December Status

I have my first critique partner!  So exciting!

My novel and children’s series continue on hold.  I’m working on a revision of my science fiction short story, incorporating feedback from online and from my critique partner.

It’s been interesting learning how to add more emotion beats to my write and learning that sometimes the subtlety I shoot for — well, sometimes it’s just too subtle for the reader.

Dialogue Does More Than You Know

Here’s a few tidbits to consider.  Dialogue can

  • Be a vehicle for character
  • Help draw relationships
  • Reveal tensions
  • Create atmosphere
  • Help the reader read between the lines
  • Illustrate underlying emotions
  • Drive the plot forward

I will be pondering the above as I review dialogue in my own writing.

From Writing a Scene with Good Dialogue and Narration by Helga Schier, PhD over on Writer’s Digest.


Writing Status for November

Writing Skill Development Takes Precedence

I’m not pushing to complete any of my works in progress at this point.  Instead, I’ve switched gears to improving my writing skills.  This involves incorporating feedback (thank you, Absolute Write Forums!) back into my stories and improving the way emotions are conveyed in my stories.  I’m using not only my works in progress but also snippets from my writing journal.   Stay posted for more before and after examples!

Being a Plotter

Entire arguments exist on the web about writing a book by the seat of your pants (pantsters) and writing by planning the structure in advance (plotter).  What I’ve found is that capturing my dreams and ideas is great as a pantster, but to write well I need to be a plotter.

So, my major ideas are now organized into a MS Word table identifying concept, premise, and M.I.C.E. quotient.  A few of these I’ve developed with a synopsis as well as major setup, conflict, climax, and resolution.  One or two now have heavily developed character charts.



Dear Reader,

Welcome to my website!  Feel free to take a look around.

In work.   I currently have in work a science fiction short story to re-submit, an episodic science fiction series, and a few concepts I’m assessing for development in both science fiction and mainstream genres.  On the back burner I have a mainstream novel of tragedy and family and the start of a children’s picture book series.  My main focus right now is to improve the emotion beats in my stories.

Background.  In my former career I worked on software for over a million personal computers, for three multi-million-dollar NASA spacecraft, and for helping pilots navigate.   Read more about my background here.

Get Updates.   You can also subscribe to my email newsletter in the sidebar of this website.   It’ll give you an inside look on my upcoming works, including excerpts, and from time to time it will contain special offers.   If you just want updates to this website, that’s fine, too — you can subscribe by email or RSS in the bottom of the sidebar.

Contact Me.  I’d like to hear from you.   You can reach me through the contact form, Facebook, or email.

Thanks for stopping by.

Cindy Rae Johnson

A road dead-ended quietly into a drab yellow stone plaza.  Several structures of the same dusty dingy yellow stone, hundreds of years old, surrounded the plaza.  Footfalls raised stale puffs of dust with each step.

To the east in the gloom stood doors to an old frayed church huddled against its larger looming neighbor.  It was also made of the stone, but the thick, tall doors rose in dark wood gleaming despite the dust in the growing dark.

The air around lay dry and still.  No wind blew, no breeze teased the dust.

The entrance reached over their heads.  At a glance, the dark doors were at least nine feet.  A pediment of sorts crawled and curled and curved its way up and over the doors in a half-moon arc.  Inside the pediment’s half-moon shined defiantly two quarters of stained glass, like slitted eyes of a baleful being staring out from the church.