Friday, August 30, 2013

Blogger Adrienne Kenman writes...

Have you visited Adrienne Kenman's blog--Mints in my Mother's Purse? Well, you need to. Trust me. (Laughter is the best medicine.)  But not yet... Please visit with her here, first...




Building a Better Lint Trap

Last week, a reader accused me of being a navel gazer.
At first I got all “horror movie” and thought she was peering through my window because I do happen to glance at my stomach quite frequently. I like to be in tune with how far it might be protruding. In my defense, I was once pregnant with twins. For six months of my life I was nothing but a navel. You don’t easily get over something like that.
This particular reader disliked my Cardinal Rue post. It was barely a post, really, just a few words describing a melancholy moment where I missed my mom. I mentioned a red bird and some bushes. Apparently the reader does not like birds. Or mothers. Or people who write about birds and mothers. Oh, how my “drivel” offended her. After bashing me in the head with inappropriate words, she called me fat. Or I thought she did. It was hard to tell with the concussion and all. But when the stars cleared, I realized “navel gazing” was a legitimate literary term invoking the cute little belly button of all things. Being a literary type myself, I looked it up.
It turns out navel gazers are “Eastern mystics who stare fixedly at their own navels to induce a mystical trance.”
Meangirl thinks I’m a mystic? Well, I’m game. I contortedly concentrated on my core, but all I induced was a crick in my neck and crossed eyes. The navel is a pretty awkward place in which to dig for enlightenment. The whole thing didn’t seem very literary-like so I kept looking.
A little more research and I got it. A navel gazer is … a blogger. A narcissistic, indulgent blogger who glorifies his life excessively in bursts of purple prose with no regard to proper vocabulary or sentence structure. A blogger.
Literaturely speaking (yes, I made up that word; my umbilicus told me to), navel gazing refers to the writer’s idea that his belly button is the absolute best and brightest in all the land and everyone will want to immediately drop their copies of Dostoyevsky and read all about it in 140 characters or less; or better yet, in fuzzy detail on his award winning blog, The Ins and Outs of Abe Domen.
The concern among literates is that the resulting lint buildup will “dumb down” the process and product of the writer and, by default, the reader. In other words, Abe is destroying the world as we know it.
Well, maybe changing it a bit.
Consider that the average reader reads at a seventh-grade level. If he spends his designated reading time climbing the posts of Social Media, there’s a good chance he might not even reach that seventh-grade rung, let alone anything above it. What standard for reading and writing is being developed?
Let’s carry the concern up another flight of stairs. Amazon is shuttering our bookstores, gadgets are replacing the rustle of pages, and the Great American Novel is suffocating beneath this week’s trending compilation of essays currently topping the Best Seller List.
The grumbles all sound a bit valid when I put them in my own words, the ones I found scrawled on my tummy.
But they also sound a reminiscent of the worries wrought when the radio, television, and Information Superhighway first appeared.
So do we need to build a better lint trap?
Don’t know. My stomach’s growling (I checked) and Shorty, my roving attention span, just found a recipe on Pinterest I’m dying to try. I’ll post a pic of my dinner on Facebook and tell you all about my full and happy tummy in my blog, mintsinmymotherspurse.blogspot.com
 
 Okay, now you can visit. Thanks for waiting. : )

Thursday, August 29, 2013

How To Build An Author Website

by local artist
Andrew Ferneyhough


It's never too early to start attracting readers. 
It's never too early to build an author website.
And in case you're still not convinced, read Kristen Lamb's inspiring article:  When Is It Time to Start Building an Author Platform
Convinced?
Great
So what is an author website?...

Your website is your storefront on the Internet. It represents you 24/7 and on a global scale. It's working to market you and your books while you sleep, write--while you enjoy your life.
If you don't have expertise in web design hire a web designer. Shop around. Ask, how much it will cost? View your potential designer's work. Don't be intimidated by smoke and mirrors. Ask yourself, what is the point of this site? Did they reach the goal?
Web designers are not magicians nor are they mind readers. They can make suggestions and supply expertise but it is extremely important that you have a clear picture of what you want. 
So what do you want?...

A website is you in a nutshell:  the fewer words, the fewer pages--the better. If you can get everything on one page that's ideal. But you don't want it to look cluttered.
What should be on your website?
1)Your author name and photo
I know what you're thinking, really I need to put my photo on my website? 
Yes, you do. Because, as an author, you are your brand. And your brand needs an identity.
2)Branding words 
For example, my branding words are:  My stories are about strong women and the challenges they face.
3)Your email address clearly visible
4)A brief bio
4)A link to your blog and other places you can be found on the Internet
5)Information about your book or books (such as book cover, brief blurb, quotes from reviews and buy links)
A buy link is a link to where your book can be purchased on-line

What's the big deal? Why do you have to be so brief?
You need to be brief because people are in a hurry when they surf from Website to Website. They want to find what they need and leave.

Once your site is built it must be maintained. Each time you publish a book add it to your Website. Did you move? Change your address. Do you have a new email address? Keep your contact information current.

Here are some examples of good author sites...

Giles Blunt
Joan Boswell
Gail Bowen
Donna Carrick
Sean Chercover
Sharon A. Crawford
Hilary Davidson
Robert U. Doyle
Leanne Dyck
Gloria Ferris
Barbara Fradkin
Alexander Galant
Linda Hall
S.P. Hozy
Susan Kearsley
Debra Purdy Kong
Scott MacKay
Michael J. McCann
Rosemary McCracken
Grant Mckenzie
J.A. Menzies
Rick Mofina
Luke Murphy
Garry Ryan
Robert J. Sawyer
Robin Spano
Chevy Stevens
Kay Stewart
David H. Toole
Roger White

An author website is not a blog. 
I highly recommend that you have both an author website and blog.
After reading this brief article you know why you need an author website. But why do you need a blog?
Read this article:  Should Writers Blog?




Monday, August 26, 2013

Magazine Launch by Leanne Dyck (last installment)

My summer project:  to collect my previously traditionally published writing and re-publish it here on this blog.

And I'm planning to re-publish my short story Because She Believed In Me. But I'm also offering you a little something extra--an opportunity to peek under the curtain. What to do you see? Me--an up close look at my author life. Specially:  four years ago, in 2009, my husband and I left Mayne Island to attend a magazine launch in Victoria so that I, as one of the contributing authors, could read Because She Believed In Me



In case you've missed an installment, here's the story so far...
installment 1

installment 2
installment 3
installment 4
installment 5
installment 6

And now for your reading pleasure, I present the final installment of 


Magazine Launch

“And, now, I’m pleased to welcome to the stage, Leanne Dyck. Leanne will read from her creative non-fiction story Because She Believed In Me. Leanne Dyck.”
            Applause. Byron squeezed my hand. I pushed my way out of the audience and onto the stage. My face cracked into a nervous smile. There are too many people here—and I don’t know any one. But… I located Byron  in the audience. He looks so nervous. I can do this. I can do this. I fumbled with the zipper, opened my purse and withdrew my index cards. “To set the scene:  I am about seven years old and we are in my grade two classroom.
            “ ‘Leanne, read the next passage,’ the teacher says, throwing me to the jackals.
            “My hands begin to shake. My forehead tightens.
            “ ‘Oh, no, not her. We’ll be here all day,’ sneers a fellow student.
            “I peer at the page, attempting to find sense in the swirl of words that confront me. The letters leap, spin and twist—refusing to be captured. I focus all my effort on one word, the first word. I wrestle with it, attempting to contain it.
            “The first letter is an ‘s’, I tell myself. It makes the sound of a snake.
            “I smile contently. I have begun.
            “Next letter, I look at it.
            “That’s a ‘p’, I think.
            “I look again and in front of my eyes, the letter has undergone a magical transformation. It has become a ‘t’.
            “Panic grips me.
            “This is taking way too long.
            “I feel eyes drilling holes in my flesh. A clock ticks loudly. The sweet aroma of the teacher’s perfume engulfs my nostrils. Outside a bird calls. My senses are assaulted. I can’t shut anything out. I can’t focus.
            “I just want this to end. Please, please I don’t want to be here any more, I pray.’ I pause. “Flash forward…wow…a lot of years and I’ve grown from an elementary school student struggling with dyslexia to a mystery author gifted with dyslexia. What happened to cause this change? Would you like to solve that mystery? Well, what you do is this…get your hands on the Island Writer magazine…flip to my story Because She Believed In Me—all will be revealed. Thank you for listening. Happy Holidays.”
            Applause. Sweet applause. I left the stage and joined the audience. They showered me with praise. “You should be an actress,” they told me. “You did a very good job.”
            Two women approached me.
“I’m Samantha Robins,” one of the woman said. “And this is” I recognize the name. She’s…she’s…a prolific author. I resisted the impulse to hug her.
“I really enjoyed your story."
I blushed.
"In fact," she continued. "I’d like to encourage you to write more about your experiences as a dyslexic.” The Author told me.
Her words stayed with me.
            In the car, I told Byron, “I want to do more readings.”
            He kissed me. “You’re amazing,” he said.
            Know what? I think he’s right.

***
Next Monday:  Because She Believed In Me (short story)
This Thursday:  How to build an author website
This Friday:  Please welcome author Adrienne Kenman


           
           



Friday, August 23, 2013

The Rewrite Meltdown by Sylvia McNicoll


Recently, I listened to my editor agree with a panel of two other editors that it was sometimes just one wonderful sentence that caused them to fall in love with a book.   Next day I asked her which sentence it was of Dying to Go Viral so that I would be certain that I didn’t take it out.

She hesitated.  Not a good sign. We had been working full out on a substantive edit.  (This is the major first edit that focuses the vision of your story.) and there had been extensive rewriting so there was that danger of destroying this one glorious, if imaginary, sentence. Maybe also I was just being a needy author in search of a compliment.
 Finally, to let her off the hook,  I suggested that it was the premise :  a 14 year-old girl gets a one week do over of her last week of life. She agreed quickly.

What I have learned about the editing process is that when the revision suggestions come in most writers’ first response is overly emotional because they’re overwhelmed with a sense of inadequacy.  “I’ll never be able to achieve all the editor’s asked of me.  I don’t even know where to begin.”

Best advice, think on it for a few days.  Go into a dark room, put a blanket over your head and weep, if you must.  But don’t call the editor to vent until you’ve really thought the suggestions over.

“If you know so much about how this book should be written, why don’t you do it yourself?” was one author’s reaction.   “If you thought so much was wrong with the story, why the heck did you buy it?”was another.

As you’re weeping in your dark space, you may find you suddenly think of a solution to one of the problems suggested in the rewrite notice. You’re anxious to try to see if this turn works. Suddenly excitement takes over your inadequacy. Next thing you know, the new bit added to show character development is your favourite scene .  Then you’re on to the next problem.  Sentence by sentence, chapter by chapter, you end up rewriting your book and it’s better for it.  One writer I know says she loves the to-and-from teamwork between her and  someone else so intimately connected with her story.

Editors, I have a suggestion too.  Just compliment the writer . Then she won’t have to fish and maybe the time in the dark space will be shorter.


To learn more about Sylvia McNicoll's author journey, please visit her website.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Raving about Most of Me by Robyn Michele Levy

Buy this book

Back cover blurb:  Robyn Michele Levy was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease at age forty-three and, eight months later, with breast cancer. With irreverent and at times mordant humour, Most of Me chronicles Levy's life since then dealing with her diverse disease portfolio.

How did I find this book?

Last February I attend the Galiano Literary Festival. After listening to Robyn Michele Levy's author reading, I got up from my chair, marched over and bought her book.

My reading adventure:  Most of Me:  Surviving My Medical Meltdown is a bravely honest book and as such isn't an easy book to read. Robyn writes frankly about the onset of Parkinson as well as how it has changed her. But there are some heartwarming, even funny, moments too--these she shares equally as generously.

At times, Most of Me reads like an instruction manual for those who have been newly diagnosed with Parkinson. For example...

Monday, August 19, 2013

Magazine Launch by Leanne Dyck (installment 6)

More photos of the Mayne Island parade 
at the end of this post...

My summer project:  to collect my previously traditionally published writing and re-publish it here on this blog.

And I'm planning to re-publish my short story Because She Believed In Me. But I'm also offering you a little something extra--an opportunity to peek under the curtain. What to do you see? Me--an up close look at my author life. Specially:  four years ago, in 2009, my husband and I left Mayne Island to attend a magazine launch in Victoria so that I, as one of the contributing authors, could read Because She Believed In Me. 

In case you've missed an installment, here's the story so far...
installment 1
installment 2
installment 3
installment 4
installment 5

And now for your reading pleasure (I hope)...


Magazine Launch (installment 6)

We walked into the hall; into a sea of people.
            It’s not my first reading, I thought as we hunted for seats. It’s not even the first time I’ve read off-island. Byron found two chairs but rows separated them. I shook my head and mouthed, “no.” But it is the first time I’ve read to this many writers. We claimed two chairs—they were in the middle of the second row. And they’ll all judging me. I grabbed Byron’s hand and held on tight. I’m not nervous. I’m not nervous. I’ll be fine. I’ll be fine.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Author Arleen Pare writes...



Next year I will have a third book.  This is a minor miracle.  I have come to believe that the process of making books, who gets a manuscript published, how a book comes into the world with my name on it, for instance, is a mysterious thing.  Each of my books has been a surprise.  Not that I didn’t write them or that I don’t take responsibility for them, but every time the process has felt precarious, unpredictable.  I am grateful each time, but I don’t understand anything more now than I did when I first started submitting manuscripts for publication. 

This may be that I have come to writing late in life.  For most of my salaried work life, I worked as a social worker.  I understood the field of social work, how an individual would apply for a job and be hired -- or not.  I understood job descriptions and how jobs were managed, how decisions were made.  I respected the levels of work, the chains of responsibility.  But a career in creative writing is different, more, in fact, unwritten, without clear job descriptions or hiring processes, more shrouded, obscured.  

My third book will be a book of poetry, themed, about a lake I knew when I was a child, the Lake of Two Mountains, which will be its title, and it will be published by Brick Books.  I am thrilled, over the moon.  I feel like I’ve won the lottery.  It is the third minor miracle.  And I have a fourth manuscript that I am editing right now.  I will send it to various publishers when I think it’s ready to be sent out, but I will still find the process confusing.  I will still feel like I’ve entered a lottery contest.  If I win, I will be delighted.   Of course.  If I don’t, I will keep sending the manuscript to more and different presses, hoping each time to have the winning ticket.  But how will I know when I have finally and for sure - not won?







Thursday, August 15, 2013

How to write popular posts

When you begin to blog don't think about how many people are reading your blog. Chances are it won't be many. And dwelling on this might discourage you. So, instead, think about building community. 

Visit other blogs and leave comments. Look around. What do you like? Make a note of it and plan to use it on your own blog. Did their article provoke you? Could you write an article in response? Do you like the photos and stories the blogger shares about their farm? Why not share stories about the city you call home?

Show appreciation for the readers--how ever few--that you do have. Write articles with them in mind. Inform them, entertain them, inspire them. 

Set goals such as writing daily to encourage yourself to take full advantage of your blog.

When beginning to blog, don't dwell on the negative; strive for the positive. 




Monday, August 12, 2013

Magazine Launch by Leanne Dyck (installment 5)

My mother-in-law prepares her entry for 
Mayne Island's fall fair
Saturday, August 17th

My summer project:  to collect my previously traditionally published writing and re-publish it her on this blog.

And I'm planning on re-publishing my short story 'Because She Believed In Me'. But I'm also offering you a little bit more--the behind the scenes look at my life as an author. Four years ago, in 2009, my husband I left Mayne Island to attend a magazine launch in Victoria so that I, as a contributing author, could read 'Because She Believed In Me'. True facts--invented details.

Installment 1
Installment 2
Installment 3
Installment 4


Magazine Launch (installment 5)

            It was chilly night yet the sidewalks were full of people.
            “Why are there so many people out walking?” I asked Byron.
            “How should I know?” He shrugged. “Maybe that’s just what they do here.”
            “This neighbourhood reminds me of Osborne Village,” I said. Winnipeg’s riverside neighbourhood had been the first place we’d lived as a couple. We shared a smile and continued exploring.
            “You going to watch the parade?” one neighbour asked another.
            Byron leaned in close to me. “Parade,” we shared the word, savoured it. And we didn’t have long to wait. Trucks, service vehicles, even two city buses—all decked out in lights. Some even provided Christmas carols. When the last Christmas tree on wheels drove past Byron said, “We should start our way back.”
            My reading. I can’t be late. Which way is back?
            I started down one street but it led us to unfamiliar sights.
            “I don’t think this is the right way,” Byron said.
            “We’re lost. What if they call, ‘Leanne Dyck’—and I’m not there.”
            “Won’t happen,” Byron said.
            Sure he can say that. It’s not his thing. He doesn’t really care. Well, he may not. But I do. And I’m going to find that hall; I’m not going to be late; I’m not going to miss this opportunity. I stormed down one street after another—possessed by my mission.
            I was so relieved when Byron said, “There it is. See we found it. But we better hurry—only five minutes to show time.
***
Next post:  How to begin to blog

Friday, August 9, 2013

Please welcome Author Crystal Favel (The Digital Storyteller)

Update (Feb. 14):  Crystal Favel a.k.a. Kwe's next album -- Native Symphony -- is coming out on March 28th. 


Crystal Favel has reached out to over 400,000 fans in hopes to inspire the world through motivational writing, speaking and production events.  To contribute to the solidarity of the Native Community she founded her own production company, “Urban Indian Productions Inc.” She is a proud member of the Cree/Métis/Irish nation, born in North Vancouver and currently residing in Vancouver, BC.  Her trail blazing ideas and projects exude innovation and excellence as she follows in her ancestral footsteps and writes her heart out in prose and inspirational communication products.  She has 20 years of technology experience, 10 years leadership experience, several awards, certificates and milestones that validate her mission and positive attitude. 


By the time she was 18 years old she had several of her published works featured.  Such examples of interviews, book reviews and conference reports were published by Beedaudjimowin as she captured the essence of Aboriginal issues in her articles.  In the past seven years her writing has been published by Indigenous Writers Collective, Windspeaker, Beedaudjimowin, Spirit Magazine, Lac De Flambeau, Thirdspace University of Victoria, Examiner.com and Transport Canada.  She was also featured in SAY Magazine, Aboriginal Business Quarterly, AfroToronto, Windspeaker, Barrie’s Bay News, CANDO, RPM, CBC, Much Music, Aboriginal Voices Radio, Ryerson Radio, C-WMEB Radio, Native Threads and Native Wear as a motivational Artist advocating positive change on a multimedia platform. 


Her story composition and sound design skills have been utilized for Aboriginal films such as “Sky Stories” which was showcased at the HR McMillan Planetarium for three years.  This film was showcased to grade 9 students as part of their curriculum as they learned about First Nation Sky Stories and atmospheric legends.  Crystal not only produced sound effects and electronic music clips for the film, but she also creatively compiled all the files to give birth to a multimedia montage of Aboriginal stories thus launching her career as “The Digital Storyteller.” Since then she has nurtured her own Aboriginal stories into modern works of audio art that highlight her inspirational message in her writing.  The fusion between technology and her writing has fuelled a leading edge career for Crystal that has impacted the hearts and minds of thousands of people leaving them asking for more. 

“Master the heart of moving on and reach for the stars!”





How/why did you start to write?

I started writing at the tender age of 3 and won a story contest for my “Spooky Story” for Halloween. I still have the story in my writers’ portfolio and take a glance every now again to reminisce about the happiness it brought to my life.  I was first published by the age of 18 as a Photo Journalist for a Native newspaper.  I started writing because my father was a publisher and accredited author lobbying for the rights of Aboriginal People.

How did you become an author?

I became a published writer when I took on an internship at Beedaudjimowin Newspaper reporting on Native Issues.

What was your first published piece?

My first published piece was called “The Earth Our Mother” and here is the link; http://issuu.com/djkwe/docs/earthourmother_crystal_favel?mode=window&viewMode=doublePage

 Where was it published?

Toronto Ontario Canada

How long ago?

21 years ago

What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?

My writing has always utilized in any career I took on.  Even when I was a Technology Officer for Transport Canada and wrote feature articles; I always craved sharing my written word on subjects that should be celebrated, here is an example of one; http://issuu.com/djkwe/docs/march_apriltcexpressarticle_transpo?mode=window&viewMode=doublePage

Also, in the past 12 years I have been a professional DJ and even won a DJ contest.  During my DJ and production career I have utilized my writing by publishing interviews, features and stories that were later converted into soundscapes.  But as of right now my writing has defined my career path and I have taken the leap to focus on my writing fulltime.  I am now digitally telling stories that I have written and produced them with a sound score and narrations.
  
What inspires you?

I am inspired by my traditional teachings which have helped me create stories of unbelievable change and resiliency.  I am inspired by the loved ones around me who only want the best for me.  I am inspired by all humans who overcome adversity and shine.  I am inspired by my willingness to live another day despite the challenges I have had to overcome.  I am inspired by my friends who want to share me with the world.  I am inspired by my fans who tell me stories about how my music and writing affects their life in such positive ways.  I am inspired by Mother Earth, the Creator and my Ancestors for the love and acceptance they show me.  I am inspired after reading survival stories and realize how lucky I am to be alive.  I live to inspire youth to overcome their hardships and reach for the stars.

Please share one of your successful author platform building technique

As a Digital Storyteller I have the ability to DJ, produce music composition and sound design to illustrate my story.  For example, when you go to watch a movie you have sound effects, foley and narration/scripts.  I mix the music with the narration in a live performance so that you hear the story through the speakers and use your imagination to paint the visuals through auditory stimulation.  Because I am able to perform my stories, I am able to market my stories through performing arts.

Parting words

“May the young ones learn from our mistakes without suffering from them.”

Upcoming book

“Speaks From The Heart”






Speaks From The Heart provides a glimpse into the world of a young mixed-blood with the heart of a female warrior.  Cedar Woman is haunted by the memories of her torturous youth while suffering horrific family abuse.  This anti-bullying message is based on her own life experiences, each situation delicately woven into a basket of universal Aboriginal teachings, carrying the weight of the world, yet with the resiliency to overcome adversity and to shine. 

Author:
Crystal Favel aka The Digital Storyteller



Author Website/Blog/Email:

1. Cedar Woman – The Digital Storyteller (Traditional)
http://cedarwomanproductions.com/

2. Urban Indian Productions – The Digital Storyteller (Modern)
http://urbanindianproductions.com/

3. crystalfavel@gmail.com 



Press Coverage:

1. "Crystal Favel revealed all the personal challenges she had to overcome in her life; this is what a delegate said about her story "it was from the heart. I'm very proud of her effort."
Delilah Mah - Cando News

2. "Crystal is a special woman who has a lot to offer her people."
Priscilla George – Beedaudjimowin

3. "Blazing Trails"
Laura Stevens - Aboriginal Business Quarterly – AMMSA

4. "Crystal is an astounding person because of her passion and sheer determination and is a very supportive individual."
SAY Magazine

5. "Spiritual Turntablist"
Tanya Bailey - Afro Toronto

6. One of the top “5 Aboriginal electronic acts to watch for in 2012”
7.  “Cree/Métis artist Crystal Favel, aka DJ Kwe, infuses Aboriginal sounds with electronic music. She spins beats, scores films, writes prose and shares her story through musical, multi-media montage – a practice that earned her the moniker “The Digital Storyteller”. Her Wax Warriors movement encourages and represents youth who also turn to turntables for musical expression – her own path in music trail-blazing the way for others to follow.”
RPM.fm


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Book review: 419 by Will Ferguson


Blurb:  A car tumbles through darkness down a snowy ravine.
A woman without a name walks out of a dust storm in sub-Saharan Africa.
And in the seething heat of Lagos City, a criminal cartel scours the internet looking for victims.
Lives intersect. Worlds collide. And it all begins with a single email:  "Dear Sir, I am the daughter of a Nigerian diplomat, and I need your help..." Will Ferguson takes readers deep into the labyrinth of lies that is "419," the world's most insidious internet scam.
When Laura Curtis, a lonely editor in a cold northern city, discovers that her father has died because of one such swindle, she sets out to track down--and corner--her father's killer. It is a dangerous game she is playing, however, and the stakes are higher than she can ever imagine.
Woven into Laura's journey is a mysterious woman from the African Sahel with scars etched into her skin and a young man who finds himself caught up in a web of violence and deceit.
And running through it, a dying father's final words. "You, I love."

What attracted me to this book?

Well, as I've shared with you before, I'm a fan of Will Ferguson. And this book won the Giller in 2012. Put them both together and you'll know why I read this book.

What did I find?

What a master storyteller can do...

-talk directly to the reader...

'Despair comes slowly, crawling its way up inside you until it threatens to overwhelm everything; it buckles the knees, makes you falter, makes you break stride.' (p. 88)

This type of writing is like being able to peek under the curtain and watch the Wizard of Oz at work.

-the two word transition...

'Outside:  chinook winds dividing the sky, the clear blue pushing dark clouds forward in a single wine arc. 
Inside:  Laura's father sitting on one of the mall's benches, staring at the ground, frowning thoughtfully.'

"You can't do that." Would be my immediate response, if I were to think of trying this. Yet, he has the confidence to try. And it works very well. I wonder how many writing rules we invent simply because we are afraid to try.

-like a skilled weaver, releases one strand (character) and picks up a different one. Both are woven flawlessly into the story.

-uses beautiful imaginary...

'She fell into sleep, like a body down a well.' (p. 95)

'It was a wisp of a dream, like trying to catch wind in your hand.' (p. 100)

-poses a question that resonates...

'The final block is fear...What if you denied fear its foothold? What if you refused to be afraid?' (p. 149)

-shares his trademark humour...

' "The only reason I never won...is because you never lose." ' (p. 225)

About the story...

Once we feel cozy and warm in North America. Once we've identified the good and the bad. We travel with Mr. Ferguson to Nigeria--and everything is set on its ear.

' "[W]hen it comes to obtaining wealth through false pretense, the white man is still the expert. I'm afraid the black man is an amateur when it comes to 419ing others. One might say, my entire country was obtained under false pretenses." ' (p. 304)
***
Sharing my author journey...

Work in progress:  Alone in Her Head 
(a novel in story) 
(sequel to A Long Way From Her)
Current word count:  27,386 words
Goal:  40,000
The words are flowing. I'm loving the collection of short stories to make a novel concept. 
***
Next post:  Please welcome Author Crystal Favel



Monday, August 5, 2013

Magazine Launch by Leanne Dyck (installment 4)

This Summer my husband and I are transforming our front and back yard from an abandoned jungle to...a...well...I'll show you instead of tell you. Today here's my back yard.
 I spent three days weeding this section of my back yard.

 Then my husband, Byron, used a tapper to level out the yard. 
When we're done, I'll use this section of the back yard to do Tai Chi. After several years I'm still very much a beginner. But I really enjoy this mindful exercise. (And for a dyslexic, the sequencing is especially challenging.) In the meantime, in between time, we continue to work...
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My summer project:  to collect my previously traditionally published writing and re-publish it here on this blog.

And I'm planning on re-publishing my short story 'Because She Believed In Me'. But I'm also offering you a little bit more--the behind the scenes look at the life of an author, the behind the scenes look at the life of this author. You could look at it as the story behind the story. Four years ago, in 2009, my husband and I left Mayne Island to attend a magazine launch in Victoria so that I could read 'Because She Believed In Me'. True facts--invented details.


Magazine Launch (installment 4)

I read the clock on the dashboard. 7:30. “We’re too early.”
            “Wow. I wonder how that happened?”
            I knew he was mocking me—and I wasn’t amused, but I didn’t want to start a fight. “Maybe we should turn around and—”
            “No, I don’t think so.” I followed him into the building. Plank floor. Pump organ. Stripped banners. The place looked like a Second World War dance-hall  Two twenty-something women stood in the corner by the organ talking. Their clothes had a funky style with accents of vintage. Byron nudged me toward them. They stopped talking; one of them smiled at me.
            “Hello, I’m Leanne Dyck.” I waited for them to recognize my name. When they didn’t, I explained, “I’m one of the authors who’ll be reading their stories tonight.”
            “Oh, it doesn’t start until 8 o’clock.”
            “Yes, I know. Do you mind if we wait here?”
            They shared a look. “No, we don’t mind. But you’d probably be more comfortable waiting at one of the local pubs.” They aimed us in the right direction; and we left.
            We stood on the sidewalk, looked across the street at a pub. It was the first one we’d found. A long line of people blocked the door.
            “Let’s try somewhere else,” Byron said.
            Pub after pub, it was the same story—door blocked by too many waiting people.
            “We could just push our way in,” I said.
            Byron looked at me like I’d suddenly grown two heads. “Let’s check out the shops,” he said and led me into a music store. Black walls. Red lights. Devil heads. Everyone dressed in leather. Byron was drawn to crates of L.P.s in the middle of the store. In a corner, I found a small display of clothing. Hey, those look like the black leather high tops I used to own. I wonder how much they—I knelt to inspect them more closely. Someone touched me. I jumped, turned—Byron.
            “It’s all heavy metal,” he whispered. We left.
            We couldn’t drink; we could shop; we were running out of options.
            “Let’s check out the neighbourhood,” Byron said.
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Next Monday:  Follow us further into the maze as I present installment 5 of Magazine Launch
This Thursday:  Raving about 419 by Will Ferguson
This Friday:  Please welcome Author Crystal Favel

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Importance of Pacing in Writing Fiction by Jack Meyers



 
The Importance of Pacing in Writing Fiction

Alright, let me get right down to it. Pacing is important. In every kind of writing there is pacing. It is present in school books, novels, poetry, and even advertisements are dependent on pacing. Pacing determines how what you write comes across to readers. Is it short and fast and to the point? Is it long and boring? Is it ornate and languorous? It all depends on your pacing. If you do not understand what I mean then just keep reading.

1. Fast –So you want your story to be fast paced. You are going for something that will get readers moving through the pages faster than their eyes can follow. Something that sucks readers in and keeps them reading until the story is done. You like action; quick stories with faster resolutions and witty banter. None of that froufrou stuff for you. You subscribe more to the Hemingway philosophy of writing than the Austen school. Here is a tip: keep your sentences short. Choose short words that are clear and concise. Do not spend a lot of time describing what is going on or the setting or the characters. Show by action and dialogue.

2. Slow – You prefer the slow and steady path. Rather than rushing your way through a piece of fiction you prefer to meander and take in all the details. More luxury car than sports car, you thrive on the little joys of writing. Take your time describing the setting. Get to know your characters with elaborate back stories or long conversations. Keep your sentences long and complex with lots of adverbs and adjectives to fill up the pages until your simple story has stretched into an epic novel that will keep readers enthralled for days.

3. Action –When writing action, a fast pace is usually preferable. Because action scenes need that feeling of movement short, choppy sentences work well. Sound words and sharp verbs should be foremost on your list. You do not have a lot of time to describe everything that is going on, so focus on what is most important at the time. You can always fill in the blanks via a flashback or info dump later. Remember that fragmented sentences are acceptable! Keeping your paragraphs and dialogue short is another great way to infuse action and movement into a scene.

4.  Romance –Depending on the type of romance you are going for, you usually want to slow things down a bit. For period romance slow and easy is key. Describe the frilly things that make up this historical world and draw your readers slowly into the past. Once you get to the actual romance scenes you can choose to keep it slow like the embers of a fire, or speed it up for a blazing romance. For an action story with romance in it, the opposite is usually key to highlighting romance. In a fast paced world slow down your pace to emphasizes the connection between too people. You can have your readers forming a relationship before there is ever a kiss or touch between the characters.

5.  Mystery –Another genre that requires a great deal of consciousness with pacing is a mystery. Mysteries are dependent on a fast intro, a slow build and a fast conclusion. In the first part of a mystery story everything should happen quickly and without much detail. The murder or other crime should be right at the beginning and should be fast paced in order to keep too many revealing details from coming forth all at once. What good is a mystery if you know from the beginning who did it? After the crime however the pace should slow down considerably to allow for clues to be found and the investigator to proceed with solving the crime. This is the time to build up the various characters and create the web of mystery that great stories are known for. Then when the conclusion looms, the pace should increase again. The closer the answer gets, the faster the pace should become until the climactic reveal. Then you slow down again to wrap things up and fill in all the details of the crime.

6.   Sections of the story –As all writers know, there are sections to every story. In general, each section has its own pacing. Depending, of course, on the genre of the story there can be variations, but most stories can be broken down into four parts.

a.      The intro –The introduction to a story should usually start out fast paced. This is the point at which you want to hook the reader and have them drawn into the story. Most readers look for action and excitement and a fast paced intro is a great way to keep them interested for long enough so that you can start to build up your story.
b.     The build – The build is where you slow down your pace and fill in the details. Character back stories, setting, historical points or anything else you want to include detail wise should be in the build. The build can go on for a long time or it can be very short depending on the genre and length of the story you are writing.
c.      The climax –Here is another important spot to go very fast paced in. The climax is where everything comes to a head. Everything you have been building on has built up to this point. This is the big reveal and it should be the shortest and yet most important part of your story.
d.     The conclusion –After the fast pace of the climax slow back down to fill everything out. Though some stories end at the climax most writers and readers prefer to wrap everything up nicely and give some closure. A slow pace is necessary to bring everything back down and wrap it all up.

7.      Vocabulary and pacing –Vocabulary is very important when it comes to pacing. A fast paced story has a need for short words that are easily understood. This can mean simple, but does not always have to. Sometimes a short word is more revealing than a long one. For example the word exuberant is simple, but much more expressive than happy. When you want to move a story along at a fast pace the best way to do that is with short but expressive sentences full of easy to understand words. If, however, you want to go at a slower pace than larger, longer and more elaborate words should be used. Where exuberant would work in a fast paced section, a word like effervescent is a lot more flowery and descriptive than still. The use of many adjectives and adverbs as well as a large and descriptive vocabulary make for a slower pace but an excellent read.

8.     Pacing for children – Children’s writing is a whole other ball of wax. Depending on the style you want to give to your story the pace makes all the difference. Take “Goodnight Moon” versus “Green eggs and Ham” for example. While the first is slow and calm the latter is face-paced and frantic. Is it the vocabulary? No, because all the words are for young readers. Instead it is the punctuation and repetition. Where the first has long repetitious sentences that do not rhyme, the latter has short, fast rhyming words which give it a bouncy reading style and fast pace. This is something that children’s book writers have to be very aware of.

These are just a few ideas that pertain to pacing in your stories. When writing you should always pay attention to the pacing of your sentences and how they will be read by others. It can make the difference between a bestseller and a forgotten novel.

Author Bio:
Jack Meyers is a regular contributor for www.nannybackgroundcheck.com. As a detective he wants to spread the knowledge of terrible things that can happen when people don’t fully verify the credentials of a caregiver or any employee. He also writes for various law enforcement blogs and sites.