Musing Over a Ray Bradbury Quote and Story Ideas

alrm clock alertRay Bradbury said, “I don’t need an alarm clock, my ideas wake me.” This iconic science fiction writer’s words challenged me. Sleeping after an idea floats through my mind is hard. Getting up to write when I work the next day—a bigger battle. If the idea strikes a half hour before the alarm my creativity usually wins out. But 2am when I get up at 4:30—fat chance. I roll over and tell my characters to go back to bed.

Then there’s the ideas I get in the shower. They often flow away in the recesses of the bath towel as I dry off. By the time my shower is over, and the idea has been thoroughly discussed with my imaginary friends I don’t have time to write it down. But if it happens on my day off I’m excited. I drag those characters out of the tub and make them wait while I dress. Then we traipse to the computer and they dictate as I type.

More often the not though, on my days off, if I haven’t jotted the ideas down, it feels like my characters have gone to the beach and taken the next scene with them.

Such is a fiction writer’s life.

When I do capture the ideas, it makes my next block of writing time so much more productive. Rather than letting the idea alarm rule my writer’s life I tend to scribble ideas on scrape paper at work and shove them in my uniform pockets. God forbid those uniforms get washed before the pockets are emptied. The ideas come during down times at work when the phones are quiet, and the paperwork is caught up. Those notes spark my thoughts for the next scene when I sit down to write.

Bradbury was far more determined than me if he let the ideas dictate his day no matter what time of night. If my ideas become my alarm clock during retirement at least I can take a nap after my sleep has been interrupted. Until then I’ll keep pushing the snooze on the idea alarm.

How does this quote speak to you?

 

 

 

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A Writer’s Thankful List

Writer's thankful list

Writing requires getting words on a page. Lots of words on a page is what we do. At times it can be a thankless pursuit. In order to refocus my mind from the attitude “this is too hard” to “I am having fun” I created a thankful list in no particular order of importance.

  1. I am thankful for computers and spell check.

When I first began this writing journey it was with a typewriter, carbon paper and white out. Bleh!!!

 

  1. I am thankful for the internet.

Research questions answers a key stroke away. I love the library but not leaving the house is golden.

 

  1. I am thankful for writing blogs.

So much information and encouragement to remind me I am a writer.

 

  1. I am thankful for e-mail.

No more sending proposals and query letter snail mail. No additional expenses to send my manuscript to several publishers at once.

 

  1. I am thankful for social media.

Connecting with my fans and other authors is wonderful.

 

  1. I am thankful for reviews.

Good, bad or quizzical. They remind me that real people read my words.

 

  1. I am thankful for my critique group.

Without my Word Weaver partners, I would still be unpublished.

 

  1. I am thankful for the friendships I’ve forged with fellow-writers.

They’ve mentored, encouraged and opened doors for me.

 

  1. I am thankful for a supportive family who brag about me to their friends.

Making me feel so loved.

 

  1. Most importantly, I am thankful to Jesus for the gift of words.

 

What’s on your thankful list?

 

      

 

Processing Rejection and Life Events

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photo from pixabay

This has not been the week I’d hoped it’d be. This has not been the month so far, I expected. Good thing I didn’t join NANOWRIMO because most of my days have had zero writing in them from November 1st.

I’ve always been told life happens and you need to adjust. Well, a family member recovering from a stroke is a definite life event my husband and I weren’t expecting? (Family member is not hubby and will remain anonymous.) The patient is recovering well but having my day interrupted with home health care nurses and physical therapist is not conducive to writing.

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Award and Rejection

Those of you who follow me on Facebook saw my announcement of winning the Maxwell Award for Secrets & Charades. Third place is awesome considering the point spread between first and third was minimal. That was on Saturday. Just two hours after Bride in Disguise (The sequel to S & C) was rejected by the pub board. So, that put a damper on the award. I don’t get emotional over these things immediately.  Rather, I have a delayed reaction. So, this week was grief and confusion mode for me. I’m sensing I need to just knuckle down and rewrite the thing to resubmit. (They said I could.)

I imagine I won’t start until next week or even December. Why? Rejection takes times to process. Courage takes time to emerge. And with health care workers invading my space I get overwhelmed. Honestly, health care workers are one more acrobat standing on the shoulders of other unexpected trials over the past few years.

Adjusting to life

Once my emotions and brain have wrapped themselves around the new normal, I will get back in the writing groove. This blog is a day late because Wednesday was the apex of my emotional downer. Thursday things seemed more normal. So, I’m posting on Friday to keep my two posts a week going.

I want to ask what you do when the acrobats of need weigh down your emotions and stymie your writing life? Please leave a comment.

 

Also, congratulations to Heather Roberts the winner of Shellie Arnold’s eBook Abide in Me.

 

 

 

 

Shellie Arnold discusses Abide With Me

close-up-for-webToday I am welcoming back Shellie Arnold. I wanted to touch base with her after the release of her third novel in The Barn Church series. I loved The Spindle Chair, adored Sticks and Stones, and got my hubby hooked on them, too. Abide With Me does not disappoint, a powerful story. Shellie, thanks for stopping by.

Hey Cindy! Thanks for having me back.

For my readers who have never read any of your books (shame on them) can you give us an overview of The Barn Church series.

I write about the perfect storms in marriage—what happens when your weaknesses hit mine head-on, and we’re both left wondering if anything can be salvaged. The Barn Church series follows several couples who attend the same church, Rowe City Gospel Church in Rowe City, Alabama (a fictitious church in a fictitious place). The church is literally a huge, converted barn. Very welcoming. Very rustic. Each book is about a different couple within the church, so each story stands alone. It’s a series, but a reader wouldn’t have to read them in order to enjoy the stories.

Now let’s focus on your new release Abide With Me. Here’s the back-cover.

Abide With Me cover

After ten years of marriage to the only man she’s ever loved, why is Angelina so unhappy? As a wealthy yet lonely wife, Angelina Rousseau pours all her emotions into her paintings. Desperate for affection and attention, she finds herself willing to do almost anything to feel loved. Her husband Nick is determined to provide everything Angie could want, including finally giving her what she’s asked for most—time with him. When what seems to be the perfect real estate investment turns sour, he’s arrested for fraud, but soon learns being accused of multiple felonies is the least of his worries.

Once again, Nick’s choices negatively affect Angelina. This time she’s forced to part with cherished possessions to finance his defense and protect her future. When Angelina’s carefully built walls begin to crumble, both husband and wife must examine their emotionally bankrupt marriage. Yet even if they discover what went wrong between them, Nick could still spend the rest of his life in prison.

Could “having it all” cost Nick and Angie more than they ever imagined?

How is this book different than the other two?

Great question. Let’s see…The Spindle Chair looks at how wounds from our past can directly affect a marriage, especially if that wound is tied to a trauma. I believe when God spotlights a wound or pain in us, it’s because He wants to heal it. Hopefully I showed healing is indeed possible in The Spindle Chair.

In Sticks and Stones I really wanted to show how enduring a crisis can take its toll on a marriage. Coping mechanisms often reveal bad habits, things we learned wrong before marriage, things we didn’t learn at all. I wanted to show a couple confronted with the fallout from handling a crisis, then rebuild with healthy habits.

I admit, Abide With Me is a bit different than the first two. It contains the message I wish I could share with every married couple, and hopefully the work speaks for itself. I wanted to show how every choice we make, every time we choose to listen (or not) and follow (or not) God’s promptings, we’re either sowing or refusing to sow into our marriage. I wanted to show how a couple can drift apart over time, why that happens, and the key to coming back together.

How is it the same?

It’s the same in that I show both points of view, address what can be a fundamental problem in marriage, and show my characters stumbling through changing their spiritual and marital lives.

What do you hope readers gain from reading Angelica and Nick’s story?

As with all my stories, I have three main goals: 1) that readers see God is always at work, always reaching for them, always offering growth and an opportunity to draw closer to Him and each other, 2) that readers will consider their own spiritual and marital lives, and 3) that readers will receive hope and believe no matter how difficult or strained their marriage is, if both of husband and wife listen to God, He can redeem, restore, and heal anything.

Your novel’s characters feel so life-like, so real. How closely do they mimic life experience? Either yours or someone you know. Or is this a big stretch of the imagination.

Thanks for that! Honestly, some part of all my characters is me, and all the struggles in my stories are struggles I’ve had or still have. I write from experience and try to share what I’ve learned the hard way. I know how difficult change can be, how daunting growth can be. I know what it’s like to be afraid of God seeing my sin and weaknesses—dark places are something I’m well-acquainted with. I’ve also been the recipient of His mercy and grace and kindness and gifts I don’t deserve. I want to show all of that in my stories.

I know you recently moved and that you are a home school veteran. How do you find time to write and keep up with your busy life?

Yes, this time last year we were in the process of buying a home and moving. A stressful, but exciting event.

My family comes first. Always. Finding time to write has been a tremendous challenge for many years. For decades I felt overwhelmed from home schooling and trying to write. Bottom line, there are no easy answers when managing family, and a calling or job of any kind. My youngest is now a senior in high school, so my home school responsibilities are much less than they were in previous years. Right now I’m learning how to proactively manage my time—a new feeling and experience for me.

What is the one thing you have learned about yourself as you’ve traveled this writing journey?

Honestly, I am constantly learning how much I need God for all the broken places inside I’d not noticed before. Almost daily I realize there’s no end to God’s love and mercy, to the provision provided by Christ’s death on the cross. That love, mercy, grace, patience, provision—all the things God has for us—really is endless. I can’t really wrap my brain around that, the idea God is always more, always has more, but it’s always true. When I need more—which is both again and always—He is more.

 

Thanks so much for stopping by. Hope my readers grab a copy of  Abide With Me. (Readers, check below for a chance to win a free e-book version.)

More About Shellie Arnold:

Shellie Arnold is a writer and speaker on marriage and family. She truly believes—despite baggage, neglect, or mistakes—if a husband and wife listen to God, they can live happily even after. Her passion is sharing how God is helping her do exactly that. She maintains a blog at www.shelliearnold.com and is the founder of YOUR MARRIAGE resources. Shellie is a mother of three and has home schooled for over twenty years. She lives in Ohio with her husband of thirty-one years.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shellie.arnold.7

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShellieArnold1

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/ShellieLArnold/

Shellie is giving away an e-book version of Abide With Me. This book is easily a stand alone if you’ve never read the other two books in the Barn Church Series. Click the comment button at the top of this post and let me know you want to be placed in the drawing. If you re-post this blog on your social media and mention it in the comments I’ll give you an additional entry. Friday I’ll announce the winner.

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Tips for Writing a Rough Draft in 30 days

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November is NaNoWriMo month. Writing a novel in a month is a great goal. A daunting one for most of us. Not a perfect novel. Just the first draft. I usually don’t participate in NANoWriMo. Thanksgiving and lots of birthdays makes it too challenging. I tend to do the one-month marathon in March during Seekerville’s Speedbo. That month has worked the last few years for me. But you can choose any month to write your rough draft in 30 days.  First, you need to get a few things done before hand.

  1. Complete your research

By this I mean basic research. Setting, plot development, vocabulary for genre, backstory information such as medical terms, military speak or police procedure. You can add more detail for clothing etc. during the rewrite phase.

 

  1. Have notes, outlines. Character sketches and setting maps finished.

Notes help you remember what you wanted to write for specific scenes. Character sketches guide you in your character’s responses to situations. The sketch helps remind us of bad habits, fears or past hurts.

 

  1. Plot out your daily word goal 

The goal is up to you. Divide the require end count for your genre by the days you plan to write. You can plan a specific word count goal that gets you half way or three quarters through your manuscript. That’s usual enough of an incentive to finish it.

80,000 divided by 30= 2667 daily goal

45,000 divided by 30= 1500 daily goal

80,000 divided by 25= 3200 daily goal

45,000 divided by 25= 1800 daily goal

 

  1. Figure out what time(s) of the day are best for you to write each day.

I prefer mornings because my creative juice gets drained after 7pm. My day job days tend to produce a smaller word count unless inspiration hits at night.

 

  1. Choose your quiet place(s) for maximum productivity.

If you work better surrounded by noisy family, go for it. Most often there is that desk in your office, the kitchen table or the recliner in the den where creativity blooms. Sometimes a location away from home can help inspire reaching a word count goal.  I can’t do Starbuck or Panera’s because they’re just too noisy. But give me a study room at the library and I can knock it out of the park.

 

  1. Resolve to do your best and not quit writing until your 30 days have past.

Even if you don’t reach your word count goals because some days got complicated. You’ve managed to get more words on paper than if you hadn’t accepted the thirty-day challenge.

 

  1. Do it with friends.

NaNoWriMo and Speedbo encourage working with others. They provide help and encouragement all along the way. You can gather a few writer friends and hold each other accountable for your progress. Weight Watchers uses this same strategy. We know any hard thing is easier when we don’t feel alone. Writing is a lonely endeavor.

 

  1. Reward yourself

Set short and long-term rewards. A specially Latte or your favorite decadent treat for a weekly word count goal. Perhaps a week-end excursion for complete the 30-day challenge. If you tell your spouse you’re plan is a romantic get-away if you meet the challenge, they will probably do all they can to ensure you succeed.

 

  1. Post it on Social Media

This accomplishes two things. Additional accountability and early marketing for your book. Those who follow your progress are going to be curious about the finished project.

 

  1. Prayer and reflection

Time with the Lord brings clarity and encourages our spirit. Daily revitalization is a key to perseverance.

Hope you found these tips helpful for whenever you decide to take a 30-day challenge. My last two books began at Speedbo.  I’m gearing up to complete my next rough draft through Speedbo as well.

I’d love to hear how thirty-day challenges have grown your writing career. Share any other tips you’ve found helpful.

A Few Historical Romance Picks

 

If you recall I mentioned in my Ten Points to Consider Before signing a Book Contract that I read books from the publishing house before signing. Today I’d like to introduce you to the rest of the novels  in the Smitten Imprint that share space my novel Secrets & Charades. Because I adore historical fiction I continued to read the rest of the Smitten imprints even after I was contracted. Reading all the novels helps me understand the imprint better. I am more aware of what might be of interest in the future. I have a better idea who I want to follow and interview. Yeah, I’m a fan, not just a reader. The rest of this post is showcasing these delightful stories.

This first novel In A Pirates Debt, by Elva Cobb Martin, has a wonderful setting of the Barbary Coast in 1700s Colonial times. Haven’t seen this setting in an Inspirational romance before. Lots of swashbuckling sword fights, explosions and privateering. Not to mention a strong damsel in distress.Pirates Debt

Saving her can land him in a hangman’s noose at low tide in Charles Town Harbor. Repaying her debt to him will consign her to a life worse than death.

When confronted with a forced marriage, Travay Allston flees her stepfather’s Jamaica plantation and dives into the sea. Death would be preferable to life with Sir Roger Poole, a drinking, gambling, scoundrel whose advances make her skin crawl.

Lucas sails the high seas as the dreaded Captain Bloodstone. He is on a quest to find his mother, a woman last seen clapped in irons by the Spanish. As his ship slips past Jamaica, he spies a young woman plunge into the sea. A prize of such beauty must be saved and Lucas dives in to rescue her. The last thing Lucas needs is to get involved with Travay, a childhood friend who caused him nothing but trouble. Especially now that she’s become a stubborn, alluring young woman.

Lucas delivers Travay to her aunt in Charles Town and washes his hands of the affair. Or so he thinks. But when Sir Roger shows up demanding that Travay marry him or face the wrath of Charles Town’s newest council member, Lucas feels that familiar boyhood tug on his heart. Will this wanted pirate of the crown risk his life to save Travay a second time? Betrothed to a man she hates, will Travay repay her debt to a pirate by marrying Sir Roger in exchange for his promise to pardon Lucas? And if she does, will such a rascal keep his word? Falling in love with the pirate was never part of her plan …

I’m listing them by dates.

This 1770 novel A Heart Set Free by Janet S Grunst focuses on the subject of indentured servants. The truth- ugly indeed. Love the premise and the historical realism. Winning an award is one of the things I list as a consideration in the ten points post.

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2017 Selah Awards Winner for Historical Romance

In 1770, Heather Douglas is desperate to escape a brewing scandal in her native Scotland. Penniless and hoping for a fresh start far away, she signs a seven-year indenture and boards a British merchant vessel headed to Virginia.

Widowed planter Matthew Stewart needs someone to help raise his two young children. The tall blond standing on the Alexandria quay doesn’t look like much after her harrowing sea voyage, but there’s a refinement about her that her filthy clothing cannot hide. Could God be leading him to take this unknown indentured servant as his wife?

When Matthew purchases Heather’s indenture, marries her, and takes her to his farm, she is faced with new and constant challenges. And Matthew wonders if they can ever bridge their differences and make a life together.

But in the Virginia countryside, Heather begins her greatest journey, one of self-discovery and of maturing faith. Here, she discovers that her emotional and spiritual scars bind her far more than her indenture . . . and love will finally set her heart free.

Saratoga Letters, by Elaine Cooper takes you between two worlds, the Revelotionary War and modern day. As you can see it was considered for an award. Thorough research makes this novel exceptional.

Saratoga Letters2017 Selah Awards Finalist

It is 1777. The Battle of Saratoga, a turning point of the Revolutionary War, encourages the American Continental Army with their first great victory. But there seems little to celebrate for one patriotic woman forced to nurse wounded British soldiers right in their war camp. Thrust into deception by a cruel Loyalist uncle, Abigail lies in order to survive, all the while dealing with doubts that challenge her faith.

Then …

Two hundred years later, on the anniversary of the Battle of Saratoga, thousands arrive from Europe and the United States to celebrate the event—including descendants from the war. One young American, Abby, meets the offspring of a British soldier. When she is threatened, Abby turns to the only person she knows at the event—her British ally. Can she trust him with her life? Or will he betray her in the same way loyalist spies betrayed her ancestors? Perhaps letters from long ago will reveal the truth.

The Planter’s Daughter by Michelle Shocklee is Pre-Civil War. Again I love the honest portrayal of life on a plantation and the struggle for the characters to realize slavery is horrible.

Planter's DaughterAdella Rose Ellis knows her father has plans for her future, but she longs for the freedom to forge her own destiny. When the son of Luther Ellis’s longtime friend arrives on the plantation to work as the new overseer, Adella can’t help but fall for his charm and captivating hazel eyes. But a surprise betrothal to an older man, followed by a devastating revelation, forces Adella to choose the path that will either save her family’s future or endanger the lives of the people most dear to her heart.

Seth Brantley never wanted to be an overseer. After a runaway slave shot him, ending his career as a Texas Ranger and leaving him with a painful limp, a job on the plantation owned by his father’s friend is just what he needs to bide his time before heading to Oregon where a man can start over. What he hadn’t bargained on was falling in love with the planter’s daughter or finding that everything he once believed about Negroes wasn’t true. Amid secrets unraveling and the hatching of a dangerous plan, Seth must become the very thing he’d spent the past four years chasing down: an outlaw.

A Rebel In My House By Sandra Merville Hart is set during on of the hardest fought battles of the Civil War, Gettysburg.  Lots of historical detail adds to the realism of the setting.

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Sarah Hubbard makes her living as a seamstress in her solitary home beside Willoughby Run, a creek near Gettysburg. Her loyalties are firmly on the side of the North so when Confederate soldier, Jesse Mitchell, seeks refuge at her home she cautiously agrees to help him.

Jesse promised his sister-in-law to bring her husband, Jonas, home safely. With all the death he’s witnessed fighting for “The Cause,” protecting Jonas has become a matter of honor. He is prepared to die for his brother and his country. He appreciates his luck in finding a caring woman behind enemy lines.

When Union soldiers spill onto their property, Sarah’s compassionate decision to conceal Jesse’s presence in her home leads to more hardships than she can imagine.

More than borders separate the couple. Can a Southern soldier and a Northern seamstress overcome the bitterness of loss and find the love amidst the horrors of war?

In keeping with the timeline let me offer my novel, Secrets & Charades set on a ranch in 1872. Post-war trauma and lots of other secrets pepper this plot. Loved all the research to bring these characters to life. I feel honored to be part of the quality authors published in the  Smitten Imprint.

secret-charades-front-coverJake Marcum’s busy ranch leaves him no time for courting, and his wounded heart has no place for love. When battlefield nightmares disturb his peace and his tomboy niece, Juliet, needs taming, somehow a mail-order bride seems like a logical solution.

Dr. Evangeline Olson has no idea her niece is writing to a rancher on her behalf, and she sure isn’t interested in abandoning her medical practice for a stranger. But when an inheritance threatens to reveal a long-buried secret, she travels west to become Jake’s wife.

Jake soon realizes Evangeline is more than he bargained for, especially when her arrival causes a stir in the community. As the two try to find their way in a marriage of convenience, their fragile relationship is further tested by cattle rustling and kidnapping. Can their hearts overcome past hurts to create a real marriage?

Secrets & Wishes by Kathleen Rouser is a turn of the century romance. Pharmacist as a profession and the pharmacy were new in the early 1900s. This is a new offering with Smitten and the characters are well-crafted and the setting so believable.

Secrets & WishesStone Creek, Michigan, April, 1901 Maggie Galloway and Thomas Harper clash after their sons collide in a fistfight. Both widowed, they’re each doing their best as single-parents. Outgoing Maggie has dreams for a home of her own and a business to provide for her son as she searches for God’s path for her life as a widow. Reserved Thomas struggles to establish his new pharmacy and take care of his four rambunctious children, while wondering how a loving God could take his beloved wife.

When Thomas becomes deathly ill, Maggie is recruited to nurse him back to health. Taking the children in hand, as well, is more than she bargained for, but she is drawn to help the grieving family. Both nurse and patient find themselves drawn to each other but promptly deny their feelings.

A baking contest sponsored by the Silver Leaf Flour Company brings former beau, Giles Prescott, back into Maggie’s life. When Giles offers Maggie a position at their test kitchen in Chicago, he hints that, along with assuring her a good job, it will allow them to possibly rekindle their relationship.

But then a charlatan comes to town, and tragedy soon follows. Maggie and Thomas discover the miracle potions he hawks aren’t so harmless when an epidemic hits Stone Creek. Thomas and Maggie realize they must work together to save lives.

Maggie finds herself caught up in battles within and without—the battle to help the townsfolk in the midst of illness and chicanery, and the battle to know which man—Thomas or Giles—deserves to win her heart.

This final offering You’re the Cream in My Coffee by Jennifer Lamont Leo takes place during prohibition. The research was spot on. The mysterious twists made this an award winning gem.

Your The CreamWinner of the 2017 ACFW Carol Award for Debut Novel
Winner of the 2016 Grace Award for Women’s Fiction

2017 Selah Awards Nominee

In 1928, Chicago rocks to the rhythm of the Jazz Age, and Prohibition is in full swing. Small-town girl Marjorie Corrigan, visiting the city for the first time, has sworn that coffee’s the strongest drink that will pass her lips. But her quiet, orderly life turns topsy-turvy when she spots her high school sweetheart–presumed killed in the Great War–alive and well in a train station. Suddenly everything is up for grabs.

Although the stranger insists he’s not who she thinks he is, Marjorie becomes obsessed with finding out the truth. To the dismay of her fiancé and family, she moves to the city and takes a job at a department store so she can spy on him. Meanwhile, the glittering world of her roommate, Dot, begins to look awfully enticing–especially when the object of her obsession seems to be part of that world. Is it really so terrible to bob her hair and shorten her skirt? To visit a speakeasy? Just for a cup of coffee, of course.

But what about her scruples? What about the successful young doctor to whom she’s engaged, who keeps begging her to come back home where she belongs? And what, exactly, is going on at the store’s loading dock so late at night?

Amid a whirlwind of trials and temptations, Marjorie must make a choice. Will the mystery man prove to be the cream in her coffee–the missing ingredient to the life she yearns for? Or will he leave only bitterness in her heart?

I’m confident my novel is at a great house. These stories are so well written you can’t go wrong. If you enjoy historical romance or historical settings in your novels they are available at lpc.

You can find them on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in paperback and e-book.  Thanks for indulging me as I shared some wonderful books from my fellow-authors with Smitten. There are more coming and I can’t wait to read them.

Who are some authors you love to follow and why?

 

 

Three Boredom-Busting Tips

I’m preparing to write my fourth novel. Before digging in I like to read blogs and craft books to refresh me. This post is one of those. I’m sharing this great fine with my readers. Linda always has practical things to encourage her followers. Hope you find it as helpful as I did.

Linda W. Yezak

If writers already follow this maxim, they must have a higher level of boredom tolerance than I do. And if you’re like me, flipping pages to see when the action starts or where the next interesting tidbit of character insight is revealed, you have a low tolerance for boredom too.

And it’s for that reason, I’d amend the honorable Mr. Mortimer’s rule to don’t bore your reader.

How do you make certain you keep your reader hooked throughout your novel? The basic answer is to have a great plot with intriguing characters and high stakes. You must have at least that much to begin with, there’s no other way around it.

But to fine-tune it, add these three tips:

  • Provide action that is relevant to the plot.

Everything in your scenes should have a purpose, and the primary purpose is to move the plot forward. So if you’re describing…

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