Thursday, March 31, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
The agency is happy to announce today's release of the latest novel by author Diane Whiteside, paranormal romance The Shadow Guard:
THE SHADOW GUARD. They are the darkest of Black Ops. A force operating outside the sphere of the CIA or FBI. Taking their mandate not from the U.S. government, but from magic. And sex.
SAHIR. Astrid Carlson is one of them, a mage on a mission. With her wispy blond hair and those long, long legs, she can make a man forget himself. Until it’s way too late.
KUBRI. Jake Hammond is the only thing she needs, the human conductor who can focus all her strength, bringing her to a peak of power, or shattering her completely.Yeah, she’s got a hundred or so years on him, but who’s counting when there’s an unstoppable assassin to take down – and unstoppable chemistry about to combust…
Friday, March 25, 2011
Can you read the title of this post? If you stare at the words for a few minutes, you can probably figure it out. For those of you who have given up, it says: Proofreading Makes a Difference. Now imagine having to sit through an entire 50 page partial trying to read something like that? Not easy.
No doubt some of you are thinking, “That’s what spell check is for.” Well, spell check only looks for misspelled words. So many manuscripts I read have awkward passages that don’t make sense. They have repeated words and poor grammar. I know it’s thrilling to type the last period of your novel, but please do not simply Google a few literary agencies and send it off. You’re not even giving your book a fighting chance. After so much time spent planning the book, doing painstaking research, and writing, don’t you owe your master piece the respect of another look over? You’d be amazed at how much needs to be rework. You might re-write an entire chapter because you had an off day.
Here’s a little secret when it comes to proofreading: Your book needs to be virtually perfect. It needs to be so polished that it can go from the agent’s hands to the book shelves. Is their wiggle room? Absolutely—an ending may need to be changed or a beginning starts too slow, but the characters and plot need to be there. However, we won’t even get to that point if the novel is riddled with mistakes.
Now that you’re a big ball of stress, let me untangle you. There is hope and there is help! I would suggest joining an online critique group. They are much less hassle than the ones that you drive to weekly or bi weekly. The online ones are on your own time. One of the biggest groups lately is Wattpad. It’s a giant forum of posted books. People vote on their favorites, comment on their stories and offer advice to each other. Also, there is that added bonus of exposure to other people’s works. Critiquing others helps you to understand what’s wrong with your own stuff. If you’re looking for genre specific there are many options out there like RWC and Romance Critters, just search engine it.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Switching between different character’s points of view seems easy, right? All it involves is a first paragraph in one character’s voice, and a second paragraph in a different character’s voice...but it’s not quite that simple. Changing point of view can be very difficult to do in an easily understandable way, and often ends up hurting a manuscript. But there are ways to make it easy to read and understand, and when done well it can add a lot to certain kinds of stories.
I would recommend taking a look at your manuscript and playing devil’s advocate for a few minutes. Ask yourself whether your story really does need the narration to change point of view, or whether it would be fine without it. Think about your plots, subplots and characters – will changing the point of view be helpful to them? And don’t worry about it making your manuscript less interesting – there are plenty of great books that do not change point of view at all, like To Kill a Mockingbird and the Harry Potter series. If your protagonist is a strong enough character, his or her narration will be more than enough to sustain our interest in your story.
But if you decide that you do want to change point of view, make sure it’s easily understandable to readers who don’t know your characters as well as you do. A simple underscored line is often enough to tell us that something is changing between paragraphs, but does not necessarily denote a point of view change. Something simple like using third person would easily indicate a change – if we’re reading Marie’s thoughts for the first two chapters and Jason’s thoughts for the second, using their names is incredibly helpful. Another way to easily indicate switches is to use names as chapter headings to quickly indicate changes. Check out The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers for examples of third person point of view changes, and William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury for examples of using names as chapter headings.
This is tough to do, but I’m sure you’re up to the challenge!
Good luck and happy writing!
Friday, March 11, 2011
We all know how important characters are to a story. However, I find that some writers are so intent on telling a story and weaving a complex plot that they tend to ignore their main characters. Although a twisting plot can be exciting and absorbing, without strong characters to ground the story, such a plot tends to fall flat. It’s incredibly important to have a good, strong main character to draw the reader into the story. The protagonist should create a connection between the reader and the novel, helping to make them feel connected and invested in the work. Think of the main character as a guide who takes the reader through the plot, helping them to understand exactly what is going on around them.
Of course, crafting a strong character is easier said than done. So how exactly do we go about writing character? First of all, make sure the character is realistic. Really get into their heads: know what they were like as children, their favorite food, even what they think about when they fall asleep at night. Of course, you don’t need to write about all of this, but have it in the back of your mind when you’re writing. If the character feels alive for you, it’s much easier to bring them to life for the reader.
Once you have a deep sense of who the main character is, it’s time to get them onto the page. But don’t just tell us what the character is like—involve the reader by using indirect characterization. For example, if your main character is angry, she could be clenching her fists or grinding her teeth. This gives the reader more of a sense of who the character is than simply stating “she was angry.” How the main character expresses her emotions or thoughts is what makes her unique.
Friday, March 4, 2011
Shay may not be buying into Quinn's whole relationship philosophy, but boy is he hot. Then the widowed entrepreneur throws Shay a challenge: he'll teach her the art of seducing a man by becoming her partner in an erotic test run. But he never expects his passionate student to surpass the teacher. Now the only exclusive he'll give is the one on Shay's heart.