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Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…

January 25, 2017
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writing-hub

Writing:

LifeinSlakePatch 001

As I told you all earlier, I submitted part of my speculative fiction novel, Life in Slake Patch to our current Writer in Residence – Richard van Camp. He answered with:

I’ve had a read of your intro and it seems to me that you find your rhythm in Chapter 4. I found the first three chapters to go so quickly, too quickly, that I couldn’t get a lock on any of the characters or their back stories.  Perhaps a rewrite of your intro?  My advice is slow down; take your time. Have fun with each scene. Sights, smells, etc. Give us setting; give us tone; set the mood.

Now for new or seasoned writers, critique is a double edged sword, some is favorable, some not but all should be taken as constructive rather than destructive. Several rewrites previously I took another writer in residence advice and ‘info dumped’ at the beginning of this story to ‘set the scene’.

So do I change it or not? Do I follow my gut and revise to balance the slightly conflicting advice from these two marvelous authors? Or do I rewrite a completely different introduction? This is something I will ponder and decide after careful consideration.

Have you experienced conflicting critique?

How did you resolve the matter? Did you change it or not?

Books: My review of The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North

hope

The story was a neat concept but fell short, unlike Claire’s previous two books. The character was complex, the story arc well constructed but the use of numerous synonyms of words detracted from the flow of the story – taking me out of the narrative. I understand as a fellow author that these descriptions were an explanation of the main character’s inner most thoughts but they were too much of a distraction for me.

However, it will in no way put me off reading another of Claire’s books – her ability to engage a reader is wonderful in The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August & Touch.

I have just started reading – I Can See You by Joss Landry.

I was engaged from the first page!

i-can-see-you

Writing Tip: Chuck Sambuchino

Remember the Three “P’s”:  Patience, Perseverance, and maintaining your sense of Purpose.

Do you have a writing tip to share?

What book can you recommend?

Packing Tips for Writers – What To Take…

December 19, 2016
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I found this article and thought it was apt as my friend, Linda and I are always escaping on road trips and a few can be applied even if not traveling on an airplane.

http://thewritelife.com/packing-tips-for-writers/

travel-tips

1. Be realistic about how much work you’ll do

Before you go on your trip, make a plan for what you’ll actually do while you’re traveling. Be realistic about how much time you’ll actually have to work.

2. Bring the essentials

Condensing an office’s worth of gear, equipment and supplies into a carry-on sized bag. First, start with the most important things.

Laptop: If you have an alternative lightweight portable laptop/tablet take that instead. Remember your charger!

Reference materials: Take the most relevant materials for your planned project.

Notebook and pen: Always have a small notebook and a pen. Ideas for a novel or character can spring up at any time.

3. Back it up

Make sure you back up your work – a flash drive, emailing to yourself or a data saving source.

4.Go digital

Take digital copies instead of resource material with you instead of hard copies.

5. Bring travel-writing essentials

Even though you’re traveling light, be sure to bring anything you’ll need to transform your trip into a story including a way to take photos. Having photos can also help when you’re trying to recollect specific details and set a scene when you’re writing later on.

6. Safeguard your gear

Make sure you carry your most important items (like your laptop and backups) with you. Consider travel insurance or checking your current insurance policies (such as homeowner’s, renter’s, or automobile) to see if they’ll cover your valuables.

This is my traveling list:

My laptop & charger

A hard drive to back up

Notebook – which includes notes on my current project (these are in addition to my file folders on my laptop. I also use it for revision notes & narrative additions, page numbers of where I am in the process etc.

Pens and a pencil

Cell phone for photos & charger

Comfortable clothes and warm socks, eye glasses, a bottle of wine & snacks and tea bags (Okay I’m English teabags are a must!)

We normally request a desk & two chairs when we book a room to ensure we both have comfortable areas in which to write. Luckily neither of us needs noise so silence reigns unless we are discussing our day or writing. (No TV required either!)

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Another Albertan Road Trip…Jasper

November 22, 2016
mandyevebarnett


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Our road trip this weekend actually started early on Thursday morning, 7 am to be precise. We stopped to grab breakfast and made our way to Jasper in the Rocky mountains. A place we have visited before but still has the ability to inspire awe at the magnificence of the mountains. Their ever changing faces in sunshine, cloud, rain or snow make each visit unique.On the road through Jasper National Park we saw these sheep in the middle of the road licking salt, they were not deterred by large trucks honking horns, driving so close we thought they might hit them or these huge vehicles driving around them.

Arriving just after 12.30 pm we set up our table to promote and sell books published by Dream Write Publishing. With so many books already published we could only bring a selection and hoped our choices were relevant for the venue and time of year. Our first sale came only minutes after we had completed our display. A good start to the day! Which concluded with several books being purchased for the Jasper Community Habitat for the Arts gift shop.

habitat-for-the-arts-nov-2016

Once everything was packed up at 5 pm, we went for supper and to check into our hotel. An added bonus was an upgrade to a beautifully appointed and cozy room.

The next morning after breakfast we set up in a most unusual venue, a laundromat and cafe. A first for us. The SnowDome cafe’s friendly staff and customers made our time there enjoyable, connecting, answering questions and a potential client.

snowdome-jasper-nov-18-2016

A celebratory supper at the hotel’s restaurant followed and an added bonus a herd of elk laying on the lawn of the hotel as we walked back to our room. Unfortunately, my cellphone is not good when it comes to taking photos at night. Can you see the bull, his antlers were spectacular and two of the doe’s had tracking collars on them.

The rest of our weekend was ours to do with as we wished. Saturday morning was a leisurely start, takeaway breakfast and a drive to Patricia and Pyramid Lakes. A walk onto the island at Pyramid where the dusting of overnight snow glistened and the water lapped gently. There was ice forming in thin layers on the shore edges and the air was still. Silence prevailed and we stood reveling in the peace of the mountain air as large snowflakes began to fall. It was Christmas card perfect.

Back into Jasper and a browse around a clothing store and then purchases for supper. Then seven hours of writing – a writer’s joy! I edited, revised and added 1000 words to my WIP, The Twesome Loop. With a brief excursion to refresh body and mind mid-afternoon. Once supper was consumed back to writing for a few more hours.

Sunday morning was begun with a leisurely brunch, then a trip to Athabasca Falls. The roar of water, the ice blue of the flow and the cavern walls decorated with huge icicles made this visit a wonderful experience.

It was difficult to leave but leave we did. Back to Jasper for a local crafts fair and then on the road home. We encountered several herds of elk & mountain sheep.

Our trip was successful on so many levels – books sold, connections made, extensive writing completed and nature enjoyed. Can’t wait for the next one!

Social Media Pros and Cons for Writers…

June 6, 2016
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global-social

This post was created due to the fact I was worrying about what to write for today’s post while perusing my Facebook and finally noticing two hours had ‘disappeared’ – without me really understanding where that time went! As this study shows it is not an uncommon problem.

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So how do we market, connect and sell our books without being sucked into the social media vacuum? We all know we should be writing not viewing cute videos or scrolling down page after page of posts. Yes, we need to interact and promote but how can we balance our time?

Many sites promote keeping to a schedule – even putting a timer on to force a switch off time or using an app that shuts down the media page. We can be overwhelmed with too many sites – but if we choose carefully and link the actions to the most relevant ones to our specific theme we can save time. A blog post can automatically be shared to Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, etc. this saves us precious writing time.So also setting our social media sites with sharing options cuts down our physical interaction time without reducing its effectiveness. The trick is to identify which sites work best for your particular message and keep to them.

Here’s a great link about that very subject :  http://www.webdesignrelief.com/social-networking-sites-for-writers/

I tend to burst on social media early morning and late afternoon (interspersed during the day when possible). My ‘bad’ time is weekend mornings when I am catching up. This is my danger time and the one I have to forcibly limit myself. If not, I am berating myself for ‘lost’ time writing. Avoiding the lure of social media results in a project started, revised or finished and that is worth any writers time.

When is your ‘danger’ time or times? 

How do you limit your social media time?

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Reincarnation Series Beginning…

June 1, 2016
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Today I start the year’s second series on reincarnation to coincide with the revision of my romance, The Twesome Loop, which has several character’s meeting their soul mates. However, as my speculative fiction novel, Life in Slake Patch has just undergone a radical change of thought, I will be working on it for the month of June. Writers out there will understand this particular predicament only too well.

old to young

I have always been fascinated with reincarnation, life after death, ‘tunnel’ experiences and so on, since working as a nurse (many moons ago!). Geriatric wards at night are a plethora of sights and sounds relived by the patients. I even had an experience with my grandfather, which I will relay at some point. Some posts will be general, while others will be personal experiences.

There are many religions that believe in the return of souls so we will explore them together.

One last lost word from http://phrontistery.info/clw.html – which I thought apt for the start of this series.

eternitarian         1746 -1746
one who believes in the eternity of the soul
Though she held to no particular faith, she remained a hopeful eternitarian.

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