Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Anomynous Vigilante Rises Again

The recent attack on the North Korean web service for their alleged, and probably unlikely, attack on Sony has been attributed to the hacktivist group known as Anomynous. 




One month ago, I talked about the dangers of a group like this potentially having an agenda which could draw the U.S. into a major war; see The Anonymous Vigilante.

With this attack, we are seeing the arrogance of this group grow, made worse by the fact that the North Koreans may well be innocent in this matter. In fact, I wonder if both sides of the attack were not Anomynous.

The current trend in teenage literature (which has a greater following in post-teen readers) is for post apocalyptic dystopian worlds, and we should worry that they maybe an element of the current hacktivists who confuse the fantasy for a "better" reality.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Quick 5 Point Novel Guide to AFFECT vs. EFFECT


When do you use AFFECT rather than EFFECT, and vice versa? 

This can be one of the trickier challenges. It is a mistake I see quite often.


Here is A Quick 5 point novel guide.


Friday, December 26, 2014

A Quick 5 Point Novel Guide to AN vs. A

There are two things we know about the relative usage of AN and A:

1. We use AN before a vowel

2. A word uses AN or uses A no matter where in the world you are, it never changes.

…well, no and no!


Here is a a quick 5 point novel guide to AN vs. A.



Thursday, December 25, 2014

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

Amazing Words: Oxymoron

Each week, I’m going to present an amazing word. A word that has a double meaning either directly or perhaps through origin, where is has evolved into a new meaning, or carries a wonderful Onomatopoeic effect.

This week my amazing word is:

OXYMORON

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Quick 5 Point Novel Guide to using THAT vs. WHICH


One of the most confusing aspects of writing is the use of that instead of which? I am going to give you are easy way to remember.

Here is A Quick 5 point novel guide.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Quick 5 Point Novel Guide to Using i.e. and e.g.

We all use i.e. and e.g. but do we use them correctly. I received a report at work the other day and in seven references to i.e. or e.g. five times they were used incorrectly--I think the other two were luck. 

So, here I present the fool proof 5 point novel guide to e.g and i.e.




Friday, December 12, 2014

10 Paths to Write Great Fictional Dialogue



I love writing dialogue. There are lots of blogs on the technical aspect of dialogue; I want to discuss the foundational essence of dialogue. 

One of the greatest writers of dialogue has to be John Steinbeck, the Pulitzer prize winner. Here is an extract from one of my favorite books, Of Mice and Men:

'I forgot,' Lennie said softly. 'I tried not to forget. Honest to God I did, George.'
'O.K.—O.K. I’ll tell ya again. I ain’t got nothing to do. Might jus’ as well spen’ all my time tell’n you things and then you forget ‘em, and I tell you again.'
'Tried and tried,' said Lennie, 'but it didn’t do no good. I remember about the rabbits, George.'


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Amazing words: Tabard

Each week, I’m going to present an amazing word. A word that has a double meaning either directly or perhaps through origin, where is has evolved into a new meaning, or carries a wonderful Onomatopoeic effect.

This week my amazing word is:

TABARD


Monday, December 8, 2014

Amazing Words: Bouleversement

Each week, I’m going to present an amazing word. A word that has a double meaning either directly or perhaps through origin, where is has evolved into a new meaning, or carries a wonderful Onomatopoeic effect.

This week my amazing word is:

BOULEVERSEMENT





Saturday, December 6, 2014

7 Rules On How To Write A Flashback In A Novel


Every story is set in a period of time. In a story, any reference to backstory or action that has happened in the past to explain something within this period of frame is referred to as a flashback.

When writing a novel, a flashback can be a powerful tool in the development character motivation. In my novel “Blood Ties” I have a couple of flashbacks to build up the foundation to why Amber is desperate for a new life and a mother she misses.


However, there are a few rules around writing good flashbacks:





1. Use Sparingly

Every time you use a flashback you risk losing the audience.


2. Have an emotional trigger to go into the flashback

For the flashback to occur there must be a trigger. For example, in Blood Ties, a man stalking Amber triggers a memory of when she was fifteen and a guardian tried to rape her.


3. Let the audience know the flashback has started

If you are writing in the present tense then this is relatively easy as you can just switch to the past tense. However, if you are writing in the past tense, then you have to start the flashback a little differently, you need to start the flashback in the past perfect tense.

The Past Perfect expresses the idea that something occurred before another action in the past. It can also show that something happened before a specific time in the past.

            Examples:

I had never met my wife before I moved to Jersey. This is a completed action before something in the past.

By the time I met my wife, I had been in Jersey five years. This is a duration before something in the past.

Once, you are a couple of sentences into the flashback, it is okay to revert to simple past tense as it is easier to read.


4. Have a trigger to end the flashback

In Blood Ties, Amber is pulled from the flashback by the train arriving at the platform.


5. Let the audience know the flashback has end

Again, if you novel is present tense it is easy to show you have ended the flashback by reverting to back to resent tense.

If your novel is in past tense, then you need to revert to past perfect tense for the last couple of sentences to give a hint that the flashback is ending.


6. The effect the flashback had on the reader

Does the flashback effect how your reader views your character? If not then dump it, A flashback must add something to explain a character motivation or to their personality.


7. If possible lose the flashback

Make sure you fully understand the reason why you need the flashback and you are sure you cannot get the information across without it, because every time you slip in to a flashback you risk losing the reader. Before using the flashback, make sure the reader is hooked in the story but do them early in the novel not in the main part of the book.




Wednesday, December 3, 2014

10 No Bull S*** Rules to Success

I have been relatively successful in pretty much everything I have ever done, be it work, hobbies, or pleasure, and it comes down to ten priceless, no bull, rules.


These are pretty good things to do if you ever want to successfully lead people too! 






1. Take ownership

If you don’t feel you own the problem, you will never work hard enough to solve the problem


2. Never give an excuse

If you own it and something goes wrong, even if it out of your control, do not, ever, give excuses. The truth will come out in time and your reputation will be enhanced.


3. Do not talk negatively about others

They will find out and others will assume you talk about them too


4. Say “No”

Only do what you have the skill and time to do. It is better to say ‘no’ and give the person asking the option to go elsewhere.


5. 80-20 Rule

Never seek perfection


6. Be humble

Don’t brag and look to compliment others


7. Be nice

Karma man!


8. Be honest

If you are always honest in mistakes and praise, people will trust you and that is a powerful ally to have


9. Listen to feedback openly

I am a writer, I get better by listen to feedback openly. I may not follow all feedback but I consider why the other person feels the way they do.


10. Listen to others ideas and give credit

No one person will know everything, and the best ideas usually come from collaboration with others.


Monday, December 1, 2014

7 Things You Must Do To Write A Novel, or Run a Marathon, or Do Anything Cool in Life

I am about to give you a gift which, if used wisely, can change your life. The secret of absolute success in anything in life worth doing. 

This is what all those self help books go on about in 250 pages, I will give you in 700 words. This is What Successful People do, What Millionaires do, What Marathon Olympic Champions do, and this is What Stephen King Does.



Thursday, November 27, 2014

7 Scary Real Life Example of “fiction”

The news this week has been dominated by Ferguson, but if you looked around at some of the other stories, making the news, you will be surprised at how seemingly fictitious situations are happening in the real world.








             
            1. The three finger salute of resistance

In scenes reminiscent of Hunger Games, Thai students were arrested for making the three finder salute in silent dissent against a brutal authoritarian state. It became so popular after the Thai coup that the authorities warned they would arrest anyone in a large group who gave the salute and refused to lower their arm when ordered. Army officials later confirmed that the students were taken to a military camp and were detained for "attitude adjustment", reported The Nation.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

Amazing Word: Recusant

Each week, I’m going to present an amazing word. A word that has a double meaning either directly or perhaps through origin, where is has evolved into a new meaning, or carries a wonderful Onomatopoeic effect.

This week my amazing word is:

RECUSANT




Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Anonymous Vigilante


In writing, vigilantes are a popular genre; Batman, Spiderman, and, for older readers, Charles Bronson in Death wish. But in all these examples, the authors felt there was a danger of unaccountable power and usually expressed this through the lack of support by law enforcement.

The vigilante group (or hacktivist) group Anonymous attacked the KKK for their threats against protesters over the death of Michael Brown. At first, this looks like a great thing as the KKK are deplorable organization which adds nothing but hate to society. Additionally, if you look back through time you can repeatedly see the good Anonymous have done.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Book Review: The Kite Runner

Why are you saying these things?" I said.

Because you wanted to know," he spat. He pointed to an old man dressed in ragged clothes trudging down a dirt path, a large burlap pack filled with scrub grass tied to his back. "That's the real Afghanistan, Agha sahib. That's the Afghanistan I know. You? You've always been a tourist here, you just didn't know it.”

― Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner


Beautiful Kabul; beautiful writing
The Kite runner is a book about how a coward who after deserting his best friend, and then compounds the problem by pushing him away in his time of greatest need, is given an opportunity to redeem himself. The first half of the book is looking back at Amir’s life as a child in Kabul before the USSR invaded Afghanistan.

At times the writing is very beautiful and descriptive, when Khaled talks about Kabul you feel a genuine happiness.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Top 10 Super Weird Human Senses


We as writers are continually reminded to express the world through the display of senses in our writing; how did it smell, feel, sound, taste & look. We use these to move us away from telling and toward showing.

However, what if we were only scratching the surface of the available ways a person can perceive the world around them?

Here, I am going to explore the top 10 weird senses humans have.





Monday, November 17, 2014

Character development: The Rosetta Project

Unless you have been stuck in a cave somewhere, you have probably heard about the Rosetta Project. A mission made more famous by the shirt of a scientist than the actual accomplishments of taking ten years to land on a comet.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Introducing Iris Wordsworth


Introducing Iris Wordsworth

Now, I know this is a bit rough but I wanted my own character to tell my "jokes" and lets hope it get a little more..."sweet"!

She will have a love of words and hopefully be a little funny... she is Canadian!


Friday, November 14, 2014

Amazing Word: Malapropism

Each week, I’m going to present an amazing word. A word that has a double meaning either directly or perhaps through origin, where is has evolved into a new meaning, or carries a wonderful Onomatopoeic effect.

This week my amazing word is:

MALAPROPISM

I pickled MALAPROPISM because of the comical nature of a malaprop. 

The usually unintentionally humorous misuse or distortion of a word or phrase; especially: the use of a word sounding somewhat like the one intended but ludicrously wrong in the context.

This comes from Mrs. Malaprop, a character in Richard Sheridan's 1775 play The Rivals, was known for her verbal blunders. "He is the very pine-apple of politeness," she exclaimed, complimenting a courteous young man.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

NaNoWriMo


National Novel Writing Month—NaNoWriMo—is a great initiative, which I may have partaken in had I not already completed my own writing month in September—driven on by a broken heel. 

For the month, I set a starting daily goal of 600 words. As I achieved and passed my goal each day, I felt more confident (and happy) and increased it slowly to 900 and onto 1200, eventually achieving a total of 14 days of over 1500. I threw in a handful of massive 3000+ writing days (on flights to and from Toronto) and from the 23rd August to the 26th September I wrote over 50,000.

I think Novel Writing Month (http://nanowrimo.org/) is a great idea and all the staff and volunteers involved have created a wonderful non-profit organization. They run Young writers Programs and provide free community resources all over the world. 

However, that said, I do feel the need to take a tongue-in-cheek look at the name—NaNoWriMo.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Amazing Words: List


Each week, I’m going to present an amazing word. A word that has a double meaning either directly or perhaps through origin, where is has evolved into a new meaning, or carries a wonderful Onomatopoeic effect.

This week my amazing word is:

LIST


Friday, November 7, 2014

10 Things You Should NEVER Say To Your Novel


We all work hard on our novels. Every day, we pander to their high maintenance. We sit back and look at them with mixed emotions.

At first, we feel the excitement and the passion. Then, we get into a comfortable zone, seeing them first thing in the morning and last thing at night. But, eventually familiarity breeds contempt and  we need a break. We start to think about that other novel. She is so fresh, fun, and different...


In these moments of writing weakness remember, the ten things you should NEVER say to your novel:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

10 Great Writing Tips



We all have received great pieces of advice in life. When running, you should not use your runner two days in a row, in management, you must deal with issues immediately, and in marriage just agree with your wife. As an author, I have come across some simple but very powerful tips: 



Sunday, November 2, 2014

You crazy,pen.

Yes, yes, when I'm alone writing, I too have had deep discussions with my pen, Penelope.




 Go check out www.marriedtothesea.com

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Amazing Words: Quantum

Each week, I’m going to present an amazing word. A word that has a double meaning either directly or perhaps through origin, where is has evolved into a new meaning, or carries a wonderful Onomatopoeic effect.

This week my amazing word is:

Quantum






  1. Quantum as we all know refers to something immensely small. The smallest amount of many forms of energy.
  2. Quantum as we all know refers to something rather large.  A significant quantum improvement.

Which of these statements is true?

    A. Statement 1
    B. Statement 2
    C. Both
    D. Neither

Well, the answer is C. both of them are true. This seems contradictory and it is! 

You see, Quantum falls in to a category of words called Contronyms--terms that, depending on context, can have opposite or contradictory meanings.

Try this sentence for size:

The quantum leap in human knowledge over the past 100 years has been so immense that even a highly educated person can hope to absorb only a tiny quantum of it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Why did you start writing?


When writing a story, writers receive inspiration in many forms. We have dreams, we see something unusual, we read an article; the list is endless. We then take this to a unique conclusion. 

But what inspires writers to become writers in the first place? What makes a person decide to undertake the art of writing and spend agonizing years fighting crisis in confidence trying to create a novel complete strangers will want to read? I imagine we all have that “a-ha” moment.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

In order to write...read

What do Stephen King and Dilbert have in common?







“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There's no way around these two things that I'm aware of, no shortcut.”
― Stephen KingOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Novel Writing: Man vs. Machine


Julia was twenty-six years old... and she worked, as he had guessed, on the novel-writing machines in the Fiction Department. She enjoyed her work, which consisted chiefly in running and servicing a powerful but tricky electric motor... She could describe the whole process of composing a novel, from the general directive issued by the Planning Committee down to the final touching-up by the Rewrite Squad. But she was not interested in the final product. She "didn't much care for reading," she said. Books were just a commodity that had to be produced, like jam or bootlaces. – 1984 George Orwell

In 1984 George Orwell introduced the factory that wrote books, but it should be noted that the machines worked with humans, the Planning Committee and the Rewrite Squad.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Amazing Word: Ambrosia

Each week, I’m going to present an amazing word. A word that has a double meaning either directly or perhaps through origin, where is has evolved into a new meaning, or carries a wonderful Onomatopoeic effect.

This week my amazing word is:

AMBROSIA




Ambrosia is applied to something particularly delightful to taste or smell. It also refers to the foods of the gods, said to bestow immortality. It is a girl’s name and sometimes shortened to Amber.


In the novel, Blood Ties, the protagonist’s name is Amber. However, in her passport she carries the name Ambrosia. Amber’s beauty is intensified by the association to the  words reference to delightful food, but more importantly, it connects into the whole context of the novel where her blood is used to try and make another woman immortal.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Avoiding Cultural Mistakes in Writing

This week, I am writing my blog from a train travelling in Northern England, from Sunderland to Wolverhampton. It has been years since I visited England and I’m struck by the subtle differences from my new home in West Vancouver. These variances show exactly where a novel can fall down when you are writing about a place you think you know.


Let’s look at this (English) example:

“Dave ran his dry tongue over his fangs. They felt dirty, blood probably, he had forgotten his toothbrush. He squeezes himself in behind the steering wheel of his two door silver Honda Civic, his belly hanging out of his Puma tracksuit bottoms. He puts her into first gear and pulls away from the curb, facing the oncoming traffic. He blasts his horn at an old woman about to step out on to the road.”

Monday, October 13, 2014

Amazing Words: Tittup



Each week, I’m going to present an amazing word. A word that has a double meaning either directly or perhaps through origin, where is has evolved into a new meaning, or carries a wonderful Onomatopoeic effect.


This week my amazing word is:
TITTUP




Saturday, October 11, 2014

Future Self

Yesterday, I came across this cartoon on the excellent site XKCD. It provides a nice follow up to my piece on the Writer's Mission Statement.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Do you have a Writer’s Mission Statement?


This does not count: “To be stinking rich, win the Man Booker Prize, and be chased on Malibu beach by paparazzi photographing my new found six-pack for the cover of people magazine.”


What can you hope to achieve with a Writer’s Mission Statement?

In my ‘Clarke Kent’ life, where no one knows my alter ego, Writer & Runner, I tell people this is not just about goals or how you will achieve them.

This one statement will force you to think deeply about your writing, clarify the purpose of your writing, and identify what is really important to you. It will be a marker in the sand, to say “here I stand today” and to tell your future self what you expect from them and who you want to become. You cannot measure success without knowing what it looks like.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Amazing Words: Cataract

My Eye Like Waterfall by cynder-lany

Each week, I’m going to present an amazing word. A word that has a double meaning either directly or perhaps through origin, where is has evolved into a new meaning, or carries a wonderful onomatopoeic effect.


This week my amazing word is:
CATARACT





"A cataract of lightness materializes down my legs to imbue me with the urge to skip or twirl” – Blood Ties.

Cataract is most famous for its more ominous definition, an opaque area in the eye, which can lead to blindness. This is the first more subtle use of the word; to define blindness in protagonist to what is going on. The poetic version of the word refers to a waterfall.

In the example above, we can see how the waterfall meaning is used to show the giddy feelings flowing down the protagonists legs. The implied blindness alludes to her ignorance of the dangerous source of her happiness.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Newbie's Cornerstone to Setting up an Author's Platform



There’s the easy way and there’s the newbie way.  

If you are thinking about building toward your platform then you need to read on and avoid my mistakes and wasted hours. Firstly, what is an author's platform? I think Jane Friedman sums it up perfectly in this blog. A platform is who you will become; A proven authority making an impact to your target audience. 

A platform, like Rome, is not built in a day but the cornerstone of your future self starts here and now.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

You Have to Start Somewhere

We have lift off
If you are thinking about setting up an author’s platform then I might be able to help you.
In my next post, I will tell you how I am doing it. I will highlight the good (Daily blog tips), the bad (?), and the ugly(my web page!)

But to start – go here for a wonderful site on blogging: http://www.dailyblogtips.com/