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Monthly Archives: February 2016


A productive Writer has to find a balance between focus and diversity in order to be as productive as possible.

A Writer has to find a balance between focus and diversity in order to be as productive as possible.

I know that this soounds like an odd combination, but hear is what I am referring to as the place that i want to take this. I have found that in order to be more productive as a writer I need focus, but I also need diversity in my day to day writing so that I don’t get bored. I don’t want too much focus so that I end up getting bored and I don’t want to get too diversified so that I lose my focus.

I recently read some place that you should never have more than five projects going at once. In the same token, I don’t think that we should have fewer than three going at a time. In December, I took myself down to three projects and finished two of them. Unfortunately, that third project I had slowed way down in doing because I had a number of other projects that I wanted to write as well. Not that I didn’t work on it, I did. The project, was Book IV in the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag. It is now in the hands of my first beta reader.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback.

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


It’s Video Friday again. The day that I share a writing  video that someone else has created.

 

So what was the best take away you got from this video? What do you already do? What will you include in your writing now that you have watched this video?

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback.

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


Hubpages

me_on_the_laptop

I have been on a number of article writing sites and the one that I have been on the longest is hubpages. The sad part is that last year I wrote only one hub on hubpages. I put most of my efforts last year on Bubblews which has now closed its doors.

Hubpages pays according to how many clicks you get per hub and how many ads get on a site. In addition, if you include specific amazon and ebay ads on the site, you get a commission from those also if someone buys from that specific ad.
On Hubpages about gardening, I included amazon links to my book Simply Vegetable Gardening. I have had them on their for over a year. Because the link is directly related to the subject of the article, no one has questioned the link.

EZine

Another article writing site that I just recently started participating in is Article EZine . This site doesn’t pay anything, but the articles written here are picked up by others and are put all over the internet. The idea is that the content is found and you become established as an expert regarding your topic.

Better Use of This Blog

A third and final way that I can get the word out there on the internet is to make better use of this blog. I have been thinking about different ways that I can work to get more traffic to this blog. in addition, I need to get more traffic going to my website. That is why I intend over the next several weeks to work on this aspect of getting seen online more as an expert in gardening, writing, marketing, and American History. I am going to make better connections between this blog and social media with my website. In addition, I want to connect a email marketing service. Although I would love to use AWeber, I have decided instead to use the free service of Mailchimp.

Offline Expert-Public Speaking

Having a book is indicative of an expert in a subject and so is public speaking. Speaking in public is part of what I do as a pastor, but is something I have neglected as an author. Getting out as an author of gardening books is easy. Last weekend, I participated as the Pastor of Faith in God Church, President of the Oregon County Writers’ Group (OCWG), as well as Author Cygnet Brown during the Ozark Sustainable Living University where I spoke about Simply Vegetable Gardening and my booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard. I sold several books at the back of the room, and I made several connections including an heirloom seed company owner. All these are my initial open door to prepper and sustainable living events.\
Another place I am becoming a local expert is in the fact that people come to me for advice about various writing subjects, primarily publishing as an Indie Author. I am, after all, the President of a local writer’s group so I must know something about writing, right? Maybe I can take this experience online. . .eventually as a writing coach.
Finally there is all the historical research I have done for the books I have written. I need to find a way to incorporate that into public speaking. I haven’t thought of how to make that work yet. Perhaps I can share the stories that I learn from my research.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback.

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


children-playing

Do you have joy in your life? What is joy?  Joy is different from happiness. Happiness is often a result of something that happens outside of us. We often say “that makes me happy” or “you make me so happy”. Happiness usually comes with the reason why you feel happy. Joy is different. Joy begins inside and radiates to include the outside. “You bring me joy.” Joy is often a result of who someone is rather than what someone does.

Most people who read the Bible see Joy as a fruit of The Spirit and it is. Galatians 5:22 oy is listed as a fruit of The Spirit. However, it is also a gift. , In Luke 2:10,  the angels brought tidings of great joy! Their presence took the shepherds to their knees in worship. The Angels brought joy and the shepherds received it.  When we receive the Holy Spirit into our lives. In other words, when we receive Our Creator’s Spirit into our lives, the gift of joy is part of what we receive.

 

Joy is often associated with innocence. Children experience joy more often than adults do. They abandon the cares of this world and allow themselves to just enjoy the world around them. In the case of children, they cast their cares on their parents. Children don’t (and shouldn’t) worry about where their next meal is coming from, where they will get their clothes, whether the utilities get paid, or whether or not they have a roof over their heads. They trust their parents to deal with those things. This leaves them to live in the present and experience that gift of joy.

Be As Little Children

How do we receive joy in our lives. The word says that we are to become as little children. In I Peter 5:7 it says that we are to cast our cares on him for he cares for us. Jesus said that we are to take no thought about tomorrow. He tells us that we are to give thanks for everything. Joy is an attitude that belongs to all of us and we are to cultivate it.

Joy-No Matter What Your Circumstances

Joy begins with gratitude for what God has given you. No matter what your circumstances, you can choose to receive joy. Less than two years ago, I lost three family members within six months of one another. Then my husband told me that he loved a thirteen year old girl (not our daughter)  and put his hands around my neck and threatened to kill me. I was put out of my house, forced to leave my daughter behind because I didn’t have anywhere to take her. I didn’t let any of this steal my joy. I cast my cares on the Lord. I got a job, had it for a year, then lost it because of an accusation of something that I didn’t do. By this time I quit worrying and focused instead on the “Joy of the Lord”.

The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength

Psalm 30:5 King David Wrote “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” King David was a man “after God’s own heart”. He knew the joy of the Lord and (to such abandon that it embarrassed his wife Michel) danced before the Ark of the Covenant. He also understood however what it was like to be in the depths of despair. He knew that the problems he had in life would not last, but that even though he did not always see it, like the sun behind the clouds, joy was always there. “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” Psalm 126:5.
The Meek Shall Inherit God’s Joy
Isaiah 29:19 says “the meek shall increase their joy in the Lord.”
In Nehemiah 8:9-12, the children of Israel had just spent 70 years in captivity. They had finally been allowed to return to Jerusalem to rebuild it. A day of celebration had been declared where mourning and weeping were no longer allowed.
There is coming a day when our life’s journey here on earth will have been completed. On that day the Lord will mandate a day of celebration for those of us who joined to him. On that day, there will be no sadness, no mourning, only joy.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback.

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


me_on_the_laptop

“Throw up into your typewriter every morning. Clean up every noon.”
― Raymond Chandler

Last week I talked about writing fast. Getting the words down on paper quickly is important to me, but what is equally important as Raymond Chandler suggests is that revision is also a necessary part of the writing process. This week I am talking about revision. I follow this advice of Raymond Chandler regularly. I write first and revise and edit later.

I think that this is a key element of writers who find themselves in the trap of writer’s block. While he or sh is trying to get the words down on paper the writer is trying to edit at the same time. That writer then loses focus on what he or she is trying to say and gets lost in the editing. However, its not the editing itself that is the problem. I, for one, probably need to edit more than I do, but it is the timing of the revising that is the problem.

I think that is what is so beautiful about NaNoWriMo. It teaches us that for one day a month we can write without editing. We can give our internal editor a month’s vacation while we write our guts out. I have had those days especially during that November rush where I felt at the end of a session that I didn’t have another word in me, but then the next day, I found more water in that writing well of mine. With NaNoWriMo books, the writers there suggest that once we have finished writing our first draft that the next thing that we should do is to ruthlessly edit out all of the bad stuff. I can never bring myself to do that right away. Usually, I blend the editing out of the bad stuff with lengthening the book to its final second draft length of eighty thousand words.

New Policies at Amazon Make Revisions Crucial

A few days ago I heard that Amazon is now cracking down on authors who publish books with formatting and proofreading problems. Beginning tomorrow, February 3, 2016, If  too many complaints come in about your books, Amazon now may take them down and not allow us to sell our books on their site any longer. All the more reason to be certain that typos are thoroughly removed with edits.

Revising Stages-Step One-Content Writing

There are two primary stages in the revising process.

The first stage of the revising process is content editing and this type of editing should be done first with the broad story in mind and gradually becoming more specific in what is being edited. The first thing that I edit is the main story elements and I use the three act play structure for this. Rather than me trying to explain what I mean in this article,Click Here for a link to an article that explains it better than I can

Character Arcs are the next aspect of this stage that I examine. This is probably as important as the back story in developing a realistic character. Beginning withe protagonist and the antagonist and ending with the characters that are only part of one scene, evaluate how the interaction of that character changes in the book. As you develop your characters determine why this person is important to the story. Is he or she there for a specific purpose or is he or she just there to build up the word count? If the character is there for simply adding word count, then you must either decide to eliminate the character or develop a more important role for that character. For more information about character arcs, here is an article by Darcy Patterson called the 3 types of character arcs, choose the best one for your novel. Click Here.

Once you have looked at the overall story structure and evaluated your characters, now evaluate each individual scene for value. Again is it simply there to add to the word count or does this scene have a purpose. Should you edit it out or can you find a way to give this scene a more important place in the story line.To learn to write the Perfect Scene, check out this  article by America’s Mad Professor of Fiction Writing Follow this link.

The final step in this stage is changing pretty passive prose into moving active phrases. This is where you “kill your darlings” those long pages of flowery description and those preachy author-narrator  monologues, It isn’t about taking out your favorite passages just because you like them either. They just have to have a purpose. This article “Killing your Darlings” by Jo Naylor explains this idea very well. Click here.

Revising Stage-Step Two- Checking For Accuracy

The next stage in writing is to double check on accuracy of information in your book. If there is someone doing a specific task make sure that they are doing the task correctly. Double check timing in your scenes. Do you allow reasonable time to accomplish certain tasks. If you are using dates, are these dates accurate. Was Thursday, November 26, 1842 Thanksgiving Day? The Answer to that is “No”. First November 26, 1842 occurred on a Saturday. Second, although there have been numerous days of thanksgiving throughout American history, Thanksgiving as we know it had not yet been celebrated.

As a historical novelist, not only must I check dates and how things were done at the time of my novels, but I also have to make sure that what people say are things that people might have said back then. However, I don’t necessarily want to be too much into the vocabulary of the time, otherwise, my readers might get lost in the dialogue.

Revising Stage-Step Three-Proofreading

Finally, last but not least comes proofreading. When it comes to proof reading, I am probably the world’s worst proofreader when it comes to proofreading what I personally have written. (I am a lot better editing for other people though). I think that the reason that I don’t proofread as well as I would like is that since I have gone over and over that scene numerous times, I see the wording as it should be and not necessarily as I see it in my head.

The first step that I take to proofread is to go through the entire manuscript and get rid of specific words that don’t really mean anything or add to the book. These are words like pretty, nice, very, and almost anything that ends in the letters “ly”. Ask yourself, “Does that word actually need to be there?” See what I mean? A good idea is to create your own list of words that you tend to you when you are writing that you don’t need.These words indicate lazy writing  These words are all part of your way of being lazy or passive.  For a great tool for identifying passive voice, check out this site.

Now you’re getting down to the nitty-gritty. of proof reading. I suggest that you develop your own check list regarding what you need to be checking in your proofreading. Use your spell check often, but never depend solely upon your spell check to find all the mistakes.  For more information about how to proofread, Check out The Muse, Edit your work Click here.

Another Set of Eyes

Once I have gone though this entire process. I am sick of what I have written. I definitely not in a position to judge my work any longer. In addition, I start becoming blind to my own work. Therefore, I happily send it to my beta readers who happily read it and tell me what mistakes they see. I learned that this process is most effective if I send it to one person and then to another. I don’t hand the beta reader a manuscript, however. Instead, I have a single book made at the LULU  a POD (print on demand) publisher and when that copy comes  back I send it to my first beta reader. A printed book is so much easier and I think less expensive than several hundred loose manuscript pages and there is little chance of losing pages. This also gives me a break from this project. Once the book has been edited by the first beta reader, I evaluate the edits. Sometimes I agree sometimes not, but after that revision, I send a copy (usually the same one the first beta reader had) to my second beta reader who is more adept at finding proofreading mistakes. After I take care of those edits, the manuscript is ready for formatting and distribution.

Book into the Hand of an Expert

Last Saturday at the OSLU held at my church, the last speaker of the day was Mike from White Harvest Seed Company. He like several of us had books for sale. Many of them I had seen on Amazon. I gave him a copy of Simply Vegetable Gardening. I then asked him to look it over and give me feedback on what he thought of the book and what he liked about it and what he thought that  I should do differently. The reason I picked him as an expert is that I felt that his high standards in seed quality would be a good litmus test of my authority as a garden expert myself. White Harvest Seeds’ motto is:Due to our high respect and love for these wonderful varieties, all of our seeds are true-to-type, Open-Pollinated Heirlooms – non-treated and non-GMO.” If you’re interested in learning about White Harvest Seed Company, check out http://www.whiteharvestseed.com

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback.

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

 

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