Reflections on the Week That Was 12

January 24, 2010 at 5:20 am (Weekly Review) (, , , , , , , )

Another week and this one has been hectic.  It could have been less hectic if I developed even a single little bit of common sense but clearly I lack the facility for it. See, I went back to work this week. Which means I have lessons to plan and resources to find and all manner of things to prepare and suddenly, I am struck by pure and brilliant inspiration to write  not the story I planned but the story I should have been planning.

That said, my work is more or less under control, and I’ve been working in time slots of writing after my set work is done for the day and my draft is rolling along nicely. I think I’m going to need to trim some of the dialogue from the first few chapters. Today I wrote an entire page of pretty much just dialogue and I’m pretty sure it isn’t needed. But the story is working and moving forward and the characters feel right and so I’m going with it.

So, my blog reading this week has been a bit hit and miss but here are some links that I’ve found.

Recommended Read For the Week

Little Scribbler – 5 Ways to Make Time for Writing – something I definitely needed to remind myself of recently.

My Posts for the Week

5 things I love about Writing – Given the enormous amount of time writing is taking right now I figured I’d remind myself why I love it so much and let it take over at times.

Merton, is that your name? – I’ve been writing but some of my characters have been a bit difficult and at the moment the name of one individual is really starting to be a pain.

Ghosts are my least favourite plot device – I love ghosts and I love ghosts in stories, I use ghosts in stories, I just find them annoying when the entire plot hinges on a character coming back from the dead to explain the plot.

Tension through forced inactivity – Creating tension for yourself and characters.

Building Better Worlds – Looking at world building particularly for fantasy.

Quote Collections – Looking at why so many writers collect quotes.

Other Posts on Writing

Cat Woods – I’ll take one agent with a side of fries – some great advice on research to do before looking for an agent.

One Writer’s Journey – Sharing 7 More Tips on writing.

Broadsheet – Publisher Whitens Another heroine of Colour – really interesting discussion about trends in publishing and cover art.

Elspeth Antonelli – Finding your characters’ voices in the story.

Editorrent – Calls in a Medic to fix a sentence.

Okay if you have a link you think should be added to the list, please add it with your comment but please make sure the link works and it is going to a writing blog. Thanks and I hope you find some of these useful.


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Reflections on the Week That Was 11

January 17, 2010 at 5:45 am (Weekly Review) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Another week bites the dust and this one happened to be my last week of vacation from my teaching job.  I didn’t get very much in the way of writing done these holidays but I think I settled myself nicely and sorted out most of my loose ends so once the school term is underway and I’m settled into that I should be in a good position to really focus on writing for a while.  We’ll see what life has in store for me.

That said, I have been writing.  Little introductions, character information pages, setting descriptions, short action sequences, I even have four typed pages of discussions that take place between two characters because I was unsure how the two characters would interact.  I just haven’t been able to focus enough to sit and write a draft.

This week I got back into the blog after the move and caught up with many other blogs so here are the links for the week.

Recommended Read:

Cat Woods – The Best Writing Tips Ever – she shares the advice she has been given and encourages others to leave theirs.

My Posts For The Week:

Writing High Fantasy – I realised that despite writing fantasy I haven’t posted much about it.  Next week I’m going to have a post on world building.

Call For Writers 2 – Once again I am asking for guest bloggers, this time to answer a specific question as chosen by the people who responded to the poll.  “Which novel element is most important to you and why?” If you would like to take part in this series, please read the post and send me your response.  I look forward to reading them.

Avatar – Having read three thousand different posts either praising or berating Avatar I threw my opinion out there and have now moved on.

Writing Lessons from Reading R.L. Stine – Another in the writing lessons series.

Why so serious? – I look at humorous characters and ask for advice on creating them.

Books Don’t Come With a Soundtrack – Examining why voice is so important to hook your reader and to create believable scenes.

Other Posts on Writing:

Don’t Quit The Day Job – Looks at how traffic jams can be useful to you as a writer.

Jodi Cleghorn deals with rejection.

David Hewson discusses the use of violence in writing.

Atsiko’s Chimney features Urban Fantasy as their Genre of the Week.

Crystal Clear Proofing looks at using colons in sentences and provides some great examples.

Margot Kinberg considers what makes someone a victim.

Carole Kilgore looks at sounds and how they can be used in writing.

Elizabeth Spann Craig – What we bring to the table, examining how there may not be any new stories but there are new ways of telling them.

I hope you all have a great week and if you have any other posts from this week that should have been included on the list please add them in the comments.

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Refelctions of the Week That Was 10

January 10, 2010 at 12:09 am (100+ Reading, Author Info, Weekly Review) (, , , )

So I am back and only a day after I hoped to get internet access so that wasn’t too bad.  I felt really out of touch though.  The move went well and most of the boxes have been unpacked.  Almost nothing was broken and I haven’t had too much trouble finding things.  I also made a good start on the 100+ Reading Challenge and in the absence of any blogs I’m going to do a brief reflection on the reading I’ve done this week.

1.  Into the Void by Nigel Finley – It was part two of a series and it turns out I’ve read the book that comes after this.  Like most series it spends the first five chapters giving repeated references to events in the previous book however this one is particularly annoying because in those first five chapters I was told five different ways how Teldin came by the cloak as he explained it to five other characters.  Once they finally got over that the book was not bad.  The characters were interesting enough, though the protagonist (Teldin) really bugged me and his decision making process was terribly flawed which made me want to insult him at every turn.  Plus the double cross at the end could have been guessed by someone only skimming the book so it wasn’t really surprising.  Still, not too bad a read.  There is momentum in this story even if all the individual pieces are annoying.

2.  Darkness Falls by Margaret Murphy – Confusing.  Possibly because I was reading this after my house was packed up and I was stressed and tired but the jumps between scenes frequently lost me and overall I just didn’t care enough about our main character to really care whether she was ever found or not.  As a non fantasy it was going to have to work hard to grab me and it just didn’t.

3.  Toreador by Stewart Wieck – First part of a series only they don’t mention it doesn’t even begin to finish.  This whole book feels like an opening sequence and then it stops.  Annoying to say the least.  Plus, the vampire clans are boring when described to you as opposed to playing the game and getting to be one of the clans and interact with the others.  The multiple perspectives really drags this book down because the replays aren’t interesting enough and not enough new information is given to make them worth while.  Plus, most of the reveals are information you’ve already inferred so it makes you feel like they are talking down to you and assuming you can’t put two and two together to make 4.

4.  Justice by Faye Kellerman – One of the few non-fantasy authors I am a real fan of, I hated this book.  She jumps from third person to first person and it is jarring to the flow, unnecessary and really quite confusing at times.  The crime and investigation was just not as interesting as other books in this series and overall, I was very disappointed.  Plus, the family concerns took a definite back seat.  There was a story going on and it could have been interesting but it was sidelined constantly to the point where it was all but disappeared and then reappeared once everything else was wrapped up.

4 down and only 96 to go.  I don’t think I’m going to get there but I’ve had fun this week just enjoying the act of reading.

Thanks everyone for your support during my move and the blog will be back to normal next week.

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Reflections on the Week That Was 9

January 3, 2010 at 5:16 am (Author Info, Weekly Review) (, , , , , )

This week has obviously been a week for reflection, what with the new year and all.  Most of the blogs I read have been focused on reflections and goals for the future.  There are some really great links in the list below but as usual, I can’t read everything so if you have a link or know of one that should be on the list, add it in the comments.  It’s all about sharing.

A quick note about the blog.  I am moving over the next few days but expect to be online sometime later in the week though I won’t be posting a new blog post until at least Jan 9.  Have a great week and I look forward to catching up with everyone once I sort out my internet.

Recommended Read:

Not so much a read as a watch – Juliet Boyd shares these videos on the changing technology and the importance of being connected. Well worth a watch.

For a read, K.M. Weiland on Word Play shares 11 Killer Chapter Breaks.

My Posts this Week:

Stuck in the Middle – Why I used to hate writing the middle of the story.

Happy New Writing Year – Looking into 2010 and my goals for the year.

Best ’09 – Reflections on 2009.

Repeat/Repeat – Yes I am back to editing and I am finding that I use too many of the same words too often.  Fortunately I’m not alone in this.

Characters are like Onions – Why not take writing advice from Shrek, though I prefer Lord Farquaad.

Writing Lessons From Reading Katharine Kerr – Another fantasy author who I’ve learnt a lot from.  The next writing lesson post I do will have to be a non-fantasy author just to change things around a bit.

Questions for Writers – I said last year that I was going to have another call for writers in February.  This poll was helping me decide what question I was going to ask them to answer.  I was going to close the poll today but I think I’ll give it another week so please let me know what you think.

Other Links for Writers:

Fabrica Scribendi asks her readers what their favourite read of 09 was and suggests some of her favourites.

Creative Barbwire also took on the Best of 09 challenge and gave us her reflections on the year gone by.

K.M. Weiland again but on Author Culture shares ten ways to find more time to write.

Elizabeth Spann Craig gives us 14 Reasons Why Libraries are Writers’ Best Friends – I only really needed one, they have books.

Corra McFeydon shares links with some excellent reading challenges in 2010.

Lovely Lace shares a writing exercise in which you make a personal universe deck – it must be the teacher in me but I thought it was an excellent idea.

Okay not a writing one but it does have to do with story telling.  Monkey Rule discusses why Avatar does not fail at story telling.

Also, slightly shameless plug for a friend, Levi Montgomery has released Jillian’s Gold.  As an early reader of this story I absolutely recommend it but you can read the first 16 pages for yourself.

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Reflections on the Week That Was 8

December 27, 2009 at 5:30 am (Weekly Review) (, , , )

Not a lot of news on the blog front this week.  With family and birthdays and Christmas I took a break from the blog and I didn’t get to visit many other blogs (though from what I did see, most people were taking a break this week).

In the absence of my usual link list that I would share, I thought I would reach out a bit.

There are a lot of excellent blogs on writing out there and I find a new one nearly everyday.  I haven’t as yet put together a blog roll and I am going to try and fix that in the next couple of weeks.  So, if you know of an excellent blog about writing can you link to it in the comments and I will check it out.  I would just like to ask that you make sure that links do actually go to blogs related to writing.

Also, while I am asking for input, if you have a book coming out in 2010 or would like to write a guest blog or anything like that send me an email (at) about what you would like and when abouts you would like to do it.  In February I am going to be calling for writers to participate in another series of posts (similar to the ‘writing is’ series that ran recently) and I am looking forward to another round of excellent contributions.

Thanks and I am looking forward to your suggestions.

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Reflections on the Week That Was 7

December 20, 2009 at 5:01 am (Weekly Review) (, , , , , , , )

It is the end of another week and we are about to enter the crazily busy Christmas week so Merry Christmas everyone and hopefully you all have a good week whether you celebrate the holiday or not.  Some more links for writers this week:

Recommended Read for the Week:

Jennifer Blanchard shares the 43 Most Inspiring Writing Posts she found in 2009.  Some excellent links in this post.

My Posts This Week:

What genre do you write? So many genres, so many cross genres, which genre do you write in?

The Read List – my first reads for 2010 from my TBR pile.  What are you going to be reading next year?

Writing Lessons From Reading Terry Brooks.

What is your research process and what do you research?

The final post in the Writing Is series – Tirza, Corra and Fiona all share their thoughts on what writing is.

Other Writing Links:

Elspeth Antonelli asks if your characters are clear thinking.

Lynnette Labelle discusses some of the problems with writing in multiple genres.

On My Father’s Shoulders questions the writing rule of write what you know.

JSChanceller talks about the utility of tangents.

Amy Allgeyer Cook suggests that new  writers should not start with a trilogy.

This Book Binge posts suggests how you can write a perfectly dreadful query letter (well worth reading the footnotes).

Andrew Jack introduces his rule for writing endings with oomph.

All and all, I hope you enjoy reading these and I hope you have a great week.  As usual, if you wish to add a link or want to suggest a post, please leave it in the comments or email me with suggestions for the next weekly reflection.

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Reflections on the Week That Was 6

December 13, 2009 at 5:13 am (Weekly Review) (, , )

Hard to believe this is the end of week six on the new blog.  This week has been an unbelievable roller coaster for me and I know that the next few weeks are going to be quite a handful.  I will be taking a short break in the first week of January when I am moving houses and will not have internet access.  This break may extend to two or so weeks depending on how long it takes to get reconnected to the world.  I will not be abandoning this blog and hopefully I can get some public internet access to do a few posts during this transitional period.

Onto this week.  So many great posts to choose from.

Recommended Read for the Week:

Sandy Ackers from Strangling My Muse shared a brilliant post this week with ten ways to get your muse out of neutral.  I found this post very helpful.

My Posts:

I started this week by asking which character would wear these shoes (and I got some very interesting responses).

5 reasons for typing your draft – though there are arguments for handwriting.

I joined the 100+ Reading Challenge.  Hopefully my to be read list (at least the beginning of it) will go up next week. If not, it will go up the week after.

From my call to writers I have put together a three part series called writing is and the first and second parts have already been posted (and they were fantastic, thanks to the writers who contributed).  Part three will be posted tomorrow.

Other Great Writing Posts:

Elizabeth Spann Craig makes the list again with her post on writing according to mood.  She made it tough this week as her post on being careful was a very close second.

Brandilyn Collins had a guest post from Steven James called Things look bad? Make them worse, which was a fantastic read.

Sevvy asks whether you are a whiny writer or an arrogant writer.   A good read.

Editorial anonymous reads into rejections.  This is a very amusing post.

Sylvia Dickey Smith shares some thoughts on writing dialogue.

K.M. Weiland discusses why writers should write in more than one genre.

Margot Kinberg writes about the use of coincidence in stories.  This post has inspired some very interesting comments and is well worth the read.

As always, if you have found a great blog post you want added to the list, let me know or leave a link in the comments and certainly send me suggestions throughout the week for the next list.  Thanks.

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Reflections on the Week That Was 5

December 6, 2009 at 4:22 am (Weekly Review) (, , )

Another good week over.  Starting to get some great responses from writers about what they think writing is.  Keep a look out because these posts are going to start coming soon.  Once again I have found some great links this week.

Recommend Read:

Kerrie Flanagan from The Writing Bug has decided to try reading a book a week (ReBooWee) in the wake of NaNoWriMo.  I personally think it is a great idea but know I don’t have the time at the moment. 

My Blog Posts – In case you missed anything:

When I went to the cinema – people watching can be great for your writing

Writing lessons I’ve learned from playing computer games.

Live in the world – creating fantasy worlds

If I were a flower – what flower would you be?

Emotionless Characters – Are there any?

Other Writing Links:

J.C. Hart talks about Creating Depth in Fiction and world building.  This post inspired my post Live in the World this week.

Charmaine Clancy discusses how to create character flaws that work with your story.

Margot Kinberg explores the way changing technology has changed mystery writing in

Sylvia Morice gives us 5 additional ways to stimulate our creativity.

Conan the Grammarian writes about using similes.

Ann Elle Altman provides some examples for showing rather than telling.

Elizabeth Spann Craig had quite a few excellent posts this week but I finally decided that I would share her post on pace.

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Reflections on the Week that Was 4

November 29, 2009 at 4:52 am (Weekly Review) (, )

It has been an incredibly busy week but I have learnt so much.  This is the fourth week of my new blog and I was overwhelmed by the number of people who have stopped by to check it out.  Now if only I can inspire them to leave a comment I’ll be right on track.

Earlier in the week I asked for writers who wanted to share their thoughts on what writing is.  I have had some response and I’m grateful to those people who have decided to give this a go but if there is anyone else who would like to join in, please get in touch.

That said, I have some links for the week.

Recommended Read:

This one is not going to be popular with a lot of people but it is worth reading.  Nick Reitz gives us 6 reasons why Twilight sucks (and yes it is biased but he makes some very good points).

In case you missed my blog posts this week:

This week I shared some writing lessons I learned from reading Pratchett. As I’ve now looked at two of my favourite authors in this way, I think this may start to be a theme but I’m not promising anything.

Having discussed my reasons why books are better than movies previously, I decided to turn it around.  Here are ten reasons why movies are better than books.

False alarms are never good, but I can see how they might serve a purpose in writing.

Creating believable characters is hard, particularly when they work so hard at being enigmas.  I wonder why my character is unstable.

Some interesting links for writers:

Jane Kennedy Sutton asks whether you go for the new read or the reread.

Wired Writer’s Blog explains how magic needs to be real when writing fantasy.

Elizabeth Spann Craig shares writing tips from reading fairy tales.

Sylvia Morice gives us 5 ways to stimulate our creativity.

Cait London shares her tips on creating characters with depth.

Nicole Jordan asks if you are heroine material.

Well that is it for another week but if you have a blog, or you have read one, in the last week that you think should be on the list, feel free to add it in the comments.

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Reflections on the Week That Was 3

November 22, 2009 at 4:50 am (Weekly Review) (, )

Another exciting, if ridiculously hot, week over and this one was fantastic for me.  I finally finished the rewrites and revisions of my novel (for the time being, there are sure to be more coming) and I’ve had the pleasure of reading some fantastic writing advice.  I look forward to what the next week is going to bring me.

The Recommended Read:

Jonathan Danz shares his advice on Writing Magic In Fantasy Fiction – not so useful to non-fantasy writer’s, but a must read for anyone writing fantasy as it includes some great links and great advice.

Posts from my blog this week:

Magic in Fantasy – why I love magic and why I know my current WIP is not magical.

10 Reasons Why Books Are Better Than Movies (stay tuned, next week I tell you why movies are better than books).

I share my top ‘This Is Not Editing‘ moments.

The poll results are finally in – Avoiding Writer’s Block

From the Book Shelf – Discussion about John Marsden’s Tomorrow, When the War Began.

Who says stereotypes are bad? Discussion about the use of stereotypes for character creation.

Posts I found useful:

Kathleen Noud shared her advice on Making Action Scenes Matter (technically this was last week but this is when I found it).

Eliza Wyatt asks why novels don’t have pictures in Silly Children – Pictures Are For Grown-Ups.

Pat Bertram shares his thoughts.  What do you do when you have too much background information?

Wise Sloth gives us four simple formula plot templates.

Lee on Angry Robot provides some tips to the being Pitch Perfect.

Scifialien discusses the importance of defining your audience in Name That Audience.

Carolyn Hayes Uber shares some insight on copyright in The Non-Case of the Stolen Manuscript.

As always, feel free to add links if you’ve found some great sites this week.

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