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Choosing Words For Your Manuscript is Similar to Eating A Healthy Diet

November 12, 2021 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as ,

I recently came up with the analogy that choosing the right words for your manuscript is similar to choosing to eat a healthy diet. As I’ve run into a plethora of health issues where I have needed to again cut out foods that might be giving me issues, the correlation with editing my manuscript to take out issues popped into my head.

I’ve actually found flushing out these examples has helped me see both my food diet and my manuscript in a different light. So I thought I would share.

Blog Header Titled Choosing Words for Your Manuscript is Similar to Eating a healthy diet by Denise M. Colby with a plate of a salad in upper right corner

Choosing The Right Foods and Words

We trim out foods that give us issues; We trim off words that give us issues

Choosing the right foods takes practice, and sometimes we tend to slip a favorite in; choosing the right words take practice, but sometimes favorite words slip in.

Even though a particular food is a favorite, eating it doesn’t always have a good after effect; even though we like a particular word, it may not be the best word for the story.

Cheating on our Diet and with Our Writing

When we feel better, we want to cheat and eat a food that can cause issues; After spending time a ton of time flushing out our opening, our middle doesn’t get as much attention.

Sometimes having just one taste because it sounded like a great idea, really isn’t a great idea; the ideas for our MS sometimes don’t work on paper as well as in our heads.

We may take supplements or medicine to offset the affect of foods, but we have to put in the effort to eat the right foods to truly make change. We take classes and workshops or ask for feedback from others, but we have to apply what we learn to our writing to truly make change.

Be consistent, meal after meal, it gets easier to eat healthy; continuously work on our MS, day after day, it gets easier to choose the right words

Say no when we reach for foods that can hurt us; we have to say no to those distractions that can take us away from our writing

Accountability

We have to track our progress to hold us accountable with what we eat and identify when something affects us; we have to track our progress to hold us accountable in our writing, and keep track of the words that give us issues.

By tracking foods that affect us, we learn what to avoid; by tracking the unnecessary words we constantly use, we learn how to spot them better, and choose more wisely.

Pay attention when a food causes inflammation and later, decide against eating it; Track word count in our manuscript and choose the least amount of words to express what we want to say without it being too wordy.

Read labels to find the hidden ingredients that are a part of our list of no-no’s; Pay attention to the weasel words that sneak in to our manuscript and work on removing them overall.

Simplify our menu’s to keep from adding in foods that can cause issues; Cut back the plot points that take us on a side journey and don’t keep the story on track.

Choosing the right words make a great story

We eliminate foods from our diet because it will help us have better overall health; We eliminate words from our MS so that it can be a better story.

Denise M. Colby loves to write words that encourage, enrich, & engage. Every year, she chooses a word to focus on. This year her word is Wisdom. If you’d like to see more of Denise’s posts on this blog, you can check out her archives.

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A Bad Moon Rising

August 13, 2021 by in category From a Cabin in the Woods by Members of Bethlehem Writers Group, Writing tagged as , , ,
Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

By Dianna Sinovic

It must have been at least one in the morning, the inkiness of the night now washed out by the full moon cresting the horizon. Sophie sat up and felt around her for her shoes. She’d been stargazing on the hill, the grassy spot beyond the embrace of the forest. With the moon up, the stars would soon fade until they were too faint to see. Sometimes she felt like that, diminished, dismissed.

Except that the full moon doesn’t rise at 1 a.m. or anywhere near that time. A full moon appears as the sun is setting, giving its full face to be illuminated. 

Jeremy was hopelessly lost, and night was falling. He was walking on what seemed like an endless plain of snow, every direction the same. Zipping up his jacket until it was at his chin, he wished he’d remembered his watch cap. Already his ears felt numb. The sun was now just an orange glow on the horizon, and in the eastern sky, the slender form of a crescent moon had  risen. He headed in that direction.

Except that a crescent moon doesn’t rise at sunset. A slender crescent is either in the eastern sky as the sun comes up. (It often shares the sky with the planet Venus, the “morning star.”) Or it’s in the western sky, following the sun down.

It’s easy to get the sun’s position correct when you write a scene. It rises in the morning and it sets in the evening. And on sweltering summer days it’s usually right overhead.

But the moon follows a different time keeper. And authors who don’t check the phases of the moon before adding them to their fiction risk yanking the reader out of the story. I have been stopped cold in otherwise compelling scenes by a moon depicted in a way that could never happen. 

It doesn’t matter where in the world you set your story, the same astronomical parameters apply. (OK, the poles are different, both for the moon’s and the sun’s appearance.) The details aren’t hard to master. There are websites (NASA is an example) that will spell out the phases of the moon for you. 

So when you’re fact-checking your draft, don’t forget to check the moon. Us astronomy geeks will thank you.

Of course, if you’ve set your story on another world, none of this applies. Instead, just be consistent with the rules of that world or universe. Double moons might be a nice touch.


Books by BWG



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Starting a Novel Series with a Partner: The Plotting

August 3, 2021 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger, Starting a Novel Series with a Partner by E. J. Williams tagged as , , ,

Starting a Novel with a Partner: The Plotting

by E.J. Williams

(Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger)

My husband, Will Zeilinger, and I co-write thrillers, the INTERNATIONAL MYSTERY SERIES, as E. J. Williams. Our tales transport the reader from 1962 Southern California to various international locales. In the first new book of the series, STONE PUB, we find ourselves in County Cork, Ireland.

As we began this series, we experienced the same thing as with the previous, Skylar Drake Mystery Series. That is, we had all sorts of ideas stuck in our heads. Each of us had different scenarios we’d developed. We found it challenging to develop and agree on a central plotline for each story that would take the series across many books.

Meeting regularly with specific agendas and follow-up reports for reminders helped us narrow down the many ideas into the main idea, one that could be sustained through many future books. Daily, weekly, and monthly update meetings keep things flowing. Much like each chapter of a book drives the plot forward, the meetings should have a purpose. They should help drive the writing forward. Once we agreed on the plotline for the whole series, we could focus on the individual novels with similar foundations.

Regular meetings are the most efficient way of making a co-writing situation successful. Remember . . . the crucial thing is to write a good story. So, stay tuned . . . there is more to come.

STONE PUB is the first in the series, and yes…we are still married!

Website: Janet Elizabeth Lynn

Website: Will Zeilinger


Read Skylar Drake Mysteries while waiting for STONE PUB.

DESERT ICE

Buy now!
DESERT ICE

GAME TOWN

Buy now!
GAME TOWN

SLICK DEAL

Buy now!
SLICK DEAL

SLIVERS OF GLASS

Buy now!
SLIVERS OF GLASS

STRANGE MARKINGS

Buy now!
STRANGE MARKINGS
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Writing Believable Fight Scenes

May 18, 2021 by in category Ages 2 Perfection Online Class, Online Classes tagged as , , , ,

Writing Believable Fight Scenes

Presented by: J.T. Evans
Date: June 1 – 30, 2021
Pricing: A2P Member fee: $15
Non-A2P Member fee: $30

About the Workshop:

Knowing how to write a true-to-life fight scene requires getting into fights. Yes, multiple fights. Many of them. That’s painful because your opponents tend to strike back. There is an alternate approach, though. Find someone who has been in their fair share of fights, also knows how to write, and can impart their decades of battle-earned wisdom to the eager student. This class will cover a wide range of topics including the purpose of a fight in fiction, gender differences, martial arts styles, weapon types (melee and ranged), writing mass combat, how to visualize a fight scene, and what happens to people when they are wounded. There are many nuances to each of these topics (and more!) that you won’t want to miss out on.

About the Presenter:

Roughly thirty-five years ago, J.T. was the target of the bullies (yes all of them) of his school. Between seventh and eighth grade, he enrolled in his first martial arts class to learn how to defend himself. This allowed him to not only drive the bullies away the next school year but put him on a path of passionately learning as many different forms of martial arts as he could get his hands on. Through the years, he’s learned “soft forms,” “hard forms,” armed combat, mass combat techniques, and even has some mixed martial arts experience. As a result of bouncing between the different arts in the world, he has never earned a black belt in a single one, but his broad-spectrum approach has allowed him to get out of many a tight situation over the years.

When not thinking about what martial art to tackle next, he writes fantasy novels. He also dabbles with science fiction and horror short stories. Between the times he slings words at his laptop, he keeps computers secure at the Day Job, home brews great beers, spends time with his family, and plays way too many card, board, and role-playing games.

J.T.’s first two novels in his Modern Mythology series from WordFire Press GRIFFIN’S FEATHER and VIPER’S BANE are out now.

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Characterization by E. J. Williams

May 3, 2021 by in category Starting a Novel Series with a Partner by E. J. Williams tagged as , , ,

Starting a Novel Series with a Partner
Characterization

by E.J. Williams

(Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger)

My husband, Will Zeilinger, and I co-write the thrillers of INTERNATIONAL MYSTERY SERIES, as E. J. Williams. Our tales transport the reader from 1962 southern California to various international locales. In the first new book of the series, STONE PUB, we find ourselves in County Cork, Ireland.

The first book sets the tone and is the foundation of all future books in a series. The main characters will appear over and over again. They have to be strong and memorable. The character must be able to grow and change through several books while remaining exciting and unpredictable. Keep in mind that you, too, will be living with them for some time, so you, as the author, must like them also.

As a couple, we often think back to people we’ve met or know, then we kick it up a little…or a lot. At first, it wasn’t easy to choose. We had so many. Then we realized we didn’t have to choose…we could combine, which made for powerful, strong, funny, and capable characters that can sustain the reader’s interest over the course of the series.

Supporting each other and valuing the ideas we each bring to the table make for great characters. Remember, the crucial thing is to write a good story. So stay tuned. There is more to come.

STONE PUB is the first in the series, and yes…we are still married!

Website:  Janet  Elizabeth Lynn    

Website:  Will Zeilinger              

    Janet”s and Will’s
Skylar Drake Series

(Hover over the covers for buy links. Click on the cover for more information.)

DESERT ICE

Buy now!
DESERT ICE

GAME TOWN

Buy now!
GAME TOWN

SLICK DEAL

Buy now!
SLICK DEAL

SLIVERS OF GLASS

Buy now!
SLIVERS OF GLASS

STRANGE MARKINGS

Buy now!
STRANGE MARKINGS

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