Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Reading Challenge, Reviews, a Podcast and a Prize Basket.

April 5, 2022
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How is your Goodreads Challenge shaping up? I am currently 3 books ahead of schedule, not entirely sure how, but it does give me some breathing room. These are the books I read, and I am currently reading The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell.

This is not counting the chapters I am reading and editing within a novel workshop, where four other authors are participating. The genre’s span action/adventure, prairie story, time travel and contemporary fiction and my detective fiction.

What are you reading?

I will be announcing a special gift basket for my steampunk readers in Edmonton, in the next week or so. It will be part of a prize draw at Daisy Chain Book Co. Details pending.

New reviews for The Rython Kingdom

Link:

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Latest Podcast Interview:

Wordsmith Collective Thursday – Writing Group Back Out in the World

March 31, 2022
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Last Saturday, was the first time my writing group, the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County attended an in-person event since the pandemic started. In conjunction with Recreation, Parks & Culture the event gave residents the opportunity to try sports and discover the multiple cultural organizations within the county.

As a writing group, we always encourage all ages to delve into the delights of the written word and explore their imaginations. We promoted our annual children’s writing contest, which has a deadline of 30th April, 2022. It is a great opportunity for young people to enter their stories and have it published in a ‘real’ book.

We had many visitors to our table and several took the contest details home with them to begin their story entries. I’m looking forward to reading all the entries and the expressions of imagination from the clues.

I also attended the AGM for the Arts and Culture Council last night. Meeting with other people passionate about the creative arts and exchanging ideas and views is always a treat.

The next big event on my calendar is a Spring writers conference (virtual) on 23rd April. Registration is required via the website: http://www.wfscsherwoodpark.com Details so far are:

What is on your writing calendar?

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Character Creation: Ten Questions To Ask

February 24, 2022
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When creating a story the main element is the characters within the narrative. To ensure we, and our readers, can visualize and become empathic with these protagonists and antagonists, we need to take into account their personalities and backstory. We can begin by asking questions to enable us to create a fully formed character.

  1. What is this character’s name?

Names are a vital first impression for your reader. It can denote an age, location or era. Research names for your story that will fit time and place. You may also chose a name that has a significant meaning.

2. How old are they?

You can state a character’s age, or allude to it with their reactions, preferences or actions.

3. What do they look like?

You can give subtle clues to your character’s looks through careful descriptions rather than listing their physical features. For example, the steamed up mirror gradually revealed her wet long black hair. He easily picked the box off the top shelf.

4. Who are they?

Utilize a character’s occupation, a prominent personality trait, or interaction to give your reader a glimpse at them.

5. Where are they?

Ensure the location of your scenes is ‘visible’ to your reader. A dark room, a summer day in the park or a sandy beach. Place your character within these locations and have them interact with their surroundings.

6. What era/season/day do they inhabit?

With historical fiction, or date/era sensitive stories this is important so your readers are orientated to where your characters live.

7. Who are your characters interacting with?

Name other characters within a scene, this is usually accomplished through dialogue, or interaction.

8. How do they relate to the other character(s)?

Create scenes that help your reader understand the relationships between your character’s. For example, Tom laid his hand on Cheryl’s shoulder as she typed up the letter. She shrugged her distaste at her boss’s physical touch. Tom positioned himself on one side of her desk and grinned.

9. What is your character accomplishing in each scene?

Each scene should relay what your character is trying to accomplish, with whom and how. Give your readers enough information, but also ask questions on what happens next.

10. Keep your character’s plight foremost.

Keep your reader engaged with curiosity, emotional investment, or sympathy for your character, this will keep them present in the story.

Remember to be true to your story but also your readers expectations within the specific genre.

Do you have certain questions you ask your characters? Care to share?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday -A Radio Show Interview, Author of the Day and Model Making

February 1, 2022
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I was thrilled to be interviewed by a New York radio station for their The Author’s Lounge show with Author Hezzy and co-host Goddess Love. It was a fun filled chat about writing, inspiration, books and themes. My interview starts at 54.52 on the timeline.

Link:

Are there questions you would have asked and I didn’t answer? Please put them in the comment box and I will reply directly to you.

In other news I am continuing with my bookstore model kit, but it is a slow process cutting, folding and gluing tiny book sets! This is going to be a long haul!

I was also Author of the Day – Global Girls Online Book Club here: on 27th January, which was a lot of fun. The winner of my contest is in Australia so the Rython novella’s will be traveling across the world.

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – My Writing Process

January 25, 2022
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Capital City Press, Clareview

One of the main questions I am asked is how do I write and what is my process. It may seem like a simple question, but it results in a complex answer that maybe wasn’t expected. Every writer has their own process, but it is normally split between writer called a panster (free flow) or plotter. A plotter has note cards, sticky notes, a story board, or some other framework they utilize to plot and plan the narrative. The panster (free flow writer) does not use any method, although, they may jot down some notes, such as character names and relationships, settings and continuity points as they write.

I am a free flow writer and always have been (until recently, I’ll get to that shortly). I tried to use the ‘romance format’ once, which resulted in the one and only time I had writer’s block, so never again! I will try to explain as best I can my process here, so here goes.

When an idea forms in my mind resulting from a prompt, an overheard conversation, a life experience, a photo or object, a dream or something else, I either let it brew in my mind to see if it will gather momentum or it propels me into writing several paragraphs. Gradually characters form, a setting materializes, and an initial story emerges, whether I ponder or write the idea. There is no specific plot or storyarc at this point, just the first instance of the narrative.

As the idea takes hold of my imagination, I allow the story to tell itself, sounds weird, I know, but it really does flow from mind to fingertip. I find it’s best not to force the narrative, but let it take its own pace. On multiple occasions I have thought the story will go in one direction only for it to go in a completely random direction. This for me is the fun of writing not fully knowing where the characters will lead me. As I write, the story plays like a movie in my head, I ‘see’ the settings, the characters, their lives and just like a movie have no idea what will happen. I do, however, become familiar with my characters, their backstory, motivations and personalities.

Some may say my writing process is actually ‘automatic writing’ but it is not, I do have ultimate control over the narrative adding my viewpoints for upcoming scenes and character development – I just don’t force or coerce my Muse, but allow the flow to come. I hope that makes some kind of sense, as I said it is difficult to explain the inner workings of a writers mind.

As I mentioned earlier, I usually write free flow, that changed when the idea for my detective trilogy, The Delphic Murders came to me. The initial idea was like a lightning bolt – three female detectives, three Canadian cities and their murder investigations. I even came up with the three separate book titles in quick session. An Elusive Trail (Book 1), The Tainted Search  (Book 2) & Killers Match (Book 3). This resulted in my having to plan each book for timeline, character descriptions, plot arcs and the relationships within each book. This was a new technique for me and I was able to gather information on how to do it properly from various sources. I found a new skill to add to my writing repertoire!

Do you have a question for me about my writing technique, or how I develop an idea? I am more than happy to answer your queries.

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