Writerly Tips and Tricks
Shadow Eyes Blog Tour and Kindle Fire Giveaway
Thanks so much for hosting me, Becky, and for letting me share some of my personal writing tips and tricks to your readers! I’m no expert, by any means, but I think all authors have something unique to share that just might benefit someone. And that’s all that matters.
(Everyone, don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win a print copy of Shadow Eyes, your full name in the sequel, and a KINDLE FIRE!)
Alright, I’m going to narrow this down to 5 tips. I’m sure I could come up with more, but 5 seemed like a nice round number.
1. Come up with a story you’re passionate about. So many potentially great, creative writers give up in the middle of writing whatever book they started because they lost interest. For me, I was so excited and passionate about the story of Shadow Eyes that I simply had to finish it. From the very beginning, the idea grabbed a hold of me and demanded to be written. The concept was something I knew was unique, intriguing, mysterious, and suspenseful – all things I enjoy in books myself. I was also so excited about the ending I’d come up with that I had to keep writing to get to it! On top of that, the story had a deeper, more powerful purpose of being a uniquely hopeful and inspiring read for all ages, but especially teens. And that is something I’m truly passionate about.
2. Have an outline. Now, I know this isn’t for all writers, but for me, having a very detailed outline saved me from so much writer’s block. This is especially important for stories with twists, mysteries, and sub-plots so that you can remember to include little reminders and foreshadowing wherever needed. All that being said, I know several writers, particularly romance writers, who are what they call “pansters,” meaning they write by the seat of their pants. So really, it just depends on your style.
3. Revise until you have your story memorized. Have you heard the saying, “There are no final drafts, only deadlines”? I tend to agree with this. I was still revising up until I signed with Musa Publishing, then I revised some more before I got my editor, and then I revised again with her help. Here are some specifics to consider when revising:
a. Show, don’t tell – You’ve probably heard this before. It’s such a common editing phrase that it’s cliché. But it is so important! A lot of this is changing adjectives and adverbs to descriptions. Instead of telling us, “Britney was angry,” or even, “Britney’s anger showed in her face,” how about “Britney pressed her lips into a thin, taut line as her eyes narrowed to slits and her entire body became a rigid, volatile, hyper-sensitive stick of dynamite that would go off at the slightest touch.”
b. Get rid of filtering. Filtering is when we tell the story through the character’s eyes, instead of letting the readers experience it themselves. If the story’s in 1st person, you’ll use phrases like “I knew, I saw, I heard, I felt, I thought, etc.” Check out the examples below to see the difference. Little changes can make a big difference.
“From the street I could see a small sliver of light where the dark curtains met but didn’t quite touch in the middle of the window.” à “From the street a small sliver of light glowed where the dark curtains met but didn’t quite touch in the middle of the window.”
“I knew I would have to make it to the edge of the woods. It was the only way.” à “I had to make it to the edge of the woods. It was the only way.”
c. Cut unimportant parts (phrases, sentences, whole sections). If it drags the story or doesn’t add to the story’s plot, character development, theme, etc., get rid of it. It might be amazing writing, hilarious, or so moving it could win an Oscar if played out on the big screen, but just as movies must delete scenes and lines for the sake of the overall movie, your story will have to do the same. (Note: For the bigger sections, especially, you may need an outsider to help you know what’s not as important.)
4. Read for inspiration. It’s always good to read books in the genre you write to give you ideas and a better grasp of what those types of stories actually look like. This is great when you’re working on revision as a newer writer because if you read a best-selling novel in your genre and then go back and re-read your story, you’ll easily see differences you can change and fix. But reading is also great when you’ve hit a slump, and you need to get inspired to write again!
5. Don’t give up! When trying to get your book published or get an agent, don’t give up or get discouraged. You will get several rejections, and several others won’t even bother to respond. You may even have a few who get your hopes up by asking for your manuscript and then reject you. Your journey may not end up exactly the way you’d thought it would, but if you keep pursuing your dream, you will get there.
Shadow Eyes Synopsis:
Iris Kohl lives in a world populated by murky shadows that surround, harass, and entice unsuspecting individuals toward evil. But she is the only one who can see them. She’s had this ability to see the shadows, as well as brilliantly glowing light figures, ever since an obscure, tragic incident on her fourteenth birthday three years earlier.
Although she’s learned to cope, the view of her world begins to shift upon the arrival of three mysterious characters. First, a handsome new teacher whose presence scares away shadows; second, a new friend with an awe-inspiring aura; and third, a mysterious and alluring new student whom Iris has a hard time resisting despite already having a boyfriend.
As the shadows invade and terrorize her own life and family, she must ultimately revisit the most horrific event of her life in order to learn her true identity and become the hero she was meant to be.
Check out Dusty’s blog at http://dustycrabtree.wordpress.com/
Find her on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/dusty.crabtree.1
Follow her on twitter at https://twitter.com/dustycrabtree
Buy Shadow Eyes at http://musapublishing.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=176
(also available at all major online bookstores)
View the book trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7UP9A0Fm78