STATING YOUR OPINION: DO WE CARE?


STATING YOUR OPINION: DO WE CARE?

Natalie Bright

The extremely prolific author Marie Force indicated in an interview that she wants her social media sites to be a place where readers can escape. They can disappear into the world of her fiction and get away from the stresses of their day. She writes to entertain and has always limited her personal opinion on controversial topics. NO political rants. She doesn’t want to offend her fans. Her books recently hit 10 Million in sales; Ms. Force knows how to sell books.

How refreshing! I just bought several of her books.

Which brings me to the dilemma I had faced just this week. After purchasing an author’s newest release, which I loved, I thought about posting reviews on Facebook and Twitter, and even considered featuring this book in a future blog. It really is an unusual, beautifully done book. I was so excited to share it with my followers. The problem is that this author’s Facebook posts are ALL political, and not the nice kind. Whether or not we agree on issues isn’t the point. I don’t want to offend any of my followers by sending them over to this author’s sites.

Every follower is a potential reader, no matter their background, religious leanings,  or political convictions. I want them to buy my books. Period. I agree with Marie Force. The thought of offending anyone causes me stress, particularly in today’s world. Even the slightest, most innocent jokes are making people turn ballistic.

In this crazy world, will my readers reflect on the people I connect with and possibly reconsider their connection with me? Sadly, yes. My stories don’t have an agenda. I write for entertainment (mainly my own). I read fiction to escape. I listen to music for entertainment. That’s not to say we shouldn’t stand up for what we believe, but if you create products for sale is there a cautionary line to consider?

Just food for thought in this PC world. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment. I wish for you a productive week with lots of word filled pages! Thanks for following WordsmithSix.

Here’s the interview with Marie Force on The Self-Publishing Show Podcast.

https://selfpublishingformula.com/episode-241/

And find out more at her website here  https://marieforce.com/

 

FINDING INSPIRATION & MOVING ONWARD


FINDING INSPIRATION & MOVING ONWARD

Natalie Bright

 

Hello WordsmithSix writers!

Hope this finds you all safe and well. Are you starving for writerly interaction? I’m going crazy!

With writing conferences canceled, and my local WordsmithSix critique group taking a break over the entire summer, I really need inspiration. We love our families, but they have no clue why we spend hours at the keyboard. The two questions I continually hear are #1 What are you working on? AND #2 Are you cooking? Answers to the first question are hardly worth my time in explaining, but I do appreciate their interest. But it’s just not the same when a fellow author asks the question.

Thank goodness for email and texts. We have managed to type THE END on Book #2 in a new series working with my co-author who lives in Georgia. How in the world did we manage with snail mail and telephones in the olden days? My kids think I’m ancient, but it wasn’t that long ago.

Thank goodness for podcasts and online classrooms. With everything shut down, I have had more time to indulge in learning mixed with the writing. Have you looked at MasterClass.com? I’m watching David Baldacci this month. Wow! Price is based on an annual fee, or for a little more you can have unlimited access. You can also choose from Neil Gaiman, James Patterson (excellent!), Judy Blume, playwright David Mamet, Margaret Atwood, and more.

If it’s podcasts you like, my weekly addiction includes:

Thriller author J. F. Penn interviews influencers. https://www.thecreativepenn.com/podcasts/

Mark Dawson and James Blatch, great interviews covering the business. https://selfpublishingformula.com/spf-podcast/

These are short and full of info. https://bookmarketingmentors.com/

The business of writing with J. D. Barker and J. Thorn. https://writersinkpodcast.com/

May you find enough inspiration to keep moving onward until we can come together once again.

SOCIAL MEDIA


SOCIAL MEDIA
Natalie Bright

Join us here at WordsmithSix this month for posts about Social Media. Let us know your thoughts, too. Which are your favorite social media platforms to tell others about your books?

Now, more than ever before, authors can find and connect with their readers directly through Social Media. There are so many options. Start with the ones you like. If you’re not on Twitter and have no idea what a “tweet” is and how it would relate to your writing, don’t do Twitter. You’ll just come off as fake.

Readers love connecting with their favorite authors. I know that I do. I follow my favorite authors on all of their social media platforms. I seem to spend the most time on Instagram and Pinterest, but you can also find authors on Facebook, Twitter, BookBub, Amazon Author Pages, and so many more. Here’s a great article I read last week on the BookBub Blog about how authors can use Pinterest. Click here.

Happy writing!

Tools and tips – Grammarly


Tools and Tips

Grammarly

Rory C. Keel

Grammarly is a web or desktop editor, that can be used as a browser extension by most popular browsers. An app for iOS and Android platforms is available also.

While the basic service is free, other services of this program come with the Premium version for a monthly or annual fee.

The free version of the program has most of the features of the Premium version. For the casual writer or blogger, it is the perfect program to give your writing that second look.

For the more in-depth writer, the Premium version is well worth the money. The ability to set goals for each project of your writing is a fantastic feature.

As a writer, Grammarly has set me free while writing my first drafts. The old habit of editing while I go, always slowing me down instead of focusing the story, has been resolved. Now, I write without worry, knowing that Grammarly will catch the grammar, spelling, punctuation, and even wordiness in my long sentences.

Try the free version you have nothing to lose. For me, Grammarly Premium is worth it.

HASHTAG IT! Twitter for Writers


HASHTAG IT! Twitter for Writers
Natalie Bright
Hello Writers; I Hope this finds you safe. Have you thought about turning to Twitter for submission opportunities, publishing news, and inspiration? You can follow specific hashtags (#) which interest you. Hashtags are a way of setting categories for your social media content.
#IndieAuthorChat
As part of a drive to connect more group members, The Alliance of Independent Authors will be stepping up their Twitter Chat.
#MSWL
Manuscript wish list hashtags is used by agents and editors who are looking for specific elements for story submissions. You can reply with your pitch and if they are interested, they will send you a Direct Message (DM).
Generate interest by creating and using your own hashtags based on your blog name, book title, or author pen name, for example.
#nataliebright
#prairiepurview and #wordsmithsix are my two blogs. Thanks for the follow!
Connect with writers and fans of your genre. Search hashtags by Genre:
#SciFI
#AmericanWest
#Fantasy
#Romance
#Horror
#UrbanFantasy
Follow hashtags by writing process and connect with other writers.
#AmEditing
#AmWriting
#WriterChat
#WriteGoal
#ePubChat
#WritingPrompt
#WritersLifeChat
#5amwritersclub
#WritingCommunity
#ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers)
#SCBWI (Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators)
#BookMarketingChat
#KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing)
More importantly, connect with your readers!
#MustRead
#FollowFriday (suggesting new people to follow; promote your author friends)
#Novelines (to quote your own work)
#FreeBook
#FridayReads
#TeaserTues
#Bookish
#Shelfie
#ReadMore
Yes, Twitter has a well-deserved reputation for political rants, but it is what you make it. Focus on what guides your passion for writing and you’ll find others who feel the same and who love a good story as much as you do.
Hoping this #selfisolation period is proving to be productive, and thanks for following WordsmithSix!

DANCES WITH WOLVES -Book Review


DANCES WITH WOLVES

Book Review – Natalie Bright

DANCES WITH WOLVES sold over 3.5 million copies and was translated into 15 languages. The 1990 film, which Kevin Costner directed and starred in, won seven Oscars including Best Picture and Best Screenplay for Michael Blake. He also won the WGA Award and Golden Globes for his script. Local writers were treated with an unbelievable opportunity to meet this amazingly gifted writer.  You’ve probably seen the movie, but I highly recommend the book as well.

Michael Blake shared a heartfelt and grippingly honest reflection in the creation of his book, DANCES WITH WOLVES, during a visit through Amarillo many years ago. After becoming engrossed in Indian history, his long-time friend Kevin Costner, encouraged him to write a novel rather than a screenplay. Mr. Blake told us that he struggled with the ending. The L.A. atmosphere did not lend itself to the inspiration he craved. He moved to Arizona where he lived in his car, worked as a dishwasher, and completed the book.

What a treat to meet Mr. Blake and learn about his struggles and process. I wrote as fast as I could, trying to make note of every word. Following, are some of his best quotes that resonated with me personally from his talk to our Amarillo writers’ group.

  • “Writers are driven to create something from our heart and soul. This is in direct conflict with the agent, producers, and editor’s side of the business,” and for this reason he encouraged us to not be afraid of rejection.
  • “No matter what, keep writing at a level that people will want to read, and keep reading,” he said.
  • “American Indians knew things about the world that we had forgotten. Modern life has moved us away from life on earth. We need balance between earth and our existence.” This belief inspired him to write a story.
  • “Inspire with your writing.”
  • “It’s all about finishing. Power through and get it done.”
  • “Writing must convey feeling. Be different and devastating in terms of feeling.”
  • “Make every conceivable effort to put good words on paper.”
  • “Stay at it!” says Michael Blake. “If you remember only one thing from my talk, this is the thing I want you to take away—never give up.”

 

Feng Shui for a Writer’s Office


Feng Shui for a Writer’s Office

Natalie Bright

Setting writing goals in the New Year and realizing those goals depends on you being productive. That means butt in chair and words on the blank screen. Where you work is just as important as crafting a phenomenal sentence. Your writing space should be a sanctuary, a haven of inspiration.

Feng shui (fung SHWAY) is the Chinese art of placement to increase energy in the spaces you occupy. Literally, it means “wind and water”, or the intersection of the seen and unseen. The natural force of a body or space moves in predictable patterns. In Chinese philosophy, this is called qi (chee).  Furniture and objects can be moved, colors can be changed, and the creative energy of a room can be restored, imbalances corrected.

As I have blogged about before, my creative space changes with each project. When I wrote the inspirational book about a deep loss, I sat at the kitchen table. Chaos was all around; kids going in and out of the back door, television blaring, dinner cooking. The noise enabled me to write instead of becoming overwhelmed by the sorrow of the story. The book I just finished was written in our spare bedroom, although feng shui practitioners recommend not working in a bedroom. It was the only place I could shut out the world. From my little desk in the corner, I could watch the covey of quail that milled around outside the window every morning. I could hear the songs birds that gathered in the snowball bush. With my back to the door, I was able to ignore reality and step into the world of my creation.

Clutter is another major deterrent to productivity. When doing research, I use the floor and guest bed to spread out the information. True, it can be distracting but I like having the information at my fingertips. And I love my stacks of books. I did invest in a collapsible table. To anyone else, it looks like a mess, but I know which projects are in which stack. Whatever your methods, I hope you find the perfect space and have a productive and energizing New Year.

Feng Shui Design Tips for your Office 

  1. Is your back to the door? Do you have trouble concentrating? Move your desk to the center of the room and listen to your body. What bugs you? What do you like about the room? Give any change at least two weeks.
  2. What colors are dominate in your working space? Red stimulates fame and reputation. Blue represents wisdom. Green represents growth and new beginnings. Purple inspires spirituality and adventure.
  3. Does the furniture placement flow, or is it distracting? Can you move freely throughout the space? Your energy might be stifled by clutter.
  4. Bedrooms should be a place of calm, whereas offices are spaces of active energy. If you must work in a bedroom, divide the area by using a screen or curtain.
  5. Organize your desktop as you would the room. Personal symbols can be inspiring, like a favorite coffee mug or candle. Invest in bookcases or additional tables to declutter and organize your projects.
  6. Declutter to clear your mind. Clean out your email inbox and computer files. Toss those distracting sticky notes and start an idea notebook instead. Focus your energy and stop stressing over undone tasks.

POINT OF VIEW: Let Your Characters Do the Talking


POINT OF VIEW: Let Your Characters Do the Talking
Natalie Bright

The Rescue Animal series expanded over many years, beginning as chapter
books but morphing into shorter eBooks with pictures. I still wasn’t happy.
There were so many stories left to be told, but the books were not coming
together. When that happens, the motivation becomes nonexistent. I moved on
to a new project.

Those horses kept bugging me though. One day I decided to writer the next
installment from the horses’ point of view and it worked. The story came
alive. I used a vocabulary reference book and targeted third and fourth
grade readers. Now this Easy Reader is perfect for kids who love true
stories about real horses.

Writing is your Journey, so go write!

PLOTTING A STORY


PLOTTING A STORY

Natalie Bright

Stuck in a rut? Look at your story from a different perspective by breaking down the plot structure. I got this at a writer’s conference and unfortunately, my notes do not indicate who to credit. Apologies.

Once upon a time there was:

Every day, (regular world):

One day, (normal world changes):

Because of that, (conflict):

Hero/heroine reacts how:

Because of that, (conflict):

Finally, he/she (resolution):

What does your character want more than anything in the world? As the writer, you must do everything you can to prevent them from getting it. How can you twist the expected outcomes and add something unexpected? Happy ending or not? You decide.

Writing is your journey, so go write!

Natalie
Nataliebright.com

PLOT TWISTS


PLOT TWISTS

Natalie Bright

 

We are blogging about plot twists all month long. So glad you have joined us at Wordsmith Six!

Plot Twists are defined as something is going on or is about to happen that we, the readers/viewers/players, don’t see coming; if we had known about it. When that story element is revealed to us, we are surprised, shocked, and delighted.

Common themes, or plot tropes, can be found in every genre. For example, in mysteries common tropes include absence of evidence, everyone is a suspect, hidden in plain sight, or you meddling kids.

In the romance genre, popular tropes include transformation from ugly duckling to princess, friends to lovers, reunited lovers, love triangle, or forbidden love. How many times have you recognized the Romeo and Juliet trope?

How about taking a romance trope and applying it to your science fiction, changling novel? How about using a popular mystery trope in your next historical fiction? You’ve the old saying, you have to know the rules in order to break them.

MAKING IT YOURS

Twist those old, tired cliché tropes into something new. Add the YOU into your story, make it unique, make it original. Now go write…