Where has everybody gone? A blogging question…

Hi All,

I have a question for any bloggers out there:

My email inbox seems to have gone really quiet over the last week or so and I don’t know why. All of you guys that I follow don’t appear any more, even though you are posting (I know, ‘cos I’ve gone and checked). I have also checked my WordPress reader and all settings seem to be unchanged.

So, why am I not getting notifications of new posts from other people?

Anyone…?

Has this happened to you and can anybody shed some light on what may have gone wrong.

In the meantime, sorry If I’m not commenting/liking, but I didn’t realise you were posting. I’ll get things fixed soon hopefully.

Screw you and go cork yourself: a debate about wine

Am I a wine-snob? I don’t think so; not really. I am a cheese-snob, a bit of a film-snob, and most definitely a book-snob. But wine? Not so much. I can down a ropey bottle of plonk with the best of them and still enjoy it.

However…

If the wine is furnished with a screw cap as opposed to a cork… well, then I’ll turn up my nose, mumble something derogatory under my breath, and walk away. Well, at least that’s what I’d like to do. In reality, I’ll just mumble something derogatory under my breath and drink it anyway (I won’t be happy about it, though).

But why? What is it about screw-cap wine that invokes this reaction in me?

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My first adventure into sic-fi… (sic)

Following an auto-correct glitch one day, I was suddenly faced with the prospect of a new sub-genre: ‘sic-fi‘ (you see what happened, yes?). Anyway, I thought to myself that ‘sic-fi’ — or ‘sick-fi‘ — may make for interesting writing and decided to try my hand at a little sic-fi flash fiction.

WARNING: THIS DOES EXACTLY WHAT IT SAYS ON THE TIN AND IS AN INDULGENCE INTO GORE, FILTH AND DEPRAVITY (WITH A LITTLE SCI-FI THROWN IN TOO) IF YOU’RE SQUEEMISH OR EASILY OFFENDED, IT’S PROBABLY BEST IF YOU GO AND READ ONE OF MY POSTS ON SELF-PUBLISHING INSTEAD…

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Learn from my mistakes… please: Three things not to do when querying agents.

So I’ve now finally entered the part of my adventures into publishing where I begin to query agents. It was never a part that I looked forward to, and I’ve already gone and made some catastrophic blunders.

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 12.46.52

I know that a few others who read this blog are around the same stage as me, so I shall share with you said blunders as a reminder to… well, to not make the same mistakes.

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The Secret to Writing Good Characters

gpeynon:

Here’s a great post from a blog that all aspiring authors should be following. Thanks a lot Carly Watters for the original.
Enjoy

Originally posted on Carly Watters, Literary Agent:

Ben Wiseman Illustration NYTCharacters make or break a novel, especially for agents. When agents get 100s of manuscripts submitted per month, what is it that draws us to some books and not others? Characters.

What agents look for in a main character:

  • Degree of likability
  • Interesting
  • Honest
  • Have a strong and unique voice
  • They feel like they had a real life before the book started and after the pages are done
  • No coincidences
  • Motivation for what they do
  • That we meet them at an interesting point in their lives
  • Most importantly: They must have a secret. What are they hiding?

All strong and interesting characters carry a secret with them. A secret that is slowly revealed to the reader. A secret that some find controversial always helps. A secret that the character has to explain and is the reason why they do what they do and why they are the way they are. And

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Using titles to underscore a character’s context

I’m not usually one for posting writing tips, as until now I’ve never really felt I have the authority to do so. However, since I’ve just finished my first book (and owing to the fact that I learned a lot along the way) I thought I’d share with you some of the tricks that I stumbled upon.

So here’s tip that involves the use of names and titles to convey a character’s personality or underline the context in which you want that character to appear. Confused? Ok. Let me explain…

My hero is called Horatio Lee. He’s a lieutenant in the spacebourne Royal Navy, and hence there are a number of different names or titles I can give him:

  • Horatio
  • Horatio Lee
  • Lieutenant Lee
  • Lee

What I have noticed (due in part to me trying to avoid repetition) is that depending on what I call him in the narrative, I can convey his personality and the place he currently occupies within story. For example:

I call him Horatio when I want humanise him:

This nightmarish scene was especially disturbing for Horatio to witness as he knew those men were only exposed to that maelstrom on his orders.

I call him Lee when I want him to blend into the scene as just another member of the ship’s company:

“Oh yes,” Lee sounded energised, “it’s definitely a ship, but we don’t think it’s a warship.”

And I call him Lieutenant Lee when I want underscore his rank and position amongst the men:

Lieutenant Lee and his officers received them in the captain’s cabin, which was presently cleared for action and more a part of the gundeck than a cabin.

This method can be very useful when you have characters with titles, for instance: police officers, doctors, university lecturers, &c. It’s a great tool for underscoring their exact place in the story at any given time (as mentioned above), but also avoids having to call them the same thing every single time you write their name. It’s not a book-changing writing tool, but it certainly can alter the dynamic of a section of dialogue or action.

Thanks for reading.

10 Bits of Stellar Writing Advice from J.R.R. Tolkien

Just read these great writing tips from Tolkien and had to reblog. But Writers In The Storm don’t seem to have a reblog button any more so you’ll just have to follow this link instead:

http://writersinthestormblog.com/2014/08/10-bits-of-stellar-writing-advice-from-j-r-r-tolkien/#comment-58373

Number six definitely struck a chord with me. That’s pretty much my style of writing.