Self-Editing Your Work

It’s my pleasure to have Kristina Stanley over to explain her latest project. Although she is well known for her mystery series she also is very much involved in helping authors sell their work. She is the author of The Author’s Guide to Selling Books to Non-Bookstores and her latest non-fiction is Fictionary – helping writers edit their first drafts.

 

 Fictionary

I’m very pleased to be invited onto Carol’s blog to share my writing and editing journey. I’d love to tell you why we created Fictionary and how it can help you.

I’m an author who loves to edit, and I believe today’s author must be also their own structural editor.

The difficulty with editing is keeping track of writing knowledge, the time it takes, and the cost of an editor. So what if I could have writing tips focused on my manuscript, speed up the process, spend less money, AND write better fiction?

This is the story of how we created Fictionary.

What is the Fictionary?

 Fictionary will help writers turn a first draft into a great story by becoming their own big-picture editor.

 

With Fictionary, you can focus on character, plot, and setting. Fictionary helps you evaluate on a scene-by-scene basis or on the overall novel structure. Fictionary will show you the most important structural elements to work on first and guide you through the rewriting process.

Why a structural editing tool for writers?

Creating Fictionary began when I finished the first draft of my first novel. By then I’d read over 50 how-to-write and how-to-self-edit books. I’d taken writing courses and workshops, and had 100s of writing and rewriting tips swirling about in my head.

I knew I had to begin the editing process and improve the quality of my draft before sharing my work, but I didn’t know how to go about it.

My Worry:

How was I supposed to remember the torrent of advice and apply it to each scene? A spreadsheet, that’s how!

I created a spreadsheet with a chapter-by-chapter, scene-by-scene structure. Then I listed the different writing advice I needed to consider for EVERY scene. I ended up with over 75 “key elements of fiction”. I used the reports from the spreadsheet to visualize my novel.

The process I used was then developed into the Fictionary online tool for writers.

Did Fictionary Work For Me?        

After the hard work of self-editing, the quality of my fiction was validated when my first two novels were shortlisted for prestigious crime writing awards and I landed a two-book deal with publisher Imajin Books.

My first editor said: “If every manuscript was this good, my job would be so easy!”

The next exciting moment came when DESCENT, my first novel, hit #1 on Amazon’s hot new releases. Descent was published by Luzifer-Verlag in Germany, and I sold the audio rights to Auspicious Apparatus Press. Imajin Books also published BLAZE, AVALANCHE and LOOK THE OTHER WAY.

Building Fictionary

 I wanted to share my process, SO OTHER WRITERS COULD BENEFIT FROM AN IMMEDIATE APPROACH TO SELF-EDITING and rewriting first drafts. But who would want to use a spreadsheet?  Perhaps a fun, fast tool that helps writers visualize and self-edit their novels would be better.

I joined forces with author Michael Conn and business specialist Mathew Stanley, and we formed a company called Feedback Innovations just to build this tool for fiction writers.

You can find out more about Fictionary at https://Fictionary.co

Turn Your First Draft Into A Great Story

You can try Fictionary for free (no credit card required) for two weeks.

Download our free eBook, BIG-PICTURE Editing And The 15 Key Elements Of Fiction, and learn how big-picture editing is all about evaluating the major components of your story.

I’d love to hear in the comments what your biggest structural editing issue is.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

Kristina Stanley the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Feedback Innovations: a company created to help writers rewrite better fiction. She is the best-selling author of the Stone Mountain Mystery Series. Her first two novels garnered the attention of prestigious crime writing organizations in Canada and England. DESCENT, BLAZE, and AVALANCE are published by Imajin Books. THE AUTHOR’S GUIDE TO SELLING BOOKS TO NON-BOOKSTORES is her first non-fiction book.

 

You can find her at:

 

Judy Penz Sheluk

I often feel overwhelmed with all the reading that is piling up on my Kindle, especially when I start a new novel and my Kindle reader tells me that the approximate time for reading the novel is 8 hours or more. Therefore, I was happy to download Judy Penz Sheluk’s collection of short stories – stories that can be read before going to bed or while sipping a glass of wine lying on a lounge chair.

Although Penz Sheluk is known for her Glass Dolphin Mysteries  and the Marketville Mysteries this collection of short stories demonstrates her skill as a short story writer.

  The stories are fast paced and unpredictable, filled with twists and turns that kept me swiping the pages of my Kindle and made me feel that, in such short time, I knew the characters.

If you’re pressed for time and looking for something fun to read  consider this collection.

In “Live Free or Die,” naive 21-year-old Emmy falls hard for 31-year-old Jack, an efficiency expert from New Hampshire who is not all that he seems.
In “Murder in the Marsh,” cyclist Carrie Anne Camack discovers more than she bargained for in the fertile farmlands of Ontario’s Holland Marsh.
In the final story, “The Cycopaths,” a triathlon team’s open-water swim training in Collingwood, Ontario, has deadly consequences.

For more on Judy Penz Sheluk visit her author page.

 

 

 

 

Moore Delivers Smexy

Brittany Carter must choose either to live in the present or in 1765. She cannot have both.

In her present, she is finally starting to reach her goals of fame, success and money. Her romance novels are bestsellers! But success does come at a price.

And that price is Mitchell Killgower.

Drop dead gorgeous and with a heart to boot. The man of her dreams, the love of her life, THE ONE she’s been waiting for her entire life.

But can she trust him?

Does she want to live in 1765 with all its inconveniences which she takes for granted in the present?

Is she willing to give up fame, success and money?

Moore is delightfully good at historical romances. With wit and intelligence she takes the reader back to Georgian England where bad-boy Mitchell is in the midst of an inheritance row when Brittany Carter  literally drops into his life.

With the romance between Brittany and Mitchell as veneer, Shehanne Moore smoothly makes her way through the power struggles between men and women – using as backdrop a feisty, strong protagonist with present day relationship values trying to apply them to the relationship values of a man living in 1765.

One of Buddha’s famous quotes is

Happiness is a journey not a destination.

The journey to arrive at the ending of The Writer and The Rake is complex, entertaining, amusing, reflective, smexy and made me happy as well.

 The Writer and the Rake is the latest in Shehanne Moore’s Time Mutant series.

 

 

https://shehannemoore.wordpress.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Shehanne-Moore/e/B00CMBK7BW

Have you ever had to choose between a career and romance?

Devious Tales

There’s a saying in writing: make every word count or at the very least have every paragraph/scene be relevant. This can be argued, especially for the novel where there is room for sub-plots and leisure strolls through gardens and having tea with a favorite aunt. Not so for the short story. Short stories are (generally) tight, concentrated and condensed.

John Greco’s latest collection of short stories, Devious Tales has all the technical markings of this form and Greco skillfully merges his skill as writer and photographer in these twelve snapshots of life.

His stories are also highly influenced by his passion for noir film and fiction. His short story Late Night Diner reminded me of the rural diner in James Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice and I immediately associated his story The Organic Garden to one Stephen King could have written because of its macabre and conniving ending.

John Greco’s stories delve into the dark side of human nature. What makes his stories particularly striking is that his characters (devious, at times creepy and horrendous) are also quite ordinary people who remind us that we too have a lot in common with them.  So frightening!

 

The characters in these short stories, although not always directly involved in crime take advantage of one, others seek revenge or lust, money and, at times murder all with unexpected and disturbing twists.

Many of the stories revolve around the relationship between man and woman as in An Almost Perfect Woman which illustrates Greco’s crisp, engaging style of writing:

To be honest I don’t find many women good companions. I am a quiet kind of guy, and women, well they like to talk. Not just talk but express their feelings. They need to tell you how they feel. Expose every emotion, bare their soul! And all I can think about when this kind of tirade starts, there is no other word to describe it, is when is this night going to end!

In his blog Greco recently posted his suggestions for summer reading. I’d add Devious Tales to the list.

 

Jacqui Murray’s Blog Hop

I am extremely proud to be part of Jacqui Murray’s amazing Blog Hop for  Twenty-four Days, the latest in her Rowe-Delamagente tech-thriller series.

I first got to know Jacqui through her tips for writers on her blog – which, btw, I am envious of its clean and easy to navigate interface. https://worddreams.wordpress.com/

Jacqui Murray, as far as I can tell, is a techy and – dare I say – a little bit of a geek?

 So, it’s no surprise that her novel is heavily heavenly sprinkled with – in her own words – “edgy science.”

In this novel you’ll encounter a robot that’s capable of self-awareness and expressing emotions. You’ll get a front row seat to invisible warships and dive into the inner workings of the warship cruiser, the USS Bunker Hill ( a cruiser which Jacqui’s daughter served on as an officer – talk about having a great research connection!).

I have a lot of admiration for Jacqui’s accomplishment in writing this series, not only because of the authenticity of the technology detailed in the novel but also because of her talent in putting together believable characters in an intriguing plot about a subject reflective of our times.

Synopsis of Twenty-four Days:

A former SEAL, a brilliant scientist, a love-besotted nerd, and a quirky AI have twenty-four days to stop a terrorist attack. The problems: They don’t know what it is, where it is, or who’s involved.

Twenty-four Days

 

http://twitter.com/worddreams

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http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray

https://plus.google.com/u/0/102387213454808379775/posts

Available at: Kindle USKindle UKKindle Canada

Not Another: A story by Ann Fields

Ann Fields’ short story, Not Another, is part of Voices from the Block – a Legacy of African-American Literature.

voices-from-the-block-ebook-november-2016

 

Ann Fields transports us into another world where her protagonist, The Young Wife, is determined to make her community a safe place for the children by fighting The Great White – a monster who demands, every so often, the sacrifice of a child as protection for the village.

The nameless Young Wife is the kind of character that one reads fiction for. She brazenly and stubbornly puts aside her own needs in order to fight for a better world where peace dominates evil. Hers is an altruistic world. She is brave and strong and refuses to be defeated. And as all good protagonists, The Young Wife brings us to question our own weaknesses: would we, like her, be willing to give up our cozy lives in order to defeat a malice that does not personally touch us?

In her opening of Not Another Ann Fields writes this dedication:

To the people of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria,

Ivory Coast and others…

America, where is your revolution?

In this world of increasing intolerance Not Another offers inspiration and hope. What more can we ask of literature?

Besides this poignant and relevant story, Ann Fields played a significant role in bringing together this inspiring collection of essays, poetry, short stories and fiction starts by talented and gifted writers.

As a tribute to Black History Month, Voices from the Block is a book you’ll want to read any month, especially in March when Ann is planning to spotlight some of the writers whose works appear in this anthology.

 

TWO RISING STARS

Judy Penz Sheluk and Kristina Stanley have both been featured in my series How I Got Published when they were both starting out – before they established themselves as the respectful mystery writers they have become.

Both are Canadian. Judy Penz Sheluk writing about a small town community outside of Toronto and Kristina Stanley writing about the mountain resorts of British Columbia.

Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime International, Sisters in Crime – Guppies, Sisters in Crime – Toronto, Crime Writers of Canada, International Thriller Writers, Inc. and the Short Mystery Fiction Society. She lives in a small town northwest of Toronto, Ontario. Read more here.

Skeletons in the Attic

 

Calamity (Callie) Barnstable isn’t surprised to learn she’s the sole beneficiary of her late father’s estate, though she is shocked to discover she has inherited a house  she didn’t know existed. However, there are conditions attached to Callie’s inheritance: she must move to Marketville, live in the house, and solve her mother’s murder.

 

 

Skeleton’s in the Attic is the first of Judy’s series but not her first mystery.

I found myself immediately drawn into Skeleton’s in the Attic not only because of the suspense but because of the wonderfully quirky characters inhabiting this novel. The author does a fantastic job managing her characters and making them all come alive with their own distinct personalities and secrets, adding layers to the novel’s core suspense.

As Callie moves into her father’s house and gets to know her eccentric neigbours, clues to her mother’s disappearance begin to emerge. The problem is that the more clues appear the more nothing is what it appears to be and Callie can’t quite trust those providing these clues.

Although warned that the truth can break your heart, Callie can’t stop her relentless quest to discover the truth behind her mother’s disappearance. I particularly enjoyed the protagonist’s search for a mother who abandoned her when she was six and in trying to put together the pieces of her mother’s past she dips into memories of her own childhood.

Skeleton’s in the Attic is a cozy, enjoyable read.

 

Kristina is the author of the Stone Mountain Mystery Series.

Her books have garnered the attention of prestigious crime writing organizations in Canada and England. Crime Writers of Canada nominated her first novel for the Unhanged Arthur award. The Crime Writers’ Association nominated her second novel for the Debut Dagger. She is published in the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. click here for more.

Avalanche

 

On a cold winter morning, the safe at Stone Mountain Resort is robbed, and Kalin Thompson’s brother, Roy, suspiciously disappears. As Director of Security, Kalin would normally lead the investigation, but when her brother becomes the prime suspect, she is ordered to stay clear.

 

 

 

In her third installment of The Stone Mountain Mystery Series, Kristina Stanley begins the novel with her signature nail-biting tension. She immediately plunges the reader into the middle of an avalanche and we find out very quickly that “…Roy’s headlamp burst to life, eerily illuminating his surrounding snow coffin.”

Lovely sentence.

Kristina Stanley maintains tension and suspense throughout the novel, whether it has to do with the protagonist’s decision to take an appealing job offer that might tear apart her newly married relationship with Ben, or, this being a mystery, on solving a murder.

I’ve had Avalanche on my Kindle since last June. When the weather started to turn cold and snow covered the ground I pulled up the novel. Avalanche is perfect to take on a ski holiday or to sit by a fireplace, sipping hot cocoa or tea and getting lost in the tangles of relationships.

In the category of Women’s Sleuth Mysteries, Avalanche was an Amazon Hot New Release.

I’ve now read all three of the Stone Mountain Mysteries and this is my favourite.