Awww! The Liebster Award!

Ta da!  *applause*

Thank you Jennine at My Life In Books blog for nominating me for this award…it’s very much appreciated!

Here is how the nomination works.  The Liebster Award requires that I have to provide 11 random facts about myself, answer Jennine’s 11 questions she supplied below, nominate other bloggers to receive the award, and present them with 11 questions to answer.


Eleven Random Things About Me!  (prepare for boredom – you might want to grab one of those five hour energy thingies)

  1.  I have a fear of heights– who doesn’t?  Oh yeah, those crazy ass people base jumping.  Them.
  2. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a UFO
  3. I once found a dead man on the beach while on vacation
  4. I’m sorry to say I’ve known three people who’ve committed suicide
  5. I believe our house is haunted(ask me about the blender – and other stuff sometime)
  6. I was mugged – then scolded the mugger when it was done
  7. I’ve run two marathons
  8. I had Guillain-Barre syndrome in 1993
  9. I absolutely hate/despise/get really, really, really upset over animal cruelty – but – I don’t belong to PETA (and I love bacon!  And chicken.  And steak.  Does this make me a hypocrite?)
  10. I’m a tad OCD (ex:  must empty floor mats in vehicle every time I get in – or out)
  11. I have a violin (fiddle!) and I want to learn to play Bluegrass (one day)

Jennine’s Questions – My Answers:
1. What is your favorite season of the year?  Summer, definitely!   But anytime the temperature is mild, and there’s sun, I’m good!  Fortunately in NC, we have a lot of pleasant days.  Summer, if you aren’t born here, is tough for many.  I was born here, so I love it.  Yeah, humidity, love it.
2. What is your favorite genre to read?  This is hard, but currently I’m reading a lot of suspense, and I love it.  But, my close second would be commercial fiction (or books like COLD MOUNTAIN, THE STORY OF EDGAR SAWTELLE – shoot.  Can’t Oprah’s Picks be a genre?  LOL!)
3. If you could change your career, would you? To what/why or why not?  Well, I already have.  I worked in IT for about 35 years.  When I ended my time at Nortel (was there for 25 of those 35 years) I decided to pursue writing.  It remains to be seen if it will be a “career” or if I will need to put myself back out there again.
4. Where would your dream vacation take you to?  There are so many places in the U.S. I’ve not yet seen.  I’d have to say I’d love to jump in our RV and just go cross country, see all those sites like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and those giant Sequoia’s in the Northwest.
5. What do you enjoy besides reading/writing?  I run, plant things (hope they live) and bake.  I’ve really become obsessed with baking.  (hence the running)
6. Have you ever lied about reading a book?  Never!  I’d be too afraid someone would ask me a question and I’d look like a fool trying to answer.  Besides, I think of reading like I do road races.  I refuse to wear the shirt unless I’ve run the race.  I have my standards ya know.

7. Do you think reading is antisocial?  Not at all!  Unless you’re at a wild party and have your nose planted in a book.  Or at the dinner table – which I used to be guilty of growing up.  But I view reading as a way to talk about the latest books coming out, and what people think.  It’s a great icebreaker.  “Hey, what’cha reading these days?  Did you like it?  Me too!”
8. Where is your favorite place to read/write?  To read – in bed.  To write – just about anywhere in the house, where it’s quiet.  I have lots of little nooks and crannies (like those muffins) where I can creep off to.
9. Are you signed up for any reading challenges/writing goals this year?  Mainly to finish my latest draft.  I’m so close to THE END.  And then, I’ll have to edit, but that’s the biggest goal right now.
10. Do you have any pets? Names?  Oh yes, my little Yorkie, who’s 4 yrs old and weights about 4 lbs.  HIs name is “Mister.”  But I also call him “Bundle.” 
11. What are you reading now? What will you read next?  I just started NATCHEZ BURNING by Greg Iles, but…I have “WE WERE LIARS,” on it’s way.  Not sure if I’ll stop reading NATCHEZ (which is HUGE – 800 pages) and read LIARS first…, but, seriously?  OMG, I have about 50 books in my “to be read” pile…so it could be anything out of that.  I have yet to get to THE BELL JAR by Sylvia Plath, CHILD OF GOD, Cormac McCarthy, BLACKBIRD, Chuck Wendig…and on and on.

Great questions Jennine…I hope mine will be as interesting!

My Questions For My Nominee’s:

  1. What are your five favorite books?  (see I started out asking what’s your fave book but it’s too hard to pick only one!)
  2. What are you most afraid of?
  3. If you could pick one, which would it be? A week on an beautiful tropical island by yourself with just the essentials – or – a week in Vegas with ten of your closest friends and anything you want.
  4. Your favorite food?
  5. When did you know you wanted to….<fill in the blank>
  6. If you could have one “do over,” what would it be?
  7. There’s a tornado warning and you only have five minutes to get your sh– together.  What do you grab?
  8. What’s the most difficult decision you’ve ever made?
  9. You’ve just received “The Call,” from your agent.  What would you do immediately after that call?
  10. Tell us your strangest habit.  (hopefully, nothing gross)
  11. What is your most embarrassing moment ever?

And….here are my nominations for a Liebster Award.  I’ve come to know all of these nice people via other writing blogs or agent blogs.  Even though we’ve never met, this group of folks are witty, fun, and always have an encouraging word for aspiring writers – like me!  I appreciate them and their friendship.

My Nominee’s

  1. Paul Lamb @ Lucky Rabbits Foot
  2. Teri Carter @ Teri Carter Library
  3. Harryipants (that’s how we know him…Mr. ipants to you)
  4. Hank Petersen @ French Sojourn (I’m totally envious of his life in France – except when he has to prune the vineyard in freezing temps!)
  5. Peter Wells @ Countingducks

(Apologies in advance if I’ve nominated anyone who’s had this before.)




Perpetual Elevator

There’s nothing better than to read an article, blog post, or hear in an interview where a best selling author explains they continue to go through the very same things as writers who have never been published before.  Things like how each and every new book they work on, they feel they have to  learn to write all over again, or that they experience the same jittery nervousness about a new project they are starting, or how they worry over whether the story is any good, and last, what people will really think of it.  We read these things over and over, to help ourselves manage how we’re doing.  That lather, rinse, repeat sort of drill.

It also helps to write about it ad nauseum, hence today’s post.

About a month ago, I won first place (wheee!) in a contest out on Betsy Lerner’s blog.  The prize was a copy of Rosemary Mahoney’s sixth book, FOR THE BENEFIT OF THOSE WHO SEE.  Among Ms. Mahoney’s other experiences in the writing process, she indicated she shared the same view I have regarding what I see when I sit down to a blank computer/laptop screen.  And, Betsy’s blog is full of writers who have seen it all.  Success.  Failure.  Recrimination.  Glory.  Despair.  Personality disorders.  Medications to fix that.  Or alcohol.   There is a quirky little blurb off to the right of her page that puts it into perspective with her typical wry sense of humor.  It says, “Depressed? Anxious? You’ve come to the right place.  We accept all forms of insurance at The Lerner Rehabilitation Center for bitter writers.”  Well, I’m not bitter, but there may be some who are.

Whatever I read, whatever I subscribe to, eventually, at some point, a writer’s “feelings” come out during the process, and the list from above goes on.  Flattered.   Anguished.   Joyful.  Doubtful.  Encouraged.  Worried.  Elated.  Flattened.  The struggle to make the writing work.  The thought the writing is great, followed by the thought of hitting DELETE.  That could all happen in ten seconds.  If you want to know how it feels on any one given day, I can tell you.  Up, down, up, down.  Whichever way, welcome to the perpetual elevator called writing for a living.  (which sounds like an oxymoron at the  moment)

I’ve learned to try and ignore the emotional distress.  (who am I kidding?)  I don’t know why we are like this.  I had no idea I’d be like this.  It’s not that we’re special, far from it.  Most everyone wants to succeed, to be good at something.  But writers?  We want to be loved – our writing, that is, but ourselves, too.  We want to be swooned over.  We want flocks, no, make that droves of fans dying for an autograph, not the sound of crickets at a book signing.  We want someone telling us every five seconds how wonderful we are, and that no one, but no one can write like “us.”  Well.  That’s a bit much.  Almost like that number one fan in MISERY.  No.  Thank.  You.  I may only need my fingers to type, but I’d still like to keep both my feet.

We study sentences like we’re studying for the SAT’s.  We dwell over award winning authors, bestsellers, and scrutinize the reviews, searching out why a particular story is loved.  We compare our work, try to spot the weaknesses and the strengths.  We dream about writing a bestseller, we have nightmares about writing a bestseller.  We try to ignore all of the bad and only think of the good.

Our work stays hidden for a long time.  Months, sometimes years goes by before anyone else sees it, or if anyone gets a peek, it’s very few.  And when it comes to putting it out there, we go through that lather, rinse, repeat cycle again, and again.  We remember the one’s who made it, and try to remember they’ve been here too, and felt just like this.  They said so.  Despite the very apparent frailty of a writer’s psyche, we’re ready or we wouldn’t have let it go – no sugar coating, please.  Well, maybe just a little sprinkle.

How are you feeling about your writing?  Is your elevator on the way up, or going down?





Perfectionism And Puzzle Pieces

The goal is closer.   I am over 71,000 words with the latest work in progress.  The book needs to come in around 90,000, give or take a couple thousand words.  This is generally speaking.  We know there are rule breakers out there, but like this latest article in Writer’s Digest discusses, the rule of thumb for literary/commercial fiction is between 80,000 – 89,999, and even 90,000 – 99,999 is okay.  As an unpub’ed writer, rule breaking is off limits.

I still have a lot of stuff yet to happen, and that’s good.  No, that’s great actually.  Because if the book comes in at 110,000 or 120,000, that gives me plenty of leeway to edit/revise, i.e., kill all those little darlings.  It’s always hard to predict what the word count will be anyway.  When it gets to this point, it can get a little overwhelming.  All the messes I left dangling mid-air while I continued to shove and push my protagonist into her own little corner of hell on earth, need resolution.  She must get herself out of all her predicaments, realize why she ended up there to begin with, and realize whodunit.  Blech.

Here is where having perfectionist qualities are not good – especially during first drafts.  I have fought (and lost) the battle to stop editing and revising as I go along.  I’ve already killed so many darlings it’s possible there’s another fully completed novel in all of the stuff I’ve taken out.  I’m also spending a lot of time second-guessing where I’m headed, questioning the things I have planned to finish the book.  I’ve changed stuff up.  I’ve moved it around.  I’ve shoved other things to the back.  There was one part I wrote where something was taken and then discovered it had been taken all before page 65 – and then I wrote about it again – like I’d never mentioned it – on page 210.

You would think the positive review I got from my agent back in December would have given me the confidence to finish it with a bang.  That’s what I thought too – for about five seconds.  Then I just got anxious.  Anxious about keeping the next two hundred and fifty or so pages up to par with the first one hundred.   Anxious the plot was hokey.  Anxious he only liked what I had because he had no idea where I was headed with it.

I told someone the other day, my style of writing is like dumping a puzzle out on the floor.  (One of those monstrous ones that has about a thousand pieces.)  Some are face up, while the others are face down.  As we all know, finishing it means you must be able to see every aspect of the picture.  Yet, sometimes even after turning over all the pieces, it’s not uncommon to struggle to put it all together.  I want the ending to sizzle.  I don’t want to disappoint.  Mainly, I want it to be as perfect as it can be – at least in my mind.  I need to quit changing stuff until it’s done, so I’m not re-writing other parts to fix that.  If I could only stop tweaking the darn thing and just finish it.  Maybe this will work…  note to self, stop getting in the way! 

Are you guilty of this too?

UPDATE on Previous Post – ALL IN THE NAME

I thought I would share what was put out on Shelf Awareness Pro this morning.  Shelf Awareness comes to me via email, so I don’t have a link, but here is text (copy/pasted) about the “leak” of J.K. Rowling’s pseudonym:

London law firm Russells Solicitors issued a public apology for leaking J.K. Rowling’s identity as the real author of Robert Galbraith’s The Cuckoo’s Calling, the Bookseller reported. In a statement, the law firm apologized “unreservedly for the disclosure caused by one of our partners, Chris Gossage, in revealing to his wife’s best friend, Judith Callegari, during a private conversation that the true identity of Robert Galbraith was in fact J.K. Rowling.

“Whilst accepting his own culpability, the disclosure was made in confidence to someone he trusted implicitly. On becoming aware of the circumstances, we immediately notified J.K. Rowling’s agent. We can confirm that this leak was not part of any marketing plan and that neither J.K. Rowling, her agent nor publishers were in any way involved.”

Rowling noted that “a tiny number of people knew my pseudonym and it has not been pleasant to wonder for days how a woman whom I had never heard of prior to Sunday night could have found out something that many of my oldest friends did not know. To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. I had assumed that I could expect total confidentiality from Russells, a reputable professional firm and I feel very angry that my trust turned out to be misplaced.”

AbeBooks reported that the most expensive copy of The Cuckoo’s Calling sold this week was a Robert Galbraith-signed first edition for $4,453. Two unsigned first editions sold for $907 each. Three other first editions have also sold for prices in excess of $500 this week. One more signed copy is still available on the site for more than $6,100. AbeBooks had not sold a single copy of this book before the weekend.


That High Concept Appeal

Just when you thought you’d learned as much as you possibly could about writing, another term comes along, and if you are like me, it’s new, but not new in general.  In the most recent issue of Writer’s Digest, an article was written called, “What HIGH CONCEPT Means, in Any Genre.”

(I would include the link – but WD has it set up where you have to pay for the article)

It appears the term, “high concept,” has been around for a bit, but I’ve only heard of it in the past six months.   Many agents across the board, ask for these types of stories in their submission guidelines.  The thing is, some of us are just coming up to speed on the definition, and strangely, that includes agents – who seem to have varying viewpoints.  Some say it’s the story’s “hook,” some say it’s what’s “fun” about your story, or, “it’s your story in a single image,” (huh?),  or “the story’s heart,” etc.

So, what is high concept according to Writer’s Digest ?  They have identified seven “qualifiers” to help answer this question:

  1. High level of entertainment value (subjective, but the suggestion was to ask for feedback on your story)
  2. High degree of originality (finding new ways to present the familiar)
  3. Born from “what if” question (think Jurassic Park – “what if dinosaurs were cloned?”)
  4. Highly visual (having visual quality, usually books capable of cinematic imagery)
  5. Clear emotional focus (sparks “primal emotions.”  Love, rage, hate, fear, joy – nothing gray, foggy, or tepid)
  6. Inclusion of some truly unique element (one of a kind)
  7. Mass audience appeal (broad general audience or a large niche market)

The article goes on to say not every story possesses all seven, your story may be strong in two areas, or vaguely hitting five areas in the list.   But, the more you nail down, the better chances of having it classified as such.

Below is a link to a short video tutorial by Literary Agent, Rachelle Gardner’s, where she gives her view on the subject and note, this was from 2011, so she was aware of it two years ago :


The “Magician” recently referred to this term in an email to me as well.  Her story is definitely high concept, firing on all seven qualifier cylinders. 

WD also gave some examples of books that were classified as high concept.  Some of these will not surprise you because they are the ones I immediately thought of as I began to learn about it:

  • Horror Genre:  Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter (Seth Grahame-Smith)
  • Young Adult:  Mockingjay (Suzanne Collins) and Beautiful Creatures ( Kami Carcia & Margaret Stohl)
  • Romance:  Save Haven (Nicholas Sparks – this one surprised me) and Fifty Shades (E. L. James – this one did not)
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy: A Memory Of Light (Robert Jordan) and Ever After (Kim Harrison)
  • Thriller/Suspense:  Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn) and Catch Me (Lisa Gardner)

Th article in WD ended by stressing that if your story isn’t high concept, that doesn’t mean it isn’t worthy of submission.  Stories are picked up for reasons other than being part of this particular category, and as Rachelle Gardner pointed out, not all books have to be high concept to sell.

What I got from all of this is, it does have the potential to help you target your book to the right market and sets you up for submission success and best seller appeal.

Just curious, when did you learn about this buzzword, and has it changed your approach to writing?

Pie Analogy

Writers spend copious amounts of time working on their craft, and sometimes we need to take a break, just to let our brains rest.  I have several ways of allowing my mind to stop pushing itself into a story.  This is an obsessive tendency that can be draining and can result in feeling burned out, and that results in feeling too tired to sit down at my desk and come up with any sort of creative thought.  Matter of fact, it makes me downright cranky.

One thing I enjoy doing when I need a bit of a break is baking.  And I especially enjoy it when I come across a recipe that is a different spin on others I might have in  my stash of cookbooks.  Recently, in the local paper there was a recipe for Sky High Lemon Meringue Pie.  (because the meringue was twice as high as the actual lemon custard)  I bake a LOT of chocolate pies with meringue, but the meringue is usually only about half as high as the pie.  Not so bad, really.  But, this Lemon Pie? I had to try it because Mother’s Day was coming up, it looked impressive and what’s my mom’s fave pie?  Right.

So, here is where I come in with a few pictures.  Yes, I had this blog in mind when I took them, because to me, baking a pie can be sort of like writing if you think about it.

First, you assemble your ingredients and your baking tools (story arc, character creation):




you throw it all into a bowl/or pot, and mix it up (plot development takes off):



Assemble pie  (conflict/character mash up, tension increases, suspense rises)


Bake, cool, and enjoy!  (character/conflict resolution, THE END),


Since I discovered how comforting it was to write, bake, and then write some more, I moved on to another tasty treat, strawberry shortcake with buttermilk cake for the cake part:


This latest baking frenzy means I HAVE to get back to running…, and soon.

How do you unwind when working on your stories?

Is Speed The Answer?

No less than three times, and probably more like half a dozen, there have been suggestions, prompts or outright directions to write without the thought of a particular goal, to write without over-thinking your words, to write fast, but mainly, just write. 

This is not a new idea.  But what I’ve learned about writing is this, it’s like playing golf.  There are many rules, many things for a writer to remember.  It takes time for a newbie, like me, to take it all in, to have it trickle downstream, to discover it – and mostly, for it to all sink in.  And even when it does, sometimes I still need a reminder!

My latest “discovery” which has really been percolating along for a couple months, is to write with speed.  Is this the answer to fresh or fresher writing?  For me, it could be.  For you?  Well, consider these two sites:


At the site above, you’ll see where this author has established ten minute challenges.  She has ten minute readers, and if you scroll down her list in her blog you’ll see Ten Minute 101.  (she also posted about how a MAJOR PUBLISHER contacted her about writing a non-fiction book based on her blog – I use CAPS because this was how she referred to MAJOR PUBLISHER… 🙂  and how she acquired her agent along with a book deal.  It’s a must read.  I love hearing about how others got their agents, especially when it’s an outside the box sort of scenario)

And there’s this site too, with a really cool way to join other writers in what is called Five Minute Friday’s:


Lisa Jo Baker provides a prompt every Friday, and if you’ve signed up, the challenge is to write for five minutes about the topic. 

Here are her thoughts on this idea, which I loved, “We write for five minutes flat. All on the same prompt that I post here at 1 minute past midnight EST ever Friday. And we connect on Twitter with the hashtag #FiveMinuteFriday.  No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.  Unscripted.  Unedited.  Real.  It started because I’d been thinking about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused writing.”

Don’t you just love this concept?

Those are just two examples, and then, recently on my own blog, I posted about having some difficulty getting this latest book off the ground, (Polishing A Turd…what a title for a post huh?) and another writer suggested “speed write.”

Since I’ve seen this mentioned even more times than the examples I have above, I figured there must be something to it.  And, I’m all for a new idea or a new way around a problem.

I’ve used it a few times now, and it hasn’t necessarily produced the best work, but there are pieces worth keeping.  If you’re stuck or finding it hard to get past a certain point in your story, it’s better than just sitting there, fingers poised above the keyboard, a blank look on your face, and an hour later, you’re still like that, as if someone came in and poured Plaster Of Paris all over you. 

Have you tried this and, most importantly, how did it work out for you? 

Wide Awake

There are a lot of reasons I’ve not been getting much sleep lately.  For one, I’m wearing a medieval sort of contraption on my left leg, known as a night splint.  It pulls my foot up slightly and is intended to treat that ongoing, pesky plantar fasciitis.  It does help with the heel pain in the mornings, but I find the pain is right back if I’m on my feet a lot during the day.


Secondly, I’ve been working in the yard on a “project” I’ve talked about for years.  A section of the yard is being overtaken by English Ivy.  Anyone familiar with it?  Here’s the tangled mess it can get into:


And…, when it’s allowed to grow at will, (i.e. the way it looks here) it overtakes everything.  I mean, everything.

This particular area also has a huge tree, with two massive trunks joined at the bottom and each section of it growing up, (I kid you not) about one hundred feet or so.  That tree is enormous.  Good ole English Ivy doesn’t care, though.  It has turned that tree into it’s own private trellis, and has worked it’s way up and it’s been allowed to do it long enough that some of the vines around the trunk are as thick as a finger.



So, here I come, with my “loppers,” trimmer, wheelbarrow, rake and shovel.  I began on Monday.  As of yesterday, I am still cutting, pulling, snipping, chopping, loading all of the crap into the wheelbarrow and hauling it off to the street.  I’ve yanked until my arms feel like they are coming out of their sockets, my back is sore and even though I uncovered a long hidden brick border, put here by previous owners:


I – AM – SO – TIRED.

But I can’t sleep.  Last night, I was awake from one o’clock until three.  I tossed, turned, flapped the covers, stuck my splinted leg on top of the covers, then back under, lay on my back, my right side, my left, all in vain.  This has been a nightly occurrence for some time.  Sometimes it’s from two until four.  But no matter, it’s generally about a two hour event featuring me staring at the ceiling, the wall, the clock, the backs of my eyelids.

I do all the things I’m supposed to do to sleep good, like having a darkened room, no t.v. on, a fan running on low (because I’m a light sleeper, and I hear any level of noise, no matter how small), yet, sleeping through the night seems to be a thing of the past.  It’s very rare that I get a solid seven or eight hours without waking up and staying up for a while.

Sometimes I use this time to think about writing.  I begin to nit pick at the current problem and try to come up with a way to solve it, or I think about various scenes I could add.   But what is it about the middle of the night that makes you want to think about stupid things, like some asinine way you’ve acted in the past instead of thinking about something useful?

Last night my brain was stuck on rewind/replay regarding an incident at a job I held years ago at a company called ITT (now Alacatel).  Why?  Why in hell was I thinking about that??   The night before it was stuck on a time my husband and I went on vacation and how I’d freaked out while feeding sting ray’s at Sting Ray City, in the Bahama’s.  (I have this strange fear of fish in the water – except the very tiny colorful ones)  I have no idea why I was thinking about that.

I suppose in some way, it’s the way our brains unwind.  Random, free flowing thoughts, that take us anywhere, and everywhere, whether we want to go or not.   They are snippets of the day, the past and the future.  Maybe there are pieces that can be used in future writing, some little bit of flotsam hidden away until your brain was on one of it’s nightly rambles.

What is it that keeps you up at night?

Whose Point Of View?

When you begin your writing project, have you ever waffled between which point of view (POV) you should use with your story?

As I began writing book one, I never questioned which POV I wanted to take.  I wrote in the first person because I believed it was easier to “capture” a voice that way.  And, the same goes with the second book, although it was definitely a bit more challenging since it was written from the viewpoint of a thirty year old male in 1925.  (what the heck, I figured women = twenty thousand words per day, men = seven thousand.  Hm, okay, stay cryptic.  That sure made writing his dialogue a lot easier.  🙂  )

When I began the third book, I played around with third person. (not because it was the third book…)  I wanted to see if I could establish a voice, despite the fact I felt first person made it easier to do.  I think I only wrote about ten pages before I found I didn’t care for it.  The writing seemed flat and I felt I was having trouble with that voice thing that is so important.  I stopped and went to first person, which, of course tells me, I have some work to do in the future as I don’t think I need to write every book from the first person.

Using first person POV means the reader only hears the narrative coming from the main character, (MC) and that what this character perceives or “thinks” may not be accurate.  The story unfolds with the reader learning things along the way, just like the character, so, the reader should question the main character’s reactions and thoughts.  What they perceive about a story situation may not turn out as you believe.

With third person, the reader is getting the story narrative delivered by an “objective” voice and we are able to understand what the characters are learning and going through because this narrator explains their thoughts and feelings as we progress through the story.  I’ve read that most writers/authors use this POV.

Very rarely do writers use second POV, (you, your) as in “you opened your front door and there was no one there.”  (although, just writing that one bitty sentence is a little creepy if you ask me….brrr.)  One example provided for a book written in second person POV more than any other is the book BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY by Jay McInerney and it ended up being a best seller. (1984)  Other authors (Carlos Fuentes, Nathaniel Hawthorne to name a couple, as well as some passages written by William Faulkner, and others) have used second POV.

There are even more POV’s, like omniscient, (narrator knows everything about all the characters) and limited omniscient (narrator knows everything about only one character – major or minor)  Many classics are written using OPOV like Dickens, Austen, and Tolstoy.  And a few other examples I found were DUNE, written in third person omniscient, as well as other examples of POV, like cinematic POV, and deep POV, which means the narrator can “at will” jump about and share the thoughts and feelings of various characters.  Yikes.  That seems like very complex writing, at best, but I suppose if a writer can pull it off, go for it.

I think just stick to first person or third… how about you?

Tighten Up!

There you are, plugging along, writing your first draft, and perhaps you’re already thinking about the work involved when you will need to go back and do revisions.   But…, did you know there’s a quick and easy way to make your writing better?  And it’s something you can do to tighten it up without too much brain power, and you can do this immediately?

Consider the infamous “to be” verbs, and those pesky adverbs known as “simply, only, and just.”  Being aware of these commonly overused words and kicking them to the curb can truly transform your writing – dramatically.  I didn’t find out about this until I’d finished my first manuscript and then?  Well, I had a big task in front of me to go through and eliminate all instances – or as many as I could.

Maybe this is stating the obvious for some, but I didn’t major in English, so, all of my writing “education” has come from reading, reading, reading, and reading some more.

Since learning this, I now try and actively avoid all “to be’s”:

  • Is
  • Was
  • Am
  • Are
  • Were
  • Be
  • Become
  • Became

And by “actively” I mean, while I’m writing my drafts.  Now, if doing this as you go along slows down your daily writing goal, or sends you into a hair pulling exercise, you can always wait until you are done for the day and then go back and do a “find” on the words.  After you’ve located them, you can work on a different way to structure the sentence in order to eliminate them.

I found this great piece of advice on how to do this without jeopardizing your master copy from this link here.  It just so happens to be from the University of North Carolina, (Go Heels!)

(http://www.unc.edu/~dcderosa/Draftworkshops/tobeverbs.html )

Once you’ve cleaned up your manuscript by eliminating “to be’s,” next attack those adverbs:

  • Only
  • Just
  • Simply

You could do the same thing, and do a “find,” on your newly added words for the day and then delete them if that works for the sentence, or, figure out how to structure it so it reads cleaner.  Follow the same steps to get a “copy” to work from, then save it as advised in the link from UNC above.

And…, to give credit where credit is due, here is the blog site where I found advice on the adverb no-no which also gives examples of sentences with the adverbs removed:


Now, go back and read out loud what you’ve changed.  See?  Doesn’t that sound much better?

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