Wednesday WIPpet

So last week I posted a totally irrelevant one-liner and I think that for the next few weeks while I’m editing, I’ll continue to do the same. As always, you are welcome to join us here. Like last week’s offering to the WIPpet gods, this one liner is currently a stand alone thing. :)

Freedom is not about the cages we see, it’s about the cages we cannot see, those of our own making.

Look out for ROW80 update on Sunday :)

On a ROWl: A Terrible Pun

First of all, thank you to everyone who read and commented on my WIPpet Wednesday post. I was pleasantly surprised that it had the most traffic of any post in a long time considering it totaled about 100 words and contained only one line of prose. Made me happy :)

Anyway, onto the real business…

So, it’s Sunday which means I’ve been working on my ROW80 goals for two weeks now. As you may have noticed, I haven’t been attending every check-in, mostly because my work tends to be sporadic and so I post an update after my most productive part of the week but as I haven’t posted an update for a week and a half I have a decent amount of progress to report which is exciting. :)

Edit Queen of Hearts

I received the edits from my betas and have been going through and applying their suggestions to the first seven chapters. I’m still not totally happy with these yet and I’ve uncovered a few annoying plot holes that I need to work out but in terms of progress, I’m happy.

I also bought a self-edit book which I intend to write a review of eventually and which I’m hoping will help me with my edits. The best part about the betas is that they’ve pinpointed some things I need to work on that I was having trouble pick up myself.

Write

Not anything actually done on this front but I’ve come up with a few ideas and written down about 200 words worth of random unconnected quotes. I’ve also started looking at NaNoWriMo ideas. A little early, I know, but I want to be properly prepared this time around.

Blog

This post + Wednesday’s post = 2

2 blog posts = success :)

Create

I designed a basic script but apart from that its on standby at the moment. I have an exam for Ancient Greek on Monday and I’m confused enough about it already without mixing in my own language at the same time. That said, the topic is always at the back of my mind and I look forward to returning to it.

Fraud on Wednesday

I’m afraid to say that despite having copious tales in the works, I don’t have anything ready to share with you today from my works in progress. What I have instead is a one liner I found in my notebook. It has absolutely nothing to do with today’s date or in fact anything at all but I like it. :)

As for ROW80, I’ll be making my check-in on Sunday.

It starts with burning books and ends with burning men.

ROW80 and WIPpet: A Tale of Acronyms

Hi everyone! If you saw my blog post on Monday you’ll know that I am officially returned from my exam induced hiatus and have put my name down for the current round of ROW80. That means that as well as a WIPpet for you today I also have a quick ROW80 update:

Edits

Read over Queen of Hearts draft. Laughed at amount of typos. Although to be fair, today’s WIPpet was edited(ish) today so that’s something.

Write

I’ve jotted down a few quotes and ideas in my notebook. That’s about it/

Blog

This. This is blogging. Yay.

Create

No progress in the last couple f days but hope to work on it over the weekend.

And now, onto the fun bit – WIPpet Wednesday  hosted as always by K.L. Schwengel. Unable to find something that correlated to the date I decided to take a chunk from Queen of Hearts that I liked and do a quick edit so this excerpt relates to the date because I edited it today and because math. When I was editing I was trying to focus on showing rather than telling and incorporating the senses into the piece without it being too clunky. Any feedback in this department would be appreciated. :)

Context: Things are happening. Murder! Mayhem! Plots! Plots everywhere!

Smoke hung over the city, trapped by low temperatures and intrigue.  Eriden wished for less of both. As she wound her way through the predawn streets to the tune of trickling sewerage and distant screams, Eriden could not shake the feeling of unease settled about her shoulders like a winter mantle. She arrived at the Guild House and was met not by the usual doorman but by Alyan’s protégé. He smiled a greeting but she ignored him, following him in silence to Alyan’s office on the first floor. They had slept together once, she and Bren, when they were both young and foolish and drunk on sweet wine after a kill. Not that that meant anything now.

Every instinct told her to run. When they entered the office, Alyan was standing behind the expensive desk, a frown crinkling his gruff features.

“Close the door.” Alyan snapped.

Eriden did as she was told and waited to be invited to sit. No such invitation was forthcoming.

“Are you getting soft, girl?” he demanded.

“Don’t speak in riddles, Alyan.” She’d slept with him too, when she was old enough to have known better. She had blamed it on heart’s folly and tried to forget his kisses.

“The royal brat. She should be dead. Or have you forgotten?”

“I have a very good memory, Alyan.”

“Then why, by Nare, is she still alive?”

“I didn’t take you for a religious man.”

In his corner, Bren quirked a smile.

The Guild Master ignored her jibe, “When a client pays for a job to be done, they expect it to be done.”

“Feeling pressured by the nobility? That’s not like you,” Eriden’s brow furrowed in thought, “They have something on you, don’t they? Duke Hallten knows something about you that could jeopardise you.”

“Who ordered the hit is of no consequence.”

“Oh, I disagree. This job is personal.”

“The client-”

“Hallten.”

“Fine, yes, Hallten, asked for you in particular.”

“Then he’s an idiot.” Eriden replied, crossing her arms across her chest.

“As long as he pays, I don’t care what sort of fool he is. So I’ll ask you again, why isn’t the brat dead?”

“I’m biding my time.”

“To what end?”

“To gain her trust.”

“What use is the trust of a dead woman?”

“And to ensure that when I do complete my task, no blame will fall on me.”

“Blame is an assassin’s game, Eriden.”

“I won’t hang for it. If the duke wants her dead, and by my hand, then he must learn patience.”

“If Karavere is not finished with by summers end, I’ll send Bren after you. He can finish the job if you won’t. And you along with it.”

Eriden faltered, dread swirling around her chest. She turned on Bren “How much did he promise to pay you?”

“A vast sum,” Bren replied, leaning against the book case, “I refused it, of course.” He smiled, “Some marks are just for fun.”

Return of the Blogger: ROW80 initiation

I’ve been gone from here for a while now. That is partly due to exams and partly due to other things as well which I won’t go into detail here. In the time I’ve been absent I’ve done an abysmally non-existent amount of writing and while I should feel some level of guilt, I don’t. The thing is, as much as I love writing and despite the emotional investment I have in my characters and stories I have never been the sort to sit down and over the period of a few months, write a novel. I write in snippets; I might have a good day or week or even month but then I’ll save the document and it will sit there untouched for six months or more. This fact has made me question a lot of things, including whether or not I am serious about this writing thing, whether I really am aiming to be a published author or whether I’m using writing as a procrastination tool. I think the answer is a mixture of both really. I do really want to be a published author but I don’t think I’m ready to be heading down that path just yet. Despite this blog being initially a place to document the journey from manuscript to publication, I know that right now, my writing isn’t ready and I’m not ready. And that’s ok. So for now, yes, writing may just be a hobby, a way to procrastinate, something I do every now and then rather than every day but I don’t mind. My worst fear, I suppose, is that were I to take this whole writing gig too seriously, I would grow to hate it. I don’t deal well with structure and boundaries, with cage like deadlines and expectations that I do something a certain way. This is the moment when I stop writing the way I’ve been told, the way others write, and begin to explore my own style. I’ve done copious amounts of research while I’ve not been writing but now it is time to forge my own path.

With that in mind, I’ve put my name down for this cycle of ROW80. (You can find out more about ROW80 on their blog.) This was really a spur of the moment decision but we’ll see how it goes. I’m not going to promise you the earth, I won’t be able to make two posts a week about this and my goals will be long term rather than weekly or daily.

So here goes:

Edit Queen of Hearts

It currently stands at about 30 chapters. I doubt I’ll finish edits within this cycle but I hope to edit a chapter a week. By the end of this week I should have the feedback from my betas who were kind enough to review the first seven chapters for me so that will hopefully lead to some major overhauls where appropriate.

Write

At least brainstorm and plan if not write a short story (between 1500-3000 words) every month so by the end of the cycle I should have three done.

Blog

Twice a week when I can, no guilt when I can’t.

Create

While I’ve been on hiatus I’ve been dabbling in language creation, taking the mess of language I’d already created and adding structure to it. I hope to write a post about it in the next few weeks because I find it fascinating and I would love to share it with you.

A bunch of authors dressed up as their favourite literary characters and it was brilliant

Amelia E. Browne:

How amazing are these pictures?

Originally posted on Metro:

Terrty Pratchet as Just William.jpg Photographer Cambridge Jones has collaborated with The Story Museum for its latest exhibition which celebrates childhood story heroes and sees well-known authors dress up as their favourite literary characters.  All Photos: © Cambridge Jones

Terrty Pratchet as Just William (Picture: Cambridge Jones)

Photographer Cambridge Jones has taken a series of amazing photographs in which authors dress up as their favourite characters from fiction.

Authors dressed up as their favourite literary characters as part of The Story Museum’s latest exhibition, which celebrates childhood book heroes.

Neil Gaiman, Malorie Blackman and Terry Pratchett are just some of the popular writers involved in the project.

As you can see, the resulting photos are nothing short of wonderful.

Neil Gaiman as Badger.jpg  Photographer Cambridge Jones has collaborated with The Story Museum for its latest exhibition which celebrates childhood story heroes and sees well-known authors dress up as their favourite literary characters.  All Photos: © Cambridge Jones

Neil Gaiman as Badger

Jones said that when he came up with the idea for the series, he wanted to create images that would turn heads.

Francesca Simon as the Queen of Hearts (Picture: Cambridge Jones)

Francesca Simon as the Queen of Hearts (Picture: Cambridge Jones)

He told Metro: ‘The Story Museum in Oxford approached me and asked whether I would be interested in doing a series of portraits to celebrate the museum opening. I said that I had…

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Revising Your Manuscript: A Flowchart Guide

Amelia E. Browne:

It’s a flowchart! Everyone loves a flowchart! :D

Originally posted on Julie Israel:

Here it is, guys– the illustrated page I promised on revising your manuscript! I couldn’t decide what color I liked best, so I went for a Dr. Seussian/robin’s egg blue and am also posting the original black and white design for coloring purposes :) Click the images to enlarge them.

Please feel free to print this page, color it, share it– and by all means, use it!

Revising Your MS Flowchart - blue 2

Revising Your MS Flowchart

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Questions

So we all know what day it is, no need to go over that. As it’s been super busy with uni over the last few weeks and it will only get worse now that we are only a few weeks from exams. Therefore, after this week, I won’t be posting any new material for a few weeks but I will be back mid June with bells on. :D So now for my last hurrah for a little while, 14 lines from Queen of Hearts. 

As always, we pay homage to our queen, K.L. Schwengel and you are more than welcome to join us. You can find all the other participants here.

Context: who needs it? :P

Actually, on second thoughts, this makes no sense without context. Okay, so Kara and her new found companions have just begun their first day of training with Anotis, a member of the king’s guard.

“Tell me, what is a soldier’s most valued attribute?”

“Skill.”

“What is your name?”

“Aurelia, sir.”

“Lovely name. Awful answer. Anyone else? Yes, you.”

“Courage.”

“Wrong.”

“Loyalty?”

“Meghan, I hope your father’s tavern provides better brew than you do answers.”

“Purpose.” Offered Kara.

Anotis turned to Eriden, “Your thoughts?”

“A soldier must follow orders. Without exception.”

“Yes. Good. Thank you.”

 

Five Things I’ve Learnt About Social Media

The year is steadily marching on. I cannot believe it’s already May! This post almost fell by the wayside due to a little thing called Eurovision! :D Today’s post is about that thing we all either love or hate. Or both. :P Social media. Its’ controversial and at sometimes confusing and most of all ,there is a lot of it. Working out how to navigate the depths of the interwebs and learning how to manipulate it to your advantage it difficult. Hopefully these tips will help. :)

  1. Target your market

Do your research. There are so many social networking sites out there these days that in  order for your use of them to be effective in building your author platform, you need to ascertain which site will work best for you. Or even if social media is what you need. Although there is a lot more marketing taking place online these days, there are still some demographics that either do not have access to or simply don’t access the internet. If this is your market then you will go absolutely nowhere.

Which leads me to my next point….

  1. Research

Look at what sites are being used to publicise what type of commodity. Are authors in your genre more successful on Facebook? On twitter? Find the stats. What media does your target audience prefer? As tedious as it can, it always pays to do your research to both reach a wider audience and also to save yourself from endless and useless posts.

  1. Network

Once you’ve done your research, the time is ripe to begin networking. If you’ve decided to blog, follow blogs, like posts, comment, comment, comment. This is where admittedly I fall down a little. Sometimes I just don’t have the time to comment or read heaps of blogs but you do need to make an effort, even if its just for an hour each week. If you simply shout out into the ether, you are less likely to be heard than if you target those you think would be interested in your posts. That said, please don’t be one of those people who leaves a comment that is just a plea for a follow. That will not work. Leave insightful and helpful comments and let them come to you. Networking is important. After all, its called social media for a reason.

  1. Be consistent

Sporadic posting will get you nowhere. Post everyday and while you may accumulate a few followers, no one is going to read every single one of your posts but good on you for making a consistent effort. I find that as far as blogging goes, if I consistently post three posts a week, my stats increase. Twitter however, is a different beast and one I am still trying to tame. I read the other day that you should post on average eight times A DAY which is ridiculous. I don’t have internet on my phone and I refuse to spend all day in front of a computer. Also, what is there to say that would fill 1,120 characters. If you are using social media to begin to build your platform, to make yourself known, to become a prescence, make sure you aren’t the one known for posting about details of breakfast and that time your dog chased another dog. Occasional posts of this nature are fine but remember that marketing is about creating an image and in this age of the digital footprint, the image you create now may either haunt or help you in the future.

So basically, focus on…

  1. Quality not Quantity

At the end of the day, you may be the most prolific user of social media in like, evah, but if what you are producing is not quality, then you may as well not bother. Even though our society encourages excess and public splurging, from a business point of view, you want your product, that is you and your books, known but not ridiculed. Sorry to crush egos but no one is interesting enough to produce tens of tweets a day. Everything in moderation and quality above quantity. use your social media platforms to tell people about where you are in your story, to notify them of upcoming or recently posted blog posts, to connect with other users.

Hope these tips help. :)

Novel Writing and Themes

Amelia E. Browne:

A thought on themes. Admittedly, I do not put themes in consciously but there are always certain themes than influence and are reflected in my writing.

Originally posted on EM Castellan:

Hello gentle reader,

Let’s say you’ve written a novel. You’ve developed its plot, fleshed out its characters, worked hard on its world-building  and polished it for submission. You’ve sent it off to CPs, or agents, or editors. And the feedback you’re getting is something along the lines of “I didn’t care much/enough about the story.” This might mean your manuscript wasn’t this CP’s/agent’s/editor’s cup of tea. Or it might mean there’s an issue with themes in your story.

What are themes?

Every story has a PLOT and a THEME. Your plot is what happens to your characters and the problems they have to resolve. Your theme is what your story means, its relevance to the reader’s life.

For example in The Hunger Games, the plot is about Katniss taking part in the games and surviving them with Peeta. However the themes of the story are social inequalities, and life and…

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