How to Write Short Stories – and Write Them Well

So, a short story was probably what you specialized in when you started writing. What you called a “book,” if you started as young as I did, was probably a ten-page (tops) short story written in huge font. Sound familiar? You might have started with a little more professionalism than I did, so hats off to you.

But I started between the age of four and eight, depending on what you actually consider “writing.” Hmm, I should do a post on the controversial “definition” of writing. 🙂 But now I’m going off on a tangent and we’ve barely started. You can tell what mood I’m in, right??? *stares distractedly out the window with a smile*

Okay, let’s get back to business. *puts hat back on*

What constitutes a short story?

It varies. I mean, I don’t think a definition is actually necessary, but you should know that anything below 1,000 words is considered flash fiction, or a super short story. However, personally, I feel that flash fiction should be defined as something closer to a few hundred words or less. So, the minimum word count for short story falls somewhere in the <1,000 category, and can be up to 10,000 words.

Why are short stories so important in fiction?

Not only are short stories an excellent building block for writing (see my Faithwriters’ short stories), but they are a fabulous tool to provide entertainment, inspiration, amusement, and even, if you’re really skilled, a powerful piece of writing that makes an impact that lasts! It’s a taller order than it sounds. Some people may not have time to read a novel. But anyone can make time to read a short story. See the potential there?

I wish I could share with you all the incredible short stories I’ve read. I can’t, but let me say, they have changed my view of “short” stories.

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And, I might add, so can the smallest stories. 🙂

Don’t you all just love LOTR quotes?

How to Write Them Well

No, not LOTR quotes, short stories. 😉

Okay, so, the only reason I can give you some advice on this, is because I’ve written so many of them. But if you’re really interested in writing short stories, do your research. I can only share the bit that I’ve learned along the way.

Depending on the length of your story, keep extra POVs to a minimum. In all likelihood, your short story is probably only focusing on one person. However, be very careful when including more than one POV. Try to have just one, if at all possible. It should help the story to flow more smoothly.

Stories are powerful. Words can change lives. So work on the flow of every sentence and paragraph, as you write and as you edit. Tightening sentences where you can will often help the story flow. Cut out unnecessary descriptions, but let the reader see the scene that is unfolding.

It is difficult to explain everything that can improve a short work of fiction. Your best bet is to read. Mine aren’t the best examples in the world, but you can check out the stories I’ve written for Faithwriters. If nothing else, you’ll be able to get an idea of a tight story with a message. My short stories page features many of the winning stories. But if you do some exploring on Faithwriters, you’ll find some really incredible winning stories.

First sentences and last sentences also count in short stories, mainly because they are the first and last impressions. But remember, quite often, the real fashioning of a story happens after the writing, during the editing.

So, read. Read a lot. If you want to perfect short stories, you can’t read enough of them. And you can’t write enough of them. My first many stories written for Faithwriters were, um . . . *coughs* embarrassing. But each one improved. And short stories are unique opportunities to inspire! Don’t discredit them because they’re short. Remember Lord of the Rings quotes!

Oh, and, before we go . . . a puppy update. Phoenix is doing awesome. Personality-wise, she’s bull-headed, but very sensitive. The other night, right at midnight, she heard two cats screaming outside, and started barking. Like. Crazy. I jolted awake, fumbled to turn the light on. She might have been noisy, but she was actually really freaked out and scared. So I petted her for a while, then turned off the light, and she went back to sleep. All thoughts of screeching cats forgotten. 🙂 Goodnight, Phoenix!

Your turn. What sort of short stories do you like to write? What is your advice for a newbie looking to start out with short stories? Have you ever had your dog wake you up in the middle of the night? Let’s chat!

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Punctuation Pantry – Friend or Foe: Semicolons and Parentheses

“On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock.”
― Thomas Jefferson

Our second installment of the Punctuation Pantry talks about semicolons and parentheses. This may seem exceedingly dull (and I agree, suspended hyphens were more interesting);  but the fact remains, in this day and age, these two punctuation items need to be discussed. (See what I did there?)

A definition is not needed for parentheses. But you may have noticed that you really don’t see them anymore outside of emails (and blog posts, of course). 🙂 In books, you typically don’t see parentheses. Why?

Based on my observation, they’ve been replaced by dashes. Look at these sentences:

The characters in the movie were three-dimensional (and very entertaining).

Which can be written as,

The characters in the movie were three-dimensional – and very entertaining.

So, the general rule is, parentheses are fine for informal writing. But formal writing tends to avoid them.

SEMICOLONS

Semicolons basically join two independent clauses, which is very helpful in outlining or list-making. But until a couple years ago, I was strongly opposed to using them in formal writing, simply because they were used – heavily – in classics and older literature. They are more sparse in today’s work.

However, that does not mean they have no place in the literature of today. Do your research. But I would recommend not using them quite as frequently as the classics did, simply because they seem to be a little less popular today.

So, recap. Formal writing, avoid parentheses and sprinkle the semicolons. A lot of what I’ve learned about punctuation in writing comes from observing the writing of others. So if you want a stricter definition of what is accepted, do your research.

And NOW! Drum roll . . . I did not want to leave you all today with a few up-to-date pictures of our little Goldendoodle Phoenix. 🙂 She has grown so fast, it’s impossible to believe. She barely fits in my arms. Already! Today, she has her appointment with the vets, so she’s got a car ride to look forward to. She’s okay in the car, but we’ll see how it goes.

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Fast asleep . . .

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THAT FACE!!!

Her potty training is slow, but her training in basic commands is incredible. She’s even learning hand signals. And guess who wakes me up at five every morning? Without fail. That’s her “I’ve got to go to the bathroom” alert.

And good news, the cats are adjusting to her. And she knows she’s not supposed to chase them, but . . . oh, they’re so fast and fluffy she says!

So, what are your favorite uses of the three topics we’ve addressed in the Punctuation Pantry? Do you use semicolons or parentheses? Now, how about Phoenix – cutest puppy EVER? (I know, I’m horribly biased.) Let’s chat!

You Know You’re a Writer When . . .

We’ve all seen those little notes that begin with “You know you’re a writer when . . .” and the blank is filled, usually with something humorous that you can totally relate to. But what if we just simplified it and said,

You know you’re a writer . . . when something inspires you to write.

What inspires you? A sight or a smell? A sound, like laughter? An image or a quote?

The fact is, if you’re a writer, you were probably inspired to write long before you put pen to paper. Writing doesn’t begin with the pen and paper. It begins with a feeling. A sensation you can’t identify that sparks imagination, creativity, excitement. Even ambivalence.

Think about it.

Were you the ten-year-old riding your bike or sitting on the lawn while telling yourself stories? Were you hiding in your room with a good book while your friends were playing? Did you hoard all the notebooks you could find and say that even all those couldn’t fit the stories in your head . . . even if they remained blank? Did you write a story simply because you had to? There was no choice in the matter – there was just this burning imagination that had to be expressed?

That’s where inspiration started for me. An idea – five kids stranded on an island at high tide. An imagination – two siblings transported back through time to help defeat a giant (the humble beginnings of One Light Shining six years ago). Eventually, creativity and originality – the crash of the nation’s power grid drives a family from their home (Ashes Remain, currently a first draft).

You know you’re a writer when there’s a bit of inspiration that must be set loose to conquer that giant, slay that dragon, wield that sword . . . or, simply, tame that imagination, harness its power, until the hunger in you is satisfied.

You know you’re a writer when it’s not about the money, not about the fame, not about the praise – it’s just about feeling alive, and it’s between you and God.

I would ride my bike for hours, rain or shine, greedily whispering stories I would never write, as I peddled faster and faster under the excitement of what was unfolding. One day, even this wasn’t enough. So, I just started . . . writing. Yeah, it was pretty lousy. I would never show my first work to a single soul, and I cringe to think I had my mom and dad read it. 😉  But that’s okay. If I hadn’t started that way, I never would have started at all.

Is writing easy?

No. It’s difficult, often. Torturous, frequently.

Why do we do it?

Because we must. To quit would leave us empty. There’s something in every writer that is only satisfied by the expression of words, a thirst only quenched by the victory that is achieved by the wielding of their power. We can’t substitute it. I’ve tried.

You know you’re a writer when the imagination and inspiration is too strong to ignore.

You know you’re a writer when you can see the story in your head, not the words on the page.

You know you’re a writer . . .

Now, before I forget, let me advise you in advance that on Monday, I have a very exciting, slightly off-subject announcement to bring forward. It’s a post that will be a lot of fun. 🙂 You ready? Monday. Don’t forget.

What do you think? When did you first start crafting stories? How far have you come? And what inspires you? Let’s chat in the comments!

 

How to Silence Your Inner Editor – and an Update on Writing with a Chromebook

Now, I normally do not blog on Sundays, but because I’ve gotten a little behind in blogging, I felt today needed to be an exception. So, greetings!

Today we’re going to have two blog posts in one. How fun!

Silencing the Inner Editor

We all have to deal with this. That sneaky little voice that slithers about in our brain and tells us one of two things – 1, that our writing is horrible, or 2, that sentence you just wrote is something a three-year-old would write.

Number One has no place in your brain. Erase it. Number Two, well, it has its place. But that place is NOT while your writing your first draft, and maybe not even your second.

Our Inner Editor can be difficult to silence, in part because some people will believe they need to edit as they go along. MYTH! NO! Do not edit while you’re writing UNLESS it’s your second or third draft and you are rewriting. That said, let me clarify. When you are rewriting, you are, in a sense, editing. So edit the previous draft, don’t edit the one you’re currently writing.

That’s the responsibility of the next draft.

See how vicious that cycle is? Beware of writing too many drafts before you decide enough is good enough.

Anyway, I do have some advice on silencing the Inner Editor, and it’s a technique I discovered during NaNoWriMo last year. I think NaNo has a June or July edition coming up, so if you’re one of the people taking part, this might be just the right time for you to hear this.

SET A DEADLINE

This might seem a little surprising if you’ve never experienced the stress and the relief of a deadline. Stress because it can be, well, stressful, and relief because I’ve found that my Inner Editor can’t rear its head when I know – completely know – that when writing on a deadline, the condition of the draft doesn’t matter much. What matters is the deadline. So, Inner Editor, relax.

Don’t set a random deadline. It should be challenging, but doable. And not too monstrous, unless you have some reliable people alongside to keep you going. 🙂

Like NaNoWriMo.

Still, I have found that a writing deadline/goal really helps me to focus on the task, NOT on my biased opinion of what poor writing looks like. We authors are the worst judges of our own work, believe me.

 

Writing on my Chromebook

So, on the subject of the Chromebook, some of you may remember I purchased one a couple months ago. It’s awesome. Not just for writing (like this blog post), but also for short Internet searches when I don’t want to fire up the computer.

But . . . one bit of my opinion has changed since I first announced the Chromebook.

I won’t use it for novel writing.

Editing? Yes. Short stories? Absolutely. But novels? No. Why?

Because I’ve used a Alphasmart Neo 2 word processor for so long, I completely adapted to the small, dim screen, and now I find myself incurably distracted by a large, bright screen. So, after juggling with this for a while, I switched back to the Neo. Now everyone’s happy. 🙂 It’s probably completely mental, but, hey, if I can get in the “zone” on a Neo, then on a Neo I shall write.

Isn’t that profound? 😉

 

And there y’all have it! But let’s chat. Have you used a simple word processor or a Chromebook? What are your techniques for silencing your inner editor? Let’s talk in the comments!

An Exciting Writing Update . . . at Last!

So, if you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’re probably aware that it’s been MONTHS since my last personal writing update. Since November-ish, I think, since NaNoWriMo. And there’s a reason for that. But it’s not a good one.

I haven’t been writing.

*gulp* Yeah, no, I haven’t been. For the past several months, there has been so much going on around the farm, with planning, working the soil, trying to plan, and then there’s been me, trying to plan and trying to figure out life. You know, what we’d all like to figure out. 🙂

But if there’s one thing I haven’t been doing, it’s writing. Or reading. And I’m kind of ashamed, but sometimes it does help to back off and take a good look at what you’re doing. This spring has been so full of thrilling “ups” and discouraging “downs”, it made it too difficult for me to sit down and write. The words were empty.

*sighs*

Alas! Yes, this is a writing update, not a non-writing update, and not an excuse as to why I haven’t been writing.

A few days ago, my mom and I sat down and basically decided that I needed to start writing again. Now.

So, that just left the question of “what”. I had the option of Ashes Remain, the contemporary action novella that I’ve finished the first draft of. Then there was One Light Shining, my never-ending YA portal fantasy. And of course, something new.

As I mulled over that . . . I had a funny dream. I had a dream in which I’d written One Light Shining, published it, and it had been turned into a movie. 🙂  (I know, wouldn’t we all like those dreams, all the time? I NEVER get to dream about my books, ever!)

While thinking about that dream, I was reminded of the intended message of that book. A hard-hitting, powerful message of forgiveness, compassion, and grace. A story that timely encompasses the problems of today and combines them with struggles that have reached across the ages, set in a made-up world. Action, adventure, relationship, redemption . . .

There’s something there. I know there’s something in that.

So . . . yes. I chose One Light Shining.

My mom is going to read through the last draft that I wrote, for NaNo last year, and when she does, I’ll transmit her feedback to my outlining process. Then, write the next draft – what is this, the seventh? – and then find an editor. 🙂 I know, so simple, right?

And that is the sum of this long-belated writing update. But now I’m going to leave you all with one or two snippets from my beloved portal fantasy novel. Ready?

This one is from the new rewrite of the prologue:

He trod lightly upon the stairs, fully aware of which ones moaned when you stepped on them, avoiding those, and avoiding the windows where the moonlight peered in, uninvited. His foreknowledge of this home was critical. Trespassing was a serious business.

Okay, and so is this one:

But this was no time to lose his nerve. It was all he had left. He pushed on. There was a deadly earnestness in his steps, one that frightened him. Part of him still knew how wrong this was. No matter how hard he tried to silence those doubts, they turned his memories on him. Memories he’d spent the last year twisting, burying. They left his breath shallow and faltering.

    The hall turned dark as the windows disappeared behind him. An occasional candle in a wall sconce cast enough light – not that he didn’t know this hall by heart.

    Two doors to go.

 

There you go! A sneak peak into the rewriting process. I’ll have more updates coming later on. Who knows – someday I might even be publishing this book and I’ll be calling all you faithful followers together for a blog tour. 🙂

What are you working on right now? What is your writing-rewriting style? And please let me know if either of those snippets encourage you to read on. Feedback is everything while I’m revising! Let’s chat in the comments!

Does Your MC Have a Soul? – and some character-crafting advice

If you have spent any time at all researching the art of writing, or, for that matter, if you’ve spent time actually writing, you’re probably aware of what might, arguably, be the single most important factor in the crafting of your story. Simply, it’s called character development or character arcs, but we’re delving a little deeper than that.

Does your MC have a soul? It might sound like a funny question, but it essentially refers to the bend-ability of your characters. Or, their ability to grow and change, for better or worse, and thus engage your reader’s heart and attention. If your characters do not engage the reader, your story is very likely . . . drowning.

A while back, I read a novel that was very much based on the typical plot line of “time travel brings the prophesied hero into a world that they are destined to save.” You know that kind of story. And there’s nothing wrong with that kind of story, aside from its cliche-ness. However, because the plot of that book relied so heavily on a used-and-abused cliche, it did not feel to me as the reader to be a very well developed story.

But then there were the characters. And those characters were so well-developed and had so much room to grow – in other words, they had souls – I kept reading and ultimately enjoyed the story. Because of the characters.

Then there are the stories with plots and worldbuilding so thorough and well thought-out we are blown away. But many times, if those stories do not have believable characters, they cannot really stand up to the stories that do.

However, please note that you may write a very believable, real MC, with an excellent arc, that a particular reader can’t relate to. Thus, they may not enjoy the story as much as they could. I’ve read books like that – but just because can’t relate to the protagonist, doesn’t mean it isn’t a character with a soul.

1. GIVE YOUR PROTAGONIST FAULTS

Let him/her make mistakes. This is one of the easiest first steps in reaching the reader. If your MC is “perfect,” well, who can relate to that? Yes, of course, you can make your character a hero in his own way, but a hero without fault is unlikely to inspire the avid reader or garner their support. And besides that, I think even the author will find that a hero with his own weaknesses or misled beliefs or shadowed past is much more interesting to write. 🙂

2. DON’T LET YOUR ANTAGONIST BE STAGNANT

This is far trickier, it doesn’t work for every story, and honestly, I don’t recommend you tackle this until you’ve reached a certain level of confidence in your writing, especially the writing of your protagonist. That said, there may come a time when you’re ready to do more with the antagonist.

Be creative. Ask questions. Was he/she always evil? What carried him/her down that path? Make your antagonist someone we might even be able to feel a little story for. An example, at least for me, would be the antagonist Shinzon in the movie Star Trek: Nemesis. Without going into too much detail, let me just say that he was not only given a unique launch point – he was more or less a clone of our protagonist who took a different road in life – and because of the things that encouraged him to make the choices he did in his life, it is easy to come to feel sorry for him, making that character an excellent antagonist.

To clarify, that antagonist just went from someone we cheer against to someone we want to see become a better person. And that is good writing.

🙂

There are many more points I could talk about here, but I’ve run out of time. So let’s chat. Who is your favorite antagonist/protagonist? What do you do in your writing to give your characters a soul?

How to Choose the Best POV For Your Story

Here it is – the follow-up on my last POV post.  I brushed over this topic in that post, but I felt I should go into more detail about the actual process of selecting which POV is best for your story.

First, there are questions to ask yourself.

HOW MANY CHARACTERS DO YOU NEED TO COVER?

This is one of the most important factors in deciding the POV fate of your book, and in some cases, it may be the only question you ask.

If your story centers around one character and that character essentially carries the whole story, consider first-person POV. Because it will enable you to come across with a depth of emotion and voice you may or may not achieve in third person. In my writing, I prefer first person over any other POV, simply because I do not write as well in third. In this POV, I can get deep into my character’s head and convey that character much more clearly than I can otherwise, and clarity is critical in writing.

An example from one of my WIPs is Ashes Remain. I finished the first draft of this story in first person/present tense. This story contains many characters, but it is told solely from the perspective of a teenage girl, Wren, because I found her to be a strong enough protagonist to carry the story.

However, if you have many important characters, several different main or secondary people who will carry the story, your best choice is likely third-person multiple. Keep in mind, you don’t want to enter too many characters’ heads in the course of one book. Keep it to as few as you can manage and still tell the story.

Another WIP example is my back-burner book, One Light Shining. This is written in third-person multiple so I can allow several different main characters to carry the story throughout.

WHAT VOICE ARE YOU SPEAKING THROUGH?

This is another important question. If you’re telling the story of a young woman living through WW1, you may, in fact, find third-person limited or first person to be your best options, simply because, in a story like this, you are probably trying to portray the emotion of the time, and remaining in one character’s head throughout is a possible way to accomplish this. That said, if you have two crucial MCs, the girl waiting at home and her brother (or father, or fiance) on the battlefield, obviously first person – unless you use first-person multiple – is not going to work.

Your story/character voice is another deciding factor in what POV you will use.

WHAT POV DO YOU LIKE BEST?

This is actually a more important question than it seems. Whatever POV you are most comfortable writing in, that’s probably what you’ll write the best. You may or may not be able to make the rest of your story conform to your preference. Keep in mind, you may simply need to stretch your abilities in writing, but this is a good start-up question to ask yourself.

 

There are so many ways to choose the best POV for your story, but asking these questions can get you started.

What POVs do you like the best in books you’ve read? First? Third? How about second?? Let’s chat!

The Joyful Tag for Writers!

Okay, so I’m doing something new today, and I am inventing a tag. 🙂 Sounds like fun! I was planning on continuing my post on POVs, but I thought it might be nice to split that up and stick this one in between.

Okay, rule number one: Acknowledge who tagged you for this.

Rule number two: Tag at least two people in return.

Rule number three: Post these three rules when you do the tag. 🙂 Easy, right?

1. WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF ANY THREE OF YOUR CHARACTERS WERE PUT IN A ROOM TOGETHER FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME?

(Mine would be looking at each other, trying to figure out why that person is from the twenty-first century and they’re from a fictional medieval universe. That spells trouble for sure.)

2. IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE A THEME SONG TO REPRESENT YOUR CURRENT WIP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

I’m exempt from this question because I am presently in between WIPs. 🙂

3. IF YOU COULD TRAVEL TO ANY FICTIONAL UNIVERSE, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

(I thought I was putting this question in here to be slightly mean – you can only choose one! – but suddenly, I’ve come up blank.) Okay, probably Rivendale in The Lord of the Rings, but ask me again tomorrow.

4. IF YOU WERE STRANDED ON ANOTHER PLANET WITH ONE OF YOUR CHARACTERS, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

I would select my character Elian because he would be good at that kind of thing.

5. IF YOU WERE STRANDED ON ANOTHER PLANET WITH ANOTHER FICTIONAL CHARACTER – NOT ONE OF YOURS – WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

Oh, totally Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings. I mean, who else???

6. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE GENRE TO WRITE IN AND WHY?

Least favorite = horror. I. Do. Not. Write. Horror. YYUUCCKK.

7. IF YOU HAD TO LIVE OUT THE ROLE OF A FICTIONAL CHARACTER, WHO WOULD IT BE?

(By the way, this can be your book or someone else’s.) I would have to go with Katrina from my story One Light Shining. She goes through some really, really hard stuff, but the result, as far as this author is concerned, is way worth it. I just haven’t thought to ask her if she agrees. *cue evil author laughter*

8. WHAT IS ONE THING PEOPLE MUST KNOW ABOUT YOU?

I am a cataholic. No, spellcheck, not Catholic, I said CAT-AHOLIC. Definition: Serious addiction to cats. 🙂

 

Now it’s your turn. If you want to do the tag, consider yourself tagged, and send me a link in the comments! Officially, I’m going to tag Kate Flourney, Jane Maree, and Hope Shelton. Have fun, you guys, with the Joyful Tag!

The POV Battle – and Choosing the Right One for Your Story

If you have been a writer and reader for any length of time, you’re probably aware of the major debate among authors regarding POVs. There are so many of them. Some work better for one story, some work better for one author. So let’s lay out the facts today. Because, really, there’s no right answer.

THIRD PERSON – MULTIPLE

This POV is fairly straightforward but can be a learning curve. Simply put, it is the third-person POV in which you can only see through one character’s eyes in any given scene. You can switch around between characters, but not in the same scene. Use a clear scene divider on the page, or just switch characters at the end of the chapter.

PROS:

Good for suspense-building.

Fairly simple to understand.

CONS:

Limiting for the author with a bunch of important characters (see the warning below).

Can be difficult to write if you’re totally new to it.

WARNINGS:

Don’t put your readers in the head of too many characters, especially secondary characters, in one book. Stick to your most important characters and build the story off of them.

THIRD PERSON – OMNISCIENT

As the name suggests, this POV refers to the books like Frank Peretti’s and the classics, in which you can be in any number of characters’ heads at any time in any scene. It may sound super easy, but it’s not. To write it well, and I mean really well, as it should be, you’ve got to be an experienced reader and probably a pretty prolific writer, too. I can’t explain it fully – read the classics, you’ll know what I mean.

PROS:

Encompasses many characters without the need for scene or chapter breaks.

May work well for a book with a good many characters.

CONS:

Difficult to write well.

Not as popular anymore, especially among young adults.

WARNINGS:

Don’t try to write this until you really know what you’re doing!

THIRD PERSON – LIMITED

This is the POV I have no experience with. From what I’ve learned, it encompasses only one character’s thoughts through the entire book. I once read a book I thought was written this way, until the end, when I realized it was omniscient. 🙂

PROS:

Will come in handy for someone who only wants to write in deep POV with one character, perhaps in a novella or a shorter book.

Excellent for building suspense.

CONS:

Very limiting.

Takes a lot of discipline to write correctly.

WARNINGS:

Know for sure that this is the POV you need before writing it.

FIRST PERSON – LIMITED

The most common type of first person is limited, though some books are now first-person multiple. This, also, is one character for the whole book, but written under the pronoun instead of he or she.

PROS:

Excellent choice for getting into your character’s head.

A common choice of POV.

CONS:

Somewhat limiting.

Not a popular POV among certain groups of readers.

WARNINGS:

Know that this POV is right for your story before you start writing it.

FIRST PERSON – MULTIPLE

Again, I have almost no experience writing this way. However, this is a reasonable step forward in writing first person, and it is relatively new in regards to popularity.

PROS:

A good way to get into your characters’ heads but still encompass other characters.

A growing trend.

CONS:

Highly unpopular among certain groups of readers.

Can be very difficult to establish different “voices” in different POVs.

WARNINGS:

Make sure you practice with different voices in this POV so that each character is distinct. Don’t use any more characters than you absolutely have to.

FIRST PERSON – PRESENT TENSE

This is one of personal interest that I am including. It is one of my favorite POVs. First person, written in present tense, is a lot harder than it sounds, but I have found it to be one of the best ways I can connect with my characters – because all of a sudden, they feel real.

PROS:

Growing in popularity quickly.

Excellent way to connect with characters for some.

CONS:

Can be difficult to master.

Unpopular in certain groups of readers.

WARNINGS:

This POV does not work for every author, nor for every book.

 

And that is about it. Because I’ve used so many words in this post, I’m splitting it up. Stay tuned, because my next post is going to go into more detail about choosing a POV, and I’m going to have a list of recommended reading for each one!

 

What are/is your favorite POV(s)? Why? What advise could you share with new writers about choosing one for their story? Let’s chat!

What I’ve Learned From a Year of Blogging

I have been managing this blog for just about a year. Happy birthday! Actually, I have learned a great deal in that time, and there are a few things I would have liked to have known in advance. I’m going to share some of these today.

I LEARNED THE IMPORTANCE OF KEYWORDS AND TITLES

So, prior to blogging, I was working on our farm website, and I kept hearing about these things called keywords. As time went on and I researched more and more about writing and wrote more and more blog posts, I discovered some keywords of my own. For instance, I have found that some of my most popular blog posts have titles that include words like how-to or include a question mark. I honestly don’t know if these are coincidences or not, they are just observations.

Titles, people. They’re important.

I LEARNED THE IMPORTANCE OF FAITHFUL BLOGGING

Hey, I don’t care if you have zero followers or one hundred, you have to blog regularly. I’ve heard it from many sources and I’ve experienced the benefit myself. It doesn’t matter if nobody sees that five-hundred-and-fifty-word post you slaved over for a day. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a major lull in blog traffic and nobody puts a like on that post you loved so much. It. Doesn’t. Make. A. Difference in how often you have to blog.

When I started, I was faithfully blogging every three days. That has changed. I don’t have a set schedule, but I try to get one in a couple times a week. It is critically important, my friend, to blog regularly, even if no one sees it, because it is broadening your span of keywords and it is boosting your SEO status.

I LEARNED TO BE AUTHENTIC

It is important to have an open and welcoming atmosphere on your site, and blog posts are a good way to get that message across. Be authentic. Be you. Use your voice. People are going to get that.

LINKS!!!

I love links. Put ’em on Facebook. Put ’em on the other blog and the other blog. Reblog from the new blog. Seriously, do that. I accidentally reblogged a post from our farm blog to this one and because I did, it got attention. Our new blog received traffic. I might just try it again. 🙂

See what I did up there? 😉

Links are excellent ways to improve feedback over time. Use them more than once.

THE CONCLUSION?

I hate blogging.

That’s a joke. I actually love blogging. It gets a little tiresome in those intervals when no one drops by for tea . . . *sad face* Okay, whatever. Those are just the times when you remind yourself you have something to say, and someone will hear it someday. (Please don’t call out that lame rhyme, it was accidental).  🙂  See what I mean? Authentic = randomness. Fun!!

 

Tell me, friends, what are your thoughts on blogging? Has any of this been helpful? Share your thoughts in the comments! We’ll share tea and . . . um, pizza? Or Oreos. Or toast? You fill in the blank.