Monday, February 26, 2007

Keegan of Vnoi

I am going to introduce you to someone new today. He is from my new book that I am writing. His name is Keegan and he is a designer of different products. So let me give you a little background on him and then I will tell you a little bit about what he likes to do. He has three sisters, they are triplets. They keep him busy, it seems they are always into something. Their newest scheme is opening a retail store, but I will go into that in a future article. Keegan is over 6 foot tall, his mahogany-colored hair brushes his shoulders because he always forgets to get it cut, he wears a leather jacket most of the time that falls to his knees and his favorite mode of transportation is his custom bike he created that runs off the electromagnetic lines through the island he lives on.

Keegan's favorite thing to design is custom built bikes. He will take one or two orders a year to create his bikes, but will work with the customer to design the bike to his or her needs. When he isn't working on his bikes, he works with Bryce occasionally. Bryce owns the local shipbuilding company and has dated his sister, Delwyn off and on for years. Keegan also helps out his parents and sisters in anything they need. He is big on family, the way he figures it, is that family is what is important the rest is just noise.

Keegan has been looking after another person for years, he blames himself for her blindness. Her name is Gwyn. When they were playing as children by the river, Gwyn slipped on the wet rocks when they were crossing the river. When she fell, she hit her head and blacked out. When Gwyn awoke she was blind, because Keegan was with her at the time and had dared her to try and cross the river on the rocks, he blames himself. Gwyn won't accept his pity and has told him numerable times to grow up. She doesn't want his pity and she thinks that is the only thing he thinks of when he looks at her. But Keegan is persistent and I am sure one day he will get his true feelings across to her, but then again maybe not...we will have to wait to see.

I hope you enjoyed meeting Keegan and when his books comes out I will let everyone know. In the meantime, enjoy your writing because there is nothing like creating a whole other world and bringing it to life.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Writing Tips - Proofreading

You have worked on your article, poem, novel for a long time. You have put your heart and soul into it and now comes the hardest part of any writer's life...Proofreading. Most authors can write, but because the thoughts in there head come quicker than their fingers can type it makes it difficult to not make mistakes. When you go back and read it, it sounds great to you because you know what it is supposed to say and your brain skips over the mistakes.

This is why it is important to get an impartial person to read through your document. If might be a good idea to have the person sign a non-disclosure document before they start proofreading for you, this will be beneficial to both of you and if the personal is ethical then they normally won't have a problem signing such a document. Normally a proofreading will read through the entire document, if they notice mistakes they will flag them for later, but by reading through the document first they understand where you are trying to go and are better able to make sure it flows correctly. On the second go through the proofreader will normally read it through slowly to catch mistakes with flow and spelling. Then on the final pass they will go through the document word for word looking for spelling and punctuation. This time they won't be reading the document so much as scrutinizing it closely. By proofreading going through this process they are better able to check the mistakes that are made and to understand what you have left out or misspelled.

I know with my co-author, I will proofread the things she does and there will be times that we both are stumped on a word or phrase. We normally end up going back through it again to try and understand what has been said. We have found it beneficial to read through it ourselves first before we give it to a proofreader. If you can find even ten of the mistakes in the document then that is ten mistakes your proofreader doesn't have to stumble across. Now remember there will be things your proofreader will miss, they aren't perfect, but they will get the majority of them.

We have actually been very lucky in our proofreaders, several people have offered us their services free of charge. They were official proofreaders but they were editors for magazines and English school teachers. This has been very helpful to us and we greatly appreciate everything they have done for us.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Writing Tips: Distractions

It is easy to get distracted when you are trying to write. You know you are supposed to sit down every day and write to expand your story or work on revisions, but there are always things to distract you. It could be the children knocking at the door, the birds flying outside, or even your mind wandering. It could be caused by writer's block, boredom or spring fever.

No matter what the cause you need to work through it. You have to overcome the distractions to be able to continue on with your writing. If the children are knocking at the door then set up a time when they know they are supposed to bother you, time that you set aside just for writing. If something outside is distracting you because you sit in front of a window (I do) then get blinds for the window or move your office. As for your mind wandering that is something that you have to work through on your own. All of us at times deal with day dreaming and it can be productive, but it can also be counter-productive and it is up to you how you handle it.

When you are dealing with writer's block it can be extremely frustrating. It can be caused by you are overtired, your emotions are running high or you could just be pulling a blank, whatever the cause there are different techniques talked about around the Internet that can help you and other authors might be able to give you some ideas that have worked for them. I know when I get writer's block about a specific book, I switch books and try something different. As for the boredom aspect, you can try the same thing, work on something new or try a different genre to see if that peaks your interest. As for spring fever, take a day off, go play in the sun and have some fun, then the next day get back to work.

There are many things that can distract us and it is up to us what we let distract us and what we don't. If you want to be a successful writer then you have to find ways around the distractions in your life and not give in to the impulses that cross your path.

As always, happy writing

Friday, February 16, 2007

Spell checking disasters: Why computer programs cannot replace the human element

In the first book we wrote we added a preface to the beginning of the book. The book was about Father Time and Mother Nature. They were standing on a cliff together overlooking the ocean and reflecting on the job that God had given them to do. They were discussing the different tasks He had assigned them and that to be able to accomplish these tasks God had given them immorality. We had used the wrong word, it was supposed to be immortality but instead it was immorality, we had forgotten the "t".

It wasn't until after the book was published and my husband was starting to read the book that it came to anyone's attention. It had slipped through the computer's spell check program and no one had caught the mistake, not even our proof-reader.

The human element is important because the computer will not catch everything because if the word is spelled correctly, it will skip over the word. Unfortunately, the human element isn't flawless either, but it is something to remember when you do finish your work, have more than one person review it for typos. Hopefully if more than one person reviewed your work then it is probable that the mistakes will be caught before you go to print.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Writing Tips - Research

Research is a vital part of any book unless you have created a completely new world where you can put anything you want into it. Sue and I have created a new world but because our characters go into regular time on Earth then we have to do research. If the information you put into your book is wrong you will hear about it at some point in time and it could hinder getting your book published also. So lets look into where you should get your research information.

There are several different places that you can find research information. But before you start determining where you are going to go for research you need to figure out what you need to research. It is great to go read about the different eras that you need to research, but if you don't know exactly what information you need, while entertaining will be wasted time. Here are a few questions that I use when I research for a book.
  1. What style of clothing did they wear and did it depend on your level in society?
  2. What kinds of food did they eat?
  3. Where there specific mannerisms that they used?
  4. What type of housing did they live in?
  5. What manner of speech did they have?
  6. What type of music did they have?
These are a few of the questions you need to ask yourself before you ever start your research. Once you have determined the questions you want to ask yourself then you need to decide on where you would like to look. Listed below are a few options:

The library
Online reference sites (make sure they are reputable)
Historical societies
People who lived during that time

This is just a little bit of the information you need to start your research. Next time I will bring you a more in depth looking at the art of researching.
Until then, happy writing

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Xander the Tolerant

Now that I have introduced you to Josie, I figured it was time I introduced you to Xander. He is a handful, born in the 1500's in England, his family has been feuding with Josie's family for centuries. At one time him and Josie had been seeing each other secretly, but after a misunderstanding, Josie wouldn't talk to him. When Lexie gave him the opportunity to try and reconcile their difference, Xander didn't think about leaving his family, he just wanted to be with Josie.

Everyone has seen the practical jokes that Josie has pulled on Xander over the years, but they didn't know what had caused Josie to act the way she did. Xander knew and that was why he didn't retaliate, well at least where people could see him doing it. What the general populace of Amber Isle never saw was that after everyone was in bed Xander would visit Josie with different persona. One time he could leave frogs in her bed and another time she would get a late night visit from a supposed ghost. Josie never knew what was going to happen, just that it was. This was Xander's revenge for Josie picking on him during the day.

So everyone feels sorry for Xander, but I figured you would like to hear the whole story. He gave as good as he got, especially on the nights that he would sneak up behind her and steal a kiss or two.

Next time I will tell you a little bit about Xander's job as a Time Watcher. Until then happy writing and reading. Enjoy life you only live it once.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Josie and her Roses

Josie owns a house that is surrounded with roses. This is her favorite flower and she has worked with Mother Nature to create a few different varieties of roses. She is working on a new rose for her and Xander's anniversary. The rose will be a combination of a black rose and a white rose. She is going to create the rose with the outside petals in black and the inside bud in white. Josie figured it was important to be able to have the rose to stand up under cold weather, she figured it was appropriate under the circumstances.

When Josie and Xander moved into their new home, there was quite a bit of greenery, but none of her roses. Lexie had decided to let Josie decide which roses she would want to move. Instead of moving her precious flowers, Josie decided to create new ones and start afresh. Instead of trying to tame the wilderness around her Josie decided to enhance it and work her roses into it in a way not to detract from the beauty. She was working hard to work her roses into the local scenery and had even created a climbing red rose that would work its way up the cliff to the waterfall, she had also planted another climbing rose that she thought would accentuate the red rose. Within the red roses where placed small white roses, which she was using to enhance the deepness of the rich red rose.

Josie hoped Xander would like her anniversary present. It was something that she could give him that would always remind him of her and it would be something their children could enjoy for centuries to come. She envisioned it to be a very elegant rose and she was already getting requests for the rose from both Nick, Father Times' brother and Jack, Mother Nature's brother. They both wanted it to plant around their houses as they lived in winter climates.