Tag Archives: projects

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

Certainly a non productive writing weekend as I attended a reptile show both days (see previous post https://mandyevebarnett.com/2017/05/08/upcoming-writing-events-add-yours-for-your-location-14/). However, I do have this weekend free so will indulge in as much time as possible writing. This will include a complete revision of the ghost written book project prior to sending back to my client.

I have my writing retreat to look forward and it is getting tantalizingly close – 18th May. Here I can immerse myself completely with no distractions, unless I actually seek them out.

Books:

Her Fearful Symmentry by Audrey Niffenegger. I am thoroughly enjoying this story. The characters are well rounded, there is a connection/distance between the two main characters, which gives the narrative an undercurrent of possibilities.

Symmentry

Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn (because you all know by now I’m fascinated by this subject)

2507213

What are you reading?

I watched this movie, which had a great twist on the subject. I am always intrigued by the variations on the reincarnation theme.

the-discovery

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5155780/

Writing Tips from the Master – Stephen King

“You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you.”

“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”

“I think the best stories always end up being about the people rather than the event, which is to say character-driven.”

“Let’s get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.”

What’s your favorite King quote or writing tip?

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours…


events

After meeting the new Writer in Residence yesterday, I will send him an invite to speak at our next writing meeting of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County on 7th February. Richard van Camp is a personable, funny and engaging personality with a drive to help other writers succeed. I feel his residency will propel many writers to publication. I may send him a few pages of my current work in progress too – it is always good to get new perspectives of your work.

http://www.sherwoodparknews.com/2016/12/05/creative-writer-in-residence

My other appointment yesterday was with a new freelance writing client. An interesting concept that will take several months of collaboration.

This coming week I have two board meetings. The first is with the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County and we will set out event dates and new programs/projects for the year. This will include the annual conference, a writing retreat and the annual Words in the Park.

The second meeting is of the Arts and Culture Council of Strathcona County – detailing plans for our Arty Party to be held on 21st January and planning for other events later in the year, which will include a summer BBQ celebrating diversity, culture and Canada’s 150 birthday.

https://www.facebook.com/events/407736716231777/  Arty Party

arty-party-web

What events do you have planned for January? Care to share?

 

Lost Words of a Writing Retreat…


strawberry-creek-lodge

This post was created prior to my escaping for four days on a writing retreat. As you can imagine the excitement was tangible for the weeks coming up to this event. It will be the fourth time I have joined other writing friends on such a retreat in the fabulous Strawberry Creek Lodge. Hidden away along a long track, shrouded by trees and with a creek babbling beside it, the large log cabin is perfect for inspiration, contemplation and for allowing the writing Muse to whisper unhindered.

I will be revising several ‘work in progress’ manuscripts – Life in Slake Patch, Willow Tree Tears and The Giving Thief. All are in different genres so my mind will be full of multiple characters all vying for attention.

With the most delicious meals cooked for us and several bottles of wine to consume, there is no better place to be.

aeipathy n 1847 -1853
continued passion; an unyielding disease
Her aeipathy for stamp collecting bordered at times on the pathological.

apanthropinization n 1880 -1880
withdrawal from human concerns or the human world
His life as a hermit in the woods was characterized by apanthropinization.

boscaresque adj 1734 -1734
picturesque; scenically wooded
Despite northern England’s industrial pollution, parts of it remain boscaresque.

incabinate v 1672 -1672
to enclose in a cabin; to confine
The solution to her writer’s block was to incabinate herself at her country villa.

sodalitious adj 1656 -1730
of or belonging to society or to fellowship
Sodalitious camaraderie is the basis for gentlemanly life in this civilized era.

Please visit http://phrontistery.info/clw.html for more lost words.

My sentence: Our sodalitious will once again enjoy the boscaresque surroundings while incabinated at Strawberry Creek, allowing apanthropinization from our daily lives allowing us to focus on our aeipathy of writing in good company.

006_strawberry-creek-lodge

Stress Management for Writers…


We all tread this writing journey with a certain amount of trepidation. Even the most successful authors have concerns. Will my novel be good enough? Is the story strong? Will I get good reviews? Have I written my best? Is there another novel inside me?

It is human nature to agonize over these worries but with support from family, friends and a writing group you can lessen them.

how-to-relieve-stress

What makes you most anxious in your writing life?

Unfortunately, stress has a detrimental effect on the creative process so we must try to elevate it. There are a few simple methods to help us.

Firstly, walk away from the project and find somewhere quiet to take some deep breaths. When our body is stressed it tends to hyperventilate with short low breaths. Breath slowly and deeply. If possible, take  a day away from the project – obviously this isn’t always possible – but try to take at least an hour. Time away enjoying something else refreshes the brain.

If the thought of leaving the project adds to your stress, take notes of how you want to proceed. They will help get you back into the mindset and you have a reference to guide you. Focus on each step instead of overwhelming yourself with the ‘whole’ project. Give yourself a reasonable time frame.  If it helps map out each step from start to finish – you have set goals per day, week or month – but ensure you have factored in extra time for each one. That way if a step takes longer than anticipated you still have a buffer of time to complete it.

Write in another genre or create a short story to refresh your mind. Find a writing prompt to try – it can be a picture or a set of words. Let your imagination go to a new subject.

Clear any clutter on your desk or writing space. A clean tidy space allows you to concentrate better and stops any distractions. I regularly clean house on my desk.

Do you have any tips you care to share on lessening stress and accomplishing your writing goals2015-08-31 17.38.12

Writing Projects and Inspiration…


new idea

Our creativity can be inspired from the smallest word, picture or even a globally known news worthy article. Some of you will have read my short story – The Keys. (Oct 17th) The photo inspired the story.

What obscure stimulus has sparked an idea for you? 

As many of you know I am a free flow writer so apart from a vague idea where I want the story to go, it is a mystery to me. That is the thrill for me. It is an adventure I willingly travel with my characters. They lead and I follow with frantic typing. ‘Listening’ to my Muse enables me to create freely.

How do you approach new ideas? Frantic notes? Plot arc? Character descriptions?

No matter what system we use, an idea can grow exponentially once it takes hold. This is wonderful, of course, the only downfall being if we already have a bucketful of ideas already. I thought I was doing well submitting my western romance, Willow Tree Tears to a publisher and a short story, The Toymaker for a contest. However, my suspense novel nagged me to plunge back in and begin a fresh round of editing. So now I am embroiled with a protagonist on the run, hiding in the forest for The Giving Thief. After some months away from the story, I am enjoying getting to know this character again and enhancing his story.

editing

How long do you leave your writing before beginning revisions and edits?

Although, my plan for 2015 was to re-visit two previous projects and re-write, edit and revise them. Now I have this other story demanding to be written and it is impossible to resist. Added to that an idea for a children’s book formulated from a dream a month or so ago, which will require some foundation work. I have drawn one character, named a couple and know their environment.

Have you experienced a story unwilling to stay quiet?

Obviously, I will have to reschedule my plans and go with the flow. My older projects will have to wait a little longer but I am determined to get back to them.

author at work

What are your writing plans for the rest of 2015?

Strawberry Creek Writing Exercises – May 2015


Creek sign

Some of you may know I spent this long weekend at the stupendous Strawberry Creek Lodge with a bevy of inspiring, funny and wonderful writers. I took a prompt exercise for us to consider during our stay. The prompt asked for everyone to chose 3 letters of the alphabet. These corresponded to partial book titles and created ‘new’ titles to work from. I would like to share my two titles and the short stories they inspired me to write. I hope you like them.

slave child

Tender is the Fury and Prejudice

Sasha swirled around in her gingham dress, enjoying its flaring circle around her waist. The dress was the first new piece of clothing she ever wore.

“Now Missy, be careful with that there dress. There ain’t another one coming for a long time.”

“Yes, Mamma, I’ll be as careful as careful can be.”

Sasha smiled at her mother, who sat in the rocker breastfeeding the new baby. With a new brother, Sasha was not the baby anymore and would sleep in the big bed with her older brothers and sisters. The new baby made eight in the family and the cabin even more crowded. Sasha sat on a stool letting her dress hang down but mindful it did not touch the floor.

Stomping footsteps announced the return of her brothers and sisters from the cotton field. She ran to the bedroom and took off the dress. Once it was folded and put in the dresser, she returned to the main room.

Her mother stood at the stove lading out bowls of stew and handing each tired child a biscuit. Sasha waited until everyone else was seated before taking a bowl for herself. Her father entered the crowded room and exchanged a weary smile with her mother. Sasha saw him glance at the baby and frown.

“Is it feeding, Annie?”

“Yes, Samuel he is…”

Sasha could not tell what the look on her fathers face meant but she saw a tear run down her mother’s cheek as she turned away from him. With her bowl taken to the washing bowl, Sasha sat beside the bay’s crib and rocked it gently. Her siblings cleared the tables, washed the dishes and exited the cabin leaving their parents to spend time together.

As Sasha soothed her new brother her father whispered words confused her.

“Is it healthy, will it live?”

“There’s no way of knowing, Samuel, maybe he will.”

“Another mouth to feed, its too many, Annie. We need to decide on her future.”

“Oh, Samuel, please don’t – we will manage, we have in the past.”

“I know its a hard decision, Annie but the offer is there and the money would make all the difference.”

“But she’s so young and…”

Her mother’s sob cut her sentence short. Sasha watched her father embrace her mother, rocking her back and forth like her mother did to Sasha when she suffered a nightmare.

Unnoticed in the corner, Sasha tried to make sense of her parents conversation. What was happening to who? Why was her mother so upset?

A week later a fancy carriage pulled up outside the cabin driven by a black man but dressed in white man’s clothing. Sasha had never seen such a thing and fussed to be released from her mothers arms.

“Stand still for one more minute, Sasha.”

“Mamma, why’s that man dressed so fancy?”

“Its cause of his job as a driver for the boss. Now hold still, I’ve one more ribbon to put in.”

Sasha fidgeted until the ribbon was tied then ran to the carriage wide-eyed. She did not see her mother clasp her mouth and hold back pleading words. She turned to Samuel who nodded and opened the cabin door for her to enter.

“Stay inside, it will be easier for the girl to go. Look after the little one.”

Samuel closed the door after his wife and descended the steps to stand beside the carriage and grasp Sasha’s hand.

“Is this the girl you spoke of Samuel?”

“Yes, boss.”

“Bring her here so I can see her properly. Does she know how to behave? My wife will not tolerate ill manners.”

“She is a good girl, boss and will learn quickly.”

Samuel picked Sasha up and put her into the carriage. She looked at the beautiful cushions and the bright white suite the white man wore. She was surprised when he turned her around, she thought he liked her gingham sress as much as she did. When the man opened her mouth and inspected her teeth, Sasha looked at her father but stayed silent when his brows lowered and he put on finger to his lips.

“She’s a pretty little thing, I’m hopeful my wife will like her, Samuel.”

The man gave her father a small leather pouch and sat Sasha on the seat beside him.

“Thank you, boss. You be good for the boss, Sasha. Do as you are told and only speak when spoken to.”

Sasha grinned at her father and nodded enthusiastically. I’m going for a ride in this fancy carriage, I’m so lucky. Samuel watched the carriage drive away until it was out of sight. He swallowed deeply several times before entering the cabin.

“She’s gone then, my little Sasha?”

“Yes, Annie, she’s gone.”

“Did she cry?”

“No, she was so excited about the carriage she didn’t turn around. She will cry tonight no doubt when she realizes she is to spend her life at the house but she’ll come around, so don’t fret. It’s a better life for her than the cotton field.”

“I hope so, Samuel, I really do.”

Annie placed her baby boy in his crib and began the supper preparations. Her tears mixed with the vegetable water as she peeled potatoes. She would delay telling Samuel she might be pregnant again. Later as her family ate, she reached out for Sasha’s hand but felt emptiness. She knew the money would help the rest of the family until the oldest ones left home but thoughts of what her little girl might have to endure in the big house haunted her dreams for many months.

clockwork bird

To Kill The Windup Bird – this story has been removed as an extended version has been contracted to Steampunk Ink.

An Interview with Craig Boyack…


Boyack

What inspired you to write your first book?

I started writing in the 1980s, but gave it up for family and fun. Then I got bored one winter, at 48 years of age, plus I had technology that surpassed anything in the 1980s. This one is a trunk novel today. It was a western steampunk story with ice age mammals running around.

My newest book is called Will O’ the Wisp. It’s the story of a teenage girl coming face to face with an ancient family curse.

WillOWisp

How did you come up with the title?

Will O’ the Wisp is a natural phenomenon, that has become a cryptid. It is a mysterious floating light. People all over the world made up legends about them, so I did too.

Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or unpublished)?

My first two novels are trunk novels that nobody will ever see. I have five books available on Amazon.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I can firmly answer no. I read to escape, and believe there are others out there like me. My stories are pure entertainment.

How much of the book is realistic?

The story takes place in the 1970s, and I went to great lengths to make sure it was an accurate reflection. (Anyone remember Quisp cereal, Montgomery Wards, International Harvester?) my main character, Patty, is fifteen. She has a love/hate relationship with her mother. She also has to face a few teenage coming of age moments. That part is realistic.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

They are not. I created the characters and tried to really get into them.

Arson

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I’m sure every author would. I believe there is a time to stop picking at it and set it free. I’m very happy with this story, and the reviewers appear to be too.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

This story is suitable for young adults. Not all of my tales are, but your own teenagers can enjoy this one too.

Panama

What is your favorite part/chapter of your book/project?

I’m really happy with the climax in this one. It stitched together some supernatural elements with a coming of age moment and a big dose of fear. It just worked out really well.

What is your favorite theme/genre to write?

I write speculative fiction, and don’t limit myself to one corner. My stories are science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. Will O’ the Wisp is a paranormal story.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

We never really think about it, but if a topic doesn’t interest me I won’t force a story. There are too many things that do interest me to worry about it.

Wild Concept

What book are you reading now?

As I type this, I’m between books. I have Beginning of a Hero, by Charles Yallowitz up next on my iPad. I may start it by the time this posts. I just finished Maplecroft by Cheri Priest.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Yes, and I’m loathe to name names. If I forget someone, I’ll hurt someone’s feelings. These are all indie authors, and I’m really cheering for them.

Do you see writing as a career?

In some kind of dream world, sure. The realities of the 21st Century are that I have a full time job. An FTJ with paid vacation, insurance, and retirement.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Hopefully, continuing to do the things I love. At 64 I expect to still be working, and putting out books.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

There is a huge learning curve here. I learn and adapt, just like anyone else. It’s part of what appeals to me about writing. Perfection cannot be attained, only improvement.

Have you ever hated something you wrote?

No. I like everything I’ve ever written. I’m a better writer today than I once was, but I still like my characters and stories.

What book do you wish you had written?

Jurassic Park.

What is your best marketing tip?

I wish I had one. Marketing is just so foreign to me. I think the best thing I can do is to write my next book. There is stability in volume, provided the product is good.

What genre is your next project? What is it about?

My next book is another paranormal piece with science fiction spicing. It’s about social media gone horribly wrong.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

I released Will O’ the Wisp yesterday, (as I’m typing this out). I’d rather focus on that. I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written so far. I’d really appreciate it if your readers would check it out.

How do we find your books, blog and bio?

Follow my blog: http://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com

Check out my novels here: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00ILXBXUY

Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/Virgilante

On Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9841203.C_S_Boyack

Will O’ the Wisp can be found at these sites:

Northern American Continent http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UPH6BNS

Rest of the world http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UQNDT2C

Thank you for the invitation, Mandy. It was a pleasure answering your questions. I’ll make sure to surf back through and participate in the comments.

Ideas for Novels Spark From Everywhere, From Anything…


Great idea

Our creativity can be inspired from the smallest word to a globally known news worthy article. I was in the grip of such an idea this weekend. It formed from the merging of several obscure news items into a cohesive story and took ‘root’ in my mind. Once I began writing the protagonist came to life and the words flowed. I put down 1000 in less than an hour!

As many of you know I am a free flow writer so apart from a vague idea where I want the story to go, it is a mystery to me. That is the thrill for me. It is an adventure I willingly travel with my characters. They lead and I follow with frantic typing.

What obscure stimulus has sparked an idea for you? 

How do you approach new ideas? Frantic notes? Plot arc? Character descriptions?

No matter what system we use, an idea can grow exponentially once it takes hold. This is wonderful, of course, the only downfall being if we already have a bucketful of ideas already.  I had not wanted another project just at the moment. My children’s chapter book, Ockleberries to the Rescue is in final stages of illustration and formatting, while I am working on edits for my western romance, Willow Tree Tears. These two projects are time consuming enough without a new one being added. My plan for 2015 was to re-visit two previous projects and re-write, edit and revise them. Now I have a story demanding to be written and it is impossible to resist.

Have you experienced a story unwilling to stay quiet?

Obviously, I will have to reschedule my plans and go with the flow. My older projects will have to wait a little longer.

Idea spark

 

Are You Utilizing Your Notebooks Properly..?


reblog

Notebooks are a writer’s best friend. They capture ideas, characterizations and plot arcs. We may have a compulsion to gather them and set them aside for a future project. Notebooks are available in a multitude of designs and styles, so there is something for everyone.

We treasure our notebooks as they record that moment a new story or character is revealed. From those humble beginnings a narrative is born.

Do you file your notebooks in a particular order? Genre, first to last or by other themes?

Where do you keep them?

However, do you use one just for observations of human behaviour? Yes, an interesting concept and one I had never thought of before. I always think I will remember that old man’s comments to the waitress or the young mother’s dialogue with her baby. I hope you find this article as interesting as I did.

http://thewritersalleys.blogspot.ca/2014/01/the-writers-notebook.html

notebook

Are you Ready for Friday Fun and Literary News..?


FunDay

Happy Friday!

We’ve managed another week…how was yours? Did you accomplish what you wanted or are the last few projects/things to do  making it onto the top of next week’s list?

For many authors and writers the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award announcement is exciting and nerve racking at the same time.

Should I enter? Is my novel ready?  All submissions are a leap of faith and if nothing else good practice.

Are you entering? What is your genre? 

This is the seventh year of this competition – make it your year.

abna_900x120._V192571703_

http://www.amazon.com/Breakthrough-Novel-Award-Books/b?ie=UTF8&node=332264011

Fun Prompt:

You have a super power – what is it and how do you use it?

SuperPower