by Carole Brown
by Carole Brown
by Tamera Lynn Kraft
All successful authors need to do research while planning their novels. Those in specialty genres such as medical or legal suspense or historical have even more research to do. Sometimes the amount of information needed becomes daunting. If you don’t organize your research, you could use valuable time hunting for a note you wrote on a post-it note or napkin instead of writing. Here are three tips for effectively organizing your research so you can find it when you need it.
Make a system for organizing your research that works for you. There are two computer programs that act like filing cabinets for your information. MS OneNote is my favorite and comes with most MS Office packages. One great feature on OneNote is that you can print any page from the internet directly to a file in your OneNote. Apple’s Evernote work similarly although I haven’t used it. The best part is both programs are free. If you are old school and like to have paper files, keep all of your research filed in a drawer of your filing cabinet.
Keep accurate notes on your research. Even sources that aren’t on the internet should be recorded. Note the book or magazine, author, and page number as well as they information you’ve gleaned so you can refer back to it at any time. There is another important reason to keep accurate records. Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, and you may need to prove your research and facts to an editor who doesn’t know the history.
Keep research organized in categories. Keeping your research organized in categories will help you find what you need when you need it. Here are some suggestions for historical research categories.
Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
(Now that’s taking things a bit far!)
War Dims Hope for Peace
(I can see where it might have that effect!)
Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges
(You mean there’s something stronger than duct tape?)
Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
(Do they taste like chicken?)
by Carole Brown
Okay, Okay. I KNOW some of us don’t have children in school anymore. BUT that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the end of summer and soon-to-be Autumn season! So I compiled a few thoughts of how to breathe new enthusiasm into your writing work. Let me know what you think and if you have any other thoughts of how you renew your writing energy.
Make a general list of what you want to accomplish this season.
2. Go over–re-read–your unfinished manuscripts.
Some questions you need to think about before beginning your reading session: A) Do you have a deadline–either from your publisher or a
self-made one? If so, begin with that work as a priority. B) If A. isn’t a matter to be concerned with, then move on to: Is there one that will take more time for research? One that just doesn’t feel is the right time to work on it? Which one gives you a tug of interest?
Yes, I believe in having one or two special people that you can toss ideas at, OR that they can toss ideas back at you. It’s not so much that you’ll use their ideas. But they can help get the creative juices flowing again, and you can always adjust their ideas–if they are possibilities–to fit your story plot line. I’m almost always rejuvenated by brainstorming with my two best writing buddies. 🙂
4. Take some notes.
Yeah, you’re pantster (maybe). I know. I am too (mostly). But it doesn’t EVER hurt to jot down some ideas of where you want to go (even if you change them later), some plot ideas of what could happen, how you want your protagonist to react or what good and bad quirks your antagonist has, etc. You may use them, or not, you may change them, but they’re a start, and that’s what you need.
5. Finally, enjoy!
Set reasonable daily goals. Turn off your inner editor (as much as possible, and if you can’t, keep that editor under control! Lol). Realize that this is what you WANT to do, so proceed at YOUR own decision-making speed. Re-read a scene or chapter at the start of each writing session to get you going–then write. Don’t worry about whether it needs editing or that you might delete it later. Take a break when you need one or feel brain dead or discouraged. Remember, this is something you love, that you want to do, that you feel compelled to do, so don’t let anything discourage you. Do whatever you need to do to keep inspired.
Hoping these thoughts encourage you to press on with a renewed writing vigor for the approaching Autumn season. More thoughts on this later . . .
What do you do to keep inspired?
by Tamera Lynn Kraft
It’s that time of year again. The ACFW Conference is this week, and other writing conferences are set next month. I, like many of my writer friends, am prepared for the dreaded editor/agent appointment. Most writers will tell you the only thing you need to bring to a writer’s conference is a One Sheet. Don’t believe them. The one sheet is only the start of what you’ll need if you want to be prepared for the editor who is interested in seeing more. These six things should be at the tip of every writer’s fingers at any time during a conference.
One Sheet: One sheets are nice for editor and agents because they only have one sheet to take on the plane home. But I suspect that most One Sheets are disposed of unless the agent was unduly impressed with the writer. Still they’re nice to have because they do have all the information you need to make your pitch.
First Five Pages: If the agent or editor looks interested, it’s nice to mention that you have the first five pages of your novel if they’d like to look at it. This may be what gets you over the edge for the editor to request more.
Author Page: This is a One Sheet with the purpose of telling about the author. If you’ve had anything published or have any other information an agent would be interested in knowing about, this would be the sheet to present.
Synopsis or Summary: It’s very unlikely you’ll get to this point. If the agent is interested after the One Sheet and the First Five Pages, he’ll tell you to send him the rest. But my motto is be prepared.
One Sheets, First Five Pages, and Synopsis of other projects: You’ve decided to pitch that historical you wrote about the Civil War, and the agent says she’s not interested in anything from that time period. What she’s really looking for is something having to do with the War of 1812. You wrote a War of 1812 era novel five years ago, but at the time, nobody wanted it. If you have available information on every book you’ve written, you can change your pitch to another novel without missing a beat.
Business Cards: You won’t really need these for your appointment, but they’re fun to hand out to friends you meet at the conference. Besides, it never hurts to be prepared. You can get nice looking business cards at Vistaprint.
Of course you don’t want to carry a filing cabinet or a big briefcase to the meeting, so here’s some ways to organize you’re information.
Accordion File: These are very portable and have files for each project.
Folders: You could purchase an oversized folder for each project and carry them in a folder binder.
Conference Notebook: This is my favorite idea for carrying everything you need. This link will tell you how to make your own Conference Notebook.
One more thing, when you go to make your pitch, start by taking a deep breath and exhaling. Then treat the editor/agent like a real person, and ask her how the conference has been going. I’m not even above carrying around some chocolate for bribes. Whatever you do, remember to have fun. Your writing career does not depend on this one appointment. When you realize that, it will be easier to pitch your story.
Tell us a little bit of how you were called, or began writing. Happenstance? A clear call? A chosen career?
I was always writing, even scribbling on blank paper before I knew how to read. I was the girl on the bus sharing daily chapters of what would best be described as a YA romance, but not a very good one. That fact, that I wasn’t the best, and teachers told me so, kept me from taking that path for decades. I worked in publicity related things and would have been happy doing that forever.
It was in 2006 I felt the “stirring of the pen.” I was a Christian by then and He had done an amazing work in my life. I used to be paralyzed by fear of what people thought of me. Once I felt free from that, I knew I had to write for Him. I started a blog and sharing short stories on FaithWriters. It wasn’t even a year and one of my stories was placed in an anthology. When I received an invitation to the book launch, I couldn’t believe it. I was invited as one of the authors.
I kept with the anthologies but in 2010 I took an idea I’d had years before and made it my NaNoWriMo project. That story, through a lot of twists and turns, is now Entrusted: Surrendering the Past.
Wow, that was a nice surprise, Julie! What is the message(s) in the book you’re promoting today? Do you like a definite spiritual theme or do you keep it less obvious as you write? Can you give us a very brief scene (paragraph) as an example?
My Surrendering Time Series tackles the past, present and future and how surrender can play a part in each season. Entangled is about surrendering the past. The heroine, Carla Rowling, is a single mom who has been given the resources to make her dream career come true. The gift is so overwhelming to her that she struggles with feeling unworthy. She still punishes herself for the way she became a teen mom, and her choices bring consequences to everyone around her.
I like having a definite theme. All my writing will have a surrender theme. I believe freedom comes through surrender, but it has to be through Christ. That’s crucial for me to write.
This scene from Entangled is one example of the aftermath Carla causes when she refuses to receive Christ’s forgiveness for her past:
Our voices seem to break together, but it’s the only unity we have between us. Since Noah’s accident at school, I’ve never felt more fear. Not even when Wayne left. “Can you forgive me?”
He unlocks his truck and opens the door for me, something that only triggers more of my tears. “I need some space Carla.”
Okay. At least he’s speaking to me.
“Right. Did you want to meet up after the shower?”
He starts the vehicle. “I don’t think so.”
I nearly double over from the pain I feel. “You wanted to talk. Is it too late?”
It’s another long pause before I barely hear his reply. “Please give me some space. It’s the very least you could do.”
Surrender to God is so important. What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it? J I love Entangled because it keeps characters from Entrusted, yet adds new friends from Carla’s cosmetology school. It explores real struggles we can all relate to in a setting I want all readers to fall in love with, the Adirondack Mountains.
You’ve convinced me! Give us three items about yourself: hobbies, loves, fun or weird habits, food/snack kicks you like, what would you be if not a writer–that sort of thing.
Isn’t that funny how sometimes we relate to certain age groups? Lastly, share an incident when you’ve been very happy/excited or very disappointed/depressed during and because of your writing career? How were you able to get past the bad and move on to the good? It was actually during writing/revising Entangled. In the question about loving the book, that is only recent. Writing Entangled was very difficult. The words would not come. The revising was so hard that I scrapped thousands of words and started over. It was so arduous that at one point I quietly decided I’d finish and pray it was okay, but throw everything into Engaged. In my mind if Entangled was so hard to write, no one would like it, so I’d redeem it all with Engaged.
I now understand the message for Entangled was so strong and life-changing, if readers receive that message, that the true defeated one didn’t want Entangled written. I prayed so hard while I was working to release it. I had a team of women praying for me, as they do over all my writing. I believe it was those prayers that helped me see the truth. Now that Entangled is out, I’m receiving feedback that it is as good as or better than Entrusted. That readers didn’t even know they needed healing until God showed them while reading. I am blown away by what God has already done.
How marvelous God’s handiwork in your writing! So glad you kept after it!
“You need to leave me alone. It’s the least you can do.”
Carla Rowling has been given her dream of attending cosmetology school. The gift is so generous she feels unworthy because of choices she made as a teen. The pressure mounts as Carla juggles school, is a single mom, helps her best friend Jenna plan her wedding, spends time with boyfriend Will Marshall, and deals with the fact that her son’s father is back in their lives.
Will Marshall is the one Speculator Falls resident everyone can count on. His truck deliveries are reliable. He’s the first to help friends like Ben Regan with boat work or be a card partner with Bart Davis. Will’s ready to settle down with Carla, loving her is natural. He’s bonded with her son, Noah. But when Carla starts cosmetology school, she puts emotional distance between her and Will.
Can Carla release her past and create a future full of highlights, or, will she burn her options worse than a bad perm?
Entangled: Surrenddering the Past, Book #2 (can be read as a stand alone) Amazon Print and Kindle
Entrusted: Surrendering the Present, Book #1: Amazon Print and Kindle
ABOUT JULIE: Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and —maybe one day—the chocolate. She’s the author of the re-release, ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present, as well as the sequel, ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past. She also shared her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at http://juliearduini.com, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities at JULIE ARDUINI: SURRENDER ISSUES AND CHOCOLATE and the weekly e mail. SUNDAY’S SURRENDER AND CHOCOLATE.
Monthly Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dCFG
Weekly Sunday’s Surrender and Chocolate: http://eepurl.com/bJ5yHP
Surrendered Scribe Media Promotions: (Book release info sent as needed) http://eepurl.com/bXAW0L
Readers, thrilled that Julie joined us today. Do comment if you’d like and let Julie know you’d love a chance to read her book too!
Thanks for joining me today, Julie!