Category Archives: narrative

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?

Past & Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…Post revision


 

poster-icon-for-social-media-jan-28-2017events

This past Saturday I had an enjoyable ‘writerly’ day – coffee with a new author friend discussing publishing, promotion, writing and getting to know each other. Then off to an author reading at Social Grounds cafe organized jointly by the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County and Dream Write Publishing. Although the audience was smaller than I would have liked, they were engaged and appreciative. What more can an author hope for?

I read a section of The Rython Kingdom, which some of you may know is a fantasy romance novella set in medieval England. Go figure I’m English! Anyway the book (e-book if you prefer) is actually two stories in one. The first is the story of my protagonist, Guillem Ruet a famed troubadour and how he finds himself not only relaying a tale to the King but aids in the fight against a malevolent witch aiming to destroy the King and his kingdom. The other ‘story’ is the one Guillem tells the King and his courtiers in the great hall.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/214247

http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/retail/books/rython-kingdom

I can reveal that I am working with a cover designer on The Rython Kingdom and will launch a ‘new’ cover in the next few months. Watch this space.

Local events coming up:

YOUNG AUTHOR’S CONFERENCE   FEBRUARY 25, 2017  TOMORROW’S WRITERS TODAY 

https://www.eips.ca/students/yac

If you have an event or reading this week please feel free to add it to the comments below.

Happy Writing.

Man Writing

 

 

 

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?

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

The Industry Insiders: Making a Living as a Hybrid Author event I attended spurred me on to do something about my blog. It has been successful but I feel it requires a boost! I connected with one of the panel authors, who agreed to review my blog and give me some pointers on improving my presence on the net. I will keep you posted.

I also spent time editing Life in Slake Patch prior to submission to the Writer in Residence. Unfortunately I did not complete the manuscript revisions (life gets in the way) but hopefully during this week I will. Then it will be back to The Twesome Loop revisions prior to sending it out to beta readers.

My other project over the weekend was to review and detail a ghost writing request from a client. There was quite a lot of research involved, which was interesting but time consuming. My proposal is now in the hands of the client.

Books:

hope

I am enjoying this book but it is not as good as the previous two by this author. It seems a bit contrived. However, I am intrigued as to how the protagonist will survive and the story conclude so will continue. I am half way through at the moment.

On my TBR pile are two novels by a local author, Joss Laundry (see her interview here: https://mandyevebarnett.com/2016/12/05/joss-landry-interview-5th-december/) I’m looking forward to reading them.

Writing TipJonathan Franzen

“The reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator.”

What writing project are you tackling at the moment?

Do you have a writing tip to share?

What book can you recommend?

 

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Firstly I want to celebrate a personal milestone, 1000 blog posts on my blog as of Monday 9th January!

post-milestone-1000

Writing:

Over the weekend, inspired by the new Writer in Residence, I continued with an edit of my speculative fiction manuscript, Life in Slake Patch. I will send the manuscript for the WIR to review once this is complete. This particular manuscript has been through numerous edits and revisions and needs to ‘get out there’ soon.

Books:

hope

I began the third novel by Claire North called The Sudden Appearance of Hope. It is written in a similar voice as the other two I have read. It is an intriguing concept as the main character is ‘forgotten’ almost from the moment she is out of sight. Time will tell if it matches up to Harry August or Touch.

Writing TipElmore Leonard

“Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.”

What writing project did you tackle this weekend?

Do you have a writing tip to share?

What book can you recommend?

 

Writing Prompt Responses 2016…Voting is Open


I would be honored if you would take the time to vote for your favorite prompt contest responses – these participants took the time to write something for the competition and I would like to give them a prize for doing so. Leave your vote in the comment section please.

Stone Car – February 20th Prompt

Linda Pedley  (Wildhorse)
The concrete holds me to the road

As I take the curve into the rain
It’s not the destination but the mode
Let go the nerves and go again.

Can our stories written deep in stone
Change despite apparent plan?
All life’s paths go same direction
Can’t change the fates – no one can.

Eric James Olson

Stone Car in the Woods

What difference does perception make?
Parked here, alone but not beside
the road. Enfolded in leaves and green.
Can I be heard?

I shouldn’t be. Let me be clear:
I’m a car made from stones, scraps of metal, used tires.
That’s no metaphor. That’s what I am.
Literally.

And yet—there’s a consciousness in things
Inanimate. Like the other day.
A boy came out to this place in the woods.
He sat down across from me.

I can’t move, of course.
But he can and he came out to me.
And in his mind, a story formed
Of how I came to be—stuck here

By some unseen hand.
Is that not existence? A man made me.
And this boy saw me. Does it matter that
I can’t see him, feel him, hear him?

What difference does perception make?

Coldhandboyack

I don’t know about this, man.”

“Trust me, Benny. The cops will never spot it this way. We’ll just leave the loot in the car. Give it a couple of days and we can dig it out and drive into the night.”

A Chipmunk’s Life – June 25th Prompt

Sharon Baggs

Adult squirrel Perched on a cliff Must be a girl See her fancy quiff.

She searched the rock To see it was safe. Checked out the talk Saw no friendly face.

None of her pals Was she able to chase Where were the guys’n gals? No one to race.

So on this morn She chewed a treat, Feeling so forlorn They’d planned to meet.

She continued her snack A chew then a nibble, Her lips a quiver and smack. T’is better than kibble.

Out came friend Sue Who was a Chipmunk Abra- ca- dabra she was one too Disguise was her funk.

All the squirrels were mean So she used Dad’s power, Became a chipmunk Queen To frolic with Sue for an hour.

Cause after that Back into a squirrel, She turned stat Gave her head a whirl.

Oh, what fun with Sue If only she could stay, As a chipmunk Whoo Hoo! They could always play.

A Cinderella Dream !

Jade Figure – July 9 Prompt

Eli Pacheco

“Ha!” I could hear her in the other room. I knew exactly what she’d found.
“Um, babe … what the heck is this?”
I abandoned the twist of hangers and clean shirts that would now need cleaning to see her sitting in the middle of boxes with IT. She held it up to the light, strands of her blond hair out of the bun and framing her face. Her smile revealed equal parts wonder and confusion.
“I’ve always said I’d toss that the first move it gets broken in,” I explained.
Marin tapped on the glass with two fingernails. “It’s made of kryptonite, apparently.” She set it on the carpet in front of her and squinted. “Not a sixth-grade art project either, though, am I right?” For such ugliness, the craftsmanship was incredible.
“I think they’ve just mated,” I said, using that line for the thousandth time. It was funny the first time. “Or, they’ve just mated. That’s the boy butterfly, beating it for home before she eats his head.” My college roommate hypothesized they were both girls. But that’s a different story.
I’d followed Marin from Boston to Durham, N.C.
No regrets. Construction jobs come in every city. Marin, though, was an artisan. A carpenter. Can you believe that? The girl has carpenter pants in her closet that have actually held a hammer. Every time I’d compliment her on the craft of building a shelf or decorative piece, she reminded me.
“Carpentry isn’t for sissies, you know,” she’d say, without looking up from her work.
Maybe that’s why she reacted differently from any other woman I’d met to this ugly statue. I’d bought it when I was 11, for my mom, for mother’s day. It became the butt of jokes ever since in the family. The year before, I gave mom a Rodney Dangerfield album. I thought this to be an elegant upgrade.
“Have a place in mind for it?” she asked. She rocked back and onto her feet, arms outstretched for effect. Like she’d just nailed the landing off a pommel horse. I met this girl at a 9/11 vigil just off Boylston Street.
I’d followed my uncle to Boston for work. Only, with so much rain, there wasn’t much to do. I sustained myself on cereal and waited it out. I’d had so little work before the day I met Marin that it felt my hands hand grown soft. The week before, the Sox/Blue Jays finale got rained out.
I had bleacher tickets and everything – two, with no one in mind to take.
Anyway, I met Marin at this rally that I wouldn’t have been interested in had the week not been so rain-soaked and workless. I’d let the troubles of my world bounce around in my mind for days. I thought the relevance of the day could assuage that a bit. And it didn’t.
Until I saw her.
Now here I was, watching her hold up the mistake of a mother’s day gift that had stubbornly survived a handful of moves. She held it aloft, at first close, then at arm’s length. Immediately I remembered the snickering when mom lifted it from an oatmeal container decorated with paint.
“I do,” she said of what would become “fugglyfly’s” new home.
I remembered my oldest brother suggesting a place to put it that wasn’t exactly comfortable. Or probably physically possible. Instead, Marin walked out into the kitchen, to the end of the bar. I followed, as always.
She pushed aside my blender and two small boxes and placed the figure on the kitchen bar, way to the back, where I thought it would be easy to hide it behind something else. Anything else.
“Parfait,” she whispered, even though she knew French about as well as she did decorum. Marin stepped back, over my bag of golf discs, hands on hips. She adjusted a track light onto the figure, and turned it around. Ugly art has no front and back.
“That’s ridiculous,” I muttered, and realized how awful that must have sounded.
It occurred to me I’d assumed Marin’s actions were to ridicule. They weren’t. She didn’t even know the story. She hadn’t even asked. Even now, in my petulance, she leaned on a bar stool and waited. No reaction. No judgement.
I explained the story, and found myself looking more at my hands and feet than my girlfriend. “But it’s jade, isn’t it?” she asked. “It looks like jade. Smells like jade, too,” she said for comic effect. You know what? No one in my family had ever brought that up. Hell yes, it looks like jade.
I waited for the laughter burst, the proclamation, “you poor boy. How did you know it was horrid?” Nope. Still, no such thing. Marin instead told me that when her father died, she found bracelets and rings she’d made for him when she was little, in his jewelry box, next to his wedding ring.
She’d found artwork of hers, some of it unidentifiable, in his safe, with his will.
We talked a little more about stuff from our childhoods. Nothing bitter. I’d felt like a lot of what I did was misunderstood. I turned and looked through the open bedroom door and remembered the cramped closet space and so low to the ground toilet.
I wondered how we’d share sink space. If my beef jerky would go over well with a girl more likely to dry banana and kiwi chips than beef flank steak. I could see some battles, and that didn’t have anything to do with whose tools would go where. Or if my towels were towel-bar worthy.
She’d been the first, though, to unpack this symbol of my childhood mistakes this way. Makes me think we’ll be all right.
Makes me think I could even give kiwi chips a shot.

Invisible – August 6 prompt

Melinda Kucsera

Evasion

She sat reading and fading where she sat.
First her feet slipped into nothing, a toe
at a time. Her legs went next, but she sat
still and continued reading even though
her body shifted out of time part by
part. Her torso next phased out following
her legs. Not some invisibility
trick or try to fool the eye, she’s going
now, her arms are vanishing, soon her head
will go and all that will be left standing
is her clothes and the grimoire that she read.
For the invisibility spell cast
had helped her to evade her past at last.

Bench – September 10 prompt

Bernadette

I sit on the bench and wallow in the beauty of orange. The crunch of leaves and the crisp air fill my ears and lungs with sensory satisfaction. And just when I think I could not be anymore content, I gaze up at the bossy Blue Jay and smile.

Artista10

  • Sitting among the colors. Thinking of the many colors of life and the colors that make people’s personalities. Simple. complicated. Stunning. outraged. People. Colors. Life.

Vanished – December 3 prompt

The Bike Ride
by
Suzanne Burkett

It was a frosty morning for a bike ride but ten-year-old Jacob felt the loneliness more than the cold. At least he had his bike; it made his escapes so much easier. He could go faster and farther on his silver bike than on his feet. And that made all the difference for a kid in foster care.
Sure, he had to go back at the end of the day. If he could survive outside he would. But the need for food and warmth always made him turn his bike around and return to the house. There had been so many, it was a wonder he could even find his way back, but he did and there was always a family that barely noticed him, tossed a plate of cold hard food on the table, talked around him and about him, but never directly to him. Unless the check didn’t arrive from the child welfare. Then they got right up close to him and demanded he call his social worker. “Tell her we ain’t gonna feed you if we don’t get paid.”
Sometimes Sharon drove over in her ratty old Subaru and delivered her own personal check to the ‘family’. He loitered outside with his head hanging down while the inevitable argument ensued. One time, two years ago, she showed up with the bike sticking out of the back of her hatchback. “I’d take you myself if I could. You know that don’t you, Jacob?”
He nodded, unable to lift his head and let her see the tears soaking his lashes, one rolling down his cheek, then another until she wrapped her arms around him in a fierce, warm hug. Wiping her own cheeks, striding to her car, cranking the engine three times then finally driving off without looking back. She promised she would always find a home for him. Every time he was returned. Displaced. But could she really keep that promise?
This morning was the same as any other except for the part about it being Christmas morning. Jacob had crept out of the house before the ‘family’ awoke. He’d learned it was best not to sit with them, hopeful and expectant. More times than not, as the wrapping paper flew from the packages, he would get that look. The–oh gosh we forgot about you–look.
He rode along the wet street, water spraying up the back of his red sweatshirt. If he’d been asked what he wanted for Christmas, he would have said, “a rain jacket.”
His fingers were as icy as the trees. He took one hand, then the other off the handlebars, blew on it and put it in the front pocket of his sweatshirt. Over and over for miles he rode, finally turning left instead of right because he’d always wanted to see what was down this empty road. Nobody ever came down the road. And every time he rode past it, he promised himself that one day he would try it. He so much wanted to know where it led. So for Christmas this year he gave himself the gift of courage and turned his bike.
The first thing he noticed was the quiet sound. The trees hung forward like they were whispering to each other from one side of the street to the other. He forgot about his frozen fingers and kept riding, leaning forward, thinking if he rode far enough, if the road went far enough, he would understand what the trees were saying.
Then up ahead in the foggy distance, he saw something blocking the road. Oh no, he thought. There’s someone out here. He squinted. It looked like a red and gold car in the middle of the road, skidded sideways. Someone spun out. He squeezed his brakes. He thought he did but the bike didn’t slow. It seemed to go faster. He pulled his hand off the lever, blew on it, squeezed again but nothing happened. He stood up on the peddles. “Hey!” he shouted. “Hey, I’m here! Look out! I can’t stop!”
For the first time ever, his bike slid out from under him. Not now, he thought. Don’t give up on me now.
He hit the ground, sliding forward on his back, his bike motionless behind him. He skidded right up to the car that was not a car. It was a sleigh, and a man as ancient as the world itself stepped out of it. He scooped Jacob up in his arms. “I got you now,” he said. “You can come with me.”

Blog Wrap Up for 2016…


thank-you

Firstly a huge thank you to all my followers for dropping by to comment, read and share my musings. You are from all points of the globe, in fact  179 different countries have visited this site.  242 flags collected – that is amazing.

flag-2016

In 2016 for the first time, I split the themes of each day into two six month slots – firstly  Lost Words kindly approved by the http://phrontistery.info/ were on Mondays from January until June and then I invited author interviews, writing tips, stories etc for the second half Mondays. I also shared my road trip adventures around Alberta.

Wednesdays began with a look at alternative lifestyles in deference to my speculative fiction novel I was working on entitled, Life in Slake Patch. The second half was reincarnation/life after death, which tied into my reincarnation romance, The Twesome Loop but also because this subject has always fascinated me. I was fortunate to have some special guests involved in these posts.

On Saturday’s I posed writing prompts and the added incentive of prizes for whomever responded.

As 2016 becomes 2017 – I wish you all a healthy, loving, and exciting year.

2017

Writing Prompt Contest – Snow Globe…


You can create your own snow globe. Tell us what you would like it to contain and why.

Enjoy this prompt and leave your response in the comments. 1000 words maximum for a short story. Poems can be any length.

A quarterly prize will be given for the most voted for response. This is the last prompt contest for this year. I hope some of you found it inspiring, fun and I will post a list of eligible respondents next Saturday for your voting.

May your Christmas be filled with love and laughter and I hope 2017 is a good year for you all.

merry-christmas