Getting back in the swing

Like telling your kid to keep pumping their legs to keep a playground swing going, a good writer needs to keep their swing going and therefore needs to keep pumping out new works of writing. Rather that be working on short stories, novels or just simply a blog. Writing is something you can so easily get rusty at. If you’re a writer you already know that ideas flow constantly, sometimes less frequently but nonetheless, the mind of a writer is always pumping along.

For a long while now life has been too busy and a bit stressing to focus on writing. I look at Facebook memories where I posted on being hard at work on prepping A Killer’s Saga for publication and I thought God I miss writing. I used to press myself so hard to get the ideas on the page or even with editing. I haven’t worked on any writing for quite some time and that actually makes me feel bad.

So it’s time to pick myself up and get back on the writing horse. At the moment I’m pumping myself up to get back to work and it’s my hope to at least lay down a few good chapters and perhaps even do some editing today.

Love to those who follow me and I’ll leave a link on where to find my self published works.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/389973

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/391262

Sharing some poetry

Hey readers I thought I would share some poetry of mine and perhaps even get some feedback. First I’ll let you know a little about me as a poet. I write from the heart, from my strongest feelings and am usually inspired. I do not usually just write about things or everyday life. I tend to write about love or heartbreak.

Bound Angel

By:

Rebecca Conrad

My body a prisoner…I lie here in wait for you…
My heart, my hand, my life, my soul are all held captives to you…
I could fly away…soar to you only in my dreams
My wings are bound by circumstance…trapped so far from you.
You will free me from my bindings…take all my pain and torture away.
Your love rescues me and mends my broken wings.
You love me with a faithful heart…an undying devotion you have given to me alone.
My body a prisoner…I lie here in wait for you…
I would wait an eternity if only to be within your arms again…
I am bound by nightmares which I cannot awake from…
I am only free when you and I are together as one…
My heart, my hand, my life, my soul are all held captives to you…
Here I am forever bound until you make the miles apart a distant memory.

 

Love In Full Bloom

By:

Rebecca Conrad

I was in no need of weaving a spell on you.
Yet what we have and share is indeed magical.
I am in no need of tricking you.
You know me inside and out, as I know you.
I am not blindly loving you.
I see just as clearly as you, what deep and meaningful connection we will share eternally.

This love no longer a beginning.
Yet has no end.
Our sweet love is in full bloom.
It grew in a moment, was deep in an instant.
This fully bloomed love, is my greatest of joys.

 

Renewal

By:

Rebecca Conrad

We walk together hand in hand, as we have for nearly four years now.
Again with you, I’ll say a vow.
What a beautiful day it will be when I become yours all over again.
(to my husband with love)

All three of these poems can be found in my book of poetry which is self published on Smashwords. I will paste the link here.

 

 

 

Journal Entry:Back to writing

Slowly but surely I am working my way back to my passion of writing. My time away from writing has been off and on due to life. I have worked a little on pieces here and there. But when I do find time to write I wind up going back over what was already written. I have a very bad habit of having so many story and novel ideas in my head, that I don’t always fully finish one story of novel. Which in some ways is bad. But I also find that if I do not write when inspired my actual idea is lost among tons of other random thoughts and then life sneaks in and steals it away.

The last couple of years of life have made me yearn for more. Not only from life but from my passions. I’m a writer by heart and nature. But also my creativity speaks to beading, and now art. In some ways I believe a writer is always writing, if not on paper or computer, a story is being born inside their mind. A fantasy world that must eventually escape into reality and become said book, or story. Like tonight for example, sitting back watching T.V. I became inspired to get back to writing. The urge to create ever present I knew I needed to at least blog, if not begin another story, or follow through with one that’s already been started.

Do other writers work on more than one project at a time? Or is this a madness of my own creations? I often wonder if I will one day leave some works unfinished. And that does nag at me. I want to feel accomplished as a writer, an author. I want my work read by many and to feel that someone would gain some form of happiness from my stories. Publishing is a major goal as always but not so much so to make money but to see my work and name in print and know that, that part of me is out there in this world.

I also sit back and look at my published works and wonder if I have somehow failed a bit at marketing. I have been self published for 3 years as of this coming December and haven’t had many actual sales of the book. And while money isn’t my primary goal, the feeling of accomplishment does tend to come better with sales of the book. If no one is buying it, it’s sitting unread. However, I am not discouraged. I will not back down from my goal of seeing my work become successful. I simply need to work harder at marketing and getting the word out.

Hopefully my readers enjoy this journal entry and my blog. Feel free to comment. And to like my posts. The support is awesome!

Urge to write but…

Have you ever had a strong urge to write but then not know what to write, or where to start? I’ve been there. I love writing. I’m perhaps a bit too creative. At 39, I find the urge to create feels stronger than it ever did when I was in my twenties. I love making bead jewelry and drawing trees and other fantasy art. And as of late I find I spend hours on something creative. But for a long while now my urge to write is there but its as if my slate is blank. Sure, I’m blogging and that’s awesome and also is good practice for writing. However it also hit me, I should be working on my novels, or a short story, or something like that. Because I’ve left writing on the back burner for a little too long.

Slowly but steadily I am also getting back to writing. I did write an article recently for an online magazine. And that was a good step to continuing my passion. I also have found I like editing. Not just my work but others’ work as well. But of course, English was always my fave subject in school and I did well with it, so I suppose no surprise I would like to write as well as edit.

So I feel my advice is to basically find some form of writing when you feel you’ve gotten off track. Though you could also do some reading. Reading as we all know helps to make you a better writer.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and my blog and that it’s helpful to my readers.

Self Editing Do or Don’t? And where to start

I say DO! I can list many reasons I self edited and self proofed my novel. While I did have some help it was not that of a professional. I am not anti-professional. By all means if you have the luxury of using a professional editor, go ahead. I would have loved the help of a professional editor. However not only can I not afford a professional, I also do not know any professionals who would have done the work for free. With that being said, that was my number one reason for editing my own novel. Some say the author is too close to the work to properly edit it. While I can understand, perhaps relate and maybe even agree with that thought, I still did not feel the need to hire an editor. Call me unconventional but I feel there are many ways to explore becoming a successful author.

Even if you choose to go with professional editing, the writer is responsible for making their work as neat and tidy, and well written as is possible. Spell checking, grammar and structure are just some of the things you have to look at before you can even begin to call a story or novel publish ready. Even though I always did well in English class, I still find I make common mistakes.  One big one for me was comma use. I used to add a comma after words like however, yet, and but. It was in prepping for my GED that I was taught when you use a word that means the same as a comma, or is a way to pause then you do not follow that word with a comma. To this day I almost add a comma after but or however…then I stop and remember my GED teacher and what I was taught.

Spell Check should always be where you start, even with self editing. Spell check can be your best friend. One wise piece of advice though, pay close attention and do not allow spell check to change a not so common word into a totally different word. (there’s always a dictionary) Spell check will also help with grammar and sentence structure. It will give you suggestions on words to change or other ways to change the sentence so it sounds better or flows more smoothly. My biggest advice for spell check:do not allow spell check or grammar suggestions actually change what you are trying to say.  While spell check and grammar functions are very helpful they can actually harm when the computer is suggesting a change that either does not actually make sense, or makes your sentence or words mean different from what they had.

Ok so let’s say you got through spell check without wanting to slap the program…what next? In all honesty…re-read, proofread your work once more. Make sure that your story reads the way you want it to and that spell check’s grammar options didn’t change things in a harmful manner. Even if you take a break from editing and work on another project, that’s ok. Sometimes you need to leave things be and come back to it with a clear head.

You did spell check, you survived it’s grammar suggestions…you proofread a second time…what now? Let someone read it. Rather that be one someone or ten someones, it needs to be read by others. Not only for the reader point of view but also because others will see mistakes you weren’t even aware you make/made.  They’ll find those errors where spell check allowed a word to slide because it’s an actual word yes but it made the sentence sound like nonsense. (this has happened to me so many times I did want to give spell check a good shaking haha!)

Once you’ve allowed someone else to read and hopefully suggest editing fixes or maybe even other ways to improve your story, make the changes needed to improve the work. Be honest with yourself and make changes you know it needs. This doesn’t mean change it in ways that makes it something you don;t wish the story to be. It means do what is necessary to make it publish ready.

One part of editing I find that I do a lot of is going back over a story and seeing how I can re word things that I may have originally worded unclear or not as crisp as it should be.  I think all writers do one thing the same, we tend to write fast when ideas hit, we don;t look back and the enter key keeps going like the energizer bunny.  We don’t stop to edit, we make those common mistakes and sometimes we don’t even see it when proofreading.  Our minds have a way of correcting the error without us actually correcting it on the page. For example, when typing a sentence may become “I cannot tell you who many times I have made that mistake.” While spell check/grammar will overlook the mistake of “who” instead of “how” it’s also possible for our brain to overlook that mistake. But the point is that your reader will most likely catch the mistake. Numerous times my husband has caught typos that spell check allowed and that I did not realize were there.

So you think you’re done? Perhaps you are and your story is ready to publish.  I say perhaps, because when I went back to “A Killer’s Saga” after it had been stored away for a long time, I not only found things i wished to change to make it sound better but also some major changes to make it into a story that truly holds to me and my personality. I found that I’m very comfortable writing erotica and wanted to meld that into a story I was already very proud of, already very attached to. And now that same story is one that holds true to how I feel it should have been written from day one. So sometimes give a story some shelf time. Set it aside and when you come back to it after that shelf time, read it again. Make sure you’re honestly happy with it and that it’s truly your best work. Then work on publishing.

Happy self editing! If you have any comments, or questions, positive feedback is always welcomed.

Reworking Characters and Plots

In my last post I mentioned reworking characters and even plots when it’s needed.  You might be sitting there thinking oh my God I’ve put countless and possibly even painstaking hours creating my book/story thus far. I’ve been there, done that and can honestly say, sometimes revision is key to making your story the best it’s ever going to be. Some things can be reworked so easily. Maybe you worded something one way and at a later time you looked back on it and said to yourself, this doesn’t make sense now, or I could word that so much better. I have.  In proofing and editing my novel, I spent many hours reworking a lot of it to finally make the novel what I felt it should be. Why did I rework it? Was it not good enough? In some small ways it needed to be made better yes. We all grow as we age and we learn better methods as writers. I found out after many times of re-reading my novel that there were things I looked at naively or things I simply was naive about when the book was originally written out from my initial ideas.  So for my book, no it wasn’t good enough yet. I also decided before publication of “A Killer’s Saga,” that it was going to become erotic fiction.  With that being said, that meant reworking love scenes and even adding some. Spicing some scenes up and even adding some new ones. And I can honestly say it was more than worth it to go back and revise, add on and better my work.

Ok so with all that decided did i rework characters or plots? Actually yes, to both.  Jordan became a little more adventurous sexually. She opened herself up to being more wild and carefree.  Why did I change her this way and how did I do it? Why was easy, on a whim I got the idea that she would live a little wild with Alex and do things she never thought she would.  Nothing major, just having sex in a public place, and allowing her relationship with Alex to take front importance on rare occasion, even coming before her career to a point.  I felt it was important to make someone become more important to Jordan seeing as being a detective had become “workaholic” serious to her. I felt there was nothing wrong with showing even this all too serious and business like gal could throw back and be a fun sensitive, and warm lover and friend. So while I didn’t fully rework Jordan, I made a small change that I felt made her more human and even more likable.

I’ve found as I grow as a writer so are my characters and the world they live in. Especially because A Killer’s Saga is the first in a series. My husband has become a great help with proofing, editing and even character growth. He inspired changes that will take place with Josh. While I haven’t begun to rework Josh, again it’s nothing I need to fret over. I made a decision concerning him and all I need to do is implement it.

Reworking Plots

As I mentioned above, I also reworked a plot.  It was due to my husband’s help that I realized I had been too repetitious with my serial killer and her pattern of where to go when she wished to lure Jordan in.  This meant a somewhat serious rewrite.  I had to rework the full end to the book. Some elements could stay in place, while the repeating needed to go.  What can I say?  I was about 19 when I came up with the idea for the series and spent many sleepless nights penning (yes paper and pen back then) all the ideas and storyline I could before I lost ideas.  Just like I’m sure a lot of other writers do, I get attached to my stories and characters.  So I wasn’t looking forward to a rewrite (one I felt was a major rewrite.)  But it HAD to be done.  I’m stubborn. No way I wanted to rework it. Not because I didn’t want to make it better.  But because the thought of reworking it made my brain hurt.  I could have left the piece alone, could have left it repetitive and still published it just like that. (seeing as I self published.) Yet I knew in my heart I couldn’t leave it that way.  I had worked on this novel for ten years if not longer.  I knew also the novel may take harsh criticism with the original ending.

How did I rework it?  How did I get it finished even though my brain said “this is a pain and too much work,”? I forced myself.  Yup forced.  I went over what could stay about the chapter needing reworked, and what needed to go. That was the simple part. Then there was coming up with a whole new last climatic scene. I wholeheartedly advise letting someone read your work as well as even help you brainstorm.  Yes this is your baby, yes you created it from ground up. But you will be amazed how well another person’s input can work in a positive way. It was in brainstorming the new plot with my hubby that I had found the new ending. It wasn’t as hard as I had convinced my brain it was gonna be. I simply had to find a setting and scene that worked with what foundation had been laid. It may have been a major rewrite because location of the scene needed changing and organization of the scene needed reworked. The actual end wasn’t changed in the sense that the key elements were still there. It was a take-down of the our bad guy (girl in this case) scene. Most of the rework really was the locale. The only major change to the end was in the sense our killer didn’t use her calling cards to lure Jordan in for a chase scene.  It turned more classic.

Does Jordan bring the killer to justice? Did my rewrite work out for the best? You tell me.  Feel free to check out “A Killer’s Saga.” Link below.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/389973

 

Creating your fictional character(s)

Character creation is of course one of the very first things for any story. Who is the hero? or main character…what are they like? Their personality, habits and how do they make a living?  Maybe these are the most important questions to build your character from.  I know for me sometimes the personality of a character is already in my mind even though I have yet to form a physical appearance and such. For my detective Jordan Kade, I already had a personality in mind. She was going to be strong willed, stubborn, but a detective with faults that rose literally by things that happen regularly in her profession. Jordan can handle a gross crime scene, horrid  human behavior and the like, but when she is face to face with victim’s families she is uneasy and feels out of place. I knew I wanted my strong female lead to dress in a specific way. She dresses professional but comfortable never losing a sense of who she is and is able to stay down to Earth by doing so.  I knew also that I wanted her to be from a wealthy background, have everything including looks, that someone else could envy. And yet even with this being a part of who she is, she still relates to the average person. She works hard and loves to be helpful. She’s kind with her money and anything else she has to give.

So with her personality and habits already formed, how did I visualize the Detective? Hair color? Eyes? Body type? Body type was easy for me to decide on. I wanted her to seem perfect, at least in others’ eyes.  Sexy and alluring, someone who could charm her way through things with her looks if need be.  But I also chose for Jordan not to see what others do about her.  Not oblivious just blind to it like we are to a lover’s faults. 

Aside from all that, another important thing in building a character is how they relate to others.  Let’s start with how I made her relate to her parents. Jordan was pampered and brought up with everything a child could want and or need. Spoiled and yet she did not let that define her and it doesn’t make her behave as if she is spoiled. Jordan’s mother tends to coddle her so Jordan tends to seek space from her mother.  Her father however (a retired detective) is her mentor and Jordan still absorbs any and all knowledge her father has to give.  She’s closest to him versus her mother, seeing as she learned his trait, his skill and became a detective in his footsteps.

Then there’s Alex. her best friend and confidant. A man who means the world to her even if he comes and goes in her life as if they were only acquaintances. She loves him deeply and always has.  In some ways with Alex, Jordan is still the younger version of herself who was able to have fun and just live a bit…he was an escape from things in her life she feels she cannot handle. Alex is her rock, her other half.

Even with characters all can’t be peachy and enlightened.  Is the real world this way? No.  Creating Josh wasn’t hard.  I wanted him to be an equal of sorts even if it doesn’t show so well that he matches her.  Yet he is also the things Jordan is not. Wealthy now, but grew up poor and worked hard to achieve similar fame and success in his career as a bounty hunter.  He’s cocky and can come off self centered.  A pretty boy of sorts, who knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to show that. All of his behaviors, just the way he holds himself is a put off for Jordan. She dislikes him and its more than obvious.  And while Josh likes the detective, it hides behind a facade of giving as good as he gets from her.  Will they ever grow to like each other?  Or will it be push and shove each time they meet?  Ironically these questions I didn’t have answered in the beginning of “A Killer’s Saga.”  The relationship between Jordan and Josh took it’s own turns and twists as I worked on the storyline.

Characters can be like that, grow, change or even become what you need them to, to complete the story.  In the end what matters is if the characters fit the whole picture. I found that Josh changed mid story into someone and something more important than I envisioned him.  That’s not to say he changed in the way of me scrapping who he started out to be, he simply evolved. Sometimes characters need to evolve in the sense of fitting what you may have changed about the story as it progressed.  And that’s ok.  It’s even ok to completely rework a character.  Maybe one you came up with for a minor scene becomes an intergral part of the story.

Never be afraid to set a story aside long enough to get a new perspective on it. Rework characters and plots that need it, and ,make your story one that makes you proud. Build your characters until they feel real and not only become a part of you, but become someone you cannot forget.

Below I’ll leave a link for the novel feel free to comment on this post and also to check out the novel. First 20% can be downloaded free!

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/389973

Writing attraction and reactions in Erotica and what makes it “work”

What I feel is a number one thing that makes erotica work is definitely take from your own human emotions. What draws you to another person sexually? How do you feel when attracted to someone? Does your heart beat faster? Of course it does. And not necessarily because of a love type emotion. But because something about them attracted you and your body reacts in many ways. Subtle reactions occur as well. When I’m attracted to someone I tend to grin and feel excited as well.  All of the emotions and reactions can be written easier than it seems.  {Sally brushed the hair away from her eyes. This was a nervous habit of hers when around a hot guy.  She shyly looked him up and down and grinned.  Her mind went everywhere from wondering how he looked nude, to how the caress of his hand on her cheek would feel and her heart began to quicken with each thought.  She felt naughty but in a delicious way.  She wasn’t the bold type and therefore just lusting him openly she was sure her cheeks were flush, they sure felt fire hot.}

While that’s a very short example I could go on and on, I’ve always been a very talkative and with writing, wordy, person. But my main idea to convey is that you can express attraction in many ways. And that while you can bring it out from your imagination of how your character would react, if you’re new to writing or looking to sharpen skills, work from how you, yourself react when attracted to someone.  You can never fail with true emotion and experiences.  The example piece above comes from a bit of me. As a high school student and even before then I was shy and felt awkward around guys.

However I do feel you can realistically write emotions and reactions that are wildly different and that you have to put imagination into.  Let’s use my example again but change it up for Sally to be more bold and open.  {Sally flipped her hair off her shoulder. She was feeling flirty today and it showed even in how she dressed.  The white button down shirt she wore was unbuttoned and unabashedly showing her cleavage.  The lace of her bra peeking out.  She brushed a hand across the mini skirt that barely covered her ass cheeks and grinned at how naughty she felt and how being naughty was nothing new to this girl.  She looked Brady over head to toe as he installed new windows in her apartment.  She ached to know how he looked out of his shirt, how those muscles she could see, would feel pressed against her breasts.  She was dying to unzip his jeans and put her hands on him.  Just the thought of doing such things to Brady made her flush, and heat in her cheeks wasn’t the only thing hot and bothered about her.  She wanted him badly and wondered if he knew it even as she eyed his hot ass longingly.}

In my second example our Sally becomes a wanton, lustful girl, the type you could see not being afraid to go after Brady.  And I feel while I show some of the same signs of attraction in both examples, you can easily see a drastic change in how she portrays that attraction.  Our first Sally shyly examines him while having heated thoughts and reactions. But everything about her isn’t shy {She felt naughty but in a delicious way.} This simple sentence shows she could easily come out of that shell and still go after what she wants.  Our second Sally reacts in a manner that makes the reader assume Brady will be in her bed before the windows are finished.

I feel good erotica should make you at least assume what’s coming next just by how the character reacts.  I also feel that it doesn’t need to be spoken word to get across the point of longing and desire.  The hardest part is probably describing things we wouldn’t know normally unless we could read the person’s mind or somehow see the attraction. Another good trick is other small reactions such as licking your lips, or biting your bottom lip.  Little habits we have as humans that show lust and longing.

This may seem like I’m going off topic, but with our first Sally (if this was an actual piece I was writing…) the next scene you might find she throws Brady to the couch and starts kissing him feverishly and then cut to Brady’s voice saying something like “I need to get the bedroom windows from my truck.”  snaps her from what we come to realize is our shy Sally fantasizing being bold enough to have her way with him. And I could go on with written subtle hints of attraction I used as examples like: Sally bit her lip as she quickly stole a glance to his ass while he walked out the door but knew she needed the space from him even momentarily.

 

Another way of showing attraction is through a mix of spoken words, emotions and reactions.  I’ll use our bold Sally for this example.

{Sally bit her bottom lip when Brady turned to her now and said something about going out to his truck.  She had to admit she hadn’t realized what he was saying more than the part about his truck.  Her tone was softer than normal with a hint of phone sex operator as she replied.  “Mmm will you be working on the bedroom today?”  she felt she sounded silly asking that but it was too late now.  He laughed and with a for the second time type of tone, he said, “Yes, I’m going to get the bedroom windows now.”  Sally wasn’t sure why she moaned her words when around him but she was well aware she did this.  Even saying the simplest things and for any man who had known her intimately knew when she was aroused, or horny even.  She watched as Brady returned and made his way to her bedroom.  She couldn’t help but to look at his muscular arms as he carried the windows in, and admired his tattoos.  From the kitchen she called out to him “Would you like some tea?”  Even while asking him something so innocent her mind was elsewhere.  She thought of running ice down his broad chest and licking drops of water from him.  And although she hadn’t meant to, a moan escaped her now.}

I could also easily write this same scene with our shy Sally. And for the changes I would most likely make her nervous asking him things. Her tone would convey a woman who feels more insecure asking him anything.  She might even stammer some words, or say “um or uh” before saying would you like some tea? I might make her aware of how she is behaving but feel bashful that she’s behaving this way.  And if I had shy Sally moan I may even go a little dramatic and make her try to cover why she “moaned.”  But with either Sally it would be more than obvious she wants Brady.

What I feel makes it work, with either version of Sally is another point I’ll make. Rather Sally is boldly attracted to him and unafraid to show it, or shy reserved and worried he’ll know, I would write her unafraid of feeling and reacting to her attraction to Brady.  I feel it’s very normal to make your female character feel just as lustfully attracted to a man as a man would be to her.  Just because we typically view guys as the ones who would be staring at the woman’s ass or imagining getting her in his bed, doesn’t mean our female characters cannot feel just as sexual even if in a shy more tamed approach I still show Sally having very bold thoughts and feelings. Our shy Sally still longs to know what Brady looks like nude, imagines she could throw him to the couch and make out with him.

Making it work is a matter of making the reader feel as hot and bothered as Sally does.  Making them feel awkward as shy Sally but still knowing she would like to make love with him.  And while it’s very acceptable to write attraction as the female or male having arousal type reactions I wanted to show  a range of ways you can also express other ways people react. It can be done in stages this way as well. From a small escaped moan, to Sally being so bold as to go after what she wants and actually push him down onto her bed and run her hands all over him while kissing him passionately.  Or she could go to hand him his tea spill it on his shirt and while helping him take it off they share a kiss that turns to a day of slow sweet lovemaking.

In whatever way you convey attraction it needs to feel real and perhaps even intense. It needs to be something the reader comes away from and goes “wow.” Something they remember well because you express it in  a way that makes your reader connect, bond or long to be that character. I hope that I was able to show more than  one convincing way to write attraction that gives other writers a method to work from and hopefully some helpful tips.