Tuesday Tip

Standard

tip#1This week’s Tuesday Tip is about something essential, something crucial that you MUST have in your writing. Without it, the scenes between your action sequences will fall flat, and readers will get bored and take a break from reading your book or–gasp–stop reading it altogether!

Are you sweating yet? Nervous? You should be. Keep reading.

This Tuesday’s Tip is about–

Dun, Dun, Duuunn!!!! Tension and Suspense.

Do you see what I did there? That’s what you should be doing in your writing. Tension and suspense go hand in hand with conflict. To read that Tuesday Tip, click here. Suspense keeps the readers turning the page, asking questions, and wondering what will happen next.

When do you add Suspense and Tension?

You may think suspense and tension belong in your action scenes, and you would be correct, but mainly they belong in the scenes between the action scenes. Suspense creates build-up, anticipation, the promise that something will happen–usually something bad. Think of it as the foreboding dark clouds before the storm.

How to add Tension and Suspense

Foreshadow

Tease the reader with future events. Let the reader see the problem before the protagonist does.The reader will fear for the characters, knowing that they are in danger.

One way of doing this is to change perspective. The reader will learn information the protagonist does not through the eyes of another character. This is a great way to show information the protagonist might not be aware of or understand clearly.

Reveal the Plan

You might be tempted to conceal what your character plans to do to add suspense, but contradictory to belief, revealing their plans and motives adds suspense.

But you just gave it all away! Now all that’s left to do is stop the villain and save the day, and the protagonist just said how he’s going to do it, so I might as well stop reading this book now. Wrong. All you gave away was the plan, not future events. This is where you add a dilemma, a twist, something your character didn’t consider or can’t predict. Let them make the plans. Make sure they feel good about them too, and then sweep the rug out from under them. The characters–and your readers–will be surprised.

Don’t forget the Antagonist’s plan. Knowing their plan when the protagonist doesn’t will add suspense.

And what better way to reveal a plan than in song!

images

In The Lion King, Scar’s plan (plot might be a more accurate word) is told in the song “Be Prepared.” Really, considering how dumb hyenas are, this was a rather catchy way to help them remember their part in it, don’t you think? Before Mufasa dies, we know he’s toast. We totally see it coming. This does not ruin the moment for us when he actually does. If anything, the viewer is rewarded with the feeling of foreboding doom while we watch Scar’s plan unfold, unhindered before our eyes. We shout at Simba to stop meowing at a lizard and to get the Hell out of the ravine. Run, you idiot! Watch out Mufasa! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mufasa__s_Death_GIF_animation_by_SuperVocaloidfan4eva

Deadlines

You feel the pressure when you have a task to complete by a deadline. Your character and your reader can feel it too. Add a sense of urgency by creating a deadline for your character to complete their mission.

Example: The Hobbit 

The dwarves have to get to the Misty Mountain by Durin’s Day before the last light fades in order to locate the hidden keyhole. If they don’t, they won’t be able to enter the Misty Mountain and reclaim their home.

Add a Dilemma

When the protagonist isn’t battling the antagonist, they should be battling their mind. Give the character something to sweat about between action scenes. Create a dilemma, a choice, a conundrum that they have to resolve.

Example: The protagonist must choose for one person to die in order for another to live.

Example: They must do something they swore never to do again.

Tip: Let the reader be privy to your character’s thoughts during these scenes. Their doubt, dread, and anxiety will fuel suspense and keep the reader hooked.

Apply Murphy’s Law Generously

If something can go wrong in life, it usually does. In literature, it SHOULD. Give your protagonist a full-proof plan and then foil it. Don’t let your character’s plan succeed without a hitch.

Cliff Hangers

Cliffhanger_gif

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT end your chapters on a peaceful note. This is a great place for a reader to rest their bookmark … and stop reading for good. End your scenes, chapters, and series with a shocking revelation, a precarious predicament, or other suspenseful event.

George R.R. Martin does this well in his Game of Thrones series. But I’m tired of using A Game of Thrones as an example, so I’m going to reference The Walking Dead.

Example: In season two, when the farmhouse is overrun by walkers,the season ends with the characters getting separated and running for their lives. Who lives? Who dies? Who is that cool, badass character with the zombies on leashes. Dun, Dun, Duuunn!!!

It happens again in a later season when the prison is overrun by the Governor. Once again we are left with unanswered questions. Cliffhangers almost caused me to purchase cable; they will sell books. Trust me.

That’s all I have to say about suspense . . . for now. Dun, Dun, Duuunn!!!

Hope you enjoyed. Please comment below. I love hearing from you. Praise is nice. I get a lot of it from my Tuesday Tips, but how about some praise for authors who use suspense well. Who is an author that left you hanging?

tumblr_n78fctomaS1r7pxxqo3_500

Give or Take? Are You a Reciprocal Blogger?

Standard
photo by tastemakermag.com

photo by tastemakermag.com

When someone tells you good morning, you feel obligated to return the greeting. The same goes when someone opens a door for you or gives you a complement. It’s a gut-reaction. Studies suggest that this response is ingrained in all of us as a natural impulse. Think of it as a human default setting like Calibri font in Microsoft Office (Times New Roman is so much better). It’s called the rule of reciprocation.

The rule is simple: Reward kind actions with kind actions. So essentially it’s like the Golden Rule–or Karma. If you do good things, good things will be done unto you.

Example of the rule in action:

A salesperson offers you a free sample. You feel innately obligated to purchase the product.

A coworker buys you a present, so you buy her one in return.

It applies to every aspect of our lives, both personal and professional. So it goes without saying that it applies to your writing life.

Do you feel obligated to review someone’s book because they reviewed yours?

Do you follow someone on twitter or WordPress because they followed you?

Social media is a great example of how the rule applies. Have you ever noticed that the people you follow on twitter typically follow you back. Likewise, if someone follows you but you fail to follow them back, they usually unfollow you within several days.

To be honest, I don’t follow everyone who follows me just to keep more followers. If they unfollow me, they weren’t the type of follower I wanted anyway. I’d rather build my platform slower but have genuine followers who are interested in what I have to say. Those followers are more likely to purchase my books.

The same goes for blogging. Do you comment simply to have a presence on another blog? Or do you comment because you genuinely have something to say about a post?

So what kind of blogger are you?

 

Tuesday Tip

Standard

tip#1

We have no control over the delineation of time in real life. An hour-long meeting on a Monday morning can feel like an entire day; however, an entire day can seem like only an hour when we’re having fun. The only time we can control how fast or slow time goes is in our novels. This is called pacing.

How to Pick up the Pace

For some scenes, you’ll want to step on the gas: cliffhangers, action scenes, fight scenes, arguments, climaxes. To make sure your reader keeps turning the page, eliminate all but the following

  • immediate action
  • exposition
  • descriptions
  • immediate dialogue
  • internal dialogue
  • sensory details

You’ll want to keep description brief. Likewise, only describe sensory details your character would notice at that moment. Perhaps he taste blood in his mouth during a fight or hears a gun shot.

Summarizing

Some scenes just drag. Travel scenes are infamous for this. Describing every detail of every day of a long journey can be exhausting and pace-killing. Summarize slower scenes so you can get back to the action. Think of it as the literary version of a montage. Tolkien does this quite a bit in “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit.” For instance, the dwarves stay in Rivendell for 14 days. During this time they rested, studied their map, and learned the origins of their weapons. What could have taken several chapters is condensed into one paragraph.

Eliminate Unnecessary Dialogue

Dialogue can be used to hasten or slow the pace of your writing. To speed things up, cut out all boring or unnecessary dialogue.

Example: “Hi, Bob. How’re you doing?”

“I’m good, Ted. How about yourself?”

“Fine.”

“Did you hear about Jim?”

“Yeah, his wife told me he died Saturday.”

“Well, she should know; she killed him.”

Instead

Example: They exchanged greetings.

“Did you here about Jim?”

Shorten Sentence Length

Long, detailed sentences take longer to read than short, choppy sentences. To quicken the pace, use short sentences or sentence fragments–that’s right, you can get away with these, but don’t overdo it.

You can also eliminate adjectives and adverbs.

There’s a lot of hate for adjectives and adverbs. I never understood why until I read Karen Miller’s “The Falcon Throne.”

Let’s look at Chapter one.

“Brassy-sweet, a single wavering trumpet blast rent the cold air. The destiers reared, ears flattened, nostrils flaring, then charged each other with the ferocity of war.

“Huzzah!” the joust’s excite onlookers shouted, throwing handfuls of barley and rye into the pale blue sky. The dry seeds fell to strike their heads and shoulders and the trampled, snow-burned grass beneath their feet,. Blackbirds bold as pirates, shrieked and squabled over the feast as children released from the working day’s drudgery shook rattles, clanged handbells, blew whistles and laughed.

Karen Miller does to her books with adjectives what my sister once did to my soup with paprika–ruined it!

These sentences are heavy and cumbersome. She uses description in excess during the joust as well: every noise, every sound, the light shining off of armor, exposition, the character’s thoughts,etc. All this description makes the scene drag. Even though these are very pretty sentences, they make you tired reading them. The excess of adjectives and adverbs can blur a sentences’ meaning, while tripping the readers eyes. I know I had to go back and re-read several of them.

Describe only what Your Character would Notice

When writing an action sequence, like a battle, fight, or chase scene, don’t use as much detail, inner dialogue, or description.

Describe only what your character would see. For instance, in a chase scene, everything blurs as you run. Are they looking for a place to hide? They won’t notice the trees are beautiful, only that they are too skinny to hide behind. This is not the time to stop and describe the roses.

I read a book that began with a chase scene. The main character is running for her life when suddenly she falls. As the character is laying exhausted on her back, the narrator went into a detailed description of her clothes, hair, the scenery, and exposition.

So many problems with this scene. Where to start.

Firstly, she would not notice anything serene or pretty, like how the light shines through the trees. She is running for her life. She is focusing on survival, not the scenery.

Secondly, the exposition in this scene slows the action. The reader might want to know why she is running, but this is a horrible time to bring up all the events and politics that lead to her escape. It also kills the suspense. If the character had this much time to reflect, she didn’t need to run now did she? What probably was only supposed to be a brief moment in the story felt like an hour.

Lastly, the description of her clothes was pace-killing, and jarring. Description needs to fit into the narrative smoothly without disrupting the flow.

For example:

She ran, not caring that her new boots were ruined.

Her velvet dress hindered her in the brier patch.

She could hide, but her red hair made it impossible to blend in with her surroundings.

Create Rapid-Fire Dialogue 

Minimize dialogue tags, reactions, and attributions so your dialogue is short and snappy. This will give the impression that your characters are talking quickly in rapid-fire succession. This is great for arguments. Some authors believe readers rely heavily on dialogue tags to know who is talking, but as long as you make it clear who is speaking to start with, and as long as there aren’t too many characters in one scene, it will be understood.

How to Slow Pacing

Have you ever heard the expression, don’t rush the good things. Maybe it’s a Tina Turner song and not an expression at all. Anyway, sometimes it’s better to slow the pace. This is good for slower scenes, character development, or romantic scenes.

There is a difference between slowing the pace and killing it. Let’s look at some tricks for slowing pace. You might assume you can take the tips from above and flip them. You’d be correct. It really is as simple as that.

To slow pacing include:

  • descriptions
  • inner dialogue
  • exposition
  • all those things we crossed out from the list above

Avoid

  • info dumps
  • redundancies
  • being over descriptive
  • too much inner dialogue or dialogue that rambles

Be Descriptive

Just like the fast scenes, focus on what your character would notice. In a slower scene they might have more time to reflect on their past, focus on setting, or stop and smell the roses.

Dialogue

In a slower scene, you can use more dialogue tags, actions, reactions, and inner thoughts than you could in an action scene. This does not mean you should have wasted dialogue. Whether the pacing is fast or slow, dialogue should start with the introduction of the important information and end when the characters conclude the main point. Don’t let them meander too long. Leave out lengthy introductions, greetings, and small talk. Let’s return to that first example. For starters, you would still leave out the “Hi, Bob.”

They exchanged greetings.

“Did you hear about Jim?” Bob spoke into his coffee cup as he took a drink, his voice suddenly lower as if there was someone else in the break room who might overhear.

Ted rubbed the back of his neck. He almost wished someone would interrupt. “Yeah, his wife told me he died Saturday.”

Bob slammed his mug down. “Well, she should know; she killed him.”

So there you have it, just a little advice on pacing your narrative. Hope you found that helpful!

 

 

Authors, be Featured on Write of Passage

Standard
photo provided by flickr

photo provided by flickr

Attention all writers, I would like to promote you and your books.

Via Twitter and WordPress, I’ve met many wonderful writers. I tend to follow people who are engaged and offer writing and publishing advice. I’ve learned so much, and I’d like for you to share your writing wisdom with my readers. So I’m starting a new feature called, Ask an Author. Some of you may have already received a personal request in your email to take part in this feature. If you haven’t, don’t worry, it’s not that I don’t want to interview you, I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Keeping track of over a thousand people can be challenging, if you know what I mean. I thought it might be easier to send a shout out.

What is Ask an Author, and Who can be Featured?

I am looking for published authors (Indie or traditional) who are interested in being interviewed. Ask an Author will be a monthly feature. It’s sort of like an author interview, only instead of a list of questions, you only answer one, which will be tailored to your particular strengths or interest as a writer. The goal of the question is for you to discuss something that you are an expert, or semi-expert, in order to help other writers. For example, if you’re social media savvy, your question would probably be social media related.

What will the Feature Include

  • a brief bio
  • the question
  • photos and/or videos
  • links to author websites, social media platforms, amazon and other sites where your book can be purchased, etc.

How to be Featured

  • email me at tbetzner@outlook.com
  • include your name, genre you write, titles of books you’ve written, a brief bio, and links to your blog, social media platforms, author site, and where your books can be purchased.

I will try to get back with you within 24 hours. From there, we’ll communicate via email unless you have a preferred means. Once I have all the information I need, I’ll let you know what month you will be featured.

Tuesday Tip

Standard

tip#1It’s Tuesday again, which means it’s time for another Tuesday Tip. Going back to the editing checklist, let’s take a closer look at style.

photo provided by instyle

photo provided by instyle

Not that kind of style–writing style.

The trouble with giving advice about style is that it’s subjective. What one person likes, another won’t. However, writers tend to prefer styles that are clear, concise, and easy to read.

Personal style

Style is simply how something is written. Everyone’s personal style varies. Your writing will convey your voice and personality. Everyone’s voice is different; everyone’s style is different, so how do you know if your style is good . . . or bad?

Potential Problems

1. Passive Voice

Passive voice is not grammatically incorrect; however, many readers prefer books written in the active voice. Sentences contain nouns and verbs, subjects and actions. A sentence is considered passive when the action comes before the subject doing the action.

Example:

Passive: The chair was sat on by the boy. (action comes before subject)

Active: The boy sat on the chair. (subject comes first)

Technically, the first sentence is correct, but the second sentence is easier to read and understand. That is the problem with passive voice; readers get confused trying to decipher the meaning of passive sentences. For clarity, use active voice. To identify and eliminate passive sentences, highlight all to be verbs in your sentences (are, am, is, was, when). Make sure actors come before actions.

2. Too Wordy

Good sentences are clear and use strong, concise wording. Wordy sentences can bore, challenge, or confuse your reader. To cut the clutter, you first need to identify why your sentence is wordy.

  • Too many qualifiers–or what I like to call filler words (very, often, hopefully, mostly, practically, extremely, somewhat)
  • Prepositional phrases (on, in, for, of, from, with, about)
  • Redundant wording (advance warning, 7 a.m. in the morning, a brief moment)

Now that we’ve identified some problems that might be weakening your style, let’s look at some ways you can improve your writing style.

1. Sentence Variety

Instead of rewriting or paraphrasing, please check out my first Tuesday Tip, which was about sentence variety. To read that post, click here.

2. Clear Concise Words

Choose your words deliberately. Use specific words, nouns, and verbs instead of vague or wordy ones.

Example: He is aware that his dog is sleeping on the bed

Correction: He knows his dog is sleeping on the bed.

3. Connect Images, Ideas, Chapters, and Sentences.

When you think of connecting sentences, commas and semi colons probably come to mind. There’s another way to connect your sentences, paragraphs, even chapters. You’re not connecting them with commas, but images. Repeating ideas and images will help your sentences flow and improve your writing style. Before you start the next sentence, look at the last one. Do this with your chapters as well. Look at the last four sentences of your chapter. What is the image, theme, message? Carry this image in the next chapter. Think of it like the transition of a movie. Have you ever seen a West Side Story? Before the dance, Maria is spinning around in her room and the camera blurs on her dress. When it refocuses, she’s spinning in a ballroom. In A Christmas Story, a bathroom scene cuts as the boy opens the toilet lid to the boy or mom opening the lid to a pot of red cabbage. Repeated images make transitions less jarring and help scenes flow.

Example: Your chapter ends with a fire or a character blowing out a candle. The next chapter starts with a sunrise.

Example: You end the chapter with someone screaming. You begin the next chapter with someone singing.

See how these images or ideas repeat. Look for these connections in the book you’re reading or the movie you’re currently watching (when you should be writing). You’ll start to notice the transitions aren’t random.

I hope you found these tips helpful. Choose your words and connect your sentences wisely so your writing style will not go out of style.

 

Tuesday Tip

Standard

tip#1I want to start off by apologizing for not posting a tip last Tuesday. I should have had something prepared in advance since I knew the con was that weekend, but it was just such a busy week. I’d rather miss a post than publish a half-baked one. So here is last Tuesday’s tip today.

Let’s take a look at setting. “Look” is only one of the five senses we’ll be using to describe the world your character lives in.

What Should you Describe?

When introducing your readers to your world, it helps to think of the five senses and the 5 W’s.

Who: This is your character. How does your setting relate to them? Is this their home? What do they notice about their setting?

What: What does it look like? What landmarks, features, buildings, exist in this landscape? What items are important to your setting: a chipped coffee mug? A stack of books? A photograph?

When: This could be the year, season, time of day,etc. You always want to establish this early on.

Where: Does your novel take place in Colorado? Another galaxy? New Zealand? Psuedo-New Zealand?

Why: Why did you choose this place? Is the sunny east coast or an isolated mountain village the best setting for your novel?

Five Senses: Use your sensory details. But remember, the sights, smells, and sounds should be coming from your POV, not you. If your character is deaf, do not describe the sounds of a busy city. If your character is a child, don’t point out things that would not be at their eye level. Also don’t describe something as being soft or hard until your character has touched it. Describe things as they encounter them.

Info Dumping

Often, especially with new writers, descriptions of scenery are dumped into one paragraph like a dump truck unloading dirt. It might be tempting to tell your readers everything you know about your setting, but this is called info dumping. Instead of enhancing the plot, the scenery slows down the action, bores the reader, or distracts from the character or plot. Avoid info dumps at all cost.

  • Only describe what the reader has to know to understand the setting.
  • If your descriptions are a block of text or a paragraph, this is probably an info dump. Cut what you don’t need or spread out your description throughout the narration, so that there is something separating it. Describe the setting while your character moves throughout the world so your setting doesn’t stop the plot but flows with it.

Things to Avoid

  • Info dumping. See above.
  • Remember to describe the setting from the character’s perspective. What would they notice? A major pet peeve of mine is when authors describe the scenery as being “exotic” from their character’s POV. Don’t describe your world as being exotic if it isn’t for them. What you want your reader to find unusual (double moons, red lakes, man-eating trees, giant cats) will be common place to your character. You don’t need to force the image down your readers’ throats like a funnel at a frat party. A sky with two moons hovering over a red sea will sound unusual enough without your character pointing it out as being strange.
  • Not enough setting. Yes, it’s true. While a majority of writers seem to suffer from info dumping, there are those whose characters are floating in space. I recently read a sample of a book where I could not get a grasp of where the characters were.
  • Don’t overdue it. Have you ever red a book where the character seems to have control over the weather? It doesn’t always have to rain when the character is sad or storm during a battle. On the contrary, say you were writing a story about a missing person. They find the body on a sunny Easter morning. It may be more eerie to find a body on a sunny day rather than a rainy one. This also adds realism.
  • Do not start your story with a sunrise or sunset–unless this is an important image that has something to do with your plot. I once checked out three books from the library that all began with the rising of the sun. Not only is this overdone, but it’s often an unnecessary detail. If the sunrise is an important part of your setting, put it in, but try to avoid starting your book this way.

Creating Your Own World

If there is one reason I don’t believe in a god it’s because of this: No one can make a world in seven days. It’s taken me a year to fully develop my own. If you’re setting takes place in a real place, my suggestion to you would be to go there–especially if it’s somewhere tropical like Hawaii. For those of you creating your own world, you have a lot more planning to do.

  • Make it believable. Understand the laws of nature and science. Say your characters land on a planet with no oxygen. What does a planet without oxygen look like? What are the effects of metal when exposed to low levels of oxygen? What about the opposite? Your characters live on a planet with higher levels of oxygen. Not only would they have more energy than we do, but they would also have very large bugs. Research, research, research.
  • Create a world that enhances your plot. Don’t create a boring environment that will stunt your story. Make it vivid. Create a landscape that challenges your protagonist. Your character has been exiled from his tropical kingdom. On his journey to a new home, make him walk across a desert or a frozen tundra instead of a lush, green valley.

Plan your setting like you would your characters and your plot. Make it vivid, make it believable, but most of all, make it the way you want it.

Who is the better Writer?

Standard

untitledI love Pub-talk; it’s my favorite part of the bar experience. Usually I’m the DD, so I spend more time talking than drinking.

Saturday, I had a great literary conversation while sharing a drink with my sister. I only had one drink, mind you; I would hate to get a DUI while dressed as an elf. After the con, there was an after party at Cook McDoogles, which is an Irish pub in my city’s downtown. My sister and I were talking with two brothers, attendees of the con, when one of them asked an interesting question. Who is the better writer: J.R.R Tolkien or George R. R. Martin?

My initial instinct was to blurt out Tolkien. His books are classics and he’s practically the father of fantasy; however, this does not make him a perfect writer. His writing suffers from info dumping, plot holes, and plot-stopping scenes and characters. That doesn’t mean I’m naming George the winner. He has his fair share of faults as well: A first chapter that doesn’t establish the main conflict, no clear main protagonist, and the overuse of dream sequences. I think I’ll save my opinions for a later post. I want to hear from you. Who do you prefer?

What Stage of Writing are You in?

Standard

imagesCAIA0UMKFor the next several months, I’ll be focusing on editing, both on my blog and in my free time. Well, it was free time before it became editing time. That doesn’t mean I won’t still be writing when I get a chance.

Even though my sister and I are twins, we aren’t on the same stage of writing. She’s in the final editing stage and I’m still writing the CFD (crappy first draft). I may have crawled, talked, and walked first, but she’s ahead of me where it really matters.

I’ve noticed many of you are in different stages as you blog about writing, editing, cover reveals, and releases. Whether you’re starting the first draft or finishing the final edits, all of these stages lead to the same goal. Please take a moment to share where you are at with your fellow writers . . . or editors or drafters, or planners.

Rising with the Moon For the Sake of Writing Research

Standard
Not one of my pictures, though I took a lot.

Not one of my pictures, though I took a lot.

There are very few things I’m willing to get up early for: McDonald’s breakfast, garage sales, and Black Friday, to name a few. This morning (even though 4 a.m. feels like night), I got up early to see the second and final total eclipse of 2014.

For those of you who follow me on twitter, you’re probably thinking “Shut up about the blood moon already!”

After today, I promise I will, but getting to watch the lunar eclipse (from start to finish) was an important moment for me for several reasons.

A lunar eclipse is a rare phenomenon on its own (2 a year on average), but several total eclipses in a six-month period is even rarer. This was one of four total eclipses in what’s known as a tetrad. The last will be in Sept 2015. Red moons occur every 2-4 years or so, and there have been at least a dozen tetrads in the last 500 years (which still makes them pretty rare). Whenever a triad occurs, it’s interesting to note, it is usually followed by a religious movement–possibly because they are mistaken for a Biblical sign or a warning of doom. I guess we’ll have to wait until September to find out if this tetrad will cause any religious upheaval or “the end.” To be continued . . .

The last red moon I tried to witness was in April. I really wanted to see it. I set an alarm, got up early, went outside in the cold, looked up at the sky, and saw nothing but clouds. I was so disappointed. I had to wait five months to see the next one. Last night, or morning I should say, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, so I was able to see this rare event before 2015.

The main reason I wanted to see it was because I have a blood moon in my book, although I don’t call it a blood moon. This isn’t the scientific name. I’m not really sure when people started calling it that–could be a Twilight thing for all I know. Without giving away too much of the story (spoiler alert), one of my protagonist is born under a red moon, which is unfortunate for him because his culture views red moons as an unfavorable sign. All of the societies that I’ve created view celestial events from a different cultural standpoint, whether it be a falling star or a lunar eclipse. Some of them view it as a natural occurrence, while others see it as being a bad omen. As a result, this character is considered ill-fated because of a red moon.

For those of you who didn’t see it, it was spectacular. The moon during a total eclipse looks red because the way the light from the sun bounces off the earth. So technically I saw the light of sunrise and sunset at once. How cool is that? I took pictures and notes, naturally. It was worth losing sleep for.

You might call me crazy; you might call me dedicated. I woke up at 4:00 a.m., stood outside in the cold for two hours, and got weird looks from the neighbors, all for the sake of writing research.

What’s the funnest, oddest, or even most dangerous thing you’ve done to connect with your story? Did you travel somewhere your character has been? Try a new or exotic food? Stare at a moon?

Thanks For Following

Standard
imagesCA2WI884

200 followers! I feel like Frodo!

I want to thank all of you who follow me, because today, I have gained  200 followers on both Twitter and WordPress. That’s right, they both got 200 followers on the same day. That’s saying no one unfollows me in the next minute–you know how Twitter can fluctuate like the stock market.

I can’t help noticing how similar this is to the photo above.

My goal was to have 200 followers by the beginning of January. Thanks to all of you, I’ve reached that milestone roughly three months early. So now, I’ll be shooting for 300 by the start of 2015. I love reaching goals and getting to set higher ones. Thank you all for pushing the bar higher. I appreciate all of your follows, likes, and comments.