25
Jan
12

Regurgitation Wednesday: How do you Space?

Welcome Back to regurgitation Wednesday and today we are going to attack the idea: how many spaces goes after the period before the start of a new sentence. Depending on your age, I’m sure some of you all took a keyboarding class or two. If not I’m sure you have used a typewriter before the fancy dancy computers came along.  In the good old days, two spaces were the norm, because of the font typewriters used, it helped to visually see where a sentence began and ended. So we adopted the two space rule.

But with everything, times have changed. In E-Publishing the rule is one space after the period. And this comes partically from formatting issue when converting files into publishable formats that we all love to read on our readers. Not only does it come down to a formatting issue, it comes down to the font issue. With technology, comes change. Now we have multiple readers, multiple fonts and multiple hands changing the details. We no longer need the extra space for our eyes to distinguish sentences.

Try this challenge, ask those around you… how many spaces do you put between sentences? You’ll be surprised. More than surprised. The reason for this regurgitation topic came from my RWA chapter loop buzz. This weekend one of the members sent a link to a wonderful article on the dreaded space question and oh my, my, my did it cause a flurry of emails. All good.

We have multi-published authors in our group and they all had different ideas on space. Most in the e-publish arena use one space, and most with the traditional use two. One just had her rights reverted back to her books so she can now put her back list up as e-books. She had to take all the extra spaces out of her novels.  As you can see the issue that enslues because more and more publishers have e-book clauses now. And to have e-book formatting you’ll need a single space. You could just image the emails. Whose doing it wrong and whose doing it right… Well once again it will depend on the Publisher. In my experience with e-publishing I’ve had to take out all the double spaces after the period. Typically you can find and replace the spaces with the edit function in the most software. And then, train yourself not to add the extra space. Try as you might, but try.

Here are two websites that just get the conversion going. Enjoy.

Thank you for regurgitating with me, come back the next topic.

18
Jan
12

Regurgitating Grammar Sites

Over the years, people have asked where do I brush up on my grammar? What really is passive voice, show not tell and where or where do you put the comma? Really does it matter?

Yes, it does. You really want an active voice, honesty pick up your favorite fiction books most of them if not all of the books are written in active voice, because let’s face it active voice is just so much more interesting.

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.  ~Anton Chekhov

Showing is just better than telling , because let’s face it we don’t want the author to tell us how the characters are felling. We want to see it on the page.

Commas?

Should we put it a comma before the “and” in a series or not… this is style. Each publisher has a different outlook on commas just as each author does. If all else fails… keep it consistent.  If you add a comma in a series before the “and” then make sure all series commas in your manuscript match.

But please oh please, make sure you place the commas in their proper grammatical location because as the picture dictates above, using a comma can save a life. :)

When you fall into questionable areas, here are my go-to, must have grammar sites:

We are all human, just trying to understand our language enough to share a fictional story with the world. Keep it consistent, follow your targeted publisher’s submission requirements and follow your gut. Stay tune for the next regurgitation thought of the day. Happy typing.

16
Jan
12

2012 Here I come

Long time, no write. Wow, what a year 2011 was, it had up and dooowwnnns. But now the tides of time have washed 2011 and brought 2012 in, a new year and a new day. Since I had to put many things on hold this past fall, I finally got out of my funk and attended a Writer’s Meeting. I attended a CNYRW meeting on the nudging of my good friend. The meeting added to my resolve that it was time to get writing again. So a new year, a new me and a new book., that ‘s right a new WIP.

So my resolution this year is an easy one. I resolve to write more, to take better care of myself and family, and to remember to live life day by day.

How am I going to achieve this, you may ask?
For writing more, I joined a book in a week on-line group through my local RWA chapter. Once a month we focus on writing goals for a whole week, this should get my gluteus maximus in a chair and my phalanges to the keyboard. I’m here writing! ;) My goal for January is a blog a week, just to get back in the swing of things.

For being better to my body, I’m back at the gym. When I was active at the gym, my favorite class was Spinning. I loved cycle class! The great music and the workout always helped me hone in on my novels, putting scenes in my head and getting the adrenaline pumping. I’m taking it slow, working up to my spinning class by cardio, and more cardio. This week will be cardio and weight training, maybe I’ll put on Spinning class in the mix. And to remind me eating isn’t just about whatever is on the counter should go in my mouth, I joined Weight Watchers because I’m worth it.

For living life day by day. I’m working toward enjoying my family more. Trying to get all my projects and activities done by the time the door swings open.  All things are possible and if I focus on all of us together, the memories will inspire me to put one foot in front of the other. It’s the little moments, sitting down together at the dinner table or listening to my pre-teen ramble on about the trial and tribulations of her daily life.

It’s time to let the snow fall and the inspiration sing. Here’s to a new year and a new me.

16
Mar
11

Regurgitating my favorite speakers

We all have been there, workshop, conference or online class. We pick which presenter for various reasons, recommendations, their fiction books or their reputation. Here’s how I pick author’s: I read their fiction books! Various “how to books” on my bookshelves are from author’s I’ve read and loved. Then when they were presenting around me, I jumped at the chance to see them, not for the fame aspect, but for the knowledge aspect. They went through the publishing marathon and have amazing product in the end.

Most of what I regurgitate, I’ve learned from various people, some just from my own mistakes. But mostly from those whom I respect. We each need to find a way to write… A Writing Toolkit so to speak that is our individual plan of attacking the creativity that flows. We must understand the craft in order to write the craft.

Picasso didn’t start his artistic career with Cubism, he first started with realism, what was in front of him until he learned his style of shattering the image to create an image. That is what author’s do every day. We create the world as we see, but first we have to understand what we are doing to make our work individual and unique for readers.

So I’ll tell you, my all star list of favorite presenters, I’ll probably add more as time goes by as I learn new aspects to my writing.

  • Bob Mayer I love his fiction books, and had the chance to do an in-depth workshop with him a year ago, learning more about plotting than any pantser could image.
  • Anna Destefano Great fiction author. Ijust took a workshop by her. She plans/plots through her character’s emotional development. Something I can relate to. She runs a weekly blog on How We Write and Publishing isn’t for Sissies… worth every minute of the read.
  • Deb Dixon The name dropped by millions of authors cross genres for her Goal, Motivation and Conflict. I’m excited because she’s coming near me in a few months and I’ve already reserved my spot in the room.
  • Jenni Talty-Holbrook Loved the plotting of her books, dark and romantic. Wonderful twist. From her classes I’ve taken, I found fundamentals on plotting and introductions to great new authors.
  • Gayle Callen Absolutely lovely person, with amazing fiction novels. She’s in my RWA chapter and her experience is tremendous. She plots with index cards and various other techniques from Deb Dixon and others. One of her techniques is to write a bio of each character in first person to solidify the character in your head. This blew my mind and brought life to my characters.
  • Jessica Andersen Love her books, and her world building workshop was inspiring.

My list maybe short, but I know it will grow with knowledge. What does your list look like? I’m always interested in new information. Something regurgitated along the way may inspire someone to push through that last word, that last block to find their story. Fingers to the keyboard, brain on full blast…Happy typing.

08
Mar
11

Dig a little deeper

This month I decided to take a on-line class The Essentials of Character, by Bob Mayer, and I’m loving it.  The course is making me “dig a little deeper” into my characters, and let me tell you, it’s not for the weak at heart. I’ve heard similar ideas over the years, but at this stage in my writing journey, what Bob stated is sinking in at a whole new level.

Goals and Motivations. What does it mean to your characters and do they follow their motivations to the goals of the plot the right way?  Do you as the author really know what your character wants and needs? Well, three little sentences have danced through my consciousness and sub-conscious  for the last few days.  I’ve racked my brain over them, trying to dig a little deeper and I’m conflicted on the last  question.

  1. What does your character want?
  2. What does your character really want?
  3. No, what does your character REALLY need?

My darling daughter watched this movie this weekend, and at her age typically, I try to block out the movies. Last week was Miss Congeniality and this week it was Princess and the Frog. As a side note, a few weeks ago, I was at CNYRW listening to Jenni Holbrook speak about a similar topic, internal and external conflict and making it work.  She used  Miss Congeniality as examples of how it works.  It was brilliant.  On some cosmic level, my daughter’s movie choices had me focusing on writing more than entertainment.

So I was in front of my laptop, struggling to get my head around what does my protagonist really really need. Then this song came on, I ran to watch the movie, grabbed the remote (much to my daughter’s complaints) and played the part again.

It doesn’t show you how to write your character’s motivation or goals, but it helped me shine a light on how to find what my characters really really need. So I’m asking myself, Miss Froggy, do ya understand what you need now? I believe I do and now I need to put my fingers to the keyboard and get it typed before I forget it. :)

Happy typing.

03
Mar
11

Help, my nightstand is empty!

I just caught up on one of my favorite author’s series and after a long day, I laid down, reached for the book on the nightstand and froze.  Nothing. My kindle is loaded with projects to do…work. So where is my fun read? Lost in the stacks and files of my to do list read. So I ask you what do you read and how do you rate the read?  What stands at the top of your list.

For instance, My dear hubby, when he reads you know its good because he will go out and acquire the book in both English and Spanish. One of my closes friends will do the same but in English and Hebrew.  And typically, the top set of bilingual books will be incredible stories worth the multiple prints. 

Me… I’ll read a book and if I find I have read it twice, if I hadn’t bought it myself, I will. So my personal library is of my favorite authors and series. I love paranormal, fantasy, romance, thrillers, suspense… I can enjoy horror but at certain times and in little doses.  Non-fiction, my quota are about two for pleasure a year.  Anyway, what’s on your nightstand? Anything good, top rated? Post a comment, because I’m desperate for a top rated read.

And while I am waiting to read something new, I’ll be fingers to the keyboard working on my current MS.

Happy Typing.

09
Feb
11

Reguritating Show not Tell

Ever stumble over showing and not telling, then you’re not the only one.  Each fiction writer has at one point or another stumbled.  At one point my critique partners and I struggled to  wrap our brains around this.  We searched the internet, googled show not tell and listened to multiple lectures stressing show and not tell. You can find hundreds of examples.  But here I’ll break it down short and sweet.  Ever watch an awesome movie, can’t pull yourself away from the plot, the characters… their mannerisms?

Well, make your story that way. Don’t tell your audience what your characters are doing or feeling. Show them. Make them feel and discovery the story with you. They read for the joy, the illusion, to enter the Wonderland of imagination. We all strive to get back to imagination, so give it to them. 

 Don’t just tell your audience:  Joe Smoe walked across the road in a fit of rage.

Show them: Joe slung his pillow across the room “4:00 in the damn morning.” Yanking his pj bottoms up, he stalk out of the front door.  This is the last time. He thought. People milled about the yards, shouting, and vomiting in the hedges.  “Damn noise, People are trying to sleep. I’m trying to sleep,” He muttered.  A car skidded to a stop, horn blazing as he stepped into the road never taking his eyes off the prize. That damn stereo system. He stomped up the steps, grabbed the baseball bat from the porch, weaved through the people who laughed and party. No one stopped him as he strolled through the open front door, and took the baseball bat to the speakers that pounded out a beat from hell.

Sometimes, showing is just a gesture, arched brow, description of what the character’s face is doing.  Their actions, movements.  Bring your story alive, make them feel the emotions.  That’s what showing is.  Look at your scenes, in editing, if they seem flat, bring them to life.  Always think, how can I make this scene breath. And show it, dramatize it, don’t simply tell, because I don’t know about you, but I don’t read books if I don’t feel them.




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