Tag Archives: Stephen King

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)

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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?

Books To Scare You This Halloween…


halloween-farm

As many of you know I am a great fan of Stephen King, so scary stories are part of my every day reading. However, there are a number of other novelists that might peak your interest (or not!)

This list is quite comprehensive.   http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/10411523/15-scary-books-to-terrify-you-this-Halloween.html

Which ones would you buy?

Have you read any of them? Care to share your thoughts?

It is interesting how different things scare different people. As a young single woman I identified with the poor rabid dog in Cujo but decades later as a mother, my fear was for the child. Perspective changes everything, even our fears.

Cujo

After I had my children my recurrent nightmare was being buried in an avalanche with them – odd as at that time I lived in England so no fear of an avalanche at all. Now I live in Canada it would make more sense – but that’s dreams for you. As a young child my recurrent nightmare was being impaled on a rhinoceros’ horn and it running through a marquee full of people enjoying a party. (I was born in South Africa, so maybe this was a deeply subconscious fear). It took decades before I could even look at a rhino on the TV let alone in the flesh. Until, that is my daughter asked me to touch one. That broke the fear spell.

black-rhino-charge

What are your fears? Do they carry over from childhood? Have they changed?

Halloween – Do You Enjoy It or Not..?


halloween2Halloween means that the internet is awash with spooky costumes, books and trick or treat candy. For many it is a fun filled evening to enjoy scaring each other on doorsteps or at themed parties. However, for others it manifests differently as a real fear of what the evening portrays. Samhainophobia is actually a phobia of Halloween. Sufferers have an intense and persistent fear of Halloween, and the condition causes panic attacks in people who suffer from it. They have a morbid fear of Halloween, in essence the sense of wildness and otherworldliness that the night seems to conjure forth. It is most common in devout religious believers. Other related fears include Wiccaphobia : fear of witches, Phasmophobia : fear of ghosts and Coimetrophobia : a fear of cemeteries.

Although, to date, I have not seen a witch (at least not the commonly used image),  I have seen a ghost. As for cemeteries; you will think me strange for this but what the heck – I used to spend a lot of time alone in cemeteries as a child. One was near my childhood home and surrounded a small chapel. My favorite spot to sit and enjoy quiet time was under a willow tree next to a baby’s grave. Weird I know! I just found it very peaceful. The other cemetery, I frequented was at a derelict church and I spent a lot of  time cleaning the moss and dirt out of the gravestones. Yep, I’m weird and now you don’t have to wonder why I love Stephen King!

Do you have a ‘creepy’ secret or experience you can share?

Now for a shameless plug – why not buy my children’s story – Rumble’s First Scare? You know you want to – he’s such a cute little monster.

http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/retail/books/rumbles-first-scare

Rumble

WOTS Sept 2014

Prompt logo

 

 

 

Why not write a short scary prompt today?

 

Who Would You Chose To Play Your Novel’s Protagonist…?


There are many classic novels we remember from childhood or young adulthood, one of these for me is Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee. The BBC (UK’s broadcasting company) are making a series of dramas, which will bring to life many classics, including Cider with Rosie, The Go-Between and Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

CiderWithRosie

 

http://www.kidderminstershuttle.co.uk/leisure/national/11533900.Cider_With_Rosie_role_for_Morton/

I can still see in my mind’s eye how I envisioned the characters in these books. Some imaginary characters are so instilled and real that to have an actor play them can be disappointing. Obviously, some chosen actors are so perfect there is no problem alas this is not always the case. We all know some are chosen for their book office popularity rather than their resemblance to a particular character. Daniel Radcliffe will always be Harry Potter for generations of people (not good for his future career of course but we watched him grow up on the screen). We cannot contemplate anyone else as Harry or indeed any of his faithful companions or enemies.To be so immersed in a character is excellent for the reader but also a tribute to the author for creating such a realistic personality. As you can see from Stephen’s quote further down this post Pennywise from It was ‘perfect’ – I still fear clowns to this day!

Which actor was ‘perfect’ and which was ‘awful’ for your favorite book’s movie or TV adaptation?

For me The Shining movie, adapted from Stephen King’s novel, was completely ruined by Shelley Duvall, she was not believable in any part of the movie, however, Jack Nicholson was magnificent.

Shiningnovel

Do you have an actor in mind for your own novel(s)? Who are they playing and why did you chose them?

Quotes:

“When people talk about the stuff of mine that’s frightened them onscreen, they’re apt to mention Pennywise the Clown first.” – IT, Stephen King

“I may be the first writer in America to have a piece of writing make its way to the screen whole and entire. And, when I saw the film for the first time, I was astonished that the characters of Jack and Ennis came surging into my mind again.” – Brokeback Mountain- Annie Proulx

 

FunDay

Today’s prompt – Describe your novel’s character and match them with a real actor.

What’s Your Motivation for Writing – Money, Success or Satisfaction..?


What is your motivation for writing?

Let’s look at each scenario:

money

a) Money – we would all love to be a best seller and have fame and fortune like the ‘big’ names, such as Stephen King, J.K. Rowling and the like. However, we need to be realistic – firstly can we manage to get a publishing contract with a big publishing house? How many years are you willing to wait for that? If you use the self-publishing route how much of your time (unpaid) can you sacrifice for promotion? Should you give your work away?

These links will give you an idea of the practicalities of writing with monetary visions foremost:

http://publishingperspectives.com/2014/01/how-much-do-writers-earn-less-than-you-think/

http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/2008/11/validation-of-money.html

success

b) Success – once again we should temper our expectations. Global sales are a dream we want to make real but maybe measure our success on more of a local level. Do you have your books in local bookstores, the library, offered at local events? The more you attend and promote within your own locality the more your ‘success’ becomes tangible. Articles in the local newspaper could have people approach or question you in regard to your being an author. Social media allows us to expand our locality, of course, but starting small will give us a firm basis from which to start. Never under estimate the power of word of mouth for promotion.

This link has a list of concepts:

http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2014/03/01/definition-of-success/

satisfaction-

c) Satisfaction – Although this is third on the list, I feel it is the most important of all, as having your words, ideas and stories readily available for people to read now and for future generations, is the penultimate success. Our narratives will be enjoyed and relayed long after we are gone. It is our legacy.

A tongue in cheek link:

http://magicalmusings.com/2006/03/27/10-advantages-of-being-a-writer/

Obviously, a mixture of all three of the above would be the perfect scenario.

What do you consider the most satisfying part of being a writer/author?

Engage Your Reader With A ‘What If’..?


articles

In a normal social environment going beyond acceptable limits is either frowned upon or punished depending on the situation. However, its not such a bad thing for a writer to push the limits. Our imaginations make anything possible. We can even set our own limits in our created worlds. A being with no emotion, such as a vulcan would not think twice about the slaying of another being – as long as it was the logical action in that situation. In the mind of a twisted villian they would view their actions as sanctioned or required within their madness.  While a victim could act violently in self defense and be seen as a hero. Both characters have killed but we view the acts differently. In short, it is ur perspective that colours our view in any situation we come across, experience, watch or read about.

The first time I was consciously aware of the strength of perspective was when I re-read Cujo by  Stephen King. The first time I was a ‘live life to the fullest’ single woman and I felt sorry for the poor dog. The second read, I was a mother and sympathised with the sheer desperation of the woman and her child. Two opposing views for the exact same story.

Which brings me to ponder when we are creating characters and situations should we endeavor to tailor-make the story so it appeals to more than one demographic? 

For example my novel, Life in Slake Patch, is from the viewpoint of a young man perfectly comfortable with a way of life unchanged for generations, until his naive, single young man perspective is changed once he falls in love.

The narrative relays how the all female hierarchy ordered the particular way of life they live under in order to safe guard against another world war. Evan’s perspective changes drastically when he realizes the impact of only visiting his new bride once a week and that he has to continue to live in the male only compound for his lifetime.

Life in Slake

As writers we want our readers to engage in our characters struggles and form a ‘relationship’ with them. Even as a female reader, we can relate to Evan’s predicament – who would want to live separately from the one we loved?

How do you engage your readers?

 

My Homage to a Favorite Author…


Homage – definition: something that shows respect or attests to the worth or influence of another

stephen_king

Most of you know I am a great Stephen King fan. Even though, to date, I have not written a horror novel, Stephen’s skillful writing has inspired me. Although, at the time I had no idea who had written the story, I went to view Carrie (the original) with teen friends one evening. I was so captivated by the movie I went back to the cinema the next afternoon alone to watch it again. That is powerful. Decades later shortly before boarding a plane for a nine hour flight, I browsed through the airport terminal’s book store and picked up the thickest book I could find. The blurb was intriguing. The book was The Stand. Not only did I read this book on the flight but for most of my vacation. I found it almost impossible to put down. Since then, I have re-read The Stand several times. Once I found Stephen’s work, I bought every single issue and impatiently awaited a new book. He could not write and publish fast enough (poor man!) Then I found Richard Bachman was a pen name and this gave me more books to purchase and read veraciously.

I think Stephen’s skill is taking a basic fear and developing it into a realistic story of human emotions and courage. If you have not read The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, I encourage you to. This novel is basically one character and superbly written. To be able to master writing Stephen has quoted:  “Read and write four to six hours a day. If you cannot find the time for that, you can’t expect to become a good writer.” He sets out each day with a quota of 2000 words and will not stop writing until it is met. He also has a simple definition for talent in writing: “If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn’t bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.”

Stephen’s fifty novels (and counting) have sold over 350 million copies…I would be happy with a fraction of that figure. For those interested : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_King

I do read other authors and genres, which include James Long and Kate Morton. Every author who resonates with me are skillful with their characters, locations and plot.

Who are your inspirations?

Do you write the same genre or others?

This house is part of a series of drawings on Stephen’s headed notepaper. My letter from Stephen is my most prized possession.

English: Stephen King's House in Bangor, Maine
English: Stephen King’s House in Bangor, Maine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Foreboding Prior to Halloween…


Forebode – definition: to foretell or predict; be an omen of; indicate beforehand

crystal-ball

With Halloween coming up shortly, the internet is awash with spooky costumes, books and trick or treat candy. For many it is a fun filled evening to enjoy scaring each other on doorsteps or at themed parties. However, for others it manifests differently as a real fear of what the evening portrays. Samhainophobia is actually a phobia of Halloween. Sufferers have an intense and persistent fear of Halloween, and the condition causes panic attacks in people who suffer from it. They have a morbid fear of Halloween, in essence the sense of wildness and otherworldliness that the night seems to conjure forth. It is most common in devout religious believers. Other related fears include Wiccaphobia : fear of witches, Phasmophobia : fear of ghosts and Coimetrophobia : a fear of cemeteries.

Although, to date, I have not seen a witch (at least not the commonly used image),  I have seen a ghost. As for cemeteries; you will think me strange for this but what the heck – I used to spend a lot of time alone in cemeteries as a child. One was near my childhood home and surrounded a small chapel. My favorite spot to sit and enjoy quiet time was under a willow tree next to a baby’s grave. Weird I know! I just found it very peaceful. The other cemetery, I frequented was at a derelict church and I spent a lot of  time cleaning the moss and dirt out of the gravestones. Yep, I’m weird and now you don’t have to wonder why I love Stephen King!

Do you have a ‘creepy’ secret or experience you can share?

Now for a shameless plug – why not buy my children’s story – Rumble’s First Scare? You know you want to – he’s such a cute little monster.

http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/retail/books/rumbles-first-scare

432018_4931392397907_1894284701_n

Rumble's First Scare

Ostentatious Possessions…


Ostentatious – definition: actions, manners, qualities intended to attract attention : showy

I found the most ostentatious author possession for today’s post. Ian Fleming’s gold typewriter. Yes it’s true – take a look at http://oztypewriter.blogspot.ca/2012/02/500th-post-golden-typewriter.html

Now that’s reveling in your author acclaim. What would a modern equivalent be – a gold laptop?

Gold

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other interesting items found – http://flavorwire.com/293994/a-peek-inside-the-notebooks-of-famous-authors-artists-and-visionaries/

This is my favorite – Frida Kahlo’s diary – beautiful. I do possess a few notebooks and journals but hate to ‘spoil’ them by writing in them – stupid I know but they are so beautiful, it seems a shame to ‘deface’ them.

kahlo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is your most prized possession?  My personal letter from Stephen King is mine. It has pride of place on my writing inspiration wall.

A Cool Modus Operandi…


Modus Operandi – definition: a plan, or mode of operating or working.

Today’s interview is rather special as it is a joint interview with William L. Bozarth and Laura D. Jame, who worked together on a children’s story book – a perfect modus operandi..!

Will and Laura

W = William L. Bozarth
L = Laura D. James

a) What do you enjoy most about writing?

L: I enjoy losing myself in writing and the “high” that it gives me. It’s amazing for me when I work on something and pretty much submerge myself in it then come back out later to the world around me feeling like I’ve been somewhere else.

W. Things that previously existed only in my imagination come to life. These squirrels have been living in my head for the better part of the last two years, so it’s nice to see them scurrying through these pages.

b) What age did you start writing stories/poems?

L. 5 years old, pretty much as soon as I learned how to read.

W. I started writing poetry for girlfriends when I was 11 or 12, but didn’t really take writing seriously until I was a junior in High School, so perhaps 16 or 17 years old. That’s when I started my first band, and I was the vocalist/lyricist. ‘Spooky Skwerl Stories’ is my second or third attempt at writing an actual story that isn’t in verse or screenplay form.

c) Has your genre changed or stayed the same?

L. I played around with fantasy/sci-fi when I was very young and have tried suspense/crime and literary (or just non-genre… mainstream?) here and there but I’ve always been enamored with the horror genre. The squirrel books were pretty much Will’s idea and I think this will be a lot of fun though I’m sure I have a lot to learn about writing spooky things for children.

W. I’ve always been a horror guy, so everything I’ve done could be categorized from personal horror to fictional horror.

d) What genre are you currently reading?

L. I haven’t been able to concentrate long enough to finish reading a book in a long time, I guess from being so obsessed with working on my own novel, and it bothers me since reading was always how I would relax. It’s pretty much always horror, though. I’ve got a few novels and anthologies that I pick up when I try to make myself read.

W. I wish I could say that I’m reading something, but I’m not.

e) Do you read for pleasure or research or both?

L. Mainly pleasure, sometimes research

W. I don’t read much, really. I used to read a lot when I was in elementary school, but the fun was kinda sucked out of it when they forced us to read gigantic novels in middle school. A twelve-year-older shouldn’t read ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’. It takes a bit for me to actually sit down and read something nowadays. The last book I read was Neil Gaiman’s ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’, and the ending disappointed me. Before that, it was Stephen King’s ‘Under the Dome’… and the ending disappointed me. Why take a month or more to read a large book, learn about all of these characters, cry for the loss of the characters, then have it all be explained by *spoiler removed* forces. So, I guess my answer is “research”. Since I don’t really get any pleasure out of it.

f) Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

L. My father: he’s encouraged my love of reading and writing since I was very young. He paid a lot of money for me to go to a college in another state to major in creative writing. That didn’t really work out but he’s never made me feel guilty about it and he’s believed in my ability/potential as a writer even when I haven’t. He never demanded I try to do something practical or get “a real job” and has always been 100% supportive of me writing because it’s what makes me happy. Will is a close second because he’s the brains behind all the adventures, endeavors and chaos we’ve been through. He’s got a plan for pretty much everything and more dedication and energy than I could sum up on my own. I also have to mention Julie Castillo, a writing instructor whose class I took a year ago and will be taking again at the community college in my town. She was the only writing teacher I’ve ever had who was totally supportive of what students wanted to write instead of what they “should” write (aka literary stuff) and she was just so wonderful and dedicated to everyone’s individual works. I kept up with her through e-mail after class and she helped me with a lot of questions and gave me lots of advice.

W. My parents have always been very supportive. I’ve never had any instances of Laura being unsupportive, thankfully.

g) Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

L. Probably a girl named Brigid who was a supporting character in the novel I just finished. She’s a timid young aspiring writer who goes through some crazy stuff with her friends. She’s a main character in the follow-up novel I’m planning and things just get crazier and scarier.

W. The combination of the squirrels in ‘Spooky Skwerl Stories’ since they’re characterizations of some of my personality traits.

h) Where is your favorite writing space?

L. My room, listening to some goth/doom metal

W. On a bus or train with my headphones on.

i) Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants writer?

L. I usually planned my short stories. When one of the stories turned into a novel I planned that thing out but it wound up going in a completely different direction and I’m glad. I’m planning other novels I want to write but they’re probably going to deviate from the plan, too, and it should be fun.

W. I have a beginning, middle, and end planned. It’s the getting from A to B to C that isn’t planned.

j) What inspires your ideas/stories?

L. Anything, really: anecdotes, places, snippets of things I hear on TV. Sometimes I’ll read/hear random details in stories that aren’t supposed to mean much of anything and they’ll just blossom into back-stories and plots in my mind.

W. Random thoughts.

k) Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

L. I’m on a message board called Absolute Write (http://absolutewrite.com/ )      where I’ve gotten lots of good advice.  aw_logo_header

W. Facebook groups “Horror Writers” and “Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators”.

l) Do you have a book published? If so, what is it called & where can readers purchase it?

L. Not traditionally published yet but I’ll have to keep you posted. I’m waiting to hear back from the publisher I submitted my novel to and if they don’t take it I’ve got a few others I’m interested in. If I don’t get published, we will go the same route as ‘Spooky Skwerl Stories’.

W. Both of my books are available on Amazon. Just search for “William L. Bozarth”, and they’ll pop up.

Distorted

Spooky

m) If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?

L. I would say Richard Matheson but he is no longer with us, so I’ll go with Peter Straub because I don’t think any other author has mystified, enthralled and terrified me quite like he has with the way he writes.

W. I’ve already met them, so I’m ahead of the game. :). Stephen King, R.L. Stine, and Lois Lowry.

n) Where can readers find you and your blog?

L. I don’t have a blog but you can find me through the Spooky Skwerl Stories facebook

W. http://www.facebook.com/SpookySkwerlStories for all updates.

o) Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?

L. I’ve got one or two novels planned as a follow-up for the one I think I might be planning an unrelated haunted house novel. Will and I have more ideas for Spooky Skwerl Stories than we know what to do with but we’ll figure something out.

W. Many many many