Posts Tagged ‘ novel ’

Everything You Need To Write Your Novel, You Can Learn From Sex: 4 Hot Tips

  1. The uninhibited shall be rewarded. Letting loose with your most imaginative storylines will set your fiction free. Don’t be a prudish writer.
  2. Your interests are normal and healthy. Even your most outlandish ideas have an audience. Let your freak flag fly in your writing.
  3. You need release. It’s downright painful to keep the creative force inside you pent up. Avoid literary blue balls with a daily writing regimen.
  4. Everyone loves a climax. A climactic conclusion doesn’t have to be the point of your story, but you’ll get better reviews if your readers feel like they’ve had a satisfying ride.
Sexy Grammar invites the writer in you to a turned on, engaged, and unapologetic creative life. We believe that sex and writing go hand in hand and that the creative process can be thrilling, pleasurable, and satisfying. Ready for your free Private Session?
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Guest Blogger Michael Platania on The Power of Deadlines: Part III

Part III: The Book Completed

After the death of my mother in August 2011, I decided to write a book about the amazing and surprising blessings I experienced the week of her funeral.  A friend and editor insisted I create a series of deadlines in order to complete the book, so I set a goal to write one chapter a week. She countered with a suggestion that I extend my expectations to one chapter every ten days. I had a plan.

When the first deadline approached, I considered letting it pass. After all, I was still in mourning. But in my heart, I felt it important to meet my commitment.  I completed the chapter shortly before midnight of the tenth day and hit the send button. Much to my relief, I made my deadline.

In that instant, I learned the power of deadlines.  I can never achieve perfection in my writing, yet without a deadline, I  continually search for it.  A deadline forces me to accept the best I can do with the time I’ve got.  A deadline forces me to complete my work and move on to the next chapter, book, or project.  Simply put, setting and meeting deadlines guarantees I will finish my book.

One day I will return to Pleasant Plains, give myself a deadline, and within that constraint, find a close-to-perfect opening line.

Michael Platania, the Social Media Story Teller, tells stories that are fun, sexy, and engaging, whether writing a blog entry, a Facebook update, or a Twitter post.   He used the power of deadlines to complete this three-part series.

Get a FREE Private Session with The Sexy Grammarian and learn how the power of deadlines can help you accomplish your writing goals. 

Guest Blogger Michael Platania on The Power of Deadlines: Part II

Part II: The Book Unfinished

The perfect opening line kept me from completing my first book, Pleasant Plains.  After hundreds of attempts, I always returned to:

A quick glance to the right was all it took for Thom to discover Buddy was no longer asleep.

My goal was to introduce the main character, Thom, while simultaneously establishing his relationship with Buddy. I wanted to intrigue the reader, and have her wondering “Who is Buddy?” and “Why is he no longer asleep?”  Within the next few sentences we learn Buddy is a dog, traveling with Thom on a cross country journey.

The phrase no longer asleep never felt right, yet I could not find a more satisfying opening line.  Each time I worked on the book, I went back to the beginning, tweaking, editing, writing and re-writing, looking for the elusive perfect first sentence.  I never found it, and today, seven years later, the book sits on my laptop, still incomplete.

Michael Platania, the Social Media Story Teller, tells stories that are fun, sexy, and engaging, whether writing a blog entry, a Facebook update, or a Twitter post.   He used the power of deadlines to complete this three-part series.

Subscribe now to get discover the breakthrough that changed Michael’s writing process forever when we post Part III, “The Power of Deadlines: The Book Completed” on Friday.

Get a FREE Private Session with The Sexy Grammarian and learn how the power of deadlines can help you accomplish your writing goals. 

Guest Blogger Michael Platania on The Power of Deadlines: Part I

Part I: The Book Began

Seven years ago I started my first book, Right Turns in Pleasant Plains.  The story takes place in the small town of Pleasant Plains, where drivers only make right turns.  Thom, the protagonist, arrives shortly after his truck breaks down and discovers that right turns apply to life as well as driving.

While writing the first chapter, I discovered the characters interested me more than the right-turn metaphor.  I shortened the title to Pleasant Plains, shifted focus to the characters in the book, and dropped the right-turn concept.

I don’t begin with an outline.  During the writing process, I put words to the page and let the story unfold. I jot down notes and ideas as they come to me, confident I can weave them into the narrative at the appropriate time.  I have many chapters completed, and many more in draft form, yet seven years later the book is still unfinished.

Michael Platania, the Social Media Story Teller, tells stories that are fun, sexy, and engaging, whether writing a blog entry, a Facebook update, or a Twitter post.   He used the power of deadlines to complete this three-part series.

Subscribe now to get an alert when we post Part II this Wednesday. In “The Power of Deadlines: The Book Unfinished,” you’ll learn what challenges kept Michael stuck and unable to complete his book.  

Get a FREE Private Session with The Sexy Grammarian and learn how the power of deadlines can help you accomplish your writing goals. 

Color-coded notecards, organizational fetishes with Lisa Gardner

I have a fetish for organizational tools–in my credenza as well as in my writing. How do we get a handle on the big picture of a writing project when the project is huge, like a novel, or a book, or a dissertation? How do we track just exactly what we’ve written, how it will affect the reader, and whether there’s a natural, compelling flow?

New York Times bestselling suspense author Lisa Gardner has a system, and she generously shared it in her workshop about revising, Paring Down and Fleshing Out.

When Lisa’s rewriting, she says, she’s concerned about whether each scene is justified. And she’s got a system, involving color-coded notecards, to help her see those justifications and make decisions about what to keep and what to toss out.

So here’s what Lisa does:

Each scene in her novel’s draft gets a notecard.

On that notecard, she details what happens in the scene and why it happens: plot development, character development, tension, conflict, or resting moments.

But wait–before you start putting your scenes on notecards, you need to make some color choices. Lisa uses three colors:

  • yellow: plot movement
  • orange: character development
  • blue: resting moments

And then she lays them all out all over the floor in order. Can you imagine your book organized and laid out this way? Suddenly you can see the rhythm of your story! Lisa’s enthusiastic about this technique, issuing all kinds of ideas about what you can see when your novel’s laid out all over your floor in three colors. Here are a few:

  • How long does it take to get to your major plot points?
  • How well-spaced are your story’s turning points?
  • What patterns exist in your story?

Lisa goes on to discuss the art of lean writing, where each scene is doing more than one of these things at once and offers a not-unfamiliar bit of writing advice: when in doubt, cut it out. “When you don’t know what you’re talking about, you will write around it,” Lisa says and then confesses about a recent draft: “And that’s how my book got fat.”

Human Character

And speaking of Drew Banks, my review of his second novel is long overdue. So, here goes.

In my review of his first novel, Able Was I, the first in this trilogy, I wrote, “Each character is intriguing and well developed enough to deserve novels of their own,” and Drew Banks accepted the challenge. Ere I Saw Elba follows Brigitte, an ancillary character from the Able Was I , while she rides a train and remembers her life.

And this novel is very much about making sense of memories. It’s also about making family. It’s also about forgiveness.

Full disclosure: I have worked with Drew on multiple drafts of both these books, so it’s hardly fair to call this a review. Instead, I hope to simply point out a few aspects of this novel that may interest you as a reader.

If Able Was I was Drew’s “gay novel” (and it wasn’t!) then Ere I Saw Elba is his “woman’s novel.” And it’s not a woman’s novel–not exactly. But the themes may appeal to a chick lit readership, and I have heard more than one reader exclaim that this story could only have been written by a woman.

Perhaps it’s the focus on the development of Brigitte physically–of a woman’s body, the tender unfolding, discovery, shame, and joy that comes through in Brigitte’s character. Certainly he’s developed a believable character.

And that’s what this novel comes down to for me: character development. I had the pleasure of observing a reading group’s discussion of this book recently. Conversation turned to another character, Madeleine, Brigitte’s mother, and whether she was a good mother. Women in the room shared personal stories of their own lives as mothers and of their own experiences with their own mothers.

And that’s when it struck me–a year prior I’d spent hours arguing over what verb tense this character should use, but now we were arguing over whether she was a good mother. And that’s at least one solid definition of a successful story–the character morphs into a human being once it gets read.

This review is cross posted at Amazon and on GoodReads.