July 31, 2013

Writer Wednesday Revisited

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Last year, I had a few writers on this blog to talk about writing in a bi-weekly blog-fest called Writer Wednesday. I thought it was time to revisit some highlights.


Julie R. Andersen: Writing is an Addiction I’m Glad to Have
Julie shares her experience of what to me sounds like a nightmare: what do you do if you can’t write?

Joshua Alan Doetch: How Can You Write This Stuff And Not Get Screwed Up?
Joshua tackles the age old question: why do we love writing horror? And who better to attempt to describe that lust, than the person who writes horradorable fiction?

Krista Holle: My $20,000 Mistake
Krista shows and tells us the difference between first and third person, and why she prefers one over the other.

I hope you all enjoyed revisiting these posts as much as I did.


March 14, 2013

The Lure of Social Media Marketing

I’m a big fan of twitter. Not gonna lie, it might be my favourite social media. That’s why I’ve been bitching and moaning about all the indie authors out there who’re using it mainly as a tool to spew out ads for their latest novel. Why on earth would they do it, I asked myself. Don’t they know that it’s dull? That people skim past the noise to look for actual tweets? That they might be sorted out or unfollowed?

And then I entered a contest. And I wanted people to vote for me.

pick me!

Suddenly, I wanted to yell the loudest. I wanted to tweet every hour. I wanted to hold up a virtual sign over my head saying “Make my dream come true!” and jump up and down until everyone realized my book was the best and voted. I got it.

But even though I get why people want to tweet five (or ten, or twenty) times a day about how great their book is, it doesn’t change the truth: it’s bad marketing. I follow people on twitter because they’re funny, interesting or quirky. Not because they blast me with tweet after tweet about their five-star reviews.

There’re two days left of voting in the contest. My book, number 56: Fire and Blood, is currently at ninth place and I’m hoping and praying for more votes. But I won’t tweet about it. At least not more than once a day.

May 31, 2012

Writer Wednesday is Going on Hiatus

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Sorry to say this, but until the game I’m currently working on ships, I do not have the capacity to run this blog as well as I want. Something had to give, and it was Writer Wednesday. My bi-weekly guest spot will open up for new submissions in the beginning of July and will probably get up to speed again by August.

As always, would love to have more guest posters. I just have to have time to actually keep up with it.

See you on the flip side!

April 29, 2012

Do you want to be part of Writer Wednesday?

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You would be in great company with people like Joshua Doetch, Deborah Bryan and Anne Marie Stamnestro.

All you have to do is drop me a line in a comment, and I’ll send you the details.

April 2, 2012

Guest post: Writing in public

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Good morning, guys!

Today, I can be found over on A Garden of Delights, blogging about writing in public.

Let me know what you think!

March 14, 2012

Writer Wednesday Down

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Due to real life pressure and deadlines at work, this week’s Writer Wednesday will be pushed until March 21st.

Sorry for the inconvenience!

February 28, 2012

Writer Wednesday with Jeffrey Chapman

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Today, I’m proud to present Jeffrey Chapman, an aspiring novelist from Montreal who not only writes short fiction and novels, but also manages one of the fastest-growing writing groups in the city: JustWriteMontreal.

Jeff is one of the few people I know who gets all my pop-cultural references right off the bat. This seemingly endless well of knowledge adds depth and snark to his writing. It also makes for excellent conversation. Hook up with Jeff on twitter.

Write First

I’m like a crack-addled meth addict when it comes to writing advice.

Every day I read tweets from author-types, looking for nuggets of wisdom about the craft of writing. I follow a bunch of people that have great writing advice (my favourite today is Chuck Wendig – check his blog). I have stacks of books that cover different topics on writing (current bedtime reading is PLOT & STRUCTURE by James Scott Bell – Amazon link here). I take classes, attend workshops, and go to seminars to hear others talk about writing. I feel like I’m learning.

That’s the thing: there’s so much to learn about writing. Figuring out the craft is important to become a decent writer. Understanding plot, making dialog believable, injecting the story with action and compelling tension are concepts that will make people enjoy reading what I write. There’s also the “weeds” of language – spelling, grammar, punctuation, metaphors and similes – they’re important as well, and they fascinate me. I’m in love with the English language.

But I’m not writing. At least, not writing much. Reading about writing dominates the free time I’ve given the craft. It’s a problem I’m working to fix. So how can my confession help you?

Although obvious, it’s good to start by remembering we have a finite amount of time. Reading is important, and making an honest study of the craft is not a waste of time, but it’s not the only way to learn. The act of writing will teach you. Just as musicians must put in countless hours with their instruments, so too should writers. Put one word in front of the other, completing your tales, and you’ll improve. Although cliché to say so, practice really does make perfect.

Also, consider this: you’ll have something to improve. We learn during the revision process, and because we’re human no first draft is perfect. As painful as it can sometimes be, the best place to start is with your own work. Read it aloud, hear the words in your head, and you’ll often be able to spot weaknesses. Does it sound stilted and awkward? Does your punctuation use (or lack thereof) leave you breathless? Attack these issues. If you’re stumped, then it makes sense to seek help from a book. It also helps to share your work with writing friends, but the only way that will happen is if you actually get the damn words written. Seriously, WRITE first.

Here’s another way to look at it. Have someone tell you ten random numbers between one and nine. Commit them to memory, wait a whole minute, and then say them aloud. Now have them tell you ten new numbers, and immediately write them done. Wait a minute, and then read them back. Which is easier?

Okay, that might be a useless test, but the point I’m trying to make is that there’s a kind of magic to putting words down on paper. Things just stick better when you actually write. Some smart scientist with fancy equipment could probably say something about brain waves and memory muscles and such, but I’m sticking with “magic.”

Let’s come back to the topic of time for a moment. Life is finite. If we don’t spend it telling the stories that burn inside us, we should be out experiencing it. If anything, living life is the best way to collect stories. So I’m going to sound like my father for a moment: do as I say, not as I do. It’s the only way you’ll get that story written.

And with that, I’m going to shut up and go read some writing blogs.

February 15, 2012

Writer Wednesday with Kourtney Heintz

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Today I’m proud to present writer Kourtney Heintz. She has braved something I’m still trying to muster the courage for, which is to attend a writing conference. You might scoff and think this just means she’s perfectly comfortable in a room full of strangers, but no, Heintz struggles with the same issues as the rest of us. So the fact that she still dared to go to not one, but two writing conferences by herself in January is quite impressive. It must mean she’s something of a superhero.

In this guest post, Heintz shares her thoughts on James Scott Bell’s talk at the Writer’s Digest Conference in New York last month. Are you exited? I know I am.

Hook up with Kourtney Heintz on twitter, facebook, at her blog, and discover more about her writing at her website.

Conflict and Suspense—A Necessity in Any Book

Thanks so much to Martine at Nascent Novelist for hosting me on her blog today!

I just returned from New York and the Writer’s Digest Conference, where I heard a master of the writing craft, James Scott Bell speak on conflict and tension. I’d like to share some of the wisdom he imparted during his workshop.

– The foundation of the story is a lead character that readers care about. That is the soil for conflict and suspense.
There has to be conflict and suspense because a protagonist’s true character comes out in times of conflict and the reader wants to see the character at his core.

– Trouble is important on the very first page. Trouble being anything that disturbs the character’s world. Don’t opening with “happy people in happy land” because it’s boring. Readers are looking for the initial disequilibrium.
“The cat sat on a mat is not the beginning of a story, but the cat sat on the dog’s mat is.”

– The reader’s bonding experience with the main character comes from the stakes of the story involving death. Either physical (body at risk), professional (promotion/career on the line) or psychological (harming psyche or shrinking soul).
Even a category romance involves death. It’s the psychological death of not being with your soulmate. Your life is forever less than it would have been if you could have been with your soulmate.

– The opposition in the novel is not always the villain. It can be a force opposing the main character or having an opposing agenda.
Don’t make bad characters pure evil. All great villains believe they are justified in what they are doing. The best villains don’t just evoke fear, but also sympathy.

– Scene tension can be built by having the viewpoint character have an objective/purpose. He must face a series of obstacles to that objective in the scene to create conflict. If the viewpoint character accomplishes his objective, make sure it leads to more trouble.
Suspense is the “withholding the resolution to create an enjoyable experience for the reader.”

He concluded by reminding us that writers are “styling reality for emotional effect.”

If you’d like to learn more about conflict and suspense, check out James Scott Bell’s book, Elements of Fiction Writing—Conflict and Suspense.

February 14, 2012

Why Writers Make The Best Guest Posters

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 10:50 pm
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Sounds obvious, right? Writers are great because they make money off of spinning great sentences. But that’s not actually what makes writers great guest bloggers. It’s the changing industry we’re all trying to get used to; suddenly, every writer has to know how to promote themselves and their books. They have to be on twitter, facebook, blogs, webpages, and whatever else their publishers think is The Shit of the moment.

But you know what? That means the writers know how to market themselves. When they get the chance to write a guest post, they jump on it. They deliver on time, they add links for readers to connect with them and buy their books, they hand over headshots and illustrations with very little struggle. What more can a blog host ask for?

Seriously, what more could I ask for? I’m pretty sure the writers would deliver.

Don’t believe me? Then why not watch the book trailer for Machine Man:

Now do you believe me?

February 8, 2012

Blog awards

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 7:48 pm
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Thank you so much to the lovely Kourtney Heintz for nominating me for both the Kreativ Blogger and the Very Inspiring Blogger award. It means incredibly much to me to be nominated for something like this. And even better: I get to pass it on!

As part of being nominated for these awards, I get to (1): nominate 6 others for the blog award, and (2): share 10 things that readers might not know about me. So, here we go:

I’m passing the Kreativ Blogger award on to:

1) Anne Marie Stamnestro. Writer, friend and amazing cook. She manages to mix taste and words in her fascinating blog. Check it out, and while you’re over there, try the apple pie.
2) Tiffany A White’s Ooo Factor serves me news of the best TV shows running, every week. For a small screen fan like myself, I love being able to geek out on shows with someone equally interested.
3) I love Julie R. Andersen’s blog According to Julie because she has a fresh view on anything from politics to coffee. Seriously, she’s the only one I know who can make rants about espresso interesting.
4) In addition to being awesome at Zombie dice, Joshua Alan Doetsch puts the romance back in necromancy with his novel Strangeness in the Proportion. His blog’s not half-bad either. Check it out!
5) Hayley Campbell is a wonderful writer who makes me laugh with every peek she gives me into Australian culture. She might not post often, but each post is worth the wait.
6) Laura B. Writer knows how to make marketing interesting. Check out her advice on blog layout! Seriously bridging the gap between creativity and practicality.

The Very Inspiring Blogger award, I’d like hand to:

1) Deborah Bryan’s blog The Monster in Your Closet is truly heartening. Her story, her words, and her series of For This I Am Thankful (Ftiat) continue to inspire and entertain me each week.
2) Tales of a Supernova’s Daughter is a blog filled with deeply personal musings on life, society and the big city. Shinseiko knows how to inspire and entertain.
3) Caleb J. Ross’ blog The World’s First Author Blog is filled with great tips on marketing your books, in addition to other writer related tidbits. Caleb inspires me to dare push myself and my writing out there.
4) Carol Tice’s blog Making a Living Writing is filled with useful tips on how to make money from your words. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in freelance writing.
5) Shotgun Shack is a blog from the insides of NGOs seen from the eyes of an aid worker. Insightful, inspiring, and thought-provoking.
6) Metaphortunate son is one of the few blogs about motherhood that I follow. Who knew you could write posts that are engaging, funny, and about babies. Keep up the good work!

As for the 10 things you don’t know about me…I’ll save those for next time.

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