Showing posts from February, 2011

The Human Observation Project

So I did some brainstorming on what sort of topics would fit the purpose of this blog.  I didn’t want to simply re-serve what’s been said before.  I wanted to add a new element.  Then this idea struck me.  As writers we need to be attune to other people.  And no doubt, you make more observations of others than the average person.  This is a good thing!  Here’s why:  your writing could risk having characters who simply move about as shadowed silhouettes in your novels if you didn't.  They would be boring because they wouldn't possess any human traits, feelings or emotions.  (See series on this blog Developing Characters You Can Pinch for a more in-depth discussion) It was in light of this aspect I thought a regular post on human observation would prove to be unique from what other sites may discuss and be useful to the writer.  Now, I haven’t decided how often I will post these discussions, although I hope to do so weekly.  The first topic I have selected to discuss is: What?

Fighting Depression

As a writer, no doubt, you've experienced the ups and downs that come with the craft.  The elation when you receive praise for a work, the deflation when you receive a rejection.  But it doesn't even necessarily have to be a rejection to get you blue.  Sometimes, you might just find yourself melancholy over a work in progress, or maybe it's when you're wading your way through edits. You tell yourself you're not good enough to make it, to ever get paid for your work.  And when you look to the world for that pat on the back, well, it's not always there.  People have their own lives, their own going ons, and we can't always expect someone to lift us up.  In fact, sometimes, I don't think it would matter if we had a team coaching us, there's still times the negative emotions feel suffocating.  But in my opinion, having these lows is part of being a writer.  If you only saw yourself as a genius with no flaws then you would only be deceiving yourself.  Th

WMW Introduces Anne Lyle

Anne Lyle is a UK-based writer of historical fantasy. Her first novel, set in an alternate history Elizabethan London, is out on submission and she is currently working on the sequel. When not writing fiction she blogs about books, movies, renaissance history, SF&F conventions and anything else to do with the fantasy genre that piques her interest. Visit her at The Rules of Writing   Elizabeth: Wait! You have to take me to shore, according to the code of the Order of the Brethren. Barbossa: First, your return to shore was not part of our negotiations nor our agreement, so I must do nothing. Secondly you must be a pirate for the Pirate's Code to apply and you're not. And thirdly, the code is more of what you call guidelines than actual rules. Welcome aboard the Black Pearl, Miss Turner. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl When you are a new writer, you hear so many rules being bandied about. "Show, don't tell!" &

Character Accountability

Okay, so you have the perfect main character "talking" to you.  You follow what they tell you and sometimes they agree with what you personally believe and sometimes, well, it's completely contrary to all that you put faith in.  I know I've run into it in the past, and in fact, with my current WIP I'm dealing with exactly the same thing.  But how far is too far and where should the line be drawn? In recent months I watched a movie that affected me deeply, but it wasn't the plot line, the well-thought out characters, it was what 1 specific character said.  In fact, that one line stalled the rest of the movie for me.  I had a hard time paying any credit to it. You see, about 2 years ago now, I lost a good friend to suicide.  He would have been 32 at the time.  He was happily married, everything seemed fine.  And even though my husband and I had been great friends with them for a time, we grew apart.  But with this said, they both still held a part of our lif

Plug Your Blog Friday

Well, normally Fridays are always Plug Your Blog day around here, and I'm thanking all of you who came out and contributed, but this will be the last post for this.  There seems to be a sufficient amount of interest (views) but not as many "pluggers".  So, don't be shy if you're stopping by today.  Let us know who you are and what your blog's about.

WMW Introduces Charlotte Jane Ivory

Charlotte Jane Ivory , a writer  of Historical Mysteries, Gothic Thrillers, and her own brand of "Victorianoir". She's a living, breathing warning of what happens when you have one foot in the twenty-first century, and one in the nineteenth. Represented by the Donald Maass Literary Agency, her current projects include a Victorian London murder mystery, a noir thriller about London gang wars during the mid 19th century, and - surprising even to her - a satirical fantasy novel. Ten Questions to Ask The Agent Before You Say “I Do” Gentle Reader, So you’ve sent out what feels like dozens of query letters for your novel – hundreds of them, perhaps – and, finally, a literary agent has come back with some good news: She’s read your manuscript, and she wants to represent you. First of all, try to peel yourself off the ceiling. Grab a paper bag and take deep, calming breaths. Sit down and have your significant other make you a cup of tea. And, of course, pat yourself o

Choosing a Name

Names are important.  Don't be fooled into thinking they don't matter or have any bearing. Choosing a Novel Title What ones sell?  What ones don't?  I don't have any answer to that because there are some titles out there that have me raising an eyebrow.  But when you're working on a novel, how do you choose a title for your work? For myself, I focus on the overall theme of the novel, and extract a title from there.  Some people come up with their titles before they write their novel, some during the process and some decide   on something once they've finished.  Everyone works differently. And I'm sure you've read or know firsthand, that sometimes the title we put thought into isn't even what makes it to the bookstores.  Publishers and their marketing agents know what sells.  We leave that part up to them.  But first, we have to make it attractive enough to make them want to get their hands on it. Of course, I'm not saying, pick the perfe

In to or Into - That is the Question

At least it was for me.  I don't remember it ever being an issue until a recent round of edits, and all of a sudden, I'm stumped.  Should it be "in to" or "into".  Maybe it seems straight forward to you, and honestly, I have to work my way back through the manuscript to make sure I spelled it the proper way for its context. I found an interesting site that gives examples, if you're perhaps struggling with the same thing:

Plug Your Blog Friday

It's almost hard to believe that it's Friday...again.  And it's the eleventh at that - my favorite number.  (Also the title of my next planned thriller Eleven .) Anyway, I'm grateful the weekend's almost here and so looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow.  In fact, all next week.  After today, I don't return to the day job until Feb 22nd - yeah me! lol  I'm wishing all of you a great Friday and fabulous weekend! So, if you've visited my blog before, you know Friday is Plug Your Blog day.  If you're new, first of all, welcome :)  Basically, "Plug Your Blog" is just what it sounds like.  Just let me know who you are and what your blog's purpose is.  I love especially meeting other writers and those associated with the craft.

Dealing with Commitment Issues

Now I'm not talking about your commitment in a relationship, I'm referring to your commitment to the craft.  Maybe this isn't even something you think about.  You're a writer, so you write.  You strive to get published, you edit, revise and edit some more.  But what about when that next novel is screaming to be released into the world?  Do you have the discipline and commitment  to tell it to wait until other matters are taken care of? Personally, I find myself dealing with this right now.  The characters from the next novel I plan to write are "talking" to me.  I see their personalties in snippets either through a brief interaction among each other, or things they say.  The concept of writing a new novel excites me.  There's something to be said about that first draft.  The freedom of expression, letting your fingers tap the keys in rapid succession. But, I find myself taking pause.  Why?  It's because I know there are other things I need to take

WMW Introduces Aheila

Aheïla .   Somewhere in   Quebec City , Aheïla works as a game designer by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, undying energy and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”, a belief she embodies daily on   The Writeaholic’s Blog . Write What You Know… NOT! Whenever I read writing blogs or forums, I stumble upon a recurring phrase, either in the article or in the comments: “Hone your craft!” It’s understood that writing involves spending time polishing our skills. “Honing our craft.” One day, I asked myself how does one hone one’s writing skills and found my personal answer to be: “One challenges oneself.” “I Like This and That” We all like things to be easy and fun. We have favoured genres, favoured storytelling techniques, favoured themes, and the list goes on. The first step in honing our craft is figuring out what items are on that list. I write long stories. I plot with fantasy/sci-fi elements. I have a fixation on the way peopl

Support Systems - Expressing Gratitude

Personally, I believe all writers need people supporting them.  For the most part, writing is a solo experience and very personal.  But we need encouragement along the way.  I've read of many writers who don't have the support of family or friends.  I'm glad to say that I'm definitely not one of them.  And I'm sorry to those that are. I would like to thank my biggest support - my husband George.  He demands to be the first to read my books.  How can I go wrong with that?  A support system right inside my house.  But he does more than that.  He encourages me to keep going even in the face of query rejections or those moments when I wonder am I good enough?   He conducts brainstorming sessions with me.  I mean, they're very informal, normally just chat over a morning coffee, but it's great being able to bounce ideas and plot lines off him. Then, of course, there's the gal that helped get me started with writing again.  We'll call her Jennifer - no

"Are You Published Yet?"

Whether you've just starting out with your writing, have been working at it for years, are agented or not, no doubt you've been asked this question before.  Normally it comes from a well meaning friend, co-worker or even a family member.  But the one thing they all hold in common?  None of them have any idea what the publishing industry is like. For one, things don't move quickly.  Most of us don't submit our novel and get a call requesting a full in the first twenty-four hours.  And, if we are that lucky, the chance of getting a phone call in the next twenty-four with an offer of representation is almost unheard of.  But, let's even say you're one of those select few.  You've got the agent.  Now what?  You can expect to see your book in stores soon.  I laugh here, because as writers we know the reality.  The non-writers - well, they don't get it. You tell one of them that you've written a book, or are writing one.  Their first question oh, are y

Master of Our Universe - How We Handle Time

I'm not sure if you're like me, but there's instances where I need to fit different aspects in, but I'm not sure exactly how I'm going to do it.  In real life, things don't happen immediately, but in fiction sometimes we need to "quicken" things up.  Then again, there's times we need to slow things down.  If I allow it, I can become "dead-locked" not knowing what to move around, and change.  I can become set against changing the time of day or the day itself.  But, there are situations where time needs to be altered. It's at these intervals, I remind myself that I'm the master of my universe .  How I play things out goes according to my schedule, according to what works best for the book. Maybe you've been stuck in this "limbo-like" state, wondering so   what am I supposed to do now?  Well, if so, take comfort because you're definitely not alone.  These moments can definitely strike during the first draft, if

Plug Your Blog Friday

Are we there yet?  Yes, I'm happy to say we are.  It's Friday!!! And depending on what time zone you're in, you're either celebrating the end of the work week, or anxiously awaiting its arrival at the end of the 8 hrs or so of servitude.  For me, it will be the latter.  Think of me if you heading out for a cocktail right now. Can't believe this is the 3rd week for "Plug Your Blog Friday"!  The post gets quite a few views, greatly out-numbering those who post their link.  Now, maybe some of you are shy?  But, come on.  Let us know who you are.  I promise I won't bite lol

WMW Introduces Sara-Jayne Townsend

Sara-Jayne Townsend,  a UK-based writer of crime and horror.  Her first novel, SUFFER THE CHILDREN , was published as an e-book by Lyrical Press, Inc. in 2010. Her next book, DEATH SCENE,  is the first in a series about amateur sleuth and Canadian actress Shara Summers, and will be released as an e-book by Lyrical Press, Inc. later this year. A Writer With a Day Job When I was in school, every time someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say, “a writer”.  The person would generally frown at that and say, “you can’t make a living doing that.  You’ll need a proper job.”  But I couldn’t think of another answer, because I never wanted to be anything but a writer. When I left school, however, I discovered that the grown-ups were right and I couldn’t make any money being a writer.  Somehow I found myself an admin worker, and from there I fell into secretarial work (completely by accident – but I can type fast and accurately, I can write a grammatically perfect le