Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Are You A Predictable Writer?

Are You A Predictable Writer?

by Lynn Hobbs
How often have you started reading a book and quickly figured out what would happen next? Ho-hum…how boring. Interest is lost, yes, but any reader will notice a predictable pattern after several similar books by the same author.
Some refer to these as cookie cutter books. The villain is introduced on page six. Female doesn't like the male. Conflict is introduced. Female now loves male. Conflict resolved. Happy ending. No imagination. No spontaneity. No original ideas.
Example # 1: Villain is a male neighbor in a large city, female is a single Mom. Conflict is unpaid property taxes. Female interacts with sharp spoken neighbor…maybe at a town hall meeting against higher taxes. She falls in love with him, and his new comforting ways. Taxes are reduced and payment plan is secured due to this neighbors help. Dating begins…
Example #2: Villain is a female office worker in a small town, male is a single Dad. Conflict is gossip about the many fired sitters for his child who is horrible out in public. Office worker encounters male at a grocery store and in talking, develops a natural interest for him. She recommends her mother as his new sitter. Dating begins…
Change of scene, yes. Change of male and female roles, again yes, but way too predictable.
Ever stopped reading a book that lost whatever originally sparked your interest? It is disappointing. Maybe the author got caught up in beautiful language describing some countryside for several pages. Or possibly, too many step by step details of daily events. The fewer words used to describe anything, the better. It creates an important scene that pulls us in as readers. As a writer, you certainly don’t want to be known as being predictable and having a story that rambles on and on, pointlessly.
Anyone can use help, and we are never too old to stop learning.
You will find me first in line to purchase an exceptionally good ‘How to Write’ book with helpful hints. I am thankful for the author who shares tried and true writing methods that worked for them. I like structure, but at the same time, spontaneity is a must.
If you haven’t read “Scene and Structure” by Jack M. Bickham, please do so. You are in for a treat! I highly recommend this book. He gives great information on the elements of fiction writing.
Last year, a writer friend of mine, stopped writing her second novel. She was severely critiqued for her first novel…so the sequel came to a screeching halt.
She had not followed the procedure recommended by her writing group. She did not insert important information on certain pages of her romantic comedy.
A year later, after rewriting her first novel, that had great reviews, it was republished. She continued the sequel.
“How to Write” books and writing groups are most helpful. Learn from them but be careful, don’t lose your voice. Your best effort displays your own personality in your writing.
Hidden CreekLynn Hobbs is the author of the Running Forward Series; a powerful faith and family saga from Desert Coyote Productions.
Book #1: Sin, Secrets, and Salvation, awarded 1st place, Religious Fiction, 2013, Texas Association of Authors.
Book #2: River Town, 1st place, Religious Fiction, 2014, TAA.
Book #3: Hidden Creek.
You can find Lynn on Amazon, Facebook, Goodreads, LinkedIn, Twitter: @LynnHobbsAuthor
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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Priority of Time

I am honored to have my post published on (Jim) James R. Callan's blog. Jim is a fellow member of North East Texas Writer's Organization, and recently received Life-Time membership. Enjoy my post on Priorities!


hobbs - 2Today’s guest blogger is Lynn Hobbs, an award-winning author.  She writes about the importance of setting priorities if you are to achieve anything.  She is the author of the powerful faith and family saga the Running Forward  Series.  The first two books have already gathered in several awards.  The third book in the series is being considered for an award in 2015. Stay tuned.
 Priority of Time
     Plan on writing daily? Certain time selected? Too often best intentions fall by the wayside. Daily interruptions are unavoidable, but can be managed stress free. It is your choice. Jump in and deal with the problem. Learn from it and continue.
     Thirty-five years ago, my sons were six and nine years old. During that year, I completed three queen size quilts by hand. How? I sewed during my quiet time at the end of the day… after they were in bed. Yes, I worked full-time. Yes, I worked all night …and yes, I looked forward to this special time.  I considered patterns, material, and what would be appropriate for whom. A relaxing and rewarding project, the quilts are still in my family today. I am a positive person. Make time for what you want to complete.
     As a writer, I experience the same principles and find myself reversing interruptions. Now, I interrupt planned tasks with my writing. Ideas flowing, keys clicking away as I type…yes, that prescription refill I called in can wait until tomorrow. I’m not going to stop and drive twenty miles one way to purchase it. One of the best time savers is to avoid as much time-consuming travel as possible. Once again, priority matters.
     For nearly two years I drove over an hour and a half, one way, to writer’s meetings twice a month. Another was over two hours away. Two others twice a month were local. Add time on the road spent driving to critique meetings, workshops, conferences, etc. and your priority’s change. Sometimes it is necessary to say no. Residing in a rural area, I still cultivate my writing craft, but it’s accomplished more often online. What about the people? With social media, established friendships made at the meetings aren’t lost, they grow. Of course, nothing can replace the personal time spent during one on one with readers. Speaking engagements, book signings, marketing and writing time are increasing as my hours become more flexible.  
     One of the best online sites I use is at Writers Digest: click on the link and discover what a wide variety of information is available.
     A helpful site for critique is:
     Another critique site is Karlyn Thayer, an experienced editor, and writing instructor offers a free critique of your novel or short story up to 1,000 words maximum.
     Your time is valuable. I have found the old cliché to be true, ‘you cannot please everyone.’ Hobbs-Hidden Creek Front Cove-aI have learned that one size fits all… does not apply to writing. Progress is measured differently by many. Stay true to yourself and your goals. As a published Christian fiction author, my goal to give readers a clear understanding of a Christian viewpoint by the actions of my main character was realized in The Running Forward Series; a powerful faith and family saga. Book one: Sin, Secrets, and Salvation, won 1st place in Religious Fiction for 2013 by the Texas Association of Authors. Book two: River Town, won 1stplace for Religious Fiction with the same organization for 2014. Hidden Creek, concludes the series, and yes, it is being considered for their 2015 contest.
     Writing methods and the industry change daily. Set priorities will not only be beneficial to your writing, but will establish a more rewarding experience.
     JIM:  Thanks, Lynn, for reminding us to set priorities.  Visitors, if you have a moment, leave Lynn a comment on how you set your priorities to find time for what is important to you.  Thanks.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Facts In Fiction

Facts in Fiction

by Lynn Hobbs
Remember the wildfires of Texas during 2011? I lived through them as did many of my friends. When the fires came within two miles of my home, I had to evacuate. Later, after fire lanes were dug and officials cleared everyone in my neighborhood to return home; I carried important belongings with me for weeks in the trunk of my car. I knew firsthand the scary feeling of scanning the horizon daily for the yellowish-gray smoke of new wildfires, and they popped up constantly. The drought and record heat were awful. I had completed the first book in my Running Forward Series and was strongly led to include the fires in my second book, River Town.
Wanting my main character to experience this period in time demanded extensive research on my part. I never missed the news on television, and saved all local newspapers; underlining the names of victims and survivors. Journaling, I made a list of each fire in order of occurrence, the damage, location, and name of the closest town.
During these months, deputies returned to block off our area again. A home was burning three miles away. It didn't have a chance against fast moving wildfires on a dry, windy day. I knew the family, and my heart ached for them. The deputy informed us that whenever you see black, billowing smoke it is usually a house fire. The black smoke is the toxins burning.
Thankfully, help poured out for those who lost everything. The firefighters were to be commended. At times several fires broke out daily. Although hot, and weary, they worked hard day and night. Their efforts were not in vain, very few homes were lost.
Naturally, I visited the Texas Forest Service in both Marshall and Linden, Texas. They provided me with statistics on total acreage, structures, and homes destroyed. I thought I had enough information for my readers to weave it into my story with other issues my main character would encounter.
While buying groceries, a man approached me that I hadn't seen in a while. He began relating how his home burnt in a fire. No one was injured. Within minutes, a woman joined us and told what it was like to see nothing but thick white smoke surround her house. She and her husband had refused to evacuate, and were hosing down their house. Suddenly, a wall of fire leapt from the smoke over sixty feet tall, and they were trapped. We three hugged, and gave thanks to God for their survival. That’s when I realized I needed to add those facts to my story.
I asked both of them if I could have my characters experience what they did.
They gladly agreed.
Later, I organized each chapter by date and included other parts of the continuing story showing moral values. I highly recommend incorporating something real into your fiction. It doesn't have to be weather related, but it will give a whole new outlook to your readers.
River TownLynn Hobbs is the author of the Running Forward Series; a powerful faith and family saga, and publisher with Desert Coyote Productions. Her books are:
#1: Sin, Secrets, and Salvation, awarded 1st place, Religious Fiction, 2013, Texas Association of Authors.
#2: River Town, 1st place, Religious Fiction, 2014, TAA.
#3: Hidden Creek.
You can find Lynn on Amazon, Facebook, Goodreads, LinkedIn, Twitter: @LynnHobbsAuthor and at
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Friday, March 7, 2014

Writing Goals

Writing Goals

by Lynn Hobbs
Ever consider writing a 50,000 word novel in thirty days? Without pausing to edit, your creativity continues as new dialogue and plots are recorded to expand your imagination and story. Or at least it did for me in 2011. I joined the National Novel Writing Month at and along with many others, I won. You are encouraged to complete a set amount of words each day in order to complete your goal of 50, 000 words in thirty days and having a completed novel.
Keep in mind those thirty days include Thanksgiving. Most prepare Thanksgiving dinner and enjoy family get-togethers. This includes cleaning, setting the table, and in my case, locating and unboxing the Jim Shore Thanksgiving centerpiece with orange pumpkin and homey pilgrims.
As in any endeavor, obstacles can arise. I made it through the holidays and completed the novel. No, I’m not patting myself on the back. I’m merely stating that with any goal you cannot give up. If anything, determination kicks in stronger if you encounter a setback.
There are numerous other goals to reach in writing.
I recently completed writing a series of three books with one major goal in mind. I wanted readers to have a clear understanding of a Christian viewpoint by the actions of my main character. I wanted her to face modern family issues, and grow in faith. I would also enter appropriate scriptures from the Bible without being ‘preachy.’ This in itself can be a major goal because I wanted her to draw strength from God’s word as naturally as taking in another breath of fresh air. The series is now published, and I am pleased with the results.
Another type of goal I am presently working on deals with my fourth novel. In this one, a stand-alone book, I have completed research and am excited about the material. I began writing weeks ago, and I want to include a personal phrase from one of my family members, either a parent or grandparent. I want it to blend in smoothly with casual dialogue that will leap from the page as something readers will remember. Not a cliché or regional slang, something with substance.
No one will realize where it came from, but my family will recognize and treasure it. I have several in mind and love the task of weaving it into a character’s situation that will flow easily forward.
Words are creative and can also be a goal in how powerful they are delivered and received in dialogue.
One of the best goals is to continue learning the writing craft. We are truly never too old to learn and it is always changing. Workshops are valuable, either by attending in person or online.
I was recently taught how to create ads on social media for your own book marketing. It was overwhelming at first, entirely too technical, until it became my new goal. Now, it is routine.
Challenge yourself, have fun with your goals, and keep writing!
Lynn HobbsLynn Hobbs is the award-winning author of the Running Forward Series; a powerful faith and family saga published by Desert Coyote Productions.
Book one: Sin, Secrets, and Salvation
Book two: River Town
Book three: Hidden Creek.
You can find Lynn on Amazon: Lynn Hobbs Author Page, Facebook: Lynn Hobbs Author Page, Goodreads, LinkedIn, Twitter: @LynnHobbsAuthor and her

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Monday, December 9, 2013

Writing Fast and Furious

Enjoy my post on American Christian Fiction Writers blog at their website for Dec,. 5, 2013

Writing Fast and Furious

by Lynn Hobbs
Have you ever been writing when words flow fast, and you hurry to make your point? It seems like your novel, or your character suddenly has a life of its own and takes over. It can be exciting when what you had in mind progresses into a new enlightening direction. In my case, I type quickly and continue.
Some authors chart and plot the entire book chapter by chapter and create the rise and fall of emotions and actions. Others write by what is referred to as ‘the seat of their pants’. I recommend a little of both to still be spontaneous. Having an idea or a plan in mind and ‘going with it’ is great but a list will help and save research time.
What lists? One on each character is a must, not only the obvious physical appearance; color of hair, eyes, weight, age, etc. but their traits as well. How would your hero or heroine react to a given situation? Stay true to their character.
Easy to say when a new direction or new idea develops and you don’t stop and think it through. You continue and later edit. At least that is what I do, and it works for me. It is not as time consuming as you may imagine.
After each chapter, I tighten up my words, sentence by sentence. I examine each line for structure, word content, and make any changes that are needed. Similar to a crossword puzzle, I enjoy rearranging a sentence, turning it around, to bring more of an oomph impact or help the flow along. Any sentence that does not send the story forward is removed. Some details are not necessary where others need revision.
What helps? I rely on the ‘find’ option of my word document. You can write as fast as you want without losing your train of thought with this available. Often I type in ‘the’ or ‘that’ in the find search option and count how many are on each page. Regardless, I try to reword the sentence and delete as many as possible.
I once critiqued a chapter for someone and found the word ‘she’ used twelve times on a single page. I brought it to her attention and suggested the author rewrite the three paragraphs. After deciding not to change it, the author later turned that novel into an audio book. The sound of so many ‘she’s’ stood out as if the narrator was lisping. It was distracting and interfered with the natural flow of the story.
Of course we all learn daily, I certainly do. In reading through my latest manuscript, I noticed several similar descriptions mentioning eyes. Typing in the word ‘eyes’ in the find search area brought a startling discovery. I had used ‘eyes’ over seventy times in two hundred and ninety- two pages. I deleted sixty of those and created more interesting descriptions. Lesson learned. The same principal applies to emotional response as well.
Happy fast writing!
Lynn HobbsLynn Hobbs is the author of The Running Forward Series; a powerful faith and family saga, Book one, Sin, Secrets, and Salvation won 1st place in Religious Fiction 2013 by the Texas Association of Authors. Book two continues with River Town, and Hidden Creek will be released this year.

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