Thursday, August 30, 2012

Writer's Templates

Working with writing templates is really becoming a whole new world for me! I created a Bible for my mystery in it's first incarnation (as a NaNoWriMo effort), and fine tuned it for this incarnation. Starting with my characters, I combined what I was already doing with a free downloadable template that I found on the Internet. One thing that I learned from working with someone else's template is that each of us works differently! I kept what I had of my own, expanded on it, and learned to look at my characters in new ways. Part of this included asking them questions, and then allowing them to answer in their own voice. I changed tghe questions from the Internet template, and dropped those which didn't relate to how I think.

Next in order, I am developing a template for describing buildings - professional (offices, restaurants, bars, churches, etc.) and personal (homes, vacation homes, and properties). I had fun with this one! Some of the categories that I used were:

* Physical location. * Neighboring buildings. * Ease of access. * Quality of atmosphere surrounding building. * Quality of atmosphere within the building. * How the building is decorated. * People associated with the building. * How the building fits into a story. * The dates the building appeared a story. * The people that were associated with the building each time it appeared in a story.

I am sure more categories will be entered into this template, as my intention is to turn the first book into a series. Timeline will be all important, or the author (namely me!), will be in a load of trouble!

(c) August 2012 Bonnie Cehovet

Friday, August 24, 2012

e-Book Cover Design

No, my mystery book is not finished yet. However, I was reminded that it will need a cover design when I was contacted by my editor re my upcoming "brick and mortar" book. She wanted to know if I had any ideas for the cover design. I tore my hair out trying to find one copyright image for the inside of the book - what the heck was I going to do about the cover! Luckily, an Internet friend contacted me, and if my editor agrees, we will use my friends image on the cover.

So, now I am simultaneously writing my mystery, formatting a plan for promoting it, and designing a book cover! I do want a cover that is attractive,and that represents my book well. So I did some research on what some of the elements need to be. I did get a few ideas from this site - damonza.com. The first thing this site talks about is the tone of the book - that the cover sets the tone. This I would agree with. Tone here is defined at the feeling that the reader gets from looking at the cover. I have seen books that go both ways - ones with terrible covers that are actually good books, and ones with great covers that just wasted my time!

The next thing discussed is relevance - the cover needs to be relevant to the content of the book. I write cozy mysteries - no gore, or explicit ANYTHING on my covers! There are many keys to relevance, such as placing focus on characters, locations, or objects featured int he story. Note to self - Make it real!

Then there is the element of attraction - something needs to make the reader want to pick up the book, open the book, and read it! Well done graphics can accomplish this nicely! Put some time, attention, and a few bucks into creating a cover design that represents your work well, and sells it!

Legibility is something that I think that I took for granted. I mean, the title and my name are in type, not in my handwriting, so what's the deal! Evidently there is a deal. The deal is that the information must be legible in thumbnail size. OKay - I get it!

Here is a really great blog that I came across on my search - usable information on creating e--book covers - e-Book Cover Design. Emphasis here is placed on the fact that an e-book cover is a digital cover, which presents differently than a hard cover book. Another factor is that it needs to be aimed at online sales, and that it needs to be kept simple.

Another blog from the above site presents e-book resources, for those that do not want to do their own covers.Resources - e-Book Cover Design

Lots to think about here!

(c) August 2012 Bonnie Cehovet

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Process of Writing

This has been quite a month for me. My editor is in the process of editing my second Tarot book, and has asked that I resubmit the graphic that I am using in a larger size and higher resolution. The good thing here is that she did suggest a site for stock photo’s, which I will have to visit tomorrow, and I told her that I would have this to her by Monday. I may also look for images to use with each chapter, although that was never my intention. I am really very happy that my e-books will be done through Smashwords, and that the genre is cozy mystery, so I don’t have to worry about images throughout the book. I can hire someone to do the cover, which to this non-techie, non-artist sounds like a plan!

The other thing that I am working on this month is fine tuning the outline for my first mystery, and finishing the character profiles. I was very pleased that another writer shared on her site a template for doing character profiles that includes all of the things that I had included when I attempted to write this book for NaNoWriMo two years ago. I created a bible then, and will do the same this time.

I am also looking at the locations where my story will unfold. Basically, it will be in a major city. I plan to use the name of that city, but the locations within the city will be, for the most part, places that I have been, with their names changed. I need to make sure if using a created name for a restaurant or bar within a major hotel/casino, while using the real name of the hotel/casino, is the thing to do, or if I need to change the name of the casino too.

As I am writing this book, I am looking at ways to promote it. I am going to have a video trailer made to go on my site, and on You Tube. I will have a Face Book page for it, and will promote it through my Google + business page, personal page, and Twitter page. Beyond that, I am still thinking. Zero plans for a blog marathon (visiting other writers blogs), as to me that is too time intensive.

Then there is the thought – how do I create characters and a storyline that will form the foundation of a series, and not just a stand alone book? More research!

© August 2012 Bonnie Cehovet

Friday, August 10, 2012

Face Book Group Page Etiquitte

I have been looking for a way for a few weeks now to put a minor rant out there without naming names. Last night, I decided that one way that I could do this would be to blog about it. The situation is one that we may all find ourselves in, from time to time, and it is one that we all need to learn to handle with grace. That situation would be Face Book group pages. They do have a definite benefit, and that is why we join them. They also have some major challenges.

The primary benefit, IMHO, is that like minded people are drawn together to share information. By sharing our thoughts on any given topic, and then listening to the thoughts of others on the same topic, we grow our visions, and we move ourselves in directions that we may have previously thought impossible.

The challenges start with the manner in which Face Book allows groups to be formed. The individual forming a group has the option to place anyone on their friends list int he group, without asking them. On any given day, you could wake up and find yourself in a group that you were not even aware of. Hold the temper - you can get out of this easily (or stay, if it looks interesting to you). You can just leave the group, without saying anything to anybody. You can leave the group, and send a private message to the group owner, thanking them for inviting you, but letting them know that you don't have the time (or whatever else your reason is) to be a part of their group. Or, you can post to the group, thanking them for being added to the group, stating the reason that you don't wish to participate, letting them know that you are leaving the group, and then leave the group.

Another issue pops up when people are allowed into the group that continually place posts that have nothing to do with the stated purpose of the group. My personal way of handling this is to send a private message to the group owner, stating my dissatisfaction. If this doesn't work, then I seriously consider leaving the group.

The problem that I am currently having with one of the groups that I belong to that are important to me (in a profession context)is that individuals are posting things that are relevant only to themselves. I am sure that part of the reason this is so prevalent is that people are seeing other people doing this, and nothing is being said, so they feel that this is an okay thing to do. The ideal way that this should have been handled is that the group owner speaks privately with the offending individuals, asks them to take their posts down (or takes them down themselves), and posts the group rules so that everyone is reminded of how the group is run.

This is not what happened in the group I am referring to. Two individuals chose to act as if they were the group owner, and left comments on individual posts that what was posted was not acceptable for that group. IMHO, this was way out of line.

I would have left this group already, but some of the information posted there is very pertinent to what I am currently doing. I will have to do what I should have done in the first place if this continues, and that is to send a private message to the group owner.

It didn't stop there, either. One individual posted a service (which in and of itself is questionable in this group), and the manner that they were providing that service made use of a highly recognizable, very well placed brand that they have no connection with! I posted a comment that this seemed a bit unethical to me ... several days later someone else posted a comment somewhat along the line of min e, but very toned down.

It is up to each of us to use our brains in Face Book, or any other groups. When something doesn't seem right, or just doesn't fit, speak up! Use the leave button as a last choice. Perhaps you can make the group better by your actions.

Having said all of this, I also belong to another group where everything is done well, everyone is polite (outspoken, but polite!), everyone has a good time, and serious support is still there. Why does this group work, where the other one is floundering? Both group owners are highly respected individuals in their own field. The difference is that one is hands on with their group, and the other one isn't.

Food for thought!

(c) August 2012 Bbonnie Cehovet

Friday, August 3, 2012

Setting Writing Goals

We can set goals for ourselves, and then we can set GOALS for ourselves. By this, I mean setting goals that are effective is what we want to focus on. Randomly setting goals is going to give us ... random results! What kind of a house of cards would we be building our stories on if we did that! Realistic goals are three things: measurable, meaningful, and attainable.

As writers, we are our own bosses. We set the pace, we define the story. In setting a measurable goal for our writing, we want to be able to see tangible results. An easy way to do this is to focus on finishing a number of pages per session/day/week, to have a certain amount of chapters done within a certain amount of time, or to edit a certain amount of pages within a certain amount of time. Or, we could focus on sending out a certain number of queries, or posting on social media sites on a predetermined schedule. We need something that shows us that we are making headway.

Attainable goals are literally that - goals that we can reasonably attain. We don't want to set the bar too low, but we also don't want to set the bar so high that it is overwhelming. Take a major goal, and break it down into smaller goals. The feeling of having accomplished a goal, no matter how small, is tremendous! It gives us the needed spark to keep on going.In making sure that our goals are attainable, we need to look at the big picture - what skills do we have, what skills do we need, what else are we going to be doing within the same time period? A little realism doesn't hurt!

To be meaningful, our goals have to take us int he direction we want to go. I have been sidetracked myself by goals that seemed meaningful, but, in hindsight, had nothing to do with where I was at the time, or where I was going. I call that shooting myself in the foot! I have learned a few lessons this way! Recognize that you may have goals in more than one area - you may want to earn a living from your writing, while at the same time you have to pay the mortgage! Make time for the less immediate goal (making a living from your writing, in this case), while still devoting time to your major goal (in this case, paying the mortgage).

Be sure to set both short term goals and long term goals. Make sure that your short term goals support your long term goals, so t hat your house of cards doesn't go boom! Review your goals periodically, to see where you are, and where you are going.

Happy writing!

(c) August 2012 Bonnie Cehovet

Christmas Books That I Love!

Christmas is a lovely time of year! I look forward to decorating my house, playing Christmas music, cooking, baking, and, of course, read...