Saturday, July 7, 2018

Using Real Places in fiction...From Book Daily.....




Using Real Places in Fiction | BookDaily #AuthorTips

Personalize your book for immediate book sales in your community. Whether you are writing fiction, or non-fiction books, highlighting popular attractions, familiar landmarks, and places of interest, increases desire for your book. Owners of unique restaurants and local businesses love the idea of free publicity that comes with a mention of them in a smart and positive light.
All books have a setting. It is wise to choose beloved, historical and famous people and places that your characters interact with. Be as descriptive as possible, including all five senses, or six or more for science fiction writers. Using this sense of familiarity warmly invites your readers to be in the moment with your characters and to be transported to places they have enjoyed in the past.
Aside from friends and family, my first book sales came from the places of interest mentioned in my book, MYSTERY OF THE STURBRIDGE KEYS – CHRISTMAS UNLOCKED. My first book signing engagement came from a business mentioned in my book. Since the title of my book also included the mystery and history of Christmas, one business asked me if I would come to their annual Night Owl Christmas Open House on Dec 9, 2016. I gladly accepted.
Mentioning local hotspots in your area, or the locality you are writing about also has another advantage. Most restaurants, destinations, points of interest and popular businesses have their own social media online, which immediately benefits the author who includes them. It is a two-way win-win. For example, I included the Bird Store And More, on Cedar Street in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, who happens to sell a galvanized bear-proof, bird feeding pole, which I mentioned in my book.
I wrote about what I knew from personal experience. I live in this area where black bear torn down and broke four of my bird feeders. On their store website and Facebook page, they have a video of a black bear trying his best to get at the black oiled sunflower seed, their favorite food. I went onto their Facebook website, and shared this video on the Facebook page for my book. I also was able to go on their Facebook page and thank them personally for inviting me to be part of their annual event. They only allow one local vendor each year to be part of their Christmas Open House.
Including holidays in your writing expands your audience and sales instantly. Many bookstores, and other stores that sell books, like to feature holiday items. Books with the name of the holiday listed in the subtitle attracts the eye of store managers and staff who are always on the lookout for this exact marketing hook.
Writing about popular landmarks and points of interest have a sense of fun familiarity for readers who have been to these locations. Vacations only last so long, but a mystery, theme or specific event, like a marathon involving numerous people will speak to this wide audience, and be more likely to increase your sales.
There are countless famous people in history who your characters can interact with, in the fiction/fantasy setting. History has a history of repeating itself. You will be able to find many real life situations with which your readers will be able to identify themselves. Draw on human emotions, common to everyone, to give a heartbeat to your book.
Readers can identify with situations they have found themselves in. Perhaps they got lost in Purgatory Chasm and found their hearts pounding, fueled with fear. Drawing on emotions, or descriptive words that bring the moment to life, like cutting through a lemon which has been rolled first to make it so juicy that cutting through it gets lemon juice all over the cutting board and on your fingers, with a taste so tart that your eyes water, can make your mouth salivate just reading the sentence. If readers can identify with your book, they are sure to buy it.
Have you used a real place in your fiction work?
About the Author:
Linda Hourihan is an international Holistic Health Counselor/Practitioner, former feature writer for The Milford Daily News, Laconia Daily Sun and Connecticut Post, author of The Virtue of Virtues, and former owner of The Massage Clinic with over 8,000 appointments to her clinic. She lives with her author husband, John T. Hourihan, Jr., and lives among the beautiful lakes and forests of Massachusetts.
Connect with her on her website and on Twitter.
Thank you all for visiting with us. It’s always a pleasure to meet readers and authors. Until next month, every one please stay safe. Smile. Be happy. Show compassion. Be nice to others. Put a little love into your heart. Please speak up for those without a voice, whether it be a dog, cat, elephant or monkey. One person, one voice can make a difference. Read a book and pass it on. Leave a review. Reviews are important for authors. Believe me. I know. Thank you!

Regards,
S. J. Francis, Writing is my passion, but animals are my world. 
Advocate for the underdog, and cat, and supporting writers, et al.

In Shattered Lies: "It's All About Family." Available now from Black Opal Books and for sale at all on-line retailers and independent booksellers.

Shattered Lies was a winner in the Fall 2016 NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards for Women's Fiction.

Shattered Lies was a runner-up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Indie Best Book Award Competition.

Shattered Lies was a 2016 Reader's Favorite Honorable Mention in the Fiction - Women’s category.


Shattered Lies was a Finalist in the 10th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards.

Shattered Lies was chosen as General Fiction Official Selection in the 2015 New Apple Book Awards.

The first, original book cover design for Shattered Lies was a semi-finalist in the 2015 Authors dB Best Cover Contest.

       The 2nd new book cover design for Shattered Lies was a Finalist in the 2016 Authors dB Best Cover Contest.  

My Black Opal Books Author Page:
                                           Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/sjfrancis419
                 Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/pages/SJ-Francis/480058115420325
       My Writing Blog: http://www.sjfranciswriter.blogspot.com
      A Consumer's View: http://aconsumersview.blogspot.com
                  One for the Animals: http://onefortheanimals.blogspot.com
                                               Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sjfrancis419/
                           Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/33550975-s-j



And now for some legal stuff: Copyright 2018 by S.J. Francis. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the author, S. J. Francis and the guest author and are meant to entertain, inform and enlighten, and intend to offend no one.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

50 Authors from 50 States: M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I -- S.J. Francis Shares a Gr...

50 Authors from 50 States: M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I -- S.J. Francis Shares a Gr...: Come along and visit my post about the Magnolia State: Mississippi is called the Magnolia state and the number of Magnolia trees confirm that, and because of the hot and humid summers with he..

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June 3, 2018

M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I -- S.J. Francis Shares a Great State to Visit, Live and Spell!


Mississippi is called the Magnolia state and the number of Magnolia trees confirm that, and because of the hot and humid summers with heavy rain, it is a green and lush state.
                                               
If you heard me speak you’d notice the lack of southern drawl. You’d also notice that I walk just a bit faster. I didn’t grow up in the beautiful state of Mississippi. I grew up in New York City.  The two places are so far apart; not just in miles but in attitudes. It’s different down here. It’s a whole new way of life with a different pace: Slow and laid back. There is no fast food in Mississippi and not just literally. If you’re looking for fast and hurried; you need to go elsewhere, New York City for one, but there’s a peace and serenity that accompanies it, too. People are more at ease down south and it shows in their attitude. I may have been born a Yankee, but I’ve always been a rebel at heart.
                                               
There are flatlands down here and there are hills. I have seen some awesome sunsets. The Blues were born here in the Delta. Farming and lumber are the predominant industries.  BBQ and sweet tea are popular food items down here. Crowds and smog are non-existent.
                                                  
My debut novel, Shattered Lies begins in Yazoo County, Mississippi, and later New York City.  As of the 2010 census, the population of Yazoo County was 28,065. It is named for the Yazoo River, whose name, legend has it, comes from an Indian word meaning "River of Death." It is located in the Mississippi Delta region. The idea for this book came to me in 1999, but the story didn’t write itself until I moved down to Mississippi. 
                                                  
Synopsis: Thirty year old Kate Thayer has a good life as a veterinarian running the family horse farm in the South until she uncovers an act of unimaginable treachery by those she trusted most and discovers that everything she knew about herself was a lie. Her paternal grandmother, the woman who raised her, is behind a number of devastating secrets Kate is compelled to discover. But the deeper she digs, the more betrayal she finds, changing her life in ways she could have never foreseen.
Thanks for stopping by to read about my debut novel and my new home state of Mississippi. I have two prizes to give away to a lucky winner —a copy of Shattered Lies (Kindle version OR Paperback, winner’s choice) and a Mississippi souvenir.  Simply leave a comment and your contact info in order to contact you should you win. 

You can read more about the award winning Shattered Lies, a mainstream/contemporary/family saga at my website: http://sjfranciswriter.com    There you’ll be able to connect with me and learn more about the award winning Shattered Lies.
(info provided/released by author)

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Did You Pay For That Book Review? From Book Daily....

A note from S.J. Francis: Paying for reviews? Hmmnn. I must not lie. I thought about it once or twice, even three times. Finally, because of a recommendation about a popular site, the Online Book Club, I went ahead and registered my book there and then went ahead and paid for a "Professional Book Review". That turned out to be a big mistake for me and also a learning experience. The mistake was what I already knew: I should have stuck to my initial decision. Never, ever pay for a book review. Never. Ever. Period. 

Perhaps, paying for a unbiased book review has worked for others, but not for me. Personally, I wouldn't recommend doing it. Out of four stars, my book Shattered Lies received two and I quickly learned why because before I was sent the review, the reviewer stated flatly that, "I wish I knew there was a lesbian story line in the book before I read it." Red flag there, huh? I went back and forth with the website to complain about the bias in the unbiased review. I felt that I should get another review, though I knew I wouldn't. One that was unbiased certainly would have been fair. Second, in the review, the reviewer stated that, "I lived down south when I was a child and my best friend was black and she never went through anything in the book like the characters did." Wow! Needless to say those two statements floored. me. The first one about the lesbians made me laugh. Huh? I wasn't aware I had to let the reviewer know about the reality that real life spilled into my book. Gads. What's a writer to do? Secondly, just because something didn't happen to her, didn't mean it couldn't happen. Besides, the book is a work of fiction. "Fiction" is the key word. The book is made up. The situation is made up. 

Another point I learned was that what exactly is a "Professional Reviewer" anyway? I'd think that such a person was well up to date with real life situations, aka perhaps there might be a lesbian story line. It turns out that nowadays with blogs and more that anyone reading a book and writing a review is a "Professional Reviewer", which is pretty funny to me because I've been doing that for years and never, ever considered myself such. Anyway, back to the point of this post. Did you pay for that book review? If not, don't.  Based on my experience I certainly can't recommend the Onlinebookclub. If you did, take what you can from it if there was anything constructive and move on. That's my take on it anyway. Until next month.....
Cheers! S.J. Francis

Did You Pay For That Book Review? | BookDaily #AuthorTips


One-Review Reviewers Are People, Too
For those not familiar with this topic, let me explain: Some people assume that reviewers with only one posted review on a site must be fake.
While I don't disagree this isn't ever the case, I have a few counter arguments:
Friends and family. This is the primary accusation, but I have to wonder why friends and family opinions don't count in the big world of reviewing? Just because the author got to know this person during mini-golf team building day at work, that coworker's thoughts are suddenly null and void? What about said coworker's mother? Her friend from gin night? How many degrees of separation do we have to go before opinions matter again? Kevin Bacon?
I don't know about your friends and family, but mine are pretty freakin' busy. When and if they read my work--let alone feel inclined to publicly say something nice about it--I'm beyond flattered. Their opinion shouldn't censored because they happen to eat dinner with me sometimes.
Actually, if you want to get down to it, discounting the opinion of people who do know the author is pretty hypocritical when the book community, in general, tends to be very concerned with what sort of "person" the author is. It's kind of like putting references on a resume: all the interviewer wants to know is that someone, somewhere, is willing to say nice things about you.
New to a network. But let's move on to other less-biased, but still realistic, scenarios where a reviewer might not have many or any other reviews. First off, being new to a network. Let's see one potential situation play out:
Reviewer: Hi Author, I read your book and I really loved it!
Author: Thanks! Very happy to hear that my mental issues brought some entertainment!
Reviewer: Yes, I can't wait to share my review on my blog!
Author: That is great! If you are on GoodReads, I would be very appreciative if you would post your review there too, but it's entirely up to you.
Reviewer: Oh, I've heard of that place. I hear it's full of muck. I will check it out, anyway.
Next day:
Reviewer: Hi Author! I went to GoodReads and it is, indeed, full of muck. I posted my review of your book there though.
Author: Thank you! I hope you were able to get the muck off easily enough. I suggest mental bleach and a few therapy sessions.
Reviewer: I might go back after I've had some vodka, but I'm not sure.
Reviewer discovers Farmville.
Recruited Elsewhere. So, check this out: not every author goes through established reviewers to get reviews. I know, the concept is a little horrifying that everyone should be entitled to an opinion. Sometimes, authors meet reviewers on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, or heck, that weird thing called "in real life" (or, it's more familiar form, IRL). Sometimes, said people are really thrilled to get a free book that interests them. They don't get scores of free books because--let's say it all together now--they're not established reviewers. Hence the lack of other reviews. But they think the book was cool, the author was cool, the gift was cool, so sure, they'll post their thoughts and then probably never come back, because Farmville.
"Nag" emails. I once reviewed a flag. Not kidding. A flag. My fiance is from another country and still has much of his family there. When we moved into our new place, I thought it would be nice to hang both the US and Bangladesh flag. There aren't scores of Bangaldeshi flags being sold around Arizona, so I went to my ol' buddy, Amazon, to hook it up. A few weeks later, I received an email asking how I was liking the flag. It seemed to be a decent enough flag. Made of fabric. Sways in the breeze. So I clicked the link, wrote something along that line, and moved on.
This can happen with books too. Maybe they just bought that one book. Maybe they just felt click-y and write-y enough to type up a review at the time they received the nag email. Look, I will probably never review a flag again, but you know what? I totally bought and used that flag. No fakin' it here for some devious master plot regarding flag ratings.
While we're on the topic of what counts as a "fake reviewer," I would also like to point out that the lack of an avatar means nothing. My fiance doesn't have an avatar on his Facebook page, but I'm pretty sure--judging by the laundry and dishes and body lying in the same bed--he's a real person. I asked him about this lack of avatar thing. His answer? "Meh."
I think that probably speaks for most people who don't have a default image.
As I said, fake reviews do happen, both negative and positive, and for a variety of reasons. But I do think we, as a whole, are way too quick to assume a review doesn't count simply because it doesn't meet some weird expectations we've developed.
But if you don't want to take my word for it that this flag totally sways in the breeze, that's really your loss.
About the Author:
Rainy Kaye is an aspiring overlord. In the mean time, she blogs at Rainy of The Dark, and and writes paranormal novels from her lair somewhere in Phoenix, Arizona.
When not plotting world domination, she enjoys getting lost around the globe, studying music so she can sing along with symphonic metal bands, and becoming distracted by Twitter.
She is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.
Thank you all for visiting with us. It’s always a pleasure to meet readers and authors. Until next month, every one please stay safe. Smile. Be happy. Show compassion. Be nice to others. Put a little love into your heart. Please speak up for those without a voice, whether it be a dog, cat, elephant or monkey. One person, one voice can make a difference. Read a book and pass it on. Leave a review. Reviews are important for authors. Believe me. I know. Thank you!
Regards,
S. J. Francis, Writing is my passion, but animals are my world. 
Advocate for the underdog, and cat, and supporting writers, et al.

In Shattered Lies: "It's All About Family." Available now from Black Opal Books and for sale at all on-line retailers and independent booksellers.
                          
                      Shattered Lies is a winner in the Fall 2016 NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards for Women's Fiction. 
                     Shattered Lies is a runner-up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Indie Best Book Award Competition.
                     Shattered Lies is a 2016 Reader's Favorite Honorable Mention in the Fiction - Women’s category.  
                     Shattered Lies was a Finalist in the 10th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards.
                     Shattered Lies was chosen as General Fiction Official Selection in the 2015 New Apple Book Awards.
                     Did you know that the first, original book cover design for Shattered Lies was a semi-finalist in the 2015 Authors dB Best Cover Contest? 

My Black Opal Books Author Page:
http://www.blackopalbooks.com/author-bios/bio-sj-francis
                                           Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/sjfrancis419
                 Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/pages/SJ-Francis/480058115420325
       My Writing Blog: http://www.sjfranciswriter.blogspot.com
A Book Review 4 U: http://abookreview4u.blogspot.com
      A Consumer's View: http://aconsumersview.blogspot.com
                  One for the Animals: http://onefortheanimals.blogspot.com
                                               Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sjfrancis419/
 Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/104831238907682620486/about
                           Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/33550975-s-j
And now for some legal stuff: Copyright 2018 by S.J. Francis. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the author, S. J. Francis and the guest author and are meant to entertain, inform and enlighten, and intend to offend no one.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

The Three Habits of Successful Writers

Written by Caitlin Jans | December 19, 2016
Many writers have one or two of the following habits, but it is very rare to find writers that do all three of these things regularly, unless you are looking at a shelf at a bookstore or library. Almost all of the authors whose work is on that shelf, at some point in their life did all three of these things habitually. Once you are established as a writer the third habit becomes less important, but until then it is the most vital habit and the one most commonly overlooked.
1. Write
The way you define yourself as a writer is that you write every time you have a free minute. If you didn’t behave that way you would never do anything.
–John Irving
Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.
–Ray Bradbury
Don’t write to become famous or to make a lot of money.  Write because you love it. Write because not writing for more than a few days feels like you have abandoned a puppy in a mineshaft.  Save the puppy.
– Joe Beernink
Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.
–Pablo Picasso
I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.
― Shannon Hale
It might seem obvious or redundant that being a writer requires one to write a lot. But many people who call themselves writers rarely write. I know one writer who spends about four hours a year writing creatively. Many of the writers I know wait for inspiration.
If you are going to become a professional writer it involves writing regularly. Even when you do not feel like writing.
When I was younger I waited for inspiration, but the more serious I got about producing work the more regularly I wrote. And the more regularly I wrote the more regularly I produced work worth reading.  That is really what it comes down to. Good writers produce work worth reading. Hopefully a lot of it.
Would the Harry Potter series would have worked if J.K. Rowling waited for inspiration? No, she would probably still be on book one.
Writing, if you are serious about it, is a lot like every other job. You have to commit a lot of time to it. You sometimes have to write a lot of rubbish to get to the good stuff, but that is OK, like Shannon Hale says, sometimes early drafts are all about shoveling sand.
If you are protesting right now that you don’t have time to write, I hear you. I have a baby, a full time job, and at first I really struggled to find the time to write.
But I found a way, mostly by giving up all TV and the occasional social gathering. And I am really glad I did. If you want to work on intentionally adding more writing time to your life, these three articles are really worth the read: How to Make Time For Focused WritingHow to Develop Good Writing Habits, and The Six Month Novel Writing Plan.
2. Edit
No one cares about your first draft.
– Neil Gaiman
Going back and editing is the best part of writing; it’s like reading an interactive novel. ‘Oh I wish the author used this word here or had this dramatic reveal there…oh that’s right! I am the author!’
–Mabel E. Wetherbee
I wish I felt like Mable E. Wetherbee about editing, but frankly I (and many other authors) don’t enjoy editing. I have discovered, over time, that if I type slower and copy edit a little as I go, I am left with a product that while not yet finished is awfully close. It allows me to focus on any changes I have to make on the content itself, rather than the spelling and the grammar (although hard as I try, there are always mistakes).
I take different approaches to editing a poem, an article, or a novel. Each genre requires different editing techniques. For example, when I edit poems my focus is on concision, I try to remove any line or word or punctuation mark that is not vital, so that I am able to convey my idea without any extra words. When I edit my own articles, I focus on how clearly I am making my point.
When I edit a novel I edit for different aspects each time. For example one editing round could focus entirely on continuity, another on characters.
No matter how you do it, editing takes focused time outside of writing and it also takes perspective. I do not know any writers that can do all of the editing right away. They need to take a break of at least a week, then return to the work on it after a period of time.
The following articles are very helpful ways to get started, if you struggle making editing part of your writing practice: Editing Exercise: Length PlayFive Free and Cheap Editing Options, and Three Steps to Take Before Publishing Your Manuscript.
3. Submit
Editors never buy manuscripts that are left on the closet shelf at home.
– John W. Campbell
I figured out that I had to write regularly when I was 18.
I figured out that I needed to spend most of my time editing when I was 19.
I was 24 when I figured out that those two steps were insufficient.
No one was going to break into my house, steal my manuscript, publish it, and send me royalty checks.
I had to start submitting for myself, and I had to be serious about it and I had to know what I was doing. This took time. I figured out how to submit my work to literary journals first.
This was good in some ways because the stakes are a lot lower. If a literary journal publishes one of your poems poorly, it is frustrating, but no great loss. It is just one small piece of writing. If a publisher takes the rights to your novel and messes up, there are much greater consequences.
Unfortunately after I had such a degree of success I didn’t pursue publishing a manuscript for over four years, as if somehow now that my work was out in the world that would be enough for a publisher or an agent to track me down.
That has worked for some fiction writers (Elizabeth Gilbert’s agent found her after Esquire published one of her short stories), but for the majority of writers that is not how it works. So finally in the last three years I have started to submit regularly to manuscript publishers as well as literary journals.
I submit regularly. At least once a week I submit to a few literary journals and a few manuscript publishers. I have my manuscript out to four publishers at all times. I have various poems and stories out to at least 30 literary journals at once. While I have yet to publish a book, I have published a rather large amount of poems in anthologies and literary journals. So even though my whole book of poems has yet to be published you can find my poems in a number of anthologies at brick and mortar bookstores.
When you first start submitting make a clear number-based goal regarding how many submissions you want to keep out at a time, and then stick to it. When you receive a rejection, send a submission out. Make sure your work is always being considered in the world. Of course, in order for this to happen you have to be writing all the time. In order for your work to be taken seriously it has to be edited and polished.
In Conclusion
Writing is all about balance, as long as you continue to do all three things, you will be published. But it is a lot of hard work, a lot of commitment, and a great deal of time. Stay focused. I know you can do this.
Thank you all for visiting with us. It’s always a pleasure to meet readers and authors. Until next month, every one please stay safe. Smile. Be happy. Show compassion. Be nice to others. Put a little love into your heart. Please speak up for those without a voice, whether it be a dog, cat, elephant or monkey. One person, one voice can make a difference. Read a book and pass it on. Leave a review. Reviews are important for authors. Believe me. I know. Thank you!
Regards,
S. J. Francis, Writing is my passion, but animals are my world. 
Advocate for the underdog, and cat, and supporting writers, et al.

In Shattered Lies: "It's All About Family." Available now from Black Opal Books and for sale at all on-line retailers and independent booksellers.
                  
                Shattered Lies is a winner in the Fall 2016 NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards for Women's Fiction. 
                Shattered Lies is a runner-up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Indie Best Book Award Competition.
                Shattered Lies is a 2016 Reader's Favorite Honorable Mention in the Fiction - Women’s category.
                Shattered Lies was a Finalist in the 10th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards.
                Shattered Lies was chosen as General Fiction Official Selection in the 2015 New Apple Book Awards.
                The first, original book cover design for Shattered Lies was a semi-finalist in the 2015 Authors dB Best Cover Contest.
               The 2nd new book cover design for Shattered Lies was a Finalist in the 2016 Authors dB Best Cover Contest. 

My Black Opal Books Author Page:
http://www.blackopalbooks.com/author-bios/bio-sj-francis                                                                           Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/sjfrancis419
                 Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/pages/SJ-Francis/480058115420325
      My Writing Blog: http://www.sjfranciswriter.blogspot.com
      A Consumer's View: http://aconsumersview.blogspot.com
                  One for the Animals: http://onefortheanimals.blogspot.com                                               Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sjfrancis419/
                           Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/33550975-s-j
And now for some legal stuff: Copyright 2018 by S.J. Francis. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the author, S. J. Francis and the guest author and are meant to entertain, inform and enlighten, and intend to offend no one. 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

4 Tips For Writing Fresh, Engaging, Unforgettable Scenes | BookDaily

From Book Daily.com   DiAnn Mills    Originally Printed on April 10, 2017




Novels are written written with one powerful, sensory-engaging, character-building, plot-enhancing, conflict-stabbing, stake-raising scene after another.
They are fresh, alive, exciting, unforgettable . . . and often difficult for the writer to grasp the technique.
With all the criteria necessary to keep the reader turning pages, how is a scene mastered that incorporates all the essentials and yet doesn’t look like a template branded onto the page?
Some years ago, I struggled with all of above. Defeat and failure stalked my waking and sleeping hours. An editor at Tyndale Publishers gave me four plot questions to ask before creating each scene, and they also gave me permission to write and teach their recommendations. How cool is that?
The following are what I now use to form a new scene.
1. What is the point of view character’s goal or problem?
2. What does the point of view character learn that he/she didn’t know before?
3. What backstory is revealed?
4. How are the stakes raised?
These questions stopped me from heading in the wrong direction. In short, I could focus on what needed to occur. At times the answers to #2 and #3 are the same. That’s okay.
These gems propelled me to think more about the dynamics of scenes and how I envision an adventuresome and unique story. I’ve also incorporated a few words of wisdom from other bestselling writers.
Donald Mass teaches: “Avoid backstory until after the first approximately 50 pages.”
Wow, that means the story begins in the now. We’re writing about a likable character who is experiencing the story world as it unfolds to them. The reader develops a relationship with the character, just like meeting a real person for the first time.
James Scott Bell adds: “Avoid character flaws for the first approximately 50 pages.”
I love this. The character holds back on showing those traits that aren’t admirable while the reader is getting to know him/her. Remember dating the man or woman of your dreams? We were in love before we spotted a few things that bothered us. But we’d already invested in the relationship, so we stuck with it.
Steven James: “Story trumps structure.”
How else can we write a scene that is a keeper? The middle can leave us exasperated, and too often a reader discards the book when the story falls flat. Here are a few tips:
1. Have the character choose between two rights and face the consequences of the decision.
2. Have the character choose between two wrongs (one of my favs) because this forces the character to change and grow.
3. Toss in a crucible, when two characters will not give up something of value. Think lifeboat.
4. Shove two characters into a scene with opposing goals. Watch the conflict explode!
5. Consider a facade scene. This is when a character believes something to be true, and the reader believes it too, then the character faces the devastation of knowing he/she was wrong. Entire books can be constructed this way.
Building scenes with a worthy goal, adding conflict, and raising the story’s stakes is worth the time. The rewards will be in satisfied readers, good reviews and increased sales.
How do you write scenes that usher in admiration and respect for the craft?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; the Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Her latest book, Deep Extraction, releases in April.
Connect with her on twitter: https://twitter.com/diannmills
Thank you all for visiting with us. It’s always a pleasure to meet readers and authors. Until next month, every one please stay safe. Smile. Be happy. Show compassion. Be nice to others. Put a little love into your heart. Please speak up for those without a voice, whether it be a dog, cat, elephant or monkey. One person, one voice can make a difference. Read a book and pass it on. Leave a review. Reviews are important for authors. Believe me. I know. Thank you!

Regards,
S. J. Francis, Writing is my passion, but animals are my world. 
Advocate for the underdog, and cat, and supporting writers, et al.


In Shattered Lies: "It's All About Family." Available now from Black Opal Books and for sale at all on-line retailers and independent booksellers. "Some secrets should remain that way."


                     Shattered Lies is a Finalist in the 2016 Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards.

       Shattered Lies is a winner in the Fall 2016 NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Book Awards for Women's Fiction. 


       Shattered Lies is a runner-up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Indie Best Book Award Competition.
                                        
    Shattered Lies is a 2016 Reader's Favorite Honorable Mention in the Fiction - Women’s category.  

          Shattered Lies was a Finalist in the 10th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards.


                                        
 Shattered Lies was chosen as General Fiction Official Selection in the 2015 New Apple Book Awards.

   The 2nd, new book cover design for Shattered Lies was a Finalist in the 2016 Authors dB Best Cover Contest. 


   The first, original book cover design for Shattered Lies was a semi-finalist in the 2015 Authors dB Best Cover Contest. 

My Black Opal Books Author Page:
                                            Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/sjfrancis419

       A Book Review 4 U: http://abookreview4u.blogspot.com
                                               
     
      A Consumer's View: http://aconsumersview.blogspot.com
                  One for the Animals: http://onefortheanimals.blogspot.com

And now for some legal stuff: Copyright 2017 by S.J. Francis. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the author, S. J. Francis and the guest author and are meant to entertain, inform and enlighten, and intend to offend no one.