Monday, 29 September 2014

Flash 500 two day call #contest

Two categories close in just under two days
 
Don't miss out on the chance to win in either the Flash Fiction or Humour Verse categories. They both close at midnight (UK time) on 30th September.

Novel Opening and Synopsis Category
 
Relax! You have over a month left to polish entries for this category as it remains open until the end of October.
 
The judges this year will be (once again) the senior editors at Crooked Cat Publishing, who are the publishers for my own (writing as Frances di Plino) D.I. Paolo Storey series of crime novels, Bad Moon Rising, Someday Never Comes, Call It Pretending and Looking for a Reason (due out on 28th October).
 
Crooked Cat Publishing cover a wide range of genres, from chick lit to horror, which is why they are the ideal judges for the competition.  
Full details of all three competition categories can be found on the Flash 500 Home Page.
 
Good luck with all your writing endeavours.
 
Kind regards, 
 
Lorraine





Critique Service for Writers
Flash 500 Home Page: Flash Fiction, Humour Verse
and Novel Opening Chapter and Synopsis Competitions

Friday, 26 September 2014

Writing for Children - Tip 15 #writetip



Writers new to children’s literature often worry about how long a sentence should be, and whether or not to keep the words simple and easily understood. The answer to those questions obviously depends heavily on the age group you wish to write for, but there are some general guidelines you can follow.

Tip 15 – How Do You Say That?

  • Trying to keep sentences too short could result in them sounding jerky. Two simple ideas joined together by a conjunction can work just as well, and will flow better.
  • The important thing is to make sure the sentence is constructed so that the reader doesn’t lose his or her way.
  • If in doubt, read your sentences aloud.
  • Children learn new words by reading. As long as the meaning has been made clear before the word is introduced your readers will not be put off by it.
  • Young readers love colourful sounding words, especially if they are brought in during an exciting passage in the book.
  • If you are unsure about the vocabulary you have used, ask a few children in the right age group to read a passage. Let them read it quietly to themselves, and don’t be tempted to read it out to them. If you read it, you will automatically put the inflections in the right places and won’t find out if the vocabulary is understood by your readers.
  • If they say it is too hard to read, ask why. Ask which words and sentences caused them problems.
  • Bear in mind that almost anything can be said in short simple words as long as the right ones are used.





Critique Service for Writers
Flash 500 Home Page: Flash Fiction, Humour Verse
and Novel Opening Chapter and Synopsis Competitions

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Flash 500 deadlines fast approaching #contest

Entries close at midnight (UK time) 3oth September
 
With the entry deadlines fast approaching, you only have a week left to submit those stories and poems. Don't miss out as the Flash Fiction and Humour Verse categories both close at the end of this month.

Novel Opening and Synopsis Category
 
Here, you can relax a little, as this category remains open for entries until the end of October.
 
The judges this year will be (once again) the senior editors at Crooked Cat Publishing, who are the publishers for my own (writing as Frances di Plino) D.I. Paolo Storey series of crime novels, Bad Moon Rising, Someday Never Comes, Call It Pretending and Looking for a Reason (due out on 28th October).
 
Crooked Cat Publishing cover a wide range of genres, from chick lit to horror, which is why they are the ideal judges for the competition.  
Full details of all three competition categories can be found on the Flash 500 Home Page.
 
Good luck with all your writing endeavours.
 
Kind regards, 
 
Lorraine





Critique Service for Writers
Flash 500 Home Page: Flash Fiction, Humour Verse
and Novel Opening Chapter and Synopsis Competitions

Friday, 19 September 2014

Writing for Children - Tip 14 #writetip



Once you have decided on the theme for your story, the next significant decision to make is the setting. In many ways this is almost as important as the story itself.

Tip 14 – Where in the World?

The location, properly used, brings atmosphere and depth, which should be fully developed before the closing words of chapter one.

The only catch to this is that children find long descriptions boring. For this reason it is strongly advised that you avoid starting your book by describing a town or landscape – even if it is a vibrant (to you) depiction of a new and alien world that has only just been discovered!

So how do you describe this brave new world without sending your readers to sleep?

 
To start with, you, as the writer, need to know everything possible about your fictional setting. Make copious notes so that you can refer back whenever you need reminding about the where, what and how of the place. But remember, these notes are for your use only, and should not be copied piecemeal into the story.

Next, try to visualize the scene where the action is taking place and write what you ‘see’ happening. You will automatically describe what is important and ignore the parts that aren’t.


For example, if your tale is set in a creepy castle, and you want your readers to know that it hasn’t been inhabited for several years, use action to get the message across.

If the hero ducks behind a rusting suit of armour and gets covered in cobwebs, or the heroine picks up a cushion to throw, only to find it crumbles to dust in her hands, the reader can see the setting, and in a more interesting way than through detailed description.






Critique Service for Writers
Flash 500 Home Page: Flash Fiction, Humour Verse
and Novel Opening Chapter and Synopsis Competitions

Friday, 12 September 2014

Writing for Children - Tip 13 #writetip



A book for children has to engage their interest in every way. 

They have to feel the emotions, the fear, the joy, and the insecurities of the characters. 

They want to hurt when their heroes do, cheer when the bad guys are vanquished, groan at the soppy humour and laugh out loud at comic antics.

To achieve this you will need to ensure you cover the basic ingredients. The following suggestions might help you.

Tip 13 – Creating a Blueprint for Success

A strong narrative voice
This means the way in which you tell the story through your writing style. Make it distinctive and uniquely yours.

A setting your readers can reach out and touch with their minds
Wherever you set your novel, make it exciting, exotic or unusual, but more importantly, make it real for your readers. You need to know your imaginary world as well as you know the town in which you live.

Characters who live and breathe
Give your protagonists noticeably defined personalities and mannerisms. Make sure their motives are clearly understood. Create people kids will love or even love to hate.

A likeable central character
You must have someone at the heart of the story who has depth and fascination for your young readers. They have to care about every high point and low point of the heroine’s life.

A strong point of view
Seeing the story unfold through the eyes of the hero allows kids to share his thoughts, feeling and fears.

An (almost) insurmountable problem to solve
Your readers must believe in their hero’s quest and worry about how he is going to find the solution. They should be almost panicking every time something new stands in his way.

Cliff-hanger chapter endings
Each chapter should end on a note that intrigues or frightens. Your audience must be left feeling as though tomorrow is far too long to wait to read the next chapter. Try to recreate that feeling you had as a child when you read by flashlight under the covers because you had to know what happened next.

An ending that satisfies
Whatever the outcome of your story, your readers need to feel that justice was done and the world is back on its axis.






Critique Service for Writers
Flash 500 Home Page: Flash Fiction, Humour Verse
and Novel Opening Chapter and Synopsis Competitions

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Getting to know … Carol Anne Hunter



What genre would you say your novels fall into, or do they defy classification?
I call it comedy, others say chook-lit; my friend Helen calls it hot flush fiction.

What made you choose that genre?
I wrote half a dozen short stories based on silly events that had happened to me or my friends and blew them out of all proportion for comic effect.  Then I realised I could cobble them together and weave a bigger story around them.  I edited four of them out in the end, but don’t ask which two made it to the final edit because I’m not telling!

How long does it take you to write a book?
Project Me is my first book and was just a hobby I pursued when I had spare time in the beginning, so I can’t gauge how long it would take if I wrote full-time. I started it in 2008, finished it in 2012, and had a year in there where I didn’t look at it at all.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I get up, shower and dress, sit in front of the PC and type.  I make a point of not logging onto the internet, I just go for it.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?
I have no clue, they just come to me then develop from there as I write them down. I have the outline of several full stories recorded on my PC for writing at a later date.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I’ve only written one previous book and must have been around eleven or twelve. A family member had reading and writing difficulties and I wrote a ‘Janet and John’ type book in simple terms to help him. It probably didn’t make any difference but that was my first effort.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I have lots of friends, look after my mum, work part-time behind the bar at the local golf club, and attend writing classes.  I find classes inspiring and when I attend them, my output multiplies.



What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That the characters would take on a life of their own.  They often take me down a completely different path to the one I pointed them to.

How many books have you written?
Only one full-sized novel but I’m working on book #2.



As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be a primary school teacher but my circumstances changed and that was no longer possible.

What are you working on now?
I’m 25,000 words into book #2, a sequel to Project Me.  It’s working title is The Pia Protocol and it picks the story up two years after the end of book #1.

Bio
Carol was born in Edinburgh and later moved to the West of Scotland for eighteen years, during which time she married, became Company Secretary of her husband’s business, and helped raise three step-children whilst still working full-time.  After a divorce and two promotions in the 1990s, she returned to Edinburgh in 2001.  She took early retirement in 2007 to pursue a lifelong desire to write.  The result is her hot-flush fiction Project Me. 

Twitter: @carolannehunter






Critique Service for Writers
Flash 500 Home Page: Flash Fiction, Humour Verse
and Novel Opening Chapter and Synopsis Competitions