April 30, 2014

“Z” Words to Add to Your Writing

We did it AZers! Congratulations on making it to the end! :D

Z is for "Z" Words to Add to Your Writing

I love words! I once wrote a blog post, Words are Magical, dedicated to my love of words and their importance. I even shared a list of my favorite 15 words to use while writing. One “Z” word made it on the list which was Zealous: having or showing zeal (great energy or enthusiasm). But it made me realize that words starting with “Z” are a rare find in literature, so I wanted to share “Z” words that you can add to your writing today.

1.    Zany (a comical person, joker)

2.    Zeal (showing passion for a cause or object)

3.    Zest (living with a sense of excitement and joy)

4.    Zappy (a lively quality)

5.    Zelophobia (fear of jealous)

6.    Zap (a sudden burst of energy)

7.    Zero Hour (the time for the start of an action is set)

8.    Zero In (aim at or focus on)

9.    Zillion (a very large number)

10.  Zip (a quantity of zero, nothing)

11.  Zinger (a quick or amusing remark)

12.  Zizz (a buzzing sound)

13.  Zonk Out (to lose consciousness)

14.  Zoom (to move quickly)

15.  Zealous (enthusiastic)

16.  Zenith (an imaginary point directly "above" a particular location) Donna

17.  Zither (a musical string instrument with strings) Donna

18.  Zephyr (a light wind or west wind) Donna

Now that you have this list, try to add at least one of these words into your writing today.

SHARE: “Z” words you know.

A to Z Blogging Challenge:

April 29, 2014

You Know You’re a Writer When:

Y is for You Know You're a Writer When:

·         You get up in the middle of the night to write something that you don’t want to forget.

·         You nudge aside kids to buy notebooks and pens when it’s back-to-school season. And you horde them like drugs. Hey, notebooks and pens are like drugs to writers. Right? ;)

·         When someone asks you what you want for Christmas or your birthday, you tell them something reading or writing related.

·         You think about writing ALL the time! Even when you’re trying to take a break from writing.

·         You’ve woken up from a dream and thought, “That’ll make a great story!”

·         You see strangers in public who you imagine as characters.

·         You spot grammar mistakes in Facebook statuses/comments and have to refrain yourself from correcting the person who wrote it.

·         You notice lyrics to popular songs aren’t grammatically correct.

·         Almost everything you see could be included in your book.

·         Nearly everything you hear could be dialogue for your characters.

·         Other writers are the only people who understand you. (Holli’s contribution.)

·         You read books to take a break from writing and to inspire you to write again. (Stelios’ contribution.)

·         You publish a comment on a blog and are horrified to see a typo. (Lexa’s contribution.)

·         You take a walk and end up muttering/repeating dialogue, etc. that you don’t want to forget. (Sophie’s contribution.)

·         You’re reading this right now and nodding in agreement.

SHARE: If you thought of something to add, let me know and I’ll include it in the list! :D 

A to Z Blogging Challenge:

April 28, 2014

X Out Your Writing Anxiety

X is for X Out Your Writing Anxiety

Writers face many anxieties. Let me name the ones just off the top of my head: writing, revising, criticism from beta readers, writer’s block, editing, deadlines, publishing, promoting, blogging, social networking, bad reviews, nasty comments, low ratings and low sales. All of this can be overwhelming and cause stress.

I know I’ve had some breakdowns over editing, promoting, and reviews that weren’t so nice. But these are all things we’re going to have to face and keep on facing as we continue with our writing journeys.

When it comes to bad reviews, nasty comments, and low ratings, we have to remind ourselves that it is just one person’s opinion. The key word there is opinion. It’s not a fact, and opinions change vastly from person to person. While what others say can hurt, the only person’s opinion that truly matters is our own. I know I’ve been deeply bothered by these things myself, but I am learning to X them out!

In regards to sales, the fact is sales numbers fluctuate. I remember a month after Hurricane Crimes first came out on Amazon when I was devastated that it dropped below rank #600,000 but it didn’t stay there. I may get a sale here or there, or several at once, and then hit another point where I don’t have any sales for many days. It’s normal for lesser known authors. The only way you’ll have amazing sales figures is if you’re published by a big house and on the NYT Bestseller’s list. 

As for everything else, we need to remember to focus on one thing at a time (whether it’s finishing a first draft or editing). When we devote our attention to one task at a time we have a greater chance of conquering it, and crossing it off our list with a big X. And if we keep pushing on by doing everything we can, we will see results!

Here are 16 ways to X out your anxiety:

·         Unplug from the Internet for at least one whole day.
·         Take a break from writing and editing. (2-3 days tops.)
·         Don’t read reviews with 3 star ratings or lower.
·         Pre-schedule your blog and Facebook posts. (I do.)
·         Get up and dance!
·         Take a slow, deep breath, and count to ten.
·         Listen to your favorite music. Turn it up!
·         Pick up a book you love and read for a good hour.
·         Watch a movie that makes you laugh.
·         Drink a cup of chamomile tea. (I love all teas and chamomile is one of my favorites. It’s known to be calming.)
·         Take a hot bath with lavender oils or bubbles in the water.
·         Eat a piece of dark chocolate. (This raises blood sugar.)
·         Reconnect with nature by taking a walk or gardening.
·         Meditate.
·         Exercise for at least 21 minutes.
·         Play with your beloved pets. (Thank you, Debra.)

SHARE: Your tips for de-stressing.

QUESTION: Out of all the writing anxieties, which one (or ones) causes you most stress?

April 26, 2014

Writing in the Real World

W is for Writing in the Real World

Writing in the real world is not the same as writing stories. Emails, text messages, tweets, and Facebook statues are treated differently than creative writing. I’m not just talking about the lack of capitalization, punctuation and grammar, but how they are received.

When we write stories, we control everything about it from the tone to what happens. We are also writing about characters we control. Everything they say comes from our minds, and everything they do is part of our plot. We even create their thoughts. Our descriptions hijack our reader’s minds, making them see and feel exactly what we put in our books. Nothing more, nothing less.

However, when we no longer have this creative control we can’t make the people reading our words see and feel what we want them to anymore. That is what occurs when we email or text, causing our written tone to be taken the wrong way and our words to be misconstrued.

This happens to me occasionally. If I am having a conversation with someone that isn't face-to-face (or voice-to-voice) I rely on my writing skills to get my point across or to explain my feelings. Since my writing skills can be pretty powerful, some things I write can be read wrong even if I am very careful with my word choice. I can’t tell you how many times one of my sisters got upset with me because she read what I wrote with a tone I did not intend.

With my creative writing though, the tone and meaning is exactly what I want it to be because I control every aspect of it. I wish I could do that in real life!

QUESTION: Has your writing tone ever been taken out of context in emails or texts?

A to Z Blogging Challenge:

April 25, 2014

Vegetarian Writers

V is for Vegetarian Writers

Hi, I am a vegetarian. Nice to meet you!

Although vegetarianism is becoming more popular and more people are embracing it, when some people hear that I don’t eat meat their typical reaction is to raise their eyebrows as if I just said something shocking. I have been asked countless times (by friends and family members) why I don’t eat meat and the simple answer is, I just don’t like it. I never really liked the taste of meat even when I was a child, so one day I decided to stop eating it. That was five years ago. Even after explaining this,  they still can’t seem to fathom my decision. It’s not complicated. Really.

Once, in my unpublished series, my heroine says, “I’m a vegetarian, not an alien!” I created that line because at one point I felt this.

Another thing people find odd is that I have no problem cooking meat. Yes, I’ll cook a steak if you want it. And as a writer, I let my characters eat all the meat they want. I even describe the taste and texture. You would never know from my descriptions that I am a vegetarian. And that's my goal!

If you are vegan or vegetarian, your characters don’t have to share your dietary restrictions. Be flexible, open and realistic; there are more meat-eaters in the world than vegetarians.
TIP #1: Recall food you ate before your lifestyle change. I remember the crispiness of bacon and the tough feel of steak between my teeth. 
TIP #2: Ask family and friends to describe what it’s like to eat certain foods: cheeseburgers, lobster, polish sausage. Get them to go into detail about the flavors, textures, and colors. 
TIP #3: Read cookbooks. Many of them will include details of the flavors. They also provide excellent pictures to help with your descriptions.
Also, if you do eat meat, consider writing about a character who is a vegetarian. It's not hard! And doesn't require much research. :)  

Now for fun here’s a list of Vegetarian Writers (whether known or disputed):

Alice Walker
Charlotte Brontë
Henry David Thoreau
H. G. Wells
Leo Tolstoy
Louisa May Alcott
Lord Byron
Mark Twain
Ralph Waldo Emerson
William Shakespeare

SHARE: Do you know a vegetarian author? Tell me and I’ll add their name to my list. :)

April 24, 2014

Universal Writing Truths

U is for Universal Writing Truths

There are many universal writing truths out there so I am going to share some now. You’ll find writing tips (some that you may know, some that you may not know) as well as facts, quotes and other words of wisdom.


"No one is asking, let alone demanding, that you write. The world is not waiting with bated breath for your article or book. Whether or not you get a single word on paper, the sun will rise, the earth will spin, the universe will expand. Writing is forever and always a choice -- your choice." -Beth Mende Conny

STASTIC: From the time a person begins writing as a hobby, it takes them an average of eight years to become traditionally published.

Exclamation points are used to express strong feelings.

Capitalization is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse and helping your uncle jack off a horse.

“Description begins in the writer’s imagination. But should finish in the reader’s.” –Stephen King

FACT: Reading improves your vocabulary.

Five of the 26 alphabet letters are vowels: A, E, I, O, and U. The letter “Y” is sometimes considered a vowel.

Fiction means the story is fake. Nonfiction means the story is real.

 “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter - it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”  –Mark Twain

FACT: William Shakespeare invented the word “hurry".

A palindrome is a word or phrase that is the same if read forward and backward. Example Sentence: A Santa at Nasa. Example Word: Racecar

A noun is a person, place, thing, animal, or idea.

“Books aren't writtenthey're rewritten." -Michael Crichton

FACT: Pencils are yellow because the best graphite in the world comes from China. The Chinese believe the color yellow represents royalty and respect, so in the 1890’s American manufactures painted their pencils yellow to symbolize those feelings and to announce their pencils contained Chinese graphite.

Punctuation marksincluding question marks, commas and periodsgo inside quotation marks.

FACT: When they are trying out a new pen for the first time, 97% of people will write their own name.

"Success comes to a writer, as a rule, so gradually that it is always something of a shock to him to look back and realize the heights to which he has climbed." -P.G. Wodehouse

STASTIC: Agented authors send an average of 65 queries before gaining representation.

Stress kills creativity.

FACT: C.S. Lewis received over 800 rejections before he sold a single piece of writing.

“A critic can only review the book he has read, not the one which the writer wrote.”  –Mignon  McLaughlin

There are hundreds of universal writing truths from common grammar rules to wisdom from the great writers who came before us.