Head Hopping


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Head Hopping

By Nandy Ekle

Head hopping is technical jargon for writers. This is when the writer tells you what everyone is thinking and doing instead of sticking with one character. I’ve seen it work when used by a certain master novel writer, but most of the time it’s frowned upon by readers. The accepted rules are to change chapters if you must hop to another head, or you can show the needed information in dialogue, in body language, or by the actions and appearances of the different characters.

Another way to show your reader what all the other characters may be thinking and why is perception of your main character. And this method can be a delicious plot twist tool. I’ve seen this used more times than I can count, and when I recognize it, I usually fall in love with the author.

There’s the typical love story where the conflict is due to one character misperceiving the other character, which leads to heartache, which leads to either happily ever after or sadder buy wiser.

And then there’s the typical mystery. The bad guy can actually be hidden this way. He will be able to hide right out in the open if the other characters think he’s just another good guy standing around wondering who the bad guy is, when it’s him all along.

And, of course, this method is king in comedies. Some of the funniest stories in the world are built around a gross misperception. I know you’ve read and seen this happen, even in real life. One person gives his opinion on a subject. Another person walks in in the middle of the conversation and thinks the subject is one thing, when it’s actually something complete different, something so totally random that the audience is left wondering how could the misunderstanding have happened. After that, the whole story centers around each character acting upon what they believe the other has inferred.

But another interesting fact is when this is used on the reader. Now, we never ever want to lie to our readers. But if we make a statement, our readers are free to interpret it the way they want. So, if tell you “Jim walked in quietly with his white hat covering his head,” you might think Jim is cowboy,an introvert with a good sense of morals, and his hair is blond. However, you might not know he’s wearing a white baseball cap because he’s bald under the hat, and he’s quiet because he’s barely awake after spending a night killing his date.

Next week I’ll talk about the different points of view and why we might choose the POV we choose.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

The Trilogy


Outtakes 222

The Trilogy

by Cait Collins

 

 

Take a seer, an archeologist, a magician, a navigator, a sprite, and a warrior, add a legend and an exotic locale and you have Stars of Fortune, book one of the Guardians trilogy. Nora Roberts is a master in writing serial releases. Her fantasy/paranormal romances are among my favorite reads. I got hooked on this line of her works when I read the Three Sisters Island trilogy. I have not been disappointed. What makes the trilogies good reads? It’s in the essential elements of the books.

Characters are the key element of the stories. Each person possesses special skill sets. In many cases, the character knows his primary talent. For others it’s a learn-as-you-go revelation.

E ach character has flaws. Despite their gifts, each one must overcome his weakness in order for the group to fulfill its destiny.

 

Unity is primary. All skills are necessary for success, but trust is essential.

Good and evil are clearly defined.

Actions or lack thereof are the choices of the character.

Magic is a respected gift that should not be abused.

 

Locales are exotic. Islands, gardens, forests, Ireland, and country inns provide setting. Bold descriptions make the story realistic. Local lore and customs ground the reader and allows her or him to become part of the story.

Romance is an element of the story, but it is not the story. Some of my friends view romance novels as silly and stupid. In their minds, it all about sex, But if the story were only about sex, it would become unbelievable. There has to be more than the physical response. In good romance novels, it is committed love that permits the characters to keep going when the odds are not in their favor. Love is glue that holds them together.

Friendships are cemented by love. Knowing that the members of the team are willing to fight and die for a cause frees the protagonist to step up to defeat an enemy.

Love is magic. With love all things are possible.

In skillfully combining these elements, Ms. Roberts weaves stories of bold deeds, causes won, and life fulfilled. And it leaves the reader anticipating the next installment of the tale. Even though the second book will not be released until late next year, the author will release a contemporary romantic suspense in April of 2016. And that, my fellow readers, is just one more jewel in Nora Roberts’ long list of successful novels. I wish I had her backlist.

 

I Need a Librarian


Outtakes 202

I Need a Librarian

by Cait Collins

 

I love books and I have a fair sized home library. I own everything from Peanuts to the classics; religion to Dummies books. I read reference books and romance; kids literature and true crime. I have out-of-print volumes and new releases. I have kept books autographed by writer friends who are no longer with us. Trouble is I have a horrible time keeping the shelves organized.

Every few months, I go through the shelves, pull out the items I will never reread, and box them up. Eventually, I’ll load the boxes into the car and donate them to the library. Then I rearrange the shelves, putting the non-fiction on one end and filling the empty spaces with favorite authors and fiction. Within a month it’s all out of order as I’ve added new volumes and misplaced others.

My friends and family suggest I get an e-reader or tablet for the books I will only read once. It’s a logical suggestion, but I prefer a real book. You know, bound volumes with pages I can turn. Besides I’m not comfortable reading a tablet while relaxing in a bubble bath.

I guess I have a couple of solutions. I can hire a part time librarian to shelve my books and keep the book cases organized. Or I can enjoy going through each shelf looking for that new release I have yet to read. My conclusion; there is something to be said for reacquainting yourself with your personal library.

Love is in the air!


Love is in the air!

The Romance Genre 

It’s Valentines Day and the genre topic for the day, you guessed it—Romance.

Nibble on smooth and creamy chocolate kisses from your lover, because you’re oh, so sweet. Inhale the scent of the flaming red roses delivered to your door letting you know how intoxicating you are. Now that’s romance.

According to the Romance Writers of America, all romances have two major elements, the first, a central love story, and secondly, an emotionally satisfying ending. Within those parameters, the stories are like products in the world’s largest candy store ranging from sugary sweet, to red hot SIZZLE!

The settings can vary from ancient history to futuristic, or anywhere in between.

Romance Subgenres

Romance fictions usually are classified into subgenres based on the story’s setting and plot.

  • Contemporary Series Romance: A series usually focused on the romantic relationship set after 1945.
  • Contemporary-Single Title Romance: An individual title, not as part of a series and set after 1945.
  • Historical Romance: 
Romance novels set in any time period prior to 1945, and taking place in any location.
  • Inspirational Romance: Romance novels in which religious or spiritual beliefs are a major part of the romantic relationship.
  • Novels with Strong Romantic Elements: A work of fiction in which a romance plays a significant part in the story, but other themes or elements take the plot beyond the traditional romance boundaries.
  • Paranormal Romance: Romance novels in which the future, a fantasy world, or paranormal happenings are a major part of the plot.
  • Regency Romance: Romance novels in which the majority of the story is set against the Regency period of the British Empire.
  • Romantic Suspense: Romance novels in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute a major part of the plot.
  • Young Adult Romance: Novels with a strong romantic theme geared toward young adult readers.

Rory C. Keel

WRITING CONTESTS BENEFITS


Writing Contests Benefits

By Rory C. Keel

It cost money; why should I enter? What benefit will a contest be for my writing and me? I’m not good enough so I’ll never win.

Those who are looking at entering writing contests frequently express these statements and questions. I know, I’ve asked most of them myself.

Having entered my share of writing contests, let me offer some positive benefits from my personal experience.

  1. Training for working with deadlines – Writing contests give a writer the opportunity to work under a deadline. Most contests will have strict dates for submitting an entry. This is good conditioning for working with agents, editors, and publishers who will place deadlines on your writing.
  2. Provides automatic platform – A platform is your audience, those who will read your writing. While your mother and “BFF” will gladly volunteer readership, contest judges can provide you with an unbiased and anonymous audience for your writing. And who knows, the judge may be an agent, editor or publisher.
  3. Gain feedback – One of the most valuable benefits of a writing contest is the critique. To have the judge’s comments noting any mistakes, suggestions for improvement and yes, even praise can help improve your writing.
  4. Build your portfolio – Writing contests are a perfect why to build your portfolio. When seeking an agent or publisher, a few writing clips, accomplishments and certificates may be the edge you need to sell the deal.
  5. Increase your confidence – Entering a contest gives a writer the opportunity to gain confidence in their writing. Have you ever written something only to tear it up or hide it in a drawer? Have you ever said, “I could never write good enough to be published!” A writing contest provides an inexpensive way to test the waters of being an author.
  6. Avoid scam contests – As with most everything, there are people who take advantage of others. Before entering a contest, research the person or organization holding the contest and make sure they are legitimate. There are a few contests that are no more than book selling scams. When your entry wins, it is accepted for publication in an anthology, with all of the other first place winners, then you must pay an outrageous price to obtain a copy. Winningwriters.com lists a few of these writing contests to avoid.To help find your next contest check out www.placesforwriters.com or www.fundsforwriters.com

WRITING CONTESTS BENEFITS


Announcing

2013 Frontiers in Writing Contest

Now open for entries

 For one low entry fee you can now enter multiple categories

Cash prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in EVERY category.

Go to:

www.Panhandleprowriters.org

Entry rules, procedures and format regulations are listed on the FiW Writing Contest page

Download FiW entry Application and mail along with your entry.

Entry fees can be check or Money order, or pay online using “Payments” on the PPW website.

Sponsored by the Panhandle Professional Writers

Writing Contests Benefits

By Rory C. Keel

It cost money; why should I enter? What benefit will a contest be for my writing and me? I’m not good enough so I’ll never win.

Those who are looking at entering writing contests frequently express these statements and questions. I know, I’ve asked most of them myself.

Having entered my share of writing contests, let me offer some positive benefits from my personal experience.

  1. Training for working with deadlines – Writing contests give a writer the opportunity to work under a deadline. Most contests will have strict dates for submitting an entry. This is good conditioning for working with agents, editors, and publishers who will place deadlines on your writing.
  2. Provides automatic platform – A platform is your audience, those who will read your writing. While your mother and “BFF” will gladly volunteer readership, contest judges can provide you with an unbiased and anonymous audience for your writing. And who knows, the judge may be an agent, editor or publisher.
  3. Gain feedback – One of the most valuable benefits of a writing contest is the critique. To have the judge’s comments noting any mistakes, suggestions for improvement and yes, even praise can help improve your writing.
  4. Build your portfolio – Writing contests are a perfect why to build your portfolio. When seeking an agent or publisher, a few writing clips, accomplishments and certificates may be the edge you need to sell the deal.
  5. Increase your confidence – Entering a contest gives a writer the opportunity to gain confidence in their writing. Have you ever written something only to tear it up or hide it in a drawer? Have you ever said, “I could never write good enough to be published!” A writing contest provides an inexpensive way to test the waters of being an author.
  6. Avoid scam contests – As with most everything, there are people who take advantage of others. Before entering a contest, research the person or organization holding the contest and make sure they are legitimate. There are a few contests that are no more than book selling scams. When your entry wins, it is accepted for publication in an anthology, with all of the other first place winners, then you must pay an outrageous price to obtain a copy. Winningwriters.com lists a few of these writing contests to avoid. To help find your next contest check out www.placesforwriters.com or www.fundsforwriters.com

2013 Frontiers in Writing Contest


Announcing

2013 Frontiers in Writing Contest

Now open for entries 

 For one low entry fee you can now enter multiple categories

Cash prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in EVERY category.

Go to:

www.Panhandleprowriters.org

Entry rules, procedures and format regulations are listed on the FiW Writing Contest page

Download FiW entry Application and mail along with your entry.

Entry fees can be check or Money order, or pay online using “Payments” on the PPW website.

Sponsored by the Panhandle Professional Writers

Music to Write By


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Music to Write By

By Nandy Ekle

 I love all kinds of music and this time of year is rich with tunes. There are hymns to God as well as love to fellow man. There are songs about the magic of the season and joy of children learning about Christmas. And there are always love songs because this time of seems to inspire romance.

For the past few mornings I have woken up with a certain song in my head that I’ve heard on the Christmas radio station. It’s not necessarily a happy song, and that’s why it continues to play through my brain. I know there’s a story in that song.

When I hear the words, its’ easy to slide into that zone and visualize the confusion and torment the singer feels. I hear, see, and feel the whole thing play out. I can even smell the scents in the room where the holiday party is taking place. The character in my head picks up a nibble from a tray and I taste the morsel as he/she pops it into his/her mouth.

My job now is to write down what my character tells me through the song. I need to let go of the reins and let the zone overtake me completely to get my own words on paper.

Listen to one of your favorite Christmas songs and let your senses take over. Let the magic of the season write the story for you.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Become the Expert


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Become the Expert

I’ve heard many many times that a writer should write what they know. If you know romance, write romance. If you know children, write for children. If you mystery and murder . . .

Well then there’s the other side of the argument which says, “Write outside of the box. Expand your horizons.” Learn space travel. Learn brain surgery or international spying or mystery and murder . . .

The point is this. You can write what you know while you broaden your horizons. The answer is at your local library, or even better, in your computer.

Research.

You have a great idea that screams for attention. But you’ve never been to a fortune teller, or outer space or a battlefield or in a failing love affair. You can learn these things by reading books on the subjects, or “google” them and add a new expertise to your ever growing education.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Nandy Ekle

Become the Expert


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Become the Expert

I’ve heard many many times that a writer should write what they know. If you know romance, write romance. If you know children, write for children. If you mystery and murder . . .

Well then there’s the other side of the argument which says, “Write outside of the box. Expand your horizons.” Learn space travel. Learn brain surgery or international spying or mystery and murder . . .

The point is this. You can write what you know while you broaden your horizons. The answer is at your local library, or even better, in your computer.

Research.

You have a great idea that screams for attention. But you’ve never been to a fortune teller, or outer space or a battlefield or in a failing love affair. You can learn these things by reading books on the subjects, or “google” them and add a new expertise to your ever growing education.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Nandy Ekle