Monday, October 27, 2014
I've been working on the sequel to my debut novel, Sweet Dreams, and in doing so, my outline has become much more complex. I have to keep track of my main characters and my secondary characters, as well as my time line. When writing a sequel, it's important to make absolutely sure you have total recall of the timeline and characters from the first novel.
I am about 2/3 done with my sequel and feeling very good about it. But as I was going to sleep the other night, after an evening of writing, socializing on Facebook and Twitter, and scrolling through pictures on Pinterest, a picture that I pinned on my WIP board for one of my secondary characters came rushing back to mind. I sat up in bed and realized that I had completely forgotten about an important character I introduced in the very beginning of my sequel. Ah schnookies!
There's a reason for the character, he has his own story line that runs parallel to the main story, and I completely forgot about him. I left him behind, not to be heard from again. Oops.
Well, obviously I missed a few important points in my outline, that need to be fixed immediately. Here are some tips to keep your writing consistent.
1. Outline- It's so important to outline in order to keep your plot organized. It's okay to make revisions as you write, but the outline will keep you on track. If you are a panster, and can't fathom creating an outline before writing, make sure as you write, you create your outline of the plot so far, so you can keep track of the plot and events. That way you can go back and reference what has happened in your story without having to read the whole thing from beginning to end.
2. Cast of Characters- Keep a document or list of all your characters and how they are related to each other. It will help you keep the relationships straight and keep you from forgetting anyone.
3. Keep a Timeline- It's important to know the timeline of when your story takes place, not only for setting, but for the plot. For example, you don't want your characters enjoying a hot day at the beach, when compared to the elapsed time of your story, it should be the middle of winter. This also applies when keeping track of people ages. In real life, I may be able to turn 33 for several years in a row, but your characters will age.
4. Fact Check- Make sure you check your facts. This does not only apply to historical fiction. Is your story set in a real city? Make sure the streets and towns are geographically correct. If you are writing a scene that includes a reference to a real place, time or event, make sure to make notes to go back and fact check during the editing process, so that you don't have your characters walking 50 miles from one place to the other, when you really only wanted them to walk 5.
5. Beta Readers- Make sure you have at least 2-3 beta readers, they will help you search out those inconsistencies and keep your writing on track.
Now I need to follow my own advice, and go reinsert my missing character into the appropriate chapters.
What are your tips to keep your writing consistent? Do you have a tips you can share? I would love to hear them.
Don't forget to attend the Cover Reveal Bash on November 4th on Facebook, for the Writing Wenches Holiday Anthology, Unwrapping Love. My holiday short, Angels in Disguise, is one of the romances featured in this amazing collection.
Stalk me online at: www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com
Monday, October 20, 2014
This is my 18 year old niece Rania. She died on Monday, October 13, 2014, after a life-long battle with Leukemia.
I am heartbroken.
I'm supposed to be a writer, able to find words, but I'm at a loss as to how to describe all of my emotions coherently.
Furious-Want to hit and scream and yell at the top of my lungs
Sad-How can this happen
Devastated-The tears won't stop
Heartbroken-A piece is missing
Unfair-Too young, such a fighter, only child
Why-There is nothing anyone could say that can ever make this okay
My husband took the first flight out to Morocco to be at his sister's side. I can't imagine the pain my sister-in-law must be going through.
All I keep thinking is, she just celebrated her 18th birthday on September 25th. She looked healthy and beautiful and so grown up in her birthday photos.
She was sweet, kind, loving, beautiful, smart and so much more.
I miss her. She is truly missed. Our whole family loved her. Such a precious wonderful girl who grew into a beautiful young woman.
I can't find the words, but I loved her. I am so sorry she is gone.
I can still remember when she was a little girl, sitting in my lap, playing with my hair.
That is all. Thank you for reading.
Monday, October 13, 2014
Everyone, real and fictional, has flaws. If they didn't, we would be an entire society of robots reading about robots.
How boring. Real people have idiosyncrasies and are imperfect. Real characters have flaws. When building your characters, make sure to embrace their flaws. It will be those flaws that make your characters unique.
There are so many different ways to describe someone and none of them should be perfect. Even the hero or heroine should have imperfections. It is those imperfections that will make them perfect for one another. (Thank you Mr. Knightley aka Jeremy Northam, for wording that so well.)
Looking to put a little humor in your writing? Think of an embarrassing situation and see how your character responds. You could see how complete opposites interact when required to work together toward a common goal. They are bound to get into to trouble.
Everyday issues can be funny.
In my current work in progress, I wrote an extremely emotionally charged scene. The heroine ends up crying hysterically. Guess what comes next? Snot. Yep, that highly emotional scene is immediately followed by a humorous one, because crying like that produces mucus. It's not dainty and not pretty.
Writing a romance? No romance is without conflict. What causes the conflict? A misunderstanding or insecurities? Does the outwardly confident hottie have insecurities rooted deep inside that prevents him/her from trusting? Infidelity or tragedy can cause a lot of drama. Does your hero/heroine push others away to avoid getting hurt? Is there a sordid past they are trying to hide?
Are they clumsy, twitchy nail biters, or phobic, clean-freak know-it-alls? They could be shy, awkward geeks, or sexy, over-the-top hotties. Whatever their traits, make them relatable, and make them human.
Just a suggestion.
What flaw do you find most endearing? Leave a comment.
Jennifer Senhaji, Your Sweet and Spicy Romance Author
Find me online at www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com
Monday, October 6, 2014
Piracy, I'm not talking the swashbuckling you encounter at your annual pirate festival, or in your local movie theatre. I'm talking about thievery. Little ole me has been the victim of piracy. Arrr.
A friend of mine, who's also an author, recently discovered four different places online where her books were being offered for illegal free download. This was the first time I'd heard this from someone I knew. Yeah, I've read about it, but have never known anyone that was a victim.
While my friend advised of how she reported these illegal websites, I randomly decided to look up my own book. Dun, dun, dun. I found three pirate websites that were also offering illegal downloads of my book. My book! My baby! My creation, I love and cherish it, and some jerk thinks it's okay to upload it to an illegal site and offer it up to everyone and their mother? Hell to the no!
I filed my forms and sent messages to the sites, warning they were infringing on my copyright, and to please take my book down now! One site boasted of almost 1200 copies downloaded that week. That is 1200 copies of my book, downloaded for free, without my permission. Where's my sword?
Now, many authors will use free promotions, once in a while, as a marketing tool. However, those promotions are sanctioned and controlled by the author. The author uses and tracks that information.
Piracy, is unconscionable.
For a newbie author, every sale is important. Every time someone reads my book, it's a thrill. I anxiously await a review on Amazon or Goodreads. I hope that fans of my work will spread the word and recommend it to other readers, or leave reviews, which is its own form of recommendation. The thousands--because if it was 1200 in one week, I can only assume the total is in the thousands--of twerps that illegally downloaded my book, didn't even do me the courtesy of posting a review. If I had thousands of reviews, I could maybe forgive this, but no.
I feel violated.
What is a writer to do?
Google yourself and your book titles. Do not feel guilty for stalking yourself online. It's a necessity. Once you find these sites, report them. Send a message. You have rights! If the site or blog is hosted, contact the host.
Do not allow pirates to plunder yer booty.
Writers, has this happened to you? How did you deal with it? Do you have a process in place?
Please leave a comment.
Find me online at www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com