Saturday, March 31, 2012

Creating Suspense In A Fiction Story

I love to read mysteries, so now I am trying to write them. I have my niche – cozy mysteries. Gentile mysteries, as it were, with no chase scenes, no profanity, no explicit sexuality. Good to have all of that defined before I start! So, exactly how is it that I am going to create some tension, and a level of suspense that makes the book worth reading? Because this is also what keeps the reader’s attention!

I don’t want my characters in dicey situations from cover to cover. Not too cozy, that. And I have to be careful that whatever I do is in line with the characters that I have created. There are still a myriad of ways to go here. I can have one character withholding crucial information from another. I can have one character lying to another. I can know in my mind what is happening/has happened, but withhold that information from my reader until later in the book.

I have learned the hard way that too much backstory is too much backstory. I have also learned to space out how much of the backstory that I put on the page at any given moment in time. I like to have my characters think a bit – one thing that I had to curtail right away, because it became boring even to me!

Don’t just chat – your characters have to be doing something – there has to be some action, some suspense, that holds the reader’s interest. And make it realistic! That was another place where my imagination run amok, and tings became ridiculous. Part of the suspense is having your characters keep what they are thinking to themselves. Have them bring their thoughts out only when something big is going to happen, or when to do so would act as the ignition for something really big happening.

Well defined characters, a well plotted storyline, and controlled action to me are the makings of a truly great story.

© March 2012 Bonnie Cehovet

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Editing - Get Your Game On!

Shall we talk a bit about editing? I know … I would much rather give that a pass too, but it is what is termed a “necessary evil”. We write because we want to share, and we want what we write shared. Darn stuff has to both look good and read well before anyone is going to start sharing it, no matter how many share buttons you have on you blog or site!

For it to both look good, and make some semblance of sense, we have to edit. I edit creatively, at times, leaving in a bit of personal humor that my readers may … or may not … get. Inspiration is an interesting thing. If we allow it to flow, it takes little side trips on the page. The good thing about allowing inspiration to rule … our writing flows, and we have interesting copy! Copy that we at times need to go back and add a bit of structure to … this is where the editing comes in.

When you edit, you are not only correcting spelling and punctuation. You are looking to see if your words make sense, and if they are coming across as you meant them to. I have had to go back and finesse something once I realized that it could be interpreted in a manner that I had not intended.

I have learned to leave a bit of time between when I write a blog or article and when I edit it. The reason for this is that I will read it as it was in my mind when I wrote it, and not how it actually appears on the page. Real life can fool you! ;-) Along with this, I have learned that to try and edit while I write is one of the worst mistakes that I ever made! It slows the process down, makes me think too much, and denigrates the quality of what I am doing. I don’t want to write like a robot!

The first thing that I do when editing is scan the blog or article for content. How well did I do? Will people understand it? Is it worth reading? Then I go back and check spelling. People – spellcheck is not always reliable! ‘Nuff said! The last thing that I do is go back over punctuation. At times I leave my version in, even though word is tapping me on the shoulder and clicking its tongue.

Take words out? Why would a writer take words out! Add more words is my motto! ;-) Okay, I am not that bad (all the time, anyway). Sometimes we do add words that are just baggage – they don’t add anything, and are a clear sign that we just like to hear our own voice. Sometimes this adds to the uniqueness of a blog or article, sometime we just need to hit the delete button!

One last thought – don’t over edit. The “perfect” blog or article may offer useful content, but be boring as heck!

© March 2012 Bonnie Cehovet

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Take Action

I am going to talk a little bit today about what marketer Pat Flynn calls the “take action” area of a blog or article. This is the area – usually beneath the blog or article, that allows the reader to share the content that they have just read, and bookmark it. This area may also include a link to sign up for a newsletter, and/or links to related posts. Lots of action going on here!

At this point, as a blogger I am not concerned about sending out a newsletter myself, but if I like an individual’s site, I will place them on my RSS feed and sign up for their newsletter. I do make it a point to share blogs or articles that I find relevant and informative on the three major social media sites – Face Book, Twitter, and Google +. I feel that in doing so I am helping someone share information that they have worked to put out there, as well as put out a seed for someone to do the same with my work.

Here are a few links where you can get a “share” plugin:

© March 2012 Bonnie Cehovet

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Keeping Your Focus

Most of my friends are creative people – authors, artists, healers – people that tune in to their own creative center in a way that supports themselves as well as helps others around them. (I am still in search of a creative accountant, in case anybody knows of one!)

Our creativity and out life path are so intertwined that they are indistinguishable. How do we keep this up? How do we continue creating without driving ourselves (and those around us) crazy? How do we retain the focus to complete a project?

Take the small steps. Each small step takes us closer to what we want. We can lose focus on the big picture from time to time, but if we break it down, and take the small creative steps that we need to take, we will find ourselves not only on the right path, but on a path that is, as t hey say, “Well Lit, and Well Traveled”.

Do whatever you do until it becomes a part of you, until it becomes second nature. If you are a writer … write. If you are a painter … paint. If you are a dancer … dance. If you work in multiple disciplines, make sure that they flow together in a meaningful way, or you will lose your way.

Start where you are, learn your craft, and keep honing your skills. You hone your skills by practicing your craft. The big picture may change, but the small steps will get you where you are meant to be. Dream the big dream, but bring the dream to you by taking the small steps. No step is an end … each step is a beginning.

Live your passion, but do not allow it to overwhelm you. Put your work out there, but do not attach an outcome to it. Allow yourself to see where you can go, without boundaries or limitations.

© March 2012 Bonnie Cehovet

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Writing In A Void

I am about three quarters of the way through writing my second Tarot book, and looking forward to focusing on my fiction (mystery) writing. A lot of things are coming to mind that I never would have thought of before, such as the fact that we do not write in a void.

What I mean by that is that each project, each book, is part of a whole, it is part of what will become the body of our work. We don’t just write a book, promote it for a period of time, hope like heck that it sells, then move on to something else. What we write and promote becomes our “back list”. Our backlist is more than work that we have already done – it is where people originally became interested in us, which draws people to our newer work. Conversely, people who are drawn to our current work have prior work to become interested in too.

We can promote ourselves so that we encompass all of who we are, and all that we have done. I am doing this with my first Tarot book, “Tarot, Birth Cards, and You”, in that I have the Birth Cards out there conversing, reacting to changes on Face Book, and really embodying in real like the energy that they carry. This will, I believe, help me move forward into my next books.

We want to write content that has something to offer, whether it is in a specialized non-fiction genre like Tarot, or the fictional cozy mystery genre that I want to move into. We always want to have something out there to offer our readers, so that our name remains on their mind when they are looking for something to read or work with.

We want to connect with our readers, and we want them to connect with us. We do that through our writing, and we do that through how we promote our writing. If we write in a void, viewing each project as an isolated “happening”, then IMHO we place limitations around ourselves, and on the scope of any possible success.

What are you doing to keep your material alive? How are you connecting with your readers? How are they connecting with you? It is indeed a brave new world out there!

© March 2012 Bonnie Cehovet

How To Get Characters To Interact

You have your plot worked out, and you have defined your  characters . The next step is getting your characters to play nice and interact...