Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – How Do You Choose Which Book To Read Next?

November 24, 2020
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I finished Eeny Meeny in record time, it was one of those books you couldn’t put down. Hence my review:

Absolutely riveting! I didn’t see the culprit coming. Well written and structured. A fast paced, who done it. A real page turner.

I have moved onto another detective book, to continue my detective/crime research. It is The Secret Place by Tana French. Her style is completely different to M.J. Arlidge that’s for sure.

As always I still have a good pile of books on my TBR pile as you can see above. I’m unsure which one I will choose when I finish Tana’s novel.

Do you have a system to your TBR pile? Is it alphabetically, by genre or just what catches your eye first? Or do you lay them out, mixed them up and pick one, making it a surprise?

I would love to know your method.

In the meantime, at the time of writing, I am almost at the NaNoWriMo goal of 50,000 words. As I write this morning, I am at a tantalizing word count of 48352, so today I will reach the goal but certainly not the end of the novel. That will take at least another 20,000 words.

Please feel free to ask me about my novels, my writing process, how I create my imaginary worlds and characters. Or anything regarding the books of mine you have read. I am always happy to answer questions.

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Benefits of Reading During COVID19

November 2, 2020
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Photo by Joy Deb on Pexels.com

As we come to terms with the increases in COVID19 cases, a resurgence that was inevitable unfortunately. We can still find solace in reading stories. Our choices can be a variety depending on our state of mind. These are some of the benefits of reading.

Reading as an escape – we can forget the ‘real’ world and ‘live’ in a fantasy, a thriller, a romance. Or we can plunge into a ‘end of world’ tale, that is far worse than what we are experiencing. It is personal choice.

Reading helps you sleep better – to be immersed in a story – preferably with no backlight to activate our brains – the act of reading settles our mind, gives us focus on a make believe world. It also rests our minds and contributes to a relaxation that enables us to sleep.

Reading makes us more compassionate to others as well as ourselves. A new perspective on the world makes us empathetic and give us new understanding of those around us. Perception of how others react to the social situation increases our awareness.

Reading for stress relief – to have our minds concentrating on something other than the constant flood of ‘news’, we are able to physically and mentally relax. This in turn has a physical consequence of lowering our blood pressure and heart rate and reducing the ‘fear’ hormone.

Photo by Lina Kivaka on Pexels.com

What have you found to be your genre of choice during COVID19?

As I am participating in National Novel Writing Month my reading time will be reduced. However, I am enjoying this novel. It is a clever device to inform the reader of the consequences of current decisions in the ‘management’ of water sources. Set in the future by way of diary entries, we come to see what may happen.

I also bought a couple of books that will be research for my NaNo project, which is a detective trilogy.

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday Blog Writing – Workshop Tips

October 1, 2020
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I hosted a virtual workshop last Saturday for the Words in the Park event. It was fun to utilize Zoom so that participants from far and wide could join me. As the workshop was free, I thought I would share the bare bones of the workshop. Hopefully, it will give you some helpful information in creating a blog of your own.

There are numerous blogging sites but these tips cover the basics for you to start.

The number of blogs available on the internet is mind boggling – every topic you can imagine is covered. Whether factual, diarized, crafting, a myriad of interests or informational, you can find several postings about things you are interested in or want to know about. 

So why should you blog? Or indeed why not!

The first and most important question is – why do you want to blog in the first place.

There is a huge range of reasons to blog but maybe the best idea is to ask yourself if any of the following relate to you.

 1. To create something you are proud of

2. Challenge yourself

3. Strengthen your knowledge on a particular subject

4. Meet others with similar interests

5. Help other people in a specific field or topic

6. Gain confidence

7. To improve your writing ability

8. To learn new skills

Once you decide on starting a blog there are several key elements you need to decide on.

  • Name Your Blog

This may seem easy – however, you need to search what names are already in existence, will the name reflect the topic OR theme you will be writing about. Is it a personal blog, a business blog, or a specific interest blog? Does the blog name read OK when it’s in a domain URL format?

Later you may want to purchase your own domain name so consider how it will look.

  • Define Your Target Audience

For an author, this will be readers in your genre, for business people, it is who wants/needs your services. Will you mentor? Cover aspects of health, travel, personal training, or something else?

  • Tone Of Your Blog

What tone or voice will the writing reflect? Strictly business or more personal/friendly?

  • Reason For Your Blog

Will you be building your brand around your blog name or the other way around? Is the blog part of a website or standalone? What do you want to achieve with your blog? Choose one area you have the most expertise or interest in. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself straight out of the gate. Your passion about the subject will bring about the following benefits:

  1. You’re more likely to put the time and effort into your blog to make it shine.
  2. You’re less likely to abandon your blog in the future.
  3. You’re less likely to run out of ideas.
  4. It shows through in your writing, and your readers can feel that. This, in turn, will lead to a larger following.

Tips for Writing A Blog

 Understand your audience

 Write for yourself first

 Build you

 Love your existing readers/followers/clients

 Focus on building an amazing call-to-action

 Be consistent

 Give away your knowledge

 Be true to your voice

 Give it time

Write catchy headlines

Be Yourself

Keep it short

 Positives to blogging:  

1. You’ll gain confidence.

2. It’s a form of diary.

3. Blogging is great writing experience.

4. There is potential financial gain if that is your future goal.

5. The blogging community is great.

6. It allows potential for self growth.

7. It allows development of technological skills.

8. It gives people a creative outlet.

9. Blogging is the current way to market a business or product.

10. And it creates opportunities. Whether in the form of friendships, financial gain or self-growth.

Key Elements for a Blog Post

Make sure to include images in every post. A block of text is seldom read. (Attention spans are very short). Rule of thumb is to use one every 300 words or so.

Format your blog post – longer text should be divided with headers and sub-headers

Use bulleted and numbered lists

Bold and italicize key points

Use short paragraphs – 3-5 lines to prevent ‘skimming’ by your reader

Stick to a theme

Don’t wing your content. Make a plan and schedule your posts.

I either write several blog posts at a time and then schedule them or create a draft when an idea pops into my head.

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – To Illustrate or Not

July 23, 2020
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I have submitted five submissions for an anthology to be released in the fall. It is a second volume to be published by The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County. This second book is also full of prompts to inspire our creativity. Each prompt has a few responses from other writers to give the reader an idea of the variety of stories and poems that can be inspired by the same picture prompt. It is a great exercise book for writers of any skill level.

If you are interested in purchasing the first book here is the link: https://www.wfscsherwoodpark.com/product-page/writing-prompt-journey-the-road-to-your-creativity

I did submit a drawing for the first book (see here) and have created another for the second book. Drawing and painting were my first creative outlet, so to practice again on the odd occasion is enjoyable.

After sending my illustration, I began to think of images, I have commissioned for my children’s and YA books. Each has been tailored made for that particular age group and style, I envisaged for my children’s and YA books. I am lucky to have access for several artists, who use different mediums.

Then I thought, why is it adult novels are so rarely illustrated? I recently interviewed Ann Charles, who has beautiful illustrations for her novels drawn by her brother. I feel they enhance the stories as does Ann.

So what is the main pitfall for including illustrations? You may have guessed it – money! The bottom line is printing drawings involves more ink thus more expense. So are there any illustrated adult novels out there?

I managed to find these links – so the answer is yes.

https://electricliterature.com/7-illustrated-novels-for-adults/

https://rivetedlit.com/2017/07/17/7-awesome-illustrated-novels/

https://simplyframed.com/blogs/blog/10-illustrated-books-for-adult-shelves

Given the option would you like to have illustrations in your novels?

 

 

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Tips for Good Editing & Proofreading – Author ToolBox Blog Hop

June 18, 2020
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Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2

A good editor is worth their weight in gold. They not only fix your grammar and find and correct major and minor errors , but also improve your book’s content and structure in a way that preserves your style. There are two main processes a manuscript has to go through prior to publication. Both require a systematic approach.

Use these as a guideline to edit and proofread your manuscript before sending it to an editor. Expect a red-lined manuscript back and learn from the experience.

edit

Editing

This process concentrates on:

Paragraph structure and clear transitions between paragraphs.There is a flow of the story – whether character development or plot.

Highlighting any repetition of words, sentence structure, and the correct use of any technical, historical or factual elements.

Helps to condense and improve the efficiency of your writing.

Questions your flow of the narrative.

proof

Proofreading

A more focused approach to find common errors and the ones missed during editing. Here are a couple of tips to help you:

Read the manuscript out loud or divide it into sections. TIP Read from last chapter to first.

Rewrite structure if required, such as plot, story line, consistency and continuity. TIP Create a general outline 1 – 3 pages maximum to track the story line.

Scene outline. Read each scene to determine if they require editing or deletion TIP Do they push the story forward? If not delete them. TIP Create a check list for each step of proofreading. Then concentrate on that particular one at a time.

Print out your manuscript – it may seem odd to do this in the computer age but we perceive information differently between screen and paper. TIP Read it out loud. On hearing the flow of the language you will understand your strong and weak points.

TIP from the King!

We can be too wordy in our writing, Stephen King learned: “2nd Draft = 1st draft – 10%”. An average manuscript requires at least three rounds of editing and at each round try to shorten your draft for 10% of its original length.

Linear Edit. This is the point you deal with the minor issues such as rewriting sentences, exchanging with words, and fix grammar, punctuation, proofread for misspellings and typos.

Do you have a particular system or tip you use while editing & proofreading?

I have read about one author who prints the manuscript on different coloured paper for each step but this seems a bit excessive! 

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