I love the clean lines of this modern office. From the white drawers to the bead board/slat walls, all the lines create a feeling of vertical space. Being a desktop writer myself, I like how this office creates a designated space for the tower that is easy to reach from the chair. The simple curtains and the humble artwork helps to make the focus of the room on what you create rather than what fills the space. Notice that spare artwork is stored among the cabinets. I have artwork like that scattered about my office in a similar manner. Either pieces that I’ve painted and plan to sell to others or ones that I’ve kept for myself and haven’t quite figured out where they will be displayed.
Tag Archives: paper and pen
Seeing how other authors work and organize their writing spaces often gives me new ideas on how to improve my own work environment. This is why I enjoy hosting guest posts on the subject. Poet and writer Tesa M Colvin has graciously consented to tell No Wasted Ink about how she creates in her home writing space.
My love for writing began as a fondness for poetry. This soon led me to writing short stories and later on to fiction novels. While I still write poetry whenever the mood strikes, I absolutely love the novel writing process. The joy of weaving a world of words into an entire story is amazing. Ironically, when I began my first novel, Dark Princess, it was one of the most delightfully stressful and challenging writing processes that I had ever experienced. And because it was far more intricate than writing poetry, I learned a lot about myself, my techniques, strengths and weaknesses. But above all of the actual “in-writing” skills that I gained, the most valuable lesson was on the benefit and importance of “pre-writing” by outlining or story mapping.
Armed with info on “how” to write, I knew I needed to determine when to write. I knew I needed to get in the habit of making time to write as opposed to hoping for a minute to do so. And since I had adopted tasks and skills that improved my pre-writing practices, it was much easier to schedule time for my actual writing. So now frenzied pre-writing note taking can happen at any time, but my actual time to focus on significant or consistent writing is set for Tuesday & Thursday evenings (after tending to the rug rats and puppy) and early Saturday morning (before they are awake). This also allows me to read during specific days and times, because any good writer is a reader.
When it’s time to write, I hide away in my own little world…a magical place that gives life to words. And it doesn’t hurt that the doors to my office have very durable locks, making it the best place for me to write in my busy home. Knowing that this space is just for me allows me to be an “impassioned author”, without interruption.
And when it came to furnishing my little haven, I decided on a comfy high back chair, since I would be spending a lot of time in it (not to mention that it made me feel like I was in control). I also needed a computer desk for my desktop PC as well as an actual desk. This combination would provide a little nook for me to work in and afford lots of space for organizing my notes and conducting other tasks.
Every time I go into my office to write it’s like a writers retreat. I can escape into a world that I am creating or just enjoy a little peace and quiet. And though I have noted several items that are needed in my writing process, I would be far less productive without my pre-writing notebooks AND my pink fuzzy writing socks! They are as important to me as Superman’s cape. I often stash my notebooks in different places (purse, car, truck, work etc.), just in case I am overcome by a need to record something before I forget. Then when I get to my office I can revisit those notes and get back on track or take my writing in an entirely new direction. And the socks, well, (Did I mention that they’re pink and fuzzy?) they are warm and comfortable and my own personal rendition of a “thinking cap”.
Tesa W. Colvin (TWC) was born a southern girl, raised in Michigan and now calls the south home again. She is the President of VisionWise Creative Consulting, author of multiple collections of poetry and inspirational works for writers as well as the upcoming fiction novel “Dark Princess”. Noted by many as a passionate author and blogger of all things writing, despite wearing several hats TWC has completely embraced her gift and is more focused than ever on perfecting her craft and publishing her work.
During the days when novels were only available in print and the publishing houses held a monopoly on which authors would sell their books or not, a book title was often chosen by them and not the author. The title would be short, easy to fit on the cover and the spine of the book, and would be something catchy to catch the attention of a browser in a book store. The combination of color, detailed artwork and title would make a novel marketable. Today, the model of selling books has changed. More authors are bypassing the publishing houses altogether and are independently publishing their novels to sell directly on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes or other alternate sites. There, the book is not physically present; it is simply a tiny image in a vast ocean of choices. It is easy for an author and her book to become lost at sea unless simple SEO techniques along with classic novel naming methods are used.
Intuitive Process of Generating a Book Title
Everyone brainstorms differently, but I will put down my method of thinking up SEO friendly titles for stories. My method is intuitive and will not work for everyone, but I find that it produces solid titles for my stories and articles. I prefer to use paper and pen for my brainstorming, however if you are more electronically inclined, feel free to use the word processor of your choice. Digital notebook systems such as Evernote or OneNote might be good options to use in this process too.
Go to the genre category that your book would belong in on Amazon. Look at the titles of the novels that are already there. Try and gain a feel for what seems appropriate as a title for your genre. Pick out twenty titles that would be a close fit for your book or are similar in style to what you would want to name your book. Write these titles into a notebook and set it aside for later.
Sit with a pen and notebook and free-associate words, making lists related to your novel. Put the words in columns: nouns, verbs, adjectives.
List words that would describe or suggest the setting.
Think about each of your major characters and write down words that relate to them.
Ponder about the action in the story and write down verbs that capture it.
Add character or place names with unusual spellings related to your novel.
Write down any word or short phrase that conveys your book’s theme.
Seek out visual words that suggest a scene.
Use words that evoke emotions, a sensation, a question, or a location.
If you have a writing critique group, ask them to help you put the combinations of words together. Write the combinations of words out in a white board session. You should have no fewer than 100 words to choose from. Aim to create around twenty possible titles based on words related to your book, whether you do it on your own in your notebook or via your writing group. Write these into another list and set it aside.
Once you are done brainstorming, put your list of newly created titles away for 24 hours. It is critical to take this down time to allow your subconscious to continue to work on the title project. When you return to your brainstormed list, you will be able to see it with renewed perspective. If new ideas have come to you during this short down period, add them to the brainstormed list.
Take the generated list of twenty or more book titles and narrow it down to five possibilities. Take your short list back to your writing group and ask their opinions. Perhaps run a poll to find out which one is their favorite for your project. Take their opinions, but remember that it is your project and in the end, you are the one that is responsible for titling your book.
Wait another day or two while you close the notebook on the title finalists. Allow your subconscious to work on the choices. Deep down, you know which title is the best one, but sometimes it takes a little while for the subconscious to filter up to our conscience minds. After this passage of time, narrow the list down to your final decision. Congratulations. You are now the proud owner of a titled novel.
Pull out that list of titles you had gathered from the catalog at Amazon. Ask yourself if the title you’ve chosen would fit in this list, without being a clone of any of them. Titles of novels are not copyrightable and you could possibly copy another author’s title without risk of being sued. However, in the world of search engines, you will run the risk of readers being sent to this other book instead of your own as they search for you. It is always better to be unique and fresh when titling your novel.
When your ebook is nothing more than a tiny image on a catalog screen, you must make search engines work for you. Therefore, it is good to build keywords into your title along with traditional naming methods. Good keywords could be ones that are unique in spelling, but still instantly recognizable. While many authors still cling to the idea of a single word title, I personally feel that a slightly longer title works better in the digital age. You need to give the search engines more information to help differentiate your novel from that of your competitors and you must make it easier for your dedicated readers to find your book when they are looking for you. Find a balance between enough words to work with the search engines and short enough to be easily memorable to your readers. That will prove to be the perfect book title for an independent publishing author.
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and was seeped in the legends of Bigfoot, or the Sasquatch as the Native Americans in the area call them. Naturally, I found myself interested in a fictional story based around these old legends. I want to welcome Patrick C. Greene and his novel Progeny to No Wasted Ink.
When and why did you begin writing?
My father was a journalist and novelist so I had a good bit of exposure to the business as a child. I was writing, in a sense, before I knew how via drawings and telling nonsensical stories, even if nobody was around.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In about the seventh grade, I decided I would be a writer. I was small for my age, and easy target for bullies, and of course the “weird kid”, so at some point, I decided to learn how to defend myself and quickly became obsessed with martial arts, setting my interest in writing aside to train and learn all I could about fighting. I didn’t start writing again seriously until right after high school, when I was pursuing a career as an actor and decided to write my own screenplay to star in, as Stallone did with Rocky. I started knocking out short stories as well, just for fun. Ultimately, coming to a place of calling myself a writer was a gradual process that took many years.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
In PROGENY, Owen Sterling is a successful author who has just bought a large tract of forest land from a Native tribe. Soon after moving into his new house, he experiences a series of strange events that lead him to believe a family of sasquatches lives close by, and further, that they are potentially quite dangerous. He refuses to let local hunters come anywhere near the property, coming off like an aloof, wealthy outsider. Zane Carver, the alpha male of the locals, decides to ignore Owen’s directive, and takes a group of hunters, including his increasingly rebellious fifteen-year-old son Byron along. Pretty soon, the inevitable happens-hunters and monsters cross paths in a tragic manner, and the result is a game of cat-and-mouse that favors the creatures, forcing Zane and company to seek shelter with their old nemesis Owen.
What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve always been intrigued by Bigfoot, and I was always trying to come up with a way to write something about the phenomenon, without resorting to the usual band of teens being offed with Bigfoot as a stand-in for a slasher figure. The idea of a three-way struggle appealed to me, as it blurs the lines between “good” and “bad” and makes potential outcome less predictable.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m tempted to say “neo-splatterpunk” because I read a lot of stuff from that era. I’m not one of those writers that finds no value in gore (though it can be overdone). I think literal viscera can be used to underscore figurative viscera, and a visceral experience is definitely what I hope to achieve. I am an emotional guy so I write about people in highly emotional states. I believe readers want to care about their protagonists, beyond even whether they will come out all right by the end, but also what it would mean if they didn’t–what that protagonist might potentially leave behind.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
PROGENY relates to the three father/son relationships that are highlighted in the story, especially Owen and Zane. Owen, the writer and Zane the hunter both have boys with whom their relationships are not ideal. Both are struggling, in different ways, to bridge that gap, to build some foundation for a long-term relationship as the boys grow, and the night of the siege is the crucible for that.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
As a father, it was important to me to address for myself what that means. It’s dedicated to my oldest son Deklan, an exceptional writer in his own right. His mother and I broke up when he was still very young so I haven’t had as much time with him over the years as I would like. The message, I suppose, would be to treasure every moment with your child.
Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Not so much the horror elements, but some of the clumsy efforts by Owen and Zane to maintain good relationships with their own sons are very much influenced by my own experiences, not just as a father but also as a son. All the characters have pieces of people I know.
What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?
I think Poe suffered from depression, as I have from time to time, so the way he used it and created from it is inspiring.
If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?
Definitely Vincent Hobbes, because he has bent over backwards to make sure PROGENY and the short stories I’ve submitted for THE ENDLANDS have been top notch. He always has time to help other authors and offer encouragement and I’m very grateful.
Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?
Jordan Benoit is the cover artist, and I couldn’t be happier! His work on this and THE ENDLANDS is intriguing, mysterious and captivating. I wish I could take credit for choosing him but he was hired through PROGENY’S publishers, Hobbes End.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yes, and it’s nothing you haven’t heard before: if you’re driven to write, you should be doing it. If the ideas are pounding at your brain seeking release, then release them, dammit! If you love your man or woman then write about it. If you’re afraid that the words just won’t come when you try to write, then write about that. The more you write, the better you’ll be at it, and the more you’ll want to write. So go! NOW! Do it!
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I want to hear from you guys! Love my work or hate it, or find it pointless-let me know. And thanks for the time you set aside to read PROGENY or my short stories or even just this interview. I love having the opportunity to tell you a story!
Patrick C. Greene
Asheville, North Carolina
Progeny was published by Hobbes End Publishing, LLC
Heather and her husband Chris Dunbar are both members of a writing cabal that I belong to. They both have an author interview pending in the works, but I also invited Heather to do a writing space post here at No Wasted Ink. I think you’ll agree that her writing style and tools are unique.
I’m Heather Poinsett-Dunbar, one of the coauthors of the Morrigan’s Brood series. Where do I write books? I suppose the 64 thousand dollar question really is where don’t I write books.
I write the first draft with the hubby, Christopher Dunbar, at a variety of places. Generally, since we’re both trying to be gluten-free, we go to several Asian places in the neighborhood. We pull out a legal notepad from what we call the ‘man-purse’ (since Chris usually carries it) and a pen. Yes, we’re that old-school. Then we start writing. We go from one ‘scene’ to the next. Why do we go out? Because we share a house with three cats who talk a lot.
Mandi: Lamia, blah, blah, Strigoi, Deargh Du.
A: EI is not cooperating. Looks annoyed.
MA: Strides in and interrupts them. Who took all my #$@#$!ing bloodmead???
And so on.
Sometime after that, I generally go to my office (the HeatherCave), light incense and candles, turn off phones, and start typing or talking (I use a speech-to-text program that works for the most part, but it also translates Gaelic names into the most delightful nonsensical ravings). If I’m just typing out our notepads, I’ll play music. Generally, it has to be in a language I don’t know or instrumental, as I will start singing along if it’s in English. Right now, I listen to Corvus Corax, Omnia, Faun, Clannad, Dead Can Dance, Vas, and a lot of soundtracks and trailer music. However, I like to get a musical impression of the historical era that we are writing about.
Other times, I work on the road if we’re at an event or book signing. When I can, I type at lunch at work, but my office is my favorite place to type and think.
Right now, there is a pile of 10 notepads waiting to be transcribed, as my job is a tad stressful of late. Hopefully, I will get back into the flow of things very soon.
Generally, after typing out the dialogue that Chris and I wrote, I go through and add details. I am a librarian, which means I basically research as a hobby. So, I go through our print reference materials in my library at home and then I start accessing historical electronic databases that will help me add a bit of realism to our writings. We’re both history nerds, so this is a lot of fun for us both. Once I’m done, I send things back to Chris, he reads and adds to the draft, I accept or add changes, and boom, it scampers away to the editor.
If you’d like to read more about our adventures in authoring, be sure to visit our blog!
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