One step at a time, it’s a slow process

Picture by Pix.Plz

Picture by Pix.Plz

For those of you that follow my blog, you will know that I wrote my first novel some time ago. Since then and over the course of at least 2 years, I have (and not necessarily in this order): joined a writers group, submitted several chapters for critique, reviewed the feedback, edited both the critiqued chapters and the others based on the feedback, created this blog, created a goodreads account, published a short story in an anthology, created an Amazon KDP account,  created a one line summary for my novel, created a blurb for my novel, designed several covers for my novel, formatted the novel for publishing and now I have submitted it to a handful of friends for beta reading (a mix of both readers and writers).

I have been holding off on getting an ABN, ASIN and ISBN until I am absolutely ready to publish. I feel like I am very close now, but waiting for the beta readers to return their opinions is a nerve wracking thing. That said, I am eagerly awaiting their feedback, and once I have it, I will probably lock myself away for a month to polish my prose.

I have read many authors take several years to complete their first novel. I have no doubt that this is true, and I believe they could have taken several more if they got caught up in their editing. I personally find every time I look at a chapter, I change something. At some point you have to say ‘that’s it’ and move onto the next stage. Each stage of the process gets you one step closer to your goal, even if it is a long, slow process – perseverance is the key. So if you find that you are taking forever to get anything done, don’t give up, good things take time.

Keep writing, keep editing and when you need a break from it all, try reading a book to unwind.

I have not failed.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
– Thomas A Edison

Spotlight on the Author – Talitha Kalago

(Photo by Pedro Moura Pinheiro)

Welcome to my first ‘Spotlight On The Author’ post. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know I like to help other Writers/Authors with hints and tips, references, etc… as well as motivate them with positive and inspirational quotes. But not everyone needs tips on how to write or where to find resources, so I thought I would try to help in another way.

The concept behind ‘Spotlight On The Author’ is to highlight other authors and their work, who they are, what they write, how to find their blogs, and whatever else I think might help.

I got the idea while talking to a friend and fellow member of Vision Writers – Talitha Kalago. Surprise, surprise, we were chatting about all things writing, from blog posts and author interviews to why you should have business cards as a writer – so who better to start with!

Talitha is an Aussie girl who lives on the Sunshine Coast. She writes Y.A, Spec Fic, Fantasy and Horror, among other genres, and not all under the same name. As a person she shoots from the hip and doesn’t mince words, much like her writing which is sharp and lean. Her critiques can be brutally direct and her editing suggestions have earned her the nickname ‘Slasher’. All fear Talitha in the circle of critiques… This said she is not malicious and will just as freely praise good work, to the extent where she has offered to present other writer’s work to her publisher.

Talitha’s is a determined, self motivated and focussed individual who loves to write. Her most recent work is the Lifesphere Inc. series of Y.A. Sci-Fi novels, the first of which is available free on her website. To find out more about her and her books you can visit: Traditional Evolution.


Formatting your self-published novel – DIY or hire someone?

There’s a useful link to Smashwords style guide for those that are interested

Into Another World

CIMG1036You have written your novel and now are ready to publish it as an e-book. But your file needs to be submitted in the proper format as required by the publisher. So do you do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you?

Well, that really depends on how computer savvy you are. I have done the formatting for all my books with no problems. I know of other authors who would never want the headache of formatting their book and hire someone to do it.

Option 1 – Do it yourself

You can follow the step-by-step instructions offered by Smashwords to prepare your manuscript.

Amazon too offers a simplified formatting guide.

Advantage – It is free. If you are relatively proficient at MS Word, it is not difficult to follow the Smashwords guide. Amazon’s is a little more complex.

Disadvantage – if you aren’t proficient in…

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How do you get creative ideas? maybe this will help.

(Photo by Jeff Kraus)

I was sitting out on a friends back deck the other day, working on some ideas for a writing project. It was a beautiful spring morning and as I looked down I noticed the reflection in the glass top of the outdoor table. I saw a couple of fluffy white clouds, floating aimlessly in an ocean of pure blue. As I admired the beauty, a plane glided smoothly from one side of the vista to the other, it was so far away that no sound broke the serenity of the scene. Being a reflection, the image was upside down. Then I thought to myself, what if the bottom of the plane was actually the top, and suddenly, I was watching a spacecraft soaring across the sky.

The lesson I learnt – Simple things can stimulate the mind, try looking at them from a new angle.

I continued to work on my ideas, looking for inspiration and direction. Then my friend joined me and suggested we brainstorm ideas. So I wrote my character’s name in the centre of a sheet of scrap paper and she asked me a series of questions. Where is your character? how did he get there? How did he know that? where did he learn this? where is another character? How does he feel about them? With each question, I drew a line from my character’s name and placed the answer at the end. Each question that came from the answer had its own line with its own answer at the end. Within 20 minutes I had a full page of questions and answers that filled my head with new ideas and connections to them that branched out from the web of information on the page.

Lesson learnt no.2 – Talk about your story with a friend, get them to ask about it and write down the answers.

Success is not final.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
– Winston Churchill

Vision at the Brisbane Writers’ Festival

So, what have I been up to this weekend you ask. Well I’ll tell you. I attended the Brisbane Writers’ Festival with my Critique group “Vision Writers”. What were we doing there? We held a free open session for anyone interested in finding out what actually goes on at a writers’ group critique session.

This session involved four of our usual members submitting short stories for critique prior to the event. Other members of the group (including myself) then read and critiqued the submissions, making notes for feedback, just as we would for one of our normal monthly meetings. We then set up in one of the auditoriums at the State Library down at South Bank, in Brisbane City, and each took turns to provide the written feedback to the members that made submissions.

Once we had all provided our feedback, the individual writers got to give their right of reply. This is where they answer some of the questions raised during the critiques, respond to any comments they may not agree with, tell us what they were trying to achieve, why they have written the story the way they have and give us a greater understanding of what is driving the story, the world behind the characters, or the like.

The session was a great success, we had around thirty people show up to experience what goes on at one of our group critique sessions (which filled most of the small auditorium), with plenty of interest at the end of the event from writers keen for more information.

When the session wrapped up, and in true Vision fashion, it was off to a local establishment for something to eat and a chat among friends. In this case it happened to be the Ship Inn for an after event dinner, but usually we would hit up one of the local cafes for coffee and lunch.

So there you have it, a day in the life of a writer.

I would like to thank all those who attended the session, both the participants and to spectators, together we made it happen and with a bit of luck, we’ll see some of you at our next critique session in October.

you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will

you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”

– Stephen King.