The Demons in Writing

by Carole Brown

We all have them. The times of dryness, weariness and pressure in our demon freewriting attempts. It’s up to each of us to put on all the armor we can to fight against those demons of writing warfare. In my own life, they vary from day to day, but they are there and very real. Keeping watch over these problems is a constant battle and it never gets easier. But that’s no reason for me to give up. If for no other reason, I’m a fighter (in certain things and ways), and I WANT to write. I WANT to produce more books, and I pray that God gives me the help and strength to finish my writing course! 

Here’s a short list of some writing demons in my own life:

 

Time:

clock freeIs there ever enough time for everything? Learn (again) that time waits on no one. Take those precious minutes, half hour, early morning, late evening–whatever you can fit in–and jot down those fifty or hundred or thousand words. 

Not enough words? Of course, it is. If you hadn’t written those words, you’d have been fifty, hundred, or thousand words less. Appreciate every minute of the day and take advantage of those minutes. Every one of them count for something. Don’t let it be for nothing.

 

Busyness:  

Too many items on my calendar. If that’s the case–and I’ve often found that to be so in my life–busy freethen it’s time to prioritize. We CAN NOT do everything, so pick those things that are the most important.

I suggest taking the time to make a list. You can have more than one: a personal, only you can see what’s on it, that goes into more detail, and a more general one. Here’s what my general one looks like, and there are times I have to rearrange, temporarily, some of them:

  • God, and his work
  • husband
  • family
  • writing
  • friends

Remember: these will rearrange occasionally, and some overlap (such as God and his work and friends, etc.). Also I haven’t mentioned personal interests, like hobbies, exercise, temporary demands, or sudden happenings that occur in each of our lives.

 

Laziness:

lazy cat freeI just don’t feel like it today (or tomorrow and probably the next day). Oh, my, how many times have I faced this one? 

 

 

 

 

 

Strength (Weariness):  

I’ve been sick, too tired, or life is wearing me down. I’m worn down from traveling to and frosick woman free helping out, or shopping for needed items, etc. Or I’ve not had enough sleep. Too much on my mind. I’ve had to deal with other issues and can’t think straight. An accident, injury, illness with which I need to contend. The list goes on and on. 

With this one, you will probably need to relax and recover. If you can’t write during this period either give your mind and body permission to take a break from writing. When you are up to it, jot notes, reread your work and mark spots that need edited. Go at a speed and with a mindset that lets you stay relaxed. Approach it as a reader and not with any pressure that you HAVE to get work done. 

Another suggestion that works well for me, is to talk with, get together with a writing friend, or friends, and socialize. Help them brainstorm, offer to read a chapter or two, encourage and mentor someone else and keep the focus off yourself. You may find you come away revitalized and strengthened to begin work again.

 

Discouragement: 

discouraged2 freeWhat am I doing? Do I really think I can be a writer? Who am I kidding? Ah, the hound of discouragement nips at many heels! It’s okay to wallow a little, but don’t let it get ahold of you. 

A few things that always brings hope and life back into me when that hound visits me:

  • If you have a supportive companion, talk with them. Many times they can talk you through this slough of despondency and encouragement you to keep on writing. 
  • Share with your true writing buddies, or if you prefer not to let them know, then at least fellowship with a few. Just being around mine encourages me to go home and write. Lately, I’ve struggled to make headway (because of some of the above) on a certain novel I’m trying to complete. But at a recent writing retreat, I was amazed as we all sat working, that I was able to see the manuscript with fresh eyes, and able to write again. 
  • If you’re published, reread some of your good reviews, whether one or twenty, they can give you the incentive to keep writing.
  • Remember who you write for. God? Yourself? Others? To make a difference? To share the gospel? For entertainment? Whatever your reason it, you’re the only one that can do it. Stay true to your purpose and write.
  • Talk with God. He’s always our best encourager. He’s always by our side. Listen. Then obey!

 

What demons to you encounter in your writing? How do you overcome them? 

Happy writing!

 

 

 

Mystery Lovers, Beware!

by Carole Brown

mobile-home free

We love to travel and have done so since we’ve been married. From Washington state to Texas, from Alabama to Maine, we’ve gone traveling for business and for fun.

If you ask the Dentons, who love to travel, their vacation spots always seem to land them in mysteries. Now that’s an interesting thought and experience, but the Dentons take it in stride. Considering their love of fishing, buying new shoes and reading mystery books, it’s easily understood how they can get involved in any mystery that pops up at their newest vacation spots.

So far they’ve solved the Mystery of the Dead Motorcyclist in Tennessee (Hog Insane) and in New Mexico (Bat Crazy), they eventually found who was behind the Vampire Bats supposedly inhabitiFrontng a new cave.

(By the way, someday I’ll explain how I came up with these crazy, insane titles. Lol)

Now in Colorado, they’re helping long time friends Jeremy Meadows, who owns and runs a ski resort with his Down’s Syndrome sister Daffodil, discover the people who are tricking her and ruining their well-laid plans for the resort. And what do ducks have to do with the story anyway?

Can they succeed in finding the evil doer? Readers can find out in the third book of this delightful series: Daffy’s Duck, coming late 2017.

 

Check out the first two books in this series here:

Hog Insane:  Amazon.

Bat Crazy:  Amazon

Happy Reading!!

What’s Your Genre?

37-1013-a0039by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Genres are fluid things. They change from time to time, and sometimes a novel fits in more than one genre. Sometimes your novel will not fit easily in any specific genre. It would be easier if authors could check other for what genre their novels belong in, but publishers require us to label the genre. The reason genre categories are so important is because this is how publishers and book sellers define and market fiction to their readers. Genre is also important because readers use genre to choose what books novels they enjoy reading.

Like it or not, as an author, you need to decide what genre your novel falls under. The following is a list of genres, but it is not meant to be a complete list. There are some genres I include in my blog, let alone read, because as I Christian, I won’t promote them. So what’s your genre?

Age Classifications: There are four age classifications.

Children – Ages Birth to Twelve

Young Adult – Ages Twelve to Eighteen

New Adult – Ages Eighteen to Thirty (Coming of Age)

Adult – Eighteen and Above

Genres:

Science Fiction: Stories often tell about science and technology. It is important to note that science fiction has a relationship with the principles of science—these stories involve partially true-partially fictitious laws or theories of science. It should not be completely unbelievable, because it then ventures into the genre fantasy.

Subcategories:

  • Hard science fiction: Classic science fiction, relies on science and technology
  • Other Worlds: Setting on other planets
  • First contact:  First meeting between aliens and humans
  • Space Exploration: Characters explore space.
  • Cyberpunk: A bleak future of technological advances and computers, hacker, and computer/human hybrids
  • Near-future science fiction: Takes place in the near future and include technology already here or in development
  • Time Travel: Characters travel to the past or future, or are visited by time travelers.
  • Military science fiction:  Futuristic combat, weapons, and battling aliens. Heroism and the carnage of warfare are emphasized.
  • Sociological science fiction: Future of the social sciences instead of the hard technology and focuses on individuals and social groups
  • Light/humorous science fiction: Spoof science fiction. “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams is the best known in this sub-genre.
  • Science fantasy/future fantasy: These stories have some elements of science but ignore the scientific principles involved
  • Cross-Genre: Mix science fiction with fantasy, romance, mystery, suspense and other genres
  • Space opera: Similar to Westerns where the good guys shoot them up with the bad guys – only the bad guys might be aliens or robots on another planet

Fantasy: Stories are often characterized by a departure from the accepted rules by which individuals perceive the world around them; it represents that which is impossible (unexplained) and outside the parameters of our known, reality. Make-believe is what this genre is all about.

Subcategories:

  • Fairy Tales and Mythology: Set in mythical lands with strange creatures
  • Epic Fantasy: A young person thrown unexpectedly into a massive “Good vs. Evil” struggle, where he must become a hero to save the day. Often includes a “grail-finding” quest. J.R.R. Tolkien is the creator of this sub-genre with the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
  • Heroic: Closely related to the epic fantasy and involves fantasy world, but heroes are not the young everyday characters. Magic is an accepted part of life in this sub-genre.
  • Modern Fantasy: Tales of magic and wonder set in modern times
  • Urban: Modern fantasy with a paranormal or supernatural element.
  • Wuxia: Oriental fantasy involving Martial Arts, similar to the American Western where the lone hero saves the day
  • Historic: Any fantasy set in historical times
  • Romantic: Involves any fantasy story that surrounds a romantic relationship between two people
  • Superhero: The heroes in these stories have super powers. Think comic books.
  • Arthurian: These fantasy have a King Arthur setting.
  • Dark Fantasy: Combines elements of fantasy with horror

Speculative: This is a catch-all term meant to inclusively span the breadth of fantastic literature, usually has a spiritual or supernatural element to it.

Subcategories not Included in Fantasy or Science Fiction:

  • Alternate History: Stories where history changes
  • Apocalypse/Holocaust: The end of the world as we know it
  • Coming of Age: The human race takes a big evolutionary leap
  • Dystopian: Dysfuntional utopias
  • Slipstream: Set in our world but distorts things in some way
  • Steampunk: Take a Victorian setting and give it modern technology, and you have steampunk.

Romance: Romantic Fiction has two strict criteria: The first is that the story must focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people. Secondly, the end of the story must be positive, leaving the reader believing that the protagonists’ love and relationship will endure for the rest of their lives. If those two criteria are not met, it’s not considered a romance. Romance may have any of the other genres as a subcategory.

Women’s Fiction: These stories generally appeal more to women than men. Usually the stories involve relationships, emotions, and a female main character. Sometimes women’s fiction has strong romantic elements, but the romance is not the main story.

Mystery: Intrigue, who-done-it’s, crime solving are major ingredients of the mystery genre. Basically the main character has a mystery or crime to solve. This mystery can involve murder, but it doesn’t have to.

Subcategories:

  • Whodunit: A detective works to discover hidden clues and solve the crime, usually murder. Written in one point of view, usually the  main character and almost always in first person.
  • Amateur Detective: The main character is not a police detective but is very invested in solving the crime.
  • Cozy Mystery: The amateur detective, usually a women who lives in a small town or village where she knows everyone, is a likable, nosy, and trustworthy person who people feel comfortable revealing their secrets to. All the suspects know everyone. Cozies never reveal gory or violent details, and sex is always behind closed doors.
  • Private Detective: The victim seeks the help of a private eye.
  • Medical Mystery: Usually takes place in a hospital or medical setting usually involves medical personnel.
  • Courtroom Drama: Usually a defense attorney representing a client he or she believes is innocent. The lawyer solves the crime to win the case.

Thriller/Suspense: This genre is characterized by a sudden rush of emotions and a sense of suspense, apprehension, and exhilaration that drive the narrative. In short, a thriller thrills. Skillful plotting is a major element of a thriller. Alfred Hitchcock movies fell into this genre. This is sometimes called men’s fiction because it’s believed to appeal more to men. Most of the time, it will have a male main character, but it can have a female main character.

Subcategories:

  • Action/Adventure: Race against the clock with lots of violence, and an obvious antagonist
  • Conspiracy: The hero discovers a conspiracy among a powerful group of enemies, but he can’t prove it, and nobody will believe him.
  • Crime: A crime or series of crimes is committed, but the perpetrator is identified immediately.
  • Disaster: The main conflict is due to an act of nature.
  • Horror: Main intent is to illicit fear in the reader.
  • Drama: These suspense stories are usually a little slower paced and rely on character development more than plot.
  • Eco-thriller: Involve environmental aspects where the antagonist is usually a corporation or government official whose actions cause havoc on the environment.
  • Legal: The hero is a lawyer, and some or most of the setting takes place in a courtroom.
  • Medical: Revolves around medical personnel.
  • Political: The hero or antagonist is an agent of the government.
  • Psychological: The conflict between the main characters is mental and emotional, rather than physical.
  • Spy: The good guy is usually a spy fighting against terrorists, plots to overthrow the government, or evil regimes.
  • Techno-thriller: These usually involve the military.

Historical: This includes any story that takes place more than twenty years ago.

  • Historical Saga: Covers a broad period of time and can deal with families over several generations
  • Historical Romance: A true historical romance is a romance that has the time period and setting as an important part of the story
  • Historical Adventure: Takes place in history and brings the characters along for an exciting adventure
  • Western: Set in the old West of the United States. Westerns typify the rugged individualism that built the nation. They are part history, part myth, and part American culture.
  • Cross-Genre: Historical novels can have any genre as it’s sub-category if the story is set in the past such as mystery, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy.
  • Historical Periods: Historicals are sometimes categorized according to time period such a regency, colonial, or World War II.

Contemporary: This is any fiction where the story takes place in the present that doesn’t fit in any other category.

Comedy: Any story that seeks to invoke laughter.

Leave a comment and let us know what your favorite genre is.

Moving Forward!

by Carole Brown

Alrebook-freeady, almost a month has past in this new year 2017. Writers, have you advanced in your writing? Have you kept to resolves you made in your New Year’s plans for your writing journey? Have you…advanced?

Here were some of my writing plans for 2017 and how much I’ve progressed (accountability, you know. Smile):

  • Finish writing, editing and preparing for the delayed-from-last-year publication of the second book in my WWII series (A Flute in the Willows). With several obstacles that kept the publication from happening, I’m certainly looking forward to this. So far, I’ve increased the words, edited at least two times the already written words, and preparing to move ahead toward my goal. 
  • I’ve tentatively planned to finish three more books this year (not novellas). Although I’m not holding my breath on this one, if I can obtain at least the publication of a second one, I will be farther up the road than now. So…, as of today, I’ve plotted (lightly) the events in both of my newer series books (the third book in the Denton and Alex Davies series: Daffy’s Duck and the fourth book in my Appleton, WV series: Toby’s Troubles). 
  • Thirdly, I have a standalone book set in the mid-to-late 1800s, a light mystery filled with lots of romance, that I’d love to see published soon. The title is Caleb’s Destiny, and is already from a third-to half done. We’ll see about this as the months pass. 

RECAPPING:Working

  1.  Finish writing and editing A Flute in the Willows, WWII 
  2. Complete and edit either or both Daffy’s Duck and Toby’s Troubles
  3. If time permits, move on and complete Caleb’s Destiny

I’ve got my work cut out for me! 🙂

What’s your specific writing plans this year?

 

Kerplunk and Jennifer Allen

by Carole Brown

I thought you might enjoy Jennifer’s article today. She’s a pre-author, but moving fast toward publication. A writer friend from Ohio, Jennifer has an active life and enjoys mingling with other authors when she can.

Here’s her bio:

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling

 JPC Allen started her writing career in second grade with an homage to Scooby Doo. With a B.A. in both English and history and a Masters of Library Science, she worked for ten years as a children’s librarian in public libraries. She is a member of ACFW and a 2016 Genesis semi-finalist in the YA category with the novel The Truth & Other Strangers. She hopes that novel will be the first book in a series, set in West Virginia. She is life-long Buckeye with deep roots in the Mountain State. Please visit her blog with writing tips for beginning writers at JPCAllenWrites.com and Facebook

Now, on to her post:

Patrick F. McManus wrote humorous stories and essays for Outdoor Life and Field & Stream. One of my favorites is “People Who Hunt” from Kerplunk!, a collection of his stories.
Hunters and people who hunt are two different species. People who hunt love the sport, but they have other interests with no connection to hunting. A hunter’s whole life revolves around hunting. As Mr. McManus writes:

A friend of mine is a bank president, for example, but if you ask him to identify himself, he’ll say he’s a hunter. He thinks of himself primarily as a hunter. His job as a bank president is merely a means of supporting his hunting. His business associates are merely part of the support group for his hunting. He refuses to hire another hunter for the bank, because, he says, the two of them would spend all their time talking hunting, and never get any work done.

When I read this, I marveled at how anyone could be so single-minded. I myself had so many different interests. I like old movies, especially film noir. I love being outdoors, hiking and exploring. I love kids, so I am active in the children’s ministries at my church and lead reading groups at my kids’ school. I enjoy baking and collecting shells and fossils, and I used to ride horses. If I wasn’t well-rounded, I thought I was at least oval-shaped.

Then, driving down a lonely, country road one day, I had a startling revelation. (That can happen when you drive down lonely, country roads.) I wasn’t a person who writes. I was a writer. Everything I did, I looked on as potential sources of writing inspiration.
When I watch old movies, I judge the plot and performances, seeing what I can learn from them. When I am outdoors, I look at the scenery as possible settings for stories. The kids I work with teach me about behavior and guide me when building characters. Even my hobbies can be used in my writing. On that road, I realized I wasn’t even oval-shaped, just a straight line that led to writing.1122464

Except for my faith and family relationships, I now identify myself as a writer. Even if I never publish a book, I will still be a writer. It seems to be the way God shaped me.

If you want good writing and a good laugh, visit the Patrick F. McManus page on GoodReads.
Goodreads.

Patrick_F_McManusne could be so single-minded.

 

Thanks for joining us today, Jennifer!

Missing One of these?

by Carole Brown

Want to join the people falling in love with Appleton, WV?

Want to learn who the next protagonist in this series will be?

Want to know what cozy mystery will be in the fourth book?

Then keep up with the this unique group of friends and the small town of Appleton.

Reviewers thoughts:

~~This is a fast paced, enjoyable read. In fact, when my copy ‘vanished’ from my Kindle for some strange reason, I quickly bought another so that I could finish the story!~~

~~Knight In Shining Apron by Carole Brown, is a delightful Christian book set in the beautiful little town of Appleton West Virginia.~~

~~“Undiscovered Treasure” by Carole Brown is a truly remarkable story about how true love never gives up and never dies.~~

Toby’s Troubles is the fourth book,

but in the meantime…

Enjoy:

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OR…

front-cover

Happy Reading!

Dan Brown…and Chipper

by Carole Browndan-brown

I’m tickled pink to feature this man (and my love!) here today on this blog. He’s an inspiring, creative author, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy this short interview and a peek at all the Chipper books he has published. (More coming…) 

chipper-learns-a-lesson-copy-copyWhat messages in your Chipper books do you want children to learn about? Do you like a definite spiritual theme or do you keep it less obvious as you write? 

I want children to learn caring, helping, sharing, and to do the right thing. The spiritual theme is not an overt, in-your-face subject, but in learning right attributes, they are learning characteristics that will encourage them in the things of God. In the back of the books are short scriptures that they can learn or parents and children can discuss. And the discussion questions can help them to think about the themes in the books. Parents can gently guide their children by interacting with their children as they talk about these. 

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What’s next for you? Do you have another book being written now?

I have several short stories about Chipper ready to go, but holding off on these till at least two more of the Adventures of Chipper are ready for publishing. Life interferes (you’ve heard that before I’m sure) but I’m compiling and working on the creatures and plots for the next two books. Hopefully, God wills, these will be ready for my editor soon.

book-cover-three_centered

What or who makes a successful person/author, in your opinion?

As far as an author goes: my personal opinion is a someone who understands the power of the written word and being so intrigued and fascinated  by their own characters that they are there with them in heart and mind. 

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Why do you think this book resonates with readers?

Because the character Chipper helps young people and children to learn, and sometimes–most times, I think–they do not even realize that. It shows them that they are someone and that they can be a better person. They can get caught up in these fun and entertaining books and learn from them without even consciously knowing that.

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What is YOUR favorite part about these books or why do you love this series? Why should children read them?

  • Chipper’s outpouring love and concern, and being willing to give his all for the other characters in the books.
  • Why? For the children? Because Chipper and the other characters are interesting and exciting, enlightening and helpful. And funny!
  • For the parents? They are giving their children the opportunity to learn characteristics that will hopefully improve their children’s actions and attitudes. And it gives them opportunities to spend quiet, devotional times with them.

chipper-calls-for-help-book-six

Tell us a little bit of how you were called, or began writing. Happenstance? A clear call? A chosen career?

I felt a need to instruct children and young people (and yes, there are some young people who’ve read and enjoyed the books!) in things that matter.

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Where do you get ideas? Character names? Do you find your characters similar to you in any way?

  • Mainly from God’s creation
  • A mystery! Seriously, through a great imagination. 🙂
  • Perhaps in some ways–I think most authors do. How could we not? 

chipper-and-the-ice-escapade-book-eight

Thanks, Dan, for joining us today and sharing a few things with us.

Readers, be sure to check out this link!

Amazon