How Not To Write… A Novel


Great post, via Plaisted Publishing here at WordPress.

How Not To Writte

They say everyone has a book inside them (and we don’t mean in the ’embarrassing visit to A&E’ sense). We all have a story to tell, a journey to share or an idea that sounds like it could be worked into a passable novel.

But if you’ve just come up with the best idea ever for a chick lit flicker – featuring the forbidden love between a chocolate company owner and his down-at-heel cleaning lady – how do you get this blockbusting idea out of your head and into 100,000 words or tear-enducing literary prose?

Do:

  • Commit to writing, a LOT, and then some, and then some more, again… and wash, and repeat.
  • Learn the basics of editing skills. You don’t need swish software but you DO need patience and – in our opinion – rewards for getting your edits done. Chocolate works well (Ed: there’s a theme emerging here……

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What Happens When We Judge a Book by Its Cover?


Of interest to any Indie Author…
Thank you Kristen

Kristen Twardowski

Neverwhere and Enclave Rankings.PNG

People usually respond in one of two ways to the phenomenon of judging a book by its cover; they mourn man’s shallowness, or they consider a book’s marketing potential. But how much does the look of a book matter? How do people feel about book covers? And how do those feelings relate to the scores that books receive on review sites like Goodreads? Several digital technology people went on a mission to find out.

A year and a half ago Dean Casalena and Nate Gagnon launched Judgey, an online game that let people rank book covers. The covers used were all modern editions of books, and all (or nearly all) of them were released by a major publishing house. The covers chosen did not belong to a single genre. Books by Ernest Hemingway and Harper Lee appeared alongside Twilight and The Hunger Games. Ultimately players of Judgey evaluated over 3 million…

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Longest Placename…


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Taumata whakatangi hangakoauau o tamatea turi pukakapiki maunga horo nuku pokai whenua kitanatahu…

…is the longest placename in New Zealand, maybe even in the world with its 86 letters. It’s roadside directional signpost has been ‘nicked’ many times over the years. I found this sign among the exhibits in the British Car Museum (in Clive, Hawkes Bay, NZ) – obviously donated by someone who ‘found’ it.

What does it mean? The place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as ‘landeater’, played his flute to his loved one.”

Of course, locals simplify it to Taumata Hill.

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Brought to mind by the photo challenge of the week: NAME

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow, still available


…after all these years

But nearly sold out. Copies still available at the Rotorua Museum Gift Shop, at c.$25 per print copy.

(This post featured at Red Penn Reviews shortly after it was published…)

“An anthology of poetry with a Rotorua theme, compiled from works of the “Mad Poets’ Society”, contributing poets, and young Rotorua poets.

ISBN = 978-0-473-18795-8.

I’m feeling fairly smug as at last I have had six poems of mine published.
All the poems are in three ‘chapters’
One is those with a Rotorua theme.
Two is poems from children and young poets from eleven to seventeen years old.
Three is entitled ‘Reflections’ and you may expect a variety of subjects and forms.

Why I love being a writer


I wish I could say “Why I Love Being an Indie Author”*, I really do…but as a writer, my only published work was a selection of poems written for Rotorua’s ‘Mad Poets Society’ collection Rotorua – Spirit In Verse – and that was published ‘way back in 2011.

Between then and now, I’ve attempted NaNoWriMo a few times, ending with a couple of completed drafts, and a partial draft of too complicated a concept…and filed them in the [Disheartened] folder. I’ve written short stories and further poems, submitted some to competitions…filing failed submissions in the [Rejected] folder.

I do have two works on the go…a fantasy, which is going to be at least a two-booker, and a non-fiction work, based on “write what you know”.  That is my ikigai – my full sense of self, self accomplishment, my contribution to society – teaching. A combo of memoir and commentary of schooling in NZ from my enrolment in the education system as a five-year old (1956 – collective ‘gasp’ acceptable) through to lecturing at tertiary level (2007).  Not a short piece, this.

In the meantime, I blog (here), edit for other writers and authors, and write book reviews. I’m also learning epublishing, and when I’m sure I know I’ve “got it”, will put up a treasury of short stories and poems as an Indie Writer/Publisher – as a “tester”, and will seek feedback for other Indie Writers on how well the conversion/publication has behaved.

So…why do I love being a writer? Well, that’s easy. I’ve always had a vivid imagination, held conversations and told stories (some of my best) with or to  imaginary friends, from when I was four. I tell stories to myself now…my imaginary friends evaporated, in my pre-teens, as they do.

I love mastering prosody – the skill of the differing classic or oriental forms, and modern forms. When I’m “in the writing groove”, nothing intrudes.  Especially if I blank out life’s noises by playing hard rock as I write. I play lyric-less music when editing. I can totally ‘zone out’ – off and away from housework, yard work, meal prepping, dishes…

Sure, I admit, I sometime produce some rubbish. I keep everything, as with a revisit or rewrite it may become usable within another work. Writing requires a dedicated space, as NZ teacher/author Sylvia Ashton-Warner knew; I have to ‘make do’ with the areas I have – desktop for work, laptop for my own work, iPad for a switcheroo between the other two – with only the desktop with a permanent home. The others come with me to wherever I feel like writing…

One day, I will be able to call myself an “Indie Author”
– and with a bit of pride, I hope.


*[KDP for Amazon suggested this: ‘Share why you love being an indie author in social media and on your blog…  use the hashtag #PoweredByIndie so we can share your stories as well.]

Toilet paper from the bottom


Although I prefer the roll to unroll from the top, when Sharon mentioned “from the bottom” and “cats” in her post, I remembered our clever little kitty.

She came to us from the SPCA via my daughter, and had the LOUDEST PURR you can imagine (I wanted her to be named Harley).  Both daughter and I had places to go each day, so Hayley had to learn to use a litter tray. As we were flatting, the litter tray was kept in the bathroom cum shower cum laundry.

Hayley sometimes opened the door and would watch me on the loo, even putting her paws on the seat and peering down into the bowl! (I can laugh now…)

Daughter occasionally forgot about clearing the tray each day. I came home to the flat one day to use the ‘facilities’ and nearly gagged on the tray’s odour.

Then discovered that, beside the loo, there was a pile of toilet paper (as Sharon mentions).

On picking it up to drop into the waste bin, I realised Hayley had in fact pulled down a pile, dropped her own pile, then pulled down another pile to cover her doings. Clever wee kitty! Needless to say, it was all flushed away.

I’ve sometimes wondered why we didn’t smooch her into doing it all the time…who knows, she may have learned to actually perch on the seat for her daily doings. What a time saver that would have been, and So much more healthy.


A memory recalled by Sharon Hughson’s blog post Epiphany on the TP Roll
Click over and have a read.

 

 

August’s 250-word opinion piece


Should We Borrow or Hire a Novel?

[Redacted]Public Library should cease charging for “borrowing” Adult Popular Fiction (including paperbacks), of $2.00 for up to three weeks. Currently, each book—if constantly on loan for its maximum time allowed—will bring in $104 in its “shelf life” of three years. Multiply that by the number of books in this section!

This is tantamount to changing the function of public libraries from service to income generator. Adults should not have to pay for hiring a fictional novel.

From the RDC Annual Reports for the financial year 2014-5, the District Library failed to reach its performance target measures in all three parts.

  1. The percentage of the population being members of the library for 2014-5 was 59% (target was 60%) a drop of 0.6% against the 2013-4 year
  2. The percentage of households using the library during 2014-5 was 68% (target was 75%), equal to 2013-4; but below 2011-2 and 2012-3
  3. The percentage of residents ‘Very Satisfied’ or ‘Fairly Satisfied’ with the library was 84% (target was 84%)
  4. Another 16% answered ‘Don’t Know’ (does that mean ‘Don’t use it’?). 2014-5 was the same as 2013-4.

I asked our Library five questions to gather statistics, but received no response. Reluctance? Something to hide?
I now use our library when I want nonfiction, as I refuse to pay a fee for what should be a public service. Perhaps a city-wide boycott of Adult Fiction would force a rethink—maybe a change.


The Brief:

Write 200-250 words expressing your opinion about a topic of your choice.                             Have you persuaded your reader to your point of view or call for action?


Appendix: Not as part of the homework writing…
Before writing this, I had been advised that Adult Fiction was $3 for 3 weeks, with “Hot Picks” rented out at $5. This appalled me (hence I cancelled my membership).

Since removing into temporary premises, (and after writing the above) I’ve been advised Adult Fiction is now free to borrow, with “Hot Picks and DVDs hired out at $3, and Magazines hired out at a fee ranging from) 0.50c to $3 (depending on how long ago the magazine was added to the shelf).

See  actual statistics drawn from the [Redacted] District Council Annual Report 2014-2015
page 37

Level of service
Performance measure
Target for 2014/15
Achievement
Comments
Achievement for 2013/14
Library readily accessible to residents and visitors for the purpose of information gathering, education and recreation.
60% of the population are members of the library
60%
59%
Target substantially achieved. …
59.6%
75% of households which have used the library in the last 12 months.*
75%
68%
Same result as the previous financial year, but still at levels below the 2011/12 and 2012/13 financial years. …
68%
85% of residents are very/fairly satisfied with the level of service.
85%
84%
Target substantially achieved with 16% responding with “Don’t Know”.
Of those responding to the survey who had used the library in the last 12 months,97% were satisfied with the service.
81%

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