How I Write – Two Truths and a Lie

This week’s topic: Name 2 truths and a lie about your lead characters. You can reveal the lie later on in the post or the next day or the next week. Or even white it out so they have to highlight the answer to see it like a spoiler.

The current story I am working on is called Riding On Fumes. You can read the blurb on the project page. This story is different than any I have written before. It is not a romance but has romantic elements. I would say it falls into several categories or genre’s: Women’s Fiction, Family Saga, Contemporary Fiction. I have three lead characters for this stories – Derrick, Jeremiah and Julian. Natalie is also a big part of the story as well.

Derrick

1. I have a wicked sweet tooth.
2. I have been clean and sober for 4 years.
3. My friends call me Diesel.

Jeremiah

1. I admit, most women, find my smile (and dimples) irresistible.
2. I lost my virginity when I was 13.
3. I am looking for that special woman who will be my partner, my queen and the love of my life.

Julian

1. One thing on my bucket list is to go on an around the world vacation.
2. I am very picky and tend to frequent the same places, especially for dates. Because at least if the date sucks, I know I’ll get a good meal.
3. I bake to relax.

Natalie

1. I left home because I got pregnant at 16 and my mom made me get an abortion.
2. I came back home to mend fences with my family after a recent health scare because life is too short to live with regret.
3. I am a reality TV enthusiast.

To see what lie the characters told, just highlight the black box.

Derrick’s Lie –

I have a wicked sweet tooth. His response – I do eat the occasional sweet maybe two or three times a year but I am not a big candy or gum person. There are exceptions to the desserts. I have my favorites but it depends on who makes it. For instance, I only eat my grandmother’s peach cobbler.

Jeremiah’s Lie –

I am looking for that special woman who will be my partner, my queen and the love of my life. His response. This is the biggest lie ever. I love being a bachelor. And I am not looking to settle down anytime soon. Now I enjoy the company of a woman (or several) frequently but they all know their place in my life. I am too busy to devote time to a relationship.

Julian’s Lie –

I am very picky and tend to frequent the same places, especially for dates. Because at least if the date sucks, I know I’ll get a good meal. Julian’s Response – This is obviously the lie. I do tend to frequent the same restaurants and spots. But I am very flexible and easy going especially when it comes to dating. I love trying new things and exploring the wonderful restaurants and different cuisines in the area.

Natalie’s Lie –

I am a reality TV enthusiast. Her response – While I do like some reality TV programs, particularly the competition type shows. But I am an outdoors girls. I love sports and camping.

If you want to check out how a few of my writing friends write:

* Alexia Reed * Emma G. Delaney * Kimberly Farris *Kristen Koster *

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How I Write – Writing Places

This week’s subject is: Where is your favorite place and/or your favorite alternate place to write?

Most of the time I write at home either in my little office in my room or in the living room. The other places that I write is in the car (dictation or scribbling notes – only if I’m not driving).

My phone comes in handy with dropbox, google drive and documents to go apps. Especially because they sync with my desktop/laptop. I also generally write on my work break. And I keep a notebook with me at all times. I also use the Voice Note feature on Note Everything Pro. Another place I love to write is library. This is a picture of the Southfield Public Library one of my favorite libraries.

Or at my friend’s house. (Note: Not my friends house).

I have even written a scene while in the tub (Note: This is not my tub).

Panera Bread is another favorite place to write.

Basically I can write anywhere as long as I have my phone, a notebook or my mini recorder.

If you want to check out how a few of my writing friends write:

* Alexia Reed * Emma G. Delaney * Kimberly Farris *Kristen Koster *

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How I Write – Success Obstacles

So this week’s questions is: What’s your current biggest obstacle to success? Name at least 3 things you can do to overcome it.

The biggest obstacle to my success besides me has been time management, focus/concentration and motivation. I also realized earlier that I was writing the wrong stories. Or more accurately, I was writing in the wrong genre – romance. I had these stories that were hounding me to be written but I kept ignoring them. With some help and a great discussion with my writing friends, I decided to pursue these stories.

Now for the time management, focus/concentration and motivation aspects.

Something that helps me, at least focus wise, is music. It helps me to better and I can easily tune it out when I really get into scenes so it’s not as big of a distraction as say the t.v. or the internet. I find that lack of sleep adds to to the focus/concentration issue. Sometimes it’s creating a playlist for a particular story, mood/emotion or scene type.

If I am struggling with a scene then I either skip it after making notes and move on. If it’s that I don’t feel like writing, I may take that day as my free day.

I usually get up early and write or stay up late. If it’s a long day at work (10 hour shift or an early morning) then it is usually harder because tiredness enters into play. But I try to push through it and just write. I have set a 1 hour minimum daily writing time.

3 things I can do to overcome these obstacles are:

1. I schedule time with myself. More specifically, I block off sections of time in my calendar as an appointment to write.

2. I make sure that I know my story and where it is going. I do a phase outline. I have  been doing them for years but did not know that that is what they were called, It’s loose enough that I don’t feel stifled but structured enough that I don’t feel lost.

3. I use my playlists to keep me focused. Sometimes what helps is taking a break so I either go walk around, read, cook or do something crafty (crocheting, beading, knitting).

4. The other thing that I do is say no. I say no to people that want to suck my time, energy or focus away from my writing. If I don’t make my writing and my writing career/journey/path a priority then no one else will. There are a few exceptions to the no rule but I have found it easier.

If you want to check out how a few of my writing friends write:

* Alexia Reed * Emma G. Delaney * Kimberly Farris *Kristen Koster *

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How I Write – Guilty Pleasures

The subject: Name a guilty pleasure – one that is writing related and one in real life

Writing Guilty Pleasures

One of my biggest guilty pleasures when it comes to writing is world building, synopsis and emotions.

I like writing character emotions. Delving in deep into the inner workings of the characters, building tension with the emotions and showcasing the different emotional ups and downs in relationships. And it’s one of the things I actually one of my strengths. Often times, the characters will take me in places where I hadn’t anticipated which is frustrating but fun. It usually adds to the stories, character growth and makes for some interesting scenes and dialogue.

I do a lot of world building. Even in my contemporaries. If there is a restaurant, home, motorcycle club, club house, etc I make sure I know the design and layout. I have the restaurants, kitchens, jazz club, houses, strip club and even the banquet space layout done.

I have spreadsheets on the characters. I have my plot sheets. And a bunch of other tools I may or may not use (it depends on the story). Remind me to share some of them someday. And of course I do a blurb which I expand into a mini-synopsis (1 page). The synopsis is basic and helps to keep me on track. And I know it’s strange but I started it as a form of positive thinking instead of dreading the synopsis I decided to approach it as a learning tool and make it fun. And I found out that I liked writing synopses.

Real Life Guilty Pleasures

My real life guilty pleasures are Better Made Potato Chips and Vernors Ginger Ale.

I usually mix a bag of plain and bbq chips together. And I’ve even been known to crush the bbq ones up and eat it with pizza.

Deliciously different!

Vernors is what my mom used to serve us to settle our stomachs when we were sick as kids. Either warmed up, room temp or left out to weaken a bit. When I’m in the mood for a ginger ale it’s my go to drink. I remember going to the factory when I was growing up for a tour.

VERNORS DETROIT

Boston Cooler’s anyone?

A Boston Cooler is a Vernors float. It has nothing to do with the state of Massachusetts or city of Boston. It’s so named because Fred Sanders (from the Sanders Ice Cream Empire – and side note: another happy childhood memory I will share later) invented it at his ice cream shop which was located on Boston Boulevard in Detroit.

My sister when she lived out of town used to have my mom ship them to her along with some Faygo Rock and Rye (check out the flavor line-up.) I’ll have to talk about some of my favorite Detroit and Michigan centered food snacks another time.

Recipe:

    • 8 oz ginger ale – I use Vernors of course
    • 1 large scoop of vanilla ice cream

Pour ginger ale into a large glass. Add in ice cream. Or vice versa. It’s going to foam and you can add more ice cream or ginger ale if you like.

And I have a culinary guilty pleasure. I love making up spice blends, experimenting with recipes and creating recipes on my own. But the biggest is the creating my own spice blends. The other to is just secondary off shoots that are products of the spice blend creation.

Side note: Writing this post has made me realize how many food related happy memories I have that correspond to my childhood. And not just consumption but making and learning about. It’s a wonder that I turned out to be a foodie and a chef.

If you want to check out how a few of my writing friends write:

* Alexia Reed * Emma G. Delaney * Kimberly Farris *Kristen Koster *

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How I Write – Reader Pet Peeves

The question is:

List your top 3-5 pet peeves as a reader that you’ve caught yourself doing in your writing.

Answer:

1. This is the only one I’ve caught myself doing when I write. But it tends to be in the rough/first draft stage. Sometimes I tend to show rather than tell. I’ve noticed I do this more when I write faster or am struggling with a scene. So I have to remember to make a note to go back and change it.

2. I hate wandering body parts. It makes me stop reading. I used to do this a lot when I first started writing. Eyes do not wander up a body, gazes do. There are others but this is one that I noticed in a book I was reading. The image it produces in my head is a pair of eyes popping out of someone’s head and rolling on the floor and up a person’s body. I am a very visual reader and writer.

3. Stereotypes – This should go without saying. But it doesn’t take that long or rather, isn’t that hard to do a bit of research. Especially in today’s digital age. If you have a question about a particular culture or heritage then ask. I have found people very willing to help out. My biggest peeve is having the token African American friend who is always neck rolling, hands on hips and lip smacking. Or to show the person is African American they speak slang or broken English and they are supposed to be working in a professional environment. The thing that pulls me out the quickest though when encountering stereotypes in books is me questioning whether or not the author bothered to do research.

4. The other pet peeve (though this is a minor one). I have read these stories where the heroine does not annoy me and is written in a way that makes me want to read. But I hate the “rich -itch” type of heroine. I understand the woman being strong, independent, hard working, confidant, ambitious, goal 0riented or even blunt but why does she have to be a “-itch”.

5. Constrained endings – I don’t know what else to call this. But those endings where everything is wrapped up with a question, proposal or conversation. I think this goes also to having a weak black moment but that’s something else. I don’t like those endings where I’m left thinking – Huh? That was it? That’s how it’s going to end. Note: this also works with those cliff hanger endings that authors sometimes do to let readers know there is another book coming and to make or try to entice readers to read the next book to see what happens. I call this the “Dallas” or “Who shot JR?” ending.

If you want to check out how a few of my writing friends write:

* Alexia Reed * Emma G. Delaney * Kimberly Farris *Kristen Koster *

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How I Write – Genres

The question is:

Why do you write in a particular genre? What attracted you to it? Do you like to read a genre you don’t or can’t write? Why? Would you like to try a different genre than you current write?

Here’s the breakdown:

I write in a variety of genre’s. But the ones I am drawn to most are paranormal, fantasy and contemporary. The most common element is romance.

I like paranormal and fantasy because I like to create worlds and languages and rules for magic. It is fun to create histories. It is fun to make up magic. Some of the first books that grabbed my attention were the fantasies and sci-fi books. What attracted me to the paranormal and fantasy book is the magic.

The thought of how the world would be different if magical creatures exist, if magic existed. And then the what if’s start. What if humans knew about it? What if they didn’t? What if…

I like to read psychological thrillers and mysteries but don’t know if I can quite do them justice. There is a lot of minute details and information and intrigue that goes on. And I think it takes special skill to blend everything that goes on in the story together.

I think Alfred Hitchcock also has something to do with it. I love how the creates the story and builds the tempo and adds in different elements and then nothing happens. And then bam – someone is offed or poisoned.

And I don’t think the question is “Would you like to try a different genre than you current write?” but “Will I try a different genre?”. The answer to that question is most definitely, probably, yes.

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How I Write – Changes

So the topic this week is:

What did you accomplish in 2011, what one thing would you change about last year, & What are your 2012 resolution goals?

What one thing would I change about last year?

One thing I would change about last year – balance.

I would focus on my goals and not allow unnecessary, needless or out of my control distractions divert me from my goals. I would also not be so singularly focused on my goals and pursuit of my goals that I would have more fun.

So the one thing I would change is to be more balanced. I would maintain my focus and drive but take more breaks to go outside, relax and have some fun.

Because being so singularly focused leads to burn out.

Truth Time:

Often I write 7 days a week instead of taking a break. And it could be editing or making notes or actually writing but doing something writing oriented. And for the goals group I’m in, you’re supposed to have 1 free day a week. But even doing that I didn’t progress as far as I would have liked. Burn-out was one reason which I think led to a lack of focus and motivation.

What I accomplished in 2011?

I have better control of my writing and where I want to go. I have a better road map and am not just throwing everything at the wall hoping something will stick. I have a better idea on what works for me and what my process is.

And what are my top goals for 2012?

Top 5 Writing Goals for 2012:
1. Write 2 hours a day on at least 5 days a week .
2. Blog at least 52 times
3. Read 26 books
4. Write 2 75K books (This will be in the light para series)
5. Write 2 Novellas (25-40K) (Fighting for love series – inspired by family research)

So what’s the one thing you would change about last year? What are your 2012 Goals? What did you accomplish in 2011?

If you want to check out how a few of my writing friends write:

* Alexia Reed * Angeleque Ford * Emma G. Delaney * Kimberly Farris *Kristen Koster *

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How I Write – Top Tools & Resources

This week’s topic is: What is your top writing tools and resource you utilize as a writer/author?

My Top Writing Tools:

1. Scrivener for Windows – Helps with organizing and outlining

2. Google Docs – And now thanks to an app on my phone. I can upload a WIP and work on it during my break and save the changes and then come back to it when I get home with the new additions.

3. Chat Challenges – Be it 20 minutes or 30 minutes, these challenges help with getting writing done and I’m often surprised how many words(and pages) I turn out during these little writing drives.

My Top Writing Resources:

1. My very active imagination which is never short on ideas, twists and turns for my characters.

2. The internet – It has helped with research

3. The library – Great for getting some quiet writing done and also for doing research (especially those hard to find and interesting tidbits).

If you want to check out how a few of my writing friends write:

* Alexia Reed * Angeleque Ford * Emma G. Delaney * Kimberly Farris *Kristen Koster *

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How I Write – Holiday Edition

So the challenge was: With the holidays’ coming up, what are you holiday plans? What are you cooking? Or planning to/looking forward to eating the most if you’re not cooking? And how are you planning on balancing your writing with your real life obligations? Or are you not writing?

Since I’m the one doing most of the cooking in my house this year for Christmas, I made an executive decision and decided we were going non-traditional.

We’re having a medley of favorite foods.

I’m making 2 lasagna’s, bread with homemade garlic butter, salad, beef brisket, smashed potatoes, 7-up cake and peach cobbler.

I’m going to do what I always do. I write when I get a chance. I’m going to write while everything is in the oven. I plan on doing a lot of prep the day before so that should free me up some. Plus my family are late eaters so I will have a huge chunk of time in the afternoon.

So that’s the plan anyway.

If you want to check out how a few of my writing friends write:

* Alexia Reed * Angeleque Ford * Emma G. Delaney * Kimberly Farris *Kristen Koster *

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How I Write – Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

This year my writer wish list is relatively small.

I would like:

1. Continuous motivation and focus so I can complete my writer’s goal and keep improving in my writing and moving forward on my career path.

2. A dedicated office with a comfortable desk chair that is organized and has all my writing supplies I need such as pens, pencils, colored pens, highlighters, sticky notes, index cards, files, a closet full of blank paper and a closet full of printer ink.

3. A new and bigger MP3 player so I won’t have to do the delete shuffle with my audiobooks and cd’s.

4. A new laptop

5. An extra boost of confidence to silence those negative nagging doubt demons wouldn’t hurt either.

6. And for all my writer’s friends wishes to come true.

7. Oh and a dedicated crafting area would be great too that has all my supplies and tools organized so that when I get frustrated or frozen on a scene I can go and do something crafty to take my mind off of uncooperative characters and nonsensical or crazy or overly complicated plots and story lines.

If you want to check out how a few of my writing friends write:

* Alexia Reed * Angeleque * Emma G. Delaney * Kimberly Farris *Kristen Koster *

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