Write for a Reader

The writing advice is to write with a reader in mind. The assumption is that the writer thinks up an audience before starting to write, so they are telling to story to someone specific. As the writer puts words on page, they are telling the story to this imaginary audience sitting across the desk from them. One author was using voice to text software and using it as part of his writing process to the point of not wanting to upgrade for fear the voice would change causing his audience to change.

When I write I don’t write to a specific audience, because I am just a channel for the character to tell me the story. I become the reader who I am writing for. The story is one I want to read, though at times the character goes off to places I am not sure about it. Usually by the time I reach the end of the story, I understand why they went where they did and it works for the story.

There are some of my stories where my only reason for writing it down was for my own entertainment. My western, Chenarcor, was me following the characters around and writing down what they did for my own enjoyment. Turns out that other people have enjoyed it as well, so it seems to be a good way for me to write. Other people do need that audience they are talking to when they write, which is okay as no one way works for everyone.

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True Memoirs

In an attempt to recover from the school year, I watched a large amount of action movies. One of these movies is True Memoirs of an International Assassin. Many movies can teach things to writers about writing if the writer is willing to pay attention, but that movie teaches couple lessons to writers about being a writer and not just about writing.

The first lesson is about the amount of research a writer puts into their story. Research is a great thing and can make the story feel realistic. However, too much is a bad thing. The story should not be easily confused with reality. There was one author who had to take a step back because his readers were using the methods his characters were using to do things they shouldn’t. It is good to do the research and it is good to have some realism in a story, but beware of the level put into a story.

The second lesson from the movie is to not let anyone bully you about your writing. We all dream of getting that phone call from a publisher demanding to let them publish our book. Many of us don’t know enough about the legal end of things to really understand many contracts. However, if the publisher is not willing to give you time to read over the contract and find someone who does know something about legal things to read it for you as well, you should back out of the deal. Otherwise it will not end well. And if the publisher puts out your fiction book and non-fiction, you should consider legal action.

Chapbook

One of the projects for this semester was to put together a chapbook with contributions from other people. Everyone in class was to start with request for submissions and write letter of acceptance and then create the actual book. This is the most fun I have had on a school project in years.

Back in January I was looking for something to read that involved dragons, so when this project came up I decided my theme would have something to do with dragons. My title became Dragons in Winter and that is what the stories needed to be about. Fortunately, I have people in my life who were willing to submit stories and a theme people were willing to submit to.

I really enjoyed getting and reading other people’s stories. Because I only had four submissions I didn’t have to send out any rejection letters, even if I had to write one for turning into the teacher. Then at the end I had another book put out through Lit-N-Laughter. It makes me want to make more.

 

Getting Back on the Horse

It seems forever since I wrote a blog post and it probably feels that way to anyone who follows this blog. It has been a long semester with five classes and the long commute between home and school. But I survived it so I should try to post again.

I have a joined the website Patreon(https://www.patreon.com/BHeatherMantler) and am hoping to put out a short piece on it weekly as a way to generate some money to pay bills. According to the e-mails, I should ask people already interested in my writing to support me on the site, so this is it. If you chose to help me, thank you. If you chose not to, that is okay.

The last thing I will mention in this post (and my next post will be back to discussion on writing) is a request. If you have read one of my books, I ask that you put up a review of it on Amazon or Goodreads. All reviews help authors, even if it is just a rating and one sentence. It takes only a moment of your time and costs nothing, but it helps me out a lot.

And I hope to have another post up next week about writing.

 

Word Count

When I start a story I am not worried about the word count because I am usually sucked into the story and letting the words flow. But usually about the middle of things I start to wonder whether I will have enough words to make a full novel. It feels like I could wrap up the whole story in only ten thousand words. Is there enough story to fill in the word count? Do I have to add more threads in to make it?

Except the story has already made that decision. If I continue to let the words flow, they will come out to a word count close to what I want. I try to remind myself of the matter every time my mind brings it up to worry over, but it will always come up at some point in writing the story. The best solution is to lose myself in the story so that nothing else matters until it is done. It is hard but so is blocking out any editing voice from my head.

 

First Snow Fall

The first snow fall of the season can be one of two things. It can be pretty and wonderful with the way it magically covers the bleakness of bare trees and grey skies. Even with the sun having to come through the clouds, it is bright out and that helps lift moods. A sense of happiness can be filling. And if it before Christmas, it can bring the feelings associated with Christmas.

The second thing the first snow fall can be is a horrible thing to endure. It is slippery, unpredictable, and sloppy. The coldness seeps into the body creating pain. Depending on the temperature, it can be very wet causing anyone who has to go outside to get soaked. Also drivers are the worst during and shortly after the first snow fall because they have forgotten how to drive in the snow, which means it is dangerous to go out on the roads.

Most years I feel the first about the first snow fall. I am excited to see it and can’t wait for it to come. This year I feel the second. My journey from home to school has caused anxiety about driving, so I was really hoping it wouldn’t snow until December. But it showed up the other day. But it has meant that I’ve been spending all weekend inside and getting some writing done. With a mug of hot chocolate and a good story, the snow fall is okay for today.

November First

Most people in the writing community know what November first means. It means the first day of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. It means embarking on a major writing adventure. 50,000 words in 30 days. 1667 words per day. A fun way to get that novel you have been meaning to write done and in a fairly short amount of time.

I liked the years I participated, even when I didn’t win. If you can make it through week two, it is a great slide. That is how I was writing my Kings of Proster series. If nothing else, you get to meet other writers and they are a fun crowd. My first year of NaNoWriMo led to the creation of a writing group at the Prince George Library that is still going strong today.

Unfortunately, I will not be participating again this year as school conflicts with the writing challenge. Also I started my latest writing project two weeks ago and I’m 8k words into it. NaNoWriMo rules say you should be starting fresh for the month of writing. So, I am going to sit on the sidelines and cheer on all others who are choosing to participate. Have fun! Enjoy the company! Finish your novel!

 

Trapped in a Story

In the last few months I have been working on a book. I wrote the first book with these characters over the summer. Then they showed up in a short piece in the middle of August. After that I thought maybe I could move on to other projects, as I have many waiting. Then the next book came along before I could get into them. And I have been working on it until Friday when I finished it.

This last while writing the story, I have felt trapped in the story. Working on other things have been a problem. Homework has really been put on the backburner. Things I need to do for my financial situation are taking days longer than necessary. Reading used to be an escape but now I lack interest in picking up a book. Even other stories I’ve started I don’t feel like going back to.

I thought I had gotten free on Friday when I finished the book. The characters don’t agree as she has been telling me the next piece, giving me no choice but write it down.

 

The Best Brownie Recipe

I have put out a short story collection titled The Best Brownie Recipe. It contains 28 stories of varying lengths and subject matter. I have spent several years collecting these stories and then this summer I put them together in one volume. Some of the stories I like, some stories I don’t really like, and some stories I have no idea why I wrote them.

A few I had written for contests and some were for school. Some were just ideas that came to me and I wrote them down. With the collection, I add in short explanations about how the story came about. I was told I didn’t need to put them in but I wanted to.

Several of the stories are experimental and others are the style I use in my novels. As much as I call myself a novelist, I do find myself writing shorter pieces. Aside from sending them into contests, they just sit on my computer, which is why I decided to publish this collection to share them with people. And I really like the brownie recipe.

https://www.createspace.com/6666936

A Thousand Words

I find when I sit down to write for the day the first thousand words of the day are the hardest to get down. I struggle through the first hundred and the slowly crawl through the second hundred. I’m likely to give up before I get to the third hundred if I don’t have something pushing me to keep going. This can be true of a story I am really into and couldn’t wait to get started for the day. I could be in the middle of the best scene in the whole book and if it within the first thousand words of the day, I struggle. After the first five hundred words it gets a little easier.

But after I hit the first thousand, it is like the muse has decided I am serious about writing and opens the flow gates. It goes from forcing words on to the page to the fingers trying to keep up with the thoughts. The second thousand comes easy. Sometimes I forget the time and when I come back to reality I find I’ve written ten thousand words. Those are the good days.

However, most days I struggle getting to that first thousand. With some many other distractions, a hundred is an accomplishment. But as I writer I live for those days when I can get through those first thousand words and let the rest fly.