Friday, June 19, 2015

Was That With An "S" or Not?

Werkin' the Words...
So I'm chugging away on the second book in my trilogy and I'm finding all these little things I SHOULD know off the top of my head...but don't.

Place names, most of which are original, sometimes get spelled differently. Placement of rooms or battle grounds. Does mech-hand have a hyphen or not?

What about dirigible...zeppelin...blimp...Aero Squad? Was there a space in between there?

So I started to really rely on my style sheet. Especially the one I made for The Tremblers (1st book in the series). Sooo glad I did this. If you'd like to look into using one, I suggest a great post by The Editor's Blog called Style Sheets, The Set Up and Benefits.

I'm also finding that its a challenge to weed through scenes that I absolutely LOVE just because they were fun to write or they read especially well. I'm entranced with my own lyricism...whatever. The problem is sometimes the scene is genuinely cool, but serves no actual purpose in your story.

For this I've been using the Scene-by-Scene Outlining Template. This beauty came to my attention via Twitter.  C. S. Lakin over @LiveWriteThrive is a handy blog for authors. I encourage you to take a gander.

I'm not sure what other helps are out there, but if you have any favorites please let me know. I'ts always nice to add another tool to my arsenal. I may add your suggestions to my upcoming post in the "Writing Helps" series.

Until next time...Go Write!

+Raquel Byrnes 

Friday, June 5, 2015

IWSG, Shaking in My Boots

Its my first confession via the Insecure Writer's Support Group conceived by illustrious Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh!

Okay, so I have been visiting and reading these Wednesday posts for months. I have to say I really did like feeling like I was not the only one who struggled with freak outs and worries.  I never really thought I had any reason to post myself...I have it all handled, right?

Uh...not so much. 

Right now I am struggling so much with confidence. I had no idea that writing a true trilogy...books with a continuing story line and ever growing characters could be so intimidating. Can I I do it? Am I smart enough? Organized enough? Will my brain explode before this is over? Ahhhh!

All that angst translates into me hiding and not reaching out and blogging or commenting. I know...I KNOW that keeping in touch with other writers is so important. So I decided to take the plunge and join the IWSG.  

So..."Hi, y'all." *waves nervously*

Writing Helps Series: Useful Books

I've decided to do a series on different types of tools that authors can use to hone their craft, better their writing, ease their frustrations, or are just cool.

The first in the series of Writing Helps is BOOKS.  There are so many out there on the writing craft. From outlining to character development, ect. That's not what I am focusing on.

These books are practical research or information type of books that really help to sharpen the edges of your work. 

My recent favorite is The Emotion Thesaurus by Ackerman. I follow the Facebook feed for Writers Helping Writers which is where I stumbled across this gem. I started using the blog post at first, which had links to pages of what would eventually become this book.

It lists emotions in alphabetical order, then gives a list of physical signs, internal sensations, mental responses, and symptoms if this emotion is long term. 

Very cool, right? Talk about spiced up action beats! No more simple "clenched fists" or "furrowed brows" to show anger. This book really helps you narrow what you mean to clean physical and emotional images that drive home your character's inner struggle. 

The series also offers Positive and Negative Trait Thesaurus as well as Emotion Amplifiers to help with character motivation. And at less than $5 for the Kindle version...who can beat that?

The next useful little tool in my author box is The Daredevil's Manual by Ikenson. Another book that is similar to this that I also use often is The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook by Piven. 

Both books have step-by-step instructions on everything from hot-wiring a car to jumping from a bridge into a river. 

I have not tested the "Doing a Stoppie on a Motorcycle" or the "Sword Swallowing" but I did use a version of the "Escaping Plastic Wrap Mummification" in a recent there's that.

As a reader, nothing throws me from the fictional dream faster than a ill informed scene. Take the time to research lock-picking or how your heroine should really jump from that high rise.  Your story will be all the better for it.

What are some books you find indispensable while writing? Share them with us so we can check them out.
Until next time...Go Write!