You Will Always Be Creative

WRITERS' RUMPUS

This post really resonates with me this month, so I’m sharing it again.

Recently, an old friend wrote to say that he feared his days as a writer were nearly done. It wasn’t only that for the first time in many years he was not participating in NaNoWriMo. Reflecting over the year that was ending, he realized that “Other than a few short stories, this has been a year without writing.” He’d done some blogging, plus editing and compiling of past work, but compared with previous years, this one was unproductive. He wrote, “I know for most writers there’s a point when you shut down and you stop writing. I have so much more I want to accomplish. I wonder if the shutdown is in progress, and how much time I have.”

I realized that others might want–or need–to read my response to his fears. So here it is…

View original post 664 more words

Commonly Confused Commas

WRITERS' RUMPUS

Writers of all ages struggle with proper comma usage. As a writer myself, I agree that plot, characters, and word choice are infinitely more important than grammar. But if those elements form the layers of a cake, grammar forms the frosting.

unnamed-5Consider for a moment that your manuscript has all those qualities and more, but commas are placed without rhyme or reason. Will publishers be inclined to interpret and decode your submission? If your work is especially compelling, perhaps. But in most cases, no. So crack your knuckles and roll up your sleeves. Let’s review ten useful comma rules using examples from some of my favorite books.

RULE #1:

Coordinating conjunctions are the FANBOYS of grammar: FOR, AND, NOR, BUT, OR, YET, and SO. When they connect two complete sentences (independent clauses) into a single sentence, insert a comma before the FANBOYS.

unnamed-3

From Holes, by Louis Sachar (p.95): It had been three days since the laundry was…

View original post 871 more words

Mars Mission: Danny Chaucer’s Flying Saucer 3

mm-front-cover-lores-30nov16

Kindle edition published on Amazon 14th December

‘No-one really likes their kids being dragged off to alien worlds by mega-intelligent super-computers in galactically advanced flying saucers. Especially if they’re late home for tea.’

Danny Chaucer leaves his house one morning expecting a nice normal day out with his friends Nat and Sandy, not to mention BOB the hyper-intelligent but annoyingly smug cockney computer. (If you can call a trip on a flying saucer a normal day out, that is.)

But things quickly take a turn for the worse. For a start, why is creepy Captain Frost plotting with oily bully Chad Wilson? Of course Frosty-knickers is still after the saucer – but what exactly is her plan? And is Sandy up to something as well?

Then before long DISC’s crew are racing across the solar system on a stupidly dangerous mission. What with killer radiation, poisonous air, a monster dust-storm, a slightly depressed Martian rover and an unexpectedly troublesome hologram, it soon becomes clear that being late home for tea could be the least of Danny’s problems …

The third book in the Danny Chaucer’s Flying Saucer series is available now as a Kindle edition from Amazon (links: UK / US) and coming soon (January 2017) in paperback/ hardback.

9 Things That Cost Your Book 5 Stars – Guest Blog Post By An Amazon Top Reviewer

Useful advice here, a lot of which boils down to the usual importance of editing and proofreading (but no less worth repeating for that) along with some good points about characters and characterisation.

The editor who critiqued my first novel, Falling Girl, urged me to drop a couple of the ‘spare’ characters, and although that seemed drastic at the time it was definitely the right thing to do. Now I always look critically at all my characters, asking questions like: what are they doing in this book? What’s interesting or distinctive about them, and how does that come out in different parts of the story? (Remembering to ‘show’ more and ‘tell’ less wherever possible.) And are they even needed? If I like them that much, I can try to find a home for them in another story …

How to Handle Writer Jealousy

Good, helpful post. I have to admit to feeling jealous at times. Not so much of more successful and talented writers than myself, mind you. For example, I’m envious of Frances Hardinge for winning the Costa Prize for The Lie Tree last year – but having read the book, I also have to admit she’s a seriously good writer, the kind of author in fact that I need to read more of to help improve my own craft, and the book fully deserves the accolades and attendant sales it has earnt.

No, I’m more jealous of the ‘celebrity’ authors, those people famous for something completely different but who decided to write a book (often a children’s book) for the hell of it, and of course land a publishing contract right away simply because of who they are, not because – OK I’ll stop there because I could rant a lot longer but I won’t. Suffice to say – what can I learn from this type of ‘celebrity’ author?

The chances are they aren’t any more talented at writing than I am, and most often probably less so. (I hope that doesn’t sound arrogant, but we all know how much time and effort it takes to become a better writer, and most of these celebrities simply haven’t put in that hard graft – they don’t need to.) My conclusion is that I simply have to try to ignore them. They are a fact of the publishing world and probably always will be., and it doesn’t affect my own chances or goals in the slightest – unless I let it by allowing it to discourage me.

It also depends how I measure ‘success’. Is it sales and money, or is it the pleasure and satisfaction that comes from writing and doing the best you can?

A Writer's Path

writer-1421099_640

by Kate M. Colby

We’ve all been there.

Your classmate’s story is praised in workshop, while yours is torn apart.

“Poorly written” romances dominate best-seller lists, while your science fiction novel languishes in Amazon’s 2,000,000 ranking spot.

The author you follow on Instagram posts their third cover reveal this year, while you struggle to finish your manuscript.

View original post 1,170 more words

Full Moons Can’t Rise at Midnight

Great article. The Bad Astronomy link is especially helpful if you happen to be writing a sci-fi series for kids …

WRITERS' RUMPUS

By Marianne Knowles

I was reading a YA romance novel set on the coast of Maine. The teen girl woke up at 5am on July 4 to sneak out and meet the guy at a dock. She described the diamond-like stars sparkling in an inky-dark sky.

BANG-THUNK-KLUNK (Sounds of a reader tripping over a detail.)

MaineNight This is how the character described 5am in Maine on July 4.

This is what 5am on July 4 on the coast of Maine really looks like. This is what 5am in Maine on July 4 really looks like.

Clearly the writer or the editor or both had never been awake at 5 o’clock on a July morning on the coast of Maine. But that’s no excuse for an error that jolts a reader out of the story, especially when astronomy mistakes are SO EASY TO AVOID.

And this isn’t the only astronomy mistake I’ve read in the past couple of years. Here are a few more:[1]

  • The full…

View original post 696 more words

You Are Writing the Future

An inspiriting post for writers, especially of children’s fiction.

WRITERS' RUMPUS

By Marianne Knowles

Tomorrow’s do-ers are reading kidlit today. Keep writing!

You may have missed it, but this past Friday a rocket returned to Earth and landed on a floating platform bobbing on the waves in the Atlantic Ocean. And this time, it didn’t explode.

The event was a testament to the power of imagination. The Falcon rocket (named for Star Wars’ Millenium Falcon) had just launched the Dragon capsule (named for Puff the Magic Dragon) to rendezvous with the International Space Station. It landed on the barge Of Course I Still Love You (named for a ship in the science fiction novel The Player of Games).

The founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk, loves to read. He spent much of his childhood reading. He continually vacuumed up fiction, science fiction, nonfiction, comic books and, when he ran out of books, the Encyclopedia Britannica

View original post 656 more words

Mapping Character

Excellent post on writing and developing convincing characters.

WRITERS' RUMPUS

By Almitra Clay

I’ve been on a personal journey for the past few months, doing something that I’ve needed to do for a long time: therapy. Therapy includes a whole lot of introspection. It’s a journey of self-discovery that involves picking apart my own life to understand what was broken, as well as what makes me tick generally. Why do I do things the way that I do them? In the process, I’ve discovered that there is a great deal to be learned about creating realistic characters by looking into yourself, whether you’re broken or not.

Try this exercise: make a list of your own most extreme and noteworthy character traits. Be as honest as possible. Don’t worry, you aren’t required to share. Here’s my short list:

  • I have successfully fooled people into thinking that I am outgoing.
  • Left turns scare me. Social situations scare me. Making phone calls scares…

View original post 869 more words