Deb's Morning Pages

My Writing Life. One Morning at a Time.


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EditPalooza – Week 1 Done

I survived the first week of EditPalooza. In my previous post I explained what EditPalooza was and now I will tell you more about what we are doing. There are five of us in our group and we have been assigned to Lea Schizas, who is the publisher of Muse It Up Publishing.

Last week our assignment was a Full Read. We had to open our manuscript and change the look of it. The goals was to make the manuscript look different. Then we were to grab a piece of paper and pen and read through the manuscript from beginning to end for what it is. We were not to think about what we intended to write, but what we actually wrote. We could make notes, quick notes that is. What we were looking for were any areas that we drifted off, where we skipped over paragraphs, where we didn’t like the behavior of a character (maybe she was too condescending or he was too weak), look at setting, pacing and make note of any of these things that cause us to lose interest.

Once we did that we had 7 questions to answer. We had six days to complete the assignment.

Now you understand why I haven’t posted since last week. There were a couple of nights where I didn’t even turn the computer on. The assignment was intense but it was a great exercise. I made notes of things to go back to and fix or add or take out. And when the class is over I’ll be doing it again.

I’m waiting for feedback from Lea on my assignment and in the meantime I completed and submitted the second assignment, Characterization. In a few days I’ll go into a little more detail about that exercise.

For now, I’m going to make a cup of tea and chill on the sofa for a bit with the pups.

Happy Writing,
D


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It’s A Palooza

According to the Urban Dictionary a Palooza is:

1. an all-out crazy party; partying at one place with a ton of people like there’s no tomorrow
That palooza last night was so wild.
2. A crazy fuckin party whose purpose is to re-release an indivivual back into the world of dating when their significant other dumps them, ending a long term relationship.
Mitch-A-Palooza (from “Old School” the movie)
“Man I was so smashed at Mitch-A-Palooza, I woke up next to some chick I don’t even know!”
3. The art of throwing a very drunken extravagent party with a plethora of friends. Whoever is throwing the palooza usually adds their name as a prefix to the word. Paloozas are usually held on Wednesday.
Did you go to Daveapalooza?
Yep, I don’t remember it though!

I’ve never been a part of a Palooza. Until now. I signed up for the EditPalooza over at SavvyAuthors.com. Which is a totally different Palooza from any of the definitions above. (Thank God) This Palooza is a month long workshop where 5/6 writers get assigned to an editor and spend the four weeks learning how to edit like an editor. I’ve heard great things about this event and I’ve also heard that it kicks ass. The writer’s ass of course.

We got our course outline and here is what we will be doing this month:

First Pass
Assignment 1: The Full Read
Assignment 2: Characterization
Assignment 3: Theme
Assignment 4: Plot & Structure
Assignment 5: Scene Structure
Assignment 6: Openings
Assignment 7: Middles
Assignment 8: Endings

Second Pass
Assignment 9: Point of View
Assignment 10: Voice & Style
Assignment 11: Dialogue
Assignment 12: Show vs. Tell
Assignment 13: Setting and Description
Assignment 14: Exposition
Assignment 15: The Polish

I have to admit that right now I am questioning my sanity. But it’s too late to back out now. I’m all in. Over the next few days I’ll share my first assignment and let you know who I got as my editor for this workshop.

Happy Writing,
D


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Creating the Effective Book Business Plan Class

This past week I took a 5 day intensive workshop titled Creating the Effective Book Business Plan at SavvyAuthors and taught by Deborah Riley-Magnus.
During the five days there were lessons and assignments. Since I’m not published yet, why would I take such a class?

Well, Ms. Riley-Magnus had this to say on day one: “Writing a Book Business Plan is as important as writing your book.”

She’s right.

Today there are authors being published by NY houses, digital publishers, independent presses and by self-pub companies over at Amazon. Competition for readers, their $$ and a spot in their e-reader is fierce.

Preparation is key.

I thought today I’d share a brief overview of what the course consisted of.

At the beginning Ms. Riley-Magnus identified 9 elements that we need to consider about our book. She pointed out that #3 on the list is the most important.

If you can’t tell someone what your book is about in 25 words you cimply don’t know what the power of it really is.

Guess what the assignment was? That’s right. I had to write a 25 word pitch. Yep, 25 words to describe my book. I did it and I got good feedback from Deb.

Then we moved onto the identifying subject hooks and selling handles. I know, I see your forehead crinkling.

Subject hook – this makes the reader want to read your book
Selling handle – how you will sell your book

Then we moved onto Exposure and Promotional Plans.

Exposure = Attention
Attention = Awareness
Awareness = Sales

But in the class we learned how to get the attention that we all need when we have a book out. We also learned that Promotion and Publicity need to co-exist in order for each to be effective.

If your shy, you need to get over that. Especially in today’s market place.

We were given a timetable on what to do and when to do it to spread the word about our book. She suggests that if you have a print book coming out you begin your campaign three months prior to the release date. For a e-book, it’s two weeks out. The goal is to become visible, create demand for your book and pre-sell as many copies as possible.

Another lesson was on Platforms. No, I’m not talking Prada platform pumps. I’m talking Author and Book.

The Author Platform is you. You are the brand. Everything you do to connect with your readers is your platform. Make it good.

The Book Platform is everything that promotes the book. Make it good.

While these two platforms are different, they do rely upon each other for your success.

She ended the workshop with Press Release Kits how-to, understanding the professionals around you who can help build your career and how to use them effectively.

This was my second with Ms. Riley-Magnus and it was awesome. The amount of knowledge she shared and the advice she gave was incredible. I’ve come away from the class with a better understanding of how to promote myself and my to-be published book.

If you have the opportunity to take a class with her, I highly recommend it.


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A Sleuth’s Dossier

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My homework assignment a couple of days ago was to write my sleuth’s dossier – vital stats on her, personal background, her occupation, her fears, hopes and desires. As the instructor said, “the story starts and ends with character”. So whether you’re planning to write a single-title or a series, you have to know your characters inside out.

So, what makes a good character?

Believable.

Hands down, readers love to read about characters that they can relate to on some level. You’ll need to dig deep into your character’s life to find the traits, quirks and habits that make her/him believable. Your characters should be multi-dimensional because people are not cardboard cutouts.

Flaws.

How can you not dislike somebody who seems to be perfect? Come on, fess up, there has been a time in your life when you ached to knock someone off their pedestal. (It’s okay, we won’t tell.) Creating main characters who have no flaws doesn’t draw readers to them, instead it pushes them away.

Growth.

During the course of your story your characters should grow. They should learn something and change because of it. In a romance, the hero/heroine will begin with one view of love and will go through experiences in the novel that changes their views and that allows for the HEA. In a mystery, the sleuth begins with one view of the world and during the course of the investigation is changed forever. As a writer, you cannot be afraid of change or your characters will never reach their full potential.

This is the first time I am sitting down and writing a dossier and going through a list of questions, hard questions, about my main character. In the past I viewed it as a step that didn’t need to be done, hey I was creating the sleuth in my head so why did I need to do all this paperwork. I now see the value in doing this extra step. So, I’m off to continue with the rest of my character development assignment.

100×100 update: Day 6, 100 words.

TTYL,
Debra


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Hero’s Journey for Mysteries

Today a new post was added to our class and it was on the Hero’s Journey. Now if you write romance you are familiar with it. It’s at the core of the mythic structure and pretty much goes like:

1. Hero lives in the Ordinary World
2. Call to Adventure
3. Refusal of the call
4. Crossing the Threshold (to some magical or new world)
5. Belly of the Whale – at this point, there is no return
6. Tests and Allies
7. Road of Trials
8. Ultimate Boon (which is the achievement of the goal)
9. Refusal of the Return (not necessarily by choice)
10. Refusal with the Elixir
11. Master of Two Worlds

So, how does that work for mysteries?

That’s a very good question. I’m going to find out as I’ll be trying this as I plot my new mystery.

I’ve spent a little time on using these elements in my plotting today. As I only had a few minutes I didn’t get very far.

For a mystery not only does the sleuth get pulled out of her ordinary world, so does the victim. Ain’t that the truth! But lets focus on my amateur sleuth for now.

1. Sleuth lives in Ordinary World. My sleuth’s world was already shook up when she received an inheritance that wasn’t quite what she was expecting when she is dragged out her ordinary world when she discovers the body of the woman who fired her from her last job.

2. Call to Adventure. When my sleuth finds the body she is immediately drawn to finding out who killed the woman but common sense will prevail.

3. Refusal of the Call. This will be determined by the investigating detective. He makes it clear to her that she’s to stay out of the investigation.

4. Crossing the Threshold. The sleuth crosses the investigation when she is labeled a person of interest, she must prove herself innocent and that means finding the murderer.

That’s all I have for now. The Test and Trials will come as I continue to brainstorm and plot.

Happy writing,
Debra


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New Year, New Class

I’m starting this year off with a new class over at Savvy Authors. The class is Writing A Mystery. I figured that by taking the class I would focus this month on plotting my new mystery. I think it sounds like a solid plan. There are two instructors, Misa Ramirez and Tonya Kappes. The first lesson was posted today as was the first homework assignment, which I’m pleased to say I’ve completed. It was to share with everyone the type of mystery we’re writing and why we’ve chosen that type.

My mystery is an amateur sleuth story. My sleuth finds herself a suspect in a murder of the woman who recently fired her. I love amateur sleuth stories because it’s the ultimate ordinary person caught up in extraordinary circumstances. Think about it. What would you do if you found yourself smack in the middle of a murder investigation? The logical answer I guess would be hire a very good lawyer. But that doesn’t make for good fiction unless the lawyer is really the killer and he’s messing up your defense on purpose. LOL. Hey, you never know.

It’s getting close to bedtime for me so this post is brief, very brief. But I posted (and that’s one of my goals for this year)!

TTYL,
Debra