Today I have two authors for you again, Sue Barnard and Tabitha Ormiston-Smith. Both have put a different spin on their guest posts so read on and see what you think.
Guest post – Sue Barnard
Hello Sandra, and thank you so much for this opportunity.
First of all, a little about me. My name is Sue Barnard, and Im a British novelist, editor and poet with a very warped mind so much so that one of my sons once described me as professionally weird. Im also very interested in family history. My own background is far stranger than any work of fiction; I’d write a book about it if I thought anyone would believe me.
I currently have four novels published; they are all stand-alone stories and vary in genre, but have a common theme of Romance with a Twist. The Ghostly Father is a re-telling of the traditional story of Romeo & Juliet, but with a few new twists and a whole new outcome. Nice Girls Dont is a romantic intrigue centred on a search for family secrets, The Unkindest Cut of All is a murder mystery set in a theatre, and Never on Saturday is a paranormal time-slip romance novella based on an old French legend.
My plans for 2018 are quite varied. I’m hoping to put together an anthology which I plan to self-publish, I intend to make some progress with a poetry project which has been on the go for ages, and later in the year should see the publication of my fifth novel, Heathcliff (yes, that is THE Heathcliff).
I supposed I’d better get on with putting these plans into practice.
Less is more – surprising discoveries in productivity – Tabitha Ormiston-Smith
Ah, productivity, the writers’ bane. So often, at least when we start, we like to think of ourselves as untrammelled free spirits. Pretty soon, though, we discover this is a myth; this generally happens either when we encounter our first deadline, or when we look back and realise it is two years since we started our novel and we’re still going on it.
In 2016, I had an extremely productive year. Using as my guide the most popular writers’ productivity technique, the daily wordcount, I produced almost a quarter of a million words. It was a massive result for me. And yet, this enormous volume of drafted material did not produce much in the way of published work. I published one novel (which I had already finished writing the previous year), a collection of short fiction (which was already published as an e-book), one novella and a few short stories.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this, and looking back over past years, and it seems to me that my problem in 2016 was trying to do too much. I worked on so many projects. I wrote most of a new novel, and then left it unfinished while I wrote four novellas, a long story, eight short stories, half of another novel and some material for the new edition of Grammar Without Tears. Several other stories were started and not finished, and I hopped about between all these things like a demented flea, constantly getting sick of one thing and starting another. Altogether I worked on 25 projects, and I completed only six of them. It wasn’t a very impressive result, especially for someone like me, with a background in project management.
I was thinking about all this as I set up my project plan for 2017. Unlike the previous year, I started with a firm idea of what I wanted to achieve, and it was limited to what I knew I could get done in the year. My basic project plan consisted of six goals, and as I expected, this went a lot better. I did miss by a whisker completing one of them, but 5 out of 6 is a lot better than 6 out of 25.
This year I’m taking the principle even farther, and my project plan is limited to two books. I may well do other stuff too, but anything else I work on will not be allowed to take time away from those.
The thing is, you have to finish what you start. Stephen King stresses this in On Writing, his wonderful book for the novice writer. And if you’re flitting about like a bee in a field of poppies, that won’t happen.
How to make it easy – the Rule of One
One simple rule can help you to take a more disciplined approach to your work. With apologies to Lloyd Biggle, I call it the Rule of One.
Choose one goal – just one. And don’t work on anything else unless you are unable to progress with that. Now when I say ‘unable’, I am not talking about being sick of it! Or imagining that you have ‘writers’ block’. I am talking about when the manuscript is away with your editor, or it’s all ready to go and you’re waiting for your cover design to be ready, or you’re waiting for a proof copy from the publisher – something genuine, not an excuse. Then, and only then, you can allow yourself to choose a second goal; something to work on while you wait, but which will have a lower priority than the first one as soon as that one becomes available again.
Recent publication – Fifty Shades of Grammar.
Blurb: Everyone, it’s said, has one book inside him, but getting it out can be problematical. Perhaps you can’t English very well, or you work long hours and just don’t have time, or you started writing and then got stuck? Fear not, for help is at hand.
Packed with friendly, no-nonsense advice, Fifty Shades of Grammar will answer all those questions you were too afraid to ask. From sentence structure to punctuation, from setting up your workspace to support your efforts to overcoming the dreaded ‘writer’s block’, from traps and pitfalls to avoid to editing, the problems faced by the novice writer are clearly addressed – and with LOLCATS!
With this book at your side, the only variables will be your talent and your commitment.
Coming Soon: Twice Seventeen – expected early February. YA fiction.
Dancing Feet: Ashley is devastated when her widowed father returns from his business trip with a new wife and her two daughters in tow. Pushed to one side by the interlopers, can she make a new life for herself?
Melanie’s Diary Melanie’s life is out of control. Her status-hungry parents have forced her grandmother into a home, and she’s under siege from the school bully. But things are going to get a lot worse before they get better…
Tabitha Ormiston-Smith was born and continues to age. Dividing her time between her houses in Melbourne and the country, she is ably assisted in her editing business and her other endeavours by Ferret, the three-legged bandit.