Mandy Eve-Barnett's Official Blog

Inspiration for Writers & Building A Community ©

Carafe…

February 28, 2013
mandyevebarnett


I’m using a re-blog today as the link to my desk diary word…I hope you will forgive me. This blog is really worth reading though.

Carafe – definition: a bottle that has a lip and is used to hold water or beverages. Well I don’t know about you but when I read ‘water’ I nearly choked! It’s main mission in life is to hold wine darlings, not water. The designs for carafe’s are numerous and styles differ from era to era. Some antique carafe’s are absolutely stunning in their decadence while modern styles are unusual and cleverly designed.

Steph's Scribe | Stephanie Parrillo Verni, Author

Look around you. Seriously, look around you. Everything you see came from someone, but more importantly it started out as simply a creative idea.

We’ve all had those moments when creativity is a spark, when it burns brightly, then fades away.

We’ve also has those moments when creativity is a fire, burning brightly and furiously, and it stays with you and things start to happen.

For the last few days in advertising class, we’ve talked about creativity, where it comes from, and how it blesses us at times and curses us at other times. But the truth is, in creative fields, where ideas are important and making things work is essential, we can never give up on ourselves. We must persevere and find ways to get our minds to think in a different way—to see the world differently.

As innovator and designer Tim Brown states in his TED video

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Writers Relief…

February 27, 2013
mandyevebarnett


My guest post today is from Writers Relief and perfectly fits today’s word – Pander – definition: to provide gratification or satisfaction for another’s desires. In other words making our submission ‘hit all the right buttons’ for a publisher or agent.

5 Tips For Making Quality Submissions

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Whether you’re new to the writing biz or a seasoned veteran, there’s no escaping the fact that your work is going to get rejected at some point by someone—or perhaps many someones.

The fact is, you can’t control whether or not a literary agent or editor accepts your work. What you can control is the quality of the work in question and how you go about sending it out. Hone your craft and submit great writing that will make it just a little bit harder for people to say no.

Here are a few tips on how to make quality submissions and turn those rejections into acceptances:

1. Write, write, and write some more.

As writers, most of us are emotionally attached to what we’ve created. It’s easy to fall in love with one particular piece and become…well, a little obsessed with trying to get it published. But you’ll quickly run out of places to submit to if you send out the same work over and over again.

If you’ve exhausted your markets with no results for a particular piece, set it aside and try sending a few other pieces out—one of them might surprise you.

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2. Practice makes perfect.

Contrary to what many believe, no one is born a perfect writer. Your writing ability is like a knife—sharpen it!

The more techniques you try and the more risks you allow yourself to take with your writing, the better you’ll be able to gauge your own strengths and weaknesses.

Once you know that, you’ll be able to assess what’s worth spending your time on and what’s worth putting aside so you can grow.

3. Format and proofread everything.

Make sure it’s PERFECT! The importance of this step cannot be stressed enough.

Editors and agents have always been inundated with hundreds of submissions a day. The convenience of electronic submissions has raised that number into the thousands, so tossing submissions that are obviously sloppy into the slush pile is often an editor’s or agent’s first line of defense against a tidal wave of paperwork.

Get your hands on a grammar book and befriend your spell-checker ASAP!

Of course, if proofreading isn’t your forte, Writer’s Relief’s proofreaders can help.

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4. Do your research.

Why spend hours making submissions to journals or literary agencies that aren’t even interested in your particular kind of work in the first place?

Don’t send your work out willy-nilly. Be logical about it. As you come across journals to which you’d like to submit your short prose or poetry, take a moment to read their submission guidelines and read some of the writing they’ve already published.

If you’re querying agents, pay attention to what they ask for in a query packet and scope out what kinds of books they tend to represent. You wouldn’t send a novel about drug addicts to an agent specializing in romance, would you?

There will be a much higher chance of your work actually getting looked at if it’s appropriate for each market, which will ultimately help your work find a home.

(By the way, if you don’t feel like doing all of the research work on your own, or if you’d rather spend your limited free time writing, let Writer’s Relief help you with that. We’ve been helping writers successfully connect with agents and editors since 1994.)

And remember…

5. Don’t let it get to you.

It’s easy to feel downtrodden by the entire submission process, especially if you’re a new writer. Having your work rejected by a number of agents or editors doesn’t mean that they absolutely hated it and/or you. Literary agents and editors aren’t cackling with delight as they send out rejections to hundreds of authors—they’re just trying to find the most appropriate works for publication, and they have nothing against you.

So keep at it. If your writing is in the best shape it can possibly be, and if you’re making responsible, well-researched submissions, your day will come soon enough!

And if any of the above sounds daunting, remember that Writer’s Relief offers assistance in all aspects of the submission process. Our submission strategists are ready to help you stay encouraged and get your writing published!

Click of the keys

The Pot Kiln, a quaint English Pub…

February 26, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Kiln – definition: a furnace or oven for burning, baking, or drying, especially for calcining lime or firing pottery.

Today’s word reminded me of a quaint pub I used to frequent while living in England. It was called the Pot Kiln and actually had a large kiln inside the main building. As this was some years ago I’m sure the owners have changed several times and the interior redecorated. As you can see from the photographs it is nestled within lush woodland with open fields to the front. Perfect as the resting place after a summer’s walk or in my case motorcycle ride.

http://www.potkiln.org/
English: The Pot Kiln, Frilsham Still just abo...

English: The Pot Kiln, Frilsham Still just about one of life’s ideal country pubs. A traditional bar with a stone floor and a decent pint and good grub. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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In our writing, places we have lived or visited can play a large part. Describing an English pub to someone, who has never been to one is not only a great ‘descriptive’ exercise but also enables us to see something, we may find common place, with new eyes. Details come alive when we use our personal experiences. For example I can describe a woodland with a carpet of bluebells as a lilac blue heaven of bobbing heads on pale stems. The dappled light caressing the blooms. However, the difficult part comes when trying to put into words the scent of the flowered woodland. It is a delicate fragrance, but the sheer numbers of blooms makes it quite heady.  This scent is mixed with the earthy undertones of the mossy earth and when you pick bluebells (no longer allowed!) the long thin stem has a slight slippery texture and an almost non-existent root. Remember that the richer the detail the more absorbed our reader will become. If we can ‘transport’ them to other lands or bring new perspectives to known ones, we have done our job.

Bluebell Woods

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Beware of Being Monotonous…

February 25, 2013
mandyevebarnett


My morning was certainly not humdrum. I had to take my daughter for surgery so we were out of the house by 5.15 am – good grief! Everything went really well and now she is home and comfy with a doting mother. I will file away the experience it may help with a story sometime.

Humdrum – definition: monotonous, dull.

Paper- WritingWhen an idea for a story strikes we struggle to keep up with the twists and turns our mind creates. We write or type furiously so we can capture it all. This first draft is primarily getting the words onto the page and character development, word usage, grammar, even spelling often go by the wayside. It is when we start revising that we notice particular words repeating, mediocre descriptions and continuity errors. It might be a humdrum start but the foundation of the story has been built. Now we can begin to embellish and elaborate, delete repetitive words, hone our characters personalities and create tension. Enticing our reader onto the next page is key for any novel.

To ensure our writing isn’t humdrum there are ways to strengthen our work. Here are a few tips, but by no means an exhaustive list.

1. Use adjectives and adverbs sparingly. 2. Avoid repeating a word in the same sentence and especially if the word has a ‘double’ meaning. 3. Try to omit words such as ‘go’, ‘went’, ‘that’, ‘very’ – most sentences do not require them! 4. Avoid clichés.

The best way to ensure your writing is clear, concise and enthralling is to expand your vocabulary. Word games, actively learning new words, and using a dictionary and thesaurus are all effective ways to accomplish this.

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We all have words that we over use, mostly unconsciously but once we begin revisions they are revealed – well hopefully. I have found some internet sites that  you can paste a section of your work into and it will highlight them. This is a useful exercise for any writer.

Try one for yourself – http://prowritingaid.com/Free-Editing-Software.aspx#.USrPE0BrbIU

A creatively paced, descriptive and intriguing story is our goal – fight the humdrum and excite your reader.

Sunday Snippets…

February 24, 2013
mandyevebarnett


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Firstly apologies for not participating last week – life took over! I will continue where I left off with my reincarnation romance – The Twesome Loop – Brett has found the details of a rich spinster and plans to investigate her. He notes her particulars then…

Breathing a sigh of relief he then noticed the file was not for Mr. Collin at all, but for the senior partner, Mr. Forbes. Although Brett had tried to advance his position to become Mr. Forbes’ assistant, the old man disliked change and preferred to have his original secretary, Miss Coombes, who must have been ninety if a day. This may well be the day he not only got to further his career but also got his hands on a substantial amount of money.

“I’ll just be a minute, Dawn, I have a file for Mr. Forbes. If Mr. Collin arrives, please tell him his files are catalogued and ready for him.”

“Yes, Mr. Shaw. When you return will you need dictation?”

“No, I have some other matters to attend to, thank you.”

He didn’t have time for a quickie .He had more important things to do, like finding out as much as he could about Miss Lynch without raising suspicion. Brett walked down the corridor towards the senior partner’s office; it was difficult keeping his excitement in check until he turned to see Miss Coombes shriveled form hunched over her desk. It always gave Brett the shivers looking at her wizened form.

“Miss Coombes is Mr. Forbes in his office?”

“Of course he is, Mr. Shaw, where else would he be at this time of day?”

Brett nodded and rolled his eyes as he turned to gently tap on the oak door. A muffled voice commanded him enter. Forbes sat behind a dark oak desk, which gleamed with years of polishing. The aroma of Cuban cigar smoke hung in the air.

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