Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Upcoming Rerelease: Moonlight and Shadows... Plus Other News

Cover art: SelfPubBookCovers.com/Shardel
Oh gosh, I haven't had a release in forever. It's been about a year or so, I think. Believe it or not, I'm back to writing daily, but I'm still not as productive as I was before I got sick earlier this year. Just this week, I moved my computer stuff back into my office...after months of not being well enough to hang out in here. So, once I found myself back in the saddle, the first thing I did was start prepping the Werekind books for rerelease through Smashwords.

There are a lot of books, and all of them need work, formatting, and new covers. It's a labor of love, though, and I'm determined to do it. They've been out of print for a while now, and in the future I want to have them available online as both singles and in an omnibus/author collection format. A tall order, while continuing to write new materieal, but the heart wants what it wants.

Today I purchased the cover for Moonlight and Shadows. It's one of my favorite Werekind books, and it's actually a spin off of the original Colorado wolves. The book will be rereleased very soon with minor changes and a new epilogue attached. All it's lacking right now is the formatting. Once that's out of the way, it will be ready to upload. I'll post an update with links after the files are uploaded to Smashwords. I'm very excited to be getting this story back on the shelf.

In other news, I should know within the next two weeks if my old projects and book covers will be salvagable. I'm waiting for a new IDE/SATA to USB cable to arrive so I can pick through the hardrive of my old Acer desktop. As it is, the comp is dead. It won't turn on, so...we'll see what happens once I pull the harddrive and pick through it...if it isn't fried. *bites nails* I hope it's okay. I've left the tower untouched all this time, waiting for when I felt strong enough to break out the tools and deal with the transfer. So, fingers crossed. The Acer has my covers and files for Vampyre Night, Wicked Temptation, and a few other books on it. I'll be so relieved if I'm able to rescue just that small handful of files! But if I can't retrieve them, sadly, I'll have to let them go.

Lastly, my website... Yes, yes, I need to update it. I've started working on it. I'm completely aware a lot of the books shown are out of print. New editions are on the way; I promise. That said, I better get to work. So much to do, so little time! ♥oxooxo

Oh! One more thing...I'm no longer syndicating through Networked Blogs. They completely changed their service, and I can't do another subscription fee right now. So, if you'd like to receive my blog posts elsewhere instead of visiting here, please follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or add me to your circles via Google+.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday Fun: The Anatomy of a Grammar Nerd (the infographic)

Anatomy of a Grammar Nerd Infographic

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Writing Craft Books vs. the Dreaded Sagging Middle

I'm on a mission to find the best books and articles that target "the dreaded sagging middle." I'm especially interested in craft books that dissect and thoroughly explain the structure of the middle act in a romance novel, aka act two in the three act structure, or acts two and three in a four act structure.

Recently, I noticed there are many craft books out there (print and digital editions), as well as a heap of blog articles, that thoroughly cover writing story beginnings. There are books available that discuss how to make the most of your first x amount of pages, from the opening scene to the inciting incident. It's no mysery why. Agents and editors that request partials look at roughly the first five to fifty pages. Writing contests often require participants to send in their (polished) first five to fifty pages for judging. Beginnings are important. They're the first thing people read when they pick up your book or manuscript.

Here's the thing. When I talk to other writerly peeps, it seems most of us struggle with writing the scenes that come after the inciting incident...that's the open door to act 2. Almost everyone I asked through email, on Facebook, and elsewhere have said they have the most trouble with middles - not beginnings.

Earlier this week I went to Amazon to research this phenomenon, and I discovered there are very few books that specifically cover the structuring of middles. I found only three books that deal directly and specifically with middles, although there are a few others that cover the topic in greater depth than the standard writing guide.

Books I've found that specifically discuss middles:
Write Your Novel From the Middle by James Scott Bell 
Trough of Hell by H.R. D'Costa
and Vicki Hinze 12 Essential Writing Skills : Novel Middles (Only 28 pages long. I bought it, but haven't read it yet.)

Other craft books that spend time discussing middles in detail include:
Nancy Kress's Beginning, Middles, and Ends.
Structuring your Novel by K.M. Weiland (rec'd to me, but I can't remember if I've read this one)
Save the Cat by Blake Snyder (love)
Screenplay by Syd Field (a personal favorite!)
and The Love Plot by Katherine King (great for category romances)

I would really, really like to add to these lists. If you can make a recommendation, please let me know in the comments or contact me on Facebook or Twitter. A couple of kind folks sent me several google search lists pointing out a ton articles about sagging middles. I've waded through pages and pages of those articles, some good and some bad. What I keep seeing in the results are older craft articles (pre-2013), articles that are vague in explaining the structure of the second act, articles that don't seem geared toward romance or any other specific genre, articles that suggest changing pacing or adding tension (or some other missing element) or reworking your characters to prop up the middle, and some articles only touch on the actual midpoint itself. What I'm not seeing in the search results are printed books available on the topic; nor does there seem to be a unified, semi-universal, or accepted structure for middles the way we see with beginnings, climaxes, and endings. Perhaps this is why sagging middles are still an issue for so many writers?

If you're a writer, what are your thoughts on this? What part of writing a novel do you struggle with the most?  Do you have any tips or tricks for writing engaging story middles? Also, if you have book recommendations for writing guides that target middles, I'd love to hear about them. ☺