Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Wordsmith Collective Thursday – Panster & Planster NaNoWriMo Challenger

November 17, 2022
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I am a panster for the majority of my writing, and am unapologetic because of it. There is always so much time once the story has been set free on the page, for editing and revision.

However, as my current NaNoWriMo project is the third book in The Delphic Murders – Killer’s Match, and is the culmination of the series, I find myself re-reading the other two manuscripts to ensure ‘loose ends’ are tied up, descriptions of vital elements are the same and cross referencing is correct. In other words, this means I am in the realm of a planster too.

The idea for this crime trilogy came fully formed several years ago. Of course, when the idea stuck I did not fully understand the complexity of such a writing project. It has been a steep learning curve, with research into writing a three book plot arc and the individual plotting of each book, it’s characters and locations. The books are set in Red Deer, Calgary and Edmonton respectively – The Elusive Trail, The Tainted Search and Killers Match.

At the time of writing my November total is 27, 811 so half way there with a small lead. I will be utilizing a couple of vacation days to press forward with the manuscript to ensure I make the goal before the 30th November.

Let me know how your challenge is going, which genre your are writing, and the title.

Happy writing.

Bibliophile Tuesday Collective – Meeting Readers at Events

November 8, 2022
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I had a great deal of fun last Saturday at an author fair hosted by Spruce Grove library. Not only did I meet new writers and authors, but lots of readers. It is the best part of in-person events to actually talk to people interested in my stories.

It was a successful day book sales-wise and the library also purchased one book. I will donate a couple more too, as the more libraries have my books on their shelves the better. If you request one of my books, at your local library they will get it in for you.

There were young contest winners at the event as well, which is always encouraging as we need new voices to create stories and poems for future generations. Our brain is the same as any other muscle it needs to be exercised and what better way than to create something from our imagination.

I am continuing with book three of The Delphic Murders trilogy – Killers Match within the National Novel Writing Month challenge and as I write this have a total just over eleven thousand words. The characters are leading me down an exciting path.

My next event is this coming Saturday at Daisy Chain Book Co, Edmonton. Five authors, including me will be available for a meet and greet and will be happy to sign our books for you or Christmas gifts for your family and friends.

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Alleviating Health Problems in Writers

August 4, 2022
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Photo by Ivan Samkov on Pexels.com

They say that sitting is now the new smoking and as writers – we sit! It may be in front of a screen or jotting down scenes in a notebook, but the majority of our writing time is ‘bum on seat’. As with any job, there are health pitfalls, but the most common for writers are:

  • Musculoskeletal Disorders. Poor posture, and lack of exercise and movement. Get moving!
  • Eye/Vision Disorders. Too much screen time, a back light engages your brain but also burns your retinas. Look away regularly or switch off.
  • Headaches. Excessive screen time, or reading find print. Ensure you have regular eye tests.
  • Obesity. Lack of movement and too much snacking. Limit sugary and salty snacks and exercise.
  • Repetitive Stiffness Injuries. Attributed to mouse holding cramps and also typing/writing for long periods. Wrist, arm and shoulder exercises can help.
  • Stress and Depression. Working to a deadline, revisions and editing – the list is long. Set realistic goals and create step by step targets.
  • Hearing Damage. This may not be for everyone, but having music or back ground noise at too high a level can harm your hearing. Invest in good headphones for noise cancellation or music and keep the volume at a comfortable level.
  • Lower Body/Foot Swelling. Sitting for too long can result in swelling and numbness, especially if your chair position leaves your legs dangling, or footwear is not supportive. Ensure your chair is positioned for your height so your feet are firmly on the floor and wear supportive footwear.
  • Blood sugar. Remember your brain needs ‘food’ as well as rest. Don’t get to the ‘hangry’ status. Set a timer for meals and drink plenty of water. Hydration is vital.

Be conscious of what your body is telling you.

The healthier you are the better your writing will become – a health body is a healthy mind after all.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Do you have any health tips to share?

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Word Usage to Tighten Your Writing

July 14, 2022
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Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com

We all want to immerse our readers into our story as much as possible. To this end we need to ‘carry’ them through the experience with as little actual word usage as possible. An overly complicated or wordy sentence or paragraph, can take them out of the situation you have drawn them into. This can be accomplished by using descriptive words.

The definition of descriptive is: evocative, expressive, vivid, graphic, eloquent, colorful, explanatory, illustrative.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This is quiet the list, I’m sure you agree, but we can expand on. A single word can encapsulate a mood, a feeling or a condition, which enables us to create without too much exposition or explanation.

In the revision process of any piece of work, tightening up the exposition ensures the story keeps pace, and large sections can be refined into their essential elements. In using words, such as clammy, for instance, our readers are instantly aware of our character’s physical state without losing the impact of the narrative. In other words -using these descriptive words keep our narrative sharp.

Careful word usage is a learned skill for many and delving into our dictionary and thesaurus on a regular basis enables us to use words to their best affect. For example, if we did not use clammy, we would need to describe cold but sweaty skin, light-headedness, damp beads of perspiration – a lot more words for the same condition and an overly descriptive sentence or paragraph can lose our reader’s attention. We certainly don’t want that.

Use of the thesaurus on our word document screen can assist us, but does have it’s limits. A good dictionary & thesaurus are a good investment for any writer. There are specific thesaurus as well. For example, I have an emotional thesaurus, which is a great tool.

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Take your time while revising any written piece to identify descriptive words that would sharpen it. They are a writer’s best friend, so use them often. The more you investigate words the more you will find that can sharpened your work.

What method do you use to tighten your writing?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Two Mother’s Days!

May 10, 2022
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Photo by George Dolgikh @ Giftpundits.com on Pexels.com

I’m in the unusual position of having the potential to celebrate two Mother’s Day’s. In England the day is celebrated in March, however in Canada it is celebrated in May.

I wondered why this was the case, so did some research to find out why there are two dates. The Mother’s day in the America’s is a 20th century invention by a woman called Anna Jarvis. Her mother organized women’s groups to promote friendship and health, and was also a human rights activist during the Civil War of 1861. Anna wanted to celebrate her mother in a memorial service and did so on 12th May 1907. This was her late mother’s birthday. Within five years virtually every state was observing the day.

In England, Mothering Sunday was not originally to celebrate mother’s per se, but began as an explicitly religious event of the 16th Century, with no connection to mothers at all. The word “mothering” referred to the “mother church”, which is to say the main church or cathedral of the region. Thus the date falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent three weeks before Easter Sunday.

I was treated to supper and received this lovely calla lily.

The rest of my weekend was spent walking Sammie, editing book two of The Delphic Murders and reading.

What did you get up to?

What are you reading?

My current read is The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser. Blurb: Mary Swan Middleton has always taken for granted the advantages of her family’s wealth. But a tragedy that touches all of Atlanta sends her reeling in grief. When the family maid challenges her to reach out to the less fortunate as a way to ease her own pain, Mary Swan meets Carl-and everything changes. For although Carl is her opposite in nearly every way, he has something her privileged life could not give her. And when she seeks his help to uncover a mystery, she learns far more than she ever could have imagined.

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