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OH HORRORS! Storytelling that goes bump in the night

October 15, 2021 by in category The Write Life by Rebecca Forster, Writing tagged as , , ,

My job as a thriller writer is to keep the reader on the edge of her seat, but when it comes to jump-out-of-your-skin storytelling horror is the cardio workout for the imagination. The writer in me is in awe of the imaginative details; the reader (movie-goer) is in love with the unpredictability of the genre.Here are three of my favorites.

FINAL DESTINATION – MOVIE FRANCHISE

The premise is basic, the acting just decent, but the writing was so darn inventive. Just when I thought the writers couldn’t surprise me again, scenes became more elaborate, unpredictable, and downright delightfully terrifying. This is a great lesson in taking the time to kick your writing up a notch.

MISERY – STEPHEN KING

We’re all suckers for a good plot, especially when it pumps with plausibility. An obsessed fan, a writer who is her captive, and the life and death struggle between them makes this a great look at how a writer can create a nail biter when the characters are locked into a single location.

NEEDFUL THINGS – STEPHEN KING (again)

The slow burn makes the horrific climax in this book incredibly satisfying. King uses multiple characters and their motivations to keep the reader off base. This technique creates a literary funnel that feeds into the one person the reader should have been paying attention to from the beginning. Psychological horror becomes physical and the swiftness of the climax is chilling, and the reader doesn’t even know they are being led down a path until it’s too late.

So, I’ve got the pumpkin carved, the candy bowl is on the table, I’m waiting for the doorbell to ring and before those trick-or-treaters descend I’ve got just enough time to open my book and scare myself silly. What about you? What’s your favorite Halloween-horror page turner?

The Witness Series

HOSTILE WITNESS

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HOSTILE WITNESS

SILENT WITNESS

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SILENT WITNESS

PRIVILEGED WITNESS

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PRIVILEGED WITNESS

EXPERT WITNESS

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EXPERT WITNESS

EYEWITNESS

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EYEWITNESS

FORGOTTEN WITNESS

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FORGOTTEN WITNESS

DARK WITNESS

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DARK WITNESS
LOST WITNESS: A Josie Bates Thriller
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WHEN AUTHORS ROAM

March 15, 2021 by in category The Write Life by Rebecca Forster tagged as , ,

Hiking in Albania. Met a bride & groom. We were invited to the wedding.

I was going through my travel pictures – some as close as another town in Southern California, others as exotic as China and Albania – and was reminded that my writing was richer for each experience. But it wasn’t just the places that fired up my imagination. By far, it was the people I met that made the journey unforgettable. Here are the five groups I seek out on every trip because meeting them always inspires my work.

Keepers of the Keys: A hotel maid, a waiter, a shopkeeper. The interaction with these people might be fleeting, but they know what goes on behind closed doors. Sometimes the small details, the seemingly most insignificant secondary character, can make a good story great.

Merry Makers: Festivals, a local pub, a county fair are where people let their guard down. Join in.  Experience the sights and sounds to enrich your descriptions. Festivals are especially fertile ground for romance writers.

A shepherdess we asked for directions. She told us she had 7 unmarried daughters for my son.

Wise old Sages: A simple hello, an offer to help carry a package, a greeting in their language, will make an instant friend of the elderly. From them you will learn the history of the country and the person. Seeing through their eyes enhances the pacing of your work and the backstory of your character.

The Village People: No, not the singing group. These are the folks outside the mainstream. They are a wonderful contrast to city dwellers. Taking the time to go off the beaten path to meet them is invaluable to those who write family sagas or historical fiction.

Fellow Travelers: Some people travel out of necessity, others are running away from something and some running to their destiny. The traveler you think most humble might be a titan of industry. One of my favorite encounters ended up as a major character in one of my books. He literally inspired a complete novel because he was not what he seemed.

When the pandemic comes to an end, travel. Near or far, it doesn’t matter. Meet one or all of these five people. They will be an inspiration. If you take the time to truly connect, you will inspire them too.


Books by Rebecca Forster

BEFORE HER EYES

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BEFORE HER EYES

BEYOND MALICE

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BEYOND MALICE

CHARACTER WITNESS

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CHARACTER WITNESS

DARK WITNESS

Buy now!
DARK WITNESS

DREAMS: The 90s Collection

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DREAMS: The 90s Collection

EXPERT WITNESS

Buy now!
EXPERT WITNESS

EYEWITNESS

Buy now!
EYEWITNESS

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Buy now!
FOREIGN RELATIONS

FORGOTTEN WITNESS

Buy now!
FORGOTTEN WITNESS

HOSTILE WITNESS

Buy now!
HOSTILE WITNESS
INTIMATE RELATIONS

KEEPING COUNSEL

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KEEPING COUNSEL
LOST WITNESS: A Josie Bates Thriller

PRIVILEGED WITNESS

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PRIVILEGED WITNESS

SEASONS: The 90s Collection

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SEASONS: The 90s Collection

SECRET RELATIONS

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SECRET RELATIONS

SEVERED RELATIONS

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SEVERED RELATIONS

SILENT WITNESS

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SILENT WITNESS
THE BAILEY DEVLIN TRILOGY: BOOK 1-3 (The Bailey Devlin Series)
THE DAY BAILEY DEVLIN’S HOROSCOPE CAME TRUE
THE DAY BAILEY DEVLIN’S SHIP CAME IN
THE DAY BAILEY DEVLIN PICKED UP A PENNY

THE MENTOR

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THE MENTOR
THE RECKLESS ONES: The 90s Collection

VANITIES: The 90s Collection

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VANITIES: The 90s Collection

VOWS: The 90s Collection

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VOWS: The 90s Collection

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Hemingway and Me: AI Editing

October 15, 2020 by in category The Write Life by Rebecca Forster tagged as , , , , ,

Last month I was excited to share that I signed with Wolfpack Publishing, an online publisher. I never thought I would do that (check September to see why I did). This month, I’m having another never-say-never moment. I purchased an Artificial Intelligence editing program called Hemingway.

Why I shelled out $20 for Hemingway

A friend recommended the program. It was inexpensive. I am always looking for ways to improve my writing.

What is Hemingway?

It is an intelligent assistant for the writer who wants to improve their style. Hemingway cannot replace an excellent editor. In the early stages,  guidance on foundational work is essential. No computer program can analyze characterization, plotting, inconsistencies, theme etc. the way a human can. It will not check for grammar or spelling.

What I like about Hemingway.

Hemingway made me think. The app ‘believes’ that simple is better. The program color codes perceived style problems in the manuscript. Purple indicates  hard to read sentences, yellow very hard to read, blue is adverbs, and green is passive voice. The app also highlights phrases that have simpler alternatives.

More often than not, I heeded Hemingway’s advice. Yes, some of my sentences were convoluted. Yes, there were other ways describe action without a word that ended in LY. There were also times I didn’t change a sentence. Yes, that passive voice was necessary. Thank you, Hemingway.

What are the drawbacks of Hemingway?

Blogs, articles, and short pieces might find Hemingway more helpful than the novelist. I uploaded chapter by chapter so I wasn’t overwhelmed. It was tedious, but I’m glad I did it.

It is difficult to figure out how to transfer the edited work. I finally used the export as a word doc function. I did have to reformat each chapter. Not a problem, just an extra step.

Hemingway does not check spelling and grammatical errors. It would be a nice addition to the program.

Do I recommend Hemingway?

Yes. It is well worth $20. This program made me stop, think, revise, and it gives me reasons why I should pay attention. Because I will have a cleaner manuscript, it will save my real life editor time and  therefore save me money on the back end. For traditionally published authors, your editor will be very pleased with the smooth submission.

Bottom Line for Hemingway

I recommend that all writers add Hemingway to their tool box. It is a small investment for a big return on how you look at your writing.

P.S. Yes, I did edit this piece in Hemingway. Here is the link.


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WANT CREATIVE CRED? GIVE A LITTLE

July 15, 2019 by in category The Write Life by Rebecca Forster tagged as , , , , , ,

Want to know a secret? Volunteering can be your ticket to building a creative career platform.

Other professions have embraced the nonprofit strategy as personally fulfilling and professionally strategic. Lawyers work pro-bono, doctors cross borders to help those less fortunate, retired business people and teachers mentor those who need help starting their businesses or getting over a hump.

But nonprofits need more than counsel, they need the kind of exposure writers, filmmakers and artists can provide. Whether you’re looking for that first portfolio piece or expanding an already established career, aligning yourself with a nonprofit offers you a wealth of creative opportunities. Since you might know others in creative careers,  here are some suggestions for writers, filmmakers, artists and even chefs and gardeners because creativity is never limited.

WRITERS AND/ OR FILMMAKERS

Profile a volunteer

Interview the administrator

Chronicle the history of the nonprofit

Write the newsletter

Write content for their website/blog

Spotlight the success stories of clients

 

ARTISTS/PHOTOGRAPHERS

Paint a mural

Design a fundraising invitation

Photograph the clients

Hold art/photography classes

Design a nonprofit’s newsletter

Design a non-profit’s logo

CHEFS/GARDENERS/ETC

Cook for a fundraiser

Landscape the building

Provide floral arrangements for benefits

There is no limit to the benefits you will receive by volunteering your creative services. You will build your portfolio, be introduced to businesses and clients that are ready to pay for your talent, and, above all, you will have made a difference with your words, your images and your creativity. There is no lack of drama at a nonprofit, all you have to do is seek it out.

Eric, my son and Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Albania, writes plays about his experiences. They are produced in Hollywood and the proceeds benefit the village in which he lives.

Sam, a well-known musician, teaches children stricken with cancer how to play the guitar. Because of his volunteer work, the local newspaper did a front-page article on his efforts.

Cheryl, an aspiring filmmaker interviews people in an assisted living facility and runs those interviews on her website calling attention not only to rich histories but also to her talent behind the camera.

Jackie painted a mural on the wall of a local library. She was credited for her work by the library and her work is seen every day of the year not only by those who visit the library but people who walk and drive by.

The next time you’re looking for a way to showcase your talent, look no further than your community. Your portfolio – and your heart – will benefit from your generosity.

 

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Who Wants to Be a More Productive Writer?

March 8, 2016 by in category Archives tagged as , , , ,

By MM Pollard, the MM in Workshops with MM,
Certified copy editor,

Editor, Black Velvet Seductions

I think I can safely assume that all writers want to be more productive. If you happen to be one who doesn’t, then feel free to click close now.

Okay, so most of you stayed. How did I know that most of you would stay here? Would you believe I’m clairvoyant? No?

I don’t need to be clairvoyant to know that you’d still be reading because I know writers want to write. If you sit on the couch and watch Ellen, you are a watcher, not a writer. If you eat bags of chocolate kisses, you are an eater, not a writer. If you sit at a computer and stare at the screen, you are a starer; you are not a writer. (Sorry, if that hurts. Read on for the salve to solve that situation.)

Writers produce writing, coherent words on a screen (paper). If you are happy averaging one hundred words a day, then I suggest you stop reading here. If you want to write more, lots more, then continue, please.

Becoming a more productive writer involves many actions and a few attitudes. Here are a few of both.

Actions:

If you were on a deserted island with only your computer with a fully charged battery, would you write or would you play Solitaire until the battery discharged? (Solitaire players may stop reading and get back to their games. I apologize for the interruption.)

Do those close to you know you write?

Do you have a place just for you and your writing?

Do you write every day?

Do you keep track of your time and words every time your write?

Do you play Solitaire when you are writing blocked, or do you still write something, anything?

Attitudes:

Is writing fun or a chore?

Do you think you deserve to take time out of your day and from your other responsibilities to write?

What’s more important to you? The huge advance you’ll receive with the sale of your book? Finishing that book your family didn’t believe you would ever complete? Releasing your characters from the purgatory of your mind to see the light of a computer screen?

That salve I said I would share with you? This is it – my workshop titled Speed Writing – What Plan Works Best for You? You’ll learn how to form a habit of writing, learn to keep track of your productivity for accountability, learn to deal with issues—those inside you and outside of you. That’s just for starters.

It seems that hundreds of people have written books on increasing speed and word count. I’ll share information from many authors who have increased their word count to several thousand a day or even an hour. I’ll give you another author’s plan to write a novella in twenty-four hours and another author’s plan to write a book in nine days.

The beauty of this workshop is that I have done all the research for you. All you have to do to take the information and see which system works best for you.

I hope you will join me.

MM Pollard

About MM Pollard

As an English teacher for fifteen years and, currently as editor for Black Velvet Seductions and the MM in Workshops with MM, MM Pollard has helped writers correct ungrammatical grammar, misused usage, problematic punctuation, and poor writing. Check out Testimonials on her blog, MM’s Fundamentals of English. While you are there, sign up for her monthly newsletter and even look at previous newsletters.

MM began presenting workshops four years ago and has presented on many sites, including her own. Many RWA chapters, including From the Heart RWA, RWA Online, OCC/RWA, Passionate Ink, Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal RW, Maryland RWA, and Florida RW, have also sponsored her workshops. In February, 2015, she presented at FRW’s Fun in the Sun Conference, and her dream come true!

Through her fun workshops—English class can be fun!—MM is sure she can help you, too, master the fundamentals of English composition.

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