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‘Minding Mama’ – the next project!


‘Keep writing!’  Sound advice from creative industry ‘old-timers’ (by that, I don’t mean those authors are older than me, but that they’ve been writing long enough to know how it all works – and sometimes, why it doesn’t). Finish one project, and move onto the next, practice makes perfect (I hope) and all that… luckily I’m never short of ideas!

With ‘The Methuselah Paradox’ published and the last of the rewards about to go out, I’ve found my thoughts turning to my next project. Another book? Well, yes, but not in quite the same format, this time.

mama-logo-2jpg

Do you like it? It’s the lovely and rather intriguing logo created by emerging concept artist Amanda Fullwood (The Flock, Chasing Shadows, Word Bohemia)  for my next project, ‘Minding Mama’ – a science-fiction tale set in a future where mankind is forced to live underground in order to avoid exposure to lethal levels of UV radiation. Why is planet Earth in such dire straits?  You can find out on www.mindingmama.org  – but since it will be a little while before the crowdfunding project goes live, I wanted to get the word out to all my ‘regulars’ – and to ask you all to tell anyone you know who might be interested in an opportunity to be in at the start of a new graphic novel – with some beautiful and unique comic art rewards!

Producing a graphic novel is a new challenge for me – but I have a very experienced hand at the helm, in the form of the talented Oregon-based Dan Schaefer, who will provide the artwork for the graphic novel, and who will also be in charge of the story-boarding for the animated feature (did I mention that yet? Oh, I just did…) which will be my next challenge.  Those of you who know about comic books and story boards will doubtless know Dan’s work as a concept artist (Grimm; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and artist (Peter Parker: Spider-Man). I couldn’t believe my luck when Dan applied to the project; and having already seen his rough drafts of the first few pages and his early concept work for the AI characters in the story, I am really excited to be working with him.

As mentioned earlier, I’m also delighted to be working with Amanda Fullwood  – a graduate of Nottingham Trent University, Amanda’s enthusiasm for the science-fiction and horror genres and her work as a production designer and concept artist were evident at our first meeting in London in March 2016. By the time myself and Sue Turner of video production company  ElephantInScarlet waved goodbye to Amanda and headed for our respective trains, I knew I had to have her on board as lead concept artist. I can’t wait to share Amanda’s visualisations for ‘Minding Mama’  on our crowdfunding site!  That’s still a WiP at the moment, but you can check out more of Amanda’s work on her film and visual art journal .

 

So, if you (or someone you know) would like to own an original piece of Dan Schaefer art, in addition to many other unique goodies, please do visit www.mindingmama.org and sign up for notifications – the rewards are going to be something really special!  You can also contact me direct if you have any queries. We’re not into spamming, so we’ll only email you when we have news.

Thanks for reading!

x Elaine

 

So You Want to be a Writer?


I’m re-blogging this invigorating and inspirational post by Hugh Howey – which was drawn to my attention by Ricardo over at Reedsy – simply because it IS so invigorating and inspiring. It looks as if comments are closed on the original post, but feel free to comment and discuss here…

 

So You Want to be a Writer….    

Wasn’t that a great post? Don’t you feel inspired? I know I do – thank you, Hugh!  Here’s how I have – or plan to- follow Hugh’s advice, and my thoughts:

Hugh advises that if you want to be a writer, these are ten rules to follow:

1) Make a long-term plan.   I’ll confess to you now, that I don’t have a long-term plan as such; it’s more like a list of things I’d like to do, but in no particular order. Like:

  • write my first novel – tick.
  • write and publish a short story collection – tick. (I did that first)
  • write something for film or television – I’m working on that.

So I’ll be working on the long-term plan. But mostly it will involve writing, and more writing. And then more writing. Books, short stories, scripts, blogs…

2) Reading.

  • I do this all the time. I devour books, always have done. I go through phases of reading different genres, but mainly: thriller/police procedural/detective mysteries, science-fiction, contemporary romance. Years ago I read a shed-load of Catherine Cookson, and dozens and dozens of natural history  and autobiographical works.  The one thing I have a problem with is ‘How To’ text-books…

3) Practice.

  • I do this all the time, too. Sometimes in my head, or in the form of emails, letters, blog posts, and pages and pages of dialogue, scenes that come to me out of the blue without a story attached… I have thousands of documents on my portable hard-drive, some of which I may not have looked at in years. I came across one the other day that I literally couldn’t remember writing at first…

4) Daydream.

  • I probably shouldn’t admit to this, but driving to or from work is when this happens most. The hard part is remembering it until I get a chance to write it down. If I could set up my Bluetooth so that I could mutter into my mobile as I drive along, that would solve the problem…

5) Learn to fail.

  • I’m working on that!

6) Plot trumps prose.

  • I agree – if the writing is ‘pretty’ but the story doesn’t engage…. I work hard at that, too. I find it helps to study other stories, and ask myself if I would have written it differently, and if so, why?

7) Live fully and cheaply.

  • That’s a WiP!

8) Network.

  • Most of my networking to date has been online – because I can fit more in! It’s fun and you meet the most interesting people. You never know when you might be able to help them, or vice-versa.

9) Write Great Shit.

  • I can’t disagree with this – if you don’t engage your reader quickly, they likely won’t buy your book. Amazon’s ‘Look Inside’ feature is the opportunity to hook them. I always read the sample, and often know within the first paragraph or so if I am going to hit that magic ‘BUY’ button. If it’s a great premise, but the hook isn’t there… as Hugh says, pull out the stops to engage your reader, and do it as soon as possible, even if it means starting half-way through the story.  I had several beginnings for ‘The Methuselah Paradox’ – a department store fire, the moment my protagonist realises that he has caused a death… and a scene in which someone very close to him is has maybe days to live… in the end I went with a scene which shows us who he is in his workaday life, showing the reader who he is.  I’m not convinced I chose the right opening, as it happens… (see point 5.)    As Hugh says, just keep writing…

10) Find your voice.

  • Agree 100% with Hugh on this. Have I found my voice? Maybe not yet – sometimes I think I have, then I’ll find myself struggling again. I think it is really important to be telling the story you want to tell, and not what other people think it is -or should be- about. If you find yourself listening to other people’s versions of your WiP, I think it could be a sign that you haven’t nailed the story, or perhaps that you are telling the wrong one. Or perhaps it’s just that you don’t have the confidence yet… but when you do find your fingers struggling to keep up with your thoughts as you write, there is nothing quite like it!

 

 

AUTHORS – HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU DIVERSIFY?


The online Cambridge dictionary defines an author as:

author noun [ C ]

UK  /ˈɔː.θər/ US  /ˈɑː.θɚ/

B1 the writer of a bookarticleplay, etc.:

He is the author of two books on French history.

 

Well, you can’t argue with that, can you?  The second question, ‘Should you diversify’ might cause some lively discussion, though.

When I started writing (I’ve been dabbling since my teens, but I didn’t begin writing seriously and ‘with intent’ until I had lived for almost half a century) I imagined that I one day I would write books. Stories, short-form or long, which would be published in the traditional way. Since then, the world has moved on (oh, how it has moved on! What I would have given for a laptop and Word in my teens…). who had heard of the word ‘blog’ in the late seventies/early eighties?  Twitter and Facebook weren’t even in a twinkle in the mind’s eye of their creators (who may not have been born then).

In days gone by, an author would submit a manuscript to their agent, who would (hopefully) secure a publishing deal.  Once the work of writing/editing/polishing was done, an author might have to turn up at various publishing house functions to promote their work, perhaps be interviewed by the literary media if they were successful…  But nowadays, even traditionally-published authors have blogs, some also have social media sites… it’s all about getting yourself ‘out there’.  So just how important is it for an author to diversify?   By diversify, I mean: writing a blog, writing copy for your social media sites… but also penning screenplays, stage adaptations, radio drama…

William Faulkner, Roald Dahl, Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, Aldous Huxley, William Goldman, Mario Puzo, Michael Crichton, Raymond Chandler, Graham Greene, John Steinbeck… and more recently Nick Hornby and Gillian Flynn, have all written books and screenplays. In some cases, they adapted their own work for the screen.

I’ve dipped a toe into screenwriting waters – I entered three scripts in Create50’s ‘The Impact’ project (and learned a lot from it), and wrote the voice-over script for my novel ‘The Methuselah Paradox’.  I’m currently collaborating on an adaption for the stage, and am also turning one of my short stories into a graphic novel (and if all goes well, an animated feature). I see each project as an opportunity to learn, and to create something different. Each discipline has its own rules, but at the core it is all about telling a story. The mediums might be different, and perhaps I’ll discover that I’m better suited to one or the other; but I will never know if I don’t try!   Here’s another definition for you: Polyglot.

polyglot

ˈpɒlɪɡlɒt/

adjective

  1. 1.

knowing or using several languages.

“a polyglot career woman”

noun

  1. 1.

a person who knows and is able to use several languages.

“Slovenians, being surrounded by many countries, are mostly polyglots”

 

So why not be a polyglot?  Novels, screenplays, stage productions, graphic novels, radio plays… when all is said and done, they have two things in common. They are all stories, and regardless of whether they are in the language of film/TV, live theatre, the written word, or picture books, they seek to entertain/inform. Exploring the different facets of one story through different mediums is fascinating, and presents a challenge for any writer.

So my answer to the question ‘how much should an author diversify?’ is “As much as possible, if you enjoy it!”.  What do you think? Have you tried turning your book into a film, or a stage play, or a comic book, and if not, why not?

Answers on a postcard…. or maybe something bigger!