Social Media is a Waste of Time for Writers—Hmmm, Think Again

I have posted about my path to becoming publicized here and how I have battled over the years between plugging in and unplugging. I didn’t have an e-mail until maybe five years ago, and I had my first flip phone only months before that. Strange, I know, especially for someone my age. Most all of my friends started blogs over a decade ago and have a huge following, while I avoided it all, thinking it strange that you’d want complete strangers to see into your life.

That all changed when I began to write seriously. Actually it changed when I went to my first critique and read my query in front of a bunch of strangers. I had completed a novel, written a screenplay, and had boxes full of poetry. Did I want to share it, or keep it to myself? This was a very tough question for me, as I wondered if people even cared what I had to say.

It still surprises me when writers now-a-days don’t embrace social media. I am going to be brutally honest and say that I don’t like it, but I have embraced it. This blog post has really helped me and my approach to social media.
If you have any tricks you use when it comes to social media, I’d love to hear about it.
Thanks,
Tara

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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We’ve been talking a lot about social media lately and I am always grateful for your comments and thoughts. This kind of feedback not only helps me improve my blog, but my also books, because I get a glimpse of your worries, weaknesses, fears, loves, and strengths.

As a teacher/mentor/expert, it’s my job to address those fears and put you at ease or reinforce when you’re headed the right direction and give you tools and tips to take what you’re doing to another level.

There’ve been some comments that have piqued my attention lately. Namely this notion to give up on social media completely to write more books (out of vexation for the medium and the task).

Oh-kay….

Social Media is a TOTAL Waste of Time

Write more books instead of tweeting or blogging. Social media is a giant time-suck better spent writing great books.

I don’t know how to…

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Meet Tara Mayoros

My author interview with Rachel Jones. I talk about avoiding purple prose and what inspired my book.

Rachel's Words

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Today my author spotlight is shining on Astraea Press author Tara Mayoros.

As a child, Tara Mayoros moved to Asia with her family where her love of different cultures and travel began. In college she satisfied her wanderlust by moving to China, filling her head with countless stories, and occasionally writing them down.

Years, marriage, children and many adventures later, she picked up her dusty pen and paper (or laptop) and realized that writing took her to different worlds and gave her the experiences that she yearned for. As an author, artist, baker, music teacher, gardener, and nature lover – she sees the beauty in the process, and the miracle, of creation. The Rocky Mountains are her home and they call to her whenever she finds herself in need of inspiration.

Tara, when did you first realize you were an author?

I first realized I was an author when this…

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The Eyes are the window to our… P.O.V.

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(drawings are mine)

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(photo found on editing-writing.com)

P.O.V. when writing, stands for Point Of View.

Many years ago when I joined my first critique group, I was lucky and grateful that the amazing Janette Rallison happened to be in my local chapter. She has written over twenty fabulous and award winning novels. Teaching point of view, is her specialty. She is the P.O.V. queen and I remember her saying that P.O.V. issues are the first thing that will get your manuscript nixed. It is the largest area of novel writing that beginners struggle with. Me included! Seriously, she shredded the first draft of my first novel.

I have written in First, Third, and Omniscient Points of view. For some reason in the early conceptual stages, I see what point of view my story should be and my characters begin talking to me. The best way to decide how you are going to write your novel is by noticing how your characters speak to you. Do you feel an intense, close connection with your main character — enough to know how he/she would feel and act and what they would say? Or do you feel connections with all of your characters and want all of them to tell your story?

It helps if you notice what you like to read. I think this will make your story unfold more naturally if you are subconsciously drawn to a specific writing style. It’s kind of how I feel about present tense. My brain doesn’t think in present tense. Some people have passionate views for or against present tense, but it just doesn’t mesh with me and I have a hard time reading it, so why would I write that way?

Also, you could see what books are selling right now and what readers are liking when it comes to POV. Although, I believe that you should not write for mainstream. Write for yourself!

First, you need to decide whose point of view is going to tell your story. Deciding on how and who you want to tell your story, will change the entire outcome. Is it going to be:

First person – The story is narrated by a character, usually the protagonist, and the story will unfold with “I”, “me”, “mine”, or plural “we”. I like this point of view because we can convey the internal and unspoken thoughts through your character. This person takes actions and makes judgements through their eyes. I feel more intimate connections with characters that are written in first person.

Second person – This point of view is rarely used. This type of story is narrated by the character referring to the reader as “you”. It’s like the narrator is telling your story or making you feel like a participant in the story. I don’t have an example that comes to mind and I would love an example if any of you have one. Second person is often used in songwriting or poetry in an attempt to connect with the audience by making the reader feel it is them.

Third person – This point of view is probably the most common and gives the author the most flexibility to tell more of the story. I like writing this way for that reason. The characters are referred by the narrator as “he”, “she”, “it”, or “they”. Never “I” or “we” (first person) or “you” (second person). The narrator is an uninvolved entity who conveys the story, but is not a character.

Omniscient – This point of view is presented by a narrator that has an overall knowledge of everything. I like to think of it as an all-knowing entity, like God. The narrator sees and knows the actions and feelings of all of the characters within the story. This point of view is often used in epic, complicated stories that have many characters or children’s picture books. Although we get to see what is going on with all of the many characters, often times it is hard for the reader to connect or sympathize with the main characters. If not done correctly this P.O.V. can look lazy and is the sure sign of an amateur.

Alternating points of view – This is done by switching between different character points of view whether it be in first-person or third person. I also like writing this way because I can tell a more rounded story by being inside different characters heads. It is very important to switch points of views at a new chapter or page break so the reader is not confused. If you switch points of view without breaks, it is called head hopping, and that is bad.

Those are the bare bones of point of view. I could go into more detail, but I wanted to discect first and third person point of view.

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(photo found on icanhascheeseburger.com)

Thanks to Janette and wonderful editors, I am super sensitive to P.O.V. mistakes now. But sometimes those sneaky devils slip past. I’m going to give some examples… see if you can spot them.

* “He pointed his finger at me, wagging it as he did so. He was frustrated and upset and I began to cry.” — The problem with this example is that we see what someone other than the point of view character is feeling. We do not know exactly what others think. We can guess by their body language or reactions, but we do not know, so your character would not know either. Sometimes you can easily fix this by writing instead: “He pointed his finger at me, wagging it as he did so. His lips formed into a tight line, hinting to me that he was angry. The sting of hot tears formed in my eyes.”

another example:

* “My blue eyes met the steely gaze of his deep, coffee colored eyes.” — Cheesy, I know, but I wanted to illustrate that when in first person, the main character wouldn’t naturally think of her own eye color. Think about it, the reader puts themselves into the main character. When you look at someone, do you think. “Oh, my blue eyes are looking at your brown eyes.” Weird, just weird. And I admit… I used to do that when I wanted to tell or remind the reader about eye color! Ahh! – Bless you Janette.

When you understand P.O.V., most of your writing problems will be fixed.

* It helps with showing and not telling. You describe things as the character would and it comes out more genuine and believable when tied to a solid Point of view.

* It helps with description and pacing. The point of view of your character decides what they choose to see. Also, when the pace is fast (maybe a chase scene), the character won’t notice as many details

* Solid P.O.V. clarifies the goals and motivation. By getting into the characters head, the reader can see into their inner dialogue and desires. We feel what the character feels, and want what the character desires.

* It creates higher stakes. We get into the personality of the character and see what matters internally to the character and why they react the way they do. Therefore creating a stronger drive for the character to achieve their goal.

Point of View is one of those things that once you are aware, it begins to become obvious. When my edits went back and forth between me and my editor, I couldn’t believe what we still caught, even up until the final edits. Little, tiny things like, “your character wouldn’t notice this” or “she wouldn’t think this.”

What are some of your favorite points of view that you like to read or write? I’d love to hear!

— Happy writing and thanks for stopping by!

Tara

My interview with “The Newest Novelist”

It was fun to be highlighted on this blog. She asked some unique questions. I love to do interviews and if you would like to have me on your blog, go to my contact page and send me an email. Thanks!

The Newest Novelist

I’ve just been in touch with the lovely Tara Mayoros, author of the newly-released novel, Broken Smiles. It’s always exciting to me when an author publishes her first book, but when it’s an author I know personally, I want to jump up and down for joy! I met Tara last year at a book launch, and ran into her again at a recent writer’s conference. Tara was gracious enough to grant an interview with The Newest Novelist.

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THE NEWEST NOVELIST:  When did you know you wanted to be an author?

TARA:  That moment happened when I had finished a couple novels, and had some interest with publishers. Up until then, I was doing it for fun, and meeting so many wonderful people along the way.

TNN:  When did you actually start writing?

TARA:  I have…

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