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Monthly Archives: January 2014

New Author Website!


Jai Colvin website It’s here! The brand new Jai Colvin website! I did a lot of waffling over the last 6 months over whether or not it would be a good idea to redo my website in my new married name. Truth be told I am writing my new books in that name so I figured why not. This site is a almost a carbon copy of the Jai Farris site except that I am happier with the design. So go check it out and then share it with others. Here is the link….

http://jaicolvin.com/

 

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2014 in Writing

 

What’s a Galley Copy and Why Can’t I Eat There?


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So you have written a book and you have sent it in and a publisher somewhere has said, “Sure I’ll take a chance on you”. You sent your entire manuscript and after what seems like an enormously long time you get this package in the mail. Inside the package is a mockup of your book. The copy is flimsy and there is no cover but the book is all there in all its glory. You get excited and show everyone, maybe even let a few people read one of the copies. After reading one your friends come to you and ask if you realize how many mistakes are in that copy….your heart falls. You are thinking that your book is going to be crap when it hits the stores and it will be…if you don’t use that galley copy as it was meant.

First let me explain the concept of a “galley copy”. Galleys are your book in book form. The point of a galley copy is so that the writer (you) can go over it and make any corrections. Now let me be clear here…you can make corrections to spelling, punctuation, that sort of thing but not to the story itself. The galley copy is not to rewrite your story; it is only so that you can correct obvious typesetting issues. If you read the galley copy and decide that the story really is that bad, you can’t do anything about that but hope that it gets shelved in the back of the book store. The galley copy is just that “a galley”.

Now many writers receive the galley copies and know what they are but never open them. This would be a huge mistake on the part of the writer. This is your chance to make sure that your novel is presentable, make sure it’s shoes are tied and the buttons are all buttoned up right. This is your chance to give it one last look-see before it is published for the world to see.

With my very first novel I didn’t look at the galley copy because, well, frankly, I had no idea what it was. I am still paying for that today, 20 years later, when someone comes across that first edition and I hear reviews that state, “it is a great story but it needs some editing”. Trust me; you want to spend some quality time with those galley copies or one day you will look back, as I do, and wish you had.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2014 in Editing, Writing, Writing Tools

 

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No Laptops in the Operating Room


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Let’s be honest sometimes when we are writing life gets in the way. I would love to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week but if I did that I would waste away from lack of junk food and television. Besides the kids might complain if the electricity went off because I was so busy writing that I forgot to pay the bills.

The truth is there are some times when writing has to take a back seat. Case in point…next week I have to have surgery and I could be wrong but I am pretty sure that the surgeon isn’t going to allow me to take my tablet into the operating room. I am going to have to take a few down days and you know what…..that’s okay.

I know a lot of writers who write themselves into illness. They get so busy writing that they forget to take care of themselves. While this isn’t the case with my surgery, I have had years when I have been sicker than most other years and I know it is because I haven’t taken care of myself. For instance, two years ago I had the flu so bad they thought about putting me in the hospital. I know why it got so bad…when I first got it I refused to lay down and take it easy. I kept pushing until my body said, “Okay, lay down now….all systems stop”. What sucked was that in doing that I ended up losing more time than I would have if I had just taken a couple of days to allow my body to heal.

I learned my lesson that year but you don’t have to learn the hard way. I am here to tell you that if your body is trying to tell you to slow down…do it. In the end it will be better than pushing yourself until you can’t stand. It’s okay to love what you do but don’t push yourself so hard that you can’t actually do it anymore. Take time for yourself and make sure that you are around to write another day.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2014 in Healthy Writers, Writing

 

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Why is it sooooooo Hard NOT to disturb the Writer?


Writer-at-workI have four kids. The two oldest kids live out on their own and the middle son is in transition in terms of being between home and wherever else it is that he hangs out most of the time and our daughter is home. (she is 13) One would think that with kids who are mostly out of the house I would have all the free time in the world to write…I’m here to tell you it ain’t true.

When you are a parent there is never a time when you get to just stop being one. My kids always need something…encouragement, a loan (well they call it a “loan”, we all know I am just giving them money because I will never see it again) a ride, the list is endless and it would appear that the very time they need something is the exact time I have sat down to work. It is frustrating.

The kids are not the only interruptions either. There is the spouse who calls to remind me of stuff I have to do, there are the friends who seem to be able to create more drama than a soap opera on any given day, there are the dogs who are embarked upon a marathon to see how many times they can get me away from my desk to let them out and there is the cat who seems to think that my desktop is a little kitty race track. It just never ends.

As a writer I have learned that there will be times when folks just will not leave you be to write. When you work at home you tend to end up being the go to parent or the go to spouse because everyone else thinks….well they are home so why can’t they. I have spent over 30 years and many, many published works trying to convince my family and friends that I need time to work but today my daughter is playing loudly on the Wii, my middle son needs help filling out papers, my other middle son needs to talk and one of my friends just called to declare that she is leaving her partner again…for the 17th time and that’s all there is to it….

I could tell you to unplug your phone but then you would worry about no one being able to get ahold of you. I could tell you to ignore the spouse but its winter time and the nights are too cold to sleep alone. I could tell you to ignore the kids but any kid of 18 years old will show up anyways and if you ignore the ones who are still minors….well…you could get arrested for that. The truth is there is no perfect time to write that is quiet and worry free because, frankly, we don’t live in that world. We just have to continue to steal time where we can even if most of the time it’s between Top Ramen soup fests and opening the back door for the barking dog who appears to have a bladder issue. Life happens and for us writers if often tends to happen all over us so muck up kids and steal the time where you can. Maybe someday you can sell that novel and purchase an island from which to write…or at the very least cages for the kids…..

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
 

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The Friday Writing Pebbles


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Like throwing a pebble into the water some writers put advice out into the ocean of hopeful newbies hoping the ripple effects will reach them and they will learn a thing or two. Fridays here at The Writer’s Advice is pebble collection time. I will post some of the pebbles of wisdom I discover and I encourage you all to do the same. Each Friday we will help each other.

So here are mine….show me yours!

Fiction Depends on Place – http://www.advicetowriters.com/home/2014/1/17/fiction-depends-on-place.html

Hot Grammar Tips for 2014 – http://ezinearticles.com/?43-Hot-Grammar-Tips-for-2014&id=8257894

Stories That Kill. 7 Tips for Writing Crime – http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2014/01/17/writing-crime/

Health Tips for Writers – http://www.teacooperauthor.com/1/post/2014/01/health-tips-for-writers.html

Keep It Fresher, Longer: Tips to Finish the Writing you’ve started – http://www.theprocrastiwriter.com/keep-fresher-longer-tips-finish-writing-youve-started-guest-post-positive-writer/

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
 

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What Does Support for Your Writer Look Like?


support-writersWriters are a unique breed of animal. We need alone time but crave attention. We want silence but need the noise. We want to be left to our own devices but we need someone to tell us that we are good at what we do. I think it is safe to say that we, as writers, don’t often know what we want or need for that matter.

For me personally I can be both needy and independent and often at the same time. It can be confusing for my family and my friends who don’t write. They have no idea what is happening inside of my head so they don’t understand the daily battle I wage to win the war of story. While I am hobnobbing with those in the waking world I am also usually deeply immersed with the people inside my head too. While my spouse is explaining the ins and outs of hosting the family weekend with all the relatives I am also trying to decide whether or not to kill Peter. Sometimes the details of Peter’s death drown out the voice of my spouse and when I look at her and say “huh?” She gets upset and thinks that I was just not listening to her. The truth is I was trying to find just the right way to kill Peter, without getting caught;mI really wasn’t ignoring her.

The thing is, there is no way that my spouse could ever understand the dilemma that is my world. A non-writing person doesn’t have conversations inside their heads about stories that haven’t happened yet. They are not constantly in a flux of creation, determining the lives of people not yet in existence. They have never given birth to a character and then held that characters life in their hands trying to decide in a God-like manner what to do next. There is simply no way for the non-writer to truly understand our world.

So how then does a person support a writer? The answer is simple….be there. Here are eight ways to support the writer in your life.

  1. Understand that the world of the writer is complicated and often crowded.
  2. Get that your writer is not ignoring you but instead is just huddled in a corner of their minds somewhere hashing out the plot.
  3. Be patient – The live in two worlds and they are both busy.
  4. Be kind – Writers often put themselves down; be kind to them because they won’t do it themselves.
  5. Feed them – because they often won’t feed themselves. It is easy to get caught up in the work and forget.
  6. By them “writer stuff” – No one understands this one but it is important. Buying your writer something as stupid as a mug that says “I am a writer” shows that you support them.
  7. All them the quiet – Writers need some time to themselves. Understand that inspiration often doesn’t work on the clock and be understanding when they jump out of bed at 3 a.m.
  8. Love them despite their flaws – This, of course, could work for anyone but it really works for writers. We know we are damaged; it’s what makes us good writers…love us anyway.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2014 in Healthy Writers, Writing

 

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Working Sick – Writing vs. Throwing Up


thToday’s column is based on something that I am obviously experiencing today…I’m not feeling well. My spouse, who works in the medical field, brought home a bug and has systematically shared it with each and every member of our family…I am the last to get it. I had things to do today and I write every day however today I am feeling physically bad as well as guilty for not being able to get any work done. What’s a writer to do?

The truth is we are all human and there will be times when a flu or a bad cold will catch up with you no matter how much orange juice you down. It’s easy to get up anyways and push yourself especially if you work at home to begin with but I am here to tell you…don’t do that. I have discovered over the years that just one day of actual rest will make all the difference in the world. Sometimes you just need to let your body rest and that’s okay.

I will be honest and say that I do still attempt to get something done such as this column today but I pace myself. Small amounts for short periods of time and then it is back to the couch. I could push myself and make it worse but then I lose several days instead of one. So if you must write while you are sick do so in small doses but hit that chicken soup and the cold/flu meds or you’ll just be down longer. Your writing will get done eventually and no one really expects you to kill yourself, not even your clients who expect the work “right now”. Everyone gets sick…even writers…so take the time and heal first.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2014 in Healthy Writers, Writing

 

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