Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Holidays!

I'm taking a blogging break for the next two weeks due to family being in town and a move. I should be back up and running again in January. I did want to take a moment to thank you for reading and wish you all a Happy New Year. May the next two weeks be full of love, laughter, and good memories.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Shh...I'm Beta Reading

Christmas is looming, a huge change is ahead for my family, I'm almost ready to start another new project, and I've lots to do before those hit. I have some beta reads to catch up on. So pardon the lack of post today, and know I'm busy reading and trying to help a couple of other people this week.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


After Tuesday's post on blog sifting I feel ready to throw this your way. Muhahaha!!!

For those of you who want to know what one is, who are struggling to compose one, or who may need any other help with one, here is an updated list of links and references:

Dictionary.com: 1. a brief or condensed statement giving a general view of some subject.
2. a compendium of heads or short paragraphs giving a view of the whole.
3. a brief summary of the plot of a novel, motion picture, play, etc.
Merriam-webster.com: a condensed statement or outline (as of a narrative or treatise.)
Helpful links:
A Few Winning Synopses (examples) (Charlotte Dillon)
Synopsis Worksheet & Synopsis Tips (Linda Needham)
Writing a Novel Synopsis (Fiction Writers)
How I Write A Fiction Synopsis (Diana Peterfreund)
How-To Write a Synopsis (Rebecca Sinclair)
The Synopsis (Stella Cameron)
How to Write a Synopsis (Writing World)
Writing a Synopsis (J. Lea Lopez)
How to Write a Synopsis of Your Novel (How to Write a Book Now)
How to Write a Synopsis (Nathan Bransford)
How to Write a Synopsis (Fiction Writer's Mentor)
Synopsispalooza, Part XVIII: the story's not just about that melancholy Dane, is it? (multiple POV stories boiled down into a synopsis with extra links to other synopsis posts) (Author! Author!: Anne Mini's Blog)
Of course, these are a drop in the bucket to the plethora (and I do mean plethora in the correct sense) of articles and blog posts out there on the subject. Do a search on any search engine and you'll soon see what I mean. And as I pointed out on Tuesday's post, you will come across conflicting advice. So look for the places where many opinions and voices agree. It's a good rule of thumb.
If you have a favorite synopsis reference link you'd like to share, please do.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Blog Sifting

I remember when I first dived into the blogosphere and started devouring blogposts. It was like discovering a new favorite dessert and I couldn’t get enough of it. So many new shiny blogs to read! So much great advice to be uncovered in blog archives! So many links to other blogs and then articles and then writer websites! Tasty and overwhelming for a first-timer.

Blog Tip #1: There’s a whole world of blogs and online articles out there. It’s foolish to limit yourself to a handful. Many a golden post or article is buried in archives and doing some digging always reaps a bountiful harvest.

I certainly learned a lot at a fast rate. Then I hit stage two, where I realized that I would never reach the end of the blogosphere. Unless I dropped everything else in my life and devoted all my time to reading what was online, I might get to the point where I’d seen it all and stay afloat with all the new blogs and posts that come up daily. It just isn’t possible.

Blog Tip #2: Becoming a discerning blog reader. After awhile you’ll get a feel for which blogs give you what you want and need and which ones don’t. Assess those personal needs and wants when making up your list of favorites. You don’t have to follow every blog out there. Yet don’t close yourself completely off once your list is made. New stars rise all the time in the blogosphere. It’s still good to go out and do a random sampling of new material every once in awhile.

Stage three then set in. Not all blogs agree, especially writing and publishing blogs. Even the professionals don’t see things the same way. That was a big eye opener. In fact, most blogs are really op-eds or subjective lists. Anything from book reviews, to submission guidelines, to writing techniques and advice. I learned to take everything with a huge grain of salt.

Blog Tip #3: Look for patterns or advice that agree more than disagree if trying to teach yourself the ropes. If blogger A and blogger B give out opposing advice, search around for confirmation to the question from many others, not just one or two more. And remember that some issues have two or three camps with no definitive wrong answer. The blogosphere is faulty, flawed, and sometimes dead wrong.

In the next stage I saw a disturbing trend, popularity. Wow, I thought, here we are back in high school. All the old social rules and cliques apply. Some frivolous blogs have droves of followers, other more substantial and useful blogs are buried in obscurity, and there are several levels in between. There are niche blogs (which tend to do well if they corner the niche before the masses) and blogs of professionals (which get a following because they are professionals.) Depending on your reading preference, and which crowd you like to pal around with, there’s something for everyone.

Blog Tip #4: You don’t have to follow popular blogs if they don’t float your boat. There’s nothing wrong with that. You don’t have to have a popular blog to be a successful blogger either. Be yourself. There are all kinds of tastes and needs out there.

Then came the brave day when I submitted my first few comments to a couple of blogs. I laugh now at my shyness. Sure, the blogger didn’t always comment back, and sometimes I really liked a post but didn’t have anything to add to it, and sometimes other commentators beat me to the punch. I soon found out that bloggers like to get comments and to carry on the conversation. Whether it’s a congratulations on an achievement, or a question, or some helpful return advice, or even an anecdote, it’s appreciated.

Blog Tip #5: You won’t be graded on whether you ever commented or not on a blog. So if you’re happiest being a lurker, it’s okay. But, bloggers do like to know they aren’t writing to a vacuum. Don’t be afraid that lightning will strike you if you dare say anything. Remember to be courteous and mind your manners. No one likes to find a troublemaker stirring up trouble in anyone’s comments section.

Nowadays, I tend to spend less time reading blogs. I’m not glutting myself on new and exciting information about how the industry works. I am keeping tabs on the pulse and watching for great posts and discussions going on. I confess I’m not a avid commentator either, that’s just me. I do comment once in awhile or I’ll share the link to a really good post on Twitter or my writing website on occasion. I think the blogosphere is a great tool and it’s exciting to be part of it now, but I do heartily recommend sifting through the blogosphere over a period of time to make it manageable and to make it work for you, not the other way around.

Have you had similar or other stages of enlightenment regarding the blogosphere you feel like sharing? Have any great advice on how you siphon blogs? How much time to you devote to the blogosphere (both reading and writing for?)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fun Ideas and Tips #8: Music Muse

Do you like to have music playing while you write? Chances are pretty good that you answered in the affirmative. A lot of writers love their mood music. Anything from genre popular music to soundtracks to classical renditions from the old masters, music is a great way to help create and sustain a writing mood.

What types of music do you like to listen to when you write?

I admit, I jump around, depending on the project. I especially love it when I find a song with lyrics that really hit the vibe I’m going for in a plot or a characterization. I’m not so much a soundtrack person because I find I channel thoughts about the movie the music came from rather than my own stories. (I don't play video games so those soundtracks are fair game, likewise with a movie I haven't seen or heard the storyline to.) Each person is different, and that’s cool.

I think listening to music while writing is one way to make the process more vivid, almost like watching a movie in your head. Of course, there are times when I have to have no noise at all.

For those of you looking for some good sound vibes for writing and who may also avoid movie soundtracks for reasons similar to mine, I thought I’d post a few links to epic music which has no definite story and can be adapted to whatever adventure you’re writing about. (And huge kudos to my blog artist for steering me in the direction of these. Artists like to work to music too.)

For a never ending supply of video game soundtracks check out OverClocked Remix.

You can do a search on Amazon.com by typing in “epic music.” Here are some gems I know of: (I link to Amazon for the sample snippets you can hear. This is by no means an advertising push to patronize Amazon.)

Reign of Vengeance (Future World Music)
Archangel; Invincible (Two Steps From Hell)
The Greatest Video Game Music (London Philharmonic Orchestra)
Epic Score: Epic Drama Vol. 1 Intros & Underscores
Epic Score: Epic Action & Adventure Vol. 1; Vol. 2; Vol. 3; Vol. 4; Vol. 5; Vol. 6; Vol. 7; Vol. 8; and so forth
Illusions (Thomas Bergensen)
Trailerhead; Trailerhead: Saga (The Immediate)

Know of more? Please share! That goes for good online radio stations too.