Posted in Anthologies/Novellas, blogs, Christian, Craft, Dystopian, fantasy, Historicals, horror, Indie, MG & YA, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, Paranormal, Romance, SF, Short stories, traditional, Urban Fantasy, Women's Fiction, writers, Writing and Poetry

Writing Links 3/19/18

magician, snake
Magician, snake

Writing Links 3/19/18

Traci Kenworth



  1. “Starting, once again, with the basic caveat that there is no one way to always do anything in creative fiction, and the advice I’m about to give is not meant to be blindly applied to every single sentence you ever write from now on, consider this:

All things being equal, try to begin a sentence with the thing that’s moving—or in any way actually doing something. Or really: Start with the experience.”

  1. “Yes, that’s from Avatar: The Last Airbender. No, I’m not ashamed. I feel like many characters can earn the Not-As-Much-of-a-Jerk-as-You-Could-Have-Been Award. My definition of this kind of character is a character you really don’t like at first because they come off as mean, bratty, and generally not someone you want to be around then, later on, you just fall in love with them. So how do you transition “I really don’t like you” to “This is my favorite character”?” This targets how to make your jerk character more liked. I like the humor aspect usually.
  2. “I’ve talked about how difficult it is to have a monstrous hero without going too far to one side.  With any luck, I’ve struck the right balance in War of Nytefall, but only time will tell there.  So, what are some things to consider?” Some good things to consider. I may be getting into this territory with HA.



Romance/Women’s Fiction:

  1. “The fact is unfinished things take up space in our brains.  How many times have you heard a writer say we have to write to get our characters’ voices out of our heads?  I can tell you the most minute details about the books I haven’t written yet – but thank goodness for series bibles, because I forget all the details of the books I’ve completed as soon as they are off my desk.” I can remember bits and pieces of stories I’ve written but my mind’s always on the next story. I didn’t think this happened to other authors. Glad to see I’m not alone.
  2. “One thing I’ve noticed in working with authors of historical romance is that we tend not to have an instinctive grasp of pre-mechanized transportation. The food, clothing, language that we use today are recent descendants of Regency times, and mostly manageable (with the exception of our casual reference to Freudian terms and modern psychology, which can be circumvented by careful language choices.) But our sense of travel and distance is so unlike the reality of 200 years ago that it’s often hard to get everything right.” This is something I’m struggling with. Distance in the early 1800s, America.
  3. “But it’s possible that what comes next could be equally interesting, although I’ll admit, it didn’t occur to me to apply this thought to my books until one of my readers pushed me to think about it.” I can do either. Stand alone or series.



  1. “Most authors earn less than legal minimum wage writing books. Most do so for their entire writing careers. (U.S. Federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. A full-time person working 40 hours per week would earn an annual revenue of $15,000 at that rate.)”
  2. “We never write clichés – how cliché would that be? But there is often a kernel of truth hidden in that slick wrapping. Some days as writers, we are on fire. Our words flow, the emotions hit the page with power and we’re a little in awe how the story carried us away and called forth something deep and rich from within us.” I admit to days like this. You can’t always be on a roll. Sometimes it’s like pushing a mountain.
  3. “Authors often wonder what marketing materials they can ask their publishing house to create for them. A list of suggestions for new titles appears below for both physical events and online marketing.”



  1. “My life has been a series of reinventions. First, in my twenties, I was a dancer and artist. Next, in my thirties, I was a mother (still am). Then, in my forties and fifties I was an elementary school teacher and principal. When I retired, everyone asked me what I would to do next, and I always replied, “I’m going to reinvent myself.” I didn’t know how at the time. Now I do.” I’ve done this a lot in my life, lol.
  2. “Some years ago, when writing a novel, I searched for an appropriate house name for the brooding old orphanage/workhouse that played such an integral part in the plot. Names of places matter just as much as names of characters. You can’t call a Victorian asylum Rosemount Manor, or a gaol housing condemned prisoners Summerville Court.”
  3. “I paused. Like most of you, I’ve never heard of Hayden White but the caption beneath his photo said “He argued that historical meaning is imposed on historical facts by ’emplotment’, or choices in storytelling.” Hmmm.” Interesting.



  1. “Here’s a small selection of the horror and genre news that caught our eye during the last week.” Dark Places Evil Faces. Requiem. Out in the Open.



  1. “When you think of scientists working in the field, what do you imagine? I imagine them venturing to remote, possibly dangerous sites. Then again, some field work is closer to home, less rugged. And, as this month’s books reveal, modern field work can sometime mean anxiously awaiting data and video feeds while a specially equipped drone or other remote sensing device ventures far from home. No matter what the exact circumstances may be, this month’s titles transport readers to many places and offer exciting tales of passionate scientists eager to answer their questions. Let’s begin diving into this theme with a look at underwater archaeology.”
  2. “Surprise! BEYOND THE RED 3’s cover is here! And it is glorious!” 
  3. “When people think of a battle, most envision soldiers and tanks, warships and weapons … possibly rifles and a cavalry. But there are many types of personal battles, as Fiona mentioned in her previous blog post. These include internal moral battles, relationship conflicts, and personal vendettas. How your character deals with these issues is very telling and gives the reader much insight into that individual’s personality. It’s also a chance for you as a writer to provide an opportunity for your character to grow and ratchet up the tension in your story.” Some of the best scenes I’ve seen are personal.
  4. “Sally Cronin has shared my story of a very impressive lady who saved 60 lives when Mount Tarawera in New Zealand erupted in 1886, destroying the Pink and White Terraces and burying the villate of Te Wairoa. Thank you for having me over today, Sally.” I remember in elementary hearing the story of Pompei. It chilled me to the bone.
  5. “The topic for blog posts this month is battlegrounds. But I’d like to focus on emotional battlegrounds. Don’t get me wrong. Actual battles are important for YA writing. Conflict needs to come to fruition since stakes can’t be hypothetical, meaning there needs to be a payoff. An emotional battleground informs YA writing, though, because characters need stakes and goals, as emotional layering is ultimately the last aspect of writing that authors need to master. For example, a writer can improve with imagery, voice, and dialogue, but might not understand the emotional aspect of YA fiction.” I have to agree. Emotional battlegrounds add a depth to a story.
  6. “There are places in this book where I’ve done what I wanted to do even though that voice in my head said, but what if the reader doesn’t get it? Luckily, I have an editor who truly gets what I do, and nourishes it, and loves it. So, I guess, in some way, it taught me to be brave and trust my gut, and trust my readers. So far, so good.” I’m learning to trust my gut more. When I first started writing I did but then some years with life and then cps when I started back up again, some just made me question myself and my writing. I’m happy to have the cps I do today.



  1. “A few weeks ago, I took a terrific class called Active Threat Response through Elite Shooting Sportsin Manassas, Virginia.  The focus of the class was on clearing rooms where bad guys are expected to be holed up.” I would be too petrified to do this, lol.
  2. “Don’t be afraid to write about a subject that’s been written about before.The Underground Railroad is about American slavery and all the agonizing attempts to escape it, which continued long after its abolition. For two centuries, the story of slavery has been chronicled in great detail, thanks mostly to the slaves who escaped their bondage and lived to write about it. Perhaps the best known of these stories is Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, written in 1845 by the famous abolitionist and former slave, but there were many, many others. Fiction about slavery soon followed:” I write what interests me. I hope, in turn, interests the reader.


Short Stories/Anthologies/Novella:

  1. “Today we’re going to have a little chat with Danny Caruso, owner of Nightforce Security, a new-ish company in headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania whose employees have rather impressive skillsets.” Enjoyed this!
  2. “Morgan sat at the table, candlelight illuminating the journals before her. Cail nudged the inkwell closer. “You should be writing instead of staring at the page. You know Lady Raven wants you to keep a journal.”
  3. Here’s a snippet from Atonement in Bloom.  There are a couple of new “supernaturals” in the town of Atonement, Tennessee.  This excerpt comes from the middle of the scene where Lilith the cat encounters them.  The oddly warm December night saw the calico sneaking out and following her nose to the thing she hated — magic. She watched the actions of two supernaturals for a while.  Then she realized another stranger stood behind her.  The unknown woman’s anger had grown as she observed what transpired. 
  4. “In the summer I will be releasing Tales from the Irish Garden.. stories of magic and fantasy. It is the sequel to Tales from the Garden published in 2015 and I am going to share the stories from that collection with you in the next few weeks.”
  5. “This is the season of mud in the American West. It might not come to pass this year, because winter didn’t amount to much, but it’s still that time of year. Sorry Easterners, I know what you’re going through. I cropped the mud photo and used it for the background image on my blog.”
  6. “I dedicated my time to my own fiction. It came to around 3000 words. I don’t have a complete count, but somewhere around that mark. My main character has to cover up one eye, because the townsfolk decided it’s the evil eye. I also created four tiny monsters with more to come. They haven’t even taken to sea yet, and that’s one of my biggest obstacles here. Act one involves the guy trying to live up to his father’s reputation. He will decide to take his own path, and that’s the part that occurs at sea.” I love hearing other author’s processes. Sometimes, I can see if that’d work for my own.



  2. Great message.
  4. Dark place.
  7. Love the Douglas MacArthur quote.



  1. “Authors have a lot of blind spots when it comes to their own books. Writing the book turns out to be the easiest part of all the other stuff you have to do. A lot of authors have trouble selecting a passage to feature as a book excerpt. I believe there are two major reasons for this. The first (and probably the biggest contributing factor) is that the author knowsthe context of every scene in the book and is therefore unable to understand why someone reading the passage without context might not get it. The second reason is an almost paranoid impulse to prevent “spoilers.” Sounds like some good advice.
  2. “This question gets asked by readers a lot here at Indies Unlimited: How can I protect my manuscript from being taken by someone I let read it? And as common as the question is, it’s an easy answer: you can’t.” My advice is to get to know the person you’re sending your work to. Most are decent. I’ve been lucky to receive encouragement and support from the writers I’ve worked with. I have had a few that just didn’t work out.
  3. “We’ve all been there: a book we were excited about, one that we worked on earnestly.

But when it hit the market, all that came back was a big yawn.

No author wants to be in that situation, most of all a self-published author. We gamble our own time, money, and commitment to our books, and we really need a positive response sometimes just to keep going.

But there it is: your baby isn’t selling.

What went wrong? Is it something you can fix, or is it embedded in the DNA of your book, a flaw so grave it can never recover?

Take a look at this list and see if you’ve been guilty of any of these oversights.”

  1. “When best-selling cozy mystery authorElizabeth Spann Craigtransitioned to self-publishing from a trade contract, she found she was able to reach a much wider audience as well as increasing her income. Today she shares the secrets of her success for the benefit of other indie authors, including:”
  2. Self-publishing advice.
  3. “The ePub standard— the website in a boxthat I’ve been talking about here for a while — has been around since the early part of this century. Its first iteration, logically called ePub version 1.0, never really caught on commercially; it was primitive, but more to the point, there was not really a way to read or buy ebooks in ePub format.”  
  4. “Making a living with your writing is all about multiple streams of income. So if you write non-fiction, consider turning your book into a Workbook edition.”
  5. “$74,000. There’s the number. It’s tax time, so numbers are what we’re all about this time of year, and that one’s mine. That is my income for 2017. It’s a decent number for my part of the world, enough to live on and pay the bills for a family of two with one income. It isn’t the million dollars that some folks make, but it also is a nice, steady increase over my income of previous years. It’s about what a teacher in my school district makes, if they have a Master’s Degree, National Board Certification, and 30 years of experience. So it’s a solid, professional-level salary.” This is amazing. I could only hope.




  1. “For AWP 2018, I hired a team of writers to help me cover business-related sessions, as part of the launch for my newest book(official release date: March 16). Their blog posts are available over at the companion website for the book; here’s what you’ll find:” Check these out!
  2. “Many new writers have a passionate dream of being a full-time, well-paid, maybe even famous author…until we see the odds of reaching those dreams. Then? All our enthusiasm and optimism suddenly leaks out *farting sound of deflating balloon* leaving space for doubt, anxiety, and defeatism.” I still don’t like to think of other authors as competition. It’s only me that holds me back.
  3. “Whether they’re a pantser or a plotter, every writer has to figure out what process works best for them, and there’s no single answer that’s right for everyone. I have friends who start writing with nothing but the spark of an idea and others who spend a longer time planning out every aspect of their book than they do actually writing it. I fall somewhere in the middle, so I call myself a hybrid. I like to think it makes me sound contemporary, efficient, and nonpartisan. I also like to think I still look like my high school yearbook picture, but that’s a completely different blog post.” Sometimes things change for me while writing too. A character takes a different direction. The villain reveals a new weapon. A door opens and another character walks through. Anything can happen. I try to bring it back around if I can but that’s not always in the cards.
  4. “Our story’s themes—our messages to readers of what to value or believe—can add depth and meaning to our writing, but to avoid being too on-the-nose, our themes are usually developed in the story’s subtext. Unfortunately, working in subtext means we can accidentally create unintentionalthemes—sometimes the opposite of what we intend.” Great things to consider.
  5. ““Show, don’t tell.” So goes the creative writing chestnut. And like most conventional wisdom it has something to recommend it. Dramatic writing (“showing”) does more that merely tell us about an experience; it puts us right there inside the experience with a character or characters, so that we share the experience along with And sharing experiences—putting us into a character’s shoes, so to speak, having us see what they see and feel what they feel through their nerves and sensory organs—is what fiction, and any form of narrative writing, does best.” A critique.
  6. “It’s the primary driving emotion behind a character’s thoughts and behavior.” Using one word to describe them is effective.
  7. “She’s a celebrity to me as a writer. She accepted that snippet of story from the universe, about a boy with a scar on his forehead who finds out he’s a wizard, and cherished it through multiple books. She built an empire from her fingertips through hard work and there are wonderful lessons inherent in that.” I watched these recently. I do admire how J.K. Rowling came from nothing to everything.
  8. “Recently, I have been binge-watching episodes of Turn: Washington’s Spieson Netflix. The story is set in and around New York during the years of the American Revolution, and it has been fascinating to look back at this period in history, even knowing that not all the details, or characters, are true to the facts.” Interesting.
  9. “The thing is, it actually matters. Like a chef, knowing what defines the concoction you’re about to create will help you figure out how to make it work.” Makes sense.
  10. “Since we’ve been exploring masterful writing over these last few months (and will continue to do so), I want to bring you back to the basics of novel structure. Why? Because all the masterful writing in the world won’t go very far if you don’t nail structure.” I can see how I build as a frame. I work back and forth between characters and plot in the beginning. Research comes in early and then again as I go along. Sometimes things change drastically, others they go on until everything snaps into place. I do have the heart of the story in mind always before I begin. It helps to steer my framework especially if the characters decide on a different way.
  11. “The posters of Rosie the Riveter were created to encourage more women to join the wartime labor force and fill traditionally male jobs in the Defense Department left vacated when men went off to fight the enemy in World War II. Yes, I said POSTERS. Most people identify the iconic image of Rosie with her polka dotted bandana and “We Can Do It” motto, illustrated by J. Howard Miller and produced by Westinghouse in 1943, but it was not the only one.” One day.
  12. “A realtor, or real estate agent, oversees the buying and selling of homes (or properties, commercial or residential). For a seller, they will investigate comparative properties to aid homeowners in setting a price, set up the listing, arrange for pictures and obtain home specs to include in advertisements and website listings, arrange and oversee realtor-only showing and open houses, negotiate between parties (including counter offers), and steer the closing process. Often the realtor will weigh in on any esthetics that may need to be addressed before listing (both decorative adjustments and home repairs – a realtor will be able to tell clients what improvements are worth doing, and which will not offer a return on investment as far as price and ease of sale.)”
  13. “Ideas come to us every day, from big bolt-from-the-blue inspiration to smaller “what if” musings. What’s sneaky about ideas is that they’re easy–it’s figuring out the story behind the idea that can be the hard part. I’ve had many a premise get me excited, only to discover later that I didn’t have a story, much less a plot, that would go with it.” I think sometimes the idea isn’t ready yet. Although it could never be. It just depends.
  14. “Setting is an extremely powerful toolthat can hook readers into a world they never want to leave. Oddly, too many writers fail to appreciate just how powerful settings can be. Details make the difference between the mediocre and the magnificent. Settings, written properly, can come alive and transition from boring backdrop to becoming an actual character (I.e. Hogwart’s).” I always worry I’ll bore the reader but I’ve been trying to add more setting to my scenes lately.
  15. “This iconic advice is something every writer hears at some point and keeping it at the forefront of our minds when writing is one of the wisest things we can do. Not only must we make good on our back-jacket blurb promise that the protagonist will find themselves in an impossible situation of some kind (thanks to the twisted events we set in motion as part of the plot), we also want to ensure tension is on every page, hooking the reader and keeping them in thrall.”  



  1. “I’ve been working on this for more than six years, to tell the truth. When I first started writing, it was only about the accident. Before I knew it, the story of my divorce and heart attack was bubbling out of me without control. Within months, I realized that even though I’d chosen to get divorced, the heart attack and accident just happened to me; my first reaction was that karma was paying me back. Guilt made me wonder if I’d deserved all of what happened, and ultimately, that’s when I started asking the bigger questions of myself through writing that most definitely—as the book explains—became my therapy. I cried a lotand processed a lot. And thank goodness, because it worked. (But I’ve always believed in writing as a cathartic, insightful experience, as a veteran English teacher.)” I started writing again as a recommendation in therapy after my divorce.
  3. “I fulfilled ambitions. Goals were met. But I feel it hasn’t been without casting off bits and pieces of my soul along the way. Sure, the education is fantastic. I love the many things I’ve learned. Not only about writing but also publishing, querying, and marketing.”
  4. “Keeping them on your blog is a different story, but if you have something worthy to say you should have a decent title that captures the attention of potential readers.” It’s sometimes hard to know what to blog about. I approach it like my writing. I just put my fingers on the keys and start typing. In other words, it’s just what pours out. This is me, so I hope you all like.
  5. “When the UK’s Society of Authors chief executive Nicola Solomon wrote her ‘Profits From Publishing’ commentaryon authors’ and publishers’ revenue for The Bookseller last week, she challenged publishers on behalf of the writer community “to state in their accounts how much they pay to authors, illustrators, and translators in advances, royalties, and secondary income.” This would be interesting to see.
  6. “The first time I beta-read – a retelling of both ‘The Little Mermaid’ & ‘Cinderella’ called ‘Melody’ by Penny Kearney (which should be out sometime this year) – I feel like I came up short a little if I’m honest. I wasn’t completely sure what I was doing, and, although, I answered all of the questions – and highlighted a few flow problems – I liked it too much to say anything bad about it!” I was afraid to offend other writers at first, but over the last couple years I’ve gotten more into making sure the story works, noting the problems, but always, always with compliments on what the writer is doing right. You have to temper your critiques with sweetness. It works.
  7. This is a fascinating bird.
  8. “Every story has a rhythm. A story can stop and stutter like a car running out of gas. Or purr along like a smooth luxury car, as the rider enjoys the view.  Or take your breath away thrilling you with the speed and power of a race car.” What I aspire to do.
  10. “People with Rh positive blood can be traced back to Rhesus monkeys, but us negatives cannot. I do believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution, but negatives cannot be traced back to anywhere else in nature. So did we come from a different ancestor (my mother always joked that I was an alien child!)?  Ms Starr’s blog states that some people think Rh negatives are the survivors of Atlantis.  Hmm… I don’t know about that – perhaps that’s why I’m not keen on being on the sea!” I had no idea.
  11. “Everyone says that with patience and hard work you can achieve your goals. But I have been patient and worked as hard as I can, but no nearer to anything even remotely like my goals.” I know the feeling sometimes. I hold on to the hope that my journey isn’t over yet. This year has been both good and more of the same so far. I am doing much better with writing though. I’m doing guest blogs. I’m writing short stories. I’m working on one novel, have another out to beta, and another waiting for the second drafting to begin. That’s not to brag. It’s the best I’ve done since I started writing a long time ago. I’m feeling more confident in my work than ever before.
  12. “I don’t know about you, but what that guy’s doing is a little scary to me. Work is a little scary for me, too. For most writers, I suspect. Putting yourself out there, welcoming feedback even though you know it might sting… not the most comfortable things to do. Sure, I could be a cashier at a grocery store, but I have no passion for that. My passion is writing, so that’s where I put my time and…” I can identify. Doing these guest blogs always terrifies me that no one will like what I’ve written but I do them anyway because in pushing myself, I’m gaining the confidence I need.
  13. “One of my biggest plights as a writer is beating the blank page. It’s always a deterrent when I start a new manuscript. It takes a few minutes to linger, sometimes days before I get anything down. Once I have something set up, the words start to flow, but it’s getting past that white space that weighs on me.” See what I mean? I recommend to everyone to do guest posts. They really help!
  14. “If you’d been stalking me throughout this week, you’da been massively entertained. I was nearly massively entertained myself, cept I kept yawning. Every morning this week has been me sitting in bed staring at the trees, my sleep center all, bitch, you know it ain’t no 7:00, this feels like 6. I abhor time change and it’s worse in the spring. What time is it really? Is it really this time and the other time was a lie? It is, isn’t it?” Ohmygosh, I so agree, lol.
  16. All colors. A blessed union.
  17. “The opportunity to learn presents itself more often than most of us recognize. We ignore or do not hear the knock on the door to our hearts and minds. We become outraged or sickened when engaging with or reacting to someone whose behavior strikes fear in us. We allow our attention to divert to the trivial when facing something that makes us uneasy. Yet everyone and everything we encounter is a mirror, a reflection of ourselves.” Often, we forget how much we need others and how much they need us. Caring for each other should be our priority.
  18. “If you haven’t seen this herding cats video, it’s a belly laugh. Especially if you own cats and love their loner, “I don’t need you,” tendencies. Or if you love cats so much you wish you had a whole house full.” Enjoyed this tale of how writing a story is like herding cats. I can just imagine that. I have four of my own, each with their own personality. All like to climb on my desk and walk on my keyboard occasionally.



I write YA as Traci Kenworth. I also write romance as Loleta Abi.

40 thoughts on “Writing Links 3/19/18

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.