Saturday, December 1, 2012

Traits of a Successful Writer (of Romance or otherwise)

I was looking around to see how fiction writers make a living. And as you may suspect Romance writers sell the most books. I would like to write them, just to be writing something that makes people happy .. but it's just not a fantasy that I can get into..

Here is something from Anne Gracie:

..... What do I need to be a romance writer? Can anybody do it?

Let's take a look at a list of the top 10 attributes you should have in order to become a published, successful and happy romance writer. But don't worry if you don't already possess all 10 traits, most can be learned!

1. A Curious and Creative Mind
2. A Love of Storytelling
3. The Ability to Be Professional … When Necessary
4. A Little Self-Discipline
5. Persistence … No Matter What
6. Knowing How to Enjoy Writing Like a Hobby … But Run It Like a Business
7. Understanding That When You Write More, You Sell More
8. Being a People Watcher
9. Having Your Own Unique Voice
10. LOVING Romance

So we can have all of them, just edit the last one to LOVING TO READ.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

numbers of suicides and homicides solved

I've heard that -- there are twice as many suicide deaths as homicides.

One half of all homicides are not solved.

I don't know how the statistics for accidental deaths fit in, if you do, please comment.
But since I consider accidental deaths by car or by gun as violent... Is there a particular statistical category for violent deaths of different kinds - with the numbers?

The numbers of returning vets from the middle-east oil wars who commit suicide is astounding, and very sad. The numbers of their wives killed is also astounding.

Photo is from DeviantARt by saccharinesmile

Saturday, November 17, 2012

murder, criminal justice system, criminals

This summer, July, 2012 I was busy taking 3 criminology courses.
photo from This field is so interesting. Until I delved into it, I didn't realize how much and how many people are fascinated by criminals, especially violent ones. The perpetrators are interesting, the process of finding them, and finding them out, is the way I started, with the detective end of it. But the process of evidence gathering, arresting, the arrest and prison system and the courts, law and trial system adds layers upon layers. I tried to get the stories of three women in my classes, so I could tell you what happens to them, but they were hesitant to reveal their lives to me. I don't know if it was because I didn't have time to build a level of trust, or just that like most people, and more than most people (since they want to be involved in the Criminal Justice system..), I didn't get to follow through on that project. It would have been a good one. I read a book about female cops and it inspired me. Maybe some one else can write that story. How do women fare as prison guards, juvenile counselors, cops? In the end, I decided I didn't want to write about real criminals, why immerse myself in mean and cruel personalities? No thanks.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Night Circus

They say to read lots and lots of your "genre" which would be "cozy" mysteries right now. I'm polishing Henry Loses Her Beau for publication on SMASHWORDS. But I tire of reading other people's stories/books that are too similar to mine. So, I just finished The Night Circus by a young woman named Erin Morgenstern. The book was started with the NaNoWri..whatever it's called (Write a Novel in a Month).
But this is a big fat book about a magical circus. I enjoyed it, and kept reading to find out what would happen. One thing I didn't get was why one of the twins was killed in the railroad station, and why was Marco there? I had trouble liking him as a good guy after that especially, any one else's thoughts on that? Please comment. PS I love circuses.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Designing characters who want to come out to play (and cry and complain, solve murders, etc.) in your stories

Been reading about writing. the books by the guys are different, of course, from the books by the girls. One of the boys writes about how to write the best *** novels, mystery books, detective books, etc. He tells us to draw up the characters before we begin. Write a page or two about them in 3 parts (and this part I like, and I paraphrase) - 1)the physical description, 2)the social upbringing and setting, and 3)the emotional or mental way of looking at life and coping. These are things to take in to account for any character. But, I'd heard of the way I like best (from off the side before, from my peripheral reading) but in the writing book by Anne Lamott, bird by bird, she tells it directly. Let the character unfold as you would get to know a person in real life. Now, I know I need to know a bit, maybe a lot, about them when I get st
arted, but they will explain themselves, get themselves into their predicaments and figure out how to get out, somehow. I give them predicaments too, problems or bad situations, but those are dependent on the character, we make our own problems don't we?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Find the world you unconsciously seek

“They went through their doors. They found the worlds they had always unconsciously sought. It is as I have told you. One takes his place ..and before him opens that existence in which his spirit, his mind, his soul if you wish to call it that—is at home. And he goes forth to seek his fortune there.”

From Witch World by Andre Norton, recommended by a Texas woman writer whose book I found “by accident” in the Silverton library (my town in Oregon), signed by her. She had lived here with her husband for a few years before moving back to Texas. Her book on writing I found to be one that spoke plainly and yet elegantly about writing, after having read quite a few writing books that were boring, pompous, fatuous(“foolish or silly, especially in a smug or self-satisfied way”), shallow, formulaic, repetitive, male centered, and so on...

Ardath Mayhar, THROUGH A STONE WALL : A BOOK ON WRITING. The beginning is worthwhile reading, then she goes on about the different genres and styles for writing them. She defends sci-fi rather well I must admit.

Monday, March 19, 2012

On the Re-Write, Fixing the book once the creative rush is over

I am re-writing the first Silverton Cozy Mystery, tentatively titled “Henry loses her Beau.” I’m struggling and kicking against the re-write process even as I know it’s necessary, artistically and morally good (gives me backbone).

But truthfully, I want to leave that book -- consider it written, and go on to the next creative outpouring. Fixing punctuation, introducing scenes, or connecting them, or moving them around, is not nearly as exciting as writing them in the first place.

The dilemma is to find satisfaction in the process of fixing, completing, polishing, finishing. Logically I know the re-write is the actual making of Art. As a painter I know that putting on paint is only the foundation. The artwork comes in deciding what to leave in and what to take out.

Having a friend who wanted to read and isn’t afraid to give advice was a big boost. I had given the “book” to a couple people who assured me they wanted to read and edit, but their offers were bigger than their follow-through. (One of them did half of it for punctuation.)

So when this person said she was excited to read it and would print out the whole thing in book form in her office... This gave me the push to go through with line editing, and do some re-writing I knew was necessary - cleaning up the verb tenses (make parts of it all Past, and the other parts all Present).

Then I had to rewrite the first two “chapters” into the third person. Even though I loved the immediacy of beginning with the First Person “I.” But I couldn't sustain it throughout, so I took the main character Henry’s direct voice away. (And I hated doing that.)

This week I am going to the Community College to hunt for a student editor. Non-independent, non-self-publishers (before the ebook revolution) were fortunate to have editors with their publishers. We indies are not so lucky. Got to find our own. Yes, got to.

photo is from Flickr Creative Commons, Dutch children in school, Government Archives

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

on writing - and re-writing and editing

Because I jammed out my first Silverton Cozy Mystery in a month, it's a mess. Everyday I sat down and cranked out my 1500 words, but often I didn't remember what had come before. So it jumps around and parts are disconnected, or simply need a little place and time introduction (as my friend "editor" has told me).

I didn't want to spend more than a month re-writing. After all, I read about writers who NEVER re-write and ones who get novels out in a month, or 2, or 3. Then I read some more about one of the writer's who supposedly didn't rewrite, and it turns out that he started with short stories and did one a week. But that story was written the first day of the week, and re-written the days following and submitted for publication at the end of the week.

(Ray Bradbury, such a great guy, I hope you watched the videos of him talking that I posted, or look him up on YouTube.)

Now I've started the second Cozy (both of them read as much like Chick-Lit as mystery). Because I am too impatient and want to get on with the fun part...creative writing. Not re-working what I've already done. But it's necessary. I've pawned the draft off on friends and now am going to the junior college to see if I can find a poor and grateful student to work it for me.

photo is writing on glass in a group study room in the Swem Library.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

In Bruges the movie and the writer Martin McDonagh.

I watched a great movie called In Bruges. Set in a medieval city, charming gangsters, clever and funny. What's not to love?

Written and directed by a tall and white headed young man who I thought must be Dutch. Martin McDonagh.

Looking him up I find that he is Irish. Bless him and the blarney. His Irish parents left him at age 16 and his brother in London when they went back to Ireland. Here's a good telling --
An Irish Cowboy from London

            The son of a construction worker and cleaning lady, he dropped out of school at 16, shunned college because it was “bogus” and spent the following 10 years on the dole watching TV and eating potato chips.

During this decade of leisure, McDonagh watched his brother, John, try to become a writer, and decided that it might be a good idea to become one too. “Here was a job where all you had was your head, a pencil and a piece of paper. That’s the coolest kind of job there is.”

from The Good, the Bad, and the Irish

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Ray Bradbury, be a happy writer (or person)

I wish this video was embedded. Maybe you can tell me if its possible here, I know it does on Facebook...

This is Rad Bradbury, 86 years old. He says we are here to enjoy ourselves, not to be unhappy.In the morning when he wakes up he is grateful to be able to begin to write.

He never dreamed to live so long, to have the same zest, the same passion he had when he was 30.

My new idol.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

reading fiction

I've read a novel every night of my life, when possible. Not the whole book in one night, but enough to enter into another world, leave my own troubles or hum-drum behind.

Sometimes during the day, if I am particularly glad to be alive after something... I'll indulge in reading fiction in the daytime. Sitting comfortably in an arm chair with my feet up.

When I started writing a novel. I stopped reading. I also stopped listening to the news in the morning, which is how I used to wake up.

I wanted to tune into my own mind, my own stories and my own subconscious without too much interference from other voices.

And I think its a good idea, when you're writing creatively.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

creativity - of the female sort

I had a revelation this morning. I'm studying for a possible (probably fantasy) book set in prehistoric times. Will be the sun-deity be a male or a female? Can the characters make or find an ideal world?

Off track already. What I was reading about this morning is patriarchy - which is defined as - the will to dominate and it's way is control. This is a subject that I have avoided as seemingly too complex. Besides I like men, in general...I just don't like bosses.

One of the major things we think about women, as the female of the species, is that they are the most important "creators" because they have children and give life, and keep the species alive (while men are busy both creating - bridges, microscopes, etc. - and killing).

But the fact is that creation of offspring is not something that women "do." It is something that happens to them. Women are part in the play of natural forces. To think that I, as a person, actually "create" another human being is laughable.

And that leaves women with the responsibility to create in a conscious, working, way, the same way that men do. And leaves men with the responsibility to let them.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Short story - Harriet and Her Lost Dog

Link to the short story

 Harriet is a 10 year old Afro-american girl with a white mom and white step-dad. She tells us what happens when the dog who looks like her - brown with kinky hair - gets lost on the plane trip.
A friend told me this story. It really happened. I made up some of the details. 

The Silverton Cozy Murder Mysteries, Number 1 - Henry Loses Her Beau

Here is my profile page on Smashwords.It has everything I've published on it. (one short story so far, to see if I could do it). What a fantastic service this is!

My book, the "cozy mystery" set in Silverton is still in the revising stage. By the end of February it will need volunteer readers to tell me the parts that need clarifying, rearanging, etc...Always wanted to try your hand at editing? Just let me know.

It has a name! It is the first in a series, of three I think. The second one is about a slightly wacky English as a second language teacher (no one you know) whose house gets overrun by gangsters. The third one may be a murder in the public library.

The Silverton Cozy Murder Mysteries, 
Number 1 - Henry Loses Her Beau

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A British Adventure Mystery Set in Victorian London

On The Trail of the Scissorman: A Bartleby and James Adventure

Here's a book from Smashwords that looks really fun. A bit like The Silverton Cozy Mystery Number One "Henry Loses Her Beau" that is coming soon. Except The Silverton Mysteries are less threatening than this! Just click the title above to find it.
By Michael Coorlim

A serial killer is turning Steampunk Victorian London's children into orphans, and consulting detectives Alton Bartleby and James Wainwright have been hired to catch him before he can kill again. Can Bartleby's deductive reasoning and James's forensic inventions lead them to the Scissorman before he catches them instead?

smashing publishing

I'm a published author! I have published in print before, but not for awhile.

I just uploaded a short story to Smashwords. It's called Harriet and Her Lost Dog, told from the point of view of an African American 10 year old girl. The great thing about the site is they make your book (short story in this case) into all the e-book formats. You can also read them on your computer.

I'll come back with the link to the short story.

Friday, February 3, 2012

rewriting the Silverton Cozy mystery

I finished writing the novel in a month, but now I see that it will take another month to polish it off.

Reading over a short story that I did in one sitting, it reads just great. Am thinking that I'll write the next novel a little differently. Make notes as I go, so that I don't forget things like I did this time, or just make scene headings as I go so that I can find things later.But "re-write" as I go. Or just write a bit more carefully instead of just rushing to get it all out at once.

Maybe slower, but better, so its finished when I'm finished. Hopefully in 2 months, 3 at the most. I haven't got a lot of time, ya know!