Saturday, April 18, 2015

All About The Hook ~ @oddlynn3 #rndrobin0418 #LynnCrain #AWriterInVienna



Hi everyone!

And welcome to A Writer In Vienna. If you’ve never been here before, pull up a chair and look around. I’ve lived in Vienna, Austria four years and am trying to share that experience with others. Drop by my other blog www.lynncrain.blogspot.com for Monday’s Scoop where I talk even more about the experience. While there, don’t forget to comment and be entered into my monthly contest for a $25 GC of your choice.

Today’s topic is all about what glues you to a story, start to finish. This also includes how we as authors hook our readers. These are age old topics for writers and aren’t to be taken lightly. If you can’t interest a reader immediately in today’s publishing world, you don’t have a chance. If you don’t live up to your hook, you don’t have a chance of being picked up again by that reader.

So…what’s an author to do? Write a great first line, of course!

To me, some of the things a first line, commonly called your hook line, should do, but not necessarily all of them, are:

T  State something unusual.
T  Show someone under stress. For example, if your main character is a time traveler, how they handle what they see and experience will decide the course of the story.
T  The first must be appropriate to the story. You don’t show a nun, who is having a crisis of faith, in the middle of a barrage of gunfire.
T  It should describe the moment when the rest of the novel becomes inevitable.
T  The first line should sum up the whole story.
T  They must make the reader want to read line two.

Overall, a first line or hook, should be clever, thought-provoking, draw the reader into an unfamiliar world, bring a smile to the readers face, be poignant, setup a mystery, use words in such a wonderful way that the reader wants more, introduce a characters and so much more. Those are just a few of the things I feel a first line should do.

Just think of some of the best first lines you’ve read. Here a few of mine:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. (Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen, 1813)

Harry Potter was a very unusual boy in many ways. (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J.K. Rowling, 1999)

He was running for his life. (Hot Ice, Nora Roberts, 1987)

And here’s a few from my own stories:

Damn, I’m going to lose another one, MacKenzie thought as she beat the steering wheel with her fist. (Midnight Run, Lynn Crain, 2010 unpublished)

He had always been in this cage in one way or another. (Night of the Blue Moon, Lynn Crain, 2007)

What the hell was I doing on this off-planet hell hole? (Private Dancer, Lynn Crain, 2007)

The first line sets the tone for of the rest of the novel, everything else of the story will follow from it. If the first line isn’t something an author can feel in their gut, it’s probably wrong.

Now once you’ve written that great first line, you need to keep the pace going so that every page is integral to the overall story arc of the characters. Again, think of all the books you couldn’t put down. The books I listed above were finished in a day or no more than a few days because every page was a turner.

As a writer, it’s hard to make every page something great. The idea is to first get the story down as if it never gets out of one’s head and on the page, it doesn’t matter. Once there, an author can tweak it, read it again, send it to betas, tweak it some more, have an editor look at it and finally get it published because it shines like a new copper penny.

Some writers think there is a secret to making great page turners. There isn’t. A writer’s greatest tool is the ability to change and adapt, to make their product better as their career moves on. What and how I write today isn’t the same as how I wrote in my late twenties. I’m better and I know it.

And as a writer, I will learn and grow until I can’t any more. Even today, I take classes. Currently, I’m in two marketing classes, a flash-fiction class and a class on how to create a language. I feel it will all make me a better writer.

Overall, I try to write stories I like to read. I love things to be thrilling and constantly changing. Some of my works-in-progress reflect that as I’m working on a series of short stories about a paranormal matchmaking service, a series of shorts about a group of women who were genetically engineered to be soldiers, and a series about a young girl thrust into the world of paranormal investigation. Each and every story is unique. Hopefully, they have a great hook, an incredible middle and a kick-ass ending.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little look into writing great hooks and page turners. Thank you for being supportive of us during our round robins. We love when you visit us and tell us what you think.

Don’t forget to go to each of the authors in the list below. Again, thanks for joining us…see you next time.

Lynn


T Rachael Kosnski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
T Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.webs.com/

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Matter of Research ~ @oddlynn3 #rndrobin0321 #LynnCrain #AWriterInVienna



Hi everyone!

And welcome to A Writer In Vienna. If you’ve never been here before, pull up a chair and look around. I’ve lived in Vienna, Austria four years and am trying to share that experience with others.

Today’s topic is all about research. Every story, no matter what genre deals with research. I was asked the following questions: What type of research have you had to do? Does it bother you when you read something happening in a story that is inaccurate historically, socially, scientifically, etc.?

Here’s my answer: All story genres take some research for establishing details in the setting. It really doesn’t matter what genre one writes in, everyone needs to do some research. When I was writing my award-winning story, The Haunting of Maggie Grey, I had to figure out just how a woman doctor would survive in Scotland on the Isle of Skye. Even before that, I had to figure out if there were even women doctors available to that area during the 1880s-1890s since I wasn’t sure. Happily, I found there was a plethora of women who went into the profession and offered their services to the underprivileged of the time. I even had to do research of veterinary medicine as the hero was a vet and again, I didn’t know if that was even possible. Apparently, I got it right as that story has won some ebook awards in its time.

However, if I wasn’t doing a historic setting, I’d still have to do the research. In my completed book called Loving the Scotsman, I’m again back in Scotland. In that book, I draw on my time visiting there as the setting is contemporary. I look at the places I’d been and even made up some fictional ones to fit the mood and event. I knew enough from being there, my current time research and even emailing people I knew there to make sure everything was accurate or plausible. This story is currently with an agent and I’m hopeful that it will go the rounds at NYC very soon.

I even take Scotland one step further. In my WIP, I again go back to Skye with A Wizard in Skye. This is a story about a futuristic female cop who is pulled into a wizard’s prison by some evil magic. She doesn’t believe in magic. Here I use my husband’s family clan as the backdrop, The MacLeods, and their legend of The Fairy Flag. There are many things written about that little piece of cloth and if I get one wrong, it will be a sad day. So weaving legend with the future has been a fun thing to do. The research here is quite different because I have to keep the Fairy Flag legend intact, layer some of my own interpretation and then draw in a futuristic world of my own making. It all has to be seamless and plausible at the same time.

As far as how I do research, sometimes it just takes me reading a few articles, taking a few notes then making my own decisions on what I’ll use and how I use it. Other times, like one of my current bigger projects, every story will need some major research into the science, the legends and just how it will all mesh together.

Frankly, if I run across stories where the research is poorly done, I will not pick up that author again unless I feel there were reasons for the inaccuracies. For instance, if a story is all about an alternative timeline to our own history, of course, things will be different…may be slightly…may be a lot. It would all depend upon the author’s vision. However, if it is a historic event and they are presenting it as such, I just might write that author and point it out, it would all depend. However, I tend to be a little more lenient about social and scientific things because those can be an interpretation versus an actual fact difference. Most of the items that writers skew to fit their stories are social or scientific. Basically, I know how I see something isn’t the way another does. Yet, if someone tries to disprove a science tenant such as the law of physics, I’d be hard pressed to take them seriously.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little look into my research methods. Thanks for being supportive of us during our round robins. We love when you visit us and tell us what you think.

Don’t forget to go to each of the authors in the list below. Each of them is a very different look into how they do research and what they think. Again, thanks for joining us…see you next time.

Lynn


T Margaret Fieland at http://www.margaretfieland.com/blog1/
T Beverley Bateman at http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
T Skye Taylor at http://www.skye-writer.com/
T Kay Sisk at http://kaysisk.blogspot.com
T Fiona McGier at http://www.fionamcgier.com/
T A.J. Maguire at http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
T Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
T Rhobin Courtright at http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com/

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Gift for Readers ~ @oddlynn3 #rndrobin1220 #LynnCrain

  

Hi everyone!

Welcome to another Round Robin event. This month we’ve taken on a little bit different type of post. This month, it’s all about you the reader. Each one in the blog list will be giving away something to their readers. And since this is the Christmas season, I’ve decided to give a few things away.

I love Christmas and it’s my favorite season in Vienna. There are Christkindlmarkts and tons of fun things to do. This year is a little different as the weather is not normal. Normally, it’s cold with a promise of snow. Of course, that’s if it hasn’t already happened. This year, it’s sunny and warm and so unlike the Christmas season. So, in light of that, I wanted to bring a little bit more of the season into my place.


I’m doing a Christmas giveaway for five awesome prizes. 


The first prize is an Italian leather wallet in the shape of a heart. For those of you who don’t know me, I love hearts. And I try to give as many out as I can. After all, I do write romance and even if some is odd or weird, there’s still a relationship at the center. And it all begins with the heart.


Next we have this wonderful Murano glass necklace and earrings. Yes, they are from Italy, specifically Venice, which I visited this year.



Then we have some awesome Christmas ornaments from right here in Vienna. All are made of wood and laser carved locally. I love looking for these because so many are made elsewhere.




So what do you have to do to win these awesome prizes? It’s really simple and you have a variety of ways that you can enter. First, do one of these five things:

1 ~ Follow me here via email or subscribe to this blog.
2 ~ Like my author page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor.
3 ~ Subscribe to my mailing list on my author blog www.lynncrain.blogspot.com. This will enable you to keep up with my latest news, books and more.
4 ~ Tell me what book is highlighted at my author blog www.lynncrain.blogspot.com.
5 ~ Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/oddlynn3.
6 ~BONUS ENTRY: Follow my author blog www.lynncrain.blogspot.com.

Once you’ve done one of those, let me know in the comments section here and tell me what one you’ve done. You can get one entry for each item you do, for a total of six entries. If you already do any or all of these, let me know as well and you’ll still get an entry for that item. REMEMBER to leave me your email address so that I can contact you privately should you be a winner. If you don't want to leave your email in a comment, email me privately at oddlynn3@gmail.com with your entry. This giveaway will run through January 11th, 2015 when winners will be drawn at random and posted. 


Thanks for being supportive of me during the year. Each of you hold a special place in my heart and it’s only right that I try to give back to you, my awesome readers, at least once a year. 

Don’t forget to go to each of the authors in the list below. Each of them is offering something very special this holiday season for their readers.

Here’s wishing each of you a very, very happy holiday season from here in sunny Vienna, Austria.


Lynn

T Ginger Simpson at http://mizging.blogspot.com/
T Beverley Bateman at http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
T Fiona McGier at http://www.fionamcgier.com/
T Diane Bator at http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
T Rachael Kosnski at http://the-doodling-booktease.tumblr.com/
T Margaret Fieland at http://www.margaretfieland.com/blog1/
T Helena Fairfax at http://helenafairfax.com/
T Anne Stenhouse at http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
T Marci Baun at http://www.marcibaun.com/
T A.J. Maguire at http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
T Victoria Chatham at http://victoriachatham.webs.com/
T Kay Sisk at http://kaysisk.blogspot.com
T Skye Taylor at http://www.skye-writer.com/
T Connie Vines at connievines.blogspot.com
T Rhobin Courtright at http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com/


Monday, September 1, 2014

Only in Vienna Mondays ~ @oddlynn3 #LynnCrain #OnlyInVienna

            Hi everyone!

            I have decided to start a new column here on A Writer in Vienna. Austria is an extremely interesting place and I have noticed things that I’ve not seen elsewhere in the world. Now, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist elsewhere, it just means if I see it here and make note of it then it’s different or unusual.
            Most of the time, it will just be a picture with a caption. Or it might be a picture with a question…you never know just what I’ll be thinking that day…LOL! Yes, there are many days where I ask myself ‘huh’ or ‘what is that’ or ‘what the hell is that’ because it’s very odd and definitely something I’ve not seen in the world that I’m used to seeing.
            So, sit back and enjoy yourself through the very different and odd things found in Vienna.
            Enjoy!

            Lynn

This weeks entry is easy and fun. We’re walking to the pet store to get Pup Harry his special dry dog food when I look across the street. Huzzah! Won’t the friends back in the US be so, so jealous. They don’t have one of these there!


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Emotionally Explosive Scenes ~ @oddlynn #rndrobin0628 #LynnCrain

Hi everyone!

Welcome to another Round Robin event. This month we’re talking about our best explosive scene, literally or figuratively, physically or emotionally. Basically, the fireworks of your story.

It took me a while to decide just what I wanted to do since normally this blog only does things about Vienna. My one story set here does have emotional scenes but none has the impact of the scene I decided to use and had mentioned last time I did this Round Robin. Also, in the genres I write there are the occasional fight scenes as well. Sometimes the scene is huge in that it takes place in space with large ships and lots of big guns. But for me, I decided that the scene needed to be something really emotional. Gut wrenching even. So, here’s a scene from my book The Thing About Elves. In it the hero realizes he can’t do any more for the heroine and has to leave her fate to the gods. And in a way, it is about Vienna since I am penning the final book in this series and it will be done later this year.



Blurb

It’s been two years since Angie’s friend, Tessa, got married to Jedrick and introduced her to his brother, Ardan.  From the moment, she saw him she knew he was the man for her.  There’s only one problem…he’s elf…an elf who swears human and elves don’t mix. But Angie has other plans in mind.


Ardan sat by Angie’s bed. There was nothing more that he could do. It had been almost twenty-four hours and she hadn’t stirred at all. He had failed. For the first time in his life he had failed himself and the people he loved. But most of all he had failed Angie Hudson.
Taking her hand in his, he looked at the small hand. In all the time he had her, he never really looked at her hands. They were tiny, like the rest of her. The nails were trimmed neat. And within those hands were a power he never thought possible. Those hands could heal with just one touch. Why hadn’t he realized how powerful they were from the start?
He didn’t want to in the beginning, he knew. He tried to deny the hold that she had over him but he couldn’t. And now he would never get the chance to explain to her just how wrong he had been. Caressing her hand gently, he knew that the last sense to leave the body was one’s hearing.
“I am so sorry for everything, muileach,” he whispered.  “Tha mi duilach. I understand that you are probably in a far better place. I just wish now that I had realized what a jewel I had in my grasp. I was so wrong for pushing you away, for not allowing you in. I don’t know the consequence of us just starting Nor’ahkeem. I just know that I will love you forever. You are my cridhe. Tha gaol agam ort. I beseech Scathach for your very soul.”
He gulped hard. “Maybe if I tell you about how I envision our life you’ll come back to me. We both love helping people and will continue to do so until we die. And that should be a very long time from now. I kinda thought that we could do some of the Doctors without Borders thing you seem to like so much. Plus, we don’t have to stay here all the time. I know that there are some ancient elven lands in Scotland and other European places for us to visit. I know that you would love to see some of those places.”
Clutching her hand, he tried hard to keep it together. “And I want children. Lots of children. I want children with you and now…”
Ardan leaned his head on the bed, clutching her hand and began to sob heartwrenching, deep sobs. They came from the very depths of his soul.

This scene was powerful to write and read. I cried when I wrote it and many times today, I cry when I read it. Hope you enjoyed it!

The Thing About Elves is the second book in my Santa’s Elves series and you can find it at eXtasy Books here.


Lynn

* Beverley Bateman at http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
* Kay Sisk at http://kaysisk.blogspot.com
* Anne Stenhouse at http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com
*
Connie Vines at http://connievines.blogspot.com/
*
Ginger Simpson at http://mizging.blogspot.com
*
Geeta Kakade at http://geetakakade.blogspot.com/
*
Fiona McGier at http://www.fionamcgier.com
*
Rhobin Courtright at http://rhobinleecourtright.com

Saturday, May 24, 2014

It's All About Setting ~ @oddlynn3 #rndrobin0524 #LynnCrain




Good morning everyone! Hope you all are ready for a wonderful Round Robin fest today.

But first, I must apologize for not participating the last couple of months. In early March, I was called away to the States for an emergency concerning my father. Unfortunately, late that month he passed away. It took me almost another month to tie up some loose ends and to get back to my European home. While it’s taken me almost another month to get some of my writing mojo back, I’ve been told it can take a while…and so it shall. So, let’s get to the topic of this month.

What is the most inspiring, romantic, or dangerous setting you ever read or written?

Wow…this topic covers a lot of ground…and I’ve read and written some pretty interesting things. One of the scenes I remember most from Romancing The Stone is when the heroine, Joan Wilder played by Kathleen Turner, is completing her novel and she starts crying at the end. That scene has stayed stuck in my over my years as a novelist as I felt I had to have at least one scene that left me crying. And I did.

In the second book of my Santa’s Elves series, The Thing About Elves, I had a gut wrenching scene at the end that when I read it today, still makes me cry. The hero, Ardan, realizes as a doctor there is nothing more he can do for the woman he loves, Angie. He has to let her go and see what the gods have in mind. It breaks him to realize with all his elven magic and medical knowledge he can’t save her. It was one of the most intense scenes I have ever written and also one of the most inspiring. Check out the book at http://www.extasybooks.com/lynn-crain/the-thing-about-elves/ to see how the story ends.

As far as romantic settings, I would say that there is at least once in every book where the setting spells romance. In my Santa’s Elves series I use the North Pole and Scotland with a dash of Boston included. In my A Taste of Vienna series, I use the city and the transportation system for some pretty steamy scenes. I do have to say that my all time romantic setting is Scotland. As I am mentally going through all my books, I realize I have used that country for more books than any other. And why not? Scotland is in our psyche as one of the most romantic places in the world. Having been there twice I can hardily concur.

For dangerous settings, well one can make any place dangerous. Think of all the times you’ve seen Las Vegas used as a dangerous place. I have to admit there are some shady areas but since it’s just over the hill from my backyard, I have to think positively. Yet, I too have used it as somewhere to fear.

As a writer, I can make any place romantic, I can make it inspiring or even dangerous. That is the joy of the job. I’m just thankful that I am not Joan Wilder, truly living the dream…then again…maybe I am because I do live in one of the most romantic cities in the world…Vienna.

See you all next time. Don’t forget to visit the rest of the lovely writers, listed below, in this month’s round robin.


Lynn

* Anne Stenhouse at http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com
*
Diane Bator at http://dbator.blogspot.ca
*
Geeta Kakade at http://geetakakade.blogspot.com/
*
Connie Vines at http://connievines.blogspot.com/
*
Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/
*
Beverley Bateman at http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
*
Ginger Simpson at http://mizging.blogspot.com
*
Margaret Fieland at http://margaretfieland.com/my_blog 
*
Fiona McGier at http://www.fionamcgier.com
*
Rhobin Courtright at http://rhobinleecourtright.com