All artwork ©bystacydawn. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Keep a Flyswatter on your desk

Okay everyone, get out your flyswatters. Nope, it's not summer (OMG not even spring with all the snow we've had recently๐Ÿ˜†), but it is time you let your characters show their story.

One thing I see a lot of is narration coming from the point of view of something that sees all and knows all. Personally, I call this a Fly on the Wall POV—as if a fly is stationed merrily on the wall above everyone and telling the events. The problem is...the fly isn’t a character in the story.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of stories done in this type of third person narrative and some work well. The issue that I see too often, however, is a story being shown from the perspective of the main character and then the fly dropping in to have it’s say--essentially head-hopping to the Fly's POV and thus pulling the reader out of the head of the main character (and subsequently, the story).

One other main issue the FLY POV often produces is passive writing in the form of more Telling versus Showing.

Using deeper point of view, keeping in the “head” of your main character, describing things from their specific experience, perception, and viewpoint, gives the reader a chance to know them, to understand them, and most of all, to relate to them. You want a reader invested in your characters and the story so they leave the laundry, housecleaning, and any other chore behind for another time while they are riveted by your character’s journey.

Deeper POV describes the moments specifically through the main character of the scene, and therefore, anything that happens, any knowledge, anything described, can only be shown by what the main POV character actually knows, sees, hears, feels etc.

Let’s take an example:

Her cheeks flared an angry shade of red, and her hands fisted at her sides as she aimed her steamy blue gaze toward the bane of her existence.

This is Fly POV because, unless the character is looking in a mirror, she wouldn’t know the specific color her face had turned or be able to reference her own blue eyes is such a fashion. The above is a description from that of a fly on the wall looking at her, and because of this, it is Telling--telling the reader what it sees.   The other issue is that her hands are moving on their own as if without her knowledge, making that what can be called disjointed body parts.  A fly sees her hands fist, but the actual character is the one controlling the movement.  Therefore, this description also needs to be revised so as to keep it active to the main character.

Let’s revise showing the moment from the experience of the actual character--Deeper POV.

The burning in her cheeks scorched down her neck. Fisting sharp nails into her palms, she choked back a verbal slaying and narrowed her gaze toward the bane of her existence.

The above is now described through sensation and direct action of the character's perception/experience of the tense moment.  Also note that revising to Deeper POV doesn't mean adding gobs of description--the sentences are almost the same length.  Always remember, it is not about the amount of words, but the right choice of words.

Another fly example that happens often is referring to the POV character in a group:

They came to a small pathway and decided it was better for the other two to go first.

Who is the POV character in the above sentence? Exactly.  Unknown. Right there is a big red flag for passive writing and Fly Telling. The sentence also doesn’t show much about the path or tension of the scene—is it a happy, yellow brick road or a scary, dark corridor?  A rocky road of determination or a long, leisurely stroll in long grass?  If a reader can think up that many different descriptions for the scene, then you as the author have not painted the picture for them--painted the "path" you want them to follow.

A possible revision:

Jenny bit her lip as she stopped behind her friends near the dark, gravel pathway. The boys decided to go first, and she blew out a thankful breath, only to suck it back in when a cold breeze blew across her neck.

Now we know exactly whose experience we are sharing (Deeper POV), AND the picture is painted for the reader--there is something about the path making her nervous. That “something” is what makes the reader WANT to continue reading to see if she is going to be okay.

Remember, for a stronger read, swat that fly off the wall and let your characters show their story.

Up next is another Friday Special Edition of Love, Meg.  Find out where she is headed to next!

©bystacydawn.com 2018

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Exercise Cycle

Does this look familiar to you, too? ๐Ÿ˜



Although, I do have to admit that I still use mine a good three times a week...so that is progress in my book!

©bystacydawn 2018

Friday, April 13, 2018

Friday Special Edition: Love, Meg

As I mentioned last Sunday, I will be occasionally posting special series on Fridays.  This inaugural Friday Special Edition is based on an Instagram doodle challenge hosted by @myartsybujo called April's Amazing Adventures.  She had listed some adventure such as hiking, skiing, camping etc. to doodle...and I had this idea to add my signature story twist and ended up with an adventure told through postcards.  I hope you enjoy...Love, Meg.



Pop back next Friday for the next installment of the story!

©bystacydawn 2018


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Spell Check is not a proof-reader

Spell Check is a wonderful device. The problem is, too many people trust it to be their proof-reader--if there are no red squiggly lines under the words, then the spelling must be correct, right?

Wrong.

the is the correct spelling....unless you meant them

accept is the correct spelling....unless you meant except

he is the correct spelling...unless you meant she

And as with the last example, mixing up simple genders might not make the best impression on an editor reading your manuscript LOL.

Perhaps this is your first submission, or perhaps you don’t know all the ins and outs of Point of View or Goal-Motivation-Conflict; that is all part of the learning curve and feedback an editor can give you. But one of the comments you don’t want from an editor is that your manuscript was sloppy with a lot of spelling errors that could have easily been avoided by a good proofing. You don’t want an editor thinking you’re lazy; you want them thinking you are a diamond in the rough that they can’t wait to help shine.

Proofing your manuscript is one of the simplest things you can do to ensure a good read by an editor. But don't leave it up to your program's spell checker. One of the best ways to proof is to simply read your story out loud--you will be AMAZED how many things you can discover when reading aloud, everything from spelling to sentence structure to paragraph beats (Paragraph beats? What's that? you say--don't worry *wink* I will be talking about that topic soon. )

Just to be fair, though, Spell Check can be a good friend to international writers submitting to American publishers for instance--IF you make sure the dictionary on your Word program is set to the proper dictionary (ie: US). It is a good catch for words that you have used your whole life according to the country you live in. Canada for instance: colour vs color, favour vs favor etc. Both are correct--depending which country is publishing the book.

So, I guess there is another good tip for you...remember to research the location and background of the publishing company you want to submit to along with their submission guidelines๐Ÿ˜‰.

And come back Friday for my very first Friday Special Edition!

©bystacydawn 2018

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Challenging Fun

I have been participating in some doodle challenges on Instagram over the last few months...and this month I am co-hosting one! 

April Hybrid OffSpring Challenge wherein we give an animal couple and you get to create their little bundle of joy.

It is so much fun and the participants are soooo creative!    You can find them on Instagram at #aprilhybridoffspring .

Here's a sample of some of my baby hybrid bundles for this challenge.  I chose to make a Momma-type scrapbook look:


The last two are sneak peeks because I haven't even posted them on Instagram yet๐Ÿ˜‰

Remember at the beginning of this new blog I mentioned combining all my creative outlets? Well, keep an eye out for my new blog segment coming up: Friday Special Editions.  This is where I will have a special series of posts every Friday over the course of a few weeks at a time.  First up will be another Instagram challenge I am currently doing to which I have added my own twist to involve both illustrations and a storyline.  It has been well received so far, and I want to post them here for you all to have a chance to follow and enjoy, too ๐Ÿ˜. 

And don't miss this week's Writing Wednesday post where I will be talking about Proofing.

©bystacydawn 2018

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Love Floats

April showers bring May flowers, as they say, and boy are we getting the showers! Both rain and snow kinds.  So I thought I would brighten things up a bit by sharing some flowers with you in my garden romance, Love Floats...but it's not your typical garden๐Ÿ˜

Contemporary Romance 
Novella 
Rating: Sweet/Sensual



Garden landscaper, Kelsey Ryan, is surprised to find her current client doesn't have any land. Yet the challenge isn't in creating a deck garden for his houseboat, but in keeping the hunky graphic artist from growing on her, especially when she thinks the garden is for his wedding day. Will a few marigolds and misunderstandings leave her matchless...or make her his first mate?

REVIEWS:

 5 Hearts from Night Owl Romance
"Stacy Dawn has done it again! She is truly a talented author that knows how to entertain her readers each and every single time. She had me laughing out loud with the crazy antics and thoughts of both Kelsey and Mitch. This was a fun romantic read that you shouldn't pass up. This is definitely a keeper in my library." ~Reviewed by Diana Coyle, Night Owl Romance

"Love Floats is an entertaining romance of miscommunication. Kelsey and Mitch are very attracted to each other, but with each step forward that Mitch attempts, Kelsey understandably throws up a barrier. This felt like a complete story with well developed characters. I truly enjoyed the romance between Kelsey and Mitch." ~Reviewed by Katherine of Joyfully Reviewed

"Stacy Dawn's Love Floats is a story of misunderstanding and laughter. Funny and light hearted it had me smiling and wishing to be part of the fun." ~Reviewed by Rachel C.--Fallen Angel Reviews 

EXCERPT:

There are those days that just don't make sense from the moment you pry your eyes open in the morning.

This is definitely one of them.

Kelsey Ryan gaped at the boat. A rather large boat. A rather large houseboat. Not the blocky kind you rent for a week to cruise down one of the many lakes and rivers in Southern Ontario, but an honest-to-God house on a boat.

Even though she'd never actually seen one before, she granted the concept wasn't an unusual phenomenon. No, the unusual part was the fact this was supposed to be her next design and landscaping job.

Kind of hard with no land.

She dug into her jeans pocket, a few sediments of dirt tumbling over the side as she withdrew the paper from the worn denim. Kelsey shook her head. Yep, this was the right address though she shouldn't be surprised. Where her mother was involved, there was always a twist to reality, even if it was taking a message and leaving out a little—or large—watery detail.

With a tolerant chuckle, she grabbed measuring tape and her ever-present sketchbook from the inside door of the truck then headed down the dock. As she closed in on her destination, she couldn't help a hardy, "Ahoy there!"

"Just a minute," a muffled voice called from within the russet-shingled home.

Shielding her eyes against the mid-afternoon sunshine, Kelsey contented herself with a glance out over Lake Ontario. Breeze-rippled waves reflected a kaleidoscope of shimmering lights on a couple larger boats while the small marina awaiting their return sang out a melody of clanking mast lines and seagull harmonies. She closed her eyes and let the wind's whimsical symphony fill her senses. Though she much preferred the feel of solid earth beneath her feet, this wouldn't be hard to get used to.

"Sorry about that. I was on the phone."

Talk about sensory overload. Even before turning, she heard the smile in the deep, rich voice. Viewing the actual amusement glittering out of sky blue eyes and the friendly grin broadening a firm jaw whooshed the air right out of her lungs. "Well blow me down."

"Pardon me?"

Crap. Did I say that out loud?


All my titles are available in multiple locations:

The Wild Rose Press
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

©bystacydawn 2018

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Let's do this!

Sometimes you just have to pull up your big girl panties and get yourself organized, right?

Well, that's been the last week and this weekend.  Instead of just leaving everything up in the air or in my head, I've been forcing myself to make the decisions and get things done. 

First up was the fitness.  I started working out this week for, embarrassingly, the first time in forever.  But I started, and that's what I'm focusing on.

Second was getting myself better organized so I can more specifically work on "zero days."  I had read someone's post on Instagram and something similar on the internet, but I hate to say, I didn't save either so can't give exact credit where it is due, but basically, it is making time each day to work on your dreams/goals.  Even if that time is only five minutes, simply do something EVERY SINGLE DAY so you have no more days without doing something to move forward toward your goal--no more zero days. I actually started last week and can happily say I am on 7 days straight so far ๐Ÿ˜Š.

This weekend was getting to all the little stuff that had piled up, like organizing my ton of "idea" computer files into a new main folder and then sub-folders so I can better start putting that information together for books and/or artwork, going through the stack of stickies and papers on my desk and actually doing what needed to be done on each and filing them away whether in the trash as finished or in the filing cabinet, getting my art desk and office desk organized and ready for the new week, etc. etc. You know, the little things that you keep putting off for no reason except you just don't want to deal with it...until you turn around and there are monster-sized piles of crap everywhere ๐Ÿ˜–๐Ÿ˜„.

On my reorganization, I came across this little letter fun I had done a couple years back.  I think I may have even shared it on my old blog, but it still holds true...


As much as we'd love to work on our goals and dreams full time, there is always the reality of life--kids, family, mortgages, bills, etc.--but it is important to understand those day jobs are not weighing us down, but rather building us up. That day job gives us peace of mind that our family and home are taken care of and therefore the freedom to work on our Passion Project without the pressure of immediate financial needs (which could prevent you from getting anything out, or force you to put out a product too soon, before it or you are ready or before you have a base of interested parties to build upon--not that you want to wait forever, but you want to make sure you are happy and pumped for your product rather than "just getting something out there").  

As for the Fitness part of the picture--that is just as important...remember to take care of yourself first and foremost, because nothing good will get done if you are rundown, stressed out, or mentally in a bad or doubtful place about yourself or your dreams.  Keeping active and eating right builds your body and mind...and when you feel good, it is far easier to stay positive and motivated, right? 

So, like I said, I am pulling up my big girl panties and doing what needs to be done so I'm not seventy-five and looking back at all those cool ideas in my head that never had a chance to shine.

Is there anything you do to help you get motivated and get things done?  And what is your favorite fitness to do--because I'm better if I keep things mixed up so any suggestions will be helpful. ๐Ÿ˜‰

©bystacydawn 2018

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

"What did you say?"

Dialogue is a funny thing. It can work for you, or against you.

Dialogue is all about the character. Simply put, rarely would you have a low educated character talk with perfect grammar or an English butler talk in slang. Few people speak grammatically correct, so it is important to have your dialogue not be perfect so to speak.

"I cannot come over to dine with you this evening because my mother has installed a new restriction on my social activities."

Okay, obviously that is a little extreme LOL, but that's the point. A teenager would not speak in such a refined manor, but rather in contractions, slang, and inflection.

"I can't come over for supper 'cause my mom grounded me, again."

Being natural is important. Which brings up another good point, you want to be careful of stereotypical dialogue—TOO much character ie: Cowboys that are darlin’ every girl in the story, or a mob guy asking, “You lookin’ at me? You lookin’ at me?” of everyone who may pass him on the sidewalk.

The best way to research dialogue and natural flow is to observe. Take an afternoon to sit in a coffee shop, open a book (so you don’t look stalkerish LOL) and just listen. Listen to inflection, contractions, tones, emotions (excitement and/or anger). If you are writing a Young Adult, go where the teens are. If you have doctor and nurse characters maybe try the lobby or cafeteria of a hospital—listen, observe and assimilate.

And remember, not all conversations are all talk--body movements play an important role, because if you have a page with a lot of dialogue but no actions dotted in here and there to show HOW the characters are speaking, showing HOW the characters are acting/reacting to the conversation, then the scene can become stilted and be pictured by the reader as simply two people standing face to face, arms at their side, and speaking monotone. He said this. She said that. Bland. Using the addition of action sentences instead of constantly repeating "said" will go far in avoiding a monotonous read as well.

Instead of:    "I don't want to go with you," she said.

Try:    She took a step back. "I don't want to go with you."

Which one of the above paints more of a picture in your mind?

On your observances, I’m sure you’ll find someone raising their hands in frustration or whipping around when offended in order to defend themselves. A subtle smile when they are being coy or tight fists around a coffee cup when they are trying to control their anger. All these observances are part of a conversation—part of the dialogue. Part of the character. And that is what you want to do with your writing...paint a picture for the reader so they visualize your character and scene in living color.

As always where writing is concerned, most important is choosing your words (or rather their words) carefully and placing the action drop-ins in the most dynamic area for the scene, because the last thing you want to do is overwrite a conversation with too many descriptions. Balance here is the key. 

Simply put, when writing dialogue, you want to...Observe. Natural. Balance.

 LOL, now isn’t that saying it all.

Punctuation with dialogue is another issue altogether, and I will be doing a post down the line to help with this as well, so stay tuned, subscribe, and/or sign up for email notifications for upcoming posts.๐Ÿ˜‰.

©bystacydawn 2018

Sunday, March 18, 2018

March--in like a lion....out like a lamb?


I sure hope so!


February was BRUTAL.  That is really the only word for it.    And then, just when I thought the black cloud might be floating by and the blur of February was over...I went and sprained my ankle, rolling it off a curb on the very last day of the month.  Sheesh!  Just like one final big kick in the pants๐Ÿ˜†

BUT, as hard as it is sometimes (especially smack dab in the middle of the stress and chaos) I try to find the silver lining, the possible purpose in it.  The ankle, for instance, literally made me sit there and not move for almost four straight days--which gave the rest of my body and mind time to rest and heal in more ways than that one.  It made me fully realize the fact that I was no good to help anyone if I didn't first take care of myself and heal (from the horrid cold/flu/virus I'd been fighting for one thing).


During those few days, one picture kept popping up in my mind...


A small haven of quiet, of being surrounded in peace while protected from stress, from problems that I couldn't fix no matter how much I really wanted to, other people's problems that had nothing to do with me but drama drew me in, from negativity, self-doubt, anxiety, and all around bad vibes.

And so, though there are a few struggles we are still dealing with this month, I am trying to stop more often and just breath, to put up a small shield of self-care even for just a few moments to find my center so that I am stronger to help the ones who need me most right now.   Sitting in my pink-cushioned egg chair ๐Ÿ˜Š, setting everything aside, and just breathing.  March did come in like a lion...but I do hope it goes out like a lamb.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Working it...

Things are moving along, slowly but surely.  I am thinking that on Sundays I will post some fun stuff like illustrations or random things--you'll just never know what until you stop by ๐Ÿ˜Š

"Downward (with) Dog"

And in the next few weeks, I will start making Wednesday Writing Days...anything and everything from editing tips, to grammar explanations, how-tos, etc.  As it moves forward, I will make a call out for topics or questions--because usually if something is confusing one writer, it will be confusing others, too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sunday, January 21, 2018

A bit about me...

It has taken a long time but I think I have finally figured out my "brand."  The issue being that I always thought I should be keeping all my pots on separate fires...but nothing was getting cooked completely๐Ÿ˜„.  

Then it occurred to me recently that they were all my pots, all things I created...Romance by me...Editing by me...Art by me...

So, over the course of the next little while, I will be revamping my websites into one and using this as my main blog that will incorporate editing tips, writing, art, and whatever else I happen to be cooking at the time....all by Stacy Dawn.

The most exciting of all this for me is that I have been doing a lot more artwork and doodling that started just as me-time--self-care happy time--but I came to realize that it is as much a part of me as my writing and editing, and I have just as big a voice and personality through my art (which led to some phenomenal ideas which I hope to explore combining various aspects of everything--starting with this combined blog.)

And what better way to begin than giving you a bit more about me...my way...๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ’—