How to Avoid “Dead” #Triberr Tribes and Easily Manage Yours: The Missing Manual

goldfish jumping out of the waterThis post is pretty much the Triberr user manual which desperately needs to be written and I often see asked for! Triberr is the best blog traffic and network booster I have come across (click on link above to learn about it.) Handled well, it is gold! These are the lessons I’ve learnt, which I often see questions on.

The most important one is “think community.” This is about give and take, not all about you!

Joining Tribes

If you are looking to join new tribes, or receive an invitation, always look at the member list. Avoid or leave them if:

1. There are many followers who haven’t been made into members. That is a sign the Chief is on the free Triberr plan and there is no room. You will see and be able to share everyone’s posts, they will never see or be sharing yours. If you have never been admitted to a tribe as a member, you can go into the list of tribe members and remove yourself.

2. The Chief hasn’t logged in for several months: no free-loading, or inactive members will be removed. Again, you will be sharing their posts, they won’t give a fig about yours. Don’t forget, people try Triberr and forget it or don’t like it. Each tribe has old members who have stopped blogging or moved on. They need weeding out. (It’s not a sign of a mean Chief, just a smart one!)

3. Look at how recently a majority of members shared. If there are quite a number of members who haven’t been sharing in around three months or more, that will be a very low value tribe. I have culled 20 tribes from my stream on that alone and it made no difference to the number of shares I received. Anyone who I would miss, was invited to my tribe.

4. If you hate certain kinds of posts, such as SEO, social media how-to, constant product promotion posts, or erotica, check out how much of that sort of content is in the tribal stream. You can mute individual members, but that may be the wrong tribe for you.

5. Tribes with fewer members in them can be more faithful than the giant ones. Don’t let the head count swing your decision. Look for activity.

6. I have always found that the best Chiefs are paying, Prime members. As we pay for the service, we make sure our tribes function! You can tell who they are as they will have tribes with over 20 full members in them.

7. Don’t feel pressured to share everyone’s posts, all the time and don’t expect the same from them. If, like me, you have a topic specific blog, as long as you share as many as you can and support members by following them on Twitter and visiting their blog, you are ok. One concern I see is members worrying about filling their social media streams too much with shares. You can set share frequency to combat that problem. Be generous, but discerning.

super triberrFor best effect, join as many tribes as you can handle and use autoshare for your favourites. Consider paying the $10 a month for Triberr Prime. I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for Triberr.

Remember this service is not supported by advertising, so pay for use is fair. I appreciate their Paypal option.

Did you know you can also follow individual members? If you know people who you just love to read and share, whether they are in a tribe with you or not, you can still stay in contact with them. Moving tribes won’t affect you.


How to Maintain a Tribe Effectively and Quickly

Chiefs, it takes very little time to maintain your tribe. New followers asking to be members I check out and add or reject as the notices arrive. Other than that, it is very low maintenance. Every few months, I see who is inactive, check and see what’s happening with them (in case their activity stats are wrong, as new Triberr features are added, some areas do become buggy); remove the “dead wood” and invite any new actively sharing members I now have the space for.

Set a specific goal or theme for your tribe. People will try and join without reading it, but if someone joins just to swell their numbers and not add value for everyone, you have good reason to refuse membership.

Sorry, you do have to keep a check on all those damn emails! I have learnt to skim them and just attend to the ones which apply to my three tribes. Also, crack down on members who use the message screens to further promote themselves in a spammy manner. You can delete those posts as Chief.

If your tribe is full, turn the settings to “Protect My Tribe” so you don’t get masses of frustrated followers you just can’t add. Sure, they may share your posts, but they soon lose interest as they realise they are being used.

If you start a new tribe, invite new active sharers. I have found no one wants to be a founding member in an empty tribe. It takes little time.

Lastly, if you want to stop using Triberr, don’t leave a dying, hanging tribe. Ask who wants it and then under the membership setting for that person, promote them to Chief. You can then opt to leave Triberr altogether, or stay in that tribe without worrying about it’s future.


REBLOGS WELCOMED

This blog post by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share and adapt it.

#Romance University for Writers: A Gold Class #Writing Site

Printhttp://romanceuniversity.org

Purpose: Dedicated to helping writers establish and advance their careers, introducing readers to a variety of authors, and delving into the ever-inscrutable male mind.

Monday: Crafting Your Career
Most writers begin writing because they love the process–using just the right word, crafting the perfect sentence, giving life to imaginary people. However satisfying the writing process, many writers begin to want more. The want people to read about and love those imaginary folks. Okay–they want people to pay to read about those imaginary folks. Join us each Monday at RU where we’ll discuss the business of writing or career topic. Visiting Professors (guest bloggers) often stop by the school to offer advice.

Wednesday: Anatomy of the Mind
This is the day we explore every facet of writing, reading, and men.

Friday: Chaos Theory of Writing
On Fridays, RU Faculty along with industry professionals and established authors will focus on the elements of manuscript writing. Tips to help you hone your craft and write a damn fine book. After all, it will be your writing that will catch (and retain) the interest of a lucky agent or editor.We’ll tap into our own experiences, share what’s working and what isn’t as we chase our dreams of becoming published authors. We’ll also discuss advice from our favorite writing reference books and websites. So join us each Friday to experience the chaos of writing.”

Gold class sites

#Character Archetypes Treasure Troves for #Writers

I promised myself this year, that I would get back to fiction writing and I will… write that is… once I stop having a field day planning characters personalities, strengths and weaknesses; and plotting about how I can weave all that into plots.

Delve into the inspiring world of character archetypes and see what comes out. There are a few hundred to choose from and you will be intrigued by how assigning roles to people (especially couples), fuels ideas!

If you are asking, what is an archetype, here is the definition: a recurrent symbol or motif in literature, art, or mythology; mid 16th cent.: via Latin from Greek arkhetupon ‘something moulded first as a model.’

Original Source Embedded in Graphic

Original Source Embedded in Graphic


This blog post by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share and adapt it.

Writing Historically Based Books: Author Philippa Gregory

The-Other-Boleyn-Girl-by-Philippa-Gregory“Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the novel The Other Boleyn Girl which was made into a tv drama, and a major film. Now, six novels later, she is looking at the family that preceded the Tudors: the magnificent Plantaganets, a family of complex rivalries, loves, and hatreds.” Sourced from her web site, http://www.philippagregory.com

These videos are on how she researches her books and is drawn to work on the main characters. It’s a fascinating process, which I enjoyed hearing about. If you are a lover of research or historical fiction, you’ll be inspired by watching these clips.

The Power of Day Dreaming in Fiction #Writing

Thos Office 2

“Set Building”

I am a fantasy writer, who has hassles with description. Day dreaming and visualising is the only way I can cut through all the one sided fuzz that runs through my head. Otherwise my writing just sounds like a monologue! For me it’s a challenge as I am very analytical. I am more interested in the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of the story, than telling it.

I have a few tricks for getting over this: Pinterest, story boarding and “set building.” The last two set my ideas in concrete; Pinterest shows me things I can mull over, and all these techniques expand and improve my work. I find I rarely click on the links in Pinterest, it is the images or quotes which give me the ideas, so that is what I use the boards for.

I use cheap home design software for set building, to mock up the main areas where scenes take place. Without knowing where things are in relation to each other, I trip myself up. Details can be hard to visualise. Avoidance of bad reviews and harsh criticism sounds like a great goal to me… It’s amazing what details readers notice…

This is the perfect example of how Pinterest helps. This gorgeous Celtic motif Witches Dagger is made by Bladesmith Jeff Helmes. I wanted to buy it, buy Aussie Customs had other ideas... please click on the image to go to his Facebook page. If you are a fantasy, historical or crime writer, you will love him.

This is the perfect example of how Pinterest helps. This gorgeous Celtic motif Witches Dagger is made by Bladesmith Jeff Helmes. I wanted to buy it, but Aussie Customs had other ideas…  Please click on the image to go to his Facebook page. If you are a fantasy, historical or crime writer, or just love shiny things, you will love him.

I have been building Pinterest boards which give writers the same inspiration that Pinterest gives me. So many images generate story ideas! As I am not well, I have cut my public boards down to four pivotal areas I relate to the most. (Sorry, the romance board just had me nauseous, it was the first to be divorced.)

If you are into fantasy, historical writing, Steampunk or Memoir, you will enjoy my themed boards. The Inspiration Board for All Writers has been there since the beginning and there are over 1100 pins on it, specifically on writing skills. (Though Pinterest is not letting me access all of them and I have no idea why.) Links are below the image. Have fun raiding it and please tell me, what works for you?

For All Writers

Fantasy Writer’s Dream Board

Steampunk

Memoir / Life Story / Autobiography

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(If you have been following me and pins have gone missing, my sincere apologies. As they were mainly repins, there shouldn’t be a difference. I also had to cut back on many of the people I was following as it was just too much.)


Creative Commons License
This work, created and Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2014 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Think Outside Your Niche: Awesome Plot and Character Ideas

2013-12-02_15-04-37In addition to gaining more markets and outlets for our writing, exploring the sites of other genres can also turn up gold dust. Last year Damian Trasler wrote me an excellent post on the success he has had with switching to screenwriting. It inspired me to think outside of the confines I have placed myself in as a writer. There is more out there I can do, I simply need an open mind. 

When I was planning my blog posts for this year, I came across “The Script Lab” web site, and thanks to Damian, I stopped and had a good look around. It is exceptionally useful to all kinds of writers. I am encouraging you to go plunder it for your own needs.

hairymnstr_Coffee_Mug_1Some of their content includes:

  • Character and scene questionnaires to help you build backstory, develop personality traits etc.
  • Naming characters effectively to convey their role or personality.
  • Key moments and plot points in story structure (there are quite a few of these and they are great.)
  • Comparing movie plot breakdowns, which every writer can use.
  • Don’t miss their articles on the Triangle, the 100% Rule and the Three C’s!
  • Rules on Writing Heroes
  • Scene Types… and masses more!

Go raid it! http://thescriptlab.com/screenwriting-101/screenwriting

ArtiosMediaSiggy

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheScriptLab

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheScriptLab

Their writing inspiration board on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/thescriptlab/writing-inspiration/

REBLOGS WELCOMED

realcharacters


This blog post by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share and adapt it.

Images in this post belong to The Script Lab and Open Clipart.com

Words with Old World Class!

ffffffffffI am still offline sick, so here is a continuation of a popular post series from last year. Comments are switched off, sorry. Last year I put up a few posts of out of use words sourced from an old Australian dictionary, circa 1900. They give an insight into why some words fall out of usage and how much society has changed focus.

Here is another list of older words to inspire and prompt you to write. If you’d like a challenge, put together a story or paragraph using at least four of the words.

  1. AEsculapian: beloning to a medical man; word origin is a god of medicine. (Roman Mythology. The god of medicine and healing.) This is interesting as the modern definition is: relating to medicine or physicians. It is an adjective: archaic.
  2. Smirch: to cloud, to smear, to dusk, to soil.
  3. 220px-CivetCivet: a strong musky perfume that comes from the Civet-cat.
  4. Presuppose: to take for granted.
  5. Theopneustic: given by or due to the inspiration of God / God-inspired.
  6. Ratiocinate: to reason or argue. ( Ratiocinative: argumentative.)
  7. Wastel: a round cake made from fine flour.
  8. Mensuration: act, process or the art of measuring. (That is an art? Ok then…)
  9. Zoophilist: a lover of animals. (Don’t take that in an amorous sense.)
  10. Demogorgon: a terrible god capable of the most vindictive action.

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This blog post by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share and adapt it.

Hitting the Bullseye: The Power of Life #Writing : #Memoir

bow-and-arrowNote from Cate with sincere apologies to Sharon Lippincott, the author of this post : I’ve been struggling through a lengthy migraine. I am taking some recovery time off, so comments are switched off for this post. I’ll be back in a few days. Cheers everyone!

For most of my life I’ve thought of my father as a background person in my life. He was always around, eating dinner with the family every night, taking us on picnic and camping trips, and occasionally directing my sister and me to clean up the kitchen on nights my mother may not have bothered. He was handy to have around for help on math homework in high school.

But he was not much of a conversationalist, and much of our interaction took place through the filter of my mother. For example, she would tell me, “Your father doesn’t like thus and such,” or “Your father thinks you should do this or that.”

As I wrote The Albuquerque Years, I recalled all sort of things I did with my daddy as a very young girl. I “helped” him irrigate and tend the garden. I watched as he killed chickens for Sunday dinner. I rode in the basket of his bicycle to get fruit from the stand up the road. I rode on his shoulders. I learned how to take pictures. I tricked him with a fake yoyo on April Fool’s Day. I regretted that these memories of direct involvement seemed to taper off as I grew older.

A few minutes ago I began skimming a free pdf version of Paulo Coelho’s book The Way of the Bow that I downloaded from his website. As I read the description on page nine of Tetsuya stringing his bow, I recalled the long-forgotten yellow bows and arrows my father gave my sister and me when I was nine or ten. I don’t remember the occasion, but I do remember spending hours and hours over a period of years trying to perfect my aim.

With that memory dozens more came pouring forth, and suddenly I’m suffused with the most delightful realization that although he may not have shown it openly, he always loved me more than I would have imagined. I never doubted that — I was just not fully aware of the extent of it. This memory hit a bullseye in my heart! I’m simply aglow with gratitude and joy.

Image from Open Clipart sources.

Image from Open Clipart sources.

I doubt I ever would have stumbled across this discovery if I hadn’t spent so much time writing and thinking deeply about various memories. Individual stories were a good way to start this process, and I’m finding that going on to the next step of integrating those vignettes into a more comprehensive overview is deepening the results and insights.

When I first began what I now recognize as the practice of life writing, I had no idea that it would be come a lifelong pursuit. I thought I could just write a few stories — maybe even one hundred — and be done with it. I can no longer count the number of stories I’ve written, but the last time I did, the total exceeded seven hundred, and I’ve just begun to write. Now I realize that the longer I stick with it, the deeper I write and see, and the happier and more peaceful I feel. The positive effects reach every corner of my life, and I can’t imagine not spending time at least several days a week on this ongoing exploration.

Write now: make a list of memories of happy times spent with a special person in your life. Use this to write a paragraph or two or longer story about each memory, or as journal prompts.


slm-pres07

This post is Copyright Sharon Lippincott 2009. All Rights Reserved Internationally

Blog Sidebars: Easy Ways to Add Whatever You Want

BlogTamingMonthCommuniCATE2If you are having issues getting images to show as the right size on blog side bars, or if you want to add colours to links or other fancy stuff to your blog, this post shows you how. It uses a “what you see is what you get” online app, which will let you do all that without having to turn into a geek or learn web code.

I will also tell you where to get more information and how to get the code into your blog. It is all free and very simple. If you are looking at this post saying, “I CANNOT and DO NOT want to write in html,” I don’t blame you, but don’t quit until I show you this service. You don’t have to learn any html. 

2014-01-09_15-50-09

A screenshot of the editor.

Basic Coding for Internet Links, Text etc.

1. Go to the site. There is no sign-up, mailing lists or catches.  http://html-color-codes.info/html-editor/

2. Type in what you want in the same way you would use a Word Processor or in the way you enter text and web addresses into your blog posts. When done, you can print the code and preview what it will look like. If you’re happy, then hit the html button to get the code, which you paste into the widget/gadget box on your blog. (Instructions on that are below.) Just type it in.

2014-01-09_15-48-483. If you want to keep a copy of your code on your computer, paste it into Text.exe on Windows or TextEdit.app on your Mac. If you paste it into some word processors, if can take the coding out of your view making future copy and paste impossible. You know it has done this if your program just shows you the final product with no codes in brackets.

4. If you already have widget or gadget code from another source that you wish to place on your sidebar: if you use Blogger and have pre-existing Javascript code you can paste in, you are fine. WordPress.com blogs will NOT EVER take any Javascript code. Their system just deletes it. That means you can’t monetize these free blogs and you can’t use a lot of great tools.


Image Coding

Html editing apps like Color Code’s Editor are also handy for getting image sizes in sidebars correct. I open up a new file in Dreamweaver to do my sidebars, as guessing at sidebar width in relation to the actual image width drives me nuts! Dreamweaver also allows me to colour text and size it as a headline. The web editor will allow you to do all that too.

1. To add an image to the web editing software, simply click on the tree photo icon in the menu bar, enter in the web address of the image (if you have uploaded it to your blog or Picasa, it will have a web address you can find if you locate the image in your Media files.) In WordPress, go to Media and upload any new image, then click on the image name in the Media Library and it will give you the link.

seamonkey-with-font2-web_r2. Once you place this in the web editor, you can then resize it, give it a border, align it etc. as you would in a blog post. It may be wise to ignore the advanced options.

If you want your own web editing software for your computer, use SeaMonkeyhttp://www.seamonkey-project.org It is also “what you see is what you get” and won’t scare you. It works like a Word Processor and is made by the Mozilla people, so it is free and handy if you are wary of your Internet usage.

One small caveat, I am not recommending coding your blog posts for WordPress.com sites. It will delete a lot of code outside a narrow allowance of what it will let you do. 


How to Enter Your Code into Your Blog

Both the WordPress Widget and the Blogger Gadget are really simple. They are just boxes where you paste the code in. You don’t need to fret that they will have a dozen settings which you have to understand. Just paste the code in, hit save. You are done.

What bloggers html gadget looks like with my code in it for my books.

What bloggers html gadget looks like with my code in it for my books.

WordPress’ Html Widget looks like the image below. There are no additional settings. You can use WordPress’ Image widget, but this is just as easy and the image one is much more complex.

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Easy Web Code References for your Blog:




This blog post by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share and adapt it.

Why Do You Write?

must havesSince my retirement in 2006, people often ask what I do with my free time.  I stop and think, and I try to imagine free time!  I don’t seem to have much of that even in retirement.  Then I mentally list for myself all that fills my time:  mentoring, writing, flute lessons, quilting, sewing, needlework of all kinds, reading . . . and oh, yes, there’s my family . . . children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Sigh . . . like a young mother with a large brood I suddenly feel tired after that mental exercise.

So, I opt to give a shortened list of things I truly enjoy, and at the mention of writing invariably the question is, “Why do you write?”

First the answer to “why?”  Simple:  I love words, grammar, and the part each plays in creating a story, reporting facts and history, and even in the reading I do.  I just love words and all that makes them a part of anything written.

My second answer is that I love to write those words down, either by hand or on the computer.  I love bringing words together in sentences, then paragraphs to create a gift for someone else of the written word.  How, with all the reading I do, could I not want to give the gift I have received so many times to others?  When I read, authors transport me to places in history, they take me on journeys of the mind, they teach me things I’d never thought about before.  Truly books and stories are gifts to those who read them.

The third reason is that ink runs in my veins.  That’s right — not blood but ink.  My dad was in the printing and publishing business.  From early childhood, I could smell the print shop on him when he arrived home in the evening.  Even when he moved into management, Dad loved being “back in the shop” with the typesetters.

dad-at-workHere he is sitting at a linotype machine in the shop.  He loved what he did, and he had a great deal of his life story tied to printing and publishing.  Some day there’s another book to write, I suppose.

Dad was also an avid reader, and together we would read things he’d brought home from work.  Later, as I grew older, we’d talk about them.  I think perhaps that common love we had for printed matter strengthened the bond between us.

As blunt as it may sound, I write because I have to write. A day without writing is a day void of joy and pleasure. I never realized this until after retirement, at which time I thought, “I never want to sit in front of a computer again!”

How wrong I was in making that statement. The sitting in front of a computer that I’d been doing for decades was to type pleadings in a case for an attorney, or to draft up legal documents. It wasn’t writing for the pure joy of it.

Now, I write because I want to, I enjoy it, and yes, I have to write. And now you’re next question likely is why do “I have to write.”

And the answer to that is that I have a story (perhaps more than one) that either needs or deserves telling. No one can tell that story but me because it is personal to my life. Others created through my imagination will also be mine to tell.

If I don’t write, will they ever be told? Likely not. So, I write. I write something every day, either on my work in progress, a short essay or story for a competition or in answer to a call for submission, or for one of my blogs.

Do you have a story or perhaps stories to tell? Are you writing them down? It doesn’t mean that you’re striving for publication, but perhaps just leaving stories for your children and grandchildren to enjoy in the future and pass along to others in the family.

Think about it . . . try it . . . you too may find joy in writing.


sherrey-meyer

Copyright Sherrey Meyer 2012. All Rights Reserved Internationally

Taming Your Piles of Files and Procrastination Stoppers!

writers booksWhen I was researching the Write Your Life Story course, I read as many how-to-write books on writing as I could get my hands on. Below are the great practical suggestions that apply to writers of any genre. Some of them are also great procrastination stoppers!

~ Set up a workspace and shelving where you can leave things undisturbed.

~ Be well stocked on stationary so you don’t have to search for materials.

~ Use a manilla folder filing system, or folders on your computer, for themes or life periods, years, events, however you decide to divide it up to be manageable.

~ Use a computer, typewriter or handwritten manuscript, whatever you are comfortable with.

~ Recycle abandoned wastepaper for use in drafts – it keeps the costs down and saves wastage.

~ It’s a good idea to keep rejected or reworked pages for a long time so you can go back to them. Put them in a box specifically for that purpose When finished, use them as scrap paper.

~ Keep two backups of work on two DVDS or portable hard drives.

~ Number each page before you start writing on it, or set up numbers in the footer of your word processor. That way you won’t get the pages mixed up when printed.

~ Put in dates, places. If you don’t write them down, readers won’t know where or when they took place. This is particularly important if you are doing a family history.

~ If telling a former way of doing things, e.g. grandma making butter, write down the steps that were taken to do it.

~ If you write like you talk, you’ll automatically take care of sentences and punctuation.


acomm

This article / blog post is Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2014. All rights are reserved Internationally. You may not reproduce it in any form, in part of whole, without Cate’s prior written permission. That includes usage in forms such as print, audio and digital imaging including pdf, jpg, png etc. A fee may be requested for re-using her work if it is for a commercial venture. The featured image from this post comes from the web site linked to above.

Link sharing and Pinterest pins are most welcome as long as Cate is the attributed Author.

 

How to Read Like a Writer

mybookshelfOne of the best workshops a writer can take is found between the covers of books, and if you have a library card and return your books on time, it doesn’t need to cost a penny. Of course I’m talking about reading, often, widely, and deeply. Reading the work of others fires your imagination, and exposes you to myriad voices and ways of expressing thoughts and opinions.

Before I give you tips on how to turn your reading time into your own personal writer’s workshop, please heed this caution: Reading the polished prose of successful writers can put your Inner Critic on steroids. “I can never write that well,” it screams into your brain, hiding behind the first person pronoun as a disguise. “Why bother? My life is so dull, and my writing plain as dirt. I don’t know grammar and forget to run spellcheck. Nobody cares anyway. Why should I bother?”

Here’s what you shout back to that Inner Critic, out loud if nobody’s listening or you’re holding a cellphone to your ear: “I’m a student. I’m learning. I write better today than I did last (year, month), and next year I’ll be even better. If you look at the details, my life is amazing, and I’ll use this book to find a way to show that to other people.”

You don’t have to stick to reading memoir. Well-written novels, mysteries, travelogues, and other topical non-fiction books are also useful. Here are tips to make them do double duty for you:

img-thingTake notes. Since I generally read library books, I don’t make notes on the page, but I do stick in Post-It flags when I find an especially delectable description or a section that lights my fire. Right now I’m reading Christina Baldwin’s amazing book Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story. This book is like rich chocolate to me, so I’m taking my time with it. I’m only about a quarter of the way through, and it already looks like a porcupine, with pink quills sticking out the edges. Later I’ll sit at my computer as I go back through and transcribe notes from those sections. That works better for me than taking notes longhand on paper, but you’ll find your own system.

Ask the same question about the book as a whole. What did you like? What didn’t work as well? What questions are you left with? Why would you or would you not recommend this book to a friend?

Analyze. When you find those glowing sections, ask yourself what grabs your attention? What makes this section work especially well for you? Jot down the answers and create your own text or checklist to use when you are writing.

Review it. Write a review of the book. This may be a long and detailed or a few sentences. Post your review on Amazon if you feel brave and have an account. The process of writing the review helps you hone your writing skills and practice putting random thoughts in logical order.

Discuss it. Join a book discussion group, at your library or bookstore, or start your own. You can also find online book discussion groups. You can learn even more from hearing how other people experienced the book.

NAMWlogo-variation-2-300x124Books are indeed a powerful workshop, but I also encourage you to sign up for occasional classes, workshops and writing groups. Books can inspire your ideas and help you craft your content, but they will never supplant the value of feedback from compassionate and insightful readers. You’ll also benefit from reading books about writing, participating in teleseminars and listening to podcasts about writing.

Write now: write a short review of the last book you read. If it’s been awhile, visit the library and check out a few. Bring home several. You don’t have to read them all, but it’s helpful to browse through them and you’ll help the library by keeping circulation stats high.


slm-pres07

This post is Copyright Sharon Lippincott 2009. All Rights Reserved Internationally

Writing Research: Sword Fights

Cate Russell-Cole:

This is one of the benefits of occasionally doing a WordPress tag search: you find posts like this that make you go “wow.” I never knew that sword fighting was this complex… ok, I have never tried it. This post is one my Fantasy Writing pals will love. Thanks very much Lithicbee for getting my thinking outside it’s narrow confines! Great post.

goneviking

Originally posted on Lithicbee:

I enjoy fight scenes in movies, whether it is some gun-fu or a long martial arts battle or an awesome sword fight, which got me to thinking about how well I can pull off writing one of these scenes for a story. I would love to write a really cool sword fight, for instance, but I a) have never held a sword much less fought with one, and b) am not really familiar with sword terminology. Of course, as writers, we make stuff up all the time, but it is nice to at least sound like we know what we are talking about. So I turned to my pal Google for some help on the subject, and here is a round-up of what I found.

Martin Turner of martinturner.org.uk had two interesting posts, the first about the difficulties of writing a sword fight and how other writers have handled them…

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When You Get Stuck…

“If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to ­music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem.” ~ Hilary Mantel

Breakfast was finished. Laundry sorted, and I’m putting the first load in the washer.

“I think I’ll walk over and check on the blackberries.” That was my husband calling out from the family room.

“If you’ll wait until I’m finished here, I’ll wander over with you.”

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Image: Wikimedia Commons

And off we went fairly early this morning. Our wandering takes us just around the corner from our house. The blackberries grow wild along the perimeter of the land on which sits the saddest house in the neighborhood. No one has ever seemed to love it, and vines have grown up over some windows and doors. It sits vacant. Its elderly owner unable to live there any longer. She refuses to sell.

But the blackberries are not daunted. As most of us know, wild blackberries are tenacious and grow usually where you don’t want them. White blossoms could be seen before we hit the bottom of the hill. The sun glinted on berries, red and black, and some not tinged with color yet.

On this morning, we find their transformation underway from buds and blossoms to red berries turning to black. Not quite read by a taste test taken while checking out the quantity.

“Another day or two of this sunny weather, and they’ll be pie ready.” My husband smiles and nods in agreement as he pops just one more berry in his mouth.

We turn and walk down the road, taking the long way home.

Why am I sharing this with you?

Since early morning I had tried to write, but nothing was coming to the fingers and keys I manipulated. That’s when I stopped to sort the laundry.

Returning from our berry walk, I resumed my place at the desk in front of my laptop. And suddenly the fog cleared and mental clarity struck. I began writing, and soon it was coming together on the screen.

Clearing the head, exercising the body, breathing fresh air combine to make for a good restart to your writing. Try it the next time you’re stuck.


sherrey-meyer

Copyright Sherrey Meyer 2013. All Rights Reserved Internationally

Please Help a Fellow Author Who Has Suffered a Serious Stroke

1527836_10151884844036127_532640268_nThe greatest gift blogging and social networking has given me is the people I have met, some of whom are very dear to my heart. This post is an appeal to help Rags Daniels, a fellow Author who has suffered a stroke. He is in his early seventies and has a long road to recovery ahead. Obviously, he is offline, so I am asking all of you to help out by sharing / tweeting about Rags’ books and/or buy some to help him with the medical costs his family are undoubtably inundated with.

Rags is one of the few proper gentlemen left! He has the heart of a lion and has become very special to me in the months I have known him. He has given generously to charity work over many years and has also taken a child into his home to care for. If anyone I know deserves the help, he does. You just have to look at the love left on his Facebook wall to see that he’s gained a special spot in more hearts than mine… and he is an awesome writer with incredible life experience from which to draw his novels!

Please share his books on your social media accounts and/or buy a book… or two! For those of you so inclined, I am sure prayer would be welcomed. Please go to Amazon in your country and search for Rags Daniels. His book descriptions are below with links to the United Kingdom site. They come in Kindle and paperback and are perfect for crime lovers.

51oYw8O9BSL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_SX342_SY445_CR,0,0,342,445_SH20_OU02_Lallapaloosa: October 8, 1967, ‘Che’ Ernesto Guevara was executed… Or so the world believed. Inspired by a true sequence of events, ’Lallapaloosa’ tells in flashback the story leading up to the betrayal and ‘capture’ of the worlds most famous revolutionary and master of disguise. Original, fast moving, and atmospheric to the last whiff of a Partagas cigar, it begins thirty years after the event with a series of sinister murders against a fraternity of retired mercenaries who, having fought alongside ‘Che’ in the Congo, grouped for one last mission in the jungles of Bolivia. For thirty years, Richard Strang, thought he shared the worlds best kept secret with no one. Then one summer evening, the tap of a blind man’s cane, and a nose for the toasted Cuban leaf, changed all that.

rags4

Click on image to go to Rags’ Amazon Author page.

Foxy Lady:Lady Carolyne Dryden is a brilliant and gifted young woman operating a policy auction house in London for her father. Late one evening she is brutally assaulted, robbed, and left to die. A few days later two bodies are found in the same house the assault took place. Others follow, and a sewer of corruption contained beneath the razzamatazz of a General Election leads to shattering revelations and murderous passions; causing her well-organised world to turn into an arena of pursuit and terror, and where the only certainty is that nothing is certain. Bursting with insight into the seedy, sleazy world of political funding, Foxy Lady leads the reader totally believing through all its unbelievable twists and turns until its astonishing climax. Optima corrupta pessima. ‘The best things corrupted become the worst.’

51HAqZGFfbL._SY445_Groomed to Kill: Group 13 aka Pegasus, the Government’s assassination and dirty tricks squad some say still exist. Others vehemently deny its existence.‘Groomed To Kill’ is a well crafted high velocity tale of intrigue, sex and betrayal. Dialogue driven, it is a story taken from the journals of James Sutherland and spans over fifty years of one mans life, a life dedicated to serving without question those whose responsibility it is to defend the realm by any means at their disposal. Jimmy Sutherlands’ story begins in post war ravaged Salford and tells of his schooling in weaponry by Owen Kelly, a WW2 veteran sniper. Throughout his distinguished career, Jimmy carries out numerous assassinations for his taskmaster and controller Frank Steadman. Then on retirement, Jimmy gets news of the release from prison of crime lord Hector Cicero, brutal murderer of his brother, Billy. The scene is now set for what becomes a searing quest for vengeance, culminating in a vicious gangland battle for supremacy in England’s northwest. Aided by Andy Cassin, his old and trusted childhood friend and whose brother was also murdered by Hector Cicero, Jimmy Sutherland takes on both the Cicero and McGuire crime cartels with devastating consequences…

30sex Hours: ‘Operation Spanner’ was the codename of an undercover investigation carried out by Manchester City Police, in 1988. The police had obtained a video which they believed depicted acts of sadistic torture. Convinced the people in the video were being tortured and killed, a murder investigation was launched, a number of properties were raided and several arrests were made. Now meet the voluptuous and delectable, PC Koral Devine. Dark, sultry and according to her superiors, a bit of a handful, she had been tipped by her Commanding Officer to win the prestigious award of undercover policewoman of the year. But first she had to infiltrate a ring of local luminaries lead by amateur film maker ‘Uncle Albert’ and resident Magistrate Hilda Carstairs, who were believed to operate a lucrative business catering for the slaves of ‘leather and steel’. Her assignment is both a perilous and intimate initiation into the world of sado masochism; and PC Koral Devine will do absolutely anything to get ‘her man’.

51YeTX3qqLL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_SX342_SY445_CR,0,0,342,445_SH20_OU02_Salford Sunrise: Salford Sunrise is a well-crafted, brilliantly witty, high velocity tale of intrigue, sex and betrayal. Dialogue driven, the story has been taken and adapted from the chronicles of James Sutherland and spans over fifty years of one man’s life, a life dedicated to serving without question those whose responsibility it is to defend the realm by any means at their disposal.


Meet Rags

Rags_croppedRags Daniels aka Trevor Timbs, was born into a working class family, the second of four children,  Salford 1944.  He migrated South 1956. Wild and curious, he ran off to London, where he met the majority of the characters he writes about.

The swinging sixties and early seventies played a major roll in his insatiable thirst for adventure, and against a backdrop of mini-skirts, mod’s, rockers and Muhammad Ali, bore witness to an era of crazy fads, culminating in  Britain’s first ever woman Prime Minister in 1979. And of whom Lord Acton said, ‘Absolute power corrupts absolutely, ’ and by the end of her era, Thatcher was case in point. And while the Nation paddled through rubbish, bodies unburied, strikes, power cuts, spiralling inflation, limited working weeks, abysmal production, etc, etc, the real money was going into the pockets of fraudulent corporate boards and City Yuppies. (Groomed to Kill), his first book was written against a backdrop of inner city poverty and tells of lad who  became a government assassin.

Rags worked in Norway on timber frame construction, where he met John Millen, a naval architect who designed Pearl Harbour after the war. He became a ‘minder’ for his mother-in-law, both on and off his motor yacht in which he and his wife toured the world. Returning home,  he then attended Brunel University and passed I.O.C.W.(GB)inc,  exams. Rags started working with Borough Architects Dept.; resigned; got married and built his own house in South Devon while running several companies. He has also constructed a steel mill in India  and a tiger compound in Nepal for the World Wildlife Trust.

When widowed, he returned to writing and investigative journalism… It is from his diaries of the 60’s and 70’s he wrote ‘Foxy Lady’, creating a fictional account of one such tale of political intrigue, and one for which he was interviewed by MI6. His latest book ‘Salford Sunrise’, is available in Amazon Kindle and ‘Lallapaloosa’ is currently being scripted for the silver screen. He resides with his son, an A level English teacher, and Roxzan, his 13 year old adopted Granddaughter.


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