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Writing Lessons From The Front, Angela Hunt

Last week I finally had some time to myself while my boys were at swim lessons. I brought the Kindle with me and low and behold…I READ! Yes, don’t fall over, but I read…three books, actually.

Let me backtrack a moment, if you will. I do enjoy my Kindle. I do REALLY enjoy getting freebie and bargain books. It’s like a drug. Gotta grab that book, it’s ONLY $0.99!!! Even better, it’s FREEEEEE. It’s a great tool to use for marketing.

The drawback is that I have approximately 20 bazillion books that I need to read! FIVE of those are by Angela Hunt on the subject of writing. The pool we’ve been frequenting doesn’t have wifi; thankfully I had the first three books of the ongoing series downloaded already and not up in the Kindle Cloud. I decided that I need these in real live book form because I need to underline, write notes in the margins, etc.

Book one is The Plot Skeleton. It’s a wonderful illustration on outlining a novel. Something I have yet to accomplish. As I was reading through the brief chapter, cleverly titled “The One and Only Chapter,” I could see my latest WIP through the Skeleton. Seeing “the bones” of my story in this way was a good exercise. Starting with the head and working down, you fill in your main plot, seeing where it needs another rib or maybe a better segue. Angela explains all the connections, and how your plot works together to bring that story to life. I think I will pop open One Note and draw me up a skelly-bones.

Book two is Creating Extraordinary Characters. I confess to thinking that all my characters are extraordinary. At least, that’s what they tell me. In this volume Angela sets forth the steps to making your characters real. Instilling Admirable Qualities, Personality Type as a Tool, using notecards, Revealing Characters in different scenarios, the difference between a villain and an anti-hero and more. I enjoyed this one as it made creating a character sketch (another writing practice I’ve avoided) less daunting. I found it especially interesting to use the Meyers-Briggs personality tests to get to know your characters better.

The third is Point of View. With just one simple sentence (When Mary woke up, it was raining.) Angela takes us through the different storytelling points of view and shows how each one has it’s own merits and drawbacks. The section on head hopping )switching from one character’s POV to another in rapid succession) made me chuckle. I tend to “head hop” at times, largely, I think, due to my preferred reading tastes. It’s something I have worked on, and this book helped me see how and where to continue to hone that particular discipline.

angela huntMany of Angela’s books are on Kindle, and she does run specials and freebies. The best way to keep up is by her newsletter and blog. She has practically a whole shelf in our library. I loved her novel Doesn’t She Look Natural? (The Fairlwan Series) and her book about the Roanoake colony was interesting. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with any of her offerings. If you write, or would like to write, her series is a must. *DISCLAIMER: The links to Angela’s site are not up right now (6/3/2014) I will update ASAP. Thanks, Donna!*

 

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Fan Girl Friday

Yes, I obviously love to read. And, I obviously love authors. Recently, I have gathered a few on my Facebook pages, and I really would like to have a fan girl moment over a few of them.

Robin Lee Hatcher. She writes a few different genres, from contemporary to historical fiction and romance. She has a slew of awards and a nifty, printable booklist on her page. Her stories are uplifting and filled with characters that are believable, sturdy and ones you’ll just fall in love with immediately.

Angela Hunt. Not only does she have a wide range of genre, but she also has a great series on writing that she regularly offers for free for Kindle on Amazon. Her suspenseful story lines are guaranteed to keep you on the edge of the seat and reading very late into the night.

Colleen Coble. She loves the ocean. You can tell from her writing. And her webpage and recent contests. You can feel the salty breeze as you enter the story and get swept away in the plot. Wonderful characters and places you want to visit someday.

Tamera Alexander. Historical fiction on par with Margaret Mitchell and John Jakes. Sweeping scenes of grandeur, proper ladies and gentlemen of Southern breeding, beautiful book covers with period gowns. And, dang if she doesn’t have a cute little accent herself! (There’s a video tour of Belle Meade plantation on her website)

Susan Sleeman. She’s got a knack for suspense as well as a great sense of humour. If you love a cozy mystery, or a cozy and funny mystery, Susan is the author for you! I love the Justice Agency for drama and  The Garden Gate series for some good old fun!

Not only do these ladies have talent, but they are downright nice. Each one of them has taken the time from their more than busy day to chit chat with me. Yes, me, little indie author who probably pesters them more than anything. I don’t know if it’s just “the age in which we now live” that provides us a bit of easy access to those we wouldn’t normally hob nob with. Then again, I can not imagine some other authors I enjoy posting encouraging comments on their Facebook page (if they even have one). No, these ladies, and a few others, are a step above. They take the time to reach out to those who enjoy their work and show appreciation. A few words goes a long way. Many others in the spotlight should take the lesson to heart. (Hello, ComicCon people who charge $50 per autograph. And race car drivers who think they don’t need to talk to children who have waited hours for them to show their faces. I could go on, but I won’t…now.)

Which brings me to a funny story involving my son. When I pointed out to my 14 year old that all of the library books in my hand were by authors who I knew (using the term loosely) he asked me, “Are they famous?”

“Yes,” I said, my chin raised, with not a little pride.

“And, they actually talk to YOU?” 

Wretched little six foot tall twerp. In a further attempt to impress him I sputtered, “Yes! And don’t forget I talk to Chautona all the time!”

He made “that face” (you know the one if you have a 14 year old son) and said, “She’s known you a long time. She HAS to talk to you.”

Dude. Let’s see if he eats tonight.

Check this out when you leave today. Let me know what your favorite is 😉

Till Next Time, Dream BIG! And let them Soar!

Barbara