Archive for October 2019

“Gathering In” Excerpt #3   1 comment

They’d been told to expect a friendly village, an increasingly elusive concept in the Mirage these days, so they’d all opted to carry for their own safety. A young boy of about ten met them at the town entrance and jabbered away in a patois mixture of the local dialect, the Miragan central tongue and English. Although it seemed impossible for foreigners to master Miragan, Shane’s grasp of Arabic and the months spent with Sera meant he understood enough of the boy’s chatter that they could at least communicate rudimentarily.

“What’s he saying?” Commander Roth asked Shane.

“The levees came through about a week ago, but they haven’t been back. They took his older brother despite being younger than draft age. They took his father last year. He’s hoping for some food aid as he’s feeding three younger siblings by himself.”

“Do you believe that?” Logan demanded.

I do. Take a look. You see any adult males around here?”

“Not on the ground, but I’ll bet there’s plenty squirreled away in the attics.”

“Where’s the headman’s hut?” Roth asked.

The boy seemed eager to cooperate and they moved deeper into the village’s narrow lanes, leaving squads behind as they went, until only Mike, Killgore, Roth and Shane continued. One moment it seemed friendly, and the next an icy finger ran down Shane’s back. He turned his head toward the left to see the barely perceived danger. A woman in a dark cotton hijab materialized in a doorway. Shane opened his mouth to call a warning and several shots to his chest slammed him back into a stone wall.

#NewRelease #Launch   1 comment

Posted October 22, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in book promotion

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Weaving Stories Readers Want   Leave a comment

Lyndell Williams

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Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

Authors frequently discuss notions of originality and fulfilling reader expectations. I have read posts all over social media and on blogs, all with writers seeking to draft texts that pristine from anything else written under the sun and that will satisfy a mass of readers worthy of their artistry. Both are exercises in futility.

Defeatist? No. A powerful storyteller resolves to the realities that neither is their story completely untold nor will it enchant every pair of eyes (ears hearing, fingertips touching) gracing it.  At the crux of any good story is the distinctive style and voice of the weaver of the tale, which is the primary way an author can create something that is theirs to share for people to connect with and respond.

Mis Quince Años (11)

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Posted October 21, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Open Book Blog Hop – 21st October   1 comment

Stevie Turner

This week the topic is:

Do you try to be more original, or to deliver to readers what they want?

Ha ha, that’s a very good question; what actually do readers want?  If I knew that, I’d be selling millions of books! 

I usually wait until I’ve thought up a plot that’s a little bit different.  I try to be original, but in reality I expect every possible subject has already been covered ad nauseam.  I work on the assumption that somewhere out there are readers who might like my family-based dramas, be them humorous, paranormal, or romantic/suspense based.  I wait for the readers to come to me, rather than trying to write something they would like.

Am I doing it all arse-about-face?  Who knows?  Whatever the trending subject matter of the day is,  I’m either not in the loop or possibly it might be a genre I dislike.  It…

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Posted October 21, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Why Can’t I Have It All?   8 comments

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

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5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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I love the questions that require thought!

You’d think it’s a fairly binary question – creative versus market-oriented — but as is often the case, PJMcLayne has asked a question this week with an answer that is more nuanced.

There are two ways of doing art – and by art, I mean any creative endeavor. One — you can create for your own amazement. I wrote books for my own amusement for decades before I published for an audience. When I was doing that, I could afford to be bold and original, to try out plot lines and narrative techniques without fear that anyone would say, “Well, I’m just going to read another book because this one is … weird … boring … unbelievable … hard to follow ….” You get the picture. I loved what I was writing and I wasn’t concerned what anyone else thought because nobody else was ever going to read it.

The second way to do art is, obviously, for an audience. Writers are no less performance artists than my daughter — a gypsy musician who also dabbles in dance, painting and metal sculptures — not to mention graffiti. For that matter, my mother — a waitress — was a “performance artist”. Her audience consisted of the customers who followed her from cafe to cafe all over town because they appreciated her “art” in serving them. If you want to do art that has an audience, you have to consider what your audience wants.

So, am I original or do I give the audience what they want?

Can’t I do both? Take a pause and think about that. Of course, I can!

Creative on the First Draft

Image result for there is no new thing under the sun

I follow Stephen King and Kurt Vonnegut’s advice to write for my own enjoyment. I don’t consciously start by thinking “what does the market want?” I often read a book (written by another writer) or watch a television story (written by another writer) and think “What if …?” Or maybe it’s a news article that gets my attention, makes me wonder how someone got to the point where they did X. A character will stir in my mind and tell me his/her “what if”. In a way, it’s derivative in that I’m getting ideas from other writers. But my character is original and he tells his own story. He doesn’t inhabit that other writer’s universe. He lives in mine. His actions are motivated by his own personality. As I’ve often said – my characters tell me their stories and I write them down. Without a “living” character in my mind sharing the details of his “life”, there would be very little writing going on. In that way, I am utterly original.

Iconoclast

I’m also not very mainstream — as a person, I’m an iconoclast. How many anarchist-admiring libertarian Southern Baptist evangelical Christian American-Indian-white Alaskans have you encountered in your lifetime? Yeah, I didn’t think so. That’s bound to show up in my writing and it does.

I took up a topic in Transformation Project that you don’t see a lot of novelists tackling outside the zombie apocalypse trope. I have an apocalyptic scenario where government is not the answer — where even the government of the small town at the center of the series can’t save the community. Not going to tell you how I resolve that problem, but I think voluntaryist solutions represent a distinct minority opinion in dealing with large-scale crises. We human beings, particularly of the modern-American type tend to think big government solutions are the only way to solve problems. I disagree because I see the “what if.” In this, I am writing for myself — what I would like to see in some parts of the world if society went seriously off the rails. When I’m writing my first draft, it is all about creativity and what I, the writer, want to put on the page.

Mercenary on Rewrite

That said, I only deserve to get paid for my work if I provide value through that work, which means I do, to a certain extent, need to be aware of what readers are looking for in a novel. What good is it to write a book that nobody else wants to read? Successful writers recognize that the success of their book(s) depends almost entirely on conforming to audience expectations. Being aware of that doesn’t mean you can’t be creative, innovative — original — but, yes, honing my originality so the audience will enjoy the read is paramount for having an audience.

And that’s where rewrite comes in. When I sit down with my gravel-draft (the roughest of the rough draft), some of my main questions are:

  • Would anyone besides me want to read this story?
  • What about this section? Yes, I love the dialogue — the back and forth between these two characters is wonderful — from my perspective. So what about everybody’s else’s perspective? Do I really need to describe the Eiffel Tower in all its detail to an audience that can google it and see it for themselves? I can feel the cold Shane is experiencing in this scene, but will someone who has spent their whole life in Texas feel the cold if I don’t describe it?
  • While I prefer to use proper grammar when I write is my adherence to those rules slowing down the reading? What if I tweaked these past tense sentences to make them more present tense since it’s clear the character is thinking about the past?
  • Do the details of how the Delaneys are coping with having no running water or electricity really need to consume 20 pages? Doesn’t that constitute an info-dump? Hey, look at that. I wove the entire thing into three sentences scattered through a chapter and I won’t bore my audience!

That’s paring a creative work with audience-aware editing. I remain free to express myself creatively, experiencing Wordworth’s “spontaneous overflow of powerful emotion”, but I don’t let creativity hinder what I deliver to the audience.

And, really, why are independent authors publishing their books on Amazon if not to have people other than their family and friends read the book? I don’t want to disappoint those strangers (especially since they’re willing to pay me money for what they read) and so, I combine creativity with more prosaic skills like editing and market analysis.

Announcing a Book Launch

If you want to see what creativity and rock-solid writing skills produce together, Gathering In (Book 5 of Transformation Project) debuts tomorrow Tuesday, October 22 and is currently on pre-order. You’ll save $1 over its launch price ($2.99) and $2 over its full retail price $3.99). It will also be available in paperback come Tuesday. All earlier books in the series will be on $1.99 sale from launch through Cyber Monday.

Life As We Knew It

Objects in View

A Threatening Fragility

Day’s End

Not Alone   Leave a comment

Oh oh
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Runnin’ on the sideline, right now
This feel like a lifetime, I doubt
Losing all my patience, somehow
Feelin’ the vibrations of you now
Tell me, are you sad, are you sad?
When no one’s left to wipe your tears off
I know you feel alone, but I’m right there with you
You, you, you
With you, you, yeah
I’m always there with you, you, you
With you, you, yeah
I’m always here with you

Hey, fairytales die down, ooh
I can’t even tell north and south, yeah
Try to find a lighthouse, ooh
Losin’ sight of why I started
I hear you outside, outside
Sorry I couldn’t say goodbye
I can’t seem to justify
Why you had to die?
I got funerals
Hard to find a soul
Someone else who knows
Livin’ on this road
Pull up for the quick fix
I know it won’t fix it
Got me feelin’ low
Pullin’ for the top like

Runnin’ on the sideline, right now
This feel like a lifetime, I doubt
Losing all my patience, somehow
Feelin’ the vibrations of you now
Tell me, are you sad, are you sad?
When no one’s left to wipe your tears off
I know you feel alone, but I’m right there with you
You, you, you
With you, you, yeah
I’m always there with you, you, you
With you, you, yeah
I’m always here with you

Hey, I’m afraid of love, ooh
Happy homes flipped to divorce
Yeah, lonely holidays child, ooh
All I see is tears when it rains down
I can’t even lie to satisfy
Drivin’ around the city, satellite
Married ’til I die, ’til I die
Baby, hit the road, side by side
Got me coastin’, steady focus
Guns N’ Roses, for you posers, uh
On my mama, see, I won’t fall off
Yeah, God, you catch me when I fall down

Runnin’ on the sideline, right now
This feel like a lifetime, I doubt
Losing all my patience, somehow
Feelin’ the vibrations of you now
Tell me, are you sad, are you sad?
When no one’s left to wipe your tears off
I know you feel alone, but I’m right there with you
You, you, you
With you, you, yeah
I’m always there with you, you, you
With you, you, yeah
I’m always here with you

Posted October 20, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Christianity

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Is The Pen Mightier Than the Keyboard? #OpenBook Blog Hop   Leave a comment

October 14, 2019 What is your preferred method of writing? (By hand, on a computer, dictate it?) Somewhere – and I can’t tell you exactly where because I don’t know – I have…

Source: Is The Pen Mightier Than the Keyboard? #OpenBook Blog Hop

Posted October 14, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Open Book Blog Hop – 14th October   2 comments

Stevie Turner

Hi all.  This is a scheduled post this week, as I’m currently away.  The topic today is:

What is your preferred method of writing? (by hand, on a computer, dictate it?)

I usually outline the plot in longhand in a notebook first, where I also add details about all the characters.  I find this helps if I become stuck with the story or can’t remember hair colour/eye colour etc, as I can then read my notes and know where to go next.

Once the plot has been put on paper, then it’s time to type each chapter up on the computer.  I have an 8.5 x 5.5 template that I type straight on to.  I used to type the story just in  Word, but now I use the template.  It saves on formatting bills.  I never used to be able to line up all the page numbers properly on Word, but…

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Posted October 14, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

It Works for Me   9 comments

What is your preferred method of writing? (By hand, on a computer, dictate it?)

Rules:1. Link your blog to this hop.

2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.

3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.

4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.

5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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I do what works for me

Well, I can start by saying my least favorite method of writing is dictation. There is something about hearing my voice without a response by another human that just feels bogus. It might have something to do with my characters telling me their stories in their own voices. I “hear” Shane’s voice as deep and lush while his brother Cai is a bit higher. When I go to dictate it, it doesn’t sound like their voices and so I feel like I’m making stuff up.

When I first started writing, computers required an air craft hangar to house them, so of course, I wrote long hand because there really wasn’t another way to do it. My stepfather gave me my first typewriter when I was in high school. Still there are some forms of writing that I still prefer to do long-hand. I keep a journal that is spiral bound steno pads, for example. I write poetry very rarely and very badly and I do it long-hand almost every time. Some of my more poetic narratives have started out long-land. I also carry a notebook with me when I am out-of-doors, so that I can jot thoughts down when the mood strikes me. I enjoy writing long-hand. It feels more hands-on and creative.

I trained to be a professional writer – a journalist — and journalists have, for about a century, been taught copy-writing on typewriters. So early in my career I learned to compose writing raw using my 10 fingers. To me, that feels like I’m working and, as I am a professional author now, I use the method that makes me feel like a professional.

Practical Choice

Pragmatically, it’s a huge waste of time to write narrative long-hand and then transcribe it to the computer. When I was a reporter, I would take some minimal notes and then type the article raw on a typewriter. Personal computers were just coming into the newsroom when I bailed for a job that paid actual money. But the habit of mostly writing by typing had already taken hold of me. It’s efficient. It eliminates a step. It makes editing quicker and easier. It saves paper, which saves money. I can send it to other people without having to make a copy of it. It gets around my legible, but not very pretty handwriting. It is much faster since this former transcriptionist can type way faster than I can think, so typing on a computer doesn’t slow me down at all. For a whole lot of practical reasons, typing into the computer is my preferred method — unless I am writing something where the creative juices don’t want to flow that way, and then I do long-hand — rarely these days.

Posted October 14, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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I Need You   Leave a comment

Posted October 13, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Christianity

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