All posts by Barb
Posted by Barb on 27/04/2015
I finished reading Dracula at last. It was longer than I thought – or maybe it took me longer than expected because of the sometimes unreadable (for me) English (when Mr. Stoker tried to render the lower classes speech, I couldn’t really follow it and Van Helsing’s broken English was sometimes irritating)… It’s… interesting! Dated, but interesting.
I’ve read somewhere that Bram Stoker knew nothing of Vlad the Impaler, and in fact he doesn’t really mention the origin of Dracula. And Mina is faithful to her husband – unlike the movie version, which seemed to be a summary of the summary of the book.
I’m kinda baffled at how things were changed in the movie. I guess the screenwriter took advantage of the fact that the writer couldn’t sue him, since he was already dead (much like the guy who wrote Troy based on Homer’s work – I wonder if dead authors who get rewritten in Hollywood haunt those darn screenwriters! :D At least Shakespeare wrote plays that are easier to turn into movies… sort of…)! ;)
Speaking of more vampires, let’s move to sort of Art Friday. Here’s a preview of half the strip about the Desi vampire… As you can see he doesn’t even have a name here (and even the one I’d found will need to be changed, so… Whatsisname is just fine for now! ;) Bad author, I know).
Yes, I’m aware it’s a very silly joke – much like this one… Hopefully this weekend I’ll have time to go back to more serious drawing! ;) Unless I get to writing the above, that is. I’m thinking since I’m reading about vampires, I might as well get done with the vampire stories (I still need to finish Interview with the Vampire that I interrupted at the beginning of part 3 when I headed for London).
Also, if you’d like to support my cover artist and webmaster Silvano Beltramo on Patreon, here is his page. I know that eventually I’ll sign up myself, but I haven’t decided yet how to sign up (as author/which pen name or as publisher?)…
Have a great weekend!
Posted by Barb on 24/04/2015
As requested by Jo and Tori, here are the DeviantART questions and my answers.
What’s your ideal writing environment, if any?
I usually write on the bed, but I can write anywhere. If I don’t have my netbook or laptop, a notebook and pen would do. I guess my writing cave is whenever wherever the Muses strike!
What is the most difficult thing you had to learn about writing?
Rules. I started writing when computers were still exceptions – typewriters, heard of them? Creative writing courses hadn’t been invented either. So for 25 years I happily wrote my stories with my creative brain only.
What is it that you still need to learn about?
Rules. Because writing is so instinctual that I need to remember those goddamn rules. Descriptions. Settings. All the boring stuff. The only thing I’ve learned quite well is stick to one point of view per scene/chapter – no more head-hopping in my stories, except when really necessary!
Have you ever had a mentor and what did you get out of the experience?
I’ve taken a few writing courses in the new millennium. So I learned some of those rules – points of views and openings and all that stuff. But I don’t believe in craft books written by non-writers. Stephen King’s On Writing, Orson Scott Card’s How to Write Science-fiction and Fantasy, yes. I have a bundle of 12 more to read. But I want to be like Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch when I grow up (note that by year of birth I’m not much younger, LOL)
How much is giving/receiving critique important, to you, to improve your writing?
Depends on the critique. Sometimes the critic wants you to rewrite according to what he/she would do – which is not your story, so feel free to ignore. I prefer comments from non-writer beta-readers. I need a reader’s reaction, not another writer’s!
How much is reading important, to you, to improve your writing?
Very important. I wish I had more time to go through my TBR pile (mostly on my Kindle these days, so almost invisible but none the shorter, unfortunately!).
Who’s your go-to writer for quality writing (it can be off DeviantArt, too of course) and why?
I still read like a reader – as long as there’s a story, plot, characters that do stuff, I’ll read anything. The good or the bad. I hate purple prose, though, so no literary fiction. Or plotless erotica. Or Horror.
And finally, what piece of advice have you been given that has helped you the most?
Practice, practice, practice. Keep writing. And don’t get stuck in rewriting hell – write and release. There are tonz more stories out there only you can write!
Last week I completed a first draft of Samantha the Witch and the Desi vampire, but I’m sure my expert & cover artist for the project will have a lot to say about it (she started by telling me I picked the wrong name for my character, I hope she suggests a better one – I didn’t like it much anyway). I’ve taken a break from them, though, because I want to go back with fresh eyes whenever I get feedback on the Indian stuff (and then I’ll send it to the other expert – Mighty Jo, queen of Amaranthine – for more feedback on my vampires).
In the meantime, I’m preparing the Star Minds Chasing Stardom stories – stay tuned for Kay-low and then Zaphadin and then the whole batch with Astrid included. I’ve prepared both covers and am currently formatting and uploading, so expect Kay-low some time next week and Zaphadin sometime at the beginning of May. The Chasing Stardom bundle will come out as soon as I have the cover by Maurizio Manzieri – and then I’ll start working on the PODs for both SMNG Diaries and Chasing Stardom.
Writerly links! Interview with Mark Coker at the London Book Fair – on what’s in the future of Smashwords. I got my Q1 payment earlier than Q4 of 2014 this month, so I’m not complaining! ;) It’s a little more than a breakfast at Starbucks, but like I was telling a screenwriter friend on Facebook the other day – I’m not getting rich with my royalties yet, and certainly can’t quit the DayJob for this year. Or the next – unless I have a big break.
On the importance of having POD versions – and that’s why I’ll be working on them in May. And if you don’t have/don’t want a Kindle, check this site. And if you’re an indie author who publishes everywhere, check her guidelines. I might submit some of my titles soon – but you know I’m available at most retailers anyway, aren’t you? Just go to the find my stuff page…
Have a great week! :D
Posted by Barb on 22/04/2015
Posted by Barb on 20/04/2015
Randomly ending the London break. Met a few nice people – almost the same as last August – and had a few good chats. *waves at Tori and Josie and Alice*
Had my first IMAX experience and… um… I guess I’m too old for that stuff. I couldn’t care less. I’d have happily saved some of those 18£. But at least I saw John Wick in theaters, like I hoped to do last October! ;)
And I had my first “London by night” experience, since I got out of the cinema at 9pm and Leichester Square was crowded – it was also a Friday night – and the Piccadilly line was crowded and I was just fine. Even the Warwick Street exit of Earl’s Court had a long line of cars – it was a little more deserted in the back streets!
I’m usually back into my room (hotel or B&B) by 8pm (or sundown if it’s winter) whenever I go to London, so it was fun. I admit I asked the hotel, because I had no idea of what I could find. I wouldn’t take the underground in Rome after 8.30pm, so… in “unfamiliar” territory… but I was quickly reassured, and he was right! :)
Still have to kill my travel agent for booking me a shitty hotel and forcing me to move to an Ibis (throwing away the price of the other one, since it was pre-paid), but well… shit happens. Now I’m back, it’s spring, and I’d happily sleep all day. Except I have to go to work in the mornings. Sigh.
Weekend formatting and editing ahead… stay tuned for a new title of the Star Minds universe! :D
Colorful note: Friday 17 is bad luck in Italy. Actually, it’s #17 that is really bad luck, but coupled with Friday… You get it. (And you won’t find a “room 17″ in any Italian hotel either for this reason…)
Have a great weekend!
Posted by Barb on 17/04/2015
So, I’m back, and April is the month of sleep, so I’m not very bright yet! ;) But I did manage to get back to writing. I wrote barely 1000words in London, but this week I’ve started on Samantha the witch and the Desi vampire story, and wrote 1400words in one day, with more to come. So I might hit my 10000words goal this time.
And I might end up writing two stories – or maybe one divided into two parts. I’m not sure yet. I’m writing into the dark, but only partially, since I need to deal with historical facts. So in London I spent a lot of time at the library, researching – although last minute searches happen even during the writing.
Not to kill the creative voice, but because when I first pictured a certain scene, I thought about it in daylight, but when I wrote it, it obviously had to be at night, therefore animals available are different. A quick search on nocturnal animals turned a crow in to mice and a pair of foxes, but that’s something I can improvise when I’m writing!
I like writing into the dark – I have very loose outlines, and mostly if there’s history involved to remind myself of key/historical events I want to incorporate. I have no outline for the contemporary story I’ll write after the vampire story – although I started that one too last week, approx.500words, but then I didn’t continue it (will get back to it when I’m done with vampires and witches).
If you’re scared to do it or think it can’t be done, check Dean Wesley Smith’s series on Writing into the Dark – chapter 1 to 6 have come out so far. It will eventually become a book, but you can start reading it right now. The advice is as usual spot on and myth-destructive! :)
Five self-publishing trends to know in 2015 – I might try serialization whenever I plan my next novel. At the moment I have only novellas and short stories that I hope to submit to traditional markets or want to write for… fun! Yes, I write what I want to read and for fun.
A few years ago I started a novel and thought I could serialize it and continue it through the readers’ comments, but never really got started with publishing it online (that was before the ebook revolution). I still have it somewhere, so maybe eventually I’ll try that – except at the moment I don’t know how to continue it, and I doubt it has a satisfying ending anyway…
The path to success by Joe Konrath – and don’t forget luck is involved, just in case he didn’t say it often enough. And he repeats the difference between dreams and goals. Have goals, not dreams. You can control goals, not dreams. Dream big, but set realistic goals! ;)
And if you manage to quit your day job, be aware of the hard parts – the gold rush is over. Even when I’ll quit, I know I won’t have any mortgage to pay (it’s done), but there are still unexpected bills or sudden taxes or cover/editing expenses that might show up. I’ll probably stop traveling as well! ;)
Some writers on DevianART answer writerly questions… maybe I should incorporate them in my own interviews (if I haven’t already)! :) Or answer those questions myself… should I do that? If you think so, say it in the comments and I’ll make another post with my answers!
Oh, and I obviously chose the wrong week to get to London… but this year I can be there virtually – for the London Book Fair. We all can! Join IndieReCon 2015 today and until Friday, the online version is free. Only whoever goes in person to the London Book Fair Indie Author Fringe Festival has to pay a ticket! ;)
That’s all for today… back to writing! Have a great week! :D
Posted by Barb on 15/04/2015
Posted by Barb on 13/04/2015