Hello and welcome to the series, Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing. I scheduled this series on writing tips for the fall months, but I have had such wonderful response from romance and mystery authors, the guest blogs are now scheduled into February! So you may have noticed I changed the poster, taking out "this fall" since we are now into the holiday season. I hope you are gathering some great tips you can use in your writing, meeting and getting to know authors, and discovering great reads.
Needless to say I'm having a wonderful experience with authors and readers during this series. Thank you so much for supporting this event with your views and comments.
This week I am happy to introduce you to author Kathy McIntosh. Kathy is generously donating an ebook copy and audio book of her first book, Mustard's Last Stand, in the Havoc in Hancock humorous suspense series for door prizes. Two winners! Please leave a comment to enter.
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Kathy, thanks so much for guesting on the Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing series.
Thanks for a lovely opportunity!
1 What is the best advice for writers that you have received?
The first but definitely not the last time I heard this hint came when Ridley Pearson spoke to Murder in the Grove (a conference I co-founded). He advised writers to keep our butts in our chairs. It later inspired me to write the following as a winning contest entry:
Make writing a whole body experience. Keep your chin up, your feet on the ground, your mind limber and open to new lessons and ideas, your heart set on the goal of becoming a published writer, and your butt in the chair.
Great advice for sure, but oh some days, it is impossible to do!
What is your writing tip on Editing?
Alliteration, rhythm and cadence can help you create a memorable voice in your writing. However, these must be added with intention and a light hand. Novelists whose books you can’t put down may have used the rhythm of their words to enchant you. Books that get thrown across the room may have inadvertently abused or overused these devices.
I'm fond of alliteration, but it is easy to fall prey to too much. Do so and the rigorous reader will wish you wouldn't. Giving your characters names that start with the same letter is a form of inadvertent alliteration that can easily confuse your readers. Barney, Bert and Bartholomew are all fine names, but let them appear in separate manuscripts. Even when used for humorous purposes (the triplets, Martha, Margaret and Maeve) you risk confusion. A confused reader may not pick up the book again.
What's going on in your book can influence your choice of rhythm or cadence. Short sentences using short words work well in fast-paced, high tension scenes. Longer, leisurely sentences can set a quieter pace and add a sumptuous tone.
Alternating short and long sentences changes the rhythm of your words. It's my opinion that you don't find your rhythm in a first draft, but rather recognize it and change it intentionally in second and subsequent drafts. One great way to discover the rhythm (or lack thereof) of your words is to read it aloud. You can also use text to speech software programs such as NaturalReader or Ultra Hal TTS (I love that name) or Text2Speech or TextAloud that will convert your text to spoken words. Most have free versions.
Rhyme works well when you’re creating a slogan or a tagline or a poem. However, inadvertent rhyme in serious writing can bump your reader. I’d chat more about rhyme, but I haven’t the time.
Next time you’re editing an article or some pages from your fiction, take the time to make your words memorable by adding alliteration, rhythm and rhyme.
But remember: a smidgeon of these devices suffices.
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Kathy McIntosh writes about
wacky characters seeking justice,
and great scones in North Idaho.
Back of the Book:
Havoc overtakes a peaceful North Idaho town when feuding brothers combat a proposed safari camp. Mustard's Last Stand is the first in the Havoc in Hancock humorous suspense series.
Kathy McIntosh, a recent voluntary transplant from Boise, Idaho, to Tucson, Arizona, is enjoying the change in scenery from cottonwoods to cactus.
She recently saw three javelinas strolling through her neighborhood! She assures her concerned readers that she can still write about Havoc in Hancock, her humorous suspense series set in North Idaho, and will finish book two, Foul Wind, as soon as she rappels from the stack of moving boxes! Read more at Kathy's website
# # # #Don't forget to leave a comment. Two winners will be chosen from the commenters after 9 p.m. on Sunday evening. Good luck!