Tag Archives: writer

Guest Post: An Interesting State of Mind by A. Garnet

Fantasy Woman

Being an author is an interesting state of mind. As I give talks or meet people, I am asked the same questions. Where I get my ideas? How do I write a whole book? How did I get my books published? There are none who ask the important question. What are the technicalities in writing a book?

WHAT A BORING QUESTION.

Being a published author I can say with a big sigh that the whole process is a learning business, a learning business that never ends. Let’s start with the easier questions.

Where Do I Get My Ideas?

I treat this as a serious question so I give a serious answer. I get ideas from the very people who ask me that question. I have a wild imagination. I am one of those people that look up at clouds and see rabbits that change into dragons. The guy sitting next to me just sees the clouds.

For me, to be an author or to write a full book, you have to take an idea such as a storm planet and then not only put people on it, but decide how those people would have survived as indigenous natives in such a harsh environment that led me to wonder what kind of plant and animal life would also cling to this harsh world. There it is folks, one idea leads to another idea and then to a whole book full of ideas.

My thought and what I share with my listeners is that if you can’t take a single cloud and see several shapes you are going to have a hard time taking an idea and finish a book. Now remember I am talking about fiction not reality topics.

How do I write a whole book?

This was partially covered in the paragraph above. You need to expand on your idea and take your characters into situations that you enjoy writing about. Did I mention that you had to enjoy writing?

You need to look forward to getting your fingers on a keyboard, to add to those ideas. If you get tired or bored, you need to talk to someone else, to see what is the problem with your writing ability.

Books come in all sizes from all authors with only a few exceptions. I do know of one who only writes very short novellas. We all know of a couple like Hemingway who only wrote very long books. Still most authors write both sort and long stories.

How did I get my books published?

Here is where I wish I had a fairy godmother. I can tell you that a small author like me and a big time author like Stephen King had the same problem, that very nice refusal letter.

You are never going to be published until you have written a book, edited it, re-edited it, asked for help on editing it and then submitted it. Like all the rest of us you will submit it to every publisher you can find on the Internet, through Google and by reading the NY Times or Reviewers in California. You will get the same nice refusal letter back. I got enough to cover the walls in my bathroom, that is where I began to hang mine. Not as regret, but to remind me to keep trying.

So can we believe some of the words in those refusal letters? This leads to the boring last question.

What are the technicalities in writing a book?

Good English learned in Lit. 101. When we write, most of us are using the English language where there are rules. We can break those rules when our characters talk slang, but when we are describing plants clinging to a storm chased planet, we must use proper English.

We also have to very careful how we use proper names or refer to brands. A number of those refusal letters were because the editor that looked at the first Chapter found so many errors in punctuation, quoting, numbers, and most important POV (Point of View).

Writing the story with your idea was fun, it was for all of us. Then reality hit us all as we went back to school to write our books correctly, so we could get past that editor who kicked out the first Chapter.

Get your story down and then find some help on the editing before you go back and re-submit it to all the same publishers. You might have a surprise, I did.

Author A. GarnetAfter raising a daughter, running an International Business, traveling the world and only finding time to write a few minutes in any twenty-four hour period, I now am retired in Florida and can write all day and all night, which I often do. Under the pen name of M. Garnet (Muriel Garnet Yantiss) I use all the experiences I gained and without any hesitation draw information from my long list of friends and acquaintances worldwide.

With over 30 books published through two active publishers and a couple of independent books (indies) at Amazon I love the email that the Internet brings me from all over the world.

I write SciFi, Fantasy and Contemporary Mystery. But I like my stories to end happy ever after.

A fan wrote me about liking a planet I wrote about in TWIN’S SLAVE so I dedicated the second story about the planet AN ASSASSIN FOR THE SLAVE to her. I have had others writing me about this storm planet and am now working on my third novel about the water and caves and intrigue that tempest brings to the planet of GigasVenee.

Just to make sure I am really busy, my other publisher has put in a request for a contemporary story with the same type of turmoil but between two people. I just can’t resist a challenge. Visit my web site at www.mgarnet.com to see other books I’ve written.

Book Review: Red Mars

Book Name: Red Mars
Author: Kim Stanley Robinson
First Published: 1993
Nebula Award Winner for Best Novel 1993

Author Kim Stanley Robinson was born in Waukegan, Illinois, but mainly grew up in Southern California. He earned a B.A. in literature from the University of California, San Diego in 1974 and gained a Masters in English from Boston University in 1982. He returned to his California ala mater in 1984 to finish a PhD in English.

Robinson is an avid backpacker and many of his novels feature characters that hike or climb mountains including his Mars Trilogy. He doesn’t consider himself to be a mountain climber, more of a man that loves the great outdoors. In 2009, Robinson was a Clarion Workshop instructor and the following year he was the guest of honor at the 68th World Con. His novels have won 11 major science fiction awards and 29 nominations.

He is married with two sons and his family currently resides in Davis, California.

“History was like some vast thing that was always over the tight horizon, invisible except in its effects. It was what happened when you weren’t looking — an unknowable infinity of events, which although out of control, controlled everything.”
― Kim Stanley Robinson, Red Mars

The epic novel Red Mars begins when one hundred participants are chosen to go to the red planet after a detailed and rigorous selection process. The winners are geniuses from Russia and the United States along with a few other countries. They undertake a nine month space mission to reach their goal of forming a colony base on Mars. “Underhill” has nuclear generators for power, medical stations are established, GMO foods are produced on martian farms and new life forms that can survive on the Martian surface unprotected are also genetically created. During this time, a debate that started on the spacecraft and continues both on Mars and Earth about the moral right of humans to terraform and mine Mars for their own profit.

Two factions arise on Mars. One is the Reds, led by Ann Cayborne. She believes that Mars should not be used for corporate profit or for Earth’s expansion. The other are the Greens, led by Sax Russell. He believes that terraforming is important in order for life on Mars to continue. As time goes on, these and other political arguments tear the martian settlement apart, even as more new Earth immigrants arrive to worsen the situation. Added to the mix is a new discovery by a medical team, a drug that grants near immortality. One of the medical team disappears with a group of followers and they harvest many eggs in order to produce children at will.

What was once a scientific operation, turns into a struggle for power by governments and international companies who wish to carve out a piece of Mars for themselves. Mining on Mars increases and more workers are imported from Earth to handle the work load. The new city domes become crowded and understaffed. Riots begin as water and other supplies are lost or damaged, causing massive flooding and death. Even the entire moon of Phobos is destroyed in the chaos.

Most of the first hundred colonists are killed in the resulting revolution. Their work is destroyed. The survivors take refuge in a hidden colony called Zygote under the southern pole and begin to build a new life for themselves on a chaotic and destroyed Mars.

Red Mars Book CoverOne of the draws of Robinson’s work is his detailed world building based on known science. There are many “sense of wonder” descriptions of the Martian landscape that draw you in as a reader and give you an appreciation for the natural environment. His details about the science behind the transformation of Mars make you wish that you could visit these people and places. As someone who enjoys natural beauty, this was one of the aspects of the novel that I enjoyed. I also liked how the author shifted the third-person point of view among the main characters of the book, allowing me to see Mars, its society and its culture through their different perspectives.

Robinson often features scientists as heroes, not because of their physical brawn, but more for the importance of their discoveries, networking or collaboration with other scientists. The characters struggle to preserve and enhance the world around them in a manner evoking individualism and entrepreneurship such as was found on the American Frontier a century ago. In Robinson’s novels, scientists must take responsibility for educating the public in the responsible use of their discoveries and often emerge as the best people to direct public policy on environmental and technological issues. Robinson could be considered an anti-capitalist, his ideas promote an egalitarianism that more in keeping with socialist ideals. The Martian Constitution in his Mars Trilogy, draws upon these social democratic ideals and focus on the community-participation elements in the Martian’s political and economic life. I personally do not agree with all his political views, however, Robinson is not overt in his preaching and it is tolerable if you keep an open mind and enjoy the environmental and technological ideas.

Whatever your views on his political ideas, Red Mars is a detailed portrayal of how this planet might be colonized in the near future with present day technology. Considering that there are programs in real life that are in the planning stages of going to Mars with an eye toward colonization, Robinson’s books are incredibly timely and an interesting read. It is my hope that the destruction and chaos that happens on Red Mars might be bypassed by our own colonists, but human nature being what it is, we can only hold our breath and hope for the best. I feel that the Mars Trilogy is well worth reading and I hope you’ll consider adding it to your to-read list.

The Mars Trilogy

Red Mars (1993) – Colonization
Green Mars (1994) – Terraforming
Blue Mars (1996) – Long-term results
The Martians (1999) – Short stories

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksWelcome back to another Monday of writer’s links. This week the articles cover everything from fanfiction to publishing in online lit magazines. There is a humorous essay about 50 shades of grey you won’t want to miss. Enjoy!

It’s a Fanmade World

The Trouble with Indie Math

Picking Up the Torch: The Golden Age of the Continuation Novel

Publishing With a Small Press: Straddling the Indie-Traditional Gap

Marketing And Sales For Novelists

Do you make mistakes writing fight scenes?

Why Writing is So Hard

All You Need to Know About Publishing in Online Lit Mags

Dave Barry Learns Everything You Need to Know About Being a Husband From Reading 50 Shades of Grey

25 maps that explain the English language

Journals: Tapping into the Creative Process

My Moleskine Pocket Notebook and Cross Beverly Fountain PenHandwriting is a skill that tends to be overlooked in our day and age. We spend much of our time typing on keyboards or poking at screens with fingers. The art of putting a pen to paper seems old-fashioned. Many people have given up on this quaint practice of putting pen to paper. Yet, many studies have shown that the human brain is more apt to remember details that are written on paper than on a computer screen and when we write by hand, the parts of the brain more connected with creativity are stimulated than by the act of keyboarding.

There is a real advantage for those who continue to use paper bound journals in their writing process. One of the first benefits is you will be practicing your handwriting skills. If you know cursive, use it! When I first moved to using paper bound journals, I noticed that within a month my handwriting became legible after years of only printing. My cursive is readable again.

Whatever you write with a pen stays in your memory longer. When I take notes at seminars or write down information in my pocket notebook on the fly, I remember where the information is stored and can find it easily based on knowing its place in my notebook. This is not true with programs such as Evernote or Onenote. When I take notes electronically, I must use the search functions because the information moves on the “page” to different locations.

Many studies have shown that when you write with a pen and paper, you tap more deeply into the creative places of your brain. This makes paper journals perfect for brainstorming ideas or even writing the first draft of your book. Writing by hand is slower than typing. It allows you to engage your thoughts into your writing more fully than if you are flying away on a keyboard.

There are many different ways to use a journal. Each type serves a different purpose, but all of them will help to preserve and improve your handwriting skills, offer a writer insight into their creative process or create unique archival opportunities. Below I will list a few of the different types of journaling you might consider.

Travel

When you travel it is always a good idea to keep your tickets, hotel information, travel documents and itinerary in one place. This is the first purpose of assembling a travel journal. Before you go, you can research all the fun things to do in the location and plan when you can experience all the region has to offer. There is a second function to a travel journal, keeping a record of what you did on the trip. Many people like to write down details of their day, take photos or sketch images of where they are, gather small tokens or papers along the way and store them all in the journal. Even if you don’t have time to write while on the trip, if you take a few notes, you can put together a beautiful presentation of the trip afterward with all the materials that you collected. It can become an instant art journal of your experience.

Dream

As a writer, your dreams are often fodder for future stories. There we develop places and characters that spring to life from our unconscious. Keeping a dream journal is a great aid for capturing this information. It helps to keep a journal at your bedside and to write down your dreams the moment you awaken. Don’t be surprised when a glorious plot you spent the night with evaporates with the dawn, but a dream journal is a way to capture that glory before it fades.

Daily

A daily diary is often the first form of journal that people think of when they consider journaling. It is the act of writing down what you did, felt and saw on a given day. Sometimes such journals are filled with emotions and angst, but when used correctly, a daily journal can provide much insight into your past and can evoke memories. When I write in my daily journal, I tend to be more factual. I try and record what I see and where I was. What thoughts and feelings the events provoked in me and who I spoke to, where I went and what sort of media I was engaged with. I make a point to write down descriptions of people and places in order to recall them more clearly at a later time. If I am trying to recall an event of the past, I can look back and see what thoughts were important to me at the time and sometimes this helps me remember more clearly.

Gratitude

Have you ever lost perspective on all the blessings in your life? That is an issue that a Gratitude journal addresses. The concept is to write down three good things that happened to you each and every day. Later on, when you look back at the positive things in your life, it can be uplifting to your spirit. This is a good type of journal to use a dated planner with.

Commonplace

The commonplace journal used to be a very typical journal style. It would be a book where the author would write down what they had learned and their opinions on the information. For instance, if the author was reading a book, they might write down passages in the book that they found interesting and then write their opinions along side the passage. This gave two benefits. First, they were copying work from the “masters” and getting these words into their minds via the process of copying by hand. Then they added the element of their own dissertation to add more meaning to the work. Jack London was known to use this type of journal style to improve his writing without the benefit of schooling. By exposing yourself to literature and copying it, you tend to pick up those writing styles into your own writing. These commonplace journals were great aids in the education of people for many centuries.

Morning Pages

The concept of Morning Pages was developed by artist Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way. The concept is to write three pages of writing in the first hour when you wake up in the morning. This is not to be confused with a dream journal. Your morning pages can be about any subject you choose, the writing doesn’t need to be proofed in anyway and in fact, writing in a stream of conscious manner is the idea. According to Cameron, the morning pages allow you to warm up your writing for the day and lets you dispel negative feelings or thoughts that might be accumulating within you. So it has therapeutic value as well as limbering you up to write your prose for the day.

These are only a few ways that a paper bound journal can be used to aid in the creative process. You can do any of these types of journals on the computer screen if you wish, but you will be missing out on the tactile sensation of handwriting, seeing your script improve, and losing the benefit of slowly down and giving yourself time to think more clearly about what you are writing.

Do you already use a paper journal? What sort of journaling do you do and what is your notebook of choice?

Author Interview: Vanessa Knipe

When I asked Vanessa to describe herself as a writer, she answered: I can never settle to one genre – I’ve written stories from Space Opera to Epic Fantasy – so I hope that everyone who loves Science Fiction or Fantasy will find something I’ve written that they can enjoy. Please welcome author Vanessa Knipe to No Wasted Ink.

Author Vanessa KnipeMy name is Vanessa Knipe. I’m a widow bringing up an autistic son. I hold a BSc Hons Biochemistry, and trained as a biochemist to work in the NHS as a Scientific Officer working with blood. I’m a real vampire – all right for you purists I’m a phlebotomist. After my husband was killed in 2001, I couldn’t work the shifts with a disabled child so I had to leave work. As there was nothing which would allow me to work, I filled my time with writing stories. I took writing courses with the Open University – a Online University primarily for more mature students who cannot attend a brick building – in order to learn how to turn my scribbles into books people wanted to read. I gained a Diploma in Literature and Creative Writing and one day, when the house repairs don’t take all my spare cash, I will take a Masters degree. It is a joy to me to help other people who want to write.

When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing when I learned to write. After my mother’s death I found a package of stories and cartoons I’d written and never knew she kept. There was a lovely series of cartoons that I drew where a monster growled outside rich houses threatening them into giving gifts which the monster then gave to the poor people. I had no idea she was interested – she said nothing to me. I was eleven when my English teacher gave me a grade of 60/60 for an assignment – not because it had perfect spelling and grammar but because she had laughed herself silly over a story I had written. That’s when I decided I wanted to be a writer, but as I grew up I took onboard my parents’ views that writing wasn’t real work and instead I took Biochemistry.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

In 2006, when my first book, Witch-Finder, was published. Before that, I never allowed myself to hope that anyone would want to read my stories.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

I had two books out this year, Shadow and Salvation and Pill Wars, but I’ll concentrate on the Urban Fantasy, Shadow and Salvation. It’s a short story collection and the latest in my Theological College of St Van Helsing series: think Van Helsing goes on holiday in St Mary Mead and you have the tone of the books. A Secret Branch of the Church of England – nicknamed the Witch Finders – hunts demons which have been driven into the United Kingdom over the years because it’s surrounded by water and that makes it a good prison for spiritual creatures. The older Witch Finders are burning out and the pool of potential recruits is too small. This book starts by showing two regulars in the College when they were in training and ends with a hope of change for new recruits.

What inspired you to write this book?

This book needed to address the fact that in the previous books only rich, upper class men ever get to be Witch Finders and what happens when the Leader of the College, Laird Alasdair Dunkley, tries to expand the pool of recruits. The first words I had for this book were “Do you have an Archbishop’s license to experiment with basilisks?” To me there is a whole world of inspiration in those words. I often find hints of my stories in the news or in the activities of people around me. If I am stuck I will ask my friends on Twitter or Facebook to challenge me to write a story saving the world with some everyday item. This time it was frozen peas and a tin of paint.

Do you have a specific writing style?

For the St Van Helsing Books I like to have an ordinary object help defeat the demon, something like talcum powder or a butter dish – I like to keep a little humour to lighten the demon-fighting.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

It reflects the soul of the chief Witch Finder – he is one of the foremost Dark Mages in the country, yet he refuses to use his powers for evil.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I not sure I do messages. The closest one would be always do what you think is right, even if you have to stand alone.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

The first ever Witch Finder story has a man selling his soul to the devil to win the annual village vegetable competition. I grew up in a village in Yorkshire and know the intense competition there is to win these prizes. In Shadow and Salvation I have looked to the mythology of the UK. There are four stories about ‘Black Dogs’ – including the Barghast in York – these come from my son’s acting. He starred in a play where he had to recite the whole of The Black Dog of Newgate jail (mentioned in the first story of S&S) while around him the rest of the acting club enacted the scenes. In my head all my characters are played by well-known celebrities – it makes it easier to describe them.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Andre Norton, she had me asking at NASA how one became an astronaut. She has such a breadth of work that it encourages me when when I don’t stick to one facet of SF&F and the current really successful writers write on one theme. Alan Garner who wrote about the mythology of the British Isles, which first made me realise how deep the folk stories are in this country. John Wyndham who wrote in the 1970s with the overhang of the Cold War and the threat of nuclear war, his Trouble with Lichen is the reason I chose to be a Biochemist. More recently I admire Jim Butcher, who made me realise that magic and the modern world could co-exist.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

I learn from every book I read, what works and what chimes false, that makes every writer I ever read my mentor. At the moment I am listening to Rayne Hall and Chuck Wendig – I find their advice fits with the way I think.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

My publisher designed the cover, though I have a say in whether I like it or not and can change elements. That’s why I like working with the indie publishing houses; they allow more input from the author.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Find the best way of editing for you, so that it never becomes a chore. I learned that hating editing meant I was doing it wrong for me.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you, I appreciate that you chose my books when there are so many choices out there.

Book Cover Shadows of SalvationVanessa Knipe
York, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom

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Publisher: Rob Preece at BooksforaBuck.com

Shadow and Salvation

AMAZON
BOOKS FOR A BUCK
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