In the mind of a Writer

Posts tagged ‘novels’

Opening Lines


On my journey of editing my suspense/thriller novella (one of three in the Driving Lies Trilogy), I have learned a few things. . . one of these things I that you need a good first line and/or paragraph. You need to pull your readers in. (You don’t need it while writing draft one: draft one is getting the story on paper. However when you edit that is when you correct and tweak to have the detail make sense. That is when you write and rewrite the beginning to pull that reader in.)


I went through my kindle books: I read the beginning of each and out of 65 stories, there were 38 that had at least a C rating. (C rating meant that it at least made me want to read through the page.) Only 13 out of 38 had an A average.


If you make me question what is going (without confusing me), then you have pulled me in. If I want to read more than just first page, then I would really want to read more.

For example, the first line in Anne Rice’s novel The Vampire Armand . . . “They said a child had died in the attic. Her clothes had been discovered in the wall.” I want to know what is going to happen next, and what happened to the child.


I also enjoy when you can describe the setting so well that you make me feel I am there in the story. Raeanne Hadley is very good at pulling me into the setting of her books. “It was one of those spring mornings that made you glad you were alive. The air smelled of efflorescent flowers and blossoming trees, fresh cut grass and barbeque. The temperature was perfect; warm enough that you could have your windows open all day yet not hot enough to have to turn on air conditioning. It was still weeks away from getting so hot that it would melt the deodorant off your armpits. Everyone you passed had a smile and a wave. With all of these beautiful things happening around me, I knew I was going to have a rotten day.”
I love how I feel on those few and perfect days between Spring and Summer.


Hadley, RaeAnne (2012-01-01). Mechanics of Murder (Josephine Lingenfelter series) (Kindle Location 16). Lulu Publishing. Kindle Edition.


Rice, Anne (1998). The Vampire Armand. Ballantine Books.

Sick of Negativity

 I guess I am not the only one getting negative criticism for my hard labored novel. I understand where the criticism come from with my work: it’s just bad grammar. My biggest habit is leaving out words, and then people have a hard time understanding the idea. My brain works a million times faster than my fingers; (I’m thinking of getting a verbal program where I can dictate my words into my story, maybe then I won’t forget so many words.)
To my current and future readers, I’m sorry about my grammar and I’m trying to find an editor that can help me find my mistakes.
I will always admit I am story-teller first and a writer second. I can’t even consider myself an editor, because it is so far deep into the list, most people have stopped listening.

 I was on one of my many facebook writing groups called WriMore International. (It got started because of NaNoWriMo last year.) I love this group, because I feel I can relate to many of the people there. There was a young woman who posted she was receiving negative criticism with her work, and she asked how do others writer bounce back? I wrote:
First of all, I think every writer needs to write for themselves first. You need to be inspired by the story and enjoy what you do. (I will admit, there may be a time or two where it feels like work, but overall, you must enjoy what you do.)
Secondly, there are many people that put others down, because they are bitter or jealous or both. I think you just need to have a party with your muses and enjoy the writing that you have.
Story-telling and writing are fun to me; I enjoy it . . . if my readers just can’t like my stories, the I will have to find other readers. . . there are 6 billion people in the world. There are at least a dozen or more who will like my work. . . that is how I go on.


I’ve actually read more negative things about writing lately than positive. People putting down NaNoWriMo and writing novels to be begin with. I have seen several blogs that mention about all of these amateur writers who say they are writing a novel, but never finish it. (In fact, when I talk about writing a novel, I always get certain people I know stating that they are writing one as well or that they have this awesome half of chapter written. I would have to say out of all the people who want to write a novel only half even attempt it, and probably half of that even finish the first draft. However ¾ of them brag about having a novel idea in their head.)
I have several projects finished, and I million more that need to be finished, and a billion more ideas. . . are they all brilliant? No, but they are a start. (I know many people who have finished projects and who are ready for publishers to read their work. I also know many people who are working with publishers and working on book tours. As a struggling writers, these people can be frustrating that their work is already out in the world, but the writing race is with yourself.)
I can’t say much about those who can’t finish the thing they start. I’m very big procrastinator myself, in fact, I have dishes sitting in the sink waiting to get washed. However I think with several of the supportive groups on facebook, finishing anything is very possible. (As soon as this blog is finished, I will wash my dishes and then enjoy a cup of hot cocoa.)

 I think that NaNoWriMo is there to motivate people, it’s push them to go out and do something. Will all of the stories from NaNoWriMo be of Stephen King or Anne Rice quality? No.
Will they be ready to print on November 30th? Majority of them no; in fact 95% of them will need to be edited before they even get sent to or any other publisher out there.


The things I really like about NaNoWriMo are:

  • It makes people motivated: rewards and bragging rights.
  • There is a support system: groups and forums.
  • It is open to everyone.
  • It helps you figure out goals and to be organize. I have learned the more organized I am, but faster I achieve my goals. It gives you a big goal 50,000 words in 30 days. It is possible; I have done it twice.
  • Your first draft is NOT supposed to look pretty. You are supposed to overwrite; overwriting helps you remember all of the details.


Here are a few other pieces of advice. . .

  • For anyone out there who wants to write, write.
  • Do it for you first. If you don’t enjoy what you are doing, then why are you doing it?
  • Being weird is apart of the creative process.
  • You will get good comments and negative criticism; take what you can from both and improve yourself. (I love a good comment, but I think you learn more from the criticism. No one is perfect, so there is always room for improvement.)
  • If you expect to make lots of money writing, then stop writing now and go college and become a business major or sell insurance it’s huge right now. Most writers do NOT make the millions of dollars unless you have unique idea that can eventually be turned into a movie and amusement park. LOL Remember writing is art with words; many writers don’t become truly famous until they are older or dead.