Annie Nicholas writes paranormal and science fiction romance. Read about her hot vampire thrillers, werewolf romantic stories, alpha shifter and sexy alien romance.

Featured Post

Hero's Journey

I've been very scattered this summer. I usually follow my writing schedule like it was written by God. I'm good at setting attaina...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Take a Number!

What is this thing called Writer's Block and where can I get some?


Don't shake your head at me. I need rest and the voices won't let me be.

It's all Spice's fault. She invaded my head two in the morning less than a year ago. The story she told me was so compelling I had to get up and write it all down. A flood gate must have broken when she came through because the characters and their stories won't stop coming. I'm booked for the next three years.

I've had a character in my head for a year now but didn't know where she fit, why, or who her hero could be. He introduced himself to me this morning and  EVERYTHING fell into place. OMG I have to write this story but--but I'm already writting a great one that's been waiting four months to be started. Not to mention the OTHER  story all outlined and researched sitting in my computer for the last year and half. Then sequels start shouting, "What about our fans? They don't want to wait that long for the next book!"

AHHHHH! Take a number and I'll get to you between day job, kids, and husband. Sorry, household the cleaning may take a back seat for awhile. Maybe I should campaign for a maid. I doubt that's in the budget. LOL 

I love to write and wish I could do it all day, everyday.

What have the voices been doing to you?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Wordle

I have a new obession and it's name is Wordle. It's even on my favorites list.

What is it? You copy/paste a document at http://www.wordle.net/ and see the word montage it creates. The more the word appears in the document the bigger it is in the picture. Apparently I have a 'like' issue.


This picture is of a WIP. As a writer I see a lot of possiblities with the program. I am now aware I possibly use his name too much and I need to use a thesaurus for the word 'like'.  It is also a good way to find a title. The word that pops out to me is HUNGER.

Let's try another one. I'll use Bait this time.



A fully editted book and the picture appears more balanced. There are many options, one being to not remove common words. Go check it out and have fun!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Getting Someone's Attention (First lines, Queries, and Synopsis)

When I say someone I mean editors, agents, and most importantly, readers.

It only takes a few pages for someone to decide if they are going to like your story or not. You may have the best story ever but if your first pages are not compelling it will be a hard sell. A lot of articles on this subject talk about hooks but I found it confusing because I can never figure out what my hook is or I have too many hooks. LOL


My best advice is don’t write BORING. Use character, mood, and setting to draw and keep their attention.

You’ve written a whole book about a character you love. Now, you need to condense this character and show it off in the first paragraphs. You can use their voice or a short narration to grab your reader and have them fall in love with your creation.

“Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time rolling on the ground with men who think a stiffy represents personal growth. The rolling around has nothing to do with my sex life. The rolling around is what happens when a bust goes crapola . . . ” (Janet Evanovich, Hard Eight)



Setting is another tool you can use. Describe, see previous blog for description tools, something that entices and entrances by using the five senses.



“He stood at the window . . . framed by the faded curtains which she had chosen forty years before. The sun had bleached their bright roses to a faded pink, and the linings were so threadbare that they could no longer be sent to the cleaners for fear of total disintegration.” (Rosamunde Pilcher, Under Gemini)



Palpable mood can spellbind a reader. With the use of the right kind of adjectives, you can make your reader shiver with anticipation of what will come next.



“The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some . . . ” (Robert Jordan, The Eye of the World) [one of my favorite books by the way}



You have the technical tools now. Here is where you must pull the creative part from your soul and make writing an art. Get creative, break rules, and snap your reader to attention. DON’T WRITE BORING.



The first line of your novel is the most important one of the whole book. I rewrote the first line of Bait twenty-seven times before I found what it needed. “Live bait made all the difference, pretty much a no-brainer.” I chose to go with character since the whole series revolves around Connie. To come up with my first lines, I try to summarize the core essence of the story. Such as the bait reference for a book about being human bait. Or in The Alpha, “No one could call Spice Monroe weak, at least not to her face, yet she returned to Chicago with nothing but the clothes on her back. If only the strong survived, then why did she feel like such a loser?” This story condensed down to Spice’s struggle with belief in oneself.



Not BORING. No cliché lines, no AA introductions, and the story starts right away. Once again, I can’t stress getting creative.



Query letters, another very important thing, since it needs to pass through the gauntlet first before most editors or agents will read your wonderful first page. Many writers spend weeks editing and polishing their WIP then throw together a query/synopsis overnight. These things are just as important as the book. They represent your writing skill.



The query should contain a short open to the story and leaving them wanting more. Kind of like a blurb. I usually start my query with the tagline. Then you need to add the technical info of the book like word count, genre, and heat level. To end the letter give a quick resume such published works and contests wins. I don’t go into much detail. Mine reads like “I have # books published with such and such house and # with this other house. I have received many five star reviews and hit some of the bestsellers lists. For more detailed information here is my website.”



Synopsis should be written in present tense. Where in your story you should be showing your characters dilemmas, in the synopsis you need to tell them. It’s basically a summary of key elements, conflicts, and plot lines. You need to tell everything important, especially the end. The best piece of advice I’ve ever received on writing a synopsis is this: Tell it like your describing the best movie you’ve ever seen to your best friend.



Example:

“It turns out the rosebud, they’ve been looking everywhere for, is not a flower but a gemstone. They have to bribe their way out of jail and jump on a train across the country where John starts to fall in love with Jessica…”


Armed with these tools, go forth and catch someone's attention!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Writing 101- Description

Hey, look! I found my brain.


The next subject I wanted to cover is description in your story. Like show vs tell, you will find two camps on this subject, those who love to describe and those who hate it.

I’m in between the two. I think every scene should be set-up so your reader has a picture in their head BUT they don’t need to know what kind of lace pattern is on the kitchen curtain unless it is pertinent to the story. Also, I suggest not giving a whole paragraph of setting at the beginning of each scene. Weave it into your writing like fine thread and from your characters pov so the reader doesn’t get bored. I’ll give an example in a moment.

Another tool a writer can use is vocabulary. Remember a thesaurus and dictionary is a writer’s best friend. Your character’s mood will affect how you describe your setting. A sad person will view the world differently than an angry one. This also adds to your showing part of writing skills. By using mood in your description shows your reader how your character is feeling without actually telling them.



I will use the above picture for examples.

My character, let’s call her Tiffany, is walking through this forest. As an exercise we will find hopeful words to use and they don’t have to only be adjectives. Let’s use soar, bright, fresh, spring, and promise. I choose most of those words from the top of my head as I thought what hopeful would feel like and I also typed it into my thesaurus to see what came up. I found promising, which sounded good for my use.

Example one:

The bright sunlight broke through the morning mist and Tiffany’s heart soared. Darkness faded so she could see some of the trees and with it some of her fear. Fresh earth tinted the air. Tiffany found a new spring in her step with the promise of escape from these woods.

Notice how all the description comes from Tiffany’s view point. I didn’t describe as if I was above her but from her senses. Let’s mix it up and make Tiffany hopeless by using words like sank, dark, dank, heavy, and danger. I used the same process as above to choose my words.

Example two:

The dark mist swallowed the sunlight and Tiffany’s heart sank. Light faded so she could barely see the trees and with it some of her hope. Dank earth tinted the air. Tiffany found her steps heavy with the danger of being lost forever.

Similar paragraph but by changing the words used to describe the moment, I’ve changed the mood. I didn’t need half a page of description to do it either. From this point the story can continue.

Any questions?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Suspended

Writing 101 classes have been temporarily post poned until Annie Nicholas finds her brain. Sorry for the inconveince.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Independence Blog Hop


There is a lot promoting I could be doing but I'm taking a break from it and going to sit back and enjoy the view. These hotties are my five top favorite pictures and I wanted to share them with you.




He's my favorite. *sigh*

Have a fun weekend. I'm giving away a copy of The Omegas away at this hop.