I was just notified that my paranormal suspense novel, Proof of Identity, has been awarded an indieBRAG Medallion of Excellence. I submitted the novel at least four months ago, and promptly forgot about it. What an amazing experience to open my email yesterday and discover that notification.
From what I’ve learned, a full 50% of the novels submitted do not pass the initial screening. Of the 50% that go on to the readers, only 10% are awarded the medallion. I feel so honored to have received one. It’s hard to put this feeling into words—and I’m a writer!
It’s such a gratifying feeling to have one’s work honored in this way. Of course, I love the story and think it’s well written, but i’m not exactly unbiased here. It’s only natural that I love my own writing. But to have strangers, readers whom I have never met, who wouldn’t know me if they passed me on the street, read my novel and love it this much, just makes my heart sing. All the work, the sweat and tears, the worry about whether there’s too much backstory, not enough character development, and intriguing enough plot, the hours at the keyboard, the rewriting and rewriting and rewriting… it’s all been so worth it.
All you writers out there: Stay true to your dreams. Keep working and learning and improving. Trust the process and trust yourself. And all you readers out there: enjoy what you read, read what you enjoy, and stop every once in a while to post a review of something that really tickles you. It’s the best way ever to say “thank you” to your favorite authors.
I’ll post more on the medallion award as it comes in!
It’s my birthday to day, so let’s have some birthday fun!
Again we will twist reality to see what’s hiding deep in our subconscious mind. Remember not to force events. Don’t try to “direct” what happens, just let it flow. Our subconscious mind has a logic all its own. When we let that logic dictate the way events unfold in our stories, we enter a realm where marvelous things happen, things our conscious mind would never have thought of.
For your birthday, a friend has purchased tickets to a play you’ve been dying to see. He/she is running late, so you pick up your ticket at the box office and find your seat – front row, center. Your friend still has not arrived when the lights dim and the curtain rises. But it’s not the advertised play. What is it and what happens? Your 10 minutes start now.
The further you can stretch your imagination, the more interesting twists will appear in your stories. Playing with science fiction-type scenarios is a great way to nudge your imagination into unused alleyways. Remember not to judge what comes out. Turn off that inner critic who stops you from pushing yourself beyond what’s comfortable, and simply write, no matter where it takes you.
You purchase a new cleaning product at the store. When you get home and spray it on your dirty countertop, the countertop vanishes. Write what happens, starting with: If anyone had ever told me… Your 10 minutes start now.
Sometimes when we enter the “zone,” things pop up in our stories that we don’t quite know what to do with. They skew the story we’ve planned into uncharted territory. Being able to allow the story to unfold on its own, so to speak, will raise the bar in your writing. Here’s a strange scenario to play with.
Your new girlfriend/boyfriend invites you over for dinner. Afterwards, you sit together on the sofa and look at his/her family photo album. But there are no pictures of your friend anywhere in the album, just blank spaces on the photos where he/she might have been standing. Write about why this could be and what it means for 10 minutes, starting now.
Why were there no pictures of your friend in that album?
Plots come easy at times. At others it’s almost impossible to pull one out into the light. One of the best places to find ideas for plots is our own lives. When we mine with is familiar, and then twist it out of shape, we write with an authority that cannot be denied.
We need good, strong, flexible writing muscles to sustain us through the creation of our stories. But stretching our writing muscles isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s not like we can go to the local gym and hop on a few workout machines. Though we do have some options if we know where to find them.
There are a lot of great books on writing available, one of the best being my own Write It Right: Exercises to Unlock the Writer in Everyone (hey, it’s been 26 weeks, I’m entitled to a plug). Be sure to check it out on Amazon Kindle for digital format or Amazon Create Space in print form. Purchase, if you will. Then set your timer and do the exercise below.
On your desk you have a daily calendar. Each night, before you go to bed, you turn to the next day’s page. Then one day, there is no page for the next day. You think it is merely a mistake until you wake up the next morning. What do you find? What happens? Your 10 minutes start now.
Stay tuned, my newest book, Sins of the Past, will be launching this month, probably within the next week or two. It’s the story of a woman betrayed by the man she loves, a man who is not who she thinks he is. His past finally catches up with him — will it catch up to her, also? This is a nail-biting read that is guaranteed to keep you up all night reading!
Sins of the Past will be available in print from Amazon and in Kindle format, and can be ordered through any bookstore. Stay tuned for the formal announcement of the launch!
To follow up on asking “What If?” that we talked about last week, here’s another exercise that will truly expand your imagination. And it all came about because I asked “What if…?” one day when I was changing batteries in my mouse.
Your VCR needs new batteries. You purchase a new brand at the store and put them in, but they don’t work the way batteries should. They do something else altogether. What happens when you turn on the VCR? Take 10 minutes to explore these batteries.
Unexpected twists come from asking, “What If?” It’s amazing where those two little words can take you. What if this had happened? What if this hand’t happened? What if he said…? What if she wore…? What if the weather…? Once you let your imagination soar, you’ll be amazed where it will take you.
You go to a street fair and bring your digital camera. You take a lot of pictures. When you get home and download the photos to your computer, you discover a very strange anomaly on one (or more) of the photos. What is it, and what do you think it means? What do yo do about it? Give yourself 10 minutes, starting now.