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Posts tagged ‘writing’

You want me to do what?

One of the mantras here at MGC is that there is no “one true way” to be a writer. Sure, there are a few rules you need to follow: you have to write, you have to pay your taxes, that sort of thing. The rest is pretty much up to you. Yet, when you look at a lot of how-to books or read a lot of other sites, there’s one thing so many experts tell you is a must: you MUST have a brand.

But do you? Read more

Pet Peeves and Good Advice

As writers, we have to balance a number of balls from the time an idea first forms to the post-publication promotion period. There’s the plotting of our story, the research that needs to be done, the actual writing of it. That’s followed by editing, promotion, finding the right cover, preparing for publication, publication, ore promotion. Then there’s the business end of making sure taxes are taken care of, supplies are bought, receipts are kept, etc. At each point along the way, it’s easy to take a misstep. Read more

Character Analysis

Or Finding Your Own Bad Habits

Now, the first thing I’m going to say about creating characters is Do Not Outsmart Yourself With A Clever Naming Scheme!

I speak from experience. Ignore the weird names in the following examples. Or take them as a lesson on what not to do.

What I’m examining right now is how I introduce new characters when I’ve already got my POV character set. I have to see the new character through his or her eyes, and what the MC sees and infers is the information the reader will get.

Analyzing your own writing can be a bit surprising. Take this bit, a newly hired professor, with the head of the department . . . Read more

Treat It Like A Business Revisited

(I originally wrote this post back in 2016. Here it is again with some additional thoughts–ASG.)

As I was looking for potential topics for today’s post, I came across one of Kris Rusch’s posts and knew I had everything I needed right there. In fact, I considered e-mailing Kris and asking permission to simply repost the blog entry here. I consider what she said in Business Musings: Introductory Remarks (Dealbreakers/Contracts) to be mandatory reading for every writer out there, whether you are wanting to go the traditional route or indie or a mix of the two. My advice to every writer and wannabe writer is to read and then reread and bookmark the post. It is that important. Read more

Learning How to Fall is Easy

Dad fell out of an apple tree one time when I was a teenager. After Mom finished scolding him for having climbed up there in the first place, I have a vivid recollection of him grinning and telling us ‘falling is easy. Learning how to land well, that’s hard.’ I was driving my daughters to work today, and reassuring one of them that her new role at work will get easier. “I stutter through talking to customers,” she told us, “I’m probably making them wait too long to hear all the options.” Practice, I told her. And then I watched the two of them walk together through the fog into their store to work, and contemplated their dedication to the one job people ridicule most. The store got a two-pack, and the girls are doing good work. The worrier in particular is always there, shift in and shift out, takes extra hours beyond what she should, and comes in whenever they call her. Her managers know who I am, and rave about them to me when I come in. She’s doing good. She has the potential already to move into leadership – both of them do. Read more

Say What? (Updated)

This post originally appeared on MGC in Feb. 2017. I’m repeating it here, along with additional comments, because I heard a trad published author saying much the same thing not long ago.–ASG

In one of my rare breaks from the keyboard yesterday, I went wandering around the internet in search of inspiration for today’s post. I’ll be honest. I thought the search would be fruitless. Why? Because so much digital space was being wasted on conspiracy theories about Envelope-gate from the Oscars or more screaming about politics. Then, there it was. A story that had me looking at my screen, looking away and then looking back, sure I wasn’t reading what I thought I did. Read more

Do Your Homework

I’ll admit right off the bat, this post was inspired by the title of a post over on The Passive Voice. But it veers off the path immediately from the Publishers Weekly article that was the basis for the PV post. If I try to write about “cultural appropriation” this morning, the post would wind up being nothing but a string of curses. Not because I believe we should never write anything we don’t know or aren’t a member or part of but because of all the wonderful book that will never be written because authors are afraid of writing a book with characters that don’t look like them, don’t believe like they do, etc. Okay, stopping there before the cursing begins.

Instead, I want to focus on how you have to do your research if you are writing about people, places or things you aren’t very familiar with. For example, some years ago, I was in Philadelphia for a business conference and contacted family friends in New Jersey. We arranged to meet at their home on Sunday. Since I hadn’t been there since I was a child, Ruth gave me directions and told me to look for the simple cottage with hollies out front. Simple enough, right? I mean we all know what a cottage is and what hollies look like. Read more