Archive for the ‘writing tips’ Category

Unlearning school writing lessons, part 2.

 

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Oh I sure did learn all those school writing rules! And now….I gotta unlearn some of them.

Rule #2: “Spell everything right.” The second rule I heard growing up was that you should spell things correctly when you’re writing. Nope. You absolutely have to spell things correctly when you’re editing and revising and that final copy had better have some impeccable sparkly spelling and grammar, but the time for that is not when the writer is in the middle of a creative whirlwind. As a matter of fact, focusing on perfect spelling while you’re drafting, stymies the creative flow and slows down the work. I’ve seen my little students paralyzed because they couldn’t figure out how to spell a word. I tell them to write like crazy! “Circle the word if you think you’ve botched it and MOOOOOOOVE ON!” To this day, I cannot seem to spell the word rhthm? rythm? Rithim? Errgh! It baffles me, but I don’t let it stop the flow. I soldier on and make sure that the final product is going to be spelled correctly (once I have the rhythm down! Ha!)

Unlearning those school writing lessons…part #1

 

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I’ve got a very weird job, I’ll admit it. Oh not the teaching gig (I teach third grade) though that can be nutty at times too. Recently I went to school dressed as an emoticon, but that’s a whole other blog post.) I meant the fiction writing thing. It’s funny to me how much of my writing time is spent flagrantly “unlearning” the lessons I took in as a child during writing lessons. Though I’d never admit it to my eight year olds, I’ve been putting my mind recently to a couple of those lessons I had to “unlearn” about writing and life.

Rule #1: “Don’t daydream.”
Awww man! I heard that one all the time as a kid. Short attention span. Way too much time lost in books. Head in the clouds, thinking frivolous  thoughts. I totally understand why the teachers over the years tried to squelch that habit. One shouldn’t be drifting to imaginary places when being given a lecture on crucial topics like long division. Now, however, I get paid to daydream. “Give us something new and fresh,” my editors say. I spend quite a number of waking hours lost in la la land. While walking the dog, I’m wrestling with a way to save my characters from a flash flood. Sitting through a boring movie? Hmmm. I wonder what would happen if the hero was suddenly visited by a child he didn’t know he had? I had the best time brainstorming a life or death escape from a burning shed in my newest book, Treacherous Trails. You see? I’m a professional daydreamer. My former teachers would cringe!

Do you ever daydream during important moments? Feel brave enough to share?

Info about Dana’s newest book, Treacherous Trails.

In which I must leave people drowning because it’s Thursday.

 

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Sure, I’d love to have Nora Robert’s schedule and write full time, but let’s face it…I’m no Nora Roberts! I’m just a hard working, suburbanite mom trying to raise two kids and keep up with the cost of living in Northern California! I actually have two jobs which makes me kinda crazy sometimes. Witness my angst as I leave my fictional world in a shambles while I maintain order in elementary school land! Do you feel me, hardworking writers out there? Or really, anyone who is trying to hold down two jobs?

Just tread water, why don’t you?

 

Seriously…I have the BEST idea to change the face of books forever!

 

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Okay editors of Earth. I know you, like me, absolutely adore words. Oh sure you have to insist on pesky word counts and such in order not to produce a volume too heavy for the average sized human to heft. I gotcha. And I know I probably aggravated the beejeebers out of you by submitting that last manuscript with a couple thousand words too many, but listen! I have the BEST idea! I mean this is gonna shake up the writing world more than the invention of the ebook. Ready? Take a peek at the video. You can thank me at your leisure. I’ll wait right here by the phone.

Click. You’ll love it. Promise.

 

Birthing a new book…or an ugly monkey?

 

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Well here we go, people of Earth! It’s launch day for the first book in four book series! Am I excited? Yes! Scared? You betcha! Launching a new book is like having a baby. You hope everyone will say, “Amazing! Spectacular! Look at those ear lobes!” At the same time, you worry that people will say, “Oh man. That baby is just plain ugly, a real wrinkly faced monkey!” Yep, it takes a thick skin to be in this business, let me tell you. It also takes a lot of time. Launch day is the culmination of countless hours of writing, but also booking time on people’s blogs, soliciting reviews, planning posts on various social media channels and creating memes, among other things.

Speaking of hours…I’ve got like a bajillion contests going on to celebrate this book/monkey launch. Here are links to a few, and I also host a giveaway on my YouTube channel and occasionally on Instagram (dana_Mentink) as well as one on Goodreads.

Celebrate Lit Tour and Giveaway

 

Booksweeps 25 Author Giveaway

 

 

 

Dear sobbing writers,

Yep, I know you’ve slaved over that manuscript and it was torture to pry it out of your hands and hand it over to your trusted first line readers. Uh huh, I get it that you love your hero and you have sweated over the sagging middle and written an ending that makes you tear up every time you read it. No one, but no one, will treat those lovely pages as tenderly as you have. Believe me, I understand, but it’s time, people. It’s time to face the music and listen to what your trusted peeps are going to tell you. I know it hurts, believe me, even after thirty-five books it still hurts, but it has to be done. You wouldn’t send up a plane without a test flight would you? Serve that new tofu recipe to your mother-in-law until you’ve tried it out first? So chin up, best pencil forward and let’s do this. Check out the video because I’m doing it to. We shall cry together! Onward!

P.S. If you know a fellow writer type, feel free to share this video. We’re in this together, peeps!

 

Dear writers who kill dogs…

Dear Writers Who Kill Off  Dogs;

Not to be overly regulatory, but I believe if you are going to kill off a dog in a novel, you should have to put a little warning label on the cover. Readers are sensitive about many things, but there is nothing that gets down in their cockles like the mistreatment of animals. I know. In my first cozy series I committed the sin of wounding a bird in book one. The bird was damaged mind you, not killed. Though I diligently explained the bird’s road to recovery, I got more mail about that than the murdered characters. People love their animals in illogical ways, most of all, their dogs. Why is this? Perhaps it’s the fact that dogs have no voice and they are the epitome of unconditional love. I am not sure, but what I do know is if I’m writing a book about dogs, they’re going to live, by gum. If I’m reading a book with a dog as a character, I jolly well expect Fido to survive. Irrational? Yes. Unrealistic? Maybe, but it’s a deal breaker for me. If that critter dies in chapter five, I’m out, and I don’t care how riveting the plot.

So there you go. Am I alone in this? How do you feel out there writers and readers of planet Earth? Can you handle dead dogs in your novels? 

Info about Dana’s book Sit, Stay, Love

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