Posts by Janine

When Good Body Parts Go Bad

Posted by on Feb 2, 2016 in Featured Articles | 0 comments

When Good Body Parts Go Bad

We’ve all read that story. You know the one with independently moving body parts, right? This is called disembodied motion, and it’s an issue that can worm its way into the writing of even the most seasoned of authors. But is all disembodied motion bad? Of course not. As with most things in the English language, there’s an exception to almost every rule. But this article doesn’t focus on when to use disembodied motion. It’s to help authors learn how to spot it in their own writing and how to fix it. What Is Disembodied Motion? Let’s start with a blatant example of disembodied motion. When Martin entered the room, his eyes flew across to Jane. When she spotted him by the potted rhododendron, her eyes traveled up his lean body. His legs carried him over to her, and when he reached her, his fingers caressed her cheek. Before her mouth could speak, his lips caught hers in a searing kiss. As you can see, there are many body parts moving independently of Martin and Jane with very little interaction between these two because their body parts are doing it for them. It’s as if their body parts are making decisions without the characters’ permissions. The Problem There are several reasons why disembodied motion should be avoided. It creates a disconnect between the action happening and the characters themselves. The focus shifts to their body parts, which take center stage and cuts out the actual person responsible for those actions. It lacks real emotion because, honestly, how much emotion do one’s legs feel? When taken literally, it can be quite funny, which probably wasn’t the author’s intention. And let’s not forget the phrase “I found myself…” which creates a disembodied state for the characters to do actions as if they’ve lost control of their body and are powerless to stop their actions. The Fix So, what’s an author to do to safeguard their manuscript from good body parts gone bad? Look for places where your story feels impersonal, especially in scenes with physical interactions between characters. Search the manuscript for body parts—hands, eyes, head, fingers, legs, lips, etc.—and determine if they’ve hijacked the action. Ask your critique group or beta readers to pay attention to those quirky phrases such as “she threw her hands in the air.” Hire an editor (cough – Write Divas – cough) who understands how to spot and correct disembodied motion. Find better ways to describe the scene without resorting to disembodied motion. This can be difficult when trying to avoid the repetition of a word when describing an action. So how would I have fixed the disembodied motion in my atrocious paragraph above about our two would-be lovers? When Martin entered the room, he spied Jane in the corner. At the same moment, she looked up and met his gaze. Giving him an appreciative once-over, she smiled and his pulse quickened. In his haste to get to her, he almost tripped over that half-dead rhododendron she’d been torturing since college. When he reached her side, he caressed her cheek and gave her a searing kiss to show her the power she had over him. The next time you write a scene and you suspect body parts have become more important than the characters who own them, take a step back and read the words in the literal sense. If you start to laugh or notice that it sounds a little ridiculous, you’ve probably found some disembodied motion. What tricks do you use to keep your characters’ body parts in line? Please share them in the comments below. Now… go write...

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Writing Conferences Page 2

Posted by on Jan 12, 2016 in Featured Articles | 0 comments

Writing Conferences Page 2

Writing Conferences 2016 (July – December) Be sure to check back often as I will continue to add to this list when I find new writing conferences. Please note that this is not an all-inclusive list, so if I missed your writing conference, e-mail me the particulars at contact@writedivas.com/old or leave a comment below and I’ll add it. For events scheduled for the first half of 2016, please click through to the January through June page.   July Jul. 5-9, 2016 – ThrillerFest XI, New York City, NY Jul. 9-16, 2016 – Antioch Writers’ Workshop Summer Program, Yellow Springs, OH Jul. 10-17, 2016 – Tin House Summer Writers’ Workshop, Newport, OR Jul. 13-16, 2016 – Romance Writers of America Annual Conference, San Diego, CA Jul. 15-17, 2016 – 2016 AWC Writers Conference, Birmingham, AL Jul. 15-17, 2016 – ConGregate 3, High Point, NC Jul. 16, 2016 – All Write Now! Writers’ Conference, Cape Girardeau, MO Jul. 20-24, 2016 – Writing the Rockies 2016, Gunnison, CO Jul. 21-23, 2016 – Midwest Writers Workshop, Muncie, IN Jul. 21-24, 2016 – West Virginia Writers’ Workshop, Morgantown, WV Jul. 24-29, 2016 – Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, St. Helena, CA Jul. 24-30, 2016 – Stonecoast Writers’ Conference, Portland, ME Jul. 24-31, 2016 – Taos Summer Writers’ Conference, Santa Fé, NM Jul. 28-31, 2016 – Cascade Writers Agent, Editor, Authors Critiques & Pitch Workshop, Kent, WA Jul. 28-31, 2016 – Leap of Faith PNWA Conference, Seattle, WA Jul. 28-31, 2016 – Mystery Writers Conference, Corte Madera, CA Jul. 30, 2016 – NW Book Festival, Portland, OR   August Aug. 1-2, 2016 – Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival, Edgartown & Chilmark, MA Aug. 3-6, 2016 – Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference, Langhorne, PA Aug. 4-7, 2016 – Cape Code Writers Center Conference, Hyannis, MA Aug. 4-7, 2016 – Mendocino Coast Writers Conference, Fort Bragg, CA Aug. 5-6, 2016 – Florida Authors & Publisher Association Conference, Orlando, FL Aug. 6, 2016 – Chapter One Young Writers Conference, St. Charles, IL Aug. 10-20, 016 – Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Ripton, VT Aug. 11-14, 2016 – Writers’ Police Academy, Green Bay, WI Aug. 12-13, 2016 – Mid-Atlantic Fiction Writers Institute Conference, Hagerstown, MD Aug. 12-14, 2016 – Willamette Writers Conference, Portland, OR Aug. 12-14, 2016 – Writer’s Digest Annual Conference, New York City, NY Aug. 15-18, 2016 – Oregon Christian Writers Summer Conference, Jantzen Beach, OR Aug. 18-21, 2016 – Killer Nashville Writers’ Conference, Nashville, TN Aug. 20, 2016 – Mississippi Book Festival, Jackson, MS Aug. 25-28, 2016 – American Christian Fiction Writers Conference, Nashville, TN   September Sep. 12-18, 2016 – Brooklyn Book Festival, New York City, NY Sep. 15-18, 2016 – Surprise Valley Writers’ Conference, Cedarville, CA Sep. 16-17, 2016 – Kentucky Women Writers Conference, Lexington, KY Sep. 23, 2016 – Penned Con 2016, St. Louis, MO Sep. 23-24, 2016 – Ridgefield Writers Conference 2016, Ridgefield, CT Sep. 23-25, 2016 – Chicago Writers Conference, Chicago, IL Sep. 24, 2016 – Tallahassee Writers Conference, Tallahassee, FL Sep. 30-Oct. 2, 2016 – Write on the Sound Writers’ Conference, Edmonds, WA Sep. (TBD), 2016 – St. Louis Small Press Expo, St. Louis, MO   October Oct. 6-8, 2016 – Ozark Creative Writers Conference, Eureka Springs, AR Oct. 7-9, 2016 – Wik’16 Writing and Illustrating for Kids, Birmingham, AL Oct. 15, 2016 – African American Author’s & Empowerment Expo, Timonium, MD Oct. 15, 2016 – Carolina Book Fest, Charlotte, NC Oct. (TBD), 2016 – Lit in the Lou, St. Louis, MO   November Nov. 5-6, 2016 – Texas Book Festival, Austin, TX Nov. 11-13, 2016 – La Jolla Writer’s Conference, La Jolla, CA   December   TBD Decatur Book Festival, Decatur, GA Sunriver Writer’s Summit, Sunriver, OR January –...

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Writing Conferences

Posted by on Jan 11, 2016 in Featured Articles | 2 comments

Writing Conferences

Writing Conferences 2016 (January – June) Be sure to check back often as I will continue to add to this list when I find new writing conferences. Please note that this is not an all-inclusive list, so if I missed your writing conference, e-mail me the particulars at contact@writedivas.com/old or leave a comment below and I’ll add it. For events scheduled for the second half of 2016, please click through to the July through December page.   January Jan. 15-17, 2016 – Compel, Polish, Pitch & Sign Writers’ Conference, Salt Lake City, UT Jan. 15-18, 2016 – Winter Poetry & Prose Getaway, Atlantic City, NJ Jan 16, 2016 – Fun in the Sun (mini) Conference, Ft. Lauderdale, FL Jan. 16-23, 2016 – Writers in Paradise Conference, St. Petersburg, FL Jan. 22-23, 2016 – Write on the Red Cedar, East Lansing, MI Jan. 22-24, 2016 – San Diego State University Writers’ Conference, San Diego, CA Jan. 23-24, 2016 – Children’s Picture Book Writers & Illustrators Conference, Corte Madera, CA Jan. 26, 2016 – UVU Book Academy Conference, Orem, UT   February Feb. 4-7, 2016 – Coastal Magic Convention, Daytona Beach, FL Feb. 11-13, 2016 – Life, the Universe, and Everything, Provo, UT Feb. 11-14, 2016 – 2016 San Francisco Writers Conference, San Francisco, CA Feb. 11-14, 2016 – Savannah Book Festival, Savannah, GA Feb. 12-13, 2016 – South Coast Writers Conference, Gold Beach, OR Feb. 12-14, 2016 – 17th Annual SCBWI Winter Conference, New York, NY Feb. 12-15, 2016 – Southern California Writers’ Conference, San Diego, CA Feb. 12-17, 2016 – Aloha Romance Writer Rendezvous, Laie, HI Feb. 18-20, 2016 – Amelia Island Book Festival, Amelia Island, FL Feb. 18-20, 2016 – Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference, Tempe, AZ Feb. 19-21, 2016 – Asheville Christian Writers Conference, Asheville, NC Feb. 19-21, 2016 – Deckle Edge Literary Festival, Columbia, SC Feb. 25-28, 2016 – Left Coast Crime 2016, Phoenix, AZ Feb. 25-28, 2016 – Sleuthfest 2016, Deerfield Beach, FL Feb. 26-27, 2016 – Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration, Natchez, MS Feb. 26-28, 2016 – Annual Digital Author and Indie Publishing Conference, Van Nuys, CA Feb. 27, 2016 – Oregon Christian Writers Winter 2016 One-Day Conference, Salem, OR   March Mar. 4-6, 2016 – The Catholic Writers’ Conference, Online Mar. 5, 2016 – WordCrafters Writing Festival, Eugene, OR Mar. 7-9, 2016 – Digital Book World Conference + Expo, New York City, NY Mar. 10-13, 2016 – New York Pitch Conference, New York City, NY Mar. 11-13, 2016 – Illustrators’ Day and Springmingle’16, Decatur, GA Mar. 12, 2016 – Bay to Ocean Writers Conference, Wye Mills, MD Mar. 12-13, 2016 – Dahlonega Literary Festival, Dahlonega, GA Mar. 12-13, 2016 – Tucson Festival of Books, Tucson, AZ Mar. 16-20, 2016 – Virginia Festival of the Book, Charlottesville, VA Mar. 18-20, 2016 – MidSouthCon, Memphis, TN Mar. 18-20, 2016 – Temecula Valley Indie Christian Writers Conference & Book Fair, Temecula, CA Mar. 18-22, 2016 – Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, Mount Hermon, CA Mar. 19, 2016 – Mid-South Christian Writers’ Conference, Memphis, TN Mar. 19-20, 2016 – Create Something Magical Conference, Iselin, NJ Mar. 30-Apr. 2, 2016 – AWP Conference & Bookfair, Los Angeles, CA Mar. 30-Apr. 3, 2016 – Tennessee Williams New Orléans Literary Festival, New Orléans, LA Mar. 31-Apr. 2, 2016 – National Undergraduate Literature Conference, Ogden, UT   April Apr. 1-2, 2016 – Palm Beach Book Festival, Palm Beach, FL Apr. 1-2, 2016 – Write2Ignite! Conference, Tigerville, SC Apr. 1-9, 2016 – Big Island Retreat 2016, Kailua-Kona, HI Apr. 7-9, 2016 – Tennessee Mountain Writers Conference, Oak Ridge, TN Apr. 7-10, 2016 – Desert Dreams Conference, Scottsdale, AZ Apr. 7-11, 2016 – The Novel Experience Event, Atlanta GA Apr. 8-9, 2016 – IBPA Publishing University, Salt Lake City, UT Apr. 8-9, 2016 – Write & Publish Your Book Workshop, Oxford, MS Apr. 9, 2016 – Honolulu Writers, Authors and Poets Gathering, Honolulu, HI Apr. 9-10, 2016 – Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Los Angeles, CA Apr. 12-17, 2016 – Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, Las Vegas, NV April 14-16, 2016 – Midwest Graduate Students Conference on Writing: Radical Writes, Cape Girardeau, MO Apr. 14-17, 2016 – Arkansas Literary Festival, Little Rock, AR Apr. 15-16, 2016 – Orange County Christian Writers’ Conference, Fullerton, CA Apr. 15-17, 2016...

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Divas Rec: Lessons From the Movies–The Force Awakens

Posted by on Dec 21, 2015 in Divas Recommend | 0 comments

Divas Rec: Lessons From the Movies–The Force Awakens

I’m about to let my inner nerd loose… I LOVE STAR WARS! I still remember the first time I saw Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. I was in the fifth grade and my older sister suggested we go see this new movie called Star Wars that was supposed to be really good. So we drove to the closest theater, which was an hour away. We ended up in the front row because the line for tickets was out the door and we hadn’t left early enough to get the good seats. I still remember how I felt after the movie. The euphoria, the sense that things would never be the same again. Granted, as a fifth grader I had no idea what was going to be different, just that I’d experienced something new, refreshing, and completely different from what I’d seen before at the movies. Of course now I realize what I’d experienced was great story telling. So in honor of the seventh movie, The Force Awakens, this week I am recommending Beth Hill’s insightful article, “Lessons From the Movies—The Force Awakens,” on The Editor’s Blog. This wonderful article reminds us that great story telling is a combination of wonderful characters, fresh plotlines, and unexpected twists and turns, sprinkled with those elements readers expect. So while readers want to be impressed with something new, they still expect some predictability to the story. And by predictability, Hill is talking about those expected elements that make a story “enjoyable and satisfying.” So give Beth Hill’s article a read. You won’t be sorry. Now… go write something. And may the Force be with you! (And in case you’re wondering… Yes, I’ve seen The Force Awakens twice already, bought a 2016 Force Awakens calendar, and am the proud owner of a Kylo Ren Christmas tree...

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Divas Rec: How to Fuse an Emotional Connection with Your Reader

Posted by on Dec 1, 2015 in Divas Recommend | 0 comments

Divas Rec: How to Fuse an Emotional Connection with Your Reader

Have you ever read a book that had strong characters, a great plot, and unexpected twists and turns, but you still felt ambivalent about it? You know, that resounding meh when you read the last page and closed the back cover? It’s quite possible that the author failed to fuse an emotional connection with you through his or her writing.   Now before anyone gets upset, please note this well-known saying: “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” ― John Lydgate What that means is, as an author, it is impossible to expect to make an emotional connect with every reader out there. However, there are ways to get the most emotional bang for your buck without manipulating your readers with clichés and stale writing tropes. I don’t get to read as many articles on writing craft as I’d like these days, what with running a business and editing all the live long day. But when I do find a moment to recharge, I’m always pleased to find a wonderful article or two written by people with a greater talent than mine, and I have to share. If you haven’t read Martha Alderson’s article “How to Fuse an Emotional Connection with Your Reader” on her Plot Whisperer blog, do it today! Alderson covers the basics of personality traits, emotions and flaws, and then goes on to discuss how to use them to transform your characters while on their emotional journey. And she does it all showing how the emotions should look in the beginning, middle and at the end of the book. So visit her blog and read this wonderful article. You won’t be sorry! Now… go write...

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