Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Nothing is Impenetrable – Or Impossible…

December 15, 2013

Impenetrable – definition: incapable of being penetrated, pierced, breached or broken into

When we think about new directions in our life, there is a tendency to fill our minds with ‘what if’ and ‘should I’ thoughts. Fear of the unknown is nothing to be ashamed of, embrace it. Consider the rock face. Solid and seemingly impenetrable but over time tiny pebbles moved with the force of water, can wear that rock down. At first it is only a shallow dip but then it becomes deeper and deeper until eventually a hole through that rock face appears.


Whatever goals you want to achieve, they can be realized with thorough research and planning. The trick is to make small steps towards it instead of trying to get there in one fell swoop. ‘Mighty oaks from little acorns grow’  – yes, it is an old saying but nevertheless true. Take time to contemplate what you really want and visualize it. Once you have the goal clearly defined work your way backwards.

What do you need to do now to get there?

Use a graph or a timeline for your goal. Once it is set out visually it is easier to focus and plot your progress. Each step takes you nearer to your ultimate goal and that is encouragement we all need.


My goal for 2014 is to develop my freelance writing business. I have some doubts – time management, bidding on jobs, building a portfolio – to name a few. I have begun researching other freelancers and gaining knowledge from their expertise and experiences. I have already created a freelance binder where I am filing useful articles, blogs, and any information that is useful. My aim is to be as confident as possible before embarking on this venture. Plunging in blindly will result in failure, so time taken to prepare is an investment. To date, I have collaborated in creating a Vision Statement for the local Council and written articles on a wide variety of subjects on Strathcona Connect, an internet magazine. My blog post per day for 2013 has also given me valuable experience in creating interesting articles from just one word! I don’t expect to be able to leave full time work for quite some time but gradually I will build my business to the point that I will be able to.

Do you have goals for 2014?

Did you achieve your goals for 2013?

How did you plan for them? Care to share your technique?

hag stone1

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Editing – Scrutinizing Every Detail

July 2, 2013

Scrutinize – definition: to examine in detail, with careful attention


Once the fun part of creating our stories is complete there comes editing. It is a necessary step towards having a polished manuscript. However, it can be energy draining and frustrating. One writer stated, she printed out her manuscript on different colored paper. Each color was for a separate editing stage – blue for grammar & spelling, pink for continuity, yellow for dialogue and so forth.

No matter how many times or how many people read through our work – errors will happen! Since I have been writing and assisting with editing for fellow writers, I notice every ‘mistake’ in the books I read. I’m not even scrutinising or looking for them, they just jump off the page at me.

Do you have the same problem?

Can you switch off your inner editor?

One trick I’ve found helpful is to read the work from the last chapter to the first. I also have some awesome fellow writers that help me. We arrange monthly meetings and swap 4 – 5 chapters of our work with each other. Then gradually work through all these segments until the next meeting.

These links are great too:

Marketing A Necessary Evil…

May 18, 2013

Ineluctable – definition: impossible to avoid or evade : inevitable


As our writing journey begins we are immersed in our words, characters and plots – this is the honeymoon stage of writing. Our creativity runs free, there are no obstacles, anything is possible. Once our story is written there is the inevitable editing, revision and practical aspects to work through and consider. With a polished manuscript before us we need to look at the ‘advertising’ side of this journey.

Many of us have no experience of media or a promotional background so this becomes a daunting prospect. I found this great post by Jamie Sheffield, which lists tips for marketing. Go check it out.

Obviously there are companies that offer to help you with promotion and the internet is full of helpful guides and tips from other authors. You need to find your comfort level and determine how much time you want to commit to this aspect of your journey. Some of us may ‘go all out’ but in practical terms we still have to balance the other facets of our lives.

Research your options and find the ones that you are most comfortable with and focus on them. Trying to promote on multiple sites several times a day is certainly not practical and will only lead to a ‘burn out’ as well as frustration. Focus on genre specific sites and use your connections (although care must be taken here too!) Be realistic in your expectations – slowly build a following and the sales will come.

Re-visiting an old manuscript…

April 18, 2012

LifeinSlakePatch 001

I am in the process of revising, editing and improving what was my very first venture into writing a novel length manuscript. It was the result of a NaNoWriMo challenge and if you read older posts you will see how that went!

Returning to a story and its characters is like visiting old friends you have not seen for years. There is catching up to do, as I for one, had forgotten some of the scenes I had written in my frantic state but also picking up where you left off. As this work was my initial venture into writing I can look at it with learned eyes and see its faults. So now I am enjoying my characters voices once again and making the story so much better. With renewed purpose I am optimistic I can enhance the manuscript sufficiently to submit it to a few publishing houses this year (or next!). My hope is to see Life in Slake Patch out in the world for all to enjoy.

Have you returned to a manuscript? How did you enjoy it? What were your thoughts? Did you plunge into perfecting it?

Tips on choosing a writer’s conference..

March 11, 2011

writing conference1

A writer‘s conference gives you the opportunity to learn and network both of which are valuable to the novice and experienced writer. You should consider –

* does the content fit your needs at this stage of your writing?
* do the benefits outweigh any costs that might be paid?
* what do you hope to gain from your attendance / participation?
* does it offer more than bragging rights – are you going just to say you’ve
been to a conference or rub elbows with so-and-so?
* does it offer a range of opportunities?

When deciding if a conference is worth the time and effort, a writer must
look at, not only the cost of going but the benefits gleaned from the
experience. Writing is a lonely activity, for the most part, and a chance to
make a connection with others who share your passion is a great opportunity
but also a big investment. By investment we are not only referring to the
fees accompanying conference registration but also the time it takes to
attend a conference. Both must be considered thoroughly – would your money
be spent wiser elsewhere, or would it be time better spent, say, writing?
The content offered by a conference will either meet your needs or it won’t,
depending upon the stage of your writing and the expectations you have for
your writing future. “Never stop learning” should be a component of every
writer’s life and it drives your decision when you select the workshops you
might attend and the value they have to you. Consider if they are
introductory, mid-level, or advanced – or are they general enough / specific
enough to offer you something to ‘take home.’ The whole purpose in attending
a conference should be to further your writing journey. If you are going,
just to say you’ve been, or perhaps a chance to slip your unsolicited
manuscript into the hands of an unsuspecting editor, think again and
reconsider your actions and your reasons for attending.
What do you pay? A writer only has to peruse the listing of the many conferences hosted
throughout the year and the country to realize that costs vary, with some be
out of reach for the emerging writer, or someone on a tight budget. Consider
again, the benefits in relation to the cost. Check out the conference
programs and who is hosting the function. A conference about speculative
fiction or sci-fi fantasy may intrigue some writers but not everyone writes
in this genre and although the fundamentals of writing and character
development or plotting apply to any genre, a whole conference geared toward
this particular style of work, might not benefit all writers. If you have to
make choices, it might be more appropriate to find a conference geared
directly to the type of writing you do or one that offers a range of events,
displays, and workshop choices. Most include a trade area with vendors who
sell their products and services. Don’t look at this as just an opportunity
to spend your money. Consider the value in the research and network aspects
of it – meet new people, explore ideas, invest in your experience – it might
open up doors to the future of your own writing career. This conference is close yo my own home and gives plenty of opportunity for learning and networking.
Everything is All Write
9:00am – 5pm

“Building Believable Characters” with Alison Neuman
“Things That Have Made Me a Better Writer” with Lisa de Nikolits
“Writing Beyond Borders” with Goran Simic (Poet in Exile)
“7 Points of Plotting” with Barb Galler-Smith and Ann Marston

Registration details can be found at

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