Your Best Writing Time

Hey guys, I'm at Seekerville talking about a writer's best writing time: Camy here! As I write this, it’s late evening in California, because I’ve discovered my best writing time is usually in the evening and early morning hours. For years this really frustrated me because who in their right mind writes best at 2 a.m.? Especially when I had to get up at 8 a.m. to go to my biology job. (Pain and suffering ...) Why can’t I be like Ruthy who can get up at (Godforsaken) 4 in the morning to efficiently zip off a chapter before breakfast? Click here to chime in and let me know your best writing time!

Ten Ways To Create Character Empathy

This is a fantastic article by Brandilyn Collins. Several of her points are similar to what I read in one of my favorite writing books, Writing for Emotional Impact by Karl Iglesias . Ten Ways To Create Character Empathy

EMPOWERING CHARACTERS' EMOTIONS online course by Margie Lawson

Camy here: I STRONGLY recommend this course! Many of the manuscripts that I critique could use more emotional writing, and this course is the best of its kind in teaching how to write with more emotion, more emotional intensity, more psychologically resonating emotion. TAKE THIS COURSE! This course is designed for writers of ALL GENRES, published or unpublished. You'll work at your own pace, on your own level. EMPOWERING CHARACTERS' EMOTIONS (details below) Presenter: Margie Lawson Cost: $20.00 PASIC members, $30.00 non-members - payable by PayPal Deadline to Register: February 27, 2010 TO REGISTER, GO HERE: CLASS INFORMATION: Would you like to learn how to: Capture emotion on the page? Hook the reader by eliciting a visceral response? Analyze your scenes? Fix scenes that don't work? Increase micro-tension? Add psychological power to a good scene and make it stellar? This power-packed on-line class

Interview--My journey to publication

Lynda Schab interviewed me on my journey to publication! This was fun because she asked questions on topics I didn't think about when I first gave my writing journey story . Now, Camy shares her journey to publication: Fiction, non-fiction, or both? Fiction Genre: Romantic suspense and humorous contemporary romance How many books have you written? 9 How many of those have been published? 4 Years you've been writing: Longer than dirt. Okay, seriously, I started writing in Junior High or High School, but didn't start writing seriously until I got laid off from my biology job, which was in 2002 Click here to read the entire interview!

Proposals—basic structure

I'm over at Seekerville today in a long blog article about how to put together a fiction proposal! Camy here! I know that lots of you did NaNoWriMo in November, and as all of us start to prepare for writer’s conferences this year, I wanted to talk about putting together a fiction proposal for your manuscript. Not all proposals are set up the same way, but I’m going to go through the structure of a typical one. Click here to read the rest of the article!

2010 ACFW Genesis contest for unpublished writers

This is my fifth year coordinating the American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest for unpublished writers! We just went live yesterday! Deadline is 8 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on March 31st, so get your manuscripts polished so you can enter! Actually, enter by March 15th in case your entry gets lost in cyberspace, so we have time to find it. You must be an ACFW member to enter the contest, but you can join when you submit your entry fee! If you're thinking seriously about being published in Christian fiction, ACFW is a fantastic organization! Here's the website: ACFW Genesis contest

Q&A: Writing a scene with 2 characters who are not English speakers

Brenda asked: I have a quandary.  I have a scene in which two characters are speaking, both of whom are not English speakers, but of course, since it would be meaningless to have a page of dialogue the reader can't understand, it is written in English.  In this story's case, it's a historical, the speakers are Apaches.  Traditionally, historicals featuring a scene like this would write the dialogue in choppy, stilted English.  But this doesn't make sense to me.  The scene is in the POV of the Apache, and while I wasn't in that time period, I view it much the same as if you walked in on someone having a phone conversation with a friend in a rapid exchange of Spanish, French, German, what have you.  They are not stumbling over their words.   On the other hand, I'm not sure if I should assume the reader "gets" that these two Apaches would be speaking in their own native tongue.  And someone suggested to me to use the stilted English, which doesn't

Q&A: Unfamiliar settings

Joy asked: I thought to start my fiction (novel) while I'm on a holiday break. I'm conceptualizing some ideas and taking down notes for a chicklit story. I Love chicklit genre.But my dilemma is about the setting. Did it ever happen to you that you based a setting of your story in a place where you've never been before? The last time I was in the US was in 1999. A part from the fact that my memory is kinda rusty and needs fine tuning from time to time, I also didn't pay attention to take note of specific details about the stores, where to go, sights to see. I was just overwhelmed with my new environment and ofcourse homesickness. Currently, I'm based in Croatia ( Southeast EU), but as a background setting, I'd like to mention about the main character based in the US. Should I be very specific about the place in the US? If anything else, I've got friends from the US who can guide me through this. I don't know if I'm making sense here. But I

Q&A: Manuscript format

Jeris asked: I'm in the process of formatting my novel and need to know whether the entire manuscript is saved as one file or separate files within a folder. I started to save it as one file, but realized the header wouldn't be correct--"Chapter One" wouldn't work with the other chapters. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Also, are there any helps when using Word 2007? Camy here: Yes, your entire manuscript should be saved as one file. That will make it easier for an editor or agent if they want the electronic version of your manuscript. Some agents/editors actually prefer the electronic version, although some want the electronic version as just a supplement to the hard copy version, and they ask you to send both. Your header should simply be your name, the title of the manuscript, and the page number. Check out my manuscript formatting article for more info on that. Don't put the chapter number in the header. For Word 2007, I have found a lot

Seven of Nine – uniqueness in your characters

I'm over on Seekerville today melding two of my loves, Star Trek Voyager and writing. :) Camy here! I’m a HUGE Star Trek Voyager fan (I watch the reruns on SpikeTV). I really like the character Seven of Nine. For you non Star Trek fans, Seven is a human woman who was a Borg (mindless cyborg) for most of her life, but Captain Janeway rescued her from the Borg collective and is teaching her how to be an individual. Click here to read more about creating unique characters for your stories!

Q&A: Two characters

Roxo said... I was wondering lately if a two character book would seem boring. The story is about a girl who wanders in the forest with this boy. I have other characters but they appear sporadically even if they contribute to the way the story goes. Should I add someone with them just to make the plot less centered on just two characters? Camy here: I’m afraid there’s no really good answer for this. It all depends on how you envision the story. It’s good that you have other characters who appear sporadically, because they can serve to add more conflict and obstacles to the characters’ goals . If it were purely the two characters, I would say you definitely need more characters, if only to keep the conflict from becoming too much of the same kind of interactions. I’m not sure how far along you are on the manuscript, or if you’ve already plotted the entire thing out or if you’re discovering the story as it unfolds. If you’ve plotted it all out already, look and see if you actua

A good post for those who write humorous fiction

I love the Edittorrent blog, and Alicia Rasley posted this one that I thought was a really good post for those of us who incorporate humor in our fiction: I was reading Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich, and I realized that one reason she's so popular with her readers is that she knows what's fun and spins it out to an enjoyable length. She doesn't just allude to it-- she exploits it. Click here to read the rest of the post

Conflict In Every Line

I'm at Seekerville talking about adding conflict in every line . Camy here! I wanted to talk about conflict today, because we all could use more conflict in our lives, right? Especially now that it’s December and Christmas is around the corner? (Breathe ... breathe ... I’m just kidding! I mean, I’m kidding about us needing more conflict in our lives, not about Christmas being around the corner. And if you’ve still got your head stuck in the sand of denial about Christmas—you have only nine days left, sugar. Get cracking.) Anyway, one of the best things I picked up from a Donald Maass seminar was his injunction to add tension to every sentence on the page. Chime in and add your own before and after writing!

Troubleshooting a Weak Climax

This article that I wrote originally appeared on Suite101. Troubleshooting a Weak Climax Ideas For Fixing a Disatisfying End to the Story If the climax of a novel seems off, here are a few common weaknesses that can be fixed. Sometimes a writer’s critique partners or first readers will comment that they didn’t like the ending of a story, or that the novel didn’t resolve well. While critique is always good, a vague “I didn’t like the ending” isn’t helpful for fixing it. However, there are a few mistakes often made but easily fixed to create a stronger climax. The Character Isn’t Boxed In Make sure you have taken away all other options for the character. If the character reaches the climax but still has several ways out, or a reason to not keep fighting toward the climax, it makes the character look silly or stupid. Work on your character motivations and increase conflict so that the character is forced into the bottleneck of the climax. A good way to box the character in i

Creating an Emotionally Resonant Climax

This article that I wrote originally appeared on Suite101 Creating an Emotionally Resonant Climax How to Bring a Story to an End There are four steps that can heighten tension and reader interest in the climax of a story. The Beginning of the End is often used to refer to the climax of the story, or roughly the last 25% of the novel (in terms of word count or page count). After building the tension and conflict of the middle of your novel, now you want a strong ending that will grip the reader, then provide resolution and release of tension. Give the Character a Certain Personal Principle It heightens the emotional effect of the climax to bring the character’s principle into the mix. Tying principle with external situations gives life meaning for the character, which can help heighten emotional and psychological resonance between the reader and the character. This is one way a writer can manipulate the reader’s feelings through fiction. Have the Character Keep His Princip

Excerpt - A NOVEL IDEA by ChiLibris

Camy here: I'm especially pleased to post this excerpt because I'm in this book, too! I have a piece on finding and developing your writer's voice, that elusive "something" in your writing that makes the piece uniquely yours. I hope you guys enjoy this excerpt enough that you'll buy the book! All proceeds from this book go to charity. A Novel Idea Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (November 1, 2009) by Various Best-Selling Authors (contributions from best-selling authors including Jerry B. Jenkins, Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury, Randy Alcorn, Terri Blackstock, Robin Jones Gunn, Angela Hunt and more) ABOUT THE BOOK: Best-selling Christian fiction writers have teamed together to contribute articles on the craft of writing. A Novel Idea contains tips on brainstorming ideas and crafting and marketing a novel. It explains what makes a Christian novel “Christian” and offers tips on how to approach tough topics. Contributors include Jerry B. Jenkins, Karen Kingsbur

Heighten the Climax By Resolving Subplots

This article that I wrote originally appeared on Suite101 Heighten the Climax By Resolving Subplots Tie Up Threads Before the Last Section of the Novel Simplifying the plot by tying up subplot threads can make the climax more emotionally heightened. Subplots are wonderful things. They can help the reader better understand the characters by showing them in various situations and how they react. Subplots can also complicate a plot and help it take its meandering way to the climax. But there is also one trick many novelists use to make the climax of the novel more emotionally intense, and that is to tie up subplot threads beforehand. Complicate, Then Simplify Take advantage of subplots that enhance and complicate the plot. It makes for more interesting reading and your reader won’t be able to put the book down. However, as you build toward the climax of the book, strip away the subplots so that only the climax problem remains or any minor subplot threads that directly rela

Eliminate Repetitive Scenes

This article I wrote originally appeared on Suite101. Eliminate Repetive Scenes Rehashing Information May Cause a Sagging Middle in Your Novel Utilize a scene index to look at your novel’s story structure and identify possible repetitious scenes to beef up the pacing. Many times, writers will be able to see that their middle “sags,” or the pacing slows in the middle portion of the novel. There are several ways to avoid the sagging middle , but often the problem can be some repetition of information. Identifying it, however, can be difficult when faced with searching a 100,000 word manuscript. Utilize a Scene Index For each scene, skim the scene and jot down key elements: Pertinent information to the plot that is revealed Key character emotions that are uncovered or hinted at Changes to the character that results in different decisions New developments or plot twists New characters introduced Character backstory that is confessed or discovered Many times, writing

Writing Interesting Valleys in Between Peaks

This article that I wrote originally appeared on Suite101. Writing Interesting Valleys in Between Peaks Keep the Reader Intrigued Even If Conflict Has Ebbed In lulls in the novel, narrow the scene’s focus or change things up to keep the reading pace strong. Stories are a series of peaks and valleys, high tension scenes and low tension scenes, also known as Scenes and Sequels . You must have those lulls in order to give the reader a chance to catch his breath, and also to set up the next scene. However, while you must have these low tension scenes, make sure they don’t put your reader to sleep. Use Words and Phrases to Pace the Sequel In general, higher tension scenes have shorter sentences and a choppier reading flow to encourage a faster reading pace, so for lower tension scenes, use longer sentences and more flowing grammatical structure. Obviously, don’t go to extremes. Use your own better judgment in this. However, this can be a valuable tool to clearly indicate to

The first page, part 11 - Query letters and critique partners

This is the last post of my series on things to look for in your first page. Click here for part ten. Use that first page with a query letter Now, many people advise not to put anything into an envelope with a query letter except for the query letter. This is good, safe, and proper. But if you are a trifle daring, why not include your first page? After all, if you’ve spent all this time working on it and revising it and making every word count. It ought to be so fantastic that an editor skimming that page will shout, “I must read the rest of this novel!” If you plan to include the first page with your query letter, that should also spur you to put more time and effort into that first page to make it worthy of that brief glance. After all, you’ll only get that one chance. Utilize your critique partners Every piece of writing could use another set of eyes to catch errors, or tell you if something you thought was clear as a bell is actually a bit muddled. Take advantage of friends to go o