Why SPMG?

Why SPMG?

by Joy Anne Shearer   Looking for a publisher? Spectacle could be the answer. The following are advantages to working with this dynamic and personalized publishing group. At SPMG, the author and their work come first. One of the biggest indicators of this is that no agent is necessary. You can request assistance in putting together your query and you will be apprised of every move along the way. From access to staff by phone or email any time you might have a question, to workshops for your piece when it needs a few improvements to be the best it can be, Spectacle will walk you through the publishing process. We’re writers too, so not only do we understand where you’re coming from, we’ll help you take advantage of each step so that your work will be given the attention it deserves. SPMG is experienced in and prepared to assist you with what’s new, including eBooks and audio books. The number of readers on digital devices increases all the time—readers who the people at SPMG want to help you reach. Traditional book printing is also available. Before your book ever hits the stands, our Public Relations and Marketing Department will work with you to develop your brand and get your name out there. All in all, at SPMG we truly support what writers are doing and want to promote your art. You can find more information at http://spectaclepmg.com. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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From the Publisher’s Desk

From the Publisher’s Desk

Scene and Setting: Writing in A Void Sometimes when I’m writing, I get so excited about the plot events, that I forget the rest. By that, I mean sometimes the action happens in a void. I think it’s very easy to forget that, as writers, we are responsible for every nuance of the reality of the story, every aspect of the world in which we write. The burden then becomes two-fold – detailed enough to keep the reader’s attention, but not laboriously so, as not to slow down the pacing of the story. The second challenge is consistency with internal cosmology (you know, things like gravity). In many stories this can be taken for granted. A romance tale will not necessarily have to deal with aspects of time dilation because no matter how in love the characters are, they aren’t going to be travelling faster than light. That said, the supporting characters and the world they live in must be internally consistent. If Old Jim is a toothless storeowner, he must always be a toothless storeowner, unless there’s a reason – preferably on page – for him not to be. But you know all this, and I digress. Back to the void. When writing a critical scene, a plot point as it were, it’s important to draw the moment out, to slow down time. Think about the air quality and light quality the characters exist in. Is it raining? Is it night or day? Are they standing or sitting? On what? Is there background noise? What is making it? Do they know? Have they been there before? Answering just to of these questions will change your scene from a plot point to a pivotal moment of story. What are your techniques for avoiding the void? Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Villains: The Psychopath or Sociopath

Villains: The Psychopath or Sociopath

By: Nicole Galloway-Miller No matter the genre, every story needs an antagonist, a character who works against the hero or heroine and thwarts his or her every move. When writing a villain, it is easy to turn to the tried and true clichés of evil in-laws, serial killers, and stalkers. These types of characters make excellent villains. When creating a realistic antagonist, an author must consider the character’s primary motivation. What separate mediocre villains from memorable ones is the reason the antagonist desires power, prestige or revenge. Oftentimes these goals are the result of mental illness. Psychology is a great resource for exploring the motivations of criminals. As a writer, being familiar with some common personality disorders and how they manifest is extremely beneficial. This information can be a big help during the characterization process. One of the most common diagnoses is Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD), the psychopaths and sociopaths of the world. Symptoms of this mental illness include irritability, impulsivity, deception and a blatant disregard for social norms. Often people with this diagnosis are aggressive and do not feel remorseful or guilty. They have above-average intelligence and a wide variety of talents. When creating a villain with this disorder, it is important to remember that they exhibit these symptoms from an early age. In fact, many were juvenile delinquents. Psychologists disagree about the number of types of ASPD. Since the symptoms manifest themselves in many different ways, there is plenty of fodder for inspiration. Most sociopaths exhibit Jekyll and Hyde characteristics. On the surface, they are charming and pleasant. Underneath this façade lurks their true nature, aggressive and violent. Driven by a lust for control, attention, power and money, they are expert manipulators and can often get large groups of people to do what they want. Their ultimate weakness is that eventually these psychopaths can no longer maintain the act and turn violent and abusive. Sometimes the focus of their destructive tendencies is companionship. Aware that most people are tortured by doubt, guilt and inhibitions, sociopathic individuals create a relaxing, pleasant and safe environment. They tell them their partners, want those people want to hear and appear interested in their likes and dislikes. After some time, their true nature emerges. The psychopath becomes violent and abusive, lashes out at their significant others and shatters the peaceful environment. In other sociopaths, they are social and friendly in public and at home. Once at home, these individuals turn into monsters, abuse their families, and close friends. Since most people with ASPD are suspicious and paranoid, psychopaths may bully and antagonize coworkers they see as threats. Even when on their best behavior, sociopaths are unreliable, impulsive and moody. They often nurse...

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Show Don’t Tell!?!?

  Show don’t tell—at once the best and worst piece of advice a writer can hear. The first reaction is “But I’m telling a story!” The next thought in line is “this isn’t a screen play!” A writer must balance their story with visual descriptors to avoid setting their story in a void. If the setting is not intrinsic to the story, then the audience will have a more difficult time sinking into it, melding with it. For example, while taking a writing class in my undergraduate program, I found myself in a discussion with a fellow student, about his work—a highly emotional tale about homosexual lovers in Nazi Germany. But he didn’t know anything about Berlin in 1938. His knowledge of the setting he’d chosen for his opus was based on WWII movies. Most of the story happened in very neutral environments that only happened to have a Swastika or Nazi flag in them. Without the Third Reich, his story could have taken place in New Jersey 1978 or Dubai 2001. It could have happened in space, aboard the starship Velvet. He was failing in his primary task of showing us, the audience, the world his characters lived in. His story happened in a void and made it unsympathetic to everyone. Setting and place is just one aspect of “show don’t tell.” The other piece is engagement of the reader. Look at the following example: A: He drank the whiskey. It burned and he coughed. His eyes watered. He sighed. B: He jerked his head back and choked down the liquid gold. The smoky poison made his throat clench tight. His eyes, suddenly wet from the burning vapors, turned the piss colored lights of the dirty bar into watery snowflakes. As the chemical heat suffused his body, he let out a long breath. Both A and B accomplish the same thing: they tell us that the character had some whiskey. In both A and B we get a sense for the characters comfort level with whiskey. That’s where the similarities stop. B also tells us that the character is in a bar (not a void), more about what the character is experiencing and feeling. The character is more real because we can more easily imagine his discomfort. His eyes are burning; he’s fighting back a knee-jerk cough from a shot of hard liquor. We also get the impression that the character is under stress—but we don’t know how or from what. In fact, while B gives us huge amounts of information, it leaves us with many questions. Not to mention the fact that it tripled the word count. The question now becomes, “How about situations where there’s a...

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Magic

No, not the magic of writing. Well, maybe a little of that. Mostly it’s the magic of your fantasy world. Come on – you know you’ve written that next Lord of the Rings fantasy epic. You’ve done away with Orcs (Orks) and Elves and come up with something completely new and fresh. You’ve got an epic hero, who while still being “the chosen one,” manages to break all the stereotypes of fantasy literature and maintain the mythic cycle. You’re sure that Joseph Campbell would be bouncing with delight at your clever five act novel. You know that Ed Greenwood has nothing on the intricate fantasy realm you’ve created.   But there’s a problem. Your magic isn’t internally consistent. You might not even know it’s a problem. You might think it’s just some awkward scenes. Maybe you let your D&D group read the piece and they’re scratching their heads about the difference between Sorcerers and Wizards. Or maybe it’s something deeper, more subtle yet intrinsic to the plot.   Magic is a very slippery slope for a writer. Once the die is cast (or spell, in this case) there is not going back. If you’ve introduced magic to your world, your novel cannot ignore it. No one would. A magic-rich setting changes all the dynamics as well. Suddenly there’s no need to plow the fields – magic can do it. Suddenly, everyone carries a magic sword; your flaming scimitar of ass-kicking isn’t so special anymore. In fact, if everyone is walking around with a magic sword, mighty swords like Excalibur and Stormbringer suddenly become less wondrous. Even the Sword of Omens (Thundercats ho!) becomes more of a trinket or gimmick if every character has a magic sword. By the way, who is making these magic swords? If every man in the Evil Count’s Army has one, there’s no time for the Wizards to be casting their magic spells to plow the fields. Which puts us right back to where we started from.   You begin to see the problems with magic as a storyteller.   Finally, there’s the worst mistake a writer can make with magic – the dreaded Deus Ex Machina! Yes, one must never rely on magic to wrap up your plot. We see it all too often. For example, when the Prophets from Star Trek Deep Space Nine intervene (for unknown, undisclosed and unrealistic reasons) by destroying a force of thousands of Jem Hadar starships – we can call this a writer’s cop out, or a Deus Ex Machina Moment. Don’t do that.   Be the master of the magic in your world, not vice versa. Here’s how:   Be internally consistent: establish and understand the limitations...

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