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Opportunities and Obstacles in Your Writing Career.

When you face obstacles in your career, it can be worthwhile to take a few moments to look at the opportunities that come along with them.

True, it’s more difficult than ever to make it in the world of traditional publishing. But once your book is traditionally or independently published, your opportunities to sell your work are legion. You can give writing seminars online to the world,  connect with readers everywhere through Goodreads and do guest blog tours across the continent to reach new readers.

For independently published writers, distribution is no longer the issue, and that’s a real plus. Admittedly, your work has to become visible in the sea of writers on the independent scene. But each of these authors is a reader, and thankfully they are also colleagues with whom we tend to cooperate more than compete. 

Take a large enough view of the field of writing, and all those obstacles serve to spell out the news: There has never been a better time to be a writer.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant week in your writing career.

Cheers, Mel

Mel Anastasiou is a founding editor with Pulp Literature Press.

Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries was long listed for the 2018 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. Thanks for that, so lovely to hear.

Mel Anastasiou writes The Fairmount Manor Mysteries series, starring Mrs Stella Ryman, The Hertfordshire Pub Mysteries series, starring Spencer Stevens, and The Extra: A Monument Studios Mystery, coming Autumn of 2020.

If you enjoy reading Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, get her pocket-sized writing guide, The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume, here. Motivates, entertains, organizes, encourages, inspires.

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A Writing Career Uncategorized writing tips

Strong Characters, Tough Choices

Whether a manuscript crosses an editor’s desk, or is loaded onto an e-reader, readers will read on if the author invents characters in which they’re invested. 

There are a lot of ways to do that — resonance, unique situations, careful plotting. However, the clear path most often missed in the manuscripts I read, is that of ensuring that protagonists make tough choices and don’t simply react to events.

It’s easy to miss opportunities for the protagonist to make decisions.

For example, you might write events for Act 1  that feel strong enough knock the protagonist into Act 2. 

But, if the hero is simply reacting to events, it doesn’t matter how perilous or intriguing the events you devise are, editors and readerships may well lose interest in your story.

Craft choices — tough choices — and your readers won’t stop reading.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant week in your writing career.

Cheers, Mel

PS Check out Pulp Literature’s Podcast, at Podbean

Mel Anastasiou is a founding editor with Pulp Literature Press.

Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries was long listed for the 2018 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. Thanks for that, so lovely to hear.

Mel Anastasiou writes The Fairmount Manor Mysteries series, starring Mrs Stella Ryman, The Hertfordshire Pub Mysteries series, starring Spencer Stevens, and The Extra: A Monument Studios Mystery, coming Autumn of 2020.

If you enjoy reading Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, get her pocket-sized writing guide, The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume, here. Motivates, entertains, organizes, encourages, inspires.

https://pulpliterature.com/product-category/novels/stella/
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Tips for Narrative Structure writing tips

What To Do About Description

“When you’re writing a book, it’s rather like going on a very long walk, across mountains and valleys and things, and you get the first view of something and you write it down.” – Roald Dahl

Description has a dodgy reputation, but we need it. 

“I hate description,” readers tell you. “Why don’t you write like Lee Child? He doesn’t use description.” Take a look at any Jack Reacher story, though, and you’ll find excellent description, perfectly placed. That’s the key. 

You can’t just write in description when you think of it. Or if you do, then make sure it’s in the right spot.

3 places readers need us to place description.

  1. While the POV character is pursuing the story goal, it’s vital to show what’s going on. Not during the planning, not during the reaction to raised stakes, but during the active quest for the goal.
  2. When the reader is gagging to know what is in the letter, under the carpet, or outside the door. Make the reader wait with a bit of description.
  3. After the POV character has reacted to the raised stakes, there is a moment to remember what’s at stake. Descriptive writing is absolutely necessary here to remind the character, and readers, exactly why the struggle is necessary.

“Then you walk a bit further, maybe up onto the top of a hill, and you see something else. Then you write that and you go on like that, day after day, getting different views of the same landscape really. The highest mountain on the walk is obviously the end of the book, because it’s got to be the best view of all, when everything comes together and you can look back and see that everything you’ve done all ties up.” -Roald Dahl

I hope you’ll have another brilliant week in your writing career. Cheers Mel.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant week in your writing career.

Cheers, Mel

PS Check out Pulp Literature’s Podcast, at Podbean

Mel Anastasiou is a founding editor with Pulp Literature Press.

Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries was long listed for the 2018 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. Thanks for that, so lovely to hear.

Mel Anastasiou writes The Fairmount Manor Mysteries series, starring Mrs Stella Ryman, The Hertfordshire Pub Mysteries series, starring Spencer Stevens, and The Extra: A Monument Studios Mystery, coming Autumn of 2020.

If you enjoy reading Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, get her pocket-sized writing guide, The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume, here. Motivates, entertains, organizes, encourages, inspires.

https://pulpliterature.com/product-category/novels/stella/

https://pulpliterature.com/product-category/novels/stella/

https://pulpliterature.com/product-category/novels/stella/
Categories
A Writing Career Stress Busters for Writers

Move Your Writing Career Forward, One Kind Word at a Time.

Here’s what we have no trouble telling other writers…

Keep going. It’s better than you think. What an easy fix. I love your characters. You’re talented. Every writer makes that mistake once. Sure you can do it. 

It’s harder to be kind to ourselves.

But, that’s a skill lots of us need to gain in order to move forward in our writing careers.

A gifted teacher told me there is only love or fear. That’s a binary view of things that is useful in addressing the advancement of your writing career. If you choose love of the work, then fear is banished.

You love the process, and so you don’t fear the product.

You love the words, so you don’t fear the reader’s reaction to it.

You love the story, so you don’t fear the critic.

There’s a section in E1S7 of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, where Seinfeld tells President Obama, “…I fell in love with the work. And the work was joyful and difficult and interesting, and that was my focus.”  Hearing these words is like being handed the key to a fabulous treasure that was buried all the time in your own back yard.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant week in your writing career.

Cheers, Mel

PS Check out Pulp Literature’s Podcast, at Podbean

Mel Anastasiou is a founding editor with Pulp Literature Press.

Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries was long listed for the 2018 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. Thanks for that, so lovely to hear.

Mel Anastasiou writes The Fairmount Manor Mysteries series, starring Mrs Stella Ryman, The Hertfordshire Pub Mysteries series, starring Spencer Stevens, and The Extra: A Monument Studios Mystery, coming Autumn of 2020.

If you enjoy reading Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, get her pocket-sized writing guide, The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume, here. Motivates, entertains, organizes, encourages, inspires.

Categories
Stress Busters for Writers writing tips

Beat Writers’ Stress, 10 Minutes at a time

Small blocks of free time, those scattered 10 minutes, can vanish into the business of the day.

Still, in 10 minutes, a writer can take on a single task to move a story forward.

For example, 10 minutes might be a perfect slot of time to

  • roughly outline an arc in a character’s growth
  • write five possible opening lines for your next scene
  • check chapter endings for sentences that kill tension
  • take a stress-beating walk (or run a bath) and let your writer’s conscious or subconscious mind solve a problem on its own

10 minutes now can save serious drafting time later.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant week in your writing career.

Cheers, Mel

Mel Anastasiou is a founding editor with Pulp Literature Press.

Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries was long listed for the 2018 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. Thanks for that, so lovely to hear.

Mel Anastasiou writes The Fairmount Manor Mysteries series, starring Mrs Stella Ryman, The Hertfordshire Pub Mysteries series, starring Spencer Stevens, and The Extra: A Monument Studios Mystery, coming Autumn of 2020.

If you enjoy reading Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, get her pocket-sized writing guide, The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume, here. Motivates, entertains, organizes, encourages, inspires.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Stress Busters for Writers writing tips

Powerful Small Revisions.

It’s the same for most of us. The writing week feels overcrowded with activites that seem to have little or nothing to add to our writing careers. How does anybody manage to fit a full-time writing career into a full-time life?

Everybody is different, but it may be worth pinning down a few minutes in the course of a busy week.

Here are three ways to keep engaged with a story, 10 minutes at a time,

  1. Search for an exchange of dialogue in one of your scenes. Take out all the thinking this or doing that tags and isolate the actual dialogue. Identify and strengthen if possible the shift in power among those speaking, and move the reactions to before and after the dialogue.
  2. Take a look at an especially descriptive bit. If it doesn’t come during a how are we not what we were moment, or during the POV character’s pursuit of his or her goal, consider moving it.
  3. Read the first paragraph of your book, your chapter, or your scene. Find the most vital sentence there. Is it possible to move it even closer to the start?

Small but powerful revisions for the work-in-progress mean steady progress.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant week in your writing career.

Cheers, Mel

Mel Anastasiou is a founding editor with Pulp Literature Press.

Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries was long listed for the 2018 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. Thanks for that, so lovely to hear.

Mel Anastasiou writes The Fairmount Manor Mysteries series, starring Mrs Stella Ryman, The Hertfordshire Pub Mysteries series, starring Spencer Stevens, and The Extra: A Monument Studios Mystery, coming Autumn of 2020.

If you enjoy reading Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, get her pocket-sized writing guide, The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume, here. Motivates, entertains, organizes, encourages, inspires.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
writing tips

Your Standout Opening Image

Your opening image roots readers in time and place. A clever opener straps us into the scene by all five senses.  More than that, if you can also find a detail that resonates with your particular audience, you’ll have happy readers on your hands.

Susan Hill’s ghost stories are superbly crafted.  “Queen of the traditional ghost story,”  The Times review reads on the cover of her collection, The Woman in Black and other Ghost Stories.  Hill had me at paragraph one, of course.

“It was nine-thirty on Christmas Eve.  As I crossed the long entrance hall of Monk’s Piece on my way from the dining room, where we had just enjoyed the first of the happy, festive meals, towards the drawing room and the fire around which my family were now assembled, I paused and then, as I often do in the course of an evening, went to the front door, opened it, and stepped outside.”

Here, abetted by her excellent title, we have all the senses engaged in what feels like a Dickensian-level holiday.  But while the narrator has Christmas wrapped around him like an overcoat, his heart is cold with fear.

I admire the way Hill uses the resonance of shared holiday experience and then its opposition to set me up for fear, uplift, and despair.

More of her opening images from the collection:

“An autumn night and the fens stretch for miles, open and still.”  Dolly. 

“It was a little before nine o’clock, the sun was setting into a bank of smoky violet cloud, and I had lost my way.”  The Small Hand.

Dear me, I’m just beginning The Small Hand.  Eyes wide open.  Not too close to bedtime.

The Woman in Black and other Ghost Stories by Susan Hill.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant week in your writing career.

Cheers, Mel

Mel Anastasiou is an acquisitions editor and structural editor with Pulp Literature Press.

Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries was long listed for the 2018 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. Thanks for that, so lovely to hear.

Mel Anastasiou writes The Fairmount Manor Mysteries series, starring Mrs Stella Ryman, The Hertfordshire Pub Mysteries series, starring Spencer Stevens, and The Extra: A Monument Studios Mystery, coming Autumn of 2020.

If you enjoy reading Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, get her pocket-sized writing guide, The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume, here. Motivates, entertains, organizes, encourages, inspires.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Stress Busters for Writers writing tips

More Writing in Time of Covid. The Learn, Teach, Do Cycle.

Disguised as a muse, I now and then encourage writers, including beginning writers, to map out a talk on writing they’d enjoy giving. That’s because, as teachers at every level know, from early years through post-doc, know, that you need to respect the Learn-Teach-Do cycle.

Everyone feels the pull to learn, to teach, and to do/produce/act

However many writers are so busy with learning and doing, plus running extremely busy and well-loved lives, that we omit the “teaching” part of the career.

If we spend too much time without teaching our craft, a subtle feeling of dissatisfaction can result, and with it “writer’s block.”

So, how to work teaching into a career that tends to be solitary? 

Especially these days.

What to do when you don’t have time to teach, or a class to teach to, but you know you have to make teaching part of your writing career?

The Simplest Way: Journalling 

Keeping a journal is one way to teach without ever stepping out of the office or in front of a computer camera. Write down what you’re learning and doing. In this way, you’re teaching yourself the tricks of the profession that are specific to your unique practice.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant week in your writing career.

Cheers, Mel

Mel Anastasiou is an acquisitions editor and structural editor with Pulp Literature Press.

Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries was long listed for the 2018 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. Thanks for that, so lovely to hear.

Mel Anastasiou writes The Fairmount Manor Mysteries series, starring Mrs Stella Ryman, The Hertfordshire Pub Mysteries series, starring Spencer Stevens, and The Extra: A Monument Studios Mystery, coming Autumn of 2020.

If you enjoy reading Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, get her pocket-sized writing guide, The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume, here. Motivates, entertains, organizes, encourages, inspires.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Stress Busters for Writers writing tips

Your Act Three. Take a Bow.

Your Act Three is amazing. Everything you’ve planned and drafted to get here, forces turnings in your story. At the same time, your subconscious writer’s mind is keeping track of it all, each interwoven strand, keeping the sense of the whole story.

You take some small but important aspect of the beginning that will resonate throughout your tale.

A recurring posy

I’m put in mind of the posy of unusual flowers Allaigna receives from a stranger in Verse 4 of Allaigna’s Song (Pulp Literature Issue 2), which comforts her when she is alone in the woods in Verse 13 (PL #5).Without too many spoilers I can let you know you see those again in Issue 8 and further down the road. Furthermore its significance grows each time it appears. (Get the Allainga novels by JM Landels here, you’ll thank me.)

How did we get here?

Every minute we spend working, thinking about a story, or reading tales written by others, is valuable. Almost without meaning to, we gain more skills and find ourselves increasingly at home in the landscape of storytelling, whether on a scale as small as a clever word choice, or as large as the worlds we create.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant week in your writing career.

Cheers, Mel

Mel Anastasiou is an acquisitions editor and structural editor with Pulp Literature Press.

Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries was long listed for the 2018 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. Thanks for that, so lovely to hear.

Mel Anastasiou writes The Fairmount Manor Mysteries series, starring Mrs Stella Ryman, The Hertfordshire Pub Mysteries series, starring Spencer Stevens, and The Extra: A Monument Studios Mystery, coming Autumn of 2020.

If you enjoy reading Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, get her pocket-sized writing guide, The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume, here. Motivates, entertains, organizes, encourages, inspires.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Stress Busters for Writers

Writer’s Block in Time of Covid

The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘writer’s block’ as the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.

“I haven’t written in a week. It’s like holding your breath under water. You feel an awful constriction and then the instinct to propel yourself.”
-D. A. Botta

“I have found repeatedly hitting my head with a mallet doesn’t help at all, so I am open to suggestions.”
– Steve Merrick

At Pulp Literature Press we’re recording our new podcast. Yesterday we attempted through discussion to analyse our struggles to get some writing done during the course of Covid.

Are we blocked?

What’s more, will several of us continue to be blocked?

And isn’t creative inaction a natural response to the stress of these times? Even those of us who are writing, are not writing as much as we thought we should.

We agreed on several points.

  • That we need to be kind to ourselves, like we’re kind to other people who aren’t writing the way they thought they would when all the free time showed up.
  • That there are so many things to think of and worry about at times like these, quiet on the outside though the times appear, that anything we get done is a bonus.
  • And that it may take many of us a good long series of months to get our heads around the strangeness that is 2020, and to feel the inner confidence that sends us to draft something new.

I hope you’ll have another great day in your writing career (whatever that day looks like!)

Cheers, Mel

Mel Anastasiou is an acquisitions editor and structural editor with Pulp Literature Press.

Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries was long listed for the 2018 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. Thanks for that, so lovely to hear.

Mel Anastasiou writes The Fairmount Manor Mysteries series, starring Mrs Stella Ryman, The Hertfordshire Pub Mysteries series, starring Spencer Stevens, and The Extra: A Monument Studios Mystery, coming Autumn of 2020.

If you enjoy reading Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, get her pocket-sized writing guide, The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume, here. Motivates, entertains, organizes, encourages, inspires.