The Page a Day Writers Group

twtrifles:

Here’s a great post from Kathy Teamen, authot of blog: Writing and Illustrating that does a great job of clarifying point of view. Several of my coaching clients struggle with POV, and this short article does a great job of summarizing how it works.

Originally posted on Writing and Illustrating:

rivet your readersI added Jill Elizabeth Nelson, Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View to my writing library and want to recommend that you check it out. The information is good and the price is right – $3.99 on Kindle and $5.39 in paperback. You can take a look at Jill’s romantic suspense novels by clicking this link to her website. http://www.jillelizabethnelson.com/

Below are just a few things that Jill explains in her book. She gets more in depth during the book.

In fiction writing, the position from which anything is considered in any given scene should be the character through whose head we are viewing events. That character’s psyche – his or her very soul – is the standpoint from which everything else in the scene is presented and evaluated. This particular character is the point-of-view character or POVC.

In order to remain firmly inside the POVC’s head, nothing in a scene can be presented for…

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twtrifles:

Sharon C Cooper, one of our Page a Day authors, is at it again. Go Sharon!

Originally posted on Sharon C. Cooper:

Hi all, I have some exciting news! But first – what a fun weekend! I attended the second annual B.R.A.B (Building Relationships Around Books) Readers Retreat and had a blast! B.R.A.B is an online (Facebook) book club with over a thousand readers (and authors) and it’s the place where I have found some great books by new (new to me) authors.

Though I attended the retreat (held in Georgia) as a reader – so that I could support some of my author friends and meet some of my favorite authors – I had the pleasure of meeting some of MY fans! How cool is that!? I thought the event was very well thought out and though it was for the readers, I think authors really enjoyed themselves as well. I know I did!

Okay, so now for my exciting news – I, Sharon C. Cooper, was one of six authors nominated…

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Sometimes you have to shop a story around for quite a while before it finds a home and it’s easy to become discouraged as the “No, thank you,” emails mount up in your inbox. Luckily, my short story “Black Sun,” which follows narrators in Kenya, England and Japan as they cope with the aftermath of a volcanic super eruption, landed safe and sound at Drunk Monkeys after playing submissions roundabout for a year. If you really love and believe in your work, keep shopping it around till you get that enthusiastic “Yes!” that tells you your writing has found its audience.

Read it here: http://www.drunkmonkeys.onimpression.com/black-sun/

If you’re a writer who plans to seek out an agent, either sometime soon or in the indiscriminate future, check out this post by Carly Watters, Senior Agent for P.S. Literary. She shares a feature to include in your query letter that I hadn’t seen before, but it makes perfect sense.

How Writers Can Show Agents They’re Career Authors.

In any case, Happy writing!

 

They’re not quite the Ten Commandments of novel writing, but they might be close.

Repeating yourself, list-loving, empty adverbs are a few of the slip-ups writers make as they attempt to unearth the fossil (as Stephen King so aptly advises) that will someday become a book.

In a recent blog post by Patricia HoltTen Mistakes Writers Don’t See (But Can Easily Fix When They Do) the editorial consultant outlines in a quick, nonjudgmental way missteps every writer — new or seasoned – has experienced.

I found her post useful. I suspect you might too.

–Claire Yezbak Fadden

Molly Jaffa, agent for Folio Literary Management

Molly Jaffa, agent for Folio Literary Management

Agent Molly Jaffa of Folio Literary Management sent me a proof for TABULA RASA, a debut novel by Tabula RasaKristen Lippert-Martin to be released September 23. I read Lippert Martin’s book and totally loved it, so I logged onto Goodreads to write a review and could not believe what I found. Some reviewers wrote glowing recommendations  – like mine. Others, however, who missed the point of several scenes, in my opinion, wrote things about TABULA RASA that were ridiculous. One went as far as to say the author was racist.

 

Seriously? Come on!

 

The story is a nail-biting page-turner with lots of surprising twists about a sixteen-year-old Latina named Angel who has been undergoing experimental surgeries on her brain to erase her memories in a hospital located in the mountains somewhere. She’s been told by the doctors and nurses she should be grateful for the opportunity to be rid of the torment of her delinquent past, so she can start a new life. As she gets set for the final operation to become a true blank slate, or tabula rasa, the lights go out. Someone whispers a cryptic message and puts a handful of pills in Angel’s hand, moments before a bunch of commando guys rush into the secluded hospital spraying bullets, killing staff and other patients.

The premise is what nightmares are made of: memory loss and disorientation in the midst of gunfire and the discovery that

Author Kirsten Lippert-Martin

Author Kirsten Lippert-Martin

you’re the target. Angel is a kick ass heroine who takes the pills she’s been given and begins to remember bits and pieces of her life as she survives against incredible odds.

Kristin Lippert-Martin wrote draft after draft to create an excellent story, went through the arduous task of finding an awesome agent from a reputable literary firm to get behind her, and with the help of that agent, found an editor at Egmont USA to believe in her and her story.

 

Then before TABULA RASA even comes out, a reviewer publishes smack about how the computer-hacker-geek that Angel runs into, the love interest who helps her to survive this insane situation, says something silly about her being Mexican. The thing Thomas says isn’t mean, just clueless. The dialogue is congruent with his socially-challenged character, not at all racist. The reviewer grouses that of course the hero/sidekick who helps Angel with his amazing hacking skills is a white guy, however, she fails to mention that the evil character who has done her best to ruin Angel’s life, and ultimately tries to end it, is also white. Further, Angel’s memories of her deceased Latina mother are the sweetest, most endearing scenes. Her mother was probably my favorite secondary character. I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that the reviewer didn’t discuss Angel’s mother.

 

Race is a hot button for some people, though, even me sometimes. Late last year, I attended a seminar educating young Latinas about the political process and how they should get involved in their communities. The keynote speaker quipped that Barbara Boxer, our California senator, was “okay for a white woman,” which was insulting. I’ll never forget the experience of being one of the two white people in that audience. Maybe that grumpy book reviewer had a similar experience as a Latina, so she was particularly sensitive to the lame comment the character makes in TABULA RASA. His comment doesn’t bother Angel, and it’s surprising that it bothered the reviewer. The truth is, Kirsten Lippert-Martin’s book is an incredibly intense, fun read.

 

I hope people pay more attention to the positive reviews and treat themselves to the breathtaking ride that is TABULA RASA. Once the book comes out in September, I’ll post the link, so you can grab a copy and judge for yourself.

Q & A with James Rhodes

Hello Page a Day readers! Give a warm welcome to our author tour guest blogger and friend from across the Atlantic, British author James Rhodes.

1) What am I working on?

I am currently working on a summer special of the Hettford Witch Hunt series. Hettford is my tribute to the small English villages that I grew up in and around and the small minded self-importance of “special-interest” groups. I started the series mostly out of my own frustration with extremely long novels with extremely thin plots that dominated fantasy and horror in the mid 2000s, and as a failed attempted to merge my two favourite formats (short novels and sitcoms) thereby coining the term “litcom.” A term which I have failed to mention on any of my marketing material and that has resolutely failed to catch on.  I wanted to write something short, snappy, fun and escapist for my own benefit as much as anyone else’s. Hettford is very much character driven and writing it is a lot like spending time with my imaginary friends. It should be available in early July.

(Note: you can start reading the Hettford series for free via Kindle! Just click to download.)

I am also working on a series called The Days of Mr Thomas which is my attempt at creating dirty three chord punk songs in the shape of loosely connected flash fictions. This runs weekly on the Schlock webzine. It’s a difficult format and it doesn’t always work out but there have been some great installments and I have a lot of fun spewing bile into it.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

A not entirely favourable review of Hettford criticised its approach to horror for not being shocking and ‘scary’ enough. Whilst this wasn’t entirely a compliment, it is exactly what I was trying to accomplish. I am a British writer and one thing the British don’t do well is big budget spectacle; my favourite horror writers are M.R. James, Nigel Kneale and Kingsley Amis. I grew up on the supernatural psychological thriller. The Omen, The Medusa Touch and The Night of the Demon where always scarier to me than Halloween or Driller Killer (the other films I was watching at 9 years of age). This is perhaps because I also spent quite a bit of my childhood walking around unlit country roads and being told ghost stories. That’s the feel I want from my work, the subtle horror that could be waiting anywhere and that can’t be beaten because it can’t be touched.

As a child I was a devout Catholic and to me the Devil was a corporeal being that might appear in your bedroom at any given moment; especially if you were foolish enough to have a mirror in there. When I was about 8, I took an orange from the fruit bowl without asking. I had never seen a blood orange before and when on peeling it I discovered it to be the colour of blood, I assumed it was a sign that Satan had seen my sin. I spent the majority of the night clutching a set of rosary beads to ward off the coming evil. This is the kind of experience I want to convey in my work; a childish and irrational fear of the dark will always be more unsettling than a perfectly reasonable fear of physical danger.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I think I started writing with the idea that one day people would read my stuff and say “OK, that bloke isn’t as stupid as he looks.” However, a good two decades have passed since then and my efforts to write incredibly clever fiction have fallen flat on their faces and it is painfully apparent that I am, if anything, more stupid than I look. So now I write to enjoy myself because I love reading and I love escaping in to the fantasy world that books provided and the type of brief psychological fantasies I love reading are so hard to find these days.

4) How does my writing process work?

I start with characters. I used to just base them on people I know or, if they got to have sex, on myself. These days I like to start by building them a personal history (a technique I nicked from Stanislavski’s theatre practice) and using their personal history to dictate how they would respond in certain situations. I have some idea of where I want them to end up and then I put them in situations to see how they react. I generally need to map out the whole book before I start writing and then to map it out a few more times as I’m going along; the characters often ignore my direction and do more interesting things than I had planned for them. Or the plot that I had written turns out to be a bit boring.

I realised in my third novel that I had a classic Doctor Who reference in everything I’ve written and that’s something I’ve continued with. My most consistent process is that I come up with an idea that I think people will really love, work at it violently for a couple of months, realise it’s crap and then hide it for the rest of forever. I think that’s why Hettford has been as successful as it is because it was never intended to be great; it was always just intended to be enjoyable.

Next week (June 23), drop by the blog of Paul Melhuish, author of ironic anti-heroes and malevolent beasties, to learn about his writing process. paulmelhuish.wordpress.com.

Who are we?

The Page a Day Writers Group is a diverse collection of wonderful writers based in San Diego, CA. We've been meeting monthly since 2004. Our primary function is in-depth writing critique, marketing and brainstorming, but there's usually some wine, chocolate and ribaldry involved too. We write fantasy, humor, literary fiction, nonfiction, romance, thrillers and YA. Join us on our journeys to publication and the wonderland beyond!

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