What About Prologues?

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Again, I’m inviting everyone (both writers and readers) to share some of their beliefs, writing habits, expertise, and opinions on a variety of subjects connected to writing or reading novels. For today’s topic, I’d like to hear what you think about prologues.

There was a time when  many novels started with a prologue. Lately, I’ve heard it said that using a prologue is a cop out that writers use when their novel doesn’t have a strong beginning.

Sometimes a prologue is meant to be a taste of some of the action to come later in the novel. Is it fair to do this? Would writers do better to rethink the beginning of their novels to hook the reader? Is it cheating to jump ahead to the climax of the story and use it as a teaser before starting the novel?

Please tell us your thoughts. If you are a writer, have you ever used a prologue? Tell us why you think it is a good idea (or not). As a reader, how do you feel about reading a prologue and then reading to find out what it is all about?

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Invitation to Share Writing Ideas

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I’m inviting everyone (both writers and readers) to share some of their beliefs, writing habits, expertise, and opinions on a variety of subjects connected to writing or reading novels. For today’s topic, I’d like to hear what you think about the use of adverbs.

In school we were taught to use many adverbs to help make our writing more interesting. Now we are told that we would do better to find a stronger verb and get rid of the adverbs which often will no longer be needed.

e.g.

1. The old man walked along crookedly and painfully.

Or: The old man limped along.

2. The puppy ran exuberantly through the fields.

Or: The puppy bounded through the fields.

What do you think? Do you have any thoughts about the use (or overuse) of adverbs? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.

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Mobsters, Monsters, and Nazis

Remember the comic book days? Doesn’t this book cover remind you of those times? But this is not a comic book. It is the cover of a six-story illustrated series by Dan O’Brien and Steve Ferchaud, available soon.

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Hello from Dan O’Brien!

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Dan O’Brien and Steve Ferchaud have done it again! Mobsters, Monsters & Nazis will be a six-story illustrated series that will launch on Halloween and conclude right around Christmas. It is equal parts noir, pulp, lovecraft, and detective fiction with enough intrigue and mystery to keep you hanging on.

It is available for pre-order starting today, so be sure to grab it and let everyone know about it!

You can pre-order it for only $2.99 by clicking on the cover above or by following this link:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OE781J2

 

 

Inspiration

Guest post by Darlene Jones.Goils 201

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.

Thomas A. Edison

Edison may very well have been right, but what good is the ninety-nine percent perspiration without the inspiration?

Where do our stories come from? Daydreams, life experiences, the people we meet, nightmares, what we hear, see, read, and imagine? The answer, for me, is all of the above. Every author will have a response unique to their life experience and their interests.

We listen to the news, read the paper, and build in current events. We laugh with friends and build in camaraderie for our characters. We yearn for love and romance and give it to our hero and heroine. The adventures we longed for belong now to our players. The lives we’ve led, or wish we’d led are, in part, imbued in our characters and plot lines.

But there is another aspect to inspiration that is often unforeseen. As we write, our stories take on a life of their own. Characters develop and lead us in directions we hadn’t anticipated or planned. A minor character creeps in and takes over. We try to contain him, but he has a mind of his own and insists on playing his part.

The hero’s friend becomes our friend. The heroine’s fight becomes our fight. As we edit and polish and rework our novel, we worry about our characters, love them, perhaps hate them, and can’t leave them behind. They become as much a part of our lives as the people around us. They are our inspiration.

Books by Darlene Jones:

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My apologies for the intrusion on my blog by advertising that is out of my control. Do not click on the underlined words (books, friends, and edit), as they have been given hyperlinks AFTER I posted this. However, the amazon links are ones that I have put on and will lead you to Darlene Jones’s books.

 

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Find them on amazon.com and smashwords.com

Point of View

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When I first began to write seriously, I was surprised to find out that using the omniscient point of view as our great authors of 200 years ago did, just wasn’t done anymore!

“What the heck is point of view anyway?” I wondered. I thought all I had to do was pretend that as the author, I knew everything and I could see into every character’s head and tell what each one thought and felt.

That may have been all right in times of old, but apparently it is frowned upon in modern times, and aspiring authors certainly don’t want to be frowned upon before they even make their debut.

Point of view, usually called POV, is not, as some might at first think, someone’s opinion. It refers to the character through whom we are seeing the story unfold. As the writer, I can pretend that this main character has a camera mounted on his or her head and whatever this magic camera can see, hear, touch, smell, or feel, is allowed to be told. The camera cannot know what another character is thinking, unless the thoughts are spoken aloud in dialogue. So I am limited in what I can tell about another character’s emotions. I’ve had to become more skilled at letting the reader know what a secondary character might be feeling, through dialogue and by showing that character’s body language. Are his fists clenched? Is his jaw working? Are his eyes filling with tears? Are his eyes narrowing and his brow furrowing?

POV can be a problem if the character who has been the POV character is not present in a scene that needs to be told. For that particular scene, the main character may be someone else, and the camera can be in that person’s head for the duration of the scene. The writer needs to stick to one person’s POV for that scene and not go head hopping throughout the telling of the story.

Some of the most popular POVs used are first and third person (“I” and “he” or “she”), and can be in the past or present.

I would like to give you some short examples of some POV types.

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Here is an excerpt from Julia’s Violinist. We are in Karl’s head (with the camera) in third person POV:

“Where are you off to?” Julia asked.

“Where else? Town. Job hunting.”

“You smell like you’re going to the opera.”

“Good, huh? Give me a kiss.” He put his arms around Julia, kissed her head, her ear, her cheek.

“My God, you smell like a perfume factory.” She pushed him away gently.

“It’s the city boy in me. People I do business with respect a person who has city experience. It wouldn’t do to smell like an old turnip like some of the farmers around here.”

“There’s nothing wrong with being a farmer.”

“Sure, sure, but I’d rather not smell like one.”

Karl liked to dab on aftershave lotion before going to the weekly card games. His hard facial stubble was the antithesis of the fine silky blond hair on his head. He felt tough and refined at the same time.

*****

And here is an excerpt from The Wind Weeps, in first person POV with the camera in Andrea’s head:

The Wind Weeps [1]

I could see his face in the wheelhouse. His jaw was set in determination. When he pulled alongside he grinned.

“Hello, Andrea,” he said pleasantly. “What brings you out here on a day like this? A bit chilly for a joyride, isn’t it?”

I pulled on the oars desperately and as he reached down to grab the one closest to the boat I took it out of the oarlock and swung it at him, clipping him on the shoulder. He jumped back. I tried to row away from the Hawkeye but with one oar out of the oarlock I flailed uselessly.

Robert reached for the oar again, and again I swung it at him, but this time he caught it easily and kept a firm hold on it. I let it go and tried to row with my remaining oar, but I knew it was over. He held the skiff pinned down with the oar, reached down, and fished out the bow line. Then he let the skiff drift back and tied its line to the davit at the back of Hawkeye. He disappeared into the wheelhouse and gave the Hawkeye a burst of fuel, turning the boat back towards our isolated cabin in the bay. I sobbed and shivered in the skiff.

*****

Which POV you choose is often a personal preference, but if you’re not sure, just rewrite a chapter in both first and third person and then choose the one you like best. Happy writing!

My novels are available at all amazon outlets and at smashwords.com. Just click on the cover image at the left side of the blog.

Please visit my other blog at http://wordsfromanneli.wordpress.com

Humour in Writing – Linn B. Halton

SO titleThere’s humour in everything—birth, death and all of the intricate details in between that we refer to as life. Then there’s love …
In my next novel, Sweet Occasions, Katie’s life is consumed with following her dream, after she sets up her own bakery.
As everything begins to fall apart, so does her relationship with Steve, but can it be salvaged? Then there’s Adam, doting father to Lily, who drifts into her life. Maybe I should say ‘drips’ into her life …

Happy casual man“How can I help you?” I ask politely.
No response is forthcoming as the seconds slowly tick by. He appears to have lost the power of speech and I struggle to mask the grin that keeps creeping across my face. I watch as a rivulet of water snakes down from his sodden hair and he raises his sleeve to wipe it away. I can’t stop my eyes from straying to the floor and I see that he’s standing in what appears to be quite a large puddle. He observes me checking it out, but says nothing. The seconds continue to pass and I wait patiently, wondering why anyone would venture out on a day like this so totally unprepared to battle the elements.
He shifts from one foot to the other, and then runs his hand through his hair in an attempt to sweep the wet tendrils off his forehead.
“Sssorry, I’m a llllittle wet.”
Well, that’s an understatement if ever I heard one. He’s embarrassed and I swallow a chuckle, disguising it with a cough.
“Um … I just need something … small,” he continues, sounding hesitant.
He’s looking directly at me as if that should mean something.
“Small?”
“Yes.”
I’m frowning, so I slide back into smiley-face mode and pick up one of our leaflets. I spread it out on the counter and he leans forward to look at the array of cakes. As he moves his head a few drops of rain flick up into the air, splatting across the front of my blouse and landing on the counter. He looks mortified.
“Um,” he mutters weakly. He looks up at me, a blank expression on his face.

It’s a chance encounter that has her trying very hard to hide a smirk. What sort of guy would leave home so inadequately dressed on such a stormy day? As the puddle of water in which he’s standing grows, so does her sympathy. It’s one memory that will stick in her mind for a long time …

Coming 23 September, 2014:

SO LBH medKatie’s relationship has had more than its fair share of problems. After a difficult few years things begin to pick up and Katie finally realises her dream of opening up a bakery. Sweet Occasions specialises in novelty and celebration cakes, plus the most inspiring range of cupcakes anyone could possibly ask for!
Utilising her passion and skill helps to inject happiness back into her life, but it’s short-lived as things begin to fall apart. The reality is that you need to run a business with your heart AND your head. Help is at hand in the shape of her partner, Steve. He has the necessary experience, but does Katie want to tie herself to him financially, as well as personally?
Then one rainy, wintry day a bedraggled customer steps inside the door to order a cake …
Sometimes a turning point centres around one single moment in time. Sometimes it takes two Christmases and three birthdays.

Website (linnbhalton.co.uk)
Twitter: @LinnBHalton
Facebook: Linn B Halton and Author Linn B Halton
Buy: http://viewauthor.at/LinnBHalton
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HarperImpulse and Sapphire Star Publishing author pages
Romantic Novelists’ Association page

Why You Need a Copy-editor

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You start reading a book and are just getting into it when you notice a repeated word. Oh well, you shake your head and continue. On the next page you find the verb “to lie” misused, and you feel irritated. Still, it’s a good story and you want to find out what happens, so you continue. Then you see glaring punctuation mistakes in the dialogue. At this point you begin to wonder if the author knows anything about writing. You had hoped at first that they were just typos,  but repeated errors and misused words (such as “peek” instead of “peak”) now have you wondering if you can stand to read a whole book of this quality no matter how enthralling the plot is.

As an author, I would be embarrassed to publish something like this, but often we can’t see our own mistakes. On re-reading our work, our brain tells us that the words say what we intended. Our eyes gloss over the  errors because, we already know what it says–we think! This is why all authors need a good copy-editor. Our  reputation hinges on publishing good, clean writing.

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Most writers like to feel confident that their written work is free of errors. The truth is that often they are too close to their work to notice the errors that may be there.

Would you submit your work for approval if you knew that rejection was imminent? You can avoid that rejection by hiring me to proofread and edit your work.

What I Can Do for You   

Whether you have written a newspaper or magazine article, children’s book, short story, novel, or a university textbook, I can help you to make that work perfect.

I will read your work, checking for correct spelling, punctuation, grammar, balance in verb tenses, and word usage.  I will verify cross-referenced material and look for any inconsistencies in your work.

I use the Track Changes feature in Word to point out errors. This gives you the option of accepting or rejecting my suggestions without jeopardizing your original work.

If you wish, I can make recommendations for alternate wording to remedy awkward phrasing. If you need help in writing down your ideas, I can do that. I will edit your work unobtrusively.

I am comfortable and competent in editing work that is interspersed with German, French, and Spanish, including bibliographies that may contain foreign titles.

How to Send Me Your Work

You can send me your work as an email attachment, preferably as a Word file.

My Rates 

$.01 per word for complete proofreading and copyediting, checking for grammar, punctuation, word usage, and inconsistencies. I will do three pages for free so you can see the quality of my work before you decide if you’d like to hire me.

Rates are negotiable depending on the job. Discounts available for greater word counts.

Contact Information 

Anneli Purchase

Email: anneli.purchase33@gmail.com

Qualifications

  • 25 years of teaching
  • 15 years experience with copy-editing, as well as writing and editing novels and articles
  • Have attended creative writing workshops and conferences
  • Have edited university-level books and articles in Ancient History as well as in the Sciences
  • Can translate from German to English and have a good basic knowledge of French and Spanish
  • Will re-write work for you if desired
  • Can suggest changes to improve your writing if that is what you would like
  • Have a keen eye for grammar, word usage, spelling, punctuation and balance in verb tenses
  • References available
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*** Don’t forget to check out my other blog for stories and photos. Anything goes, on “wordsfromanneli.”

http://wordsfromanneli.wordpress.com