Petit Fours » A group blog of authors writing in different genres

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Eight sentences for impact

by Carol Burnside

Lately, I’ve been participating in the Facebook group,  Snippet Sunday. Every Sunday, participating writers share 8 to 10 sentences from a current WIP (work in progress) or past work on our blogs. We provide a link to our post in the comments of announcement on the group page. Then we go around to each blog and read the current installment. Some post subsequent sentences each week, so we’re getting to know characters. Some post from various works each week, yet their voices come through.

The interesting thing about selecting such a small snippet to post is that it makes you take a close look at the conciseness of your writing and whether the emotion and intent of the scene is obvious.

CarolBurnside_HisSmallTownPrincess_500I’ve been posting lines from my WIP, His Small Town Princess, the third book in my Sweetwater Springs series. If you’d care to have a peek, here are the links:

Week 1, Week 2, Week 3

Some questions I’ve been mulling over as I searched for lines to post:

Do the sentences have impact?

Is every word necessary or am I not getting to the point quickly enough?

Will the reader learn something about my characters?

It really brings home to me how important it is to stay in tune with my characters and the story.

This is not a romance only group, so another perk of the exercise is that by being courteous and making the rounds of my fellow snippet posters, I’m exposed to many genres I wouldn’t usually read. Some I enjoy more than others, but I’m starting to distinguish one voice from another and that’s interesting.

Have you done anything lately that at first blush felt a little too outside your comfort zone, but later proved to have hidden value?
Or perhaps you picked up a book to read that you weren’t sure about but enjoyed?

– – – – –

On a side note:

I’m celebrating the rest of my birthday month by putting two of my Annie Rayburn works on sale.

INSIGHT is FREE and as of last night, Amazon is price matching it.
Length: Short Story                 READ EXCERPT
BUY at: Smashwords B&N / Apple(iTunes)/ Kobo(Sony) / Amazon/UK / DE / FR / IT / ES / ARe

PHANTOMS & FANTASIES is on sale from $2.99 to only $0.99!
Length: Novella                            READ EXCERPT
BUY at: Smashwords / B&N / Apple(iTunes)Kobo(Sony) / Amazon-US / UK / DE / FR / IT / ES / ARe

Marilyn Baron - August 19, 2014 - 3:02 am

Thanks for the advice, I’m going to use your questions to analyze my latest WIP, which I’m just finalizing.

One thing that surprised me in my reading preferences is that I’ve discovered some amazing voices in Young Adult Books. Some examples are The Book Thief; The Fault in our Stars; and Golden Boy. I don’t think I could write YA but I do enjoy reading it.

sandra Elzie - August 19, 2014 - 6:22 am

I’ve read mysteries, but can’t seem to write one. (sigh)

I’ve found that if I have a page limit,..say, for a contest…I go through my words with a much finer filter and tighten things a LOT more than normal.

I’ve also found that taking a picture (any picture out of a magazine or ?????) and trying to write an opening line (limited to one line and no more than 25 or 30 words) as if that picture is representing a WIP, helps me think leaner and more creatively.

Kayelle Allen - August 19, 2014 - 6:52 am

Excellent advice. Flash fiction will make you narrow your focus too. Any time we limit ourselves to a small peek, it makes us stop and think — that’s a good thing. There is a great economy in using short excerpts.

Pam Asberry - August 19, 2014 - 8:57 am

Great post, Carol. Important things to think about while writing today!

Maxine Davis - August 19, 2014 - 11:48 am

Carol, Yes it is good information. I’m enjoying you post. Like Sandy, I really wish I could write great mysteries. Maybe one day …

Carol Burnside - August 19, 2014 - 2:30 pm

Marilyn, I started reading Hopeless by Colleen Hoover because I’ve heard good things about it on Goodreads. It’s a departure from my norm. (YA and 1st person) Very high school teen mentality, which is okay, but so far the voice isn’t grabbing me. I do like to try new things because sometimes I find a gem.

Carol Burnside - August 19, 2014 - 2:32 pm

I’ve done the contest thing too, Sandy. Then it occurred to me that I should be writing like that all the time – and while revising, should be looking for ways to tighten and be economical with my words for more impact. It’s a good exercise. The picture sounds intriguing.

Carol Burnside - August 19, 2014 - 2:53 pm

And I do love writing short and flash fiction as well, Kayelle. Maybe that’s why the Snippet Sunday struck a chord.

Carol Burnside - August 19, 2014 - 2:56 pm

Thanks, Pam and Maxine.

I like mysteries too, but don’t wish to write them.

Piper - August 19, 2014 - 3:55 pm

It sounds to me like you exercise would be out of my comfort zone, so I admire that you participate in it. That’s awesome.

Sia Huff - August 19, 2014 - 8:45 pm

Great advice, Carol. I can see that picking 6-8 sentences would make you look at your words closer. Love your snippets – can’t wait for Sunday.

Carol Burnside - August 21, 2014 - 1:41 am

It’s been eye-opening and a bit uncomfortable at times, Piper.

Carol Burnside - August 21, 2014 - 1:49 am

Aw, thanks for checking out my lines, Sia. See ya Sunday.

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