Category: writers


What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a virtual pin board, created about two years ago, but recently it’s been taking off like wildfire.

If you’re anything like me, I love pin boards! A favorite recipe, a cute outfit, a great photo, we either stuff it into a drawer (never to be found again) clip it to the fridge (where it falls in-between the fridge and the cabinet) or pin it to a cork board with all the others. On Pinterest all we have to do, when we find something we’re interested in, is click the PIN IT on the bookmark bar. Then, create different boards to organize the topics, and it’s there for us when we’re ready for it. We also can share with our friends and they can share with us.

There is another side for bloggers and retailers: The pictures which get pined on any one persons’ board, once clicked, will go back to the original source. So say we saw this really cute pink dress on BFF’s board, we can click the photo and find out they sell them at Macy’s for $50.00. An even better example for someone like me, a new author, make a ‘pin’ of the novel cover and then link it back to it’s website where it can be bought or downloaded, and get your friends to re-pin it on their boards under ‘Must Reads’ or whatever title they create. You can also comment on the photo. I put the synopsis under the photo.

Here’s how to start:

1. Go to pinterest.com and ask for an invite (or find a friend on Pinterest to invite you).
2. Create your profile. (I included my novel coming out and synopsis)
3. Set up your boards (you can always add more as you go along)
4. When your given people to follow with similar interest, do it. This will give you a whole new set of ‘friends’.
5. Start pinning! (I went on Amazon.com and type in things I wanted to pin)

You can also upload photos from your computer and ‘pin’ them to your board. My novel is under production with a publisher, so I don’t have an ISBN number yet, so I download the HD Image they gave me of the cover. It’s already been repined a few times and I just started.

In a nutshell, that’s all there is too it.

Feel Free to come see me once you sign up! Don’t forget to re-pin TWISTED ROOTS. 

Shelly Goodman Wright
Author of TWISTED ROOTS, a Christian Romance/Suspense Novel coming Spring 2012
Author of The Irreversible Catastrophe of Professor Babcock in Steampunk Tales Issue 12 http://www.steampunktales.com
Contributor to Fresh Ink Magazine, Colorado Springs, Co

FIVE PARTS TO A PLOT

GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR PLOT

The Plot, as defined by Wikipedia, is a literary term defined as the events that make up a story, particularly as they relate to one another in a pattern, in a sequence, through cause and effect, or by coincidence.  One is generally interested in how well this pattern of events accomplishes some artistic or emotional effect.  An intricate, complicated plot is called an imbroglio, but even the simplest statements of plot may include multiple inferences, as in traditional ballads.”

Okay, so now we’ve established a definition, but what does it really mean?

The plot is the story as a whole and it can be  broken down into sections.  Gustav Freytag, (1816 –1895) a German dramatist and novelist, came up with his own idea for  narrative structure.  He called it The Freytag’s pyramid and it consists of five phases.

The first phase is the exposition phase.  Here is where the characters come alive and the readers connect to them by learning about them, how they relate to each  other, their goals, and motives.  Most importantly, the reader connects to the main character, his/her goals, and the outcome if those goals are met, or not met.

The second phase is the rising action phase.  Here is where the character(s) starts on the path to achieve their goal.  This is where the conflict begins to grow, including sub-conflicts, mini plots, which can hinder, help, or both in achieving the main goal.  At the end of this phase, the character should be close to facing their problem/goal leading us up to next step.

The third phase is the climax phase.  Most of us probably already know what the climax is.  It’s that point in the story where the character(s) are close to their goal. The character can begin to see the barriers being removed (or at least easier) and is now ready to engage with the antagonist.  Then, the reader, tossed into the action, gets to see the two (or more) combat.  No clear winner is set, yet, until phase five. Both the protagonist and the antagonist then start to plan on how to win over the other for the next battle.

The fourth phase is the falling action.  I love this phase!  This is where everything goes wrong.  Our main hero makes the wrong the decision or shows flaws in his/her character.  This is where the antagonist gets the upper hand and our hero seems like he/she will never reach that goal.  The reader might even question if the hero really is the hero. However, this phase is also about tying up most of the loose ends so that when the final phase starts, the focus is on the last battle.

The fifth phase is the resolution phase.  Here is where the final conflict happens and one wins.  Which side wins, what lead up to it, why it happens that way, what it means, and what are the long-term effects.

There are other outlines and story structures on the internet.  So find what works for you.  When I looked up plot structures, this really made me think about my own writing and the areas I can go back to and touch up.

So I hope this was helpful and as always, if you have anything you would like to add, make sure to post the comments on my website directly.  This way others can also benefit from your comments.   My website gets over a hundred hits a week (wow, I know right) and most are writers looking for writing tips.

So keep on writing, editing, and reading.

Happy writing…

Shelly Goodman Wright

www.shellygoodmanwright.com

FB  Writer-Shelly Goodman Wright

FB Writer’s Critique Group

Sited http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plot_(narrative)

ARE YOU READY? For an agent

ARE YOU READY?

            We have written our novel and now we are ready to seek out an agent—or are we?

            Today I spent much of my Saturday afternoon making a list of possible agents.  On each site, I not only read about each agent and what they represent, but read their blogs.  One agent wrote, “If this is the first draft of your first novel then don’t even bother.”  Wow, that hits you hard in the face.  Here we have spent hours, months and possibly years to write our masterpiece and she’s going to slap me in the face.  OUCH!

            Her statement is completely understandable.  Thousands of query letters hits the desks (computers) of agents/publishers on a daily basis.  I read on one agent’s blog, fifty percent of queries sent to him, have either misspelled his name, addressed the query letter “To Whom It May Concerns”, do not include the genre they seek representation for, or simply have basic spelling/grammar errors.  “No thanks, I’ll pass.”

            It is much the same with most agents and publishers.  If you can’t get the short query polished, what is the rest of your manuscript going to look like.  YIKES!

            But let’s go back a moment to my original statement.  Are you ready to seek an agent? 

            Say you have just finished your novel.  First thing I would suggest is to join a writer’s group.  Here you will get honest feedback from people who are not afraid to hurt your feelings.  Trust me, it might sting a little a first, but your writing will grow stronger and you will have the opportunity to analyze others writings as well. 

            Secondly, know your genre and search for agents that represent that genre.  You are not ready to submit yet, but by signing up with their blogs and finding out about them, gives you an upper hand in knowing what they are looking for.  Most of the agents I ran across today have no problems telling you what drives them insane or gets them excited. 

            Third, learn the craft.  Joining a critique group, reading editor, agents, or publishing blogs are great resources for learning.  There are also writers’ magazines that feature advice from writers, editors and publishers, and keep you current on the publishing world.

            And while you’re doing all these, you can check out my blog Building A Platform www.shellygoodmanwright.com  as your next step.  You really want to have something you can add to your publishing credits.

            Currently, I’m on my seventh draft of “A LIGHT INTO THE DARKNESS”.  Each draft, tightens my novel and quickens the pace of the story.  Why?  Because of the critiques and I’m so grateful to those who aren’t afraid to tell me what they think. 

            Am I ready?  I like to think I’m close.  Fine turning my query, synopsis and first fifty pages is more than nerve racking, but worth it.  I don’t know if I’ll ever publish my first novel, but I have enjoyed those who have begged me for the second and third novel.  I’ve also enjoyed writing for the local paper and creating short stories for publications. 

            What tips do you have?  Do you follow a blog of an agent, editor, or publisher?  And why them? 

            Are you ready?

Happy Writing,

Shelly Goodman Wright

www.shellygoodmanwright.com

As a writer, we all want to write something amazing.  We want the reader to fall into the world we created; to get lost in our creative mind, and to emerge with a hunger for more.  That is what every person who ever wrote anything wants:  to either entertain or enlighten.  So how to do we get to that point?  How do we make this happen?

I’ve briefly mentioned a few idea’s in previous blogs, but I’d like to go into more detail with the one thing that has been the most important in my own writing–Peer Editing.

An article on the Guilford College website explains one of the benefits of peer editing:  “The individual editors get valuable editing practice, which enables them to edit their own work better in the future. One of the best ways to improve as a writer–other than through practice, practice, practice!–is by consciously using the criteria of excellent writing to make judgments about what is good in a piece of writing and what is not and then applying those criteria to one’s own work. Thus students in writing classes that employ peer editing regularly praise the practice highly, sometimes reporting it to be a class’s most useful aspect.”  (sited on Guilford College web site:  http://www.guilford.edu/about_guilford)

Belonging to a fantastic writers group in my area (coloradospringsfictionwritersgroup.org ), I could not agree more with the article, especially the underlined sentence above.  Go back and read it again.  What does it mean to you?

When I finished my first novel, I did pass it along to a few friends to read, but having someone tell you “it’s good”, or even “great”, is not as helpful as someone pointing out tense shifts, or overused words and phrases.  Our friends may buy the books we self-publish, even suggest it to their friends, but if it’s sloppy and badly written, was it worth it?  Let’s say the writing is excellent, but your character isn’t strong enough, or your plot is weak.  That will be the lasting impression you leave on the reader’s mind and they won’t be running down to Borders to buy your new book. Peer editing will not only bring these things out in our work, but we begin to see it in other writers work—the same mistakes.  I couldn’t see the mistakes in my own writing, until I started to edit others.  Now, not only do I have feedback written on my piece, but also I’ve learned something from the editing process, helping me become a stronger writer.

There can be a few pitfalls, so before you do the internet scan for peer editing groups, we all need to remember one thing—YOU ARE THE AUTHOR!  Not everyone’s feedback is helpful, and not everyone will agree with our critique of his/her work either.  That’s okay.  In my writing group, there are about ten of us.  Some of the critiques are very similar to each other, so then I know it’s a red flag to fix.  But occasionally one person might say something that no one else agrees with.  In the end, it’s your piece, your baby.  What I ask myself before I scrap a scene or begin to re-write: “Who is it I’m reaching too?  Am I missing my target audience?” and most importantly, “Do I agree with the suggestions?”  Nine times out of ten—for me–I enjoy the critiques that tear my writing apart.  I believe my writing gets stronger because of those who aren’t afraid to say, “I just didn’t get it.”

I’ve had readers tell me that they don’t know how to critique.  They feel inadequate and “not the best person to give you a critique”.  But, I bet you if you asked them about the worst book they ever read, they could ramble off a list.  Maybe you’re one of those people and for a moment, I’m going to assume you are.  Here are some basic things I look for when I critique:

  • Read the entire piece to make sure you have a good idea of what the person submitted.  Make a mark on spots where the flow stops, or you got lost—but not much else yet.  Find the beat!
  •   Start-off with the positive/strengths and give specifics.  Ex:  You liked the premise of the piece, strong characters, good descriptions, etc.
  • From here, you can either talk about the weakness of the piece—again being specific–or go right into the line editing.
  • Line Editing–Hopefully the piece submitted or exchanged is double-space with one and a half margin for adequate comments.  This is where you note grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure, below, above, or in the side margin.
  • Finish your critique again with something positive and encourage the writer.  They say half the battle in life, isn’t whether something is easy or hard, it’s your attitude about it.  Leave your writer with something they can hold on to, even if you hated it, without lying to them.  It does them no good for you to say you liked the story if you really didn’t.

These are just a few things I look for, but I do know there are other writers who critique as well and I would love to know your methods, or something I may have left out.  You can add your comments to my web site blog, www.shellygoodmanwright.com to share your strategies with other writers, including me.

Anyone can write and many do.  Unfortunately, in this self-publishing age, badly written books line the shelves everywhere you turn.  Join a group, strengthen your story, polish your writing skills, then head over to agentquery.com and begin the search.

As always, I wish you the very best of luck and happy writing!

SHELLY WRITES

Building Your Writing Platform

http://fictionwriting.about.com/b/2011/01/12/how-to-write-edit-and-sell-a-novel-advice-from-the-forum.htm#gB3

Ginny is a great mentor and it so happens that she’s features a new writer (me) in her blog this month.  Find out all the things she say I’m doing right and then head over to my web site to read samples of my work.