Posts Tagged ‘writing for publication’

My unpatented approach to a wimpy attention span!

What’s to be done with a flabby attention span?

I have a problem. I have trouble keeping my thought train on the track until it reaches the station, if you understand what I mean. You know what? It’s not getting better as I age, unfortunately. So how does a gal who is distracted by literally everything manage to write more than forty books? I have developed a system that works for me. When I outline it for you, you’ll probably think it’s completely ridiculous, but all I can say is it works for me. I call it…the mini goal method. Basically, I break my life into mini tasks instead of mighty ones. Allow me to illustrate. Below is a typical writing day for me.

Up and at ‘em! I am an early riser. Bible study, prayer time, walk the dog, feed the turtle. A quick check in with my Private FB group and I’m ready to brew some coffee and get started.

Write 1000 words in my armchair. No getting up. No checking the phone. Tushy in the chair and here we go!

My mind is wandering and I am antsy to move. Time for a snack. Put the laundry in. Take Junie the Wonder Dog for another walk. Drink some water. Plan out the next scene while you’re zooming around.

Write 1000 words in the garden. That text can wait. The phone will survive without attention. Stop looking at those birds. Okay, maybe a tiny peek at the wee little lizard because…I mean…he’s adorable!

Lunch! Woo hoo! Papa Bear is waiting. The porch will be perfect if it’s not too beastly hot. Listen to those hummingbirds.

Go for a walk without Junie. Ignore those sad terrier eyes. Walk fast. You’ll solve all your plot problems and get that poor woman out of the trunk you’ve placed her.

Write 1000 words now that you know how to get the heroine out of the trunk. Move the laundry to the dryer, post some afternoon social media content.

It’s 4:00 and time to “quit.” Look up and notice there are dishes to be done, laundry to be folded, and a dog to be snuggled. Return the box turtle to her night accommodations. Remember that you forgot to drink water all day. Start in on dinner preparations and think about how you’ll save the hero from that nasty bullet wound he incurred this afternoon.

The day’s almost done and I met my word count. Woo hoo! Mini tasks met and work count complete. Ready to get started tomorrow!

So you see? As my father always told me, “You can only eat an elephant one bite at a time!”…especially if you have a flabby attention span!

(You can find more of these pithy articles at Because Fiction Magazine.)

Find out more about Dana at

Are you ready for transmedia?

DaydreamingOkey dokey.  I’ve pretty much got the Facebook thing down. And I’ve been known to Tweet fascinating facs about my latest books and such. I’ve even been known to whip up a book trailer or two. Obviously, I’ve made a stab at blogging, as you can tell. So when I read an article in the latest Romance Writer’s Report about getting on the transmedia bandwagon I naturally said, “Er…the WHAT?”

After reading up on the topic I can tell you that transmedia is all the rage with technosavvy readers and writers. As I understand it, transmedia is a way authors use multiple media plaforms to enhance their stories. Examples?

-interactive ebooks that expand on the printed book

-online episodes with supplementary material

-web comics

-blogs “written” by secondary characters

-fictional websites for points of interest in your novel.

All the examples are ways to help expand the story so readers can engage more deeply.

My reaction? Awww, gee. Remember when we just used to, you know, read books and engage the stories with our wee little imaginations? While my heart may long for a simpler time, my head cannot deny that we are surely living in a transmedia world.

So what do you think? Would you enjoy experiencing a story in the ways listed above? Which ones might tempt you?

Killing adverbs and adjectives? A painful writing tip!

Ah those lovely adjectives and adverbs. I adore them, don’t you? Unfortunately, overusing the little darlings produces weak writing. Oh, I know. It pains me, too. Why wouldn’t we want to pepper our work with those lovely adjectives and adverbs that help our readers see exactly what we want them to? Problem is, they help a little too much. Excessive use of adjectives and adverbs slows down the story and, dare I say, bores the stuffing out of the reader. Consider the sentence below.

The tiny brown mouse with white whiskers and pink feet crawled slowly to the trap and hurriedly took the yellow cheese before he ran away.

Okay. I’m getting a picture of this mouse and the scenario, but it’s somewhat unnecessary. Most folks know what a mouse looks like and they will fill in their own mental picture. They don’t need a bunch of adjectives. What is required is strong verbs that stand alone without the aid of adverbs. Instead of took and ran, let’s try something stronger. How about snatched and skittered?

The wee mouse snatched the cheese and skittered away.

Can you visualize the scene? Did we convey the same mind movie in a more streamlined, elegant way that didn’t bore you? And we did it all with only one adjective and nary an adverb. In the words of Mark Twain, “If you see an adverb, kill it!” Thoughts? All comments get you entered in next week’s drawing for a Starbuck’s card. blog motivational