Mandy Eve-Barnett's Official Blog

Inspiration for Writers & Building A Community ©

Ockleberries review – Jessica & Bianca

September 19, 2015
mandyevebarnett


I received an awesome review from a young lady after she read Ockleberries to the Rescue.

Her mother left the review on Goodreads :

My daughter is reading this book. She says “I love the stories of how Tansy and Crispin help all the forest animals.” My daughter is nine and I recommend the book for the ages 8-12. Two thumbs up
Ockle newest reader 1Ockle newest reader 2
As you can see she was extremely happy to have a signed copy!
Thank you – reviews are always wonderful to receive.

It’s All About the Book Cover…

August 18, 2014
mandyevebarnett


articles Some of you may know I’m in the midst of working with an illustrator for my upcoming children’s chapter book, Ockleberries to the Rescue. Each chapter will have a drawing of the animal or event that is within the narrative. I count myself lucky to know my artist from within my writing group. Not only is he the current President but a good friend. Joe McKnight’s pencil drawings are similar in style to Bernie Brown’s wonderful pictures. This is the reason I choose him, I want realistic drawings of the animals. As most of the internal pictures are completed, my thoughts have turned to the cover. I have a specific image in mind, which will reveal the woodland sprites home, however I am not including an image of the sprites, I want the children to imagine them.

When we work with an artist it is paramount to have good communication and be able to describe the ‘vision’ we have for the illustrations. With Joe, I can have face to face discussions as well as email communication and have supplied him with sketches/images to assist him. When I worked with Matty McClatchie on Rumble’s First Scare, we only had the option of email as he was in Australia and I was in Canada. His style is wonderfully stylized and suited Rumble’s world so well. We frequently underestimate the power of technology but this is proof it can work to our advantage. No matter where our artist may be situated we can work together to create our ideal images.

With a cover we must take into account the initial response of our potential readers and ensure it has its own style. Ask yourself:

Does the cover reflect the story?

Is it eye catching?

Does it reflect the genre?  

As you can see from these revised covers for the Harry Potter saga, covers can evolved.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/harry-potter/11000405/Harry-Potter-covers-then-and-now.html

It is interesting how much more ‘action’ there is in the new covers and the style is more dramatic. Understand you can change your cover at any time – feedback from readers is important in ensuring the book cover encourages more people to purchase it. You can have a re-launch, an anniversary re-issue or upload a new cover for an e-book. Just because your book is published doesn’t mean you should forget about it. Constant promotion and revision will keep it fresh and engage new readers.

A cover is an important part of any book and time should be spent in creating it. Here are some useful tips for cover design:

http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2014/08/judy-probus/

How did you decide on your book (s) cover?

Did you use your own photographs, commission or draw you own drawings or manipulate images some other way?

Rumble’s First Scare Rumble

The Rython Kingdom 3d3df1f7d1f382285315cbfd851c3329b33bce46

Why not share your cover?

 

 

 

Imagination – A Writers Tool…

June 9, 2014
mandyevebarnett


articles
As writers we utilize our imaginations to make the unimaginable into reality in our narratives. There are no barriers, no limits to what we can create. Distant worlds, alternative realities and curious creatures are brought to life for our readers.

Our imaginations are a vital tool for our writing and we need to encourage it to flourish. We already ‘see’ things others may not even consider as story potential – such as a unique hairstyle, a particular speech pattern or even an outfit. Being able to incorporate things we see, hear and touch, no matter their original source, is how we create. Let your imagination free and enjoy the process of creation.

How do you ensure your imagination is not stifled? 

type writer imagine

It may seem rather ‘easy’ to create a whole new world, but in actual fact there are numerous hurdles we need to jump, metaphorically speaking. Fantasy readers, in particular, are extremely meticulous in their review and the consistency in fantasy works and the ‘laws’ of the land therein. This fact is obvious when you see the amount of sci-fi conventions and the followers of such programs as Star Trek.

 

 

This Q&A page is a great way to find out if your creation will stand up to scrutiny.

http://www.sfwa.org/2009/08/fantasy-worldbuilding-questions/

And a great link for tips on world building here:

http://www.malindalo.com/2012/10/five-foundations-of-world-building/

Of course world building is not restricted to fantasy. If you are setting your narrative in a particular time period you must ensure everything your characters use and interact with, are from that era. A 1940’s housewife will not have the luxury of a microwave oven, for example. However, when you have time travel within your story greater detail is required to ensure each era is true to its original. This not only gives the reader clues as to where and when your characters are but also gives your protagonist obstacles to overcome. Unless of course you have a time traveler visiting!

A friend of mine. J.E. McKnight, is an excellent time travel author and he is meticulous in ensuring the ‘time-line’ is correct as well as ensuring the ‘vehicle’ of travel is believable. You can purchase his book here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/264043

With attention to detail and solid back story, every narrative can be believable no matter how fantastical the characters, creatures or situations. Most of us ‘believe’ in Hobbits, Harry Potter and the like because the narratives are so strong in the basics of world building.

I have used reincarnation in my novel,The Twesome Loop, an alternative future  in Life in Slake Patch and magical creatures  in Ockleberries to the Rescue. If you can imagine the inconceivable – you can write it.

What worlds, characters or creatures have you created?

Imagination

 

 

Can You Create Your Own Myth..?

February 17, 2014
mandyevebarnett


In the world of make-believe, writers have the ability to create a believable world of their own making. Research into the ‘known’ myths and legends will assist in the ‘format’ of creating their own tale. From fantastical creatures to other worldly habitats to super powers, everything is possible.mythical-creaturesTaking an idea from conception to fully developed narrative is the path every writer wants.

Whether  utilizing a known god or goddess or a creature, or using your imagination to make one from scratch, compiling a ‘life’ around them is the focus.

Asking questions, being inquisitive and ‘seeing’ alternatives will result in an idea that an author can run with.

The questions need not be deep or difficult. Maybe ask where the consciousness of the Phoenix goes when it is between egg and rising? How a unicorn cleans it horn? Do mermen serve the mermaids?

A childlike curiosity is a writer’s best friend when creating magical elements to a story. Even if the novel will be for adults. We all love to be transported into another world. That is the joy of books.

Maybe you have a favorite mythical creature that sparks your imagination. Why not share?

I coupled my love of wildlife and magical creatures into my children’s chapter book, Ockleberries to the Rescue. The woodland sprites live within their forest home to help the animals that reside there. Research into sprites, pixies, elves and the like was fun and I got to read through my gnome and fairies books too.

Ockleberries

The Pot Kiln, a quaint English Pub…

February 26, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Kiln – definition: a furnace or oven for burning, baking, or drying, especially for calcining lime or firing pottery.

Today’s word reminded me of a quaint pub I used to frequent while living in England. It was called the Pot Kiln and actually had a large kiln inside the main building. As this was some years ago I’m sure the owners have changed several times and the interior redecorated. As you can see from the photographs it is nestled within lush woodland with open fields to the front. Perfect as the resting place after a summer’s walk or in my case motorcycle ride.

http://www.potkiln.org/
English: The Pot Kiln, Frilsham Still just abo...

English: The Pot Kiln, Frilsham Still just about one of life’s ideal country pubs. A traditional bar with a stone floor and a decent pint and good grub. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1247777712_the-pot-kiln_1

In our writing, places we have lived or visited can play a large part. Describing an English pub to someone, who has never been to one is not only a great ‘descriptive’ exercise but also enables us to see something, we may find common place, with new eyes. Details come alive when we use our personal experiences. For example I can describe a woodland with a carpet of bluebells as a lilac blue heaven of bobbing heads on pale stems. The dappled light caressing the blooms. However, the difficult part comes when trying to put into words the scent of the flowered woodland. It is a delicate fragrance, but the sheer numbers of blooms makes it quite heady.  This scent is mixed with the earthy undertones of the mossy earth and when you pick bluebells (no longer allowed!) the long thin stem has a slight slippery texture and an almost non-existent root. Remember that the richer the detail the more absorbed our reader will become. If we can ‘transport’ them to other lands or bring new perspectives to known ones, we have done our job.

Bluebell Woods

210px-Little_Chittenden_Wood_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1861070

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