Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Summer Book Crush - Get a book boyfriend this summer for only .99 cents

Hot sun, hot sand, cool drinks, dark tans. Ahhhh. But your summer won’t be complete until you land a new BOOK BOYFRIEND, right? Lucky for you, we’ve got you covered!

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SUMMER BOOK CRUSH offers 50+ titles in many genres. This means 50+ chances to (fictitiously) fall in love. And the best part? Each of these gems is only 99¢, but for a limited time only. The SUMMER BOOK CRUSH event starts on June 26th and ends (yes, even the best things in life end at some point) on June 28th. So don't wait up! Mingle with our BOOK BOYFRIENDS and invite all your friends to participate too. There are plenty of BOOK BOYS to share!

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Find your summer’s fling between the pages of a book. And don't stop on one - after all we have many BOOK BOYFRIENDS for you to mingle with.


Saturday, 22 June 2013

Woman's Weekly Fiction Workshop - Part 2 of what I learnt

We had lunch in their nice canteen on the 11th floor. I took my own as I have various food intolerances.

Back to the room, we had a talk by Susanna Ahern whom is their regular serial contributor.
They do 3, 4 and 5 parters, although the 5 parter is a new thing, with the others more common. 3 parters have 3400 words each part, 4 parter has 3300 words and I'd say 5 parter has 3200 words each.

Susanna said that she writes the first part with good end and a brief outline of the rest of the series. Send the outline first! She needs to know the end of it all. If you get stuck doing it, then it's not worth trying with it.
Don't be precious, if told the story is not working then it's not.
Be prepared to take advice.
Be aware of the audience, on the other hand don't think of it just write it.
Likes to know the end - have a loose structure.
At start of each part, work out the end of the last part. So that the readers know the characters are OK after a cliff hanger.
Be personal. Use your own voice.
Stick to things you are inspired by.

Characters - Susanna can't go forward until she knows the characters. She has 2 main protagonists, usually related. Going through similar situation but who face it differently.

1st pov works with mystery.
Splits sections into different povs
Gaynor is not too keen on too much present tense. Don't change tense.
Find out about characters background: clothes, food smells and feel of place.
Characters are human beings and feel real
Character has to have motive. Has to have a reputation. Has to have a network - family, colleagues etc as they are not an island. Have habits and patterns. Talents and abilities. Tastes and preferences. Physical appearance

Plot - We were given a sheet called the Story Mountain Planner (which I might use when I write my next story for them).
Plot for 3 parter goes likes this@
Part 1 - Beginning of story. End of this part has something to change story to happen. Fraught situation.
Part 2 - Middle: Same point at end of last part. Explain cliff hanger. Characters are OK. Peak and dilemma. Things happen and characters are put to the test.
Part 3 End: Fulfill promise to readers. Round up characters. Give solution.

Then we had to interview the person next to us about their background. With that info we had to write an outline of a story. Mine incl a librarian who writes history and is taken into a historical scene by a cat. A scene that she is writing. Then was another exercise where we had to choose three words and write a story outline. I chose a Xmas theme. We had to read our outline out loud. I might change mine around and send it in sometime.

Then we had a chat by Laura Longrigg of MBA agency. Didn't take much notes for this. She did say though not to write with a publisher in mind, and describe your book in one sentence.

We were given several handouts which are useful. Said goodbye. I told Gaynor that I had learnt why my rejected story was rejected and will prob try again.  Was so pleased I went.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Woman's Weekly Fiction Workshop - What I learnt about how to write for them

On 7 June I went to Southwark Street in London (near London Bridge) to a workshop by Woman's Weekly. I had recently had a story rejected by them so wanted to find out what they look for. Here is what I learnt.

They publish/write for all walks of life. The stories are information and entertainment but not shocking. They accept a variety of stories, but not horror with blood etc and no sex - has to be behind doors.  Crime has to be done off stage if it is a crime story. Mystery/crime still has to have warmth, think cosy crime.  Characters have encounters that changes lives. Characters have to have a problem. Don't get too attached to your story as you might decide to change things.  The one question you should ask yourself, and what I now think when I want to write for them is Is this likely? If it's no, then the reader won't believe in it, if yes or could be, then reader will and they could accept it. This is why my story was rejected. It was magical realism and wasn't likely to happen in real life. Your story mustn't be too tame or predictable either.  For weekly issue they accept stories of 1000 and 2000 words; for the specials they want anything up to 8000 words. Hurrah for me, as I like writing long short stories that length.

Room for experiements. Strong plots. Each part has to have a cliff hanger at end of it. Have authentic background (real life again). Don't let background be story. Fairly happy endings. Character is essential. Write their background so they can appear to behave consistently.
Style/language not too matter of fact. Not overwritten with too many words. Cross out too many adverbs eg like that. (I thought oh dear, I know I do that.) No repetition, stating the obvious. Don't sign post things.

Rejection - as I said above, has to be realistic for the reader to get lost in the story. If it isn't, you have lost that reader. Know your market. Write in your own voice. Be nosy.

We had an exercise next. Write an opener about a letter. I couldn't think what to write, then read the exercise sheet where it said think about what happens later in the story. So I did, remembered a story I had in mind to write and wrote the opener. We all had to read our exercise out. Gaynor Davies said they were all good.

I learnt that WW stories gets to dilemma in the first sentence.

That is all for now. Back again with more about serials etc next week.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Asperger's Syndrome and sensory overload - What is it?

At the weekend I had sensory overload. I think this is something that could be connected with my Asperger's. So what is sensory overload? For me, it was when my brain can't cope with any more senses and shuts down. I feel my brain shutting down when I read or go on the computer. After a couple of minutes, it goes all foggy and I can't cope with what I am seeing and have to put down the book or shut off the computer. It first started on Saturday afternoon. I had been to a goal-setting brunch in Holborn that morning and didn't get home until 1.45pm. An hour later I went to bed for a nap. When I woke up, I felt worse. I began reading and felt my brain shutting down. I thought that having dinner would help. It did for a while. Until the following morning. I was all right when I got up, went over the road to get the paper. When I got home, I browsed the paper and started browsing the magazine. It was then I felt my brain begin shutting down again.

So how do you cope with sensory overload? I now know when I have it, so don't fight it. I rest either sitting quietly in my armchair, or usually go to bed for a while on and off during the day. This is what I did on Sunday. I felt so tired and washed out. I ended up going to bed really early just before 8pm.

Sensory overload normally happens to me when I have done too much, and includes too much travelling. This time I had been to a day workshop by London Bridge on the Friday (two trains), and to a goal-setting brunch in Holborn (two buses). The fact that I had travelled two days in a row, and had taken in lots of information on both days, my brain found it hard to cope with any more so shut down. Told me I needed a day's rest.

So that is what sensory overload is and how I cope with it. If you have any questions or advice, please don't hesitate to comment here.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

New Business Venture - The First 10 Days

Last time I posted about this, I had only just begun this new venture. I hadn't any leads/customers to help or promote to. Now things have changed. Within the last week I now have 3 leads. One of them I have been in contact with, but she is busy working on edits of her book to do the course and wants to do it later on. I said OK, but gave her the link of the course I was promoting anyway. The other two I have emailed to introduce myself but not heard back. I have just read the book 'How to Build a Home Business on a Budget', one of the products I am promoting. A great read and very helpful. In that, I read that they keep in contact with their clients (me) leads after the initial contact from me. So I hope that is the case. Meanwhile I keep on emailing and putting messages on FB about the products I am selling.  There are two things that I have learnt most from the ebook above: 1. Be yourself when emailing 2. Customers are interested in what it can do for them not about you. So, in future I will be myself by mentioning I have Asperger's as that is me, and appeal to others interest in wanting to learn.

So, I will probably post again in a few weeks time about this. By then the trial will have finished, and the proper price will take affect. I have decided to stay with it for a while, as others have said that is when you can earn the money. I am in it to learn from others, and hopefully earn money to help support my writing career.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Me, Asperger's and Creativity

In my quest to write about and inform others about living with Asperger's Syndrome, I have discovered that people with AS come in two groups: arts and science.  I definitely fall into the former being a writer. Looking back over the years since I was a child, I was always interested in different arts. I remember when I was little, I used to love colouring in colouring books and making the pictures come alive with colour. As I got older, those books turned into pattern books with spirals and swirls, and I loved colouring them in too. In one of my last years of primary school, I got interested in tapestries, the cross stitch ones, and the first one I did was of a simple man and woman. Later on, they changed to more intricate ones of animals and cute characters. I still have a few I've finished in my mum's wardrobe to put up after my bedroom was redecorated. I also have a few that I've not done yet, and might in the later years of life.

But all through that, there was writing. I remember writing a true story in primary school which the teacher read out for me. My AS kicked in, and I was too shy to read it out myself. I also wrote short stories about different things, I can't remember what though. It has always been there, writing. When I started work, I wrote a short romance story about me having a crush on a man I once knew. Embarrassing. I don't have it anymore, thank goodness. Then way back in the 90s, when I ended up having to go to lunch on my own (one of the co-heads of dept, a nasty person) didn't like us all going together and said they had to go without me. I began writing then. That turned into my first romance novel, which is now in my wardrobe waiting to be rewritten. Since then I have written several novels, mainly romance for adults and  few for children. I can't think what to do if I didn't have my writing. It takes me out of my normal world and lets me forget about who I am and the hassles I have to live with.

So, that is how creativity has become part of my AS. Let me know if you have autism and are creative too. Be interested to know more people who are.