Tag Archives: writing

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksWelcome back to another Monday of Writer’s Links from No Wasted Ink.  This week, I have a nice grab bag of general writing articles, but also a few about the editing process that might be of use.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Relativity: Did Einstein Kill Steampunk?

Mistakes to avoid when writing a series


Learn How to Set Up the Potential for Change in Character Arcs

Adding Depth to Your Fiction—Body Language 101

Yes, Shy Writers CAN Do In-Person Marketing

How to Stay Organized During a Revision

Are We Done Yet? How To You Know if Your Novel is Ready to Submit

The Little Word That Destroys Your Writing Life

The 15-Minute Writer: Book Marketing in Life’s Margins

Author Interview: Tabitha Lord

Author Tabitha Lord is a woman who wears many hats.   Not only is she a science fiction author, but she is also a senior editor for Book Club Babble and working on a non-fiction collection of stories connected with an awareness campaign for children with pediatric cancer.  I am honored to feature her here on No Wasted Ink.

author-tabitha-lordHi Wendy! Thank you so much for having me on No Wasted Ink! Let me take a moment to introduce myself. I currently live in Rhode Island, a few towns away from where I grew up. I’m married, have four great kids, two spoiled cats, and lovable lab mix. My degree is in Classics from College of the Holy Cross, and I taught Latin for years at the Meadowbrook Waldorf School. Yes, I’m a dinosaur! I also worked in the admissions office there for over a decade before turning my attention to full-time writing. It’s worth noting that I didn’t publish my first novel until after I turned forty, so for anyone thinking of a career change, it’s never too late!

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I loved to write stories as a child. In fact, when I was sorting through some of my grandma’s things after she passed, I came across a whole collection of poetry and stories I’d written. It was very sweet. In my professional life I’ve written some ad copy, blog posts, and done some editing for school publications, but I had very little time or energy for creative writing.

When my children got older and the dynamics of my family shifted, I began to consider changing careers. While I pondered what was next for me professionally I took on a yearlong writing project at work thinking it would give me the change of pace I needed. Turns out it was one of the most satisfying things I’d ever done in my career. Since I was in the habit of writing every day for work, I challenged myself to write creatively every day as well. Lo and behold, when the report was finished a year later, so was my first manuscript.

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

I’ve been asked to describe my book in ten words. Here’s what I came up with: Science fiction meets romance meets survival fiction meets military thriller!

What inspired you to write this book?

Thoughts for my stories come to me in different ways. Sometimes it’s a character that appears in my head, fully formed – personality, career, physical appearance, and name – ready for me to create a story around. Other times, there’s an interesting scene that builds up in my imagination over time. Or sometimes there’s a theme or idea I want to explore.

With Horizon, I had two distinct parts of a story floating in my head. The first was the opening crash sequence. It was more basic at the time of its inception – just a pilot who crash lands on a planet, and a young woman, in some kind of trouble, who saves his life.

The second part was more complex. I was playing with the idea of what would happen if one segment of an already small isolated population evolved differently, either naturally or by design, from the other. What if some had gifts that enabled them to imagine a different kind of future for themselves and their world? What if they were empathic and could sense each other’s emotions and thoughts? What if some of them could heal with their mind? How would the unchanged people feel about their neighbors? It created such an interesting premise I knew I had to find a way to make it into a story.

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

There’s a big chunk of survival fiction in the first part of Horizon. Caeli is living alone in the wilderness, fending for herself, and living off the land. I grew up in a rural neighborhood until I was twelve years old and spent most of my playtime outdoors, in the woods, exploring and climbing trees. I distinctly remember the smell of pine, the quiet in the forest after the first snow, the taste of wild blueberries. I tried to call on my own childhood memories to give Caeli’s experience authenticity. And as an adult, I’ve had a few adventures that influenced this particular aspect of the story! Over the years, I’ve accompanied students on several class trips. We’ve hiked the rain forests in Costa Rica, paddled dozens of nautical miles in the open ocean off the coast of Maine, and camped in the mountains of West Virginia. I have actually tended a cooking fire, carved utensils, found edible plants, bathed in the ocean, and slept outdoors.

I’m also a medical school dropout! But my experience in medical school, and for years as an EMT, I think gives Caeli some authority as a healer. And when I wasn’t sure about a particular treatment, I’d call my brother-in-law, who did finish medical school and is a practicing physician!

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

This is a tough one. I love genre fiction and my shelves are filled with everything from horror, to military thrillers, to historical romance. I also appreciate good literary fiction with characters I remember long after I turn the last page. I just enjoy a good story, no matter the genre or style!

Some of my all-time favorites include The Stand by Stephen King. To me this is the ultimate apocalypse story, full of disquieting horror. Harry Potter is at the top of the list. Such incredible world building and rich characters! Outlander is fabulous. Diana Gabaldon’s dialogue is beautiful, and the relationship between Jamie and Claire is so complex and lovely. Recently I read, and loved, The Goldfinch. Literary fiction at its best! The Snow Child also really stayed with me after I finished reading. As I write this, I am staring at my library shelves and thinking, how can I leave off Barbara Kingsolver or Isabel Allende! Or my favorite Steinbeck novel East of Eden! I learn something different from each of these writers, but mostly I’m just incredibly grateful for the pleasure of reading their work. If someone asks me this question next week, I’ll probably have an entirely different list.

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

The immensely talented Steven Meyer-Rassow did both the cover art and interior design for Horizon. I wanted to collaborate with someone whose style and artistry resonated with my own. Every single image of Steven’s that I could find was stunning, and when we discussed my project, I knew he really understood my vision. One of the things we talked about initially was the fact that Horizon would be a trilogy, and we’d like to “brand” the series somehow. So in addition to amazing cover artwork, Steve created a title treatment that will carry through and give all the future Horizon books a cohesive look.

Another thing we discussed was that while Horizon firmly belongs on the shelf with other sci-fi novels, it definitely crosses genres. The cover, therefore, needed to have wide appeal. It needed to be intriguing and eye-catching enough for non-sci-fi readers to pick it up, yet stylistically still fit in with its main genre.

Do you have any advice for new writers?

Oh, for sure! First, finish something. A bad draft is better than no draft. Second, keep writing even when you feel stuck. Good habits will help you work through the blocks. But if I had to pick the most important thing for new writers it would be this: a first draft is nowhere near the finished product. This was shocking to me as a first-time novelist – although it shouldn’t have been! I knew edits were going to happen, but I had no idea how much work they would be. If I had to estimate, I would say that writing the first draft was only about one-third of the work. Editing and working through the business side of publishing made up the other two-thirds. What’s fun though, or at least what’s satisfying about the post-first-draft phase, is transforming the story from a rambling, exhaustive, stream of consciousness manuscript, to a work that has structure, flow, and even some artistry. I’ve learned so much about the craft of writing through editing.

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

The most important thing for me, as a writer, is to tell a good story. I write because I have to get these stories out of my head and onto the paper, but I also write for my readers and fans. I hope people fall in love with my characters and lose themselves in the plot. I hope they’re transported to different worlds. I hope they open my book and time flies away. This is what I want when I read, and I hope I can provide that experience for my fans!

horizon_cover_03_bTabitha Lord
North Kingstown, RI



Cover Artist: Steven Meyer-Rassow
Publisher: Wise Ink



No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksWelcome back to another batch of writer’s links here on No Wasted Ink.  This week my focus was on the genre of science fiction and diversity in fiction.  I am sharing more articles about being an author than how to be a writer.  I hope you find these articles as interesting as I did.

Why the Humble Notebook Is Flourishing in the iPhone Era

An Algorithm to Predict a Bestseller

Friday essay: science fiction’s women problem



“But That Couldn’t Happen”: On “Realism” in Contemporary Fiction

The Chosen One: Trope Reboot

Experiments of the Gods

N. K. Jemisin on Diversity in Science Fiction and Inspiration From Dreams

Don’t Try to Make a Living Writing Short Stories

Author Interview: David J. Pedersen

The goal of Author David J. Pedersen is escapism. He writes to entertain, and while there is often a lot going on in his stories, he works hard to make his books easy to read.  Please welcome him here on No Wasted Ink.

author-david-j-pedersenHi, I’m David J. Pedersen. I’ve been married for 23 years with a daughter in college and a son in law school. (I believe that means I’m old now.) I’m a technical consultant by trade. When I’m not working or with my family, I enjoy spending time with friends, video games, comic books, movies, all types of music, avoiding yardwork, bourbon, flirting, and going to Science Fiction/Fantasy/Comic Book Conventions. In between the cracks, I write books.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always enjoyed making people laugh, and entertaining in general. I discovered the best way to do this, and express myself, is through writing. I began writing stories in grade school and started sharing them with friends in high school. I never submitted anything for publication simply because I had a lot to learn about writing. Now that I know everything about writing, I’m a lot more confident (and I’m totally kidding. I’m more confident, but still have a lot to learn.) It took me about 40 years before I could calm my brain down enough to complete something worth sharing. Fortunately, the second book didn’t take as long.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

My first novel, Angst, was a lifetime goal that I could have easily walked away from and said, “did it!”. Finishing the second book “Buried in Angst” was reaffirming, that I had it in me to keep going. But it wasn’t until readers finished the second book and asked for more, that I felt like a writer.

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

Angst is the first in a series of five novels, and I’m close to completing book four, “Burning with Angst.” The protagonist, Angst, is 40 and going through a midlife crisis. His marriage is rocky, his friends don’t have time for him, and he hates his job filing papers since he always wanted to be a hero. Angst can also wield magic, which is mostly illegal. When it is discovered that magic is the only thing that can stop monsters that have suddenly appeared, Angst is given his chance to be a hero. It’s a “be careful what you wish for” story as he drags his reluctant friends on an adventure to discover where the monsters are coming from.

What inspired you to write this book?

A lot of books I read growing up were coming of age hero stories, and I loved them. Young people with great power and potential but no direction who meet a wise person that sends them on a path to becoming a hero. In reality, not everyone gets that life or gets to do what they want for a living. I mean, really, what about the people who wanted to be that hero but never got the chance? What if someone wanted to be a stay at home dad instead of a salesman? Or an amazing pianist that just didn’t get a break? I relate to this, but I also realize that getting what you want always comes at a price. Angst is that guy, the one who got passed up. I think it’s a fun spin on an old story, and having an older hero introduces a new set of challenges.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I’ve known from the start of my first novel how each in the series would begin and end. When I begin a new novel, I also have in mind the major plot points throughout the novel, as well as an overall goal. I then write freestyle until roughly halfway through at which point I’ll outline for pacing.

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

Not only does the title reflect the sense of frustration the protagonist faces with his life, Angst is also the name of the hero.

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

It’s a little corny…okay, it’s really corny, but nothing should get in the way of your dreams. Not age or weight or height or race or social status. But, dreams rarely come true without a lot of work and sacrifice. A lot! It doesn’t always turn out the way you expect, but the hard work and sacrifice are part of what makes it worth the effort.

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

My wife claims the book series is an autobiography. I disagree since I don’t have a giant, magical sword. That said, my novels strongly reflect me. A friend from high school told me that reading the first book was like spending an evening talking to me. There are also things that happen in the books that I’ve pulled from my life. A great example is Scar, the black lab puppy in Angst. Our lab had cancer surgery and has a long scar along her ribs.

What authors have most influenced your life?

I grew up reading David Eddings and Piers Anthony, and later in life enjoyed reading a lot of Asimov and some Tom Wolfe.

What about them do you find inspiring?

Eddings and Anthony provided great escapism; the stories were fun and I loved the characters so much I missed them when I was done with the books. Asimov wrote great stories, and I’ve always been blown away by how prolific he was. Wolfe writes outside of my favorite genres, but I love his wordplay.

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

There aren’t any writers who make me say, “I want to write like that person!” I admire the sheer volume of books Asimov wrote. I love pretty much all of the characters in Rowling’s Harry Potter books, and the world she created. I would love to be as descriptive as Robin Hobb; I think she nails it. But, anytime I start comparing myself to others, I stop. All writers have their own voice, and if I have one goal, it’s to improve mine and make it stronger.

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

The cover has gone through several iterations, and this one is relatively new. For reasons, I had a different artist for each book in the series, and my favorite book cover is my third novel, “Drowning in Angst.” It kind of has a Harry Potter / Tim Burton thing going on, and I’ve had people buy the other books because of that cover. Because I like the artist’s work so much, and for consistency, he will do the cover art for as long as he can stand me. I think it’s a small miracle what he is able to accomplish based on the crappy sketches I send him.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Try to write every day, even if it’s only 300 words at a time because it all adds up. It also helps to exercise the writing part of your brain to keep it spry. When you get stuck, or frustrated, share your work. Share with people who are both supportive, but can offer constructive criticism. When you’re done with your manuscript and are sure it’s perfect, go find an editor. If it’s your first book, I highly recommend developmental editing to identify story inconsistencies, plot holes, or messy writing that you may not recognize and your alpha team of readers may forgive.

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

There are a lot of great writers, both traditionally published and indie. The best way to support them, beyond buying their books, is to tell others about their stories. My favorite authors have come from recommendations. Whether you tell a friend or post a review, it will keep the writer writing!
angst-bookcoverDavid J. Pedersen
Lee’s Summit, MO



Cover Artist: Alessandro Brunelli


No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksThank goodness it is Monday!  It is time for another batch of Writer’s Links from No Wasted Ink.  This week in addition to the regular writing tips, there are a few that focus on science fiction writing and book marketing.  Enjoy!


Permission to Begin. Courage to Continue. Forgiveness to Try Again.

How to Write a Science Fiction Novel Series: 6 Tips

Creating Characters That Resonate

The #1 Key to Relatable Characters: Backstory

Activate Your Writing with Powerful Verbs

Create Believable Characters: Assembly Required

How to Get Your Writing Done Every Day: The Three-Bucket System

6 Ways to Vet Freelance Editors

Why Your Book Isn’t Selling