Thursday, October 24, 2013

Let's Get Technical– Guest Post by Charlie Hudson


Off With Her Combat Boots and On To Writing – Meet Charlie Hudson

     There is something quintessential about the image of a writer in a garret, and with having lived in many two-story dwellings, the term "garret" was easy to adopt, although not architecturally accurate. I may have posted once about when we were looking to move from a three-bedroom to a four bedroom house, a neighbor was puzzled. "It's just the two of you at home, why do you need four bedrooms?" I immediately replied, "Separate offices." Sharing an office brings distinct problems for us and we only do that for as short a period as possible. I do acknowledge that having the wireless environment in the house means that if I am so inspired, I can carry the laptop to wherever, but my upstairs office really is set up well.
In speaking of writing, that of course involves inspiration and style - where ideas come from and how they develop into characters or story lines. Although other writers will be different, I spend time constantly watching and listening - picking up bits and pieces that might be useful someday. My short story FlightPlan illustrated this practice. I was on a lengthy delay in Atlanta during one trip and not surprisingly spent extra time in the Sweetwater Brew Pub. On that same trip I had the occasion to pass an evening with a lesbian, Wiccan couple. Really, how does one not want to use that particular tidbit to open a story? Voila!, the story of "Flight Delay" emerged. From a character perspective, I mostly do composites of people that I've met, except for times when I have to create a genuinely bad person, and for that, I often turn to true crime shows. Those are quite useful sources for not only characters, but also for methodology for investigations and murders. And what a useful tool we have with the Internet.


As I mentioned in a tweet one day, the list of “My Favorites” on the computer can have an odd collection of sites at any time that reflects sources that I have been checking for scenes. I recently deleted the ones on Meth Labs, but have left the Meaning of Aura Colors, and naturally, the Yacht Broker site that I drew heavily from for Deadly Doubloons  and False Front (http://amzn.to/104HJhD) (due out in October). I don’t have problems with getting the scuba scenes right in my novels since I dive and my husband is an instructor, but we don’t own or spend time on a variety of different boats and therefore, I need the exact image and specifications from a reliable source. We all make our choices as to writing style, and in my case, my military background (especially as a female who entered the Army during some of the “pioneering years”) is probably the major factor of my insistence on technically accurate scenes. As an example, when I recently wrote Small Town Lies (http://amzn.to/15M5WlP), I spent hours with ladies who quilt, learning about the craft, and more importantly, the passion for it. Even though I’ve always admired quilting and grew up around it, that isn’t the same and sitting down with quilters and watching/listening to them.
That is not to say that I don’t enjoy fantasy writing – it is merely that if I am reading a novel that addresses a particular topic that I am familiar with and there are errors in how a situation or characters are portrayed, I can become annoyed to the point of setting the book aside. Since I react in that way as a reader, I react in the same way as a writer. I don’t want my readers to think, “Hmm, that doesn’t make sense,” even though they are reading a novel. Again, every writer makes a choice as to style, and mine relies heavily on believable characters and strong dialogue. A fan once said, “What I especially like about your characters is that I can see them and imagine being able to sit down with them.”
So, as a writer – what inspires you and did you have a specific style from the beginning or did one evolve over time?

ABOUT CHARLIE HUDSON
Charlie Hudson, a retired Army Officer, and her husband, also a retired Army officer, relocated to South Florida where he teaches scuba and she combines her love of scuba with writing in many of her books. Charlie’s novels, non-fiction, and a rich archive of short stories can be found at http://charliehudson.net or enter Charlie’ Corner CafĂ© at http://charliehudson.net/weblog.
 Charlie and her husband dive and she uses his expertise for the more technical aspect of diving. Charlie snaps photos of scenes that she might later use in her writing. 
Follow on Twitter:    @chudsonwrites 



Friday, October 11, 2013

Upcoming author events in Perth and Melbourne

Tina Arena 19th October


Tina Arena Book signing
Saturday 19th October 2013
12.30pm-2pm
Centre court appearance and signing
Dymocks Garden City



Ricky Ponting  Wednesday 30th October

West Australian Leadership Matters
Ricky Ponting - coinciding with the release of his autobiography Ponting: At the Close of Play
Wednesday, October 30
Crown Perth, Grand Ballroom
Breakfast: 7am (for 7.30am) to 9am
Online Bookings: Click here
Tickets: $98 (inc GST), $133 including book, $980 corporate tables (10)
Information: Email events@wanews.com.au or phone 08 9482 3820

Book signing
Dymocks Garden City
Wednesday 30 October 2013
3.30 pm

Ricky Ponting  Thursday 31st  October
Breakfast with Ricky Ponting
8.00AM  $10.00
 Mt. Lawley-Inglewood Cricket Club, Hamer Park, 2nd Avenue, Mt. Lawley
tickets available from: Beaufort Street Books - 567 Beaufort St  Mt. Lawley PH 08 61427996
Mt Lawley-Inglewood Cricket Club – 2nd Avenue, Mt. Lawley
Email Enquiries: hello@beaufortstreetbooks.com.au or paul@trievents.com.au

Book Signing
Dymocks Carousel
3.30 pm
Thursday 31st October

An evening with Ricky Ponting 
Aquinas College Hall
Thursday 31st October 2013
Commencing at 7.00pm
Gold Coin Donation
Book sales & signing available on the night
RSVP: Aquinas Events Co-ordinator on 9450 0600
email: events@aquinas.wa.edu.au or Dymocks Garden City 9364 7687


George R R Martin - MCG Luncheon, Victoria, Richmond, Thursday 14 November, 2013
 
Winter is coming ....And so is George R. R. Martin.
Thursday 14 November, 2013
12:00 PM
Olympic Room - MCG Brunton Ave, Richmond
Tickets: $45 – [Plus $2.12 booking fee]
Bookings Essential
No seat allocation
Talk with book signing*
[*maximum of two books. No dedications]


(For booking queries or if unable to pay with Paypal, please email Dymocks Camberwell on camberwell@dymocks.com.au or call: 03 9882 0032)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

There's No Such Thing As Writer's Block


Guest Post by Jennifer 
Kloester author of The Cinderella Moment

Susan May says:
Thank you to Jennifer for sharing her insights on writer's block.  I agree with everything she has suggested.  I actually have starter's block when I get worried I am going to have writer's block. But really there is no such thing. If you sit there long enough, something will happen.  And if you are really stuck, it could be you've gone down a wrong plot road further back, so go back and look for the sign.  Even brainstorm with a friend about where to go with your blocked point. Now I shall hand you over to the very capable Jennifer Kloester to reveal her secrets. 

There's No Such Thing As Writer's Block

"There's no such thing as writer's block!" I was at a writer's festival in Melbourne when I heard bestselling author Bernard Cornwell utter those words. At first I was shocked and then as I listened I felt an incredible lightening inside – as if the dreaded blank page had been dealt a death-blow. I almost cheered!
Cornwell explained that, because he viewed his writing as a fulltime profession, he didn't have the right to take a day off because he had 'writer's block'. "Nurses," he said, "Teachers, firemen or anyone who works a job can't take a day off because they have nurse's block or teacher's block or firemen's block. They have to show up, no matter what, and get the job done."
At the time this was a revelation to me and the idea has stayed with me ever since. But if Cornwell is right and there is no such thing as writer's block, then what do authors do when the words won't come?
Here's what I do when the words elude me and I appear to be in danger of producing nothing at all.


  1. I give myself permission to write any part of my book and, if necessary, to write it badly. Any scene, any bit of dialogue, a character description, back-story, the end, the beginning, the middle. If I can see part of a chapter – even if it's several chapters ahead – I'll write that, if I've got a character who's desperate to get onstage, I'll let him or her have the spotlight and all the time they want to tell me their story. If I can hear voices in my head, I'll let them speak onto the page
  2. I free write. This is where I set the timer on the HIIT app on my phone for ten minutes . When it starts, I start writing. Ten minutes, without stopping – even if that means typing the same word or sentence over and over again. With this type of writing I don’t worry about spelling or grammar or punctuation. This is rough, wild west sort of writing, where anything goes and my subconscious gets free rein. The joy of writing like this is that it will often give me a sentence or two or sometimes even an entire paragraph that sparks an inspiration and moves my story along in some new and unexpected way.
  3. I force myself to write to the end of the chapter. This is hard and can be painful BUT the best thing about it is that, once I get to the end, if it's not the chapter I want it to be, it's very existence will often show me what it should be. It's kind of like creating a devil's advocate
    in words. If I write a chapter then I can see that part of my story more clearly and where, how and why it's wrong. Once I know that, I can fix it.
  4. I remember that no one has to see my manuscript until I'm ready. This lets me write anything – anything at all, just to see if it works. Okay, so sometimes I feel embarrassed or icky or weird because my character is behaving badly or the action is bizarre or the dialogue is confronting, but if it's what's happening in the world of my book then I really have no choice but to write it. The best part is that, once it's written, if I don’t like it I can delete it.
  5. I follow bestselling novelist, Georgette Heyer's maxim that, "Writing oils the wrist". This is true. Writing usually begets writing. If I'm struggling to write then maybe I've let my writing 'muscles' get a bit weak and I just need to push out some words. We all know how easy it is to stop writing, to procrastinate and find a reason to get up from the chair every ten minutes. If this is you, then strap yourself in (literally – with a piece of string or a belt) and work your writing muscles by writing something easy. Blogs, diaries, letters and emails are great for this. Give yourself ten or fifteen minutes and write that overdue letter or email and, when you're time's up, don't think about it, just segue straight across to your manuscript.
  6. Write a sentence. Just one. Anyone can write one sentence. When you've done that, write another sentence. Then another. All books are written one sentence at a time.
  7. Have a deadline. This is a very effective motivator… in fact, I have a deadline – better get back to the book!

ABOUT JENNIFER

Jennifer Kloester is passionate about books and writing. She is the author of two books on the bestselling historical novelist Georgette Heyer: Georgette Heyer's Regency World and Georgette Heyer: Biography of a Bestseller. The Cinderella Moment is her first novel. She is currently writing the sequel The Rapunzel Dilemma. In her spare time Jennifer loves to travel and train in karate. 


Connect with Jennifer and discover her books:

http://www.penguin.com.au/products/9780143568216/cinderella-moment