Tuesday, July 28, 2015

First Drafts

Are first drafts always the hardest part of your WIP to hammer out? Or do you breeze through, typing from an outline that fills in like a color-by-the-number painting?

I've found that even though I have an outline, I still struggle with fleshing out my characters and making them individuals. I don't think I've ever breezed through a first draft.I wish I could get through the entire manuscript without wanting to change everything before I finish.

Right now I'm on chapter 8 (working with an outline) and I'm adding in extra ideas that are causing the chapter to go in a different direction. How will I make it to chapter 9? Have you ever experienced this dilemma? What did you do? I'm considering re-writing chapter 8 again. Or should I continue on and finish the first draft before I do anymore re-writes?

Tell me what you think about first drafts and how you solve any problems in them. Do you ignore mistakes and finish the draft?

Monday, July 20, 2015

Re-Post: Splitting Infinitives

To Boldly Go!

This was originally posted on Sunday August 18, 2013. This was a good point that I wanted to share again.

 Have you had a grammar lesson lately?

I was doing a little reading this morning and discovered I have a bad habit. I like to split infinitives. What it that? Infinitives are words starting with to, for example-. To go, to run, to walk. When you split them, you generally add an adverb between the to and the word-to boldly go, to quickly run, to slowly walk. The most famous one comes from Star Trek, To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before.

Over time, the rules bend and change about grammar. Originally, English rules were taken from those of Latin. And since an infinitive was not split in Latin, it was carried over into English. That was then, and this is now. To see an infinitive split in writing and not be edited out shows evolution of the English language. We are more accepting of how we use our language.

I'm not an expert on grammar. I don't have a degree in English, nor do I pretend to have some extensive research done on the subject. But I spend a portion of each day as most of you do, hammering out those sentences that create our stories. This counts for something, I hope. And my belief is that we need to create the most exciting, emotional experience for our readers that we can. And if it means to split a few infinitives along the way, I only hope they don't get eliminated when they reach the editor's pen.

Do you split infinitives? Does it matter to you? Do you see grammar rules changing? 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Summer Doldrums

Summertime is the time when I lay back and relax. Although I'm working on a sequel to Galaxy Nomads, called Gemini: Chronicles of the MacKenzie Clan, I'm moving at a slower pace. I like to call it the summer doldrums because I'm like this picture: I'm lying on the beach staring out at the water wishing I was somewhere else.

But I'm not somewhere else, so I have to make the most of these lazy days. The caption on this picture says: Make Each Day A Memory! While I lie on the beach, I need to do something that will make this day special. It doesn't have to be something major, just a small thing to remember. The fun thing is that some of those special things I can use in my books. It's the things that I do and observe that develop into parts of my stories.

How do you make memories and get special ideas for your books? Are you in the summer doldrums? What do you do to get out of them?

Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Silent Soliloquy Blog Tour

I'm happy to welcome L.G. Keltner on day 4 of her blog tour. I asked Ms. Keltner to talk about the writing process that evolved into her new book A Silent Soliloquy.

First of all, I’d like to thank Karen Elizabeth Brown for letting me stop by her blog today!

I’d like to talk a little about the writing process behind A Silent Soliloquy.  This story developed in a rather disjointed and bizarre way.  Anyone who knows me won’t be shocked by this fact.  It started life as a couple of short stories that didn’t seem to have all that much to do with each other at first.  Kali’s storyline began as a piece of flash fiction that went on to be rejected by a couple of online magazines.  In retrospect, I’m glad it was rejected now.  My novella probably wouldn’t exist in its current form if that rejection hadn’t happened.

Around that same time, I was working on a slightly longer short story that involved Lassandra Rourke and The Dream Factory.  I became caught up in her story and the kind of world she lived in.  It was clearly a dystopian society, but I wanted to know more about it.  Even though it was originally meant to be a standalone short, I felt like there was more to be discovered.  Still, I didn’t know what that nebulous “more” was, so I set aside for a while.

During this time, I had the disconcerting feeling that I’d never be able to finish anything.  I suspect we’ve all felt that way before.

A few months later, I touched on Mitchell’s story for a blogfest.  The portrayal of an awkward kiss and Mitchell’s need for secrecy inspired me to ask a fateful question: How would it feel to be fundamentally unable to communicate with the world around you?  That question seemed to link up with the portrayal of mental illness and exploitation in The Dream Factory.  It also made me think of the genetic experimentation in Kali’s story, and I began to envision a silent girl.  This girl had been weaponized, but the process that made this possible left an intact personality trapped inside, unable to speak or control the body she lived in.

The connections between the stories grew stronger as I pondered them, and over time, I was able to weave them together to create A Silent Soliloquy.  The project was both exhilarating and daunting, and it took me quite some time to get it to the point where I felt pleased with the result.  Though I frequently felt frustrated, I couldn’t give up.  This story demanded to be told, and I can only hope I’ve done it justice.

*   *   *

Title: A Silent Soliloquy
Author: L.G. Keltner
Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopian
Length: 28,000 words
Cover Art: Devross
Release Date: July 6th, 2015


TIPPIE was created to be a weapon.  By all appearances, she's an ordinary girl of 18, and she uses that to her advantage in her work for The Facility.  What no one sees is that there's another girl buried deep inside.  She can't speak or control the movements of the body she inhabits.  As TIPPIE's silent passenger, she can only observe.  She uses the details she learns from TIPPIE's work to reconstruct the stories of other people's lives.  It helps her feel a little more connected to the world she can only watch.

When TIPPIE's work leads her to David, a young man with a haunted past and information that The Facility wants, TIPPIE uses her skills to earn his trust.  The silent girl beneath the surface knows that TIPPIE is only going to hurt him, but she can't help but feel for him.  Those feelings only grow, but she knows all too well that TIPPIE's work will soon come to an end.


L.G. Keltner spends most of her time trying to write while also cleaning up after her crazy but wonderful kids and hanging out with her husband.  Her favorite genre of all time is science fiction, and she’s been trying to write novels since the age of six.  Needless to say, those earliest attempts weren’t all that good. 

Her non-writing hobbies include astronomy and playing Trivial Pursuit.

You can typically find L.G. lurking around herblog, on Twitter, or on her Facebook page.

Purchase Links:

You can also add it on Goodreads.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Wimpy Verbs and Crutch Words

Sitting on my desk, next to my computer, is a list of words that I try to use as little as possible. The verbs are like a weak muscle that needs exercise and the adverbs are overused. Both can usually be replaced with stronger words that have more vitality and zip. I'd like to share this list with you.

Wimpy Verbs:

was...were...could...would...been...have...able to  ...get...got...do...put...take...took...saw...walk...move...look...made...turn...went...going to  ...said...had...has...seemed

Crutch Words:

some...well...thing...just...like...actually...certainly...really...lots...for a moment...that...then
...slightly...only...still...almost...personally...yet...often...since...because...a bit...perhaps
...maybe...more so...about...around

Remember, this isn't a hard and fast rule. Sometimes there doesn't seem to be the right word available. So go ahead and use what you feel is the right word. It's your manuscript so make it all you!

As an additional bonus, here are some other words that are considered weak and not as powerful.

Weak Words:


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy 4th of July!

By Jnn13 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

This picture reminds me of many things, but on the fourth of July it means sitting in the park by the band shell listening to music and eating fried chicken and watermelon. The children would play games and after a while we would walk through the many booths that were set up where you could buy just about anything you could imagine.

We're lucky. There aren't too many countries that will let you celebrate like that. No, this isn't a patriotic speech. Just a reminder that our freedom was hard won on the battle fields by our soldiers. Men and women that deserve our thanks. When the flag goes by in your fourth of July parade, do not mock it or jeer at it, because without it we would be another country held in the grip of anarchy.

Three cheers for the red, white and blue!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

IWSG: We Have A T-Shirt!

Welcome to the Wednesday, July 1st meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Check out the IWSG website for weekly posts and resources HERE. To visit other participants, click HERE.

Our July 1st co-hosts are:

http://eclecticali.wordpress.com/ Allison Gammons

We have a new t-shirt! You can purchase it HERE.

Here it is July 1st and I'm pleased to say that my Galaxy Nomads: Chronicles of the MacKenzie Clan book tour was a complete success. To all those who participated I give a hearty thank you! Without friends and fellow bloggers our books wouldn't be seen by others.

Sometimes, in the middle of all the social media, I begin to feel overwhelmed and have a sinking feeling that makes me want to hide. But thanks to the support I've received I'm not afraid to get out there and put myself in the middle of things. I especially want to thank my sister, Retta Stephenson, at Art By Retta, who not only did my book cover but has given me pointers about using social media. The fear lessens when you begin seeing results. Thanks to everyone!