Category Archives: freelance writer

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

I enjoyed continuing to write my newest #YA story, Bubble the Gruggle over the weekend. With an increased word count by 1494 – I am over 12K in total. The narrative has some way to go so I’m not sure if it will be a novella or longer. I will see where the story takes me. The narrative is set on another world, where a fierce intruder is discovered. It’s DNA is unlike that of the inhabitants, making it almost impossible to track it. My protagonist and her three friends decide to capture it in the hope their heroic deed will ensure their place on the security force, a prestigious assignment.

As I was dog sitting all weekend I enjoyed numerous walking breaks, which helped take out the ‘writers cramp’ and clear my head. My companion was more than happy to stay by my side while I wrote.

Cassie

I have made a decision on whom I am dedicating my newest novel, The Twesome Loop  (launch date 30th September) but have to keep it a secret so as not to spoil the surprise! The book club questions have been written and submitted to the publisher as well as an updated bio and author photo. So now I wait on the cover. The initial image is impressive.

With my ghost writing project on hold due to my client’s changed circumstances, I am free to accept new clients. Feel free to contact me at: https://tailoredthemedtosuit.wordpress.com/

The Long Walk by Stephen King- I only have a couple of chapters to go now on this incredible study of character under immense physical and emotional pressure. The interaction between the walkers and their environment is superbly done.

The Long Walk

I’ve decided this is my sequence for my TBR pile. (Subject to change of course!)

The Mermaid Garden

Mind of the Phoenix

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A Desperate Fortune

What are you reading at the moment? What’s next?

Writing Tips:

57 senses

This is such a comprehensive list. Writing great characterization means using all the senses.

Did you realize how many there were?

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

This week I have been editing submissions for my writing group’s Canada 150 book project. All the stories are Canadian themed in one way or another and it has been most enjoyable reading them. I even managed to write one more submission of my own, regarding my first visit to Canada back in 1981. Yep that long ago! At the time I had no idea I would be living here.

My editor and publisher has read my manuscript submission, The Twesome Loop and commented: Yup, it was pretty steamy 😮 – at least a good reaction. I am still working on the cover with my illustrator and final pages.

My freelance client has several important events to attend so has not, as yet, come back to me with the answers I require to continue. I’m hoping it will not take too long as we are edging closer to the deadline date.

I am escaping for several days next week, which will give me plenty of time to immerse myself in two manuscripts – Bubble the Gruggle now over 9000 words. I have sent this text to my other illustrator to give him an idea of the story so far. And I can return to The Giving Thief to enhance the narrative.

canadadaysouthhuron

What are your writing plans for the weekend?

If you are Canadian it is a long weekend for Canada Day 1st July, an extra special celebration for the Canada 150 – so even more time to write.

Books:

Merryweather Lodge by Pauline Holyoak.

I’m enjoying this story as it is set near my old home in England. I spent many a childhood visit at Stonehenge chasing my siblings up, over and the stones. Alas no more, it is all fenced off.

merryweather

TBR pile: It will be difficult choosing which one to read first. Both were birthday gifts.

Writing Tips:

Try not to edit while you’re creating your first draft. Creating and editing are two separate processes using different sides of the brain, and if you try doing both at once you’ll lose. Make a deal with your internal editor that it will get the chance to rip your piece to shreds; it will just need to wait some time.

I am sharing an old blog post on editing, which I hope you will find useful: https://mandyevebarnett.com/2013/01/06/a-necessary-chore-editing/

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

I managed to do a final edit for a friend’s manuscript. It is a new genre for J.E. McKnight but he has written an exceptional thriller. The antagonist’s real identity was a real surprise and even after knowing who it was the narrative held other shocking twists and turns. I’m sure lots of people will be thrilled by Joe’s newest novel.

An author I interviewed over three years ago contacted me recently asking for a review of her book and a special blog interview. I’m always open to helping other authors so will be curling up with her book over the weekend. Look out for the interview soon – Manaswita Ghosh is a wonderful young writer based in India.

Earlier in the week I wrote nearly a thousand words for my new YA story, Bubble the Gruggle only to ‘lose’ them on a Mac system. To say I was unhappy is an understatement but what can you do but chalk it up to experience? I did not rush to write again but left the story until the weekend. While sitting on my deck in the sunshine with a cooling breeze, I returned to the narrative and wrote even more words exceeding the ones lost. They say rewrites are usually better than the first try anyway.

My writing spot at the weekend – my front deck.

I also managed to do a review of a freelance project I have been working on – ghostwriting a book – this week. I’m gradually catching myself up.

Work continues with ‘extra’ pages for publishing for The Twesome Loop and ideas for illustrations for Bubble the Gruggle.

Books: Evidence of Life by Barbara Taylor Sissel

Evidence of Life

My review: A woman’s hope through disaster and her an emotional and psychological turmoil are expertly conveyed in this novel. It had me turning pages even when my eyes wanted to close! Great writing and insight into how a woman would cope with the greatest loss but also go on for the sake of her remaining family. The twists in the story kept me guessing as to the truth of the situation regarding her husband and how her friends and family protected her. Really worth a read.

An author friend wrote this book and I thought it time I got around to reading it.

Merryweather Lodge by Pauline Holyoak.

merryweather

Writing Tips:

Instead of adding tags (he said/she said) to every bit of dialogue, learn to identify the speaker by showing him/her in action. Example: “Pass that sweet-smelling turkey this way.” With knife in one hand and fork in the other, Sam looked eager to pounce.

You don’t always need an outline. Give discovery writing a try. (This is me all the time – free flow writing!)

Focus on building tension, then give it a snap.

 

 

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

The final organizing during last week and the set up and running of Heritage Day meant  exhaustion played a part in my not writing over the weekend! However, I did manage to begin a second beta-read and edit for a friend’s thriller manuscript. It is a superb read and the story has shocking twists and turns to keep you turning the pages.

The Twesome Loop

I have devised a book club question section for The Twesome Loop  and now need to write a new bio and create a who’s who for the characters for the front of the novel. I am also thinking of how to convey the story in an image for the cover.

Now I have more time I can return to my ghost writing project as well. Back on track thank goodness.

How is your current writing project progressing?

Books:

Evidence of Life by Barbara Taylor Sissel I am tantalizingly close to finishing this great suspense story. The internal thought processes of Abby are well done and you can feel her angst.

Evidence of Life

I need to find a couple of new books for my reading pile in the library this evening, so will let you know next week what I chose.

What are you currently reading?

Writing Tips:

Try to write in simple way. Express your views with most appropriate words.

Right click on a word to use the thesaurus. Do it again on the new word and make the best use of your vocabulary.

If one word will work where three are, replace it! I always find these, where I slip into conversational as I am writing quickly, then go back and purge, purge, purge.

Do you have a tip to share?

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

I enjoyed the fellowship of writing friends at a special supper for a member who moved to Newfoundland but continues to be a ‘virtual’ member. We talked up a storm, enjoyed a delicious meal and then attended the monthly writers meeting. It was a packed house! Sharing words, enjoying the fellowship and receiving great feedback. Our group always amazes me how supportive of each other they are. No matter what style, stage of writing or genre, we learn from each other.

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What benefits have you found from your writing group?

My personal writing has stalled due to the major event on Sunday 11th June requiring a lot of attention. After many months of organizing it has become a day full of artisans, cultural groups, musicians, food delights and so much more.

However, once it is done I can plunge back into The Giving Thief revisions. I did managed to submit The Twesome Loop to my publisher so at least I have achieved one of my many goals.

Books:

Evidence of Life by Barbara Taylor Sisselwell written and has me turning the pages.

Evidence of Life

Writing Tips:

Start a blog. Use it to talk about your own writing process, share your ideas and experiences, or publish your work to a reading audience.
Subscribe to writing blogs on the Internet. Read them, participate, learn, share, and enjoy!

I have found my blog has not only covered multiple topics but has also allowed me to connect with writers from all around the globe.

Right click on a word to use the thesaurus. Do it again on the new word and make the best use of your vocabulary.

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


events

This week I will be attending a special supper with a member of my writing group who resides in Newfoundland. Not only is it exciting to see her, for her visits are few and far between but to really connect with her rather than on social media. A group of us will share stories and gossip (of the writing kind of course!) at a local restaurant  and then attend the normal monthly writing meeting. I know, Sharon is really looking forward to the evening especially the meeting as she so misses the camaraderie of the group.

Writers Foundation Strathcona County

Our meeting will run in its usual format with a review of upcoming events, submissions for the newsletter and our Canada 150 book project and then a writing prompt to inspire the Muse. After this we will share our current writing projects for constructive critique. 

After the workshop I attended last week I did try out an exercise suggested by Jennifer. Read the first five pages of your manuscript and then answer the question, does it give the reader 12-15 points to introduce who, why, when and where of your protagonist. Obviously, some genres do not start with such an ‘info dump ‘ but if your reader can get a sense of who the protagonist is that will help engage them and make them turn the page. It was an interesting exercise with my current five manuscripts and I did change one first paragraph.

Have you tried this technique?

Did it help you identify a revision?

My major event will be on Sunday. It has been months of exhaustive organizing by both boards of the Arts & Culture Council and the Diversity Committee and we hope for good weather and large crowds! Heritage Day of Strathcona County may become an annual event (what am I letting myself in for?) if this initial event does well. With numerous vendors, performers, food providers, music and even a special free shuttle and a magician, we have done all we can.

heritage day

Other events:

 June 8, 2017: The Writing Stick: Sharing Indigenous Stories

“The Writing Stick: Sharing Indigenous Stories” conference takes place June 8 to 10, 2017 at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta. It will foster conversations on editing and publishing Indigenous stories and writers. The conference is intended for Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants from all walks of life including publishers, editors, writers, storytellers, filmmakers, academics.

juxtapostions

Welcome to the WGA Annual Conference 2017: Juxtapositions! This is where writers from all across Alberta come together to socialize, network, learn, and celebrate writers and writing. We’ve asked over a dozen authors to share their talents and experiences in fiction, short story, poetry, and journalism through keynote speeches, author interviews, panel discussions and more. And Saturday night we’ll take it up a notch with our Literary Awards Gala. Join us June 10 and 11 at Lister Centre, U of A campus in Edmonton!

https://writersguild.ca/events/wga-annual-conference-2017-juxtapositions/

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing

I plan on immersing myself in the ghost writing project for the rest of this and most likely next week. It needs to be propelled forward so a final draft can be approved. A graphic designer is working on the images so the placement of these will have to be worked out as well. With possible sizes of print books and price estimates from the publisher we are nearing a conclusion in the next month. An exciting time for both my client and I as we all know when we hold a physical copy of our book for the first time it is magical and awe inspiring.

However, prior to that schedule, I invested in a workshop last night for my writing. A local author, Jennifer Snow is currently writer in residence at a downtown bookstore, Audrey’s and she was holding a workshop, which intrigued me. The evening’s workshop title was – First Five Pages & Avoiding a Saggy Middle in your Novel.

There were several other writers attending and it was interesting to hear their questions and the advice given by Jennifer. Although you may not write in the same genre as the presenter or the other attendees at workshops or conferences, there are basic fundamentals required to entice, engage and hold a reader no matter the narrative.

We all need to invest in our writing, no matter how much we think we know. You can always learn from another writer or author and as it happens I did have an idea pop into my head during the evening, which will assist in the revision of one of my manuscripts. (For those of you who don’t know I am editing four manuscripts over this and next year!) I detail my progress here: https://mandyevebarnett.com/current-project-2/

Books

Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn

2507213

My review:
What a wonderful book – stories of life, death and rebirth. Perfectly linking each of the souls/characters lives. Sometimes they linked up, others not. Suzanne weaved a perfect tale of past lives making great use of the ‘echoes’ of past life bringing them forward to the new existence.

If you are intrigued, interested or fascinated by reincarnation you must read this book.

Evidence of Life by Barbara Taylor Sissel   

Onto this novel – a great opening line and the story propels you forward with enticing glimpses of what might have happened.

Evidence of Life

Writing Tips

Invest in a few valuable resources starting with The Chicago Manual of Style and The Elements of Style.

Grammar: learn the rules and then learn how to break them effectively.

Do you have particular resources you use? Care to share?

What ‘writing rules’ have you broken?

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


eventsThis week I do not have any events to attend, (I know a complete shock!), however I will be working hard to finalize freelance projects in anticipation of the writing retreat I will be attending from Thursday. I feel like a little kid waiting for the escape of school term and the long expanse of the summer.

At our retreat we do not set course work or discussion topics, however I do set a prompt, which can be ignored or completed. It is for light relief rather than as an exercise. As for retreat rules we only have a few.

  1. Respect other writers privacy. If their door is closed do not enter, however if it is open then visitors are allowed.
  2. Meals should be taken together not only because they are delicious but it is a time to connect, discuss and refresh mind and body.
  3. Remember to take breaks – whether a walk with a companion or alone, change your writing/reading location or to have a discussion.
  4. Set your own writing goals for the retreat.
  5. After supper gather to relay progress, connect and relax.

creek-sign

Have you been on a retreat?

What rules did they have (if any)?

What benefit did you derive from it?

Local events:

shady

owl nest

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

Certainly a non productive writing weekend as I attended a reptile show both days (see previous post https://mandyevebarnett.com/2017/05/08/upcoming-writing-events-add-yours-for-your-location-14/). However, I do have this weekend free so will indulge in as much time as possible writing. This will include a complete revision of the ghost written book project prior to sending back to my client.

I have my writing retreat to look forward and it is getting tantalizingly close – 18th May. Here I can immerse myself completely with no distractions, unless I actually seek them out.

Books:

Her Fearful Symmentry by Audrey Niffenegger. I am thoroughly enjoying this story. The characters are well rounded, there is a connection/distance between the two main characters, which gives the narrative an undercurrent of possibilities.

Symmentry

Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn (because you all know by now I’m fascinated by this subject)

2507213

What are you reading?

I watched this movie, which had a great twist on the subject. I am always intrigued by the variations on the reincarnation theme.

the-discovery

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5155780/

Writing Tips from the Master – Stephen King

“You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you.”

“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”

“I think the best stories always end up being about the people rather than the event, which is to say character-driven.”

“Let’s get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.”

What’s your favorite King quote or writing tip?

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

The Twesome Loop

I managed to hide away in my local library last night prior to my writers meeting and work on revisions for my reincarnation romance, The Twesome Loop. With twenty-two pages revised, 510 words added (I don’t count deleted ones!) I felt satisfied at it’s progress. Now I have found a superb cover designer I’m already thinking of a cover for this novel, the illustrated one was the NaNoWriMo proof copy. This novel is one I will be finalizing (hopefully) at the writers retreat later this month. Countdown is on to 18th May…

Our meeting was fun and I shared a part chapter of Twesome, which was well received. It always bolsters an author’s confidence when their words are liked.

My ghost writing project will have several changes made this week, although as I am accompanying my daughter to her reptile show all weekend I doubt I will get any writing done until the evenings.

Books:

The Other Life

The Other Life by Ellen Meister- I finished this book, thoroughly enjoyed it. Here is my review on Goodreads.

Love the struggle Quinn has in this story, whether to stay with her current family life or switch to a more glamorous one, she once had. There are many factors for and against in both lives and this narrative beautifully demonstrates that.
Mothering has its challenges and Quinn has to make some hard choices, so even if you are not into ‘alternative or parallel worlds’ this story will capture you.

Her Fearful Symmentry by Audrey Niffenegger. I am now absorbed by this tale, which is set in London, England on the outskirts of Highgate Cemetery of all places. Obviously this appeals to my warped sense of drama.

Symmentry

While I was at Authors for Indies on Saturday at the Sherwood Park Bookworm, I requested a book with a reincarnation theme. Luckily for me, Leanne the owner found it so it is now on my TBR pile.

Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn      

Reincarnation

How many books do you read in connection with or research for, your current work in progress?

Writing Tips:

Keep a journal or notebook handy at all times so you can jot down all of your brilliant ideas. If you’ve got a smartphone, make sure it’s loaded with a note-taking app. A voice-recording app also comes in handy for recording notes and ideas.

Personally I keep a notebook beside my bed and one in my handbag/purse all the time – when an idea strikes it is best to write it down – later it will allude you!

Make sure you have a dictionary and thesaurus available whenever you are writing.

Do you have a favorite writing tip you would like to share?