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Elle Clouse

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Avast! Pirate Sites

AvastSome thoughts on pirate sites

I’ve been seeing a rash of pirate website selling deeply discounted or even free ebooks.  I am not going to rant about how unethical these sites are or that you are stealing from the author.  There are a million posts like that.

I’m going to offer another perspective.  As a reformed computer geek, I view these “here today gone tomorrow” pirates sites as nothing more than a virus waiting to infect your computer.  Literally.  Did you know that some sites can infect your computer with a virus or key logger just by visiting?  You might think, I have X Brand Anti-Virus software so I’m safe.  Uh, no.  Since these programs are built by people with the sole intention of messing up your life, they evolve to evade Norton or McAfee, etc.  Hence why your software has updates, to counter the new stuff.  So,  you can get computer bugs.

If you buy a discounted book, the site owner might just take your payment information and use it themselves, especially credit cards.  If you slap your personal information down to buy a discounted book you have no guarantee that site wont turn around and sell it or use it to buy high prices electronics overseas.  Can we say identity theft?

A free download from an unknown site could result in the aforementioned virus too.  Especially if the file is zipped.  So you might think that you are getting a free ebook but instead you get free porn pop ups and a trip to the tech guys to get it removed.  Imagine trying to explain the porn infestation?  Ha ha.  And that’s just the light end of what could happen.

So, in summary, please purchase and download your ebooks from sites you trust.  Amazon, B&N, All Romance Ebooks, the author’s own website, or the publisher website.  Type in the URL to your browser yourself.  Sometimes phishers try to make their site look legit by using an Amazon logo so don’t click funky ads or weird looking addresses.  Protect yourself buy avoiding scam sites.  🙂

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Hello Sweet Justice

 

scrivener corkboard screenprintSo, this is my novel as it was outlined and input into Scrivener.  It’s hard to believe that those 17 note cards will get me to 50 thousand words by the end of next month.  I wouldn’t be surprises as things evolve, the number of chapters increases.  I’m sure that some of the characters will develop a mind of their own.  They always do.   But if I stick to this game plan or keep  it as current as I can, I’m pretty sure I can rock this out with minimal head desking.

I added the word count widget from the NaNoWriMo website to the right, so you can check my progress any time.  I’ll try to blog as often as I can.   4 more days!

The NaNoWriMo Game Plan

NaNoWriMo starts in less than two weeks!

To prepare, I’ve created an outline using Holly Lisle’s Professional Plot Outline course, available for $.99.  Since I’ve never actually outlined, I figured I would consult an expert resource.  Now I have my whole novel plotted out, down to the scene, from beginning to end.  The course even pushed my ideas further than originally anticipated to new and fun plot devices.  I am hoping that a complete outline will prevent writers block and keep me on track the whole month.

The next step, I will be adding all my scenes from the outline and sticking them into Scrivener.  I bought Scrivener last year after my NaNoWriMo win with my winner’s discount and promptly forgot about it.  A writer friend, Jonathan Fesmire, mentioned he enjoys the program so I watched the start up video and updated my program.  Scrivener has this neat note card feature I can put all my plot points into.  So where ever I pick up writing, I’ll know where I am and where I’m going.  I could probably write the novel backwards, but I’m not that masochistic.

I will also be using the ‘research’ file system where Scrivener saves your files/images/sound bites IN SCRIVENER.  So it’s all at my finger tips when ever I need it.  I will be using this Character Chart for Fiction Writers to really flesh out my characters.  It’s seven pages long and asks for things I don’t normally think about.  It will stay right next to my writing and I can pull it up with a click or I can even use the two pane option and write while looking at it.  This way, my characters wont have eyes that change color through out the book.  My previous method of keeping a notebook isn’t ideal for me.

That’s the game plan so far.  For being a pantser in the past, I feel that’s pretty good.  If you are participating in the NaNoWriMo, what are you doing to prepare?

One Outlining Method

A friend of mine found a method for plot outlining a novel called The Snowflake Method.  You basically take one concept and expand upon it until you have a whole novel charted out.  It’s a concept that I never thought of before and I thought to myself, that’s nice but I don’t think I can use that based on my current creative process.  There is no one method that works for everyone and that is just fine.

I found myself with some downtime and decided to nail down certain things in Northam, the fantasy world my current works take place.  Things are getting too long and complicated to rely on going back and looking so I started an outline of how magic worked in my setting.  I started with the broadest concept of magic and started to break it down into its many points, adding types of caster, types of magic, sub types of magic, etc.  I’m not going to tell you what I devised, you will have to read my novels to figure that out, but when it was done I realized that I had used the Snowflake Method.

I guess without even realizing it, something I had read about maybe a month ago was still rolling around in my brain and I found a practical application for it.  Since most of my story ideas originate from dreams I’ve had, I am not certain it will work for plotting but it has other application.  I’m sure that I can use the technique for outlining other things in the setting.

So I thought that I’d share the article I found in hopes that you can find use for it.  Like I said, not every method works for everyone but knowing your options will help you devise the method that works best for you.

My Pinterest

I’ve purposely avoided Pinterest since all I heard about it was how it sucked hours of people’s lived away.  By that description, it’s a very scary thing and I didn’t need to risk my time.  A good friend of mine, Renea Mason, who has a very smexy new book out right now that I highly recommend, pointed out that one might be able to use Pinterest as an inspiration board.  

So I’ve done just that, I’ve created boards for every story I plan to write.  Some are finished and seeking publication, some are nothing more than a vague idea I dreamed up.  (Literally.)  Feel free to check out my boards, 😉  I don’t have boards for every idea , just the ones that I found images for.  The boards will expand as I find more appropriate pictures.  

I hope I don’t get sucked into some time vacuum and wake up decades later…

Five things you should know about query letters

Plain and simple advice:

Five things you should know about query letters.

How To Write A One-Page Synopsis

I’m currently struggling with my synopsis now, although mine needs to be 3 to 5 pages for my first submission.  I thought that I would share this as it gives good examples and is an interesting read.

How To Write A One-Page Synopsis.

Bad Writing Habits

When I started this endeavor to be a serious author, I had a couple rough drafts under my belt already.  I’ve been a hobby fictionist for years but as soon as I decided to get my rear in gear I thought that it would be easy.  I’d just have to do some light editing and send it off to a publisher and then my life would be altered.  I’d be a famous writer.  I could quit my job.  Live the dream.  All that crap.

As I dug into what I would like to be my first published novel, I realized that it needed more than just a few light edits.  There were plot holes, story arcs that needed to be explored, and characters that needed more definition.  There were also some glaringly bad writing habits evident in my prose that I may not have seen if I didn’t give myself a break between drafting and editing.  (It just so happened to be a 6 year break but that is neither here nor there.)

The first one I noticed is that I love to start sentences with ‘but’ or ‘and’.  I think that my 8th grade grammar teacher would have beat me with his beloved grammar book if he saw the draft before I purged the problem.  Now, some people say that starting a sentence with a conjunction once in a while isn’t bad.  However when it’s almost every sentence, there is no justification for that.  So that was the first thing I looked for when I started to edit.

The second was this little thing called passive voice.  I recently reblogged an article that touches on passive voice and I had not heard much about it before starting to dissect my novel.  I tried to research it but did not have much luck so the article I shared helped me.  Basically, I over use the words ‘that’, ‘was’, and ‘had’.  Grossly over use.  Basically, if you can remove ‘that’, ‘was’, or ‘had’ from your sentence and it reads well, you don’t need it.  Bye bye ThatWasHad!

Lastly, I over use the word though.  Although it’s subtle, I do over use it though.  It was rather bad.  Though.  I think that I did have the word ‘though’ in the same sentence three times.  Whoops.

I feel that it’s a huge step forward for me to identify my weak points.  Even if unpleasant at first, now I can grow as a writer and storyteller.  I am not a grammar stickler.  I do have my own pet peeves about word usage and certain grammar mistakes but I am not the expert at all things grammar.  I just feel that I should know how to write well enough to pass as a real author.  How else will a publisher want to pick up my work if I’m not at the very least semi-professional?  What sort of professional doesn’t study their craft?  What sort of craft is worth doing if not doing well?  Would you want to put your name on something less than your best?

I am a wordsmith.  It is my kung fu.

Editorial Pet Peeves

I like sharing posts like this. I am working on eliminating passive voice in my work and found this very helpful. As well as all the tips about seeking publication and the inside process. I hope you find it helpful too,

Nancy's Notes From Florida

At a recent Florida Romance Writers meeting, we heard Senior Editor Callie Lynn Wolfe from The Wild Rose Press and Acquisitions Editor Lisa Manuel from Silver Publishing speak about their pet peeves regarding submissions. Here’s a summary of what they said, subject to my interpretation.writer pencil

Submissions can be really good or really bad. Most fall in the middle, and that’s where your competition lies. If it’s a choice between two manuscripts, an editor is more likely to favor the one with good grammar. Lisa advises writers to “format your work according to our guidelines.” Don’t use fancy fonts, borders, etc. Less is better in terms of formatting.

Callie says when she receives a proposal, she’ll look to see if the author followed their guidelines. By paying attention to formatting, you’re showing the editor you can be cooperative and work within the company’s parameters. She’ll check the mechanics and will evaluate…

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