Monday, 18 November 2019

Writers: Are You a Tortoise or a Hare…


We writers tend to fall into two categories. You’re either a tortoise or a hare. What do I mean by that? I guess what I’m trying to get across is that some writers write fast, and can crank out thousands of words in one sitting, while other writers are slower, and write at their own speed and pace to get their books done—even if it takes them years. I’m not talking about whether you’re a plotter or a pantser (writing by the seat of your pants), though you can find out more on that subject in this guest post HERE. I’m talking about whether a writer is prone to being a ‘hare’ (fast writer) or a ‘tortoise’ (slow writer). So, let’s get real, and be honest. Which one are you? A hare or a tortoise?

I must admit, I’m definitely a proud tortoise. Though I mentally (and emotionally) kick myself at times for being such a slow writer. A good day of writing (3-4 hours) consists of over five hundred words—a great day is over a thousand. I know a lot of my slow-downs happen when I need to do some research in the middle of a scene. It’s been suggested to me by the powers that be (my publisher) that I should just highlight the area where the research is needed, and continue on with my writing. Of course, boss-woman is correct, and what she advises makes a heck of a lot of sense. But…um, no. I want, correction need to KNOW what happens in that scene, and if I’m using the proper terms and things found in the time period I’m writing in to move the story forward. For me, finding the historically correct information is vital to finishing the scene. Sigh. I must be built that way.

At times I envy all you, hares out there, with your nimble fingers flying across the keyboard, and your devil-may-care attitudes. You’re the writers who get more than one book written in a year. I truly applaud you for that accomplishment. You’re also the writers who probably have a messy, mucky first draft, and need to go through many drafts to get your final story. Me? I usually have a clean first draft that’s closer to publication than the hare’s speedy attempt at a novel. My mantra in this crazy writing gig is, ‘Slow and steady progress assures success’. So I plod along like the tortoise, much like the one in Aesop’s fable, who ends up crossing the finish line to win the race against the confident, cocky hare. Perseverance, after all, will keep us writers going and going—like that pink Energizer Bunny. Or is it really a hare? Wink.

Confession time! Are you a tortoise or a hare? How has being either one effected the way you approach writing a novel? Do you love the process? Does writing energize you? Would love to read your input and comments. Thank you for spending time with me by reading my blog! Cheers, and have a great week!

For your reading pleasure, may I suggest a visit to Fairy Falls, or if you’re feeling really adventurous, a trip back in time with The Last Timekeepers? Just remember to pack lightly.

Monday, 11 November 2019

Guest Post: Remembering the Importance of Trees by Carol Browne...

I’m a tree hugger and always have been. There’s something in my nature that draws me to them like old friends. How gratifying it is for me to see so many other people waking up to how important and precious trees are.

Photo by Studio Dekorasyon on Unsplash
Every oxygen-breathing organism on Earth benefits from the work done by these forest denizens. Their fallen leaves not only nourish the ground they stand in but also feed a network of fungi, plants and small critters essential to the circle of life. The trees hold the land in their roots, preventing soil erosion and landslides. They suck up water and protect the land from flooding. They provide shade, shelter and homes to countless animals, birds and insects. They give us fruit, nuts and medicine; wood for building and fuel. In the rainforests they even create their own weather.

Trees are amazing. And now we need them more than ever. Their ability to capture carbon from the air, to use and store it, while releasing life-affirming oxygen, is vital in the battle against climate change.

We must plant more trees. Anyone with a garden can do that. If you can’t, donate to an organization that will plant trees on your behalf and support campaigns to protect ancient woodland.

We have lost our connection with Nature, that fellowship experienced so profoundly by our ancestors. For far too long we have looked down upon primitive cultures that talked about nature spirits and the wisdom of trees. We dismissed the Druids for worshipping trees. It was all superstition. But we were wrong. The trees have been our allies all the time, even when we turned our backs on them. They remained the guardians of the planet and quietly went about the business of preserving its ecosystem. Now it is imperative we embrace them again as our friends and rediscover that lost connection, before it is too late.

There is a close relationship between trees and writers; don’t they provide us with the paper on which we write our stories? They can even give us the ink to write them with. Ink made from oak galls was favoured by scribes during the Middle Ages and Renaissance because of its permanence and resistance to water and it still enjoys a niche market today among artists.

Born in Stafford in the UK, Carol Browne was raised in Crewe, Cheshire, which she thinks of as her home town. Interested in reading and writing at an early age, Carol pursued her passions at Nottingham University and was awarded an honours degree in English Language and Literature. Now living and working in the Cambridgeshire countryside, Carol usually writes fiction, but dabbles in non-fiction and is a contracted author with Dilliebooks.

 Stay connected with Carol on her website and blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Being Krystyna; A story of survival in WWII

It’s 2012, the year of the London Olympics, and for young Polish immigrant Agnieszka, visiting fellow countrywoman Krystyna in a Peterborough care home is a simple act of kindness. However, the meeting proves to be the beginning of a life-changing experience.

Krystyna’s stories about the past are not memories of the good old days but recollections of war-ravaged Europe: The Warsaw Ghetto, Pawiak Prison, Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, and the death march to freedom.

The losses and ordeals Krystyna suffered and what she had to do to survive, these are horrors Agnieszka must confront when she volunteers to be Krystyna’s biographer.
Will Agnieszka find a way to accomplish her task, and, in this harrowing story of survival, what is the message for us today?

Buy Links Dilliebooks - Amazon UK - Amazon US

Monday, 4 November 2019

Author Guest Post: Pondering Villains by Chris Pavesic...

I like to read writing advice from other authors. Many times, I find really great ideas that help improve my own abilities. For example, in On Writing, Stephen King (2001) recommends listening to music to help a writer block out the world and focus on the work at hand. I have multiple dedicated writing playlists for just this purpose.

Certain advice, though, does not resonate with me. For example—certain writers suggest modeling villains after people in your own life that you dislike. I would find that difficult advice to implement in my writing.

First—there is the time factor. Writing a novel generally takes time. Even if a writer aims for a thousand words a day of good, solid prose, the writing stretches into months. Imagine this time actively thinking about people you do not like. This would not be an enjoyable activity in my perspective.

As a writer, I want to like my villains. Not everything that they do—many of their activities to me would be morally objectionable. But I need to understand them—to know why they are doing certain activities so that I can put this down on the page. I need to sympathize with their motivations and to realize that, in most instances, the villains do not see themselves as evil. These characters need the same depth as the heroes or, in my opinion, they will never be more than a caricature.

In Witches Abroad, Terry Pratchett (1991, p. 185) has the villain of the story, Lilith, make the following comparison: “She wondered whether there was such a thing as the opposite of a fairy godmother. Most things had their opposite, after all. If so, she wouldn’t be a bad fairy godmother, because that’s just a good fairy godmother seen from a different viewpoint.” Later in the story, readers learn that Lilith firmly believes she is the good fairy godmother and is not the villain. It’s a matter of perspective, and in her viewpoint, those working against her are evil. She’s trying to improve people’s lives, and those working against her are trying to impede progress.

This is not the only type of villain in literature, but it is the type that I tend to find the most interesting. It is why I can sympathize with Khan in Star Trek (both in Into Darkness and in Space Seed) and Loki in The Avengers while at the same time being morally appalled by many of their actions.

There are obvious exceptions to this—Sauron in The Lord of the Rings trilogy does not generate sympathy for many readers, (although Tolkien does give him a fascinating history in The Silmarillion that explains his fall into darkness) but the Nazguls always had a touch of sympathy to their story for me because they were tricked by Sauron into becoming the Ring Wraiths. The detail and care that Tolkien invests into the story keeps these characters from being caricatures.

Allow me to introduce you to my villains. I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I did writing them.
4eee6-chris2bpavesic2bauthor2bphotoChris Pavesic is a fantasy author who lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends.

Learn more about Chris on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and her Amazon Author Page.