Discussing the Reading Experience with Writer & Blogger Wendy Greene

 

 

WELCOME BACK

TO THE FORENSIC LENSES 

INTERVIEW SERIES

 

 

Bringing you the best of the reading experience. What’s yours?

 

 

 

Forensic

 

 

 

 

“Finishing a good book is like leaving a good friend” -William Feather

 

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“To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting” ~Edmund Burke

 

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This series is all about reflecting on the reading experience. When we read and enjoy a great book, there’s so many things happening in our brains! We need time to reflect and digest what we just ate, then fully appreciate the beauty. 

 

 

 

~When you read a good book what do your eyes really see?

 

 

Bambino con lente d'ingrandimento - Boy with a magnifying glass

 

 

 

Well, we all see a little differently. Let’s introduce today’s guest! 

WELCOME WENDY GREENE

 

 

 

 

 

Wendy

 

 

Wendy is an aspiring writer, successful bookworm, a fellow blogger and follower of Christ.

 

 

 

What were your childhood experiences with reading?

I actually hated reading when I was younger! I enjoyed small books once and a while, but I never really got into it until I was probably in 5th grade. I was in the library and randomly started reading the Dear America series. I read every single one they had in about six months and fell in love with historical fiction that later branched out into more genres.

WOW! I find that so fascinating. You once were a person who hated reading, then somehow you became a complete BOOKWORM. The impact the Dear America series had on you is nothing less than impressive.

 

 

 

 

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Which books influenced you the most as a child?

Of course, the Dear Americas were so influential in my life as well as Little House on the Prairie. But I remember, very distinctly, the first book that made me sob. It was titled Ashes of Roses by Mary Jane Auch. I would say it traumatized me more than influenced me, though XD It was a historical fiction about a girl who immigrated to Ellis Island to work in a clothing factory in New York. Horrific events occurred (but I won’t spoil it for you ;)) and the realization that it based on actual events rattled me to the core. Even though that experience hurt, it made me realize the power of words and how a collection of pages can change someone.

Words are powerful. I love to see how the writings of others have affected us. This never ceases to amaze me.

 

 

What’s your favorite genre to read? (it could be plural) and what do you enjoy most about them?

As of this moment, I really love science fiction. I hadn’t read a lot of that genre before, but I just love the mix of science and whimsy. Although, fantasy is a longtime love for me and the possibilities of that genre are ENDLESS. But also historical fiction. ALL OF THEM, PRETTY MUCH.

I love science fiction and fantasy as well. Hard to choose one eh?

 

 

 

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Who are your top 5 favorite characters of all time?

Ooooh, that’s SO HARD. I’d have to say Percy Jackson from the Percy Jackson series is definitely up there along with Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables, Aslan from Narnia, Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit, and Wolf from the Lunar Chronicles.

Bilbo is lovable and Wolf from the Lunar Chronicle is a pretty cool guy. 

 

 

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~There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates loot on treasure island – Walt Disney

 

 

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What is it about them that draws you?

I love quirky personalities. Especially in Percy and Anne, they have a significant amount of spunk.They’re also brave without realizing it and simply view themselves as normal people; nothing particularly special. With Aslan, of course, he’s such a strong character and I’ve admired him for a long time. Bilbo is basically me if I were a hobbit, so there’s that. Wolf is just so awesome. He’s so violent yet sweet and I just loved him. ^_^

This is a nice handful of heroes! Sounds like they all have had a particular affect on you as a reader. 

 

 

Do you enjoy character driven books more or plot driven?

I definitely believe that good characters can make up for a bad plot. If I can connect and love a character, I tend to ignore the massive plot holes that stand in the way. With that said, I love a good, intense, well-written storyline. So, both?

Good answer! 

 

 

 

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Have you ever cried while reading? If so, what were you experiencing?

YES. I cry in books All. The. Time. Sometimes the author will describe an emotion in such a beautifully rich way that touches me so deep I can’t help but cry. Other times I just feel the pain of the characters or relate something to my own life that moves me to tears. Oh, and there are also the copious amounts of character deaths I sob through…

Yes, this is truly a special moment when an author evokes tears in the reader.

 

 

 

 

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AT THE SCENE OF THE CRIME…

 

As a reader what are your top 5 pet peeves?

Insta-love. Masculine female characters. Dog-eared pages. Stupid parents/villains. Pointless deaths.

I always enjoy seeing what irks people the most in books. Good things to avoid when writing!

 

 

 

 

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When you read what are you seeking most?

Sometimes that depends on why I’m reading. Sometimes I delve into a book to escape from the world, other times I want to laugh or think. Sometimes I read as a writer. Reading is the tool I use the most when trying to develop my own writing style. If that’s the case, I read to glean information on style, story structure etc. But overall, I read because it’s so unique and beautiful. It gives me a glimpse of a universe unexplored and allows me to become someone else. I read because it changes me.

You just elicited the wow factor!!! That’s probably one of the best answers I’ve seen yet.

 

 

Wow Surprised Word Astonished Surprising

 

 

 

 

What are your top reads of 2016?

Oh dear…such a hard question! Number one would probably be Scarlett by Marissa Meyer. I also loved Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens, Storm Siren by Mary Weber, and What He Must Be by Vodie Baucham (there are so many more, but there ya go XD)

I enjoyed Scarlett too, but my favorite of that series was Cress. Great choices!

 

 

Thank you so much for interviewing me, I had so much fun! =D

 

 

THANKS SO MUCH WENDY!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

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~The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. –Dr. Seuss

 

 

 

 

~Nothing transforms the mind like a good book -Benjamin Thomas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

 

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What do you think? Who are your favorite authors? Tell me in the comments 

Benjamin Thomas 

Book Review: Curious Minds A Knight and Moon Novel

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

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 Enjoy the beginning of a new series with Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton, A Knight and Moon Novel! 
IT’S DELIGHTFULLY ENTERTAINING!
A definite 5/5 Stars.


 

 Janet & Phoef, give yourselves a high five! This was a great beginning to kick off the Knight and Moon series. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next. 
This was a humorous page turner. I enjoyed the playful tone displayed throughout the book. I found this to be a refreshing twist in today’s crowded crime writing genre. 

Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue! I’ve never seen a book that skillyfully utilizes dialogue like this one. Except for Janet’s and Lee Goldberg’s book, the Pursuit maybe, but this one is even better. Most authors are heavy on the narrative, or attempt to balance narration with dialogue. Not so in Curious Minds. This book is designed to exploit the dynamic relationship between Emerson Knight and Riley Moon by using excellent dialogue. This is a highlight of the book. The heavy use of dialogue means more exploration of CHARACTERS, which was effective and downright hilarious!

To use that much dialogue means the character development is off the charts brilliant. Not just the protagonists, but also the supporting cast and the host of antagonists. 
The depth of the plot is also noteworthy. Adventurous, entertaining, humorous, and full of suspense. 

You can pre-order the book now and is available Tuesday August 16th on Amazon.com. 

Benjamin Thomas 

Author Interview with Karen A. Wyle

 

 

 

WELCOME BACK TO THE STORY OF THE WRITER SERIES

EVERYONE PLEASE WELCOME

~KAREN A. WYLE~

 

 

 

 

 

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Karen is an Appellate attorney, author of several novels, picture books, a mother of two, a photographer, political junkie and a Indiana Hoosier fan. 

 

 

WELCOME KAREN!

 

 

 

 

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*You’re a writer; so what’s your story, or what inspired you?

I wanted to be a novelist since at least the age of nine. I can’t remember exactly why, but my family greatly valued literature and education.

 

Those are very good values to have in family! 

 

 

 

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If a story is in you it has to come out -William Faulkner

 

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*What’s your GOAL  in becoming a writer?

(a) To create interesting characters with whom readers can empathize, and embed them in thought-provoking stories. (b) To have people read what I write.

I share the same goals as you. To create interesting characters that people care read and care about. Easier said than done though!

 

 

 

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*What 3 things have hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT)

When I was younger: lack of anything particular to say, difficulty getting words to flow, and lack of confidence. Now: nothing.

Impressive progression here. My main problem right now is completing my first project.

 

 

 

*What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream? (DESIRE)

Unlike the world in which I formed and then (for decades) abandoned my ambition, the current literary era allows authors to publish without the approval of gatekeepers or the investment of large sums of money. That means I’ve been able to find readers who have enjoyed and cared about my work – and that keeps me motivated.

 

Finding those who truly care about your is one of the greatest motivations!  But also, as you said, being able to publish your work is critical. 

 

 

 

 

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                                                      Your readers

 

 

 

 

*What’s your ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way?

When I was younger, besides the obstacles already mentioned, I encountered a last straw in the form of a teacher (graduate student teaching undergraduates) who casually mentioned in public that I did something well for someone who “[wasn’t] a born writer.” Through years of failing to find the right medium, the right genre, or the right story, my lifelong belief that I was indeed and exactly a “born writer” had kept me going. That moment was my excuse to give up writing fiction for several decades. (About one decade into that span, I found a few of her books in a bookstore. I am not generally someone who hates, but if she had walked in at that moment, I might have assaulted her. And I will admit enjoying some schadenfreude when I discovered, perhaps three years ago, that none of her books appear to be in print.)

 

I hear this from time to time about someone in faculty. How someone had a negative impact on a potential future author always surprises me.

 

 

 

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I find your goals—rather disturbing, young Jedi…

 

 

 

*Why do writers give up, quit or never complete their projects?

Many writers still feel the need to “be” published, aka traditionally published, and give up after multiple unsuccessful attempts to find a publisher.

 

Many writers continually second-guess themselves, self-editing constantly, which greatly slows their output. National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo or Nano), an annual online event which challenges writers to complete a very rough draft of a novel at least 50,000 words long within the month of November, is a great way to overcome this tendency. At that pace, there’s no time to self-edit.

 

They’re are many potholes on the road to publication. Not to mention that that road is always under construction.

 

 

 

Potholes warning sign.
Illustration of the writing journey

 

 

 

 

*What would you say to a struggling writer who’s given up?

If that writer still wants to write and is unhappy with having given up, I’d suggest giving NaNoWriMo (see above) a try. There’s no commitment involved: you can dive in with minimal preparation and see what the next day or two may bring. That’s how I started what became my first novel, Twin-Bred, and I’m now preparing my seventh novel for publication.

 

NaNoWriMo is an excellent way to begin! That’s what gave me a boost last year in my project.  2016 NaNoWriMo is just around the corner!

 

 

 

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“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” -Steve Jobs

 

 

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Connect with Karen on her website at Karenawyle.net, on twitter at @WordsmithWyle and find her books on Amazon at Karen Wyle.  

 

Get a glimpse of some of her writings below!

 

 

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Twin-Bred Collection - smaller for distribution

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reach ebook cover - smaller for reviews etc

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THANKS FOR PARTICIPATING KAREN!

 

 

 

“Easy reading is damn hard writing.” -Nathaniel Hawthorne

 

 

 

 Someone out there is waiting for your next book, keep writing-Benjamin Thomas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

 

Watch “How To Write A Book | Starting Your Own Publishing Company + 1K Giveaway Winners” on YouTube

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Learn how to start your own publishing company with Kristen Martin, the author of The Alpha Drive Trilogy, and owner of her own publishing company! AMAZING. 

 

 

 

 

What are your publishing aspirations? Tell me in the comments! 



 

Benjamin Thomas 

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Great news from Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s talk publishing in the comments!



 

 

BENJAMIN THOMAS 

The Core Elements of Storytelling and Writing Great Fantasy with Marya Miller

 

 

 

Please welcome  a talented and inspirational fantasy author, 

editor, copywriter and ghostwriter 

MARYA MILLER

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marya forest

 

 

 

Welcome Marya! 

 

Marya is a Fantasy writer; copywriter; ghostwriter. Harpist. Scot. Lover of forests, mountains and horses.Completing the Dragonish Trilogy. Marya is also a fellow Wordplayer on K.M Weiland’s Facebook group.

Find her on twitter @Marya_Miller and check out her awesome website Marya Miller Writer.

 

 

Somebody roll out the red carpet!!!!

 

 

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*Are you originally from Ontario Canada?

I’m originally from Glasgow, Scotland. We emigrated to Ontario when I was twelve, at the start of Grade Nine. It took me a LONG time to get used to Canada, but then I discovered Algonquin Park; plus I moved up to Northern Ontario four years ago and I love it up here: There are actually little mountains around Thunder Bay, and it stays light till 11pm in summer, the way it did in Scotland. So now I have the best of both worlds.

Here’s a shout out to all the awesome writers in CANADA!  

 

 

 

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*What is it about forests you enjoy?

The peace. The light. The scents. The wind rushing through the trees. And the fact they can also be a little bit haunting, and scary.

Being in a forest always makes me think something magical is going to happen. I’m going to see elves at any moment, round the next bend in the forest trail. Or bears. Or both.

That would be quite a sight—elves and bears rounding the corner. Let’s hope the bears would be nice. 

 

 

 

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*How long have you been a writer? 

Since I could write. I wrote my first “novel” when I was eight, a gripping drama about my teddy bear being abducted by two evil henchmen called Grimm and Ghastly; both wearing rather Victorian-looking top hats draped with black crape. (At eight, you think that is highly original.)  I actually still have it–complete with illustrations. 😉

I wrote four young adult/children’s fantasy novels in my twenties, and gave up too early in their rejection cycles. One almost got published by Scholastic–but my editor left and the new editor wasn’t interested.

My first published fantasy story was “Deus Ex Machina” in the early eighties, when computers were just being birthed. It’s very dated now–I wrote about (*gasp*) a sentient computer that started reading the books it stored. That story got me a job at TPUG Magazine (computers) and I was promoted to Assistant Editor and Managing Editor there. I’ve worked in various editorial and production positions at various magazines; both salaried and freelance. I had a stint as General Manager of “The Independent News”. And I invented my copywriting job when I ended up in a wheelchair, trapped in my house, back in 2008, when I ended up having to support my husband. I have been with the same major client now since 2009, and really enjoy it–but it kept me away from fiction till last year, when I joined Holly Lisle’s free “Flash Fiction” course and the fiction bug came back, full force.

Wow, it’s amazing you have that much writing experience, and your first novel sounds great! I’d totally read that.

 

 

 

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*What’s are the best things about being a copywriter?

The chance to help people–and I’ve enjoyed my clients’ successes too. I also like the anonymity. I am actually pretty shy and don’t like being in the public eye. I’ve always liked being “behind the scenes”. Plus it allows me to work from home.

The thing I like most about copywriting (apart from the flexibility and the ability to work at home) — it teaches you discipline. There are always deadlines: There is no such thing as writer’s block and you learn to produce and be efficient about it. I’ve found this enormously helpful in my fiction writing. 

This sounds it helps produce the solid character we all need to be efficient.

 

 

 

*What’s it like being a ghostwriter?

Very similar to my days as a magazine editor. It’s all about long hours, research, proofing, deadlines and deadlines. When I hear people I admire raving about something I wrote (not knowing I wrote it), it’s a very weird feeling.

Sounds like hard work! You’re doing all the heavy lifting, but no one knows your’re the muscle behind scenes. 

 

 

 

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                               The heavy lifting of ghostwriting

 

 

 

*You have an awesome website! You stated “Communication is my passion” Can you elaborate on this?

Thank you. Communication has been the common thread running through my life, right from when I was little. I came from a dysfunctional family and a rough neighborhood. I always found myself in the middle at home and school, doing my best to get people to understand each other and be kind. I think there’s a lot of loneliness and disconnection in the world. I would love it if my stories made someone forget loneliness and feel connected while reading one of my books.

I love this because it’s so true. That’s a great aim for your books!

 

 

 

*Do you have professional storytelling experience? 

I’m a graduate of the Storyteller’s School of Toronto and participated during the eighties and early nineties in several Storytelling Festivals and ran workshops. I was also lucky enough to have the great Irish storyteller, Alice Kane, as my teacher. She became a dear friend and the most moving milestone in my career was Alice choosing to tell a story I wrote for her, “Bonnyton Moor”, as the final story on the last CD she ever made before she passed away. That too was a very weird feeling.

My father and big brother, Stephen, were both amazing storytellers, and I got my love of stories from them. In addition to telling stories, Stephen also read us just about every fairy book in existence, his favorites being the Andrew Lang series. My sister and I still remember gorgeous illustrations by the likes of Edmund Dulac, Kai Nielsen and N. C. Wyeth.

And, of course, the Rupert Bear annuals.

Wow your experience is impressive!  Would love to pick your brain more about the storytelling experience. Perhaps at a future date.

 

 

 

 

*What are the most enjoyable aspects of being a writer?

Being able to write out of deep values you hold, but being able to have fun too. Being able to lose yourself in another world, in your characters and cultures. Stories are nothing more than a way of making sense of real life, so you have to be brutally honest with yourself when you’re writing. Every flaw you have screams out at you from your writing–and I’m not talking about technique. You need to be brave and face yourself, otherwise you have wimpy, shallow characters. So in a way, it’s like therapy–which, in itself, is not much fun, but it’s worth it. You feel like you’re growing–particularly important when most of your life is lived between four walls. I’m never lonely when I’m writing. 

I also love the way characters take on a life of their own and sometimes totally upset your plot structure and march your book off in a completely unexpected direction. I don’t always let them steer me off course–but most times, they’re usually right.

I also love the fact that I can write non-fiction as my “day job”–my bread-and-butter–and slip away into the forests of Dragonish when my workday is done. It’s having the best of both worlds.

YES, love it. This resonates deeply, and has a  lot of wisdom to it.

 

 

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“I’m never lonely when I’m writing.” -Marya Miller

 

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*Give us a summary of your current WIP or most recent publication.

My flash fiction anthology from the world of my upcoming Dragonish series–“Tales of Mist and Magic”–is about to make its debut. (There’s a sample story from “Tales of Mist and Magic”, plus a bonus story you can download that won’t appear anywhere else, on my Original Fiction web page: http://maryamillerca.ipage.com/dragonish )

My last story published was “Block Magic” (no, that’s not a spelling mistake), which appeared on Day 23 in the Indie Author’s Advent Calendar. Before that, my last mainstream print published piece was “Too Happy to Die” in the anthology, “Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Dog’s Life”.

I’m sure you have tons stories waiting to be revealed, keep writing!

 

*In your opinion what are the elements of a great fantasy book?

To me, the characters are the heart and soul of the best fantasy books. They make or break them–if I don’t care about at least one character deeply, I won’t invest in the journey. In addition to this, there has to be something that makes me feel that there’s a magic door or curtain somewhere that will transport me to a world where magic is real. You can find those doors in all the greatest fantasy novels: Not literally, but you step through and suspend disbelief; and it’s both much safer than the world you’re in and more terrifying; and infinitely more beautiful.

There were moments in my childhood–for example, when I was three and my big brother saved up his pocket money and took me and my sister to Rouken Glen. We sat in a forest in a hovering mist of bluebells. He put a bluebell flower on his pinkie and told me it was a fairy’s hat, and I totally thought that was real! The beauty of that forest, the magic of the sunshine; the feeling that wonderful things could happen any minute–that’s what fantasy novels are all about for me. To give it a bit of context: We traveled to that forest on a tram, coming from the heart of Glasgow, which was grey and grimy in those days–there were still coal fires. We lived on the edge of the Gorbals, and life was pretty grim, so for my brother to transport me to this magical world… well. I can’t describe it. It was my first forest, and I was hooked.

My brother died when I was seven, and I’ve been trying to get back to that world ever since.

So for me fantasy novels are all about loss and hope; being surrounded by darkness and finding a way out through a combination of core values, courage–and magic. And if there are dragons, wizards and elves to reassure you that you’re not alone, so much the better.

Very touching story! 

 

 

 

 

“To me, the characters are the heart and soul of the best fantasy books. They make or break them–if I don’t care about at least one character deeply, I won’t invest in the journey.” ~Marya Miller

 

 

 

 

 

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                                        Invest in the journey….

 

 

 
*Can you give us 3 critical components of storytelling? (you can list more if desired)

Universality, truth–and not getting in the way of the story.

A good story is universal. It needs to make people care about the outcome. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know that world–you need to be able to relate to the main character’s journey, care about it. A good story has to be true–even when it’s fiction. Pick a story with all these elements, and don’t get in the way of the story when you’re telling it–and you’ll be a great storyteller, whether you’re writing it or telling it.

EPIC. That’s great! I love absolutely love this. You need to put this on a t-shirt.

 

 

 

 

*What are you experiencing right now in your writing journey?

What I’m experiencing right now is excitement. I’m living for and through my Dragonish series, and I wish there were thirty-six hours in a day and I could spend them all writing. I feel that after years with fiction on the back burner, I’m finally reaching my zone. My own story arc is becoming clear, and the goal’s in sight.

Right now, I’m thrilled to be experiencing the wisdom of other writers through writer’s groups on Facebook. I took a smattering of real-world writing courses in the past, and for the most part, with the exception of one single course, I found them discouraging. I came away with the feeling “I may as well give up fiction: Everyone else is so much better at it than me”. But online groups like KM Weiland’s “Wordplayers”, Dave Lynch’s ePub Scene and the forums I’m on in Holly Lisle’s site have totally broken that curse. There is such generosity and professionalism in these groups from writers at all stages of the game: I’ve had feedback, inspiration, encouragement–and I’ve learned a lot.

I think you need real feedback and real interaction from other writers who understand the process. Without it, you’re stuck in a vacuum. That’s the place where all storytellers tend to wither and die.

This is so encouraging! I’m so glad you found a good source of inspiration and encouragement. One less storyteller in the graveyard. This is a HUGE reason why I started conducting these interviews in the first place. 

 

 

 

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*What’s your GOAL now in this stage of your career?

My goal is to be able to work full time on my own writing–not that I don’t enjoy copywriting, my day job: But for that I need to be three people! I want to see the Dragonish series in print before I die.

You’ll do it, Marya. I know you will. 

 

*What 3 things have hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT)

Nothing stops me from completing client projects. I owe it to my clients to give them #1 priority, so I do.

With my fiction, though (1) literally not enough hours in the day is my biggest obstacle–that, and (2) being completely intimidated by the technology end of uploading books to Amazon. (3) I would also like to invest in some professional editing on my books before I release them to the world–I need to increase my income first for that to happen.

(That being said, the nice thing about obstacles is that it’s fun looking for ways around them.)

I hope one day you can be a full time writer with your work as the top priority! 

 

 

 

*What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream? (DESIRE)

What keeps me motivated is caring about my world and my characters. I want them to have voices, to be heard. I want to bring some magic back into the world, so that people can tackle the darkness safely, through the pages of the Dragonish stories. And my characters are fun to write–Granny Maberly, Ushguk, Anno, Morwen, Leith–I love them all. And a few of them are pretty funny. Though whatever you do, don’t tell Granny that!

I love that you want your characters to have a voice and be heard! That’s awesome!  

 

 

 

 

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             Give your characters a voice 

 

 

 

 

*What’s your main ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way of you accomplishing your goals? 

Wanting to be a better writer. Though I think ALL writers struggle with that. You have this wonderful, vibrant, rich story in your head, and you read what you’ve written; and you feel as if you’ve only captured a glimpse of it.

I think writing “better” or “good” can be quite elusive, just as it is deceptive. We should focus more on telling the story. No one ever feels good enough.

 

 

 
*Why do writers give up, quit or abandon their dream?

I think a lot of writers give up because there’s no one in their corner to say “keep going”. They question the value of their stories. They don’t receive feedback. They start to feel like voices in the wilderness–you know; the old “if a tree falls in the forest, will anyone hear it scream?” In traditional publishing, the world I’m from–and I had an actual, professional background in editing and publishing–the odds are stacked so hugely against you as a fiction writer. There are many horror stories about publishers from even successful authors. It’s a world of rejection as routine; and if you’re accepted, that’s only the beginning of the obstacles. Plus many writers have people telling them what they SHOULD be doing instead of writing. It amazes me that writers keep going at all, if I’m honest.

But being isolated as a writer … that’s like standing up in a darkened auditorium and telling a story to a chair (which I’ve done, by the way). It’s like sending a transmission out into space and knowing the odds of anyone ever hearing it are a gazillion to none. When a story isn’t heard, it tends to wither and die.

WOW. This is therapeutic. There’s the matter of someone being in our corner, surviving rejection, and overcoming isolation. These are all very critical elements to our success. Thanks for sharing. 

 

 

 

 

 

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                   Every writer needs a cheerleader!

 

 

 

*What would you say to a struggling writer who’s given up?

Your stories are important. They’re real. If you blow on all the stories that have withered and died, some of them will spark and come to life again–no matter how long they’ve lain in the darkness.

You are important. And the publishing community has changed, thanks to ePublishing and the internet. There’s never been a better time to be a writer! 

If you’re really feeling down or discouraged, read KM Weiland’s “Conquering Writer’s Block and Summoning Inspiration”. Join Holly Lisle’s free Flash Fiction community and get your confidence back sharing 500-700 word stories with an informed, encouraging and honest group. Take her “How to Think Sideways” course (or ANY of her courses. My favorite, besides HTTS, is “The Secret of Page-Turning Scenes”). If you’re stuck at the business end of writing, visit Joanna Penn’s site and read her books too.

These are three authors–KM Weiland, Joanna Penn and Holly Lisle–who inspire, not flatten. They share incredibly valuable knowledge born of real-world experience, obstacles and success. They’re like a good fantasy novel: They give you the weapons to tackle the monsters with, and teach you how to use them. They’ve got your back, and you can trust them. Plus they’re fun to read.

And do join a good writer’s group–one without ego; where the emphasis is on the writing, not the personalities.

Exceptional. This is very inspiring! Thanks so much! When I do these interviews, I’m the first to get inspired! THANK YOU. 

 

 

BONUS:

*Who are the best authors of the century?

That’s such a broad question, I’m not sure how to answer it.  All I can do is give you my own personal choice…

Ahhh, I’m going to get nailed for choice number one: JRR Tolkien. He’s my first love. In spite of what Peter Jackson and an ocean of imitators have done, you can’t beat Middle Earth.

I also love Terry Pratchett’s writing–his Discworld series in particular. He defies genre. He can go from low comedy to advanced philosophy in a blink–and it works.

Finally, John Bellairs; just for his book “The Face in the Frost”, which exuberantly defies every rule about adjectives and adverbs. It’s also the book I would memorize and become, if I was a character in Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”.

Yes–all fantasy, I know; but each of these three authors defied genre and they gave their worlds and characters unique voices. They wrote books that changed lives, healed wounds, comforted. They’re like old friends to me now, and I still reread them.

Lovely, simply lovely.

 

 

THANKS FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION MARYA!!!!

 

 

 

*******

 

There is no friend as loyal as a book ~Ernest Hemingway

 

 

*******

 

Somewhere there’s a book to be written, and somewhere there’s a book to be read. ~Benjamin Thomas

 

*******

 

 

When your eye hits the page there’s magic, staying magic. ~Benjamin Thomas 

 

 

 

 

The power of a great story is the remnant of character, keep writing. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

 

Author Interview: A Time with the Awesome Kylie Day

 

 

 

Story of the Writer Series

 

There’s a story behind every writer.  The author is not only a storyteller, they are a story. Let’s find out more about today’s guest, Kylie Day!

 

Welcome Kylie!

 

 

 

A word after a word

after a word, is power

– Margaret Atwood

 

 

 

 

 

Kylie Day

 

 

Kylie is a blogger, author, introvert, professional coffee addict, incurable reader, and apparently she sings in the shower.

Yay shower singing. I love shower singing. (beat-boxing is epic in the shower)

 

 

Let the show begin…

 

 

*You’re from Sweden, I think? What’s it like?

Yes, I currently live in Sweden. It’s not like living in a small county as Sweden has affected my writing. The internet gives everyone a chance at being international, no matter where you’re from or where you live, and I think that’s really exciting. Especially for writers who have the chance to reach millions of people with their written word (whether that’s actual books or blog posts).

Awesome.  I love the ability to be international. The opportunity to reach millions with our words is at our finger tips!

 

 

 

 

SWEDEN

 

 

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*What’s your genre?

I write non-fiction for writers, and then have a pen name for my fiction stories which are set in the fantasy genre.

I have all of Kylie’s Busy Author’s Guide books. They’re purposefully short and designed to get you back to what you love to do—writing!

 

 

 

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Kylie penned the The Busy Author’s Guide Box-Set 1: 4 books 

 

  • How to Outline Your Book with Pre-Outline questions

  • How to Outline Your Story with “What If” Questions

  • How to Get to Know Your Story’s World with Wordbuilding Questions

  • HOw to Get to Know Your Characters with Character Interviews

 

 

 

“A writer should have the precision of a poet and the imagination of a scientist.” -Vladimir Nabokov

 

 

 

 

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*You studied literature in college correct? If so l, tell us about your studies and what led you in this direction.

Yes, I’m still working on a Master’s Degree. My love for reading was what led me to study literature. Literature has always been a big part of my life so it wasn’t a difficult choice. And my studies have also given me the opportunity to develop my own writing skills because I’ve been given the opportunity to read and study works of fiction that I might’ve never thought to read before.

Kylie, I would love to pick your brain regarding your reading experience and what you’ve learned in literature. You’ll have to come back!

 

 

*What have you learned about the craft? (Don’t hold back let her rip!)

Wow, that’s a huge question, one that can take me hours to answer. But at the end of the day, what I’m most excited about having learned about writing is that the first draft is always crappy. The important thing is to get the story written. If you don’t get the first draft done, there is nothing to work with. And, honestly, the real work starts when the first draft is done. While that notion scared me a couple of years ago, it’s become a huge relief to me now. My first draft can be bad, really bad (I usually skip descriptions because I move so fast through the first draft), but I know that I can add that when revising the draft. So, instead of going back into the story every day, just to add descriptions I think are necessary, I skip that completely until I’ve finished the first draft. This way of writing has made it so much easier to finish my first drafts, something I struggled with a couple of years ago, and I’ve actually finished more first drafts the past year than I’d done during the ten years previous to that.

I love that. This is so true!  I’ve slowly been learning the same principle. You can’t edit a blank page. Nor can you revise a blank one. You’ve got to get it out of your head and onto the page. Without the clay there is no pottery. This is my experience with poetry, fiction and even blog posts!

 

 

 

 

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*Can you tell us a little about your current WIP? (Work in progress)

I’m currently working on an ebook on character creation for my non-fiction. My fiction WIP is actually a series of short stories that are set in a fictional fantasy world that’s quite dark and gritty, a bit gothic, mysterious, and corrupt. I can’t say that I’ve read anything like it before, so there’s nothing I can really compare the series to, but it’s a lot of fun to write.

I can’t wait to see what you come up with! Keep us posted!

 

 

*How long have you been working on your WIP? (Work in progress)  I’ve been pondering mine for at least 2 1/2 years now.

I think the idea to the first story in my fiction series came to me at the beginning of this year (January or February). I’m editing the first two in the series and have just finished outlining the 6th story, which I will begin writing any day now. The ones I have at the moment are between 4.000-10.000 words, so they don’t take very long to write. And I’ve been lucky enough to consistently get new ideas, which keeps the ball rolling.

Awesomesauce!  Totally looking forward to reading it!

 

 

 

*What’s it like publishing non-fiction? I’ve been thinking about this a lot and would love to publish some someday.

Publishing non-fiction is quite simple, really. One of the differences between fiction and non-fiction is that non-fiction is categorized into a niche instead of a genre, and you can get a lot more eyeballs on your non-fiction because of the targeted keywords you can use (both in the keywords list on Amazon, but also in the title and sub-title of your book). One of the things non-fiction is used for a lot nowadays is to grow the business behind the book. The book may serve as a lead magnet to an online course or to get people to hire you for speaking gigs, etc. But you don’t need a business to write non-fiction. My initial thought behind my own non-fiction was (like I said before) to get my thoughts out on paper. I didn’t think about creating a whole business out of it. With that said, it doesn’t mean that I won’t create online courses on writing in the future (I do have some ideas, but I also need time to execute them properly).

I have several ideas for non-fiction and can’t wait to dive into it. 

 

 

 

 

 

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*Can you tell us a bit about your blog? And desire to help other writers? I personally have benefited from your blog and appreciate your writing.

I started my blog as I started writing The Busy Author’s Guide, to get my thoughts about the craft of writing out of my head. Then, as I began to develop The Busy Author’s Guide series I saw the blog as another means to help writers who might’ve been as overwhelmed as I was. I read a lot of books on writing long before I started the blog, and I can’t tell you how overwhelmed I was with all the information (which actually led me to spend more time reading about writing than I actually spent writing). The idea behind the blog and The Busy Author’s Guide then became that smaller steps were easier to take. The Busy Author’s Guide are short ebooks because I don’t want writers to spend time going through yet another full-length book instead of writing. I also believe that exercises actually lead people to take action, so that was always a big part of the books. The blog has developed into something more than the books, I think, and some of my focus on the blog is to inspire people to write. I do have posts with exercises and such, but I also publish story structure case studies because I believe story structure is such a big part of writing fiction

 

Check out Kylie’s blog at: The Writing Kylie. Please see below for links to recent posts.

 

 

 

 

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*Do you have any favorite quotes?

Neil Gaiman wrote in an essay, something like: “You get ideas when you ask yourself simple questions. The most important of the questions is just, What if?” I love that quote because I use it all the time when I outline my stories.

I love the *what if* question. The possibilities are endless. 

 

 

************

 

“I love the possiblity of fiction” -Benjamin Thomas

 

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*Favorite novels or writing books?

I have to say that Steven Pressfield’s book The War of Art is a must read for all writers (all creatives, really). The passages about resistance are golden and has helped me a lot.

 

 

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The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

 

 

 

*You’re a writer; so what’s your story, or what inspired you?

 

What initially inspired my writing was that I needed to sort out the things I had in my mind. I’m also a very curious person, so I ask a lot of questions and spend much time searching for answers. I’ve learned that keeping my mind open – and my eyes – to the smaller things in the everyday life has helped my creativity a lot.

Reading books was what initially sparked my interest for writing. I think that a lot of people in my generation were influenced by the Harry Potter series (as was I). Those books were the starting point of my own more serious approach to writing fiction (I’d done it more for fun before). The whole process behind writing fiction was then the foundation on which I created The Busy Author’s Guide series. I wanted to get my thoughts of my own writing process out on paper, and while I wrote The Busy Author’s Guide I also honed my process of writing fiction. So, while my focus right now is on fiction, writing non-fiction has helped me develop as a writer.

I can’t wait to pick your brain regarding your reading experience. Come again! My other interview series is called, Forensic Lenses. An investigative and exploratory approach into the mind of voracious readers. 

 

 

 

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*What’s your GOAL  in becoming a writer?

My goal has always been to publish fiction. At the moment I’ve only published non-fiction but am working on my fiction writing as well. I don’t have any further goal at the moment.

 

Drop us a line when you get close to finishing your fiction. Pinky promise?

 

 

 

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*What 3 things have hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT)

I can’t really think of three things, but the one thing that’s hindered me before is a major one: fear of judgement (which I think most creatives have). That can be really crippling.

Yeah, I think fear is pretty much universal. Don’t let fear hold you back from your dreams! Let’s show him who’s boss.

 

 

 

 

Sparring Fighters

 

Sparring with fear—knock em’ out!

 

 

 

 

*What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream? (DESIRE)

The thought of making up stories by writing them down for the rest of my life is what keeps me going. I can’t think of anything I want more than that.

YESSSS. I’m in the same boat.

 

*What’s your ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way?

Again, fear of judgement or fear that people won’t think I’m good enough is something I struggle with. But, at the moment, my determination to meet the goal of publishing fiction is stronger than any fear (let’s just hope that lasts :)).

We all have that fear. But hey, let’s put a good fight! Our determination is much stronger than anything fear can muster up. 

 

 

 

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*Why do writers give up, quit or never complete their projects?

I think that a lot of people quit because they doubt themselves or because they realize that writing something (whether it’s fiction or non-fiction) is a lot harder than they thought.

These are valid reasons. Doubt is a big one. Hard work is the other. 

 

 

*What would you say to a struggling writer who’s given up?

If you have a story inside you, then I urge you to keep writing. I’m sure that your story is worth sharing. Sure, all of us have our good and bad days, and we may want to quit on our bad days. But if you stick with it, write the crappy first draft, work hard on edits, and get your story out in the world for others to read, you will feel like the struggle was well worth it. 

 

 

 

“If you have a story inside you, then I urge you to keep writing” Kylie Day

 

 

Thanks Kylie!  

 

Connect with Kylie Day:  Contact info

 

 

 

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The pen may be heavy, but hey, keep writing!!!!!

 

 

 

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~If you don’t finish your book who’s gonna  feed our eyeballs? -Benjamin Thomas

 

 

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Hungry young boy is staring and smelling a burger
Hungry readers….

 

 

 

 

 

 

OVER AND OUT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

Solid Inspiration for Struggling Writers with Brianna da Silva

 

 

 

 

STORY OF THE WRITER 

SERIES WITH

BRIANNA DA SILVA

 

 

 

 

World poverty

 

 

 

 

“You have to be a terrible writer before you can be a good one or a great one.” ~Brianna da Silva

 

 

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We may be from different lands, cultures, backgrounds–But one thing is abundantly clear; we all speak the same language of grief. ~Benjamin Thomas

 

 

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Brianna da Silva

 

 

 

Everyone please welcome Brianna da Silva! 

 

Brianna is a YA fantasy writer, bookworm, Christ follower and is currently editing her novel and novella. You can find her tweeting encouraging words @Brianna_daSilva and blogging at The Story Port, a blog for storytellers…And by the way, her site is AWESOME. There’s something so mesmerizing about it.

 

*Where are you from originally? 

Virginia… the land of misty fields and muggy summers! Before that, Pluto, I think.

Pluto to Northern Virginia, must’ve been quite a road trip.

 

 

*What are you studying? 

I actually graduated two years ago. My degree is in Digital Arts and Design. I get paid to make things. (AKA do magic.)

You look SO young I assumed you were still in college! 

 

 

*I love your blog! Tell us about it. 

Aw, thank you! My blog is called StoryPort. (briannadasilva.com) I write about storytelling techniques as I learn them, and give updates about my own epic fantasy projects.

 

 

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*Can you tell us about your languages that you are developing? 

Ooh! I get so excited about my languages. (I’m a nerd… can you tell?)

I have many in development, all inspired by various real-world tongues and writing systems. I’ve tried to veer away from the cliché Middle-Earth-sounding languages.
For example, one of the major languages in my current WIP, Emergence, is called Mosori. It’s a crossover of traditional Hawaiian and modern Spanish. For fun, I’ll teach you a phrase:
An aki ma’hani.

(Say: on aw-KEE muh-HAW-nee)
That’s an idiom that basically just means, “It’s all good; no worries!”

That’s cool! Thanks for sharing. I love the name Mosori and the sound of that word. For those of you who don’t know, Brianna and myself are crazy about languages. 

 

 

 

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Brianna’s work in progress

 

 

 

 
*You’re writing Science fiction & Fantasy right? 
Almost… I’m writing epic fantasy, but I definitely have ideas for SFF down the line! 😉

That’s great–But I totally forget what epic fantasy is, honestly. Definitely sounds epic though. 

 

 
*Tell us 3 FUN facts about yourself.

I was home schooled through high school.

I once ate zebra steak in Namibia. (It tasted surprisingly like… steak.)

I have a pixie cut. More importantly, I actually am a pixie.

Home schooling sounds extremely difficult from a parent’s perspective. Zebra steak sounds rather appealing. I’d totally eat it with BBQ sauce…And I suppose you could pass for a pixie! 

 

 

 

*You’re a writer; so what’s your story, or what inspired you? 

I started writing when I was three years old. Well, I could only dictate back then, but I knew from a very young age that I was meant to be a storyteller. When I was eleven, I first became introduced to epic fantasy and young adult literature. It has remained my main passion ever since.

Wowsers! I’m always amazed by those who start their passion early in life. Brianna I’d love to have you back and pick your brain on your reading experience. 

 

 

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*What’s your GOAL in becoming a writer?

My goal is simple, but ambitious! I want to make a living as a self-published author, blogger, and filmmaker. This is just not a hobby for me; I’ve taken my vocation very seriously since I was a kid.

Wow that’s great! You’re pretty focused. I fully hope you achieve your’re dreams.

 

 
*What 3 things have hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT) 
A constant flow of ideas. In my early teens, I never finished anything, because I was always working on at least half a dozen projects at once. I was passionate about all of them. But since then, I’ve learned to be more focused.

Perfectionism. The first true novel I ever finished took me four years to write. And it was terrible. After that I adopted the iterative process of writing: Get down a rough draft quickly, and don’t worry about making it perfect. Then edit, edit, edit. The results are better this way, and it’s much easier to finish each draft!

Fear. While I wouldn’t say fear has prevented me from completing a project, it has certainly made it harder to reach that finish line. Fear of failure, fear of creating subpar work, and fear of vulnerability through art all plague me on a constant basis. Pushing through this fear is what gives me the freedom to create.

The constant flow of ideas is a source of trouble for me. Staying focused is a challenge. Perfectionism is problem for a lot of writers I’ve talked to. Fear is another frequent nemesis.  But I guess suffering is inevitable with anything you truly love. Romance always comes with turbulence.

 

 

 

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*What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream? (DESIRE) 

Creating stories gives me a deep sense of purpose. When I’m writing, it feels like something I was made to do, even on days of stress or insecurity or self-doubt. Also, my mind is constantly bustling with ideas. What would I do with them otherwise?

Creating stories with a sense of purpose seems to resonate well with me, and I’d rather be bustling with ideas than have none at all!

 

 
*What’s your ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way? 

I might say time. I make time to write almost every day, but it still feels like I never have enough of it. (Can’t we all relate?) And I have so many stories bubbling inside me. They’re impatient!

I just thought of this today. The lack of time. I want to kick my job to the curb, shoo everyone away and write. Just write; story after story after story, until my heart’s content. 

 

 

 

if not now when

 

 

 

 
*Why do writers give up, quit or never complete their projects?

I think fear is a major factor. Creative people typically struggle with perfectionism, but the thing is, our standards are always higher than our abilities… and they should be! It means we’re constantly improving.
I think what can happen is that while writers are in the formative years, while they’re still growing and their craft is still rough, they can run into discouragement. This stage is where writers need encouragement and affirmation the most. But if they don’t get that, they may be overwhelmed by the sense that they’re “not good enough,” and give up before they have the chance to reach that level.

This is a very good word to hear. I don’t claim to be a perfectionist, but I do struggle with elements of the same mindset to some degree. 

 

 

 

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Have you made peace with imperfection? See yourself in a different light for a change. A change in perspective changes everything.

 

 

 
*What would you say to a struggling writer who’s given up? 

Listen up, friends, because I’m going to give it to you straight: Everyone starts off terrible. It’s the truth! It’s the same if you’re learning an instrument, a sport, or any other skill. You have to be a terrible writer before you can be a good one or a great one. Writing isn’t about tapping into some magical inner gift that was bestowed upon you at birth. It’s about tenacity. It’s about remaining teachable like your life depends on it. It’s about learning and practicing and never giving up. So, don’t be discouraged if your craft isn’t where you want it to be yet. Just keep going. You’ll get there!

Oh, I love it! This is great encouragement. This goes back to what you said earlier, our standards will always be higher than our abilities. Or, you could say, we don’t measure up to our own expectations. We consciously or subconsciously expect our abilities to match, or even exceed,  our ever-ethereal standards. Then we slowly begin to suffer from the self-inflicted wounds of introspection, discouragement, doubt, settling in like stone. Our hopes and dreams hemorrhage on the spot, and the rigamortis of writer’s block comes in to finish the job.

 

 

 

“A goal without a plan is a wish” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

 

 

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“It always seems impossible until it’s done” ~Nelson Mandela

 

 

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*Tell us about your current WIP (work in progress)

Here’s the synopsis for my WIP, Emergence:
The Empire of Dorina has never been challenged… until now. Invaded by a powerful enemy bent on massacring their people, the Dorins act in desperation: They send courageous ambassadors into the vast, untamed wilderness beyond their borders to seek aid from two legendary cities.

There’s only one problem.

If they can find the cities… if they can survive the journey… there’s a high chance these cities will join their enemies instead.

Kindy Sharrow, a fifteen-year-old Nocturan with bat wings, claws, and night vision, previously had to hide from the empire, which cruelly slaughtered her kind for sport. Now, required to join the war against the invaders, she must fight her own demons: A secret drug addiction that is slowly killing her. And she has one, ultimate goal: Destroy her arch enemy, Charris Pouden, and his lustful desire for her, before he gains enough power to destroy her first.

Kindy finds herself entering the war with her younger brother Jensen, and new friend Lasía, a mysterious archer with a pet battle wolf. Together they fight against the bloodthirsty invaders, and journey into the heart of the wilderness to find the only two cities that will save them.

But as they begin to learn more about the empire’s secrets… a dark history buried in ashes and drenched in blood… they wonder if their enemies are not so wrong for wanting to annihilate them after all.

The bonds of friendship will be tested. Alliances will be questioned. In a story of political intrigue, ethics of war, and young love, one question must be answered: Which side will you join?

That sounds like an great story!  I believe you’d be a great storyteller. Go for it! 

 

 

 

 

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~Fear can paralyze you…Unless you make the first move. -Benjamin Thomas

 

 

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~DISCIPLINE is the bridge between goals and accomplishment. -Jim Rohn

 

 

 

 

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THANKS FOR  JOINING THE TRAIN

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com