Tag Archives: writing

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

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Welcome back to another day of writing links from No Wasted Ink.  This week I focused on general writing tips that I felt were useful for beginning and intermediate writers.  I especially love the article on setting up your scrivener project.  It is very similar to what I do myself at the start of a project.  I hope you enjoy them!

Facebook Page Ratings and Reviews: The How and Why

Immortality in Science Fiction

3 Ways Authors Get ‘Off Track’ with Their Characters

3 Ways to Test Your Story’s Emotional Stakes

The Efficient Writer: Using Timelines to Organize Story Details

Setting Up Your Scrivener Project for Easier Compiling

Ending Lessons From a Couple of Movies

6 Ways to Identify a Contrived Plot

Using a Writing Roadmap

How I Went From Scared Witless to Being a Published Author

Author Interview: Mirren Hogan

When I asked Author Mirren Hogan what she likes best around writing, she replied,  “What can I say, writing keeps me sane!”  Now that is a sentence most writers can relate to!  Please welcome her here on No Wasted Ink.

Author Mirren HoganMy name is Mirren Hogan. I live on the NSW south coast, Australia. I have a dog, cat, rabbits, chickens and too many parrots to count. For relaxation, I walk the dog in the forest behind our house.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing ever since primary school. At first it was just in my head, usually at night, but eventually, I started to put things down on paper. The invention of the word processor and computer helped push things along a little bit too.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t consider myself a writer. I didn’t consider myself an author until my first book came out last October, in spite of several short stories having been published before that.

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

There are so many current books, but I’ll focus on the first one, Crimson Fire. It’s a fantasy set in a world based on Africa. The main character is a young woman named Tabia who is sold into slavery to pay her father’s debts. She discovers that she has the innate ability to use magic, and her new mistress lets her train to use it correctly because it’ll increase her value and usefulness. Tabia is caught up in a savage coup and sent far from her home country. She struggles to find safety, security, and freedom.

What inspired you to write this book?

Initially, it was the glut of euro-centric fantasy in the market at the time. I love that kind of fantasy, but there’s a world of unique cultures (literally) out there which would make interesting settings or inspiration. I like to look at what others have done and do something different.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I think most readers who describe is as loose and easy to read. I’m not out to write literary classics, I’ll leave those to other writers. I prefer to write work which is more inclusive and available to readers of all levels, which can be enjoyed in a relaxed way.

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

The book had several titles during the writing and editing process, but I wasn’t happy with any of them. I scanned the text for something eye catching literally as I was preparing the submission for the publisher, knowing they’d change it if they didn’t like it. It stuck.

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

I can’t say that I deliberately put in a message, but the main character is lesbian, and has dark skin. The book isn’t ABOUT either of these things, those are just aspects of Tabia. I’d like readers to see HER first and the rest afterward, because that’s how I believe all people should be viewed.

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

There are aspects of Tabia’s insecurities which certainly come from me. Also, her desire to read, read, read, and learn are from me!

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

Jennifer Fallon and Anne McCaffrey mostly. They have female characters who kick ass, but their work is unique. I love unique. Being different has always been something I strive for. If something was trendy, I never wanted it. Life is too short to be a clone!

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

Every writer is a mentor. Every book I’ve ever read or didn’t finish reading gave me insight into how to be a better writer and storyteller. What not to do is just as important as what to do.

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

The amazing Druscilla Morgan. She designed the cover for an anthology I edited for Plan Australia, called Like a Girl. Her work is phenomenal.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Read. Read, read, read. Think about what you liked or didn’t like about a story, it’ll tell you a lot about your strengths as a writer and the direction you’d like to go. Also, don’t be stuck worrying about genre. Write the story, figure the rest out later, and make your characters interested and flawed. Flaws are your friend.

Crimson Fire Book CoverMirren Hogan
Batemans Bay NSW, Australia

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Crimson Fire

Cover Artist: Druscilla Morgan

AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE
BOOK DEPOSITORY

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

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Welcome to links day here at No Wasted Ink.  This week I have a nice grab bag of articles featuring general writing tips, stationery recommendations, and ways to improve your Amazon author page.  I hope you find the articles interesting!  Enjoy.

5 Steps to Creating a Productive Blogging To Do List

Japanese Stationery: What’s the Big Deal?

Why You Should Avoid “Feel” in Writing: 50 Alternatives

Basics of World Building

Simple Steps to Creating Powerful Press Releases

The Basics: Why Spelling and Punctuation Matter

A Writer’s Guide to Cyborgs

7 Ways To Improve Your Amazon Author Page

What Does It Mean to Move the Plot?

Your Story Has HIT a WALL—What Now?

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

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Here we are at another Monday.  It is time for ten writing article links from No Wasted Ink.  Most of the articles this week are general writing tips, but I tossed in a nice fountain pen article for fun.  I hope you enjoy them!

4 Proven Ways to Build Suspense

5 Ways to Write Faster

The Beginner’s Guide to Fountain Pens

A Tool for Exploring Hidden Dimensions

Turn the Beats Around

Microscopes in Sci-fi: Beginning to See the Light

Understanding the Traditional Publishing Model – 5 Facts

How to Write Stories Your Readers Will Remember

DEEP POV—What is It? Why Do Readers LOVE It?

Want to Write Romance? Layer Your Scenes for Success

Read Your Own Work by Loren Rhoads

 

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I love to read from my books in public. I love the silence that descends as the audience grows rapt.  More than that, I love to hear the crowd react to my words, noting when they gasp or if they laugh.  Best of all, I love to gauge the enthusiasm of the applause at the end.

The chief thing to keep in mind when you are asked or volunteer to do a reading is that – while the audience comes to be entertained – YOU are there to sell your book.  Whatever you read, make it the best advertisement for your book that you can.

I try to tailor what I read to its intended audience.  If I’m reading in a bar, I choose something sexy. If it’s a bookstore, I read an action scene. If I’m reading to science fiction fans, I pick something that’s undeniably SFnal.  If it’s a horror convention, I read something bloody.  I don’t try to stretch their tastes because I want them to buy the book.

It’s important to find out in advance how long your reading slot will be.  It’s rude to exceed your time limit, because then you’re stealing time from the other readers.

I’m a strong believer in reading a complete scene, whenever possible.  It’s good to end on a cliffhanger or some other place that will leave your listeners wanting more.  In my experience, it’s better to read one long piece, rather than too many short pieces, because it’s easier than most readers realize to overstay the audience’s good will.

I always practice before I perform, not only to time my selection, but also to see how it feels in my mouth.  Are some names tricky to pronounce?  Are there words I’m uncertain of? I’d rather make mistakes at home instead of in front of people.  Also, as I’m practicing, I sometimes add extra commas, so I remember to breathe or leave space for laughter.

Reading to a live audience can teach you a lot about your own work.  Sometimes what looks good on a page doesn’t sound good in performance.  Maybe the sentences are too long or convoluted. Scenes full of dialog can be hard for listeners to follow.  Long descriptions or info dumps can sound awkward out of context.

Another element to consider when you’re preparing for a reading is how you will introduce yourself.  Usually, you will be expected to provide the host, if there is one, with a short bio.  Crafting the perfect bio is a whole ‘nother essay, but briefly, this: Give your name, the title of the book you are selling, and your web address.  If there is more information that your audience will find useful, mention it.  Highlight your authority as an author and what you have in common with your listeners.  Keep it short.  You can be funny if that comes naturally, but don’t bring up your cat or your marital status – or any other personal information, for that matter – unless that’s what you’re reading about.  Otherwise, it’s obvious filler that erodes your audience’s patience.

Once you get up in front of the crowd, think about how well you can be heard.  If there’s a mic, lean toward it.  If there isn’t, pretend you’re talking to someone at the back of the room.  My voice tends to be soft, so I begin my unmiked readings by asking people to wave at me if I grow hard to hear.

Of course, that means that I have to occasionally glance up from my text.  Even after all the readings I’ve done, I’m still self-conscious enough that it’s hard to tear my eyes off the manuscript.  To get around that, I mark places in my scene to look up. I try not to meet anyone’s eyes because that would distract me from what I’m doing, but I want to get a brief glimpse of the audience to see if their eyes are on me, or if they’ve glazed over and I should wrap things up.  The glazing-over has yet to happen, but I always worry.

The (almost) final thing to think about is how to end your reading.  When I reach the end of my text, I let the words run out, take a breath, and then say thank you.  I feel it’s important to thank the audience for their attention.  I try to thank the host and the venue too, if there’s time and it’s appropriate.  Write what you plan to say on your text, so you don’t forget it.

Lastly, stand still a moment to enjoy the applause.  It can be surprisingly difficult to face your audience after you’ve done your bit.  It can feel like you’re hogging the attention, especially if you’re reading as part of a lineup.  I try to stand still long enough to make some eye contact with the crowd before I rush off the stage.  After all, the applause is why we do this.  That, and the book sales.

Loren RhoadsLoren Rhoads is the co-author (with Brian Thomas) of Lost Angels and its upcoming sequel Angelus Rose, about a succubus who becomes possessed by a mortal girl’s soul. Loren has read at bookstores all down the West Coast from Seattle to Los Angeles. She’s read in bars, cafes, theaters, art galleries, an antique store, a Day of the Dead tchotchke shop, a gaming store, and at a Death Salon. She still gets nervous every single time. www.lorenrhoads.com