Showing posts from August, 2011

Third Writers' Platform-building Campaign and Other Social Networks

achael Harrie's Third Writers' Platform-building Campaign began on 22 August and sign up is open until 31 August. I took part in the second Campaign and had a blast - Rach's got great challenges, and organizes the event so well; it was an exciting way to meet fellow blogging writers. There are prizes, too!

The other day Nathan Bransford asked about social networks. I've never listed all mine before; let me give it a try (I hope all the links work):

LinkedIn (I didn't realise how much Turkish I had on here!)
Library Thing (all linked at the bottom of this page)
Myspace (hardly ever updated)
Facebook (my author site, Whisky Trench Riders)
Compuserve Books and Writers Community
Knitting Blog

And NaNoWriMo, in season. If I joined Twitter and what not, I'd never get any writing done!

Which social networks are you on?
Meanwhile, Rachelle Gardner has a detailed round up of advice on How To Market Your Book.

And Indie Book…

Revising Fiction Workshop and Opening Scene from Out of the Water

nly a month left of the Revising Fiction Workshop, hosted by author Barbara Rogan.

I can't help but sing the praises of this workshop; it's been a tremendous boost as I push through the final edits and *gasp* prepare for querying come September. It's hard work taking a hatchet to the novel - more than I've ever done before. I keep thinking it's edited, but it's never ever done, not until I've dissected every last word - but I keep relearning how wonderful it feels when I've put the work in and come out the other side with a better scene than ever before.

In honour of which, here're the opening paragraphs of Out of the Water!
She hurtled down the corridor, the slap of footsteps close behind. Her feet turned and her body followed, her thoughts a waterfall of words. Get away, get away, get away.

One flight, two flights, and she reached a long corridor lined with high windows, gasping for air. A haze of early morning light gave the damp, stone walls a for…

Writerly Foods: What to Eat, When (With Talli Roland!)

riting from home each day, most of the excitement in my life revolves around food. Now, we all know the benefits of cupcakes and chocolate – how they can lift us from the doldrums when things may not be going so swimmingly with our writing efforts.

But what about all those other mood swings we writers experience? What should we munch on then?

I've developed a handy-dandy guide to help with just that question.

Stuck on a plot point. If your creative juices aren't flowing, why not encourage a little saliva? I'd suggest munching on something sour; perhaps some of those super-mouth-pursing penny candies from the corner shop. Or, why not try sucking a lemon?

Bored with the MS. No matter how excited we may be when we begin a new project, it's inevitable that at some stage, boredom will set in. At this point, I'd recommend a bracing bite of a durian. It tastes like feet and I can guarantee you'll feel alert after eating it!

Restless and anxious. Sometimes, reading over o…

Mike Wolfe from American Pickers and ROW80

ack in October of last year I had one of my posts on characters' faces, where I posted images of Rosa and the others from Out of the Water (set in 1492-3). I mentioned at the time that I was looking for a doppelgänger for Santiago (Rosa's father).

I keep looking back through other posts, but nowhere did I mention that I've found him!

One day I saw an ad for American Pickers, and there he was, Mike Wolfe. Then I learned that I'm not the only one whose, ahem, eye he's caught. For instance, Blondie's written a letter to Mr Wolfe.

He's a Guinness drinker. But that has nothing to do with Santiago of course, who was around long before Guinness was ever brewed.

Here he is, in the usual anachronistic surroundings:

Now I need Mawdlen (Rosa's mother) and Ayten (Rosa's friend) and Ayten's love interest, Devran Bey (son of the Grand Vizier). Keep a weather eye open...

As for ROW80: I'm editing, I'm editing, I swear. Never mind that I'm on vacati…

August Writing Challenge: Doorways

nother challenge! This one's a writing challenge, set by Sonia G Medeiros.

"Imagine opening a door in your home, or any door you've opened hundreds or thousands of times, and behind that door is not what has always been there. Instead, it opens into somewhere else. Some other part of this world or another world entirely.

What would you see when you opened that door? And what would you do about it?"
I thought of Rosa from Out of the Water as soon as I read this (yes, I'm still editing). This scene (392 words) comes after she's married Baha. Barely two days into their wedding, they're forced to live apart, as he tries to reconcile with the father who disowned him and she attempts to reunite with her adoptive family. A romance set in Constantinople, 1492...

(Peri, which means fairy, is his nickname for her)

She took a deep breath, knocked, then pushed in the door, her hand shaking, though she could not tell if it was anticipation or apprehension.

There was a…

Plot Beasties and Belated ROW80 Check In

ute plot bunny asks, what genre have you fallen into?

What's a plot bunny? you ask.

Me! I'm a plot bunny, he replies, whiskers twitching.

He's so cute that you have to put your hand out and pet him.

Suddenly you're surrounded by swashbuckling pirates. But your finger's still on the bunny's fur and the scene changes. You're on an undiscovered planet. Caught in a wild west town. Or maybe...

Plot bunnies were invented by Jill McCaw during our last writers' houseparty, at The Mall at the End of Time, and elaborated on by the rest of us. Touching a bunny - actually, at this point, it could be any beastie - transforms the world of your story and brings on new challenges for your characters.
"A plot beastie latches onto a character and clings for all it's worth. Characters are helpless: they believe, they act out, they experience real fear and risk. In so doing, they face the core illusion of their lives, and must struggle against the one thing they have…

Today's Guest Post Brought To You By S. P. Bowers

i Sara! Thanks for guest posting today!

Sara, who blogs over at her space subtitled it's just me, was kind enough to drop by to talk about... Manuscripts.

Hmm, how'd that wine glass get there?
Take it away, Sara:

Like many of you I have a few novels tucked away in my virtual desk drawer. I sincerely hope most of them never again see the light of day. I'll admit to some pretty bad writing. Made worse by the fact that I didn't think I needed to rewrite. Don't laugh, I was young and naive. While I did try edits on a few of them my current novel is the first one I have really put this much effort into rewriting.

I heard Kiersten White say "Ideas are captured in first drafts but books happen in editing." I firmly believe this. Look at your old novels. Any of them read more like a series of scenes about the same people than a real book? Or do they still resemble brain spew from NaNo?

First drafts are wonderful. I love drafting. I love the rush that comes with …

Guest Post by Ayak at Ayak's Turkish Delight!

elcome to The Girdle of Melian, Ayak!

I am very flattered to be asked by Deniz to do a guest post on her blog.

I moved to Turkey from England in 1999 and married my Turkish husband in 2000. We have lived in different areas of Turkey. In fact we have moved 15 times to date. My blog, Ayak's Turkish Delight, is about my life in Turkey. The ups and downs, the trials and tribulations, the happy and the sad......not forgetting the often disastrous adventures of Mr Ayak.

The topic of my post is the Dolmuş.

A dolmuş is a privately owned vehicle, with seating capacity of 14, which runs to and from towns and outlying villages.

Dolmuş means "stuffed" or "full" as they often don't run to fixed schedules, but when they are full. Mainly because the fare's very cheap, and the owner/driver isn't likely to earn very much with one or two passengers.

And boy do they fill them to capacity! They will stop anywhere en route if you flag them down. Even when full, they al…

Medieval Quotes About Writing


I've been reading medieval poetry from Spain, which started out as research but soon turned into a pleasurable activity in its own rite.

These two pieces come from the poet Shem Tov Ardutiel (Santob De Carrión):

Writer, you hold a flame in your hand,
or is it the blade of a sword or a spear -
the tree of knowledge of good and evil,
or a staff to make wondrous signs appear.

Are there words enough in all of song
to praise the pen? Who else could bear
the burden of bringing back the past
and preserving it then as though with myrrh?

It has no ear with which it might hear,
or mouth with which to offer answers;
and yet the pen, in a single stroke,
at once does both - observes and remembers.

Always Versus Never

ack in March, Lydia Kang had a neat post about writing habits; the Always/Never list.

My list goes like this:

In my writing, I Always:

- use pen and paper for the first draft
- have characters glance at each other
- repeat "and then" all over the place
- use the word "wondered"
- sprinkle meaningless modifiers (small, big, large, tiny, etc.) willy nilly

I Never:

- know the names of secondary characters until the third draft or so
- keep all the scenes I write (a lot end up as gangplanks or backstory, saved in draft folders)
- add dialogue tags in the first draft (the margin is always filled with notes like "but what are they doing??")
- write a story set in modern times
use contractions. Everyone's so formal all the time! I have to remind myself to be more casual in dialogue.

What sorts of habits do you have?

ROW80 going well! Still working on typing and editing the murder mystery short story. Hope everyone else is meeting their goals!

Finished! Champagne! Confetti! Squee!


I've finished! I've finally, finally, got a clean, no square brackets, no highlights, all linking scenes in place, copy of Out of the Water.

Bring on the strawberries and dark chocolate!

Because, you know, I'm going to need it. Now the real editing starts. The word choice editing. The tone and theme and imagery editing. The character arcs and motivations and possible subplots editing.

Let me just pop another cork first...

August Literary Resolution and Wariangles

nly four months left after this for the 2011 literary resolutions. Every time I do something like this (such as the 30 day song challenge on Facebook), it makes the time pass that much quicker. Whereas keeping track of writing-related goals never has that effect.

This is my favourite month. The challenge is: reread your favourite book from childhood. Why did that book make such an impression on you?

I get to reread - and talk about - The Lord of the Rings again! I had a long post last year, based on a post of Tahereh's; I called it Why Tahereh Mafi Should Read The Lord of the Rings.

I won't repeat all my points. It's quickest to say, without Tolkien, I wouldn't be writing. Of course, I started writing fiction before I first read The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings (at the age of 10), but my growing love of language was directly influenced by Tolkien and the other members and followers of the Inklings. Many of the books I've read since discovering Tolkien were based…

The Home Stretch

. Am. Almost. Done.

I swear! I've got five scenes left to go:

Two have been written and need typing;
Two are, ahem, bedroom scenes, which need no encouragement for me to write;
Leaving one last scene, one of the more difficult, involving all sorts of fast-paced action at the end of the novel, right before the denouement.

Raise the stakes! Throw rocks! Add tension!

Argh. I just want them to retreat to the bedroom.

Rosa first came in to my head in February 2009. One year later, I finally had the title, Out of the Water. That was last year, the summer when everything changed. Rosa attended the writers' houseparty at Cherry Hill, then hosted one in Constantinople. Romance entered her life and I finished the first draft of the story a few months after that.

I've been editing since then. Some days it feels like it'll never end. Other days I procrastinate by doing research. Still other days I hide behind my To Read pile and pretend I'm not supposed to be writing my own sto…