Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday Wisdom for Writers and Those Who Love Them

"My language is the common prostitute that I turn into a virgin." —Karl Krause

Here's my take on this concept: taking a cliche and turning into something fresh.

An example:

Cliche: The killer stared coldly at his victim, ice running through his veins.

Fresh: The killer looked at his victim and saw his father standing over him with a switch.

Fresher: The killer felt the rush running through him. It didn't quite take away the pain, but the momentary flush of his memories set him free.

Build on this. What takes a common prostitute of words and turns them into something virginal? It has a little to do with Deep POV, I think.

It's all better with friends.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Importance of a Title

When I go to the Menu button for my television cable service, the first thing I see as I scroll through the schedule are titles. Usually I'm looking for a movie to watch.

If I see a title that intrigues me I can get more information.

But only...


With the cable menu program, there's not even a cover that can enhance the intrigue.

Titles are important.

I read recently that some research indicated many readers responded with interest to the word SECRET in a title. I immediately began second guessing the working title of my newest manuscript where arson plays a huge role, FLAME GAME. I couldn't come up with anything that didn't sound like someone having an affair.

Are there words that catch your attention?

I think for me they might be DEATH, MURDER, LIES

or, since I've published three books: RED TIDE, MISSINGS, SACRIFICE.

But seriously, are there words in a title that make you look at the description? Does it depend on genre? Curious minds want to know.

It's all better with friends.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wednesday Wisdom for Writers and Those Who Love Them

"How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live." —Henry David Thoreau

Thoreau's statement put me in mind of one of the most amazing things I've read recently:

"We must always take sides." This could haunt me. Especially when it's appended with "Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim."

When you sit down to write, make sure you've stood up to live. 

It's all better with friends.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Chillers and Thrillers for October

I just finished reading The List by J.A. Konrath. This book sucked up a lot of time today, but I don't feel bad in the least. Well worth it. No woo-woo, but a lot of science. Very cool. And scary.

And before that I read Eerie by Blake and Jordan Crouch. You think it might be woo-woo, but then it isn't, but then again...

Both of these stories engaged me. After all, it's the month to be frightened.

Are there books that scream October to you?

It's all better with friends.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wednesday Wisdom for Writers and Those Who Love Them

"A critic can only review the book he has read, not the one which the writer wrote." —Mignon McLaughlin

When a writer strings words together, it's sometimes magic and sometimes labor. Everyone one of those words is a personal choice. The book is a personal offering.

A reader comes to a book with his or her own expectations and biases, and they don't always match up to the those of the writer.

One of the easiest things to understand is also one of the most difficult things to believe: Some people aren't going to like my books.

I've learned, by listening to the likes and dislikes of other readers, that our tastes are as varied as the choices of reading material. And that's very cool.

I've also decided, just for the heck of it, that people who don't like my books also don't like chocolate. Or bacon. Or puppies. It helps.

It's all better with friends.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Reach Out And Read

I recently discovered a wonderful literacy group and want to share it with you. Reach Out and Read is all about children. And helping parents understand the importance of reading aloud to babies.

Parents have more influence than they can imagine. The simple act of reading can empower a child to become a reader. To change his or her life forever. 

Because with reading the world opens up. Possibility. Power. Knowledge. Choices.

I'm preaching to the choir with you guys, but Reach Out is holding auditions. If you're looking for a place to donate a few dollars, this one ain't half bad.

It's all better with friends.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wednesday Wisdom for Writers and Those Who Love Them

"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart." —William Wordsworth

I write thrillers. But if I don't write characters readers connect with, who cares?

For me, breathings of your heart, means writing a story that matters. Energize the plot with stakes that touch our cores with situations we can relate to. Breathe a story that's filled with humanity and an energy we don't always find when we step out our doors every day.

It also means going beyond just understanding the character. It means giving them purpose. Giving them sorrow and hope and failure and... well, you get the idea.

I think I'm getting better at that bit, and that makes me feel good.

It's all better with friends.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wednesday Wisdom for Writers and Those Who Love Them

"What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure." —Samuel Johnson

I'm working on a manuscript that is requiring a lot of effort. I hope in the end I don't give up. I hope in the end, it's the best I can offer. I hope in the end I offer a bit of pleasure.

And by the time this posts, I will have read an amazing manuscript written by Tim Hallinan, who happens to write one of my all-time favorite series—Poke Rafferty. I blogged about one of them here

In the past, Tim has freely said that the Poke books are often some of his most difficult books to write. And it's no wonder. They're filled with detail and passion and history and sadness and hope and people who are incredibly real. And still, he sticks things in that make me laugh out loud. 

That ain't easy.

It's all better with friends.