Sunday, November 30, 2008

700 words...Amazing!!

I am so proud of myself! I wrote about 700 words over the weekend for my nameless novel. Add that to my useless 'incomprehenisble' prologue and i'm well over the 1,ooo mark! they say it gets easier from here on out.

Seriously though, (i am serious about that word count) I was on the writers draft and i was reading a post about an author feeling like a failure for not reaching her goal of finishing her first draft by december. It reminded my of what happened about two days ago. I found this old notebook of mine with a list of deadlines and goals etc. Talk about depressing - the only thing i accomplished was finishing my degree!

My room is full of these 'good intention' notes and notebooks. Goals, aims, deadlines etc that i will never ever keep to! it is depressing to think about.

Anyhoo, the authors post describes what i felt a few weeks ago about my 'masterpiece'. I spent time trying to do lists of character bios etc which i had heard were good to do. I had set a number of words to do per day cause thats another tip i heard. I set deadlines for specific chapters..BLAH BLAH BLAH.......

what was i at?? First i lost the plot (literally) - i was swamping myself with stress of deadlines for something i didn't even have a plot for. I'm not good with deadlines. So why did i think it would work when it comes to my writing? i realised i'm not that sort of writer. My writing was suffering and the creative juices weren't flowing and i kept thinking 'this should be easier' I couldn't even think of what my first chapter should be.

So, I had an epiphany ..eventually.......(after i killed a few trees with all those notes) I am not an organised person. Why would i be a organised writer??

They say your room says alot about mother would say it says SLOB but i see 'creative clutter'. I have a method to my madness so shouldn't it work for my writing?

Yes. I think so.

I don't know if this sounds stupid or not but, I said to myself I'm not going to force it. I have all the time in the world to write this novel. I'm only 21. why am i putting extra pressure on myself (when i've enough already).

so i decided that when something pops into my head like a scene or whatever i'll jot it down, and when i'm good and ready i'll sit down and write it roughly. Took a week, was sitting on the train and this scene literally popped into my head I jotted the details down and left it for ages, but i just let my thoughts mull on it.

Sat down and wrote the 1st draft today thinking i'll just write this scene. i wrote more than i thought i would, and i know what my 1st chapter will be now.

Granted i don;t know where i'm headed after that - i have a rough plot but screw it - this loose sort of attitude is fun. It sounds mad i know but i have no idea where this story is headed so its exciting when something pops into my head.

So the moral of this post?

Don't be something your not! I am not an organised person in any aspect of my life. I'm a messy clutterer who walks around with pen on her face, wears odd socks and doesn;t care.

I don't put titles on my work, feel quesy even stamping chapter numbers on things. Like my work, i'm a constant 'work in progress' and a deadline free zone!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Good Idea/Bad Idea: Pen names

Pen Names: Good Idea/ Bad idea

What is in a name?

The debate about whether a pen name benefits or hinders your writing career is still being hotly debated. It is my understanding (from all those hours spent scouring websites for useless info) that the benefits/damage of a pen name all depends on a person's specific circumstance.

Some of the biggest names (pun) in writing have used pen names e.g. Stephen King, Nora Roberts etc. so the question is: Is it good/bad for you? Only you know what your circumstances/ personal preference are. Personally for me, I didn't believe my 'real' name was marketable, also at the time i chose Emily Cross, there was a chance that i would become an academic writer. And well you know Emily Cross is such a coooool name.

Below I'm going to go into the pros/cons of having a pen name (links to info sites below)

Richard Bachman, Lewis Carroll, Trevanian, George Sand, Mark Twain, Nora Roberts, Stephen King. All these authors and a load more have written some of their best works under a pseudonym (pen name). I'm going to briefly outline the Good Points of having a Pseudonym:

Anonymity: This is the most common reason why first time writers use a pen name. As a first timer, we have a lot to prove both to ourselves, publishers, family and friends. Sometimes being able to hide behind another identity makes this easier.
On a less personal level some authors chose the anonymity of a pen name as they wish to separate their 'day' job from their writing job. for example, a professor of literary fiction who spends their nights writing 'genre' fiction may not wish to be known under the same name.

Marketability: If you have the name 'Amanda Bent' (yes i knew someone with that name) you could hardly hope to be taken seriously as a writer. Alot of authors whose names are less crinchy, chose a pseudonym because they understand that in the 21st century being an author is not just about the writing. its about the 'Brand' of your name, the marketability and finally the SALES. A recent example (although it is her real name) is Stephenie Meyer - her name has become a market onto itself and is instantly recognisable as the leading name in YA fiction. Stephenie Meyer is a suitable name for an author in the genre of female YA fiction. I doubt Twilight would seem half as appealing to its 'audience' if it was written by 'Butch Weeds'. As i have found out recently - platforming and reaching out to your audience/ readership is key to success. So think long and hard about picking your name.

Crossing the Genre: Many established writers such as Nora Roberts change their name when establishing themselves in another genre. Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb gave the illusion and 'expectation' of the thriller/crime genre by not eluding to her previous writing or even her gender. Its important not to confuse readers/fans by publishing works that are completely different from the genre you usually write in. Ian Banks was asked to provide a pseudonym for his Science fiction works. Ian M. Banks was born. Clever Man, lets his readers know with one letter what to expect.

Protection: A pseudonym in some cases provides protection to the author if they are going to publish something controversial and can also add a sense of credibility to a work. Sadly although in most places gender of a writer does not matter, a pseudonym can protect an author by hiding their sex, ethnicity, race and even religion. A pseudonym can also protect an author from themselves. Writings which were 'flops' can be forgotten and the author can start a new with a new identity or their original name.

Pseudonym is it a Bad idea? Many authors/editors/publishers for legal, copyright and sales issues believe so feeling it can have a hit/miss appeal with readership. here are some of the main arguments against pen names.

Sign of the amateur? Many Literary agents and publishers see the pen name as the sign of an amateur, and often question whether the author themselves are actually proud of their work. Apart from the headache's it provide publishers/editors to sign cheques to fictional name etc. it is a gamble for them on whether this pen name will work as a 'brand'. Often first time pen names can come across as gimmicky or even pretentious and can affect whether a L.A or publisher will want to work with an author. During the course of researching for this article, the advice 'use your real name unless its horrible' is heavily emphasised. Basically establish yourself and only when you go to a different genre - consider a pen name.
Media Frenzy: In today's media crazy world, anonymity is not realistic or should i say 'profitable'. The book business has changed and the image of the writer as an isolated fellow in slippers and dressing gown are done and dusted. Book signings, Radio, TV shows etc. are the order of the day in a writers life. The fans want to know their authors and interact with them. Example Stephenie Meyer, she used the Internet to reach out to her small base of fans - and by the time the third novel of the TW quadrilogy came out she was on the top of the new york times best seller list. You have to be prepared to face the media, promote your book and promote your pen name too. Fans like their authors to be transparent. Often the pen name can back fire into 'flops' and low sales if the readers favour turns.
Legality/copyright: This is a complicated area, which many first time authors forget to consider. i REALLY am not qualified to even begin to explain how this all works but i just want to make people AWARE that you have to consider that a pen name will en cure more work.

I hope the Good Idea/Bad Idea points have helped.

Remember: Pseudonyms are generally a personal choice and can be determined by a number of factors such as previous experience, situations, and future prospects. Its up to you to Decide.

When i decided to pick Emily Cross, I had to consider a few things. At the bottom of the article i've provided a few tips i kept in mind.

The Logistics of Pseudonyms

I found the below excerpt from Moira Allen's article extremely helpful as to how to go about 'introducing' your Pseudonym to publishers (link to her article below).
If anyone shows further interest, let me know, i may look into the schematics of the 'hows' and 'legal stuff' of introducing it and do a separate post addressing this issue (and maybe hunt down what some common L.agents/publishers' stances are on this)

Often, writing under a pseudonym is as easy as putting the phrase "writing as" on your manuscript. For articles, short stories, and poetry, you can simply put your real name in the upper left corner of your manuscript (or on the cover page), and list your pen name as your byline beneath the title. However, to ensure that your editor publishes the work under the "correct" name, you may want to remind the editor in your cover letter that you are "writing as" your pseudonym.

The final thing to keep in mind when using a pseudonym is that it will not protect you from any legal action that might result from your writing. A pseudonym has no existence as a "legal" entity; no matter what name you put on your work, the ultimate responsibility for that work always rests on you.

Tips when it comes to Pen Names:
  • Don't pick something generic or forgettable but also don't pick something too gimmicky or hard to spell. You'll need something that will appeal to your publishers/editors and to you readership, so memorable but easy to spell is KEY
  • Think about Shelving: if you are writing in a certain genre think about where your books will be placed. Most publishers/authors think a name beginning in the ABC's is a good idea.
  • Research: Its easy now a days to google your name and see if its already taken. There are a number of Emily Cross out there, but none are authors/writers and none are serial killers or criminals so for now i think i'm safe.
  • Pick a name which reflects the genre you are writing in: if you plan to write horrors, the pen name Zoe Valentine will not provide the 'expectation' that readership looks for.
  • Look into the legalities and copyright before signing contracts etc. Make sure it is clear that you own the pen name.

Articles Used:

Should a writer adopt a Pen name?

Moira Allen Article

Further Information:

Author Names

Information on the legal and copyright issues involved in using a pseudonym

If you have any questions or comments on whether this was helpful, Let me know!

Also if you have any specific topic you want in the next good idea/bad idea post let me know!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Choo Choo Choo..........Christmassy Grinch

There is something really exciting about being on a train, using your laptop and being online - all at the same time. Aw if only Agatha Christie could see me now....

Anyhow, its friday evening and i'm on my way home from Uni after a gruelling day of essay results and presentation slides (i was up at 6am this morning doing tired). I wish i could say this is the end of it, but this is only the beginning!!

I'm commuting every single morning to the capital of my country.....which is packed with Xmas Crap and shoppers. Now, i'm all for the Xmas, but the crowds....and the children.....and the buggies....i feel like i've been through the first 15 minutes of Saving Private Ryan...and its still NOVEMBER!!!!!

Ugh the thoughts of the coming December make me want to cry...alot!!

Apart from the commuting and Xmas nightmare, the workload and looming exams are killing me. I seem to have no free time at all - even to write! It's gotten sooooo BAD that i'm dreaming about it!

So what is the point of this garbly worded post from an exhausted postgrad sitting on a train?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Me...and a website...what could go wrong?

So, after pondering terminology such as 'cookies' (v scary things......conspiracy theory, anyone?) 'terms and conditions' and 'privacy policy' i ticked the 'i agree' box on one of those 'free website' set ups....

Now, don't judge me. I'm a poor (bankrupt and in debt) student so my thinking is that i'm not worth scamming/spamming etc. so i think i must be realtively safe....although it seems its all up to 'YOU' (i.e. me) to make sure 'YOUR' site is safe etc. Considering i'm not the most technological minded person this may be.....problematic...

Anyhoo although i don't like when they say 'they can change the terms & conditions without notifying you' i still signed up as 'all the cool kids are doing it' such as JB.

So i gave into peer pressure... if i'm going to platform i'm going to need a website (even if its crap)

In an ideal world i wish i could afford the amazing skills of Lee Child and John Connolly website designer who are just AMAZING. I live on JC blog and site - and she just captures the essence of his writing!! (and for a alright fee does all that nitty and critty website work)

Promise to self: the second i am published i am contacting this woman!! (if she'll have me lol)

So back to the point:

Here it is:

The Chronicles of Emily Cross

or just

P.S. OMG i can;t change the font on this stoopid website......argh why aren;t i rich....and published!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thank You!!

I just wanted to say a quick thank you to the lovely Sera Phyn for giving me a lovely plug on both her website and her blog. She is one of the sweetest virtual people i have meet online and her site is amazing. This woman has some great advice on her website especially in regards to her stance on FF. Seriously recommend you all pay a visit!

I'd also like to thank Vanessa from InkWell writers workshop for including this blog in her december newsletter.

Also huge thank you to the amazing ladies (especially the Queen herself JB) over at WD who have added me on their blog watch. and JB who has been regularly commenting *mwah*

Much appreciate it!!

(Links to blogs and website our on the right)

Evil Editor cracks the whip

Well since the below post - my 200 words have made it onto the evil editors first page.

here is the link New beginning 573

I'm not sure if i can take the excerpt (including the new 'beginning') without making a faux pas so i'm just going to provide a link.

So 1st. My prologue was misinterpreted as someone speaking (and then it seems it was preferred that way)

2nd. alot of confusion about what it was about - lots of words were used by reviewers like 'dense' 'a bit much' 'incomprehensible' - not feeling the love for 'beth' critique but i appreciate what she was saying and other reviewers like ellie were very constructive too. I'll admit the critiques hurt but i'm not going to be stupid and huffy about it and disregard what was said.

So, i'm thinking now, i may have to go back to the drawing board. Perhaps i don't have the skill or vision yet to sit down and write decently or should i say 'comprehensible'. I don't know if this is a 'crisis of faith' or approaching writing in a different light, but i need to do something, right?

So, I'm thinking that i shall have to start focusing on 'practicing' alot so i can get the best results when i do sit down and complete this novel.

So i think that perhaps its time to 'hone' my 'craft' on smaller projects (and not on fanfiction) such as short stories.

In my mind they are just as difficult to write as a novel except completion would be quicker, and i could start getting into the habit of rereading and editing etc and submitting work in for publication. this way i'm both establishing my platform and honing my writing.

So am i just in denial of being an awful writer? running away? or is this a sensible plan?

If i could figure the polls out - i still wouldn't be arsed to poll this lol

emily signing out

Monday, November 10, 2008

Am i Krazy with a capital K?


"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than write for the public and have no self"
Cyril Connolly

Well now a second post within a day - amazing how 'real life' work motivates one to do other things.

anyhoo. The important question i'm asking myself today is 'am i Krazy?'

On a normal day i'm crazy with a small 'c' but i think today (with hindsight) i'm alot of Krazy with a big K and a dash of desperate.

Why? you ask. Well, I am the genius writer, of approx 500 words of a manuscript, who decided to email the EVIL EDITOR with the first 150-200 words of chapter 1 (chapter 1 which is still 500 words) so that it can be put up as a 'new beginning' - this means Ladies and Gents that strangers look at my 150-200 words (which are looking crapper the more i see them) and make up the next 200 words from it - creating a 'new beginning' and of course when its posted on EVIL EDITOR BLOG people can comment on the whole affair.

So i've explained the Krazypart, but what about the desperate? Well, this is the real why behind my actions. I desperately want an honest opinion of what i've written from people with 'experience' etc. who aren't going to be 'nice' cause they know me.

I think we all want this.

We thrive on feedback, but the 'its amazing' mantra from mom and dad isn't quite the contructive critique that it used to be....

Unbiased constructive critique is what i was looking for....and I know i'll GET it now (as in Italien Mafia 'get it'). lol.

With Hindsight, probably not the smartest move a writer of 500 words could make.........

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Writing Here I Come!!!

Hello all and Welcome to my blog.

A Brief Introduction is probably in order.

Currently i'm a graduate student who is doing a course which makes me basically want to cry with boredom. This course will hopefully lead to a boring soul sucking job which will pay the bills and keep me alive....

This is the 'real life' situation (real life = crap)

Anyhow, my language is as usual atrocious (as is my spelling - ignore that if you're a Literary Agent)

Basically i want to be a writer - preferably a published paid one.

i have begun a novel which has no title (you can see i'm a real 'Monica' from friends type...oh so organised) but has characters that i love, a plot i can live with and hopefully a writing style that won't make one's eyes bleed.

In the past week with an amazing 500 words of a manuscript (ok can i really call it that when it isn't even 2 pages? ) written up and saved in numerous places under numerous names (paranoid? probably - computers hate me) I thought i was doing well.....Ha, How wrong i am!

A mind numbing report is due for my 'real life' work so, as always when these things are due, i decided that procrastinatation by blog hopping would be more fun. During my travels I came across various editors/LA/authors/aspiring authors blogs.

What a goldmine of information! Both helpful and terrifying!! (note to self: should NOT have bought all those 'idiots guide to' books on writing)

Now i am not a blog hopping virgin, i have done this before, and i'm proud to say that i have foundthe 'Bestselllers list' of blogs like Ms. Snark, Crapometer and Evil editor (look at 'my blogs'). today i have found a similar gem Moonrat's site - an editor with a heart and some really good advice !!

especially in the below article:

Moonrat's Guide to Getting Published

Now i have heard this information before (and i'm sure you have as well from both the internet, writers market etc. ) but i've never seen such an emphasis on 'PLATFORM BUILDING'.

Honestly i feel i should be wearing a hard hat!!

Alas i don't speak of the building trade or shoes...

Platform building is as Moonrat says:

Your platform consists of your relevant professional credentials and your published writing experience. Another really important component is your marketing outreach--even if you're superqualified to write this book, are you going to be able to get the word out when pub time comes?
She (i assume she) highlights that previous publications, expertise in a writing area etc are essential to get you ahead of the pack. she also emphasises Networking - especially online networking - blogging, websites, forums you're a member of, membership to associations and charities that relate to your book etc...basically its like your secondary (highschool) CV (resume) all over again.

Its all about building up a 'fan base' or 'readership'!

so I just want to say Welcome Readership!!

EMILY needs YOU to actually make me look like i've fans.

For a book that consists of 500 words. Yay.


anyhow this is basically the background of the how and the why of this blog! I plan to update it at least once a week with either articles/blogs i've discovered on the internet, book reviews/recommendations or details of my thrilling writing career....

So click on the right column over there that says 'followers' -

i swear i'm not a cult.....yet...hehehe.. and join!!
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