Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – My Writing Process

January 25, 2022
mandyevebarnett


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.

Photo by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.com

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Why Books Covers Vary from Country to Country

April 20, 2021
mandyevebarnett


A book cover is an intrinsic part of any book. It is the initial draw for a reader to pick up the book before reading the blurb and deciding if the narrative appeals or not. For any of the best seller author’s you may pick the book in the knowledge you know their writing style and genre. However, have you ever wondered why there are differences in the actual book cover depending on where you live in the world.

Take a couple of Stephen King books for instance. (You all know I love him!) I have the UK and USA versions of two of his books below. The images relate to the narratives but are very different in atheistic.

So why the differences?

Publishers buy the text of a book, not the cover as the cover is the property of the initial publisher. So this means international publishers have a choice:

  1. Negotiate a license for the initial cover or,
  2. Make their own cover.

Publishers generally choose the second option, as it gives them the opportunity to make their own creative choices. This is dependent on their market and the position the book. There may also be factors, such as the size of the market. The UK has a smaller marketplace as opposed to the US, which is a larger geographic area. The book cover may need to be more specific in a larger marketplace. Each editor has their own vision for the book and a good sense of their market, so will use a cover that best serves that genre’s (and author’s) readers. In most cases, publishers are only buying rights to the book for a single country or language, so can tailor make the cover to suit.

The other reason for a change in a book cover is to update it to current atheistic and tastes. A book cover published in the 1970’s would look outdated and tired, so a new look can attract younger readers.

For example: The Stand. As you can see the 1978 original is dark & light fighters, then the TV movie tie-in cover and also an array of other covers. It gives you an idea of the development of a cover for the same narrative.

Do you have older versions of books on your shelf? Care to share?

I did actually change one of my covers. The first one, I created myself (and it looks it to be honest!) The second I hired a designer. I love the imagery.

Then when I wrote the sequel, my designer created a complimentary cover.

You can find these and all my other books here: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01MDUAS0V OR https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=Mandy+Eve-Barnett

Do you have a favorite book cover?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – The Start of a Short Story

October 20, 2020
mandyevebarnett


One of the exercises I find helpful as well as fun is using picture or word prompts to create a story (sometimes a poem). I recently chose a made up place name as the genus of an idea. The name was Fiddletown. The exercise is to write something in a limited time frame, around 10 minutes.
Some of these prompts have become full blown novels. This particular one is certainly one I made use at a later date. It sparked such a clear image for me.

I hope you like the beginnings of a story.

Hidden in the depths of the mountains, a small town flourishes. It is populated by beings of short stature with six fingers on each hand. Their ancestors escaped persecution from other people decades before. Safe now, they exist as hunters and gatherers existing in a solitary environment. Until, that is a couple of exploring mountaineers happen across the town.

This causes fear and consternation as well as an ethical question. Should they hide, locking everything up and hope the men think the town deserted, or run into the higher forest and wait them out or murder the two men? Whatever they do will alert the outside world…

Would you like to read the story? What do you think they decide?

I enjoyed a writing retreat from Friday to Monday in Crowsnest Pass. We watched the mountains slowly disappear as the snow arrived. Cozy in our cabin, with dogs, books and wine.

With a long weekend I managed to finish one book and read another. Here are my reviews.

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

Fabulously written. Gripping to the end, with you guessing (incorrectly most of time!) who the guilty party was. A web of lies hold four friends captive for decades until a three word text brings them together.
A seriously good read.

City of Dream by Suzanne Burkett

A great story of secrets, hidden memories and love. A very enjoyable read. Suzanne has created a wonderful world in this novel.

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