Welcome to The Writer's Challenge

I'm updating weekly-ish and whenever something exciting happens, so please come back often, browse the archived information,
and use the search feature to find information!
Learn more about my books at ShoshannaEvers.com

Sunday, July 31, 2011

What is August 40K?

Hello Fellow Writers!

Ready to get some serious writing done? Is the writing challenge of 1K a day starting to seem too easy, LOL?

In the spirit of NaNoWriMo (but in no way affiliated with NaNoWriMo, natch), let's write 40,000 words in the month of August.

There are no rules. This is free and everyone is invited to join. Just write 40K words and comment each day on the blog I created just for August, with your word count progress. The blog is http://august40k.blogspot.com/

You can also use the Twitter hashtag #Aug40K when you Tweet your updates. It'll be just like May 50K, which was so much fun and really productive for so many of us. I've chosen 40K instead of 50k this month because I have some edits to do on other books at the same time.

So, come on over to the blog: http://august40k.blogspot.com/ 


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Info Dump - How NOT to do it

Hello Fellow Writers!

I'm so lucky that the very talented multi-published (and fellow Ellora's Cave author) Lily Harlem has offered to share her essay on the dangers of dumping loads of information smack in the middle of your novel. Beware - the Info Dump!

Rarely excusable or well-written, the info dump is often disguised as amusing dialogue. Seldom can info dumps be forgiven regardless of the cleverness or wit involved because they are intrinsically boring. They are often dull because they relate past events, generally to set up conflicts. Conflicts are good (no conflict, no story, right?) but if backstory is necessary, weave it in or write a prologue, with the information in an action scene. In other words: show, don't tell.

Info dumps receive frequent and disdainful comments from both readers and writers. Bad examples of the info dump abound, but are found most frequently and offensively in sequels. I shall not embarrass their authors by naming them here, except for one author who is beyond shame because he's dead. In the Foundation series, Isaac Asimov uses articles from the Encyclopaedia Galactica to provide readers with backstory and information he wanted the reader to know but couldn't easily or artfully weave into narrative, action, dialogue tag or dialogue.

Narratives, by the way, comprise the very dullest info dumps especially when disguised as introspection. If you write one at or near the beginning of a book chances are you won't sell it unless your track record justifies the sale.

The most annoying and insulting info dumps occur in romance series or miniseries and will often include a saccharine scene in which the heroines of the previous books get together for a lunch or a coffee. The girl chat will include showing off their adorable babies and recounting the plots of past series books. This recounting is the info dump, and it is insulting in the extreme due to its lack of disguise. "Remember when Trey fought the bear? Oh, I was so scared that I went straight into his arms! And that was the night that Adora, here, was conceived." Heroine bounces baby on her knee. Baby coos. Reader barfs. Book hits wall.

Not only are these passages icky but they're unnecessary. We don't need to know about Trey, the bear and Adora unless the bear appears as an antagonist in the current book. But let me point out examples of well-written info dumps. The entire first chapter of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is an info dump. Written from the point of view of the British prime minister, the chapter does an admirable job of providing the reader with the information s/he would need to understand and enjoy the sixth book of her seven book series. The writing is witty and the technique well-executed. Not to mention the author’s credentials and past sales will hit the spot in the ‘guaranteed good read’ department.

In Definitely Dead, Charlaine Harris gives us plenty of information to ground us in the world of Sookie Stackhouse, her companions and her loves. But Harris takes her time providing us with the information we need to understand Sookie and her life, using two chapters to weave in the data we need. There's plenty of dialogue and action to keep the reader interested in the sixth book in the series.

Cassandra Clare puts a massive info dump deep into City of Glass, Book Three of The Mortal Instruments trilogy. But, because we have become so immersed in her world and her characters, the info dump, disguised as a significant character's reminiscences, is not only welcome but riveting. The information is important to the reader, revealing numerous secrets we really want to know about characters we've come to love. Emotion infuses the memories, and in a great book, emotion is always key. Clare's info dump fascinates rather than repels because its revelations are provided after the reader has become deeply invested in the story and the characters.

In summary of this rule: When you provide backstory, weave it in with care. Write "snippets, not chunks."
Reportedly, there are entire books published that are nothing but info dumps. Series authors who use an entire book to set up future books in the series leaving vast numbers of threads hanging. There’s no real ending… books, even in a series, must have a satisfying conclusion of some sort.

Remember, info dumps are usually boring, and beside the point, at least in a romance. Romances are about two people falling in love. Stray from that notion and you're writing something else. You may turn out a wonderful book, but it won't be a romance. When writing romance, try to keep your lovers on every page as much as possible, interacting with each other, dealing with their conflicts and creating a lasting, loving relationship.
Lily Harlem is an award winning author of erotic romance and lives in the UK with a workaholic hunk and a crazy cat. She writes for Ellora’s Cave, Total-E-Bound and Xcite as well as featuring in numerous UK and US anthologies. Her stories are made up of colourful characters travelling on everyone’s favourite journey — falling in love.

Thanks Lily for sharing your thoughts with us! What do you guys think - have you had problems with either reading or writing info dumps before?

Friday, July 22, 2011

I'm Interviewed on Lynne Robert's blog!

Hello Fellow Writers!

The lovely author Lynne Roberts has interviewed me on her blog, if you care to find out what I eat at three in the morning and what teenage dare I chickened out on, click here and say hi!

I've also got the blurb up for my recently released erotic romance novella from The Wild Rose Press, Taste of Candy ;) FYI, the heroine's name is Candy. Yup, it's that kind of book.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I'm Interviewed on Rachel Leigh's Blog!

Hello Fellow Writer!

Today I'm over at author Rachel Leigh's blog, where's she's asked me all sorts of writing-related questions, including what surprised me the most about becoming a published author, and what my typical day looks like (hint: it involves a lot of writing and promo, LOL).

Stop by, say hi!

Friday, July 15, 2011

I Used to Dream of Release Days

Hello Fellow Writers!
The day a new book comes out is always an exciting time for me. It gets me thinking back to a not-very-long-ago time when I dreamed and dreamed of having a published book come out. I'm so grateful that I have the opportunity to write books and have people read them. Thank you to my readers, I love you all!

As many of you know, today is release day for Taste of Candy! Here's the post I put on my author site, www.ShoshannaEvers.com. I don't usually put excerpts on The Writer's Challenge since I like to think of this blog as PG-rated, but this excerpt (unlike the book) isn't too graphic. Still, please only read further if you are over eighteen. Thanks!

Taste of Candy Available Now!

My latest erotic romance novella, Taste of Candy, is now available from The Wild Rose Press.

Sizzling Hot Books reviewed it here, and Thomas said:
Taste of Candy is a great book. I loved the way that the author builds the relationship between the two characters. I would recommend Taste of Candy to all erotica readers.”

Here’s the blurb:
Candace “Candy” Bryce can’t believe her luck when she wins a dinner date with Dave Roads, the lead singer of a hot new band. Not only is he a drop dead gorgeous rock star, but after she lets it slip that she's never been able to reach orgasm with a man, he seems bent on giving Candy what she needs. Who knew all it would take is a little "tie me up," a few toys and Dave's merciless desire for a Taste of Candy?

And here’s an adult’s only excerpt:

Candy took another sip of the wine to buy time. Who wouldn’t want to hook up with a rock star? And he was so amazingly sexy…but he didn’t know what she was like in bed. According to all three of her ex-boyfriends, she was a prude. A cold, vanilla prude. But something about Dave made her feel sexy and exciting…
“I should tell you something,” she whispered.
Dave leaned in to hear her, a lock of his dark hair falling into his warm brown eyes.
“I’ve never been able to reach, um, that point with anyone.”
Dave frowned. “You’re a virgin?”
“No. I mean, I’ve never been able to have an orgasm with a man before.”
“How do you…relieve the tension?”
Candy lowered her voice even more, so that she could barely be heard above the quiet murmur of the other dining guests. “I’m fine if I’m by myself. Just um…not with anyone else.”
Dave broke out into a grin. “I’m taking that as a personal challenge. I’m going to make you come tonight.”
Was this really happening?
Their food came then, and Candy dove into her filet mignon with relish, enjoying how the meat practically melted in her mouth. “Delicious,” she murmured appreciatively.
“Not as delicious as you’re going to taste,” Dave said as he put down his steak knife.
“I really wouldn’t know.”
“Oh come on, are you telling me no guy has ever gone down on you before?”
“Well, I’ve never felt comfortable enough to do that, exactly. I get embarrassed.”
“I just need to get you to the point where you can’t think about anything except what I’m making you feel.”
Candy squirmed in her seat with barely contained excitement. “How?”
“I’d really like to tie you up so you can’t get away and then take my time bringing you to orgasm.”
Candy got wet at the thought of his mouth on her body, her hands tied above her head. She’d never done anything like that before. “I don’t know…”
“Why not? It’s just one night. One night to forget everything you thought you knew about yourself sexually and just let go.”

Here’s Taste of Candy on The Wild Rose Press site. If you buy it (only $2.50!) please email me and let me know what you think! I love to hear from readers and writers. My email is shoshanna.evers @ yahoo.com (no spaces).

Sexily *Evers* After… ShoshannaEvers.com   Twitter   Facebook   Blog   Titles at Ellora’s Cave

Monday, July 11, 2011

Squee! Good reviews!

Hello Fellow Writers!

I got some great reviews recently of my books, and I wanted to share :)

This one is for Chastity Belt from Ellora's Cave. (Read the whole review here) Thomas from Sizzling Hot Books said:
"Overall, Chastity Belt is a great read. I loved how the author built up the tension between the characters. I would recommend Chastity Belt to anyone that likes BDSM and surprises with the characters."

Yay!  The same reviewer reviewed my upcoming release Taste of Candy from The Wild Rose Press, and said:
"A Taste of Candy is a great book. I loved the way that the author builds the relationship between the two characters. I would recommend A Taste of Candy to all erotica readers."
(read the whole review here)

I've never gotten a pre-release review before :) Usually my reviews roll in several weeks after my books debut. I hope when Taste of Candy comes out on Friday that you guys like it as much as he did! *Fingers crossed*

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sitting in the Front of the Class

My husband jokes that when it comes to school, I'm like Hermoine from the Harry Potter books, always sitting in the front with my hand raised.

Guilty as charged. I even wrote a blog post about it over at Gee/k/ink. Stop by, say hi, and find out how that affects me as an author (and how it might affect you, too!)