The Three Dots

We all use them in our wrting and they are called ellipses in the plural; a group of three dots (no more, no less) is called an ellipsis. The one place there would be more is if it lands at the end of a sentence, then there would be four dots, one being a period.

So, what does an ellipsis do? They are used to indicate an interruption or pause in dialouge. They are also used to express more, with the use of fewer words.

Before you decide to submit your manuscript, make sure to check that you haven’t overused the ellipsis. Use the Find function and enter two dots; the checker will find every sequesnce of two, less or more dots in your manuscript so you can edits out the errors.

I remember early into my writing career, I was in love with the three dots and used them shamelessly throughout my manuscript. When I sent it for a critique, one comment was, “why do you have so many? I didn’t know what the critiquer was referring to so I looked up the word and realized that I shamelessly overused them. Lesson learned!

Until next time,

All my best,

Naiobi

A Good Year

2019 has been better to me than I expected it to be. So many positive things have happened:

  • My second novel, The Pleasures of Deceit, was accepted for publication by Austin Macauley Publishers in NYC
  • I bought a house near the beach (5 minutes near!)
  • My daughter, Ren Thompson, had her book, Dead Heat, published and can be found on Amazon
  • My son, Seneca Aaron is one of the writers of the Coroner series; second season to air January 6th, 9pm on CBC
  • My son, Seretse Aaron, is working on a new album and has just welcomed a third addition to the family, a daughter, Calliope Quinn.

This post has nothing to do with what I usually write; it has everything to do with the mood I was in as I rolled batches of cookies and baked cranberry bread in preparation for the holidays ahead. I am so very thankful to be who, where, and how I am!

Have a wonderful week going forward.

All my best,

Naiobi

Write Tighter: Ditch the Adverbs

Adverbs modify verbs, can be overused and clutter your work with unnecessary words; single verbs work better.

One way to identify an adverb is when the word ends in “ly” e.g. lonely, quickly, shortly. Another is the word “very”, used to describe the degree of something e.g. very hot, very cold, very tall, very angry; again, unnecessary filler.

Adverbs state the obvious and do nothing to make the reader more aware of what you try to convey. Very loud is not necessary to describe volume, loud is loud. Try a different word such as boomed or thundered.

If you show instead of tell your story, it will negate the need for many of the adverbs. e.g. you don’t have to say someone was crying, show them with tears pooling at the corners of their eyes; describe how they mop the tears from their face before they blow their nose.

I found a well-written article to this effect so I cannot take full credit for this post. I have paraphrased a lot but to read the entire article go here. I also suggest you subscribe to the newsletter while you are there.

For a comprehensive list of over 1500 adverbs, go here

Here’s to your writing success,

Naiobi

When Do You Know?

This blog post is inspired by a question put to the #WriterCommunity on Twitter.

There is no set answer. Once you make sure your story reads well, and you feel you’ve done your best, you’re ready.

No writer likes to send their baby out into the publishing world without feeling it will find a good home. They worry about rejection and many cringe from the thought that someone other than a family member will read their words and not like them.

You can’t expect to please everyone so don’t try. The world is a big place and with your book on Amazon, it will get worldwide attention.

This is all normal. Edit your book until it is clean. By this I mean, write tight, make sure your character’s features are the same throughout (eyes, hair…unless they dye it during the course of the story, ethnicity). I once had a character’s eyes as green at the end when at the beginning they were whiskey-brown.

Make sure time and place flows and you’ve checked for typos, spelling and punctuation. Beta readers will help with this as well.

Self-sabotage is also another reason some writers feel their book is not ready for the next step; their fear is not failure, but success, as strange as that may sound. It’s all of the attention that it will bring and the promotional up-tick in the form of book signings and interviews which will attract attention.

I experienced this just recently when a contractor doing a small renovation in my home asked me what I do.

Me: I am a writer
Dead silence for awhile then, “Like books?”
Me: Yep
Him: Do you have a book published?
Me: Yep

This, of course, swelled my head beyond it’s normally big size. I handed him my business card after I autographed the back of it for him.

This just made my day!

Don’t be afraid of recognition; it’s not easy to write a book, you deserve the praise!

Good luck to all of you new writers who are in doubt…you can do it!

All my best,

Naiobi

The Importance of Social Media

Those of us living the writer’s life or any form of a creative arts existence should understand the importance of the Internet and the availability of social media; something I am still learning about.

On Twitter this last week I went from forty followers to over two-hundred just by interacting with the other writers, following them, reading their posts, liking and retweeting. I am thrilled about this and my list of followers continues to grow.

There are so many different writers groups to explore and become a part of and in them you will find writers who are not there to judge you but are always willing to help you hone your skills.

I am also on Instagram and Facebook.

Marketing and self promotion is time consuming so it is always best to do a bit of time management, something I am terrible at! I do have retirement on my side but for those of you still in the workforce, make a schedule to keep yourself on track.

I also have a blog; I prefer it to a website (for now). I have them all linked so when I blog, it is shared across the mediaverse (is this even a word?).

You don’t have to wait until your book is finished/published; start working on marketing and promotion now so you will have increased media presence and your platform it will be ready when you need it.

All my best to you,

Naiobi

Thankful

Today is a holiday for my friends and family south of the border; in Canada, we celebrated in October. No matter when, I have many things to be thankful for this year.

  • manuscript accepted by Austin Macauley Publishers in NYC
  • bought a house near the beach and filled it with new appliances
  • my Mom is still with us…she is 93 years young!
  • a new addition to the family will make her appearance any day now
  • my family and all of its extensions are healthy and doing well
  • my granddaughter survived hurricane Dorian
  • Maija, my two-year-old Yorkie, is healthy and happy

Happy Thanksgiving!

All my best,

Naiobi

Story Ideas and Where to Find Them

One question that most writers get asked is “how did you come up with the idea for that story?” Some get ideas from dreams, some from an incident they experienced or witnessed. Others struggle in front of a blank page until something comes to them.

One very good source is the news, either in print or on TV. Look at the title of the stories in the paper or listen to your favorite broadcast. Below are some article titles from a local paper:

  • Bad Storm Cripples City: you could write about someone stuck in the storm who rushed out on a argument. They skid on black ice, land in a ditch on a deserted stretch of back country road.
  • Managers Lose Jobs: you could write about corruption uncovered, embezzlement discovered, revenge, wrongful conviction.
  • Major Drug Bust: you can write about the apprehension of an elusive drug boss who turns out to be the guy next door.

These are just a few of the headlines from the paper. Listen to the news on TV and draw ideas from the stories that interest you. Make up characters, build a new world for them then answer these questions as you create your story outline.

  • What will happen?
  • When will it happen?
  • Where will it happen?
  • Why will it happen?
  • Who will it happen to?
  • How does it happen?

Let your imagination fly; even it it makes no sense, write it down. Turn off your inner editor and get the first draft done. I find the news to be a treasure trove of story starters since I lean towards the murder/mystery/romantic/suspense blend of genres.

To your writing sucess,

Naiobi

Write Tight

When we write, we tend to embellish and add a lot of filler words that increase the word count and add pages to our wip. This is not a good thing!

Word count and the number of pages we spread them across is not what’s important; it’s the story we weave and how it’s presented.

Think of ways to say the same thing using less words. I found a website that describes how to eliminate the word ‘very’ (scroll down the page), a word we use when we try to emphasize or stress size and intensity.

All my best,

Naiobi

Writer or Author: Which One Are You?

As I finished some paperwork for my publisher, I began to wonder about these two titles and how I use them to describe myself. I never gave it much thought as I use them interchangeably. It was not until I did a little research that I descovered there is qute a difference.

A writer knows how to use words and string them together to turn sentences into text. Some writers earn a living this way e.g. copy writers, speech writers, public service announcements; they use research and ideas developed by someone else.

An author comes up with the ideas and knows how to transform text into book-length projects. In fiction they know how to plot, how to develop the story arc, how to build worlds and develope characters.

After reading through several articles, I can say I am both a writer and an author. I come up with my own ideas and develop them into book-length stories. I plot and also use the pantser method. I put in the time and energy to get the story from brain to publisher.

So, are you a writer, an author or both? While you ponder your answer, ask yourself:

-do you consider writing to be a chore, a hobby or do you genuinely like to write?

-are you in it for the money?

-does you name have to be on the bookcover; would you be okay with a mention or acknowledgement?

-do you strive to get something published consistently or do you let time lag for years between books?

I am both a writer and an author though procrastination prevents me from publishing more prolifically than I’d like.

Think about you now; how do you fit in?

Have a fabulous weekend,

Naiobi

Creative Work Spaces

My new project is to create a workspace. I live in a bungalow and there is a fireplace in the dining room area with a nook on either side; the dining room table will be relocated. This will be where I set up my office.

My plan is to have two cabinets made to fit the nooks so there is someplace for my paperwork and stuff (all writers have stuff)! I will add floating shelves above the cabinets for books.

I want to find a small roll-top desk to place under the window and a stand of sorts for the printer.

I am an avid indoor gardener, so I am not without greenery. I will add a hanging basket of mixed plants near the window.

This is the before photo. I have no timeframe for when the project will be completed but when it is, I will link this post to the after photo.

There are many images and DIY articles for creating work spaces in the home; some I’ve found on Pinterest and others by random searches.

One thing is key for me; I must have an uncluttered work area, soft colors and plants. I will use candles and of course, the fireplace when I work in the evening or are inspired to write well into the night.

To be continued…

Naiobi