Mandy Eve-Barnett's Official Blog

Inspiration for Writers & Building A Community ©

Liebster Award…

January 31, 2013
mandyevebarnett


The Liebster Award

My thanks to CP Bialois (Ed) for nominating me for this award.

Here is the low down:

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The Rules
·  When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
·  Pass the award on to 11 other blogs (while making sure you notify the bloggers that you nominated them!).
·  You write up 11 NEW questions directed towards YOUR nominees.
·  You are not allowed to nominate the blogger who nominated your blog!
·  You paste the award picture into your blog. (You can google the image; there are plenty of them!)

11 Random Facts about Mandy:

  • I’m a huge fan of Stephen King
  • I love almost all animals, apart from rhino’s…long story!
  • My favorite place to write is at my writing desk when everyone else is out.
  • When I eat chocolate, it’s white chocolate.
  • Although I was shy as a child, I’ve grown into an extrovert.
  • Given the opportunity I would live in Italy full time.
  • I read many genre’s apart from spy thrillers.
  • When I lived in England I visited a multitude of historical sites, just loved them.
  • I was a tom-boy.
  • Emigrating to Canada has given me opportunities I never even dreamed of.
  • Once I commit to something its all out.

Questions for Ed

  1. What is the one thing you miss about being a child?  Being so carefree
  2. What was your dream job growing up?  When I was very young a horse rider but this changed to interior design at around 12.
  3. Where is your favorite place to relax? With friends, the location doesn’t matter.
  4. If you have one person to thank for where you are today, who would it be? So difficult…my Dad for his love and my mentor, Linda Pedley for her belief.
  5. Out of a the celebrities, living or dead, who would do you want to meet? Viggo Mortensen 

    Viggo Mortensen at the world premiere of Lord ...

    Viggo Mortensen at the world premiere of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  6. What would you say to them? When he is creating artwork or writing poems, does he have mental imagery of the ideas?  
  7. If you were stuck on a remote tropical island, what three(3) things would you take with you (people and pets don’t count)? A massive notebook, a huge amount of pencils and my bookcase (full of books).
  8. Are you a dog or cat person? I’ve owned both but prefer dogs.
  9. Are you a TV control dictator? Never get the control! My husband is King of the Remote.
  10. What is your favorite movie adaptation of a book? Green Mile
  11. If it hasn’t been made, what book would you like to be seen made into a movie? The Secret Garden by Kate Morton

I hope you enjoyed reading all those, now it’s your turn!

I am passing on the award to:

http://ejjudge.wordpress.com/

http://bottledworder.wordpress.com/

http://creativelycreatingmycreation.wordpress.com/

http://itsjennythewren.wordpress.com/

http://www.lorijometz.com/

http://andioconnor.com/

http://writingsistersblog.wordpress.com/

http://rebeccabradleycrime.com/

http://thewritersideoflife.wordpress.com/

http://thelivingnotebook.com/

http://literaryman.com/

Now for my questions:

a) Which genre’s do you prefer to read?

b) Is there somewhere in the world you would love to visit?

c) Have you got any phobia’s?

d) Which would you choose – meat or seafood?

e) Which famous person do you wish you were?

f) Are you sporty or not?

g) What was the name of your first pet?

h) A tropical beach or a ski resort?

i) What would be your perfect job?

j) Which snack do you prefer when watching a movie?

k) Which book are you currently reading?

I hope you have fun with this award and remember no tag backs. :D

And just a short foot note today’s word was – Adage – definition: a traditional saying expressing a common experience or observation : proverb.  So as the old adage goes: “Share and share alike”

Interview with Dennis Collins…

January 30, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Please welcome Dennis Collins to my blog, he has a quiet humor and strong writing trait.  Today’s word is Complicit – definition: associating or participating in a wrongful act. This lends itself to the characters in Dennis’ books who live in the shady underground of mystery and thriller.

Dennis Collins

a) Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

That’s difficult to answer because I began my series with a trio of protagonists, Michael O’Conner, Otis Springfield, and Albert McCoy who were introduced to one another and shared equal billing in The Unreal McCoy. In the next book Turn Left at September I allowed McCoy to acquire a love interest and made him the featured character. Then it was Otis Springfield’s turn as the star of The First Domino. In Nightmare, it’s McCoy and O’Conner sharing the spotlight. I guess it just depends on who’s carrying the load that day.

b) Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?

Right now I just write traditional mystery/thriller kind of stuff. I must admit that I’m somewhat intrigued by the extra space you get with a paranormal kink to your story. I need to learn the rules before I dive into anything like that.

c) What do you enjoy most about writing?

I’ve been a storyteller all my life and just like the old days sitting around the campfire with the other kids, I love the look of interest on people’s faces as my imagination runs wild. I’ve matured a little though these days and strive for realism in my stories. I suppose the short answer is that I like pleasing people with my tales.

d) Have you got a favorite place to write?

I’ve tried writing in coffee shops and poolside at motels but the fact is, I’m way too easily distracted. For me, the most productive place is in my little home office with no TV, no radio, no music, and just one light turned on.

e) Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?

My first book was totally “stream of consciousness.” I started writing and kept going until I reached the end. It took me three years. I did a little planning, at least plot-wise with my next book and it came out just fine. I’ve sort of settled in on a combination. I write until I hit a wall and then I plan, but the secret is to keep it moving. You can always repair bad dialogue or narrative but you can’t fix… nothing!

f) What inspires your stories?

Inspiration comes from everywhere and anywhere. My first book was inspired by an obituary; the second was just the desire to get more use out of a fictional location that I created in the first book. Then there was a family incident where no one in my generation knew the true story about an uncle who died a hero in world war two. My last book was inspired by an Internet report that I stumbled on while researching something else. Where will the next inspiration come from? I haven’t a clue but I know it will happen.

g) What are you currently reading?

I just finished reading Targets of Revenge by Jeffrey S. Stephens, an international thriller about drugs, mobs, terrorists, and the CIA. Such a fast pace that it left me exhausted. It will be released on 2/13/2013

h) Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories?

I ride a big Harley if that counts. Been a professional (automotive powered race boat) hydroplane driver, motorcycle racer, skydiver, and scuba diver, just the normal stuff.

i) Do you have any pets?

No cats. I’ve had dogs all my life. My last beautiful little mongrel died on New Years day last year at almost nineteen years of age. She was my final pet.

j) Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

A friend and I formed a writer’s group in Huron County, Michigan a couple of years ago. We have close to fifty members now.

k) What age did you start writing stories/poems?

Fourth grade. The nun threatened to kick me out of school for writing a violent story. It was cowboys and Indians. What do you expect from a fourth grader? I was terrified but later I got even with her. I put her in one of my books and I made her… nice

l) Do you have a book published? If so what is it called & where can readers purchase it?

My first two books, The Unreal McCoy and Turn Left at September are currently out of print but are both available for Kindle or Nook. The First Domino and Nightmare are available at Amazon.com or Barnes&Noble.com in both print and electronic formats.

51Ri4f19QML__SL500_AA300_Turn Left at September

The First Domino

m) If you could meet one favorite author whom would it be and why?

Probably would have been Hemingway just to feel his presence.

n) If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?

On the shore of one of the Great Lakes and that is where I live. Lake Huron is right out my front window. Maybe someplace a bit warmer for a few weeks in the winter, but not too much. Snow has always been part of my life.

English: Map of Lake Huron. Category:Michigan maps

o) What’s your favorite movie of all time?

Probably The Best Years of Our Lives, such a powerful story.

p) Where can readers find you and your blog?

I will soon be launching a new website but my blog is http://www.theunrealmccoy.com/

q) Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?

I’m working on one right now (Fool’s Gold) about millions of dollars worth of gold lost at the bottom of Lake Michigan by the Confederacy during the civil war. The truth of the legend is still under debate.

r) Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

Fear of failure.

Is this a theme we have going here?

January 29, 2013
mandyevebarnett


English: Quagmire Quagmire and forest The Snic...

English: Quagmire Quagmire and forest The Snicks near to Shouldham Norfolk. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There seems to be a continuation of great descriptive words on my desk diary lately, I hope you are keeping notes. As you can see from the definition of quagmire the second explanation is a difficult situation to escape from and it is where my idea for this post came from.

To engage our readers and keep their interest we create situations for our characters that they have to overcome by fair means or foul. The classic story arc sets out critical points that carry our characters through these. Let’s look at them.

Stasis

We give our readers an insight into our characters ‘normal’ life whether it is modern day, historical or fantastical in nature. This gives our readers a sense of our main character(s).

The Elicit

This can be a multitude of things, as many as your mind can come up with. A situation, occurrence or event that is beyond your protagonist’s control.

The Mission

With the elicit introduced the next ‘step’ is the mission . This may be a struggle to return life to normal or even a new’ better’ normal. The hero may overcome eventually but at what cost? A villain can have the upper hand for some time, forcing our protagonist to try harder.

Surprises

Not only should we surprise our readers with the unexpected but also create conflict, obstacles and complications for our protagonist. This step is the middle of the story and needs to be compelling for our readers carrying them along with our character and their struggles.

Crucial Decision

With obstacles to overcome our protagonist’s real personality is revealed as the tension rises. There comes a point when a critical decision has to be made and our character has to choose his path. It can be a hard or easy but both will have consequences.

Culmination

These choices have to result in a peak of tension or climax in the story.

Setback

There should be a change in the status of your main character. They may lose something as a consequence or their personality changes as well as their personality. These setbacks should be believable to your reader and develop naturally.

Resolve

To end your story there should be a resolution for your character. Their personality or values will have changed and they would have learnt from their journey.

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Do you have any tips for keeping the tension in your story arc?

January 28, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Something to delight all ages…meet artists and authors.

Parched of ideas…

January 28, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Parched – definition : to wilt and dry out from heat.

Another descriptive word, which does the job of a long expositional sentence defining the landscape. But let’s look at it another way. What if we are ‘parched’ for ideas?

We have all stopped short in the midst of a scene unable to see where it is going or sat down to begin a new story and drawn a blank. Hesitation is the killer of ideas, in my opinion. Instead of worrying at which point to begin – just write what comes, the refining can come later. If seeing the words on the screen distract you and your inner editor wants to revise try this trick. Cover the screen with a tea towel or another piece of cloth! Sounds strange I know but it works. You can type what comes into your mind without the distraction. Obviously this trick doesn’t really help when you are writing in  a notebook! I’m still working on that one.

Another ‘mind refresher’ is to look out of your window and write what you see in as much detail as you can.

Nuggets of ideas are transient at best so don’t lose them agonizing about how to incorporate or formulate them. Let it flow until you come to a natural halt. These small ideas may fill up note books or  ‘idea’ folders on your computer, just keep them. At some stage they will come into  their own as a scene, a short story or even the basis of a novel. I have scrolled through mine from time to time and not remembered writing some of them. It is like discovering old friends.

This is true for prompts as well, which I have found to be exceptionally helpful (and fun) when my mind is parched. Looking back on ‘scribbles’ is a great way to reignite your writing flow as well as a great source of character profiles and scenes. I have developed a whole novella from several prompts (The Rython Kingdom) and my children’s book Rumble’s First Scare was created from one prompt.

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One resource I use is the featured book, Writing Prompt Journey http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/retail/books/writing-prompt-journey-road-your-creativity    This excellent book is a compilation of prompts with several responses from other writers after each. You can either respond to the prompt and then read the other interpretations or visa versa. I find it very interesting to see how another writer uses the same prompt and how it sparked a entirely different idea in their mind to mine.

Of course the internet is also full of writing prompts and exercises but it requires quite a period of time trolling through them all. Another resource I use often is http://www.wfscsherwoodpark.com where there is a prompt put up every Saturday on the calendar.

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You may have your own favorites, which is perfectly fine but may be try something new occasionally, you never know where it may lead.

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