Posts tagged with: Autumn Jordon
Posted by Autumn Jordon Feb 6 2017, 12:02 am in advice for writers, Autumn Jordon, Ava Blackstone, craft, jeannie lin, Marketing, Rita Henuber, short stories, Vivi Andrews, Writer's Toolbox
Writing a great short story used to be the training ground for writers. Hemingway started his career by writing them, as did Stephen King, and many renown others.
For many years, the appetite for short stories, nearly disappeared, cutting the number of magazines that included them substantially, and leaving only classic short stories on the book shelves. However, I believe the tide is changing among today’s readers. Their time is limited and there are times when they just want something worthy and short while they’re waiting in a doctor’s office or school parking lot.
Also, many are now reading on their phones, and reading a short story is more feasible on the small device.
This month, I dove into the short market with a novelette titled Perfect Moments. It released on February first. I was nervous about writing it because shorts have a totally different writing style than a full length novel. It was a learning experience, but after receiving emails from readers requesting to know whether Elizabeth and Bob Kincaid (from Perfect) made it home from their overseas duty, I decided to give Elizabeth and Bob their story. Their short.
Another reason I decided to try my hand at writing a short story was because today’s reader wants more product from an author, and quicker. I’m comfortable writing a full length novel in a year, sometimes nine months. But to write quicker, I know the quality of my work would decline. I want to continue to improve my craft, not hinder it. So to feed my fans cravings, writing short stories might be the way to go.
I asked my Ruby Sisters their thoughts on writing short stories.
Rita Henuber said she wrote her short stories because, “I have many stories bumping around inside my skull. Characters screaming at me to tell their story. Some are absolutely not full length novel material. All but one in my collection of short stories began with an experience of mine. I had to write them.”
And Jeannie Lyn said, “I actually LOVE shorts and think they’re a great way to pack a punch in a short amount of space as well as introduce writers to your voice. The last short story that I wrote was meant to be an introduction to my steampunk world for new readers and a little bonus for existing readers.”
Ruby sister Ava Blackstone stated she wrote a short after reading an article in her RWA chapter’s newsletter about writing for Woman’s World. “I decided to give it a try. I found that short stories were great palate cleansers when I was sick of my main WIP. I also liked the freedom to experiment with different writing styles without worrying that I was wasting months on something that might not work.”
And Vivi Andrews stated, “I’ve always written short stories for anthologies, usually with open submission calls that provided the opportunity to get my writing in front of more readers. My little gateway stories to lure readers into my world. 🙂 This spring I’ll be participating in the 2nd RWA Anthology.”
I then asked the sisters if they found writing shorts difficult? I know I found it challenging not to add more conflict, more points of view, more of everything.
Vivi said, “Actually, I don’t find them difficult at all. I was nervous initially about stepping out of my comfort zone, but I wound up loving the opportunity to tell more compact romances.”
Rita stated, “Not at all. I enjoyed writing the shorts and the side benefit of stopping those people in my head screaming. I view shorts as a moment in time. A snapshot event giving the reader something to ponder.”
Jeannie started writing shorts before she wrote novels. “I have a totally different mindset when I switch back to writing shorts. They’re not just shorter novel storylines — the way I plot and present a short story is entirely different than what I do in a novel.”
Ava said, “Writing that first short story definitely required a paradigm shift. I had to come up with a much smaller-scale conflict than I was used to writing so that I could wrap things up realistically in 800 words. It helped me to think about it as though I was writing a scene instead of a novel. So then it was just a matter of coming up with a compelling scene that could stand on its own.”
So why write shorts? I’d heard shorts help with sales on other books, especially if their part of a series. Perfect Moments just released, so I don’t have a track record to share, so again I questioned my sisters who had published short stories.
Jeannie stated, “I actually have found it helpful bringing in new readers with shorts. Since my settings and worlds are not so mainstream, I think readers find shorts an easy way to get a feel for me without having to commit to a novel. Short stories with direct tie-ins and characters from other series are the best way to go in terms of hooking readership. Teaming up with other authors in anthologies is a also a great strategy for getting that first look.”
Ava had a different use for her short story. “I give it away to readers who sign up for my mailing list, and it has worked great as an incentive to drive signups. I’m planning to write another short to go along with my next Ava Blackstone book.”
If you’re considering writing a short story, I have some advice.
- Read short stories. There are many; The International Thriller Writers have released collections titled Face Off. And, I know the Mystery Writers also release an annual collection. Then you have classics like William Faulkner’s That Evening Sun.
- Pick your story’s moment or moments that really matter and write about them.
- Stay with one main character.
- Write more words than you need and then pick the words that show don’t tell, show character’s change, and that moves the story forward.
- Go through the same editing steps as you would for a novel.
My sisters also offered advice or suggestions?
Rita said, “I go by what I love to read. IMO a short story is for a reader’s experience. I will also say I think there is a difference between what is considered a short story to a novella. With a novella, because of its larger word count, I expect story structure, GMC, story resolution, the whole enchilada. Shorter stories can certainly have all that good stuff but I think of them as a bite of the enchilada not the whole thing.
Vivi offered this advice, “I didn’t take any online courses or read any books on the subject. I will strongly recommend that anyone looking to write short consider the kind of conflicts that can be resolved quickly. If you give your characters more than they can reasonably solve in a short format, you’re going to have some very grumpy readers.”
Jeannie recommended, “Rather than craft books (which I normally love), the best way to learn for shorts is to read how others do it. I think there’s MORE of an art to writing short than writing a novel. The good thing is that they’re short. 🙂
Some authors I love: Ray Bradbury (for voice, tone, memorable setup and hook). If you can find it, read “A Laurel and Hardy Love Affair”. Edgar Allen Poe (check out his word choice and how effective his opening lines are)
For romance, these authors’ shorts are actually novellas, but they establish character and emotional stakes in a relatively short amount of time. Courtney Milan – The depth of characterization is amazing. They feel as emotionally complete as full novels. And Ruthie Knox – She sets up emotional tension wonderfully between hero and heroine”
Thank you, sisters for sharing your experiences in the short story market.
Please ask any questions that you might have and we’ll try to answer them for you.
Autumn Jordon is an award-winning author of romantic suspense/thrillers and contemporary romance. Join her newsletter at www.autumnjordon.com. And don’t forget to check out Perfect Moments.
Ava Blackstone is a winner and two-time finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® contest and has five short romance stories published in Woman’s World magazine. She is currently hard at work on the next contemporary romance in her Voretti Family series. You can find her on the web at: http://avablackstone.com PRETTY IN INK
Jeannie Lin is known for writing groundbreaking historical romances set in Tang Dynasty China starting with her Golden Heart award-winning debut, Butterfly Swords. Her Chinese historicals have received multiple awards and starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. SILK, SWORDS, AND SURRENDAR
Rita Henuber; I’ve always had stories in me and now I’m sharing them. I married a Marine, a man I’d known since I was fourteen. I’m fortunate to have lived many places and traveled to the states and countries I didn’t live. I moved back to the barrier island in Florida where I grew up and now spend time writing, weaving my experiences into my stories. My first books have heroes and heroines in the military or government service. But, I’ve started on a new series of books with collections of short stories. LET ME TELL YOU A STORY
Vivi Andrews is a Golden Heart winner & 2-Time RITA finalist. As Lizzie Shane she writes contemporary romance with a pop culture twist, and as Vivi Andrews she writes paranormal romance. ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID
Posted by Autumn Jordon Jan 2 2017, 12:01 am in advice for writers, Autumn Jordon, craft, First pages, Golden Heart finalist, writer's life, Writer's Toolbox, writing, Writing the Beginning
Next week, during the Ruby Winter Writing Fest, we begin the quest to bring our imaginary friends to life.
Reading that line, I’ll bet some of you immediately had this mental picture of yourself sitting at your favorite work spot, downing carafes of coffee or tea (or in my case, Diet Coke) while drilling the key board, writing an entire novel, and within six weeks, finishing it with ‘the end’. Good for you. You have a goal.
Yet, I’m sure some of you froze at the word begin because the choices you have to start your story are limitless. The question where do I begin? haunts you. Which one start should I pick? Is it the right place? Fear not, I have some advice for you.
Every writer knows the importance of the first line, the first paragraph, the first page, the first chapter. Failure to immediately gain a reader’s interest is the vilest death to your story. Your work is like a shooting star that speeds across the sky and disappears without a big bang. The dreams and hopes pinned to such a star are gone in one quick moment. It’s far better to be that twinkling North Star. So today, we prepare to start our masterpieces.
#1 Great beginnings are the hard work. Rarely do they come easily and quickly and without dozens of rewrites. Sometimes they appear freely in later paragraphs or even chapters. We only need to recognize them when they do. Know that fact. Owned it.
#2 First impressions are the most lasting; Proverbs.
A magnificent first line must be lean, powerful, and provide the reader with a question or promise. Here are some examples of great lean and powerful lines.
It was a pleasure to burn. ‘451 Fahrenheit’ Ray Bradbury
All children but one grow up. ‘Peter and Wendy’ J.M. Barrie
There was a bloody man walking down the road. ‘Discovering You’ Brenda Novak
Brilliant. Each of those lines not only asks questions but they also laid the foundation of book’s theme or its characters’ persona. Knowing your story’s theme is important. Try outlining ahead of starting your story to learn the theme, but if you finding outlining is not your thing, don’t sweat it. The theme will come to you.
#3 Ground your readers as quickly as possible in time and place. However, settings should be shown in small bits and either add to the conflict or become a character itself. Examples:
On the day of the miracle, Isabel was kneeling at the cliff’s edge, tending the small, newly made driftwood cross. ‘The Light Between Oceans’ M. L. Stedman
It was a cold, bright day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. 1984 George Orwell
ONE HOT AUGUST Thursday afternoon, Maddie Faraday reached under the front seat of her husband’s Cadillac and pulled out a pair of black lace underpants. They weren’t hers. ‘Tell Me Lies’ Jennifer Cruise
#4 Write the first chapter as if it were the entire story, with its own escalation of action and conflict. And let it end with mystery and unanswered questions. Mystery demands answers. It propels readers to read on. Do not tell all. Exposition kills drama and backstory is boring.
#5 Write tight. Write fast. Let your voice ring true. Voice is what is truly unique about your story.
#6 All the boom, boom action or fast paced dialogue will not keep readers flipping pages unless they care about the characters. A great story is an emotional ride. A reader must connect with the characters and care what happens to them immediately. They don’t necessarily need to like them (leads to character growth) but they must understand the character’s actions and feel for them as a human being. Establish your hero/villain goal, give him/her a familiar quality, and then add a ticking bomb.
#7 Dialogue is action. It’s fast paced (quickly drawing a reader farther into the story) and it’s an excellent way to show character and conflict. Here are a few great examples.
“Your title gives your claim to the throne of our country, but men don’t follow thrones. They follow courage.”
William Wallace in Braveheart.
“It’s not the broken dreams that break us. It’s the ones we don’t dare to dream.”
Will Schuester in Glee
“The problem is not the problem. It’s your attitude about the problem that is the problem.”
Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean
“Get busy living or get busy dying.”
Andy Dufresne in Shawshank Redemption
Wow! Wow! Just wow!
#8 Big or little, internal or external, conflict is a reader’s addiction. Add it where ever and whenever you can. You hear me. Big or little. Internal or external. Pile it on!
#9 In order to understand a character fully, we need to know the world he came from. Show the character in his or her world in an interesting way, but make that world change quickly. He can be making toast, but why not have make toast over the gas stove. His method of making toast is interesting and says something about his character, doesn’t it?
#10 The most important bit of advice on making your first pages awesome I saved for last. Have faith in yourself that the story ahead will be adventurous and fulfilling and go for it!
Anyone else have advice on producing great starts?
Autumn Jordon, one of the sneaker Rubies, is an award-winning author who writes Romantic Suspense, Thrillers, and Contemporary Romance under the same pen name. Join her newsletter at Autumn Jordon.com
Posted by Autumn Jordon Dec 26 2016, 12:34 am in Autumn Jordon, inspiration, inspirational, writer's health, writer's heart, writer's journey, writer's life
This is a republished blog posted here on the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood as Closet Writers that was felt by many of our readers. I hope it will connect with a few more as we go into a new year.
Closet writers break my heart. Any reason a writer keeps their writing a secret is just wrong, unless the writing is extremely personal and not meant for other’s eyes. I was a closet writer.
There are many reasons why writers remain in the closet and the Rubies have had discussions concerning them. At some time or another, many of us have faced the road-blocks that kept us from being us.
Some writers think they haven’t read enough books to be considered a writing expert. In their minds, if people find out they write, they must’ve read every single book ever published. I’m here to tell you that I’ve never read Huck Finn, War and Peace, Fifty Shades Of Gray or a zillion other classic or best-selling books. Does that confession make me less of a writer? I think not.
Being shy, it can take years for some people to join a writer’s group. A long, long time ago, when the internet was young and a thing called dial-up was used to connect to it, writers actually went to public meetings to connect with those of like minds. Walking into a meeting can be daunting to a wall flower. I know because I’m an introvert. The internet and the ambiguity it provides, has made it easier for some writers to connect to others, but not all. They remain in the background, unsure of themselves. To them, I say, “it’s always the quiet ones who make the biggest impression when they’re ready.” Rest assured most writers are genuinely nice and more than willing to help other writers in any way they can. You only need to be serious about the craft to be considered a writer by them.
A closet writer might feel they don’t know enough about the craft and until they know all there is to know they remain in seclusion. I’m not sure if there is anyone out there who knows it all. Well, maybe King, Patterson or Nora. Only they can answer that question. The point being, the majority of writers will openly admit that they don’t know everything and that they learn something new all the time. Join the club that strives to be better at their craft.
My writing sucks. It very well could, but are you the best judge? You’ve read and studied and wrote and edited. Now it’s time to trust yourself and share your work. If a critique offers constructive advice, weigh it, and then accept it or not. In the end, it’s your story. There is no greater joy for a writer than when a reader enjoys your work. The only way to know that joy is to share your gift.
There are those who really, really want to be a writer but struggle to do the work required. Writing is hard work and takes a huge amount of time. Completing a work is possible a word at a time. Commit to the work, or perhaps another hobby would be better for you.
I’m fortunate. I’m a writer who has had the support of family and friends for many years, but that wasn’t always the case. I once was a closet writer. I was told that my dreams of becoming a published writer were stupid and thus I hid my passion. Now, when I read the notebooks I filled during that time, I cringe at the darkness that shadowed my life.
One day, I finally broke and said to myself, “This is my life and I don’t want to look back and wonder what if I’d taken one step. Would my dreams have come true?” That was a year of change for me on many levels. It was a hard trial but through it I learned I had the support of many family members. I read craft books. I joined a writer’s group. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I attended conferences and workshops. I found more support through my writer friends. I met the man of my dreams and he became my biggest supporter. I will love him forever for letting me be me.
Life doesn’t give us do-overs, but it does give us second chances. Take the step toward being you.
Autumn Jordon is the award-winning author of Perfect and Perfect Hearts. She enjoys writing contemporary romance, romantic suspense and thrillers/mysteries. Subscribe to her newsletter at www.autumnjordon.com and be entered into members only contests.
Posted by Autumn Jordon Dec 16 2016, 12:01 am in #amwriting, Autumn Jordon, writer's life, Writer's Tool Box. Craft, writing advice, writing craft
Our readers do not want to close their eyes. They want them wide open and still feel like they’re stepping onto the pages of our stories. If you read my blog on November 18th, you know we draw our readers into our stories with an emotional connection to our character. But to really make them feel like they’re taking a wild ride on a snowmobile, or walking onto a reality T.V. set, or running through a hot, steamy jungle, or even stepping back into a time past, or feeling something totally overwhelming, like despair or true love, we need to insert senses onto our pages. Not just what they see, hear or feel, but what they taste and smell.
To me, the most stimulating sense is smell. When a familiar waft strikes, I’m immediately transported back to a moment in time and the emotions I felt then come rushing back at me. Again, emotions are how we connect to our readers.
Adding a scent is a powerful tool. Let me give you a personal example of how influential they can be.
Many years ago, while driving home from a farmer’s market late evening, my husband and I came upon an accident involving two vehicles, where the car was in flames. Two little girls were trapped inside, between the cushions of the back seat as the other vehicle had actually mounted the car from the rear. The father of the girls tried desperately to put out the fire while his wife clutched another daughter, who was badly hurt. It became the mission of my husband and others who stopped to help the father, while I was charged with the duty to hold the mother back. She was burnt herself and the leather jacket she wore was seared. I destroyed all my clothes later because of the smell. Every time since that night, if I get a whiff of burn leather or flesh, I’m transported back. As I’m writing this, my chest is constricted, my throat burns, tears blur my eyes and my fingers are trembling. I’m immobilized by a sense of helplessness and an overwhelming sense of grief washes through me.
There is no denying it.
The world is filled with scents and this season doesn’t take a backseat to summer. Take a few moments throughout your days and jot down in a notebook the scents of this holiday season and the emotions it has caused.
Use scents not just to set the setting. Use them to evoke emotion and connect with your reader on a higher level.
Autumn Jordon is an award-winning Ruby, with seven novels published. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense and mystery/thrillers. Join her newsletter at www.autumnjordon.com and receive a free read and be entered into member contests.
Posted by Autumn Jordon Dec 14 2016, 12:02 am in Autumn Jordon, craft, golden heart, Marketing, writer's advice
What is the BIG hook? Simple. A title.
Don’t believe me, read on. A few months ago, in a reader forum, I started a discussion, asking the question ‘what first grabs your attention when searching for a book in brick store?’ My thread stayed on top for weeks as readers offered their opinions. A great cover was the overwhelming answer with a catchy title running a close second. Behind them were the back-cover blurb and the author’s name.
When I threw ‘the cyber-stores’ into the mix, a catchy title was hands down, no-doubt-about-it number one. With like a thousand new books being introduced each month in cyber-venues, your title becomes the hook that will make the buyer click, read your blurb and check out your sample pages.
A great title says a lot about the author’s creativity and his/hers capability to market their work. If you’re entering the 2017 Golden Heart and are seeking the interest of professional advocates, you definitely want to have the most awesome title.
Looking at my bookshelf, some of the titles that jump out at me are; Zeroes by Chuck Wendig, Tick Tock by James Patterson, Mrs. Sinclair’s Suitcase by Louise Walters, The Hello Girl by Merline Lovelace, The First Grave On The Right by our own Ruby-sister Darynda Jones and most recently The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison. Each one of these titles reveals the essence of the story. And each one jumped out at me from their spine and prompted me to read the back blurb. Do not dismiss the importance of a great title.
Every now and then, on our private loop, one of the Ruby sisters cries out for title help. She shares a very short blurb and we bombard her with suggestions. Are we good at doing this? Look at our titles and you be the judge.
Today only, if you’re having trouble thinking up a grabber, the Rubies are willing to put on our thinking caps for you. Post a short blurb and we’ll help you out. Guests, please offer a suggestion too.
Autumn Jordon is the award-winning sneaker Ruby and author of Perfect~ a fun, warm-hearted Christmas romance set in the fictional town of Black Moose, Vermont. To join her rapidly growing newsletter and be entered into members’ only contests, visit www.autumn Jordon.com
Posted by Autumn Jordon Nov 25 2016, 12:08 am in advice for writers, Autumn Jordon, business of writing, small business advice, writer's life, writer's small business, writing advice, writing through the holidays
Small Business: Writing Through The Holidays
If you Google writing through the holidays, you’re going to find dozens of articles written on the subject, including a great one dated last December by our own Ruby Sister Addison Fox. Many authors offer the same advice, and I’m going to bring up the same points too later, because they’re good advice. However, today, and for your sanity and mine, I want to approach the subject a little differently.
If you look at my post title, you’ll note the first two words. Got them? Good. Unless you’re writing to stick your work in a drawer only to be found upon your demise by a nephew or niece who you didn’t hold close to your heart and who will probably either burn your bloodwork or see the wonder in it and use your work to start their own writing career, then you need to think of yourself as a small business owner. And as we all know small business owners have a lot to do during any holiday in order to remain competitive with the ‘Big boys, girls, sellers, box-stores or A’. You pick the noun. So let’s think of our self’s as small businesses during this holiday season and beyond.
The first thing every SB owner does every single day is take care of the foundation their business. You are the foundation of your business. You need to take care of you. You need to eat well, drink plenty of water, exercise (yes running through the mall counts), get the right amount of restful sleep that is good for you and most importantly don’t add stress on yourself. How can do you do that during the most stressful time of the year? Please, read on.
I’m going to throw some keywords at you; the first already was tossed, care. The second is flexibility. Writers are creatures of habit. But remember we’re also small business owners. As a business person you need to be flexible every single day. Every single minute of every single day. The world is ever changing and it affects you and your business constantly. If you go into this holiday by setting non flexible goals (More on this later) and your kids get sick, or the car breaks down, or your boss at your ‘real job’ demands that you get a new must-have report done by Christmas Eve, you will be adding a ton of stress on yourself. Setting a non-flex goal in the month of November is one of the reasons I’ve never done Nano. Stress, leads to guilt, which leads to depression. We don’t want to go there. Flexible is a key word.
Self-awareness is the next key word. What is your regular writing schedule? Do you write every single day? Do you take time off on the weekends? Do you write when you can? Which of these scenarios is the most flexible? Right. The write when you can. If you can write every day, but now find that during the holiday festivities you can’t, you will feel stressed. Stress is bad. Be flexible. Flexible is good.
Don’t try to do a 360° turn with your writing habits in the eleventh hour, trying to accomplish what you haven’t done already. It doesn’t work. Change of habits needs to be done over time, and there is no time of year when our desire to change is greater than right now. Plan your change.
Realization is the next key word. If you had a goal to have a project done by December 31 and you haven’t put the effort into it by now, well, that boat has sailed. Small business owners think months ahead, even years. Because the calendar will flip and your project isn’t done doesn’t mean the world is going to end. It means you will complete it in 2017 with the enthusiasm and the focus that it deserves. Flexible.
Now, I want to prove something to you. During this busy holiday season, you can accomplish a lot of things that benefit your small business by following my advice below.
If you write for publication, there is so much that needs to be done, whether you’re an indie author or a traditional pubbed author or a freelance writer. Grab a calendar; one that has the month in blocks. During the day or at the end of every single day, write down what you did relating to your business. I do this every day. It’s my record for the IRS that I am working my business. Here are examples of things I might get done any given day. Email, social media, word count achieved, number of pages edited, articles or blogs written, articles or blogs posted and or commented on, ad copy worked on, design ads, place ads, worked on a plot, talk or meet with critique partners, agent or editor. Trips to office supply store or post office. Time spent researching. Time spent reading craft books or industry blogs (like the Ruby Sisterhood). Write everything down. Now, look at what you have accomplished. How can there be guilt?
If you’re like me, you can’t take days off during a project. Maybe a day or two, but weeks? No. I need to stay grounded in my project. Does that mean I need to write fresh pages every day? No it does not. Simply writing a page a day, or editing a scene or layering a character will keep your muse alive and you’ll be working toward the end of a polished wip.
Here are the little tidbits of advice I mentioned at the top of this blog. The ones that will help you move forward during the busiest of times.
- Set the goal of I will work my business every day. Notice I didn’t say write every day. Be flexible.
- Write first (get up early), write last (after everyone else has gone to bed), or in between with a notebook if need be.
- Set a timer for twenty minutes and write nonstop.
- I sit my laptop on my kitchen counter while cooking dinner and I try to get an extra page written or edited before the meal is ready to plate. In fact, I write, standing more and more. I find walking around helps me think in between lines.
- Join an on-line group and sprint. On Twitter, I think, you can always find someone to sprint with by using a specific hashtag. I think it’s #1k1hr. If anyone knows for sure, please place in comments. (And remember the Rubies Winter Writing Fest Begins mid-January. Very productive and tons of fun!)
- Not working on story at the moment? Just be creative. Write a blog, article, poem, or short story. Hey, those writings can come in handy later for to use as promo when you’re on deadline.
- If it’s hard to write at home, get away. Pack a Go-bag now (pen, pencils, notebook, snacks, bottled water, and a little cash) and store the bag in your car. Anytime you slip out the door to run an errand take a few minutes to yourself while gone and write. Heck you could say you’re going to the garage to clean out the car and just sit in your car and write.
- Take a walk and dictate a scene. (Just get out of your comfort zone and use a different method to producing words)
- Too noisy with all the kids at home, invest in earplugs. Listening to an audiobook is also work.
- Set up a mini-writing retreat with some writer friends for an afternoon, but be prepared to give your spouse some alone time too.
- Journal. The end of the year is all about change. People watch. Note changes in people and how they interact with others as the month ends.
- This is the season that your senses can go on overload. There are so many sights, sounds, and scents to take in. And the food and drinks. And the feel of the weather, the gifts and the hugs. Ruby Anne Marie brought up in her recent blog how hugs can be different. Made me think. Take note for future works.
By not letting our passion take a second chair to non-essential chores, we’ll feel less anxious, more balanced, and much happier. Start 2017 positive by taking care of you and your small business now.
If you have words of advice on writing through the holidays, please share. What works for you might work for someone else.
Autumn Jordon is an award-winning, sneaker wearing Ruby. She is the author of seven published novels, including a fun, contemporary holiday romance titled Perfect.
The holidays are never perfect. However, what happens during the holidays can inspire a perfect love. Christmas romance at its best! Amazon Reviewers http://bit.ly/Perfect-AutumnJordon
Posted by Autumn Jordon Nov 18 2016, 12:02 am in Autumn Jordon, craft, Emotions, writer's advice, Writer's Toolbox, writing craft, Writing emotions, writing tips, writing tools
Why do readers read? They want to escape their world. But you knew that, because you are also a reader.
The greatest writers through time have said that the best fiction takes a reader through a fact finding journey and also on an emotional journey. The emotional journey is what connects you and the reader. Without it, you’re just relating what happens in your characters’ lives. Bonding with the reader is the most important job you have as an author. But how can you do that? There are many ways, but today I want to discuss two.
First, recall emotions, especially those you’ve buried. Buried emotions are the best because they affected your heart. Recall a time you felt hurt or happy or lost or found. Allow yourself to experience the emotions again and write them down. By writing them down, I don’t mean just the term. Write the dialog used during the conversation and the reactions both physically and mentally you experienced. Be honest with yourself. The more you peel away the layers of your psyche, the more powerful your writing will be.
Here is an example as I recall my first taste of love. I’ve changed my hero’s name to protect him.
My first kiss happened in my family’s barn. The barn had been in my family for five generations. It was old and leaned slightly. Closing my eyes, I feel the cool air against my warm skin- the barn is built into the hillside. I can see the wood planks, turned gray from time and wear, just a few feet above my head. Bridles and lead ropes hang from pegs hammered into road milled posts nicked over years. Large rocks make up the foundation walls. My sorrel gelding is in his stall watching me, and dust mites float in the sunlight pouring in the door behind the boy who had chased me inside.
I can smell a mixture of summer sun, feed and manure. I hear the munching of hay as the cattle fed and the sound of my horse’s neigh and snort. There is a dip from the nozzle near the shaft to the silo. I also hear the whispered alto voice of the boy with the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen, as he declared his affection for me. His gorgeous cobalt eyes were magnified behind glasses: dark framed like Clark Kent’s. Eric was my hero and always would be. I’d love him until the end of time.
My heart thumped against my breast, knowing Eric really liked me while my toes wiggled in my boots as if telling to run because if my dad found out about the kiss that was about to happen he would kill the boy and ground me for a month. My spine stiffened and my step was defiant as I cut the distance between Eric and myself, committed to take my chances. Looking up at me, because he was about two inches shorter, Eric’s eyes widened before closing as his lips met mine. For a brief few seconds, we entered an unknown world, a world we knew we’d entered again, in due time.
“Will you go to the movies with me on Saturday night? I can meet you there,” he said in a rush.
I simply nodded, afraid my voice would crack.
Writing the memory down gave me tons of ideas of how to write emotion into any first kiss scene, no matter what the age of the characters.
As an exercise in your comments, write about your first kiss. What do you recall?
Second point: Everyone has experienced a first kiss. Using that scenario immediately connects you to the reader. But what happens when you’re writing beyond your experience? Research is the answer. Say you’re writing a scene where the characters have experienced a fire and have lost everything. You’ve been fortunate enough not to have that disaster happen to you, so what you can do is ask someone who has. I did this and I’ll never forget the two of the responses I received.
One woman she said she always looked at her husband as the rock she could count on, but the day they lost everything, her husband fell to his knees literally and was lost. She took over the responsibility to shoulder their way through rebuilding their home and lives. That catastrophe made her stronger than she thought she ever would be.
The second woman told me she felt guilty after suffering the loss of everything. Her guilt was over her family’s heirlooms for which she had been entrusted. For generations the treasures from England had been kept safe and passed down. She was the one to fail to do so. She was ashamed of herself. It took her a long time to come to terms that the lost was not her fault.
Both are very unique outlooks on a tragedy that can connect you with many readers who’ve had the same experience. And for those readers who have not, we have a better insight into the depth of emotional upheave that a fire can cause.
So show your readers your passion. Reveal your heart and the heart of others.
About the author
I began my writing career at the age of nine and sold three handwritten copies of a twenty page story. I’ve always wanted to be a writer and follow in the footsteps of my favorite authors, the ones who took me away and inspired me. Many years later, here I am.
I’ve earned the nickname of trouble from family and friends. Okay, I admit I do stir up things now and then, but in my defense I’m usually the one called on to champion a cause.
All that life reveals is fair game to a writer.
Join my newsletter at www.autumnjordon.com to learn more about me and my works, including my Christmas romance Perfect.
Posted by Liz Talley Aug 19 2016, 1:00 am in #amreading, Addison Fox, Autumn Jordon, books on sale, Colleen Hoover, Dot Hutchison, Heroes and Heartbreakers, hot summer reads, Laura Kamoie, liz talley, romance reads, Stephanie Dray
Well, it’s Friday again. How did that happen? Rolls around quite regularly, doesn’t it? And since that means the weekend is here, we’ve got some recommendations for you for some RUBY RED HOT READS!
First Elizabeth Langston has a recommendation our first FROM THE TBR STACK:
I’ve always been fascinated by Thomas Jefferson. So smart, eloquent, and flawed. When I saw America’s First Daughter on sale recently, I grabbed it. I’m loving it; the research and detail is amazing.
America’s First Daughter: A Novel by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie
Autumn Jordan’s rec sounds pretty but may be a bit twisted:)
The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson
If you want to read an emotional psychological thriller where every characters’ personality is revealed like an onion being peeled, then the The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison might be for you. It might not be for you if you’re faint of heart. I gave this book a 4.75 rating.
LINK to The Buterfly Garden https://www.amazon.com/Butterfly-Garden-Dot-Hutchison-ebook/dp/B016ZNRC0Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1471265766&sr=1-1&keywords=the+butterfly+garden
And let me add my rec for you. I’m in the middle of Colleen Hoover’s It Ends with Us and I’m really enjoying it. This is the first time I’ve read this author, and I particularly like the secondary thread of the journals. They’re sweet, funny and touching. It just came out at the beginning of this month and it’s a pretty hot read. If you’re looking for a nice escapist book, it’s perfect for you. Here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/Ends-Us-Novel-Colleen-Hoover-ebook/dp/B0176M3U10/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1471573644&sr=1-1&keywords=colleen+hoover
How about a HOT COVER REVEAL?
Ruby Sis Addison Fox has a sweet new cover reveal over on Heroes and Heartbreakers. Go check it out:
AT LAST is the first in my new contemporary series about a trio of adopted brothers in Brooklyn. Here’s the story overview and the cover, as well as a link to the cover reveal on Heroes and Heartbreakers.
And the SIZZLING SALE for this week comes from Ruby Autumn Jordon:
For the first time ever, Seized By Darkness by Autumn Jordon is on sale for $.99. Seized By Darkness was Voted a Kindle Book Reviews Best Indie Romance finalist. In this romantic suspense, Autumn has a different take on the topic of human trafficking and the story is about the young girl who was taken, escaped years later and then works with the U.S. Marshals to taken down the New Jersey based ring. Check it out here: https://www.amazon.com/Seized-Darkness-Autumn-Jordon-ebook/dp/B008N3RK3Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1471266213&sr=1-1&keywords=Seized+By+Darkness Hurry the sale ends soon. Then follow up the experience with Obsessed By Darkness.
So now we’re looking for your recommendations. Any new releases caught your fancy? Or how about an old favorite your digging out of your own towering TBR stack? Know of any incredible reads on sale? We’d love to know about them!
Posted by Autumn Jordon Apr 28 2016, 2:02 am in Autumn Jordon, brainstormng, business of writing, conflict, romance, writing
Oops. The Ruby calendar had a few holes, so I thought we’d talk weather today. Not what it’s like in your area (however, you certainly can share), but how weather is used in our novels to trigger change in our characters’ lives. We know the well-worn cliché of the hero and heroine trapped in a cabin during a snow storm, but we don’t want to do cliché. We want to write fresh ideas
Did you see THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE? How about THE GRAPES OF WRATH? Those are two off the top of my head movies/books where weather was the catalyst for change in many lives.
I’m about to begin a new story for my PERFECT LOVE line and I’ve been brainstorming, thinking about my characters and how I can use weather to change their lives, and/or to up the conflict and anxiety. I’m thinking a flash flood wipes away the wedding set-up, thus putting everything on hold. Enter in a contractor who steals the maid of honor’s heart from the groom’s brother.
Here are a few others examples:
A high heat index causes a blackout situation, sending the tenants of an apartment building to the cool basement.
Lightening brings down a tree limb causing a car accident.
A hail storm causes a delay in a flight.
A sunny day on the beach causes a severe sunburn and sends the victim to the ER—step onto the page Doctor do-me- good.
Hot day melts all the icing on the cupcakes, or the wedding cake, the heroine has made.
While camping, a calm night has the heroine hearing every twig snapping, causing her to build big a really big fire which gets out of control.
A sand storm causes a woman to lose her way on the back roads of Arizona.
Okay, this is an interactive blog, so come on, think out of the box, and share your ideas for ways weather can affect your story, or share an example of something you’ve read.
Posted by Autumn Jordon Feb 16 2016, 12:01 am in Autumn Jordon, craft, Endings, writer's advice, Writer's Toolbox, writing tips, writing tools
In the sprints, many authors have announced that they’ve completed their work, first draft or edits. Others are following their footsteps. I thought we’d take this opportunity to talk about endings.
We all know that our endings MUST leave our readers satisfied. The ending can be happy or not. Or, it could leave the reader completely hanging out there with a hundred questions about what happens next, if that is what the reader has expected and will want-think saga. However, don’t leave the ending up to the reader to draw conclusions. They are the reader, not the author.
Endings need to answer or allude to the resolution of the main character’s conflict. If you allude to the hero’s trumpet but don’t actually show it, this opens the door for disaster to happen in the beginning of the next story, if that is your goal.
As you head toward your end, ask yourself what was the main conflict? Did you resolve it? Remember the hero can win the battle (his priority) but the war can still rage on.
Make the main character the catalyst for the outcome. It is their battle and they are the hero of their story. Make them work to make the things happen in their favor.
Have you read a story where things just came together at the end, tied up with a pretty pink bow? Did you feel cheated, let down? You’ve worked too hard building characters, emotion, and tension, just to tell your characters, to kiss and make-up like children. Don’t come up with contrived details to end your story. Don’t be lazy now.
Don’t end the story using new information that has come out of the blue. Your readers have invested time, getting to know your characters and have racked their brains formulating theories about the outcome, don’t cheat them.
If your ending is going to twist, make sure you sprinkle signs throughout your story. That way, the reader will say the author did warn me, but I let the clues go over my head. They’ll look at the story in a total different light. A light that includes five star reviews. A great example of a twist ending was the movie ‘THE SIXTH SENSE’. If you haven’t seen it, do it. It’s a great study.
And finally, know when the story ends. The reader does not need to know what happens with every character. Once your main characters’ reach their goal, whether they won the battle on a blue star in a galaxy far, far away or lover’s pledge their undying love and go to sleep only to die in each other’s arms, the story is over. It’s time for the reader to feel. Tie up loose ends (brief anti-climax) before the grand climax.
A great ending makes your reader feeling something, good or bad. It makes them think about the story a long time after closing it. It makes them talk about your book to their friends. And it makes them buy your next.
Does anyone have any other advice on writing a great end or examples of great endings?