A couple of weeks ago, I compared planning a wedding to writing a novel. Maybe it was a stretch. As a writer, I see a story everywhere I look. I see a mother shopping with two children, and I think I know the story. I cross a street and see a homeless man, and there's a story. I pass a deserted 1970s van at the bottom of a valley (there really is one), and I want to know the story. I was born a storyteller.
The video I've inserted below is an excerpt from a longer video called Why We Tell Stories: The Science of Narrative
at the World Science Festival's site
. You can watch at least 3 minutes of the 5 minute video excerpt and take the test along with the audience. Are you a storyteller? If yes, tell us a about your current story.
November is my reader appreciation month
. Congrats to Florence Fois of Ramblings from the Left
. She won last week's gift. I'm giving away a $5 Amazon or Starbucks gift card
every week. Leave a comment Monday-Friday (midnight CST) of this week, and you're in the drawing on Saturday. I appreciate you.
. author of the Noon Onyx
series, tagged me on a post last week. You can read her post at this link
. Thanks, Jill. Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:What is your working title of your book?The Wish KeeperWhere did the idea come from for the book?
This is the third book in the Whispering Woods series. I had a series arc mapped out before I submitted the first book to my publisher. I love series and have always enjoyed seeing characters grow through stages of more than one adventure. What genre does your book fall under?
Young Adult FantasyWhich actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I'd cast Dakota Fanning for the main character, Mia Taylor. I think she's an amazing actress, and she could play this part well. The character requires an actress who can be tough and vulnerable at the same time. (Click HERE
to see her if you're not familiar with her.)What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? A gifted teen searches for an out of this world killer and battles her feelings for the one person she needs to save.
I made that up on the spot and hate doing loglines.Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I will submit to my publisher, Etopia Press.How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I'm still writing. It doesn't take long, but I took a break to write another book (not in this series). Total time for writing and revising will be under three months.What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I'm not sure about books. I pitched the series by referring to some popular television shows like Fringe
.Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Prior to writing the first book in the series, I passed a little red booth in a rural area on my daily commute to work. My imagination went from there. I also listen to a lot of science podcasts and learned about synesthesia. I thought about what a person might feel like with this medical condition and how much we don't know about it.What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I think this one has more surprises than the other two. It's nice to have characters I love who can just experience such an exciting turn of events.Now, it's my turn to tag. If you take up the challenge of The Next Big Thing, let me know and I'll send people your way on the posting date.
- MPax, science fiction and fantasy author, blogs at http://mpaxauthor.com/blog/. I think her character, Craze, is the coolest guy in the universe and can't wait to read more of her work.
- Tara Tyler just signed a book contract with Curiosity Quills. Yay! I love it when it happens and you can help authors celebrate. Tara blogs at http://taratylertalks.blogspot.com/.
- Elizabeth Seckman is a romance author with a couple of books under her belt and a killer bio. "I'm just a simple chick who dares to dream...one day I will have a clean house, a tight bum, and a book in print." She blogs at http://www.eseckman.blogspot.com/p/buy-book.html .
- Florence Fois is a writer of romance and mysterious. I can't say enough about her beautiful and inspiring blog posts. She blogs at http://ramblingsfromtheleft.wordpress.com/.
- Medeia Sharif is a YA author who is a reading and writing machine. Well, not really a machine because she brings so much heart to what she does. Check out her writing progress and book reviews at http://www.medeiasharif.com/ .
I use an Apple wireless keyboard with my iPad when I am writing in the app called Manuscript. It wasn't difficult to transition from working on my PC when I learned I could still use shortcut keys.
Some keyboard shortcuts won’t work on the iPad/iPhone, like cmd+b for bold and cmd+i for italics. I really don't use those anyway. I do use the copy, paste, undo, and select all shortcuts quite frequently on the PC and on the Apple keyboard.
Use these keyboard shortcuts:
· Cmd + c = copy
· Cmd + v = paste
· Cmd + z = undo
· Cmd + a = select all
· Cmd + shift + arrow = select + jump to beginning/end/start of line
· Shift + arrow = select
· Cmd + arrow up = move cursor to home
· Cmd + arrow down = move cursor to end
· Cmd + arrow left/right = move cursor to beginning/end of line
· Screen brightness
· Eject button (makes the touchscreen keyboard pop up on the iOS device)
· Volume Up, Down, and Mute
is "The Plot Whisperer." I found myself watching these videos and want to share them. There are over 20 videos in this series. Each video is approx. 8 minutes or less. You can easily use them as stand-alone instruction if you are having difficulty with one part of your novel. I've inserted video #10 in the series, but you can go to http://www.youtube.com/user/marthaalderson/videos?sort=dd&view=0&page=2
to start at #1. Make sure to scroll to the bottom of this YouTube page for the first one.Dear Writer or Reader:
Thanks for visiting my blog. Leave me a note this week about how your writing is going. Or if you aren't a writer, tell me about your latest read. I'll draw one name for a choice of Starbucks $5 gift card or $5 Amazon gift card. Contest closes on Friday.
Plot a Novel, Memoir, or Screenplay
when life gives you a bunch of vowels...
I know I have an easy life. I'm not out working construction in the100-degree heat and for that I am thankful. I have plenty to eat (too much really) and a nice bed to sleep in. Nevertheless, it's been one of those weeks of mishaps. I realized this as I sat writing a quick email to a friend on my iPhone and the autocomplete feature changed my sentence from, "I don't think you need a blog to join the linky list" to "I don't think you need a blog to join the kinky list." I saw this before hitting send. Whew!
I've been pitching on blog contests and must say that it's been a good experience. One agent who wasn't involved in any of the contests I've entered contacted me by email. She was "intrigued" by my pitch. I looked up her bio and agency. I was elated. What are the odds? She asked for pages. I sent them. Waiting for a reply was torturous. After many weeks, I received her rejection email. She even gave a specific reason. I've spent hours over-interpreting her reply.
I gained a critique partner and a beta reader. The beta reader gave me some really good notes for my current MS. It was good to get a male perspective of my MS. He made lots of helpful points about the characterization of the hero in the story. I have some work to do. Mr. Beta Reader also pointed out that my website has too many links. Opinions? Did you even know that I have drop-down menus at the top?
On the upside, my publisher sent the print galleys for my Whispering Woods series
. My mother will finally think I'm a real author. Of course, I've felt like one for quite some time, but it's nice that she will be pleased. She can hold a book in her hands. I also know some people who are willing to help me publicize a print book.
On the downside, a pirate site is distributing one of my ebooks. I have Google Alerts
set up to send me a notice of any web page that mentions: Brinda Berry, Whispering Woods, The Waiting Booth, Whisper of Memory, and synesthesia. That last term is for research purposes. I got a Google alert for a site that has a cover image and a link to download my book free. I have notified the host and the guilty pirate with a DMCA take down notice of copyright infringement. I'm not going to post the site and advertise for this person, but if you are an author and want to see if your book is there, you can drop me an email at brinda (at) brindaberry (dot) com. There are only 188 books listed by this person, so the odds are in your favor (but obviously not in mine).
Ever receive extra friendly messages on Facebook? This came to my Facebook Author Page
inbox the other day. I have replaced some info with Xs.Hello ,my name is XXXX
I came across your contact address something touched me and i decided to contact you. I believe and also have the feeling that in today world, neither race or religion will any longer occurred a barrier to female relationships. Although, we do not know each other well but I will really like you to contact me at XXXXX@yahoo.co.uk XXX-XX-XXX-9817 so that i will send you my pictures for more communication
Gosh. What a sweet girl. And she wants to send me pictures.
I am at Gloria Richard's blog today for my regular guest post. Today's post is A Delicious Page for You.
I talk about the Delicious social bookmarking tool.
Hop over and watch the video if you'd like to know some social media stats that will blow your mind. It's a video I used in a class I taught last week on using social media as a marketing tool.
My friend DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude 2.0
is hosting the second annual WRiTE CLUB
. From DL's blog, here's a description: The essence embodies simplicity, good-natured competition, and a lot of fun. Over the course of twelve weeks we’ll be holding weekly bouts to determine winners that will advance to the play-offs, which will ultimately lead to a single champion. Bouts between who…or what…you ask. Anonymous 500 word writing samples, submitted by anyone who wishes to take part, that’s who. The submitted samples should be identified only by a pen name of your choosing (be creative) that nobody has ever seen before. The writing can be any genre, any style (even poetry) with the word count being the only restriction. It’s a way to get your writing in front of a lot of readers, without having to suffer the agony of exposure. We’ll start accepting these submissions today and will continue to take them during the entire twelve week preliminaries, but beginning on July 30th, the first WRiTEwill be held.
What are you waiting for? Go on. Sign up on the LINKY LINK list . You have to sign up to vote and/or participate.
Looking for the Indie Author Hop? June 13th to 19th
Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
& Krazy Book Lady
I'm giving away an ebook of my YA fantasy, The Waiting Booth
. Molly Zenk is co-hosting this giveaway with her new release, 90 Cats and No Litter Box In Sight. CLICK HERE TO ENTER or scroll down to yesterday's post.
Confessions of a Writing Class Junkie
I admit it. I’m addicted to taking writing classes. Although I’m not taking a class at the moment, I find myself constantly searching for the next one. There is such a wide range of topics and expertise online that I’d like to share the ones I’ve discovered. The classes I’ve taken were all inexpensive and loaded with information.
Click HERE t
o read more at the DSRA blog.
Hang On To Your Wallet
We talked a little about marketing and book swag last time
. I chose one of the least expensive items in marketing when I went with my romance trading cards
for a giveaway item. As a reminder, I paid $59.10 total for 2000 cards from www.gotprint.com. I've used them for giveaways and sent them to two author/reader conferences for bags.
I've given away larger items for marketing purposes. During my blog tour in April, I offered a grand prize of a Kindle Touch eReader or Nook Simple Touch (approx. $100) . I also offered romance trading cards from my books to 20 winners. Using the Rafflecopter widget, I was able to track my return on investment (ROI)
of this giveaway. Click HERE
to read more at Gloria Richard's blog.
The Diamond State Romance Authors had a weekend retreat. The lodge was isolated and beautiful.
Twelve members attended Friday thru Sunday and spent most of the time in writing sprints. There was a schedule posted on the refrigerator of two-hour writing blocks. We spent our free time sharing writing experience and tips. It was great. If you click on one of the pictures below, you can enlarge it. Megan Mitcham blogged on the DSRA blog
today if you'd like to see more photos! Her photos include people hard at work writing.
3/16/12 UPDATE: Linda F. is the winner of the Starbucks gift card!
Before I introduce my guest today, I'd like to mention my post over at the Diamond State Romance Authors' blog
. My post is about "The Random Muse" and I have a picture of a structure that helped to inspire the story of The Waiting Booth
. Click here to read.
I'm also a guest at Jennifer Eaton's
blog with an interview. Jennifer said something about taking on the little blue woman from Mars, but I'm not scared. Click here to read.
Now, I'd like to introduce Lori Freeland.
Lori is one of those giving writers. She has regular posts on her blog on how to improve your writing. She explains it simply and with great examples. Sometimes, she makes it sound so simple that I wonder why I'm making it difficult. She has a very cool website with lots of tips for writers and the everyday fun stuff, too. Her website is HERE
if you want to visit it later.
Those Who Teach, Do Better ~ Lori Freeland
Remember the old adage—those who can’t do, teach?
Unless we’re talking about my seventh-grade gym teacher who wore his red velour tracksuit loose to hide his flab and loved to yell, “Run faster,” as our awkward gangly bodies struggled around the track to complete our required Presidential Fitness Test.
I believe those who want to do better teach.
When you teach, you learn. When you teach, you strengthen your critique skills. When you teach, you live with an open-hand philosophy.
Let me explain.
My mission statement as a writer is this. Find a Mentor. Be a Mentor. Broken down, that means find someone who will cheer you on, then turn around and lift up someone else. Walk the writing journey with others. Find people that push you forward and become the person that pushes others forward.
Envision yourself as an old-fashioned gold scale.
Hold both hands out, palms up, even with each other. Look at your left hand and imagine a mentor pouring knowledge into your palm. Your hand sags under the welcome weight of new skills and encouragement.
Now picture your right palm. Tip your hand and let your knowledge pour out into someone else. Watch in amazement as your left hand sags deeper under the weight of new blessings.
You don’t have to carry a plethora of skills in your life backpack to mentor others. If you possess one skill, share it. If you discover one new nugget of information, present it. If you have an hour, give it. You’ll be amazed at what you reap in return for your generosity of time and skill.
And if you need a selfish reason to share your time—try this one. It’s easier to see mistakes when other people make them. What if you made a list of all their mistakes and used that list to check your own work?
So find a mentor. Be a mentor. Offer to help someone who’s climbing the rungs of the writing ladder just behind you. When her fingers touch your heels, turn around, and offer your hand.
I challenge you to encourage someone today. Send an email. A tweet. A text. Push another writer forward to the next level then sit back and enjoy the Domino Effect.
It’s an amazing sight to watch!
NOTE FROM BRINDA: I'd like to buy you a cup of coffee. Leave a comment for a $5 Starbucks gift card. Tell us about someone who has helped you along the way. Or tell us about ways you are helping other writers. I'll draw one winner with random.org by Thursday at midnight CST.
I Am Obsessed with Imaginary People. Avid Reader of All Things YA. Critique Facilitator at SCBWI. Writing Group Leader. Contributor and Blogger for Crosswalk.com. Faith Team Editor at The Christian Pulse. Writing Coach for North Texas Christian Writers.
My mother recently told my niece that I would have a bestselling book if I would write about my parents' lives. She may be right, but... Anyway, now complete strangers are submitting ideas to me on my contact form. See Exhibit A.
I concede that I could use help in some areas of writing. Ideas are not my problem. I have so many ideas; I won't live long enough to write about them all. Just to let you know.
I do need help in getting the word out about my upcoming release. If you'd like to help, I will send you some information for my Whisper of Memory Release Party beginning March 16th. CLICK HERE to let me know.