Category Archives: Creativity

Help! I’m a Writer

So often people describe writing as a solitary endeavor. I have never agreed with this. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If a writer’s life is a solitary one, then it is by choice.

By design, writers are surrounded by others who are not only interested in their work, but eager for it. The world is filled with writers who crave support and encouragement. What they do [write] is for the masses. The stories and books are intended to be read and enjoyed by hundreds of thousands, if not millions of readers.

All that said, as writers, we also tend to let our insecurities get the better of us. We make our existence solitary by sequestering ourselves to avoid the shame of rejection. We are, also by design, a neurotic bunch.

In most cases, this does more harm than good. When we shut ourselves off from our peers, we miss out on many opportunities as well as crucial education that can possibly make us better writers and more successful authors.

We constantly hear about the value and importance of critique groups. Of course they have their place, but what about support. This is a whole different can of beans. Support, in my opinion, is far more important than the critique group, because if you don’t feel good about what you do, you probably can’t do it good…well.

Bottom line, before you tuck yourself away in your office, alcove, or other small hidey hole to become the next great American novel, find a few friendly writers you can spend a little time with and get things off your chest. Make sure that you can all talk shop, talk gardening, talk whatever you want, even bitching about the family.

I firmly believe whining is a necessity in life, as long as it has a specific purpose and is done in a specific environment.  😛

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What did you say?

I recently read a blog post by another author about the large variety of different ways to say “said” when writing fiction. There were quite a few on the list, and while most were correct, several were simply incorrect. I’m curious to know what you, as readers think, after reading the following. Do unique dialogue tags impress you? Amuse you? Annoy you?

What is the one dialogue tag that you’ve seen that has stopped you cold in a book?

The problem with all these choices is that writers become lazy in their writing. When you choose to use physical actions as dialogue tags, you are taking shortcuts that will often leave a reader jolted out of the story. Things aren’t always simple, and many readers, myself included are very visual when reading a book. A few examples of what I mean are.

*spat is the past participle of spit. You do not spit words. You can spit while you speak, but take a moment to spit, now say a word, then try to say that word while spitting.

*flount is the act of treating with contemptuous disregard. It is an action, not a way of speech.

*guffaw is the act of laughing in a loud and boisterous manner. Again, guffaw then try to speak. It is almost impossible because of the manner of the action.

*a smirk is a smile or smug expression, a physical action. You can say something WITH a smirk, but to smirk something is just not a physical possibility since it is a an action not a tone.

*dazzling is an action that happens when you look into a bright light or the act of impressing someone. Again, it is not a tone it is an action.

*scrooge – a type of person. We all know what it means, to be miserly, how can you speak miserly? You don’t speak actions, you speak in tones.

*onomatopoeiad – while this certainly could be a tag, it is so outrageous in its attempt to be “different” that if I read it in a manuscript I was considering, I would stop reading and reject immediately.

Writers need to be aware of the huge difference between physical acts and tones. To use these words improperly is simply incorrect and there are entirely too many other ways to display what you are trying to convey when using them. And if you take a poll, you might be surprised to find that readers are often annoyed by a writers attempt to use so many different words to replace “said.”

Who Wants to be a Brain Surgeon? (Guest Blog: Ella Grey)

When I was little I wanted to be a brain surgeon, or a gardener. Only when I turned fifteen did I start thinking about being a writer.

The author, Christopher Pike, inspired me. I remember reading his Last Vampire series and falling in love with the character he created. It was the first time I’d read a vampire story and it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Sati is content about being a vampire, she kills to survive and she doesn’t really let it bother her, and she’s funny. Not funny ha-ha, but witty.

I want my characters to be like that. Even if I write a supernatural character like Molly O’Brien, giving her a sense of humour makes her more human. Easier to identify with.

Click Cover to Buy

My character Rachel is human (mostly) who’s caught up in a supernatural situation.

A Difficult Decision (Rachel’s story) is available in multiple eBook formats from Quake’s Electric Shorts line. The first five of six installments are currently online for sale.

She came to London to find her brother. She ended up finding trouble.

Rachel Valentine isn’t the world’s most conventional girl. She ran away from a boarding school run by nuns to find her missing brother. The daughter to a government spy, she’s learnt a few of the tricks of the trade, but even she isn’t prepared for the story she’s about to hear.

It seems Rachel has a secret she didn’t even know she had and her brother has been dragged into a turf war. The only person she can trust is someone she doesn’t even know

Thanks to Karen for hosting me.

You can read my first post on this tour at http://authorthomasamo.blogspot.com/