Category Archives: Tips & Tools for Writers

Extra Words

By Cara Lopez Lee

I’ve been getting rid of them this week. The extra words. I often say too much. My obsessive compulsive disorder makes this so hard to control that sometimes it feels like I only have two options: say everything or nothing at all.

Sometimes I write a Facebook reply in an attempt to connect, some comment about an experience I once had that’s similar to the one a friend has described. Then I ask myself: are you sure this person shared their story in hopes of hearing yours? What then shall I write? “I understand”? Won’t that get lost in the thread? Shall I ask a question? “And what happened to you after that?” Too intrusive perhaps? I give up, delete all my words, and hit “like,” or the surprised emoji or laughing emoji, admonishing myself to be sparing with the heart emoji so they know I mean it.

Continue reading

When Outlines Make Revisions Easier

BRP2013 GoldWriters, today at The Blood-Red Pencil I talk about that thing I never wanted to do because I feared it would stunt my creativity, but which has instead increased my creativity: outlining.

“I’m The Bad Guy?”

BRP2013 GoldHow do fiction authors create believable bad guys? I find I must explore the existence of my own inner villain. Today at The Blood-Red Pencil, I explore this confronting approach to writing antagonists, with a post called I’m The Bad Guy?

When Do You Fire A Protagonist?

BRP2013 GoldIt happens to writers sometimes, but I never thought it would happen to me. No matter how much we love them, no matter how hard they work for us, no matter how sure we are that they cannot be replaced: sometimes we have to fire our protagonists. Today at The Blood-Red Pencil I consider why I had to fire my historical novel’s first protagonist, and how I discovered whether my new protagonist was up to the job.

An Ambivert Walks Into A Writing Conference…

BRP2013 GoldToday at The Blood-Red Pencil, I consider how both introverted and extroverted writers deal with the ecstasy and the agony of writing conferences. Whether you’re a writer or a reader, or just an introvert or an extrovert,  I believe you’ll relate to my post: An Ambivert Walks Into A Writing Conference…

Amazon and Oranges

BRP2013 GoldToday at The Blood-Red Pencil, I share a few thoughts about marketing and the behemoth bookseller, Amazon. I’ve found gardening a great metaphor for many of life’s challenges, and marketing is no exception. It turns out that reinvigorating my aging orange tree is a bit like pumping energy into marketing: sometimes the simplest things help. Read Amazon and Oranges to learn why.