Category: Archives

Home > Writing > Archives

Best Writing Tips for 2016 by Connie Vines

January 13, 2016 by in category Archives tagged as , , , ,

It’s a new year, a new novel, and a time revisit the basics.

As the commercial says, “Just Do it.”  Just write.

Read as much and as often as you can. Remember, every writer is a reader first.

Keep a journal or notebook handy to jot down your ideas. If you’ve got a smartphone, download a note-taking app. A voice-recording app also comes in handy for recording notes and ideas.

Make sure you have a dictionary and thesaurus available whenever you are writing.  Dictonary.com is also a great resource.

Be observant. People and activities will provide you with great inspiration for characters, plots, and themes.

The Chicago Manual of Style and The Elements of Style are a must for your book shelf.

Grammar: learn the rules and then learn how to break them effectively.

Stop procrastinating.

Read works by highly successful authors to learn what earns a loyal readership.

Join a writers’ group.

Create a space in your home especially for writing (I covered this topic in an earlier blog).

Proofread everything at least three times before submitting your work for publication.

Start a blog. Use it to talk about your own writing process, share your ideas and experiences, or publish your work to a reading audience.

Subscribe to writing blogs on the Internet. Read them, learn, share, and enjoy!

Let go of your inner editor. When you sit down to write a draft, refrain from proofreading until that draft is complete.

Make it your business to understand grammar and language.

You are a writer so own it and say it aloud: “I am a writer.”

Write, write, write, and then write some more.

Most importantly, love your craft and always, always fall in love with your heroes.

Wishing you a happy 2016,

Connie Vines

coming soon



0 0 Read more

Wishing everyone a Festive Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!

December 24, 2015 by in category Archives tagged as

I will not break into all the possible “holiday” options you might be experiencing (or not). Just like in Sleeping Beauty, if you try to invite “all” the fairies, you will be sure to leave one out, and the thirteenth fairy will come to your baby’s christening and curse you all. So really, don’t go there.

I figure you can just wish anybody the best from wherever you are coming from.  It’s the only solid ground you have.  So whatever you celebrate, wish that happiness on others.  If you don’t celebrate anything, then I believe Mr. Dickens has created “Bah, Humbug!” and it is available for use in any denomination.

But I do like to note that the January 1 “New Year” is only one of several options.

I am particularly fond of the Chinese New Year, as it involves animals and great yearly cards and ornaments, not to mention horoscopes.  So just to alert you, Chinese New Year is February 8th.  It is the Year of the Monkey.  Apparently the Chinese Zodiac timing starts a bit before the New Year, on February 4th, and there is a further refinement of 5 elements (one more than other Zodiac of 4: Earth, Air, Fire, Water).  Here the five elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water. Apparently Air is not an essential element. Perhaps a mistake.

Isabel Swift

0 0 Read more

Software Programs for Writers by Connie Vines

December 13, 2015 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , ,
I was reading my friend, Beverly Bateman’s, blog topic titled Writers Software Programs (Blogging with Beverly on Blog.spot) when I realized this  topic was of interest to me and most likely other novelists too.
I also began to wonder exactly how many programs I used when writing, plotting my novels, balancing the reading levels for my YA stories, etc.   I feel the content would be of interest to writer, readers, and those who man be looking for a program help them make it through the rigors of an AP, university level, or an extension class.

My go-to program is Power Structure purchased via Write-Brain.com.  Since I work in segments: Chapter 1 – 3, etc. rather than scene-by-scene or chapter-by-chapter, this program is adaptable to my thought process.  I am able to work in three Acts, Chapters, Scenes, or any structure model of preference.

Conflict, Subplot, plot point. You can also change almost any term used in Power Structure to suit your personal preference.  Long ago attended a class held at OCC using a writer’s workbook written by Chris Vogler, a Hollywood screen writer, who uses Joseph Campbell’s “A Hero’s Journey” as a plotting bible.  Since I have followed Joseph Campbell’s works and find the “A Hero’s Journey” the best way for me to write a story.

Beverly also mentioned Dramatica Pro.  Pricey, yes.  I believe for characterization, especially for detailed historical novels, or when writing a continuing series, this program was a good investment.

This program also allows you to work on levels for character development. If you so wish, you may print a StoryGuide at each stage of development.  This program also has a number of templates to choose from, e.g., screenplay, novel, short story.  Each comes with an appropriate number of archetypal characters already created, ensuring that each character has a clear dramatic function in the story.

A Plot Progression Window allows me to examine where to place a pivotal point.  There is also a Spin-the-Model Brainstorming option.  This helps when, heaven forbid, I have writer’s block–and much, much less painful than pounding my forehead on mt desk until my muse comes up with a plan.

On my iPad I have several program: My Writing (which I seldom open), A Novel Idea (where I have grains of thoughts/names of future novels) this takes the place of scribbles from my lip liner on discarded pieces of paper I’d find in the depths of my tote bag. I Do Notepad I Do Notepad Pro that I will use but it have a devil of a time retrieving what I have saved.

The Journal app is good for free-flowing thought/plotting etc.  and also for using as a writer’s journal.  You can create labels, change the font and even add a background picture.  This is where I many place the notes from my character interviews. 

Of course, every writer has his or her personal method of developing a story. 
If you have software programs that you cannot live without, please post a comment.  I’d love to hear the details!
Happy Writing,
Connie Vines

0 0 Read more

Christmas during the Civil War in 1862 from “Love Me Forever”

December 11, 2015 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Christmas during the Civil War in 1862 from “Love Me Forever” from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

Christmas is the time of year when we put aside our differences and celebrate the joys of the season.

Even during the Civil War.

No better place to do that than Rosebriar Plantation on Christmas Eve 1862.

The beautiful antebellum house in Virginia has been turned into a battlefield hospital after the Battle of Fredericksburg with Union Army surgeon, Major Flynt Stephens at the helm. There they treat the wounded from both the North and the South.

There’s also a mystery afoot in the major’s eyes. He swears there are two women playing the role of his fiancée and the mistress of Rosebriar.

Identical twins.

But which is which?

Liberty (his lady in gray and a time traveler).

Or:

Pauletta Sue (belle and spy).

I hope you enjoy this excerpt from LOVE ME FOREVER, my Kindle Scout winner.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

~Jina

==============

December 24, 1862

Christmas Eve
Later that evening . . .

Flynt placed the metal star at the top of the Christmas tree.
Behind him, he could feel the stares boring into his back. Men from both sides lay huddled together in the great hall of Rosebriar, each one believing it was his tree with his Christmas star.
North or South.
He smiled. Wasn’t it Dickens who said every man should keep Christmas in his own way?
That was as it should be, he thought, stepping down from the ladder and standing back to admire the fifteen-foot-tall pine tree the soldiers had erected in the main receiving room. Peace on earth. For now. The yellow flag Flynt hung outside the grand house ensured every soldier knew it was a hospital and both Union and Confederate wounded lay inside. The fresh red,   white, and blue candles glowed brightly and the small net bundles filled with nuts and golden apples hung on the boughs of the tree. Someone had made a strand of beans and strung it around the bottom. Glass ornaments, round and blue and silver, hung on the top branches.
New-fashioned ornaments he’d bought on a whim back in medical school before the war. Who could have predicted this horrible conflict? And its casualties. Outside, a heap of amputated feet, legs, arms, and hands lay at the foot of an oak tree a few yards from the main house, waiting to be taken away.
Light, melting snow covered the pile.
But the weather was turning clear and mild.
He prayed that was a good sign and next Christmas would be different, though talk was the country was discouraged after the devastating Union loss two weeks ago at Fredericksburg. The people didn’t want to continue the war. If Burnside and the other generals couldn’t pull off a victory soon, he doubted if the government would get the support it needed to go on with the war.
That meant supplies.
Field hospitals were in want of fresh food, especially fruits and vegetables, causing cases of scurvy to break out. Rosebriar, on the other hand, had more than enough stored food and wood and, thanks to Pauletta Sue, the wounded benefited. They had fewer deaths and less cases of typhoid. It amazed him how a few changes in procedure saved so many lives.
Flynt let his gaze wander over the soldiers brought into the hall, most reclining on straw mattresses. Some had spent days in tent hospitals, lying on the frozen ground with only pine or twigs underneath their blankets. Every man able to sit up or raise his head was brought in to enjoy the Christmas celebration.
He’d never forget the look on the men’s faces when Pauletta Sue went around to each wounded soldier and gave him a small glass filled with brandy, insisting on using as many clean glasses as possible. Aunt Fairinda raised a ruckus in the kitchen, but she calmed down when she saw the men smile. He could still hear the hushed voices of his cook and the other servants oohing and aahing over the tree, saying it was just like the old days before the war started. Even Old Dan shed a tear. Surprised Virginia folk knew how to do up Christmas right, he’d said, like Tennessee folk.
And the singing.
Flynt’s heart warmed to the voices of the wounded men lifted up in the chorus of a popular holiday carol. Pauletta Sue’s light soprano rang out loud and clear. She sat at the pianoforte, her fingers skipping over the keys, turning her head and flirting with every man who caught her eye. He stood in the corner, watching her. Wanting her. His glance moving up and down her body, taking in her deep green silk dress covered with black velvet trim spread out around her, setting off her ivory-skinned beauty like emeralds surrounding a precious pearl.
The perfect mistress of Rosebriar.
Every man in the room envied him.
The real question on his mind was, was this Pauletta Sue from Tennessee?
Or his lady in gray?
It didn’t take him long to find out. Somehow, when he wasn’t looking, he swore they’d switched places. The two women were playing games with him. The lady in gray tended to the soldiers earlier, then the real Pauletta Sue took her place to entertain the officers.

 
0 0 Read more

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 26, 2015 by in category Archives

I’ve been prosthelytizing.  I admit it.  When I hear the words “Happy Holidays” in the days before Thanksgiving–mostly from service providers–I find myself earnestly preaching The Word.  That is My Word.  

“No! You don’t need to be politically correct for this day!  It is one of the special ones where we are all together as humans on American soil.  

It is a secular holiday, without any divisive religious implications. You don’t even have to be an American to be wished a Happy Thanksgiving.  You just need to be in America and you are part of the team.

It is all about being thankful (and eating).  I think we can all get behind that.  The eating part is symbolic of one of the many things we are thankful for.  The fact that the meal is shared with others, often family and friends, is another. 

The classic Norman Rockwell painting we often see around Thanksgiving is just one of four paintings . celebrating the four freedoms articulated in Franklin D Roosevelt’s January 6, 1941 State of the Union speech:

Freedom of Speech
Freedom of Worship
Freedom from Want
Freedom from Fear

Truly much to be thankful for.

Thanks!


0 0 Read more

Copyright ©2017 A Slice of Orange. All Rights Reserved. ~PROUDLY POWERED BY WORDPRESS ~ CREATED BY ISHYOBOY.COM

>