Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Rose by Any Other Name…

Virtually no one can spell my name (one of the many reasons I hate my name).

I am long past being surprised when people spell my name Lynette instead of Lynnette. Spelling the name with only one N is apparently the norm.

I used to consider it a sign of disrespect if someone did not take the trouble to make sure they spelled my name correctly. I still feel that way, just not about my own name. Spell it any way you want and pronounce it any way you want. If you’re close, I’ll answer to it.

The only spoken form I may not answer to is Ly-NEE-tra. Someone actually used  that in a voicemail and it took me about a day to realize they were trying to pronounce my name.

Feel free to address me as Lynn, or LynSprat (I use that for a lot of online stuff), or you can use the nickname one of the members of the online writing group I joined back in ’93 – Lynt. Handy little moniker, don’t you think? Easy to pronounce, easy to spell, and best of all, everyone seems to enjoy using it in jokes and puns — Scarlynt when I’m being dramatic, Sadlynt, Happilynt, dryerLynt (I can be a mess sometimes). Anyway, unless you copy and paste it, you’re almost certain to leave out the second N in Lynnette.

In real life, I’ve answered to a wide variety of verbal variations: Lynn, Lynt, Lynnette, Annette, Wynette and, for reasons known only to the person who called me this, Lee. If all I hear is “et,” I’ll answer to it.

WordPress has an option for purchasing lynnettespratley.com to use as a domain name. I was waffling over this, because, as I said, most people can’t spell my name correctly. However, I googled myself with one N and found myself with and without the correct spelling. I’ll probably make the switch to lynnettespratley.com soon. If someone misspells it, Google will offer listings with the correct spelling.

Thank God, I gave my only child a name he wouldn’t have to spend half his life spelling: Chris (Christopher). As problems go, though, easily misspelled or mispronounced names aren’t a big deal over a lifetime.

Still, in my next life, I want to be named Pat. Nobody misspells Pat.

Here’s that pesky, elusive second letter N for anytime you want to write my name!

 

 

Let it Flow, Let it Flow, Let it Flow

Do you outline your novels? Do you write synopses of the chapters before you write them or make lists of pivotal scenes for each chapter?

Although most of the zillion books on writing that I have read insist that you must outline or in some way plan the course of your story, I don’t do it.

I like surprises, but only in books and in writing fiction. I like to go with the flow, wherever the story takes me, rather than drag the story to some predetermined finish line whether it wants to go there or not. Too heavy. Too much trouble.

Besides, I know me better than the authors of those how-to-write-well books do. If I write an outline, detailed or bare bones, or synopsize the book chapter by chapter, I will never write the darned thing. Once I’ve told the story in any fashion, it’s told. The fun has been had and the party is over.

That is also why I rarely tell anyone what my work-in-progress is about. I may talk about a troublesome scene or even chapter, but never the whole storyline. Partly because I don’t know the whole story myself, yet, and partly because, as I said, once the story is told, it’s told.

I have used Cyn Mobley’s go-to plot points system in her BAM: Book A Month ebook, but mostly for problem areas that have me stumped, like a pivotal scene that refuses to pivot. That is when planning comes in most handy for me. I stress that because your experiences may be (and often should be) wildly different.

For me, outlining and short chapter-by-chapter synopses were most helpful when working on a query letter to an agent or publisher. Since I’m deeply in love with indie publishing, the outline/synopsis helps most with writing blurbs.

I usually have a pretty good idea of the story I want to tell before I begin writing.  Nothing specific or concrete, just an idea that has germinated and begun to grow.  Memory’s Child was an exception – I not only had no plan for the plot, I didn’t know what was going to happen until it flowed out of my pen. I had no inkling that the story was there, lurking in my brain’s creative half. I wanted to write romances!

If outlining works for you, hooray. If it doesn’t, hooray. Forcing yourself in either direction will only make you miserable and the writing more difficult. Whatever it takes to help your writing flow more easily, do that, no matter what the how-to books say.

After Action Report

It’s Thursday, and my free weekend event ended on Sunday. The final free download count is 1197, which isn’t too shabby for a new author, I think.

Since Memory’s Child went back to its usual sale price of $3.99 for the e-book (I’m still working on getting it into print form), I’ve sold 12. That doesn’t sound like much, but that’s a lot in less than one week, again, because this is a first book from a new author.

I’m happy with the step-up in sales and of course, I hope sales continue to grow exponentially.

Now, if only some of those 1200 freebie and purchased copies generate reviews, I’ll be ecstatic.

Weekend Freebie Stats

Click on the book cover to go to Amazon.com and download your copy of Memory's Child.

“Wow,” is all I can think of to say. Memory’s Child is closing in on 500 downloads since the free weekend began Friday.

I’m thrilled to know so many people will be reading MC, and utterly terrified that some won’t like it. That is a “heart” thing. My brain knows perfectly well that you can’t enthrall all the readers all the time, of course. My heart just keeps saying, “Why not?” Stupid heart.

Making Memory’s Child free for the whole weekend was a good idea, I think, though many indie authors will disagree. I want more than anything to tell a story, and why write a story if nobody is going to read it? So I’m happy to know that many pairs of eyes will read the story.

I also anticipate that at least a few of those new readers will take the time to rate and post a review of MC on Amazon. All good reviews, I hope!

Personally, I think Memory’s Child would make a wonderful movie….

To Market, To Market

I’ll admit it: I don’t have more than a small clue about how to successfully market anything, including my own e-book.

So far, except for one sale in the UK, most of the copies of Memory’s Child sold are to friends. Perhaps one to my son, making him the only family member so far.

Did I jump the gun publishing Memory’s Child without a lot of marketing research or expertise? Maybe, but remember, the world is supposed to end in December, which doesn’t leave much time for lollygagging.

I believe that Memory’s Child is a good book, a good story, that a significant number of readers will like. If I didn’t believe in this book, I wouldn’t have published it, prematurely or otherwise.

Fortunately, there isn’t much you can’t learn on the Internet, so in between writing sessions, I’m researching marketing.

This publishing business is time-consuming, but I believe the payoff will eventually be worth the effort.

If I had it to do over again, I would do the research first and have a full-bodied marketing plan in place beforehand instead of playing catch-up now. Forget the Mayans and their blasted calendar; if you’re planning to self-publish, make a plan, first.

Diet, Exercise and Writing

I took the day off from writing today and spent the first two hours of it trying not to feel guilty.

Most writers say you won’t get anywhere unless you write every day without fail. That may be true for them and it may be true for you. If so, don’t take a day off.

To me, writing is a bit like a diet or exercise program. You have to do it every day to get into the habit of eating properly or toning your muscles. It takes time, but eventually you reach a point where not following the regimen makes your whole day seem off.

For me, taking a day off from writing now and then helps clear away the cobwebs and let that side of my brain rest. A day off from exercising or strictly following a diet regimen gives your body a chance to rest and gives you an opportunity to reward yourself for being “good.”

You can spend your day off doing almost anything. Eat ice cream. Loll around on a deck chair all afternoon watching birds fly by.

The best thing you can do as a writer, in my opinion, is lift your nose from the grindstone and look around. Reconnect with the world.

Go to the park, take a walk, strike up a conversation with a stranger at the grocery store. Give your dog a bath. Give the cat a bath if you’re feeling reckless.

Grab your camera and practice taking closeups of bumblebees. The danger of being stung will almost certainly make the experience bigger and brighter for you.

If you have any young relatives, call or visit and spend time talking to them. A conversation with a four-year-old is often at once hopelessly garbled and crystal clear.

Keep a small notebook and pen with you, just in case. You may find during your day doing anything but writing that your work is simmering on the back burner of your mind.

New ideas may bubble over here and there. A sticky plot situation may resolve itself while you’re tossing bread crumbs to the ducks at the park. Write them down and put the notebook away, out of sight, to avoid the temptation to keep writing.

Tomorrow, when you glue your butt back into your chair and reattach that ball and chain, the short notes you took on your day off may help jumpstart your work.

Hark! Yonder Echoes the Cry of the Wild Noob!

I spent five long, intense days working on publishing MEMORY’S CHILD as an e-book. I did a final edit, formatted the manuscript and – at long last – uploaded to Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords.
The editing wasn’t that bad. After all, I’ve been editing MC for about 20 years, now. The formatting, however, was a nightmare. I understand why so many formatting businesses are available on the Internet. I may yet hire one to format the prequel to MC when it’s ready.
As a learning experience, getting the manuscript finalized, dedication and acknowledgements written, plus the copyright and disclaimer information done was invaluable.
Now I know how the process works and I know how long it takes for a book to go from upload to “on sale.”
Since Sunday or Monday (the whole thing is a blur, now), when I uploaded MEMORY’S CHILD to Smashwords, my final goal, I’ve been exploring the realm of networking.
I started a new Twitter account, an author’s page on Facebook, posted links everywhere I could think of to Kindle, Nook and Smashwords, worked in a couple of reviews of other authors’ books and still had to get my animal rescue articles and videos done for Examiner and a local TV station website.
In doing that, I repeatedly ran across blogs, Tweets, Facebook posts and various and sundry other tidbits written by some of the authors I know. I’m exhausted!
Now, the only question I have (and I ask it with a high-pitched, quavering wail) is: how do they find time to write books?