Monday’s Manuscript with Linda Shenton Matchett

Monday’s Manuscript: The Pomorodo Method

By Linda Shenton Matchett

Life is a balancing act. Or is it juggling? Either way, getting everything done can be a challenge. As an author who also has a full-time day job as well as assisting my elderly mom with daily tasks, and volunteering at church and a local museum, my time is precious. Until about eighteen months ago, completing the first draft of a manuscript took months. At that rate, I knew I might not live long enough to develop my writing career.

Then I was introduced to the Pomodoro Method by Shelley Hitz of Author Audience Academy. The process seemed too simple and too good to be true, but I was desperate so decided to give it a try. Invented in the late 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, an Italian whose consulting company is located in Berlin, Germany, the method is a time management tool used worldwide and is for anyone looking to shut out distractions, overcome procrastination, and enhance productivity. Who knows? You might even want to consider the method for your household chores.

Pomorodo is the Italian word for tomato, and according to Wikipedia, Cirillo chose the name to commemorate the kitchen timer he used as a college student. Apparently, those timers were all the rage back then!

There are six steps to the Pomorodo Technique:

• Decide what task is to be done (write a scene, edit a chapter, etc.) and gather everything together that you’ll need to do the job.

• Set the timer. Any timer. It doesn’t need to be fancy. I use a basic timer app on my cell phone. Cirillo’s method calls for twenty-five minute time segments (each one is a pomorodo), however, you may choose to go slightly shorter or longer. I’ve found twenty minutes to be my “sweet spot.”

• Work on the task, and only the task. Don’t give into temptation and decide to research something for your scene or check the text message that just pinged.

• When the timer rings, put a check mark on a piece of paper.

• If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a 3-5 minute break then return to step two; otherwise go on to step six. I deviate slightly from this timeframe because I found that four sessions are too many for me. I take three minutes or so after each pomorodo, but only do three sessions, then get up and take about a twenty minute break.

• After the break, reset your checkmark counter to zero and start over.

I believe the success behind the method is the sense of urgency created by the timer. Instead of feeling like I have “all the time in the world,” I race against the clock to get as many words written as I can. If I’m struggling with a word, I don’t take time to use my thesaurus, I type XX and move on.

In the beginning, working in the short time periods felt awkward, and in the back of my mind I was convinced I wasn’t getting as much work done. Surprisingly, after about a week of using the method, it became more natural, and now I look forward to my Pomorodo session. Not only am I more productive and my daily word count is higher, but the forced breaks ensure I’m not as fatigued at the end of my day.

The Pomorodo Method is a simple technique, but it isn’t easy to eliminate distractions and dedicate a time period to a single task (especially if your a chronic multi-tasker like me), so don’t become discouraged in the early days. With a little practice you’ll be conquering your writing goals one pomorodo at a time.


About Murder in Madison Square Garden:

The dream of a lifetime becomes a nightmare.

Photojournalist Theodora “Teddy” Schafer’s career has hit the skids thanks to rumors of plagiarism. With any luck, a photo spread with Charles Lindbergh at the America First Rally will salvage her reputation. After an attempted assassination of Lindbergh leaves another man dead, Teddy is left holding the gun. Literally. Can she prove her innocence before the police lock her up for a murder she didn’t commit?

Private Investigator Ric Bogart wants nothing to do with women after his wife cleaned out their bank account and left him for another man, but he can’t ignore the feeling he’s supposed to help the scrappy, female reporter who is arrested for murder at the America First rally. Can he believe her claims of innocence and find the real killer without letting Teddy steal his heart?

Purchase Link: https://books2read.com/u/31qK17


About Linda

Linda Shenton Matchett writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. A volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII, Linda is also a trustee for her local public library. She is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry. Linda has lived in historic places all her life, and is now located in central New Hampshire where her favorite activities include exploring historic sites and immersing herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors.

Social Media Links:

Website/blog: http://www.LindaShentonMatchett.com

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Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LindaShentonMatchettAuthor

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Shenton-Matchett/e/B01DNB54S0

BookBub: http://www.bookbub.com/authors/linda-shenton-matchett

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/authorlindamatchett

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Twitter: @lindasmatchett

Monday’s Manuscript with Darlene L. Turner

Blurriness

By Darlene L. Turner

You know what they say . . . “A picture is worth a thousand words.” But what if the picture was blurry and out of focus? It’s worthless.

Or is it?

Have you noticed when you first press the screen on your phone to take a picture, it goes fuzzy before taking the perfect, clear shot? It has to go out of focus before going into focus.

Lately, I’ve been feeling the same thing about my writing. Unfocused. I settle in to write and find myself getting distracted. Ding! Was that an email?

Of course, the pandemic hasn’t helped and I’ve found myself easily pulled away from deadlines. There are too many competing priorities trying to gobble up our time. We need to take back our lives. So, how do we do it?

Here are some ideas I’ve put into practice. Some of these may be a challenge with covid-19, but we need to get creative in staying focused.

Get rid of distractions – Limit the amount of TV we watch. I love being able to PVR my favorite show because after I write for a specific amount of time, I can treat myself and watch it before bedtime. Also, turn off social media while writing. This includes email and our phones. I’m bad about leaving my cell beside me and when I see the light flashing . . . well, you know what happens.

Clean our writing corners – Getting rid of clutter helps. It can get messy and distracting. When it does, I find myself not wanting to write there. I took some time last week to purge and declutter. It felt good and keeps me motivated to stay in my writing corner. Keep it clean!

Go somewhere out of the norm to write – Need to be inspired and find a new character for your next book? Take your laptop or journal to your favorite café and write. It’s a great way to sit and watch others interacting and maybe catch a few conversations (inconspicuously of course). A smaller café with less traffic is a great place to concentrate.

Go on a writer’s retreat – Book a weekend away to write! Plan a trip. This could be for one night or more, depending on your pocket book. There’s just something to be said about getting away from our homes to write. It forces us to put our fingers to keyboard or pen to paper.

These are a few ideas that help me focus on writing. You may have others.

But what about my faith? Yes, the lens of my faith camera can also get fuzzy. Satan uses distractions to pull me away. These can be little or big, but it doesn’t matter. They’re still distractions.

I need to keep myself focused and in constant communion with God and in His word. Being equipped with His full armor will put the blurriness into clear focus and my eyes on Him!


LOVE INSPIRED SUSPENSE

Border Breach

When drugs are smuggled across the border

it’s their duty to stop the culprits…at any cost.

Forming a joint task force, Canada border officer Kaylin Poirier and police constable Hudson Steeves have one objective: take down a drug-smuggling ring trying to sell a new lethal product. But when the smugglers come after Kaylin and Hudson, this mission becomes more than just a job. Can they live long enough to solve the case?


Get your copy of Border Breach

Amazon.ca

https://amzn.to/2IXI31X

Amazon.com

https://amzn.to/2QrcgdP

Chapters/Indigo

https://bit.ly/3b5wkKQ

Barnes & Noble

https://bit.ly/33v9Ro4


About Darlene

Darlene L. Turner is an award-winning author and lives with her husband, Jeff in Ontario, Canada. Her love of suspense began when she read her first Nancy Drew book. She’s turned that passion into her writing and believes readers will be captured by her plots, inspired by her strong characters, and moved by her inspirational message. You can connect with Darlene at www.darlenelturner.com where there’s suspense beyond borders.

Find Darlene online

Facebook: https://bit.ly/2Woy8dK

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Instagram: darlenel.turner

Monday’s Manuscript with Advice from TEN Award-winning Authors

Writing from the Trenches

Writers are always leaning on each other to learn the craft. Sometimes finding a mentor is hard to do because writers are busy people. When we’re not dealing with every day life, we’re working on the next release. Today, I’m excited to share with you the new book by TEN award-winning authors who have been where you are. They’ve been through the rejections, revisions, edits, critques, marketing and everything else that deals with writing. These ten authors have come together to share their advice and expertise in a new book, Writing from the Trenches. Here’s a sample of the great advice you’ll find:


 Maximizing Use of Beats in Dialogue

guest post by Julie Lessman

Action speaks louder than words. Do you believe it? Well, if you’re an author, you better, because we must use words to convey “action” in a reader’s mind.

 

Maximizing use of “beats” (action) in dialogue ramps up tension, so instead of overuse of speaker attributions (i.e., he said, she said), try a healthy dose of action beats with minimal speaker attributions.

 

1.) ACTION BEATS ALONE ENHANCE DRAMA, especially with only two speakers, allowing less chance for confusion. This excerpt from A Hope Undaunted shows it both ways.

SPEAKER ATTRIBUTION/BEATS:

“Is that all this was between us then?” he said, locking her wrist midair when she tried to slap him. “A little fun while your rich boyfriend was off limits?”

“I never started any of this,” she said, jerking her hand free, “and you know it. It was you.”

“No,” he said, fingers digging in as he pressed her to the counter. “But you sure finished it, didn’t you?”

BEATS ONLY:

She tried to slap him, but he locked her wrist midair with a painful grip. “Is that all this was between us then? A little fun while your rich boyfriend was off limits?”

She jerked her hand free. “I never started any of this, and you know it. It was you.”

His fingers dug in as he pressed her to the counter. “No, but you sure finished it, didn’t you?”

 

2.)ACTION BEATS W/MINIMAL SPEAKER ATTRIBUTIONS CAN ENHANCE EMOTION. In this angry love scene from A Passion Most Pure, I relied heavily on beats (underlined) because speaker attributions can slow the flow of a tense scene. Only two speaker attributions are included (bolded)to drive emotion home with a strong response.

 

She jerked her hand from his and stood, quivering as she caved against the chair.“I can’t marry you, Collin.”

He leaned in.“I know you love me. Can you deny it?”

She didn’t speak and he jumped up, gripping her arms to lift her to her feet.When she wouldn’t look at him, he grabbed her chin.“Look at me! Can you deny you love me?”

She stared through a mist of tears.“Let me go.”

“Tell me you don’t love me.”

“I don’t love you.”

“You’re lying, Faith. I would have thought better of you than that.”

“Well don’t!” she screamed. “I’m not better than that. You’ve said your apologies, Collin, now let me go.”

She tried to turn away. He jerked her back.“I know you love me. Don’t you think I can feel it every time I touch you?” He silenced her with a savage kiss. She struggled to pull free, but he only held her tighter, the blood pounding in his brain. His mouth was everywhere—her throat, her earlobes, her lips—and he could feel the heat coming in waves as she melted against him. She was quivering when he finally let her go.

“You love me, Faith,” he said quietly. “You know it, and I know it. Your heart belongs to me, and nothing can ever change that fact—not Charity, not you, and not your god.”


These examples shed light on just how important “beats” are, not only to good dialogue, but in escalating the romantic tension in a novel as well. And if you’re looking for more ideas to hone your craft, check out Writing From the Trenches: Tips & Techniques From Ten Award-Winning Authors. Here’s a blurb:

TEN-HUT! Gear up for your writing with tried-and-true tips from the trenches. Ten award-winning authors share invaluable tips and secrets they’ve gleaned the hard way, offering a broad range of insights and opinions on the best way to tackle tough subjects such as the following:

Plotting Techniques

Research

Characterization

Villains We Love to Hate

Dynamic Dialogue

Sigh-Worthy Heroes

The Right Heroine for the Job

Hooking Your Reader in the First Chapter

Scene Endings to Lead Your Readers On

Creating a Movie Set

Making your Readers Cry

Deep POV

Copyediting your Manuscript

Indie Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

Marketing for Those Who Hate Marketing


At last … a writer’s tool that provides the experience and expertise of ten authors who’ve been on the front lines of publishing and lived to teach about it: Connie Almony, Lynnette Bonner, Hallee Bridgeman, Louise Gouge, Michelle Griep, Julie Lessman, Elizabeth Ludwig, Ane Mulligan, MaryLu Tyndall, and Erica Vetsch.

Get your copy today! 

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