Category Archives: Writing Tips

Ten Top Ingredients for Fabulous Fantasy – Kate Forsyth – Random House Books Australia

Ten Top Ingredients for Fabulous Fantasy – Kate Forsyth – Random House Books Australia.

For all you fantasy writers out there (a fantasy geek myself, so stand tall!) these are some excellent points for thought. Check out the link above but let me bullet point it for you.

The 10 things you need to think about are:

Characters, Archetypes, Objective, Obstacles, Root in the Real, Beware of too much Black & White, Magic, Silver Tongued Writing, Morality/ Philosophy, and The Happy Ending.

You know what’s funny about me (not that you were thinking that, but I’ll tell you anyway) I’m not one for neat little bows on the end of my stories. I blame this really fantastic writing professor I had in college. Stories are supposed to be messy with upheavals, so neat little ending kind of go against the grain there.

That doesn’t mean I’m against tying up lose ends, that would be silly! A good book definitely ties up all the loose ends, but not with a Christmas ribbon. Excellent example? THE HUNGER GAMES!

Ms. Collins, may birds sing around her, tied about her series very nicely but with an ending far from happy. Rather she gave her characters and the readers hope. I think it made a bigger impact to the audience too. Time Traveler’s Wife is another great book with an ending that doesn’t have rainbows, but offers hope.

Do you think Hope is the same thing as Happy?

Oh, right. I went off on a rant. You should click that link up above now!

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Filed under Fantasy, Writing Tips

A Cautionary Word

“A word of caution to this tale” (points if you can name the reference)

We all love great writers and their wonderful works. 9 times out of 10, those are the reasons we aspire to become writers. But for all those future writers out there: when you read, read while sucking on a grain of salt.

When we read a magnificent story, where not only the plot but the words, the construction of sentences becomes a a piece of art, a thought can pass through our entertained minds. “It’s so simple, these great sentences, these plot twists, so simple that I should be able to do the same thing!”

The next thought is what separates the writers who are serious about becoming authors, and those who wish to dabble. “So amazing, he/she must have taken forever to get that one sentence/ scene just right.” While reading, it is easy to become consumed by the beauty and intricacy of a novel, but I believe that if you want some kind of confirmation that who you are is a writer then you should be able to take a step back, look behind the curtain, and realize that it is not easy.

Great writers are great because they take simple ideas, build them up, dress and present them to the world in a cohesive fashion, all while doing it so everyone can grasp their meaning. To admire them because of their simplicity is folly. No matter how easy it is to grasp the meaning, be surprised, or marvel at the wordsmith skills, there is nothing ‘easy’ about making the book.

I’m not saying get discouraged, give up now because you’ll never write like that. Not at all! I’m saying getting fired up about it, don’t just emulate what you read, but make it anew and show the world that you belong up there.

Don’t get discouraged when you find creating a beautiful cohesive sentence, let alone a book, isn’t as simple as you original thought.

Some of the authors who have made great works appear simple and elegant for me are:

Tamora Pierce, J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, D.J. Machale, John Flanaghan.

What about you?

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Filed under encouragement, Writing Tips

The Trials and Waiting

So I realize the time gap in my blog posts, but when I focus on one thing, I get so caught up, that others will slip away.

When I made my New Year’s Resolution to write something everyday, I knew I would end up breaking it, but this was one that I was going to keep even after I broke it. Two weeks after the 1st I skipped a day. Fine, I wrote the day after that. Missed a day here and there. February has a giant 2 week chunk missing…I was busy! But I find this exercise more than anything has helped me start my new book.

I hope one day, when I get an Agent, and we have a good relationship and many books between the two of us, I can show him/her Dawn of the Phoenix and finally see it in bookstores. For now, it has been shelved.

There is something liberating and terrifying in starting over. It’s a clean slate, but one that you have to scratch somewhere and then allow the chaos to follow. The first time I wrote a novel I wrote it straight through, half making it up as I went, half planned in my head. It was hard, and I’m sure the many writers reading this are cringing.

This new novel has already benefited from my new year’s resolution. I have an overview and running chapter outline. I think I’ll try it this way, see if it makes a difference. My goal here is to have this novel finished and critiqued by May which is when the next Backspace Conference is. I know, I know, why am I wasting time writing on a blog when I clearly have a lot of work to do. Well, I think it’s important that other new writers find this post. You need to know that even if you put your heart and soul into a book, and it goes nowhere, you can still start over. Fight that fear and the “what’s the point” attitude. Remember the reasons you write, what you wanted to make a novel, and just keep repeating them to yourself. Rock back and forth in padded room with a comfortable jacket on if it helps.

Hobey- ho, Geronimo, Onwards and upwards, and all that! What’s your new book about?

Oh also, you should go to the link below. The tips and advice will sound familiar but really reassuring!

http://the99percent.com/tips/7082/25-Insights-on-Becoming-a-Better-Writer

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Filed under encouragement, Writing Tips

The Call comes in…now what?

Many of my fellow Backspacers are writing of this one particular question that was asked. I’m glad, because honestly, I didn’t even think to think of this question.

What happens after you get the mind-numbing, explosive, finally-on-my-way-destiny call from an agent offering you representation?

Everyone was amazed by this question, I’m assuming, because it’s never thought of as important. Ms./Mr. Agent offers to rep and the rest will fall into place, right? Nope, now we have work to do.

ASK QUESTIONS!!

Why do you like my book? What’s your plan for it, where do you think we can take it?

What are your suggestions on rewrites? (yeah, don’t think you’re getting off there)

What kind of contract are we looking at? 

Discuss plans for publicity if the agent is open to it.

Get an idea of what the relationship will be like and who the agent is, is this really the right fit for you?

Yeah, the call came in and life is ten millions times better already. Now take a breath and think about the business aspect of it. After all now you’re a working author 🙂 

Check out The Long Ride Home- http://sarahcookraymond.blogspot.com/2011/11/questions-to-ask-on-call.html

And The Flying Cheetah – http://marierearden.blogspot.com/

For more detail and great information. In fact, just subscribe to them, you won’t regret it.

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Filed under Conferences, Writing Tips

NaNoWriMo And Backspace

It’s a sad thing when life gets in the way of writing, anyone who tells you it doesn’t….well they are better at balancing all that than me.

So anyway, let’s just recap August-October, shall we?

I’ve queried more than 100 agents for novel and have heard back from more than half. Nothing promising, but everyone knows that’s part of the deal when you start trying to make your dream a reality -road bumps and obstacles. I’m told I should just give up and move on, but there is something about this story which I’ve worked on for several years. I can’t let it go until I’ve tried every avenue. Anyway, enough of the “go get-em attitude”.

Worked at the New York Renfair from August through September- always fun with interesting people abound. I highly suggest everyone try it at least once in their life.

I turned 24 in October, a year out of college and I’m still in limbo, but I kind of knew that would be the price for four magical years of college.

Annnnnd NOVEMBER!

I hope everyone who is reading this knows aboutNaNoWriMo, a.k.a. National Novel Writing Month. It is very important (and time consuming) for anyone out there who wants to be a novelist.

http://www.nanowrimo.org- You need to check out their awesome website.

While this is my first year doing this, I do know most of the layout. Here are the important parts:

1) It takes place from November 1 through November 30

2) You must write 50,000 words for any kind of novel/story you want

3) If you manage to write 50,000 words in that time frame, YOU WIN A PONY!!!!! (Well, okay not a pony, but a pat on the back from the person closest to you.)

It’s great fun, and I’ll keep you posted on my doings and stats, if you let me know about yours.

 

Then we have Backspace Agent-Author Seminar (My first in-person conference, yeah I’m excited!)

It takes place in New York Nov 3-4 from 8 to about 5. Nothing but writing and meeting people for  hours, cool! I’m hoping to get some really strong feedback as well as gain a new writing circle of READERS. Not that there is anything wrong with my group of current readers, but it doesn’t hurt to expand right?

I’m also looking forward to meeting the agents I’ve been querying, nice to put faces to the namea! Especially since I’ve been kind of stalking Jennifer Laughran’s blog- and if you haven’t you need to right now….seriously get off my blog and get over to hers!! She’s brilliant!

backspacewritersconference.com check it out. What conferences have you been to/ are your favorite?

 

There will be more updates tomorrow after the conference. Maybe I’ll see some of you there!

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Filed under Writing Tips, Young Adult