Tag Archives: author

Feedback

23 Jan

….is food for the writer. It even has the word ‘feed’ in it. As a writer/author feedback is very important for your growth, but also for the growth of your story. Every draft you write takes you closer to the version that it was meant to be in the first place. It’s like creating a sculpture out of lifeless lump of clay. You can see what it’s supposed to be, and it will take a while to get it there.

After almost two years of being swallowed up by my new work, querying has taken a backseat. But now that I feel like I’ve got the hang of that thing we call Real Life, I’m back in the game. As I’m still querying the first novel in my cosy mystery, I’m already working on the second. At first I thought that was pointless, because I haven’t even published my first novel yet. I have the luxury, however, of being able to work on multiple stories, so it’s not like I can’t query more novels as a plan B. Also, I let a very critical friend read it and her boyfriend heard about the story and wanted to read it too. Now they’re both hooked and he kept asking me when I’d write the second novel. If that isn’t motivational, I don’t know what is. I also considered it a good exercise of my writing muscles without the pressure of knowing I want an agent to look at it. So I put finger to keyboard and mind to page and here I am…I have a murder in a hotel, an emotional mystery writer, and a love interest who is getting closer to making his move. Yay, the excitement.

What’s even more exciting is the feedback. I mean, after not playing with my characters for a while, it’s nice to know I still got it. And hearing that it’s well-written and just drags you in is just the thing you need to hear. Not just as an ego boost but also because it’s important to know when you’re on the right track. That’s equally important to knowing you’re not. Also, because my beta readers are impatient, I send them a few chapters each time so when they pick up on an inconsistency, I can immediately change it. I’m still going to let more beta readers ravage it, but only after I’m done. In the meantime I’m so happy to reconnect to my characters and let them grow even more.

More murders, more fun. Wait, that sounded psycho. I really must be a writer, then.

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Scheduled Writing

18 Jan

The muse is a fickle mistress. Waiting around for her will only lead to a broken heart. The only way to get ink on paper is by jumping that muse and tying her to your desk. Sure, she will chew on her arm and possibly also yours, but it will be worth it. I mean, the only way to get anything done, is by simply doing it.

Since motivation can be tricky, the key is habit. Writing has to become as easy to do as brushing your teeth. As a child that may have been a chore but we stuck to it and now we don’t even think about it. The wonderful thing about this, is that it doesn’t matter how long the writing lasts. Just like with most things, the more you do it, the better you get at it. Writing is a muscle that needs to be exercised. Exercising for ten minutes is still exercising.

Finding Forrester was on TV today (one of my faves) and it was cool to watch a seasoned author type away on his typewriter within a second of sitting down. His mentee asking him what he was doing, wondering how he shook some amazing prose out of his sleeve within seconds. Because HOW is that even possible? I guess the same as when someone finishes a marathon. With a lot of practice. Whether you try to publish your work or not, the more you write, the better.

So take a notebook with you, or have your laptop within in reach and make sure you have a few moments to jot down whatever your fingers let escape. Your characters will appreciate it. And so will your (future) readers.

 

Post-Planning

11 Jan

The whole point of planning is to do it before what it is you are undertaking. It’s so all you have to do is follow the path instead of wading through the wilderness. What if I told you, though, there’s also something like post-planning?

You might think I’m mad. And I am, but that’s neither here nor underwear. Personally, I have tried to plot and plan, but my biggest dream of actually plotting most of my novel and writing like the blazes because of it has only happened once. A small thought stepped forward while I was trying to train myself to plot and it occurred to me that writing a first draft IS the plotting. You write it and afterwards you make a lay-out of your scenes and character growth and all that. It makes it easier to check your work and then make any necessary changes. Basically it makes you an edit-plotter, though I’m sure there’s a cooler name for it. Hang on, I’ll think of one.

This means that really there are no wing-it writers, there are just different ways of plotting. What ever works for one writer, will not work for the other. I mean, think about it, our characters are so different from each other. Doesn’t it make sense that humans are are also very different from each other?

DEATH DRAGON WRITER. Yes, that’s the cooler the name. Spread the word. You’re writers, you’ll be good at that.

 

Magical Realism Writing Prompts

6 Aug

What reality doesn’t need some magic? I know all the ones in my head do, so here are some writing prompts to jazz up your imagination with some magic…

#1 The Jar
Your main character has moved into a new home on a plot of land and discovers a mysterious jar under the porch. The jar lights up when touched. What is it? And what does it do to the character?

#2 Flower Girl
Your MaC’s car trouble land him/her in a field of flowers where a girl is picking them. She claims the flowers sing and talk to her and she can make your MaC hear it too. Does your MaC accept that offer? Oops, too late. The little girl has touched your MaC, causing them to hear the flowers and a bunch of other side effects…

#3 Black Cat
Your MaC has a heap of personal problems and on top of that hits a black cat. It is seriously injured and your MaC takes the cat home to take care of it. As soon as it starts to heal it transforms into a person of the opposite sex. What happens with this new friendship?

Have fun writing. Magic is everywhere! *quill turns into an owl and flies away* Hey!

Research As Inspiration

1 Nov

Drowning yourself in your story is the best way to ignite inspiration. Whatever your story is about, surround yourself with it. Find images and tape them to the walls of your mind. Or search for quotes that have to do with your theme/subject and scribble them on post-its. Basically any research helps. And how can it not? You have an idea that excites you and that’s why you want to write it down. Getting excited is only the beginning, staying excited is the key. Reminding yourself of all the aspects that you love about your story gives a boost of inspiration.

My favourite month is October and my favourite day is Halloween. Seriously, I like it more than my birthday. It also happens that I’m wrapping up a novel that involves a strange mansion, ghouls, a dog with three heads, people with eternal life, people searching to get eternal life, and an overall feeling of being on the threshold of life (and death) woven in between the words. What better than to get inspired for that final sprint on the day of Halloween?

*blows raspberries* Except that I was too tired from cleaning my brand new apartment all day. So I’m doing it now. Well, I’m writing ABOUT it now. What? Stop staring. I will do it. It’s just that I must share my pearl of wisdom with all of you other writers. And if you’re not a writer then you can enjoy peeking into the mind of a writer. Don’t mind the mess.

Now to prove to you that I am about to get down and writery, here’s a picture that helped inspire me.

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The 2015 Plan

30 Sep

Okay, this might sound more exciting than it really is, but if I call it less than a plan, I probably won’t do it. I even wrote this down in my notebooks so you KNOW I’m serious.

Maybe you’ll recognise this, but I’ve got a list of stories. *clears throat* One bloomed in my mind during my MA in Creative Writing when I had to write the beginnings of a story and it had to be literary fiction. It’s not really my thing, but a story of a young girl with multiple personality disorder knocked on the door of my mind. I only had to write the beginning but I managed to finish the first draft. Then there are the two stories that I’m querying. Since I still don’t have an agent, I’m bringing out the big guns at critique groups to get some hardcore feedback. Then there is a YA urban fantasy novel I finished but has one loose end I still need to finish, and a novel of which I need to rewrite the ending. UGH. Especially that last one is going soooo slow. What is wrong with my muse? Is she drunk again?

So, that leaves four novels that I’d like to reread and possibly edit before I feel like they’re as good as can be. Not all of these I intend to try and get published. The story about the girl with multiple personalities and the YA urban fantasy are Wattpad stories because I don’t intend to write those genres. The latter already has three chapters on Wattpad and hopefully it will be as fun for people to read as it was fun for me to write. It was one of my very first stories so it’s kind of special. *blows nose*

Anyway, before this year is over, I want these four novels to be truly finished. Or at least, as finished as can be. It feels like no novel is truly finished sometimes, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Feel free to send me encouragement on Twitter, because I need it. At some point you get so out of a story, that it’s hard to get back in. It’s like your characters have had enough and changed the locks on you. *adjusts writer socks* Still, they haven’t met my pet dragons yet. Or my inner dragon for that matter. Wish me luck!

Playing with Words 1.1 Apples

7 Sep

The doorbell rang intrusively. It was early and I had barely finished breakfast. I hurried to the door and opened it.

“Hello,” a woman I’d never seen before said. She had on baggy clothes.

“Hello,” I said.

“I’m walking around door to door to hand out free apples,” she said in a creaky voice.

It was then that I noticed the basket filled with green apples. They were still wet as if she’d just washed them.

“Oh, free, you say?”

“Yes, free.” She smiled to reveal pearly white teeth.

“Alright, I’ll have three, please.”

“How wonderful,” she said and held out the basket.

“Thank you so much.” I picked three apples and thanked her again.

“No worries, no worries,” the woman said and walked away.

I closed the door and took a bite of one of the apples as I made it back to the kitchen. I placed the other two on the counter. I made a reach for my mug of tea but my vision blurred and I lost my balance. I fell to the ground as my heartbeat slowed. The apple rolled on the ground.


The sound of the doorbell cut through the morning quiet, chasing off any fuzziness in my head that had been the result of a good night’s sleep. I pushed my empty plate away and rushed to the door to open it.

“Hello,” a woman said. Her clothes dangled around her figure, several sizes too large for her frame.

“Hi, there,” I said.

“I’m going around door to door to hand out free apples,” she said in a creaky voice, as if each word stepped on an old floorboard before leaving her mouth.

I eyed the basket filled with green apples. Drops of water decorated the skins as if they’d just been washed.

“Oh. Free, you say?”

“Yes, free.” She smiled to reveal pearly white teeth.

“Alright. I’ll have three, please.”

“How wonderful,” she said and held out the basket.

“Thank you so much.” I picked three large apples that were cool to the touch and thanked her again.

“No worries, no worries,” the woman said. She turned her back to me and sauntered towards the pavement. Her movements were fluid and her steps contained a certain elegance that seemed to be hiding under her appearance.

I closed the door and took a bite of one of the apples as I made it back to the kitchen. I placed the other two apples on the counter and reached for my mug of tea. My vision blurred and I stopped chewing. I rested my hand on the counter to keep my balance, but within a few seconds I keeled over. It was as if something had reached from the ground and pulled each of my cells down to the cold kitchen tiles. My heartbeat slowed as the apple rolled on the ground.

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