Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Investing in Your Writing Chat

June 23, 2022
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I was pleased in chat with Cindy DeJager of Opal Publishing about one of my articles in the Opal Writers Magazine.

https://anchor.fm/opal-magazine/episodes/COFFEE-and-CONVERSATION-with-Mandy-Eve-Barnett-on-INVEST-IN-YOUR-WRITING-e1k3fdl

As I relay in the article, as writers we should invest in our craft, to become better equipped not only to write, but to understand the complexities of this art form. There are as many methods, genres and avenues to choose from as there are individual writers. We can learn a new genre, research a new topic or gain insights into another writing style. It is a lifelong learning journey.

To gain new knowledge we can access workshops, writing coaches, buy (or borrow – a library is a great resource) relevant books and discuss methods and outlets for our writing within a writing group.

What new aspect of writing have you learnt recently?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – A Chilly Easter Weekend Writer’s Retreat

April 19, 2022
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The Easter weekend saw me, Linda and the two doggies in Cold Lake, and it certainly was cold. Unseasonable weather for April was not in our plans when we booked the hotel, that’s for sure. Our last trip here was early July and it was very warm and crowded.

However, we made the best of our long weekend, with walks along the dock and day trips to explore. Funnily, a lot of the range roads and township roads we tried had no exit signs, so we went back and forth a lot. The retreat of No Exits, we have called it.

This was only my second visit to Cold Lake and I really love it there. Any large expanse of water always makes me happy. Being in landlocked Alberta, I miss the seaside of England, where a quick thirty or forty minute drive got me to salty air, waves, sand (or pebbles) and rock pools.

Sammie and I were out to walk in the early mornings and could hear the deep cracking sound of the ice echo across the lake. We also enjoyed watching the rising sun reflected on the ice. On one walk, we found a cute free library, so on my next trip I must contribute one or two of my books.

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell. The dark side of family secrets, the repercussions and finding a way to deal with them. A fascinating story, of a family finding the truth of themselves in contrast to their ‘idealist’ childhood. Shadows at every turn and revelations keep you turning the pages. There is redemption, love, sadness and above all a family linked to one another.

I am currently reading The Smart One by Jennifer Close.

Both of these books involve family dynamics. It is interesting to read the different approaches by each author.

What are you reading?

Apart from reading, walking and exploring, over the weekend, I did read through my fellow novel workshop participants comments on the first thirty pages of book two of The Delphic Murders – The Tainted Search. Having four other writers read my work, gives me diverse feedback, which is so welcome and helpful. This trilogy will take some time to complete, but will be worth the effort. I hope once it is published you will enjoy it too.

Photo by George Dolgikh @ Giftpundits.com on Pexels.com

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 – Finding Your Writing Mojo

March 10, 2022
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We have all felt disheartened as writers. It can manifest itself in a variety of forms. Lack of impetus, illness, stress, unrealistic comparisons, self expectations or stumbling over a particular section in a writing project. Some call it writers block. In truth it is just life.

Here are some tips to bring you back your writing mojo.

1. Focus on enjoying telling your stories. Do it to the best of your ability.

2. Remember you are building an inventory of your writing but also learning your craft.

Photo by Anthony Shkraba on Pexels.com

3. Lessen your expectations, don’t be so hard on yourself. Yes, we all want a certain quality to our work, but with patience it will come. There is no quick fix.

4. Don’t compare another writer’s finished work against your in process drafts. You have no idea how many changes they made.

5. Remember you get to rule over your own creative process. You choose, shape, mold, and create whatever you want.

6, Your words will, in time, sway minds, move hearts, and touch the lives of dozens of people you will never meet in person.

7. Your words, your stories are your legacy.

8. Do not take rejection personally. Think of it as a learning tool.

9. Take a long-term view of your writing career – no-one is ever an overnight success.

10. Participate in supportive writer groups. Share your work with encouraging friends.

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

What have you found works for you when you are feeling disheartened?

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?

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