Brita Madison has come a long way since she first met James Weston five years ago. After nearly being killed twice and losing her best friend James at the hand of an evil pedophile, she appreciates the slower pace of her interactions with the spirit world since moving to Phoenix with her new husband, Sam Jenkins. All that comes crashing down when the past returns with a vengeance, threatening her family and friends.
As if to make up for lost time, spirits begin showing up whose muddled memories test the resolve of Brita and her friends, old and new, to meet the challenges from the past and the present.
Writing is more than putting words on paper. It is the birthing of ideas. When a child leaves the womb, it is beautiful to the mother despite its being covered in the unappealing remains of its sojourn in utero; however, the dispassionate bystander may react only to appearances, unable to see beyond the superficial. Unless you learn to “clean up” your writing, your potential readers could all remain dispassionate bystanders, unwilling to see the beauty in what you are trying to express.
If you desire others to truly experience your writing, then you must develop an internal relationship with the process. Writing is not like sitting down at a table filled with pieces of a puzzle and struggling to find the ones that fit together, trying first one and then another. Writing is the building of an emotional and intellectual relationship with the idea you are trying to express. In other words, it is an internal process.
As you begin to write, take your time: do not speed write. Take the time to experience each sentence. Read it aloud or to yourself and allow your mind to lead you into the next sentence. I know it sounds crazy, but it does work. Allow yourself time to “feel” what you’re writing. When you do this, your intuition kicks in, and you will often find yourself following a path that had not occurred to you before that moment. Speed writing gives you a false sense of accomplishment, which is nullified by the time you spend trying to make sense of this jumble of ill-thought-out sentences.
Your writing is your creation. You are giving birth to it: so treat it as a living organism. Give it the opportunity to develop “in a manner analogous to the natural growth and evolution characteristic of living organisms.” Nurture your seed idea. Give it the time and attention it deserves so that it develops into an expression of your unique voice, one that is unambiguous, rational, and speaks to your intended audience.
There are “tricks” for improving your writing that you will learn along the way. One of the methods I have always used is reading my work slowly, staying totally in the moment, and listening for what I call the “hiccup.” The “hiccup” is when there is a break in the logic chain of ideas. If you were reciting the alphabet and skipped from b to d, a listener would immediately home in on the fact that you left something out. If you started at the wrong end of the alphabet, the listener would notice this, too, because they would not be able to easily follow your recitation. When listening to your own writing, you should listen for the missing piece or for an unsound presentation of ideas.
Writing is usually about selling an idea. Therefore, you are actually presenting an argument or a persuasive discourse designed to influence the thoughts and/or behaviors of others. To accomplish this, you must dot your i's and cross your t's so that your readers will understand what you’re saying, not focus on a point you omitted, or become distracted by poor grammar, spelling, and punctuation. So, clean up your writing from the inside out – from the idea to the presentation.
Brita Madison's venture into the darkness with Zachary Tyler in Chasing Shadows has brought her to a new relationship with her paranormal abilities. Solving the murders of five women and nearly losing her own life has changed her world dramatically. Her new friendships with Chief of Police James Weston and Roger Dawson, her romance with Sam Jenkins, and her new circle of paranormal writing clients and friends has given her a new confidence in herself as a woman, a medium, and an editor. She no longer feels ostracized from the world.
In Shattered Hearts her newfound courage is pushed to the limits. A ghost boy she encounters in Phoenix while at a gathering of her new writing clients, who all possess and write about paranormal abilities, ignites an adventure that drags everyone in her world into the dark underbelly of a pedophile ring. Trying to rescue the children puts all of them in the crosshairs, including her boyfriend Sam and her unofficial partner, James Weston. Many hearts will be shattered before this case is put to rest.
I am always fascinated to see writers in the social networking groups spell out their frustrations and then watch the responses. This is when you really get to see the personalities show themselves. Many attitudes emerge, ranging from confident to know-it-all to self-assured to insecure to angry to helpful to loving—just to name a few.
The interesting thing to me is that the quality of the writing produced by the authors often has little to do with the attitudes they convey. Some brash know-it-alls produce poor quality work; whereas, some insecure personalities write beautifully. I learned early on that I couldn’t assume how good someone’s book would be by how confident they were about it and themselves and how good they were at marketing.
Marketing is a skill that was not necessarily packaged with the skill of writing when you picked up your talents on your way into this life experience. In turn, writing skill was not necessarily packaged with the ability to market products. Bottom line is this: just because a writer is a good marketer does not necessarily mean he or she is a good writer.
If you’re a fellow writer, take the time to actually read your colleague’s book before marketing it yourself, or at the very least, follow the advice given below for a regular reader.
If you’re a reader, you should never choose a book based on the author’s marketing. If you’re buying books through Amazon, “look inside.” If you’re at the bookstore, read the first chapter. If a friend has read it, question them about it.
Take time to read books that aren’t in your face all the time. I have been reading books lately by authors I’ve never heard about before, and I have discovered, to my delight, that there are so many excellent indie writers out there whose books I’ve never seen on Facebook.
I admit that I am not a good marketer of my own “stuff” so it warms my heart when I can share above average books I’ve read that aren’t big sellers with others. If everyone made the effort to expose little-known writers who write well, it could make a big difference for a lot of writers and the industry as a whole.
©2012 Dannye Williamsen
You can find many explanations of the writing process. Some are very technical and detailed-oriented. As a writer, you have probably figured out already that everyone has their own style and their own approach. It has a lot to do with your personality. Some writers need to outline their entire presentation before beginning. Some writers jot down a few points and start writing. Some writers rely on their intuitive connection to assist them in their writing, choosing to allow ideas to flow more freely.
Whatever category you fit into, there is one basic description of the process that is relevant for everyone, whether you are more analytical or more spontaneous.
• Every piece of work starts out with an idea. It is an idea that you have created. It doesn’t matter what sparked it: you now have a seed idea. You will now take this seed idea and use your own unique approach to the writing process to launch your work.
• The next stage in the process is the bring out the potential of this idea.
If you are what Robert Pirsig (Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance) calls a “classical” thinker, you may choose to sit down and write a detailed outline, carefully developing this seed idea into its fullest expression, before you ever begin the actual presentation itself.
If you are more of a “romantic,” you are less methodical. You’re more of a free spirit, choosing to live in the moment. So you may decide to jot down a few possibilities about how to expand your idea and trust in the moment. If you are an intuitive writer, you may take your idea and start writing, allowing your intuition to guide you.
You may be a little bit of both, but it doesn’t matter which approach you take as along as you carefully nurture your idea so that it develops into the message it was intended to express.
• The final stage in the process is to prune the outgrowth of your seed idea. Pruning, if done right, will produce a powerful and meaningful message.
During this stage, regardless of your approach to writing, you should read your talk over carefully. Take one paragraph at a time and check for grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Then check for syntax: the organization of words, phrases, and clauses in a sentence can deliver the power you’re seeking or neutralize your point entirely. Next, make sure that your sentences within a paragraph are in the best order for making your point. Next, determine if any sentences should be cut. Finally, make sure your paragraph is the next logical step in the fleshing out of your idea.
In their execution, these three stages incorporate more detailed steps found in others’ discussions of the writing process. I feel, however, that if you can keep the “big picture” in mind while you’re writing, you’ll be okay. My explanation offers you a structure within which you can do your work – details and all – without losing sight of what you’re trying to accomplish.
©2010 Dannye Williamsen
Book 2 of the Brita Madison Paranormal Mysteries is in the works! The working title is Shattered Hearts.
In this book, Brita will have a new group of cohorts with which to work. Remember the women who asked her to edit their paranormal books? Well, they're finally getting together, but talking about their writing careers is going to fall by the wayside. A young boy appears to Brita, and before they know it, all of the five women are drawn into the search for answers with Brita.
In a murder mystery, the scene of the crime is usually the pivotal point for the detectives working the case. As a writer, you have to think about who will arrive first on the scene. Is your victim found by a civilian or law enforcement? How is the scene secured? What exactly do you need your detectives to find or not find at the scene? How much forensic information is necessary for your reader to know to stay involved with the mystery?
Because of the digital age, readers are more savvy about crime investigations, particularly murder. C.S.I. and Criminal Minds provide plenty of forensics and behavioral analysis to make armchair experts of most of us. Consequently, it creates a wide spectrum for writers when it comes to deciding how much is too much and how much is not enough. Personally, I don't think there is a hard and fast rule. Go with your gut! Whatever you feel enhances the story line or broadens the scope of your characters is the right choice.
The bottom line is that writers and readers are not different from each other. Most readers just want to be carried along by the characters, feeling what they feel, and to exist in their worlds for a short period of time. Writers want the same thing. If we can come together in a special experience called a novel, well then ...
"Only the living are so persistent. The dead seem to understand that time is no longer an issue for them."
Brita is at best a reluctant psychic, and Chief of Police James Weston is the "poster boy for conservative." Can he accept the unimaginable?
Brita Madison has found a sanctuary in Williams, Arizona, a refuge from the multitude of visions and voices that have chased her all her life. Then one vision touches her soul, and she finds herself embroiled in the middle of a missing person's case with a woman’s life at stake. Little does she know that this is only the beginning.
Brita's visions uncover a trail of murders centered around the historic Route 66. As Brita steps deeper into the world she has been trying to escape, she and Weston are in a race against time to identify the serial killer. This journey threatens to tear apart their lives as well as those closest to them.
Grab a copy here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SU5YV70