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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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Overwhelmed by Advice?

Enjoy the post I made on the "Suite T' blog of the online Southern Living magazine on Oct. 11, 2013!
                                                  Overwhelmed by Advice?
     Where to begin?

     1.Quality time learning your craft through workshops, writing conferences, and being active in writing organizations is well spent. I began in earnest and still focus on learning. Writing methods change daily as does the industry.
     2. Don't hesitate to ask another author about writing issues you may be experiencing. I am a firm believer in sharing information, from passing on reliable, small press publishers names; to what company I recommend for printing bookmarks.

     Why small press?

     1. They don't require your money to publish your work.
     2. You don't have to wait at least a year to learn you need edits.
     3. Most have print on demand for paperback books on Amazon and format e-books on Kindle and Nook.
     4. Keep your rights- the publisher receives a small percentage of your royalties
     5. No agent fees taken from your profit to submit to a large publishing company...that will pass it from committee to committee...and possibly decide your following isn't large enough to risk your book will sell.

     Who is following me?

     1. Decide on what genre you'll be selling. I write Christian fiction. My readers will be a Christian audience. I am on the third book in my series, and keep the same readers. If I suddenly switched to writing a different genre, I'd have to start building new readers all over again. The first readers would stay with that genre, but find a different Christian author.
     2. Create accounts on facebook, goodreads, linked-in, and twitter. Numbers add up. The higher number of friends or contacts you have is what publishers notice. That 'following' is called your platform.
     3. Let readers know you are serious about writing. Share with them the ongoing word count of your manuscript but not your ideas. Never share an idea until it is published.

     How do I know my manuscript is ready?

     1.Polish, and polish again. Find an avid reader to critique it, and listen to why they suggest you change something.
     2. A good editor is a bonus. Remember the old saying...anything worth doing is worth doing well. How true. A quilter would not sell you a handmade quilt with the stuffing poking out of a seam.
     3. Go with your gut feeling. I once got involved with describing a salad preparation by a main character. I thought it was a bit much. Too many details later, I realized it was not moving my story forward. Now, if I
critique and spot something similar...I call it "getting bogged down in the salad".

     My goal is to give readers a clear understanding of a Christian viewpoint by the actions of my main characters. The Running Forward Series is a powerful faith and family saga.(Beginning with Sin, Secrets, and Salvation, into River Town and ending with Hidden Creek; the characters continue facing modern family issues and they do grow in faith! Hidden Creek is in publication at this time.) I encourage you to continue with your own writing!

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Enjoy my post on ACFW's blog today, 8-22-2013!

Lesson Learned

by Lynn Hobbs
Humbled to have my work accepted in a writer’s anthology, I dove into the edits they required for my three short stories.
No problem with edits. With the third book in my series scheduled for publication later this year, I appreciate and value constructive criticism. I am a firm believer in attending workshops, conferences, and local writer’s meetings. The speakers continue to teach me something new, and I treasure each tidbit I learn.
So why was I dumbfounded when I read what the editor said about my piece on Galveston, Texas? I was not expecting it, and no, I didn’t feel offended, I simply didn’t know how to approach her without offending her, which is the last thing I wanted to do.
The editor lived in Mississippi, and had been raised on the Louisiana/Mississippi coast. She assured me the enormous rocks I referred to in my Galveston, Texas story could not be possible. She said they did not exist on the coast of Louisiana, or Mississippi, and could not be on the Texas coast either.
I was born and raised in Houston, Texas and spent a lot of family time on the beach at Galveston. The enormous rocks were there. As part of the jetties, I had climbed on them, sat on them, and fished off of them; and now, I had no choice but to defend them.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, I suggest Google.
Google is the fastest form of research available, 24/7.
I entered: Chamber of Commerce, Galveston, Texas. Instantly, I clicked on the link to their map and tourist information. Their 1-800 phone number was listed, and I quickly called the office.
I explained I was a writer and wanted accurate information about the enormous rocks that formed the jetties and were along the sea wall. Courteous, the receptionist transferred me to another office.
Again, I identified myself, explained the information I wanted, and within minutes I was given the year the U.S. Corp of Engineers placed granite boulders along the sea wall. I was informed the U.S. Corp of Engineers owns the sea wall, the Galveston Park Board manages it, and was even given references to back their claim.
I thanked them, and felt relief. I was ready to support my claim about the enormous rocks to the editor. After the revision, I e-mailed the completed work to the editor. She didn’t send a reply. She did accept it. My piece was published, but wait a minute; in my mind’s eye I could still see enormous rocks.
What is wrong with that picture?
All of the years I climbed on them, sat and fished on them, I was not a writer. To a writer they are ‘granite boulders’…big difference in description. Everyone in this area still refers to them as enormous rocks, and that is a local slang term used by only locals.
Hence, lesson learned. Southern expressions can be tricky.
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; award winning River Town, and Hidden Creek will be released this year.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

So excited! I won 1st Place in the Texas Association of Authors 2013 contest in Religious Fiction for my book, Sin, Secrets, and Salvation! (Book 1 of 3 in The Running Forward Series.) I'll be attending the dinner in Austin, Texas in October at the Texas Book Fest for recognition. To God be the glory!