Writing Believable Bilingual Characters

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Today I’m reposting a blog I created in 2014 before my first novel Secrets & Charades was published. The content is still relevant today. Comment below if you have other suggestions regarding biligual dialogue.

How can you create bilingual characters in dialog? How do you write in a language you don’t know? Let me share how I did it and what not to do. And the fine line to clarity.

When I discovered a few of my secondary characters either did not speak English or it was their second language, I wanted to help my readers understand them and appreciate their ethnic differences. Adding portions of another language to my manuscript could make things interesting. The trick is not to add too much. I’d learned from other writes not to write my dialog exactly as I hear others around me speak. That goes double when writing dialog spoken by bilingual speakers. Trust me—don’t. It is difficult enough to decipher some pieces of conversation where the syntax is different or words are mispronounced. Put that in writing and your reader will be confused enough to stop reading. I recall years ago when my son was required to read Shiloh for his English class. He asked me to read it out loud to him. The author had put thick accents into his southern dialog, and there were times I had to stop and explain what the words meant.

The trick is sprinkling dialog with an accent rather than recreating the accent syllable by syllable. Although the Irish speak English, it sounds different. As my heroine, Evangeline reflects on her late friend an Irish woman. She recalls her brogue. Using the word brogue lets the reader hear the accent. Adding words like lassie and ye into the conversation nails it without overdoing the speech pattern.

“I saw ye in a new place with large mountains and wide plains, and the wind was blowing your hair. Your face be more serene than I had ever seen it afore. Ye seemed younger, and love glowed from your eyes, the love a woman has for a man.”

Sprinkle in the second language

In my current novel a few of my minor characters are Mexican. I wanted to add a line here and there to flavor the scenes in Spanish. I went to a language translator on the internet to quickly add what I needed. Once my rough draft was finish, I showed those lines to my Mexican daughter-in-law and her family. They explained the need to change the wording because it wasn’t Mexican. And based on few scenarios, a more informal exchange was needed. Spanish has several dialects, and what I found on the internet was a more formal European Spanish.

Balance is the key. My Mexican housekeeper character mixes her languages.

“Mija, you’re going to break the chair. Stop sitting like a boy; try to sit like a lady.”

Listen carefully to those bilingual speakers around you, and then modify your dialogue to touch on it

Why did I make sure the translation was accurate?

Because readers who know Spanish would be taken out of the story if the language is wrong. Rather than have a lot of Spanish, I have the Mexican characters say a line in Spanish and another character react in English so the reader can follow the conversation. In this snippet our heroine practices her Spanish on her neighbor’s maid. We can tell by the neighbor’s remark what she said.

“Su pastel seve delicioso, muchas gracias.” Evangeline smiled as she spoke to Maria.

“I see you have picked up Spanish. That is a good way to keep these people on their toes. But there is no need to thank Maria; she is only doing what she is paid to do.” Thomas remarked.

Implied language

When it came to my Chinese characters, I opted for a more implied scenario. Wong Mae greets Evangeline as she enters her dry goods store. Here is a portion of their conversation.

On hearing Selena’s name, she turned to the older man, speaking in what Evangeline assumed was Chinese. The exchange between the two had a melodic quality.

“I am Wong Mae, and this is my father, Wong Chow. We hold Miss Selena in high regard. She is kind and brings us much business from the households of the white ranchers. If she is your friend, you are ours. My father did not know Mr. Marcum married. He says to give you the best price on anything in the store.”

Notice how the translation is all we read. That way I didn’t have to worry about incorrect translation. If these were main characters, I would probably have added Chinese dialog. I wanted to establish their nationality and their position in the community rather than a deeper characterization.

Introduction through dialog

Even without describing your character you can introduce their ethnicity. Selena the housekeeper is introduce through dialog.

“Good Morning, Selena.”

“Buenas Dias, Senor.”

Later more details are given regarding her character, but for a brief moment the reader can visualize a Spanish woman in the kitchen preparing breakfast.

 red dragon

Introducing language through setting

Describing setting can also give the writers a feel for the language. Evangeline visits a dry goods store run by the Wong family. As Evangeline enters town, she observes the distinctive Chinese flavor of the store fronts in one area of town. The dragon bedecked door sets the Wong’s store apart from any other shop. Instantly, the reader expects to enter the store and be greeted in Chinese.

Remember only touch on the accent

Decide what part of an accent flavors it without creating confusion. My other daughter-in-law is Filipina. (Yes we are an international family.) The syntax of the English language comes out different from her and all my other Filipino friends. Let’s create a short dialog to see how it might sound.

“Madam, see this sale. A buy one take one.” Ana held up her two pair of sandals.

“Nice. But what will your husband say? You already have a lot of shoes.”

Sharon’s question deflated the Filipino girl’s joy.

Ana did not look at her friend for a moment. A smile formed on her lips. “She knows I love shoes.” Her eyes anxious. “It’s okay, ma’am. Don’t worry.” Ana reached inside another bag, her smile regaining its sparkle.

“Look at the watches. I got three pieces for twenty dollars. See, beautiful.”

Sharon determined not to quench her friend’s one real joy by further rebuke.

Immediately it appears there is a typo. Shouldn’t she be he? The term husband usually refers to men. However, the Tagalog language and all the dialects of the Philippines have no pronouns. So often when my daughter-in-law is referring to a man she may slip and say she or her. Pronouns are a confusing part of the English language even after speaking it since grade school. So I would opt not to use this quirk unless the confusion aided in the plot. And it would have to be well-established early on for readers.

But the use of less common English words would give the same feel. Filipinos refer to buy one get one free as buy one take one. Rather than say there are six, its six pieces. Part of the culture is to refer to women as madam and men as sir. Yes ma’am is very common. So we capture her speech pattern in a way not to confuse the reader.

Lastly, let me recommend some great books from experts. For a more in-depth look at dialog check out James Scott Bell’s book How to Write Dazzling Dialogue: the Fastest Way to Improve Your Manuscript. DiAnn Mills The Dance of Character and Plot is another great reference.

How do you capture the essence of your characters?

I would love to have you join me on my writing journey. Follow my blog by clicking a link on the right. You can follow me on FB and Twitter as well.

 

Biggest Reason Great Writers Get Rejected By Big Pub Houses

A fellow author shared a personal experience on her blog that resonated with me. She’s a great writer. She self-published several books and is also traditionally published with a small house.  There are awards on her wall for all her hard work. With all those books under her belt, she went to one of the larger writer conferences this past summer and made an appointment with the editor of a prestigious publishing house. She hoped to gain their interest and a contract.

Despite her fantastic writing and numerous books, let’s not forget awards, the editor told her without hesitation that her sales didn’t justify taking a chance on her. Her platform wasn’t large enough to garner the kinds of sales they expected from their authors. Heartbreaking.

Unfortunately, this is the truth of the matter. Like my friend and most authors, I too am struggling with this same quandary. Not only do our books need to be stellar to catch the eye of the larger, therefore, more lucrative publishers we need to market the dickens out of them and have the numbers to prove it.

That platform consists of multiple social media streams with sizable followings. You must interact on group sites and post every day about things, other than buy my book. And that doesn’t include making memes and producing ad copy. Writer’s newsletters must be engaging and offer something of value beyond information about the author.

Then we must find the right places to draw attention to our books in order to increase sales. Free on Amazon requires so much more than arranging the dates to be free. We have to spread the word everywhere that it’s free. Place ads to announce it’s free. It makes my head spin.

Do you often repeat the mantra, all I want to do is write?  Don’t we all wish that was true?

My goal for 2020 beyond staying on tasks with writing is increasing those numbers; sales, newsletter subscribers and followers. If I can get notoriety through other creative means then awesome. I lack the ADD drive of some of my fellow writers and have hired someone to help with my social media marketing. Even so, there are still things I must do, personally engage with followers. *sigh*.”Don’t get me wrong, I love people, but I prefer to interact face-to-face rather than on social media Call me old fashion.) So, I will cling to a motto that has helped me in the past, inch by inch everything’s a cinch, yard by yard everything is hard. I’ll take on what I can without making myself crazy and lose my creative muse and in time I hope to reach my goal. When I do I might be as nervy as my friend and pitch one of the big five publishers and see where that lands me.

What are some marketing tips you can share to help build a platform?

 

Six ways your manuscript gets buried in slush piles and rejected

Recently, I got another author submission for this blog with the title Cindy Ervin Huff’s interview on the attachment. I usually download it to Word and rename it with the writer’s name and subject. I don’t get hundreds of submissions a day. I have time to download and rename. Editors don’t. This led me to the list of reminders I’ve seen repeated at conferences and in articles that bear repeating.

Manuscripts get reject and lost faster than fast and this can often be avoided if you follow these familiar guidelines.

  1. Pubs don’t pub that

There are still authors who use the shotgun method they shot their manuscripts out to several publishers or magazines without doing the research to find out what they publish. Just because the magazine is called Muscle Cars doesn’t mean you can send a random article about cars to them. Most magazines have a theme page. Each month is a different theme with suggestions of what they are looking for.

I write Historical Romance and there are several publishers who don’t accept anything by Contemporary Romance. They have specific guidelines that must be followed about content. In some cases, the structure of the story needs to follow a certain outline. I would be wasting those publisher’s time if I submitted it there. Go to their website and read the blubs about their books. Order a few of their best sellers to see what they publish before submitting your manuscript.

  1. Bad Titles for Attachments

You title your manuscript Gone with The Wind final draft. But if you leave that title when you added it as an attachment the editor may not be able to find it later. A better title is Margaret Mitchell manuscript Gone with The Wind. Even the title on your email should be Margaret Mitchell’s submission you requested Gone with The Wind. Submission requests mirror so many other emails. So be sure your name is clearly in the email subject line. This is also true for articles.

  1. Wrong formatting

Times New Roman 12-point font double spaced is the industry standard for manuscripts of any kind. A few publishers prefer single-spaced. Some asked for your scene breaks to be notated differently. And although this can be an easy fix, it is time that the publisher doesn’t want to take. Again, read submission guidelines and be sure your formatting is correct. A big problem can occur if you make corrections in your novel and it skewers the formatting or there are additional spaces between paragraphs and sentences. Copy/paste can create issues as well. Use find and replace to fix those yourself. Clean formatting shows professionalism. Ask for help if you don’t know how to fix it.

  1. Typos and grammar issues

A great story will often get rejected if there are typos and grammar errors. Publishers get great submission clean of errors. Why bother to correct yours? Even the best of us don’t see our own mistakes. The spell check on your Word program is limited- if it’s a word but not the word you want, it doesn’t know that. Use Grammarly or ProWritingAid to comb your manuscript. Then ask someone else to read through it. Fresh eyes catch typos so easily. Be especially careful that the first page is error-free. Editors are busy people and they read manuscripts all day long. Typos and grammar errors distract them so much they can’t focus on content. Rejection will be inevitable.

  1. Not reading submission guidelines

I’ve already mentioned this. But it bears repeating. If your manuscript is formatted, clean and fits the theme of the publisher, it can still get rejected if you miss any points in the guidelines. Women’s World still takes their fiction by snail mail with a SASE. Chicken Soup for the Soul only takes submission attached to the form on their website. A few magazines prefer the article in the body of the email although most prefer them attached. Check submission times. There are publishers who only look at submissions from January to June, for example, others have even shorter windows. They want all their submission for the year in that timeframe. So read the guidelines carefully and read it again.

  1. Mediocre writing

Publishers are looking for great writing. Correct grammar is important but if the story isn’t awesome, it won’t matter if you’ve followed the guidelines to a T. Read best sellers in the genre you want to write. Study what made it a great book. Take classes at conferences or online, read writing books. Keep honing your craft. Make your words shine.

What other things get manuscripts rejected or buried in the slush pile?

Meet C. Kevin Thompson and get a peek at The Letters

Today I welcome suspense writer C. Kevin Thompson to my blog. He gifted me with an Arc copy of his latest novel and I’m happily reading his interesting story and can’t wait to learn more about how he it came to be and a bit about Kevin as well.

Welcome Kevin.

 

Tell us about your upcoming novel?

My latest book is The Letters, and it is now out in e-book pre-order on Amazon. Its official release date is Feb. 18, 2020. I’ll just leave the backcover copy piece right here…

THE WORLD IS A CRAZY PLACE

WHEN THE LIVING ARE DEAD

AND THE DEAD ARE ALIVE.

Rachel Hamar—a Manhattan bank teller—lives nothing close to a Manhattan lifestyle. Residing in Washington Heights, NY, the only thing keeping her in The Big Apple is her mother—a long-time patient in a local psychiatric hospital. It’s December 2014, and the twentieth anniversary of her high school sweetheart’s tragic death. She’s not sure how much more heartache she can endure, especially after being told earlier in the day she no longer has a job at the bank. A casualty of downsizing.

In the midst of spiraling depression, Rachel receives a mysterious letter in the mail. When she opens it, she becomes cautious and skeptical of its contents and discards it as a mistake, concluding it’s simply addressed incorrectly or a postal worker’s faux pas in the midst of a busy Christmas season. But another letter arrives the next day. And another the day after that. Before long, she is in possession of several letters. Each one more puzzling than the last.

Thinking that someone may be playing a cruel game, she contacts the police, and this propels Rachel and the two detectives into one of the most bizarre cases they’ve ever encountered. Is it a friend’s cruel joke? Is it some stalker’s perverse idea of manipulation? Or is it something more?

 

Kevin, what inspired you to write your book?

For The Letters, it started with a conversation I had while in seminary years ago about abortion in an ethics class. This was coupled with a conversation I had with someone about heaven and how John Wesley believed it would be somewhat of a continuation of this life, just minus all the things that bring heartache and sin into our lives. Yet, other people have more of a greeting card/comic strip perspective about heaven, complete with pearly gates and St. Peter as the gatekeeper. The rest find themselves somewhere in the middle, I suppose. Other conversations found their way into the formulation of this novel as well, such as talks around verses from the Bible about how far God’s love travels into the sinful world we live in day and night, and what it looks like when it does – A love that weaves the spiritual and physical world together into an existence many of us, even Christians, try to separate, compartmentalize, and downplay—even rationalize away—so we can somehow fathom it with our finite minds.

 

It was all these thoughts, verses from Scripture, theological discussions and more that suddenly came together into what has been described by one of my readers as a “Christmas Carol-esque” kind of story. As Rachel, the main character, describes it in her little prologue,

 

Where did it begin?

Or where did it end?

That is the better question.

For somewhere in the heart, during a time filled with turmoil,

A story emerged.

It’s an account that will baffle the imagination of many.

A story no one will want to believe.

It will be dubbed a legend by some.

A fairy tale by others.

A lie by most.

However, what you are about to read is a story of passion…

And a story of deceit.

A story of rejection…

And a story of redemption.

Ultimately, however, it is a story of love.

For this is my story.

Interesting prologue. You definitely have my attention.

Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

Romans 12:1-2. After Paul writes the first eleven chapters of the Book of Romans, he then says in so many words, “Now that I’ve said all these things in the first eleven chapters, do this and be this. If you do, you will be all that God envisioned.” For me, it is the most succinct description of Christian living, apart from Jesus’s “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul, and love your neighbor as yourself. Do this, and you fulfill the law and the prophets.”

 

I must ask my favorite question.

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

Start earlier and don’t stop! I had the itch way back in high school, but I never pursued it until much later in life. Had I started writing then, who knows where I’d be right now.

Every writer needs a support system to keep them pressing forward.

Who is your best support system to keep you focused on your writing?

I have several support systems. One is my family. My wife is a great encouragement to me and helps keep me centered on what’s important when I travel the roller coaster that is being an author. My daughters, my sons-in-law, my grandchildren and my extended family are my cheerleaders, keeping me motivated. Another support system I have is my critique group family. I want to give a shout out to my Word Weavers of Lake County, FL, group. Every month, it’s so good to meet and encourage one another as well as keep in touch in the days and weeks in-between. Another support system is my agent and his agency. Jim Hart and Elizabeth Kim have been so helpful in giving advice about the world of publishing. Then, of course, each publisher and their team are always so helpful. You can always learn a lot from all of them.

 

I always like to know where is your favorite place to write?

I have an office (a converted bedroom, actually) where most of the magic happens. However, if I had my wish, I’d be on the balcony of a condo, overlooking the beach, with a laptop desk in front of me, a cool breeze blowing off the ocean, and a drink sitting next me on a table. Between naps, who knows how many words a day I could write in that environment. J

It has been fun getting to know you better. And I hope my readers are curious about The Letters and preorder it. Click here to preorder.

 

More about Kevin

KEVIN THOMPSON is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a kid at heart. Often referred to as “crazy” by his grandchildren, it’s only because he is. He’s a writer. Need he say more?  Kevin is a huge fan of the TV series 24, The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, NCIS, Criminal Minds, BBC shows Broadchurch, Shetland, Hinterland, and Wallander, loves anything to do with Star Trek, and is a Sherlock Holmes fanatic too. But you will never catch him wearing a deerstalker. Ever.

The second edition of his award-winning debut novel, The Serpent’s Grasp, is now available! The first four books of his Blake Meyer Thriller series are out as well. Book 1, 30 Days Hath Revenge, Book 2, Triple Time, Book 3, The Tide of Times, and Book 4, When the Clock Strikes Fourteen, are now available! Book 5, A Pulse of Time, is coming Memorial Day 2020! Book 6, Devil of a Crime, is coming fall 2020! And, his new standalone novel, The Letters, available in e-book to pre-order, and will release on February 18, 2020! The Letters is a “Christmas Carol-esque” book that will haunt your family pleasantly for years to come!

Visist Kevin at:

Website:                 www.ckevinthompson.com/

Kevin’s Writer’s Blog:      www.ckevinthompson.blogspot.com/

Facebook:              C. Kevin Thompson – Author Fan Page

Twitter:                  @CKevinThompson

Instagram:             ckevinthompson

Pinterest:               ckevinthompsonauthor

Goodreads:                  C. Kevin Thompson

BookBub:               C. Kevin Thompson

 

 

 

Martin Wiles on Writing Devotionals

If you enjoy devotionals, you’ll enjoy this interview with Martin Wiles devotional writer extraordinaire. I enjoyed picking his creative brain about devotionals and his creative process.

Martin, welcome. I enjoy devotionals and there are some classics that have been around for decades. Tell me why another devotional?

Although authors have been writing devotions and devotional books for many years, I think a need always exists for new devotional books by authors of each new generation. Each writer is a unique individual created in God’s image and also has distinctive experiences, which often means giving a different twist than another writer who might have written on the same subject or verse. While there is nothing new under the sun, writers choose to pen their thoughts in different ways with unique insights.

 

Explain to my readers how you come up with each idea and how you construct it.

My ideas normally come from life experiences—both past and present. I carry a pad of some sort with me at all times. When an idea comes, I write it down. I even have one by my bed and one by my recliner. I find that if I do not write an idea down as soon as it hits me, I will normally forget it. If by chance I don’t have a pad, I use the Note app on my iPhone. I have even used a napkin at a restaurant. Anything to get the idea on paper.

Knowing the Scripture well helps with constructing the idea. For me, the experience usually leads me to Scripture. I use the same format we use for the website for which I am Managing Editor: Hook, Book, Look, and Took. I use an illustration—personal or otherwise—at the beginning to draw the reader in. Then I explain the Scripture. Following that, I give practical application, and then conclude by giving the reader a challenge…a task to complete or at least think about.

 

Tell my readers why devotionals are something they should read.

I dearly love the new forms of technology—especially since I grew up in an era before it appeared—but one consequence of instant information is that it has shortened our attention span. Most of my devotions are 400 words or less, which is rather lengthy in the world of devotional writing. I think people are looking for spiritual truth in short bites. Well-written devotions provide this. Although devotions won’t give a reader all the information about a particular topic or subject or answer all the questions they might have, the devotion should provide enough to goad the reader to explore the topic further. And devotions may well provide enough substance that will lead to life transformation if a person needs that.

 

Why should Christian writers consider writing devotionals or devotional books?

Writing individual devotions or publishing devotional books won’t make you rich, but for the average person who writes other genres, getting wealthy from their sales won’t happen either. While devotional writers are numerous, a person will have more opportunities to get a single devotion published than they probably will to have a book on any other genre published. Devotion writing also teaches a writer to write tight. Most of the places which publish devotions from freelance writers require devotions that are less than 250 words. This challenges the writer to say what they have to say in the fewest words possible, which hones skills and makes better writing. Additionally, many publishers—even Christian publishers—want writers to eliminate overt references to Christianity and rather get messages across in a more subtle way. With devotional venues, this is not normally a requirement.

Thanks so much for sharing your expertise and encouragement with my readers.

Here is the back cover copy of Martin’s current release.

A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapes in a Noisy World takes the reader out of the noise that often accompanies living in this world and into the quiet escapades of wooded areas where the voice of God is more clearly heard. A Whisper in the Woods was birthed from the author’s numerous treks with his two children and his middle brother in mountainous areas on the eastern coast of the United States. Through these hiking and camping experiences, God taught the author valuable lessons that have seen him through many difficult life experiences. As you walk with him through the mountain valleys and over the high summits, you too will hear God whisper words of comfort to you.

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Whisper-Woods-Quiet-Escapes-Noisy/dp/1620208652

 

About Martin:

Martin Wiles lives in Greenwood, South Carolina and is the founder of Love Lines from God. He is a freelance editor, English teacher, minister, and author who serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions and as a proof-editor for Courier Publishing. He is the author of six books and has been published in numerous publications. His most recent book, A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapes in a Busy World, released in December 2019.

Connect with Martin:

Website: www.lovelinesfromgod.com

Social media links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/martinwilesgreenwoodsc

Twitter: https://twitter.com/linesfromgod

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lovelinesfromgod

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/martin-wiles-5a55b14a

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/27658029-martin-wiles

 

What are some of your favorite devotionals or inspirational readings?

 

Double Jeopardy: Why This story and these characters? & a giveaway

 Donna Schlachter is in the house again sharing about her newest release Double Jeopardy. The history behind this Historical Romance gives us a peek into how her setting was created. Donna is giving away a free e-book too. It has a cowboy hero *sigh*.

This story came about because of a challenge from an editor to come up with a story that would have a cowboy on the cover. Which meant there needed to be a cowboy in the story. And I don’t usually write cowboys. I write detectives, rancher women, Pony Express, tour bus drivers, publishing editors, preachers, wagon train leaders—almost everything but cowboys.

 

Still, I’m usually up to a good challenge, so I started looking around for a place to set the story that would need a cowboy. Then I came up with the mining angle, switched letters, a debutante in dungarees, and then the mystery formed in my head.

 

Yes, this book is touted as Historical Romance, but it’s really Historical Mystery with a good dose of romance. Every book I write has a mystery or a suspense element that needs to be resolved, because that’s how I bring my world back into order.

 

These characters grew out of two needs: (1) a cowboy, and (2) the absolutely wrong woman for him. I wanted to take this cowboy out of his element just as she is out of hers, and see what happened when I stirred the pot with a murder, accidents, and a mother in the background who tries to control even from two thousand miles away. Becky and Zeke needed to be stalwart, courageous, but not so independent they didn’t need each other, even if they thought they did.

Maybe you’ll also enjoy the history behind the story. When most people think about opening up the Wild West, they picture cowboys, wagon trains, and, of course, the gold rush. And all of those would be true and very important to the reasons why folks left the relative comforts of the East—that being everything east of the Mississippi—to head into the Great Unknown.

 

The Colorado Gold Rush started in 1858 and lasted until around 1861, and brought thousands of miners, ancillary workers such as drovers, liverymen, blacksmiths, prostitutes, saloon keepers, and swindlers. However, apart from a few areas such as Cripple Creek, which saw its biggest mining deep into the 1890s, most of the gold petered out as quick as it was found.

 

An interesting tidbit is that silver was discovered because so many were looking for gold. Exactly twenty years after gold was first discovered, silver was found in the area of Leadville and covering a three-hundred-mile swath from the San Juan Mountains to the Foothills west of Denver.

 

Robert Campbell, Becky’s father, learns of this find, and heads for southwest Colorado, intent on getting in on the ground floor of silver mining in the area. Little did he know that the wealth he counted on would evaporate less than fifteen years later when the government stopped minting silver dollars, a decision that increased gold prices and sent silver prices into the basement.

 

I will randomly draw one name from all who leave a comment to win a free print ebook version of Double Jeopardy.

 

Come on over and join us at our Launch Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/2220456174726867/

 

Double Jeopardy is available at https://shoplpc.com/double-jeopardy/ Amazon.com, and fine booksellers in your area.

About Donna:

Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick. As a hybrid author, she writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts, and has been published more than 30 times in novellas and full-length novels. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Sisters In Crime, and Christian Authors Network; facilitates a critique group; and teaches writing classes online and in person. Donna also ghostwrites, edits, and judges in writing contests. She loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. Donna is represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management.

www.HiStoryThruTheAges.wordpress.com

www.HiStoryThruTheAges.com Receive a free ebook simply for signing up for our free newsletter!

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/DonnaschlachterAuthor

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/DonnaSchlachter

Books: Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ci5Xqq and Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2gZATjm

What Can Be Online University: https://what-can-be-online-institute.teachable.com/

Stimulate your Writng Brain though other activities.

A few days ago, I sat down with one of the coloring books my grandchildren bought me for Christmas and spent a few hours coloring and listening to music. The combination of the two opened my mind to creative thoughts about my current WIP. It was awesome to relax and then grab a pen and jot down those things that came to mind as I freed my brain from thinking about words and enjoyed the creation of color on the page. I felt refresh and invigorated after I complete my page.

Writer’s minds get blocked and creativity stymied from time to time. Stepping away from the keyboard and finding a few other creative outlets can restart and unblock creativity.

Coloring is a great outlet for me. I’m not always staying in the lines and I’m sure my color choices would not win any art prizes, but it doesn’t matter. I’m coloring for me alone.

I have friends who doodle-a lot. The simple act of scribbling seems to pull the solution to a plot twist to the front of their mind.

Some prefer puzzles whether Sudoku, crossword or jigsaw these activities stir a different part of the brain allowing the writing part to relax.

Writing a chapter with pen and paper stimulates the mind in a different way than pounding on your keyboard. It slows down the thought process as you write the words legibly on paper. That is a challenge for me as my penmanship is atrocious. But often handwritten chapters have the most interesting lines in them. When I type them into my manuscript I’m impressed with the creativity I achieve with pen and paper.

Music stimulates the senses and many writers find it helps put them in the mood to write. Historical authors may play the music of the period the story is set in. Some find specific styles of music set the mood for the scenes they are writing. For me music loosens tension and relaxes me. I usually prefer typing in silence but a prelude to the creative process I love music.

I have friends who knit, work in the garden or exercise allowing the mind to focus on something else while the subconscious is plotting scenes.

Pegg Thomas knits a shawl to represent every story she writes then she gives it away at her book launch. She even produces the wool from her own sheep. Boy does she get her creative juices going.

Another option to getting those manuscripts finished is dictating your words. There are software programs you can use. Some writers like to use the dictation app on their phone and then transcribe it. There is a dictation app in Word that makes it easy to plot your story out loud. (It’s in the Home tab.) I find the Read Aloud app (Review tab) in Word helpful as well. Anytime you hear your words read it helps you see what needs fixing.

A key to keeping your creative juices moving is finding those things outside of your hands on the keyboard that keeps your mind engaged with the story.

Coloring may sound like a waste of time or writing longhand and transcribing is time you could have used to type a complete chapter. All these things are not a waste of time but a stimulus for creativity.

Writing is hard work and leaving your computer chair on occasion or having your manuscript read aloud can refresh your creativity should be on every writer’s schedule.

What do you do refresh your mind and get the creative juices flowing?