Wow. I've been posting a helluva lot lately. But it's been fun, so thank you for visiting. I've been traveling for work recently, and it has been impossible to keep up with everybody. I promise to visit all of you and see what everyone's up to.
Couple quick updates:
1) My debut novel, Dragonfly Warrior, continues to sell pretty well. Just need to get some reviews to build up some credibility. If any of you have some suggestions on how to make that happen, PLEASE let me know. Interestingly, people have been buying my paperback more than the ebook version. Maybe it's because my paperback is so darn pretty (it really is). Not sure what to make of that, however.
2) I've decided to cancel my blog tour in March in support of Dragonfly Warrior. I'm busting my arse to: finish the third book in that same series, work with Miranda Hardy on another project and we have a deadline, and plan for publishing Shadow Warrior this June. So lots going on, and I really HATE doing stuff half-assed. I will, however, organize a legit blog tour this summer.
3) Lately, I've also been doing lots of beta reading and editing for several of my writer-buddies. I've noticed a few bad habits pop up, no matter the genre, and I think it's important to point five of them out. Maybe you are guilty of a few of these. I know I am.
Fancy dialog tags. I know, I really am good at beating a dead horse. I'm not a fan of descriptive dialog tags like whimpered, yelped, grumbled, barked, groaned, snarled, sighed, nagged...and all the other ones. These are a hindrance to your writing. They make the reader stop (kills flow), and it shows the writer's insecurity. Your dialog should be strong enough to help the reader know that a character is whining. In a 100K word novel, I might have three descriptive tags total. Use them sparingly and only when you have to.
Thought verbs. One of the author's main goals is to remove as many obstacles between the characters and the reader. That's how you get someone engaged in your story. Thought verbs just add a barrier between the two. Don't say: Jim thought about his mother. Doing so makes your reader have to think about Jim thinking about his mother. Just show us what he's thinking. Don't tell us that your character sees something. Show us what he's seeing!
The eyes have it. What's up with describing characters' eyes all the time. They gaze, they glare, they widen, they squint. They look here, they look there. If it's crucial to the plot, then go ahead. Eyes are a VERY important part of body language. They are the windows to the soul, after all. But just watch the over use of describing your characters eyes and what they're doing.
Character solitude. Nothing rings the death knell of a story like having a character contemplate life by herself. For cheesy 80s movies, having your character walk the streets in deep contemplation might work. But not for your book. I know that there are a few exceptions to this, but those are few and far between. Don't leave your characters alone. It's boring to the reader. Reading page after page of inner dialog is a better sleep aid than NyQuil.
As You Know, Bob. Often, I'll read some dialog where one of the characters is saying something PURELY for the READER'S benefit. We call these "As You Know, Bob" moments. The reader can sniff these out from a mile away. They know when the characters are trying to explain things directly to them. Watch out for these. It yanks the reader out of your world and back into reality.
Blogging since 2005.
Medical sales warrior by day, writing ninja by night...
I am the author of The Mechanica Wars series. The first book, Dragonfly Warrior, will be published in January, 2014 by 4 Wing Press.
I love science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, biographies, and chocolate chip cookies.