How to create strong characters

I’ve just completed the God knows what number revision of my novel(I lost count a long time ago). While I have to admit it is one-hundred times better than the first draft, it is still not where it needs to be. I hope this isn’t coming across too negative. To be honest, while I’m not […] […]

via Do Your Characters Have Character? — Writing your first novel-Things you should know — I Suck at Writing

Writing prompt

You get a chance to time travel. If you accept, you have a 90% chance of arriving where you intended, a 90% chance of arriving with your clothes and money, and a 90% chance of arriving with your memory.

You accept. You wake up 100 years before you intended, naked, with no memory of how you got there. What now?

Descriptive Writing

I found this article helpful. This is one area where I struggle a little. I typically skip over the descriptions on first writing, then go back and add them later.

There are many different kinds of writing, descriptive writing being one of them. Pretty much everything I found on descriptive writing talked about essay writing or academic writing. Descriptive writing is important for any kind of writing, but we’ll stick to creative writing for now. What is descriptive writing? Descriptive writing is when you give […]

via What Is Descriptive Writing? — Rachel Poli

Still by CM Bohn

Original story by me

It was after visiting hours when Karen pulled into the parking lot, but she knew no one would say anything. They hadn’t said a word when she brought a treat yesterday. What did it matter at this point?

The room was quiet and dim when she got there. The light from the silent television gave the room a strange moving glow. As she looked at the still figure on the bed, Karen felt her pulse throb in her throat. She couldn’t move from the doorway. Her fingers went icy cold. Then he stirred and opened his eyes, and Karen almost fell over.

“Hey, Karrie-Girl. How’s my pretty girl?” Dad asked. “Come in and sit down.”

She entered, scooting a chair closer to the bed, and sat. “Hey, Dad. Did I wake you?”

“I was just resting. You can turn that damn thing off if you want to. The nurses keep turning it on when they come in.”

Karen found the TV remote and turned it off.

“That’s better. Just you this time?”

“Yeah, I just wanted to see my Daddy.”

He smiled then, but it was a pale imitation of his old grin. Her stomach clenched a little, but she ignored it.

“How are you feeling tonight?” she asked.

“I’m fine. Kind of sleepy.”

Karen looked around the room. The cookie crumbs had been cleaned up. Yesterday she had been taken with an urgent need to make oatmeal raisin cookies. She’d eaten half a dozen as they came out of the oven, still warm and tasting of cinnamon. When she brought the kids to the hospital that afternoon, her son had insisted they bring cookies for Grandpa.

But when they got there, Dad shared the plate around, urging the kids to help themselves. The kids were happy to dig in. Karen watched her dad until he finished one cookie, the last one on the plate. She knew he wasn’t eating the hospital food. But he seemed to enjoy the cookie.

“Are you thirsty, Dad?” she asked, handing him a mug of water. He managed a few sips.

“My Karrie-Girl.” He patted her hand.

She clasped her fingers around his. His hand felt dry and shriveled, like it was withering away. She clung to it as they talked.

They talked about old times and laughed a little. Their voices were nearly lost in the murmur of machines, the conversation in the hall, the sounds from the parking lot. After a few minutes chat, the room grew quiet. Everything important had been said long ago. Karen laid her head down on his chest and he stroked her hair with his feather-light hands. She closed her eyes and prayed. But no tears.

In the days to come, when the phone call came, through the funeral and the lunch after, during the cleanup; she knew that half of herself remained there in that room, still sitting in that chair, still feeling the feather-light touch of his hand, still stroking her hair.

10 Writing Mistakes That Really Bug Me!

I’ve been reading more indie fiction, and one thing about indie books, they don’t always have great editing. I get it; editors cost money. If you’ve signed with a publishing firm, they pay for all that. But if you’re self-published, you have to pay for it for yourself.

I’m sure it’s hard to come up with the money for that before anyone has even bought a single copy of your book. But it’s money well spent. Having a good editor can be the difference between a book that makes me want finish so I can recommend it to all my friends and one that I am happy to put off reading for something better.

In the spirit of helping, here are 10 writing mistakes that I have noticed that really mark your work as something that could have used an editor.

  1. Typos. These are so obvious, but they are so very annoying. It’s one thing on the internet, but when you’ve released a book? They make it look like a junior high project.
  2. Spelling mistakes. This goes along with the first one, but it has to be said again. This time I’m including the mistakes that spell check doesn’t pick up, but are still wrong.
  3. Forgetting a character’s name. Hello! Make a cheat sheet or something. But calling a character by one name in one page and something else on another page? That’s sloppy.
  4. You’re/your, it’s/its. Contractions are for when you leave a letter out. If you’re (hint) not sure, look it up. Or get that editor to do it for you!
  5. Too many dialogue tags. Oh, and using something besides “said” when you do use one. Occasionally replied, or asked, or complained, is acceptable, but mostly use said. And mostly leave it off. We don’t need it.
  6. Overusing characters’ names. Obviously you have to do it sometimes but there’s a balance. Too much and it becomes awkward and clunky.
  7. Either too much action or too much dialogue or too much interior monologue. The best books have a mix of all three. Readers want action, but they need a slow space to catch their breath, to think and figure stuff out, to bond with the characters, and to figure out what the characters are thinking. But too much of any one of these three elements and the book doesn’t work.
  8. No subplots. That’s a real difference I see between beginning writers (like me, I admit it) and more polished writers. Beginners are focused on just one plot. But that can make a book too predictable. The best writers create depth by adding subplots and characters with back stories that engage the reader.
  9. Black and white writing. Characters that are all good or all bad. People in real life are very seldom like that, so reading about people like that is just boring. Give your characters reasons to behave they way they do and people will love them more.
  10. Not listening to your editor. Once you have paid your editor, or begged your friends or writing group, to read and reread your work, take their advice. I’m not saying everything they say has to be adhered to, but if you ask someone for help, take the help they offer. Make the changes. Even if it means starting over. Your work will be stronger in the end.