Posts

Showing posts from July, 2011

When Family Doesn't Support Your Writing

If you can empathize with the title of this post, then you're not alone.  So many writers, myself included, can honestly say they have family members who don't support their writing.  Some may go so far as to tell you they don't even want to hear about what you're working on, what you've done, what your goals are.  That hurts.

But think about it this way, in some ways is writing any different that an other life decisions your family may not agree with?  I'm sure, if you're like me, you get very defensive when it comes to your writing.  In fact, I'm not going to deny that it places an iron wedge in the relationships.  After all, if your focus in life is your writing, and they ask so what have you been up to...what are you supposed to do lie, remain quiet, answer another way even though you're so excited about your current WIP you'd tell a stranger?  Ticking clocks are heard in the background while you decide.

The Independent Voice Celebrates S.E. Foulk

Image
S.E. Foulk was born in Camden, NJ, attended Eastern High School in Voorhees, and moved to Hawaii when he was 26. After meeting his wife and having a son there, he enrolled in the University of Hawaii and graduated in 2000 with a degree in Computer Science.
He first encountered a copy of Dante's Inferno in 1976, when he was just 13 years old, becoming permanently obsessed with the Infernal landscape. He started writing his first book, AngelFall Book I - A Novel of Hell, in March of 2007 as a 'short' background story for a video game, and it developed into The AngelFall Series almost immediately.
He currently resides in Newark, California with his wife and son. He has 2 children, and 2 grandchildren.
Tell us 5 Random Things about you the person, not the author:

Must Everything Be Real?

Okay, so here's a question for you:  if you base your novel in a real city, must you stay true to everything?

I believe I know the answer is no as long as it's believable.  To me that's using creative licence, but I'd like to hear from you.  For example, if you had a murder at a Holiday Inn, I don't think you'd want to be saying it was the one in Toronto, on such and such a road.  Or if a murder happened in a house, you wouldn't want to give the number of an existing address.

But when it comes to locations such as restaurants and hotels, is it okay to stretch reality as long as it's feasible?

Currently, I'm editing my novel ELEVEN, and it's set in real locations with Salt Lick, Kentucky being one of them.  While there are two hotels there (most are cabin rentals), the one I was considering having my FBI team stay at doesn't have a restaurant.  I had wanted a restaurant in the hotel, but I also pictured more of a motel - single story with the…

"I'm Ripping My Hair Out!"

Image
Stress is something most of us experience every day.  Of course, depending on our circumstances and the trigger, it can range from mild to extreme, from a flash that lasts seconds to stress that lasts for a long time.  
Below I've listed a few ways stress can affect us.  Some might seem related,  but analyze.  As you read the ones I've noted, think about how stress has affected you before, and please share them with us.  Think about different sources of stress, and the consequences that come when it affects us.  Brainstorm.
The more we consider human behavior, and truly analyze it, the more naturally it will become infused into our writing.  The result?  Richer, more believable characters, and you can't go wrong with that.
Stress can result in:

Sample Sunday - Ties That Bind Excerpt from Chapter 26

Image
Today's Sample Sunday is taken from Chapter 26 of TIES THAT BIND.  Hope you enjoy...



H is feelings of anger against the world, awkwardness of his first murder, were subsiding.  They were being replaced with an intense amount of grief, remorse and even possible regret.  But for once in his life, he had to prove himself.  He couldn’t allow himself to stop now, weaken.  The time had come.  Really he had performed a favor, making for one less thankless person in the world.  One less person to cause another pain and suffering.  One less person before he built himself up to his true target.  The individual that truly carried all the blame was his primary mark.  The one that caused all of this.  The one who created him and made him who he was becoming.  He sat on the edge of his bed, fanning fingers through his hair.  The room appeared hazy but he realized it was his eyes giving him that illusion.  He tried to drown his memories of that night in hopes of excising the recollections of her b…

No Money to Travel, No Problem

For those of us that base our novels on real cities and locations, yet don't have the money to travel there's a couple of invaluable websites for us to use.

I thought I'd share a couple I came across.

Google Earth - This allows you to pretty much be where ever you want in the world.

City-Data.com - This site gives you stats such as population, the economic state, denominations, age median, etc.

Of course if you can contact a local citizen, all the power to you as you may get insights into the region you might not gleam from the net.  If you are on a network such as Twitter, Facebook, Crimespace or AbsoluteWrite, you have the ability to reach out to people from all over.  Who knows one or more or them may be from the place(s) in your novel.

What about you?  What sites have you found to be of tremendous help?

The Independent Voice Celebrates James Toner

Image
James Toner has 3 children and 2 grandchildren (twins, in Australia).  He lives in Ireland, and has been writing full time since 2007.  He's completed 3 novels and 35 short stories. In 2009, he came close to finding an agent, but wasted a year doing rewrites before he passed on the book. Currently he's writing a YA dystopian novel, draft 1 target is July 31.
Tell us 5 Random Things about you the person, not the author:

All Work, No Play?

Image
Ever feel like a type of “Energizer Bunny” that keeps going and going, and going?  But in your case it’s writing, writing, writing, editing, editing, editing, revising, revising, revising, querying, querying, querying?  If so I can relate.
For some reason I believe us writers are programmed this way.  We have an inward drive to succeed, and we have goals.  We’re driven towards a target whether that be finishing a manuscript, a date we want to query by, edits we want to finish, or a date we want to publish by.  Sometimes the timeframe is set by us, and sometimes it’s put in place by others.  
But at what cost are we pursing our goals?
I believe that it’s important for us to take time to just be ourselves, to unwind, to allow ourselves to have time away – guilt-free – from the WIP, the edits, the querying, the marketing, the networking, and just be us.  Why?  Because if we don’t we risking losing it all together.  Our focus will be so off-kilter it would be like a sky diver trying to balan…

Clearing Skies - You Can Overcome Discouragement

Discouragement has been discussed on this blog before, but I believe it’s a subject worth discussing periodically.  Because, let’s face it, discouragement comes around from time to time.
We’ve talked about reaching out to support other writers when we feel like this, and how thinking about other people gets the focus off ourselves.  We’ve also talked about the importance of being realistic.  This is key, in my opinion.  To think that everyone is going to drop what they’re doing to read your book, or hang on to your every tweet, is ridiculous.  Treasure every sale, and value every mention.
But what else can we do to combat negative feelings?
Resign yourself to the fact you will have days where you feel negative.  These feelings can be in regards to your writing and/or impact not only the writing community but on your readers.  These are the days that all you will hear are the negative things.  It doesn’t even have to be a current criticism.  For some reason when you’re discouraged your mi…

Sample Sunday - Ties That Bind

Image
Today's #SampleSunday is taken from Chapter 9 of TIES THAT BIND.  Madison Knight and her partner are at a bar named The Weathered Rose to find out some information on the first victim.

The Weathered Rose was a pub-style bar that dated back to the seventies based on layout alone.  An oak bar lined the one wall, backed by a gold-speckled mirror that showcased alcohol bottles on glass shelves in front of it.  There were two tiers in the bar full of tables and chairs.  At one end of the elevated level, mounted flat-screen televisions broadcasted sporting events while patrons watched with a pitcher of beer and a plate of wings.  A couple of older men played pool on a table with red cloth and quarter slots.  They both appeared to be in their late sixties and intent on the game they were playing.  The one had a head of white hair and the other had very little on top of his head, but a substantial paunch that pressed against the table when he took a shot.  He didn’t seem to notice and it to…

Forensic Friday Has Returned

Image
The wait has come to an end!  Today, Forensic Friday is back with a special guest, Richard Goodship.  I met Richard on Twitter, and as soon as I realized he was not only a fellow writer but a retired Forensic Investigator, I knew he would be a terrific guest to have.

Richard has answered some questions below, but has also agreed to answer any that you might have up until Sunday.  So be sure to leave them in your comment.  Without any more delay, here he is.
Welcome to my blog Richard.
Glad to be here.~~~
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Well, I started my career on the police 26 years ago and worked the last 22 years in the Forensic Identification section (FIS in Canada as opposed to CSI in the US). During that time I became a Bomb Tech/Post Blast Tech, Fingerprint Examiner, Firearms Reconstructionist/Weapons Expert, Blood Spatter and Arson Investigator. There’s more but you get the idea.
I understand you’re retired, but still young. Where did you work as a Forensic Investigator? If you don’t…

The Independent Voice Celebrates Scott Chase

Image
Scott Chase is the author of the South Florida Noir series.  His writing has been featured on Powder Burn Flash, Ligature Marks and A Twist of Noir.  Under his real name, Todd Bush, he writes the Rick Frost adventure series for teens.  He lives with his family in South Florida.
Tell us 5 Random Things about you the person, not the author: 1) I am an absolutely voracious learner.  My degree is in history, so of course that is an area that I read and study a lot.  But I also love learning about astronomy, physics, and other different subjects.
2) I work at a high school in administration.  I am in charge of discipline, detentions and truancy.  As I told a parent, if I know your child's name by heart, that's problem a bad thing.
3) I coach high school football.  My dad coached for 15 years in my home state of Mississippi.  Now, I am following in his footsteps.  I love football; my family knows that I will do chores on Sunday.  Saturdays are for college football games.
4) I love differ…

Bad Habits

We see people with bad habits all around us in real life so they definitely have a place in our novels.  We have people who pick their teeth after a meal - in a restaurant - do they not know how wrong that is? Then of course we have the more obvious ones that come to mind such as drinkers, smokers, gamblers, cheaters, liars.  Let's brainstorm this for a minute.  Any amount of time spent on analyzing human behavior can only have a positive effect on our work.  After all, we want our characters to be real.

Think of things that irk you, put these characteristics or mannerisms in your book.

Here's some I've used:
Knuckle cracking
Key / change jiggling
Finger snapping
Chain smoking
Drinking for dealing with stress
A MC who had cheated on his wife

What about you?  What sort of characteristics, or bad habits bug you in real life, and what ones have you incorporated in your work?

First Drafts Are Fun, Edits Are Work

Image
It's a common thing to hear writers discussing the editing progress on their books.  Rarely do these writers say, yeah, I'm editing!   Most times I can imagine a grimace.  Let's face it, we love the finished product, but the process of getting our books there takes a lot of work.

First drafts are fun, edits are work.

If you're like me, you really tend to drag your feet procrastinate at this stage.  Anything that can take you from editing is a welcome thing, even if that comes in the form of cleaning the toilet.  But, I stuck to it and finished the first round of hard edits on my thriller, ELEVEN.  (Yeah!! Of course, I still have to enter the changes, and I'm not going to think about how many more rounds there are to go...lol)

What can help you to push through the editing process?

Make yourself.  Writing is an art form, and like all art forms it takes discipline.  We write because we want to.  No one is making us.

Focus on your goal.  You want a finished product you ca…

Sample Sunday - Ties That Bind Chapter 25

Image
Today's #SampleSunday comes from TIES THAT BIND, chapter 25.  It shows a personal side to Detective Madison Knight.
Chapter 25
S o you actually took time off?”  Cynthia leaned into the corner of the couch, her legs tucked beneath her.  “And that’s hard to believe?” Madison took a sip of her wine.  If Cynthia wanted to look at the situation as her simply taking some time, so be it.  She didn’t need to know everything. “Coming from you, yes it is.” “Maybe it’s time to change who I am.” “Now, it sounds like you’re pouting.”  Cynthia pressed her lips together. “I was backed into a corner.  And I am a little burnt out lately.” “But that’s the state you thrive in.”  Cynthia’s eyes met hers and she could no longer hold back from telling her how events had played out and the real reason she ended up with some time off.  Pride. “Okay, it makes more sense now.”  A smirk tugged at the corner of her mouth.  “To prove a point.”   “To prove a point?”  She did her best to deny how close her friend was to th…