What’s In The Trunk?! A group story with Prose & Cons

The Prose & Cons blog address says it best: a unique and portable magic. Books. They can make us stay up late at night, miss our train stop, forget our problems, or teach us something, as in Mia Thompson’s post Six Things to do when Attacked or Abducted. That magical little book can transport us to breathtaking Rio de Janeiro, as in Conrad Turek’s post Ascending, or propel us to the future, to a world we do not know, or throw us back to an era long ago.  Books make us laugh, cry, or shiver with fear. We fall in love with characters we read about either by relating to them in some way, or by wishing we could be more like them.

Image from Dishin’ the Dirt with My Friends

Where will your next book take you? Image from Dishin’ the Dirt with My Friends

Eliza Cross posted 20 Great Books That Sparked an Early Love of Reading and reminded us why we fell in love with books as children. Holly West gave us all a gift with her post Good Summer Reads. When someone recommends a book, they are passing along its magic. The book touched them in some way and they want to share that experience with us. I’m sure our resident clinical psychiatrist, Dr. Suzana Flores, could analyse why, as she did in the comment section of her post Childless by Choice.  But I won’t attempt to guess.

As a writer, I love when my stories take a hard right turn to somewhere I never expected. Or when my characters behave in a way that shocks, frightens, or makes me laugh out loud.

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Real Life Serial Killers– What makes them tick?

The serial killer has become wildly popular in crime fiction.  Maybe they are so fascinating to us, as readers, because they are complicated creatures.  They are deliciously bad.  We, as writers, are told never to make our antagonist (bad guy) all bad, or our protagonist all good.

Dr. Hannibal Lector is a perfect example of this.  Especially the one depicted in the television series, Hannibal.

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Dr. Hannibal Lector– played by Mads Mikkelsen– is a brilliant forensic psychologist and culinarian (although some of the ingredients in his dishes are questionable).  In one scene we see his soft side with Dr. Alana Bloom, and in the next, he is slaughtering people and arranging them in dramatic convoluted poses.  Far beyond what is necessary to end their life.  He’s an artist when it comes to designing a shocking display for the FBI.  Yet, part of me loves him!  Why?  Because nothing is black and white with him.  He’s justified in his actions, which makes him a perfect character.  However, in the real world the serial killer is a frightening creature.  And one I never want to come in contact with in a dark alley.

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Create Tension and Suspense. Keep the reader flipping pages!

I just completed the first draft of my latest novel, the sequel to Timber Point.  The working title was Dancing In The Shadows.  However, after completing the novel I thought of a title that fits better:  Silent Betrayal.

I often post about what stage I’m at in the process.  Therefore, today’s post is about creating tension and suspense in your thriller.  (Or in my case, make sure it’s done correctly during editing.)  Keep readers on the edge of their seat, flipping the pages.

I came across an article about this topic.  If you haven’t read The Kill Zone blog, I highly recommend it.  These tips were posted in that blog, but I added my own flair to them.  The expository is mine to help you better understand.

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1.  Condense your setup and backstory.

Nothing is worse than reading ten pages about nothing.  All fluff.  Or hearing about the protagonist’s entire life story.  The author should know the story, but your reader doesn’t need every small detail.  However, IF parts of the backstory is relevant to the story line– keep it.  Just make it as short as possible.  Give the crucial elements your reader NEEDS to know without the fluff.  Add emotions, yes, but don’t let it lag along for pages and pages.

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Our characters come to life on the page

As most of you know I am a pantser.  With that, comes surprise after surprise at what my protagonist, Shawny, says and does.

I am writing the sequel to Timber Point, as I’ve said before, and lately I find myself shocked by  Shawny’s actions and reactions.  Not to mention her mouth.  Some of the things that come out of that woman’s mouth are absolutely unbelievable.

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Yesterday I was writing in my sun room, my husband, Bob, sitting at the table reading, when suddenly, I burst into hysterics– laughing so hard I was literally in tears!  Seconds later, I gasped.

Some of the situations Shawny gets herself into can only happen to her. slowdown

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A writer’s busy life.

Writers have very busy lives.  I had no idea how busy until I decided to write full-time.

1.  You need to constantly work on your WIP (work in progress, for non-writers).

2.  Create and post regularly to your blog and/or website or both.

3.  You need to join the best social media sites to promote yourself and build your brand.

4.  Join Wattpad to start gaining a readership.  AND write stories for that, too!

5.  Keep up with what’s trending so you don’t miss out on any opportunities that could give you an edge.

6.  Tweet on a regular basis AND follow people so you don’t look like a jerk with no followers.

7.  Post to Facebook regularly to keep that audience happy.

8.  Pin it on Pinterest.

9.  Read it on Reddit to gain “karma points”.

10.  Find interesting things to add to your StumbleUpon profile.  This is one of the best sites to grow your audience, believe it or not.

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Don’t let self-doubt stop you from achieving your goals

Don’t doubt yourself so much that you cripple yourself as a writer.  This just happened to me.

As most of you know, I am a member of Prose & Cons, a multi-author blog with extremely talented and successful authors…  except me.  The harsh reality is…  I am no one’s favorite author… yet.  I don’t have my books out in the world… yet.  I don’t have an agent… yet.  Although I am waiting to hear about representation.

Monday is my day to post on Prose & Cons.  And it’s a holiday so everyone and their mother will be home and probably tune in.  Ugh!  I didn’t want to go first because I wanted to see what the others were posting before I crafted mine.

Well, let me tell you… with each passing day I read the posts– and my anxiety grew and grew and grew.  How can I possibly compete with these authors? I thought.  Some of these authors are NY Times best sellers!

I wrote something quick, an introduction of who I am and what inspires me, and sent it to the blog’s owner/ creator.  I asked what he thought of it, and then waited.  When I finally received his email my heart sank.  He hated it!  Of course, he didn’t use those words.  I was devastated, but I knew he was right.  He is an extremely nice man, don’t get me wrong, and he WAS sincerely trying to help me.  But…  he ripped apart my writing like an agent would do to a manuscript.  He explained to me that this is what happens once you get “the call” and start working with a literary agency.  It’s a double-edged sword.  On one hand, it helps you grow as a writer.  On the other, no one likes anyone (no matter who they are) tearing apart their hard work.  However, it will only make you stronger as an author.  It was this last thought I hung on to like a buoy in the middle of a choppy ocean surrounded by sharks, and now, I was expected to swim ashore!  He did add that it’s always harder to write about yourself, unless you’re Stephen King or have a huge platform.  Neither of which applied to me.

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New Authors Blog– Prose & Cons are breaking out!

Today is the day folks!

Our new authors blog, Prose & Cons on Blogger launches today.  The Prose Cons are authors, literary agents, publishers, book reviewers and editors– books start with us.  We read them, we write them, edit them, print and promulgate them, and review them.  And we blog about them, on Prose & Cons.  We are confident you will find the perspectives interesting and informative.

Who are the Prose Cons?  Go to:  http://www.auniqueandportablemagic.blogspot.com today and find out!

This is a very exciting day!

We all have worked very hard to create the best possible viewing experience for everyone.

I hope to see you there!  If you like what you see, please share our blog on social media, like us on Facebook, or +1 us on Google.

We are also on Twitter @theprosecons

Facebook at:  www.facebook.com/theprosecons

On Google search for:  the prose cons

As well as throughout social media on Reddit, StumbleUpon, and soon Digg.

The site will be up and running later this morning.   See you there!

Any questions or comments, leave me a reply.

 

, book reviewers and editors–books start with us. We read them, write them, edit them, print and promulgate them, and review them. And we blog about them, on Prose&Cons. We are confident you will find the variety of perspectives interesting and informative.