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Showing posts from September, 2014

Words and More Words

Several years ago while reading a favorite author I found him using the same phrase in a dialogue tag. I can't even remember what it was now, but it kept popping up, enough to be distracting. By the end of the book I found myself wondering why he or an editor had not caught that. It was so obvious and he was a best selling author too.

It didn't keep me from buying his next book, but it did bother me when I remembered what I had noticed in the last book and here it was again -- the same word. Surely he would have found something else to use. Or not use anything at all. Yes, we all use "said," but that is natural and it is one of those words we don't notice.  If we say a character "grinned" on the other hand every time a character says something we are probably going to notice. Again, it is time to have the character do something else or don't write it at all.

As writers we probably all have crutch words we find ourselves using over and over. I have …

Making Your Setting Work

Setting is one of those elements that all writers know they need to include in a book, but often it gets either overplayed or totally ignored. I am a big believer in making a setting unique and making it come alive for the reader but doing it in a way that places the reader in the story along with your characters. It isn’t necessarily easy to do, but I always try to make that happen as I write. Rigid rules for writing can be boring, but here are a few suggestions to keep in mind as you deal with setting. Bring in all the senses.Don’t overwhelm with settingKeep it consistentBe true to your time period and placeDon’t do a detailed description in the first paragraph but get it in thereOkay, so how do we do all those things?Bringing in all the senses has to be the first thing to consider because those senses are what places the reader into that certain location.Not long ago I was travelling through New Mexico and stopped in a small town and stayed overnight. In the cold October mornin…

Teaching is Learning

by Becky Martinez For years I never considered myself much of a teacher, though I now teach writing classes on a
regular basis at places such as Savvy Authors or I present workshops at conferences, such as the recent RomCon14. I did spend years as a newsroom manager and it always made me feel good when a reporter or producer would come up to me –after having started as an intern under my guidance—and tell me how much they learned from working with me. I felt proud—proud for them because you don’t succeed without hard work. I still enjoy that sort of affirmation. Recently at a conference I had one of my former online students come up to me and introduce herself to me. She wanted to thank me personally for what she said was a great class that got her going in a totally new direction.

To me that is one of the high points of being a teacher—knowing that you’ve helped someone. And I think that is one of the reasons I enjoy teaching. I have another student I helped with mentoring and she …