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Cardinal Rules Of Twitter

twitterrules

  • Only original content need apply. Unlink your Facebook feed now, if you didn’t do it yesterday. A 140 character world is not one you can replicate with a bot. In fact it just pisses off the Twitter horde. Really, you are doing more harm than good at this point.
  • Use the personality you were given. Writers are lauded for their voice or criticized for a lack of one. Use it on Twitter. An erotic romance author shouldn’t sound like an inspirational one. And neither should only blast us with their latest thing to sell. It doesn’t have to be personal, although we love that, but it needs to be uniquely you.
  • Use the 75% rule. Only 1 in 4 of your Twitter messages should be overt sales pitches. This isn’t a tweet-by-tweet rule, but an overall twit feed rule. If all I ever see from you is the same 140 character push to sell your book, then I won’t follow you long. And you will never make my favorites list. Does that mean 3 of the 4 messages are a waste of time? Nope. They can be quotes from your book, or reviews retweeted from your book, or an image of the cover or the list is endless. And each can have a link of where to buy the book. Do you see the difference?
  • Tweet often and consistently. Twitter isn’t a tool for the faint of heart. Because it lives in real time, second by second, with no evil Big Brother filtering, it is important to establish a pattern of Tweeting. Like every day. Every 8 hours. No less than 4 of the 7 days, or you will just fall off the map for your budding Twitter presence. Now if you are Ashton Kutcher, Taylor Swift, Paulo Coelho, or the Dali Lama, the Twitter public will graciously wait for your wisdom. Otherwise the less well-known you are the more frequent you should post.
  • Don’t let Twitter devour you. Yes, after all my other rules, I know this seems a direct contradiction. But like all good things, chocolate, fountain Pepsi, comfort food, perhaps sex (not sure about that one), too much can kill you. Or at least make you resemble a zombie. Set limits on your time. There are hundreds of apps that will let you preschedule tweets, monitor your feed, and scores of other useful junk. But if you never write another word outside of Twitter, you have a bigger problem than no Twitter account. I call this my Social Maxim.
  • THE SOCIAL MAXIM (self-important CAPS intended): The amount of time spent on Twitter (insert any social media) will benefit your writing career until the point you tip over the line into the Social Zone. The Social Zone is the place where you worry about the number of retweets, obsess on your follower number, and get no real work done in a day. For me the Social Maxim says I can tweet about 4-6 times a week before I tip over into the Social Zone For you, that number may be different.

Are you Twitterpated?

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In the past week, I struck up more than one conversations on the joys of Twitter. Fellow writers over food pondered the age-old question – why bother with twitter? And if I decide to do the twitter thing, how do I do it?

As a writer with a manuscript to publishers for review, Twitter is my go-to marketing tool. I want to be counted in the writing community. Twitter is where the writing community lives and breathes between writing sprints and hours of revision. It is where writers, readers, publishers and agents go to connect together in 140 letter.

Somewhere along the way, I noticed Twitter received the honorary “the” people use for baffling mega-things they don’t understand, like “The” Internet. But it is worth the investment to understand. I’ve outlined why I and most other writing twits are so twitterpated:.

  • Writing community. We writers are lonely souls pouring our blood onto pages. We aren’t always the most social, except the characters we talk to in our heads. With very little work, I have connected with a rich community of writers who provide support, camaraderie, and advice whenever I want 140 characters of connection. I feel connected to hundreds of others who share the same strange passion I have. In fact #amwriting trended at the top of the hashtag list because so many writers wanted to connect together.
  • Hashtag joy: Do you love them or hate them? On any given day I both love and hate hashtags. I #hatelonghashtagspeoplemakeup but love established hashtags like #writing, #amediting, and #nanowrimo that I can use to discover like-minded people sharing my journey. At the end of this post, I have listed popular and relevant writing hashtags I personally adore.
  • Promotion: Did I say I’m a marketer by day? The evil day job makes me sympathetic to social media. Twitter, more than any other, has an authentic following of loyal people. It hasn’t sold out yet, at least that’s how the Twitter world perceives itself. So promotion by authors in this world has a higher impact than other media where their sell-out makes huge sucking noises. Fans will follow you on Twitter, buy your stuff and retweet your funny, pithy or even ridiculous comments to their followers. That viral thing works well here. And since we’re writers, our words are most likely to go viral. Are the dots connecting yet?
  • Accessibility to fame: This one isn’t so much a big one for me, but it has fueled Twitter’s skyrocketing success. Are you a complete fan of Misha Collins on Supernatural? Chances are great you’ll get a personal tweet from him if you are creative enough. Or what if your favorite author tweets a response to you? The chances are much better than the lottery, and look how popular that is. Americans live for fame, and work hard to touch it even for brief moments. In the writing world, the community is strong. Writers love writers. Readers love their authors. It makes Twitter a great place to touch those people who shape our lives. It’s like a 24/7 Con of your favorite poison.

I hope your love affair with Twitter is as rewarding as mine. If you enjoyed this send me a tweet @jadechandlerrom, I would love to follow you and your escapades. Check below for my treasure trove of hashtags. And come back soon for my next post, The Cardinal Rules of Twitter.

#NaNoWriMo- National Write A Book Month. 50K words in the month of November

#amwriting

#author

#mustread

#writing

#amediting

#ASMSG – social media group for authors

#writetip – writing advice

#romancewriter

#romance

#author

#EroticRomance

#giveaway

#Contemporary Romance

#1k1hr – universal tag that you are sprinting with a goal of 1,000 words in an hour-long sprint

#wordsprint

 

 

Necessary Evils of Editing

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“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.” – Stephen King, On Writing

 

So Have I mentioned I love writing? I do.

Did I mention I hate editing? I do. But then, many writers do.  So to combat my toe-curling, stomach-curdling dislike of reshuffling words, I have created a system, kind of. It’s a work-in-progress, like I am. However, as #nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) is over and there’s lots of editing going on, I decided to share my editing steps. If they help, please steal freely. Do you have a great idea? Please share it with me.

The Big Stuff:

  1. Give the manuscript breathing room. Stephen King recommends six weeks to three months. I try to give it at least three weeks, so I have the space to read it objectively. I tried immediate editing, but I don’t have the distance to see it objectively.
  2. Cut the crap. Add the good stuff. I know it’s a contradiction, but I do both in the first read. And to do it the best, I use Jamie Gold’s beat sheets to make sure the pacing in on track. These wonderful spreadsheets give you a word count target for each part of your plot arc.
  3. Focus on my weak points. Everyone has them. For me it’s setting, deep point of view, and repetitive word choice.
  4. Critique is my final big step. I cannot recommend them enough. RWA, Romcritgroup, Critique Circle, and so many more are out there. Choose one, and use them to help you see what you are missing. Again Stephen King, gives me my motivation here. He gives two pieces of advice: First if multiple people identify an issue, then it’s an issue. Fix it. Second, the way they say to fix it is probably wrong.

The Small Stuff:

  1. Search is my best friend. I have identified a list of weak words like look, seems, thought, appeared, and the list goes on. See a complete list of words to watch out for here. I also search for –ing and –ly words and anything else I identify in my first read.
  2. The printed copy. Yes, I still print a copy and read it aloud. Others use text to voice, but eventually your ears become more powerful than your eyes. My red pen, highlighters and a quiet space work through it chapter by chapter. Here I highlight any weak words, mark passive verbs, and all my other in-depth line edits.
  3. The final changes. I go through and polish, polish and polish the manuscript.

From there, it’s ready for my beta readers. These are different from my critique partners, who are most often other writers. I try to find beta readers who read what I write, so they are looking at it with a reader’s eye.

This is my process, and it stinks – not because it isn’t effective, but because editing stinks. However, until my genius creates perfect first drafts (read never), I will continue editing because I must produce the best manuscript I can. And hopefully, one day soon, I will produce the best novel I can – one that readers love.

 

 

 

 

Tools I Can’t Write Without

writing funny

 

Sound the trumpets, drum roll please. Hell, why not a full orchestra to mark the occasion. I have finished my manuscript. (The heavens part and the sun creates a halo on around my head.)

So none of that happened. I started on a whim, and unlike many other attempts at writing a full manuscript I have finished it. And edited it. And edited it. And edited it. You get the idea.

When I started in November, I didn’t know a single piece of writing jargon. I hadn’t read any books on writing in years. I started with an idea and a desire to put it on paper. So I wrote. In three months I completed my first draft at about 65K words. The next four months I rewrote it in so many ways that version 1 barely resembles version 4.

Along the way I found tools that I love. Tools I cannot sit down and write without. First I must admit, I write by the seat of my pants – no careful outlines or other prep before I write. That said, even a panster (thanks Jamie Gold for the term) needs more than her brain and wicked typing skills.

Characters:

I fall in love with my characters. They talk to me in day dreams and night dreams. And I carry their voices around inside my head. Those voice tell me the plot – my characters — not the other random voices there. But my characters were telling me things, and not showing me. Big problem. These resources helped me understand my characters better.

 

Positive Trait Thesaurus & Negative Trait Thesaurus: Wonderful way to define character motivations. Ackerman and Puglisi have great online worksheets that go with these books. I use the Character Attribute Target Tool and Character Pyramid. These tools helped me understand my characters and develop the basis of their internal conflict and need for growth. Then I used the Emotion Thesaurus about a million times a day – not quite that many – to SHOW my characters emotions instead of telling my poor readers how they feel. (Shouty caps necessary. This is a weakness of mine.)

Plot:

Plot makes my head hurt. And as such, the timing of my first two drafts was slow, chunky and rushed. I know, it’s a talent to have timing both slow and rushed. To be fair the pacing was slow, then it would rush and needed to be slower. Thankfully, I found Jamie Gold’s blog. The woman’s blog rescued my laboring plot and gave it great pacing. Well, I paced the plot, but her blog and worksheets told me how to time it. I use a bunch of these to check my plot against several marks to make sure the timing is moving the way readers expect it to. The Master Plot Worksheet is my go to work horse. After any heavy revisions I check to make sure I am keeping my pacing on track. I have cut more wonderful prose because of this tool than any other editing device. Sometimes, extra detail isn’t necessary if it drags the pacing down. I also use Michael Hauge’s Six Stage Plot Structure Beat Sheet to make sure my romantic hero and heroine and conquering their inner conflict. And I also use Jamie Gold’s Romance Beat Sheet to break ties and to record my future story ideas.

Yes, I said break ties. Sometimes the plot structure and the inner conflict structure cause one or another to get out of alignment with word count. For example, Beat 8 is supposed to be happening by 32K words but the internal growth in Hague needs to happen at 30K, and because my characters can’t do both at the same time, I have to decide which is more important. Jamie’s sheet helps me. Please read her blog because she gives great advice on how to use them properly. As a panster, I’ve adapted them for my own purposes.

Editing:

Ughh. That should be the whole entry for editing. My critique partner and I have spent many minutes lamenting that golden, perfect stories take so many revisions to find – or years and books later for a newbie like me.  But editing is more important than the original writing (gasp in shock). So I found great resources for this as well including Jamie’s blog. Besides my loyal critique partner who read my purple prose without gagging, I found several go to sources.

Editor-Proof Your Writing by Don McNair is awesome. Practical chapters that cover your most basic mistakes. And it comes with great exercises at the end of each chapter. In early revisions, I literally went chapter by chapter looking for the mistakes. I started with my first three chapters, wanting them to be strong. Then I applied the lessons, mostly internalized by then, to the other 180 pages of the manuscript.

Revision and Self Editing for Publication by James Scott Bell was recommended by my critique partner. It is another go-to resource that’s similar to the McNair book. I like Bell’s writing style and he’s got some great insight on how to break up the editing process. I especially liked his discussion of Point of View, Voice and Dialogue.

Fiction University is Janet Hardy’s blog has all kinds of great gems. I loved her posts on conflict and point of view. I spent several days lurking in her archives and reading lots of posts about revisions and several trouble spots I was having in the editing process.

In the end, I made it to the end of the process and I still like my characters, and they picked a great plot to live out their conflict and find true love. I have trusted the story to two of my friends to serve as beta readers. And of course my critique partner keeps me honest.

Now my searches focus on queries, synopsis and how to get your manuscript published. Once I make it a little further into that process, I’ll post my experiences here. Until then, keep writing, keep learning and have fun.