Friday, 30 September 2016

One off writing contest!

Welcome to this week's blog post! I've decided to get myself in gear and do weekly posts (so stick about for every Friday). I've also added a contact form on the pages tab. Now you can use this for any reason. Some ideas of questions you might want to ask (or things you might want to say):

1) Could you do a post on X topic?
2) Do you have any advice on X?
3) Where is the best place to find good contests or competitions?
4) Are writing conferences a good idea?
5) Can you tell me about your books (feel free!)?

Etc, etc, etc. Basically, I'm here to help you in any way I can. And if I can't answer something, then I'll point you in the right direction to someone who can.

Also, if you join up on the email subscription, you'll not need to remember every Friday to check in - it'll be straight in your inbox! Huzzah!

Right, that all said, I have a little contest going on this week, and here it is:

 
I have a list of 5 writing prompts. Any writer who wants to enter can choose a prompt and write a 500 word (or less) piece of flash fiction. The prize? Well, look after the prompts to see, so you can choose which one suits you:


PROMPTS

 1) A bear, a moon landing, a girl in a red dress

 2) Doves, underground, lightning, sisters

 3) Snake, magic, palm trees, pilot

 4) Pirate, submarine, storm, television

 5) A cyborg, pink roses, war, best friends


Hopefully, these will get your mind whirring!

Now onto the prizes (the winner can choose one prize of their preference):

1) Their entry fee for the Bath Novel award paid.

2) Editing feedback on their first 1500 words.

3) An e-book or paperback of their choice (delivery times at Amazon's discretion!!).


CLOSING DATE: 21st OCTOBER 2016


Just send your flash fiction through the contact form (put your preferred prize in there, too!) and I'll announce the winner in 4 weeks time!!!

Good luck!


Photo by Cygnus921 https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Four_Leaf_Clover_068.jpg

 

Friday, 23 September 2016

Getting an agent phone call!!



The time has come, you're expecting The Call. That's a huge achievement so celebrate like there's no tomorrow. After that...sit down and get your business cap on! When you get The Call from an agent who wants to represent your work, there are a lot of things you need to know. The best thing is to be prepared with some questions, so here are a few to start you on your way!


Photo by Kornelia und Hartmut Häfele - http://www.pixeleye.com/, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29308


Agent Questions
 


Is there any more information you need from me or anything else I should send you?

Do you think my manuscript is ready to send to editors now, or do you recommend edits or revisions?

Do you get involved in the editing yourself, or use someone else?  Are you more editorial focused or sales orientated?

What are your likes and dislikes in terms of manuscripts/genres/etc?

How are you planning to circulate my manuscript?  What houses?  What editors?  What strategy?

How does your agency collect fees?  And what are those?

Does this offer only cover this manuscript or would it be other writing I’m working on as well?

How many times do you usually submit a manuscript before deciding that it’s time to move onto another project?

Would it be possible for me to talk to one or two writers you represent?

Also, could you tell me about some sales you have made recently?

What is the best way for me to communicate with you if you become my agent – telephone, email, or mail?

Will I know who has rejected my stories/how will you let me know if they have been accepted?


Now, there will probably be a lot of other questions you want to ask, and you might not get the chance to ask them all on the phone. But remember, you can email any follow up questions you have. Don't worry about asking these sorts of things - agents expect it and you need to know for your future career!

If you've got The Call coming - CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!


Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Character Internal Conflict

Hola wonderful writing friends!

So, you might have noticed last month was total radio silence, and I'm pretty sure ALL of you know why. Lol. Pitch Wars ms reading for my mentee. Oh, and a few lovely new clients who have amazingly good books for me to work on, too.

That all said, I thought it was time I put up a writing tips post. This week, I want to look at the internal conflict your characters will struggle through. Now, it's important to note that it's not only your protagonist who will have an internal conflict(s). So will your antagonist and secondary characters, and it's good to bear this in mind as it will help you to make all of your characters fully rounded.




There are various types of internal conflict and each has its own level of power. Here are some ideas for you to consider:


* Deep, dark secrets are a wonderful way to create internal conflict. What does your character never want to reveal? What happens if they have to reveal it to get what they want or to help someone they love? Using secrets as a motivator is a great way to get your readers hooked.

* An internal need that contradicts an external goal. What happens if your character has a desperate need for something in order to feel complete but they can't get it because they have an external goal they need to achieve? That kind of conflict can create an almost impossible choice: another page turner!

* Give your character a moral dilemma - what do they want and what do they have to do to get it? How much are they willing to sacrifice to get what they want? How far across the line are they willing to step? Really push your characters into their most uncomfortable zones. If they're not outside their comfort zone, you're not writing hard enough. Force your character to make the choices they don't want to make.




* Use distrust. Making your character not believe others makes it hard for them to sort out what's right and what's wrong. If they don't trust themselves (mentally, emotionally, physically) then all the better. If your character can't find their bearings, it makes for great internal conflict.

* Let your character know something they'd much rather not know. Do they know a friend is cheating on his wife? Did his wife just ask him? Is there a business deal about to go south but your character can't tell his friend who invested because of confidentiality agreements? Whatever it is, make your character sweat!


When dealing with internal conflict, there are a myriad ways you can go, so really dig deep into your character and their life and see what they have to offer. This is the time where you use your back story - in your planning, not in the majority of your book!

Good luck with your character conflicts!!!

Saturday, 30 July 2016

How to develop character

Hey Pitch Wars peeps (and anyone else who's stumbled across the blog! lol). Here's our top tips for improving your characterization!

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What is setting?

Here are our top tips for using setting to its best effect in writing!

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Thursday, 21 July 2016

Our Writing Tips for Pitch Wars!

Hey!

Here's an impromptu video of our writing wishlist and writing tips!


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Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Books to love!

For those amazing Pitch Wars hopefuls, I thought I'd stick up a little extra post about the kinds of books that I love. I'll see if I can get my co-mentor Dionne to do the same later, but she's traveling right now, so you might have to put up with just me. Lol

NOTE: I don't mentor all of these categories or genres, but they all have elements I love through any genre, so good to note down!

Okay so here goes:

The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle - a surreal, amazing read. This has an amazing ability to tease a reader along with a great mystery and the writing is to die for.





Bone Gap by Laura Ruby - again, surreal and intriguing. I like me some intrigue!




The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater- now this is my kind of fantasy! Aside from my ridiculous love of horses, this has gorgeous writing, wild creativity and characters that have such bravery and heart you can't turn away from them.




The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R Donaldson - twisty, clever, dark and deliciously unreliable!



My Sister, My Love by Joyce Carole Oates - this has heartbreaking emotion and such a real and thought provoking main character. Besides, the quirky format and character notes are very engaging.




The Maze Runner by James Dashner - I love the complexity of this and how it grips the reader from the first page and ups the stakes all the way along.




The Ocean at the end of the Lane by Neil Gaiman - this is one of my favorite books ever. It is so intelligent, dreamlike and clever. Give me all of this. We keep asking for Neil Gaiman to submit to us for PWs, but he hasn't so if you have a similar kind of book, please sub to us and we'll love you forever.





Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman - no explanation required. See above.



Life of Pi by Yann Martel - now, caveat here: didn't like the opening. However, stunning ending and imagination. Really, really changed my mind when this ending came around. Phenomenal talent there!



I am Legend by Richard Matheson - oh so clever on the ending. I like good endings. A lot. No, really. A LOT.



And the odd ball. I wonder if anyone knows this: The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg (has a few various different title formats) - stunning look into the human psyche. These characters are so real. Push through the old-fashioned writing and you'll be rewarded with an amazing book.




Okay, must stop. This is just a tiny selection of what I love and I'm hoping you have something along these lines!!!


Oh and obvious choices: The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, etc, etc.