Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Writers Daily

This is a quick post today. If you are like me and don’t have the time to read every reader newspaper (ezeen) that you receive then check out TK Richardson’s The Writers Daily. All of the major events and happenings in the writer community are covered. Articles include:

• Headlines
• Art & Entertainment
• Stories
• Technology
• Education
• Business
• Leisure
• #amwriting
• #wdborders

The last two topics are for Twitter users. Speaking of Twitter I just joined and am trying to figure out how to display Twitter feeds on my blog, any help in this area is appreciated.

TK and several of her friends work hard to bring the best writer’s news to your doorstep. If you are not subscribed to this ezeen then now is the time to join.

Dark Jenny
(Did I mention she also covers book reviews) - Ah, once again, we meet the inestimable sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse in DARK JENNY, Alex Bledsoe’s third installment of the LaCrosse fantasy noir saga. The series is tons of fun with the main charac...

Hold the line folks. I noticed that I have had my 2000th view of my blog…wait now it’s 2001…if only I had that many followers.

If you can raed this tehn you are sdinantg too csole to yuor mntoior.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Does your novels first sentence hide subliminal messages?

Fun: If you can read this you join a group comprising 55% of every 100 readers. This exercise demonstrates that the human mind reads/translates whole words instead of individual letters. You can try this out at home. The first and last letter must be correct. Your mind will unscramble the remaining letters to make sense of the word.
 Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.

i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg.

The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at

Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a

wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be

in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed

it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed

ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and

I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

I wonder what a query letter in this format would look like. I bet the agent would be shocked...he, he, he.

What can a novel’s first sentence tell you about your protagonist?

Here is mine from my manuscript, MYSTERIOUS GIFT:

Twenty-first birthdays are memorable events in every girl’s life—Jen’s was no exception—it was a complete disaster.

This sentence tells a lot about my protagonist. I count seven different facts. Can you spot others?


• The protagonist is 21 years old.

• BD’s are supposed to be happy events.

• She has expectations that her BD will be unforgettable.

• The protagonist is feminine.

• Her name is Jen.

• Jen’s BD will be etched in her mind forever.

• The outcome of this once in a lifetime day wasn’t what she hoped for.

Wow, a single well crafted sentence at the beginning of your novel is a powerful means of revealing additional information, about your main character, to your reader. The original sentence uses eighteen words vice the sixty-one words needed to explain your hidden edits. I added forty-three extra words into the mind of the reader.

Think of it this way. I edited my first sentence by cutting forty-three words. I call this Hidden Editing. I wanted the information to be presented however; I wanted my first sentence to be as short and revealing as possible.

How does your first sentence save space on paper and at the same time tell more?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Can swap words help your writing?

One writing tip I learned is not to use the same word repeatedly within a hundred words of each other much less within a single paragraph.

Sometimes it is hard, especially when using your protagonist’s name. This is where pronouns help. Words such as him, her, she, he, you, them, it, ours, who, which, and I can be used to replace a noun (persons name). Depending on the tense of your writing (first or third person) you can even use pronouns to replace pronouns—her for she, him for he or me for I.

Another way to substitute words is to use the Thesaurus and find a synonym for the speech you want to replace. A synonym is a word meaning the same as another. Most word processors have a dictionary and Thesaurus. In Microsoft Word simply hover your cursor over the word, right click it and you are presented with the option of looking its definition up or checking to see the synonyms. As an example: hover your cursor over this word simple. The synonyms are—easy, straightforward, uncomplicated, trouble-free, undemanding, effortless and plane. Choose the word that best fits your sentence and substitute it for your overused word.

What do you do if a word has no synonyms? This is where a good dictionary comes in handy. Hints often arise for alternate language or phrases simply by reading its definition. Sometimes you can substitute a written expression with a showing statement. For example, say your protagonist has a cold and coughs a lot during a scene. Instead of using the word cough, try something like; his stomach shuddered as he tried to catch his breath.

How do you deal with the overuse of words in close proximity to each other?