Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Tips on Learning Your Writing Craft

August 19, 2021
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As writers and authors, learning new skills, keeping ahead of genre evolution, trope changes and writing methods is vital for our continued improvement as a wordsmith. With the industry changing so quickly, we need to be ahead of the game.

The best ways to do this are:

  1. Join a writing group
  2. Read articles on the book industry
  3. Take courses and workshops
  4. Attend writing conferences
  5. Subscribe to industry newsletters
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

How do you keep current with the writing industry?

This past weekend, I virtually attended When Words Collide and attended as many sessions as I could, while also being a co-presenter and panelist. Although, there was information I already knew, there were also those little nuggets of wisdom, insights and knowledge that made each session a gem. My notes were prolific and my follow up to action each gem will take several weeks.

There is always something to learn, whether you are just starting out on your writing career or have years of experience. We can have tunnel vision and ease into a ‘comfort zone’ so easily, when there are so many other calls on our time.

Some things can be scheduled monthly, such as updating your website or blog with current information. We don’t want a visitor to read upcoming events from 2018! Modify your bio to include your latest book, current WIP progression and appearances etc. Don’t leave your blog stagnant – post content regularly. (This can be once weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or even quarterly – just a known routine, so followers will know when to expect you to post).

We all have several social media accounts, so make sure they reflect the latest news, images etc. so they are in line with your current activities. This makes your author platform current. Also check links to ensure they are working properly or direct to a new site, if a change occurred. Refresh content and images so your platform doesn’t look dated or tired. Renew your copyright dates for all content across platforms on 1st January each year – this is one that can be missed very easily.

Can you share tips on what you do to stay updated and improve your writing skills?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Reading Challenges, Book Reviews and Giveaway Wins

July 20, 2021
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I join the annual Goodreads Reading Challenge each year, sometimes I succeed, but other times I miss by a book, or maybe two. This depends on how busy my life gets. I’m sure you can agree. As a writer, reading is an integral part of my education. Reading new genres, authors and styles gives me, not only ideas, but the ability to dissect the plot, characterizations etc. This can be done with movies too. This year, I am on track with my reading, probably because there have been no events to plan or attend apart from virtual ones. I would love to see your challenge statics if you want to share them. Here’s mine:

I was fortunate to win all three books in the series in a giveaway.

Review: A delightfully imaginative story that envelopes the reader into a magical world of imps, elves, forest and aquatic creatures. There is good tension throughout and the reader is propelled to read the next chapter.

My current read is one I received from another giveaway contest. When Robins Appear by Densie Webb.

What are you currently reading? Why did you choose that specific book? Have you won a book giveaway – which book(s)?

A friend of mine is a talented artist and she gifted me this delightful image. I can imagine a character from Ockleberries to the Rescue living there. https://www.amazon.ca/Ockleberries-Rescue…/dp/1988723663 Who do you think lives there from the stories?

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Learning a New Writing Skill – Screenwriting

March 12, 2020
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I attended an event on 7th March by GIFT (Girls in Film & Television) in conjunction with the EPL Library WIR Susie Moloney. This is an avenue of writing I want to explore, learn and master. After all every fiction author wants to see their story on the big screen.

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The workshop focused on secrets of the golden rules of screenwriting, and the short film format. The presentation gave us information on how to write full and dynamic characters, how to structure a story, and how to format a script like a pro. Our host was Jana O’Connor, who instructs within Alberta schools for GIFT, 5 day workshops to teach young girls/women the world for film.

The intricacies of the production of a movie (or play) are a world away from the writing of a novel. There are 5 Golden Rules:

  1. Theme
  2. Character
  3. Plot
  4. Dialogue
  5. Rule of Three

It may seem similar to the construct of a novel, however, the differences are in the format of the script. Although, it details such things as location and character name, it also includes parenthesis (a word, clause, or sentence inserted as an explanation or afterthought into a passage that is grammatically complete without it, in writing usually marked off by curved brackets, dashes, or commas.) These are clues to what day of day the scene takes place, any significant objects, if the actor needs to use a specific emphasis on how they say the line, such as sarcastically or frightened etc.

For example: 

Intro:    Interior of a log cabin, night time

Name:  Character’s name in capitals – Malcolm

Parenthetical:  fearful

Dialogue:  

Each page represents 60 seconds of film so the scene and dialogue has to be concise – remember the viewer is seeing a lot of the things as a novelist we have to explain and include. 

Take a scene from your novel and rewrite it as a movie scene – how much did you delete?

Resources given at the workshop were:

GIFT  (Girls in Film & Television)

WIFTA (Women in Film & Television, Alberta)

No Film School https://nofilmschool.com/

YEG Film on Facebook

Celtx Script Writing  https://www.celtx.com/index.html

And there are a lot of screen writing podcasts and videos on the web!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday -Screenwriting Workshop, Book Review & Novel Update

March 10, 2020
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I was delighted to win a draw for a copy of Being Grateful, Being Thankful by Sarah Butland recently and she was kind enough to send two copies, one of which I gave to a friend.

Review:

We take so much for granted – water, light, heat, friends & family, homes, finances, transport and more.
But do we ever consider life without these? A power outage, a burst water pipe, no internet service – any of these things brings the realization that when it works we don’t give them a second thought. Then we are uncomfortable, sad and sometimes frustrated.
This unique book puts us into a mind set to be thankful for our world, our life, our luxuries. We are blessed and giving thanks is a way to give back to the universe. https://www.amazon.ca/Being-Grateful-Thankful-Sarah-Butland/dp/0993786413

Remember to keep your 2020 pledge and review every book you read. Even a sentence will do!

giftGIFT Presents: Intro to Screenwriting

I attended an event on 7th March by GIFT (Girls in Film & Television). This is an avenue of writing I want to explore, learn and master. After all every fiction author wants to see their story on the big screen. The workshop focused on secrets to the golden rules of screenwriting, focusing on short film format. Teaching us how to write full and dynamic characters, how to structure our story, and how to format our script like a pro.

Do you have a favorite book you wish would be made into a movie?

Current writing:

I finished editing one client’s manuscript and almost immediately dove into another manuscript but this time for a friend, who is part of the monthly workshop, I am participating in. This will allow other authors to read my work and comment and I will do the same for them.

Update on Steampunk novel: The Commodore’s Gift.

I had a brainwave when it came to incorporating more ‘mechanical’ elements into the narrative and will add a certain physical characteristic to the Commodore. Subscribe to my newsletter to find out what it is…Sneek Peeks & Glimpses.

 

Life Changes Roll with It or Stagnate…

October 27, 2014
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Man Sitting In ValleyWe all have different coping mechanisms when it comes to changes in our lives. Some changes are welcome, some raising curiosity while others are certainly not wanted or wished for. I experienced two smaller occurrences in the last couple of days and it began a line of thought I wanted to share. Do I resist change or embrace it?

As some of you will know I attended Words in the Park over the weekend. The hall was full of forty nine authors and nine vendors – all displaying books and accessories for the discerning book lover. In past years, I have been positioned close to my publisher, Dream Write Publishing and my writing group, The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County. This has led to an enjoyable time overseeing these tables in rotation with others and conversing and chatting with friends and visitors alike. This year as I had booked a whole table instead of half, I was placed on the other side of the venue, away from my usual comrades. It may seem childish (especially considering my age!) but I felt excluded at first. I could see them talking and laughing but unable to join in. Then I realized that I should take advantage of the opportunity and be more proactive in my promotion rather than await passers-by. I surveyed my display and knew it was eye-catching so stood behind my table and greeted everyone, stating the age groups for each book and a short description of the stories. It was a successful day for sales and I also received lots of compliments on my table arrangement and each individual book’s themed items. Several friends did stop by for a chat and one looked after my table while I went to participate in an author reading. All in all I feel I made more sales because I was more engaged and not distracted to my goal.

Today was a day of change as well at my workplace. After nearly two years, my manager and I have a new work colleague. We have been comfortable in how we arrange our work days and the day to day routine is pretty much set. The new employee will bring her own ideas of regime and structure and it is probably not a bad thing. We can all get stuck in a rut so easily. We will embrace this change and see what it brings in the months to come.

What changes have you experienced lately that made you leave your comfort zone?

Was the outcome successful?

What did you learn from the experience?

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