If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book next year, please contact E. B. Davis at

Our October interviews feature: Kathy Aarons 10/5, Tracy Weber 10/12, Shelley Costa 10/19, and Maggie Toussaint on 10/26.

Saturday Guest Bloggers: Sharon Love Cook 10/1, Leslie Lantry 10/8, and our Saturday Bloggers--10/15 Margaret S. Hamilton, 10/29 Kait Carson. 10/22 will be filled by E. B. Davis.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Sourthern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on June, 13, 2017. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Linda here in June!

The We've Been Trumped anthology released by Dark House Press on September 28th contains Warren Bull's "The Wall" short story and KM Rockwood's "A Phone Call to the White House." KM writes under the name Pat Anne Sirs for this volume.

Jim Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Jim Colors Chapter 1

I read Ramona’s post from July 23rd with interest. Being a visual thinker and a math guy (see my last post), Ramona’s First Chapter Coloring Project fit both parts of my personality.

After buying my tools, I made my first discovery: yellow and green from this set look too similar to be useful, so I substituted orange for green and followed Ramona’s rules:

Blue for Action
Orange for Dialogue
Yellow for Description
Pink for Background

I’m sure I miscolored some lines, but in my first chapter of 2,145 words and 143 lines, I found

58 Action lines
40 Dialogue lines
30 Description lines
11 Backstory lines
4 Backstory lines contained in dialogue

Oh good, I thought. It’s a nice mix and having only 10% backstory (some of which was nicely hidden in dialogue) is surely acceptable. The longest continuous backstory lasts only four lines. I was golden.

Then I looked at that four line chunk and asked questions.

Was it important information? Yes. Crucial for the reader to understand at the point I added it? Errrr, not exactly. Instead of eliciting this four line history dump with a question from a minor character, I can have my protagonist get defensive and provide this same information in a later scene when a cop questions him, upping the tension of that scene.

Then I looked at the 4 lines of backstory concealed as dialogue. Same questions; same answers.

Of fifteen lines of backstory, all are important for my readers to understand. For seven, the best place (I think) is right where I have them. Two take up one line, one takes up two lines and the third uses three lines.

I’m about to transfer the other eight lines and start coloring chapter 2.

~ Jim


Ramona said...

Jim, that colored manuscript is beautiful!

Kaye George said...

Jim, you might not know it from reading my first drafts, but I do a color coding, too. It reveals a lot!

Maybe I should do it before I send my chapters out?

James Montgomery Jackson said...

I'm not sure I would bother coloring my first draft, which is an attempt to get my story down on paper.

In the second draft I attempt to straighten out plot points, character arcs and other major problems I introduced in draft 1.

Only on the third draft do I really start editing -- but maybe that's not a good idea.

Thoughts on when to first pull out the crayons?

~ Jim