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Writing Update WWU #10-17 and Writing Tips

WWU 10-17

Oh yeah, welcome to Friday my friends, I can smell the weekend, what about you? I can also see the spring on the horizon and summertime is not for away. We know what that means, time to get that swimsuit body into shape!

I got a lot to cover so let’s get straight to the updates.

  • Thunder Bear Book Cover: The polls are still open so there is time to cast your vote for the book. Not sure what I’m talking about read ‘Help Me Choose a Book Cover’. The tally is as follows. TB-1 (20) votes, TB-3 (30) votes, TB-4 (10) Votes, and TB-5 (30) votes
  • Thunder Bear: down to the last two or three chapters, I have it scheduled for completion for the last of the month.
  • Tales of Joe: This is the short story collection. I finished a re-write of a story I originally penned back in 1978 titled The Bloody Waters of Wahoo Creek. For my friends who live or have lived in and around Sargent Georgia, this tale comes from the folk-lore of the headless woman in search of her husband. That makes a total of five stories so far. The book also includes the following tales. Cursed; To Be or Not To Be, Death of a SoulBirth of a Killer, Night of Dreams and The Birds of Peace.
  • The Erotic Tales of Joe: At this time this book still has only one tale, a poem titled To a Princess. The good news is there are two stories out lined. The exciting news, I have solicited the help of two excellent erotic writers to write the female point of view in these tales. The first titled Getting My Mojo Back will feature Ava Bell as a female co-lead and G. Michelle as the other female co-lead. Me of course, I’m the male lead. Yeah I’m a lucky guy. The second title Lust Verses Commitment will be feature G. Michelle as the female lead.

That covers the updates.

I have read a couple of books from independent authors over the last week who didn’t have their work edited by a professional editor/proofreader. They made several  common new author mistakes. So this week I wanted to share a couple of writing tips. The excerpts that I will use as examples are from my manuscript Witch’s Dilemma.

Line Break

The line break is used for:

  • To change Point of View (POV)
  • To show an amount of time has elapsed since the last sentence read.

There is no right way or wrong way to insert a line break. However to help your reader follow the story it is essential that one is used. I use a space, *** centered, followed by another space, and no indention for the  paragraph following the ***. Like you do at the beginning of a new chapter.

Example:

 “I agree. I’ll be in around two to go over your discussion material for the conference, that give you time to get a shower and regroup?”
Megan nodded as she picked up her bag, along with the pink pieces of paper that had her messages on them.
Sandra knocked on the door before she stepped in. Megan was leaned back in her chair, eyes opened, with her ear buds in place. “Meg, you ready to get started?” Sandra inquired as she walked closer.

Now if you read the whole chapter you will see that this conversation wrapped up around one o’clock and Sandra is going to come see Megan at two. Without the line break it appears that Megan followed her to her office, but yet that was left out of the story.

Now read it with the line break inserted. 

  “I agree. I’ll be in around two to go over your discussion material for the conference, that give you time to get a shower and regroup?”
  Megan nodded as she picked up her bag, along with the pink pieces of paper that had her messages on them.

***

Sandra knocked on the door before she stepped in. Megan was leaned back in her chair, eyes opened, with her ear buds in place. “Meg, you ready to get started?” Sandra inquired as she walked closer.

Next the reader doesn’t need to know every move the characters make, or do they want to know. If the characters actions are not moving the story forward, well to put it in the words of Elmore Leonard, its Hoopte Doodle and needs to go.

Never Trust Auto Correct or Spell Check

When writing a scene in a book the writer tends to be focused on what is in their head and not on what they are putting on the screen which will transfer to paper later. If you depend on auto correct and spell check too much it’s going to bite you sooner or later.

Example:

   Levi was removing the ear buds from his ears as he spoke. “With all due respect, detective, this is a free country, once they walk out of here they have the right to go where they wish and will (excursion) that right, please don’t tell me your department has a problem with that.” Levi stated as he took a step toward the detective.

The word (excursion) is spelled correctly but is not the word that was meant to be used, (exercise) is the proper word. When typing ‘exercise’ it was misspelled and auto correct changed it to ‘excursion’.

Text and Background

I write an article for Live, Laugh, Love Nashville who has a blog and Facebook page. These articles are for a feature called Music Mondays. It is an informative article on the local talent here in Nashville. When you write an article on someone whether it be an individual or group three reputations are at stake. They are listed below in order of importance.

  1. The person or group the article is about
  2. The person who writes the article
  3. The person or group who posts the article.

The rules to follow are simple and will give you a professional looking piece. For starters, the person or group is the main focus of the article, not the writer or the organization posting the article. Do not misquote them, if you don’t understand an answer, ask, and if you don’t get a reply leave it out. The lead in to the story, if not about the person or group, should be no more than two lines, one preferably, as they are the feature of the article. Nothing is to draw attention away from the article and the stars of that article. This includes but not limited to, a flashy back ground that covers text or headers, some text centered, while other text is left or right justified, using a dark background and when text is cut and pasted, it has a white background. With all that said here are some basic tips to follow.

  • Use a white or light-colored back ground for your text, which should be black. Makes sure your blog background doesn’t interfere with the text by distracting from it.
  • If you are cutting and pasting a piece written for you, make sure you keep the paragraph structure correct.
  • If you are writing the article, have it edited and proofed, and if at all possible let the client read it before posting.
  • Use pictures sparingly one or two at the beginning of the text with one or two at the end. It’s recommended not to break the text up.
  • Make all text the same, left, right, or center justified, do not mix.

Besides this blog I have an obscure one that holds all my book reviews, interviews and the articles I have written for Live, Laugh, Love Nashville. I use it to lay the articles out to visualize what I think they should look like. None have been published but I decided to publish my book review with Nashville Author G. Michelle as an example of a journalistic piece. You will notice the clean white back ground with black text. No it doesn’t have a lot of color or bells and whistles in the blog background, but that allows the person or group and the article to be the center of attention.

Book review: Promise Me Always by G. Michelle

Till next week keep reading, writing and dreaming,

J.C.

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: Sleight of Hand – By: Phillip Margolin

Welcome to Review Friday

Book Reviews from an Authors Perspective.

 SleightofHand

SLEIGHT OF HAND

 By: Phillip Margolin

Book Details:

  • Published: 2013
  • ISBN:978-0-06-206991-7
  • Hardback
  • 312 Pages
  • SRP: USA $26.99
  • A Novel of Suspense
  • Joes Rating 4 out of 5 Stars

Sleight of Hand is the second book by Phillip Margolin I have read. The first, Woman with a Gun, I reviewed back in February.

Charles Benedict is an unscrupulous lawyer with a high IQ and an amateur illusionist. Most of his clients come to him via the Russian mob. Benedict is magical in the court room a good criminal lawyer. However things get weird when he ‘s on a case,  key witnesses  disappear into what seems like thin air, evidence tampered with or missing, and other strange happenings that allow his client to walk free. Charles Benedict has many adversaries in the courtroom, from the judge to Carrie Blair, prosecutor for the common wealth. Carrie, shunned by many due to her wealth, but she loves her job, and not her husband Horace, who has the money. Horace Blair is beyond rich and a powerful man in the business world with connections in state and federal government. Horace is older than Carrie, if you see them together you would think she is his daughter, but that didn’t matter, he fell head over hills for Carrie in court, and swooned her from the witness stand. The two married , of course not before the pre-nup was signed. Carrie had a good job and could stand on her two feet, the pre-nup, she didn’t care for. Horace insisted so she added her own little clause to it. Carrie would receive two million a year for each year of marriage, payable after ten years, if in that time she stayed faithful to Horace and tells no one about the agreement. Horace and Blair’s tenth anniversary was upon them, only days away. Carrie gets caught in a compromising position and suspects she was photographed coming out of Charles Benedict’s apartment one morning, nothing had happened, so he said, but the miss understanding could cost her twenty million bucks. Carrie disappears before the payout, Horace isn’t concerned until the local authorities show up at his door. Dana Cutler an ex-police detective, now a private investigator, has mental issues of her own. While infiltrating a biker gang her cover was blown, their payback was to hold her captive, gang raping her day after day. Her payback, priceless, she got her revenge but the trauma left her unstable and she loses it when threatened by a men. Dana returned from a wild goose chase that bought up questions. Who had paid her twenty-five thousand dollars to look for something that didn’t exist? Then there was the question of Carrie Blair’s disappearance, had she been murdered, if so by who, her husband? Will Horace hire Benedict if charged with his wife’s death? What about the other bodies that keep turning up with the same MO, is there a Psychopath on the loose? What could be the KEY, to this mess that has everyone scratching their heads.

Phillip Margolin uses the above characters and more in this suspense novel that’s action pack and full of turns. All the questions are answered in this story that flows well, is fast paced, with believable characters, making you pull for some and hate the others. The ending, well I’ll just say you gotta read the book.

Phillip Margolin is becoming my favorite author, his work is outstanding. With each book I read not only do I get a great story that I can lose myself in, I learn something about the craft of writing. Sleight of Hand showed me by example the following.

  •  Cover Art is important: Once again Phillip Margolin’s cover is appealing, and full of clues of what the book is about. Remember your cover makes the first impression, don’t blow it. Phillip Margolin has some of the best I’ve seen.
  • Point of view: Dana the private detective, in disguise, leaves the apartment of Tiffany Starr, a stripper, after questioning her. Once the door closes, the point of view changes from Dana to Tiffany. No new chapter, or paragraph heading, he added more white space to tell the reader of the change. He also does this when an amount of time has passed from one paragraph to the next.
  • Character Names: Some people so they are not important, I disagree and try to give my characters names that suit them, not stereo typing but you want a Joe to act like a Joe, not like an Alan. Prime example, when you read Tiffany Starr above you determined she was a stripper or porn star before I told you. There’s something to say about a strong character name.
  • Thesaurus: Never write a word without one. Phillip Margolin used the word ‘seethe’ means to boil or stew. A writer’s job is to show and not tell, one of the hardest things for many of us newbies to grasp, difficult to do that using the same words over and over.

Joe Clay is a new author, check his work out on his Website, Smashwords and Kindle. Joe can also be found on Goodreads where he answers questions every Friday. To see what Joe is working on visit WIP.

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