Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Yikes! Conference Notes...

I have decided I must be a masochist. Believe me!

The seminar was very good. Chuck Sambuchino shared quite a bit with us, and, a lot of it, things I didn't know. He shared some good printouts with us. One thing that continually bothers me -- in this day and age of technology -- why people would present and not use a Power Point presentation??? I know the perils of presenting. I've been there -- even with a technician available, a huge presentation that I had prepared for a Utah LOTR convention didn't work. (Thankfully, I knew my material backwards and forwards and the audience seemed to be captivated anyhow. Who wouldn't be when it comes to Tolkien and New Zealand. :)_.)

Publishing options today.  Chuck had us look at what WE wanted and then use that to choose whether to self-publish or go the traditional route. Well, I'm still not sure. He also suggested that we try the 'agent' route first.

Agents:  Follow agents on Twitter. Querytracker.com. Publishersmarketplace.com

Query Letters: Gave us a great 7-point plan to pitch in a query letter. This was most interesting. More detailed than I've seen before.

First Page Reading / Critique:  He said he was being kind. I don't believe it. I was one of the few who had her work critiqued. He spent a lot of time on pajamas. I'll not go into it, but it was a tiny part of the first page and easily correctable. Why he focused so much time on that, I don't know.

And then -- dread after dread -- just shoot me now -- I can't believe it --

He suggested I start in a new place. Honest to goodness!!! Do you know how many times I have been told to start 'Sings' in a different place!!! The last time was at Skyline -- which I truly felt was valid -- where I chopped off THREE chapters.

My friend, D, had her's read, too, and all Chuck could say was, 'Weird. Perhaps if I had a cover letter to tell me about the story, I'd be able to say if it was good weird or bad weird.'  He couldn't figure out the main character -- whether it was a parrot (the character's surname is Parrot). Or if it was a kid. Yet, it distinctly stated the character had rubbed arthritis cream on his legs. What boy uses arthritis cream. I have to give Chuck the benefit of the doubt... No. He didn't listen. Or read. Oh well.

Social Media and Blogging: The interesting part of this subject was looking for a niche.  Loose subject connection -- meaning not having the blog talk about my book at all, but bringing it up every now and then, and having an image and link on the side of the blog of the book.  Altogether different blog - not associated with writing whatsoever but still with the image and links. And last, Writing focus -- which is what my blog tries to be. He also shared SEO -- Search Engine Optimization. Related key words that I should be using to help people find my blog (or FB or Twitter) account.

I left the seminar feeling demoralized, but I was not in the best of health that day. My friend, D, felt just about the same. Too numb to consider what had occurred. I was ready to chuck writing entirely, but today, after a good night's sleep, I have reconsidered. :)

Working on 'Sings' tonight. And will continue.

Blessings,
Sharron


Friday, September 29, 2017

Flushed With Success

Another session with writing. Another part of the 'daily grind.' I forced myself to work on 'Sings'  because I need to submit for October's Skyline meeting. And it's true. I need to submit. I've wasted too much time, of late, on not writing. I felt, if I didn't submit soon, I'd fall into the void again. And I did NOT want to fall into the void. Too hard to find my way out.

A few years ago, I created a map to go with 'Sings.' When you create a new world, a map is a necessity. Besides that, male readers love them. I don't know why, but they do.

I digress. When you create a world, it helps to figure out the name of the world. :)  Long hours were spent devising names for the characters, the kingdoms, the cities, etc. etc. But I needed a name for the world as a whole. Like 'Middle Earth' for Tolkien's world. And the world of 'Dungeons and Dragons.' Or even, the world of Equestria (My Little Pony). A world needs a name. It eluded me. My poor world. An orphan. No name.

Two days ago, the Muse struck. And now, I have a name. My world is Nagarra. Saying it sends shivers up my spine. It is delightful. To me. Hopefully, it will be delightful to my readers.

And so tonight, as I prepared to attach my map to my submission, I reveled in the Power Point map that lay open before me. There it was. Nagarra. With its cities and its mountains and its kingdoms. Talk about a head rush! Phew.

I attached the next chapter and the map to my email and sent it off.

And now, in the glow of this moment, I am looking forward to tomorrow. To the seminar. To my critique.

Of course, with #3 from The Four Agreements in my head, preparing me to not make assumptions about what will happen, but with an open mind, ready to accept the feedback and #2 - not take it personally.

Life is good.

Blessings!
Sharron

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Getting Excited

I met with my friend again, last night, and read the next chapter of 'Sings' to her. She loved it.

It's getting exciting again - which is awesome. I've hated not being excited about writing. I mean, it seems insane to have to push myself to sit down and write -- and yet, that's what I've been having to do for the last year.

I'm going to present the next two chapters to Skyline in October. Looking forward to that. I expect some great suggestions.

Saturday is Chuck Sambuchino and the writing conference. An email arrived today with some of the topics that will be covered, luncheon ideas, and stuff like that. I've not been to a conference in a very long time, and I am looking forward to this. Oh! Oh! And another exciting development -- Chuck is going to critique - for free - the first page of whatever we want to share. I am DEFINITELY doing that. *crosses fingers in trepidation*

As for editing, I discovered that my latest chapter had too much exposition in it. I was able to take it and put it into a scene that flowed. That was fun, too.

Hope you're writing, my friends, Blessings,
Sharron

Monday, September 25, 2017

To Publish Or Not To Publish

In retrospect, I think it might have been better to have NOT been bitten by the publishing bug. Wrecked all kinds of havoc on my writing. Yet, I've still got the bug. And it is rampant and vicious. And pretty darn neat.

A friend came over on Saturday and brought a truckload of articles on self-publishing. (I've tried the conventional publishing route for years and it's not working, friends!) So, we then googled the term and came up with a bunch of other articles and websites and such. It was an exhilarating, if confusing, few hours. Self-publishing doesn't seem to be the quagmire I thought it was.

One thing I've been concerned with is the scams that sucker onto authors who want to publish. My friend knew of some names to 'run' from. So, we concentrated on the legit groups. There are a gazillion. Almost.

The process boils down to:  do I want to pay to get published or not. Seems simple enough, doesn't it. Yet, the pay as you publish costs are pretty hefty. I've linked some sites below for you to peruse, if you're interested.

I think I'm going for it. As you might have noted in my last blog, I'm not as far along in the editing process as I had thought. But that only means a few more weeks, hopefully not months, of slogging along and finishing the book. :)

If you care to share your experiences with publishing - whether it be self or conventional - I'd appreciate your efforts. And I think my readers would learn something, too.

One other thing my friend showed me was a conference coming up this Saturday. Chuck Sambuchino will be the keynote speaker. I immediately signed up. I've heard Chuck before and look forward to this session.    http://www.chucksambuchino.com/

Blessings, keep writing, sharing, exploring, living and loving,
Sharon

NOTE - WARNING --  I am not endorsing any of the people/products listed below. As in all things in life, proceed with caution.

Here's some good articles on the subject:
https://www.bookbaby.com/complete-self-publishing-package
https://www.janefriedman.com/self-publish-your-book/
http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/self-publishing
http://www.writersdigest.com/free-book-webinars/self-publishing-101-what-writers-need-to-know-to-succeed-at-self-publishing-free-webinar

Self-publishing websites:
https://www.lulu.com/
http://www.selfpublishing.com/
https://www.createspace.com/
https://www.bookbaby.com/complete-self-publishing-package

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Good Grief

Hemingway said one should edit sober. I'm starting to think he knew what he was talking about.

A certain blindness takes over an author, once a story is told. Well, once it's written down. Case in point... a client wrote a book with the premise being a treasure discovered. After delving into the book for many chapters, I turned to her and asked, "Where's the treasure?" She'd forgotten it. In the details of the book. She's not alone.

The other night, I was reading a chapter of 'Sings' to a friend and realized the chapter was redundant. I've read the chapter ten times before, at the very least. Yet, I didn't realize that Chapter Two and Chapter 12 were the exact same chapter. Different characters, different scenario, but same message, told in almost the same way. Good grief.

As stated in an earlier post, I'd deleted Chapter Two and therefore, Chapter 12 was no longer redundant. Thankfully. In fact, I delighted in the fact that things that I thought were deleted but still wanted known were there -- in all their glory.

I, also, hoped to show the strength of my main character. I thought I'd lost it when I deleted Chapter Three. As I read Chapter 11, I realized that I showed a different sort of strength in my main character. A subtle, yet stronger, strength. This was fun.

Editing can be fun. I'm learning that by these twists and turns that my book is taking. I must confess, I have more fun editing other people's works, which is why I do it for a living, but, because of these new discoveries, I realize that editing my own works is fun, too.

So -- have fun with your editing. Share it with friends. You know I've suggested this before, but it's true. You can't see the forest for the trees, most times. Hopefully, your friends/editor can.

Blessings,
Sharron

Friday, September 8, 2017

Being Vulnerable

Having someone read my work causes heart palpitations. It goes back to being uncertain about my worth as a writer. I've found, thankfully, that having writing friends close at hand is a great boon. I don't think I'm the only writer out there with security issues. (I do not hold my security blanket while I'm typing, but I might consider it.) :)

A friend and I went through the next two chapters of 'Sings' and her enthusiasm for them heartened me. She noted some neat phrases that completely hid from me. It's things like that that emphasize the importance of sharing.

Find a group or a friend or whatever (Not your dog. My Pippin loves me too much to be impartial.). Be vulnerable, once you've found they understand how to criticize/critique with value. Then, plunge in. Enjoy their comments. Don't take them personally.

Hope you have a blessed, writing-filled day.
Sharron

PS - Using the Four Agreements facilitate input.    http://www.toltecspirit.com/

Monday, September 4, 2017

Chop It Down!

There's a commercial that speaks of a person planting an uncertainty tree. I just love that concept. You know I've been living in doubt, and fighting it, as of late. Well, I keep reminding myself, when it creeps from the floorboards, to chop it down.

Two dear friends are going to read 'My Sword Sings' and get back to me. I've not had a lot of feedback on the completed book and - chop it down - I think it only wise to get some. And these folk are writers, which makes them ideal candidates.

I wish I had a group that I could send the entire book to and have feedback immediately, but that's not how the read world works. My son says I should send it off. Damn the torpedoes, Commander Farragut, and full speed ahead. He's right, I'm sure, but.... chop it down!

I've been to lectures about self-publishing, but I didn't pay much attention. I had hoped for a 'J.K.Rowlings' type of deal. That hasn't happened, though the book has changed a bit since I first tried to 'sell' it back in the day.

Going to spend time researching while my three 'editors' read 'Sings.' Wish me luck!

Blessings,
Sharron

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Three Hunters

Ah! Life is good. Had a glorious chat with my island friends, my dearest sister-friends from Ireland. Such memories with these two brave, wonderful, and generous women! We went to New Zealand a few times together and had more fun than God should allow! Cemented our friendship, which was born on-line, and drew us as close as can be. Love you, girls! Love you so very much!

I re-finished my first book, My Sword Sings, and am pretty sure it's in its next-to-last revision. I've sent it to my daughter (Oh, girls, might I send it to you!!!???) and she'll give me a good critique. Not good in that it will be full of platitudes, but good in that it will be thoughtful and direct. Bless her heart. Best daughter ever!

Now that Book One is out of the way, I began rewriting Book Two. I laughed because the names have changed since I started this journey into the land of 'Nagara.' Never realizing the scope of the work to be done, I cringed after the first couple chapters. But, I have learned, ever onward, and so, it will be ever onward.

Doubt is, I think, the writer's worst enemy. After the first few chapters, I began to doubt the 'likability' of Book Two. But, God is good, and he showed me that, if my readers grow to love a character, which, of course, I truly have all my fingers and toes crossed that they will love my characters, then, they will rejoice at being given Book Two and will relish it. God willing.

Ah! Life is good. Don't be discouraged, my friends. I, myself, am not going to publish the way I had thought or dreamt, but it doesn't matter. I am going to publish and that, I think is a good thing. I suppose that, being on the net in some way or the other, is akin to being published. It would be nice if my readers enjoy the tale and grow to love the characters, but tonight, I can be happy that the book is done. Even though this is the second time it's done - giggles.

Blessings,
Sharron

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Critique

Had a great session with my fellow writers at our latest Skyline meeting. Excellent group. Attentive, kind-yet-concrete suggestions, talented.

All of their critiques of my two submitted chapters were spot on. One suggested I start my tale in a different spot. This was not the first such suggestion for a change of first chapter; however, this one seems to work, doesn't hinder the flow, and moves the story in a more fast-paced way.

The difficulty lies in the fact that chapter two has a little sparring match between two women that I hoped would solidify the fact that my heroine is an action figure. If I delete the sparring match, I will lose that immediate sense of warrior-woman. The problem is, I very much like the book starting with chapter 3. Ack! I know it can be done. Means more rewrites, but isn't that the secret life of a writer - rewrites. :)

I will also lose my prologue battle. I do so love writing battles, but I know I can incorporate parts of it in another chapter. Such dilemmas are great, though, because it means I have written something.

Another problem area was the title for the king. I use Arild King as one of my ways of differentiating the different cultures of my three main allies. I fear it was a 'cute' and easy solution. Best it was brought to my attention. I have shifted it back to the more conventional King Arild. I'll figure out other ways to show the cultural differences. The use of 'cute' contrivances doesn't make for great writing.

Ah! Life is good and writing is part of that good life.

Blessings!
Sharron

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Blackboard Sessions

Had our first blackboard session at Writers' INK Saturday. Turned out very good. Our intrepid leader, Cheryl, found a couple good quotes and we focused on them. Road to hell is paved with good intentions and the road to hell is paved with adverbs.

Seems funny to still be talking about adverbs all these years. Stephen King wrote about them a long time ago, suggesting that we all take a serious look at the overabundance of said adverbs in our writing. Are the adverbs we're using advancing the story? Or are they a crutch to get over a difficult patch? As I sat and listened to this discussion, I laughed. We never used one adverb while we spent over an hour talking. I know they are used a lot as 'saidisms,' but you'd think we'd still use one now and again. Once I pointed that fact out to the other participants, we started using them. Life is interesting.

I have oft heard that writers are a lonely people. That we write in solitude. Etc. Etc. Etc. However, I find that I need the 'vibe' that I get when I chum around with writers. The others at our meeting felt the same. Yes, I have to write when I'm alone or at least have announced to the world that I am going to be writing, so please keep it down. But when all is said and done, how can we write about life if we don't live it, share it, love it.

If you noticed, I thoroughly enjoyed our meeting. There were no new members, but I felt a new commitment from those present. And I know the others had fun, too. Enjoyed the time together, leaving refreshed and inspired. Of course, I didn't go home and write, much as I wanted to. Too exhausted, but I did print out the submitted stories for next Saturday's Skyline meeting. Spending this week editing them.

I also worked on A's story. I love reading intelligent works. One's that touch my soul and make me think and laugh and cry. I suppose I love reading. Go figure.

Well, that's it for now. Looking forward to living. Blessings!


PS - Keep writing, don't worry about the adverbs, and do a 'find' and 'search' when you're ready to begin editing. If you search 'ly,' you'll be able to see if you are cluttering your work with useless words or using them judiciously. If you worry about them as you write, you'll just bog yourself down. No using in bogging down. Yuck!  xxxooo

Friday, July 28, 2017

Published !!!!

Small steps are better than none at all.

Sent an article into a local newspaper and it was published. My first since high school. I have ambivalent feelings about this. Trying to get one of my books published still stymies me. I am looking upon this small victory as a victory. As a pat on the back. As an 'I am a writer' kind of thing. If that makes any sense.

Been vacationing with family this summer with odd little side jaunts. One to Put In Bay, an island in Lake Erie. Fun and refreshing. My son from Utah and grandkids and my daughter-in-law, along with my 'Cleveland' family, rented a condo and spent the nights playing games. Haven't done that in a very long time. Sightseeing filled the days, along with swimming and lots of ice cream. Golf cart rides!

Going to Lake Hope in southern Ohio soon with a dear friend and my daughter, my granddaughter, my dog, and my granddaughter's friend. Lake Hope exudes peace and joy and lots of laughter. We spend the nights in front of a roaring fire, with the air conditioner turned up as cold as possible, and giggle and sing and play games.

School will be starting soon for my granddaughter. This will be our last hurrah of the season. Looking forward to it.

But then again, writing groups still visited. First Saturday of the month for Writers' INK (see link below) and second Saturday for Skyline. Both groups fun and unique.

Hope you are enjoying your summer.  Remember - life is good.

Blessings!




http://westlakebayvillageobserver.com/read/2017/07/18/writers-group-offers-support-connection

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Telling / Showing

Found a great article - which I've promptly lost, but now have found and inserted link at the bottom of today's post - about telling and showing. Needed to remind myself in order to fully explain the concepts to a client. I'd never seen it explained this way - and for some unfathomable reason it seems to have struck a chord with me.

'Using a spatial metaphor, the showing mode is also called a narrative with “small distance,” presumably because readers get the impression that they are somehow near the events of the story, while the telling mode correspondingly evokes the impression of a “large distance” between readers and the events.'

Showing - nearer to the story. I like that. Means, to me, that I'm up front and personal with what's happening, staring right in the face of the antagonist and protagonist, and hanging by my fingernails to the edge as I 'breathe' what's happening right before my eyes.

Telling - ok. It's an ok process. But I'm pretty far away from what I'm reading. I can see what's going on, the broader spectrum I suppose, and I can see the characters. But I'm a hands-in-the-face personality. I really like to see the sweat pouring from the heroine's brow as the villain, spittle splattering my face as he cackles his glee at undoing good.

Ah - seems too easy. But I like the visual. I'm a visual writer/teacher, too. I like to close my eyes and see what's happening. I don't rely on my writing imagination; I rely on my visual imagination.

Well, I must be running along. Going to play with a friend and his characters.

Blessings,
Sharron


www.lhn.uni-hamburg.de/article/telling-vs-showing

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Being Human

I suppose I've been in a kind of dream world for the last year. Thyroid issues dragged me into a deep cellar and I didn't even know it. Finally had the blasted thing removed in April, but the dragging down continues.

I wish I could say I was better. I'm not in a good place at the moment. Not writing, per se, but I edit my old stories. In fact, I've decided that I should step into the 21st Century and self-publish. It's not the 'bad' word that it used to be. I even note that Writer's Digest and others have awards for self-published books, something that was anathema even only a year or two ago.

I've pulled My Sword Sings from it's hiding place, dusted it off, and edited the first few chapters. Then, I presented to my writer's group, Skyline (off again/on again member this past year). They liked it. Which should be no surprise to me. But it is. My dearest friend, Margaret, warned me that an author is the last (or the first) to think their writing sucks. With clarity and friends, we discover we are good writers. Thank goodness for friends.

Clarity is not part of my ethos at this time. My body does not accept the meds. Doc and I push onward, waiting till my body decides it really needs the replacement hormones. Blasted bodies.

Being here, at my keyboard, might mean there is hope. I hope so. Sorry for the long absence. Praying this is the beginning of restoration of hope and writing and joy. Same to you!

Testing!!!

My goodness, it's been over a year.