Category Archives: editing

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

Creating Unforgettable Characters workshop – review.

I attended a library session hosted by the writer in residence. Although the evening was enjoyable and he relayed many personal stories to highlight how we can use our life experience to create characters, there was not much in the way of ‘practical’ tips. This was rather a disappointment to many that attended. A character sheet was handed out but it can be downloaded from the internet easily enough. It would have been a lot more instructive to actually have writing exercises and then discussion so we gained valuable feedback on our character descriptions.

Have you attended workshops that fell short or exceeded your expectations?

The Twesome Loop manuscript review.

I asked a friend, who is not a writer but a reader to give me her honest opinion on my manuscript as there are two time periods and multiple characters in the story. I wanted to know if the story was too complex and required drastic revision. Not only did she read it in record time but loved the story. This was her last comment:

“Finished 5pm local time. From p.89 today. Yay for Gerald , I was swinging punches at Brett too. P.96 love description of Rome, have visited some of those places. Your draft book was enjoyable. Had no problems with characters , followed story OK. Well done.” Doreen.

My reason for wanting this review was that a professional author thought I should cut out characters ‘as there are too many’ – however as he does not write or read historical romance, I was loathe to discard characters I thought rounded out the story. I think I will continue editing but will keep the characters. I did look at the prospect of separating some of the characters into two other novels but I think it would detract from their stories to do so.

Have you stuck to your guns on a manuscript?

Did you drastically revise a novel so characters were omitted?

A freelance client contacted me after some time away asking for more work so now I have to juggle her internet lessons, due 27th February with ghost writing a book for another client. And refining an erotic scene for a reading I am doing on 25th February – what’s that saying – when it rains, it pours! No I am not complaining.

Books:

I am 2/3 through Ava Moss by Joss Landry. After which I have Beyond the Precipice by Eva Blaskovic.

ava-mossbeyond-the-precipice

In addition I have a manuscript to review for an author friend so I have plenty to read.

What book are you reading currently? How do you like it?

Writing Tips:

“Read it aloud to yourself because that’s the only way to be sure the rhythms of the sentences are OK (prose rhythms are too complex and subtle to be thought out—they can be got right only by ear).” — Diana Athill

What’s your favorite writing tip?

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

Maybe it’s naughty but I submitted few pages of another manuscript to our current Writer in Residence over the weekend. This time it was the manuscript I am currently working on, The Twesome Loop. A romance with a touch of erotica and a reincarnation twist. It is two time periods – 2000 and 1874 so the chapters go back and forth between the two. The four main characters in each time period are linked by reincarnation and as you get to know the characters you will come to notice similarities in personality coming through.

My meeting on Sunday with Richard van Camp our current WIR was excellent. He gave me a ‘light bulb’ moment on one of the characters. This will give me a new boost in creating her in a whole different light. Now I need to find the time to revise all the scenes she is present in. An expression he used was to ‘echo’ the characters to entice the reader with the similarities between the modern day and past personalities.

I also submitted the initial draft of the book I am ghost writing to my client for her review. Fingers crossed it will meet with approval!

And – agreed to be a beta-reader for two author friends so the manuscripts are piling up!

Books:

i-can-see-you I completed this novel – here is my review: Great story with well rounded characters, especially Emma whose bravery inspires.
A story of spirit, love and overcoming fear.
The tension builds with unforeseen twists and turns.
A well written narrative by an artful author, I will certainly be seeking out her other books.

I am now reading:

ava-moss

Writing Tip:

You don’t always need an outline. Give discovery writing a try.

Do you have a writing tip to share?

What book can you recommend?

 

 

 

 

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


events

It is my writers group sharing meeting on Tuesday. This is a monthly meeting where we share our stories and receive constructive critique. Later there are discussions on plot, characters, publishing and many other subjects. We occasionally have special guests and presentations on particular topics. No matter which meeting you attend, it is always inspiring and great to network.

http://www.wfscsherwoodpark.com/  We welcome local & virtual members – any age, any stage of their writing career.

Writers Foundation Strathcona County

Other events:

Funding Your Book Research Panel Discussion
Wed, 8 February, 14:00 – 15:00
Humanities Lounge, HC-429
igali@ualberta.ca
Acquisitions Editor Peter Midgley participates in a panel discussion about the labours involved in book research and
writing.
This is a popular annual event and Sold Out! WGA 2017 Banff Retreat: February 3 – 12, 2017, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. A self-guided retreat is a great opportunity to connect with fellow writers and enjoy uninterrupted writing time at The Banff Centre, the world’s largest arts and creativity incubator. Writers at any stage of their career or writing project are welcome to join in.
Why not add your local events underneath?

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

LifeinSlakePatch 001

As I told you all earlier, I submitted part of my speculative fiction novel, Life in Slake Patch to our current Writer in Residence – Richard van Camp. He answered with:

I’ve had a read of your intro and it seems to me that you find your rhythm in Chapter 4. I found the first three chapters to go so quickly, too quickly, that I couldn’t get a lock on any of the characters or their back stories.  Perhaps a rewrite of your intro?  My advice is slow down; take your time. Have fun with each scene. Sights, smells, etc. Give us setting; give us tone; set the mood.

Now for new or seasoned writers, critique is a double edged sword, some is favorable, some not but all should be taken as constructive rather than destructive. Several rewrites previously I took another writer in residence advice and ‘info dumped’ at the beginning of this story to ‘set the scene’.

So do I change it or not? Do I follow my gut and revise to balance the slightly conflicting advice from these two marvelous authors? Or do I rewrite a completely different introduction? This is something I will ponder and decide after careful consideration.

Have you experienced conflicting critique?

How did you resolve the matter? Did you change it or not?

Books: My review of The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North

hope

The story was a neat concept but fell short, unlike Claire’s previous two books. The character was complex, the story arc well constructed but the use of numerous synonyms of words detracted from the flow of the story – taking me out of the narrative. I understand as a fellow author that these descriptions were an explanation of the main character’s inner most thoughts but they were too much of a distraction for me.

However, it will in no way put me off reading another of Claire’s books – her ability to engage a reader is wonderful in The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August & Touch.

I have just started reading – I Can See You by Joss Landry.

I was engaged from the first page!

i-can-see-you

Writing Tip: Chuck Sambuchino

Remember the Three “P’s”:  Patience, Perseverance, and maintaining your sense of Purpose.

Do you have a writing tip to share?

What book can you recommend?

Another Albertan Road Trip…Jasper


15073509_10207622558337301_1573629241843353787_n

Our road trip this weekend actually started early on Thursday morning, 7 am to be precise. We stopped to grab breakfast and made our way to Jasper in the Rocky mountains. A place we have visited before but still has the ability to inspire awe at the magnificence of the mountains. Their ever changing faces in sunshine, cloud, rain or snow make each visit unique.On the road through Jasper National Park we saw these sheep in the middle of the road licking salt, they were not deterred by large trucks honking horns, driving so close we thought they might hit them or these huge vehicles driving around them.

Arriving just after 12.30 pm we set up our table to promote and sell books published by Dream Write Publishing. With so many books already published we could only bring a selection and hoped our choices were relevant for the venue and time of year. Our first sale came only minutes after we had completed our display. A good start to the day! Which concluded with several books being purchased for the Jasper Community Habitat for the Arts gift shop.

habitat-for-the-arts-nov-2016

Once everything was packed up at 5 pm, we went for supper and to check into our hotel. An added bonus was an upgrade to a beautifully appointed and cozy room.

The next morning after breakfast we set up in a most unusual venue, a laundromat and cafe. A first for us. The SnowDome cafe’s friendly staff and customers made our time there enjoyable, connecting, answering questions and a potential client.

snowdome-jasper-nov-18-2016

A celebratory supper at the hotel’s restaurant followed and an added bonus a herd of elk laying on the lawn of the hotel as we walked back to our room. Unfortunately, my cellphone is not good when it comes to taking photos at night. Can you see the bull, his antlers were spectacular and two of the doe’s had tracking collars on them.

The rest of our weekend was ours to do with as we wished. Saturday morning was a leisurely start, takeaway breakfast and a drive to Patricia and Pyramid Lakes. A walk onto the island at Pyramid where the dusting of overnight snow glistened and the water lapped gently. There was ice forming in thin layers on the shore edges and the air was still. Silence prevailed and we stood reveling in the peace of the mountain air as large snowflakes began to fall. It was Christmas card perfect.

Back into Jasper and a browse around a clothing store and then purchases for supper. Then seven hours of writing – a writer’s joy! I edited, revised and added 1000 words to my WIP, The Twesome Loop. With a brief excursion to refresh body and mind mid-afternoon. Once supper was consumed back to writing for a few more hours.

Sunday morning was begun with a leisurely brunch, then a trip to Athabasca Falls. The roar of water, the ice blue of the flow and the cavern walls decorated with huge icicles made this visit a wonderful experience.

It was difficult to leave but leave we did. Back to Jasper for a local crafts fair and then on the road home. We encountered several herds of elk & mountain sheep.

Our trip was successful on so many levels – books sold, connections made, extensive writing completed and nature enjoyed. Can’t wait for the next one!

First Lines to Hook Your Reader…


As writers we want to grip our readers from that all important first line. It is not an easy task and can consume our thoughts for days, weeks or even months.

Today I want to share some of my first lines:

TheRythonKingdom

The Rython Kingdom. A romantic adventure set in medieval England.

“He’s coming! He’s coming! Guillem Ruet is here!”

Guillem smiled at the group of children running beside his horse as he rode toward the castle’s drawbridge. Dirty and barefooted, these youngsters would not be lucky enough to hear his newest tale, first hand. That pleasure would be for the inner court alone. It was a strange and most complex tale and all the more mysterious for being made of a dream.

I have introduced the protagonist, where he is and the source of the story’s basis.

OckleberriesToTheRescue

Ockleberries to the Rescue. A children’s chapter book telling the story of magical woodland sprites and their forest animal friends.

Curled into a ball with his bushy red tail across his snout, Swift twitched in his sleep. He helped Tansy the previous evening by dashing to the aid of a rabbit. Now his mind replayed his hurried course through the forest to the sprites home.

Again I have the main characters, their home and their a hint of their adventures.

Working on first lines takes effort and we change them time and again. This is true of my latest novel, Life in Slake Patch. It has been revisited many times in the 10 years since I began writing. It was my first NaNoWriMo and the most I had written up t that point. This year I promised myself I would complete it.

Life in Slake

Life in Slake Patch. A speculative fiction novel of a matriarchy world and one young man’s journey that changes everything.

Jacob’s persuasion for me to look at an extraordinary book had gotten the better of my curiosity. He led the way down the steps into the old library basement. The building, whose very structure of stone blocks was in stark contrast to our log buildings, stood as a relic of a world before the Grand War.

We understand this is not the present age and two people are gripped in a a secret together.

Click crop cover

My next book will be launched on 1st October at a local event called Words in the Park.
Clickety Click. A YA adventure mystery of a young girl who discovers a huge secret, which has astonishing changes for her and those around her.

Its eyes widened as it grew closer and closer to her face. Alice was paralyzed with fear, clutching her bedcovers with white knuckled fingers. The creature’s mauve skin glistened with slime and drops fell onto its spindly pointed claws. Alice opened and closed her mouth willing her voice to sound in the dark bedroom. The claws clicked together as the monster’s jaw opened. Click. Click. Clickety-click.

I have introduced Alice, my protagonist and the cause of her terror.

I read a multiple of genres but some of my favorite first lines are:

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

It was dark where she was crouched but the little girl did as she’d been told. The lady said to wait, it wasn’t safe yet, they had to be quiet as larder mice.

Ferney by James Long.

As he looked for the bones of his long-dead wife, old Ferney came close to death. Caught in the traffic jam that resulted, Gally Martin’s life changed.

The Map of Time by Felix de Palma

Andrew Harrington would have gladly died several times over if that meant not having to choose just one pistol among his father’s vast collection in the living room cabinet. Decisions had never been Andrew’s strong point.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Seebold

My name is Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.

Room by Emma Donoghue

Today I’m five, I was four last night going to sleep in Wardrobe, but when I wake up in Bed in the dark I’m changed to five, abracadabra.

I could fill this post with Stephen King first lines, as you all know he is my hero.

It by Stephen King

“The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years—if it ever did end—began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain.”
Cell by Stephen King

“The event that came to be known as The Pulse began at 3:03 p.m., eastern standard time, on the afternoon of October 1.”

 

What are your favorite first lines?

Do you re-write your first lines over and over?

Author Interview – Joe McKnight…


Joe McKnight

Please welcome Joe to my blog. He is a great writer, a talented artist as well as author and the President of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I have always had a love for storytelling. Even when I was young. When I was fourteen I saw a game called Time Soldiers and I basically took it from there. Many rewrites later the final draft looks nothing like the original; even the title – Time’s Hostage – is different.

Time's_Hostage

How did you come up with the title?

I needed a title that wasn’t already owned by a video game so during my last revision, I looked into my story to find a title that worked with the story. I knew I wanted to incorporate time into the title so that’s where I started. Then, because one of the characters is kidnapped and taken through time, I came up with Time’s Hostage.

Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or un published)

Time’s Hostage was my first; it was published in 2013. Since then I have published two more with a fourth one coming out in fall of 2016. I am currently writing a fifth book and planning a sixth one to be started in November 2016.

Is there a message in your novel that you want your readers to grasp?

Occasionally I throw in a message but mostly I just want the reader to have fun and enjoy the world I have created.

How much of the book is realistic?

I try to immerse my characters into the real world whether that be a world where they travel through time, exist on another planet or live in a world of enhanced humans. I try to create relatable characters no matter what environment put them in.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I don’t base my characters on real people usually but sometimes a steal memories from real life and insert them into my stories.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I am answering this one for Fly On The Wall as it is my newest one as of Summer 2016. I’m not so sure I would change anything. This book was different than anything I had written previously and that’s how I try to write all my books. Keep them different from each other; try new things. It was a lot of fun for me to write.

Fly on the Wall

Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?

Just that I hope everyone who reads my books gets as much, if not more, enjoyment from my stories as I did writing them.

What is your favorite part/chapter of your book/project?

I don’t know that I have a specific favorite part or chapter in my novels. What I really do enjoy is creating completely new worlds. In my novel The Arrival and my newest book, Powerless, due in fall, I got to create worlds far apart from our own – a distant planet and an alternate universe respectively.

What is your favorite theme/genre to write?

Sci-fi has to be my favorite genre. Four of my books are of a science fiction nature. Two of which happen to be time travel, which would be my favorite theme. Although I do try and change it up. Right now I am writing a suspense novel.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

I’m sure there probably is a subject I wouldn’t write about but I haven’t been approached to write anything so I haven’t had the opportunity to weigh out whether or not I felt comfortable in writing it. I basically get inspired to write certain stories that both interest and excite me.

What book are you reading now?

I am reading Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader.

Do you see writing as a career?

I would love to have a career as a writer and to do this full time.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

By then I hope to be working full-time for a local publishing company, still writing, and possibly making the Comic Con circuit.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Research is always challenging. I have dealt with scenes involving medical, law enforcement, science professionals, and time travel. The trick is to make each scene believable and authentic.

Have you ever hated anything you have written?

Of course. If I really hate something I have written and editing cannot fix the issue, I would consider revising or just scrap it altogether.

Which book do you wish you had written?

This might come across as a pure money grubbing answer but I wish I had written the Harry Potter series. I title like that would make my wish as a full-time writer come true.

What is your best marketing tip?

Actually, I’m still working on my marketing. But from what I can tell, social media is a great way to go. Get your name out there. The more people who know who you are and what you’re writing, the better your chances are.

What genre is your next project? What is it about?

My current WIP is a suspense novel. It’s about a woman who has been keeping secrets from her husband, which could end up turning her life upside down when her husband vanishes.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

My newest book, Powerless – due out in fall of 2016 – is about an alternate world where everyone has enhanced abilities but someone is using a serum to rob people of their abilities; sending them to exile on Institutional Island. One man who has had his abilities taken away from him before he had the chance to gain them finds a way to stay on the mainland to protect the city from this threat.

How do we find your books, blog and bio?

You can find my books and bio on the Dream Write Publishing site – www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/j-e-mcknight. I don’t have a blog but you can also see me at various events around Strathcona County. As well, I will be at the Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo in September 2016. Booth 1101 – come and meet me.Joe at WITP 2014

Find Joe’s art here:

https://www.facebook.com/Art-by-Joe-23409481552/

wagon by Joe

 

 

When the Muse Won’t Stop Talking…


pool

I enjoyed a spur of the moment road trip on Saturday with my dear friend, Linda. We traveled west towards the Rocky Mountains and a lesser popular highway (some unpaved). As writers we notice everything – landscapes, flora and fauna and glimpses of everyday life as we pass by (or in our case stop!) It had been several weeks since we traveled together in that direction and we saw astounding differences in the places visited. This was due to the amount of rain the area has experienced – dry dusty tracks were now mud filled, dried up ponds and stream beds now torrents of water and a beaver lodge, which had been high and dry was now partly submerged. It shows that nothing stays the same – observation is key to a writer.

Part of our discussions during our 11 hour trip was narratives we are working on and the many put aside projects, snippets of ideas and future novels still to be realized. I remembered that some time ago a writer friend had stated that “I’m not sure I have anything to write at the moment. I cannot comprehend this. I have a folder of ‘writing pieces’ on  my laptop – several hundred in fact – all of which have not seen the light of day for some time. I have come up with an idea for these short stories – but that will be a project once I have edited, revised and completed the four novels I am working on this year! (Yes I know I am a lunatic.)

If you have a similar problem to mine and suffer with ‘too much inspiration’ then maybe these strategies might help.

a) Leave the chaos of your writing space with pen and paper or recording device and go for a walk. Once you are in a new environment the most exciting and prominent idea(s) will stay with you. Write or record them and let your imagination flourish with them for a while.

b) Restrict your time on musing about new ideas by setting yourself a time limit. Even a ten minute burst of inspirational writing will ensure you get the idea down but not ‘waste’ too much time on it. Once it is written put it to one side and continue with your current project, safe in the knowledge the idea has been dealt with.

c) Take some time to really dissect the new idea. Can you envisage the plot arc, the ending, the characters? If the majority of the narrative reveals itself to you, then mark it down as your next project. However, if the idea is vague, do not pursue it – just jot down the outline and file it.

d) Utilize your passion when defining whether an idea is worth reflection. If it excites you or is on a subject you feel passionate about then it should be considered in depth.

e) Get yourself an idea board. Organize each idea into genre or categories and when a new plot, character or scene comes to you place it with the other components of that particular story.

f) Bounce your ideas off a few trusted friends or members of your writing group.

It is thought a ‘problem’ to have too many ideas – they densely populate our minds. Crowding out each other and jostling for attention. It can be frustrating when we are embroiled in a current project. We hastily jot down the details of the new idea, too frightened to leave it to chance that we will remember it later. This removes our mind set from progressing with our existing work, if only for a short time. These ‘breaks’ can either be a good thing – returning refreshed and with renewed vigor or a bad thing – lured into the new project and dissatisfied with our current work in progress.

How do you handle the sparse and dense periods of your writing life?

What obscure stimulus has sparked an idea for you? 

How do you approach new ideas? Frantic notes? Plot arc? Character descriptions?

Have you experienced a story unwilling to stay quiet?

new idea

“The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out.  Every mind is a building filled with archaic furniture. Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.”          

Lost Words of a Writing Retreat…


strawberry-creek-lodge

This post was created prior to my escaping for four days on a writing retreat. As you can imagine the excitement was tangible for the weeks coming up to this event. It will be the fourth time I have joined other writing friends on such a retreat in the fabulous Strawberry Creek Lodge. Hidden away along a long track, shrouded by trees and with a creek babbling beside it, the large log cabin is perfect for inspiration, contemplation and for allowing the writing Muse to whisper unhindered.

I will be revising several ‘work in progress’ manuscripts – Life in Slake Patch, Willow Tree Tears and The Giving Thief. All are in different genres so my mind will be full of multiple characters all vying for attention.

With the most delicious meals cooked for us and several bottles of wine to consume, there is no better place to be.

aeipathy n 1847 -1853
continued passion; an unyielding disease
Her aeipathy for stamp collecting bordered at times on the pathological.

apanthropinization n 1880 -1880
withdrawal from human concerns or the human world
His life as a hermit in the woods was characterized by apanthropinization.

boscaresque adj 1734 -1734
picturesque; scenically wooded
Despite northern England’s industrial pollution, parts of it remain boscaresque.

incabinate v 1672 -1672
to enclose in a cabin; to confine
The solution to her writer’s block was to incabinate herself at her country villa.

sodalitious adj 1656 -1730
of or belonging to society or to fellowship
Sodalitious camaraderie is the basis for gentlemanly life in this civilized era.

Please visit http://phrontistery.info/clw.html for more lost words.

My sentence: Our sodalitious will once again enjoy the boscaresque surroundings while incabinated at Strawberry Creek, allowing apanthropinization from our daily lives allowing us to focus on our aeipathy of writing in good company.

006_strawberry-creek-lodge

Lost Words Applied to Our Writing Conference…


Back to BasicsMy writing group held their annual writing conference this past Saturday. It was an excellent event (as always) and gave the attendees an opportunity to learn specific skills, brush up on others and enjoy a day networking with known and new writers.

blateration n 1656 -1864
chatter; babbling
I’ve had just about enough of your garrulous blateration, you clod!

brabeum n 1675 -1675
reward or prize
Without some brabeum, the students will have no incentive to work harder.

casitive adj 1652 -1652
having grammatical cases
The casitive nature of Finnish and Hungarian makes them difficult to learn.

celeberrimous adj 1768 -1768
very or most highly celebrated
Her celeberrimous accomplishments were lauded by her colleagues.

hirquitalliency n 1652 -1652
strength of voice
The wrestler’s hirquitalliency compensated for his lack of strength and talent.

interfation n 1656 -1658
act of interrupting another while speaking
His boorish interfations were ill-received at the academic lecture.

ipsographic adj 1817 -1817
self-recording
He used the CD burner primarily for ipsographic purposes.

noscible adj 1654 -1654
knowable; well-known
It is noscible that no amount of training can make up for experience in the field.

patration n 1656 -1656
perfection or completion of something
The patration of my dissertation will be an occasion for great merriment.

portmantologist n 1887 -1934
one who studies or coins portmanteau words
Rather than being a portmantologist, why not use perfectly good existing words?

quaeritate v 1657 -1657
to question; to inquire
If I might quaeritate, why are we headed in the wrong direction on the trail?

solennial adj 1623 -1656
occurring once a year; annual
Welcome to our solennial celebration of the birth of our illustrious institution.

Please visit the source of these Lost words http://phrontistery.info/clw.html

I used these words to describe the conference:

Our solennial Writers Foundation of Strathcona County conference this year, centered around the basics of writing. Our noscible presenters, Barbie-Jo Smith, Judy Schultz, Janice MacDonald and Linda J Pedley shared their expertise on a diverse number of subjects. They also gave us several exercises to perform. These included a blateration and interfation exercise, where in groups of three – one person wrote on a particular subject while the other two talked on another subject across them. It was a lesson in patration and concentration.
Other techniques for casitive, hirquitalliency, and portmantologist gave the participants the opportunity to quaeritate their processes and redefine how they write. One such technique is a ipsographic exercise to ‘hear’ your words. This allows a writer to identify if the words relay their story as they propose. Each session ended with brabeum draws of books.

Writers Foundation Strathcona County