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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

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – The Dreaded Editing Process

December 2, 2021
mandyevebarnett


Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Editing encompasses several elements in order to achieve a well-polished manuscript for submission. Editing includes among other things, continuity, grammar, spelling, character development, revisions to scenes etc. the list is long and sometimes overwhelming.

Where should you start?

Instead of plunging directly back into a first draft, let it sit for a while. Start another project, take a rest, whatever you need to tear yourself away from the world and the characters you created. Ideally, leave it for three to six months, depending on any deadlines you have, of course. This will allow you to ‘see; it with fresh eyes.

When you go back to re-read there will be new insights. Rather than overwhelming yourself with trying to ‘correct’ all the editing elements mentioned above, concentrate on one item at a time.

Limit each read through to a specific task.

When you have completed these tasks let either trusted friends, or members of your local writing group read it. Take note of their suggestions and correct any errors they may find. Remember, no matter how many times you or your beta readers go through a manuscript, there will always be a word missed, mis-spelt or a continuity slip up. Once this is done it is time to consider handing over the manuscript to a professional. A professional editor is a good investment, if you can afford one. A badly edited book reflects on you the author and no-one else.

Here are a couple of tricks that can help you edit more effectively:

  1. Read the book from back to front page by page. This stops your brain putting in words that are not there.
  2. Read it out aloud to yourself or an understanding friend. A missed word is very obvious with this technique.

When editing there may be sentences or even whole paragraphs that you know need to be revised or even omitted from the manuscript to help with the flow of the story line or scene.  Deleting these can be hard. There are different opinions on what to do with these revisions but I think they should be saved in a separate document until you are absolutely sure you do want to delete them and even then you may keep them as a record of how the scene developed. A writer’s jetsam so to speak. These ejected words from our narratives may dwell in our hard drives or document folders for months, sometimes years. They may even be useful if at some point in the future you decide to use them in a sequel!  

Without correcting and improving, our creations will not be polished and worthy of reading and that is the one thing we all want – our work to be read and enjoyed.

What is your editing process like?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Podcast with Joshua Pantalleresco

December 22, 2020
mandyevebarnett


I was fortunate to be interviewed by Joshua Pantalleresco last night, it was a fun and interesting interview with some adult content – so please take that into account.

We laughed a lot and the viewers responses made it a lively exchange. The topics covered were varied and thought provoking. Above all I had fun and I hope you find it as engaging.

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/845819174

I did talk about my books, writing process and answered questions about my current detective series. So enjoy!

As a reader as well I always like the Goodreads end of year summary of the books I’ve read, even though, we still have more days in the month. I am determined to finish The Secret Place and start reading (if not finish) If It Bleeds before the end of December!

https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2020/5477628

Take care – stay safe and well. Happy reading.

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Why I Write in Multiple Genres & Reincarnation Book Review

February 4, 2020
mandyevebarnett


fantasysubgenres_reduced

When I am asked about the stories I write, one question arises quite often. Why do you write in multiple genres instead of just one?

To answer this is not as simple as it first appears. It is linked to my process of writing. I allow the story to evolve as I write and do not steer it in any specific direction. Enjoying where the characters take me is, for me, the best part of writing. I may have an idea what the story is going to be about but more often than not, it diverts into another direction – many times to somewhere I have not thought of. There are many writers that need a lot more structure to their writing, such as complete plot notes from start to finish and I admire that but it is not something I can do. It stalls my creativity. Once the first draft is written then I begin refining the narrative and decide on the genre it suits best.

For example, my Edmonton Best Seller, The Twesome Loop began as a light-hearted romance with a few characters finding their soulmate. However, the complexity of writing in two time periods required a significant amount of detail to be incorporated to allow my readers to understand the backgrounds and personality traits of these people from their past lives to the present. Other secondary characters also began to take on a life of their own and the subsequent narrative follows several love stories intertwined with the main characters.

Clickety Click

https://www.amazon.ca/Clickety-Click-Mandy-Eve-Barnett/dp/1927510856

In my YA novella, Clickety-Click, I had what I though was a definite plot arc but young Alice, the central character and the circumstances of her finding out about her true self went in a surprising direction. It still deals with self discovery and self confidence but also has a twist that I hope will delight the reader.

As a reader what captures you about a book?

Do you prefer one genre over another?

111Reincarnation themed

Past Presence by Nicole Bross

42856212Absolutely loved this book! Well crafted characters, a sense of place and a great plot, I didn’t guess the culprit! Woven with regression tales, which is an interest of mine it has wonderful elements in the story to propel you onward.
Can’t wait for the next book, Nicole.

What book have you just reviewed?

 

Stress Obliterates Our Writing Process – Counter It…

June 16, 2014
mandyevebarnett


articles We all tread this writing journey with a certain amount of trepidation. Even the most successful authors have concerns. Will my novel be good enough? Is the story strong? Will I get good reviews? Have I written my best? Is there another novel inside me?

It is human nature to agonize over these worries but with support from family, friends and a writing group you can lessen them.

how-to-relieve-stress

What makes you most anxious in your writing life?

Unfortunately stress has a detrimental effect on the creative process so we must try to elevate it. There are a few simple methods to help us. Firstly, walk away from the project and find somewhere quiet to take some deep breaths. When our body is stressed it tends to hyper-ventilate with short low breaths. Breath slowly and deeply. If possible take  a day away from the project – obviously this isn’t always possible – but try to take at least an hour. Time away enjoying something else refreshes the brain. If the thought of leaving the project adds to your stress, take notes of how you want to proceed. They will help get you back into the mindset and you have a reference to guide you. Focus on each step instead of overwhelming yourself with the ‘whole’ project. Give yourself a reasonable time frame.  If it helps map out each step from start to finish – you have set goals per day, week or month – but ensure you have factored in extra time for each one. That way if a step takes longer than anticipated you still have a buffer of time to complete it.

Tips for Stress

I found this link which may help – http://www.wikihow.com/Relieve-Stress

 

How do you cope with stress?

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