1 Poet, 2 Rivers and Banksy

I’m sharing this post from my personal blog because it is about an Irish poet, Thomas Moore (1779-1852) well known for songs such as The Minstrel Boy and The Last Rose of Summer. He was born in Dublin and was a singer, songwriter, poet, author and entertainer. I recently visited the Vale of Avoca, in county Wicklow, one of his favourite inspirational places. The fact that there happened to be some very interesting forms of transport there at the time was an added bonus.

1 Poet, 2 Rivers and Banksy.

via 1 Poet, 2 Rivers and Banksy.

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How I Write Fast (AKA: How I Wrote 70k in 20 days)

This is a very interesting post by Juliet Madison. I have to admit that I’m a ‘panster’ if I’m to go by this post, or as Brandon Sanderson says, ‘a gardener’ planting seeds and waiting to see what grows. I do plot a little but often change the direction as my characters grow and I get to know them better.

JULIET MADISON

“You’re a machine,” people have told me. “How do you write so fast?” I’ve been asked. Well, today I’m going to tell you how.

writingfast-istockLet me start by saying that what I do may not suit everyone, it is just the way I work. If you can take something helpful away from my process to help your own writing, then that’s great. If not, then that’s perfectly okay.

First, a bit of background info…

I’ve been writing seriously since late 2009, so in a few months time that will make it five years. I’ve written six novels, three novellas, two partials/proposals (synopsis and three chapters), and a few short stories. Three of my novels are published, one is contracted (and another but it isn’t written yet), the other two novels are on submission. Two of my novellas are published, the third one is contracted. I self-published one of my short…

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The Aspiring Author

In 2013, a year after I had published my first book, I wrote this post for an online media/arts/review site called MARSocial. I’m amazed at how much I had learned in those twelve months – and how much I had forgotten. I’m re-posting it, as the information might be of interest to any aspiring writers out there. It did me good to read it again, too.

You have a book in your head.  How do you get it out?  It’s one thing to imagine the setting, plot and characters, but a whole other story (pardon the pun) in writing it down.  Some may find it easier to free write as the thoughts flow, and then put them in order.  Others like to begin at the beginning.  What works for me is having a rough idea where my story is going to end, and work towards it.  I find by doing this it gives me direction and focus, even though I may change the ending when I get there.  You need to hook your readers in the first few paragraphs, making them want to know more, to turn that page, to finish that chapter.

Read your dialogue aloud.  Use five senses when writing.  Show action through dialogue when you can.  Develop your voice, this usually takes two or three books.  When you find yourself focusing on the story and not the writing, then you know you have your voice.  Don’t let the words get in the way of the story; simple writing can be much more difficult than using many words.  That is where editing and re-editing comes in.  Apply Stephen King’s formula, “Good copy = draft – 10 per cent.”

Keep your audience in mind as you write.  What are they passionate about and what irritates them in real life?  Are you writing for a teenage reader or an adult?  Find your rhythm, read what you have written out loud, including punctuation points used.  Look for any discord that will break the flow of the prose for the reader.  Don’t have too many key characters, for 100,000 words five is usually enough.   Sometimes around the 30,000 words mark a writer will come to a slump.  It happened to me on my second book.  For a couple of weeks I struggled to finish a chapter, so I switched to a totally different genre and began a short story.  That got my imagination flowing again.  It might not work for you but it’s worth a try.  That short story I used as a diversion turned into a book.  Writing poetry or flash fiction may be the answer, while you try to rekindle your enthusiasm.  When you have finished your book, put it away and let it rest.  I usually do this for a month, and then read it as a reader, not a writer.

Even if you never publish it, you have achieved something special.  A flash of inspiration was nurtured by your imagination, and grew into a story that became a book.  There’s nothing to stop you writing another one. Join a writer’s group, either locally or online, and enjoy an interchange of encouragement.  Never compare yourself to other writers, your voice is unique.

I will leave you with an excerpt from Brenda Ueland’s book, “If You Want to Write.”  (First Published in 1938)

“Why should we all use our creative power and write or paint or play music, or whatever it tells us to do?  Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money.  Because the best way to know Truth or Beauty is to try to express it …. And share it with others.”

Jean Reinhardt 2013

Mothers and Babies Forced Apart

Mothers and Babies Forced Apart.

The Irish government have been made aware of a mass grave of almost 800 children at a former institute for mothers and babies. I wrote about the experiences of two women who were unfortunate enough to find themselves in the hands of those who ran such places.

via Mothers and Babies Forced Apart.

When Your Family Doesn’t Support Your Writing

Two years ago, when anyone asked me what I did I would reply that I was a nail technician and never mentioned the fact that I had written a book. Nowadays, even though I still have my salon and work there part time, I tell people I am a writer and most times don’t even mention the fact that I do nails. It has taken me a long time to realize that I am a writer first and foremost, whether or not I earn a living from it.
I left it too long to write that first book. Now I’m making up for lost time. I would advise anyone whatever age they may be, with or without support from family and friends, to keep writing and never give up unless they hate it. Because if you love writing and suppress that desire, you will feel empty inside. Many thanks to Tricia Drammeh for highlighting the realities of coping with lack of support. It helps to know there are so many other writers dealing with this and coping magnificently.

Tricia Drammeh

Excuse me if this post gets a little rant-ish. Maybe you’ll relate to this, maybe you won’t. Maybe your family and friends are your personal cheerleaders. Or maybe your family told you to stop playing with your imaginary friends and get a job. Or maybe your family is like mine and happily supported you back when everyone thought you’d make it big, land a million-dollar publishing contract, and get a movie deal, but fell out of love with your writing once they realized that wasn’t going to happen.

Lack of support. This is a very painful topic, but it’s one I think it’s important to discuss. Writing is largely a solitary endeavor, often undertaken by introverts. But even though we’re introverts and we’ve decided to travel the often lonely path of the writer, we’re still human beings. We crave love, acceptance, and acknowledgement. We crave community, and who better to…

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Identifying a good editor is about chair placement

This might interest anyone thinking of finding an editor, or anyone thinking of changing the one they have.

C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

I’ve worked with several editors over the years. Mostly, the experience has been good. If you work with enough people though, you get a horror story. The bad editors have one thing in common: they think it’s about them and they bleed self-importance. (Beware: at the editing stage, it’s not generally about the author, either. It’s about the reader.)

Bad editors are: 

1. Belittling, condescending and even angry.

Let’s face it, for some people, editing is a power thing. They love to tell people what to do and where they are wrong because it feels great to be right. Editors like this don’t have a lot of authors who return to the whipping room for another go, however. Life’s too short. If you’re looking for a fight, there are better ways to use that energy.

One person tried to be abusive with me once and their lure was a very low fee. “Wow!…

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Does Research Really Matter?

I would totally agree with you on that. Whether it’s for historical fiction or futuristic fiction I still put the same amount of research in. In fact, there’s even a stack of research goes into an autobiography.

Have We Had Help?

Research-introduction

As far as I’m concerned research is everything.

I can’t speak for any other writer out there, but when it comes to my books, they are the end product of seventy percent research plus thirty percent writing.

When I finally decide on a topic, I spend many months finding out everything I can about it. It doesn’t matter which of the genres I write in be it fantasy, science fiction or all kinds of adventure story. My latest will fit into the latter.

Without comprehensive research, the story just won’t gel. More often than not, as I spend ten hours a day, seven days a week for maybe four to six months reading up on the subject, I will come across a sentence in some dusty tome on the subject which gives me the inkling of an idea for the story. As for my sources, here at home I have…

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