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Divas Rec: Cut These Seven Words

Posted by on Jan 4, 2016 in Divas Recommend | 2 comments

Divas Rec: Cut These Seven Words

Before we get into overused words and phrases in writing: HAPPY NEW YEAR!! *Throws confetti* It’s 2016 and time for some new resolutions. I resolve to write for myself at least an hour a day. We’ll see how that works out for me. Ha! Anyhoo… Way back in 2013 one of my articles about overused words and phrases got a small amount of attention when it was shared and retweeted by Kindle Unlimited. To me that’s a great success. Little old Diva Lauren wrote an article people read and enjoyed. Go me and go Write Divas! My bubble of excitement soon burst when I read some of the comments people left on Facebook and Twitter. We all know those comments, am I right? They didn’t agree with many of my suggested overused words such as is and was. “How can you overuse the word is? It’s impossible!”  Ugh! For a quick moment I thought words like is or was needed to be in left in. Then I smartened up and realized I shouldn’t second guess myself again based on what a few readers had commented wrongly on. There, I said it: They were wrong. Oh, that feels good to say. *Happy sigh* I stuck to my guns in my right assessment as author after author I had read or edited overused passive voice in their books. Why didn’t they see these overused words like I did? After almost three years since my original article had published, I found that it was time to remind writers what they could do to eliminate overused words and phrases in their work. This time I found a simple article to share along with my own that can help strengthen any author’s writing. Want to Be a Better Writer? Cut These 7 Words by Joe Bunting is an excellent article that tells you how and what words and phrases to edit from your manuscripts. Take a look and leave him a comment. And here’s my article again: Overused Words and Phrases ...

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Divas Rec: Top 5 Tips I Gave Out This Year

Posted by on Dec 28, 2015 in Divas Recommend | 0 comments

Divas Rec: Top 5 Tips I Gave Out This Year

As 2015 comes to a close, I wanted to pull together some kind of Divas Rec that summarized my thoughts for the year. That proved to be more challenging than I’d thought until I came across Shannon A. Thompson’s article Top 5 Tips I Gave Out This Year as an Editor and Marketer on her blog.  Shannon’s top five pieces of advice combine editing and marketing tips to authors. My very favorite editing tip is to keep track of your stylistic choices. This is a huge help to your editor, especially if you write a series. As the author says, “Editing is often a matter of preference. While some rules are definitely not debatable, many aspects of the English language are.” So if these preferences are tracked and shared with your editor, they’ll be more consistent throughout your book and your series. As for marketing, my favorite tip was regarding branding. Just be yourself. “You are not competing with others. They are them; you are you.” I couldn’t have said it any better. Stop the comparisons and be the best you you can be! Check out Shannon’s article for her other three top tips for 2015. What were some good tips you received in 2015? Feel free to leave some in the comments. Happy...

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Merry Christmas!

Posted by on Dec 25, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Merry Christmas!

We would like to take the opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas from all of us here at Write Divas. May your stocking be full of bling, your holiday decorations the envy of all your neighbors, your tree surrounded by designer shoes and handbags to die for, and your dreams full of well-edited manuscripts and bestsellers! But seriously, we wish you and yours all the best this year and in the coming year! With much love, Janine, Jen, and Lauren...

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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: 33 Ways to Write Stronger Characters

Posted by on Dec 14, 2015 in Divas Recommend | 2 comments

Divas Rec: 33 Ways to Write Stronger Characters

“33 Ways to Write Stronger Characters” is a must, in my opinion. Let me tell you: This is a list every author needs to print out and keep close when they write.  Covet it. Laminate it. Frame it. Knit it a cozy. I don’t care, just keep it forever. It’s a great resource while you’re developing your characters. When I’ve helped an author or two add more depth to their characterizations, I directed them to this list by Kristen Kieffer on the She’s Novel blog. Not only does she identify what your characters need, but how you can help them. She also created a worksheet that helps you keep track of all the 33 ways you can strengthen your characters. I puffy heart worksheets. All you have to do is sign up for her site (free) and download the PDF. Simple! Then you’re on your way to rounding out your book players. Check out “33 Ways to Write Stronger Characters” by Kristen Kieffer like now! You’re welcome! PS.  For some reason the download link to her worksheet said it was unavailable but the link that was sent to my email worked just...

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Divas Rec: Creating Lean But Descriptive Prose

Posted by on Dec 7, 2015 in Divas Recommend | 0 comments

Divas Rec: Creating Lean But Descriptive Prose

Recently I was attempting to explain to an author that not all editors actually want authors to remove every bit of descriptive narrative. Nope, some of us actually want authors to find that happy medium between bare bones and fluffy fluff. So color me ecstatic when I stumbled upon this wonderful article, “Creating Lean But Descriptive Prose,” by Connie J. Jasperson at Life in the Realm of Fantasy. This article is great because it addresses the complaints I’ve been hearing lately from authors—editors say remove all adjectives and adverbs and the results are dry and boring. As a side note, I don’t know many editors who say remove all of anything. Well, except maybe shouty caps. Okay, maybe one or two can stay… but I digress.  Connie says, “Good prose requires choosing words that convey your ideas in the least amount of space. Modifiers and descriptors do that for us, but need to be chosen carefully, and used only when nothing else will do.” Yes. That, exactly. Choose all your words carefully for the best possible effect. Happy...

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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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Diva Spotlight: Author Brittainy C. Cherry

Posted by on Nov 23, 2015 in Diva Spotlight | 2 comments

Diva Spotlight: Author Brittainy C. Cherry

Hey, all! You may have noticed that I’ve been doing a lot of book reviews instead of writing articles lately. The main reason is that because I’m been so busy with edits and I’ve been reading some fabulous authors lately. Author Brittainy C. Cherry is my latest obsession. I just devoured her newest release The Air He Breathes (Elements #1). I was intrigued by her book, as you can see from the cover on the left. I love me some lumberjack-looking men. I totally ship the beard, not gonna lie. Slurp! So, cover—nailed it. Premise—nailed it—again. Check out the summary for yourself. I was warned about Tristan Cole. “Stay away from him,” people said. “He’s cruel.” “He’s cold.” “He’s damaged.” It’s easy to judge a man because of his past. To look at Tristan and see a monster. But I couldn’t do that. I had to accept the wreckage that lived inside of him because it also lived inside of me. We were both empty. We were both looking for something else. Something more. We both wanted to put together the shattered pieces of our yesterdays. Then perhaps we could finally remember how to breathe. Who can’t get behind a broken man book? Am I right? But it was something more than a broken man book. It was a story of rebuilding, hope, desire, family, and trust. Cherry weaved such a beautiful love story with a powerful arc and twist I didn’t see coming. (I won’t spoil that here.) The story is about Elizabeth or Liz and her daughter Emma who move back to their hometown after the death of Liz’s husband, Stephen, the year prior. The ghost of her former life as a wife still haunts her and Liz is still in mourning. Moving back to the house she shared with her husband was to serve as a way of healing and starting anew. Except she has a new neighbor that doesn’t want anything to do with Liz or her life. Tristan Cole has nothing to lose anymore. His life is over in his eyes. He lost his wife and child in a car accident and pretty much died along with them. Basically, he’s just existing. The town thinks he’s the outcast, a monster who cares for nothing. And they are right. When Liz first bumps into him—hits his dog—she finds he is everything rumors described him as. But like all the broken men in these types of book, Liz sees something in Tris that no one else does. Soon he becomes a mild obsession for Liz. She sees him, watches him, follows him. What any good stalker would do. LOL! As much as Tristan tries to push away Liz and Emma, he’s also attracted to them. He sees the family he’s been missing. The man he used to be starts to emerge and it scares and fuels him. Liz and Tris soon start a relationship to help rid each other of their demons. Except it doesn’t work out and friendship serves to be a better match for them. But what will it take for them to heal completely? Tanner, Liz’s husband’s best friend, is trying to lure Liz as best as he can. He’s safe and Emma loves him, but is he enough for Liz? Then there’s a twist! AHH!...

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Diva Spotlight: Debra Anastasia’s Poughkeepsie Begins

Posted by on Nov 16, 2015 in Diva Spotlight | 36 comments

Diva Spotlight: Debra Anastasia’s Poughkeepsie Begins

On November 22, 2015, Poughkeepsie Begins, the final installment of the Poughkeepsie Brotherhood series, will be released. I have been alternately anticipating and dreading this release, knowing that while I will surely love the book, I do not want this wild ride to end. I was fortunate enought to receive an advance review copy of the book and also to spend a few moments with Debra to ask her a few questions. Let’s start with the book, shall we? Summary: It ends with the beginning. This legendary, indie, cult-favorite series ends its tale with the story of the Poughkeepsie brotherhood before the tattoo. Before the train station, before the church, before a criminal empire, there was a foster home and three teen boys who weren’t related by blood. But damn if they aren’t closer than most blood families by their choice. Still in high school, Beckett is already laying the groundwork for a grander life ahead, one where his brothers want for nothing and get some respect for once. But even as he plans, Beckett must decide if he’s ready to make that choice—diving into a life that trades his chance at a future, his chance at something as simple as first love with a girl named Candy Cox, for the chance for his brothers to find happiness. Blake, Beckett, and Cole’s devotion to each other is forged by fists and the driving need to belong somewhere, to do more than just survive this life. Readers of the series know they each get there in the end, but before we count smiles, we must first shed tears. These early days of the Poughkeepsie brotherhood will play on your heartstrings before serrating them with a knife; they’ll lift your soul with music, only to leave you with nothing but a desperate prayer for hope. Review: It’s safe to say Debra Anastasia is one of my favorite authors, and the Poughkeepsie Brotherhood series has captivated me since the very beginning—reading the first story as fanfiction in chapters as it was posted online. Was it the love story that drew me in? Or was it the tale of a family held together by bonds stronger than blood? Perhaps it was the way she wove the tale with powerful imagery peppered with the most amazing and creative swearing I’ve ever read. I will venture to say it’s all of the above. Poughkeepsie Begins, while being the last book in the series, takes us back to the beginning, when the boys are foster brothers who learn to rely on each other to simply survive the nightmare that is their foster home.  Did you ever wonder what made Cole the quiet, spiritual soul who struggles with his own self-worth? Why did Blake always feel more at home outdoors, even though the sun was an enemy? What was the catalyst for Beckett’s life of crime? All the answers are here. The story focuses primary on the brothers’ struggle to make it through their senior year of high school while dodging the abuse at home, and Beckett’s relationship with good girl Candy Cox as he begins to build his dynasty. I was surprised at the first glimpse inside Candy’s head—I did not expect her to be a contributing point of view—but not disappointed. We learn so much about Beckett through her...

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Deus ex Machina is Not a Dating Site for Ex-Robots

Posted by on Nov 9, 2015 in Featured Articles | 4 comments

Deus ex Machina is Not a Dating Site for Ex-Robots

If you’ve ever heard of deus ex machina and wondered what it is, have I got an article for you. Deus ex machina is Latin and means “God from the machine.” It refers to a plot device that results in a miracle that saves the day when all seems lost and there’s no way out. This is used when the author has written themselves into a corner. It can come from a not-before-mentioned ability, a new event or character, a surprise object, or it was all a dream or something created in someone’s mind. The result usually leads into a happy ending. The Greeks were famous for their use of deus ex machina by dropping Zeus or Aphrodite or some other god into the scene to foil the villain’s plans at the last minute. Even Shakespeare and Jane Austen have used deus ex machina. So why is this frowned upon? It results in a plot that feels contrived and a reader that feels cheated and manipulated. It also undermines character development, but it ultimately paints the author as lazy and lacking in creativity. But surely this plot device isn’t still being used, right? Wrong. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz used the “it was all a dream” trope. But my favorite example of this is in the television show Dallas from the 1980s. Patrick Duffy, the actor that played Bobby Ewing, quit the show and the writers killed his character at the end of that season. A year later, Duffy wanted back on the show. How did the writers write themselves out of the corner? With the infamous shower scene that turned the entire previous season into a dream. Of course this use of “God from the machine” has been ridiculed and used as fodder for countless comedians in the late 1980s. Another example is the use of the eagles in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. After destroying the ring, Sam and Frodo are hopelessly stranded on Mount Doom with no hope of rescue. But then the eagles appear and save them from certain death. Of course this leads readers to eventually ask, why didn’t they just use the eagles to fly into Mordor and drop the ring in the volcano of Mount Doom from above? That’s one of the risks of using deus ex machina. It’s a simple plot device that in hindsight could have shortened the entire Lord of the Rings movie trilogy from over 9 hours to about 30 minutes. Of course I can’t talk about deus ex machina without mentioning Fight Club, which employed the “it’s all in his head” version. If you haven’t read Fight Club and don’t know the outcome, I won’t spoil it here. But in my opinion, Palahniuk’s use actually worked for me. Deus ex machina is used successfully in parodies and comedy for humor. But if you aren’t writing humor, it will most likely come across as a plot device and make your story’s outcome contrived. If it’s convenient or an unintentional coincidence, you should probably take another look at it and decide if it’s deus ex machina. And if you’ve written yourself into a corner, review and rewrite your story and resist the temptation to play God. What uses of “God from the machine” have you seen...

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