sprinkle of this or that

No matter what you’re writing you always hear or see some thing you’d like to add but can’t figure out how to do it right. One of my perfect examples of this involves an old boyfriend who continually tried to undo my zipper. After all the no’s and getting to that “not so mad” point I began to keep count and throw it back at him. It became a running joke between us and eventually one of those things I look back on fondly. A memory I share with one other person, that, at the time, had so many emotions attached to it.

I wonder all the time how a can use this in my writing but since I write historical romance zippers were not invented yet, and the fact that things move faster leaves the option less then appealing.In the space of a romance this would take too much time to make it a ‘cute addition, but perhaps there’s a way to sprinkle part of it into a story?

Life hands us these little things we have done through our lives as a memory we cherish and can maybe share in our work in some small way. We, as the ones who lived it, remember how it made us feel, what it smelled like, tasted like or looked like so we can give our readers a real sense of how it happened. These memories add a flavor to you work that your reader can almost imagine happening in their life. Sprinkle it in here and there, add a little flavor to your pages and spice up your characters lives with pieces of your history.

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the touch, the feel

I was afraid to finish that line with what we all know comes next, but it really is a valuable insight into how a touch or feel can inspire you. Have you ever taken a leaf in your hand, felt the corners, each vein and the stem? The imagery is great for finding words to describe it but the leaf has so much more to offer.

Is it waxy, or silky? Is it fresh and nimble or gathering it’s lasts rays of sun before the crinkle of fall? How does it smell or is there no odor at all? How does it move in the soft spring breeze or bend to strong winds of a brisk summer storm? So many things are there for your senses besides just how it looks. You have to take the time to examine what ever it is your writing about completely. Not just with one sense. Remember, the new car smell, or the scent of your home after cleaning? These stick in your mind. All I have to do is mention the new car smell and you know exactly what it smells like. You also associate the smell of Clorox with a fresh, clean home, although for me there are many other scents that would be nicer.

Using your senses to explore a scene can be a powerful way to give your reader a real sense of the surroundings your characters are feeling. She stood by the fire. Or: She leaned against the cold stone wall of the enormous fireplace hoping to feel the warmth of the tall, flickering flames as the chill from the winter storm blew across her feet. The second sentence allows your reader to use the senses to smell the fire, feel the cold stone, and it tells them a storm has descended on the home. They’re things they’ve felt in your lifetime and can easily recall how what the cold stone felt like beneath the hands.

As writers our job is impart these insights to our readers in a way they can relate to. Our world becomes theirs, for a short time, with every word we write. If we examine some of the things we use we can share these senses in every scene and every moment we want to become more real. Even the scenes where our characters make love can come alive with smells, the feel of soft or sweaty skin, the tickle of long hair against his chest and the callouses on his hands as they slide up her leg. We have to remember real people sweat, have callouses and smells that are part of everything they do.

Inspiration

It amazes me how inspiration surfaces during the most mundane activities of life. Who would have thought running a load of wash, driving home from work or playing in the dirt with your grandkids would inspire a thought that becomes a paragraph or chapter in your book?

The simple things we do each day can be turned into wonderful normal day activities for our characters, because even though they are fiction our readers want to believe they are real for that short span of time they leave their world and become a part of our world. If we show them cooking, cleaning, gardening or showering we add a dimension of real to their fictional life. That added little spice can become the catalyst to move your story along, or bring a flashback to life that gives your reader some insight into why the hero/heroine is the way they are.

An example I used is the fact that my husband is never wrong! Its draining at times, but it can be fun to prove him wrong. Sometime a fight ensues, sometimes a mild little “oh well” comes very quietly from his mouth, but it’s always interesting. I gave one of my hero’s father this trait and I’ve had a blast playing with it. I know, and understand, why my husband is this way, and where these notions emanate from so it gives me an insight to the father, and a basis for making his past understood.  My heroine in the story refuses to let him get away with it. The hero, however, has learned to ignore most of it, most of the time, until he has to stand up for her against his father. Fun!

Think about this. Do you remember the first time you got splash with hot oil while cooking bacon? Do you now hold that pan lid in front of you to protect yourself? Who was with you that day, what was the discussion and how did it change how cook bacon? Memories are there and your characters can share some emotional, heartbreaking, or funny backstories that will provide insight for your readers. Find mundane ways to contribute to the real life persona of your character by infusing them with memories strewn through your book of real events that changes the way they act, think, react or veer away from something due to past challenges.

Look around as you write and remember these moments and draw on that to infuse your story with real life antidotes that your readers you smile about.

Learning Curves

I have to admit, like most writers that there was a learning curve that I tend to look back on from time to time. So many pages litter my desks nooks and crannies filled with POV jarring scenes. But, as I read through these pages I remember the excitement of putting words to paper, the thrill of finding the right words to convey my thoughts and the joy of seeing it all in front of me. Even though, at times, it only made sense to me.

I keep it all, in binders, on disks or jump drives and some on the pc I use on a regular basis. It stands as a reminder of what I’ve a learned, how I’ve grown and where I’m focused on getting to. It’s also inspiration, some it has some really good thoughts and turns of phrases that make me want to go back and rework the whole piece. Maybe, some day I will. They were my learning curve as I tried to figure out how to write a story that made sense, kept a person’s interest and tried to understand the whole game of writing.

We all have learning curves we face on our path, it shows us the winding the roads we traveled that eventually meet up at the intersection of,”ah ha now it’s starting to click”. That’s the road sign that points to making a creative, interesting career from something you love to do.

Pitching ideas to shine

As those who read this know, I’ve been trying to figure out ways self promote my work. Blogging is clearly one of the most effective ways, but building the momentum of a readership for the blog is a whole new ball game. I can pitch my thoughts and ideas out into the cyber world on a daily basis but until I hit the right audience with the right information, I’m hitting fouls into the left sidelines.

Research has shown that having your blog linked to several bases, including your home page, will help build your readership. I’ve made three choices thus far: 1st base is, of course, my author website www.lisabelliott.weebly.com , my 2nd base is here on www.wordpress.com where blogging has become a way of life for many, and 3rd base is www.Goodreads.com where authors and readers mingle to share reviews and promote their books. Each site, in their own right, has hit homeruns with readers and writers, alike.

I think these 3 are a good start for bloggers, and linking all together so they each have the latest blog updates to share is the smoothest way to follow a blogger around their bases. It allows a reader to go back and read a blog they may have missed and gives your readers a chance to see what your trying to pitch into the world, your own home series if you will. It takes time to build a following, but once you do remember they will expect to see your best game every week!

Turning the tricks

I’m now writing for the page examiner.com. Writing is such a competitive arena that you need to “turn tricks” and get yourself in front of as many people as possible. I find it’s all about developing a following, and getting those same people to keep coming back for more. It’s about enticing them with your personality, your style and the way you present you. But mostly it’s about pimping what you do, why you do it and getting them to pay for your services.

Yes, it’s a strange comparison but in reality everything we do, our job, our marriage, raising our kids is always about wanting to make sure people come back for more. So it’s pimping your self!

You can find me on Amazon with my historical romances, examiner. com is where I share and write about my crafting techniques and ideas, Facebook is where the real me hangs out and shares life’s daily grind, and Tweeter is where I share little idiotism’s about writing. I’m pimping me all over the net so people will one day remember my work. Now if I can figure out how to make a living at it!

Self Publishing

I recently entered the bold new world of self publishing. Yes it’s a little daunting trying to figure how to format your work, create your own cover and upload to all the different sites available to us. But, I’ve found the hardest part is navigating the world of promoting your work, getting people to give you a shot, and figuring out whether your work is actually worthy of being published.

Now, don’t get me wrong, if you put your heart and soul into something it’s worth putting it out there. But, there’s certainly a part of you that would like some acknowledgement from people concerning your work. Did they enjoy it? Did they think you have some talent, that maybe just needs honed some? Would they like to see more of your work? All valid questions that we, at least I do, want answered in some form.

So my hope is that if you read this go read a new, self published author that doesn’t have the benefit of a publicist, agency or author house to get reviews for their work that you please leave a comment, even if they need work. Be constructive for the author, point out the good and suggest where they might improve. It is, after all, the only way we will learn.