Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Word Frequency

photo courtesy of Feuillu

I'm somewhat of a word hoarder. I find a word I like to use and latch on to it. A few of my favorites are: well, so, maybe, finally, little, and very. Recently some rogues have slipped in like: decided, some, clearly, eye (don't ask) and shrugged.

To combat my
little problem, I have a list of words that all too often pepper my writing. I try not to use them, but my hands and brain don't always work in sync. Did I say I'm a techno-phobe when it comes to the computer? In the past, I have always performed a "find" and "search" and rooted out the evils doers. It takes for stinking ever to do that.

But, aha, last night I found a macro that will do it for me. One swift click of a button and all the "wells" are rounded up and highlighted in red. Makes it much easier for me to go back through and slay the ones I don't want to keep and bypass the ones that get to stay.

I can tweak the macro to change the word or color. I'm in love...

How about you? Doyou have any words that sneak into your writing? Do you let them slide and pick them out in editing or do you kill them right away?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Point of View

photo courtesy of herr_hartman

The topic of point of view at our monthly meeting of Saturday Writers got me to thinking about my preference for writing in 1st person. I like the immediacy (is that a word?) it gives me. It allows me to be the character. For me it is easier, because I don't have to worry about inappropriate POV shifts. I just ask myself WWMCD (what would my character do?) If my character's not seeing it or feeling it, I know not to put it to paper.

However, I've noticed that I like to read a combination of 1st and 3rd person, and it depends on the genre. If I'm reading romance (which I don't usually do) or cozy mysteries, I prefer first person. I prefer to "be" the character or at least see the story from the protagonists POV.

But if I'm reading a suspense, thriller or historical, I prefer third person. And I really like multiple POV's. I feel like it gives me a 360 degree view of the story.

And I've even read a couple that switch back and forth between 1st and 3rd. Most of those are pretty clunky, but Harlan Coben does it in a couple of his novels and does an excellent job at creating a story so smooth you never notice it. He's also a great story weaver, but that's another whole topic. He's my writing hero. And I just discovered him last year, and already I've read all his books. So, Harlan if you stop by and read this, get to cracking on that next book. I'm waiting.

What's your favorite POV to write and does it differ from your favorite POV to read?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

True Confession Time

photo courtesy of jovite

No sordid details. I promise.

The other day I sat down to work on edits for my novel and something seemed off. I couldn't quite put my finger on what was different, but I had a hard time concentrating. The words were a jumble on the page (that's why I needed to edit. Duh!)

I ran downstairs and got a Diet Coke, grabbed a bowl of pretzels and returned to my computer. My comfortable writing chair felt fine, my screen was at the perfect angle and the light wasn't glaring. Then it dawned on me. I had shoes on. I usually never wear shoes in the house and never wear them upstairs to my office, but in my excitement to finish editing the chapter, I had rushed in after an errand and failed to remove said shoes.

Now is that dumb or what that I couldn't concentrate with shoes on. I wrote curriculum for XX (a lot) of years in a corporate setting and always wore shoes in the office.

Anyway it got me to thinking about some of my other weird writing habits... Like my chair. My old faithful died a few years back, so I went to several office supply and furniture stores and did numerous test sits until I found the perfect one. Now, if I'm not at home, I have a hard time writing because my butt is not comfortable anywhere else.

And my tunes. I have a couple of different mixes that I use depending on the scene I'm writing. If it's introspective, I listen to classical. If it's a tense, I tend to go more for old rock tunes. And romantic, I pick country. But, I always have music on.

My clothing. I opt for sweats or pj's. Again, couldn't do that in the corporate world. Yeah, for working from home!

Visuals. I used to have a window by my computer, but found it too distracting. I'd catch myself staring out into the yard watching butterflies or thinking about the weeds that needed to be pulled. Anyway, I switched my office around so I can't look outside, but whenever possible, I keep the window open. I love a gentle breeze. But that aside, now I have a wonderful view of my bookshelf, and that makes me happy.

And I love fragrances. I keep one of those diffusers on my book shelf, usually with something fresh-smelling like rain or clean cotton. I'm a sap for all that natury stuff.

So what are your writing habits? Do you write in your underwear with a lampshade on your head? True confession time.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Short Story Contest

photo courtesy of Cowtools

Here's one for all you Sci Fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Suspense or Thriller writers. The Garden State Horror Writers sponsors their 15th annual short story contest.

1st price is $100
2nd prize is $50
3rd prize is $25

Each eligible entry will be critiqued by up to three published writers and/or editors.

The entry fee is $10 for non-members and $5.00 for GSHW members.

Check their guidelines for submissions. Be sure to read them and follow to keep from being disqualified.

Contest closes June 30th.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Poetry Contest

Photo courtesy of sky_mitch

Poets Contest Corner
announces the 2nd Round of submissions
for its
Poetry Competition
Winner will receive $200 Cash Prize

If there are enough entries, there will be two runners up who will each receive $50 Cash Prize

Poets Contest Corner welcomes you and invites you to join in our endeavor to bring a little unexpected income by way of your poetry. In these hard times, when the dominant breadwinners may have lost their jobs and the price of everything has gone up, we hope that we may be helpful in a small way.

Our intention is to begin small, and with the success of our first rounds, we hope to increase the amount of cash prizes and the number of winners.

Please talk it up on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, College Dorms and classrooms— anywhere you can network. The reading fee is only $5, which is very reasonable. This fee is also used to cover our advertising costs. So, the more you pass the word, the less advertising we need to pay for, which means the more the cash prizes can be. We do not want to up the entry fee, as we wish this to be as affordable as possible to all.

(Note: Get your entries in early. The judges keep them in the order received. Those received early are those that remain in front of them the longest. )

Check their website for Rules and Guidelines:

Should you have any questions, please email Poets Contest Corner.