Posts I loved this week

I loved the posts this week. From funny to instructive, they’re all excellent. They entertained, amused, interested and enlightened me. I hope they do the same for you!

Another how-to from Sourcerer, this post is about tags and a must-read for bloggers. Tags are so important to create traffic and WordPress will punish you if you use them wrong (I had no idea). Check out this post and learn the ins and outs. All the tricks are spelled out here and detailed so your post gets maximum traffic. A huge thank you to Sourcerer for this gem!

This post is about a very important idea. We all know it, but it’s so important to pass it on. Crystin Goodwin has it right on the money.

On the same topic, here‘s a list of awesome indie books to read for the summer. A big thanks to Harliqueen for the great post!

Ah…how to keep readers engaged. This one is a definite must for me. It talks about creating an emotional connection with readers. In only four tips. A big thank you for the excellent post to Janice Hardy on Writers in the Storm.

I loved the choices in this post by Winter Bayne. 48 paranormal and sci-fi romance author blogs! Like she says, “…with the list below you can find something that will intrigue you.” Awesome!

If you’re looking for a laugh, this post will get you there. It’s written by Infinitefreetime, a blog I rarely miss.

Absolutely stunning, I’m in awe of these photographs. They’re simply breathtaking. I want to get them, frame them and put them on my walls. That beautiful.

I loved this post by Molly Greene because it has so many must-knows for bloggers. From 101 topic ideas to 10 tips to increase traffic, she’s got them all. An amazing post!

This one is just simply delicious. It’s a rant against Twilight. I should add that I read the books like an addict–over and over–but I still find the post hilarious. I highly recommend it. Thank you Liz Bureman for the great post, laughs and very clear examples!

This post gives you 4 ways to love marketing. I need to read this post because I hate marketing my own books. And, since the marketing fairy doesn’t exist, I had better embrace that part of being an author. This post helped me start on that road. A big thank you to Emily Wenstrom and The Write Practice!

A great post by Part Time Monster, this top ten Bookcover Likes/Dislikes immediately peaked my interest. Not only is it a countdown, it has pictures! Love it!

I had to add this one because there’s something intangible about the photographs by Gene’O that just makes me stop and stare. I have no idea how to put it into words but this picture says it in spades.

Finally, I loved this one because it made me laugh. Heather B Costa might just make you blush with this one…or snort coffee like I did!

Conflict

I’m editing and I keep wondering, is there enough conflict in my story? Though I could do without it in real life, it’s different in my story. In a book, conflict is key. It’s so important.

So, I did a bit of searching and found some sites on conflict. If you’re like me and wondering if you have enough of it, these might help.

http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/2013/11/double-storys-conflict-seconds.html–How to double your conflict in seconds. Thanks to K.M. Weiland. 

http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2009/03/on-conflict.html–Nathan Bransford weighs in on conflict and why you need it.

http://blog.janicehardy.com/2012/11/guest-author-cj-redwine-how-to-escalate.html–10 ways to escalate conflict in your story.

http://blog.janicehardy.com/2010/11/find-your-plot-fridays-forcing-issue.html–By Janice Hardy again. Another great post on how to add conflict to scenes.

http://thewritepractice.com/creating-conflict/–by Joe Bunting on how to create conflict.

http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/2012/09/why-your-storys-conflict-isnt-working.html–A very important point about adding valid conflict by K.M. Weiland.

And finally, a cute and funny test by Janice Hardy to see if you’re too nice to your characters. http://blog.janicehardy.com/2010/12/do-you-suffer-from-nws-living-with-nice.html

P.S. Yes, I did take the test and, no, I don’t want to talk about how I did.

Creating real characters

I just had to redo my villains in my story. They were simply too…flat. There was nothing to them. No back story, no depth and worse, no reason for doing what they were doing.

Since I was redoing them, I thought, heck and I started to redo two other villains as well. To do it, I sat and thought: Okay, so this guy is a jerk. He hurts women. Why does he do it? How does he justify it? And how is he hurting in his life (so that he’s not a simply evil man without any redeeming qualities)?

I basically wrote a backstory to them. One was abused as a child, one had tried to avoid the pain he felt living with his alcoholic family of origin by choosing a doing a job he hated and now, with four kids, he was trapped in doing something he disliked every day.

These weren’t main characters in my story. They were in only two or three scenes in the entire thing. Still, once I know them well, I can write them in so much better. Their dialogue comes alive and they develop quirks and mannerisms that suit their personality.

They come alive in the story because they’re alive for me.

But let’s face it, I’m no Nora Roberts. What do I know?

Well, these people know. Check out this little group of links on how to write great characters. Hopefully, one will suit your style!

Elizabeth S. Craig has this great post on Help with Character Development. In it she has a ton of other links to help out with everything from worksheets to examples. An excellent post and one with many possibilities.

Janice Hardy has this post with a list for an antagonist and this one for a protagonist! Absolutely awesome posts.

And this one is for supporting characters! Let’s not forget those. A great post by Nancy Parker.

Info dumps

I too have had trouble with the dreaded ‘info-dump’. I knew better than to start a story with the entire character back story but I couldn’t see how to get it in there. Then, I spotted a dialogue and thought, perfect!

Wrong.

My dialogue went something like this:

Anna: “Hi, Roberta. How are you?”

Roberta: “Hi, Anna. I’m better thanks. I’m almost over my cold, though it certainly wasn’t as bad as the pneumonia I had when you were in love with Henry but he back stabbed you by going out with Louisa and you heard about it through your best friend Veronica by accident. How are you?”

It was a disaster.

So, how does a pro do it? Well, I got a link or two for you. 😀

Janice Hardy does such a good job of explaining it here, I couldn’t resist putting a link. She’s a pro and she explains it so much better than I ever could. Here is another post on what an info dump is and how to avoid them. And finally, this one on how to weave information into the story naturally.

A big thanks to her for those awesome posts!!

Transition scenes

I always have trouble with ‘transition’ scenes; those times when the hero is walking to the heroine’s house or the heroine is driving somewhere or they’re going to sleep. I want to skip when they’re in transition or rush by it somehow because it’s boring but, if I try and rush it, you can tell. On the other hand, if I write down every detail (he tied his shoes, grabbed his coat, put an arm in, then the other arm, zipped his coat shut…) the reader will probably throw my book on the floor then stomp on it for good measure.

So, what do I do? Luckily, though I have no idea, others do (yeey!).

Janice Hardy has a great article on how to skip time. She shows (with small examples) different types of techniques on how to move ahead. Check it out here. And here is another on transition scenes.

Skipping ahead of time is one of the ways to tighten up a book and not drag the reader through boring parts. Janice Hardy makes it look easy. A big thanks for those great articles!