Editing Deals for the Holidays

Are you ready to get published? Do you want your manuscript polished for agents? Now’s the time to get in gear before the holiday season!

Now’s the time to get your manuscript edited and out there!

A lot’s going on this time of year from NaNoWriMo to the holidays. Don’t overlook the all-important editing process for your completed manuscript! It’s the first of the month and things are already cooking. At the moment I’ve got only THREE spots left for completed manuscript edits for November. Contact me today for a quote!

I’m offering a discounted deal on manuscript edits for the month of November!

Client spots are limited, so don’t hesitate!

november manuscript editing deal carolyn m. walker

Contact me today for a quote and mention the “Pre-Holiday Deal.”

Carolyn-M-Walker-Signature-white

 

 

Advertisements

The Forest by Author Krista Wagner

Hi Friends!

Great News! The Forest is coming soon from Author Krista Wagner! Learn more about it below:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: The Forest is a middle-grade/young adult fantasy about a bullied high school boy who encounters a life-changing mystery inside of a magical forest. In the sequel to her middle-grade fantasy The Gold, Krista Wagner fast-forwards seven years to show us what has become of Shane Smith, the fifth-grade bully from The Gold. Tired of his dad’s abuse and his teacher’s mistreatment, Shane takes a walk inside of a forest. Little does he know that the forest contains mysteries that will forever change things for him. Will he be ready to face the sudden shift in his world?

 

When abused Shane escapes to the forest, he encounters a miraculous mystery.

Excerpt: “He didn’t like not understanding things; it made him feel stupid, and it only confirmed his dad’s verdict that he would never amount to anything worthwhile.  Huffing out of frustration, he moved forward until the edge of his shoe touched the brink of the forest. He was going to show his dad that he was somebody.”

Reader Reviews

The Forest is well crafted, and passionately told story about Shane, and the many issues he faces growing up. The attention to detail weaves a rich tapestry that embraces the reader, taking us from the harsh reality of abusive adults to the mystical, alluring forest with ease. The issues Shane faces will be familiar to many youth, and I’m sure they will connect with this well written story. It will be well-received by young adults across the globe. —Susan Day

In this YA Fantasy novel, The Forest, Krista Wagner entertains, informs, and encourages her readers once again! This story, a sequel to her previous work, The Gold, follows seventeen year old Shane Smith into a tumultuous life of emotional and physical abuse at the hands of his alcoholic father. Shane’s authentic anxiety and hopelessness is immediately transferred to the reader, as well as the peace, joy, healing, and renewal that he finds in the forest. Wagner’s fearless ability to tackle extremely heavy subjects with skillful and open dialogue is a hallmark of her writing. This is a beautifully written book that will fill the reader with a confident hope. Turn the page. “The Forest” awaits!! —Karen Wiser

The Backstory:

In my MG fantasy The Gold, ten-year old Amanda Greene is constantly teased by her classmate. Shane the bully. I thought it would be interesting to see what becomes of him and if he ever learns from the choices he makes.

About the Author:                                                                                                  

Krista Wagner is a 70’s product best known for her spiritual suspense and fictional realism. In addition to being a recipient of the Reader’s Favorite 5-star seal, she has been praised by award-winning screenwriter Sean Paul Murphy for her writing skill and strong plotting. Wagner holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is an English associate instructor with an indispensable faith in Christ.

Buy Links:

To arrive on Nov. 7th

 

Social Media Links: https://www.facebook.com/kristawagnerofficial/

https://twitter.com/IntentBook04

https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

 

Author Website:

http://kristawagner.wixsite.com/author

 

Book Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31XP-6C1jm0&list=UUIP3D2rpG2iy5zqU96vNtCA&index=13

 

Carolyn-M-Walker-Signature-white

The Truth About Multitasking

do you multitask.jpg

Have you ever heard someone say they are a great multitasker? Heck, you might have even said it yourself. But what really goes on when it comes to multitasking. From school, to work, to penning my first novel, I should be a star multitasker, right? Well, today, I’m taking a closer look at what it really means to multitask.

Multitasking: Model or Myth?

Interestingly, a recent study by the National Safety Council (NSC) focused on the growing issue of distracted driving, debunks the all-too-common “Myth of Multitasking.” The study reveals that  contrary to popular belief, the human brain is not able to multitask! But what about that old classic example of walking and chewing gum? Misconception at its finest. Walking is known as a thinking task, while chewing gum is a non-thinking task. So is it really multi-tasking?

Let’s take the scenario of answering a multi-line phone at a front desk in an office. This is absolutely a thinking task as you coordinate several variables to get the calls routed efficiently and accordingly. Next let’s look at tallying up numbers for a weekly expense report. Like the first duty, this is a thinking task as you focus on checks and balances. If you are a star multi-tasker (or claim to be), this should be a cinch right? Think again.

Simultaneously and effectively performing two “thinking” tasks at the same time is… well, impossible. Medical studies show that psychologically, our brain is incapable of doing this. We believe we are multitasking when in actuality we are “micro-tasking.” This is done when our brain handles one task at a time, quickly alternating between both tasks as it works toward completion.

However, because our brain cannot adequately process all of that information coming in, our brain processes only parts of the information, resulting in performing the task at less than 100%. Everything may turn out well but the risk for error, failure or worse are ever present when we do this. So answering that switchboard while trying to run that expense report? NOT a good idea, no matter how great of a multi-tasker you believe you are! Can we say burnout ahead? It would seem that we can safely say that multitasking is indeed a big fat myth!

Multitasking and Writing

So how does all of this relate to the act of writing? Well, if you are a writer and you give any value to the act, you are likely putting your brain power into it. If that is the case then, your brain is completely focused on that task at hand. Taking it a step further, if you are trying to write, you can’t very well watch your favorite show or carry an intelligent conversation with your spouse 100% effectively at the same time. At least you can’t without diminishing the written work, right? So it stands to reason that if you really, truly, actually, HONESTLY want to get some real work done when it comes to writing, you need to padlock your door and have a blow torch ready if anyone manages to get through. (If only, though!)

It boils down to this: if our brains cannot truly multitask as we might have once believed, then we might be cutting ourselves short by taking much needed attention away from our work or craft. In this day and age, it’s something of a proud bragging chip to be able to say “I’m the multitasking queen” or “I am the king of multitasking!” Truth be told, it’s no better than saying you are an expert at doing everything at 63.4% of the quality it should be. You see the dilemma, I’m sure.

Writing the Right Way

We can all agree that writing is definitely a thinking task. That being said, we should treat it as such and stop with the distractions. In the end, we want to be productive as writers and we cannot do that until we turn the rest of the noise around us off (some nice instrumental music doesn’t really hurt though). The goal is to write and focus on that task ONLY. Don’t try to make that doctor’s appointment, don’t try to plan for dinner, don’t try to toggle between your writing project and some other work-related project you might have. Simply stop, breathe, and turn it off.

Don’t multitask, just task. Give your talent 100% of the attention it deserves. Just above my desk, I’ve got a simple mantra I’ve tacked on to my cork board that states: “No Distractions. Writing Comes First.” I bring it to the forefront and I give it priority. In life, things happen, interruptions occur (unfortunately) and then life goes on. Take time, make time, mind set for single tasking, and own it. Sometimes doing it all does nothing while doing one thing at a time is all you ever needed to do in the first place.

Carolyn-M-Walker-Signature-white

Writing a Synopsis for Your Fiction Novel

Carolyn M Walker Fiction Novel Synopsis.jpgI’m excited. I’m seeking representation for my novel. I’m nervous. I’ve never done this before. I have to write a synopsis for a literary agent who’s looking at me. I’m lost. Ah, the lovely synopsis; that nice little document some agents want to see in order to gain a concise yet powerful rendering of your novel’s story and the growth/development of my characters.

All of this must be, mind you, distilled down to a one-page document that not only hits all the key points of your story but also piques their interest to read the entire manuscript, while providing enough information so as not to bog down or turn the reader away. Yep, it’s the dreaded synopsis.

Some agents aren’t a fan but others want (and need) it to decide if your work is worth reading another word of. I’ve done a fair amount of research over the past week on how to write an effective and meaningful synopsis for your fiction novel, which I will share with you momentarily. One thing I will say that a synopsis is NOT: a brief plot summary of your story. It is not a play-by-play either. You have to provide just the right amount of pertinent and valuable information to convey that your tale is worthy and developed to the point of potential publication.

So, without further ado, here’s what I found out after hours of scouring the internet, checking out as many publication guides and synopsis books I could find at the library (the librarian thought I was crazy), and asking my writer friends for their two-cents on the matter:

Fiction Novel Synopsis Checklist:

TOP MISTAKES TO AVOID-

  • Do not create a bare bones plot summary.
  • Do not summarize EVERY chapter.
  • Don’t get bogged down with the specifics of character names.
  • Avoid character backstory. Only use flashbacks if it progresses the story.
  • Avoid dialogue, unless it represents a major moment in the book.
  • Don’t ask rhetorical or unanswered questions.
  • Don’t split your synopsis into sections, or label the different plot points.
  • Tell, don’t show. Keep it concise and to the point.
  • Keep it tight, not wordy.

 

WHAT MAKES A GREAT SYNOPSIS-

  • Capturing the emotions (anticipation, fear, hope, excitement, and disappointment).
    • The elation of victory at the end, or the agony of defeat.
    • Emotional twists (especially of main character) and turns make a novel appealing.
  • Identify your protagonist, the protagonist’s conflict, and the setting by the end of the first paragraph.
  • Simultaneously describing your sequence of key plot events.
  • Use energy and vitality. Synopses should usually be written in active voice, third person, present tense.
  • Keep it short, or at least starting short. Write a one-page synopsis—about 500-600 words, single spaced—and use that as your default.
  • Make us care about the characters.
  • Define the protagonist’s core conflict and how he succeeds/fails in dealing with it.
  • Help us understand how that conflict is resolved and how the protagonist’s situation, both internally and externally, has changed.
  • To decide what characters/plot points stay or go in a synopsis, ask yourself: “will the ending make sense without this character or plot point? If it’s no, it stays.
  • Broadly generalize less important areas.
  • Incident (Story Advancement) + Reaction (Color) = Decision (Story Advancement).
  • The ending paragraph must show how major conflicts are resolved.

 

WHAT A SYNOPSIS DOES FOR A LITERARY AGENT-

  • A synopsis must convey a book’s entire narrative arc. It shows what happens and who changes, and it has to reveal the ending.
  • The synopsis ensures character actions and motivations are realistic and make sense.
  • A synopsis will reveal any big problems in your story.
  • A synopsis will reveal plot flaws, serious gaps in character motivation, or a lack of structure.
  • A synopsis also can reveal how fresh your story is; if there’s nothing surprising or unique, your manuscript may not get read.
  • Shows whether your story has an original idea or premise.
  • Shows whether you have an interesting main character.
  • Shows whether your subject matter and theme are either topical or intriguing.
  • Shows whether you can create a sound plot that makes sense.
  • Reveals if you can build tension and lead to a satisfactory conclusion.

 

CREATING A SYNOPSIS, STEP BY STEP-

Take the major story points and edit them into something resembling a short story (without dialogue or description). Write a synopsis that addresses both the plot and the emotional sides of your story.

  1. Start With Plot Basics

Identify the several basic stages. These include…

  • The inciting incident that gets things moving and sets the protagonist on a path.
  • Opposing event(s) going against the path/goal.
  • The crisis event or turning point that that leads to meeting or failing the goal.
  • The resolution or the climax, which reveals the meet/fail of the goal and aftermath.
  1. Add the Main Character’s Arc

The emotional side of the story will be expressed by the main character’s progression Answer the following questions:

  • Who is your main character at the start of the story?
  • What kind of person is he/she? What is his/her approach to life?
  • Describe how your main character is thrust into a situation and pressured to change.
  • Does your main character decide to take a leap of faith and change?
  • Does he adopt a new approach or take some uncharacteristic action?
  • Does he hold true to who he is and become stronger?
  • At the end of the novel, is the main character better or worse?
  • Does the reader feel that the main character has done the right thing?
  1. Consider the Impact Character’s Role

The impact character(s) are responsible for pressuring the main character to change, generally with a different approach or outlook. He or she shows why and how the main character might need to change. Answer the following questions:

  • When the impact character enters the novel, how does their approach or attitude from the main character?
  • How does the impact character pressure or influence the main character?
  • If the main character changes at the climax of the story, the impact character typically remains fixed in their ways. If the main character stays the same, the impact character may be forced to change. How is this illustrated in your novel?
  • Is the impact character better or worse off at the end of the novel?
  1. The Major Relationship

Another aspect to a well-rounded story is the progression of the relationship between the main and impact characters. They could be romantic, the hero and villain, hero and mentor, etc. Regardless, the relationship between them will also exhibit an emotional arc. Answer the following questions:

  • How does their relationship start at the beginning of the story?
  • How does their relationship develop or is tested in the course of the story?
  • What is the climax of their relationship (a decisive change)?
  • How is their relationship at the end of the story different?

NOTE: All of the “#1”s from each of the steps above will go into the first part of your synopsis. All the “#2”s will go into the second part, etc.

  1. Include Thematic Considerations

If these points are a crucial part of your novel, write them down.

Answer the following questions:

  • What issues do your characters struggle with in your novel?
  • What themes will be addressed and weighed in the story?
  • What is the message or moral?
  1. Include the 8 Basic Plot Elements

Write an index card for each of the 8 basic plot elements, describing how it is illustrated in your novel. Once again, put each card into the appropriate pile, according to where the illustration appears in the story.

  1. Edit All Your Points Together.

By now you have a set of over 24 index cards, each describing an element of your novel. The cards are in four piles, representing the four acts of your story. Your final step is to arrange the cards in order within each pile and write/edit them together to create a summary of your story. If you have included all of these elements, you should find that your synopsis covers not only the events that make up the plot but also the emotional side of your novel.

You may find it useful to write each point on an index card or piece of paper. Then you can sort them into four piles representing the order they will appear in your synopsis.

The above checklist was in part, compiled from the wonderful tools and information provided by Jane Friedman’s wonderful post about the topic. Very helpful stuff! 🙂

Take from this what you will and happy Synopsis-creating!

Carolyn-M-Walker-Signature-white

Typing vs. Longhand Manuscripts

Greetings fellow readers and writers! Today I want to talk about the method behind the madness that is the written word. It has long been favored by many to write by hand while others tend to prefer the keyboard or even typewriter. Personally, I enjoy the keyboard for its versatility, convenience, and overall clean copy I can draft with it. But as of late, I’ve been taking a liking to longhand. I think both ways  have their benefits and I want to take a closer look at why.

Type Your Heart Out, Keyboarders

So what makes typing up your work great? Well, there’s the speed of it. When you’re typing, ideas can just fly into your head and (if you type fast enough), your fingers will fly across your keyboard. But with speed comes more and with more comes a greater chance of errors and erroneous stuff. And I’m an overwriter (writing more than I should) instead of an underwriter (not writing enough), so when I’m writing on my laptop or tablet or computer, I tend to have a lot of editing on the back end.  Another benefit is easy storage. Nothing beets the ease of being able to archive my work on my devices or drives. So it seems that convenience and storage are the two biggies for me when it comes to typing as a preference. But what about creativity?

The Long Haul

When I first began writing, I wrote everything longhand. To me, it was the only way to write back then, before laptops, tablets, mobile and everything else. But even with all those great mediums today, there is something both nostalgic and especially creative about writing longhand. For me, I seem to get a stronger connection to the writing than when typing. Plus, longhand is more labor intensive and time consuming so the room for overwriting tends to be cut down dramatically.

As a testament to the longhand revival, I’ve decided  to try my hand (literally…ha-ha) at penning a skinny first draft of my latest project strictly via pad and paper–no electronics! It’s been a challenge, but very rewarding. I’m very much a planner and outliner so the longhand approach really has helped me to brainstorm and flesh out details that are needed to craft this new story with the most clarity.

The Long AND Short of It

I’d nearly forgotten how useful longhand writing can be. It also feels distinguished in a very special way. That’s not to say that you can’t be a fully electronic writer and not consider yourself just as distinguished. No, way! It’s just another way of expressing yourself and strengthening your craft. Plus in the end, it comes down to your preference. In my quest to find out how other writers drafted their creative masterpieces, I began listening to Virginia Presscott’s 10 Minute Writer’s Workshop. Many authors on Virginia’s show share interesting tips for writing, what inspires them, and which medium works best for them during their creative process.

She has interviewed some amazing authors including: Megan Abbott, Tom Perrotta, Jodi Picoult, Judy Blume, V.E. Schwab, and Tana French. Virginia Prescott is also the host of New Hampshire Public Radio’s (NHPR) show Word of Mouth. So, which writing method works best for you?

Carolyn-M-Walker-Signature-white

How Early Bird Writers Differ From Night Owl Writers

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to get up first thing in the morning and start writing. Unfortunately, I can’t really tell you because I am NOT a morning person like that! I get up super early only if I need to and when I do, I can’t promise I’ll be the most pleasant person before at least two thirds of my coffee is gone. 😊 It is interesting though how everyone has their own schedule that works best for them. So how are they different from one another and does it affect the way we write?

What Determines Whether You are an Early Bird or Night Owl?

EarlyBird Vs NightOwlSo what determines which type of person you are? Is it personal preference? It is schedule? If your life revolves around the “normal business hours” of 9-5, you might be better suited for mornings. Yet, if you work the graveyard shift, obviously night seems better. But believe it or not, that doesn’t determine what we are wired to lean toward. Interestingly, research shows that our sleep patterns are actually genetically predetermined. So, you could be taking after specific ancestors who were either early risers or late nighters before you.

Traits Associated With Both Types

No matter your schedule, sleep deprivation is a major issue for those who may have a predisposition for early days or late nights. And of course, sleep deprivation directly affects how early birds and night owls act. In particular, night owls tend to experience what is called “social jetlag” because even though they stay up late, many might may need to get up relatively early in the morning. Researchers have found that early birds tend to be more positive and social, compared to their night owl counterparts who are often less optimistic and proactive. This is due to fewer pathways in the night owl’s brain for feel-good hormones like serotonin or dopamine to pass through. However, night owls tend to me more creative and have higher cognitive abilities than their early bird counterparts.

How Does it Affect Writing?

In the writing world, this makes for a pretty interesting correlation. It seems like those who get up earlier are more prone to produce more, perhaps quicker than the night owls. Yet on the other hand, night owls may tend to produce more creative and cutting edge work than the early birds might. This may not be the same for everyone, but I see truth in it based on my experience. I’ve had a couple of nights where I’ve writen a lot, and then mornings (late mornings) where I’ve been super creative. But overall, my more “creative” times tend to happen at night while my longer pieces actually were written during the daytime hours. 😊 The only thing I can say is that as a night owl, my day seems to be much shorter, therefore it might feel like I have less time to write more. But during the day, sometimes it feels like I’ve got all the time in the world. Hmm…

Carolyn-M-Walker-Signature-white