Thursday, September 18, 2014

Apply These 5 Steps to Make Editing Easier from the First Draft

Love your book come edit time
Most authors don't every want to see "their baby" again by the time it's published. They've read it, revised it, and rewritten parts it more times than they care to count. What if I told you the process could be a little easier? 

Why not take a proactive approach? Here are 5 steps to make editing easier from the first draft:

1) Research before you write your book. This can be forensics, procedure, weapons--basically anything that pertains to your story.

2) Outline. Now if you're more of a panster you might balk at this, but at this point, I see value in at least setting out with a rough outline. If you don't want to do this from the start, as the story gets going, jot out future scenes. The benefit to this is logical progression. I have learned this lesson the hard way and it resulted in more intensive edits and rewrites.

3) Write when you're alert and sober. Writing is a business. Would you ever show up at the day job and have a drink?

4) Have a clear idea who your characters are before you begin. The interview process works well. You could also assign them a star sign to serve as a guideline for their makeup and temperament. (See article, A Secret to Writing Solid Characters)

5) Use a program like Scrivener. It allows you to make notes as you go along and add scenes. This way any clues or situations that should be fleshed out get accomplished at the right time in the plot.

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CAROLYN ARNOLD is the author of several published novels, including her best-selling Madison Knight series. Her love for writing dates back to her teen years, but it was only in recent years that she was reunited with this love to pursue it with career passion.

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

6 Ways to Stay Motivated and Encouraged During the Editing Process

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You’ve finished your first draft and now it’s time to really get to work. The “play” time of creating a story and following along with your characters has ended—or has it?

Like everything else, editing is about mindset. Do you look at it as a dredging task or do you focus on the shining gem your manuscript will be when you finish? Do you get weighed down analyzing word play (sentence structure, for example) or do you realize how you’re sharpening your manuscript?

See, there are two ways of looking at a situation. If you view editing as a tedious necessity, it’s pretty safe to surmise that you don’t enjoy the process. Unfortunately, this is going to reflect in the end product. You’ll take shortcuts. You’ll declare something as finished just because you don’t want to look at it again.

But what if you were to think about the end result instead of the process to get there? What if you accepted editing as a necessary step in making your book marketable, in getting it into the hands of readers?

It’s the positive outlook that keeps me fired up during the edit process. There are times when I’m working on my first round of edits and I wonder if I was drinking at the time I wrote the first draft. Let me add this, I never drink when I write or edit.  Still, if I wrote a scene in a hurry or I was tired, whatever the case, editing these segments can seem laborsome, but I push through. Why?  My book deserves it. And so does yours.

Here are 6 ways to keep motivated and encouraged (in no particular order):

1)      Relish in your successes. Pick up a past work or even reread something you’ve written and are proud of. Simply appreciate it. Don’t over analyze.

2)      Be determined. Writing is a passion, but it’s also work.

3)      Realize your name and image are at stake.

4)      Focus on the outcome. Visualize yourself reading the final product and thinking “I did that?”

5)      Accept that everything doesn’t have to be accomplished in the first pass. The first time through you could simply look for the flow of the plot. How is the pacing, development, character development? The next time through, you could sift through for something else. You get the idea.

6)      Remember what Ernest Hemingway said: ““The first draft of anything is shit.” With that being stated, you are not alone. There are many other authors out there who have, and who are currently, going through the same feelings. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Attn: Writers and Readers


Due to prior time constraints, I had gotten away from sharing what I've learned along my writing journey on this blog. This is going to change immediately.  

I will continue to share excerpts and latest release news but also want to offer something further to the readers and followers of this blog.
Writers, I'll provide you some tips on the craft and encouragement. 
Readers, I've met quite a few who are fascinated by the writing process. 
Everyone wins.
There will be more exciting news to come. I just wish to inspire everyone. So, if you're not subscribed to this blog yet, you might want to be. You can find this option on the left sidebar about a third of the way down.

Keep shining,
Carolyn Arnold

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Into the Dark, Just Cause #SampleSunday


Excerpt from Chapter 1 of JUST CAUSE (a continuation from August 31 Madison Fights for Her Life):

As Sergey inched toward her, with gritted teeth, he swore in Russian. He resembled a rushing bull setting out after a waving red flag.

Her only chance was to reach her weapon, but the odds were stacked against her. If she were to make a bet with Terry, they’d likely both wager she’d leave in a body bag.

The gun came away from her head, but she still sensed that Anatolli held it aimed at her.

She looked around, taking in the space.

She was in the warehouse of the Russians’ main business front, Homeland Logistics. Men were around when she first came in, but now all seemed silent, except for her and her two Russian opponents.

She remembered pulling the trigger and catapulting herself to the ground.

The left side of her hand tapped a pulse. She lifted it but it fell limp, as blinding shivers of pain raced through her arm. But with the throbbing came clarity. She had banged her hand on the metal step as she fell.

She fought the urge to cradle her wrist to her chest. She had to remain strong.

Her eyes fell to the floor just beyond the staircase, where her gun lay, at least four feet away. There was no way for her to reach it before they killed her.

She lifted her arms in surrender.

“Get to your feet.” Sergey spat in her face.

Instead of humiliating her, it fueled the anger raging beneath the surface. She would see their entire operation come down—even if she did so single-handedly.

She rose to her feet, keeping her arms above her as she moved.

“Do you want me to kill her, boss?” Anatolli pushed the barrel into her lower back. “Or we could watch her flop around like a fish.”

Hvatit!”

Anatolli lowered his gun.

Sergey spoke more words in Russian and Anatolli linked her arms behind, in his hands. Pain from her left wrist made her want to vomit, but it hardly deterred the man. He adjusted his grip and pulled her back into his chest.

“You are going to pay.” Spittle from his mouth sprayed her cheek in a fine mist.

Anatolli pushed her up the stairs while Sergey led the way and struggled with each step.
They went into a large office, the size of the chief’s, but, unlike his, they didn’t accessorize to impress. Their focus was on necessity and usability.

The floor was a dark hardwood and contrasted with the lighter oak of the executive desk that stood at the one end. A flat-screen monitor sat on its top, to the right, and a desk calendar was in the middle. There were hand-written scribbles all over its surface in a variety of colors.

Next to the desk, numerous filing cabinets lined the wall. The room was devoid of artwork, except for a framed map of the world on the wall behind the desk and three clocks, set to different time zones, on the facing wall.

What had Madison’s real attention was the doorway that came off the back of the room. This is where they were taking her.

Anatolli shoved her into the darkness and she momentarily lost her footing.

“Sit!” he barked.

At the same time, Sergey switched on a light. Its brightness momentarily blinded her as Anatolli pushed her toward a chair in the middle of the room. Chains were attached to the arms and legs of it, and there was a collar that would secure around their victim’s neck while they worked out their sadistic pleasure on them. The floor was concrete and stained with splotches of dark crimson.

Blood.

More bile rose from her throat and mingled with the copper taste in her mouth.

Madison felt this sensation at a murder scene, and she felt it here, too. Lost souls cried out to her. Her mortality knew, beyond the sight before her, that lives had been brought to an end in this room, and that this particular road to hell had been paved with pain.

Anatolli thrust her into the chair.

“You’re never going to get away with this.”

Both Russians laughed.

“You are nothing special. Besides we have waited way too long.” Sergey gestured for Anatolli to continue.

Anatolli secured her wrists, but when he bent to tie the shackles at her feet, she instinctively lifted her leg, connecting her knee with the cartilage of his nose.

“Bitch!”

His hand swiped across her face and torqued her neck to the side. She wanted to fight back, but her eyes faded to black.

© 2014 Carolyn Arnold
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JUST CAUSE is available for pre-order from AmazonBarnes & NobleApple, and Kobo. Its official release date is October 16, 2014.


The above excerpt is protected by Copyright law. 

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I Hope to Inspire with My Big Decision

Every writer dreams of the day they are able to leave the day job and pursue their passion full-time. Few make it happen.

I’m here to share with my readers and the followers of this blog that I did it! I am now a full-time author!

I share this not to brag, but to inspire, to let you know that you can do it too.  Now, I’m a huge believer in affirmations and the Law of Attraction and I want to share my story with you. Warning, though, if you’re not yet a believer, you might be after you read my story.

Here it is.

At the end of last year, my sister, Sherry and her husband were down for a visit. She has taught me a lot and has introduced me to many great teachers of our time. One of them is Jack Canfield. Anyway, back on point. We watched a video they had brought with Jack Canfield. In it he emphasized how we are capable of anything.  We are, in fact, limitless.  He even demonstrated this by having us do a physical exercise. It had me blurting out an expletive. We truly are only limited by our mind!

After the video was over, we sat around discussing it and our different goals. My main one at the time was to quit my day job and be an author full-time. My sister told me to pick a date and to write it on a calendar I use. I did. The date? November 1, 2014.

Now, if you’re a follower of Jack Canfield or have read about affirmations, you know a great add-on to any of them is “or something better.”  Well, I got the “or something better.”

On July 15th, I gave notice at my day job. Was I positioned exactly where I wanted to be? No.

You might be wondering why I quit then. The answer is simple, it was time. The universe was telling me. Everywhere I turned there were signs. I knew it in my soul. My Higher Self kept whispering to me until it built into a scream.

During the time I was working out my notice, I woke early one morning and it was my soul compelling me to write its purpose. I have come to term this my Soul’s Mission Statement. It is as follows:
To touch the hearts of millions through my books, my spoken words, and my deeds. To entertain, to inspire, to empower, and to provide temporary relief from stress or pain.
Those two sentences came from my heart and only reconfirmed that my choice to leave the day job was in alignment with my soul.

To write, this was why I was put on this earth. The result which is making a difference in people’s lives, that feeds my soul on a spiritual level.

I am grateful to my loyal readers and those who support me on my life’s journey. You give my passion wings. A heartfelt thank you, and because of you, on August 29th, my first official day as a full-time author, hubby and I celebrated with a nice, relaxing dinner out. We toasted my readers and to our future, to goals to which we aspire, to visualizations yet to manifest, to gifts we have yet to find out about.

The lesson here people? Follow your bliss, your heart, your soul’s calling. Don’t let anyone, or anything hold you back. Sing the song that only you are meant to sing. When you know what you want, set the date and let it go. The universe will grant your wish.

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Madison Knight Fights for Her Life in Just Cause, #SampleSunday

ONE

THE BULLET MEANT FOR HER HEAD ricocheted off a stair. The thunderous ping of metal against metal rang in Madison’s ears, reassuring her, along with the shooting pain in her legs, that she was still alive. But alive for how long was the question.

When the guns had fired, she dropped to the ground, slamming her knees onto the concrete. 

She willed her eyes to open, despite the searing agony that made it easier to keep them closed, and she was forced to face reality.

Her bullet had found purchase in Sergey’s side, and he sat on one of the steps, a hand to his wound, staring at her blankly. His eyes were glazed over and distant.

She surmised he was experiencing the same euphoric feelings as she. Her heart beat adrenaline through her system, its pulse drumming in her ears.

She was alive, but was she shot?

She looked down at her body and couldn’t see any blood.

Having faced a fifty/fifty chance of survival, she had come out the other end.

Anatolli pulled up on her short hair, his fingers digging into her scalp. “Get up!” He pressed the barrel of a gun to her face with enough force it skewed her jaw and her teeth bit the inside of her cheek.

A warm metallic flavoring coated her tongue and she spit out blood, the pressure of the gun was unrelenting.

“Get up! Or you die!”

Her legs were unsteady and her head spun. She couldn’t go out like this. She had fought too hard for her life to halt to an end.

“Go to hell, you son of a bitch!” She slammed the heel of her shoe into his instep and moved to the side.

Anatolli yelped out in pain but she heard him cock the hammer on the gun.

A revolver. Six bullets. Six opportunities to die.

The barrel was pushed against her skull. 

She pinched her eyes shut and images of her life played out, interspersed with meaningless thoughts. How would Sergeant Winston spin this to the media? Would he miss her beyond their regular confrontations, for which she knew he thrived on, or would he be able to move on quickly?

Her grandmother entered her vision and spoke from beyond the grave, telling her it wasn’t her time yet.

Anatolli applied more force behind the weapon. “You are going to die.”

“Stop!” Sergey eased himself off the step he had been perched on.

Swallowing hard, she knew the delay in killing her meant only one thing—they would make her suffer until a bullet to the head seemed like a welcome escape.

The haze cleared. Where was her gun? She had pulled the trigger and ducked out of the way to avoid the one aimed at her head. If she could find her weapon, she’d have a chance…

© 2014 Carolyn Arnold
~~
JUST CAUSE is available for pre-order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo. Its official release date is October 16, 2014.

The above excerpt is protected by Copyright law. 

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Madison Knight is Back! Just Cause, Available for Pre-order

Madison Knight is back and things are about to get shaken up!


A cold case pits Madison against the Russian Mafia, but things take a swift turn when the unthinkable happens—a new threat arises and has Madison hunting down an unknown killer.

While trying to make sense of the clues, bodies are piling up, and the brass is hungry for explanations. In addition, Madison must balance all of this while nursing an injury, talking out her emotions with a therapist—a bureaucratic necessity—answering to an eager journalist, and facing an internal affairs investigation.

As the answers come together, Madison narrows in on a possible link between the Russian Mafia and someone within the Stiles PD.

Will she have the courage to confront the person she believes is playing both sides, even though they hold a position of great power?

Things are about to be shaken up, and, for Madison, that means she just might have to let go of the past to embrace her future.

The official release date is October 16th, but you can pre-order your copy of JUST CAUSE from the following retailers (names are hyper-linked):

Amazon 
Barnes & Noble
Apple
Kobo 


Keep an eye on this blog and my website for a sneak peek inside! Coming soon!