August 30, 2012

interview with indie writer michael williams

Today I welcome fellow Literary+ member Michael Williams to the blog. He has kindly answered several questions about his writing and publishing journey:

How did you get started as a writer?

I grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina, in a very rural area where storytelling was and is still highly valued as a practical skill. I heard countless stories of the antics and adventures of ancestors and other locals from my older relatives and I read all my older sisters' library books and was generally exposed to fiction and creativity from very early on. I loved hearing stories told and I loved retelling them after. I recall telling a teacher when I was in first grade that I wanted to write books when I grew up. I was lucky to be raised in a family and an environment where that ambition was lauded. For instance, my fifth grade class had to write stories every Friday using our vocabulary words from that week and for mine I wrote an ongoing series of stories about a detective named John whose cases involved lots of monsters and, you know, scientific terms from our science lesson. My teacher was quick to praise me for showing enthusiasm. I was incredibly lucky to be encouraged by so many of the
adults around me.

What was your first complete story (published or otherwise), and what inspired you to write it?

Hrm. There are a lot of ways to answer that - maybe the Nancy Drew clone I tried to write in third grade? :) The first story I wrote that received relatively objective positive recognition - a contest in a single class - was a political thriller in junior high. I wrote countless short stories in college, mostly science fiction adventures and genre parodies. I suppose the most serious answer is my first National Novel Writing Month entry, in 2002. It was also a political thriller, sort of, and it was inspired by my interest in how the seemingly abstract philosophies and random circumstantial influences on political processes and mechanisms can manifest in the ordinary lives of regular people. When a law is written or modified or repealed to satisfy some current in the ever-moving river of public opinion, how does that impact the people whose lives are changed by that law? It was called "Life, Liberty And..."; I found writing something the length of a novella to be an incredible challenge and also deeply satisfying. I wrote it about a significant change in gun laws and the potentially tragic ways that erupted in a variety of persons' personal narratives, so it also helped me realize strong characterization is what drives my interest in continuing to write. When a bit of the story was about someone I found interesting then I wrote effortlessly and at length. When it was about someone I disliked then it was pretty painful - and very good practice - to keep going.

August 27, 2012

guest post: sophie duncan talks vampires

Before I launch into my musings on the undead, I'd like to say thank you very much to Brooke for hosting the first stage of my blog tour and thanks to the Literary+ team for offering such a great opportunity, and especially Paul Carroll, who organised the tour.

Is it the Teeth? - Vampires and Why We Like Them

Vampires have had a bit of a rough ride the last few years, what with some people loving the sparkly ones and others hating them. This is where I look over my glasses and say, 'when I were a gal there were The Lost Boys', no sparkles, but they broke the mould too. No more suave guy in a tux owning a castle, but cool, young dudes in black leather and ripped jeans. I was hooked as soon as I heard the opening theme music! I've been hooked on the toothy guys ever since.

August 23, 2012

michael hauge's RWA 2012 workshop

There have been some pretty fantastic posts this month regarding a character's inner journey throughout a story, specifically from Jami Gold. I didn’t attend the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Conference, but I wish I had for one reason: Michael Hauge’s Workshop on characters’ inner journeys.

Jami has covered the workshop pretty well as far as I’m concerned. Her coverage sparked a few light bulbs, leading me to examine the inner journey in my own book. So, in lieu of a proper post, you should check out her posts on Michael Hauge’s workshop, as well as a post from Janice Hardy. While Jami’s posts pertain to romance, the tips can probably help with other stories too (especially the last post). They helped me.

Michael Hauge’s Workshop: 

“Using Inner Conflict to Create Powerful Love Stories”

Jami Gold’s blog:

Janice Hardy’s blog:


August 20, 2012

guest post: improving your voice

To Improve Your Voice, Just Listen
R.K. MacPherson

Writers love tricks. Anything that can make us better at what we do, preferably with less work, is something worth learning. To that end, I shall share with you the secrets my editors instilled in me through beatings patient instruction. Writing remains a process with both reductive and additive elements, but knowing which to use—and when—is part of the art of writing. These three tips can help you put them into effect.

1. When reviewing and revising your work, take the time to sound it out—literally. Dialogue, in particular, benefits from this because your ear picks up on awkward constructs and overall drek. Read your words aloud as you revise. Not only will you spot the clumsy sentences you laid down in the first draft, but you’ll also catch repeated words or phrasing.

August 16, 2012

WriteOnCon 2012 wrap-up

So, apparently, I took this week off. After dutifully commenting on posts at WriteOnCon Monday and Tuesday, I woke up Wednesday wanting to do nothing more than curl up on the couch and marathon Downton Abbey. And I did.

As a result, I didn't read, view, or participate in any WriteOnCon events, so as you can imagine, I don't have a wrap-up for you. Instead, here are links to all of the events to view at your pleasure:

August 13, 2012

request for guest posts

Since I’ll be busy with WriteOnCon until Wednesday, I thought I’d take a moment to post a request for guest posts and indie author interviews. I posted a call for guest posts on G+ sometime last week, but I figured it would be better to do it here. The information about guest posts will be on the ‘about’ page from here on out.

What I’m looking for (not limited to this list; these are just off the top of my head):
    • Personal writing journeys
      • How you got started as a writer
      • Where you get ideas
    • Publication journeys
      • What you learned from self-publishing
      • How you got an agent
      • How you sold x copies of your book
    • Writing tips for new writers
    • How to write _______
      • Fight scenes
      • Love triangles
      • Fantasy settings
      • Sex in YA
      • Suspense
      • Character driven stories
      • Short stories
      • Antagonists
      • Romance
    • Interviews with indie authors (which would mostly be a Q&A about personal writing and publication journeys)
    • Pretty much anything else along these lines

    I prefer posts to bet between 600 and 1200 words.

    If you are interested in writing a guest post for my blog (reposts from your blog are welcome, as are posts for blog tours) or if you are interested in being interviewed, email me (email address in sidebar). And, of course, if you know of anyone who might be interested, share this with them.

    Thursday, I’ll do a wrap-up of WriteOnCon, and hopefully, next week, I can continue the Back to Basics series. I just figured that having other people post here would help change things up and also give me more time to work on my book.

    That’s all for now. See you Thursday.

    August 9, 2012

    WriteOnCon prep

    So, WriteOnCon is next week. Check out the schedule and sign up in the forums.

    Things I’m looking forward to:
    ·         interviews and other live events
    ·         “Hooks and Killer First Lines” by author Lissa Price
    ·         “What is Voice, and How do I Get it?” by author Jennifer Nelson
    ·         “World-building in Science Fiction and Fantasy” by author Mindee Arnett
    ·         “Knowing When Your MS is Ready to Query” by literary agent Lara Perkins
    ·         “Being Orphaned” by author Joy Preble
    ·         “Building Characters into Real People” by author Frank Cole
    ·         “He Said, She Said, Creating sexual tension through dialog” by author Jessica Martinez

    If you aren’t sure if it’s worth your time, check out these events that I found most interesting in last year’s WriteOnCon wrap-up. And of course, I’ll be sure to cover my favorite events again next Thursday on the blog.

    August 6, 2012

    guest post: warming up before writing

    Today, I'm happy to have Paul Carroll on the blog to talk about what to do before sitting down to write. This is his first post as part of his Balor Reborn release blog tour.

    So, take it away Paul...

    Warming Up Before Writing

    By sheer accident, I planned to write my novella Balor Reborn at the same time as the Olympics in London. I gave myself a week, which essentially put me in the point of doing a Writing Marathon. With this in mind, we have the Writing Olympics, and a number of ‘events’ I took part in. Before all that, though, I had to warm up.

    It’s fairly common knowledge that if you’re going to do some exercise, it’s a good idea to warm up beforehand. This is to prevent injury, largely, but also to allow for your maximum performance during whatever sport you’re part-taking in. Let’s be clear: there’s no way to really warm up to something that involves as much work as writing and publishing a book in a week. However, the actual writing aspect of it simply required some simple creative ‘stretches’.

    August 2, 2012

    writing progress for TWH

    Note: every once in a while, I’ll post something like this where I talk about my work in progress. It’s kind of a journaling sort of thing, more of me talking through what’s going on during the writing process and how I feel about it rather than actually trying to force some kind of point to it. I feel like it helps me process the story and the actual writing itself. Read on if you find that sort of thing interesting, or don’t, if you don’t.  

    I can’t believe it’s already Thursday. This week has gone by so freaking fast. I’ve been writing diligently, already up to 7400 words written this week. That means I only have to write 2600 between today and tomorrow to reach my weekly goal of 10,000 words. I’ve been writing for a little over a month now, and I have just shy of 41,000 words! I’m a writing machine as of late. But, as my husband pointed out to me yesterday evening, that probably means that editing is going to suck. I’m inclined to agree. At least, past experience leads me to believe that’s true, and looking back on some of my more recently written chapters, I think the trend continues.