So Long Autumn.

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December 21st might be the first official day of winter, but I don’t abide by waiting until the shortest day of the year.

Three days of heavy frost on the ground each morning, and this pumpkin has since deflated. So long Autumn, and thanks for all the leaves.

Creating A Writing Style Sheet

K.M. Allan always has great advice. I never knew I needed a style sheet until now. Maybe you didn’t either?

K.M. Allan

As mentioned in last week’s blog post, I’ve spent most of this year in editing hell, working through an MS that has been through re-writes, new beta readers, and a total show, don’t tell overhaul.

As my edits for that MS wound down, I returned to the next MS in the series (book two), which I hadn’t looked at for a few months. It’s up to draft five and has been looked over by a handful of betas, most of who pointed out my overuse of the word “that.”

When you face 200 odd pages that need work, you wonder if it’ll be easier to procrastinate and/or consider a different career/hobby/calling.

But not editing the MS to the best of your ability when you’ve spent so long putting words on those 200 pages isn’t why you started this, right? (right?). So, instead, you look for helpful editing tips

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Flip Phone 4 Lyfe

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I switched back to a flip phone a few months ago.

After my 3rd smartphone in 4 years broke, I got frustrated with such expensive products being so fragile, and on a whim at the store I said “screw this, do you have flip phones?” The girl at the store laughed and said, “Yes. Those still exist”. I now have a phone that makes calls, texts, and can sync email and calendars, plus some other basic things like an alarm clock and FM radio. It costs $20 a month.

I wanted to save money on my mobile bill and have a sturdier device, but this is the stuff I didn’t expect:

  • That I’d spend a few days freaking out in some kind of weird “smartphone withdrawal”, habitually touching my pocket, while trying to remember how to use T9.

  • That my social media usage would basically dwindle to nothing (a few times a week) because that urge to scroll was no longer there.

  • That my attention span and focus would slowly improve over weeks, to the point I’m way more productive at work and at knocking out long overdue “to do” lists.

  • That I would notice friends, family, and like 50-80% of random strangers with their heads buried in a screen FAR more than I ever had before.

  • That I am becoming intolerant of people replying “huh?” or “wait, what did you say?” in conversations when their faces are buried in those screens.

  • That I would start consuming art & entertainment & news much more deeply. Reading text more slowly, and not half-watching movies while looking at IMDB to figure out “what else that guy was in”.

  • That I would pick up the nice digital camera I received a few years ago as a gift and rediscover a love of photography – capturing fewer photos with an intention of artistic expression, not just mindless snapshots of food.

  • That Garmin GPS have a McDonald’s button in 2018 (What a time to be alive!)

  • That a pencil and 50 cent notebook works nearly as well as Google Keep.

  • That I can be bored again, and boredom is a good (and sometimes scary) thing that can be filled with creativity and introspection.

  • That being the only person in a Starbucks not on a smartphone makes you look like a WEIRDO since people watching is apparently rare and frowned upon these days?

  • That only charging my phone about once a week, and not really caring if I forget it at home are quite freeing.

  • That smartphones are really cool, and super convenient, but convenience comes with costs that I don’t think society has fully recognized yet.

  • That it is really, REALLY satisfying to snap your phone shut when some annoying telemarketer calls you.

TL;DR – I went back to a flip phone and it had a bunch of unexpected benefits. You might want to try it out sometime.

Backstory Basics

Here’s another great tip from over on K.M. Allan’s blog. It’s on the importance of giving your character’s backstory. This is one I can relate to since I’m in the process of fleshing out backstories for my MC and Antagonist on this re-write of my current novel.

K.M. Allan

One key to writing a book that connects with readers is including characters they care about.

Or hate. It can be characters they hate. Just as long as the readers want to follow from the first page to the last.

Follow-worthy characters come from awesome descriptions, dialogue, goals you want to see them achieve, odds to beat, or devastating actions to their consequences. Another layer to add to your characters is the one that makes them; their backstory.

Backstory Basics

Don’t Info Dump

While you should avoid info dumping any part of your book, info dumping the backstory rates even higher. Why? Because it slows things down. This is especially true in the first three chapters of your book.

The beginning of the book is when you should hook the reader, not bore them with how the MC grew up in a small town, got high grades throughout school, moved to…

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