Thursday, March 26, 2009

New Book by Diana Jay

Today I'm not going to say much. Diana Jay is busy with her new book and she provided me with a short teaser of what we can expect. If anyone else wants to feature their upcoming books or stories here, send me a message and I'll contact you for possible placement.

As promised, here is the teaser for Diana Jay's new book:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Drums of Siyapila Now in Free Downloadable E-book

Exiting news! Diana Jay's book The Drums of Siyapila is now available for download in e-book format - but only from this site. Right click on the link and select 'save link as' to download or simply open in a new browser and save the file to your computer.

This is the fist of a range of free romance and other e-books I plan to offer readers. For those not familiar with Diana Jay. see previous posts for an interview with her or check out her profile on Buzzle

Above all, check back regularly for more exiting reads.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Why Novice Writers Must Join a Critique Group

Here I was, getting pretty pleased with my development as writer and posting chapter after chapter of a novel on Buzzle. com. Although I didn't get a huge following, the comments from readers reading the story, inspired me to try and finish a chapter a week. I felt I was finally beginning to apply what I learnt and getting into the 'right' writer's groove.

After the first chapter, a reader commented on her preference for writing in the past tense contrary to the present tense writing used in the story. It caused me some discomfort, but I decided to continue with posting the story as is, and the story progressed in the present tense, naturally. Things were going along just fine, although some chapters caused me some misery to write. I couldn't get comfortable with parts of the writing.

When, after the fourteenth chapter the same reader complained the tense made the work hard to read and understand, I did a double take. Where to get experienced and knowledgeable feedback?

Critique groups like My Writer's Circle and other online and offline groups play a vital part in the development of any writer. I used to visit the forum everyday, but lately time and work made me neglect that part of my usual daily ritual... to my detriment, it appeared.

Nervous and jittery, I posted the first part of the same chapter on the forum, inhaled, forced my heart back to its normal rate and with sweaty palms requested members of the forum for their feedback.

Two days later, I received the most wonderful advice which boils down to the following:

  1. Tense is a personal preference.
  2. Present tense writing is fine, but the writer must be careful with the construction of the sentences. This was the biggest problem in the chapter, making it harder to read and understand.
  3. When using the present tense, point of view (POV) must be treated with utmost respect and circumcision to avoid confusing the reader with facts known to the narrator and personal emotions and thought of the character.
  4. The thread can be viewed at:;topicseen#new
Wonderful advice once again from people writing for a living - well some of them, but mostly, all of them are much more experienced than I am and the constructive criticism is invaluable to anyone serious about writing.

So whenever you are in doubt about a part of your writing, ask the experts and fellow writers for honest critique. But above all...keep writing.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How to Create a Fictional Three Dimensional Character

In any good novel or short story the main character (protagonist) must be someone with which readers can identify. Most of you heard the term 'cardboard character' before. Simply put, this describes a character with two dimensions and not much depth. A well rounded character is introduced to the reader as a person with a clear physical appearance, social background and emotional expectations.

How to create such a character? According to James Frey in his book How to write a damn good novel the explanation is simple. Get to know your character inside out. Ask questions like, how does the character look (physical appearance), where did he grow up and what circumstances formed him to be the man he is today? (social background), what work does he do and why, what is his current circumstances. In short, the writer must know everything about his character before he can attempt to introduce him to the reader.

A starting point is to create a list of everything one would like to know about a person. Pose questions like:

  1. What is your name?
  2. How old are you?
  3. What color is your hair, eyes?
  4. Where did you grow UP?
  5. Who were your parents?
  6. Do you have any siblings?
  7. What is your relationship with your siblings?
  8. What work do you do?
  9. Why did you choose to do this work?

And so on.

Try to make the list as extensive as possible and the character will come to life. A final step must be to write a diary in the voice of the character. Every person has unique traits and mannerisms in speech and body language. Writing in the voice of the character will enable the writer to get inside the head of the character which will translate better during the writing process.

This is not an exhaustive list of how to develop a well rounded character and each writer must find their own way. Above all...Keep writing.