Monday, January 30, 2012

Interview #13: Lucy of Narnia

Lucy of Narnia: Mermaid Tails: Legends and Lore



Your Nweb and NaNoWriMo usernames, were they inspired by anything?

Lucy of Narnia wasn't really inspired by anything; I found it very generic and of course Narnia-ish for Narniaweb. Nothing very interesting there. Wonder Writer seemed appropriate for National Novel WRITING month. So I guess I kinda bragged on myself, huh?

NaNoWriMo or YWP?

I'm 18, and had attempted NaNo instead of YWP even at 15 and 17, so I did NaNo again.

Who are you?

I am an 18-year-old North Carolina girl who loves writing, acting, drawing and singing (if I'm alone!). I love accents, British especially, and trying to impersonate them. I'm not quite sure where my aspirations will take me yet but, hey, they sure are fun!

How were you sucked into NaNoWriMo? Did someone person brainwash you into joining?

My dad found NaNo for me back in 2008. I have actually tried to convince my parents that NaNo wasn't a waste of time, and that you are (supposed to) get back to it to edit sometime after November. *guilty* I guess I should try that someday.

Was this your first, second, tenth time participating?

This was my third time participating; I started late in 2008 and 2010, but this year I finally started on time, and, since I'd won Screnzy and attempted a mad rush at Camp NaNo in the last week of August (which I failed, but taught me how much I could write in a day), I was confident that I could win this year.

What was your novel synopsis (or original idea) at the beginning of nano? Genre?

Originally, my genre was fantasy and I was going to write about mermaids in a very historical sounding way, like they were actually real, or at least there was that possibility.

Was your synopsis the same or different at the end? Or did you end up writing something completely different?

I ended up keeping the fantasy, but just writing it as fantasy, in a story style, instead of a sort of fake history.

Did you finish? What superpowers enabled you to write 50k in one month?

I did finish! As I said before, I was confident going into it. And then, it was just so easy to write another mushy mermaid/man love scene if I needed some words! Fun!

What method of writing proved to be the most effective?

Mostly just forcing myself to write, and doing what I enjoyed (love scenes!), which pretty much made up my entire book.

Did this method involve glue, ropes, caffeine or some other forceful inducement?

No forceful inducement, but some annoyance. Sometimes, as I'm sure we all do, I just didn't want to write any more about mermaids. Or whatever.

What lesson(s) did NaNoWriMo teach you this past November?

NaNoWriMo taught me that I could finish it, that it wasn't soooo hard like I'd made it out to be. Boring at times? Yes. Think you MUST have got the daily word count to find you were only half-way through? Yes. But it was accomplishable.

Website, blog, twitter, etc you want readers to know about?

My blog is called Writing Obsessed (pjswritingobsessed.blogspot.com).

Friday, January 27, 2012

Interview #12: hogglestock


hogglestock: Untitled Historical Fiction

Your Nweb and NaNoWriMo usernames, were they inspired by anything?

I used the same username, hogglestock. It was my Narniaweb username first. I picked it because I love hedgehogs and that’s the only named hedgehog character I know of in the Chronicles of Narnia. (It’s in Prince Caspian.) It’s also just a cool word.

Who are you?

I’ve always loved to read and make things. I was an English major in college and have always enjoyed writing, although I don’t tend to do much without some kind of deadline. I work as a teacher’s assistant (lots of PowerPoint!) for a K-12th grade distance learning group under a Christian textbook publisher. Right now we’re doing video lessons for 5th grade math, but the subject I work on changes every year or so.

How were you sucked into NaNoWriMo? Did someone person brainwash you into joining?

I actually found out about NaNoWriMo on the Narniaweb forums about the middle of October a year ago. I was too unprepared (or chicken) to participate last year, but this year I had an idea ready to go.
I almost convinced a friend of mine to join me, but at the last minute she had something come up and couldn’t spare the time.

Was this your first, second, tenth time participating?

First time!

What was your novel synopsis (or original idea) at the beginning of nano? Genre?

I had watched the movie The Eagle, in which a character asked why the Romans had to invade and conquer Briton. A few days later, I was reminded of the Scripture passage that talks about people from every language, tribe, people, etc. all worshiping God together one day in heaven. It struck me very strongly that that the tribes mentioned include not only different tribes in our day but also people groups throughout history that have come to know God. So I decided to write a story illustrating how the Roman conquest was one of the means God used to spread His gospel throughout the world on an individual level. So I’m aiming for historical fiction at a teen-age level.

Was your synopsis the same or different at the end? Or did you end up writing something completely different?

My story pretty much kept to my original idea, although I intended to conclude it much sooner. I ended up fleshing out another whole section of the story that I had intended to simply suggest at the end. I think it ended up being a much stronger story this way.

Did you finish? What superpowers enabled you to write 50k in one month?

Yes! I finished with just over 53,000 words. I was actually surprised at how easy I found it to finish.

What method of writing proved to be the most effective?

I basically just sat down every evening and aimed for 2,000 words. Most Saturday afternoons I did go to a write-in nearby. The interaction with others and the word wars helped a lot, as did the chunk of time where I couldn’t really do anything but write.

Did this method involve glue, ropes, caffeine or some other forceful inducement?

No, just some friendly competition and lots of staying up late. I didn’t even need that much caffeine, surprisingly.

What lesson(s) did NaNoWriMo teach you this past November?

I learned that maybe I am capable of writing fiction after all! (I’ve always found poetry easier to accomplish than good plots.) I also saw that writing something of that size is entirely possible, although it was far more than I had ever tried to do before. I also got into the habit of writing every day, and I’ve been able to continue that so far. I read somewhere about 750words.com, and that site has been nice for giving me an incentive to write every day and a goal to shoot for.

Where's the Bucket?!

My browser is overflowing with links from this week and last week! They've backed up because I haven't quite figured out how I'm going to fit link posts into my already packed blog schedule. So, pardon the lack of comments on each link. There's really too many to explain each individually.

Off we go!

Writing Links:

Scene Design - The First Sentence

On Writing: The Value of Ambition

Interiority vs. Telling

Publishing Links:

Why Reader Taste Differs from Publisher Taste

Where Have all the Book Illustrators Gone?

Self Publishing Basics: How to Read an ISBN

Bestseller Lists and Other Thoughts

Do You Need Multiple Agents if You Write in Different Genres?

Self Pubbed Author Beware

Sewing Your Own Parachute - Advice About Book Covers

How to Get Testimonials for You Self-Published Book

Self Publishing: At a Publishing Group Meeting

The Value Rubric: Do Book Bloggers Really Matter?

Fun Links!

Artist Carves Vintage Books Into Astoundingly Intricate 3D Sculptures

Giveaway at The Siren for Holly Black's The Curseworkers series!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Book Review: Fjörgyn’s Tears

Welcome to a new project of mine! This ebook review is merely the first in what I hope will be a long term feature of this blog. My goal is to select three ebooks a week - one science fiction, one fantasy, and one in another genre - and review them. I hope you, my readers, will benefit from it as much as I will. Since I'll be randomly selecting all of the ebooks from Smashwords, they are almost guaranteed to be self-published and will most likely be available in whatever format you desire. You can always find the current ebooks of the week in the Recommended Reading section in the right sidebar.

So, now the first review - the science fiction novel Fjörgyn’s Tears by Mark Suddaby.

Cover

The ebook's cover was the first point that caught my eye. Even in a tiny thumbnail, the image and font loudly declare it as sci-fi. I do wonder where the author got that fascinating font.

Blurb


"When an extreme climate and dwindling resources collide, does humanity deserve to survive?"
This short blurb didn't do much to attract me. All it did was tag the novel as an "end of the world" sci-fi.

But when I clicked through, I found this long blurb:

"When an extreme climate and dwindling resources collide, does humanity deserve to survive?

"In 2061 the effects of changes to the global climate have become more severe than anyone imagined. With the northern hemisphere locked in freezing conditions, nations start to fight over scant resources. After a military coup, Britain, now a pariah state, watches from the sidelines as a polarised world tears itself apart.

"Joshua Grimaldi is a British climatologist working on the Eden Project when he stumbles across a radical solution to the inevitable clash of nations. With clandestine support and the backing of a sceptical Leadership, Joshua and a small team of British scientists set about delivering the Janus Protocol to a world locked in its final death throws. As Consumer-States make a last desperate bid to control the Supplier-Blocks, Joshua and a small community escape, just as tensions turn nuclear.

"Time after time, the inheritors of Joshua’s salvation finally see his dream realised, only to make a shocking discovery, which carries with it a dilemma. A dilemma so momentous that its outcome will determine not only who will inherit the Earth, but the very future of the human race. And all along, a shadowy presence that has been manipulating humanity for millennia, finally acts. Survival is the game and it isn’t only humanity that’s playing.

"Fjörgyn, Goddess of the Earth, looks on and weeps."

Now, this was what "sold" the novel for me. The crisis is outlined, a savior/hero is introduced, and the solution is presented as successful but with drawbacks. Now the twist comes at the end, "humanity is not alone", but exactly who is present? According to the title, a Norse goddess. That this novel combines science and myth intrigued me, so off I went to read the sample.

The Sample

First off, this book is 414 pages long which means the sample is a whopping 62 pages long (according to the online reader pagination). However, that didn't cover much. We're introduced to an Earth that's been drastically changed by a "Long Winter" similar to a mini ice age. And so the nations and unions of the world have shifted. Britain, the home of our protagonist, Joshua, is in neutral isolation having cut itself of from the rest of the world. The rest of the world is beginning to collapse politically and the possibility of future "gigastorms" (think hypercanes from "After Tomorrow") is in the forecast.

Joshua starts working on a "biome" project which aims to create a self-supporting bio-sphere. His ever present companion and manipulator Alice, an AI, gives him the solution to the problems threatening to destroy humanity - build an ark, stock it with human DNA and set a group of caretakers to oversee the process. The sample ends as he is presenting the idea to a government official.

In Conclusion

I would buy this book. In fact, the "how does it end?" may bug me into buying the book. It had me hooked and anxious from the first scene in the prologue where a Tibetan goatherd boy sees a dam collapse and the "magic" lights of the town below go out.

This book is long, but it uses its space well. There were a few characters introduced which left me wondering their purpose, but I have no doubts they'll be explained later. Not only is it well paced, but it is well written. In the sample of 62 pages I only counted three or four grammatical errors and only one was a total disaster. I suppose some might consider it a bit wordy, heavily laden as it is with technical jargon. But it is classified as hard sci-fi. So the jargon didn't seem overused.

My one pet peeve is all the unexplained technology, but that's because I like to know how everything works. However, the novel would have been burdened down by all the description so it is good the author chose to leave it out.

So, I will repeat myself. This a book you should buy...now. If I follow my own advice I'll post a follow up post with my reactions.

Click here to buy "Fjörgyn’s Tears".

Look forward to a fantasy review next!

Until next time!

Interview #11: Gymfan15


Gymfan15: Strong as Bronze





Your Nweb and NaNoWriMo usernames, were they inspired by anything?


Gymfan15 on both. It's a slight variation on the first online username created for a gymnastics forum. I went with Gymfan, because I am, and then 14 because that was my age at the time. When I turned 15 I tried changing everything over but it was SUCH a hassle that I swore never again, so 15 it has remained!

Who are you?

I'm a 21 year old who was homeschooled. I am currently working in food service while I save up money for college. :)

How were you sucked into NaNoWriMo? Did someone person brainwash you into joining?

For quite a few years, people on Narniaweb would start posting about this writing challenge called NaNoWriMo. I always wanted to participate, but one year I found out about it too late, and the next year I was in the middle of moving across the country and couldn't take the time to do it. I've always wanted to write a novel and I tried for many years, but never had the staying power to finish it. So I always knew NaNo was something I wanted to do, I just struggled to find the time.

Was this your first, second, tenth time participating?

This year was my fourth consecutive year.

What was your novel synopsis (or original idea) at the beginning of nano? Genre?

This book was the third in a trilogy about an American gymnast named Erica Larkay. In this book, Erica has just gotten married and has all but put her competitive days behind her. But she can't shake the nagging feeling that maybe she's not quite finished with gymnastics yet.

Was your synopsis the same or different at the end? Or did you end up writing something completely different?

Nope, pretty much the same!

Did you finish? What superpowers enabled you to write 50k in one month?

Yep, I sure did finish!
My secret is writing a lot, and writing often. I use an online writing "tool" called Write or Die which does wonders for making me churn out quite a lot of words in a short amount of time.

What method of writing proved to be the most effective?

Setting a timer and just writing until it stopped. Once I get going it's easy to write; it's the getting going that's difficult.

Did this method involve glue, ropes, caffeine or some other forceful inducement?

Mmm, there was some Coke-Cola involved.

What lesson(s) did NaNoWriMo teach you this past November?

No matter how bleak and unmotivated you are, you can do pretty much whatever want as long as you set your mind to it and just WORK.

Website, blog, twitter, etc you want readers to know about?

www.spareoom.net
http://www.spareoom.net/gymfan15/blog/

Monday, January 23, 2012

Birth of a Novel #8 and Some REALLY Good News!

Since this really good news is just dying to bubble over, I'll spill it first. Remember my post last Saturday about Sophia Chang's blogaversary giveaway? Weeelll, I won the critique! Sophia emailed me this morning with the details. I've been scrambling to assemble the perfect 25 pages of MS to send over. I think I'll skim over it once more to cut down on accidental typos and such to provide a cleaner copy for the two criters to read. (And to make sure that all the Japanese terms and weird notes of mine are properly explained and aren't in the way.) Fyi, I'll be submitting the prologue and beginning of Novella #2 from the Across Time series I started last year.

In other news, I worked more on editing Victor's Crown. I think I'll make one more pass at it this week and then off it goes! I'm very excited to see what happens.

Also, sometime this week I'll be submitting another twit fic to Nanoisms (especially since my one last week wasn't accepted. Oh well.).

I was also rejected for The Story Within Week One contest. The winning entry is quite beautiful and I have no regrets having lost to it. I'm still brainstorming for the next entry. The theme is Dialogue.

Until next time!

Interview #10: Gathmandais


Gathmandis: Dream, Child, Time is Short



Your Nweb and NaNoWriMo usernames, were they inspired by anything?


NarniaWeb name is “Gathmandais.” It isn’t inspired by anything. I just made it up one day.

NaNoWriMo name is “Amazdian.” I also made this name up.


Who are you?


I’m a 16 year-old homeschooled guy interested in film making. I also juggle.


How were you sucked into NaNoWriMo? Did someone person brainwash you into joining?

A youtuber friend of mine said in a video that she was going to do it, then I looked into it further, already knowing what it was, and realized that it sounded really cool. I wasn’t originally going to do it.


Was this your first, second, tenth time participating?


This was my first year doing NaNoWriMo.


What was your novel synopsis (or original idea) at the beginning of nano? Genre?

I actually never had an idea for my story at the beginning. I simply began writing on November 1st and just built the plot as I went.

Did you finish? What superpowers enabled you to write 50k in one month?

I did finish. That is, I got past 50,000. But the story is far from being done. Chocolate, gummies, and Spotify were what got me through.


What method of writing proved to be the most effective?

A terrible method of waiting until 10:00 PM to write and speed write before I had to go to bed.


Did this method involve glue, ropes, caffeine or some other forceful inducement?

Not really. Although there was ice cream and keylime yogurt (which happens to be extremely inspirational).

What lesson(s) did NaNoWriMo teach you this past November?

The first lesson was that I need to learn how to plan out stories ahead of time. The second was that I really need to work on my writing, especially for writing interesting descriptions of things

Website, blog, twitter, etc you want readers to know about?

http://www.youtube.com/thesparrowfable

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Interview #8: daughter of the King



daughter of the King: Orders from on High




Your Nweb and NaNoWriMo usernames, were they inspired by anything?

Nweb: daughter of the King, I'm a Christian, and girls in Narnia are Daughters of Eve. NaNoWriMo: dragon_topaz, inspired by my toy dragon, Topaz, who got a cameo in my story.

Who are you?

Ever since I learned to read I have always constructed stories. Most of the time those stories never got further than maybe a paragraph or two, although a few became entire paracosms. This was my first attempt at getting an entire story out of my mind and onto a piece of paper (or onto my computer as the case may be). I am a dreamer, a thinker, and an amateur photographer.

How were you sucked into NaNoWriMo? Did someone person brainwash you into joining?

I've known about NaNo for years because my brother has attempted it several times. I had read the past NaNo Nweb threads with interest, but never really felt compelled to join in the insanity. This year I started it on a whim on the 4th of Nov after writing a sketch of a scene during one of my classes (it was a review day, and I already knew the material so to prevent myself from falling asleep I found something constructive to do). My brother encouraged me to join so he would have someone to compete against. Neither of us won, but I did beat his word count. :p

Was this your first, second, tenth time participating?

My very first.

What was your novel synopsis (or original idea) at the beginning of nano?

How far would you go to obey the authorities over you? At what point would you draw the line and say "you are asking too much of me"? If you knew what had been ordered was wrong, would you still do it? What would you do if you were told you had to be accused of murder for the mission to succeed? What would you do if you were going to be executed because you could not reveal your orders? What if by allowing yourself to die, you were saving another person's life?

You can't tell anyone what happened, because to do so would reveal the entire plan. If the plan is revealed the mission is lost and he would be exposed. He would surely die if that happened. Everything is going wrong, but you cannot tell anyone, especially not your commanding officer.

Genre?

Sci-Fi

Was your synopsis the same or different at the end? Or did you end up writing something completely different?

It was still basically the same, although I did wind up revising parts of my hastily constructed outline as I went.

Did you finish? What supernatural events, natural disasters, etc. prevented you from finishing?

Sadly, no, I didn't finish. School had to take top priority over literary pursuits. I would have gotten much closer to 50K if I hadn't been sick for a week and a half on top of all that homework.

What method of writing proved to be the most effective?

Sit down and write the moment I was the slightest bit inspired. Nothing could drag me away from my computer if I was in the middle of a scene.

Did this method involve glue, ropes, caffeine or some other forceful inducement?

Coffee and chocolate always helped. Harry Potter soundtracks played a part in keeping me going as well.

What lesson(s) did NaNoWriMo teach you this past November?

I learned quite a bit about myself. I knew all along that the main character was heavily based on me, but as the month continued I realized that the story itself had become almost a metaphor for my life. All of my struggles and questions somehow found their way into the novel without my realizing it. I learned that even if I never ever attempted to get my work published it was good for me to write because it was a safe way to vent my feelings and frustrations.

Website, blog, twitter, etc you want readers to know about?

I haven't really posted about my writings, but here is my blog if anyone is interested: http://susannakarth.blogspot.com/

And so it Begins

After handwriting the entry in my journal while the car jostled my pen, my heart raced quite fast. I was satisfied with the result, amazed at my own depth of brilliance and ready to send it on its way.

Five minutes ago I put the final touches on my entry and sent it off to week one of The Story Within Contest. I'm on a dizzy high after writing and completing a less than 200 word story and from lack of sleep.

Of course this may also have something to do with visiting the Rembrant exhibit in Raleigh. I found a painting there (not by Rembrant, btw) which is begging me to write a story about it. I took a picture of it. Perhaps I'll post up a picture of it and of another picture I took of yellow, dead grass which might be combined into the inspiration.

I fear that if I go on I will not make much sense, so I shall stop it here. My eyelids are drooping to the rhythm of the pouring rain outside.

Until next time!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Interview #7: Winterlife



Winterlife: Who You Are






Your Nweb and NaNoWriMo usernames, were they inspired by anything?

NW username: winterlife
Reason for it: I live in Alaska, so much of my life is spent "stuck" in winter much like Narnia was during the White Witch's 100 year reign.

NaNo username: Kate_A
Reason for it: It is just a twist of my first and middle names

Who are you?

I am a 17-year-old homeschooled high-school student. I love writing, although I usually write music more than prose. I play the guitar, and a bit of piano. I have been published (I wrote a short quiz on introversion for Susie Magazine; it will be published in January).

How were you sucked into NaNoWriMo? Did someone person brainwash you into joining?

I believe NW's RubyGamgee (I can't remember her NaNo username) was the one to introduce me. It was one week into November of 2009, so I started late. I wasn't going to sign up, but she told me the support was wonderful, so I did, and I have participated every year since.

Was this your first, second, tenth time participating?

Third time participating, first time winning.

What was your novel synopsis (or original idea) at the beginning of nano? Genre?

My original idea was based off a dream I had about a girl trying to rescue her father from wrongful imprisonment by a tyrant. The plot was about how she and her uncle, along with her ditzy best friend and an annoying former juvenile delinquent, navigated the enchanted tunnels below the capital city to get to the secret underground passage to her father's cell. I suppose it was supposed to be a sort of fantasy/adventure novel.

Was your synopsis the same or different at the end? Or did you end up writing something completely different?

Totally different. The idea morphed so much during planning and writing that not only did I completely remove the original story line, I totally changed the genre, too. It changed to a period romance about a girl who falls in love with a traveling jack-of-all-trades who turns out to be the long-lost prince.

Did you finish? What superpowers enabled you to write 50k in one month?

I finished, despite several days that I was out of town without a computer. I attribute my win to two things. First, my mom was very supportive and gave me the last day off school and let me stay up late, so I could catch up with my last 8k. Second, I just did it. I stopped the procrastinating that I love to do and just wrote. I would give myself breaks, of course, so I wouldn't go crazy. But I limited my break times so they wouldn't take all of my writing time, and when it came time to write, I wrote.

What method of writing proved to be the most effective?

I'm not totally sure what you mean by method of writing, but I'll take a stab at it anyway. When writing, I like to briefly study the mood of the scene I am about to write, then put on music that matches that mood. I usually listen to instrumental music because lyrics usually distract me, but at the right times I find music with lyrics to be very effective in putting power behind emotion. For example, during my most emotional scene, the scene where my MMC basically lets God know everything he's angry about, I listened to the song "I Cry" by Leeland. I could hardly write because I was crying so hard, but the scene turned out quite touching.

Did this method involve glue, ropes, caffeine or some other forceful inducement?

Well, I did have some caffeine, but as a general rule caffeine does not keep me awake or give me more energy. I don't know why; it just doesn't. I would say my biggest motivator was seeing my word count bar fill up. I became rather obsessed with watching it be added to, and I hated having days where it went up less than 3k.

What lesson(s) did NaNoWriMo teach you this past November?

Just do it. That's the main thing I got from my novel. When I would write 4 or 5k in a day, people would always be amazed, but I never was, because I had never before realized how fast I can write when I actually just do it. I can write 1k in 45 minutes when I don't procrastinate. So I apply that principle to everything now. For example, when I don't procrastinate on chores, I have more time for reading or playing guitar, or other things that I enjoy doing.

Website, blog, twitter, etc you want readers to know about?

www.alaska-song.blogspot.com is the only one I can think of. It has my novel prologue on it.

Birth of a Novel....#7?

I've quite lost track of where I should be in the Birth of the Novel blog chain posts. All I know is that I'm not quite done with it yet because I'm not quite done with my NaNo novella. I keep adding a little bit here and a little bit there, but distractions in the form of magazines and editing submissions have pulled me away from a steady writing pace. However, I can report that, however slowly, novella #2 is inching towards the end. All I have left is to write a chase and crash scene.

In other news, I'm putting the finishing touches onto Victor's Crown (it so needs a new title) and once done I'll submit it to Intergalactic Medicine Show. If they don't like it, I'll submit it to Andromeda Spaceways. And if that doesn't work, then I'll pick another magazine to submit it to.

I've also submitted my first twitter fiction story to Nanoisms, and I plan to keep submitting one a week. I hope to get a few published. (I mean, getting paid to write tweets?!)

The final distraction, I mean, submission opportunity I found this past week was The Story Within contest I mentioned in yesterday's post. I still haven't drafted my entry for this week yet. Bad me! My excuse? I've been progressively getting sicker. Today culminated in almost total suffocation. I don't know when I'll be able to breathe properly without waking up with a bone dry mouth. Oh and I could do without the sneezing. Most definitely without the sneezing.

Until next time!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Links Saturday

Ok, ok. I know the schedule says that Saturdays are when I'd be posting in depth discussions on writing or some other topic related to writing. However, I don't have anything that comes to mind to discuss, so I'll link to you another blog which has an interesting discussion. And I've discovered so much juicy information these past few days that I had to share it. I've learned more about writers, writing and publishing in the past month on Twitter than I have in years previous. I think I made a good choice to dive in (even if Mom thinks I'm crazy [Yes, I do love you, Mom]).

Before the long discussion, another giveaway to report! Sophia Chang is giving away a book and a 25 page critique over at her blog to celebrate her blogaversary. Head on over to enter! (And tell her I sent you. ;) )

Another goodie. "The Story Within" (Penguin books) author Laura Oliver is judging a weekly contest based around writing prompts. Each week will have a different winner and the weekly winners will be entered in a drawing for the Grand Prize: a 2 hour consulting (critiquing?) session with Laura Oliver. So, put on your thinking caps and head over to Laura Oliver's site to read the prompt. Week one entries are due on the 18th! (It's only 250 words or less so I think it's perfectly possible.)

For those of you considering self-publishing, you might find this article informative. It's not just writers seeking traditional publication who have to be careful of scams. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/12/self-publishing-cons_n_1203007.html

And now onto that writerly discussion post I mentioned in the first paragraph. I found it particularly enlightening. (Excerpt below.)

The Business Rusch: Why Not?

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

On TV’s most popular drama series, NCIS, the main character, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, walks through the office, and if he hears a stupid statement, he slaps the speaker on the back of the head. Now, this is fiction, mind you. In any real office, military or not, he’d probably be fired, brought up on charges, or forced to have sensitivity training.

But that’s not my point.

My point is: I can relate.

I walk past writer after writer after writer, and as I hear what comes out of their mouths, I want to slap some sense into them. Because words don’t seem to be working.

Which is odd, considering that writers use words as their stock in trade.

The biggest problem writers have as a class isn’t that they work too cheaply, which I wrote about last week, or even that they don’t understand business, which I write about almost every week, but that they think too small.

Huh? you think to yourself as you read this. My last novel clocked in at 140,000 words. I invented an entire world. I don’t think small.

Oh, yes, you do. Every damn day. It’s the rare writer who actually has ambitions—real ambitions—and stands up for them. It’s the rare writer who not only dreams of glory (bestseller lists, millions of dollars, fame, lasting acclaim, or whatever) but actually works toward those dreams.

Click here to continue reading. It's a long post, but well worth the time spent reading it.

One last goodie. I must applaud these indie bookshop owners for all the time invested in creating this video and if I lived in Canada anywhere near them, I would be hopping in the car to visit. Enjoy!



Until next time!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Interview #6: Queen Susan



Queen Susan: Drive, Brother





Your Nweb an
d NaNoWriMo usernames, were they inspired by anything?

My Narniaweb username is Queen Susan, and it’s been that way since I joined in 2005. Back then Susan was my favorite character in the Chronicles, so that explains why I chose it.
Lianna Merie was my chosen name for NaNoWriMo, back in 2009. Any variations I wanted on my name were taken, so I chose a name I thought was pretty. =)

Who are you?

My name is Rebecca, and I love beauty and inspiration. I absolutely love music, writing, and finding new little gifts that I can make for people. =) I live with my parents and seven brothers right now! They totally spoil me.

Did someone person brainwash you into joining NaNoWriMo?

I read about NaNo on Narniaweb in ‘09, and I immediately wanted to try it, even if it sounded crazy.

Was this your first, second, tenth time participating?

Third!

What was your novel synopsis (or original idea) at the beginning of nano? Genre?

Ooh, that’s hard. I’m terrible at writing any sort of synopsis. The genre was Adventure! I wanted it to be exciting. Here’s the little cheesy synopsis from the NaNo site:

Rylan came back home with a deaf ear and scars, too late to say goodbye to our parents. But he was back. We started a small cafe like the one in my daydreams, and we scraped enough from that to make a living.
I ignored his past--he was different now. I would have forgiven my brother for anything.
But the gang he used to be part of wouldn't. And they didn't.

Was your synopsis the same or different at the end? Or did you end up writing something completely different?

Same. I had a few little plotlines in my head that changed, but I’ve never changed a story “full-swing” before. It sounds like it would be fascinatingly fun.

Did you finish? What superpowers enabled you to write 50k in one month?

Yes! On the 29th I wrote “The End”, and smiled. =) Superpowers? The ability to write terribly cheesy lines when pressed for time!

What method of writing proved to be the most effective?

Ignoring facebook and email and blogs and basically all distractions. I’m not very good at it.

Did this method involve glue, ropes, caffeine or some other forceful inducement?

I definitely drank more coffee then normal, and I definitely stayed up too late.

What lesson(s) did NaNoWriMo teach you this past November?

Be happy with what you can accomplish, even if you start laughing out loud at your writing near the end. Heavy editing can come later. (And I think you’ll be happy when you’ve edited, even if it can be torturous.)

Website, blog, twitter, etc you want readers to know about?

Sure. =) This holds a few sporadic, shorter writings:
http://endwilljustify.blogspot.com/

World Book Night

What if 1,000,000 non-readers received free books? And what if those non-readers were turned into readers by those books?

That's the idea behind "World Book Night". It started in the UK and now has spread to the US. And, the cool part is that they need volunteers to distribute 20 books a piece on April 23rd. I'm considering applying to volunteer once I figure out 20 people to give books to. Sign up here or just visit for more information.

Another interesting link: a guest post on a literary agent's blog about Needs vs. Wants. http://www.rachellegardner.com/2012/01/needs-wants-and-pretty-blue-pens/

Until next time!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Linked to Infinity

Since I've been procrastinating, the amount of interesting things I've discovered has increased into quite a stack. I shall try to organize them into a somewhat coherent order. Enjoy!

First and most important, my friend Sky is having a joint blog giveaway with two other bloggers. The fabulous prizes have been kindly donated by Etsy shop owners. Answer each question on each blog for a total of three entries. (And tell her I sent you, if you'd be so kind.) Click here to enter!

Next, some writing advice.

Some tips on writing dialogue: writetodone.com/2011/12/12/10-easy-ways-to-improve-your-dialogue/

And a short discussion on what it means to really be able to talk (and therefore write) with eloquence: blog.writeathome.com/?p=2150

And finally, some more fun!

ncf.idallen.com/english.html
This poem incorporates 800 of the most difficult and/or confusing English words to pronounce. For shame that it took a Frenchman to write it. (I dare you to read it aloud. I did it three times so you can do it. If you're feeling exceptionally daring, record yourself and post it in the comments!)

Now, the last two items are just for interest's sake.

I followed a link over on twitter to this site. It tells the interesting story of the first animated Hobbit book to movie adaptation. The movie is only 12 minutes long and deviates from the book quite a bit. Watch it for a smile and a laugh! (There's even a princess!)



And finally....now, I don't normally like to engage in sparring fights over popular books concerning allegations that they aren't written well, buuut, I had to give in just this once. I read this article on i09.com about how Twilight would have been written/plotted had famous authors from the past 200 years written it instead of Stephanie Myers. Cue a load of Twilight hating in the comments below. However, one commentator (unicycle) made their point quite clear in a whimsical fashion. Here it is for your amusement.

Twilight, by Dr. Seuss

Jake likes a girl. Her name is Bella.
Bella likes a different fella.

See this vamp? This is Ed.
Ed is pale. Ed is dead.

Ed saved Bella from a van.
Ed must be a special man.

Ed won't kill boys. He won't kill girls.
Ed gets fed on deer and squirrels.

This is James. He's a tracker.
He's a sort of vamp attacker.

James hunts Bella for a thrill.
Will Ed kill him? Yes, he will.

But James gave her a little bite.
Will she be a vamp? She might!

Edward fixes Bella's cut.
She won't be a vampire.
But...

She becomes one. Read some more.
She's a vampire in book 4.


And with that I leave you. Until next time!

Interview #5: AJAiken



AJAiken: Selling Santa






Your Nweb and NaNoWriMo usernames, were they inspired by anything?

AJAiken. As someone on NarniaWeb once told me, why was I so dumb to use my own name? That I can't answer.

Who are you?

After spending most of my childhood and teen years and beyond reading books, I completely expected that one day I'd find a wardrobe that led to another world / be swept off my feet by a prince / discover my superpower. When I went to university, I settled for find my soulmate / become a world-famous film director. By the time I left, I hadn't got either, and soon ended up working in my local bookshop. There I am still, and, funnily enough, though I still dream of doing something wonderfully creative with my time (instead of serving customers) I've found that life is just great!

How were you sucked into NaNoWriMo? Did someone person brainwash you into joining?

As far as I remember, there was an enormous discussion about NaNo one year on the NarniaWeb Writers' thread. I have a feeling that the person who wrote these questions had a significant influence on my decision to join up ... and she also helped me get through it, too! Was this your first, second, tenth time participating? 2011 was my fourth year of NaNo.

What was your novel synopsis (or original idea) at the beginning of nano? Genre?

"Noel and his wife have brought up their children very carefully. They attend church every week without fail, are model citizens, and have never believed in Father Christmas. One December, a few days before Christmas, Noel's brother arrives at the family home. When it is revealed that the children's uncle is in fact the real "Santa Claus", Noel will have to revisit his brother's business and placate his family - all while not forgetting the true meaning of Christmas."

I put it in "Mainstream Fiction", but I'm not sure that it is. It must be more like "Christian Christmas Fiction", or something.

Was your synopsis the same or different at the end? Or did you end up writing something completely different?

The synopsis is still remarkably accurate, but the feel of the novel is quite different.

Did you finish? What superpowers enabled you to write 50k in one month?

I did finish, for the fourth time. I think this year was the most difficult for me, but I can honestly say that it was my participation in an ML's "Skeleton Marathon" (which requires participants to update their word count every day) that got me through. So yes, the threat of humiliation was what did it for me.

What method of writing proved to be the most effective?

When I got stuck, I put the things I was thinking about into my characters' thoughts. Sometimes it led on to some really interesting plot developments. Sometimes it did not.

Did this method involve glue, ropes, caffeine or some other forceful inducement?

It involved being pretty honest with myself!

What lesson(s) did NaNoWriMo teach you this past November?

To prepare a LOT more. I was writing about a lot of things I knew nothing about, hence why I used myself as a source of inspiration so much. Most of the story was set somewhere I'd only visited for a few days ten years ago. I also had a lot of private jets / limousines, and though I have been in a limousine (once), that was also about ten years ago. So ... research! Or write something that I can make up.

Website, blog, twitter, etc you want readers to know about?

One day I hope to be tremendously organised and set one of these up. However, I struggle to find time to write as it is, so it hasn't yet happened. When I reach world famous author / director / creative something-or-other status, you can be sure I'll set something up, so ... watch this space.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Interview #4: The Jedi Clone





The Jedi Clone: 3025









Your Nweb and NaNoWriMo usernames, were they inspired by anything?

Nweb: The Jedi Clone
NaNo: Mimsy101 My Nweb username was inspired by the fact that I learned about the force unleashed two and the fact that 'Starkiller' was now a clone, I loved that idea, hence my username. My NaNo username is one of my several RL nicknames, '101' is only there because I needed a longer username and I would probably forget anything less simple.

NaNoWriMo or YWP?

Sadly, I did YWP.

Who are you?

I'm a 13 year old hyper happy-go-lucky Christian girl bursting with mischief I'm the proud older sister of two and the happy younger sister of two I have a weakness for chocolate and anything yummy and sugary! I am an avid fan of Narnia, LotR and Star wars. (Did I mention Narnia?)

How were you sucked into NaNoWriMo? Did someone person brainwash you into joining?

Two years ago, my older sister told me about this wonderful thing that would help me write better, so I, being the only Jr. High girl who liked writing in the history of my family, was like "Sign me up!" However, I didn't do it that year, the next year I did, and I loved it, even if I lost. However, I WAS HOOKED!

Was this your first, second, tenth time participating?

This was my second time participating, and I loved it even more than the first time 'round.

What was your novel synopsis (or original idea) at the beginning of nano? Genre?

The original idea at the beginning of my novel was as follows: 'The year was 3025, Prussia had declared war on the world, it was world war 10, and we may not survive.' The genre was mainstream fiction.

Was your synopsis the same or different at the end? Or did you end up writing something completely different?

My synopsis stayed the same though I decided to write two short novels instead of one long novel.

Did you finish? What superpowers enabled you to write 50k in one month?

Yes I finished...ish, I met the word goal but neither novel is completed.

What method of writing proved to be the most effective?

Word Wars. No contest, Word Wars with chat kept me alive, that and WoD.

Did this method involve glue, ropes, caffeine or some other forceful inducement?

Yes it does. For me it consists of: a) In October stocking up on candy and tea bags. b) Using WoD and Word Wars on chat, Weir, Gildor, and the other Nwebbers who didn't do NaNo and were just the support/(in Weirs case for me) research team.

What lesson(s) did NaNoWriMo teach you this past November?

That I have a great deal of perseverance and can finish something that I commit to. I also learned that it is possible to test for a black belt and do NaNo at the same time.

Website, blog, twitter, etc you want readers to know about?

Um, just my blog, http://mimsjournal.blogspot.com/ I haven't posted on it lately but I try to when I'm not overly busy.

Thank you Menelve for this interview and also... *Lets all give a round of applause to the Mods, Admins and normal users on Nweb for supporting us all during NaNo, and also, thank Elve for being an amazing supporter and not being mad when Mantis, Badger and I all pestered her for a Word War.*

[Note: Menelve and Elve are two of my nicknames on NarniaWeb. I'd have to second the round of applause for the people of NW. After all, they let us take over the chat for the duration of NaNoWriMo]

Friday, January 6, 2012

Interview #3: Narnia_Fan12


Narnia_Fan12: Travel App




Your Nweb and NaNoWriMo usernames, were they inspired by anything?

Narnia_fan12... and narnia_fan12. They were inspired by the fact that when I joined narniaweb I was a narnia fan and I was twelve.

NaNoWriMo or YWP?

NaNoWriMo.

Who are you?

Your worst nightmare. I kid. I'm me, of course

How were you sucked into NaNoWriMo? Did someone person brainwash you into joining?

I was sucked into NaNoWriMo thanks to an overflow of ideas and a rather large push by Nweb user The Rose-Tree Dryad (she was cheerleading the entire time, it was awesome).

Was this your first, second, tenth time participating?

First. I nearly participated the year before but I chickened out at the last minute.

What was your novel synopsis (or original idea) at the beginning of nano? Genre?

My genre was science fiction/comedy and my synopsis was a computer nerd who travels through time while attempting to win the heart of his crush.

Was your synopsis the same or different at the end? Or did you end up writing something completely different?

My synopsis ended up being a computer nerd who travels through time while attempting to win the heart of his crush but hits multiple obstacles throughout mainly due to a psychotic puppeteer.

Did you finish? If no, what supernatural events, natural disasters, etc. prevented you from finishing? If yes, what superpowers enabled you to write 50k in one month?

I actually finished some ten days early. Do fingers count as a superpower? Because they did not fail me.

What method of writing proved to be the most effective?

...Typing?

Did this method involve glue, ropes, caffeine or some other forceful inducement?

It involved sore wrists and many coffee-lacking late nights writing.

What lesson(s) did NaNoWriMo teach you this past November?

That your ideas will hardly (if ever) turn out the way you want them. And that I can write 50k in a month and it turns you into a complete nerd at school. me: "Hey! I just finished writing a fifty thousand word novel, and it even counts as extra credit!" friend: "Dude... you need a girlfriend."

Website, blog, twitter, etc you want readers to know about?

Aslanscountry.com is pretty cool. I sometimes write news on there.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Interview #2: MoonlightDancer



MoonlightDancer: The Last Sailing Day








Your Nweb and NaNoWriMo usernames, were they inspired by anything?

They are both MoonlightDancer, a name inspired by Prince Caspian.

NaNoWriMo or YWP?

NaNoWriMo

Who are you?

My name is Callie. I am a senior in college studying pre-law with a minor in English. I am a New England girl at heart. I have two pets, a bunny and a kitty, and I live in an apartment with three great girls. I love having fun and I’m still a total kid at heart. I’m a complete bookworm; I love poetry, especially Plath and Rilke, and it would take too long to name all my favorite authors. I love horror and I find ghost stories to be fascinating. I also love romance. I’ve personally had awful luck in the romance department but I still believe it’s possible to find true love. It’s something I dream about all the time.

How were you sucked into NaNoWriMo? Did someone person brainwash you into joining?

Ever since I’ve heard of it, I wanted to do it, but I never had time before. I didn’t really have time this year either, but I decided to do it anyway.

Was this your first, second, tenth time participating?

First

What was your novel synopsis (or original idea) at the beginning of nano? Genre?

The original idea was for it to be both horror and romance (my two favorite genres). So I started out with a main character and her love interest, added in some supernatural horror, and outlined it from there.

Was your synopsis the same or different at the end? Or did you end up writing something completely different?

The same, although I added some side plots and went off on tangents and developed my characters more than I had planned.

Did you finish? If no, what supernatural events, natural disasters, etc. prevented you from finishing? If yes, what superpowers enabled you to write 50k in one month?

I finished; I really have no idea how.

What method of writing proved to be the most effective?

Just sitting down and writing. I kept all my chapters short so that I could change the pace often whenever I lost inspiration. Also, adding in lots of action made the writing go faster.

Did this method involve glue, ropes, caffeine or some other forceful inducement?

I’m thoroughly addicted to caffeine anyway, so I suppose it did.

What lesson(s) did NaNoWriMo teach you this past November?

I’ve never written this much before, and I find it’s incredibly difficult to keep track of all the side plots and minor details. I have new respect for authors now; I realized that even authors I always thought weren’t that great are better writers than I am. I also find it hard not to fall into traps of cliché writing, such as purple prose, deux ex machine, and making your Main character into a Mary Sue. I also realized that characters aren’t just your puppets, because once they have established characteristics, you can’t just make those characteristics disappear so that a certain chapter will turn out better. Because of this, it’s really hard to make your characters do what you want, and my MC got into a lot more trouble than I had expected. Also, I never realized how much fun it is to write and bring to life all these funny situations I always imagined could happen but never experienced myself.

Website, blog, twitter, etc you want readers to know about?

Please check me out on tumblr! I post excerpts, poems, and Vlogs and update regularly. You can find me at www.moonlightwisdom.tumblr.com.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Interview #1: Bookwyrm




Bookwyrm: Love Me Slender






I did not actually make this amazing cover myself. a friend was nice enough to make it for me.

Your Nweb and NaNoWriMo usernames, were they inspired by anything?

NWeb: Bookwyrm. It's been so long I don't really remember the exact inspiration, only that I thought it would be neat to substitute the alternate spelling "wyrm" for "worm".
NaNoWriMo: Eruantien. I've been told this is my real life name translated into elvish. Though whether that's Quenya or Sindarin, I have no idea. I'm an elvish noob. I can say "hello" and that's about it.

NaNoWriMo or YWP?
NaNoWriMo

Who are you?
I am a 23 year old college student pursuing an English degree. I like to play video games, read, listen to music, and watch entirely too many DVDs. When I finish with my current degree, I'll be going back to get my MFA in Creative Writing and hopefully after that get someone to publish me. Or before that. I'm not picky about when it happens.

How were you sucked into NaNoWriMo? Did someone person brainwash you into joining?
NaNoWriMo has been a fixture around NWeb for years, so there's no one particular person who got me into it. It's kind of our official sport now.

Was this your first, second, tenth time participating?
This was my first serious attempt at the challenge. Previously I had written a few hundred half-hearted words and abandoned it after the first few days.

What was your novel synopsis (or original idea) at the beginning of nano? Genre?
The original idea was to incorporate the Slender Man Mythos into a sort of cosmic horror/urban fantasy storyline, all set on a university campus modeled after the school I attend. So genre would be horror/urban fantasy I suppose. Plus there was a lot of sarcastic humor involved.

Was your synopsis the same or different at the end? Or did you end up writing something completely different?
Essentially the same. I tweaked a few details, gave some characters greater narrative importance than they had originally.

Did you finish? If no, what supernatural events, natural disasters, etc. prevented you from finishing? If yes, what superpowers enabled you to write 50k in one month?
I ended up coming in around 16k. Not even halfway done, but things started to get hectic with school and work and sleeping started to look like a better option than staying up too late writing.

What method of writing proved to be the most effective?
Exiling myself from Twitter and Facebook.

Did this method involve glue, ropes, caffeine or some other forceful inducement?
There was a lot of caffeine involved. I also found that it was helpful to play Fallout 3 and kill things whenever I became frustrated with something I was writing.

What lesson(s) did NaNoWriMo teach you this past November?
That if I can overcome my procrastination, I can actually get a lot of writing done.

Website, blog, twitter, etc you want readers to know about?
I have a Tumblr that I barely use:
http://www.tumblr.com/blog/lair-of-the-snark-lord
I'm an avid Twitter user though:
http://twitter.com/#!/SnarkLord

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Year and a New Feature!

Happy New Year's Day!

I socialized with relatives, counted down the hours, listened to all the fireworks set off in the neighborhood, watched the ball drop on TV, and rang in the new year with a wreath made of jingle bells. What better start to a new year? On the flip side, the fireworks have been popping and cracking for the two hours since resulting in an over anxious dog. She was scared stiff and she shivered more and more violently until I scrubbed her down thoroughly. So, now my arms hurt, but at least she isn't whining and shaking anymore. Poor dog.

Some writers are in the habit of posting writing goals for the new year for their first post of the year. However, I don't have much of a plan. My goal is to get something, or several somethings, published this year and it would be nice to finish the 1st draft of my new duology project. However, those are things which are up in the clouds at the moment.

However, there is something a little more definite that I can announce today. And that is the feature I'll be running on here for the next two months. I mentioned it a few posts back, but now I shall reveal all.

During NaNoWriMo I spent a good deal of time on a forum I joined years ago. That forum is Narniaweb.com, a Narnia fansite. However, I discovered years ago that quite a few Narniawebbers are also NaNoWriMo participants. This usually leads to the chat being taken over during NaNo by word wars and novel discussions. These discussions gave me the idea for my feature. From my curiosity about the other NW NaNoers came the idea for a feature providing a glimpse into the journeys of the others. So, I rounded up over twenty people to participate and interviewed them with the same set of questions. I hope you find their answers as fun and enlightening as I did!

I'll be posting three interviews a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and this feature will continue until I run out of interviews to post. Look for the first interview tomorrow!

Until next time!
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