OED – a very useful on-line resource

Leave a comment

myles detail

No, it’s not the Oxford English Dictionary, although the initials are an interesting coincidence. What I found was the Online Etymology Dictionary, a site that goes into extensive detail about the origins of words and phrases.

For fun have a look at the page I stumbled upon;

http://www.etymonline.com/baloney.php

I found this site whilst researching the origins of the word ‘shit.’ If I tell you this, then the page above will make more sense.

The reason I was searching? I needed to have a tenth-century mythological character (old Norse) swear correctly, without the danger of anachronism.

I DID find what I was looking for, but I think I have stumbled upon a very interesting site…interesting if you are writing historical fantasy or fiction.

Or if you just love words – which many writers do. :D

This site now joins my bookmarked sites listed under ‘Writer Resources.’

Enjoy!

signature plus n270

A final word on Draegon Grey reviews

3 Comments

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Following mine and Sara’s interview with Draegon Grey, I asked if he’s looking for other authors to interview; other books to review.

The answer was yes. :)

So, if you’d like to Draegon to feature your finished novel or novella, leave a comment here or track him down on Twitter or Facebook and he’ll get back to you.

I hope that you enjoyed reading the interview.

n270 plus keep calm

Write on!

Act One and Character Interview – Draegon Grey

Leave a comment

The Act One part of the interview is now live.  Draegon reviews ‘A Construct of Angels’ and scores it for pace, language and story satisfaction.

The Character Interview is also live.

In this interview, Darryl discusses the events of the first few chapters with my main character, Sara Finn  and asks how her experiences affected her.

It was fun being in character for this interview and having Sara take a little time out from being chased by Spawn, Anakim and Nephilim.  If you’ve read the book, you’ll know that she deserves a bit of a break…

n270 plus keep calm

Write on!

Are we all guilty of creating imaginary friends?

3 Comments

My imaginary friend

Whilst idly browsing my WordPress stats, I noticed that someone had referenced my ongoing page ‘Characters that can write their own stories’ from Reddit.com.

The Reddit post was one of several that referred to something called (and this is a completely new word for me) Tulpae.

The page describes a Tulpa as; ‘…best described as an imaginary friend that has its own thoughts and emotions, and that you can interact with. You could think of them as hallucinations that can think and act on their own.’

The contributor opens the discussion with;

Are characters in a novel the Tulpae of the Author?

Very interesting question…

The post then goes on to say;

‘By talking and fleshing out something to your own subconscious for so long, you start to get answers from it. The answers align themselves with all these preconceived traits you’ve given them (for the most part). When you talk to your own mind for long enough, it will answer back: this is an accepted fact.

This sounds a lot like an author with a good enough character not deciding what the character will do, but the author knowing what the character would do because the character tells him or her.

I was told by a writing professor of mine that authors should strive for this level of character development, to the point where the character makes its own decisions.

anyone interested in discussing this?’

Read more of the discussion here.

I’d be interested to learn what everyone else’s thoughts are on the subject of characters becoming part of the creative process.

This got me thinking about the entire process of writing versus creating imaginary friends.

Sure, our reasons for creating are different from that of a child who creates friends out of a need for comfort, companionship or security.

We invent characters to fill a book, act out our story or even (in some cases) fulfill unfeasible fantasies.  When I was a child, barely into double figures, I was having such a miserable time of things, I began to write End-of-the World stories where only ‘nice’ people survived and subsequently found each other to begin civilisation over again  (Obviously, these early stories failed because I’d selectively eliminated all anatgonists!).

Years later, it occurred to me that I had been exercising (or even exorcising) mental control over the world as a form of comfort, rather like inventing imaginary friends to keep me safe.

Later stories, written during my teens, became less like a wish-list of how I (unconsciously) felt the world ought to be.  They even began to include bad guys!

image courtesy of svilen001 - Stock Xchng

But, looking back at them now, the stories still seemed to retain an element of control, a sanity and restraint that the real world lacked.  My current writing style has, I can see now, developed out of that evolutionary process, although I hope that it feels less controlled than those early works.

But do writers invent characters purely out of necessity – simply to act out a pre-planned story?  Or is there even a small element of ‘this character brings me comfort’?  Is there a hint of ‘I’m happy with this character because I’d like them if they were my real-life friend’?  Do we unconsciously develop characters (even anatgonists) that we are comfortable with?

Are writers the ultimate creators of  imaginary friends?

 

Write on!

It’s all about the journey

11 Comments

I’d long been an avid cynic of reality TV shows such as X Factory, Pop Idle, Big Brooder, (disparaging mis-spellings intentional) et al, citing them as simple ratings magnets that were all hype and no substance.

I’d avoid them like the cliche, eschewing Saturday night television altogether, tutting at the oft-hyped results and the acres of tabloid coverage they seemed to generate.

But little by little, weekend visits to a friend’s house resulted in the television (which seemed to have no ‘off ‘ function) drawing my eye and ear towards the (often hapless) auditionees on ‘X Factor’ and ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ every Saturday night. 

I found myself becoming intrigued, for no reason that I could fathom.  I didn’t know these people, these fame-seeking wannabes (only some of whom were quietly talented and later became successful) and yet I found myself increasingly drawn into their stories as they inched their way towards the stars.  I followed them from their earliest beginnings.  I saw their spotlight-dazzled faces as they shuffled reluctantly onto an over-large stage to croak out a few nervous bars of their favourite song.  And then I watched their eyes light up as the crowd called out its approval.

But why was I watching this IQ-sapping drivel; this thinly-disguised attempt to solicit viewers (and before you mentally compose hate-mail, please let me finish), this apparent waste of valuable writing time?

It suddenly became clear to me when I unexpectedly became hooked on yet another reality TV show – Masterchef.  

Hooked? Why?  I know nothing about food.  I can barely make mashed potato or an edible cheese sauce.  To this day I am still able to slide rock-hard frozen food onto a microwave platter with only a basic idea of why it emerges twenty minutes later as a hot, steaming meal.  I have no aspirations to create Langoustine consommé with lemon tuiles and pea puree, or to begin experimenting with molecular gastronomy (although liquid Nitrogen does look like a wonderful toy).

The chemistry of food defies my kind of logic.  It’s a pleasure to eat, true, but the assembly is an alien process to me and most likely will forever remain that way. 

But there I was, week after fascinated week, watching untrained but enthusiastic amateurs, their fumbling fingers creating elegantly-assembled dishes of confit duck on a bed of celeriac mash to Michelin-class standards.   But why?  In the name of the knife, fork and spoon, why??

Then it finally clicked.  The title of this post says it all.  It was about the journey.

We aspiring writers have very similar goals to those clumsy cooks, those shaking singers, those jittering jugglers.  We are all on the same journey of self-discovery - with the hope of our own selves being discovered.  Or our work, at least.

I realised that by watching these rising stars gain new skills and achieve undreamed-of heights, my thoughts were paralleling their journey with my own aspirations, because I hoped that I would also (one day) experience a similar journey. 

My mind had latched onto these stories in an unconscious act of self-preparation.

It may be that every individual who achieved the final three of Masterchef, X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent has already inspired me; proved to me that it IS possible to lift our (literary) voices from behind the background noise of society enough to be heard. 

Ordinary mortals like us can achieve great things.  But it takes time.  It takes a measure of confidence.  But it can require a good measure of encouragement from our peers too. 

It is perhaps because of all of this that I am mentally prepared for the next step of ePublishing, the quiet, stealthy equivalent of seeing my work in Bookers or Waterstones.  I dare to touch my toe to the chill waters of public consumption and say to them ‘nibble on that,’ whilst thinking ‘pleasedon’tbite, pleasedon’tbite!’

The journey from ‘I could write a book’ through ‘could I write a book?’ to ‘I have written a book’ is moving forward.  Who was it that said; ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’?

But where is your journey taking you? How far have you already come?

Have you been inspired by stories of success or sheer determination? 

Have you watched others climbing the ladder towards success, feeling that your journey was headed the same way?

Do you feel (particularly with ePublishing opening up new possibilities) that the impossible is now possible?

Share your story with us.  Tell us where your journey is taking you.

Write on - and encourage others to do the same in every way that you can.

  

Reader Appreciation Award

10 Comments

This post has been a long time due and so, for that, I apologise.

The whirl of completing my Twelfth Draft, the decision to ePublish and the creating of my book cover scoured my brain of much of my daily to-do list.

Anyway, last month I was fortunate enough to receive a nomination for the Reader Appreciation Award, not once but twice!

Thank you Mymagical escape (I tried to find your name on your blog, but couldn’t) for this award.   I love the image – it just so happens that big, bright sunflowers are a favourite of mine.

Also, Sonya Loveday nominated me the following day, a lovely thought.

The conditions of this award seem to be similar to those of the Liebster and Lovely Blog awards.

I tried to back-track through Mymagicalescape’s nominator, Pat Wood or as I like to think of her, Caress Arborea *winks*, but I couldn’t find any specific conditions listed on her blog.

Sonya mentions that the Reader Appreciation Award Foundation stipulate six nominations, so I will do that, but add in Mymagicalescape’s format and write seven things about myself first – stuff that I haven’t already said after receiving previous nominations.

.

1. I believe in Angels – just not necessarily the kind that appear in popular literature.

2. I live in the same town as Jenna Burtenshaw and have received a great deal of encouragement from her.

3.  It was my wife’s tottering stack of vampire novels that compelled me to write ‘A Construct of Angels’.

4.  Movie soundtracks inspire my writing.

5.  My ‘day job’ takes me all over the UK.  75% of the time it gifts me writing opportunities that I wouldn’t otherwise enjoy.

6. Currently, my favourite writing tool is my Acer Netbook.

7. I am the closest I have ever been to publishing a book and cannot quite believe it.

.

Now, the nominations;

I’m supposed to nominate six bloggers for this Reader Appreciation award, so here are my choices;

1. Candace Knoebel

2. Ryan Casey

3. M D Kenning

4. Sonya Loveday

5. Carly Sarah

6. Michelle Proulx

7. Abusively Baboozan

8. Pat Wood blogging

Oops – I can’t count.  I know Candace, Sonya and Carlyysarah had already been nominated by Mymagicalescape and Pat Wood nominated her in the first place, but I love them so much, I felt compelled to repeat the nomination.

Who’s to say that I can’t?  :p

Oh, oh.  Yellow card approaching from the Reader Appreciation Award Foundation.

Enjoy, bask if you like, but don’t forget to spread the love!

 

Write on!

Do you empathise with your characters?

2 Comments

 

Do you?

I mean really get down into the mud with them and feel their pain as if it was your own?

In this age of guts, gore and death on both the big and the small screen, it’s all too easy to sit back and munch popcorn as a larger-than-life action figure takes a bullet, then fights on to the expected victory.  The heroine, meanwhile, hangs by a single finger over a fatal drop before she is rescued in the very last instant by a strong grip around her slender wrist.

Yeah, sure he groans as the bullet buries itself in his flesh.  She shrieks as her finger slips. 

But what do they really feel?  Can you, as a writer, firstly imagine the pain, the sheer terror that these characters ought to be feeling?  And can you, secondly, convince the reader that these unfortunate, suffering characters know that a life-stopping moment is but a heartbeat away?   We are all buzzing bags of emotion, not unfeeling machines.  Readers know this – and we must deliver. 

I’ve dreamed of plunging to my death in a car, then woken in a cold, shaking sweat, hardly able to convince myself that I’d survived.  In one brief moment, I’d mentally wrapped up my life, regretted things unfinished, and wondered if non-corporeal existence or oblivion awaited me.  Then; bang;  I was a crumpled statistic – but one with an answer.  One with an edge to create better death scenes; and to recognise shallow ones.  And although it was a dream, I’d been there.  I’d actually felt it.

If you’re in any doubt that you are tuned into your characters, retire to a quiet place after you’ve written your action sequence.   Become one with your character of choice.  Climb into their skin, then re-run the action.  Hang from a stone gargoyle one hundred storeys above the city.  Plunge over a waterfall, not knowing if you’re going to see the next minute.  Switch off all the lights and spin around three times to experience some of the disorientation of being inside a darkened warehouse (but please don’t injure yourself – even if you are researching pain!).

Better still, if the geography or architecture allows, visit the closest possible parallels to your scene and lean over that edge; feel the power of the wind and water.  Picture the last seconds of your life as gravity claims its prize. 

Your character would.

Imagine how you’d feel if someone close to you went over the edge instead; feel that anger, that helplessness, that utter and permanent loss.

And relax…breathe.  Then get it down on paper / screen.

I’ve dealt largely with falls so far.  Other fates are available, naturally. 

And of course, this technique doesn’t just apply to action scenes. 

Pain is not the only emotion;

Betrayal?  Your best friend has just eloped with your significant other / taken your expensive car / smuggled out your priceless show cat.  Get angry; feel betrayed.  Just don’t call that friend until you’ve simmered down and put your hurt and anger into black-and-white.

Love?  A trickier one this, one that relies on previous experience.   Think of it as the ultimate head-and-heart battle.  Except that the head belongs to an adult, and the heart is a wanton, wailing, selfish four-year-old that (almost) always gets their way.  How wrenching would that be as an internal monologue?

Fear?  There are many shades of fear, too many to list here.  Briefly, though; Fear of death (brief pain and it’s all over – but you might leave everything unfinished); Fear of loss – what is it that you could not stand to exist without?  Fear of change; your comfort zone – obliterated.

Feel them all – no, really.  Feel them all.  And then create characters that we can really relate to – and emotions that stir our own. 

What better than a novel that takes us upon a roller-coaster ride that leaves us emotionally wrought, but thoroughly satisfied?

For further reading I’d recommend Rivet your readers with Deep POV.  Please note that I am in no way affiliated with this work  – I just found it to be instructive.

So, over to you;

What techniques do you use to get beneath your character’s skin?  

Do you perform mental walk-throughs? 

Do you research on-line for the experiences of others, or even query them face-to-face?

Dimitris Melicertes

I don't write, I touch without touching.

Author P.S. Bartlett

I'm Taking a Fantastic Voyage. Won't You Join Me?

Harry A. Manners

Sci-Fi and Fantasy Novelist

ked

Thoughts, inspiration, daydreams

Inkcouragement

A Writer's Musings

The Gatekeepers Diary

an inside view for outsiders

Write me a book, John!

All things books, all the time

I make stories.

The blog of K. M. Alexander

Anna Bayes

Writer of Erotic Romances for the Fiercely Loyal

comics, pop culture and related topics

chrismcmullen

Writing, Publishing, and Marketing Ideas

MsTranquility

Going it Alone - All About Life, Love and Relationships

Chapter TK

Question Everything

Her Headache

A place to express myself through writing. a way to make sense of it all. Life as I see it.

Nutella On Rye

I work in a movie theatre so you don't have to.

Confessions Of A Hollywood Nobody

A journey along the path most traveled.

meganelizabethmorales

You're insane? We're all insane! Bwahahahaha!

Jessica Minyard

Writer of word for teens, tweens, and in-betweens. Lover of all things magical, nerdy, and fluffy.

Renard Moreau Presents

Cool Miscellaneous Thoughts

t h i n g s + f l e s h

lyrical essays on songwriting + other mysteries

Kim Harrison's Drama

Because it's all about the drama

FY HI!

A particular remarkable and usually surprising bit of information

Indie Hero

Brian Marggraf, Author of Dream Brother: A Novel, Independent publishing advocate, New York City dweller

Granny Smith: Unleashed

Observations and random thoughts from a "not so teenager."

Line Of The Week

Miscellaneous Utterings From Best Friends

Catch a Falling Star

The official blog for Michael Beyer, author of 'Catch a Falling Star'

dribblingpensioner

Just another pensioner with his thoughts if he can remember them

Joke for today

A NEW JOKE EVERY DAY

Bob and Emily

Live, laugh, love......and enjoy every minute

White Diamond Edits

Professional book editing & proofreading

Once Upon Your Prime. . .

Live Happily Ever LAUGHTER!

Traveling Around the World

One moment at a time

fisticuffsandshenanigans

It was all fun and games, until the fisticuffs and shenanigans... -Deutschmarc

Tammy Hopkinson MBA

Business Opinions and Thoughts

The Failed Exorcism of Soo Yi

Forgive me but I have not sinned. I am keeping the “devil” in me.

Celia Fitzgerald

"As every thread of gold is valuable, so is every moment in time." - John Mason

Seth Adam Smith

Writing the Way Forward

Gin Giles

Book Whore Extraordinaire

Clyde Mach

Book Reviewer

Grady P Brown - Author

Superheros - Autism - Fantasy - Science Fiction

Just A Small Town Girl...

Just your average 22 year old, diagnosed with E.W.S. at birth... AKA Excessive Writing Syndrome :)

Dreamer

Beyond the seams of the universe, lies a greater truth

Photography by Manos, Flora and Marinos

The Contemplative Mammoth

(ecology and climate change from the 4th dimension)

elizagalesinterviews

Eliza’s interviews are done by email; all answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,639 other followers

%d bloggers like this: