When you need to write but…

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Image credit Writers Write Creative Blog

I’ve been editing that much recently that I need a break, I need to write. My characters are talking and I need to get it down.

FYI if someone has invented a machine that will transcribe my thoughts without my having to talk or type, I’m totally down to buy that!

Ok, so I have three main manuscripts on the go, all for which are actively being planned out, scenes developed and things actively happening.

Catch is:

One makes me cry, ALOT. One gave me nightmares. And the final one hit a snag where it reached what has turned out to be a sex scene, something I don’t write. All rather awkward. So now I’ve spent the last few days re-reading what I’ve written but not able to move forward. *Insert face palm*

Become a writer they said, it will be fun they said…

Oh and the one I started to avoid all that, the main plot line I was going to use wasn’t going to work, it was too similar to something else I had worked on and it now isn’t even in a genre I write. So, that worked well…

This people is my punishment for reducing my caffeine. Guess who’s upping their dosage tomorrow.

Bec

 

 

Who said that…

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Image Credit to Oprah website.

I got feedback for Battle for Terra, that suggested changing perspective. Which was fine, in fact the feedback fit with my own thoughts, but I kept the entire series as first person because one of my Beta readers thought it was better as it allowed her to be in the book.

This lead to a rewrite of the first book. And while I’m waiting a few days to read through it again, I thought that I might go through another one of my manuscripts, Compliant. The book was first person and I thought I’d give the first chapter a go at third person (Yes, this is how I spend my bored, can’t think time). Well, it kinda worked really well and I am half way through rewriting it. It also lead to me mapping out the central plots for books two and three. And it put the book I am working on aside for a bit longer.

I have written about different perspectives before (over here). When I first started writing, everything was first person. I have since discovered the romance of words that can come with third person. The way that it can flow and ebb through a story can almost be like the words and the scene it’s setting dancing around a page. It can really change the way something is written.

What’s your favourite perspective? Have you ever rewritten something, changing the point of view? Did it improve it?

Bec
xx

 

 

 

Ampersand Prize

Images borrowed from Hardie Grant Publishing site.

So this came up in my Twitter feed a few moments ago. Hardie Grant, the publisher behind Billy B Brown, Minecraft books, Winnie the Pooh and more. Are offering a chance for unpublished writers to make their debut.

The Ampersand Prize started in 2012 and is home of winners Erin Gough and Melissa Keil. And is for middle grade and young adult novels. ONE submission per writer.

Entries open THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 1st 2016

Entries close FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 16th 2016

So now is an excellent time to start or finish off your project.

Your submission must be in .doc or .pdf format.

You must include:

  • COVER SHEET (authors name, manuscript title, genre, word count, two sentence pitch of your story and a short author bio).
  • ONE PAGE SYNOPSIS- (key plot points, character development and tell them the ending).
  • FULL MANUSCRIPT (page numbers, font size 10 or 12 in a readable font, title in header or footer).

Submissions to be sent to: amersand@hardiegrant.com.au

For more information check out their website Ampersand Prize. Or you can find them on Facebook, Twitter.

Good luck.

Bec

I am in no way endorsed by Hardie Grant, paid to write up or advertise, or even asked to publish this competition. I saw it online and thought you all might be interested.

Writing Chapter One…

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Image sourced from Pinterest. Credit to the owners.

Writing Chapter One…

So many people say that they want to write but can’t. They don’t have the time, the imagination, the resources, skills, it’s too hard etc.

I want to say first of all, it’s not too hard. NEVER is writing too hard. What it is, is time consuming. And that in itself varies depending on your level of dedication.

Anyone can write. Anyone can draft a story, be it 500 words long or 500,000 words long. It’s not hard. Toddlers can verbally tell you a story. Something as inanimate as a tree can tell you a story, the markings in the bark, the damage to a branch. What you hear however, that is how it is told.

Writing comes in many forms, as does story telling. I have read some pretty terrible stories and some pretty great ones. But there are two things I have learned along the way:

  • Everyone gets better, rarely is your first story your best. My first fan fictions are shocking compared to my latest.
  • Everyone has their own style. This is key for me and it is the one thing I have learned during my time at TAFE studying professional writing. Each person has their own style, strengths, flaws. They all see and tell a scene differently. Some are so incredibly descriptive that you don’t know if you should keep reading or skip that section as you’ve read enough. Some barely have description and tend to leave it to the reader. Find yours and the stories will come. This isn’t just about genre it’s about the way you write as well.

You have the ability to write. Good or bad story telling is still story telling. But it won’t improve unless you start.

Time- that’s a factor many of us have issues with. I spent the first 12 months of my writing life, writing almost full time. Now it’s not as much, but if I ever get published I am happy to go back to that schedule. The more I wrote the better my mojo flowed.

Writing can take very little time, some authors only write a page or two a day, that’s about a book a year. That’s fantastic. Some write less. Some more. Can you get up half an hour earlier? Go to bed an hour later? Type it in over your lunch break?

I will be completely honest, if you want to write you’ll find the time. Writing is a passion and something that you need to want to do for yourself, for others, for your characters. It’s just a matter of putting words to paper.

So many people think you need something fancy to get your story out. You don’t. Pen and paper will do. Although publishers usually only accept typed copies now days. You can write your novel in anything from MS Word to Apple’s Pages, there is even software like Open Office that is free to download.

I tried using Scrivener but failed miserably. I found it too distracting and complicated. I like to be able to source what I need when I need and just have a basic word processing program. I have even added to my stories on my smart phone and tablet using the notes app and sent it through to myself and reformatted it to fit.

Skills, like the story telling ability, are something you learn along the way. Read other books, see how the novel is formatted, how they present it. Take note of punctuation and grammar. Even Google it. Everything is on the internet, you just have to search for it. There are even free lessons on grammar available. Most word processors come with a free spell check, it’s a great starting place, but never rely on it for everything.

When you discover something you were doing wrong or have trouble with it, write it down and stick it somewhere you can see. My wall is covered in grammar notes from when I first started. Including two brief sentences “Grasping for breath.” and “Remember to breathe.” I kept getting the two mixed up and it was just easier that way. Now I don’t need them but it was great to have that reminder. Same with the difference between then and than. While I knew them, in the midst of typing away or editing, I found I would have mental blanks and the reminder was helpful.

When it comes to imagination I will admit some people aren’t as imaginative as others. But that’s fine. It comes with practice. Start by trying to picture things in your head, your favourite TV episode, recall a conversation, think about what you would have said if they have of said the opposite. Then learn to question things. In primary school we were always taught research involved:

Who

What

When

Where

Why

How

Story telling has the same basis.

Who is involved in it?

What is happening?

When does it happen?

Where does it take place?

Why is it happening?

How does it happen?

Starting with these basic questions is a great way to begin to plan a novel if you need that extra help.

But most importantly you need to take the plunge and start. It doesn’t even have to be the beginning of your story. Write the ending first, the middle it doesn’t matter what order it comes together in as long as it does. If you’re worried about it all flowing nicely afterwards. Don’t. It’s why we edit.

What are your tips for starting your first story?

Bec

xx

Gathering Your Intel.

book one battle for terra

Credit to the Photographers and Image owners. All pictures gathered from Pinterest.
For the record, there is no movie. This is just who who I pictured when I wrote the book. Except Kensi and Jason’s eyes are green in my story 😀

I want to apologise for falling behind, again. I have been in a world of chaos at present, trying to juggle new schedules and deal with a tumblr glitch. We won’t go discussing that as there is not enough coffee in my house to make it come out nicely. :S

I thought today we might have a chat about researching your story. Every book will need some kind of research, even if it’s knowledge that you have previously gained elsewhere, through study, work or other books. For some, like me, I find it easier when I can visualise my character or certain aspects of my story. This can be anything from an image I find online that suits my character or a song. For those who read my other post, Busy, Busy, Busy, you will have noticed that for my new manuscript, I have somehow managed to relate a medieval fantasy story to Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars.

For my Battle for Terra series, when I had issues I often thought about the characters and people who inspired my own. Or went into my Pinterest board.

Addie car

Photo credit to the owner. Another Pinterest find.
Addie’s car from Binary. Except in blue.

Pinterest is my all time most favouritist, bestest, most wonderfullest place for research. And yes, all that counts as good English. I may have a mild obsession with the site, and it is a procrastinator’s dream. Not so much for my hubby who hears, you will never guess what I saw on Pinterst today. That’s usually a sign for him to leave before I give him another job to do.

Each of my books has its own Pinterest board (including each book in a series), all made secret as some of my pins will give away the plots. I even have a board for images or quotes, even writing prompts that have popped up and have given me ideas for a new story.

Each of my boards contains, pictures of what my main characters would look like. The clothing, weapons, landscape pictures, cars (if there is some) that kind of thing.

I also have the app on my phone, so I can look things up wherever I am. You can find anything and everything on there. It’s incredibly rare you can’t. And almost all sites have a Pin this button. If they don’t you can copy the weblink and add it to your Pinterest board for safe keeping. It is similar to a cloud drive.

kensi clothes

Credit to the owner.
The image that inspired Kensi’s fighting outfit in Battle for Terra.

 

My next favourite site it YouTube. A fabulous place for tutorials, such as combat. One of my books uses eskrima (kali stick) fighting. I used it to learn some of the techniques. I also now know how to knock a man unconscious, pressure points and all about R.I.P bullets. It is a great learning resource. But does come with the don’t try this at home warning for kids.

Wikipedia…I love the site. It’s informative, gives you a base run down on what things are. HOWEVER, the site can be updated by anyone! The information can be falsified and what you read can be a pile of rubbish. So be careful. I use it as a starting point on things I am after. Eg Stonehenge, I read the basics then use the references to go find more information. But if you are just after a basic run down, jump on it. It’s great.

I do use your standard online dictionary and I have a google translator on speed dial (I needed Latin for part of my Battle for Terra novels.)

And how can I forget Google Maps. I love Google Maps. Not only can I view the map form, I can view satellite images and find out how far it would be to drive, walk, catch a bus. It’s a great way to add that bit more realism to your work.

And last but not least, generators. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of these sites. If you want a name type name generator into your search engine and it will bring up some options. These places random select names and bring them up. It’s great if you are struggling to think of one. My favourite so far is a medieval insult generator. But there si a generator for almost anything. So have a look.

These are my basic go to guides for research, at least to start with. They can provide a wealth of information, some amazing plot ideas, fabulous starting points and inspiration to get it done. But they can take time away from your writing so be careful.

What are your favourite sites?

Bec

xx

 

A Website That Tells All…

Books HD
Books HD sourced from Flicker

So I am meant to be editing Compliant, or writing one of the two books I am working on. Or probably better yet making a start on pancakes for the kids lunch or the brownies for footy tomorrow.

But I made a huge mistake (Aside from finally letting myself watch the promo episode of the Walking Dead. But that’s a whole other post) I jumped on Twitter.

Currently Pantera Press is having an open house with the NSW Writer’s Center. It’s absolutely fabulous and if you’re on Twitter Check it out under the hash tag #PPOpenHouse, or either of the other two’s twitter pages. It’s been incredibly informative.

Among the suggestions and talk was another hashtag #mswl. I was curious as it’s something I had seen been used before but was clueless as to what it meant.

It’s a hashtag used by publishers, literary agents, editors, etc in order to promote the manuscripts they are currently seeking. Can I say ‘Oh My God!? This is a fantastic resource for anyone looking to get published and are not sure if your manuscript is ready to face the world.

Be sure to check out the website Manuscript Wishlist. Hopefully it can help bring together writers and publishers and fill our shelves with some more pretty amazing adventures.

Bec
xx