Advice for us Writers during COVID-19

Hello and welcome back! If you read my previous blog post, COVID-19: What’s Going on? then you know that currently my time is freed up, like so many of us during this time.

In the last post, I mentioned that today I would be posting up a lot, and there are two reasons for that. One I just checked my calendar and I noticed how long it has been since I was last on here, which was about a month, secondly, I have a lot on my mind, and for three I need to keep busy, which probably for a lot of us we are trying to do without killing those that are around us. I do not condone the act of murder during this time or any time. You might think that I’m joking about that last statement, and probably I am. However, if there is one group of us that need to keep our heads cool during this time, it is us writers.

While others are out buying lots of toilet paper and other times that they did not buy in bulk before, does not mean that we should be going crazy with out writing. However, I will adjust my statement in that this maybe the perfect time to experiment with your writing, such as writing something that you never have done before.

The latter can go so many different ways, such as writing a genre that you have done before or even finding an online writing group and trying your hand at writing sprints. Whatever you find, try it and see what it does for your writing.

On the other hand, you could also learn something new like researching a topic and see if that peaks your interest to where you can tell a story that centers around this topic that you have discovered.

As the Renaissance was a period of discovery, use this time that you are home as your own period of discovery. Test your limits as a writer and see what it does for you. Granted, if you find something that does not work for you as a writer, then mark it does as it didn’t work. It’s fine. Don’t judge yourself too hard right now.

Remember, you can always go back to the way that you have done things before and if that method works best then you know that it does. Take yourself out of the shell. I know its hard right now, since everything is closed. But when it comes to your muse, you need to find a way to keep him/her busy.

If that muse is chugging along and you’re not, then find away to catch up to your muse. This one time when your muse and your mind are thinking away and your body may not be, because for once you are like I have nothing to do, I can watch television or watch a movie or read a book. While these are activities that I have mentioned before to use for your writing, but while you are doing these activities make notes that you can refer to and transfer them into your writing.

This should be a time of growth in terms of writing and creativity.

Now, if you are working from home, do your job-but after work shut down that work computer. Take your time to eat your dinner and then work on your craft. No need to go from being employed to being unemployed during this time. This is not the time to go hog wild on that idea.

The world is going crazy enough, if you want proof of that go to a Walmart or a Target and see it for yourself. I have and its nuts.

Take my advice and take a deep breath and take the time to study and work on your craft like you normally do, and you will come out happier and probably more successful.

I hope that this post as brought you clarity and some thought about your craft.

Thank you and I wish you a very blessed writing day! Happy Writing and happy creating!

What is the Story with “American Dirt”?

Hello writers and today’s post is looking at the issues that we as a community are faced when it comes to publishers marketing such books as American Dirt. Let me preface this conversation with, there is a lot to cover with this one.

What we know so far?

American Dirt is a novel published this year by Flatiron Books and it is written by author Jeanine Cummins. This book is already the first of this year’s Oprah Winfrey’s book club choices.This book also categorized as thriller, suspense, domestic fiction, along with hispanic american literature.

With that being said, the author, identifies as white and Latina; although, she did have a grandmother, who is from Puerto Rico, which is a fact that the author brought up as it came closer to the final publication of her novel.

“You don’t get to bring out your Puerto Rican abuela when it’s convenient,” said Daisy Hernández, a Colombia American writer who teaches writing at Miami University of Ohio and wrote a 2014 memoir, “A Cup of Water Under My Bed.”

There is even more to the story in that Cummins went to Mexico to do research for her book. In 2018 the book was sold to Flatiron Books after a three-day bidding war with like nine other publishers, and after it was all said in done she earned a seven figure deal for the book.

Also there is a film adaptation of the book, starting in the works.

What is the book about?

In a nut shell, American Dirt is about a woman who lives in Mexico at the beginning of the book and flees to America with her young son after her husband is killed by a drug cartel.

What’s the issue?

There are several issues that go around this book. First off, and take this as you may, I am white same as a lot of authors and there are some in the Latino community that feel that a white person should not tell this story. I can agree with this to a certain extend, however, in the times that we live in with all the political correctness, a white person writing a book like this is not something that should even be conducted.

Granted, I understand that the author has said that she identifies as not only white but also as a Latina. But she came out and said that she was white first then some time later she came out and said that is now a Latina. That’s not who someone should identify themselves, based on a current moment in time. However, that being said this is one of the reasons that this books is burning in the fire.

Yes, I am a big opponent of write what you want and see where it takes you too. But if you are going to upset a lot of readers and others within the community, then you better take your book and get their input as far as the accuracy of what you are betraying in your book. Do your research, but don’t forget to get others opinions before you send off that manuscript.

The reason for this is that when a critic was in Mexico and took this book with her, she said that there were two sides to the setting. In that she was in Mexico, the real Mexico, and what she was reading was the fake Mexico. No, no, no. Anyone that has taken writing 101 will tell you that your settings should make your readers feel like they are there, in the story. But if someone is in the current location of your book and looking around them and seeing a huge difference, then you failed that part of the course, for you have not put them in the right location, for you could have put them somewhere else as far as setting.

This author has made some mistakes with this book. Yes, she did the research but even so she still got facts and still portrayed things in her book wrong. Granted, for the most part those of us that are looking at this situation from the outside, we don’t know what things the publisher or the editor added or changed from what she sent into them. But the biggest thing that has offended a lot of in the Latino Community is the stereotypical notions that had made their way into the book. But at the end of the day, it’s her name on the book like our names will be on any book that we publish, and who gets the judgement? Not the editor, that’s for sure. The publishing company, sure but most of it reflects back on the author.

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Other things that have been said about this particular book, is that for some readers who have picked up the book and started to read it. It made them feel guilty. Why? This goes back to a white person should not be writing this book, some white people have felt that this is not a book that was meant for them to read.

Now, when you make your reader feel guilty for the race that they are reading a book, you have, depending how you look at it, made either a really big impact on your reader, or you are starting to put a line in the sand that says this book is not for everyone to read, for it is only for some to read. This is where censorship comes into play.

Yes, somethings are censored for good reason. However, when the censorship barriers are put up then what is the point of writing a book and getting it published, so only some of the literary world can read your work? I don’t think so. You write it and publish it so that the whole world can read what you put your heart into. What you put every breath of you into. What you put your tears, sweat and blood into. You gave life sort of speak to a book. Yes, a book is an object but when you have written that book, it’s your baby. I don’t care what anyone else says that is your baby right there.

Furthermore, writing books that you are trying to make an impact with your readers, is first saying a have a message. Yes, I’m fiction as my median, but I have something to say. The author says that this was her intentions, but this truly not what is going on here. Yes, if anyone that has taken American Literature will tell you that you at some point during the time in that class, you are asked to read a book about slavery.

I’ll try not to go down the American History story line in this; however, never once did a teacher teaching the material tell the white students in his/her class that you are not allowed to read this. But you are instead told you are going to read this, and the reason is so that you understand what the time was like and what it was like to be a slave. Granted, I will put this up here, a book on slavery again should probably not be written by a white person, but in the past they were. Why? Granted, in this country we have had plenty of racism going on and sexism. Woman at one point could not publish books. Why?

Answer: Because the publishers thought that boys would not read books written by women. This is not the case today. Look at Harry Potter or The Hunger Games. Both series are written by women and both have been picked up by boys, who love to read them.

Now there is another sad fact, for some time people of color could not get published by the big publishing houses, so then they had to self-publish their work. Times have changed, which is a blessing. However, we still have a long way to go, for most of the people that work in the publishing industry is predominantly white.

How does it relate to the American Dirt?

Since many of the publishers are white, this has lead to a lot of exclusion from the Latino community to be published by the book publishing houses. So when a white woman writes a book such as American Dirt, then a message has been sent that only whites are allowed to tell the stories of there’s for they can get them published instead of you.

This again is an example of the gatekeepers letting people in and leaving others out in the cold. This is not right, for there are many writers out there that are gifted and not given the chance. This also leads to the subject of writing to trends. Not everyone wants to write to a trend. But if you do, that’s fine. But for others, like myself, I should not be dictated what I need to write in ordered to be published by them.

The publishers need to get past the thing of everyone that they publish needs to fit into a box. This is the same problem that we have in Hollywood right now. The box is already filled with stories that have been done before. People want new things and if they keep saying that writers need to fit into this box, or they won’t have a job then fine do what has already been done before. I can go self-publish or in terms of film, I can become an independent film maker.

Either way, this book has already lit a torch and that torch keeps getting bigger and bigger, and the burn scars are growing no thanks to the publishing houses or the praises that this book is getting either.

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Another part of the discussion that came from this book being published, is why are some books picked up for publishing and others are not? I have talked about this on here before and the biggest reason is trends.

When it comes to American Dirt, there is not a lot of books being written on the topic of immigration from south of the border. However, there is a lot of discussion around the topic due to thousands of immigrants flee from Mexico and Central America to the United States every day. Yes, this is more of a political trend on the wave length than that of a writing trend. But who knows maybe this book has opened that flood gate for more stories like this to be written and published. Then the Latino Community will pass judgement on who will be able to write these sorts of stories, such as them.

I don’t have any problems with this. Since these are not the sort of stories that I am focused on telling, and that is fine for there are others out there that have more knowledge than I do on the subject and are better qualified than I to tell them. They can tell their stories and people are interested in those stories.

My message to them, is that they should tell their stories and fight for them to be published. If a woman that has never lived that life got her version of this topic published than others can too.

The Take Away?

I know that I have written a lot today on this subject. But let me tell you something, there is a lot that comes to this book to cover. Yes, there are lot of things that we as writers need to look at when it comes not only writing but publishing as well. It’s not just do the research and write, but also look at community that you are writing for in mind. Talk to them and get their perspective.

As for the book itself, it’s not a book that I would read. I’m not going to tell you whether or not you should read it for yourselves. But I know that some of the comments that I have seen from people that have ordered the book and received their copy yet, they will not be reading this book.

The publishing industry needs to change, like I’ve said before, and the gate keepers need to stop not letting people in, or by making rules that state that only those that follow what we want to write for us. I’m not talking about the rules of genre, which need to be followed, but rather the rules that they set forth like the trends that they know are being picked up.

We need to as a community to say enough, and to get the publishers to pay attention to us. Let’s face it without us they wouldn’t have their jobs. But a book like this is not going to help. However, a book like this might also help us if the publishers see the mistake that they have made in publishing a book like this.

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Sorry, if this was not a normal post for this blog or site, but I wanted to present you with information that is going on with recent events in our community.

Until next time I hope that you have a great writing day!

Some Final Thoughts on 2018

In a few short hours, 2018 will be nothing more than a memory, as we welcome in 2019. I would not go as far as a distant memory or even an ugly memory. Just a memory. While 2018 was not all good it was not all bad either. It will be a memorable year, just the same. I will say this about the past year, I learned a lot about writing, the craft and how to improve upon the craft of story telling. This learning is what is driving me forward to continue on to next year.

As much as I learned about writing and shared it with all you, there has also been some good things that came this past year, and there has been some heart ache this past year. Heart ache that was not necessarily that came into my view or rather dreams of writing, but on the personal side, which I am still trying to come to terms with. Let’s face it there are some heart aches that even we writers keep to ourselves and have to say at the end of the day there are no words to express the grief that we are feeling. That is how much this grief is personal for me.

But besides all this, in the past year we indie writers were seeing our community being torn apart by some ugly business. Frankly, in part just did not need to happen, but it did and in part it has cast a shade upon our community. Granted, in any community that we are part of there will be some sort of drama, but this drama goes beyond regular drama and was more like a war was brewing. Let’s hope in the coming year, there is less drama and we can manage to rebuild our community and put the pieces back together. This should a resolution for the community as a whole: put the community back to where it was before #cockygate.

Speaking of resolutions, if your goal next year is to write then I am happy to say that you are not alone. If you are not putting writing more as one of your resolutions then that is fine as well. But going back to the later, did you know there was a thing called Januwrimo? Well, if you have not, than you are not alone for I did know that this was a thing either. I guess it is similar to NaNoWriMo, but instead of November it’s done in January. I totally agree with this idea, if you have writing more as one of your new year’s resolutions. Just like NaNoWriMo, where I declared my project, I am going to declare my project there, and that is to work on Ravages of Time. Yes, I am picking the second draft of Ravages of Time as my Januwrimo project. Granted, I only heard about this like yesterday, but I was like sweet, I can work on Ravages of Time and work on my resolution at the same time. Killing two birds with one stone.

Oops guess that cannot be said anymore, sorry PETA, put it’s a figure of speech.

Simply put there is a lot being put on the young shoulders of 2019. There is a feeling of real optimism, which is great. Granted, we all feel this way when a new year starts, but this time it feels different. It feels as if the heaviness of 2018 is being taken off of us and a new page is turning. A page that holds promise and hope. It’s like we were drowning and now we can come up for that long awaited breath. It feels fantastic.

Of course, as writers we should be being this way, for a new year means that we have another year to hone in on our craft. Set the course to learn new things and to experiment. Yes, we should be experimenting what we can do with words that we have in our vocabulary to draw out images. Images that either have been done before and needs new life put into it, or images that we have worked on before that were not quite write. No matter where we are on our writing journey we should have one resolution in mind that is to improve on our craft.

Yes, even this is a goal of mine. In the past year as I look back, I feel that my ability in using words to tell a story has improved. But of course as I work on my writing journey, with each project that I take on, is a new step forward to creating something. Yes, I am working on past projects, and that’s okay. Every one of us, writers take on a different view, such as what you write in the past should be left behind and never looked at again. Where as I take the approach of what you wrote in the past should be accepted for it is and should be looked as a mile marker that shows how far you have come until now on your journey. It’s part of your journey and it should be accepted as such.

But aside from all of that, I have plans, dreams and goals for the next year. These include everything from what I want to accomplish as a writer, as a reader, and as a business person. I want to help others, which has always been a goal of mine on this site, which I have stated from the beginning and I continue to strive for every time that I post. Even if that post is just giving an update on what I have going on here at Faerie Rose Press.

As I have posted in the past month on here, there are things that I want to improve on, and there are things that I want to strive for in the new year. Some of which is to tell more stories about what inspires me as far as a story that I’m working on. I want to share knowledge that I have not yet shared before with all of you, but has been a work in progress for me. I hope that you will all stay tune to see what I am up to next year.

There is one more piece of business that I must include in my final post of 2018. Thank you to all of you that have come here to see what I am up to, what advice I have to give, and anything else that I have posted on writing. I could not do this with out all of the support that you give. I feel that all of you, my followers are part of my community, and if I have not said that before, I am sorry. But I want you all to know that you are apart of something, and it means the world to me to have your continued support.

I hope that you all have a happy new year, and I hope to see you in 2019. Happy writing, happy creating!

2018to2019

 

Its Been a Week…New Things are Coming

Hey guys! It has been about a week since I have posted any thing on here. There are some exciting changes coming to Faerie Rose Press, Moonspinner3 Books, and Elderwood Publications. But first lets start with the new header. As you can see there are two new logos that have been added to the header. The first is Pink Top Toadstool Productions.

Pink Top Toadstool Productions logo-page-001

Pink Top Toadstool Productions is for short stories written in the Fantasy genre. So if you follow the logic of the header, Faerie Rose Press is for Fantasy genre novels and above that is Pink Top Toadstool. So Fantasy genre stuff is on one side and on the other side is Elderwood Publications with the other genre writings, and in the middle is Moonspinner3 Books and under that is my picture. I’m trying to expand my little enterprise while not getting over whelmed. I will explain my logic a little bit later in the post. But first let me introduce the other side of the short story coin with, River Valley Short Story Productions.

River Valley Short Story Productions logo-page-001

River Valley Short Story Productions is for story stories written under other genres. This includes westerns, or anything that is not fantasy, and that is why it is placed just above the logo for Elderwood Publications. This is where story stories will be published.

 

 

The reason why I created these two divisions is that I love to write story stories. This has always been a joy for me since I was younger. Let’s also state that like most writers, I did not start to seek out on the writing journey of writing novels, but rather short stories. Short stories are fun to write, and are a blast to put out if you are looking for a quick fifteen minute fix on your writing, short stories are the way to go. Therefore, with all of this in mind, I thought that I needed a place to publish short stories and that is where Pink Top Toadstool Productions and River Valley Short Story Productions come in. Yes, I said productions for both Pink Top Toadstool and River Valley Short Story.

I main reason why I am going with Productions as the underlining title for both of these, is that productions in mind are quick and have a lot of make on their own merit. This is the same for any production company that is under a bigger name such as Disney or Warner Brothers, for some where in the mix is a production company that also deserves credit for what they put out, and that is exactly how I feel with these two divisions when it comes to short stories.

On this note, I want to give some quick updates on other happenings within Moonspinner3 Books. Ravages of Time is still being worked on. I have not put aside this project for the sake of short stories. Heck no. But I am currently working on a short story on the side, which means that I am still writing and actively writing and working on things even if I am not posting on here daily. I plan to work on making a schedule for getting things in order, for the new year.

I also created a kit for writing that I can take with me. I will make time to be on here tomorrow, so that I can share with you this kit that I made myself, so that I can take my writing with me. So I hope that you stay tune for tomorrow’s post.

Latest Updates from Faerie Rose Press

Today I wanted to give an update on all things Faerie Rose Press, Elderwood Publications, and Moonspinner3 Books. It’s been a while since I have written up one of these type of posts and while I’m in the middle of getting things ready for NaNoWriMo 2018, I thought that I would give updates on what things have been going on for Faerie Rose Press.

Let’s start with I’ve updated the look and feel of the site. Let’s start off with the header. Yes, the header is one that I designed myself, which encompasses Faerie Rose Press and Elderwood Publications on the outside and Moonspinner3 Books (the parent company in the middle) and below that my photo. I designed this header in mind so that it shows the world that I have created from the very beginning and to include over the past year. I have put this same header on the Faerie Rose Press (@FaerieRPress) twitter page, and the Facebook pages for Faerie Rose Press and Moonspinner3 Books, as well as my author page (Tiffany M Dew).

Granted, I have not made a page for Elderwood Publications and the reason for that is that I have not gotten around to it and I’m still deciding on that, but for now all updates for the most part are being put on the Facebook pages for Faerie Rose Press, Moonspinner3 Books and my author page.

The second and most noticeable change to the website is the look and the color scheme. Yes, it has a black background, with a hint of green. This does not meant that I’m getting away from my purple headings on some of the posts, it was just that I wanted to change up the look of the website. The number one reason why I made the change was due to I wanted something that could show that each day that I take on this adventure, the site is maturing a bit while the content is still the unusual looks at some of the topics.

Now one last update on the site that I want to give is that I also updated the Welcome to Faerie Rose post. I thought that since the site has been up for over a year and while I was sprucing things up, I felt that I would update the Welcome address for this page also. This update is a reflection of where this page has been over the course of the year and where it is going into the future.

Granted, now that I’m done talking about the site and the changes, lets get on to the most exciting part, the writing.

First off let me start my saying that I’m ready to go into what I’m doing for NaNoWriMo this year. I have a title, a draft covered designed and ideas. Oh the ideas are just pouring over me like water in a shower. I’m so happy and excited to take on this new project and to share some of what is going into this project.

Although, the title might be considered a working title, so far the title is (drum roll if you please)….The Bird that Sings!!!

Yes, it is called The Bird that Sings, and here is the cover that I have designed:

The Bird that Sings cover.docx-page-001

What I have so far for The Bird that Sings, is that it is set in the future. There is a war that took place and like there are results in every war there are results of this war as well. One of the biggest results is that the females are now known as “birds.” The boys are really non-existent in this word. Any ways, certain birds are deemed far more worthy than others, and one such bird is Sarah.

Sarah before the war had originally been given the name, Heather, but she is forced to ignore this name and forced to answer to Sarah. Sarah is worthy in that she is chosen to become the next high priestess. The role of high priestess means you get to rule over everything and every body. Also it means that you can never touch anything or anybody for that matter as well. If someone touches Sarah’s skin, that person even if it’s her handmaiden will be sentenced to death. Also Sarah has taken a forever vow of silence, which can only be broken upon her becoming the next high priestess.

So far I have in my notes that Sarah knows what she will become and there is nothing stopping it or at least she thinks. But further Sarah wants to be touched, for she wants to have that connection with someone, even though it is forbidden.

This is what I have so far for The Bird that Sings, and I can’t wait to get started writing it. Please, let me know what you think about the cover or the idea that I have for the story. Granted, right now I’m writing down this continuous list of ideas that are coming to me for this story.

As for the other stories, yes, unfortunately they have been put on the shelf due to NaNoWriMo and will get done at some point. But I will try to finish one book at a time and hopefully with the energy that I have for The Bird that Sings, it will be finished. First draft and taken through the hole process.

I fully know that I have a writing ADHD problem and it needs to be dealt with. But in someways I know that I can’t help it for ideas just come to me, and when ideas come to me, I just want to grab on, but I don’t seem to get them past the first draft. So I need to get there and I’m really, really going to try that with this project.

This is something that I must grow upon and mature so that I can put out some books.

Now granted I wanted to give one more update and that is in the last couple of weeks, this site has more than 100 followers, and as I said thank you then, I’m going to say thank you again. I mean your support means the world to me and I could not continue on without your support. I thank you a million times over for you finding this site and finding something on here that you enjoy and that you are finding helpful on your writing journey.

hand-lettering-thank-you-vector

This thank you, goes out to anyone and everyone that continues to find this site and I hope that you keep coming back for more. I’m not done giving out advice, suggestions or helping others along their writing journey. Whatever your reason for coming, thank you and that means the world to me. Also don’t forget as a gift that I have posted on here is my Prepotober Work Book.

This workbook is coming quite handy for my own prepwork for The Bird that Sings. I hope that you are also finding it handy as well.

Well that is all for the updates, I hope that you all have a fantastic writing day!

Welcome to Faerie Rose Press Part 2

d86be4ce65bf82512775609ba751b966--fairy-silhouette-free-silhouette-cameoHello and Welcome to the world of Faerie Rose Press! Last year, I started this website and this has been a love and a sincere joy to able to share what I know and what I am currently learning about the writing process. Each day I learn something new and with everything that I learn is give me more knowledge and insight on how writing is like creating magic.

I have always said that since day one, that this site would be changing through growth for nothing is set in stone. I have been flexible in what I have posted and the way that I have presented the information. Furthermore, I have presented the content on this site in a way that may not have been presented or addressed like no one else.

My goal has always been to be able to encourage others to go find and take on their own writer’s journey, and to make their journey their own. This even means making mistakes along the way and to acknowledging the weak stories that we may have written.

Granted, in the year that this site has been created, I have published four short stories and a poetry collection on Amazon, and I have been working on several novels. I know this is where I need to work on one novel at a time. But I still have the goal to finish one of my novels and to get it published. But I’m not only writing, I’m also creating book covers for what I have written.

Also in the same year, I have created a sister division of publishing, Elderwood Publications. The parent company for both Faerie Rose Press and Elderwood Publications has also been created, Moonspinner3 Books. Faerie Rose Press is for works of fiction written in the genre of fiction. Elderwood Publications is for works of fiction in other genres.

Through every step that I have taken through this year, I must say a huge thank you to s-l300 (2)all of you for your continued support. This is regardless if this is the first time that you visit this site, or the hundredth time. Thank you and I hope that you find something that helps you through out the days that you consider as your writing days. Just remember to create magic  through the use of imagination and to use that imagination to unleash your creativity. Further more take time to create, write, grow and to inspire.

Thoughts over a cup of Coffee…But is there is something new about the site?

dragon and coffee
Amy Brown

This morning, I woke up to take my nephew to his first day of school. That’s right, school is back in session and for many of us, we take that as the start of a new year. Granted, we are still in August and we have a few more months until the actual start of the new calendar year. But I thought, that I would spruce up the sight. There is a new header on the site, and a new template design that has been given to the site. But I can assure you that the content of the site is still the same.

From the beginning, I have always that stated that Faerie Rose Press, will changing as I learn and grown, and that has been what this site has been about. Growing, learning, evolving, and above all enhancing others when they look at writing. Yes, I have done things and have taken things off and on this site, but I’ve never lost the focus or that drive to help others with achieving their writing goals or go about writing a novel.

While others may see this as something that has been done before on numerous other platforms, but there are always different ways to look at the world or what can be done to solve a problem to gain a solution. That is essentially is writing. There is a phrase that I have heard before, and that is well some one has already written that story before. That may be true, but the other part of the phrase is, it may have been written before but not by you.

Granted, this is where you might have to think about what I have just said, but it’s true no one is going to tell the story the way that you want it to be told unless you write it yourself. Now does this mean, that you should rewrite a story that has already been written before, ie like Harry Potter? No, it means take a story idea and add your flare to it. Be original, and see what you can add to the story or create with that single spark.

Here is another secret that others might not have thought or they have but there is a reason early on when your starting to write, they teach you to write fan fiction. The reason is so that you can understand the concept of taking something and making it grow. I remember being in the fourth grade and we read a book called, “The Chocolate Touch.” If you haven’t figured it out yet this is like “Midas with the Golden Touch”, but instead of gold you’re using chocolate. Well after reading the book, we had to write our own “Chocolate Touch,” story and use most of the elements of the story such as the chocolate touch. That was the first version of fan fiction that I ever wrote. But it stuck with me for years. Granted, do I remember the story that I wrote? I’ll be honest and say no, but I do remember writing it and that I still have a copy of it.

Yes, some may put down fan fiction as copying but I more like to think about it as an exercise in the creative processes of writing. One of the many that we go through over time. But here is another part of fan fiction, it can be start as fan fiction and can grow into something else. Case and point, Fifty Shades of Grey. Yes, Fifty Shades of Grey is fan fiction of nothing other than the Twilight Saga. While it may be considered simple fan fiction, it has transformed the genre of erotica romance into where it is a buy able product in your local super market. Before Fifty Shades of Grey, forget it for you would have to go to a Borders or a Barnes and Nobel to purchase such a book and even then it had a disclaimer on it. That’s been deleted from the genre and the answer is pretty simple, the book became very popular and the disclaimer is no longer needed on any erotica romances.

That’s what one sample of what fan fiction has done and it has grown from there for that one genre. Does this mean that every story or novel written has to be fan fiction. Heck no! Trust me when I say, if everything is based on fan fiction nothing original would ever be looked or even considered by publishers or readers. Remember, when we write we need to keep our readers in mind and that is that our readers, just like movie goers want original content. This does not mean that we have re-create the same wheel over and over again. If we are looking to do that, then we might as well talk about formula writing.

I’ll say that some formula writers do really well over time, but after a while the writer’s fan base has an expectation of what is going to be in the pages between the covers, and the writer is stuck writing the same thing over and over again, and cannot do anything new or original. Why? Simple: the readers will be turned off what his or her next book will be and it is not what they are used to reading from that writer. It’s a shame when you think about it, but in the end it’s based on the decision that the writer started with their writing career with and continued to do so. Romance writers sometimes have this difficulty along with mystery and thriller writers too.

But let me describe what I mean by formula writer, we know that there are certain expectations from genres of what needs to be in the story but with formula writers they go one more step above this. It goes like this, writer usually has a female character that has to a problem and is running away from said problem and meets the male character. They fall in love, they get to close, and the female character pushes said male character away and the male character figures out to help female character so that they can have a happily ever after, which may not be the case due to dare I say it a death of a character. One of the great writers, or at least to his fans, even if they do not realize it when they are reading one his novels or watching one of the film adaptation of his novels, is all based on a formula.

The author that I’m talking about is Nicholas Sparks. Yes, he is one of the great formula writers in our time and granted, he is doing it so well that he is make money and the reason is that romance sells. I found a blog post, Hello Giggles, that lists 7 Things that Happen in Every Nicholas Sparks Movie.  Even in another blog called, “Thoroughly Modern,” she even posts about the formula that has been used time and again by Nicholas Sparks. I’m not putting Nicholas under the bus, but I’m just saying that if he wanted to reach out and do something else away from his formula, he may be unable to do so due to the loyal readership of his fans.

While I would never try to persuade a writer not to write what he or she wants, there are just some careful considerations that need to be looked at besides how to publish, genre, and any other topic that goes under the generic umbrella that is about writing, but rather things that need to be thought about is formula, trends, and originality versus fan fiction. There is a reason why there is a category at the Academy Awards for “Best Original Screenplay” versus “Best Adaptive Screenplay.” This is just the many things that we as writers need to think about as we work on our works of fiction.

Well, I’m almost out of coffee and I hope that you have found this post to be an enjoyable read, and I’ve had fun writing it. I hope that you have a great writing day until next time!

 

 

I’m back…

I would like to star again by apologizing for not being on here for a while. But I was taking a bit of a break from writing. I know that’s bad, but I was getting ready for shearing season. The alpacas got sheared on Sunday and now I’m getting back to writing, and above all trying to get back to giving advice on writing. Also, things are happening in the writing community besides #cockygate that are having an effect on us writers.

I would say at this point, pay very close attention to what Amazon is currently doing in the next couple of weeks or even the next month. Amazon makes most of its changes during the month of July so any policy changes will be taking effect then. I do know of a couple of changes that Amazon is going to be putting in place, such as when you release a book you can only have 5 advanced copies. Anything more than 5 will have to be purchased or your readers will have to purchase so that they can leave a review of the book. One reason for this change is that there are so-called scammers, who would get over 1,000 advanced copies and would say that they are advanced copies and those readers would put out reviews. This was giving a disadvantage to those that could not get a whole lot of advanced copies. Therefore, Amazon is trying to make it fair for all.

Granted, there are bad and good things to come from this change. But there are other changes that may be taking place too, as I said before that will affect us, writers. As for readers, they are also becoming aware of the changes that are coming into play for us and some are like it’s good to know information and there are others that really don’t care. That’s fine, but right now our job as writers is to assure our readers that what we are doing is not changing, for we are still going to be putting up content and writing the stories that they want to read.

In other news, there is so much discussion going on with traditional publishers, indie publishers, vanity presses and the like that I want to write a post on this. The issue that it boils down to is that you and me, as writers trying to publish our works, should not have to pay a so-called “publisher” to publish our books, and therefore, some of these different avenues for publishing are considered as scams. So when I get into that it will probably be lengthy, as we as writers, even first time published authors should not be taken advantage of.

So I know that you are all probably wondering about The Raven Prophecy. The book itself is still being written, the front cover is done, for I do not have any more desire to re-make my front cover. But I have also been spending some time making/working on the back cover, which I will put down below both the front and back cover images. Overall, I just got back to working on the draft, for I last touched it on May 27. Trust me, when I say looking at it again it’s been a while but on the bright side, I knew where I left off so I wasn’t lost again.

As much as I say this, I’m back and I want to get more content on here about writing, what is going on in the writing world, what is going on with my writing, and furthermore some tricks and tips that we as writers can take on with our projects. But I must say that I’ve missed you all and hope that you will look forward to what I have in store to share with all of you.

So here is the latest design for the front cover and the back cover:

The Raven Prophecy-new14-page-001The Raven Prophecy Back Cover 9-page-001

Update on the Raven Prophecy

First, I must apologize for not posting anything is past week on here, but I have a really good reason and that is that I have been enthralled in working on The Raven Prophecy. Yes, for most of this week I have been working a great deal on The Raven Prophecy to include I made a major milestone of making it to page 150 and over on my current version of my manuscript.

This includes inducting some points from previous drafts of the novel, but now that I have finished with that major task, now it is writing and making notes on the draft going forward.

I feel right now that I’m making strides in the manuscript and am pleased with where I am currently. The novel is far from complete for it is still a work in progress. Granted, I know at some point that I should start thinking about Camp Nanowrimo, which is next month, but even with camp upon us, I am still going to be taking that month to work on The Raven Prophecy.

I know usually when I post an update on the novel, there is also a new cover design but I must say as of right now, I have no desire to create a new cover. But if there should be a new cover design will post it here first. However, as of right now I don’t need a new cover for The Raven Prophecy.

Although, I will post this right now, that I feel that I’m working towards my goal of having a completed first draft of the novel before the end of this year. But to make that a reality I have to stay on top of it and part of my goal for today is to continue writing and working on my novel.

cropped-the-raven-prophecy-new10-page-001.jpg

Bookstore Finds

After a long day of seeing my alpacas and llamas, I thought that I would invoke a trip to the bookstore, ie, Barnes and Nobel (or what my sister and I call the “law firm”). While I was there, I went into the reference section and I would a couple of good finds.

The first is dyiMFA by Gabriela Pereira, who is the founder of DIYMFA.com. I thought that I would read it and see if it has some helpful insights on creating a good MFA program. The other good find is the Weekend Book Proposal: How to write a Winning Proposal in 48 hours and sell your book by Ryan G. Van Cleave. Granted, I’m into self-publishing, but I thought that it would be a good idea to read it and see how to go about organizing my thoughts and the story of the Raven Prophecy. Then my third and final find, was the latest issue of Writer’s Digest since it had the tagline on the cover: Write Your Novel! I always enjoy reading Writer’s Digest to see what new insights they have for writers.

So overall the trip to the bookstore was a great success.