Categories
A Writing Career

Good Reviews, Good Karma

When I first discovered that many used books in the UK were one pence plus delivery I went a little crazy.  I sent off for sequels and missed treasures.

However, soon doubts came home to roost. I’m a writer, and I would like to be paid. Shouldn’t I be buying the books new?  These are Karmaic doubts.  And you don’t want to mess with Karmaic doubts.  Sharks, typhoons, poor ebook sales … you never know with Karma.

I think that the answer is to post reviews.  I’ve always wished to thank authors for a great read.  All those hours they sit and write, just to please me!  Thank you very much indeed. I feel better for telling you how much I like your work.

And, a big thank you to readers and writers who have taken a few minutes to post reviews for my work and for the authors at Pulp Literature.  We so appreciate the time you take to tell us what you like. Thanks again to all.

Here’s to another great week in your writing career.

Cheers, Mel.

 

Categories
Stress Busters for Writers

Writing Tip 31. 4 Tips to Stretch Your Drafting Time

“You know that Pepperidge Farm bread, that stuff is fancy. That stuff is wrapped twice. You open it, and then it still ain’t open. That’s why I don’t buy it, I don’t need another step between me and toast.”

-Mitch Hedberg

Less steps, more bread. I mean, more of your book written.

There are heartbreaking circumstances in any profession. A big one in a writing career is too little unfettered time to write.

In an hour, a writer with a good plan can draft a thousand words. However, there are a lot of time-eaters that lead into that hour, and then your sixty minutes are used up with preparation.

The good news? Most of those time-eaters can be taken care of in five to ten minute intervals, which can be much more easily slotted into a busy day.

Here are four useful tasks that may be worked into five-ten minute slots.

  1. Outline the next scene, the character arcs.
  2. Write taglines and elevator pitches for the book as a whole.
  3. List 10 ways the next turning point might occur.
  4. Devise a central image for the next scene.

With these steps taken outside of drafting time, that peaceful drafting hour, when it finally arrives. can really get a writer somewhere fantastic.

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

Categories
Stress Busters for Writers

Writing Tip 30. Overcoming Obstacles to a Writing Career.

What moves us to take on a writing career? First, the spark. Then, a sense of determination. And a love of hard work. But at some point, as for our stories’ protagonists, we run into problems that present difficult choices. Here are two of the most common obstacles we face.

The Inner Problem

The inner problem tends to be either a lack, or a surfeit, of confidence; the former can freeze us into inactivity and sorrow, and the latter creates writers who are unwilling to learn.

For both these conditions, the determination to make learning about writing a lifelong goal, is a sovereign cure.

The Outer Problem

The outer problem is often lack of hours in our day. Because we can’t expand the earth’s orbit around the sun, we must make tough choices.

Most of these involve breaking the addictions that are peculiar to our millennium. Less time on whatever these may be for each of us — bingewatching shows, or perhaps playing with our phones — gives more time in the day to draft, outline, revise, and market, without impoverishing our relationships and health.

(Beyond that, your career intersects those of others, and you’re facing getting past editorial.There’s a blog for that here.)

I wish you another brilliant week in your writing career. Cheers Mel.

Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries was long listed for the 2018 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, and won the May 2018 Literary Titan Book Award. Thanks for that, 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 Monument Studio Mysteries starring Frankie Ray. She is a founding editor of Pulp Literature Press.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Uncategorized writing tips

Writing Tip 29. Imagine Your Ideal Writing Day.

First, imagine yourself happy at work. Imagine dealing cheerfully with interruptions and returning to work. Picture a great spot to write. Better still, imagine several great spots, because a writing career shouldn’t depend upon a particular spot, or even a particular time of day.

Second, settle your mind on your next step.

Just one next step, because writing is complicated enough without multi-tasking. What is that next step?

If it’s too big for the time you have, chunk it down and identify that first bit of work. Imagine what it feels like to finish today’s writing work. What would it look like if the writing went smoothly?

Third, remember the drafting math.

The math is encouraging. If a writer has a cogent outline to write from – I suggest carrying an outline notebook or blank outline graphic organizers through the week, for 5 to 10 minute free preparation time – then 3,000 words drafted a week equals 2 short novels, about 70,000 words, or one longer novel, a year.

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

Cheers Mel

Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries was long listed for the 2018 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, and won the May 2018 Literary Titan Book Award. Thanks for that, 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 Monument Studio Mysteries starring Frankie Ray. She is a founding editor of Pulp Literature Press.

 

 

 

 

Points of Interface:

Categories
Time Management for Writers writing tips

Less Steps, More Time to Write. Writing Tip 28.

“You know that Pepperidge Farm bread, that stuff is fancy. That stuff is wrapped twice. You open it, and then it still ain’t open. That’s why I don’t buy it, I don’t need another step between me and toast.”

-Mitch Hedberg.

Less steps, more toast. I mean, more words written.

There are heartbreaking circumstances in any profession. In a writing career, one of them is too little unfettered time to write.

In an hour, a writer with a thoughtful plan can draft 1,000 words.

However, there are a lot of time-eaters that lead up to that hour, and then time to write may end up frittered away with necessary preparation.

The good news? Most of those necessary time-eaters can be taken care of in five to ten minute intervals, which can be much more easily slotted into a busy day.

Here are 4 useful tasks that may be worked into 5- or 10-minute time slots.

  1. Outline the next scene, or the character arcs.
  2. Write taglines and elevator pitches for the book as a whole.
  3. List 10 ways the next turning point might occur.
  4. Devise a central image for the next scene.

With these steps taken outside of drafting time, that peaceful drafting hour, when it finally arrives, can really get a writer somewhere fantastic. Time to write is treasure.

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

Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries was long listed for the 2018 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, and won the May 2018 Literary Titan Book Award. Thanks for that, 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 Monument Studio Mysteries starring Frankie Ray. She is a founding editor of Pulp Literature Press.

 

Categories
writing tips

Ready, Steady, Write. 3 Steps. Writing tip 27.

Some days the story almost writes itself, doesn’t it? So, how can a writer keep and grow the confidence that feeds authorial mojo?

Maintain Writing Confidence.

  1. Dismiss the chattering, critical interior back-monkey. Your deep interest in the work is a great sign of talent. That said, keep an open mind to adding new skills.
  2. Relax, keep company with writers you admire (I spend a lot of time with PG Wodehouse, although he passed on some time ago.) All of them had to maintain confidence in themselves.
  3. Still feeling unmotivated? Get some rather thrilling goals going. Go for a walk and imagine the shelf of books, the acceptance speech, the book cover, the lovely review, the cheque in the inbox.

You have the aptitude, or you wouldn’t want to take the time to do the work. As for outside critics, it may be worth keeping in mind what Anthony Hopkins said. “It’s none of my business what people say of me and think of me. I am what I am, and I do what I do.”

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

Cheers Mel

Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries was long listed for the 2018 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, and won the May 2018 Literary Titan Book Award. Thanks for that, 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 Monument Studio Mysteries starring Frankie Ray. She is a founding editor of Pulp Literature Press.

 

Categories
writing tips

Welcoming Revisions.

You owe it to all of us to get on with what you’re good at. -WH Auden.

I’ve been working on a re-issue of one of my murder mystery novels, this one set in 1934 Hollywood and starring an amateur sleuth schoolteacher with ambitions to star on the silver screen, who finds the dead body of a famous actor on her sofa.

There’s never been a better time.

There’s never been a better time for many aspects of our authorial lives, including re-issuing works. I’m very grateful that my work can go out in re-issue, although it’s not a process I take any more lightly than a first publication of a novel.

When I revise, I always think of Auden, wishing to pull poems he wrote when he was young. I read in The Atlantic that his wish, to our loss, would have included one of his most enduring and admired lines, “We must love one another or die.”

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

Cheers Mel

Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries was long listed for the 2018 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, and won the May 2018 Literary Titan Book Award. Thanks for that, 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 Monument Studio Mysteries starring Frankie Ray. She is an Acquisitions Editor with Pulp Literature Press.

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. Coming soon from Pulp Literature Press: The Writer’s Friend and Confidante, a Thirty-Day Guide to Narrative Structure 

Categories
Uncategorized writing tips

Summertime Writing, When the Weather is Fine.

I walked and made no effort to think – an old trick from my writing days. Work your body, rest your mind, let the boys in the basement do their jobs.–Stephen King, Bag of Bones.

Writing conferences are thick with authors for whom Stephen King’s On Writing is a great support. Stephen King’s words certainly resonate with me.

I’ve always been a great believer in letting inner writers do their jobs. Not only does it save work, but I think it’s respectful to put one’s trust in the driven, mysterious inner self that has made a career in writing possible.

I smiled as I typed the previous paragraph, because these kinds of happy and relaxed thoughts grow tall under a golden summer sun. Appreciation and gratitude for a holiday from toil and ambition, and that the work we love will be waiting for us upon our return.

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

Cheers Mel

Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries was long listed for the 2018 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, and won the May 2018 Literary Titan Book Award. Thanks for that, 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 Monument Studio Mysteries starring Frankie Ray. She is an Acquisitions Editor with Pulp Literature Press.

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. Coming soon from Pulp Literature Press: The Writer’s Friend and Confidante, a Thirty-Day Guide to Narrative Structure 

Categories
Time Management for Writers Tips for Narrative Structure Uncategorized

Writing Tip 25. Tag Lines Create Storytelling Magic.

There are so many great ideas and tips available to us for writing and for managing our  writing careers within the context of our lives at large, that we could spend our whole days saving time and never get a word written, a meal cooked, or the car washed.

To find and apply the tips that work best for each of us as we create our careers in ways that suit our unique schedules, rhythms, and working styles, is a tricky business.

But a one-minute tip, employed at least once a week, serves all of us.

Write the tag line.

Write the whole story in one sentence, and the task becomes clear. It’s such a useful practice, and so quick, that it almost works like magic for storytelling.

Mrs Stella Ryman is an octogenarian sleuth, trapped in a down-at-heel care home.

For more on writing tag lines, I recommend Blake Snyder’s engaging and invaluable Save the Cat.

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

Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries was long listed for the 2018 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, and won the May 2018 Literary Titan Book Award. Thanks for that, 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 Monument Studio Mysteries starring Frankie Ray. She is an Acquisitions Editor with Pulp Literature Press.

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. Coming soon from Pulp Literature Press: The Writer’s Friend and Confidante, a Thirty-Day Guide to Narrative Structure 

 

Categories
Tips for Narrative Structure Uncategorized writing tips

Writing Tip 24. Four Small Tweaks, Big Style Rewards.

Narrative styles vary , and rules evolve and transform like people do. For example, the passive is out of fashion, poor dear, even though when, used properly, it’s a great lens for keeping the focus on the central conflict. Narrative structure is a little more of a touchstone, and the four tweaks listed here may help yours shine.

The suggestions below look like copy editing, but actually clear the way for structural close-up work (for big tweaks, see last week’s blog on Developmental Editing.) As well, these few small searches help acquisitions editors, and paid editors, to be happy in their work as they focus on your strengths in storytelling.

Some leashes that jerk at readers’ necks:

  1. The word As, at the start of sentences. (As she walked out the door she looked over her shoulder.) The reader’s brain is tugged to a stop dealing with two actions and their repercussions at one time.
  2. Excessive ing words, at the start of sentences, for similar reasons. (Walking away, Chas whistled into the wind.) I know, we all had sentence-combining lessons as students and got gold stars for doing this. We get to keep the stars, but it’s well to lose a lot of gerunds.

Some styles that look strong but read weak:

  1. All caps, and almost every single  exclamation mark. There are more powerful ways to say almost any of these. (Naturally, like everything in the world, this isn’t true for everyone. Ray Bradbury and Tom Wolfe use exclamation marks beautifully, and Stephen King uses all caps.)
  2. Sounds spelled out, for it looks a bit early-reader and takes away the reader’s pleasure in imagining the sounds.

I’m glad authors differ in styles, strengths, and emphases, because I like to read new books, and there are only 26 letters in the alphabet.

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

Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries was long listed for the 2018 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, and won the May 2018 Literary Titan Book Award. Thanks for that, 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 Monument Studio Mysteries starring Frankie Ray. She is an Acquisitions Editor with Pulp Literature Press.

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. Coming soon from Pulp Literature Press: The Writer’s Friend and Confidante, a Thirty-Day Guide to Narrative Structure