Sunday, 29 June 2008

Rounding the Plot

Tell Me a Story - writing tip

Okay, so this is your first story and you're full of excitement. Your novel sets off with a cracking idea, which is of course your main conflict - it is isn't it? So, what to do next?

Now you must engineer, in the most natural way you can, one fascinating problem after another. There must be nothing contrived about them, no coincidences, misunderstandings, or Acts Of God. The problems should come in a sequence of highs and lows, one sub-plot interweaving with another.
The most extraordinary point of your plot should not be reached until immediately before the end of your novel.

At this point, all subplots should be well out of the way. This ultimate peak of drama should come about only from the main conflict.

Coupled with, and part of, this extraordinary point, should be the darkest moment of the story.
The central characters must seem to be up against a wall, but make sure you don't make this absolute dilemma so Byzantine there is no way out. Each time you dream up a situation, scrutinize it. Work out how it affects the protagonists, and the previous and following parts of the plot.
Your reader must be persuaded there is no way to resolve the dilemma – until suddenly, wham, bang, all is unravelled and the story is over. Do it quickly. Tie up all loose ends, leave no threads hanging.

So it's the end. It’s all over and the book is finally closed. Your reader MUST now be absolutely satisfied the protagonists have conquered every problem.
Readers should feel that your novel was about credible people facing tolerable difficulties who found rational solutions. If they don't, you're in trouble!

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Write about What You Know

Tell Me a Story - writing tips.

Write about things you know.

If you don’t know what it is you want to write about, you sure as hell should find out BEFORE starting to write – get out and do your RESEARCH!

Read more about it here on BUKISA


Next post on Tell Me a Story


Story Dialogue - 12 Cool Secrets For Story Dialogue
Lens Coating - What Everybody Ought To Know
All About Write - 10 Top Writing Tips

Monday, 23 June 2008

Form and Proportion

Tell Me a Story - writing tips

All plots must have form and proportion. The story must have balance. Stories that are in balance are beautiful, get it wrong and things start to look ugly.

  1. A plot should never be a tirade of devastation and emotional distress. Readers soon get fed up of things like that, they feel worn out.
  2. Readers need to equate with characters. You make this rapport possible by making sure the events COULD happen in that type of situation.
  3. The pace of the plot should vary. Some scenes must be more tranquil than others.
  4. After a chapter dealing with an important incident, give your readers time to recover by composing a slower paced scene .... not a dull scene of course, but one with fewer contrasts, fewer ups and downs.
  5. Make your plot compatible with life but LARGER than life.

Give your readers interesting and believable variation and if you're lucky, they’ll give you time.

Next post on Tell Me a Story.


Story Dialogue - 12 Cool Secrets For Story Dialogue
Lens Coating - What Everybody Ought To Know
All About Write - 10 Top Writing Tips

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Writing Competitions

For those adventurous spirits who like to enter contests, I've spotted a couple on the web (Places For Writers) that be of interest. If you enter them, let me know how you go on.

New online Cdn mag seeks flash fiction
15 June 2008
New online flash fiction journal, Glossolalia is accepting flash fiction submissions for its opening edition (published September 2008). Not obligatory theme: Deviation. 500 words max. Some submissions considered for Glossolalia's 2008 Summer Flash Fiction contest. First prize: US$200; second prize: US$100. No entry fee.Deadline: August 15, 2008.

posted in Calls , Deadlines: August 08
-->

New contest seeks unique literary voices
15 June 2008

New deadline. Pop Montreal and Matrix Magazine are looking for fiction and poetry entries for the Matrix Litpop Award. Categories: Fiction (5000 words max.) and Poetry (up to 5 poems). Prize: a round-trip ticket to Pop Montreal from October 1-5, 2008, a VIP pass, accommodation, publication in Matrix Magazine with full honorarium, and presentation at a special Matrix Litpop event.

Entry fee: $25. Deadline: July 15, 2008. More details...

Next post http://ajbarnett-story.blogspot.com/2008/06/question-how-to-get-published.html

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Story Dialogue - 12 Cool Secrets For Story Dialogue
Lens Coating - What Everybody Ought To Know
All About Write - 10 Top Writing Tips

Question - How to get published

Hi Anthony, I've been working on a book for about a year. I plan to write a sequel and to get them both published. How do I go about doing that? I want it as inexpensive as possible. How much do you usually get from the sale of your book?

Angie, this is a somewhat similar question to a recent one. Once your book has been polished as much as you can - once you've cut away all purple crap .... when you're sure everything has been corrected, then send a query letter to a publishing house.

Ask permission to submit your book. Give the genre, word count and a brief synopsis, then sit back and pray like there's no tomorrow.

If they like your work, they might ask you to send the first three chapters. Your work must be submitted to the industry standard, of double type space etc, (see my post http://ajbarnett-story.blogspot.com/2008/04/conform-or-else.html for full explanation of their requirements).

There will be no cost to you to publish through 'normal' publishing routes. Editorial costs will be met by the publishing house (but your work will be expected to be at a reasonable level before being accepted)

If you're planning to self-publish (paper or ebook), you might be interested in an interview I gave with author, James Melzer, ( http://ajbarnett-story.blogspot.com/2008/05/interview-with-author-james-melzer.html ) who's going down the path of publishing with Lulu. He gives the breakdown costs and talks of his experience.

Royalties on sales vary with each publishing house and range from 7% to 12% of sale price. Royalties with self-published books are set by yourself and you'd need to check what other writers of the same genre are selling their books at.

Hope this helps a little.

Next post http://ajbarnett-story.blogspot.com/2008/06/new-r.html

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Right Write - 8 Cool Tips To Invoke Emotion
Story Brief - Balance, Proportion And Plot
20 Ways To Write A Story Better

Saturday, 21 June 2008

New Resorce for Californian Writers

“A Community of Writers and Artists” is what Diane Mierzwik and Kris Cirullo call their new centre for writers and artists in Yucaipa, California. It apparently has an ambience deliberately designed to help the old creative juices flow.

The opening of “THE WRITERS GALLERY” at 12054 First St. in Yucaipa was deemed a success. Many people interested in the new resource vied to be the first to see what it was all about. To help the writers, Mierzwik, has made available a set of useful references such as online Writer's Market and numerous other assets that play an essential role in the artistic and writing world.

It’s a spot where disruption is rare, yet questions can be raised, to be answered by a published author who has “been there and done that” and is willing to help others get their ideas published.

Good on 'em. I wish them success. Anything that helps new writers on their way has to be applauded.

Next post http://ajbarnett-story.blogspot.com/2008/06/question-what-next.html

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Right Write - 8 Cool Tips To Invoke Emotion
Story Brief - Balance, Proportion And Plot
20 Ways To Write A Story Better
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Friday, 20 June 2008

What next?

Tell Me a Story
Hello Anthony, I have almost finished my first novel, what are the next steps I need to take to get published, become successful, and make lots of money?
Make lots of money? Wow, hang on there a moment, Joanne. Very few novelists make sufficient money to live on - most have to keep their day jobs to survive. However, you might be the exception, so take heart.
  1. The first thing is to put your book in a drawer for a month or so. At the moment it’s all too fresh in your mind. Take a breather, write something completely different and recharge your mind.
  2. Next, check it over it with a specialist eye, do your editing. Check spelling and grammar, chop, cut, and slash unwanted bits.
  3. Remember that sometimes it's what you don't say that makes a novel great and has readers turning the pages.
  4. Make sure there are no purple bits, cut out all adverbs and adjectives unless you're confident you can't do without them. Over-writing makes your work look unprofessional.
  5. After all this refinement, once your work shines, send a letter of submission to an agent. Make it short, polite and to the point. Include genre, word count and a short synopsis (look to book blurb for an example) don’t plead, don't promise, just ask respectfully and you MIGHT get a reply.

Be prepared to suffer rejections though, all authors do. As for money.... according to the grapevine, out of 150,000 books published each year, 100,000 will not sell more than 100 copies. Money? Hardly! Sorry, but the majority of novelists don't get rich.

YOU might just be the exception though. I wish you luck.

Next post on Tell Me a Story.


Thursday, 19 June 2008

Harness That Gift

Tell Me a Story - writing advice


Anthony, I've a problem. I have a story floating around in my head. I know the character's names and what I want in the story- but every time I try to write something- it just doesn't feel right, its weird. As I start to type, I seem to loose interest. In a weird way I want to write-but for some reason, I can't.

Thanks for the email, Kiba. There are a few things you can do that might help. First you need to be sure you really want to write. If you do then nothing should stop you. Don't let anything get in your way.
  1. If you want to be serious, the first thing you should do is beg, buy, or borrow, a couple of books on creative writing. All writers need to get to grips with the basics of story telling. The idea of writing may seem like a fire burning into your soul, but unless that fire is fed with the oxygen of skill, those flames will fade and die.
  2. A textbook on creative writing will show you the right way to tackle your story and help you to become fruitful. You'll appreciate the why and wherefore of what you're doing.
  3. Artists in every genre - dancers, painters, musicians, all have to learn before they can harness their unrefined gift. They study for YEARS before they find success. They all display flair in the first place of course, but without direction that flair will flounder. Writers are just the same.
  4. You should stop listening to lay people. You’ll probably find a lot of friends offering advice - telling you how good you are - telling you where you're going wrong..... forget it. Listen ONLY to skilled writers or editors. Friends and family can be too enthusiastic or too critical – they won’t look at it with a qualified eye – they’re too close to you.
  5. If you're really serious you should join an online Writer’s Circle. They're free, friendly, and full of like minded people - some with years of experience to tap into and take advantage of.
  6. You should try to find a local writer's group - mixing with other writers will work wonders for your morale, they’ll offer good advice and give a professional critique to your work. you'll soon start to feel like a real writer - what more could you want?

Hope this helps you on your way a little. Don't give up, don't get dispirited - just keep writing and one day it will happen.

Next post on Tell Me a Storyj


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Right Write - 8 Cool Tips To Invoke Emotion
Story Brief - Balance, Proportion And Plot
20 Ways To Write A Story Better

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

How Many Times to Edit?

Tell Me a Story - writing tip.


AJ, how many times professional writers edit? I was under the impression that professional authors would edit a piece upwards of 10 times before it appears in print.
My friend, however, who has read many interviews with writers, thinks that most professional authors revise only a couple of times before they are done and sometimes don't even do any. I'm confused.
Thanks for writing in, Alice. It's no use submitting a piece of work that you're not happy with. ALWAYS edit until you're satisfied. If you ain't happy, gal, the publisher sure as hell won't be ....

When I'm writing I check over the previous couple of pages before I start (and generally spot something to correct); but reading the previous days work puts me into the correct frame of mind - keeps me on track.
Once my precious work is complete, I edit numerous times. I really can't say how many, probably five or six complete checks. I ruthlessly chop away all excess baggage, every word has to count otherwise it's thrown out.
I check grammar, spelling, timelines, and such things as consistency of names and words (don't use mister at one point and Mr. at another). I make sure all loose ends are tied up, and that all changes have been smoothly incorporated.

As an aside, on the morning that Without Reproach was to be handed over to the publisher, I changed the whole of the first three pages - PANIC!!!
Leaving a story in a raw state.
Some writers brag on internet sites that they don't edit - they claim that editing robs the story of life. I've NEVER subscribed to the idea of a story being at it's best whilst it's RAW.
I shudder at the thought my work in it's raw state. In my opinion that's a lazy writer making excuses ... but when their stories are rejected they say it's because the publisher doesn't understand their ART. Rubbish!
Good editing is what moves a story from the realms of amateur scribblings into that of a professional piece of work.
Polishing your work is vital to make it acceptable to a reader. Hone, hone and hone again. Make your work gleam before offering it to the public - they'll tear it to pieces if you don't.
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Looking for a good read? Try:-

or
Past Sins - Contemporary fiction

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

My Internet Interview

I was interviewed recently by Canadian author and blogger, James Melzer. I'm generally on the other side of the fence, and I must say I found it an odd experience. I've come to the conclusion that I'd rather ASK questions than answer them, I'm a listener, not a talker you see. Maybe that's why I use written words so much.

I've been interviewed live on radio, which I absolutely hated. I've had a couple of telephone interview with newspaper reporters from the UK and an on-the-spot-live radio interview over the telephone.

I'm not good at interviews. I'm quite shy really, not at my best when under the spotlight. TV presenters be warned!!!! If you want to grab me, a stiff drink will be in order.

I'd love you to visit James' blog at http://jamesmelzer.net/ and let me know your thoughts. I think he's a good guy.

Contact route as usual at the top of the page.

Next post http://ajbarnett-story.blogspot.com/2008/06/writing-tips-creating-tension.html.

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Right Write - 8 Cool Tips To Invoke Emotion
Story Brief - Balance, Proportion And Plot
20 Ways To Write A Story Better

Monday, 16 June 2008

Creating Tension

Tell Me a Story - writing tip

AJ, how did you create tension in your novel? I couldn't stop reading PAST SINS. I simply HAD to find out what happened next. How can I create something similar, my stories always seem to fall flat?

That's very kind of you, Mary. Thank you. I've compiled a short list for creating tension, that is at least a starting point.
  1. The goals of the main protagonists should be at odds.
  2. Each of the main characters must be struggling to reach their individual aims, independent of, and at the expense of the other.
  3. The route your protagonists take in achieving their aims becomes the source of action. You should make a meal of it; take full advantage.
  4. The plot should have an emotive aspect. It should always be dynamic.
  5. Strong feeling shouldn’t merely be related in characters; show by reactions, don't tell.
  6. It’s the emotion that you invoke in your readers that counts.
  7. It’s essential you understand the feelings you wish to stir in your reader before you write. You must write with that emotion in mind at all times.
  8. The theme of the story should be one about which you care deeply.
  9. You must be affected by your characters, be caught up with what happens to them.
  10. Unless you believe in your characters and equate with their struggle, you may as well dump the whole idea. Your work won’t have the oomph that tempts people to turn pages.
Coupled with the above, a time constraint can also help in creating tension. Having to acomplish something before some consequence affects the characters is always a nail-biter. Hope this helps a little.

Next post on Tell Me a Story.

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Sunday, 15 June 2008

Writer's Gadget!

Ever on the lookout for gadgets and widgets, I came across this wonderful little site http://www.creativity-portal.com/prompts/imagination.prompt.html It's supposed to be an imagination stimulant.

By clicking the button a seemingly endless stream of little prompts jump to the screen to stir the old mind juices. I can see it being quite useful if your mind gets stuck in a tramline.
They claim it helps you to 'think outside the box'. It might even help if you suffer from the dreaded writer's block, but that remains to be seen.

Give it a whiz, even if only for fun. It's a great little diversion, need I say more.

Let me know how you get on.

Next poat http://ajbarnett-story.blogspot.com/2008/06/writing-tips-action-and-plot.html


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Right Write - 8 Cool Tips To Invoke Emotion
Story Brief - Balance, Proportion And Plot
20 Ways To Write A Story Better

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Fun Writer Gadet

For those of you having trouble getting started with your next story or if you have writer's block. Here's a brilliant little tool. It gives hilarious results. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Click here to give it a whiz ... let me know how you go on!

http://www.geoffrey.com.au/story.htm

Quite basically, it's an automatic story generator - something that could quite easily put us all out of work ....

I've no idea who's produced it, except he calls himself Geoffrey. Good luck to you sir. You're a genius. You quite made my day!

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Right Write - 8 Cool Tips To Invoke Emotion
Story Brief - Balance, Proportion And Plot
20 Ways To Write A Story Better

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

There's a Chance After All.

There's hope for all first time writers.

It gladdens my heart when I pick up news like this. In the old 'Down Under' regions, in beautiful New Zealand, writer Mary McCallum has made it. Her d├ębut novel, 'The Blue' has been selected into the finals in the fiction category for the Montana New Zealand Book Awards.

So for everyone punching out their first scribbling, your first novel might just do the same. For the talented few, it seems it can still happen .

The Wellington writer's debut novel is up against Laurence Fearnley, for Edwin & Matilda, Alice Tawhai, for Luminous, and Charlotte Grimshaw, for Opportunity.

Ms. McCallum has been a broadcast journalist in New Zealand and Europe, and is now a freelance writer and reviewer.

She is one of five Wellington finalists in the country's most prestigious literary awards. I wish her well. I know the other writers won't appreciate my comments, but the idea of a new novel hitting the high spot fills me with hope.

Good on you sport! I wish I could join you.

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Right Write - 8 Cool Tips To Invoke Emotion
Story Brief - Balance, Proportion And Plot
20 Ways To Write A Story Better

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

A 30 second Review

Just finished reading James Melzer's 'The Vegetarian'. I was very impressed. Don't usually read this genre, but I really couldn't stop.

The story falls into horror, yet not scarily so. It was an interesting concept, well thought out. It moved between past and present using flashbacks with an ease that only a talented writer can manage. The central character earns money by volunteering as a medical guinea-pig...


Try a download or better still purchase the hard copy. Both available from Lulu Storefront - http://www.lulu.com/jamesmelzer

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Right Write - 8 Cool Tips To Invoke Emotion
Story Brief - Balance, Proportion And Plot
20 Ways To Write A Story Better

Finding That Plot

Tell Me a Story - writing tips


AJ, can you PLEASE let me in on the secret of finding decent plots. I've been struggling and am getting nowhere?

Hi Jean. Thanks for the email. If you're unbelievably lucky, a plot will appear to you fully formed. This rarely takes place - okay Stephenie Meyer might have done it, but don't count on it.... Don’t despair though, there are other sources. Try these as starters.

  • Refer to the ‘Agony Aunt’ columns in magazines; you'll find they'll fill you with ideas for stories.
  • Go to your library and read the blurb from some books in your genre and work them into your own. Don’t pinch a complete plot from a published book though; use them as launch-pad for your own. Plagiarism is frowned upon.
  • Checkout the Personal Column in newspapers. They can be a rich source of plots and ideas.
  • Read the Obituaries, as macabre as it seems, there might just be something lying around in there that triggers you off.
  • When you’re reading a bedtime story to the kids think about ‘maturing’ the plot, can it be brought up to date?
  • Fairy tales, myths, and legends offer a good supply of plots that can be adapted.
  • Take a published story, rearrange the plot, make male protagonists female and you’ll start the ball rolling in your head.
One more thing. Don’t wait to find an ultra unique plot. There’s not much chance of finding one after all these years. Just settle for a damn good, well-written story.
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Saturday, 7 June 2008

Conflict and Theme, Eternal Bedmates

Tell Me a Story - writing tip

I've received another query, this time about the difference between theme and conflict. It seems to cause problems, yet it's basically quite simple.

Okay, so I've already touched on theme in Writing Tips - The Theme of Things. It's important to get it right though, so I thought I'd expand on it a little and list things down. We all like lists, don't we .... so much tidier.

Theme

  • Theme provides the basic structure for your novel. Think of it as the skeleton upon which the body of the story will hang. Without it, the body simply won’t stand up.
  • EVERY person and EVERY occasion in your plot should be linked to the theme in some way or other or it doesn't deserve to be in there.
  • Theme should always have its roots in strong feelings.
  • Without passion there is no story.
  • You should be able to encompass the theme in a short sentence. Think along the lines of how a Chinese proverb is constructed. This will give you an idea of how to encompass theme.
  • Make a little proverb from it, or use an existing proverb if you will.
  • Theme is what the whole of your narrative hangs on.
Conflict
  • Conflict is the foundation upon which every story is built. Use the theme to carry it along.
  • Conflict can be between man and man, man and himself, or man and nature (use woman as man where appropriate - no PC here). Sometimes man’s inner turmoil with himself can be most poignant.
  • There must be frequent tension in your novel, even when the conflict is not observable.
  • The conflict should ALWAYS be plausible.
  • The intensity of conflict should VARY throughout the story. There's nothing worse than overdoing tension. If you don't give time for readers to take breath, they'll be exhausted.
Hope this helps to sort things out.
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Looking for a different read?


Try Past Sins a contemporary romance by Ellie Jones
or Short Moments - a collection of ten heartwarming stories



Thursday, 5 June 2008

Writer's Workshop!

Here's a quick one for you that I've just picked up.

For those of you in the UK lucky enough to live in the vicinity, a writer's workshop will be held at the Bromyard Centre with successful author, Manda Scott in tenure.

The session, on Wednesday, June 25 will be between 10am and 4pm, and costs absolutely NOTHING!
I believe it's an initiative on the part of the National Year of Reading by the grace of forward thinking, Herefordshire Council.

I wish more councils would take the same initiative. Writing just doesn't get the same backing as other arts. It deserves more .... and don't give me the shit that writers get paid for their work. Most writers make sod-all. It's a labour of love. It's like any art, only the succesful make anything out of it. Everyone else needs subsidy.

Any wannerbe interested, will need to produce an example of their work (1 poem, or approximately 300 words of literature).

For more information, visit www.herefordshire.gov.uk/libraries. I understand that reservations are necessary as places are restricted.

So get clicking!

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Right Write - 8 Cool Tips To Invoke Emotion
Story Brief - Balance, Proportion And Plot
20 Ways To Write A Story Better

Preventing writer's block

Tell Me a Story - writing tip

As an engineer, I’ve always preached that planning prevents problems – and this is equally true of writing as anything else in life.

Read this article. Overcoming writer's block

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

New Authors.

Tell Me a Story opinion.

It's a shit, but it's a fact!

It's many times more difficult to sell a brilliant book by a new author than it is to sell a rubbish one by a popular author. The exceptional book by a new author must fight its way against enormous odds. There are in excess of 150,000 new publications each year. Most new authors fall by the wayside.

The new author has to assert themselves and stand on their own merit. A book by a popular author already has an awaiting readership.

Publicity.

There are several things significant in making a hit of a book: first, the celebrity status of the author; second, the uniqueness of the plot; third, the extent of the publicity, and fourth, how central the topic is to the reader.

Most new writers have no celebrity status, but it pisses me off when they do. Okay, so I'm envious of them, I make no bones about it. In general their writing is crap so why should they make it when thousands of hard-working writers don't.

Unique?

A unique plot .... well that's down to the author. I suppose we all feel our work is unique .. but is it?

Publicity! Don't make me laugh. What publishing house is going to pour a tight publicity budget into an unknown? They're in it to make money not become popular with writers. They boost profits by pushing the popular writer.

Let's play tag.

So I guess it's down to topic, and it's down to us to let our readers know how topical our work is. We have to push whatever's in our book - make hay out of every strand of grass in it. Let the readers know what's in there .... how?

Well Amazon can help. Use the 'Tag' function to guide readers. Let them know about the little gems inside YOUR book. Play the system, they won't mind because it'll boost their profits as well as yours.

And like all authors, I could do with a hand, so if you feel like helping, next time you're on Amazon, just look up Without Reproach and tick my tags. It won't cost you anything, but it'll help me no end..... And if you want me to do the same for you, just drop a line.....

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Right Write - 8 Cool Tips To Invoke Emotion
Story Brief - Balance, Proportion And Plot
20 Ways To Write A Story Better

Hedonistic Heart of Miami

It seems that author, Brian Antoni has attracted critical attention, if not high literary praise, for his fictionalized memoir of life and sex, and love and sex, and chocolate and sex, in Miami's hedonistic heart of darkness in the 1990s.

Don't we all do that. In hindsight, don't we all think that our experiences were golden and special. They seem to grow with the passing as well. Each year brings fonder memories, we were more dangerous, more exciting, more special, than anything today!!!!

Most of us curb the desire to embellish it on paper though. Antoni's first book, Paradise Overdrive, was based on his experiences living the "Bahamian high life." South Beach: The Novel, is his second attempt.

Maybe his memory has improved!

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Right Write - 8 Cool Tips To Invoke Emotion
Story Brief - Balance, Proportion And Plot
20 Ways To Write A Story Better

The Perceptive Notebook

Tell Me a Story - writing tip

The first fundamental for writers is to be perceptive. Yet, some writers are so caught up with their novel, that time away from it is spent in oblivion. They don’t really take in what’s happening around them. If only they’d come out of that trance, they’d find inspiration jumping at them.

Ideas are fleeting.

Ideas are fleeting. Sod’s Law says we’ll have the most brilliant idea when there isn’t time to jot it down. I know, it’s happened to me more than once. I’m confident I won’t forget it, it’s so important how could I? But forget I do, and it’s exasperating. Knowing I’ve had the inspiration of the century, but can’t bring it to it mind, pisses me off.

Ideas seem to come at the most inopportune moment, usually when we don’t have a notebook. Author, Mary Wibberly, has apparently solved the problem in the past by jotting it down on the cover of her chequebook – bankcards have seen that off though. It’s difficult scribbling on plastic.

Important conversations

I’m considering buying one of those digital voice recorders and stuffing it in my pocket. At least that way I’ll be able to record those all-important conversations – much more convenient than scribbling illegible notes whilst talking.

I suppose the moral is, always carry a notebook and you won’t forget that all-important idea! The problem is, forgetting to put it in our pockets …


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Right Write - 8 Cool Tips To Invoke Emotion
Story Brief - Balance, Proportion And Plot
20 Ways To Write A Story Better

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Ultimate Book Publicity

Tell Me a Story - comment.

We all want to make the most of our precious books and novels. We desire attention, we search for publicity. Some go a step further than the rest. One particular Indonesia author has taken the ultimate step in attracting attention.

Cash everywhere.

Publicity seeking, Tung Desem Waringin, circled his plane over a soccer field in the city of Serang, about 40 miles west of Jakarta, and emptied several bags of cash.

Apparently the businessman is reknowned for publicity stunts. This time he deposited about $10,700, from an aircraft to promote his new book.

Pandemonium.

Below, there was pandemonium. Grown men snatched bills from youngsters. Excited children ran around, holding up the notes they picked up, trying to hang onto them.

One man clung onto a hat he'd stuffed with money. Another sat in a corner of the field, massaging his feet after a dash for cash.

It's all very well, but I thought we were in this to make a penny not give thousands away!

Ideas blown apart.

If I had spare cash to throw away like that, I probably wouldn't write in the first place. Most of us are merely struggling hacks, churning away for scraps. Sometimes, I when I look at book sales, I wonder if it's worthwhile .... then along comes Tung Desem Waringin, and everyone's ideas are blown apart!

I don't know whether to wish him luck or not. I hope the idea doesn't catch on!


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Right Write - 8 Cool Tips To Invoke Emotion
Story Brief - Balance, Proportion And Plot
20 Ways To Write A Story Better

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Writing Tips - Using That Experience

Tell Me a Story - writing from the heart .

Hello Anthony, can you help. I'm thinking to write my biography. I've undergone things in my life that I'm sure others will want to read. How do I go about it?


Hi Brian, nice to hear from you.

Please don't think I'm pouring cold water on your idea, but unless you're already a celebrity, chances are that few people will be interested. It's a hard fact of life. Sometimes it's the wrong idea to use a circumstance(s) from your own life as the basis for a book. Instead, think novel.
It can be better to use the feelings generated by an experience as a theme rather than the circumstance itself.
The consequence can be a richer story than you might have envisaged because you've already explored the emotional boundaries.
Sometimes you can be too close to a particular episode and it can warp your writing. Instead, use those feelings, tap into the energy of the evocative experience, expand on it, push it in a different area and the result can be POW!
Unless we're TV presenters, film-stars, radio personalities, or have achieved something incredible, who's going to be interested in reading about our lives? Everyone has problems they overcome, we all do things with our lives. It can be a bit egotistical to think that others will find our own life interesting.
I normally advise people to weave the things they've undergone into a piece of fiction, breathe life into a novel with those experiences. Use it as a backbone and who knows, you could have the next best-seller.

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Romantic Suspense