#IWSG – TO BOLDLY GO

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge 

Attempting to ignore my ill-health, it’s time for my monthly post for Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day.

January 4th Question: What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?

As there are a few rules that I wish I’d never heard, it seems easiest to start with the first one I broke.

At school in the 1960s and 1970s, my teachers tried hard to teach me, and other students, not to split our infinitives, ever. I never felt that these teachers gave me a reasonable explanation, so when the split infinitive worked, I insisted that I had the right, in the words of Star Trek “to boldly go where no man has gone before.” This usage seemed appropriate as many of my earliest short story attempts were SF.

I felt justified in breaking this cardinal rule when I later heard that the first English Grammar used Latin Grammars as its basis – the Latin infinitive is one word so can’t be split. To my mind, that explained why my teachers, most of them trained in Latin, stuck to the rule.

I have since discovered that although many authorities quote the Latin argument, others point to different 19th-century grammarians for the rule’s origin. Check out these links if you want to know more about split infinitives:

http://www.grammar.com/split-infinitives-2/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split_infinitive

http://grammarist.com/grammar/split-infinitives/

 

As for me, I learned as a teenager that there were writing rules that needed questioning, and fifty years later nothing has changed, and I welcome excuses to break rules.

187946

*

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day. We post our thoughts on our own blogs. We talk about our doubts and the fears we have conquered. We discuss our struggles and triumphs. We offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling.

Please visit others in the group and connect with my fellow writers.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

And be sure to check out our Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/IWSG13/

Our revved up IWSG Day question may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

The awesome co-hosts for this January 4th posting of the IWSG are Eva @ Lillicasplace,
Crystal Collier, Sheena-kay Graham, Chemist Ken, LG Keltner, and Heather Gardner.

Where am I going in 2017?

cdd86cfe83966ea55f47199e5c68402b

Any realistic writing plans for 2017 are dependent on my health.

My multiple sclerosis has entered a vicious, downward spiral with side issues like pulled tendons and swollen legs aggravating the MS. The consequences are that first, I have to cope with constant pain, sometimes bearable but other times excruciating to the point that all I can do is scream. Second, a combination of medication and lack of sleep at night, from the pain, means that I doze for much of the day, or I struggle to stay awake when I need to do anything crucial.

Excuses over, here are my writing targets for 2017 in achievable order:

I fell asleep here at 17.45, I think [Day 1]

[Day 2] Finally, I’ve got a bit more energy to write.

19345344

TARGET 1 – RE-PUBLISH SPIRAL OF HOOVES

My debut novel, Spiral of Hooves was published on December 9th, 2013 and was available for eighteen months. My publisher, Spectacle Publishing Media Group was changing hands, so I chose to terminate our agreement, receiving all my rights back.

As I don’t feel that the novel was promoted effectively, which is clear by the friends who ask if I ever finished writing the book, then a second release is needed. Furthermore, there has never been a paperback version, so that will be part of the publishing plan.

The first step, though, is to check the reviews, that I copied off Amazon and Goodreads, for anything that needs revising and reading the novel again myself. The resulting revision will also allow me to check the foreshadowing for the sequel Tortuous Terrain.

Next, I need to identify the publishing route. I had presumed that it would be impossible to find a publisher that handled previously published books. However, I discovered Fahrenheit Press that publishes ‘Crime Fiction’ and are “not too bothered if the books have been published before”. I need to check them out more, so if anyone knows about them, please let me know.

The other option is the self-publishing route, and the choice seems to be between Create Space and Book Baby, although there may be better options that I’m overlooking. All recommendations are gratefully accepted. This route means formatting the novel for both eBook and paperback, a major task and daunting – but worth getting right. There are also financial implications at a time when health care has to be the priority.

And then I need to promote Spiral of Hooves effectively and widely – having prepared a strategy in advance.

 

16:00 – can I rest now, please?

20:28 – rested and showered so sort of energized.

 

800px-Cloud_in_the_sunlight

Photo of a cloud illuminated by sunlight. ~ by Ibrahim Iujaz from Rep. Of Maldives

TARGET 2 – PUBLISH STORMS COMPASS

Storms Compass is the first book in the post-apocalyptic series Gossamer Flames. Books 2 and 3 are partly written already, as I constructed all three around short stories.

One of my critique partners has done an extensive page by page assessment that will be the basis for my final draft. Even though one of my two line-editor friends edited an earlier draft of Storms Compass, I will have made enough substantial changes to run it past the other editor. There are cost implications at this stage as well.

When I have the polished novel, I will attempt to find a publisher – having ensured that I have an excellent synopsis and blurb, that my author profile reflects the ones on social media, and ensured all recommendations for submissions are checked off.

That process could take me into 2018, so I need to be making other plans.

2e73bfe5c0a7d9c35ba7e2ac72c2202c

 

A lot is dependent on (a) the response that I get to the re-release of Spiral of Hooves; (b) my financial situation. If sales are minimal and health care eats away at our savings, I can attempt to finish the re-draft of Fates Maelstrom and doing research for Eagle Crossing.

On the other hand, if both Spiral of Hooves and Storms Compass are well received, I will need to work on their sequels. Is that hopeful thinking?

Have you any advice on this crazy plan, please? Does my strategy make sense?

 

 

#IWSG – When do you know your story is ready?

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

Apologies for the long silence, but the long journey from North Wales to Idaho was amazing and exhausting = another post when I recover. For now, I will say that my health is still low and I have been sleeping in my wheelchair – not recommended – as I can’t stretch out on a normal bed. Scary medical details next time and cool pictures arriving in New York by sea.

Golden sunrise clouds and rising sun above sea , Atlantic Ocean

Anyway, I’ve finally got online to post for Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day:

October 5 Question: When do you know your story is ready?

My stories tend to be plotted in detail so I know most of the twists and endings. Revisions address holes and errors, especially when I remember to use critique partners, writing groups, or editors. I tend to be guided by their comments as to when the story is ready or finished.

However, in the last resort I know I’m finished when I start crossing my ‘I’s and dotting my ‘t’s.

*

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day. We post our thoughts on our own blogs. We talk about our doubts and the fears we have conquered. We discuss our struggles and triumphs. We offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling.

Please visit others in the group and connect with my fellow writers.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

And be sure to check out our Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/IWSG13/

Our revved up IWSG Day question may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

The awesome co-hosts for the October 5 posting of the IWSG are Beverly Stowe McClure, Megan Morgan, Viola Fury, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Angela Wooldridge, and Susan Gourley!

 

Writing A Series

Today, as promised, I have the pleasure of welcoming Canadian author Kristina Stanley as my Guest on Writing Wings. Kristina is the author of “Blaze“, which is Book 2 in the Stone Mountain Mystery series. I recently reviewedBlaze” and I am looking forward to the release of Book 3, “Avalanche“, tomorrow.

Over to you, Kristina.

KS 75 High Res

Thank you, Roland for having me on your site today. It’s a pleasure to be here to write about writing.

Writing a Series

Can you imagine being buried alive in an avalanche? Did you know a buried person can hear rescuers searching for him but can’t speak about because the pressure from the snow is keeping his mouth closed?

This terrifying knowledge is what I first learned about avalanches when I was researching BENEATH THE SNOW. I spoke to a man who’d been buried and survived, of course. He was generous enough to share details that I wouldn’t have known otherwise.

THE HISTORY:

So why am I telling you about this when the title of the post is Writing a Series?

BENEATH THE SNOW was the working title for AVALANCHE. It’s the first novel I wrote. I then went on to write DESCENT and BLAZE (working title BURNT).

As I wrote the first novel, I wasn’t aware I was writing a series. When I finished the novel, I knew Kalin Thompson and Ben Timlin had more to say.

By the time I had three novels in the Stone Mountain series finished, I learned a great deal about writing. Working with my agent, together we decided BENEATH THE SNOW should be retitled as AVALANCHE and rewritten to be the third in the series instead of the first.

Kalin Thompson (the protagonist) needed more knowledge and experience at a ski resort if she was to investigate a large theft and the disappearance of her brother at the same time. The title changed because by then we knew all the titles in the series had to be a one-word titles.

THE BENEFIT OF WRITING 3 NOVELS:

Having three novels in a series written gave me the opportunity to develop the character arcs across the series, plant information in the first two novels that would lead to the third, and be consistent with the setting.

I also believe writing three novels before approaching a publisher gave me time to develop needed skills.

CONSISTENCY IN MARKETING:

The covers for all three novels have a similar look and feel. The fabulous Ryan Doan created the artwork based on the setting of the series. The font, the text placement and cover layout are the same for each book. If a readers see my books on a shelf, they will know they go together. Because we knew ahead of time where the series going, the DESCENT cover was designed with the long term goal in mind.

Avalanche Cover Final

A Little About AVALANCHE

(To Be Released Tomorrow!):

On a cold winter morning, the safe at Stone Mountain Resort is robbed, and Kalin Thompson’s brother, Roy, suspiciously disappears. As Director of Security, Kalin would normally lead the investigation, but when her brother becomes the prime suspect, she is ordered to stay clear.

The police and the president of the resort turn their sights on Kalin, who risks everything to covertly attempt to clear Roy’s name. As threats against her escalate, she moves closer to uncovering the guilty party. Is Kalin’s faith in her brother justified? Or will the truth destroy her?

A Little About Kristina Stanley:

Kristina Stanley is the best-selling author of the Stone Mountain Mystery Series. Her first two novels garnered the attention of prestigious crime writing organizations in Canada and England. Crime Writers of Canada nominated DESCENT for the Unhanged Arthur award. The Crime Writers’ Association nominated BLAZE for the Debut Dagger. Her short stories have been published in the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and The Voices From the Valleys anthology. She is also the author of THE AUTHOR’S GUIDE TO SELLING BOOKS TO NON-BOOKSTORES.

Before writing her series, Kristina was the director of security, human resources and guest services at a resort in the depths of the British Columbian mountains. The job and lifestyle captured her heart, and she decided to write mysteries about life in an isolated resort. While writing the first four novels, she spent five years living aboard a sailboat in the US and the Bahamas.

Find out more about her at www.KristinaStanley.com.

 

Links to the Stone Mountain Mystery Series:

DESCENT: myBook.to/Descent

BLAZE: myBook.to/BlazebyKristinaStanley

AVALANCHE: myBook.to/Avalanche (on sale for a few more days only.)

Writers, Have You Rocked The Vault?

Yesterday, I posted a review of The Urban Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to City Spaces, and today I’m celebrating its release date with authors Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman. Congratulations ladies. 🙂 

#myfavoritethesaurus

As this is there day, they have the comm, or the floor, here at Writing Wings.

 

It is a writer’s job to draw readers into the fictional story so completely that they forget the real world. Our goal is to render them powerless, so despite the late hour, mountain of laundry, or workday ahead, they cannot give up the journey unfolding within the paper-crisp pages before them.

Strong, compelling writing comes down to the right words, in the right order. Sounds easy, but as all writers know, it is anything BUT. So how do we create this storytelling magic? How can we weave description in such a way that the fictional landscape becomes authentic and real—a mirror of the reader’s world in all the ways that count most?

The Setting Thesaurus DuoWell, there’s some good news on that front. Two new books have released this week that may change the description game for writers. The Urban Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to City Spaces and The Rural Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Personal and Natural Spaces look at the sights, smells, tastes, textures, and sounds a character might experience within 225 different contemporary settings. And this is only the start of what these books offer writers.

In fact, swing by and check out this hidden entry from the Urban Setting Thesaurus: Police Car.

And there’s one more thing you might want to know more about….

Rock_The_Vault_WHW1Becca and Angela, authors of The Emotion Thesaurus, are celebrating their double release with a fun event going on from June 13-20th called ROCK THE VAULT. At the heart of Writers Helping Writers is a tremendous vault, and these two ladies have been hoarding prizes of epic writerly proportions.

A safe full of prizes, ripe for the taking…if the writing community can work together to unlock it, of course.

Ready to do your part? Stop by Writers Helping Writers to find out more!

 

 

The Urban Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to City Spaces

Tomorrow, June 13th, Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman are expanding their indispensable Thesaurus family by adding The Rural Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Natural and Personal Places and The Urban Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to City Spaces.

“We are very excited about these books, and hope they’ll change how you think about setting and description. Sensory detail, a large part of each book, is an especially powerful way to draw readers into our story’s world, so we really need to get it right.”

For Angela’s taster visit: http://writershelpingwriters.net/2016/06/launch-mock-post/

However, here is my review of The Urban Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to City Spaces.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000046_00072]

 

As a writer, one of my most referred to books is The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, so I was excited to find the Thesaurus family had new additions. I was not disappointed when I delved into The Urban Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to City Spaces.

The Thesaurus is well laid out, with three parts, starting with some insightful and useful sections that explain why setting is so important, and how writers can enhance their creations by using it well. Setting is too often the poor relation of characterization and plot, but, as Ackerman and Puglisi demonstrate, it can lift your writing.

As they say, “We are very excited about these books, and hope they’ll change how you think about setting and description. Sensory detail, a large part of each book, is an especially powerful way to draw readers into our story’s world, so we really need to get it right.”

These eight sections include: The Setting as a Vehicle for Characterization; The Setting as a Vehicle for Delivering Backstory; The Crown Jewel of Settings: Sensory Details; and Common Setting Snags. These were informative, and made me aware of all the opportunities that I was missing in my own writing.

The main body of the Thesaurus contains a collection of over 100 diverse settings arranged under helpful headings: IN THE CITY; RESTAURANTS; RETAIL STORES; SPORTS, ENTERTAINMENT AND ART VENUES; and TRANSPORTATION. There is plenty of options to choose from when finding the most suitable location – for instance I choice the settings ALLEY, BAR, RACETRACK, and POLICE CAR as the starting points for my exploration, and just these locations led down a multitude of avenues.

Each setting contains a wealth of suggestions on the SIGHTS, inside and outside, although you definitely don’t need every one. These are just great prompts and reminders. Then you get the same on SOUNDS, SMELLS, TASTES, TEXTURES AND SENSATIONS.  The suggestions don’t stop there. There are POSSIBLE SOURCES OF CONFLICT, PEOPLE COMMONLY FOUND HERE, SETTING NOTES AND TIPS, and another thought-provoking paragraph that demonstrates techniques – the SETTING DESCRIPTION EXAMPLE for each setting.

For me, these EXAMPLEs demonstrated what was possible and the techniques available to a writer. Full marks to the authors for their well-crafter slices of fiction, that demonstrate what is possible with Settings.

Perhaps the feature that got me dashing along other avenues most, was the RELATED SETTINGS THAT MAY TIE IN WITH THIS ONE. This lists those other settings, and in the eBook links to them. So POLICE CAR took me to the Police station. Prison, Courtroom etcetera. It was hard to stop exploring this Urban world. If that’s not enough, there are even related settings in The Rural Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Natural and Personal Places, so the two books work in tandem.

The final part of the book contains tools to aid you in applying all these gems, as well as a list of all the Rural Settings, Recommended Reading, and more information on the first class team behind the Thesaurus family.

After this wordy exploration of the invaluable Urban Setting Thesaurus, I’m off to buy The Rural Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Natural and Personal Places as its sister thesaurus is a tempting taster of what to expect. Both have to be an essential part of any fiction writer’s library. They will be part of mine.