Tag Archives: authors

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

Happy Monday!!! Welcome to No Wasted Ink’s top-ten writers articles. As I surf the internet, I save craft articles that intrigue me and which I hope will also interest you. This week I found some great ones, so pour yourself the beverage of your choice and enjoy.

Archetypal Antagonists for Each of the Six Archetypal Character Arcs

Writing From The End: How Endings Create Satisfying Beginnings In A Book

Plotting for Pantsers and Pantsing for Plotters

How to Nail the Purpose of Your Novel’s Scenes

33 Common Literary Devices: Definitions, Examples, and Exercises

When should writers return to old, abandoned work?

Should MFA Programs Teach the Business of Writing?

A Great Storyteller Loses His Memory

Survey: Most people prefer reading paper books over digital books on tablets, phones

Ray Bradbury’s Greatest Writing Advice

Author Interview: PJ Manney

When I asked PJ Manney to describe herself as a writer, she said, “I’m a human sponge, and culture and SF geek. Everything is connected and I’ll show you the network.” Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

PJ Manney wrote the bestselling and P.K. Dick Award nominated novel, (R)EVOLUTION (2015, 47North) in the Phoenix Horizon trilogy with, (ID)ENTITY (2017), and (CON)SCIENCE, (2021). A former chairperson of Humanity+, she authored “Yucky Gets Yummy: How Speculative Fiction Creates Society“​ and “Empathy in the Time of Technology: How Storytelling is the Key to Empathy,”​ foundational works on the neuropsychology of empathy and future media. Manney consults and lectures for organizations about the future of technology and humanity. She was a teleplay writer (Hercules–The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess, numerous TV pilot scripts) and film executive. Manney has two children, lives with her husband in Southern California and is a dual citizen of the US and New Zealand.

When and why did you begin writing?

My husband and I went to New Zealand in 1993, so he could produce five TV movies based on Hercules. I had just left running one production company and was negotiating to run another. But I didn’t want to be away from my husband for 9 months, so I put the job search on hold and joined him in Auckland. I was so bored doing nothing, I thought I’d write a spec feature length script to pass the days. For thirty years, I had believed the lies told by my teachers who mistrusted my dyslexia, and my producers who believed that production executives didn’t have what it took to be writers. My spec was good enough for me to pitch the executive producer in charge of the new episodic TV series in the works, Hercules—The Legendary Journeys, then Xena: Warrior Princess. We were in New Zealand for seven years and had two children there.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I considered myself a screenwriter after my first sale to Hercules—The Legendary Journeys. I considered myself a novelist after selling (R)EVOLUTION. I considered myself a short story writer after selling “Ours” to the ghost story anthology, December Tales. Even though writing is what makes one a writer, I like a pro sale to feel like I’ve earned the moniker. But that’s just me.

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

(CON)SCIENCE is the third book in the Phoenix Horizon trilogy. Five years ago, bioengineer Peter Bernhardt spearheaded an innovation in nanotechnology that changed the course of evolution. Until everything was taken from him—his research, the people he loved, and finally his life. Uploaded as an artificial intelligence, Peter is alive again thanks to a critical reactivation by fellow AI Carter Potsdam.

But a third sentient computer program, Major Tom, is tearing the United States apart, destroying its leaders and its cities. Major Tom’s mission: rebuild a new America from the ruins and reign as uncontested monarch. Carter knows that only a revolutionary like Peter can reverse the damage to a country set on fire.

Caught in a virtual world between an alleged ally and an enemy, pieces of Peter’s former self remain: the need for vengeance, empathy for the subjugated people of a derelict world, and doubt in everything he’s been led to believe. To rescue what’s left, he’ll need to once again advance the notion of evolution and to expand the meaning of being human—by saving humanity.

What inspired you to write this book?

I love American history, having been an American Studies major in college. I love futurism, where I watch trends in society and culture and figure out the possible futures that may occur. And I love neuroscience. I taught myself neuroscience to imagine the possible brain-computer interface technologies (BCIs) in the novels. They must be good enough, because at least one major BCI company has replicated them. Imagining how a person would change with an implanted BCI, then change again as a digital personality is the best fun ever.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I think my style changes with the story told and the point of view. In the Phoenix Horizon trilogy, it’s close third person in the mind of a scientist, but as the protagonist shifts personality, the writing does, too. “Ours” is a story told by three ghost children as a collective entity. But I have techniques that are consistent story to story, including how I brainstorm, structure and write all over the place, in layers. I call it sedimentary writing, as I lay down the different layer details at different times.

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

My first editor at 47North, Jason Kirk, came up with (R)EVOLUTION. I took the format of parentheses as a starting point, and added one letter more to inside the parenthesis to indicate the number of the book in the series: (R), (ID), (CON). Then I had fun coming up with words that were thematically correct and could exist on their own inside, outside, and separate of the parentheses. Each title has several meanings or thematic references. I think it worked.

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

Change happens. Technology advances. We can’t stop it, nor should we. Technology is morally neutral. What matters are the choices we, as a society, make for its use. And we have a voice in those decisions if we chose to say it.

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

The series protagonist cognates, memorizes and problem-solves through music. My daughter does this. I find her brain so interesting, I created a hero/anti-hero based on it. And several characters are based on or are composites of people I know. I’ve made a lot of parents happy by making their adult children fictional doctors, lawyers and Wolfesque ‘masters of the universe.’

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

Alexander Dumas inspired all three books with The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers and The Man in the Iron Mask respectively. Dumas was a magnificent storyteller, and especially in The Count of Monte Cristo, the political technothriller writer of his time, as the Count uses early 19th Century technologies to foil his enemies.

Mary Shelley is my compass, always pointing the way. From Frankenstein, depicting the OG scientifically-created human, to The Last Man, with its deep contemplation of what makes human beings necessary, she asked the hardest questions as the first science fiction author. We still ask the same questions today.

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

Two writers mentored and helped me over the last several years. Joe Quirk picked me up and dusted me off when I had given up on an early draft of (R)EVOLUTION that was a disaster. He focused on solutions and gave me the best notes a writer could ask for, because they worked. I learned so much from him as a first-time novelist. Cat Rambo came into my life when I needed her most. I had writers block and took Eileen Gunn’s excellent writer’s block class at Clarion West online. At the end, she said we should join Cat Rambo’s daily co-writing group and continue with classes at The Rambo Academy. I did both. They allowed me to finish (CON)SCIENCE and take it to publication, as well as teach me how to write short stories, leading to “Ours.” I’m a lucky writer to have such mentors and friends.

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

I told 47North that I wanted covers that were the 21st Century version of the surreal, psychedelic SFF covers I loved as a child in the 1970s. Jason Kirk and I searched the web for a great artist and found Adam Martinakis. We adore him and his three-dimensional, CGI surrealist style. They speak to the drama and individual conflicts of each book. (R)EVOLUTION depicts the painful emergence of a new kind of human. (ID)ENTITY refers to the fracturing of identity in artificial human intelligences and the different bodies they inhabit. (CON)SCIENCE references how many iterations of a single mind can occur when digital entities exist. The images were perfect.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write. Don’t give up. I imagined the seed of an idea in 1993 that became (R)EVOLUTION, published in 2015. During that time, I wrote for television, ghostwrote for movies, published my first academic journal article, consulted as a futurist, helped run a PTA, reorganized and accelerated STEM classes in our schools, raised two children, cared for six parents, and had my own health crises. I have dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia, as well as late-discovered ADHD. In theory, I should be the last person writing anything. But it turns out that dyslexics are unusually good storytellers, but we’re only learning that now. Against conventional wisdom, I do the thing I was told never to do. You can, too.

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

Don’t be afraid of the future. We are all more resilient and powerful than we think. We can make a better world together, if we want one.


PJ Manney
Orange County, CA

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(CON)SCIENCE


Cover Artist: Adam Martinakis
Publisher: 47North at Amazon Publishing

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No Wasted Ink Writers Links

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

Welcome to No Wasted Ink’s writer links. These are articles that caught my attention while surfing the internet. I hope that you find them as interesting as I did. Enjoy.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel

Heinlein’s Future History: Coming True Before Our Eyes

Your 50 Favorite Sci-Fi And Fantasy Books Of The Past Decade


How Extortion Scams and Review Bombing Trolls Turned Goodreads Into Many Authors’ Worst Nightmare


Why a Poet’s Community is so Important to Writers


Average Book Word Count: How Many Words Should I Write?


Plot Or Character? What’s Your Starting Point?


Scrivener Scenario: Creating a Series Bible


Forbidden Formats: The Risks and Rewards of Uncommon Narrative Structures


An Ode to Sticky Notes

Author Interview: a stump

Authors come from all walks of life and a stump is no exception. While this author may claim to be a mere hobbist, I think he has much more going for him than he might realize, for a stump is a literary author with over thirty short stories published in over fifteen publications. Read on and see if you agree with me. Please welcome a stump to No Wasted Ink.

Hi Wendy! When I think about who I am, I’d like to begin be saying that I’m a man—a pastor, even!—married to a beautiful, supportive wife with four amazing sons. I don’t think of myself as an author, but certainly enjoy the hobby of writing. I love being outdoors, and I love drinking coffee. I’m a slow, but avid, reader. I read about 150 words per minute, which makes me an “auditory reader.” So, being such a slow reader, I have to be very judicious in my reading list.

When and why did you begin writing?

My best friend, N.D. Coley, is a writer. I saw what he was doing and how his stories were getting published, and I thought, “I’d like to try doing that.” I did, and it worked!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

From the get-go, I knew that I was a writer. I had had a lot of English and writing classes in college, so I knew the mechanics of writing. I understand vocabulary and writing quite well, so I know what works. I also have a working knowledge of Greek, Hebrew, Latin, French, and German, and I’m working on Old Norse, Old English, and Anglo-Saxon. That being said, I don’t view myself as an “author.” It’s not the main thing I do, only a hobby. I’m happy, however, that people seem to enjoy my writing.

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

I have one book, The Endless Summer, that I’m advertising now. It’s the right time for it, as kids are getting out of school and teachers are assigning reading lists and such. It’s a bit of a fantastical romp through my own childhood in the 1980’s in upstate New York. Of course, it’s not just nostalgia, but infused with the supernatural. I have a mermaid, a genie, and a vampire in my story, all interacting with a group of ten year-old boys. I think that that’s when the magic happens—between childhood and puberty. There’s a liminal phase there where childhood belief mixes with some sort of adult notion that the world is a really gritty, complex place.

What inspired you to write this book?

It began as a short story called The Storm Drain. It was eventually changed to Keep Off the Grass and published in the online magazine, Jakob’s Horror Box. When I had finished that story, I felt the characters begging me to tell more. I did. I wrote several short stories, and they all became a single piece that turned into The Endless Summer.

Do you have a specific writing style?

If I had to pick a single style, I’d say “Literary.” I really want to write stuff that everyone wants to read. As such, I use a lot of descriptive and grammar structure to make my writing broadly appealing. My Book, The Endless Summer is written for a young adult audience, but will also be appealing to adults. In fact, one reviewer stated that she read the book twice in a row for the beauty of the writing.

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

One of the stories/chapters in this book is called “The Endless Summer.” It’s one of the few stories in the book that hasn’t been published previously. After writing it, I thought that it encapsulates the idea of a childhood summer—never ending. The story takes place over one whole summer, and it seemed a fitting title.

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

Yes! Some people might think that the message is something like “there’s magic everywhere” or “childhood is magical.” In reality, I think that the truth of the book is that “things aren’t always as they seem.” Being disillusioned is one of the hallmarks of the journey from childhood to adulthood. The jading that happens somewhere in adolescence is quite unfortunate. My book captures the twilight magic that happens somewhere between those two bookends.

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

Every story is somehow autobiographical. All the characters are some part of me. It takes place in upstate New York, which is where I spent several years of my childhood. It was formative for me, and a natural backdrop for my stories.

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

Without a doubt, Ray Bradbury, C.S. Lewis, Sherwood Anderson, and Ursula K. le Guinn.

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

I write my own prose and poetry. While I’m influenced by a lot a authors’ styles, I try not to mimic them.

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

I did it. Because I’m broke! I’d love for someone else to design covers for me, but I’m broke and can’t afford graphic design. A designer actually volunteered to design a cover for me, but none of the proposed designs really fit the book. I think that any designer needs to read my writing before submitting a design. My writing is often dark and brooding. Even with a title like The Endless Summer, it’s not a flowery book.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Just write. Write what you love. Who cares if it’s published? Also, when you’re ready to publish, it’s ok to give some stuff away, but don’t give everything away. Giving writing away cheapens our craft.

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

Please, please, please leave a review for the work that you’d read! Even one sentence! Obviously, five-star reviews are preferable. But even one word reviews (like “Awesome!”) make a difference for authors. I’ve sold a lot of copies of my titles, but have relatively few reviews. Granted, they’re all five star reviews, but it would be really nice if the amount of reviews were reflective of sales!


a stump
Greenville, PA

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The Endless Summer

Purchase at
www.astump.com

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

Welcome to No Wasted Ink’s top ten list of writing craft articles. As the weeks go by, I earmark articles that I find go a bit above and beyond and bring them here to share with you. I hope you enjoy this batch!

The Peer Review Process: What Sets University Presses Apart

Why Everyone Should Write (Even if You Think You Stink)

Memoir’s Primary Argument: Making Sure Your Memoir Is Universal, Not Just Personal

Why Editing Matters & Simple Ways to Make Your Work SHINE

How to Make Large Conflicts Exciting

Building a Fantasy Army — Weapons & Tactics

Changing Your Reader’s Perspective

Word Count Is Not the Only Metric for Productivity

Story Pacing: 4 Techniques That Help Manage Your Plot’s Timeline

Close Encounters of the Initial Kind – Tips for When Characters Meet