Hello fellow writers! This month’s topic is:
How long does it usually take to write the first draft of your novel? How long does the revision/editing process take and who do you go to for “another pair of eyes” on your work? Do you use a beta reader, editor, proofreader? What is your process from start to finish?
Hi everyone! Today is the first of many roundtable discussions I hope to have involving writing. Consider it a virtual meeting of the minds. I thought it would be nice to start out with a simple topic to discuss. So…let’s begin:
How do you make time to write? When do you do your best writing?
masterful mystery by one of my all-time favorite authors.
The Penningtons Investigate
Poison Ivy, by Cynthia Riggs
Cynthia Riggs’ Martha’s Vineyard mystery Poison Ivy takes place at a small college on the Vineyard, Ivy Green, where nonagenarian crime-solver Victoria Trumbull is an adjunct poetry professor. I loved Mrs. Trumbull as a poetry teacher focused on her students’ expression in various poetic forms; and as advocate for three students whose research is plagiarized by their tenure-seeking sociology professor. An overarching theme is the (often abusive) power struggle that plays out in a dozen deadly ways in the college tenure process.
Mrs. Trumbull finds the first body– a tenured professor dead a few weeks without anyone missing him. Thanks to the caretaker’s dog who has a nose for cadavers, more bodies are exhumed. Soon the campus is pock-marked by graves dug by a perfectly respectable serial killer twisted and scarred from his own tenure ordeal. As the drama unfolded, I cheered for the two women who opted out of tenure madness and admired…
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Why does Terri Ponce describe my sleuth, Lyssa Pennington as “a handful and a half, and a blast to be around”? See for yourself! (https://terriponce.com/2017/04/30/meet-lyssa-pennington/)
I met a really exciting character this week and just have to share what I learned with you.
Lyssa Pennington is a spunky economics professor who, when she’s not tackling huge egos and nasty gossipers on campus, solves mysteries. In fact, for Lyssa, the more thrilling the better!
She’s a handful and a half, and a blast to be around.
Want to know more about Lyssa and her stories? Read on…
I’m so excited you’ve asked me to interview, Terri! I love solving murders with my husband, Kyle, in The Penningtons Investigate, but I’m excited about having the spotlight just on me, Lyssa Pennington, today.
What’s the one trait you like most about yourself?
I couldn’t survive without my sense of humor. My habit of looking for something laughable in even the most serious situations has helped me get through some terribly difficult times. As my husband, Kyle, says I’m…
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I hope LCRW enjoys this play on words, from author Catherine Castle
Fun with Definitions
By Bebb, M. S. Wikimedia.com
The English language is nothing if not strange. Its homonyms and homophones can confuse anyone. Add synonyms to the mix and that’s a lot to learn. Here’s another twist you can add to the complexity of our language: the redefining of words throughout the ages. When I was a kid, sick meant you were ill, not feeling well as in “I’m too sick to go to school.” In the eighties, the word came to mean awful, terrible as in “She’s so sick. I hate her.” Today when the kids call something “sick” they’re not referring to germs, they’re making the word a compliment: “That concert was sick!”
As writers, we should consider the changing guard of words as a challenge and use them to add flavor to our books. This can be especially interesting if you want to put your out-of-time…
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For some reason, in my shower this morning, I began to think of the word ‘detritus.’ I had just used it in a story I’m in the process of writing and I began to wonder if I use the word in all my stories. Truth be told, I really love the word.
I have several favorite words. Lovely, fantastic, wonderful… I use them a lot in my day-to-day conversations, so they are probably favorites of mine. There are also a couple four-letter-words I use—sometimes often, depending on what kind of day I’m having. I don’t know if that qualifies those words as favorites or not. Since I’m a sweet little old lady, I’ll say that they are not favorites, but rather something like anomalies. Frequently used anomalies.
But, getting back to detritus… It’s just so much fun to say the word. For instance, you could say, ‘The yard was littered with junk and trash.’ (How gross!) OR: ‘The yard was littered with detritus.’ Here’s another pair: ‘The old yearbook was filled with yellowed, crumbling pages.’ OR: ‘The old yearbook was filled with the detritus of yesterdays.’ (Ahhhh. Now isn’t that a picture?)
I’m so disappointed when I think of all those years I missed saying, “Honey, would you take out the detritus, please?” Just watching/listening to his reaction would have been better than an I Love Lucy show.
And how about renaming our DPW organizations to Detritus Pick-up Workers? Can’t you just picture their backs straighter, their heads held higher, their trucks less squeakier? (Now, there’s an oxymoron—another good word for perhaps another day.) (And yes, I know the descriptive phrase should be “less squeaky,” but I didn’t want to break the “-er” pattern. Poetic license. ‘Nuff said.)
Now I must go do my laundry while I walk the elongated circle of my basement for half an hour’s exercise and avoid any notice of the detritus lurking in the corners.
Great tips on reviewing a book for a fellow author. (Yes, I’m still happy to gift you my mystery, Planted, in exchange for an honest review!)
So, you’ve read a great book lately have you? Maybe even found yourself a new “keeper” author. Can’t wait for that next great read?
Like any other entertainment professional, authors need encouragement. Validation over and above the initial sale. Where do we get that much-needed encouragement? Through an honest review.
Tips for leaving a review:
- Most importantly, a review can be short. Don’t feel like you have to recap the entire book. That’s the sole purpose of the posted blurb. Two to three sentences outlining your reaction is more than enough. And, of course, set the ‘star’ ranking.
Example: “I usually don’t care for secret baby stories, but this one was different. Cody was the smartest, cutest thing ever. Sometimes adults are so stupidly blind, but that’s what makes love grand! Great story.”~ 5-star Amazon Review for Home is Where the Hunk is
- If you do choose…
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Wanted to share my current reads with fellow LCRW writers . . .
The Penningtons Investigate
Colleges have come a long was from the old Lecture/Recitation model of education. Today’s undergraduate students learn valuable life lessons in the field through civil engagement, and they get hands-on real-life experience by participating in their professors’ research projects. As an author and avid reader, I’m enjoying the new crop of academic mysteries that show students gathering and analyzing data and engaging in other aspects of timely scholarly research.
Two authors are stand outs: Lesley A. Diehl and Charlene D’Avanzo.
Diehl’s character Laura Murphy is a psychology professor in upstate New York. In the 2016 mystery from Creekside Publishing, Failure is Fatal, Laura’s ongoing study in sexual harassment on campus is at the heart of the story. A student is murdered, and the description of the murder is one of the anonymous responses to the study’s current round of data gathering. This is not a grisly or grim tale, however, as Diehl’s humor…
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Kat asked me to post this for her:
The attorneys I work with have helped me with legal documents surrounding child custody and wills for my current WIP.
Kat asked me to post this for her:
My first volunteer job eventually morphed into a paying job with a victim advocacy agency. On the job training taught me the ins and outs of how to perform a sexual assault forensic exam. I also participated in numerous protest marches which served as the basis for Raising Kane, my contribution to the most recent LCRW anthology. ( Life, Love, and Lust )
I once pumped a religious connection in order to furnish an alibi for the accused in my second novel, Try Just Once More. It involved the intricacies of how to get around the secrecy of the confessional.
Informational brochures sent to me as a donor to Doctors Without Borders and Amnesty International have given me a wealth of information which I hope will serve as fodder for future novels/novellas.
I used the internet to research the modern day underground railroad, information used in Caper Magic.
Vacation spots have served to offer me some terrific settings for Try Just Once More and Caper Magic.
Personal experiences with a rotator cuff repair and gastric bypass were included in my novella The List. A ruptured appendix is featured in my current WIP
The “other half” of the soulmates from my new release: You’ve read Kyle’s interview. Now it’s Lyssa’s turn! –kate