Writer’s Advice – what’s that?! 2018

Author’s Advice

There are many ways that people can get advice. The most obvious ways for writers to improve are to take lessons in the language they will be writing in and the old fashioned ‘read the greats’.

There are times when constructive criticism is very helpful and there are times when your enemies will only have destructive criticism and jealousy to offer you.

Two main ways to get feedback about your writing for professionals:  1) Submit!  When the editors will make changes; when the magazine or newspaper or publisher will buy it/pay for it; then that ‘s good.

Great ways to get feedback for amateurs and some semi-pros: join writer’s groups; take work shops or classes.  Peer critique is often part of such arrangements.

General to Specific

There are numerous types of writing and most writers specialize.  Many of those who have specialized don’t call themselves writers.  Grant writers, for instance, will often just say that they work for whatever organization they work at in some administrative role.  Journalists, typically prefer to be called journalists, although they could all call themselves writers and be telling the truth.  Staff writers may choose to refer to the publication where they work.  Most staff writers wouldn’t ever write “for fun” or “as just a hobby” and those that would might well not tell the truth about that.

Travel writers, book authors, niche novelists, political news, best restaurants, fashion, television, film, all have specialized types of writing.  There are people capable or more than one kind of writing, but it is common for those who are most successful in the field to find they were forcibly limited to a small subjection of the writing world in order to find a way to earn a living or to develop a good reputation in the industry.

 

Network

There are times when you have to meet and greet enough others in the industry to get a deal and other times when you really need to mail something for it to work. In some cases, the right thing to do is apply for a job and become a regularly paid publishing company editor for other authors even if you hardly get anything of your own published. Maybe you will, and maybe it won’t matter anymore.

Sometimes writers are stubborn and fail to change in ways that will cause them to have far greater success and other times people just realize that for them: to change that much would be so bad that they might as well go work in a totally different field if that’s really how it works.

Other writers tolerate a lot of painful constructive criticism and make survivable compromises and learn to be a bit more flexible and they find out that they can get a lot further and are happy with the results even though the reality ends up being unlike their original idea.

Basics of Book Writing

Type of Book

This is the most important aspect of the project. Are you going to write a nonfiction book or a fiction novel? If the book is going to be a nonfiction book, there is more than one way to decide which type of book to write. One can look at the market and see what is most needed. One can look at oneself and see what one most wants to write about. Each leads to a good decision but not the same kind of wise choice.

If the book is going to be nonfiction, then one needs to make a decision on which type. Likewise if fiction, it helps to know the genre before one begins the writing process.

The goal of the end product does also matter. If one is just doing the work for fun, without any need to make money from doing it, then one can be driven more by preference and maybe take more risks. Money making endeavors can involve risks, but on

Planning

You may have just a simple form of the idea.

Pitch

You have to decide based on your self-knowledge whether or not you are going to pitch your idea to the publishing industry at this stage, or after you have an outline, or after you have written the book. There is one other option and that is to put together enough for a book proposal and pitch that.

Pitching an idea, means meeting with or calling or emailing industry moguls to see if any of them are interested in your idea. For some people this is the easy part, but for others this is the part that is harder than making a private trip to the Moon.

Outline and first draft

When that is the case you can start with an outline. In the case of fiction, some authors prefer to develop a detailed plot line and outline before they get to writing. Others begin by just writing and seeing where the creative process leads. People like that often face a great deal more editing after they have produced a first draft.

Depending upon the other demands in your life and your over all personality structure, you may also need to create a scheduled production time. This could be anything from ‘for an hour in the morning before the children get up’ to ‘9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday.’

Editing & Book Proposals

After you have a draft, you can edit the entire work. Around the same time that you do this, you can also begin to query, and to prepare the book proposals. If you pitched and it worked, then you know who will be directing your queries to or where you will be submitting your book proposal. If you have had astoundingly good luck, then you will actually already have a publishing deal for your book. In that case, you know where to send the edited version of the book.

Editing tips: while a lot of editing can be done right after you complete the work, the more emotionally invested or simply overworked you are from writing the first draft the more you need to let the draft just sit for a while before you edit it. How long it should just lie around without you doing anything with it can vary from 2 weeks to 13 years. In most cases, you will be able to edit the thing with improved emotional distance after 2 weeks to 2 months. Even if you think you are not emotional about your book project, you should wait. Once you forget the exact details of what you meant to write, it will be easier to see what you actually wrote. Typos and other errors will become more readily apparent.

If you have the money and the connections to, hire a second person to edit the work for you at least once. Constructive criticism can be a big help in improving your performance. Outside editors tend to see things you miss as the author. In some cases, your editor will make you happy by showing you how well you wrote your book or story.

Once the work is edited, put together your query letter and assemble any other information the prospective publishers may want from you. This may include: an overview of the market for the type of book you have written, the first 3 chapters of the manuscript, a direct sales pitch letter to the publishing company to convince them how great your book is. They do normally expect a short bio, but it can be quite brief, telling them mainly how or where your work has been published and how well you were paid or if the problem is that you were not.

Submission

You may have to decide where to submit your book. You can try literary agents and you can try publishers. The Writer’s Market is one example of a resource that tells you which publishing companies require literary agent representation and which ones do not.

You also have to check whether or not simultaneous submissions are viewed as acceptable. Simultaneous submissions is like dating multiple people without having to get sexually involved in order to land a spouse or both in one. Some people get offended by it, and others are comfortable with it. Check with the publisher or literary agency.

Nowadays, you may sometimes email the publisher or literary agent. There are people who prefer this, and others who still want it the old fashioned way. Find this out to submit the way they want it.

Response

There is nothing left to do after submission but wait. Most of the results of a long wait are the way it is in romance: you don’t want to marry each other and you aren’t ever going to have sex. They will neither represent your book – in the case of a literary agency, nor will the publisher actually accept your book for their investment and publication.

Now and then you will be fortunate and get a positive response. Sometimes a positive response means “We can’t use this one but if you write another book, be sure to let us take a look at it.”

Be wary, but realistic. Many a positive early response rather than being serendipity should set off your alarms. It is probably a self-publishing company willing to publish your book as long as you pay them to. There are times when self-publishing is a perfectly sound idea but for most writers who are still naïve about the publishing industry, having no one but self-publishers interested after all your hard work can be devastating or, for the tough minded, only a little disappointing.

Seriously, it is possible for an author to ‘hit the jackpot’ and get a big publishing company to pay tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars or more, even as an advance on sales for your book. Not only that, but in some cases, the editors won’t even change it so much that you no longer feel as if it is the book you submitted to them but does still have your name listed as the author.

Most likely, that is not what will happen. Most likely, if you have written a really good book you will be able to find a small publishing company willing to support your work with a small advance or no advance but a decent professional production of the book. In other cases, you can get it self published. I’m not sure about the % on this.

A large minority of writers will find that after all their hard work absolutely nothing more will ever come of the project. After a while, the author will get over the shock and numb, and move on with his or her life.

 

Want To Improve Your Creative Writing?

Want To Improve Your Creative Writing?
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Want to Improve Your Creative Writing?

Seeking to improve your creative writing?

Are you looking to improve your ability to write creatively? Perhaps the creativity is no problem but you would like to improve the quality of your writing. There is more than one way to do this.

If you prefer to meet with people in person and can, you can try writer’s groups and semi public forums. The most important features of such groups, which are also often free or very inexpensive, is that a person can get feedback and some social contact.

The other main way for amateurs to work at improving their craft is to take classes. This can be done in person or you can use online creative writing courses. If English is not your native language there may be special ESL (English as a Second Language) courses that you can use. You may have to turn to more community education in order to be able get the level and type of instructional assistance that you need.

There are also ways to work at improving your creative writing skills when ‘by yourself’ and to differing degrees of interactivity.

As mentioned above, there are online creative writing courses. There are also online writer’s groups. OpenSim and Skype calls are two examples of how groups can meet in real time. Twitter runs LitChat and SciFi Chat at set times. There are limits to those but they are there.

Reading is actually one great way to work on one’s creative writing, but one has to use a bit of caution regarding what one takes in. Popularity, and excellence bring up the issue of what is literature and how does literature differ from and figure into creative writing in general, especially popular writing that sells well.

Another way to work on improving one’s creative writing is to just write and then let it sit. After it sits for a bit, read it again. In many cases upon re-reading one will discover either that one is happy with it or that there are numerous obvious correctible mistakes.

Finally, and this is especially applicable for those who are or who would like to turn pro, a great way to get feedback about your writing is to submit it to publications. It may be best to start with a publication that you have been a consumer of – the newspaper you’ve been reading for years. They will let you know if they will publish it or not.

 

Magical Realism with an Urban contemporary context

 

Book Excerpt:  The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead

The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead

Chapter 1: Help When You Need It

Welcome to the Circle City; crossroads of the Midwest. A major goal was to stop being a place that New Yorkers laughed at. Finally this had happened. The new Mayor was Jason Boggs. He was the city‟s record youngest municipal leader at the ripe old age of 32.

Mayor Boggs had found the debriefings he received from the local law enforcement agencies to be sobering at best and rather disheartening. He told himself in the office after hearing over an hour about some of the local semi-organized crime, “It‟ a good thing I was born cynical or I would be incredibly depressed after that.”

Jason had managed to get elected because he was an innovative leader with a combination of intense drive, profound kind heartedness, was very clever and able to handle subtlety.

A local law enforcement leader had just informed him that he suspected that they had a cocaine dealer in the area who was moving goods at the international level and doing possibly up to a billion dollars of business in a year.

The worst part about cocaine traffickers, was that once they „went big‟ they tended to have more firearms than some of the smaller time dealers, and they tended to be slick, and they often had a lot of „respectable‟ customers.

Jason thought about it. Yuppies living in his own city‟s cherished condominiums dressing professionally and working decent jobs were equally or more liable to be supporting this villain than the blue collar working class. The 3 other thing about cocaine is that like credit cards, most poor people cannot afford it.

He determined that because of all this, he wanted to get rid of the villain as quietly and subtly as the customers made the most of the available drugs.

He had a long think in his office and then played 4 hours of video games in a row at home that night before finally falling into a fitful slumber. He muttered as he tossed and turned, “get rid of them”…”don‟t make a scene”…”no, it‟s not okay actually”…”the police”…”voters”…eventually he drifted off to sleep.

The next morning, Jason Boggs woke up and wrote briefly in a notebook that he kept by his bed. Then he went through the normal waking and dressing routines and set out to help his fair city once again. He breathed cheerfully and deeply into the fresh morning air because, dear readers, he had a plan to tackle this beast of a local problem.

He called around to people who, well, it‟s better if you don‟t even know Reader. That‟s how secret the information is. They responded according to what they knew. It took Jason hours and well over thirty phone calls to start to find the kind of information that he really needed. After that, he had to schedule in some meetings and attend to less volatile local matters such as the budget, upcoming taxes and how to improve the fitness level of public school students during school hours. 4

Someone who works „back stage‟ in the local government, gave the Mayor one super important number. This was the magic number to a lone lawyer: a man named Thomas Smith. He was your basic „white guy wasp‟ being predominant ly Americanized ethnic Englishman. He was in his 30‟s. He was very powerful. Financially stable, sharp as a brand new kitchen knife, and imbued with esoteric knowledge and wisdom, Thomas was so much more than just an attorney. He was on a spiritual path that leads men into wizardry, even in the New Millenium.

The next batch of people you meet Reader will be another part of this whole story.

* * *

Skilleas Fog was his Internet name, but he had come up with it playing darts in a pub with people from the Society of Creative Anachronisms. He had a very unusual working life. The main reason for this was that Skilleas liked to fight and he was very good at it. However, he was also often hard pressed to take orders constantly from anyone, but he wasn‟t really sociopathic so much as he was simply highly eccentric.

Skilleas had a wide variety of ways of earning money fighting. He was very gifted in this area. He had managed to make some money wrestling, and a little prize fighting cash as a boxer; he had even managed to come by more than enough to put a down payment on a house by cage fighting.

This is incredibly rare, that Skilleas could do so well at so many different forms of combat. He also knew his way around fencing, and shooting. He could bow hunt quite well and he was a keen shot with a hand gun. He had learned to 5

hunt as a boy and he served eight years in the military. They had hoped he would stay in the Marines but he left because he got into too much trouble. He would simply shrug and admit: “They‟re too strict. That‟s all it is. I can‟t handle that kind of environment.” Skilleas had considered law enforcement, but he rejected the idea based on the same problems: consistently complying to higher ups was abnormal for him and he felt it was too restrictive.

Well, perhaps you can tell by now that he‟s not exactly a „cop hater‟ type of fellow. Since this is true, and because he had such an intensely independent nature, Skilleas also tried his hand at bounty hunting. Like many of his other successes, he didn‟t do it a lot.

By that I mean, while a rock solid career professional wrestler would train and win for decades, Skilleas would train for two years, win some money, but then often get restless and do something else. This lifestyle caused him to have a breadth of talents but at times prevented him from getting very far with any one thing. Like his other efforts, the bounty hunting went alright. The trouble with that was that he had to learn to sleuth or find good detectives to work with. One of the good parts was that his fighting skills came in very handy. Another downside was the length of time he had to put in before he could get paid.

Skilleas had a few pet favorites that he felt awkward about when he dealt with other people. One of these was that he preferred hand to hand combat over armed even when it led to hospitalization or death. Most people in his generation aren‟t like that. 6

Another little tidbit was that he knife hunted, not „knife fighting‟ in some gang, but wild game hunting with only a knife as a weapon. He believed that hunting was intended to be challenging and so as a grown man he hunted animals the same way that he acquired work, in a noteworthy, successful and peculiar manner.

No one knew, he often felt, how much wisdom he had come into by doing „wild things‟ such as hunting an adult raccoon without weapons. Very few people he believed would understand or accept why he felt so gratified that he had managed to hunt and kill white tailed buck during deer season with no weapons. He ate these animals and kept their fur. He was very old fashioned in that respect.

When hunters would gather at a place during the season with their rifles and their tree stands they would tell each other how they had done. Most of them agreed that Skilleas was not much of a hunter as he would tell them truthfully at the end of the season, “I only got one with only 6 points” but would never mention that he had in fact done it either with no weapons at all or in one instance a rope trap, and in another case, a knife. Nature, he thought, has an amazing power to balance all forces. When he did it that way, he could kill enough that, with curing or refrigeration he had enough meat to last him the rest of the year, but that was only because he was a childless man.

Despite these noteworthy peculiarities, Skilleas managed to do alright socially. He was actually very kind and obviously had an intensity about fairness 7

that often seems in society to have gone quietly extinct. He was moderately handsome, very graceful and charming but not much of a talker.

It was not terribly rare for him to sulk every now and then about this. Bar maids would occasionally address this issue with him. “I know, I know,” he might grumble when a woman went off with another man.

The bar maid would look quizzically at him, “I honestly think she was more attracted to you.”

I know, but did you hear that guy?” Skilleas would pout, “He‟s kissed the Blarney Stone, he has, whereas I haven‟t. I can‟t tell you how often that happens.”

One day, Skilleas received a telephone call from someone who really was one of his friends. The man was a very strange fellow also. If you have read old comic books, then think Dr. Strange. The man calling was a genuinely good man, but he was also decidedly „different‟ in that he was a long practicing modern day magician. He had a proverbial bug up his you-know-what regarding the truth that he was not what he called „a stage illusionist‟ but rather an actual wielder of the real thing.

This other man‟s name was Thomas; Thomas was an attorney. Skilleas had no idea how Thomas could like books so much or computers for that matter. However, this man Thomas was also rare. He had a shrewdness that, like his mind, was incredibly sharp. Yet he was a gentle man, who was hard pressed to arm wrestle, let alone even contemplate something brutish such as wrestling or 8

American football. Nevertheless there was something ferocious to his manner, and maybe that‟s why he was able to succeed as a lawyer all by himself.

Thomas was not evil, but there were times in his life when he had been confused about this. He was born a Roman Catholic and he liked Church reasonably well except that by the time he was ten years old he had figured out that most other people were, relatively speaking, idiots when compared to him. As it happened, this was true. Thomas was a genius and there was little point in pretending he wasn‟t. Due to this, he learned early enough that he might earn a living more by his wits than anything else.

He had a funny temper to him, and through it he had grown towards what some definitely called „evil‟. At some stage in his childhood he had realized that he could hurt people by focusing his energy and directing it. Now this is pretty normal, whether you use fists or simply harsh words, or treachery. However, none of that was how Thomas did it. He had sent someone to the hospital by using the raw power of his mind and an angry malicious intention once when he was fifteen. That scared him so badly that he had been unsure as to what to do about his „personal weirdness‟ for some time.

Also while a youth, Thomas had suffered from two other notably bizarre types of experiences. One of these was that he would occasionally look at people and just „see‟ with his mind‟s eye, what was going to transpire in their lives. He had only been about eight years old the first time that it happened, but it just didn‟t go away. So, when he was seventeen he confessed to the Father through the grate that, “he had the sight.” He wasn‟t comfortable about it, since it had so 9

often been associated with the Devil, with whom he did not wish to be acquainted. The other was that ghosts would appear to him out of nowhere and tell him things. Now, this was not so easy to learn to take well. In some ways it had been easy, because at first he had just been a boy. One of the strengths of childhood is the open mind without fear. So, okay, ghosts would show up in his bedroom at night or when he was camping with his scout troop or with his parents. That wasn‟t really bothersome, but it had taken many times for such entities to earn his trust so that he might learn certain skills. You must understand how much Thomas‟s reasonably happy Catholicism helped him to get through these kinds of things. He would confess all of this stuff at church, which helped him to work with a professional cleric to weed out the good ghosts from any demons and to snuff out any evil before it got even a chance with Thomas.

Those were rough times for the sensitive, slender youth. He did his best to lead as normal a life as possible for a very clever modern man. He considered himself very lucky that he lived in the era of „gifted schools‟ and public education and the mass media. He didn‟t have to live in constant fear of being taken down by brute force, and he was actually thankful for this. He would have been very popular except that he was a conscientious student and that he was even more hypersensitive about having the „sight‟ as the Irish call it, than he was about sexuality. People liked him, but he felt so easily that those others wouldn‟t really understand him and a bit too often he was right. He liked other people but tended to emit an air of arrogance produced by a very heartfelt sense of superiority. He was very kind and compassionate by nature and through religious and social 10

training so even the hard edge of his condescension was tempered by these other advantageous qualities.

Once he was a young grown man, Thomas delved into religious and occult studies while an undergraduate, but he loved the sciences to and daydreamed about being a true renaissance man, able to have high levels of knowledge in all the important matters in life. Still steady in his religious practices, he began to move out beyond the limitations placed upon him by his clergy Father and took up the challenge of what he had learned to call his magickal will, and what he also had learned were known as „spells‟. It was once into his twenties that he had begun to really come to terms with why no one „messed with him‟ in general but on those rare occasions when someone did he often would get extremely riled up but not physically violent and within twenty-four hours something undeniably deleterious would befall whomever had upset him in the first place. Of course this made anger management a serious matter with a whole different dimension to it. The whole thing made him feel a bit odd on an all too frequent basis and it was possibly because of that feeling of being distinctively peculiar that he had somehow just „hit it off‟ right away with the very different Skilleas Fog.

Thomas was quite a good attorney, and he enjoyed making connections with people who often intimidated the general public such as politicians. Through his work, after years of law school, he had made friends with several people in the Mayor‟s Office and had become known as a bit of pinch-hitter in certain touchy situations. 11

In fact, over a dozen years or so, matters grew most unusual indeed, but to tell it all would take far too long. Suffice it to say, that Thomas developed a well deserved reputation of being one man who could help to clear up troubles that went far beyond the kind of „touchy situations‟ that he had initially handled.

If you asked him how, he would readily admit that there was more to it than just his Church Fathers, though he maintained a high level of intimacy with his

…..Want to know more?  For sale online – just link on the link

The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead

 

 

Five Big Questions in Life – book review

REVIEW

The 5 Big Questions In Life

Publication date:

ISBN: 978-1-61720-864-5

Many have the questions; but very few have the answers. Among the few; Miriam Pia stands out with her book: The 5 Big Questions In Life. This is your opportunity to learn Philosophy which she has defined as ‘the love of wisdom.’ Simplified, but still with a professional touch.

In this exciting philosophy, Miriam also brings in the old timers; Socrates and his student Plato. The highlight is; Plato was rich and Socrates was poor.That is the point Miriam is highlighting as being evidence that Philosophy is free to practice and is useful to people who have money as well as those who don’t. Of course she studied Philosophy the Plato way – she paid for it – up to Masters Level with Middlesex University. But she is encouraging you to digest this book should you not be in a position to afford tertiary education.

Most importantly, the book takes you from the history of Western philosophy, Eastern philosophy and the founding Greek philosophy to the present day phenomenon.

The book is not only asking what the world is really like. How do we know what we know, whether God exists, the best way to live, what defines the Good and Evil; it is also about answering those questions. Justa glimpse on the best way to live; Miriam shares that sexual love, romance, a sense of the morality surrounding those involved and any children who show up is also a very major and important part of people practicing their best way to live.People need to be safe: traditional forms of family; represented by marriage, is one of the best ways for people to be safe to have sex.Like it or not, this is a truth. All in The Big5 Questions in Life.

Blessings S. Makanani

Freelance Writer.

Chaos Post – poetic prose

This post may contain nonsequiters and other signs of being a stream of consciousness relationship with context than a carefully structured advertisement for an attractive new urban crime novel.

The novel shown on the left can be purchased directly using http://sbpra.com/miriampia/  .  Not only did I write it and edit it at least 7 times, but it is finally for sale in a respectable form.  I have touched it and can confirm that if you buy it I know what you will be getting.   I am actually quite proud of it, as it is my first published novel.  I wrote it after working as a professional writer for a while, mostly as a ghostwriter working from home while living in the same big city that the novel is set in:  Indianapolis.

Everyone who lives or has visited Indianapolis that not everyone there has the same color skin.  This doesn’t need to be a problem but some – and luckily only some, of the people who live there make a drama of a small matter like that.  There are characters of more than one so-called “race” in the story.  Which ones shows what it was really like there when the story was written and is not intended to insult those not represented in the story.  Unlike too many stories prior to 1970, there are both good guys and bad guys of more than one color rather than color coding the good guys and bad guys.

Meanwhile, I have tried multiple times to get the blog out without the “shame” of showing that there is a domain name problem.  What really happened is that I renewed but the system acted as if I had not.  Then, what happened was that I got a new domain name and have asked that my blog be changed over to the new domain.  I have requested this assistance at least 3 times but it did not come through for me.  I am hoping that now it finally will.

Gezka FaucMerz and Kiel Bronson – fictional characters 2014

Gezka FaucMerz, still living as a Captain in the Rejkyavikian Naav thousands of years in our future, or maybe just in alternate universe or both…Icelandic victories against their own corrupt bankers notwithstanding….has finally made it into her life ….being a fiction character nothing happened until the next story that includes her began to take shape.

Despite a variety of difficulties, she is able to reunite in her professional and personal relationship with Kiel Bronson. Kiel does not like what she has dragged him into, but is grateful for the help getting him out of a lengthy punishment explained in their first novel.

Location is everything some say: Gezka’s home base is right around 32Light Years from our Sun, whereas Kiel’s original home is here on planet Earth in the very solar system readers will recognize as where they woke up to find themselves again today – unless they are up in the space station.

The story is set, so far, in the exciting but dirty work of the rough draft of the next novel, in more than one location but mainly from 28 to 31 Light Years from planet Earth’s Sun. Kiel went so far out even Hippies heads are spinning, “laugh out loud”.