More on the topic of Research

Happy Sunday everyone! Yes, the full moon is happening right now, but depending on where you are at Mars is also visible. Yes, the planet Mars. But all of that aside let’s talk about something that is a bit different on the subject of writing.

Today’s topic is about research. We are told that when we are working out projects, that we all need to do some research. This means reading and sometimes taking notes. But what if you are writing fantasy, do you still need to do research?

Some people would say yes, and I would have to agree although it is not the same amount of research that goes into some other genres of fiction. When we research for writing fantasy, we should be researching magical creatures. What type of world are building, the society that our characters live in. The rules that they must abide by.  It’s more of a soul journey in our research than anything else.

Now when doing the research for our projects, the best suggestion that I have for keeping the notes in one spot is to get a notebook, spiral or otherwise and put all of your notes in there. Then anytime that you need to reference something it is in that notebook. You can later add taps and things so that you can mark where the important information is that you need to find quickly.

Does this mean that if you are a panser that you have to give that up for the sake of research? No, it just means that if you want to be a smart writer then you have to put a little bit research into your process. Granted, if you are plotter then doing research is already right up your alley for you have everything outlined and you’ve added where the research is going to come in handy and such.

Granted, most writing guide books talk about research but they don’t go into what genres should really focus on research and which ones that you can sort of wing it. That is bad in my opinion for if an aspiring writer wants to go somewhere with their writing career then they should be given more guidance than just plain statements like, “go out and do research.” That does not go over what sort of research should be done or where writers should go to for obtaining the information that they need for their novel.

Here is a list of sources that I find helpful:

  • Movies
  • Television Shows (ie Documentaries)
  • Historical books – non fiction
  • Writing guides on your genre
  • Places and things

Your list may be different from mine, but you can add to it for whatever works for you. I hope that as always you find this helpful during your writing. Have a wonderful writing day!

One Author’s Problems and Some Insights

This morning while I was wondering around on Facebook, I came across a post from a fellow writer, who was beating himself up for mistakes that he had made with his first publication and this goes beyond spelling errors. The mistakes that he mentioned were items such as the subject matter of the book, when he was querying it out to agents and publishers the letter and everything that went into it sucked. He admitted that he when he self-published it he picked the wrong categories and his synopsis wasn’t right. He also admitted that he wrote on a subject matter that a lot of people don’t know about or don’t have an interest in.

Alright, so if you came across this post then you would think that he is being too hard on himself and the phrase “poor baby” might come to mind as well. But let’s look at it as we have all been there. We have beaten ourselves up for the mistakes that we have made and should know better. Here is the thing, I know that I’ve beaten myself up for mistakes that I have made in my writing. Mistakes that I know that I should have corrected but didn’t because I didn’t catch them.

Granted, let’s also face something that most of us writers the first time, we go into publishing we don’t know all the nuts and bolts that go into it. But that is part of learning and growing when we do find those nuts and bolts and see how they all fit together. There are a lot of things that this writer didn’t do with his first manuscript like get someone to edit for him before he just published. He didn’t market the manuscript so that others that might be interested in the subject could find it and take an interest to read it.

But here are somethings that I picked up from last week’s conference on traditional publishers, that I want to share with all of you and this goes back to our writer friend and his manuscript when it wasn’t picked up by these publishers. Well, first start with the writer before taking in the manuscript. First of all having followers on social media is everything. If you don’t have a following then you are not very likely to be picked up my a traditional publisher. The why is easy and that is because you cannot connect with an audience then they will have a hard time finding one for you. The second thing, is that if you are not a celebrity then a traditional publisher won’t pick you up either. This where the publishers are making their money. It’s not from writers like you and me, it’s from the celebrities. The why is also easy because they already have a following from the products that they sponsor, the movies and television shows that they are in and the huge following that they have on social media and the media events that they attend.

This is one of the biggest reasons why every year traditional publishers, publish and market so many books that are written by celebrities. Now granted the number one best-selling book right now is co-written by Bill Clinton and James Patterson. While most look at the cover and say good for them. There are others, that say Bill Clinton is using the fame that comes with James Patterson for this book. Now granted, Bill Clinton could have written the book by himself and it would have done fine. But it wouldn’t be fiction and that was what Bill Clinton wanted to put out there. Remember most books written by celebrities are under the genre of memoir or creative non-fiction. So then in order for it to succeed then the publisher needed to pull someone in like James Patterson to make a success. Well, it worked for it is number one on Amazon and the New York Times best selling list for fiction.

Here is the other piece about traditional publishing, if the subject that you are writing does not have a huge interest then it will not be likely to be picked up either. The traditional publishers are geared towards getting big numbers and getting readers to flock towards those books that are new. Granted, just as we have a hard time gaining those readers to take an interest in us as first time authors, they do too. The why is not hard to see for it all comes from readers and other consumers are loyal to things that they previously know and that includes authors that they have read before.

But here is another tidbit that I gained, and that is that if you are seeking the attention of that traditional publisher, then you also need to keep up with those trends. If you are writing a story and your main character is male then you are going to have a hard time to get picked up, because thanks to the success of The Hunger Games, female main characters are in and they are making money for the publishers. But the other piece of this is also if you get rejected for the story having a male main character, the tide will change sooner or later and then your story might get picked up.

So even if you get rejected by an agent for a publisher, just keep in mind that your story might not be right for the publisher at this time, or what you have in mind is not right for the agent that you are querying. This were doing your homework is key if you want to get picked up by an agent or even by a traditional publisher. Furthermore, traditional publishers have not grown for quite sometime in terms of what they are doing, where as self-publishing has grown over 200% in the last five years alone, and in an industry that should be growing like everything else then the traditional publishers need to re-think and see about getting on the same page or doing better than the self-publishers. But that is there current mistake such as using the gatekeepers to keep some of us out of the industry.

But the other thing to think of is that right now, it’s back to school time and for the most part book buyers are buying the staples like Catcher in the Rye, The Giver, and other classics that are put in the classrooms. Therefore, no new books will be publishing until after October or November just in time for Christmas. Then it will fall again until about April or May and keep going until the middle part of July. Yes, they have market trends like every other industry and that is something that we have to keep track of also whether we are self-publishing or traditional publishing.

Getting back to our writer friend, I gave him a simple piece of advice and that is to learn from the mistakes that were done with his first piece and to try harder with his second piece. Further, he can fix the problems that he had with the first and he can republish it as a new edition when he is ready. But he also needs to market what he is putting out there so that he can find the readers that are interested in his work.

I hope that you find this helpful with what you are looking for when it comes to your writing and your decisions about what to do with your projects. Until next time, I hope that you have a wonderful writing day!

Another way to view Characters

I know that I have spoke about characters before but I recently found a new take on the subject. I probably haven’t mentioned it before, but I am an avid fan of soap operas, such as The Young and the Restless. Just as a fore warning this post does contain some spoilers.

But getting back to my love of soap operas, we see characters as both from a viewer/reader perspective but also as a writer. We see characters as those that we have put a lot of thought and work into. We see characters as those that we use merely as tools in other words when we think of thrillers or mysteries there is always that one character that has to be as the sacrificial lamb and have to die to move the story further. Let’s face it for without their death, there wouldn’t be a mystery or a crime that needed to be solved. Then there are the villains that we are miserable people and we hope that they meet a ruthless end for all the horrible things that they have done.

However, based on this principle as writers that we pour so much into these characters, what if we have readers that hate our characters with a passion but as writers we love them? Well, let’s get back to one of my favorite soaps, The Young and the Restless. Currently, one of the story lines is that there was a car crash that has left one of these hated characters on her deathbed because there was too much damage to save her. We know as viewers based on the information that we have that she is going to die. It’s her fate in life. Granted, for those that are avid fans, we pay attention to news feeds and spoilers that the actor/actress who plays this character is leaving the show, and that was announced a few months ago.

But in the last week of the show, the viewers that hated her so much and wanted her to leave or die are now left with the fact that they actually liked her. Why? The reason is that the writers changed the perspective of making her sweet, kind, and all the things that she was not during her time on the show. Did this change my mind on her character? You bet it did. I was sucked into actually liking this character and wishing that she was leaving and that her character wasn’t dying to leave her loved ones to morn for her passing.

This subject was put on one of the many soap groups that I’m a member of on Facebook. I commented with the following: The writers are making us pay for the way that we treated this character, and therefore they played their hand well. Well, played writers.

Yes, this is what I said. I said that the writers played their hand well. But not only did they make the viewers feel guilty for what they had said about this character, but also the other characters that treated this character badly. I think that this shows us as writers, that when our readers hate our characters, we can get them back by saying, “I’m going to make you like this character in their final moments.”

Now, I’m going to change the perspective again. By mentioning a character that everyone wanted to die originally on Game of Thrones and that is Prince Joffery. Yes, he treated Sansa poorly and was a disgusting human being, granted he was nothing like Ramsey Bolton. But still he had his moments where we wanted him to get what he deserved. However, then we think about his death, where he was poisoned did he actually deserve that kind of death?

I mean really think about it, as Lady Olena stated in her last speach, “I had never seen the poison work before. It must have been horrible to watch as a king’s guard but more as a father. Lips red, skin purple, vile spilling, him clawing at his throat.”

Take that all in and that scene of him dying with everything else that we know about the character, did he actually deserve this? Sure, I cheered like most everyone else when he died. But then when you take in her speech, he didn’t fully deserve it. Now Ramsey Bolton, on the other hand, yes, he deserved what he got. No, question asked. He deserved to be mauled to death by his dogs that he had not fed for days.

Granted, not every character’s death should make us readers feel bad or guilty for the way that we have been made to feel about them. But as writer’s there is a certain connection that we have with them. Good or other wise, they are like our children and as such we feel protective of them. We don’t want to hear bad things said about our characters and we do like any parent we want to make those pay for what they have done and said. This should be given some thought when we are setting our characters out into the world. But at the same time, will we be strong enough to play our cards close at hand and make our readers pay for all the nasty things that they have said about them in the past and make them care about them in their last moments?

We all have to make decisions about our stories, and we can have more leeway on this subject when we are writing a series versus a stand-alone book. Although, we can give another layer when we think about character and that is what will my reader think about them?

I hope that this helps your writing on this day. Until next time I hope that you have a great writing day!

#cockygate…update? or Breaking News?

I’m going to start today’s post with news,  big news that we have all been waiting for and in case you haven’t heard, we can all rejoice in the streets. The news that we can celebrate is that #cockygate is over! Yes, it is finally over and why you might ask. Let’s star off by saying that a settlement has been reached and Faleena Hopkins and her attorney’s have pulled her two trademark claims. So what does this mean? We can use the word “cocky” in titles, on covers, and in sentences.

I mean it feels great to be able to say that out loud that #cockygate is over!!!

Disconnecting the Network of Possibility

This morning, while I didn’t have any network and while most of us would have died at the thought. But instead, I took the time to create a powerpoint presentation. On that presentation, I really thought about what my vision, my mission, my goals for all things that are for my company. Granted, I was only thinking about my company and this dream that I have to help not only myself but other writers as well with their aspirations for their own works of writing.

My biggest takeaway from this exercise is that, while there were a couple, is that when we take away the connection that we have to the rest of world, we are able to do incredible things. We can use the tools that we have at our fingertips and we can use the tools that we were told that we have since we were children. Not to take things down the road that says we can do anything when we use our imagination. But it’s totally true.

Using your imagination can pave the way for great things to be created and for things to come. As writers, we are told that the biggest tool that can do so many incredible things is our imagination. It is with us for all of our lives. It’s awoken when we get inspired, and it keeps going and going like our heart and our brain. Now granted, there are those that say that there is a muse that feeds our imagination and that is how we know that he or she is there guiding us. I’m not going to say that there is no such thing as a muse, but we don’t find out about the muse until we are older.

If you think about it and concentrate on it, we are told about imagination, dreams, and heart. Then we are older that message continues and then the muse is added to the mix. But if we truly believe in the power of the muse, then wouldn’t it be added to the mix like saying that the muse gives live or feeds our imagination or our dreams and that is what gives both a heart and a soul to everything that we create or write.

While I was working on the powerpoint presentation of nine slides, the one thing that came to find is that I know what my message is and how I want to continue to spread it. The message is simple and it goes back to my logo for Moonspinner3 Books. I want to great magic, I want to use my imagination and I want to be creative. While doing all of this I can great, I can write, I can grow, and I can inspire.

So why don’t we all take a little bit of time to disconnect from the network and think about what we are able to do with one single spark of inspiration. I hope that this helps make you have a great writing day!

 

News….Faerie Rose Press now has a Parent Company

I know that before yesterday, I talked a lot about writers conferences and things that come out of from going to conferences. Well, here is one more thing that came out of going to the latest conference, a parent company for Faerie Rose Press. Let me back track for a second and let it be known that the creation for Faerie Rose Press came from going to conference.

That’s right, the idea for Faerie Rose Press came from my second attendance of the Castle Rock Writer’s conference. It was during one of the sessions that I attended that the idea was imposed that if you are going to self-publish then you need to come up with a company name. So on my way home, I was thinking and thinking about a name between my mind swirling with all the information that I had gathered from all the other sessions. I knew when it came to finding the name was one that reflected fantasy, for remember the only story that I had on my mind was The Raven Prophecy. Then I thought of Faerie then I thought of pages of a book. Well the only thing that I came to mind were the petals of a rose, and then what came was Faerie Rose Press. Then when I got home, I registered the name with the Secretary of States office and that was how Faerie Rose Press was born.

Then for Elderwood Publications, the name and the creation was a different story. Elderwood Publications came from the idea Paper comes from trees and trees can be elders. Then there was the continuation of that idea that stories, usually ones that are well known and told over and over again are older and are classic. Therefore, I wanted a name that represented that idea, so I maintained the word Elder in the name. The wood part of the name comes from trees usually are found in the woods, or woodland areas. It is also a continuation of fantasy for most fantasy stories in some way or another are set in the forest. It might seem a bit overrated or unappealing.

But that is how the name Elderwood came together, and that’s how Elderwood Publications was born. It was also born from the idea that not every story that I write is going to be considered as fantasy so I needed something that was going to work for other genres of fiction. Granted, this was also put out after I had written the first draft of The Ravages of Time.

Now let’s fast-forward from all of that to a couple of days ago when I was attending the Write.Market.Publish.Sell! Conference. While I was at the conference, I had a one on one session with an already published writer to seek advice and to ask questions about things that deal with writing and where I see myself and my writing going. She agreed with everything that I had to say and how I was doing. However, there was one thing that I needed to do and that was create a parent company for Faerie Rose Press and Elderwood Publications. The reason for this was that I have stated that Faerie Rose Press is only for fantasy works and Elderwood Publications is for other genres of fiction, then I need to have a parent company over the two of them.

Also I found out that my wording of division was also wrong term, for it is called imprint. I have also started changing the wording on some of my business documentation to show that it is no longer referred to as division and more as an imprint.

Therefore, as I was thinking about the information that I received, I thought of a name that I have used before as an alias on games and for a while it was my persona back when MySpace was a thing. I have used it on a couple of my email addresses. It’s a name that I have wanted to grow and at one point I thought that if I was to have a business empire it would be used. It might be silly but as dreamers, and creators we dream big and leave nothing out. I’ve grown from those days, as well, but I have not given up on my dreams. Therefore, the parent company that I am using for both Faerie Rose Press and Elderwood Publications is (drum roll please…) Moonspinner3 Books.

Moonspinner3 Books logo-page-001

Moonspinner3 Books is a continuation of what I have always wanted to create from Faerie Rose Press and Eldwrood Publications. Writing takes magic, imagination and creativity. Through this message we also create, write, grow and inspire. We want to continue writing and helping writers.  Please, understand that Faerie Rose Press as it is today is not changing. This website is still going to be under Faerie Rose Press, all contact information is not changing.

I hope that you will continue with me on this journey and continue with our main mission of create, write, grow and inspire. But mostly we grow with the information that we gain and share with others. This is also in part of what I have stated from the beginning, in that we make adjustments and we grow and learn from the adjustments that we make. I hope that you have a great writing day until next time.

 

 

 

 

Fight for your Write

I know the last few posts have all been about writers conferences, so I thought that today I would do something a little bit different, and talk about the bic pen company’s latest campaign, Fight for your Write.

The Fight for your Write campaign is all about saving hand writing and to let children know about the joys and benefits that come from handwriting. As I writer, I totally agree with their mission especially after looking at some of the facts that they list on their website.  The two that stood out to me the most is that only 12% of teachers in the United States took a college course on how to teach handwriting, and the other is that 33% of college students are unprepared to write a college level. Granted there is a third and this some is really shocking, and that is 75% of American students from grades 4-12 are writing below their respective grade level on national exams.

Granted, the bigger force at work on this issue is that schools are getting away from teaching cursive handwriting, but why? I mean cursive can be beautiful when it is done patiently and thoughtfully. Yes, there is something to be said for print hand writing as well, but cursive makes you pay attention to very detail that goes into it each letter. I remember being a young child and looking at cursive writing and I couldn’t wait to learn, which was in the fourth grade.

Nowadays that isn’t the case. Why? The answer that comes up on this issue is that it takes too much time and energy. But if the art of handwriting goes away then so does the way of the pen. I know that writing on keyboards are paving the way for technology to become our children’s futures but isn’t that part of a bigger issue as well? Granted, I enjoy being on the computer, although, holding that pen or pencil for the first time is an extraordinary thing when you see what can be done with the art of writing.

Yes, I signed the petition and the reason for that is that for most of us growing up our first pens and pencils came from bic. Not Papermate, not some other company but bic. Yes, there are some that might say that bic is trying to save their company from bankcruptcy if the pen goes away, but I think that there is more too it.

I think that when we use the pen, our brain is set free because let’s all face it for without having that pen or pencil put in our hands we wouldn’t have wanted to become writers. Part of bic’s campaign they are stating that handwriting can make better readers, boost confidence and creativity. I agree with this but I will also say that it will make us want to dream for better futures.

If you agree with this campaign, then please, support the cause and sign their pledge.