WWK--Better than ever--Look for the return of blogs by Linda Rodriguez! She's back--on 1/4. Watch for our new blogger Tammy Euliano--debuting on 1/17
Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Killer Weeds," appears in the January 20 edition of Texas Gardener's Seeds: From Our Garden to Yours. Congratulations, Margaret, who, if you follow Facebook know, is a superb gardener herself!
Congratulations to Jennifer J. Chow for garnering a 2021 Lefty Nomination for Best Humorous Mystery Novel. We're crossing our fingers for Jennifer!
Congratulations to Paula Gail Benson whose "Reputation or Soul" has been chosen for Malice Domestic 16: Mystery Most Diabolical anthology to be released this spring.
KM Rockwood's "Stay Safe--Very Safe" appears in this year's 2020 BOULD anthology. Congratulations, KM!
Margaret S. Hamilton's "Dealing at the Dump" appears in Cozy Villages of Death Fall 2020.
Margaret S. Hamilton's "Black Market Baby" and Debra H. Goldstein's "Forensic Magic" appear in Masthead: Best New England Crime Stories Fall 2020.
Jennifer J. Chow's Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines (interview on WWK on 11/11) released on November 10.
Annette Dashofy signed with agent Dawn Dowdle of the Blue Ridge Literary Agency. Congratulations, Annette!
KM Rockwood's "Secrets To The Grave" has been published in the SinC Chesapeake Chapter's new anthology Invitation To Murder, released by Wildside Press on 10/6.
Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequin's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Tuesday, February 27, 2018
|photo by bizoo_n|
Monday, February 26, 2018
There are a few schools of thoughts on outlining. Some writers outline, some don’t and some do a combination of both processes, which means they loosely outline so they have an idea of where the story is going. Me? I outline. The outline for the The Uninvited Corpse was about 20 (single-spaced) pages long and the outline for book two came in at 23 pages. I cannot imagine writing either book without outlining.
Why do I outline? Outlining gives me a clear direction of where the story is going and lays out the plot which includes twists and turns and defeats and triumphs for my amateur detective, Hope Early.
How do I outline? I begin with Michael Hague's six stage plot structure. This method also serves as a template for writing the synopsis of the novel. Yes, even after selling your first book you need to be able to write a synopsis for your next book. Let’s look at an example, the first stage of the plot structure, of how I incorporate this structure into my outlining.
Act One: First 25% of the novel
0-10% - The Ordinary World
This part of the book is Hope’s ordinary world. It's Hope's life before the murder and where I hope that readers will connect with her and want to follow her along the journey. I usually just write a few sentences with very few details. Here's what I wrote for the book I'm currently working on (the second in the Food Blogger Mystery series):
Hope Early is the publisher behind the growing food blog, Hope at Home. Her current project for her blog is a series on stress-free meals so she’s developing recipes for slow cookers and pressure cookers. She’s also continuing to remodel her antique farmhouse and the big project now is building a new garage on her property. The book opens with Hope arriving for the first day...I'm not giving any more away. :)
Now I'll continue to go through the whole six stage plot structure and when it's complete I'll set it aside for a few days. When I return to the document I'll add a few spaces to each section and elaborate on what is happening at that particular point of the story. Each section now will have several sentences which are a bit more detailed and the basis for the next step of outlining the novel.
When I begin outlining I include the chapter number, the scene number, the day in the story, the time of day, and the location. I also include all the details of that scene, snippets of dialogue if they come to me as I'm typing, descriptions of characters or locations or objects, and links to online research sites. My outline is jam packed with a lot of stuff. Here's a snippet from the outline I'm currently using:
Day One – late afternoon
Hope arrives at home and is greeted by her sister, Claire Dixon. She didn’t expect Claire to be waiting for her or having to explain why she’s late getting home. Bigelow, her dog, comes racing to welcome her home. Claire is in a huff because...you'll have to read the book to find out why she's upset. :)
Writing the outline can take weeks and I honestly don't remember how long it took to write the outline for book 2. I completed it last spring. Some writers feel writing an outline sucks the joy out of writing the novel. They're not surprised by anything when they sit down to write the novel or they feel the outline structure is too rigid. Valid points. However, I don't feel that writing an outline hinders the novel writing process. The outline isn't carved in stone and can be adjusted accordingly as I write the story. During the draft writing process (I usually go through 4 drafts) I have changed things such as eliminating a scene - I did that in the first draft of book 2, the scene was flat and I was totally bored by it so I cut it and brainstormed a new scene to replace it - or adding a character or re-arranging scenes. Doing any of those things can be nerve-wracking for a writer but since I have a detailed outline that is guiding me, it's like a safety net, I can make those changes on the fly.
If a new writer asked me if he/she should outline I would say "yes" and share my reasons why. But does a writer need to outline? No. Every writer writes differently and no one should impose his/her practices on another writer. But I think writers should outline. :)
Sunday, February 25, 2018
|Sheep with Magellanic Penguins on Falkland Islands|
|Striated Caracara - Falkland Islands|
|young Black-browed Albatross - Falkland Islands|
|Chinstrap Penguin in the Southern Ocean|
|King Penguin colony on South Georgia Island|
"If I turn my back on you will you stop squeaking?
|Cape Petrel in Southern Ocean|
P.S. I am posting photos and commentary of this trip on Facebook, as though you were traveling with me with a 20-day delay. You can follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/james.m.jackson.author Be sure to check the Album as well as the daily posts. ~ Jim
Saturday, February 24, 2018
Friday, February 23, 2018
Thursday, February 22, 2018
|His senior prom with cane he decorated.|
A year after my eighteen year old son died of cancer, as I’ve written about here before; I went to college for the first time. I was forty-two years old and I loved it. Unlike the students who were fresh out of high school and mostly sat in the back looking bored, I was that enthusiastic student who laughed at some of the jokes the occasional professor told while the others didn’t have a clue.
|We all have our own tents. This one is mine.|