Posts Tagged ‘Over Coffee. Sia McKye’

Author, Actor, Director

September 30, 2009

Author, Actor, Director

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Many writers will tell you they see their stories unfold in their head, much like a   movie.

Is that the case with you?

I attended a writer’s workshop recently that discussed using theatrical techniques   when writing your story. It was presented by an actress and author (Leanna Renee Hieber) and was a fun workshop. I came away with better visual ideas for my writing.

The author is not only writer, but also:

  • Cinematographer and as such you’re in charge of the setting, picture, mood, and ambiance of each scene in the story.
  • Director whose job it is to set the staging, pacing, and viewpoint
  • Actor. As an actor you have to delve into the character. What’s the character’s motivation, how should the lines be delivered, how do you use the dialogue to show your character and his/her inten
  • Marketing Director and as such what’s your movie poster quote? The one line pitch or tag line? You’re a brand so how do you present you and your work?

I’ve gotten stuck now and then, while writing. You know when you know something is wrong but you can’t quite figure out what. It’s frustrating. I had a light bulb moment as I was listening to the speaker. Leanna said, never forget your characters. They are what drive the book. If we’re writing, editing, or have gotten stuck ask yourself as the actor:

1444002 What’s my motivation?

How am I going to get what I  want (intention and tactics)?

What’s the conflict? Or what’s keeping me from getting what I want?

What’s my environment and how is it affecting me? This is context.

My light bulb moment was, wow, I could use this for character and dialogue but I could also use this when crafting or editing my scenes especially if I’m stuck. It would help me look at each character within the scene to see if they’re reacting true to their GMC and is the scene being written to the best dramatic advantage.


Do you use any of these techniques when you write or edit?

What are your thoughts on this?


When I Make It Big…

September 23, 2009

Sia McKye’s Thoughts…OVER COFFEE

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Diana CrowningWeb[1]It’s my pleasure to have Diana Castilleja, author of Aiza Clan Shifter series, as my guest today. Diana writes paranormal, romantic suspense, and erotica as Diana DeRicci.

Diana discusses how writing has evolved over the last decade, as well as some well thought out advice about the writing process, our attitude towards rejections, and knowing the market we’re for which we’re writing…

I’m asked often what my advice would be for new writers just starting out.

There’s the basics:

  • Learn your craft, the skill of writing correctly without losing your innate flair and voice. Remember, the story you write, can only be told by you. Also understand that all the *rules* out there, aren’t in stone. Write the story the way you would want to read it. Only written words can be corrected and improved. A blank page is fodder for the crayon box.
  • Realize rejection, while tough, isn’t personal. It truly, really isn’t. Your story with all its wonderful twists and characters, is one of probably a hundred different story lines the agent, editor or publisher has looked at just that week when they finally reach yours. There’s places all over the web that discuss the most common rejections and why they happen. Everyone gets rejected. It’s part of the business. You’re not failing because you receive rejections. You’re succeeding because you are pushing forward, because you are driving yourself for more. Be proud.
  • Understand the market you’re writing for. Sounds simple enough, huh? Not exactly. Your market is going to change probably close to yearly as your style, voice and talent improve, as new authors arrive on the scene and mold the current reading selections, and favorites inspire whole new worlds. Sometimes the best thing you can do is generalize your story and let the publisher et al decide where to place it. Remember, this is a very fluid industry. Trends change on a nearly quarterly cycle with publishing. Aim for your genre and learn where your writing fits best. It’s not a reason to panic.


  • Lastly, glaciers move faster than any facet of the publishing industry. Different methods are faster (ebook/small press) or slower (New York) but it all still takes time. The best way to combat that impatience sitting on your shoulder? Write your next story. You might just discover something new that hadn’t appeared in the previous one. A new tangent, a new skill, a new idea. That’s what makes writing so rewarding, at least for me.

So when I make it big, I can say I knew me when, because I’ve already experienced a lot of this, and know I have a lot more rolling down that hill to smack into me at any given moment. Is that impending trouble enough to make me stop writing? Honestly, no. I have locked up with writer’s block, for a whole year once. I refuse to let that happen again, but I can’t see myself willingly tossing in the towel and never writing a tortured hero or a messed-up heroine again. I’d probably drive my family insane if I did. I’m sure they’d be grateful if I didn’t.

Do you see rejections as failures?
How have you evolved as a writer?

What are your thoughts on this?

Unplugging: Balancing Promotion And Writing

September 7, 2009

Alison Kent One Good ManUnplugging: Balancing Promotion And Writing

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I’d like to welcome Romance Author, Alison Kent, Over Coffee. As you’ve noticed, she has a hot new book available this month, One Good Man.

Today, online promotion is a way of life for authors. Publishers expect more and more from authors in selling and promoting their books. For authors that means Social Networking and blogs. How much is too much? How do you find a workable balance between necessary promotion and time to write your stories? It’s not an easy juggling act and has no definitive solution. Each author has to decide what works best with their deadlines.

I’ve heard many of my writer friends discussing the need of limiting their online time. Alison talks about what works for her.

This time last year, my husband and I were getting ready for a long overdue getaway. I hesitate to call it a vacation because I was the one in need of a break and he was being the good sport that he is and indulging me. I’d been on constant deadline for years (approximately nine) and had but one book left under contract. I couldn’t even think about diving in. I was spent. The getaway had to happen.

Backing up to August of last year, I’d been in my dentist’s waiting room where I saw an article in Texas Monthly about the 25 best swimming holes in Texas. There was one, a spring-fed pool where swimmers – and scuba divers – shared the water with turtles and fish. It was in far West Texas. In the desert. In a state park. In a town of 500. I was SO there. I booked us a room for 4 days. It was an 8-hour drive.

I ate it up. Every minute. I unplugged. I read. I walked. One day I swam, but it was freakin’ COLD, so I left most of the swimming to the husband. We brought our laptop, and the park offered free WiFi, but it would only connect from the picnic table behind the park’s office. The husband would stop there to check the Web on his Blackberry (he is NOT a fan of unplugging), but I didn’t check mail or blogs or anything for almost a week. I did have emails from my agent and editor forwarded to my phone, but since nothing was going on, no negotiations or revisions, it was a precaution in case something came up.

Nothing did, and I loved that week so much I wanted to marry it. I would’ve stayed another. I would go back today. The kitchenette and bathroom in the park’s motel was a modular unit circa 1960. It was clean, but funky, like living in an travel trailer. I didn’t care. I used the time to visualize the book I would have to come home to write. I set it in the same area. I used the places we visited, turning the town of Fort Davis, Texas into my story’s Weldon. I breathed the air my characters would breathe. It was bliss.

I don’t know about other writers, but I’ve found that being constantly connected to the world outside my head plays havoc with the world inside where I get paid to play. When I worked outside the home, my need for adult communication was met during the 8 to 5, and my time at home was family and writing. It worked well. Sure, I emailed and blogged at home, but I got a whole lot of that done on my lunch hour (or while working because it was that kind of casual office), so again. My time at home was family and writing. My real world and my fictional world. I kept the social networking to office hours.

Now that I’m writing full-time and can check email and blogs on my phone and computer (unplugging is more a matter of discipline than technology when everything in the house is wireless), it’s harder to compartmentalize my lives. Stalled on a paragraph? Check email. Frustrated with getting a conversation to ring true? Read blogs. The never-ending stream of information is not a good thing. For me, anyway, and I can’t imagine there’s not some detrimental effect on anyone who creates and needs focus.

That week away with the husband really brought home my need for creating in an environment where I talk to–and listen to –no one but my characters. I’ve pulled back a lot from social networking because of the silence of that week. It was an invaluable lesson in how *my* brain works. Since I have a business online, I have to check my client email once a day, but I try to spend at least two days a week offline completely. I don’t always succeed because I have friends who are my writing cubicle mates. They keep me sane, and I need sane to function. I can Twitter from my phone, sharing what’s on my mind without having to interact. I’ve stopped thinking I MUST blog every day, and am now doing so only when the mood strikes. There’s still a part of me that thinks I need to be out there more, but my books are feeling so much better, richer, deeper now that I’m giving my story people my full and undivided attention.

What do you think? Do you ever find your focus splintered and feel the need to spend some quiet time, if not in the desert of West Texas, then at least away from the nonstop bombardment of information?


Playing And Writing Well With Others

September 2, 2009

Playing And Writing Well With Others

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Tawny Weber Feels Like the First TimeI want to welcome Tawny Weber, one of my favorite Blaze authors, to Over Coffee. She writes some wonderful stories and may I add, they’re hot enough to sizzle bacon. Her characters are fun, quirky, and realistic.

Today her topic about writing with others and  with the new four part Mini-Series launched by Blaze, Dressed To Thrill.

Writing is, by nature, a solitary pursuit. We spin tales and weave make believe in our minds, then carefully craft them into stories with pen or keyboard. For some, that’s done in a quiet space, others in a cacophonous crowd. But it’s generally done alone.

At least it is in my little world. I’m a major lone-writer…I do brainstorm with my critique partner, the amazing Beth Andrews, and revise with my editor. But the story writing itself is an isolated process. At least, it was until my latest book…


Writers: do you write alone or do you have a group you work with?

Readers: are you a fan of connected stories?

Come the discussion and share your thoughts with us Over Coffee.