Five Links 11/16/19 Traci Kenworth


Five Links 11/16/19

Traci Kenworth


1. “This past week on Monday Night Football between the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants, play was interrupted for a short time when a black cat somehow wandered onto the field.

No one knows where it came from or (as of this writing) where it is now. It’s probably hiding somewhere in the bowels of MetLife Stadium, coming out only under cover of darkness to forage for hotdog stubs, popcorn bits, and field mice.

TV cameras captured the drama as Stadium security and state troopers closed in. The cat, juking like a four-footed Ezekiel Elliott, eluded capture before dashing into a tunnel.

The moment inspired the clever sports writer and podcaster Charlotte Wilder to create a winsome account of the incident. It amounts to the cat’s backstory, which I found to” I couldn’t agree more!


3. “ave you ever logged onto your favorite website or turned on your favorite movie or TV show just so you could “get inspired?”

We have all probably done this at some point. We know ourselves pretty well, and we know the sorts of things that make us feel good. Being in a good mood isn’t necessarily a prerequisite for writing, but it definitely helps relieve stress and put you in the proper headspace to think clearly and get things done.

But is going after inspiration the best option? Perhaps, as long as you know the things that trigger inspiration for you personally, you won’t have to do any hunting.

Sometimes NOT writing is how inspiration manifests. This doesn’t seem like it would make any sense on the surface. If you’re supposed to be writing, why in the world would you do something else? Coming from someone constantly pushing creative productivity, it seems out of the box, I know.”

4. “Rewrites have a negative connotation in the writing world, and when listening to some writers talk about them, you’d suspect they were on par with a root canal! I’m well up to my head in revisions for my SciFi novel right now, but you won’t catch me griping about them. Revisions and rewrites are just a natural part of the writing process. They are only as bad as you make them.

That is why I encourage fellow writers to rethink rewrites: they are your friends! Part of my equanimity toward rewrites comes from the fact that I had to literally rewrite most of my fantasy novel. I made all my revisions, polished it up, and then BAM! My flashdrive died taking all my hard work with it. After that, rewriting small sections or even chapters is nothing. One of the things that got me through that crisis was this thought: it will be better than it was.

“It will be better than it was” should be every writer’s mantra when facing revisions and rewrites. No first draft is ever perfect. Mine are laden with spelling errors, incomplete thoughts where my fingers jumped ahead along with my brain, redundancies, repeated sentence structures, and other general errors. I type fast, and when doing that, there are going to be errors. That is OK! That is what the writing process is all about: getting words on page. And conversely, the editing process is about polishing your story, catching errors, expanding on themes that you started to explore but didn’t fully give them their due, and so much more.” I find rewriting addictive. Sometimes, it’s hard to let go.

5. “It’s Sunday afternoon. You’ve been putting in a lot of extra time on your nights and weekends lately, trying to make progress on a personal project you hope will turn into something more … eventually.

The bottom line: You’re exhausted. You’re also hungry and cold (because the weather went straight from summer to winter somehow and you just weren’t prepared for that, were you?). You haven’t even logged into Netflix for over a month. You don’t want to do anything. You certainly don’t want to do any writing.

But you know you should write anyway. Either that, or you realize with a sinking feeling that you have a deadline coming up. It was one of those “oh, I’ll get to it when the due date gets closer” promises that has suddenly turned into “if I don’t start working on this today, I’m never going to finish it in time.”

Research & Fun Bits:

1. “I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts that you have within 6 feet of you right now either a smartphone or a tablet with the capability of broadcasting video (also known as livestreaming). Not only that, but chances are very good that also installed on your device is an app like Facebook, YouTube, or some other platform that would allow you to livestream.

And even if you don’t have a device, I’d wager that you own some sort of laptop or computer with a built-in webcam and microphone, which you can use to broadcast live video. The problem is, even though most of the world has this technology, very few use it and an even smaller percentage of people will use it to build their business— their platform.

But doing live video broadcasts are an effective way to engage with your target demographic, get them to know and like you, become your fan, and eventually buy from you. As I write this, the big players in broadcasting live video are the aforementioned Facebook and YouTube. However, by the time you read this that may well have changed. Platforms come and go. That is why I am somewhat platform agnostic because I know that there will be a platform where you can broadcast and where a large segment of your target demographic hangs out.”

2. “ver the years, I’ve talked many times about the role of conflict in our stories, as conflict is far more than just “fighting.” Conflict refers to whatever stands between our characters and their goals.

Those obstacles are often other characters, as any character with goals different from our protagonist can be an antagonist. However, those characters won’tnecessarily be villains, and in fact, we might need to be careful we don’t portray conflict in ways that vilify characters, especially in stories and genres with strong interpersonal relationships, such as romance.

How can we include non-burn-down-the-world conflict between our characters and yet avoid making that conflict boring? Today L. Deborah Sword, a professional Conflict Manager, joins us to share insights and tips into portraying story-worthy and well-managed conflict between our characters.

Please welcome L. Deborah Sword! *smile*”

3. “Often we think of surprising audiences with large twists and turns, with thrilling midpoints or shocking losses, but bringing surprise into smaller story pieces, like interactions and beats, can sometimes be equally satisfying in their own way.

They also hook and reel in readers, which is always a plus.

Recently, I’ve been re-reading Story by Robert McKee, and in it, he talks about the importance of “the gap.” The gap is that space between what the character expects to happen and what actually does happen. Sounds simple and obvious, right?

But many writers don’t consider how to fully utilize this on the small scale. Every character wants something pretty much all of the time. They may be hungry, so they go to a drive-through, expecting to order. She may be going to a friend’s house to tell them she just got engaged, expecting to share that excitement. He might be wanting to ace a test for college.

Everyone wants something, and most people will be taking some form of action to get it. As your character takes that action, think about what they expect, then consider how the result could be different. Maybe your character is trying to order at the drive-through, but no one is responding (a result different than expected), so then what do they do? They take an escalating action. Maybe they raise their voice at the microphone, once, then twice. Suddenly, someone comes on . . . who sounds like they are dying. Now the character needs to think about and take another action, which has another expectation, which could offer another gap.”


5. “There are some things you should consider when you finish with your book. The biggest dilemma for most authors is which method for publishing do they pursue? Traditional or self-publishing? One of them is right for you. The question is, which one?” 

Some Things More Serious:


2. “The Tuesday after I returned from Bouchercon 2019, my therapist congratulated me on experiencing my first non-neurotic conference. No, I don’t mean the conference itself was non-neurotic, because I can think of few things with higher potential for neuroses than 1700 writers, industry professionals, and fans, all gathered in one hotel. I mean, of course, that I was way less neurotic than I usually am at these things. How did I manage it? I decided to have a really good time, and do exactly what I wanted to do the whole six days I was there.

Things didn’t start so great, as I told pretty much everyone I spent more than 10 minutes with. (Okay, maybe that was a little neurotic.) It was a good airline story though. It took me 9 hours, plus an hour’s travel on either side, to fly from Houston to Dallas because of rainstorms. Yes, I could have driven there and back and halfway back to DFW again in the time I spent waiting for a plane. Our first plane got grounded at Hobby Airport before it could head to IAH, and then the crew timed out. I counted 15 “your flight will now depart at…” emails in my box.The 737 we finally got at 5:30 only had 30 people on it, including the crew, because so many people had to rebook. Sweet. Too bad my room service burger that night was nearly raw instead of medium well. They fixed it with reasonable promptness, returning a medium well burger (no bun, as requested), with fries I didn’t order. I confess I ate a few.”

3. “Somerset Maugham wrote, “There is an impression abroad that everyone has it in him to write one book; but if by this is implied a good book the impression is false” (The Summing Up).

Far be it from me to add to Maugham’s words, but I’m going to. So I guess it be not far from me, after all. I would say that many people (maybe not everyone) have a book in them, but relatively few have a marketable book in them. Much of the difference is in the writer’s perspective.

Many of us approach the task of writing because we have something important to say, without giving a moment’s thought to the reality that readers and book buyers don’t necessarily care about what we care about; they care about what they care about. That may be a tautology, but it’s worth remembering.”

4. “We’ve all had that question put to us by friends, relatives, colleagues, and potential readers. It’s a reasonable question.

“It’s the story of a woman who …”

“It tells what happens when …”

But that’s the setup. It’s not what the book is about.

Coined by R.A. Fairthorne in 1969, “aboutness” is a term used in linguistics, philosophy of language, and the informational sciences to convey both the subject and intention of a text. In other words: what is said, and why.

So what’s your book about?


Teaser Fiction & Poetry:






Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. “What of you could inherit the ability to time travel?

Finn’s mother is gone again. He’s not surprised. She hasn’t been herself since his twin sister died. When his grandmother tells him a secret: the women in their family can time travel, he wonders if his mother isn’t so much running away as unable to come back.

How can he help her? Only females inherit the ability to time travel. Determined to find her he follows clues she left only to discover that time travel is like making wishes. Careful what you wish for you, just might get it.

This is a heart-felt look at grief, family and the ties that bind. With plenty of science for want to be scientists and action to satisfy those who like fast paced plots, it will get readers thinking about how their choices determine their future. This is a promising series opener.”

2. “I’m visiting with Anita and Jaye today. The topic is the environment Serang is set in, and a couple of the supporting characters. Stop over and say hi. While you’re there check out this super supporter’s blog. They write books, post reviews, and really support the author community.”

3. “With The Killing LightThe Sacred Throne trilogy is complete. It’s been a hell of a ride for me (and hopefully for you too) featuring giant devils, a rebellion against an oppressive religious order, and a brave young woman who has been hard done by and climbs into a suit of power armor to balance the ledger, if only by a little. The trilogy featured narrow escapes, treachery from the closest quarters, and battle after bloody battle.

So, thinking back on all that, have you figured out what it’s about yet?

It is, of course, about love.

But let me be a little more specific. You all watched the absolutely brilliant first two seasons of the BBC comedy series Fleabag, right? If you didn’t, fix your shit. I won’t spoil anything, but I will say this – the triumph of that series is that it takes love head-on. It addresses the reality of what it is to love. It reminds us that love is a choice and a process and that most of all, love is about losing. “The pain now is part of the pleasure then, that’s the deal,” says Anthony Hopkins playing C.S. Lewis in The Shadowlands, and he’s absolutely right.”

4. “or whatever reason, it appears to be Jim Webster Week on my blog. He has three separate features 1) this blog hop, 2) an exciting Conversations with Colleen where Tallis Steelyard, the Poet, fills us in on his deepest writing secrets, and 3) my book review of “Tallis Steelyard: A Guide for Writers.”

That’s a lot of Jim Webster in one week. Somehow, I know Tallis Steelyard and Jim Webster will entertain you with a fine selection of tales to make you smile.”

5. “This might be a shorter post than the others.  Within the pages of Legends of Windemere, Timoran Wrath stands out at being the most stable character.  He doesn’t change much over the course of the adventure in terms of personality.  There is a major revelation of his past and evolution of his future, but he never suffers from doubt or wanders from his path.  Funny thing is that I never considered this a problem and would carry on like this is normal for a character.  He became the calm eye in the storm of bolder, more fluid personalities.  That was very different than the game.

Timoran has a unique growth when you include the Dungeons & Dragons game.  Unlike the other champions, he began as a Non-Player Character.  He was designed to guide us when we needed it and cover the brute force that our team lacked.  At the time, it was Luke Callindor, Nyx, and Sari who were all rather immature.  Timoran became the wise and noble big brother to them, which is how he remained in the book.  Eventually, a player was assigned to him and things went awry.  For some reason, the player focused on his drinking and made him a brutish booze hound.  For example, there was one point where we cleared Luke’s temple and the first thing Timoran did was run off to drink the rarest liquor in the ancient vault.  I decided not to include this evolution because it felt like a step back and only caused friction.”

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