Your Novel’s Details

by Carole Brown

elephant forget free

Have you ever read a book that has the details wrong? And I’m not just talking about historical details, but mundane details that you didn’t catch when writing–even editing–your manuscript. Examples:

  • You wrote that an event happened on Wednesday, but a couple chapters later, on that same Wednesday, you wrote a totally, and unusable, event happening at the same time?
  • Or what about forgetting to finish a subplot detail by not following through with a satisfactory solution?
  • Did you ever change a name and find out you missed a time or two where he/she’s referred to as the previous name? Ouch!
  • Or start out with the main character’s eyes blue and finish up with a green-eyed protagonist?

 

If you’ve ever read about this happening and don’t want it to happen to you, or you know you’ve missed a few things in your manuscript, then may I suggest a couple ideas:

 1. Choose a paid-for program that works for you. There are different ones that are available that can give you guidance and steer you in the direction needed to keep all your manuscripts details clear and in order.  Depending on the money you want to invest, it can go from inexpensive to very expensive.

To those who like having it all set up for you in advance and have the money to spend, this is the way to go. There are all kinds of apps out there with varying prices. Google or ask other writers to find out what would work best for you.

programs free

Note:

I’ve heard good things about Evernote (basic is free; premium costs a decent price). Use it to keep track of your characters by using tags and keywords: eye and hair colors, photos of possible character look-alikes, clothes, styles, etc., and articles of research that you want to keep and refer to later in your work.

Scrivener: a writing software where you write without worrying about formatting. You also have the ability to use tags and keywords, clip websites, store photos and other research material. It can outline with text or a simulated cork board with index cards. You also have the added benefit of it tracking your daily quota of writing.

 

2.  Create your own “program” where you keep a detailed list of what’s happening, when, where and who.  This is the one I want to focus on today.

checklist free

 

 

 

First:  you’ll need to decide what you’ll use for your Details List: post it notes, whiteboard, index cards, spreadsheet, physical notebook, etc. Use these to help you:

  • Keep track of all characters, including minor characters who may appear only as a mention or very little in your book. List their names, ages, looks, habits, character traits, quirks, relationships (past and present) and anything else you might want to attribute to them and that helps you understand them better. You may not use everything, but it’s valuable for you to determine why and how your character acts the way he/she does.

Example: It’s easier than some realize to forget a minor character’s name, what color of eyes you first used, etc. I changed a minor character’s name in one book and couldn’t remember what it was. Another time, I changed a pretty important character from one position to another, from one name to another, then back again. Details like this are so much easier to remember when you have your handy, detailed lists.

 

character2 free

 

  • Keep track of what happens in each chapter. Some events or thoughts or actions may need follow up in later chapters. This helps you to not miss anything that needs to be visited again.

Example: this saves tons of time when you need to double check something to make sure what you previously wrote vibes with what you’re ready to write (rather than having to scroll through pages trying to find that particular scene).

book chapter free

 

 

  • Keep track of all major scenes in your book. This is a more specific listing that keeps you right in line to where you’re headed. You can follow the scenes and know whether you’ve left out any vital action, thought or words that would help clarify it or make it even more realistic.

Example: Recently, I wrote a scene of which I had that vague sense it wasn’t quite what I wanted. But in the push to finish the book, I went on writing. When the first draft was finished, I realized details weren’t as they should be in that one scene. I went back through and rewrote it twice before I came close to being satisfied with it.

Praise on the Bible

 

  • Keep track of timeline. Obviously, this is a biggie. Writers have to keep track of the time events happen, whether it’s minor or major. Readers are sharp. They can pick up a major error like this easily if they’re detail-oriented. It’s an author’s obligation to make sure their story’s timeline is “time-right.”

Example: Is it on Sunday morning before church or after an evening meal when the bad guy is taken to jail? Sometimes, especially when you switch viewpoints, you can overlap actions and times from various characters, but when it comes to certain actions or the same character, you have to consider that he just might not be able to scale Mount Everest the same time he’s eating luncheon with his girlfriend. Keep it straight with your list!

timeline free

 

  • Keep track of your plot.  Make sure you’re headed in the right direction. There will be changes and sidelines that create an even better story, but you want to remember that by keeping track of your plot, it will help keep you in line for a satisfactory ending. Every line, every scene, every chapter should lead to the ending of your plot.

Example:  In a couple of my books, I realized, the closer I got to the end, that the bad guy wasn’t the one I’d planned for when I first commenced writing the book. Because I kept track of my plot–which didn’t change–changing the character worked fine.

20171016_104443[1]

 

There are many other things that can be added to your lists, but the main thing is, keep track, however you decide to do it. I like simple and easy, so going my own way (preparing my own lists–usually with physical notebooks or cards) works for me.

However you decide to go, I think you’ll find this a great idea. Many times writers want to write and not be bothered or “distracted” with lists and such. But I encourage you to give it a try. I had the same mentality once I seriously began writing novels. It didn’t take long for me to realize I needed help…and lists was the way to go.

Questions? Ask. If I know the answer, I’ll be glad to respond. If I don’t I’ll try to find the answer. Best to you as you work on your manuscript!

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Ideas for Marketing 3

by Carole Brown

Quote

                        “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”                                   –Henry Ford

           confused man free            

Henry Ford said it right. Attitude is a large part of a writer’s problem or ability to do the marketing. In today’s world, it’s vital. Besides knowing what a writer should write, a writer must discover for whom they’re writing: widespread or a set group of people or even for themselves. That decides how they should market which leads to where they should market. And sometimes when.

What, Who, How, Where, and When (More on these another time). Keep them all in mind and your writing journey will be that much easier. 

Here’s this month’s marketing tips for your perusal

  • Join some Facebook groups that specifically pertain to what you’re writing. Historical: you’ll find many. Thriller? Poetry? Again, do your research, and, I think you’ll not find a lack of like-minded poets. Just be diligent. Remember, if you write inspirational, use discretion. Some of the groups may not be christian, so decide if you can use them without bothering your conscience. I’ve gotten a few reactions/readers from posting on these sites.
  • Ask David. A Twitter-user-marketing site. This is a very valuable asset to my own marketing. It seems to keep my stand alone, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, higher in the Amazon ranks at times, so check it out. It’s reasonable, cost-wise.
  • Facebook Parties. I know some of them may get annoying or even boring. But if you do decide to use them, then join in with enthusiasm and creatively. Don’t just post information about your book and links, but have fun and brief contests and short information tidbits that catch interest. People love to read interesting facts about you and your work. Just have fun and friendly, and you may gain a new reader or two! 
  • Offer freebies when other writers ask. Yes, sometimes these will gain you readers when you offer your book as a gift. This can be an author’s private launch of a new book where he/she gives gifts of others books. Or a writing conference that requests books for welcoming bags or even bigger conferences where you can create baskets for auctions. DO take advantage of some of these by creating a beautiful and appealing basket that readers are begging and hoping to receive! 

Remember, if some of these seem a lot of work for little gain: nothing is to be despised. We can’t all be NYTimes best sellers, but we can all take control of our writing marketing. Gaining one or two readers (plus more!) here and there is not to be overlooked. Most everything is valuable in its own time and way. Smile.

Blessed Marketing to you!

 

As I Said Before: I Love…

by Carole Brown

Autumn. But I also love Thanksgiving. 

As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned the value of appreciation for who we have in our lives, for what I’ve accomplished, for where we’ve been privileged to visit, for small blessings and huge ones too. So…November is the perfect month to share gratitudes and blessings.

Here’s one idea of how to create one type of jar, but there are plenty more! (Check out Pinterest for lots of ideas):

old stone jar free

Pick your jar:

  • Personalize it. Love country? Mod podge some artificial leaves to the outside, tie a country-themed ribbon or some raffia around it.  Like more traditional? Why not spray paint your jar a favorite color? Add some sprinkles or fancy lettering to the outside. If you want a bow, pick some classy ribbon. Or leave it plain…

 

 

  • Fill those mantles and shelves.  Containers you seldom or never use, your candle stock, animal figurines (porcupines, owls, birds, turkeys, etc), pictures that might express what you want to convey or that fit with your scheme, certain toys, glasses or dishes, candle holders topped with gourds, small pumpkins, acorns, baskets, seeds, grains, sacks (paper and burlap), unusual sticks, autumn flowers, Indian corn, etc. 

 

  • Collages.  Why not take old picture frames or window frames and make a “thankful for” collage? Notes, pictures, special items or collectibles: anything that brings back memories of things or people for whom/which you’re thankful. 

 

list of gratitudes

Don’t Let Your Fears…

by Carole Brown

…keep you from writing.

Fear #1: Fear of the Unknown

Yes, cost you some money — marketing costs, training costs, etc.

But if something costs you, say, $500 over the course of a year, and you generate, say, $3,000 during that year, is the cost really what’s most important?

Don’t let the fear of investing some money now blind you from the many different avenues to profit and readers.

 

Fear #2: I don’t have the time

Yes, writing does take time. There is no way around this.

So if you literally have no time to invest in building an audience and developing your talent in writing, you probably should give in to this fear and walk away now. But in my experience, most people do have enough time to at least get moving — even if it’s not as much time as they’d like to have (a distinction that is critical).

The key is to actually prioritize your personal goals and your future (because no one else is going to do it for you), and then make smart choices about what to do with the available time that you do have.

 

Fear #3: But I’m an unknown! How will I ever get enough sales to make money?

 

Patience with your timeline, take a big-picture view, and smartly follow the proven path laid out by so many people who have come before you.

 

Fear #4: Okay, but how can I be confident that I’ll make good decisions and not screw everything up once it’s growing?

Because you’re more capable than you think. And because there are so many mentors and examples out there whose lead you can follow.

And, more importantly, because your own intuition — once it is honed by the deep experience you will gain growing an audience and learning how to serve them — is the greatest and most underrated guide you will have.

 

 

Fear #5: This all just a crazy pipe dream.

It’s definitely not a pipe dream. The thousands of successful writers out there, and the billions upon billions of dollars they generate every year, are proof of that.

As to whether it’s “crazy,” well … maybe it is a tad bit crazy.

But you know what? Most successful writers tend to be a little bit crazy. So this fear is actually a sign that you’re on the right track. 

 

And just for good measure, here is one more fear you might be feeling …

Bonus Fear: How will I know what specific steps to take to succeed?

This is probably the most unreasonable fear of them all.

Why?

Because so many successful paths and successful strategies have already been tried, judged, improved, and refined by those who have come before you.

 

Take a moment and reflect on any of the fears above that may be affecting your thinking. If any of those fears are stopping you from taking meaningful steps forward, now is the time to consider whether or not they should be.

Because if they shouldn’t be, then these fears are holding you back from living the life you truly want to be living.

And that’s not a fear to respect.

That’s a fear to reject.

It’s Coming!

by Carole Brownpasture-59737__340

Today, I want to announce the upcoming birth of my newest writing child! 

All you authors out there in cyber land will understand the excitement, the joy of the birth of a new book, and I’m certainly no exception. This one has been long in coming…What with important life happenings preventing getting this book finished. Yet now, within days, it is here!

Cover reveal will be within days. Pre-copies, last minute details and launch day will be here. I’m thrilled to say the least and truly hope those who enjoyed the first book (and many others!) will find this one just as enjoyable.

flute dark free

So what does flutes and willow trees have to do with A Flute in the Willows?

Here’s a clue!

Look up the scripture below and give me your thought on how these two items play into the story. Post it here on this post in the comments and you’ll be in the running for an kindle copy! 

Psalm 137:2

Happy Reading!

I Thought I Told you…

by Carole Browntumblr_mb6rdy6llW1rwyxwco1_5001…that I LOVE October.  So to spread a little cheer, I’ll share a few quotes and pictures that will have you smiling and thinking and maybe give you the urge to shuffle through some autumn leaves yourself. Enjoy!

October Loves:

  • Brick walkways and streets
  • Rain 
  • Lamp lights

 

 

 

 

 

 

“October is the fallen leaf, but it is also a wider horizon more clearly seen. It is the distant hills once more in sight, and the enduring constellations above them once again.” 

October Loves:

  • The clear starry nights
  • The transition between warm days and cold ones
  • The colorful trees that encourage us to look UP!

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”  Anne of Green Gables

October Loves:

  • The colors of Autumn
  • The harvest of Autumn
  • The sense of Autumn

 

“October is the month for painted leaves…. As fruits and leaves and the day itself acquire a bright tint just before they fall, so the year near its setting. October is its sunset sky; November the later twilight.” ~Henry David Thoreau, “Autumnal Tints”

October Loves:

  • Children at play
  • Snoopy loves Fall! 🙂
  • Bright cheeks

October is crisp days and cool nights, a time to curl up around the dancing flames and sink into a good book. ~John Sinor

October Loves:

  • Fresh Apple Cider
  • Pumpkins
  • Crisp Apples

Bittersweet October. The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter. ~Carol Bishop Hipps, “October,”

 

May you all have a blessed rest-of-the-October, and may your work be fruitful and abundant. 

 

A New Mystery Book from Karen Robbins

by Carole Brown

Karen has some fun mystery books, and here’s her newest! 

The second book in her Annie Pickels Story

Pickle Dilly

IMG_4901 (800x600)

Links to purchase books:

In A Pickle:  https://www.amazon.com/Pickle-Annie-Pickels-Story-Pickes/dp/1974391868/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Pickle Dilly:  https://www.amazon.com/Pickle-Dilly-Annie-Pickels-Story/dp/1974397092/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

KAREN_2

 

KAREN ROBBINS is a writer, author, and speaker. She and her husband are travel addicts and many of her stories are enriched by their adventures in different parts of the world. She has written six novels, collaborated on two non-fiction books and contributed often to Chicken Soup For The Soul books. She is currently working on a Christmas novella, A Pocketful Of Christmas. While the world is fun to explore, Karen most likes to spend time with her grandchildren. They offer the greatest adventures of all.

 

Catch up with Karen at her blog, Wandering Writer (www.karenrobbins.com), Twitter (https://twitter.com/writerwandering), Facebook (www.facebook.com/KarenRobbinsAuthor) or Amazon (www.amazon.com/author/karenrobbins)

Recommended!

Happy Reading