Short Story Contest Launched!

Hooray!  The eBook Me Up short story contest and website is launched.  I am beyond excited and thrilled to have my idea out to support fellow writers by hosting this contest under my boutique self-publishing company.  We’ve got some fantabulous judges who are onboard, you’ll recognize them and we have global reach with various backgrounds and experience.eBook_Me_Up_Logo_Round1-01

Come join the fun over at the eBook Me Up’s Short Story Contest  and join the fun.  Deadline for entry is May 31, 2015.  There are some fun writing tips and tools on the website.  Additionally I’m looking forward to adding a ‘Feature’ section for writers as well.

Thanks for your support and please share and send the word out! This is a great contest to be a part of, the Top 10 will be epublished winners in the Short Story Anthology along with additional prizes for 1st-3rd Winners.  All those who submit will receive an eCopy of the publication.

Let the contest begin and I hope to see you all there!

The Elusive Novel Is Not Make Believe

I’ve been writing for a little while now; blogs, short stories, poetry but what is elusive to me is the longer story such as a novel or novelette. I’ve had a few decent ideas but my follow thru hasn’t really been there to reach the completed first draft. All kinds of excuses, I’m sure you can relate and if you can’t – Seriously? Agh, I’m jealous and may hate you just a little bit.

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I had this original idea and I wrote a quick little ditty about Jack and Diane, I think John Cougar-Mellencamp would disagree that Jack and Diane was original to me. Actually my little ditty is Willow and her family dynamics along with a secret or two about being a royal. Throw in a little magic; okay a lot of magic, and my little story is taking shape. Maybe it’s the line manager in me or the fact I have a teen in the house; but all of the sudden I had this book theme that was screaming Young Adult (YA) of imposed expectations or perceived ones. Yeah, I totally love YA’s as I’m a forever teenager underneath it all.

What really is helping me this year is, Fiction Unboxed 1.5. What’s been great about it, is I get to visually peak in, like a fly on a wall as these guys – Sean, Johnny and Dave work on their 30 day quest of producing a novel for the second time. I love it! I don’t watch everyday only when I can. However it’s clicking and its carrying me through my story. Also their book Write.Publish.Repeat is really good too, expect a review here soon. I’m finally feeling confident to get this follow thru done so that elusive novel will no longer be make believe. It’s happening!

The key piece and take away is pre-production. This isn’t a new concept really, but I realized in this process so far – I wasn’t going far enough. Get your characters down and know them (all of them), really know them. What was helpful was putting myself in the casting director role as they proposed. Lastly, get a good foundation on location and your world. But seriously, check these fellas out and they have a podcast to.

What prompted me toward these guys was The Scrivener Coach. If you don’t have Scrivener for writing – get it, it will make your life so much easier. If I could use it in my day job, I would; okay I see an improvement suggestion coming. Check out my post on Scrivener to get more information.

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) occurs every November and is also a great community to support and help writers get those first drafts written. It’s free and guess what, it’s not to late to join and it’s free. Lots of tools and great advice, get involved as you can.

Writing makes me think of golf. It’s the game that is played solo and your improvement and skill set is to improve your game, no one else’s. I hope this blog gives you some options to improve your writing (aka your game).

I’d be happy to gain any further insights you’d like to add to get us writers from A to B – please feel free to leave a Comment below. Let me know if you enjoyed this blog post with the Like and/or Share button.

Introductions Behind the Wizards’ Curtain

IntroductionsI read this great article by Jeff Haden entitled “The Best Way to Introduce Yourself” http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/a-great-way-to-introduce-yourself.html?nav=pop.  This article had me thinking about introductions, not only verbally but written as well.  The point of the article is when meeting someone the most important audience member is not the person you’re introducing yourself too, it’s you. 

What was interesting about this article is that it’s the not He-man brute introduction that is important such as laying out one’s title, accomplishments and history (although I know a few, where that habit would be hard to break).  It’s more about knowing your audience and fitting into that space.  He goes on to give a few examples: See less as more, Stay in context, Embrace understatement and Focus on the other person. 

I certainly could see the points being made from a business point of view but I also made that connection with writing.  Below is my take on the article and it’s relation to writing fiction.

See less as more: Have brief introductions of characters first.  Give the bare minimum for the reader and other characters in the story.  Allow for backgrounds and other personality quirks to come out unforced and naturally in the story.

Stay in context: This boils down to keeping character introduction aligned with setting and the action of the story.  If you are at Grandma’s birthday party, you wouldn’t want a new character coming in and hijacking the scenery of the party because he won a bowling tournament that has nothing to do with the story at hand and adds nothing in moving the story forward.

Embrace understatement: In quoting Jeff Haden “To err is human. To err humble is divine”.  I thought this quite powerful for character statements.  If your character is bold and obnoxious by all means embracing the understatement isn’t in that character’s DNA, but it gives food for thought of really viewing your character’s attributes.

Focus on the other person:  When writing two or more characters, it’s always good to find those connections where they have a common goal, trait, compatibility or flaw.  Unless you’re writing in first person where the struggles are all internal, it’s a good idea to have characters focus, reach and stretch with other character involvement.  When done well, it moves a story forward more is more fascinating to read.

Any other examples you feel fit here as well?

Comment/Share/Discuss I look forward to hearing from you.