Month: May 2017

Writing as Editing

As a beginning fiction writer four years ago, I had no book author skills. What I brought to my new profession was experiences living and reading thousands of books, and knowing what I enjoyed reading. I began putting down stories because I could not find enough books to read that fulfilled my interests. So, I sat down to tell stories I wanted to read. These tales of swordsmen and swordswomen wandering dangerous lands, meting out justice and meeting exciting characters spilled out of me quickly.

But, editing was slow, frustrating, and limited. I mostly looked for typos, spelling, grammar, and plot errors. My creative process resulted in plots that moved from a beginning setup, through middle complications, cumulating in conflict, and final resolution. I tried to build tension, give fight scenes to resolve tension with antagonists, and carefully study the terrain and locations my characters would have to traverse. However, I was not editing to improve the story, or bring the characters or scenes to life.

I have enjoyed working with my editor over the last few years. EJ Runyan has supported my writing with permission to write raw and fast, those stories in my head. She says, ‘first you have to get it out on the page.’ Then we’ve worked together to turn it into a great story. Part of that editing process has been to convert telling scenes into showing scenes. I think of it as living in the scene, not telling about the scene. We work on making sure the action or decisions in the scene contribute to future aspects of the story. It’s important to have the motivations and intentions of the characters drive the scene. This process of editing, while time-consuming, results in more satisfying stories with life, grit, and staying power.

I will share some scenes from my stories and try to show the type of revision which have been carried out during the editing process. This first scene is from Asante’s Gullah Journey. Beneda the farmer and archer, with her friends, is making the final assault to liberate the Library from Cootuh and his henchmen.

Cootuh spots two people coming his way as he moves around the building. Beneda! Beside her strides Hector with a huge club.

Cootuh freezes and waves his two men forward. Jeremiah, stopping also, pushes his two toward Hector. Cootuh moves closer to the wall on his left. Maybe, if I duck right quick, the wall’ll stop that club.

As Hector swings wildly, Cootuh sees Beneda’s raised her bow. In an instant Cootuh’s he’s looking at a arrowtip aimed his way.

As she releases, Malcolm smashes into her from behind. The arrow plants in the ground, inches from Cootuh’s boot.foot.

A man bounces from the wall in front of Cootuh’s men. Damn! Looking over he realizes Hector’s alone, except for this one a man hanging on his back. Jeremiah’s eyes meet his. He’s asking what to do. “There!” Cootuh commands.

On trembling legs, Jeremiah steps in front of Hector. But he only blocks the huge man for a second. That club crashes down on his shoulder and Jeremiah drops like a felled tree. Out cold.

Wait!” Cootuh shouts Hector flings the last man off his back. Off and away. “Wait!” Cootuh shouts. It works, Hector freezes with club raised.

There’s movement and grunting, out of the corner of his eye, Cootuh noticeshears Malcolm on top of Beneda. Sees both her hands grip his wrist. Malcolm’s small knife close to her face. With the free hand he hits the girl’s her head and chest.

Hector. We friends.” Cootuh’s spread splayed his hands apart wide, eyes opened as wide as they’ll go.

Shaking his head and the club, Hetor growls, “No.”

You worked for me.” Cootuh forces a distorted smile. “The farmers killed Brutha.” Cootuh casts his face toward Beneda as she struggles on the ground. Cootuh’s thinking the knife in his hand is a twin to Malcolm’s but his won’t stop Hector.

No!” With Hector’s shout comes a jolt of pain in Cootuh’s hand. Hector’s club has smashed down.

As Cootuh backs away, another black shape comes moving rapidly toward the struggling pair on the ground.

Malcolm!” His shout too late. The old attacker has thrust a Bowie knife into Malcolm’s kidney back. That old man, what helped the scout and the librarian woman. Now Hector’s closer.

Careful where he steps, No mora this! Cootuh’s turned now, Feets! Not caring to see or hear more, he tilts full speed, heading to the creek.

This next scene is from A Dangerous Way. The Library Scout, William Way, has been captured and placed with someone who should be his enemy, Meredith. Instead, they work together to achieve their freedom.

She goes to the At the door, Meredith cries out in a high, strangled voice, “Help, he’s getting away!” She keeps repeatedly calling for help, “Guard! Guard! Jonny! Quickly!” repeatedly until the guards open the door. Then as she Meredith runs toward the window, they step in pointing and yelling even louder, they both step in and survey the room. All the furniture has been piled up in strange lumps. around the room. She points again. at the window they Fredrico looks but sees nothing but a cloth blanket hanging from the window rod. As they’ve planned things, it can’t be seen whether the window’s is broken or not. As he walks to inspect it window Jonny stands back three steps from the door.

Suddenly William leaps steps out from behind the mattress and launches himself. Jonny the guard at the door holds his sword in low guard toward the left. William comes at him, from the right locks his arm between their two bodies. William He uses both hands to choke out the man. As he falls, Fredrico spins. while looking to the right. The man Jonny, beneath him, struggles less and less, finally going limp. But the other guard heads moves in their direction. With only three long steps between them, Fredrico he will reach William in seconds.

Unexpectedly, that one gets a burning lamp wick against his cheek. Meredith has grabbed the flame and used it as a weapon.

In the near dark, the guard Fredrico sweeps around and strikes Meredith down. As his he is turned back is turned, William leaps. jumps on him Clamping Fredrico in a headlock, and applies applying a choke hold between his forearm and bicep. After a few seconds, the man slumps down. The flickering lamp wick lies on the floor beside Meredith’s body.

Quickly Picking up the damaged lamp, William quickly kneels. She feebly looks up at the feeble light.

You saved my life,” he says. to her.

We can escape now?” she asks.

Yes, we‘re are not prisoners anymore,” says William. William says to her.

Good… it is Good to be free,” Her eyes close. William feels her neck. artery and there is no pulse. No pulse.

I have been learning how to craft stories to bring scenes more to life. My goal is now to live the scene, not explain the scene to the reader. It turns out that the editing step is a key to good writing.

https://www.amazon.com/Asantes-Gullah-Journey-Library-Soul/dp/1537010263

What Editing Software Can Teach You about Your Writing

Nicholas C. Rossis

Brenda Berg | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksThis is a guest post by Brenda Berg, a professional consultant and tutor for college students and entrepreneurs with over 15 years experience in business management, marketing, and entrepreneurship. Brenda is passionate about covering topics on career, self-development, e-learning on her blog Letsgoandlearn.com. She believes that constant learning is the only way to success. 

What Editing Software Can Teach You about Your Writing

Writing | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksAs every writer knows, the practice of writing can be a fulfilling, exciting and amazing pastime, whether practiced as a hobby or as a career. On the other hand, it can also be an incredibly frustrating, difficult and even daunting skill that leaves us pulling our hair out.

We all have our strengths and weaknesses but when it comes to editing our content, but sometimes, we are left feeling stumped. Luckily, especially in the more recent years where technology has flourished and become more accessible than…

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The Tangler’s Hat 1965 – Geoff Cronin

The Tangler’s Hat – 1965 In the days when the Fair was the commercial and indeed social life-blood of small towns all over Ireland, certain rules of behaviour became rigidly entrenched in the process of buying and selling in the market place. One sacrosanct rule dictated that if a buyer was in negotiation with a seller,no third party could interrupt. Transgression of this rule usually resulted in a split head at the very least – and anyone who went to a fair was very much aware of this.[…]

https://www.amazon.com/Colour-Life-Geoffrey-Cronin/dp/1905597002

via The Colour of Life – The Tangler’s Hat – 1965 – Geoff Cronin — Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

A Fantasy Tip From History: Doo-Dooing The King

Nicholas C. Rossis

Hand Of The King | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Hand Of The King pin (image: Dark Comics)

In Game Of Thrones, it is the King’s Hand who exerts some real power of the Seven Kingdoms. His symbol, appropriately enough, was a pin depicting a hand.

But in yet another example of reality being stranger than fiction, it was the Groom of the Stool—named for the close stool, the king’s 16th-century toilet—who filled a highly coveted position in the royal house. How powerful were they? Well, historians believe that both James I and his successor King Charles I were so swayed by their grooms’ counsel that political discussions of the king’s privy helped fuel the 17th-century English Civil War.

As Natalie Zarrelli of Atlas Obscura observes, every day, as the king sat on his padded, velvet-covered close stool, he revealed secrets. He asked for counsel, and could even hear of the personal and political woes of his personal…

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Author Interview: Mirren Hogan

No Wasted Ink

When I asked Author Mirren Hogan what she likes best around writing, she replied,  “What can I say, writing keeps me sane!”  Now that is a sentence most writers can relate to!  Please welcome her here on No Wasted Ink.

Author Mirren HoganMy name is Mirren Hogan. I live on the NSW south coast, Australia. I have a dog, cat, rabbits, chickens and too many parrots to count. For relaxation, I walk the dog in the forest behind our house.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing ever since primary school. At first it was just in my head, usually at night, but eventually, I started to put things down on paper. The invention of the word processor and computer helped push things along a little bit too.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t consider myself a writer. I didn’t…

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Rerelease – Crimson Fire by Mirren Hogan

Paws4Thought

She had power at her fingertips, but the world had other ideas.

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Magic was the last thing on Tabia’s mind — until she discovered she could use it. When her father hands her over to the princess of a neighbouring country to pay his debts, she may have the chance to learn how to control her new abilities.

But her new mistress’ enemies have plans of their own. Caught up in a web of divided loyalties, coercion and betrayal, Tabia can trust no one.

Can she find a way to regain her freedom and return home  — or will the struggle cost her the ultimate price?

Crimson Fire is the first book in a fantasy series by Mirren Hogan.

Feel the fire.

 

What the critics say:

“a brilliant page-turner of an opening volume to her series”

“keeps you engaged throughout the story and leaves you wanting more”

“I…

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10 Useful WordPress Tips for Beginning Writers

Nicholas C. Rossis

This is a guest post by Patrick Del Rosario. Patrick is part of the team behind 85ideas, where you can find the best templates’ collection, quality tutorials and collections of themes and plugins put together by WordPress experts.

10 Useful WordPress Tips for Beginning Writers

The late 90s gave birth to blogging and since then it has massively progressed to what it is now. A blog is an online journal where people can share his thoughts, views, opinions or experiences and provides links to articles on other blogs. Throughout the years, it has turned into a wide-reaching platform used by millions all over the world for anything from personal to business and even to political use.

If you’re a new writer who wants to start a WordPress blog, build a brand, find your strength in the field and engage followers, this article is for you.

1. STRATEGIC CONTENT

Blogging tips | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksTo assure consistency…

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MASSIVE SFF Paperback Giveaway

SAGtitle

Win 52 Science Fiction & Fantasy Paperback Novels

This May a giveaway contest runs where entrants have the chance to win prizes including fifty paperback books. Also, each person will receive two free ebooks just for entering. Additionally, the winner will receive 2 $50 Amazon gift cards, they can share with friends. Enter now: http://dreamingrobotpress.com/giveaways/massive-sff-paperback-giveaway/

50 authors of Science Fiction and Fantasy have combined to build a package of books to send out to one lucky winner. Each entrant to the giveaway enters their email address, which will be shared with the authors in contest. Contest is open to residents of the United States and Canada, and each person, who enters, receive two free ebooks. Within a week after entry.

Some books included in the paperback package are Asante’s Gullah Journey, The Chronicles of Aurion, Love, Lies, and Hocus Pocus: Beginnings, Configured, Before the Luck Runs Out, Teeth of the Gods, Maliha Anderson 1-3 (one volume), and many more!

This Giveaway Ends June 1, 2017 at 12:00 am MDT, enter now! May the odds be ever in your favor: http://dreamingrobotpress.com/giveaways/massive-sff-paperback-giveaway

World Creation: A Book From a Map

Stefras' Bridge

For fifteen minutes after every lunch when I was in grade six, from her desk in the far front corner of the room, Penny Gwillim read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to our class. I was already a storyteller by then, but those stories read by Penny Gwillim inspired me to write.

Tolkien populated his world with story. Every named element — person and place — had a purpose and story built into it. Every horizon hid a land beyond. Each name and land had a history and significance. This built boundless depth and breadth into Tolkien’s world. And, as these persons and places overlapped, so their purposes and stories intertwined.

Today’s post is about world building. It is about creating endless story potential by mapping instead of outlining.

My favourite Tolkien quote is this.

A story must be told or there’ll be no story, yet it…

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Listening to Bring Peace

listeningSM

People in our country and others constantly divide into groups and fail to communicate across the boundaries of those groups. I’ve thought about this problem all my life and want to find ways to help.

Much of the conflict in the world today results from the inability of people with different opinions to communicate thoughtfully with one another in efforts to find common ground. Each person has a different worldview and beliefs about events, politics, family and lifestyle both in their immediate environment and the world around us. Because of preconceived beliefs and growing tribal polarization, most of us want to have our particular points of view verified and embraced by others. Often time, conversations become one-way dialogues wherein a person has already made up their mind about an issue and is merely defending a position with the end desire being to convert the other party. In this case, the tools of persuasion used to convince others may, in fact, fuel increased disagreement and lead to unintended consequences.

Many of us want to know, ‘how can we communicate with those who disagree with us, so we both win?’ For one thing, we should always remember our goals. If we are interested in peaceful interaction with others, we should seek methods that encourage that result. I want to walk in the world and work for better understanding and resolution of conflict. I hope to advocate for change that makes it possible for everyone to live and strive to achieve their potential.

I believe we should embrace techniques of advocacy which use listening as a key component and use listening can be a major component of advocacy among those who have differing opinions. In my life, I have wondered how to reach across the aisle, how to talk to others. I am convinced listening is the key.

Listening can enable us to open lines of communication with others, in our neighborhood, around the world, and even in our families.  If more people around the country engage in this kind of advocacy, our society can be transformed to one ready to embrace humane social policies at home and constructive engagement in international affairs.

Some links are listed below for more resources, and I have a short booklet on these ideas on Amazon.

https://gibsonauthor.wordpress.com/listening-to-reduce-conflict/