Learning to be a Writer

Learning to be a Writer

By Yen Ooi The journey in becoming a writer neither starts nor stops at writing itself. Of course, producing copious amounts of stories, prose, poetry, and text is vital for a writer, but there is also the much ignored fact that in becoming a writer, one must be like a writer. Don’t worry—last I checked, writers are not a different species or a specific sub-species, but there are two important characteristics of a writer that I believe are key. These characteristics are probably true across all creative types, all artists. Neil Gaiman famously said that, “If you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise, and then just behave like they would.” So, I twist his words and say, pretend to be a writer and just behave like writers would, and slowly, you will be one. But what is it that makes a writer, a writer? In the last few years, I have met many people in various creative careers—writers, artists, designers, musicians—and I realised that everyone is creating something, and that we are all passionate about our own creations. I also realised that there are those, like Gaiman, who are a cut above the rest. I believe that this is because of two characteristics. Good artists are: 1) humble 2) proud.   Yes, I know. It sounds like the above makes all artists hypocrites, but hear me out. All artists, people who create, know that their skills and quality of their creations can always be improved upon, and that there are always people out there who are better than them. This keeps them humble. This also is how they are able to accept criticism at a level that no other jobs require, whilst giving them an open heart and mind to be able to work with others collaboratively. However, to be a good artist in today’s world of social media, self-publishing, and accessible technology, artists need also to be proud. Proud enough to believe in their own work and sell it. The solitary writer is a dying breed, preserved only by the archaic functions of traditional publishing houses. A writer needs to be able to approach future readers and say, “I know you’ll love this!” and believe it. Writers and other artists have a difficult job to do today. Humble and proud are antonyms of the other, but they go hand-in-hand in creating a good artist. It is the balance of the two that we all seek, in order to survive in a very harsh environment that destroys all who fail, and makes celebrities of those few who shine. So, if you are thinking of becoming a writer or if you are in a transition to do so,...

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Creating and Developing Characters

Creating and Developing Characters

by Ashleigh Galvin When an author is struck by a bolt of inspiration for their next “bestseller,” it’s often accompanied by character ideas. A lot of my story ideas are based around characters I would like to write about, personalities that I want to stick into certain situations just to see how they are going to act. But it’s important to learn as much as possible about a character before you start writing about them. Note that I said “learn,” not “make up.” You can’t tell people how to react. For example, you cannot tell your boss he isn’t going to be annoyed that you just spilled coffee all over his urgent paperwork. It’s the same for characters in your books. How they react is all about how you develop them while they are still budding ideas, barely on paper. This article is a short piece on creating and developing compelling characters. When I have an idea for a new character, I try and name them as soon as possible. A good name is everything. Not only will it endear the character to readers, it will help make them feel “real.” Once you have named your character, they will start to take form in your mind; they won’t be just a thought any more. A name is also important for the character’s impact on the story. If you name your rough and tough biker Ichabod Osmond Nadeir, then he is going to get some strange looks. Perhaps that’s why he always introduces himself as Ion, his nickname. Personally, I like to know what my characters’ names mean. In this instance, Ichabod means, “the glory is gone.” The nadir is the lowest point of an object. However, Osmond means ‘divine protector’ and Ion is an ancient Greek hero born of the Sun god Apollo. This man must have a hard past and an interesting future. Once your character has a name, you’re ready to start fleshing them out. I always start with their past as it’s what makes them who they are now. Look at the character’s life prior to the beginning the story. Look at their parents, their birth, how they were raised, where they were raised. Did anything important happen when they were young? A few years ago I created a profile template, which I use for my characters to this day. It’s about five pages long and it’s a great point of reference if I get stuck. It has the basic questions like “Who is their Best Friend?” But it also has some more interesting questions like, “What is their favourite food?” and, “Their most hated colour?” While these little questions might never be mentioned in your...

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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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The Apocalypse Has Arrived…

The Apocalypse Has Arrived…

The makers of the sensational new RPG, “The Darkest Age” are now giving you a chance at the helm. We are now accepting submissions for original, well written short stories focusing on the end of the world. We are looking for 2500 to 5000 words of fiction about the end of times. We’re talking major apocalypse here. Winner takes $100. Deadline is September 15th and entries must be emailed as an attached .doc file to submissions@spectaclepmg.com Entries must be original and unpublished. If your story is accepted for publication in our anthology, “Omega,” you will receive a complimentary copy of the ebook. Did I mention that first prize is a hundred buckaroos? So stop reading this and get to writing, my friends! 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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