ or ‘I couldn’t connect with the characters,’ it’s probably because of distant writing.
Can you give us the most common writing mistakes in a new writer’s manuscript? The ones you’ve come to expect to correct?
Some of the most common are telling vs showing, filter words (both of these related to deep POV, or lack thereof), and backstory dumps.
For more info on Alicia Dean’s freelance editorial services, click here. http://aliciadean.com/editing-services/
Could we take a look at your workspace? Is there a particular place you find inspiring for writing?
Actually, I don’t have a very inspiring workspace, it is a corner of my bedroom with no outside view. But, I do hang things above my computer that inspire me.
Do you have any marketing tips or favorite promotional sites you’d like to share?
My best marketing tip is to choose a few social media platforms and be consistent on those, rather than trying to be on them all. Find a few that you enjoy. Facebook and Twitter are my main focus. As for a promotional site, I run an Authors Helping Authors loop where we promote for one another so we aren’t always ‘tooting our own horn’ and I have met a fabulous group of supportive authors. This is the link if anyone would like to check it out:
Your site is http://aliciadean.com. Where else can we connect with you?
Alicia, thank you for the awesome interview. Best of luck with your future projects.
Thank you for having me! I enjoyed visiting with you.