Writing Basics

Point of view basics: First person POV in fiction

I’m teaching a creative writing workshop this semester at my local community college, and I just had an epiphany as I was writing notes for our next class. I thought, “Hey, dummy! As long as you’re typing all of this writing stuff up, maybe you could use the content for a series of blog posts!” Of course, I’m a huge fan of re-purposing content, so I replied, “Okay, cool. Let’s do this.” So today, here’s blog post #1 of a series I have written to provide a brief overview of the basics of Point of View (POV) in fiction writing.

According to Self-editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself into Print, there are as many as 26 flavors of point of view. For the purpose of this series, we will focus on four basics: first, second, third, and omniscient. Today, let’s start with first person POV. Continue reading “Point of view basics: First person POV in fiction”

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Essays, Illinois

Don’t tell me how to feel about the weather

I deeply resent being told how to feel about the weather. The weather man tries to tell me how lovely it will be with the sun shining all day, but all I want is fog and rain. The earth is so dry, and so are my patio planters.

I borrowed this photo from Google images to use as my desktop because this is what beautiful weather looks like to me. But now, I can’t remember where I got it, and I’d really like to credit the photographer. I’m quite certain I got it on a royalty free site (because I always go royalty free.) Anyway, before I write a photo caption that’s longer than my blog post, I just want to say that if this photo belongs to you, please get in touch with me so I can link to your website!

Ninety+ degrees. I’ll complain about the heat if I like. Don’t tell me I can’t just because it will be cold soon. I’ll take twenties over nineties any day. I’m chunky, okay? Hot weather isn’t fun when your body parts stick together, and you no longer wear shorts because you’re just not comfortable showing quite that much skin. Continue reading “Don’t tell me how to feel about the weather”

Publishing

Always learning something new on #Smashwords

With every new eBook project, it seems like I stumble across a new Smashwords formatting snafu that I hadn’t ever before encountered, or even considered. My recent upload of my newest book, F-ing Freddy Fisher, was no exception. It usually doesn’t take me long to figure out what I’m up against, but this time, when I received an email telling me that my manuscript had been rejected due to the lack of an NCX file, I was stumped.

Like any true worrier, my head immediately whirled with panicked questions. What the heck was an NCX file? Was this something new? Was I going to have to give up on Smashwords for good because they had finally managed to make it too difficult for me to figure something out?

Like any true procrastinator, I then put off thinking about it until I had an entire free afternoon to focus on nothing but this problem. Luckily, it turned out all the panic was for naught. Continue reading “Always learning something new on #Smashwords”

F-ing Freddy Fisher, Novel Writing

Coming Soon: F-ing Freddy Fisher

F-IngFreddyFisher-EBOOKYesterday, I glanced at my blog and realized, “I haven’t blogged since May—MAY!” Wow, have I been busy! I guess it’s a good thing though, because I have been busy writing other things. In fact, I am very close to publishing my latest project, a short YA novel titled, F-ing Freddy Fisher.

It’s kinda funny how Freddy came about. I started writing his story in 2013, but then I got distracted and moved on to something else. This spring and early summer, I started another project, which was going great. But then one day, I realized I was at 78,000 words and was hating where my story was going. I needed to take a break and do something else for a bit to let that story simmer.

So, I went through my folder of abandoned projects, and Farley (the name change to Freddy would came later) caught my eye. I opened the Word file, looked it over, and thought, “Huh. This story is almost complete.” So, I went for it. Continue reading “Coming Soon: F-ing Freddy Fisher”

Writing Prompts

Creepin’ Cockroaches!

Who’s in the mood for a writing prompt today? Let’s make it 1,000 words of flash fiction. Better yet, if you are writing a novel, set your story in your novel’s story world. And…. GO:

This one happens to be based on a true story. Blech!

Share your 1,000 words of flash fiction based on this writing prompt in the comments below, or share it on your own blog or website and post a link below! Continue reading “Creepin’ Cockroaches!”

Writers on Writing

How to write a hook that offers the promise your #novel will fulfill

English: The main screen of Albite READER 2
Do the first lines of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland work for you? | English: The main screen of Albite READER 2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Author Dave King shared an interesting article yesterday on Writer Unboxed titled, Beyond the First Five Pages. In his post, he discusses the importance of writing a good hook that both draws the reader in and leads the reader properly into the rest of the story.

I’m only working on my second novel now (not counting the 872 false starts that I wrote before finally finishing something!), so I’m no expert. However, in my most-humble opinion, I think it is best to worry about your hook after the rest of the story has been written. Continue reading “How to write a hook that offers the promise your #novel will fulfill”

Valley of the Bees

The Kirkus Review of Valley of the Bees is in!

Great news! The Kirkus Review for Valley of the Bees is in, and it is pretty good!

Read the full review!

Here are a few high points of the review:

Webster has written a richly detailed work whose world feels legitimate and lived-in, letting readers gradually, seamlessly experience it, rather than overwhelming them with exposition. Meanwhile, Valley is an empathetic, compassionate protagonist who feels three-dimensional from start to finish. Her caring for the bees establishes an instant connection with the reader. The complications of her friendship with another teenager, Reyna, who has fallen in love with her, as well as the intricate bonds that tie her to her family make for an engrossing drama. Furthermore, her relationship with her grandmother, as well as the unfolding of a number of buried family secrets that cause her to question a great deal of what she thought she knew, provides a brilliant through line.

Continue reading “The Kirkus Review of Valley of the Bees is in!”

Writers on Writing

How writing a novel is like putting a puzzle together #amwriting

What’s the first thing you do when you put a puzzle together?

I posed this question to my spring semester creative writing workshop on our last day of class. I was trying to get them to think about what comes next for them, now that they have all started writing their novels. I also asked the question on my Facebook page to see what answers non-writers might come up with. Only one of them came up with the answer I was looking for. I got a variety of responses to the question, including:

  • Find all the edge pieces
  • Look for the corners
  • Sort the pieces by color
  • Throw the puzzle in the garbage because puzzles suck!

Continue reading “How writing a novel is like putting a puzzle together #amwriting”

Illinois

I’m officially an Illinois author!

I have a couple of interesting announcements for you today! First of all, I have been added to the Illinois State Library’s official list of Illinois Authors. You can find my listing among those of other writing Illinoisans, including Sherwood Anderson, Gwendolyn Brooks, Earnest Hemingway, Upton Sinclair, Carl Sandburg, and more!

Illinois Reads

I have also become an official Illinois Reads Ambassador. Which, honestly, doesn’t mean a whole lot– other than the fact that I will be receiving marketing materials from them to share. So, you might be hearing more from me about Illinois Reads programs and Illinois authors in general in the future.  Continue reading “I’m officially an Illinois author!”

Valley of the Bees

Enter to win a copy of Valley of the Bees #1! #giveaway

I’m giving away a free copy of With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #1 over on GoodReads. Check it out now!

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Enter to Win!

I got more than 500 entries on my last giveaway, and I’m hoping to hit 1,000 this time. Visit GoodReads now to enter! Continue reading “Enter to win a copy of Valley of the Bees #1! #giveaway”