Quick Lesson On Novel Writing + Giveaway

A lot of people begin writing by the seat of their pants. They just sit down and start keying in the words as they see the story unfolding.

There's not anything wrong with this if you are the rare genius who instinctively has a command of the basic elements of a novel.

If you already know where your story is going and how to get through the middle and to the end, then you'll probably end up with a focused story.

If you don't know these things, you'll stall out after about 50 pages or less.

The reason this happens is that beginning writers don't realize a novel must be structured and contain the basic elements of a novel if it is to be successful. Every story ever told must have these elements.

Giveaway Alert

To the right, you'll see the Giveaway Prize from WriteWay, my CafePress Shop. This khaki ball cap has a sepia book stack graphic and says: Ask me about my book. 

Scroll to the bottom to see details for the Ask Me About My Book Cap that is the Giveaway Prize.

Basic Elements of a Novel

From the simplest to the most complex, from the shortest to the longest, a novel is:

(1) a structured story

Yes, at the very minimum you must know the beginning, the middle, and the end and the turning points in the story that move it along.

(2) about an appealing or fascinating character

The best scenario is to make the character someone the reader roots for from the very beginning.

Who wants to read about a character who's a totally jerk wad? Unless the story is about the jerk wad growing as a person and becoming someone the reader does like and does root for.

(3) struggling against great odds

Yes, those great odds comprise the conflict with which so many writers struggle. Why must there be conflict in a story? Because it's the fuel that propels the story from scene to scene.

In real life, people are motivated by two things: the desire to feel pleasure and the desire to avoid pain.

Of those two desires, the desire to avoid pain is stronger. Use that information to dish out the pain, or conflict, to your characters and then let them do everything in their power to deal with the conflict in order to avoid the pain offered by their specific challenges.

Sometimes, you'll have your characters chase after pleasure as a way to avoid pain.

(4) to achieve a worthy goal

Yes, each story has a goal which most believably belongs to the main character. Set that goal early on in your story so your reader can latch onto it and know what the stakes are.

You want the reader wondering if the hero will find the kidnapped woman before the bad guy kills her.

You want the reader wondering if the heroine can repay the bank loan before the bank forecloses on the family home.

My latest book is Second Chance Bride. He's the only man she wants—and the one man she can never have. If you read my new release, look for the story goal.

Takeaway Truth

Remember, every story ever told must have these elements: structure, character, conflict, and story goal.

Gifts & Promotions for Authors

If you're a beginner, have you tried writing a book? How did it turn out? If you're already a published author, how do you write a book?

(1) Leave your answer or answers with your email addy written out in Comments, and you'll be entered in a Giveaway to win the cap shown here.

The CAP prize is for a Lower 48 winner only. If you live outside the lower 48, your prize will be an ebook copy of one of my books.

(2) Giveaway closes July 4, 2018.

(3) Winner chosen by random draw.

(4) No purchase necessary.

(5) Remember, leave your answers in comments with your email addy written out.

Online Safety Guide for Parents

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay via Pexels.com, CC0
I often get requests to review a product or to pass on a website that might be of interest to the readers of SlingWords. I personally review the product or website before I decide to recommend it.

Last month I received an email from a reader regarding a post about children's safety that I'd written in 2011.

Because of that post, the reader thought, correctly, that I'd be interested in an online guide created for parents to teach their children how to be safe online.

A Must Read for Parents and Teachers

In case you think this problem affects only children in the technologically-developed countries, you're wrong.

In the email I received, my reader pointed said: "Although this might be surprising to some, many children who live in third-world countries are connected to the internet, and they are subject to the same types of cyber threats as other children."

Every parent, grandparent, and teacher needs to read The Ultimate Parent Guide for Protecting Your Child On the Internet -- especially if you are a parent who has given an internet-capable device to a child.

The first section is on Smartphone Safety. Drum these rules into your kids.

This guide came out in April 2018 and is free. Just as my reader said, it is an invaluable guide with each section summarized "with actionable items for the parent/teacher."

Created by vpnMentor, a website co-founded by Ariel Hochstadt, formerly Global Gmail Marketing Manager for Google, vpnMentor has the goal of offering users a "really honest, committed and helpful tool when navigating VPNs and web privacy."

(In case you don't know, a VPN is a virtual private network across a public network that enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network.)

Takeaway Truth

In today's world, there's information just as crucial as the birds and bees talk with kids. In fact, as soon as they can work a device, it's time to have an online safety talk with them.

What Do You Really, Really Want?

Think of something you wanted last year--really, really wanted.

Did you do anything to get it? Anything to make it happen?

Now, 2017 is in the rear view mirror. Do you still want that something?

Will you still want it next year?

What's stopping you from getting it? Action.

Takeaway Truth

Resolve to write down the one thing you really want. Then write down every step that is needed to get that one thing. Then, take that first step today. Tomorrow, take another step. Take a step every day--day action no matter how small--from today until the day you get it.

Summer Reads 2018: Angela Ford & Jennifer Conner

Summer Reads 2018

Angela Ford & Jennifer Conner
Win your summer read!


Time to bring out the flip flops! 
Whether you head to the beach, the poolside, 
or your favorite spot to soak up some sun-take a romance with you. 

or off to London with a Dare – Angela & Jennifer’s co-authored romance – 
3 winners every month this summer!

Jennifer & Angela are giving 7 eBooks all summer long!
Escape with a romance this summer–besides the titles listed above,
 they’re giving you 2 brothers from The Mac Brothers Series and 
taking you to Sunset Beach in their Sunset Beach Romance Series 
(each book in series can be read as stand-alone romances).

Perfect summer reads while you relax in the sun. 
Good luck on the draws!
Have a fabulous summer–Happy Reading! 
Ange & Jenni

         Amazon – Jennifer Conner   


Takeaway Truth

Summer time is fun reading time. Add these to your fun list today.

7 More Truths About A Writing Career

This past Wednesday I listed 7 Truths About A Writing Career.

I thought some more about the subject and came up with...

7 More Truths About A Writing Career.

1. Never publicly denigrate another author's books.

If you're a "real" writer, then you know how hard it is to breathe life into the vision in your brain. Sometimes a book just doesn't "sing" no matter how well it is put together. Even if you don't think a book is particularly good, always remember that the author sweated blood over it--just as you do over your work. Be kind.

2. Don't believe everything an editor, agent, or a glowing review says about you.

3. Don't place too much emphasis on reviews--good ones or real stinkers.

If you buy into the good ones, then you'll also have to own the bad ones. Take them all with a grain of salt because reading taste is subjective.

4. Share what you know with others.

If you help someone else along the way, you help yourself (and enrich your karma).

5. Always write.

If you are waiting for a contract, start a new book. If you are certain that you'll never sell, write. If you are depressed, write.

If you are ecstatic over a new contract or soaring sales of your indie book, write. Never stop writing because when you do, that writer's muscle stiffens and atrophies from lack of use.

6. Always strive to improve your craft.

7. Develop a great work discipline.

Write on a regular schedule--every day is best of all. Keep producing. You’ll create one heck of an inventory.

Takeaway Truth

What are your writing truths? Let me know in comments. 

Not Always a Bridesmaid Collection

Always a Bridesmaid

4 Stories about Love, Laughter, and

Disasters at weddings.

The plot kept me captivated as a budding romance develops between Chasen and Skye, who seem to have the same vision and goals in life. I found the dialog to be open, honest and heartwarming and a few lines to melt the heart. “It looks like your journey brought you love.” “If you dream together, then it’s a reality.
I enjoyed this fast pace wedding novella with interesting characters. The plot kept the pages turning, and the dialog was entertaining. What happens when the wedding planner and her fiancé have a difference of opinion? A wedding is a girls dream, and she knows what she wants, but what if the groom is trying to rush things?
The Professional Bridesmaid
To help three co-workers coordinate their weddings, Skye Wilson must act as a bridesmaid for them. Skye dreams of becoming a wedding planner and needs to start somewhere and reluctantly agrees. Just when the wedding arrangements and her plans started going wrong, she meets Chasen Dantrell, a handsome limousine driver.
Chasen has a growing limo business. He loves his job but the long hours of waiting by himself wear on him. That is until a cute, blue-eyed bridesmaid named Skye stumbles his way.
As their two worlds become more and more entwined with each wedding they work, Skye wonders if she'll ever be a bride and would it be Chasen at the end of the aisle with a ring?
The Undecided Bride
When Steven, the man of Bridgette North dreams, proposes she automatically says yes until her fiancĂ©’s constant pressure for a speedy wedding has her questioning his motives and love. Now she is undecided whether she wants to marry him.
Mason is hired to trick Bridgette into marrying Steven quickly to ensure a promotion but ends up falling head-over-heels in love instead.
Can Mason explain his deceit and still win her heart?
And will Bridgette be willing to risk her heart one more time?
Red, White, and Bridesmaid
Jess Caldwell is the third in line to wear the mistletoe headband until she’s kissed. But it’s her best friend Kara’s wedding, Jess needs to keep her mind on designing the flowers and not on the fact that Kara’s older brother, Darrin, who she’s had a crush on for years will be there.
Darrin’s happy to be moving home, and what is even more of a pleasant surprise is seeing her again. Jess isn’t the geeky girl he remembered when he left. But after all the mean things he said in the past, will she give him another chance?
When things at the wedding go wrong, more than fireworks fly for this 4th of July wedding.
Will love be in the air?
The Reluctant Bride
Penelope Moore’s last boyfriend had no qualms about cheating even after he professed his undying love. As a wedding event planner Penelope has seen plenty of happily-ever-after. But with her terrible luck in the relationship department, she is reluctant to believe it will ever happen to her.
Ferguson enjoyed the freedom of bachelorhood until he met his last girlfriend. He considered her the love of his life until she betrayed him. Without his consent, she used his professional experience and knowledge as a private investigator to write and publish a best-selling novel. Ferguson couldn’t forgive her underhanded deceit and ended their relationship.
When Ferguson meets Penelope he is once again willing to risk his heart, but Penelope isn’t as trusting. Just when he is beginning to win the beautiful event planner’s heart, his ex-girlfriend arrives in town and causes heartache all over again.
Can Penelope and Ferguson trust each other and their hearts enough to get their happily-ever-after?

Available now on multiple platforms in eBook and paperback. Coming soon in audio and foreign language translations.

Takeaway Truth

Doesn't this sound like a fun collection? Get your copy today.

Review: Set It Up

Just released today is the Netflix original film, Set It Up, a romantic comedy film directed by Claire Scanlon and written by Katie Silberman.

The film stars Zoey Deutch as Harper, Glen Powell as Charlie, Taye Diggs as Charlie's boss Rick, and Lucy Liu as Harper's boss Kirsten.

One might consider this Devil Wears Prada times 2 in that there are 2 arrogant, selfish bosses rather than one, resulting in 2 beleaguered employees, hoping to get a big break by catering to every whim of these egomaniacal bosses, scheming to make the two bosses fall in love.

Since this is a romantic comedy, you probably know that the two schemers end up falling in love, but their journey to that moment and their Machiavellian plotting is what makes this film so good.

Most movies billed as romantic comedies in the last few years don't seem to understand what a romantic comedy should be. This one has some edgy humor--for better or worse, the way real young people talk to each other in today's world.

Best of all, it's got what should be in a romantic comedy: characters who are intelligent--especially women who are smart and don't do dumb things--likable, caring, and, best of all, do the right thing when it really matters.

If you're looking for a good romantic comedy, this one is a must-see film.

Takeaway Truth

This is truly the first modern romantic comedy with heart, soul, romance, and humor. Let's just call it a modern classic and be done with it.