Casey has kindly offered up a copy of HOWARD WALLACE, P.I. as a giveaway, so be sure to check out the Rafflecopter below!
Are you a Planner or Pantster?
I’m definitely a planner. The plan is fluid and ends up changing as I go along, but I like to have a frame to work with. It’s like building a house: I like to know how many rooms there’ll be before I start playing with colour swatches.
How long does it typically take you to write a novel, start to finish?
The first one took a few months. The second one…longer. Like,‘trying to murderize me’ longer.
Do you work on one project at a time, or are you a multi tasker?
Generally one project at a time, but I keep notes for other projects as I go along. Sometimes an idea hits me when my brain is busy with the current project and I have to write it down so I don’t lose it.
Did you have to overcome any fears that first time you sat down to write?
Not really because I’ve always loved writing. That part felt natural. The fear came more with the after-writing stuff: querying, revising for an agent, submission, revising for an editor, etc. As the stakes got bigger, my fear of messing things up increased. But so far it’s working out okay!
How many trunked books did you have before you were agented?
One delightful (to me) picture book that maybe I’ll revisit someday. I’ve learned a lot since then so it might be fun to go back and noodle with it.
Have you ever quit on an ms, and how did you know it was time?
I haven’t quit on a book yet. My second book has been an interesting process because I had a whole different plot line originally. I spun my wheels for a while before realizing it wasn’t working. I couldn’t progress beyond the first few chapters. Once I figured out what was wrong, I scrapped a bunch of it, melded the rest with another plot idea I had, and things improved from there.
Who is your agent and how did you get that "Yes!" out of them?
My agent is the lovely Molly Ker Hawn of the Bent Agency and we found each other through the traditional querying process. I read a few interviews with her and felt like she’d be a great match for me so I sent a query. She requested a full requested a full which was mondo exciting. I ended up with a few offers, but I ultimately signed with Molly because we clicked so well.
How long did you query before landing your agent?
I did two rounds of querying over a period of about a year. After the first round, I did some serious revision based on feedback from agents and then queried again about six months later. Taking that time to revise made all the difference.
Any advice to aspiring writers out there on conquering query hell?
Build your support group. No one is going to understand what you’re going through like another writer will. And giving support to others is just as important as receiving it. There’s nothing like talking an author friend out of a stress spiral to realize that you’re not alone in this sea of feels. Keep learning, keep improving, keep making friends. That’s what will keep you sane.
How much input do you have on cover art?
My publisher was very open to my input. We talked a lot about the cover and I love what we ended up with.
What's something you learned from the process that surprised you?
Oh, man, just how intricate the whole process of making a book is. Getting to see all the behind the scenes work that goes on has totally blown my mind. It’s such a group effort and it’s made the whole process, if possible, even more fun.
How much of your own marketing do you?
I’ve received a ton of support from my publisher, but I try to make sure I’m putting in my own effort as well. I blog with a group of awesome authors on Tumblr. We’re called Kick-Butt Kidlit. I love working on a group blog because it takes a lot of the pressure off. Instead of coming up with new content every week, I only have to post once a month. It makes my life easier. I also have a Facebook page and a Twitter account along with a website. I’ve got some really exciting promotional plans for when my book releases so more on that to come!
When do you build your platform? After an agent? Or should you be working before?
I don’t think anyone should ever feel pressure to build a platform. If you’re not comfortable with social media, don’t engage in it. Your energy is going to be put to better use when you channel it into something you enjoy and gives you energy in return.
That being said, I think you can dive in at any time. There are so many different outlets available. Take your time and figure out which medium works best for you. I personally love Twitter. It’s fun and it’s quick. Other people love Instagram and SnapChat. If you’re happy and comfortable with the site you’re using, that will come through in the content you produce.
Do you think social media helps build your readership?
I think it does if you’re using it properly. Tying back to the previous question – if you’re genuine in your posts and having fun getting to know people online; that will be reflected in your readership. People who use social media to blast spam at their followers will never see a result from that. Think of it as an investment. You have to put in quality in order to see any kind of return. I’ve met some great people online. They provide me with support and encouragement, but I’ve also had the chance to learn about them. For me, it’s all about the community. (So find me on Twitter because I like making new friends!)
There are several BIG problems with working this way, but the biggest is that editing takes forever and I never have much an overall game plan to guide me. I need more.
Recently, someone pointed me to Take Off Your Pants: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker.
As the title implies, it's a plotting books for people who don't plot. It's making sense (mostly) to my brain! YAY!
Some of it is a little too visual for a kinaesthetic learner like me (inverted triangles, I'm looking at you!), but I'm starting to get the hang of it.
I've followed the book through for an older story I knew wasn't working It didn't take long for me to realize the big issue in the story and it's helping me work out a way to solve it while keeping true to the story itself (which I love).
For the first time, I have some hope that I may be able to tighten up the pacing in my stories without driving myself completely crazy.
How about you? What resources do you use for plotting & outlining? Or, do you?
I should stop here and explain for anyone new to writer blogs that a plotter is a person who plans out the whole plot of a story or book beforehand and writes according to the plan. The term pantser comes from the phrase flying by the seat of one's pants, or working by feel and instinct rather than a set plan. In travel, I'm a firm plotter. In writing, however, I'm a dedicated pantser.
Because of my proclivities, I can speak to the pantser end of the equation from more experience than the plotter side, but I have written shorter works in which I knew beforehand every scene that was going to take place and basically knew how they were going to work out. For instance, in "The Legend of the Tatted Battler" I had it completely plotted. I knew every single scene from beginning to end. To be fair, I did dream the whole story, but the one I wrote down was a lot more fleshed out than the one I dreamed. And I started the story knowing every character and every scene. Yet there were times when a character said something that popped up so spontaneously that I was learning it as I typed it. It's moments like that, which make writing a blast. By the way, you can read that story on my website by clicking here and going to "Other Writings."
On the other hand, I'm a firm pantser when it comes to my novels. Each scene I write leads me to the next scene. And when how I write a scene changes, it changes where the next scene will go. For instance, in my work-in-progress, I'm in the midst of writing about the heroine's first day of school. First thing in the morning, the teacher calls a young lady to the front of the class to be that day's leader for the Pledge of Allegiance. I had first envisioned this girl as EJ's nemesis, so to speak, and I was going to make her the class beauty. Kind of a Mean Girl. But suddenly she took over and morphed into an ugly duckling who was nonetheless completely comfortable in her skin. And instead of being the leader of the taunts on the playground, she was suddenly EJ's protector. And suddenly, EJ had a lifelong friend.
You may be thinking that this isn't a very efficient way to write. That it would be simpler to storyboard the whole thing and know how every single scene will go. That would, I admit, save a lot of time. In fact, it would save all the time because I would just not waste any time writing at all if that were how I had to do it. Part of the joy of writing is the sloppiness of it. The inefficiency of it. The wow-I-didn't-mean-for-that-to-happen-but-it's-amazing of it. In fact, it's most of the joy of it. It's way more joy than editing, I can tell you. Admittedly, it does lead to more editing than a plotter style would because allowing for spontaneous movement from scene to scene lends itself to plot holes, which means I can't skimp on the second draft. Or the third. Or even the fourth. I was still patching holes on the fourth revision of my last Shalan book. In fact, the chapter in which they visit Tony Bezaleel in prison was a really late addition, but one which brings a stronger resolution to the end of the story, in my humble opinion.
Every writer falls somewhere on this scale. Some are positively scientific and workman-like, doing all the heavy lifting in the outline phase, with the actual writing just a matter of putting meat on the bones that have already been assembled. Others, like me, are more free-form. I kind of think of it like being an archeologist. I muck around until I find something and then I dig it up and examine it. It's a dirty job, but it sure is fun when you find something neat.
Do you like waking up to find a fresh new release on your ereader? Start reading as soon as it’s published!
Available for Preorder!
Book 6 in the Blueberry Springs series
Preorder now available everywhere.
Release date: September 13th
(September 6th on iBooks)
Two best friends. One night that changes it all.
Nicola Samuels kissed her best friend. The very man who veers away from commitment as if it’s scarier than a pit of snakes. The man who, she believes, has only ever seen her as his backpacking travel buddy. The man she hasn’t spoken to in months.
But all that’s about to change. Nicola is ready for the next stage in her life—career, marriage, family. And she knows just the man who will fit by her side—the man who makes her laugh and her heart sing. Todd Haber, her commitment-phobe BBF and the best kisser she’s ever met.
Can Nicola find a way to tame the untameable? Or will her intentions send her best friend fleeing, breaking her heart in the process?
Find out in this standalone romance from New York Times bestselling romance author, Jean Oram, and the sixth addictive book in the Blueberry Springs hit series.
Can be read as a standalone!
ORDER YOURS TODAY:
Once Upon a Typewriter:
It was a lovely sunny day, on a quiet street tucked away from the world, where Delilah came across a shed, abandoned by time. She cautiously approached the shed and was surprised to find all of the trinkets and treasures before her eyes.
Page 1 (with illustrations)
As soon as Delilah placed her hand on the dusty old typewriter, she knew she had to have it. “Was it stealing?” she thought to herself or was it hers to keep? Delilah decided to that she couldn’t possibly part with her new found treasure. After exploring the run down structure for some other forgotten treasure, she headed home, typewriter in tow.
Page 2 (with illustrations)
Delilah darted through the living room, up the stairs to her room, slamming the door with excitement. She gently placed the typewriter on her desk, clearing space for the new toy. Some of the keys on the typewriter had faded over time, so Delilah would have to do some research on how to properly clean and repair this new gadget.
Page 3 (with illustrations)
As soon as the new typewriter was polished and good as new, Delilah was finally ready to write her very first story. Sitting quietly at her desk, gazing out the window of their old farmhouse, Delilah could see a shadow cast by the full moon that gently touched the trees, yet appeared to be a castle, it was such a lovely illusion. Snapping to it, Delilah knew the topic of the new book!
Page 4 (with illustrations)
“I know!” Delilah gleefully gasped as her fingers started to dance over the keys, as if the story was flowing out of her, with an unstoppable driving force. Starting on page 4, she was so enveloped in her writing that Delilah failed to notice her surroundings changing. She could not believe her eyes when she finally realized what happened. Delilah was IN her story!!
Page 5 (with illustrations)
“What is going on?” Delilah quietly thought to herself, “This MUST be a dream”, panic set in and she felt lost. “Ok, pull yourself together” she shouted to herself. This was all so real. Delilah slumped down on a rock, overlooking a beautiful valley full of flowers, just like in her story. It was just as Delilah had imagined it would be.
Page 6 (with illustrations)
After the initial shock of what just happened passed over her, like a fog lifting. Delilah had a plan but first she would need to find the typewriter that was responsible for this phenomenon. Walking through the tall grass over-shadowed by a massive castle that seemed to reach up past the clouds, Delilah could see something glistening in the warm summer sun, could it be? Was it the typewriter? Running through the field, Delilah eventually came upon the typewriter and typed herself home.
Page 7 (with illustrations)
Book 1 of many!
Just finished Hemato Tomato: Bloodlust. Not sure how I feel about the finished product. I still feel like the story is only half way told, so I may end up writing 10,000 more words on this.
This was my first experiment in Historical Futurism, where historical characters play a role in science fiction setting with plots that cross over between science fiction, fantasy, horror, and romance in a very that makes you feel really strange.
It's like suddenly meeting Charlotte Corday at your local Star-bucks without any implication for time travel, and the reader is just suppose to take the plausibility of the romance for granted. They are stalked by magic wielding robot police, and the you have a grand ole adventure.
A bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea.
There's a big push in the publishing industry for "diverse" books (and I put "diverse" in quotations because I'm not a fan of that word - it leads to tokenization of writers and characters of color). Agents have been actively asking for "diverse voices", "diverse characters", etc. Which is great! It is signifying a real shift in the publishing industry.
Or is it?
Whenever I am unsure about the efficacy of an action against racism, I look to the "white gaze". This, I define as the culture that dictates that literature and art that must meet the approval of Whiteness.
The Whiteness I talk about is not just Trump-like confederate flag culture. Whiteness is liberal racism. Whiteness is white feminism. Whiteness is quoting Martin Luther King Jr. out of context. It is idolizing Jon Stewart for saying what Black people have been saying for decades. It is this Whiteness that pervades the publishing industry, and so it is this Whiteness that I am talking about.
Whiteness is a mostly-white industry asking for diverse books and diverse writers while pushing little to diversify their own industry insiders.
Now, I'd like to move the anti-racism rhetoric to something that I hope the publishing community will follow. The problem for writers of color is not only that the publishing industry is made up of predominantly white employees - although this is influential. "How removed from Whiteness is the operations of the industry?" is the question we should be asking.
Even if, in some magical step, the publishing industry hires hundreds of people of color, people of color are not a monolith. They are not interchangeable. The ideologies of the people of color who make up the industry matter. Are the people of color anti-racist or are they yes-men to their bosses? Will they speak up? A better question might be: if they do speak up, do they have reason to fear reactions and discipline from their bosses and colleagues? Are the "radical" people of color not hired by the industry?
Whiteness is when a race-related novel hits an agent's desk and the entire industry's initial instinct is "How will white people respond to this book?" instead of "How will the communities depicted in this novel be impacted by this book?"
Something as simple as "How will the market respond to this book?" has layers of ramifications that can be deconstructed with pointed questions concerning race: "What populations make up said market? What responses are you afraid of?" When race-related novels come to play, the supposed colorblindness of the market that the publishing industry always focuses on is revealed for its whiteness.
When I look at the publishing industry, I see some publications that I trust to be pretty removed from the white gaze (such as AC Thomas's THE HATE U GIVE). However, these are far and removed. A view of the publishing industry structurally reveals that the white gaze is ingrained into every layer of its culture and operations. The race books that are published must be "respectful" enough to not upset white people too much. With white fragility, this goal is almost impossible to achieve.
(Sidenote: the task to publish an "not respectful" novel about race is not impossible. There are a few ways to accomplish it. 1) If the author glorifies the pain of people of color - especially Black people - which people crave to consume and which distracts from their constructive guilt. 2) If the author of color has credentials that no white author would be expected to have (see: Ta-Nehisi Coates). 3) If the book is written with such a high degree of technical expertise that no white debut author is expected to write with. All these reasons should not exist.)
When I look at the publishing industry's anti-racist work through the lens of the white gaze, I am less optimistic that true subversive and anti-racist change is occurring. The white gaze has not been addressed, confronted, or deconstructed; it has only ever dictated which novels can be published and which novels cannot. Whiteness has been the gate-keeper of the publishing industry since its origins, and it has not ended yet; it has simply morphed into liberal racism. The present era of colorblindness has indeed led to the publication of novels about race and writers of color; most of this literature still continues to be dictated by the white gaze.
I think about all the authors of color who did not get published. The books of color which got rejected. The books of beautiful color which got revised into books of beige. What did the editor's red pen scratch out?
Do agents and editors support books that will upset white people because they aren't written for white people? Do agents and editors support books that talk honestly about the rage people of color feel towards Whiteness and white people? (Because God forbid that people of color being brutalized and beaten by Whiteness ever dare to say, "Fucking white people.") Do agents and editors support books that engage with anti-capitalism, books that refuse to say "Not All Cops", books that have Assata-supporters and radical queer activists of color that reject the white gaze?
I guess my point is, do agents support diverse ideas or do they support diverse faces speaking the same White ideas? It is a masterful tactic of white supremacy to have its ideas be spoken by a person of color (see: Ben Carson, Nikki Haley, Bobby Jindal). The same white gaze that uplifts these people also shuts down those of color who dare speak ferociously against it.
I know the main criticism of my assertion: the profitability of the market dictates what books are published or not, not race. To that, I have three responses.
1) Why not both? The publishing industry, with bookstores and libraries disproportionately in white areas, has structured a market geared towards white consumers. Yet the truth is: people of color buy books too.
2) Why assume white readers won't read books outside the white gaze? If the publishing industry seeks to engage in allyship, it cannot babysit its readers.
3) The profitability bottom-line must be confronted. In a Western world where white people are the plurality and hold most of the wealth, the publishing industry can not say it is anti-racist without troubling its profitability idolization.
So I guess I come back to my initial question: "Do agents and editors support diverse books?" And by this, I mean diverse ideas.
If any agent or editor is reading this, please feel free to comment, Tweet, respond, etc. with #YesIDo. I am SC_Author on Twitter. I want to create a list of agents and editors (right below!) so that writers who seek to find supportive agents might find someone to query.
1. Your name here!
Writers need to know which agents and editors will support them - if any. It's scary to speak. In my own personal case, I've decided that there's no point to me being a writer if I have to swallow what I want to say. So I'm speaking, I'm pushing, and will continue to do so.
What do you think? Please feel free to comment below, and share!
This has been a post part of the Write Inclusively campaign. I'm planning to change its name soon, but if you would like to be up-to-date with the campaign, sign up for the newsletter. We do not email much - in the last two years, only two emails have gone out. We were responsible for #BigFiveSignOn.
Barnes & Noble
But here’s something you may not have heard about in the argument for keeping recess. Outdoor play–and specifically, recess–helps our kids eyesight. I know! Wow, right?
On the website All About Vision, they quote several studies that found all sorts of interesting results. Here are a few quotes I found particularly interesting:
In other words, more time outside means you’re increasing your child’s chance they WON’T need glasses. Think of all the money you’ll save!
The researchers calculated a 2 percent drop in the risk of developing myopia for each additional hour children spend outdoors per week. “This is equivalent to an 18 percent reduction for every additional hour of exposure per day,” they said.
Compared with children with normal eyesight or farsightedness, children with myopia spent an average of 3.7 fewer hours per week outside.
In favour of recess:
The study authors concluded that outdoor activities during recess in elementary school have a significant protective effect on myopia risk among children that are not yet nearsighted and reduce the progression of myopia among nearsighted schoolchildren.
There you have it.
The 12-year-old children who spent more time outdoors had less myopia at the end of the two-year study period than others in the study.
Let’s get outside and play! What do we do in the Oram household? Well, first of all we got a dog. Why? Because not only does it teach our kids empathy and responsibility for others, but our dog gets us outside daily. We walk the dog, the kids ride their bikes alongside or walk too. It’s great exercise for all of us!
Getting a dog isn’t your thing? It doesn’t have to be complicated or strenuous. How about these simple activities that will get you outdoors:
The brain is better able to pay attention, hold things in memory, and show self-control after it has been outdoors.
–Gabrielle Principe, Your Brain on Childhood
9 Ways To Get Outside as a Family
Watch the Sunrise / Sunset
Does the world seem different at this time of day? What colors do you see in the sky?
Find Cloud Animals
Lie on your back and look at the clouds—whoa! Is that a giraffe?
Draw on the Sidewalk with Chalk
Try and Catch Your Shadow
Can you catch it?
Make your own rings out of plastic container lids. Then shove a stick into the ground to toss them onto!
Picnic, BBQ, simply taking your meal out on the deck–it’s still outdoors and you’ll still get the benefits of being out in nature. Both for your soul and your eyesight.
Thanks for playing! See you next time. And if you need more activity ideas don’t forget to check out my book, 1,001 Boredom Busting Play Ideas. It’s reasonably priced so everyone can play.
This story practically wrote itself. The keys were discovered the first weekend in February, the story was finished and through the first critical editing by the second week in March.
The teaser for Boston Knights follows:
The discovery that some ancient stories handed down in the families had more truth to them than fiction sparks a hunt for the real truth of the stories. Told as bedtime stories, three individuals find themselves working together to find out more about their ancestors and where they might have hidden some gold, or if it was after all, nothing but a hoax.
The adventure begins with Steve, whose elder brothers work in construction. Having found an old desk amidst some demolition work of theirs, they call their brother to salvage it and see if perhaps he might want to restore it and some other bits and pieces.
As Steve is an antiquities restoration expert, he is definitely interested. Within the desk, behind some well locked drawers, he eventually finds hints that the stories he was told as a kid, may have been more than just stories. In his pursuit of answers, he finds members of two other families that heard the same stories when they were children.
This begins a delightful adventure that finds the three of them embroiled in more and more details that lead them further and further from their homes.
Eventually, the puzzle pieces begin to come together in Ayr, Scottland when they make the acquaintance of some more members of the extended families, only to find their hopes dashed when they discover any gold that may have existed was quickly squandered. Moreover, any additional clues seem to have been destroyed.
This is what I would call a light romance and adventure. At a somewhere over 63,000 words, it is a quick and easy read aimed at young adults and romantics looking for something a little different.
I will 'clean up' my teaser as I get this book through its final editing. It is, by the way, a finished manuscript ready for presentation to an agent/publisher.
I'm still looking.
Wassup peeps. Last week has been a bit busy, so this is a little late. I meant to watch and review this movie earlier than this but even though I did manage to do the watching part, I did not feel like reviewing it. Why you ask? Because they messed up a potentially epic movie.
Starting off Batman as a seasoned crime-fighter is great. It gives us a perspective few super-hero movies do. However, even though they make him a grizzled veteran, they cannot but help show his origin story of parents dying and falling into a cave of bats. Make that the first scene and we are already into 15 minutes of logos (yeah, call out to cinema sins) and a story shown in a much better and detailed manner in Batman Begins a decade ago. Batman is portrayed decently by Ben Affleck, who has found his acting chops since the horror known as Daredevil- the movie. Thankfully both Affleck and Daredevil seem to have moved on to bigger and better things.
As far as Superman goes, I have never liked Henry Cavill as the Man of Steel and I did not like the movie either. I am glad they kept continuity from the movie and turned the mass destruction of Metropolis into a plot point but the story feels hollow even with the bone-structure of a great movie. Superman is conflicted but not conflicted enough to hang up his cape. Lois is ever present and irritating (I cannot believe I said that about Amy Adams) and is supposed to be his human anchor but again feels forced.
Luthor - well...sigh. While they alluded to the fact that this is Alexander Luthor not Lex Luthor, I wonder why they would not pull the trigger on one of the most iconic villains of all time. With the story backdrop, he would have been perfect as a foil to bring down Superman. Instead, we get a Joker ripoff trying to build Doomsday and kidnapping Superman's mother to goad him into a fight with Batman. Talk about lame and cliched.
As far as the fight is concerned, it is a good fight but the end of the fight is contrived and feels...you guessed it...forced. I mean, who in their right mind would say, "Save Martha", instead of "Save my mother"? I want to slap the guy who came up with the cool realization that both Batman's and Superman's mother share a name and would be a cool plot point to use that to stop their fight.
The only breath of fresh air is Wonder Woman who is mysterious and understated and her reveal is very well done. She looks every bit Superman's equal in the fight against Doomsday. The fight was well done and Superman sacrificing himself was a good twist...except that it wasn't.
Everyone and their three next generations know a Justice League movie is coming and Justice League cannot not have a live and flying Supes. Ending the movie without showing his casket move would have been brave for the new Justice League. Let it be formed without Superman. Let him join in a dire hour. Make his return monumental. But nah...DC has no cojones.
And as far as the random teasers for the Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman sprinkled throughout the movie, they feel ...gah...yes ...forced and unnecessary. They could have just mentioned their names without having video trailers for each of them. Learn from Marvel, Thordamnit!!
Anyhow, I am disappointed even though I never had much hope to begin with, which shows how poor a job they have done. And I am forced to stop myself from ranting.
As It Should Be is the story of a woman who finds herself with the chance to redirect her path from that of one who is tossed aside and struggling against bitterness, to a woman with new hope - and fresh new purpose for her life. It is a tale of transition: from a seemingly secure marriage, to the awkwardness and uncertainties of singledom; from a life without the responsibilities of children, to the wonders and challenges of pregnancy and motherhood; from the familiar comforts of home - to the possibilities of life and love in a bright new place.
I am happy to forward all or a portion of my manuscript for your review if you are interested. Thank you sincerely for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.
We've all done them.
I started just after my first novel, The Insertion, had reached draft – hopefully that's a book that'll never see the light of day. This was back in 2009. I was on Litarena, a site over at http://www.litarena.com/discussion/ I did 4 pieces there - essentially spin-off tales from The Insertion (all I could think of). My biggest problem: I was thinking 'novel'. That site was difficult to navigate and I headed over to Creative Writers on My Telegraph where I became a regular contributor to their monthly contest. It took me about six months to get the hang of trimming the story to size. Things started to click when I based my story model on American comic book monster tales - these were panel drawn art work, 4 and 5 pages in length as published in 1960s titles such as Monsters on the Prowl, Creatures on the Loose, Tales of the Unexpected.
In all, I reckon I must have submitted over 40 stories to them. CWG as it's known, is hosted on the blogging platform of the Daily Telegraph and membership is free. Up to recently it was still going strong and can be found at http://my.telegraph....-writing/forum/ If you go there, look for Bleda or Atiller (username handles) and say 'Archie sent me'. Later I joined the Short Story Club, also on My Telegraph. Our hostess was author, Louise, Doughty and I got stuck into the exercises she set, producing a few promising novel starts in the process.
Outside the net, I go to local writing groups in and around Rossendale, in the North of England. Hasiwriters, based at Haslingden Library, are largely to blame for the many unfinished pieces in my collection - as many as 40. By definition an unfinished piece is a minus – of course on the plus side, it had to have had something to interest me - I don't start unless my imagination is triggered. I think of unfinished stories as a back-catalogue of ideas to pick up and develop when my creativity is all worn out :-).
Other groups I attend vary; Irwell Writers (The Mosses Centre, Bury) does idea generation, read-around and feedback, whereas Manchester Speculative Fiction (MadLabs, Manchester) does pure feedback - they use the Milford Method. Burnley Writers were competition geared last time I looked in. Holmfirth Writers (over the Pennines in Yorkshire) does idea generation, writing + read around. The trick is keeping a focus on your personal writing projects. In my head, I've enough unfinished stories (40) and unfinished novels (10) to keep me going to Doomsday.
Detailed stats – these change all the time. Typically I write around 300 words in a session. Recently I started a piece called Fickleday – it's now at 1,000 and when it's done it'll come to between 5k and 10k words. The setting is the Earth's lithosphere (underground) — I might have Nazis in! Before I do more work on it, I have to get back to Dragonshard, two thirds done. Dragonshard will come in around 10k. Both these pieces are a take on pulp themes - updated with bits of fresh science.
Today I am sharing a guest blog post I shared on Books a la mode this past week. It is on the importance of first lines. I’ll post the beginning of the piece here and you can finish reading it on the Books a la Mode website. Also, add a comment in the comments section to be entered to win a copy of WHEN I’M GONE!
Excerpt from Books a la Mode:
Sometimes when you are writing a book you feel incredibly powerful. “I, authoress Emily Bleeker, created this world…these people…these emotions and lives!!!” And then other times you feel completely at the whim of outside forces. “I, secret writer EmilyB, wrestle with writer’s block…plot holes…rebellious characters and self-doubt….” Both of these personas are there, living inside of me (in the healthiest possible way for multiple personalities to exist). But, moments of great power and weakness aside, there is one part of the creative process that I refuse to leave to the whim of my power/humility struggle and that is—the opening line.
I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to first lines in books. I always take special note of which sentence an author chooses to share with the world. All my favorite books have my favorite first lines: Pride and Prejudice, Tale of Two Cities, Gone With the Wind…I could go on. Before I became an author I don’t think I even noticed those first words, at least not in a conscious way. I’d jump into a book and not really understand why it pulled me in, called to me. But now I understand how those first glimpses of your story, your tone, your characters—are incredibly significant and honestly quite fun to create.
For both Wreckage and When I’m Gone I knew the first lines of these stories before I had even worked out all of the major plot points……READ THE REST AT: Books a la Mode!
It's finally here! At last, I know the wait must've been very crucial and long but it is done. Just want to thank my AgentQuery FAM for making this dream come true, thank you so much for your kind DM and loving words, it was much appreciated! Could not have done it without you all! ❤️😭🙈❤️ *** Did not know where to post this,, but wanted to thank everyone for their everlasting support and kinds words*** Being a new author is difficult, props to all authors, but I would really appreciate if you all could spread the love, word around social media !! Thanks a million AgentQuery FAM
SUMMARY: Arielle Platinum, CEO of Gregory Industry, has everything she ever asked for–until she witnessed the death of an exotic dancer. Thought to be a liability by the mob, a hit is placed on Arielle. Now on the run, Arielle finds herself alone and scared. Her life was nearing its end. About to give up, she is rescued by the last person she ever thought of, Jason Hampton-a man she had not seen since he dropped out of high school. Jason, now a wanted criminal for previous crimes, asks her to trust him and together they will defeat the mob.
Blog with the first 3 chapters: Whisperingit.wordpress.com
Lulu link: http://www.lulu.com/...t-22602699.html
iBooks: Coming soon
social media insta: @authorgsw
Birds of a feather don’t flock together because birds of a feather tend to be jealous of that feather.
V. Shnodgrate, Renowned PL Poet
And he jumped up on a stool for added height. Daddy Salami isn’t too tall, you know. And the stool didn’t add too much to his height. It was a 3-inch stool, if that.
Salami scowled and became decidedly more cranky.
The stool had betrayed him, see.
“Ya cur-belly!” he shouted from his perch. “Ya think ya won? Ya just lost!” And then he belted forth in a strained voice: “Ya just lost evvvvvvvvvverything!“
The professor really wished he hadn’t said that. After all, we were the ones that lost. Well, sorta. Must always keep in the warrior frame of mind, see.
Warrior Frame of Mind:
How are we? Solid.
Chance of success? 100%.
What to fear? Nothing.
I am the reaper.
See. Double-see. And a triple-see, just to make sure you saw.
King Arthur shook his head.
“You think you won?” he asked. “Yeah, no. Not even close.”
Arthur strode further into the room, his regal cape flapping in the breeze behind him.
There was no breeze since we were in a castle. But any time a cape is described in writing, there’s always a breeze, I find. So, I added one for kicks, giggles, and whatnot.
Arthur stopped inches from Ruber Salami.
The ant had met the bear. That was the size difference anyway.
“I’ll enjoy seeing you suffer,” Arthur said.
“Me?” Ruber asked, aghast. “It was his plan.” Ruber stuck a thumb out in Salami’s direction. “Why come and pick on me? And, look, there’s PVJ, too!”
“Ruber,” I said, “don’t bring me up. I’d rather not be brought up; I’d rather not be here; I’d rather just not be–at this special moment.”
Arthur looked at me with a scowl and shook his head.
Then to his soldiers: “Off to the dungeons with them.”
“Didn’t ya hear me?” Salami screamed, frantic from his perch. “I’ve won, cur-face!”
Arthur spun. “Really? You think that by saying that you’re going to win?” He sighed.
And that’s when it happened: Salami propelled himself from his perch, towards the katana. He scooped it up and tossed it to his son. Ruber grabbed it but was immediately torpedo-ed (new word) by Arthur. The katana hit the ground.
This professor scooped it up; the soldiers charged in, and the battle begin.
I traded thrust for thrust, slash for slash. Their broadswords and this professor’s katana lit up the night sky.
Ruber and Salami were also fighting.
Somehow this professor ended up fighting Arthur. The king was holding a katana–it looked exactly like the Jeweled Katana, in fact, save for one significant characteristic: It was way smaller, to fit a person of Arthur’s size.
Why make a copy of the sword?
We traded blows.
Arthur’s katana split in half.
He stepped back, and this professor made towards the exit.
Like an giant anteater running from a jaguar.
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