Posts Tagged ‘writers’

 

My writing has been virtually non-existent lately which is sad. I love the out-pouring of emotion and general release that only writing can offer. The pen no longer a material, solid object but part of your body, a functioning limb.

I miss the peace and tranquility that is only found when I disappear from this world into one of fantasy, even if the fantasy world contains horror, pain, torture or loneliness. I know that this is temporary, and like Alice, I will soon climb back out of the rabbit hole safe and sound (of mind).

Now, being in the real world is not such a simple story.

Being a Mum, an entrepreneur of a new business in these difficult and unstable times, and dealing with the day-to-day issues that life throws at you, like health issues, can be challenging. But, and this is a big BUT, I love it all. I love that I am now the proud owner of my own business. I love that I can get up each day and be excited about my job. I love meeting new and interesting people on a regular basis. I love that i’m helping other people and businesses to achieve. I LOVE LIFE.

I don’t think that I have ever been this happy and it appears to be drawing more happiness in towards me every day.

I have neglected this blog, but it has been for a very good reason. One of the main reasons is the one thing that will one day give me the lifestyle to be able to write all day everyday, my company.

I have now allocated two hours per week to spend on blogging, this blog is too important to me to give up.

For those writers that subscribe to my ramblings, I am helping to organise seminars for the amazing Mr David Baboulene http://www.baboulene.com   PhD Scholar, Story Consultant and published author.

See my previous blog;  https://persistentwriter.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/the-science-of-story/

The first seminar will be held at Birmingham City University, Edgbaston on 1st October 2011.

Ticket Cost £49.00 / £39.00 Concession.

If you want further information or would like to book your ticket for this amazing event, please do not hesitate to contact me: kirie.hansen@sky.com or click on the Baboulene link above.

We look forward to seeing you there…

 

 

 

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I recently received my copy of The Winchester Writers’ Conference Anthology 2010 and it is a fantastic read. For those of us that entered the competitions last year, it was good to read the winning entries and analyse what the judges look for. My own entry into the Short Story competition received a commendation which was one hell of an achievement; i’ve been writing (seriously) for two years.

I can’t stress enough, how important I think it is for a writer to enter competitions and, or, attend conferences. The feedback you receive is vital for your growth and necessary sustenance for your long journey on the road to becoming a published author.

I am proud to announce that my name is published in the anthology (see below), though sadly, my story is not.

I have uploaded the story onto  if you wish to read it http://beta.iwritereadrate.com/books/view/36

The adjudicator for this particular competition was John Jenkins, publisher and editor. 

Here is what he wrote about the entries;

“Compiling  a competition short list from a host of short story entries is not too difficult if you approach the task methodically, work away from other distractions and concentrate. You ask yourself a number of questions:

What was the author trying to achieve?

Did he or she succeed?

Was it worth the effort?

Would I as an editor publish it inviting people to pay for the privilege of reading it and using up some of their time?

It is, as sports commentators twitter: a tough ask. But the answer for everybody on the short list was yes.

To assist in this course of action it is usual to de-construct the story under a variety of headings: Opening, Title, Plot/theme, Pace, Characters, Entertainment, Dialogue, Language and Ending. Other judges use more, e.g. story arc – and occasionally fewer headings.

Then there is something indefinable, a certain je ne sais quoi. Much as I deplore foreign phrases there is nothing quite as accurate as this one.

One story will score high on all headings but another will be a better story. It will resonate in the mind either because the tale is beautifully told or it strikes a chord where a chord needed striking.”

You can enter the 2011 competitions by logging onto this site: http://www.writersconference.co.uk/

Good Luck!

By David Baboulene

David Baboulene is a published author of five books and has had three film production deals; one here in the UK, and two in Hollywood.

David works as a story consultant with training and development organisations, aspiring and established writers and producers. He is also working at Brighton University on his Ph.D. and on the use of story as the most effective possible tool of teaching and learning. David is giving seminars on story principles throughout the UK and in Los Angeles in 2011 in collaboration with The Script Factory, Euroscript and other partner companies including Persistent Writer. David writes extensively on his subject, including his monthly column in Writing Magazine and Writers’ News.

Now over to the man himself;

“In my work I have been fortunate to have conversations with famous people who have made their money from stories, including:

  • Bob Gale (scriptwriter of Back to the Future);
  • Lee Child (16 million Jack Reacher Novels sold);
  • John Sullivan (TV comedy writer of Only Fools and Horses; Just Good friends; Citizen Smith…);
  • Mark Williams (Actor in, The Harry Potter films; Shakespeare in Love; 101 Dalmations…);
  • Willy Russell (Theatre supremo and writer of Educating Rita; Blood Brothers; Shirley Valentine…)

 to name but a few. So, from the insights from these fine gentlemen, from my own experiences getting published and writing The Story Book, my work as a story consultant, from working on films and from undertaking my PhD in Story Theory, here are my top ten tips for writers.

1) If you want to be a writer, read a thousand books.

2) Write every day. Make it a priority, build it into your schedule and discipline yourself to it. Yes, being a writer is glamorous to talk about and a romantic place for dreamers, but the ones who make it work very hard, are professional and productive.  

3) Don’t try to learn ‘how to write’. No course or method or rule book or guru can tell you how to write. There’s only one person who can tell your story your way, and that’s you. Those who make it have self-confidence in writing what THEY think is great. Yes, learn about STORY – where story power comes from, how they work, why they exist, how they resonate, what factors are present in all great stories – then use that understanding to take responsibility and write your story YOUR way.

4) Understand story structure, but structure is NOT a starting point for story development, so don’t let it drive you. Let your creative brilliance run wild and free and write from the heart in creating your story; then later, use your understanding of structure in problem-solving and optimizing your story.

5) Most of all, understand SUBTEXT. And understand the creative behaviours that embed subtext. Subtext is the substance of story. If you have no subtext you have no story. The more subtext there is, the higher a story is rated by the audience. Fact.

6) Stories are about character behaviours. Don’t think about ‘plot’ and ‘character’ as separate things. What a character does when he takes action will define his true character, and what a character does when he takes action will also provide the action. Character behaviours meld plot and character into a single entity (story). Get this right, and your story-telling will be tight, cohesive and greater than the sum of its parts.

7) All the greatest stories show us a character learning and changing and growing through the experiences of the story events (or failing to learn and grow, but the lessons are still evident to us as readers/viewer). Try to ensure that at least one character is offered the opportunity to climb the ladder of life. You will find that this is actually your real story, and this is what resonates with your readers and elevates your story.

8) True character comes only from putting your players under pressure to make difficult decisions. For a mountaineer to climb a mountain might be a huge challenge, but  he’d be delighted to do it, so the conflict is not meaningful and therefore the story is not meaningful. For a mountaineer to climb a mountain to save a stranded friend… risking his own life to do so whilst his children are begging him not to go and his wife says she’ll leave if he does… that is a story. Sit your characters on the horns of a dilemma wrapped in a choice of evils and sandwiched between rocks and hard places and your readers will be gripped…

9) It’s really important to learn to handle rejection (there WILL be rejection…) otherwise you will never send anything off. I know many, many writers who develop their stories… then develop and develop some more… because they are so scared of the Judgment Day that comes the moment they admit it’s finished. There’s no easy way. You have to grasp the nettle and get on with it or give up now. Put your ego to one side (the vast majority of rejections are nothing to do with your ability or the literary merit of your story); dig deep, be strong, and put it out there. When I asked John Sullivan for his advice for aspiring writers he gave me this series of steps that should define a writer’s life:

    A) Write the best stuff you can.

    B) Send it off.

    C) Go to A.

It ain’t rocket science! But you do need to be brave, or else you won’t get anywhere. As soon as your material is good enough, you WILL be recognised… and you WILL get a deal! And I promise you – once you’ve had 10 rejections, the 11th doesn’t hurt so bad!  

10) If you would like more detailed information on any of the above, get in touch with me and I will send you a free chapter from The Story Book on any topic you like, or blog on the subject if it is of general interest.

Very best of luck with your work. Oh, before I go, I think there might be just one more tip we could all benefit from…

11) Get off the internet and go do some writing!
David

JOIN DAVID ON HIS NEW SEMINAR TOUR 

TO ORDER YOUR TICKET GO TO http://www.baboulene.com/

Thank you for sparing us some of your precious time David.

For further information from or about David go to: http://www.baboulene.com

 To purchase any of Davids books visit Amazon with the button to the left or click on any of the following links;

The Story Book: A Writer’s Guide to Story Development, Principles, Problem-solving and Marketing

by David Baboulene. Nov 2010

£8.99 (Amazon.co.uk book)

£1.99 (Amazon Kindle Ebook in the UK)

$2.86 (From the Amazon.com Kindle store in USA)

£1.99 (Ebook direct from David, through his website – Kindle or PDF)


A couple of weeks ago a writer I am proud to know, and respect, Harry Bingham,  featured a new website on his personal blog. The blog is available to read on the writer’s forum, The Word Cloud.

The new website is iwritereadrate.com and the fabulous director and creator is Adam Charles. I’ll let Adam explain more about his creation, so enjoy, get involved and join the revolution!!!

Join the Revolution –

What does new technology mean for writing and reading literature?


I was sat in a bar a while ago talking with an old friend over a cold beer.  As an Engineer his viewpoint on various topics we talked about was rather different to my own.  Whilst discussing widely publicised environmental issues his response was always that ‘technology would find the answer’.  My standpoint was rather less definitive on the subject.  Yes, I agreed, technology could play a key role, but it’s down to our choices – individually and collectively – to make any change a significant and lasting one.

My, perhaps tenuous, point here is that we’re at a real tipping point with technology in relation to how we consume literature and media in general.  Technology revolutionises, it refines, it redraws traditional lines of consumption, disrupts our historical patterns of behaviour, it finds a way of improving the situation in whatever aspect of our lives that it touches, but only if we embrace it.

We can see so many recent examples of how Internet and communications technology has fundamentally altered how and when we interact with our friends (real and virtual), connect to the world, find and listen to music, and we’re beginning to see this rebirth happen with how we discover, purchase, and consume literature in every genre.

With the proliferation of devices capable of viewing and downloading content wherever we are – such as smart-phones, tablets and dedicated eReader platforms – the wind very much appears in the sails for a generational change in how we buy and consume books, how we experience literature in general.  This is now reaching a point of market integration when it can no longer be considered in its infancy. 

The people are speaking and it’s now time to embrace the change.

Alas, I have to admit that I will miss the touch, smell, and sense of paper and print.  My personal opinion is that there will always be a place for it, and writers may always want to see their hard work in a physical form.  However, progress happens for a reason.  Usually this is to provide an improved, refined, simpler or richer experience for the people accessing the content.

So, what does the future look like?

I wouldn’t perhaps feel qualified at this stage to foresee what the endgame looks like for publishing, as the shift is still only just beginning to take hold.  However, there is little doubt that it will have to adapt and revolutionise into something that we can’t quite predict just yet.  Whilst this change is undoubtedly underway, it is still currently ether wafting around the world-wide web, a twinkle in the eye of ours and upcoming generations, with only whispers about what the future may bring.

I read an interesting article recently about Digital Natives – those who have grown up never knowing a world without the Internet – and their expectation about what they can do online.  The way they look at the world, through real and virtual goggles, the way that they want to communicate and consume media of all kinds is fundamentally different as a result of technology.  Whilst those of us who still remember Dial-up tones are perhaps grappling with this, the Digital Natives will expect to have flexible, interactive experiences using the Internet; and this certainly will not be any different for how they will want to consume their literature.

What excites me about what could happen next is perhaps more important right now.  Writers and readers at this point in history, this particular moment in time, have an opportunity unlike any other generation of people in love with the written word since humanity began the mass printing of books all those hundreds of years ago.

As writers and readers we – through our actions, our purchasing decisions, the places and devices we use to consume books, our words both published and unpublished (electronic and printed), through our blogs and myriad social media interactions with people around the globe – truly have an opportunity to make the whole process of what becomes a successful story or novel more democratic, more personal, more social.  People Power in its most positive form.  I can see a rise in niche literature – work that wouldn’t be considered commercial by publishers – that will sell thousands rather than millions but still have something very worthwhile to say, and will inevitably, through technology, find an enthusiastic audience to enjoy it out there in the world.

I’m not an industry insider, I’m not versed in the old ways of doing things, and I’m not predicting anything in particular here that isn‘t starting to happen already.  What I am, however, is in my late twenties, a voracious reader, an unpublished writer and a keen technophile.  I know what I want from my literature, I know how easily I want to access exciting new ideas and stories, how wide and varied a choice I also would like.  I also know that I would like a more interactive way of finding new writers and stories to entertain and inspire me.

However, I sincerely hope that it will be a democratic, rather than autocratic, change.

I’ve clearly bought front row tickets for the revolution, I guess what happens next is down to everyone who has yet to decide, and the next generation of book lovers.  Whilst you’re thinking about it have a look at our new website – www.iwritereadrate.com.

 

So, get your ticket and Join the Revolution!

Adam is a founding Director of a new website for writers to sell, and receive ratings & reviews on their unpublished work direct from readers who love to find new stories.  You can register now to receive pre-launch access to upload your work before anyone else, enter a competition to win an eReader, and receive a monthly newsletter.

Visit them to discover more: www.iwritereadrate.com

Today we are pleased to be talking to Jennifer Wylie again about her forthcoming short story releases and her writing life. Jennifer is a regular on Twitter and both friendly and helpful. She is published through Echelon Press.

 

 

It’s been a couple of months since you last stopped by, what have you been up to?

I’ve been a very busy bee! Jump had an amazing release in December, jumping (haha) into the Top 10 Best Seller list on OmniLit on release day. It’s stayed there ever since, and is currently at the #1 spot!

Some very exciting news is I was contracted by my publisher for a short story series. I am one of twelve authors from around the world participating in the dynamic new Electric Shorts division. Written specifically for young readers, the Electric Shorts are high impact stories presented in a venue similar to that of popular television series. Electric Shorts will publish one story/episode each month in eBook. An Electric Shorts season will last six months.

Tell us more about your new stories and how we can get hold of a copy

My first episode [Banished] in the “Tales of Ever” series will debut on March 1, 2011.

Electric Shorts are written for readers between the ages of seven and seventeen with fast-paced and intense storylines. My series, “Tales of Ever,” is a modern adventure fantasy geared toward teens, ages thirteen to seventeen.

Banished

My life was normal. It sucked, but it was normal. At least until I got this new power. I can control fire. It would be cool if it weren’t so dangerous and if I knew how to use it. Pretty much my sucky life took a nosedive once I got it. Yup, everything gone. I suppose I should be thankful some uncle I never heard of took me in. Turns out the whole family isn’t normal and my power is a lot more dangerous than I thought. I thought things couldn’t get any worse. I was wrong. They banished me to Ever.

If I’m lucky, I might survive my first day.

I mentioned I’ve been busy, I also have another short story out in March, Immortal Echoes: The Forgotten Echo. It is a paranormal I’m sure everyone will enjoy!

Sometimes death is only the beginning…

After a bad day Cassy is surprised to find herself shot, an innocent bystander in a drive by shooting. Bleeding to death in an empty parking lot she knows she’s going to die. What she doesn’t expect is the arrival of a strange, yet gorgeous, man who tells her he can keep her from passing on in return for being his forever. Whatever that means…

In desperation she agrees, but after an unusual kiss she is beyond dismayed to discover she has died. To make matters worse, the strange man has disappeared. Her spirit wanders, afraid and alone until she meets another like her and she discovers she not a ghost at all, but something much more.

My new short stories are available in eBook formats at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and OmniLit for 0.99 each. See my webpage for more information http://www.jenniferwylie.ca

I know all of the Mum’s out there will want to know; how do you find the time to write, manage your blog, AND keep a family and home in any kind of order?

That depends how you define order… LOL. I have a lot of energy and run around crazy a lot. Lists are a big thing with me, without them I think I’d lose my mind. I’ve piles of little ones beside my computer. I also try to keep as organized as I can, folders to sort my email, my files. I make up documents to keep track of all my blog dates, who’s on my site, where I am and when etc. Every once and I while I get a bit overwhelmed, sometimes I miss things. But I just do the best that I can!

What is your favourite time of the day to write?

Evenings! I don’t do well with distractions. I will occasionally open up one of my stories and jot some ideas down (so I don’t forget) or sometimes even a short scene or dialogue. Normally I really get going once the kids are in bed. Lucky for me their bedtime is around 7pm!

I recently posted a blog about how we channel negative emotions in our writing, and whether it is possible for an author to write about death and pain without ever experiencing either for themselves; what are your own views on this?

I think it depends on the author really. Some people are very emotional and can tune to these feelings well. Others not so much. Some just wouldn’t be able to convey it even if they had experienced it. Writing is make-believe, when I need to write about my MC losing the love of her life, I imagine what that would be like and write how I feel. Sometimes it takes a while.

Describe your writing environment at home (we’re nosy!)

I’m hidden down in my own little room. I’ve a nice toasty fireplace to keep me sorta warm during these horribly cold Canadian winter days. My writing desk is also my craft station (not that I craft much anymore LOL but all the stuff is still here) I’m surrounded by my candy stash of jelly beans, peanut butter cups and gum balls. For Xmas I actually got a real computer chair, it even has a back massager!

(WOW, I want one Jen! Tee-hee)

What are you hoping to do next?

Hopefully, I can keep up with the busy months ahead. I’ve more shorts to write for my series, and am currently working on edits for my novel to come out in May. I’m heading to the USA for two conferences this summer and I’m really excited about that! Of course there is the never ending marketing too, which I actually really enjoy doing. 🙂

Thank you to Jennifer Wylie for stopping by today, we look forward to speaking to her again very soon!

Thanks so much for having me!!

Good luck with the blog tour Super-Mum!

 

Links to Jen’s amazing tales 🙂

http://www.omnilit.com/product-banished-519511-234.html

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Banished/Jen-Wylie/e/2940012206961/?itm=1

http://www.omnilit.com/product-theforgottenecho-518338-234.html

http://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Echo-Immortal-Echoes-ebook/dp/B004P5NQ1G

I am about to open a can of worms. I know this, but I feel so passionate about the subject that I need to comment on it.

 

I’m the proud owner of an iPad (which is annoyingly now updated! But that’s a whole different blog!).

 

My iPad is mainly used for writing and reading (amongst other things). Those of you that have visited this blog before will know that I am an avid reader and lover of books; these can be paper or electronic. My loyalties and heart will always be with paper. The feeling you get whilst turning a page; the scent that fills the air around you with nostalgia and memories whilst you hold your tome of choice in your hands. But, we have to accept that times are changing and the format from which we read is rapidly changing too. I own a vast number of EBooks in a variety of genres and each year I purchase fifty or more paper books; the majority of which are new releases.

Some girls buy shoes…. I buy books.

I am writing this blog as a reader primarily, and a writer secondary.

What driving force leads you to select one book / genre over another?

For me, it’s not a pretty cover – I know the marketing processes having worked in sales and PR – or whether it’s on a table at the front of a shop. It’s not because it’s an Amazon / iTunes best-seller (though, I do check those lists). When selecting my books I either read a sample chapter or extended blurb / first couple of pages, or it’s because of a recommendation; word of mouth. Most of my friends are avid readers too. I have also been known to contact friends on creative writing courses and ask for their reading lists (yes, i’m that sad).

A thirst for knowledge (non-fiction), beautiful wording and a great story drive me to buy my books.

Two weeks ago I purchased a selection of eBooks. Some of my choices were recommended by Twitter friends (followers), or were by the authors themselves. I’m happy to say that the majority were fabulous and I thoroughly enjoyed them…BUT…there were some hefty duds amongst my purchases and I only wished that they came with return and refund guarantee!

It’s disappointing and grinding to read an opening chapter FULL of typing errors, spelling mistakes and basic grammar issues. I know that some clever person is going to go through this blog and find errors (I hope not!) but i’m not making people pay to visit! If the story seemed reasonable, I tried to continue (red pen extracted from my mind) but this only uncovered more issues; gaping holes in the plot, uncharacteristic behaviours, unbelievable dialogue, amongst many other problems. I know that this is not the norm, but it’s becoming more prevalent.

Why is this happening? How are these terrible books getting published?

This is only my opinion, feel free to offer your own, but I believe that it is because many more people are self-publishing. Anyone can purchase software and produce an eBook. Writers who do this are generally bypassing the copy-editing stage. Proofreading your own book doesn’t count. By the time you come to the end of your WIP you will have read the same text over and over; you won’t spot even the most basic mistakes.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, I implore you, as a keen reader / potential customer (also trainee copy-editor), before you publish anything; pay for it to be professionally edited. There are so many companies out there offering this facility (I will be one very soon!) and it is well worth the money if you want people to buy your books.

This experience has put me off purchasing any more eBooks by self-published authors.

I’m hoping some wonderful author will come forth and change my mind! I don’t like discrimination!

I sincerely hope that no one takes offence to this blog, only accepting it for what it is; advice and help for a fellow writer.

Now let’s get out there and show them how it is done!


Is pain a gateway to creativity?

A gifted author decided to open up on a writers’ forum of which I am a member, about the recent death of his pet cat. It was not so much the subject that touched others as well as myself, but the way he wrote about the passing of his beloved member of the family.

He waited with his pet at the vets while the poor creature was put to sleep due to terrible injuries. The writer talked about looking into his cat’s eyes and realising the moment life left its damaged body; the visibility of separation.

 

I found his account moving and honest.

After a few private tears (memories triggered of my own losses), I began thinking about death and pain; about how we use the negative emotions they create and channel them into our work.

Could any of us write about death, pain, loss or hurt in a believable way without ever experiencing any or all of them for ourselves? I think not.

I read in a recent article that a certain amazing British soul singer / ex heroin addict wrote her best-selling album whilst going through the terrible pain of a break up, and has not found it so easy now that her life is in order……….

So, to reiterate the questions above: is death / loss a gateway to real life, and to the life of your writing?

Does the pain we are forced to endure open up our creative floodgates?

What are your feelings on this? Feel free to tell me about any of your own experiences, i’m interested. What emotions trigger your most impressive / believable writing?

Feel free to post in the comments section. If you agree, I would like to use your experiences in a future blog post.