• Who We Are

  • Schedule

    Mondays ~
    Tuesdays ~ Snarky
    Wednesdays ~ Dreamer
    Thursdays ~ Naughty
    Fridays ~ Dreary
    Saturdays ~
    Sundays ~

    Whenever ~ Smokey, Mighty, Eerie and Wicked

  • Snarky’s Tweets

  • Kinetic’s Tweets

  • Dreamer’s Tweets

  • Wicked’s Tweets

  • Eerie’s Tweets

  • Mighty’s Tweets

Writing Masters: Jim Butcher

 

I was reading some articles about writing, and it suggested googling one of your favorite authors, plus the word writing. I googled “Jim Butcher Writing”, without the quotations.

Google page: http://www.epublishabook.com/2014/06/09/writetip-elements-subplot-writers-writing-amwriting/

 

Product DetailsProduct Details

 

He writes both High fantasy and urban fantasy, but his tips apply to any genre

 

 

 

 

Some awesome pages that came up:

 

Jim’s LiveJournal

He hasn’t been on this for years, and the later posts are sporadic, but he talks about how he plots and writes

http://jimbutcher.livejournal.com/

 

This is a blog that lists direct links to Jim’s writing articles

http://blog.karenwoodward.org/2012/10/jim-butcher-on-writing.html

http://blog.karenwoodward.org/2012/06/jim-butcher-how-to-write-story.html

 

Google Docs that someone collated Jim’s tips (Can be saved as a document)

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1a0ll3XxM5bRyv3xHpNfuRld4q5-9bKpW-K4_LLWESak/edit?hl=en_US

 

Interviews

http://clarionfoundation.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/interview-with-jim-butcher-author-of-the-dresden-files/

http://www.wizardsharry.com/dresden5.html

 

How Jim got Published

http://www.jim-butcher.com/jim

 

Q4U: What authors would you like to see writing tips from?

 

Hope you find these helpful : )

~ Amber

Hellos and Goodbyes…

It’s been awhile since we’ve visited the Swamp and her inhabitants. Today I thought you might like to take a peek into our little farewell get together for Mighty, who shall remain with us via the technology gods until her return, and meet our newest member…

Wicked: *shoving Might’s duffle on to the back of the lopsided jackass*  Why the hell are you going to the Windy City? Between the Werewolf Monks and Eerie’s Free Range Zombies, I would’ve thought we had enough drama for you.

Mighty:*stashing her Staff of Bull Shark Repellent*  You know how it is, money’s a little tight and those Bull Sharks aren’t going to leave the lake any time soon. I’m just going to make sure they don’t pass beyond where they’re allowed.

Snarky: *lazily curling and uncurling her whip*  I can whip them into shape.

Mighty: *look of indulgent disdain*  Your whip is not going to reach.

*Overhead Mischievous calls out*:  Hey Mighty, you ready to lose a few fingers and toes?  The temps over there will keep you in deep freeze.  *He cackles at his lame attempt at humor*

Mighty: *rolling her eyes across the road. Picks them up and puts them back in*:  That bird would be great fried.

Wicked: *grinning in agreement, even as the Prankster Duo comment on Mighty’s gory trick*  Yeah, but I think Eerie might take exception to our meal plans.

Eerie: *taking his Free Range Zombies for a walk with chains and a pointy stick*  What meal plans? The Werewolf Monks have been promising me a new vintage, I could pester them for it.

*A cloud of smoke drifts over* Smokey: “Just took down a mastodon over by Swamp Thing’s place. It’s been smoking nicely for the last few days. I’ll have my Spicy Bit bring it over. We don’t want you heading off without a full belly, Mighty.

Quirky: *practicing knots with some newly purchased ropes*  The Muses headed out a few hours ago, so we could probably hang over at Filet Your Own Deli without worrying about another knock down drag out argument over the use of details or lack thereof.

Dreamer *arms full of colorful blooms and Angel Boy fluttering around her ankles*  What about your cabin, Mighty? Do you need someone to pop in and keep an eye on things for you?

Mighty: *the smirk we all know and love but have learned to be wary of appears* Nah, I forgot to mention I found someone to cabin sit while I’m gone.  That way it’ll still be standing, Zombie Free, when I get back.

Dreamer *beatific smile appears* It’s so nice to have new blood in the community.  So much to play with…*a small blush*  I mean, perhaps they’ll have new playmates for Angel Boy.  *Turns to Wicked and Snarky*  No offense girls, but I believe your progeny may be perhaps a bit too adventurous for mine right now.

Wicked & Snarky exchange high fives.  

Wicked: None taken…

Snarky:  So this new peep.  What’s the deal? Who are they? Where are they from? Most importantly, can they pass the Swamp Entry Exam?

*A loud pop and a blue telephone booth appears and settles in the road. Red Dwarf steps out

Red: Good eve, all, I thought I’d pop in before tea to bid Mighty adieu.  

*A small blond races from behind Red and joins forces with the Prankster Duo, where upon a discussion of how Yoda took down Darth in this year’s Star Wars March Madness*

Red: Did I hear something about an entrance exam? I thought we’d straightened that out months ago.  Besides, I don’t see any dead bodies lying around. Everyone’s here–Snarky, Wicked, Smokey, Quirky, Eerie, Dreamer, Mighty, myself…doesn’t that put us one over?

Eerie *capturing a wondering single hand and wrestling it back in line*  Even though you’re over the Pond and Mighty will soon be in the Land of Winds and You-betchas, we’ve decided to allow one more individual into the group.

Quirky:  We did? When?

Wicked: It was during the brawl over at the Kilted Ferret pub when we had to hold off that damn Molly and her two henchboys from Eerie’s Three Misfiteers.  

Quirky: *flying fingers and rope pause before continuing their dizzy dance*  Oh yeah.  So, who is the new person?

Mighty: *tossing another package on top of the lopsided jackass* I’d introduce you all, but she’s been here the whole time, so I ‘ll let her do the honors.

*All seven dwarves start checking out their surroundings*

Eerie: Short? Tall? Gnome? Troll? What exactly are we looking for here? And a name would be good.

*Mighty smiles and continues to finish her packing*

*From behind him a shadow separates and forms into a petite, lithe form*  Names are not to be given lightly, small man.

Eerie: *huffs up to his full three foot one inch height* Who you calling small?

Wicked: *arms folded so knives are in easy reach* Nice move there, I need to introduce you to Raine.

Snarky: *lets her whip snap, crackle and pop*  And you would be…

*Shadow girl drops a very elegant bow* I am called Ninja Dwarf.

Quirky: *looking intrigues*  Wow! Totally cool, we get our very own ninja!

NANO, Just Writing

The plan for NANO (National Novel Writing Month) is to just write, not edit, not outline, just write.  But how do you just write?  What does that even mean?

When I begin writing, I naturally crave some kind of structure, some kind of guidelines to follow.  Often my characters take me off my decided path, but then, a new path is created based upon what my characters want.  Does that make any sense at all?

BUT, this month I am just writing.  I am creating words on a page, without my usual obsessive compulsive behavior.  I am not going to re-read my work (at least I’ll try not to).  This plan, however, really worries me.  I think I might end up creating more work for myself in the end by doing things in such an unorganized way.  But at the same time, I am really looking forward to trying a different writing process.  Hey, I may even realize I like this way of writing better!

What do you think?  Does writing without a plan simply cause more problems in the long run?

My Evil Plot

Okay, it’s probably not evil, but for me plotting is evil. I am a panster at heart and I find it very difficult to force myself to have a cohesive plan. But after last week’s revelation I decided I needed to try something different. Now that I have Scrivener (plotters personal holy grail) I have no reason not to give it a go. For those of you not familiar with Scriviner it has a side bar where you can can put various chapters/scenes/notes/research all in a cohesive manner. This is difficult to explain so I highly recommend checking out a Youtube video or going to http://www.literatureandlatte.com/ to browse a bit. 

I also decided I needed to analyze my characters more and decided to see what the web had to offer me. I found this character worksheet http://jodyhedlund.blogspot.com/p/character-worksheet.html and have begun the process of psychoanalyzing my characters which is both fun and tedious. I have to admit I am learning a lot about my characters. For instance I had no idea that Peg’s favorite color was orange or that she was a big Stephen King fan. She also collects tea cups (fun fact for all of you). 

So far this journey has been fun and I have to admit my favorite part is finding all of these wonderful tools online. Writer’s are truly fortunate these days because we have so much information at our finger tips. That is if we have access to the internet (I’m going to assume that you do if your reading my post). I have found a lot of things this past week that I believe will make my novel rock my socks off and hopefully one day a larger audience. 

Let’s Try This Again

Okay, fair warning, don’t eat while you read this blog because for some reason analogies of festering wounds have been coming to me regarding this topic. Well, this week I had an epiphany: I realized that whereas I liked the general storyline of my WIP, there were certain elements that I no longer felt were a good idea. Also, I realized that I had some of those pesky little holes in my overall plot. The other evil dwarves don’t seem to think “it just does” is a good answer when they question the dynamics of my world building. 

I know that everything is fixable, but at the same time after being with the group for a few months, I realize there are certain things I would like to add to the story, and that my setting isn’t working for me. Plus those lovely dwarves have also been helping me with formatting (my current formatting skills are lacking). So with all of these various items weighing on my mind, it became a bit overwhelming. Cue the epiphany.

Time for a rewrite. This WIP is one of those I have gone back and forth to over the years because while I loved the story idea, I wasn’t 100% sure where it was going. In retrospect, after joining a critique group, I know why I wasn’t sure, because the story has issues. So as not to disappoint those who set aside their lunch: a good story is like a wound. The initial idea is when the injury first occurs and the closing of said wound is when all of a writer’s plotting comes together perfectly. If a writer has a deep enough connection with a reader,  a nice scar may be left behind, and the reader will never forget your story. On the other hand, sometimes stories don’t close up well and they start to fester. You ignore them until you realize you can no longer deal with the infection,and at this point you can amputate (give up on the story if you’re sure nothing else you do can fix it), or you can tear off the scab, clean the wound, and start over. I’m choosing the latter.

So I bought Scrivener as I believe it will help help me with at least a general outline (I’m a bit of a panster) and organizing my research. So today is to new beginnings. I’ve got a fresh band aid so let’s close this one up.

 

So BZZZ Busy…

So looked at my calendar and realized that OMG I NEED TO GET A POST DONE!  So huge apologies for the very brief post this week but man, oh man, has it been busy. Small fires flaring up everywhere, the Prankster Duo turning my hair gray (not like it had far to go), and then just hours ago realizing that the third revision of chapter 2 for book 3 must be re-written.

And here’s why Chapter 2 is up for another rewrite and a small peek into a writer’s brain–

You have a rogue werewolf who’s chasing down his ex-girlfriend who’s dumped him and was out clubbing with friends before hooking up with a new guy.  Furball takes exception to the rival and leaves him in a bloody heap, not breathing.  Then proceeds to corner ex in a club.  There they argue and she turns her back on him and walks away. Now, what’s more believable?

A.  Furball gets mad, Xander confronts him and he proceeds to head to the alley and the rumble between him and Xander ensues.  This means the humans are still in the dark about the existence of shifters.

or

B.  Furball gets mad, Xander confronts him and he proceeds to lose control tearing apart the varied humans around him causing a panic which limits Xander’s ability to reach him.  When she finally does, they rumble admist a screaming storm of body parts and panicking humans.  Now Division gets called in, Warrick the Alpha gets called in and it’s one big cluster.

So which makes more exciting reading?

Yep, I’m with you..so back to the drawing board and we’ll start drafting Version B.

*SIGH*  Even with an outline this book is being a stubborn ass from the get go.  Just when I think I have it all figured out, my characters snicker, slap me across the face and dash away.

I love being a writer…

–Wicked

New Year, New Story…

Okay so the New Year has arrived and it’s time to get back to writing.  Shadow’s Soul is out being eviscerated, I mean critiqued, by the other Evil Six so I decided to start the year off write…I began to plot out Raine and Gavin’s next adventure.

But to get to this point took time.  Here’s a little insight into the schizophrenic maze known as a writer’s mind. 

I’ve spent the last few weeks prepping the Prankster Duo, the knight in slightly muddy armor, and the hellhound for the holidays.  We had to hunt down holiday gifts, bind them and then deliver them out to the other Swamp residents.  The Swamp Thing family has had a rough time this season so we had to sneak in late one night to leave their gift on the doorstep in an effort not to be dragged into their “martial discussions”. The Prankster Duo managed to get in and get out without any major setbacks (fires, explosions, dismemberment, etc.) while delivering Smokey, Quirky and Jedi’s gifts.  The knight and I took on the tougher residents. Evading Snarky’s newest whip was perilous and dropping off Eerie and Mischievous’ gifts, well I won’t go into detail. Suffice to say the hellhound was in need of some bone therapy afterwards, and knight’s armor had a few more dents to add to his collection.  Don’t tell Eerie, but I think I lost a blade to one of the shambling hordes.

Regardless, we made it through the season.  The Prankster Duo has increased their weaponry supply with some new additions and they’ve been tormenting the zombies scuffling through the Swamp.  The hellhound was quite pleased with his decapitated duck and unidentified leg bone.  Overall it was a lovely Holiday!

While hunting down and setting sneaky traps for our holiday gifts, I decided to pare down the towering pile of nightstand books and got caught up with some of my favorite stories.  When I finished with that, it was time to face the ominous quest looming on my horizon… the creation of my next book.

For those not familiar with a writer, let me explain why your writer friends seem to morph into bi-polar maniacs with multiple personalities in-between their Works in Progress (aka WIPs).  We all fear the blank page or screen that mocks us with its whiteness. 

Typing the last word on your last story is a relief, until you realize you have to start all over again.  Regardless if you’re doing a stand-alone or a series, beginning a story is terrifying.  Let’s follow along with my neurosis as I begin a new WIP.

First question that hits—can I do it?  Can I really get another three to four hundred pages that will keep a reader on the edge of their seat? Am I all tapped out? Was writing that last book, was that it?

A few deep breaths and a handful of chocolate later I’ve managed to smash that stupid voice into silence.  Yes, I’m a writer, damn it, I can do this.  I’ve done it before.

Next question—so do I continue with Raine and Gavin or do I let other characters have their own story? Should I go back to that other story line and take a break from Raine? If I continue with Raine, I’ll have to pitch to my editor for book three, if I don’t I’ll have to go back out to the vicious world of pitches and throw myself on the mercy of another editor.  What to do?

I re-read the 125 pages I have of the other WIP and it hits me…this isn’t going to work without some major re-writing.  Where do I start? Should I throw it away and just start from scratch? I mean, I really like some of it, but other parts are going to have me sporting a Sinead O’Connor look real quick.  Oh man, maybe it’s not so smart to go back to that one just yet….okay let’s think about Raine. 

What do I need to do next? Where is the overall story arc going? Every book has to accomplish something or why write their story? Fine, let’s torment the newly established couple, throw in some twists and turns and then…miracle of miracles, words are spitting across the page.  A plot emerges.  This is good, I haven’t lost the ability yet. 

Okay so I have a plot, but I’m still thinking this year I’d like to get two books done, so where do I focus?  How do I choose which gets to be done first? The massive re-write or begin Raine’s latest adventure?

Dear God I think the voices in my head are going to stomp my brain into mush and it will leak out of my ears and then neither story will get written.  ARRRGHHH!!!

I manage to piece together Raine’s story and I’m turning over how to re-write the other story, but in the meantime those around me are giving me a wide berth.  Maybe it’s the fact I’m continuously mumbling under my breath while wildly gesturing to get the voices to lower to a dull roar, or maybe it’s the fact that while eating a lovely dinner with family, I blurt out, “She’s being hunted by a psychic psychopath!”

Chairs scrape a few more inches away from me, the Prankster Duo just shake their heads, and knight simply responds in a gently voice, “Do you want some more chocolate, babe?”

And the year has barely begun…

Wicked!

The Story of the 7 Evil Dwarves

Once upon a time, a long time ago…

There was this woman. We’ll call her Snarky. As a mother of four kids ages 4 to 13 now (much younger then), she decided since she was always writing down the stories in her head that she should try to get published. Share these characters and worlds with other people, and hey, maybe get paid for it too. (See those four mouths to feed.)

Well, Snarky started to write a book. It wasn’t half-bad, but she knew she needed to improve and learn and grow, and she wanted other people to talk to about this obsessively crazy thing called writing.

So, she heard about these things called ‘Critique Groups’. Boy, did that sound fun. First, she tried some online. Then she looked for a local group. (To see the full story, click here)

Unfortunately, Snarky wrote fantasy in one form or another. Most groups didn’t really ‘get’ that sort of thing.

So, Snarky found this website, Meetup.com and after taking some time to calm her nerves and find her courage, Snarky created a group. Then she created a first meeting, knowing no one was going to come.

Well, people showed up all right.

Including Smokey Dwarf. A retired engineer, Smokey had a love of writing. He figured since he had the time, he might as well enjoy it.

The initial group fell into two main areas.

The first was literary, the second Spec Fic—Science fiction, fantasy, horror. Smokey Dwarf wrote the same things Snarky did.

Eventually, the group split. The literary folks went their own way, while Snarky and Smokey continued their fantasy group.

Then, came along Eerie Dwarf and Wicked Dwarf. They were also looking for the same things that drew Smokey and Snarky to write & get better. IE Published.

Other people came and went, but these four were sure they’d found the right place and the right people.

They became commiserators, helpers, critiquers and all around great friends.

As time went by, they dragged in Hippy Dwarf and Sunny Dwarf, found they were perfect fits too, and made them stay.

More recently came Quirky Dwarf, the young’un of the group.

They tried to add other people, but then finally figured it out.

7 is their number.

And these 7 dwarves all share the same warped, perverted brains and ideas.

So Cheers to the 7 Evil Dwarves, the perfect writers group.

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