One Writer's thoughts on the experience of writing and the publishing journey.
|Posted on May 3, 2013 at 3:30 PM||comments (0)|
By Glenys O'Connell, Author of Naked Writing:The No frills Way to Write Your Book
Have you ever read a book or seen a movie where the setting sticks in your mind long after you reach The End? Think about it. If you watch Downton Abbey, for example,you'll immediately know what I mean. That story couldn't take place anywhere but England, and not in a row house on a council estate, either!
Kathy Reichs' 'Bones" books take their cue from her heroine's double jobs in Charlotte, NC and in Montreal, Quebec. And her characters' tones actually seem to change depending on which location the action is taking place in!
Can you imagine how Gone With The Wind would be changed if that great Southern civil war classic was set in an exotic palace in Asia, for example?Just wouldn't be the same, would it?
So, the setting is to all intents and purposes, a character in your story. Certainly, it plays a strong role, and yet many writers ignore the details of setting and give the reader at best the flimsiest view of where the story takes place.
In doing so, they miss out on a fantastic way to add depth and color to the novel, balancing the characters and inserting actions and ideas that are culture and area specific.
As in so many aspects of writing, there's 'micro' (small, detailed) and 'macro' (large, overview) settings to work with.
Setting descriptions should be woven into your story, if possible as part of the action rather than being introduced in pages of 'purple prose'.
The macro view covers the entire area where your story is set. Perhaps your book is set in a world of your own making, one which is very different from the one we know. Even so, you need to remember that your characters will still need certain everyday things in their settings, even if they are designed and named differently. For example, they'll need a place to call home and the comforts that go with it. A means of getting from one place to another. They'll probably still furnish their spaces with ornaments and mementos, hobby stuff and pets. Keep it logical, keep it consistent.
Micro settings covers the small stuff that tells so much about a person. Gestures, mannerisms, nervous tics are all accepted parts of character description. But have you considered that the things we choose to surround ourselves with also give away a lot about our personalities? We can use these things as 'props' to show, not tell.
Picture a scene in an outdoor cafe. A couple are sitting at a table. He pulls out a cigarette packet and she immediately moves the ashtray from their table to another table - what does this tell you about the couple?
Perhaps they don't know each other well, she doesn't like smoking, he can't give it up, and moving the ashtray is her way of politely telling him so. Or they know each other well and she's concerned for his health and is trying to make him quit.
Or, on a deeper level, perhaps she is a very controlling person and moving the ashtray is a power move - the reality would be clear in context, but it also allows you to describe the setting in an active way, the description doing double duty in telling something about your characters rather than being a simple description......right? In modern writing, every word must earn its keep.
You can use settings to get across a lot of information about your story – e.g., the description of a crime scene, or the particular location such as a tornado-prone area. Or it can be applied to the characters - do they live alone in a remote cabin or in a trendy condo downtown? Are they tidy? Do they have lots of photographs of family/friends/personal triumphs? Ashtrays? Hobby materials lying around? Empty glasses?
Think about your character, and see these places through his/her eyes. Is she a thoroughly modern person who'd love the minimalist white living room with leather sofas and glass-topped tables, with the only colour a vivid splash of abstract art?
Or would she go for the Victorian look, with flocked wallpaper and velvet drapes and fussy table coverings, with dark oil paintings on the wall?
Or perhaps a country look, rustic furniture painted with roosters, gingham curtains and plants flourishing everywhere and dozens of pictures of friends and family and folk art stencils covering the walls?
Have fun working out your settings, and furnishing them!
If you want to learn more about settings and lots of other writing stuff, take a peek at my ebook, Naked Writing:The No Frills Way to Write Your Book!. As an added bonus, it's on sale from May 3 to May 6 for 99 cents (or currency equivalent) on Amazon sites! You Can Read The First Chapter Here.
|Posted on April 7, 2013 at 4:15 PM||comments (2)|
I've been thinking a lot recently about change, new directions, and new goals, so I was thrilled to read this aerticle online by well-known mentor Christine Kane about this very subject. I taught a course called 'Achieve Your Goals' (ebook coming soon!) and the concept of 'baby steps' really helped my students understand the process of creating change in their lives. Christine explains this so well! Enjoy!
How to Create Anything (Even When You’re Scared, Inexperienced and Don’t Believe in Yourself)
Written by Christine Kane
Let’s say you had a baby.
Congratulations! Your baby is the best human ever!
You love your baby. You celebrate as it starts to crawl. You and your partner delight in this baby’s every new adventure.
Then, one day, the baby stands up on her own. “Yaaaaay!” you cheer. You clap your hands. The baby smiles and laughs. You think, “Wow. She’s gonna learn how to walk. Isn’t that great?”
One evening, you and your partner are on the carpet playing with your baby. Suddenly, your perfect child stands up again. She braces herself on the coffee table. Your partner grabs the movie camera. You call your parents in Idaho so they can listen to the play-by-play.
Your child lurches forward. You all gasp and hold your collective breath.
Then, CLUNK. She falls onto her butt on the carpet.
“Awwwww,” you say.
“Dang,” your partner says.
“Well, I guess that’s it. This one just wasn’t cut out for walking,” your parents say from their home in Boise.
“Oh well,” you say. “It just wasn’t meant to be. Bummer.”
You hang up the phone. You turn off the camera. You take the baby up to bed. Tomorrow you’ll begin the search for a bigger stroller because your kid’s obviously gonna have to get through life on wheels.
Get the idea?
And yet, how many of us are already acting like this with our own new ideas or ventures?
Your project, your dream, or even your business is your baby. If we all gave up on our kids as much as we give up on ourselves, then we’d have a race of humans with big calluses on their knees!
The Best Way to Create Anything…
Every big project or goal can be broken down into baby steps. Little lurches forward. Sometimes they’re clumsy. Sometimes they don’t even seem to make an impact. But this is how anything gets done.
• Years and years of built up clutter get sorted and thrown away one drawer at a time. (Plan for 30-minutes a day in one zone of the house – not “Get rid of clutter.”
• Years and years of reckless eating and unhealthy habits get shifted one work-out at a time. (Plan a 45-minute work-out 5 days a week, and a once a month visit to an acupuncturist for a year – not “Lose 50 pounds by June.”
• An entrepreneur builds her business one client at a time. (Schedule a daily system for authentic marketing. Not “Get 50 new clients by March.”
That’s how it works.
Stinks, doesn’t it?
This is the good news that no one ever tells you.
When you get this concept, you’ll never be afraid of failure again. When you learn how to break a goal down into baby steps, and how to complete something fantastic using this method, then you have the key to doing anything. When you understand that everyone falls down and gets back up again, then you need only to trust in your strength to get back up again.
The only block is your ego.
Your ego wants it to be done now. Your ego wants to move through life risk-free, foolish-free, discouragement-free, mistake-free, tired-free. And the best way to trick your ego (and yourself) into letting go a little bit is to take baby steps.
I just started coaching people in my Uplevel Your Business Program & Blueprint. These entrepreneurs are the most courageous clients I can imagine having. That’s because they are taking the biggest risk of all. They are taking Baby Steps!
Baby steps take courage. Baby steps are a huge risk to your ego because they are so easy. SO easy! The ego wants big deals, major accomplishments, huge weight-loss, and fast results. In other words, the ego likes adjectives, not nouns. Those adjectives guarantee that you’ll stay stuck and never try anything new. Over time you’ll get that deals, accomplishments, weight-loss, and results feel pretty good — even without adjectives.
Now, try this:
Take a goal you want to accomplish by the end of this year, and ask yourself, “What one baby step could I take every day to complete this goal?” And then (and this is the big challenge) get out your calendar and schedule it in there daily for the rest of 2013
Christine Kane is the Mentor to People Who are Changing the World. She helps women and men Uplevel their lives, their businesses and their success. Her weekly Uplevel You eZine goes out to over 20,000 subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can sign up for a FREE subscription at http://christinekane.com.
|Posted on January 2, 2013 at 2:20 PM||comments (2)|
The very word strikes most of us with a variety of negative emotions, most of them dominated by fear. All too often stalking incidents evolve into violence and even the death of the victim. There have been far too many examples of this, including some very famous people who had become the apple of some psychopath's eye.
But stalking isn't just something that happens to celebrities or people in the public eye, and it doesn't necessarily involve only strangers or psychopaths who take it into their heads to stalk someone for whatever twisted reasons may make sense to them alone.
Stalking isn't just a 'sport' for men - there have been many instances of women stalking men, or other women, too. It's been the theme of many books and movies.
Over the years attitudes have changed - stalking is no longer seen as something done by a besotted would-be suitor or lover - yes, once was considered almost flattering to have a stalker - at least, onlookers may have thought that. No-one who has ever been a victim of stalking would see it as in the least bit romantic or flattering.
Once upon a time, a woman complaining to the police about being stalked would have had a hard time getting them to take her seriously - a little like the victims of rape who also suffered from the macho attitudes prevalent.
I remember a case some years ago in a small town near to where I lived. A woman who was trying to get away from an abusive husband had gone so far as the get a restraining order preventing him from approaching her. He broke that order many times and the police seemed to be filing her increasingly panicked complaints in the round file. At least, they appeared to do very little to protect her.
And then one day, in broad daylight, he walked up to her in the street and stabbed her to death.
Proof that attitudes are changing is in a report by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, titled: Stalking - It's Not Love. This report talks about what stalking really is, the dangers, and what a person can do to stay safe. It refers to stalking as criminal harrassment, which it most certainly is!
There's another report available through the same RCMP site that is also useful - it's called family and relationship violence and the link is here.
Now you may be wondering why, in a blog that is mostly dedicated to writing and in particular, to writing romance, I should suddenly go off on a rant about stalking?
Well, the truth is that my most recent release, Saving Maggie (Crimson Romance) involves a woman trying to escape from a stalker. Maggie Kendall's stalker kills people he believes have hurt her, making her terrified of forming any close relationships (it's not unusual for stalkers to threaten those close to their victim). In this case, there's also a terrifying psychic link, forged by an experience in her teen years, between Maggie and her stalker. But Maggie and the killer both know that he will eventually kill Maggie herself if he's not stopped.
And, while the story idea came out of the blue - or so I thought - I suddenly remembered the young man who stalked me when I was seventeen. I was too young and naive to understand the dangers that can erupt from such a situation, but I found it frightening and embarrassing that this guy would follow me down dark country roads, turn up everywhere I went, and on one aweful occasion, went so far as to attack another boy who asked me for a date.
Looking back, I realise that this was luckily probably a mild form of stalking and the problem was sorted out after my older brothers took him aisde for a quiet 'chat'.
But obviously this event had a greater impact than I had thought, because years later it sprang to mind in the form of a story idea! Here's a link to a blurb about Saving Maggie, here, and to a blog I wrote for Crimson Romance on the same topic, here.
If you have an opinion on stalking, or have undergone this kind of terrifyng experience, do leave a comment either here on on the Crimson Romance blog, and check out the RCMP site's information. I do believe that we can support each other and learn from each other's experiences, and by talking, we can perhaps help prevent another woman from becoming a stalker's victim.
Now that I've got this out of my system, I want to wish you all a very wonderful New Year - especially to the almost 16000 readers who were sweet enough to download a copy of The No Sex Clause, my Christmas romance, when I offered it for free a few days ago! Thank you!
|Posted on December 30, 2012 at 9:25 AM||comments (0)|
I'm celebrating the long awaited release of Saving Maggie,my latest romantic suspense from Crimson Romance, by giving away free copies of The No Sex Clause on Kindle! Drop by and get your copy of this warm Christmas romance for free, and enjoy an excerpt of Saving Maggie, too!
Okay, yes, I am so excited by this new release! Saving Maggie is out on Monday, December 31st - what a way to close out the old year and ring in the new!
Happy New Year!
|Posted on December 3, 2012 at 10:45 AM||comments (0)|
It started out as an experiment, and became an obsession.
I'd heard so much about Indie publishing from authors who taken the 'go it alone' route, In fact, right now the Web is just buzzing with excitement about changes like this to the world of publishing.
So when the idea for The No Sex Clause popped into my head, I knew this was it. The story idea I wanted to write for myself and publish independently. It's a love story, a sexy boy-meets-girl tale, a Christmas romance, and a coming-of-age story all rolled into one.
Here's the blurb from Amazon:
Anna Findlay needs a man.
Anna has gone from being the bullied Mouse in a small town high school to the perfectly groomed and wealthy author of a pop psychology book on sex. When her publicity agent talks her into going to her high school reunion at Christmas, there are two problems - Anna hated high school, and she has no one to go with. So, in her own pragmatic style, she hires an escort from an agency - a move that wil change her life forever.
Anna finds herself revisiting her past and learning that she has never been comfortable in any of the personnas she has invented for herself. It takes falling in love - and Christmas - to show her that all she needs do is be herself.
And this is the start of the first chapter, and a link to the rest.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it :-)
“It’s just not good enough. We arranged 6 pm at my place, and it’s now 6.03 and there’s no sign of him,” Anna Findlay snapped into her cell phone.
The woman at the other end was painstakingly patient. “I’ve told you already, Ms Findlay, that he’s on his way. He should be there in three minutes. He’s delayed in traffic – these things happen.”
“Well, they shouldn’t….oh, I think he’s here now. A black tuxedo, you said?”
“Yes, you purchased our formal special.” There was no mistaking the relief in the other woman’s voice as she ended the conversation.
Anna pushed the phone back into her tiny evening bag as she watched the doorman open the door of a delicious black luxury SUV. Her jaw fell open as she saw the driver who unfolded himself from the vehicle and stood for a moment gazing up at the building. If ever a man was born to wear a tux, this was the one! My god, she could see why he made money at an escort agency – all he’d have to do is sit and look gorgeous all evening and who could wish for anything more? Especially when the deal had a No Sex Clause, Anna grimaced to herself. What on earth had she gotten herself into?
The doorman smiled respectfully at the newcomer and the two men exchanged greetings. Anna tapped her expensively sandaled toe against the marble floor and let out an exasperated sigh. The man was already four minutes late for their date, and he was casually chatting to the doorman! This isn’t going to work, she told herself. The words had become a mantra over the past two weeks, ever since her publisher’s marketing department had persuaded her to attend her high school reunion.
Yes, she’d known it wasn’t going to work, and a shiver of foreboding went up her spine as the black-haired hunk glanced at her through the double glass doors. Their eyes locked for a moment, and something sweet and sexy sang in the air.
This definitely isn’t going to work, Anna repeated again to herself. The last thing she needed was to react to her date on a physical level. She’d told the agency she wanted a Sex God, believing she was immune to all that crazy hormone stuff that afflicted other women, thank you very much.
Now she was getting shivers looking at a total stranger who wasn’t even polite enough to arrive on time. What was she thinking? Anna straightened her shoulders and drew herself up to her full five feet nine inches before striding out to the sidewalk, where she found herself standing by, ignored, as the Sex God and the doorman stood and chatted about the latest baseball scores. This was just too much! Fuming, Anna coughed loudly to attract their attention. The green gaze of the Sex God landed on her like a warm hand. Anna shivered.
Donald, the doorman, smiled benignly at her. “Good evening, Miss Findlay…what can I do for you?”
“You could open the car door, for one thing, and let me get in out of the cold,” she said, knowing she was being rude but then, that’s what doormen were paid for. Looking over at the Sex God, she said coldly: “You’re already late and making us later while you stand here chatting on my time. Do you mind if we get moving?”
She enjoyed the look of shock on his face. Obviously the Sex God - whom she really must start calling by his proper name, Bob Goulding – wasn’t used to assertive women. No doubt he was used to getting away with all sorts of nonsense while women drooled over his good looks. Well, not this woman. Anna Findlay was finished with being a doormat for good looking men, and this one was about to feel the sharp edge of her tongue if he didn’t hop to it and get on with his duty.
Oops, now there was a double entendre if ever there was one. A blush rose up Anna’s cheeks, making her even more irritated. Her blood pressure soared even higher when he replied with a double entendre of his own.
“I’m sorry, Ma’am – just what is it you’d like me to do?” And that lazy smile and toffee-soft Western drawl suggested women often wanted him to do all sorts of things – and that sometimes he willingly complied. Anna ground her teeth.
“I want you to get into the car and get to work.”R\
Read The First Chapter Here
|Posted on October 13, 2012 at 2:40 AM||comments (1)|
By Glenys O'Connell @GlenysOConnell
I'm very proud of Naked Writing:The No Frills Way to Write Your Book. It's my very first Indie publishing attempt, and has done pretty well on Amazon in its niche as a book on writing.
Writing itself is a solitary kind of occupation, and to prevent myself becoming a total recluse, I got involved some years ago in teaching creative writing. I did it in the classroom at third level with some wonderful adult students, then moved on to teach the course online. The payback went far beyond the cash (which is always nice!) because I not only met some terrific people from all over the world; I also learned a great deal about the craft as I taught these new and enthusiastic - and talented - writers. Quite a few have gone on to be published; some just wanted to write for themselves or for their children; others wrote fascinating family histories using the techniques of creative writing.
I know that some of these books, while they may never go public, will be treasured family heirlooms for years to come.
I also get a kick out of seeing the names of former students appearing on book lists!
Naked Writing is a compilation of all I learned in the nine years I worked this course, from everything I learned as I built my own writing career, and the insights I garnered from my writing students.
It's a lovely feeling, helping someone to fulfill their dream.
So, once again, Naked Writing is going free! Check Amazon in your area on Sunday & Monday, Oct 14/15, and pick up the ebook, totally free, with my compliments.
And if it helps you fulfill your writing dreams, do let me know and I'll celebrate with you!
Labels: Amazon, creative writing, dreams, free books, Glenys O'Connell, Naked Writing, writers, Writing Book, writing classes, writing skills
|Posted on September 12, 2012 at 6:35 PM||comments (2)|
By Glenys O'Connell
Critiquing is a skill and done well can provide the person whose work is being critiqued with some very valuable feedback. Critiquing can smooth out the glitches, help with story and plot points, make characters more believable, spot errors and generally polish up someone’s work. It can renew the writer’s enthusiasm and confidence. Or it can destroy them. Depending on how it is done.
Professional critiquing always looks to the positive – even busy editors rarely advise a writer submitting work to them to take a job, any job, except writing – although best selling author David Gemmell was once told by an editor to stay with his job as a trucker’s mate! Usually they will wish the writer luck in placing the work elsewhere, perhaps advise them to consider taking a creative writing class, etc.., even if the work submitted seems beyond redemption. The point being, the writer and their future work are not beyond redemption, and do not deserve to be terminally put down because of one piece that does not hit the spot.
The first rule of critiquing is to consider .......
|Posted on September 9, 2012 at 6:50 PM||comments (0)|
I was over at the Roses of Prose, blogging about the characters in Winters & Somers - the story of Ireland;s sexiest PI couple, Ciara Somers and Jonathon Winters, has a loty of Irish humour as well as a quite intriguing storyline....visit here (I'm giving away a free ebook to one commenter!
|Posted on August 27, 2012 at 10:55 AM||comments (0)|
Okay, I confess. I do a fair amount of wandering around the web when I should be writing. Bad, bad me.
So, in order to claim I’m making use of my time instead of idly surfing, I thought I’d share some of my Web finds with you as well as a couple of books I’m reading that I’m sure you will want to look up.
I intend the Monday Mashable (#MondayMashable) to be a regular feature, but as the road to Hell is supposed to be paved with good intentions, I’m making no promises. If you’ve found a fun or interesting website, blog, or book that you’d like to share (including your own – don’t be shy!) please put it in a comment below and I’ll add it to the next Monday Mashable list!
Web Places I visited this week – You might like them, too!
Lovely friendly writing blog/website by author Starla Criser. Bit slow to load, but well worth the wait. http://www.rubbishtopublish.com/
Almost Free Ebook Covers - How to Make an Ebook Cover that Sells Itself! http://www.squidoo.com/free-ebook-cover
A Whole Bunch of do-it-yourself (mostly) ebook cover design sites. Haven’t investigated them all but thought you’d like to take a look. http://www.ebook-cover-maker.winsite.com/
“Kristine Cayne is fascinated by the mysteries of human psychology—twisted secrets, deep-seated beliefs, out-of-control desires.” Obviously, a writer after my own heart! http://kristinecayne.blogspot.ca/
Looks like we humans have sunk to new depths of cruel behaviour: These folk aren’t animal lovers, for sure. Don’t read if you’re squeamish. http://news.petpardons.com/animal-crush-video-couple-arrested-in-texas/
A compendium of interesting stories from the web. Especially as my name is in there! http:///paper.li/Quinonostante/determined-folks
Some interesting tips & thoughts on self-publishing by Alex-Carrick of Carrick Publishing. http:///fridayflash.org/press/2012/08/23/whats-hard-and-not-hard-about-self-publishing-part-2/#comments
Books I’m reading (or read) this week:
Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer by the incomparable Kristen Lamb http:///www.amazon.com/Are-You-There-Blog-Writer/dp/1935712489/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1346077886&sr=1-1&keywords=Are+You+There%2C+Blog%3F+It%27s+Me%2C+Writer
A Game of Proof by Tim Vicary. Brit crime novel at its best, with realistic, sympathetic protaganists. http:///www.amazon.com/Proof-trials-Sarah-Newby-ebook/dp/B005ALGIFK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1346078000&sr=1-1&keywords=A+Game+of+Proof
Don't forget - if you've found a website, blog, or book worth sharing, leave a comment and I'll include it in the next MondayMashable!
|Posted on August 24, 2012 at 3:25 PM||comments (2)|
*Don't Miss the Contest Info below!!*
Many people who read writers' blogs also write, or dream of writing. I know that, even though I've been published a number of times, I still enjoy - and learn from - the writing of other authors.
I also read books other writers produce about writing, and blogs, too. In this profession you never stop learning! I want to include a rundown of some of my favorites over the next few blogs - they may turn out to be your favorites, too!
The first is by Phylis Whitney. Entitled: Guide To Writing Fiction this book was published back in 1983 and contains lots of sound advice written in Ms. Whitney's warm and accessible style.
The second is, of course, the well-loved memoir style book on writing by Stephen King: On Writing. Any writer can learn much from this book, whether you like King's edge-of-the-seat pageturner genre or prefer something a little gentler.
*Just leave me a comment about your own writing, or favorite writing books or blogs, and get entered into a draw for an ebook copy of Naked Writing, The No Frills Way to Write Your Book!