9 Writing Tips from Author Pamela S. Thibodeaux

My guest today is Pamela S. Thibodeaux. She will share her writing advice with us. More about her new book, Love in Season, follows her post.

Pam’s Tips

1. Read. Read extensively in your genre and out. Take note of phrases and descriptions that capture your imagination or make your heart sing and mind race. I’ve yet to meet a writer who isn’t an avid reader!

2. Write. Doesn’t matter if it’s daily, weekly, or 2-3 days a month, just make time to write consistently. Don’t worry if it’s drivel to begin with just write. Whether you’re at a desk, the kitchen table, the library, or a coffee shop, get in the habit of sitting in your writing space and putting words on paper (or computer, notebook, or iPad). Forget the rules and write the book you want to read! You can always check for publisher guidelines and edit/revise your project to fit, but those first drafts can be whatever you want them to be!

image by Pettycon

3. Edit. Most projects need a minimum of 3 edits. Initial where you check for plot holes and pacing. Second pass where you layer in descriptions, the five senses, etc. Third round where you check for grammar, punctuation, etc. Make sure you take at least two weeks to a month between edits! If you don’t, chances are you’ll miss mistakes that could cost you a contract or precious time in edits after the contract. While you’re letting this project cool, start another! Keep several projects in the works at all times so you don’t worry this one to death.

4. Query/Submit. At some point you’ve got to turn that baby loose. Even if your initial submission is to a critique partner or group, don’t let fear stop you from getting the feedback necessary to help you grow as a writer and produce the best work you can. Again, keep writing while you wait to hear back from your submission.

5. Revise, Re-submit, Resell. This applies mostly to articles and essays but sometimes you can even revise/rewrite a story and sell it elsewhere. Make sure you abide by any current or previous contract limitations. If someone doesn’t normally take reprints, be sure to let them know the extent of changes you’ve made that add a whole new twist to the version you’re querying about or submitting to them.

6. Promote. Okay you’ve sold a book or two or a dozen articles. There’ll be no (or very few) sales, reviews, or new opportunities, if you don’t let people know! Set up a website, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon Author Page. Spend a few hours a week building your fan base and readership. When you do a book signing or speaking engagement, ask for the name and address (email too) of everyone who buys a book! This is your readership. Ask to add them to your mailing/newsletter list. Don’t bombard them but keep in touch on a regular basis, whether that is monthly, quarterly or even annually.

7. Keep good records. Writing is a business and even unpublished authors can claim business expenses such as office supplies, ink, business cards, etc. Check with a CPA or tax preparer and don’t miss out on these valuable deductions, especially when you begin to make money!

8. Take Care of Yourself. Sometimes life throws us a curve ball or hand grenade and we have a hard time focusing on writing. Don’t worry about your career at this point. Take the time you need to recover and/or regroup and start over. Real writers never quit. We may take an extended leave of absence but at some point, we always return to our passion.

9. Don’t Quit! Writing is a gift and a talent given to you by God. Don’t hide your gift or bury your talent.

What is your biggest challenge in writing?

PBG print ~ PBG ebook ~ Kindle

Anytime is the perfect time for love. 

In this anthology, author Pamela S Thibodeaux brings together eight of her most beloved romance stories—one for each season plus four holidays that revolve around love and family. 

Includes two brand new stories!

I’ve always admired the covers Pelican Book Group creates for their titles and when I first received the cover for Love in Season, I thought – how sweet, but a closer look revealed a whole lot more than a couple on a bench in front of a lovely tree. 

If you took a passing glance, look again….

What do you see?

Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter are all depicted within the leaves and branches of this tree!

Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!”™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

Links:

Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com   

Blog: http://pamswildroseblog.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pamelasthibodeauxauthor

Twitter: http://twitter.com/psthib @psthib

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/pamelasthibodea/

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1jUVcdU

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pamelasthibodeauxauthor/

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1268453.Pamela_S_Thibodeaux

One Easy Way to Take an Unexceptional Scene in a New Direction

“First attempts are usually not the best. There’s a reason the “test” pancake is usually a throwaway, and upgraded cellphone models are rolled out roughly every four days.” —Leigh Anne Jasheway “Improv/e Your Writing” Writer’s Digest November/December 2013

image by Gartenredakteurin
image by Gartenredakteurin

I wanted to try one of Leigh Anne Jasheway’s 10 games from her article, “Improv/e Your Writing” (Writer’s Digest November/December 2013). Jasheway calls the game I played, “New Choice.” It’s to help when we’re “going down a literary dead end.”

image by wilhei
image by wilhei

How I understood the play:

  1. Collect two dice and a few pages from a writing project.
  2. Roll the dice.
  3. Count sentences from the beginning to the one represented by the sum of the dice.
  4. Make a new choice for that sentence that:
    • changes the wording and content,
    • takes the story in a new direction, and
    • relates to the plot thus far.
  5. Write 12 sentences that explore the new direction.
  6. Repeat from step 3, starting from the first rewritten sentence.
  7. Play for an hour.

My selection is from an old rejected manuscript. I rolled a 7.

Jonathan thumbed to the first hymn listed in the bulletin and stuck his bulletin in the hymnal to hold the place1 Movement to his left startled him, and he looked up. 2 Laura, followed by Cecil, sidled down his row and sat next to him. 3 The sleeve of her yellow jacket brushed the sleeve of his sports coat. 4 She smelled like fresh-cut citrus. 5

Well, well. 6 Laura Midkiff had decided to befriend him after all, and she didn’t take her commitment lightly. 7 He, and most likely everyone else in the congregation, stared at her. 8 She donned a serene expression and gave her father in the pulpit her attention. Her father struggled to contain a grin. 9

A hand patted Jonathan’s shoulder. 10 He turned and greeted his foreman, Gene Pasternak, and his wife and two sons. 11 Mrs. Withers, his first and fourth grade teacher, settled in the pew in front of him, and Mrs. Mackey, his den mother, winked at him and joined her. 12

image by MaLyKa
image by MaLyKa

Here’s the result of steps 1-5— my 12 replacement sentences starting at line 7:

How thoughtful of Laura Midkiff to sit beside him in church.1 No doubt, the woman was up to something.2 Town gossip pegged her as the citizens’ choice to run against Dad for mayor.3 Perhaps her show of friendship helped to that end.4 Display how noble she was to rub sleeves with an ex con.5 And no surprise she’d enlisted slow-witted Cecil.6 He added political correctness points to her glory.7

Was he coming down too hard on Laura?8

Even if her gesture was sincere, he didn’t want her pity.9 He needed her help.10 And that didn’t mean rallying the congregation to his side.11 Laura Midkiff was the only person who had the contacts he needed to prove he was innocent of manslaughter.12

I hope the new version adds tension. At this early stage in the story, warm fuzzies were a mistake.

Try This Fun Game to Redirect a Mediocre Scene. Click to tweet.

What are your thoughts on playing Jasheway’s game?