Tag: #amreading

Balancing Out Your Cast of Characters – by September Fawkes…

It’s no secret that side characters can be amazing in their own right. Great side characters feel like real people–even if the focus isn’t on them. They have lives that exist beyond the scope of the protagonist. When they seem to exist only to help or exacerbate the protagonist, they lack authenticity. With that said, untamed […]

Balancing Out Your Cast of Characters – by September Fawkes…

Hello everyone,

This is a re-blog of an excellent post from http://www.septembercfawkes.com about supporting characters and their role within a story to balance or potentially unbalance things out.

Click the link above for access to the full thing.

Have a good day!

Where’s my routine gone?

Hello,

Where has my writing routine gone?

I remember a time not so long ago when I used to sit down most days and write something. A few words or a lot of words or somewhere in between. I’d also make time to read in any gaps that were presented to me along the way.

Now, though, that seems to have disappeared. I am still writing but its ad-hoc and my motivation is all over the place. It does feel like its creeping its way back to the forefront of my mind and I think I just need to let it happen. But, that’s easier said than done.

It could be because I’m trying to focus on too many things at once. Writing my WIP, finishing my Short Story Course, reading a number of books at the same time, and drawing pictures to accompany said stories.

I’m thinking I need to bring in an actual, written down, schedule to try and keep to. Maybe I could buy a big wall chart or a computer screen the size of my office wall that I can change when….

Hold on. I’m getting ahead of myself now. Take a step back. I’ll just use one of my notepads. That’ll work just as well. The above would take up most of my house. And be slightly more expensive than a notepad one would assume.

This leads me to ask, how do you keep a writing routine?

Progress Made and a Trilogy finished.

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re all well, and your writing is moving along at whatever pace suits you.

Since my last post, I’ve progressed concerning potential markets that I could target for publication. Just a small amount, but it’s something. I have found a number of different websites that look like possibilities. The two I have looked into are https://moonflowerbooks.co.uk/ and Fantasy Magazine – From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism (http://www.fantasy-magazine.com)

Moonflowerbooks.

Fantasy-Magazine.

I’ve conducted some initial research into the types of stories they publish. Both publish short stories and novels. At present, Fantasy Magazine appears to be a better option. But, even if I don’t use either of them, I have enjoyed the research. I’ve been reading the stories available on their websites and getting to grips with their identity and how to submit to them.

I have found it interesting that they both have a different level of detail within their submission pages. Fantasy Magazine provides a lengthy description of what they want to see. It’s very honest, and I knew what they were after straight away. Moonflower, however, is simple and half the length but gets its message across. I’ll more than likely review both again to make sure they are still possible options.

After doing the research above, I have moved along with a goal of mine for 2022. To edit the stories I have written for my Short Story Course assignments and post them on this here blog for your kind eyes to read and review. I have seven stories in total, with each in a different genre. As they are short, the edits aren’t taking as long, which I’m grateful for. Although I know and embrace the editing part of the writing process, the shorter the story, the happier I am. I have many a novel that needs editing. I’m not looking forward to them. Well, I am just not as much. That’ll change when I actually get round to it. It always does.

However, editing these stories will give me a decent warm-up for the bigger challenges. Well, in theory anyway.

And with all this going on, I have managed to finish reading my current book and the third in the Embers of Wars Trilogy by Gareth L. Powell, Light of Impossible Stars.

Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed this trilogy and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys Sci-Fi and, in particular, Space Opera. My favourite is ‘Fleet of Knives. I always enjoy the second in any trilogy, or film for that matter, because I can get stuck in. No need for introductions. The first book took care of that. I can just get right into the story.

Before I started reading these fine books (Embers of War Trilogy- Books | Gareth L. Powell (garethlpowell.com)), I’d never heard of a space opera. Or knew what one was, really. Following this trilogy, I am definitely a fan. I’m on the lookout for more of the same.

With this in mind, I have a double-barrelled question for you.

If you were to recommend a space opera novel, what would it be and why?

Thanks for your time and happy writing!

Crafting Rich Characters (Part 1)

Originally posted on Story Empire: Greetings to all the storytellers out there. Let me start out by first wishing you a peaceful Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Then by sharing how delighted I am to be part of the Story Empire crew. I never tire of chatting about the craft of writing and hope to…

Crafting Rich Characters (Part 1)

Hello everyone,

Interesting article about character creation. Some good points and things to consider.

Originally posted by storyempirecom.wordpress.com. This is via Chris the Story Reading Ape fine website.

Hope you enjoy it.

The Next Step in 2022

Hello everyone,

Happy New Year!

As I move into another year, I wonder what my next step will be in my writing career.

It’s tricky trying to decide what to do next with your writing, isn’t it?

I’m coming to the end of my short story writing course, with the last area of study being In The Market, which focuses on how to approach becoming published. This, like the rest of the course, has provided me with a wealth of knowledge and tips going forward.

Now, it’s just a case of trying to putting my learnings into action.

That was easy enough to write. But planning and doing this is another thing.

I’ve read plenty of tweets and blog posts dedicated to the subject, and they have all helped me in some shape or form.

I’ll be honest, it’s nice to know others are going through the same thing I am, and for those who have already done this, their practical tips have been helpful. Such as providing a list of agents looking for submissions or how to write a query letter/email. It’s all information I’ve taken in, but I will go over it all again and again (and again) to prepare myself as much as possible.

My short story course has provided me with a questionnaire to use when researching potential markets for publication (with questions such as ‘what is the word count for the stories they publish?’, ‘what type of characters are in these stories?’, ‘who is the target audience?’ and so on.) This has helped me break down the subjects I’m looking into and shows if the subject is a viable option.

My research so far has found a lot of different competitions and online short story magazines. In particular, Neon Magazine, a small but long-running slipstream fiction, poetry, and word art online publication based in Edinburgh.

I’ve enjoyed researching and look forward to finding more magazines like this. Hopefully, closer to home (I’m based in Greater Manchester. Edinburgh is lovely, by the way)

This research has also shown me that it takes a lot of work, but I find it enjoyable. I did find it daunting initially, but I’m happy with it. Long may it continue.

So, this leads me to a question for you. How did you approach your research regarding potential markets you think you could get published in?

Thanks for reading and speak to you soon.

Lies, Secrets, and Scars Create Better Characters

A simple character profile is flat. But his lies, secrets and scars create an emotional journey that turns your story into a book readers can’t put down.

Lies, Secrets, and Scars Create Better Characters

Hello,

This is a post I found interesting in relation to the morals, values, or other belief systems of characters that can make a story more of a gripping read.

This also discusses how to detail these areas within a story and how this can help drive the story along.

Hope you enjoy it and find it useful.

Does the Idea of Promoting Your Book Make You Feel Queasy? – by Lizbeth Meredith

on Jane Friedman site: At every writer’s conference, I see fledgling authors roll up their sleeves when told well-established truths on writing: Writing is important. Make it a priority. Schedule time for writing every day, or as regularly as possible. But when they’re exhorted to market their books? Pearl clutch. While a small group of […]

Does the Idea of Promoting Your Book Make You Feel Queasy? – by Lizbeth Meredith

Hello everyone,

Interesting article about promoting your book and how important it is. Even as important as writing the book itself.

The link above takes you to another site, Chris the Story Reading Ape https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/, which then has a link to the article. Although Chris’s blog is wonderful, if you want to skip that and go straight to the article, click here https://www.janefriedman.com/does-the-idea-of-promoting-your-book-make-you-feel-queasy/

The Bigger Picture (Part 2)

He woke up as his head flopped down onto his chest. He rubbed his neck as he adjusted in his seat, accidentally kicking the pizza on the floor. The clock said two in the morning, and he checked his phone and multiple messages stared back at him. His phone rang.

‘Hello mate, hey congratulations and all that,’ Robert said as he answered.

‘Thanks, mate. You didn’t answer any of our messages before. You usually respond quickly. I was getting worried. You, okay?’

‘Yeah, mate. Well…’ Robert hesitated as he searched for the right words in the dark. He stood up and walked towards the lines of moonlight that stretched across his carpet before moving closer to the window and staring out through the blinds. ‘That date from Friday didn’t work out.’

‘Ah. No worries, mate. They’ll be more where that came from. What was the reason this time? You know what, who cares—her loss. You’re a good guy. Her loss.’

‘Thanks, mate. And Happy Birthday, by the way. Forgot to tell you last week,’ Robert said, standing up a little straighter.

‘Not a problem. You’ve wished me the best for other years. I don’t think much of turning thirty-five anyway. You did a few months ago, how was it?’

‘Average at best.’

‘See? Anyway, I’m off to bed. I’ve only had one drink mate but, I love you. I’ll speak to you later.’

‘You too, mate. See you later,’ Robert said, putting the phone down. He looked at the dark screen in his hand before looking back out at the moon. He glanced around his front room before throwing his phone onto the settee, closing the blinds, and going to bed. (282 Words – Part 2)

*

The next day he came downstairs and frowned at his phone on the settee. He pocketed it and went into the kitchen.

Later that day, he was working on his laptop when a ringing tone came out of it. He flinched before realising it was a video call. He answered and adjusted his laptop and the camera as he did so.

‘Hello son, how’s Sunday treating you?’

‘I’m good, Dad. Since when did you learn how to use video calling?’

‘Since your brother taught me a few weeks ago. Can you hear me, okay?’

‘I can, Dad. Coming through loud and clear.’

Robert chatted with his father, struggling to know where he should look (at my face? at his face? somewhere in between?) before his Mum joined in. Closely followed by his brother. The conversation settled into a rhythm that brought a small smile to Robert’s face.

‘We should do this every week. What do you think, Rob?’ his brother said.

Robert stuttered. ‘Why? I’m only a few miles away from you all?’

‘So? We don’t get to see you that often anymore.’

‘Sure. Weekly video calls sound good. Or even just conversations via massager would be fine. What do you think, Mum and Dad?’

‘Sounds great. I…,’ said Dad.

‘No. I can never get those things to work,’ interrupted his Mum. Thus began a long conversation about how she thought video calls work against how everyone else knew they did. At times Robert just sat back and smiled. (546 words)

The rest of Robert’s day moved along at a smooth pace. Leaving his phone in his bedroom to charge, he cleaned his flat from top to bottom and did all his washing and ironing to cover the coming week.

Later that evening, he sat down at his dinner table to eat his reheated takeaway. As he got halfway through, he remembered his phone was upstairs. After retrieving it and sitting back down at his table, it buzzed and buzzed for around ten seconds. Several messages greeted him, all referencing a night out from his friends. Robert hovered his thumb over the keyboard and began to type.

“Just us five. Not been on a night out like that in ages,” one message read. Robert hesitated and then continued typing.

“No other halves then?” He sent the message and then quickly started to type a second message, “Because I’m not that bothered if” but did not have time to send it as more messages came through.

“Just us five. Like it was in the beginning?” read another message.

“Really? Okay. Great. I’m looking forward to it. I mean, I look forward to our usual nights out with other halves included,” Robert sent. He smiled as they ignored it, and the buzzing kept on going as a plan began to form.

“Cool. Meet at seven o’clock in the pub on Friday,”

“Looking forward to it,” Robert responded. He went back to his food before his phone buzzed again, and he glanced down mid-bite. Caroline’s name flashed up. He scanned her message, which was made up of several excuses and half compliments, before deleting it and messaging another friend to see if he was free for a call. As his friend replied, he rang him and smiled as he answered. 

Possible Perfectionist

I think I’m very close to being a perfectionist. About 100% as per the graph below:

I’ve known this for a while, but I don’t always apply the 100% to everything I do. Just the essential things in my life like my fiancé, family, and friends. And my writing

Anyway, I’m currently in the middle of an Assignment as part of the Short Story Writing Course I’m completing. This was purchased via The Writing Magazine (https://www.writers-online.co.uk/writing-courses). So far, I’ve worked my way through five sections of the eight that make up the course. Those are First Principles, Shaping Your Characters, Characters and Plotting, Narration and Dialogue, and Writing Style. Each has its own assignment, and you’ve got as much time as you need to complete them. Well, not all the time, but they are pretty casual about the timescales but recommend getting into a routine while doing the course to help you gain the most from it. 

The latest section, Writing Style, has set an assignment to write in 1,000 words a story that builds a strong sense of atmosphere and/or place. When I was given this assignment, I’ll admit it seemed a bit daunting to me and a little bit scary. I had a rough idea of how I would do it, but I wasn’t sure if I’d ever done it before. But I must’ve done. Right?

I’ve finished First Drafts for Novels and Short Stories so far in my Writing Career and created the atmosphere I needed to tell my story correctly. So, why am I scared now?

Not sure, really. I think it’s because I’ve never sat down and just written a piece that only focuses on creating a sense of anything. Let alone atmosphere and/or place. I knew that I had to come up with some ideas, but what to use?

In my previous assignments, I’ve used such scenarios as manager-team member conflict (Conflicting Characters – Characters and Plotting) Friends living together (Narration and Dialogue – Three-Way Conversation). Still, I didn’t want to just revisit these as that seemed too easy.

Then, it hit me. I really enjoy writing fight and battle scenes, so why not use this? The sense of atmosphere within a battle (I imagine) is strong and can change (again, I imagine) quickly. I settled on my scenario for my assignment, now to write it.

That went quite well. I crafted a piece about a soldier fighting demons as part of an army. Looking like they are on top, only to have the demons retreat as a bigger foe, one they are even petrified of, came into the picture. This allowed me to change the atmosphere from happy and carefree (Winning the battle) to fear and dread (Probably going to lose the battle) midday through the story.

I considered rewriting the story and focusing all 1,000 words on one sense of atmosphere. But I preferred the challenge of conveying the shift in atmosphere partway through—about halfway to be exact. Then I considered changing it. I always edit my assignments, even though I’m looking for feedback, so if I didn’t, it would be fine.

But, I’m a writer. I’m not wired like that at all.

And thus, began weeks and weeks of edits that have become never-ending. Now, I’m aware this is part of my writing life, and that’s fine but, how far should I go with an edit for a Writing Course Assignment? Or should I just send it off and see what happens?

This leads me to a question.

Whilst completing a short piece of writing for submission (1,000 to 2,000 words) to be submitted, would you send the first draft of your assignment or edit it before submission?