Monday, February 22, 2016

Andrew Grey on PlotBusters!

I'm thrilled to introduce Andrew Grey today. I've known Andrew for a few years and I've met no one in the writing world who can keep pace with his writing speed. Can you imagine writing 100,000 words in a month? Andrew can and does. He attributes his speed to good plotting. Today he shares one of his techniques.

The Team in My Corner

A few years ago I joined two ladies from my local RWA chapter and we formed a plotting group.  We call it Plotbusters and the goal was to help us improve the story portions of our romances.  We all realized that we could write a good romance, but the plotting portion of our stories needed some help.  What started out as a simple exercise to review our work had developed into deep friendships and writing partners.  We don’t co-write, but I have two partners in my work who will come to my help any time.
Writing is a very solitary activity and with Geri and Heidi, I feel as though I have a small cheerleading section.  Not only that, but when we get together we find plot holes and motivational issues before they get on the page and help head off some rework and rewrites.  Each time we meet, we talk though our current stories and that exercise alone helps solidify the story for me.
There are times for every writer when they find a story meandering and directionless, at least in our minds if not on paper.  Plotbusting helps bring the story back into focus and their ideas, regardless if they actually get used, almost always start the creative process flowing again and help get the story back on track.
The end result has been incredible.  Within the time we’ve met, all three of us have been able to take some part of our career to another level.  Heidi got her first books published and now has regular contracts and proposals in progress.  Geri is in the process of moving from category to single title, and I have been able to add paranormal and suspense stories to my writing.
We have a few rules that we follow
1   1      Everyone gets a turn to review their story and get the help they need.
2   2      There are no egos.  Ideas get thrown out and no one is obligated to use them. 
3   3     We cheer the good news and are there when the bad happens offering encouragement.

You never know what will come out of a plotting session.  There have been times when the plot and characterization for an entire story has come out of a single session.  I cherish the time with my Plotbusters.  They are an important and valuable team that I’m grateful to have in my corner. 

Andrew Grey is a bestselling author of contemporary gay romance. You can find him at:

Have you ever considered being part of a plotting group? Can you imagine writing at Andrew's pace of near one million or more words per year? What do you do if you feel your plot has faltered or started to meander off course? 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Head and Heart of Your Character

In the last Gut Wrenching Deep POV post, we learned a technic of adding deep point of view by cutting dialogue tags and showing the story through the protagonist's senses. One commenter wrote: "... You have to lose yourself in the writing so that you BECOME the character." 

That's it. Show the story through the head and heart of your character.

But how do you do that exactly?

Here's a few simple technics. Give them a try. Nobody will ever know.

In Word, hunt down said, replied, asked, answeredand any other dialogue tags you're fond of. Replace them with action.

She asked, "How are you?"
He snapped, "Stop being a witch, bitch."
"Bitch? she asked. "I'm being nice."
"Really?" he snarled. "Define nice."

"How are you?" Without an invitation, she reached up to straighten his tie.
He pushed her hands away. The last time she'd clawed him, he had to buy antibiotic cream. "Stop being a witch, bitch."
"Bitch?" Tears welled up in her eyes. She dropped her arms to her sides. "I'm being nice."
"Really? Define nice."

Slightly exaggerated, but what do we know that we didn't know in the BEFORE? He's afraid she's going to claw him. We have visual. And thoughts. Tags aren't needed because we know who's speaking. If it wasn't clear, we'd add a tag; particularly, in scenes where there are more than two speakers.

Another technic: write the scene in 1st person, then change to 3rd.

Here's an excerpt from my manuscript Omatiwak: Woman Who Cries:

     Blood. So much blood. Pooling on the slate tiles around his head.
     I assumed he'd outlive me. Mean people are lucky that way. But maybe that's what's wrong. He used to be mean. After our sons died, he changed.
     With my palm firmly pressed to my chest, I still these erratic thoughts. Giddiness overwhelms me. I drop my purse and grip the edge of the countertop. Tears blur my vision. An uncomfortable heat descends upon me; similar to those hot flashes I suffered for ten years. Ohmigosh, now I'm blubbering like a fool.

Changed to 3rd person, it becomes Deep POV:
     Blood. So much blood. Pooling on the slate tiles around his head.
     Sally assumed he'd outlive her. Mean people were lucky that way. But maybe that was what was wrong. He used to be mean. After their sons died, he changed.
     With her palm firmly pressed to her chest, she stilled her erratic thoughts. Giddiness overwhelmed her. She dropped her purse and gripped the edge of the countertop. Tears blurred her vision. An uncomfortable heat descended upon her; similar to those hot flashes she suffered for ten years. Ohmigosh, now she was blubbering like a fool.

Once you've tried these simple technics, you'll find phrases like: he thought, he saw, he came, he conquered ... unnecessary because you no longer have to tell the reader something they know.

When you write from deep inside a character, there is no author accidentally pulling the reader from the story. Every thought, description, and feeling comes from the character, making the prose richer, the scenes more compelling, the reader experience deeper.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Gut Wrenching Deep POV

Deep POV is a powerful writing technic that adds emotional depth to your stories. Can you learn the technic? Of course.
1.  Eliminate as many dialogue tags as possible.
2.  Never jerk the reader out of the protagonist's head using author intrusion.
3.  Only describe what your protagonist sees, hears, smells, tastes, and touches. 
Here's a direct quote you can quote me on:
 "If your protagonist don't know it, you don't write it." 
                                                                            -- Joylene Nowell Butler  
 I know what you're thinking.  If it's that easy, then why is writing in Deep POV difficult for so many writers?

Because writing in Deep POV requires a depth of emotion that scares the hell out of most of us. It makes us feel vulnerable. It's about reaching down and writing from the gut of your hero. And where are heroes born? In the minds of their authors, of course.

Despite those rejections piling up in your inbox, if you believe in your gut that your writing is good, then maybe, just maybe your writing is good. But is it gut-wrenching?

The Traveler by John Katzenbach:
She felt suddenly overcome by heat, as if one of the spotlights had singled her out, covering her with a solid beam of intense brightness. She gulped a great breath of air, then another, fighting a dizzying sensation. She remembered the moment years earlier when she'd realized that she was shot, that the warmth she felt was the lifeblood flowing from her, and she fought with the same intensity to prevent her eyes from rolling back, as if giving into the blackness of unconsciousness would be as fatal now as it would have been then. 

The Big Sky by A.B. Guthrie:
Serena turned from Boone and all at once seemed to see the hen lying forgotten on the table. She picked it up and rolled it in a rag and handed it to Boone. Her eyes wouldn't come level with his; they fixed themselves on his chest. Of a sudden he saw that she looked like a tired, sad rabbit, her eyes round and watery and her nose twitching. He felt his face twist suddenly and his throat knot and the tears about to come. He said, "Goodbye."

 Mr. Murder by Dean Koontz:
He looked around the office, where he had passed so many solitary hours in the concoction and solution of so many mysteries, where he had put uncounted characters through enormous travail and challenged them to find their way out of mortal danger. [...] He blotted his damp palms of his jeans. Having briefly lifted from him, dread settled again in the manner of Poe's mysterious raven perching above a chamber door. Walking from the trance, perceiving danger, he had expected to find the threat outside in the street or in the form of a burglar roaming through the rooms below. But it was worse than that. The threat was not external. Somehow, the wrongness was within him. 

It starts with believing you have what it takes to be a powerhouse of a writer. Next, put yourself deep, deep, DEEP inside the body, mind, and soul of your protagonist, and write your scenes from that place.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

IWSG Post Day and Cover Reveal for our Contest Anthology

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to share our fears with the world--or offer encouragement to those who are feeling insecure. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

The awesome co-hosts for the February 3 posting of the IWSG will be Allison Gammons, Tamara Narayan, Eva E. Solar, Rachel Pattison, and Ann V. Friend!

Plus check out our new IWSG badge!
Today we are announcing Parallels: Felix Was Here. This is the culmination of our IWSG short story contest.
Science Fiction/Alternate History Anthology
Due for release in Spring 2016

Enter the realm of parallel universes!

What if the government tried to create the perfect utopia? Could a society linked to a supercomputer survive on its own? Do our reflections control secret lives on the other side of the mirror? Can one moment split a person’s world forever?

Exploring the fantastic, ten authors offer incredible visions and captivating tales of diverse reality. Featuring the talents of L. G. Keltner, Crystal Collier, Hart Johnson, Cherie Reich, Sandra Cox, Yolanda Renee, Melanie Schulz, Sylvia Ney, Michael Abayomi, and Tamara Narayan.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will expand your imagination and twist the tropes of science fiction. Step through the portal and enter another dimension!

Print ISBN 9781939844200
eBook ISBN 9781939844118

A quick reminder about our exciting new newsletter. To sign up for it, click here. It will be released on the last Wednesday of every month and it's going to be awesome! If you are an IWSG member and would like to submit a short piece for consideration (no longer than 200 words) on anything to do with writing, publishing or marketing, then please send a DOC to Chrys Fey at chrysfey(at)yahoo(dot)com with "Member Article" in the subject line, no later than March 2nd. If you'd like to be considered for the first newsletter, then please send your article no later than February 17th.