making a move:

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An early christmas presentappeared on my desk a few days ago…. a computer complete with internet connection!

I haven’t blogged in a few months but I have been writing, reading and learning so having logged back on here I realise it’s time to start fresh and taking on board all of your comments hopefully I’ll not only make a better blog but also a better me.

please find me at caswebb.wordpress.com , I look forward to touching base with all of you again!

cheers

cas

 

How to make the most out of Devient Art as a Writer?

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I stumbled across a beta readers group on deviant art, i’ve always loved the website but had never come across writers using it so i was shocked to see this great resource sitting right under my nose. Of course seeing as though i only signed up yesterday everything seems new and exciting and things may turn out to be different and un-ccommodating but i’m keen to find out for myself.

My usually flips through deviant art are in the browsing section, looking over mostly sketches and pictures for ideas and inspiration. Like trying to find the look in my characters eyes so i can better describe it, or an old country barn etc. Because i write fantasy there aren’t always version of what i am trying to portray in reality and it helps to immerse myself in other peoples fantasy worlds.

Which mean’s i’m a little lost on how to use the website for myself. Aside from the beta readers group there’s a journal option and i can upload my own work. My artistic side is level with my daughters so perhaps not my artwork and i’m apprehensive to upload chapters of my manuscript until i can get a feel of the kind of feedback i will get. I don’t want to leave myself wide open for some harsh comments just yet.

So has anyone used deviant art as a writer, how do you use it and what kind of responses have you had?

Beta readers

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I just spent 3 hours working through chapter one of a beta readers manuscript and i’m not even finished yet. I’d love to get a chance to redo this read once they’ve edited and see how my comments work or don’t work. As often is the case it’s more likely to be don’t work.

My number 1 fear when swapping chapters is the quality and time swap not just the swap in paper. Will my 3 hours be returned by 3 hours of their time or a simply quick scan? It is a risk anyone takes when working through edits with help from others. even when i’ve swapped with friends and family and said ‘give me your best shot’ i often get a whole manuscript that’s been read and a simply paragraph ‘watch your spelling’…

But then on the other end of the scale i have my horrific ordeal with a forum where i said ‘go mad’ and got told i was mad.

Why can’t there be a most holy of sources where we take our work and receive complete accurate and usable feedback?

I don’t know if anyone else notices this but most often the sentence you changed on person A’s suggestion will be ripped to shreds by person B and so you change it again and person C claim’s it’s needs to be cut completely so you do then person XYZ says ‘why don’t you explain this?’ and all you want to do is scream ‘I did, about 26 readers ago it was exactly like that!’

I hate comments like ‘this is useless’ why? is it repetitious? is it vague? is it a side note? please tell me why because i think it’s fine or i wouldn’t have put it there.

Anyway always happy to swap a few chapters, leave a comment if you want to share your experiences.

Death by query letter

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So it’s the end of the world, i’ve been slapped by reality and am left staring back at a mirror and not enjoying what i can see.

There’s a dark hole waiting at the corner of my consciousness, daring me to fall in and wallow in the depths of my demise.

What am i on about? Simple – i’m getting it wrong and i don’t even know what right is at the moment.

I write a new query letter for each query, every agent/publisher is different and if query number 1 was rejected then i better fix it for query number 2 and so on, but the problem is i haven’t even been on the right side of the city neverlone on the right track. My whole notion of query letters has been blown out of the water. i do love the water cooler (forum) and i’m grateful for the comments, i’m pretty sure i can’t repost them here but i will post the changes that have been made to the query so you can see what i’m on about.

That dark hole though, it’s whispering to me… if the queries are this bad then the writing must be horrible and how did i ever think i was good at my day job and i absolutely must suck at being a mother…

Attempt 1…

 

Dear Publisher/Editor Name

Kayla is a teenage girl in a modern Australian town. For the most part the township is unaware of the magic Kayla and her friends posses and the novel is cantered around this underground world.

I studied religions at university and fell in love with the pagan or witchcraft cultures. This manuscript, and it’s possible sequels, are based around the many pagan societies that exist today and the simply notion of ‘what if they really did have magic?’

1. In Shadow Wisdom Kayla is just becoming old enough to discover the dark side of her world and the dangers of magic. Power and greed drive some of her kind to attack and murder others, different lineages are branded as good or evil in the magical world and the turmoil is created when she discovers her sexy neighbour is on the evil team.

The novel’s plot follows Kayla closely as she,

  • Meets her new neighbour and forms a friendship with him
  • Begins discovering and forming alliances with her own linage and is under pressure to hide her neighbours identity even though he has yet to do anything even remotely ‘evil’
  • A third party, also of the evil linage, begins to cause mischief and harm. They direct their attacks at Kayla
  • However Kayla must keep this a secret, thus endangering herself and others
  • An attack leads to the deaths of Kayla’s close family friends
  • The secrets begin to eat her up and tear her life apart
  • She escapes on a holiday with her neighbour where finally he snaps and in a bid to protect her he confronts the attacking party
  • Of course he is outnumbered and simply endangers his family, bringing the whole situation to a climax
  • The resolution is a treaty, whereby the neighbour and his family must move away in order for the enemy to leave, if one party can not terrorise the town neither can the other
  • Kayla is devastated, she feels she is loosing everything, her love, her security, the one person who understood everything, and at the same time she gains a new respect for her own family.

The manuscript finalises all of the key points explored in this novel and can be published stand alone if desired however the idea possessed me for some years and drafts for others in the series are available.

2. In the next manuscript, Night Breeds, Sheana moves into town, raised in an almost adopted situation she has no understanding of the world to which she belongs.

Night Breeds has a straight forward teenage belonging and self discovery plot. The manuscript follows Sheana as she,
· moves into a new town,
· takes a curiosity in teenagers she feels are up to something interesting, (Kayla and her family),
· discovers that she is a part of a magical world with these teenagers and falls into a complicated web of friends and enemies,
· then her whole town is confronted by a greater danger (enter return of danger in Shadow Wisdom) that is a uniting force and a climaxing moment
· and finally the greater danger is defeated by Sheana creating a reason for Sheana’s enemies to become her friends.

3. Simultaneously in another novel Kayla is on an adventure of her own, the two plots cross over occasionally as Kayla, growing a little wild and reckless, attempts to seek her revenge on the returned danger.

4. The next instalment introduces new characters and new alliances from Sheana’s point of view.
The danger is still emanating from the same source however this time it is a conjured beast who is doing the damage. Defeating the beast is goal number one and entails joining forces with an equal evil. The lines between right and wrong are continuing to blur but whilst the means are unsettling to some in the group the end result is a spectacular joining of forces and success in destroying the beast.

As a series other plots such as the church and the inquisition (from a fictional point of view), the return of Kayla’s neighbour and the final destruction of the danger set on destroying them are still available for exploration.

Please find below the first five pages of my completed YA manuscript Shadow Wisdom and attached the full word document.

Thankyou for your time

Sincerely
me

 

Attempt 2

Query

Dear Publisher/Editor Name

I have recently completed an 84 000 word young adult urban fantasy novel entitled Shadow Wisdom, and I hope you might consider me for your list.

Magic is real, death is a possibility and the notions of right and wrong are blurring as Kayla ventures into the dark depths of an age old battle between good and evil. It’s not her fight, nor can she end the battle but discovering that the guy she just might love is from the wrong side of the fight makes it impossible for her to walk away. If only hiding this magic from the blissfully unaware Australian town where Kayla and her family reside had stayed her biggest problem.

Kayla can sense that the new students in her school harbour a darkness, she knows that they are behind the attacks on her friends and family, but she can’t tell a soul and the secrets are tearing Kayla’s life a part. Only one person knows the truth, only one guy understands the magical dangers that they are all in and ultimately the guy she just might love will abandon her to secure a truce.

The complete manuscript is attached for your review. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely

me

Synopsis

Dear publisher

I studied religions at university and fell in love with the pagan or witchcraft cultures. This manuscript and it’s sequels are based around the many pagan societies that exist today and the simple notion of ‘what if they really did have magic?’

In Shadow Wisdom Kayla is just becoming old enough to discover the dark side of her world and the dangers of magic. Power and greed drive some of her kind to attack and murder others, different lineages are branded as good or evil in the magical world and the turmoil is created when she discovers her sexy neighbour is on the evil team.

The novel’s plot follows Kayla closely as she,

  • Meets Mr sexy new neighbour and forms a friendship with him
  • Begins discovering and forming alliances with her own lineage and is under pressure to hide her neighbour’s identity even though he has yet to do anything even remotely ‘evil’
  • A third party, also of the evil lineage, begins to cause mischief and harm. They direct their attacks at Kayla
  • Still the secrets bubble and boil under the surface
  • An attack leads to the deaths of Kayla’s close family friends
  • Kayla escapes on a holiday with her neighbour where finally he snaps and in a bid to protect her he confronts the attacking party
  • Of course he is outnumbered and simply endangers his family, bringing the whole situation to a climax
  • The resolution is a treaty, whereby the neighbour and his family must move away in order for the enemy to leave, if one party can not terrorise the town neither can the other
  • Kayla is devastated, she feels she is loosing everything, her love, her security, the one person who understood everything, and at the same time she gains a new respect for her own family.

The manuscript finalises all of the key points explored in this novel and can be published stand alone if desired however drafts for others in the series are available.

In the next manuscript, Night Breeds, Sheana moves into town, raised in an almost adopted situation she has no understanding of the world to which she belongs. This manuscript is a complete draft a …. Words.

The manuscript follows Sheana as she,

  • Moves into a new town,

· Takes a curiosity in teenagers she feels are up to something mysterious, (Kayla and her family),
· Discovers that she is a part of a magical world with these teenagers and falls into a complicated web of friends and enemies,
· Then her whole town is confronted by a greater danger (enter return of danger in Shadow Wisdom) that is a uniting force and a climaxing moment
· And finally the greater danger is driven back by Sheana creating a reason for Sheana’s enemies to become her friends.

Simultaneously in another novel Kayla is on an adventure of her own, the two plots cross over occasionally as Kayla, growing a little wild and reckless, attempts to seek her revenge on the returned danger for having destroyed her life in the first book.

The next instalment introduces new characters and new alliances from Sheana’s point of view.
The danger is still emanating from the same source however this time it is a conjured beast who is doing the damage. Defeating the beast is goal number one and entails joining forces with an equal evil. The lines between right and wrong are continuing to blur but whilst the means are unsettling to some in the group the end result is a spectacular joining of forces and success in destroying the beast.

As a series other plots such as the church and the inquisition (from a fictional point of view), the return of Kayla’s neighbour and the final destruction of the danger set on destroying them are still available for exploration.

Whilst the stories are fictional I utilised the facts in modern magic based cultures and embraced elements that make the books alive with a dash of reality in the fiction.

Thankyou for your time

Sincerely
me

Attempt 3…

Query

Dear Publisher/Editor Name

After studying religions at university I fell in love with the pagan or witchcraft cultures. This manuscript and it’s sequels are based around the many pagan societies that exist today and the simple question of ‘what if they really did have magic?’

Magic is a reality in Kayla’s life and a large part of her magical world is out to kill her. Not because of anything she’s ever done but simply because they want to steel her powers. To make the situation worse the people out to get her are a handful of students that recently started attending her school.
Before any of this started happening Kayla was a carefree teenager with one best friend and no interests in guys. As the darkness in her life grows Kayla intuitively and subconsciously draws together her extended kindred and exposes decades of forgotten good magic. She want’s to understand what’s going on and she wants to master her magic but more importantly she wants to keep everyone safe and to do this she has to loose the first guy she’s ever fallen for. Not her idea of a perfect solution but the alternative is loosing everyone else. The problem is she’s more than willing to run from her kindred and stay with the guy.

Shadow Wisdom is an 84 000 word young adult urban fantasy novel and it is attached for your review. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely
me

Writting Buddies

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I still havent sent Shadow Wisdom out after it’s last rejection. It’s just sitting on my desk, collecting dust and adding to my frustrations. But i just can’t shake that dark collection of thoughts known as self doubt – what if it wasn’t just a case of wrong place wrong time, what if the manuscript really does suck?

So i flicked through a few manuscript appraisal services and nearly had a heart attack at the price. I can see the predicament, if i’m not willing to spend $400 on my own work then why would a publisher spend much more? But then there’s no guarantee that even if the manuscript appraisal service gives my work a thumbs up a publisher will even care, if my work isn’t getting a yes from a publisher now then why would it get a yes with an appraisal? Surely something has to be physically changed, edited, adjusted?

So this is the circle i’m going around and around in, how can i make my work worth the effort of a publisher without wasting money?

Which has lead me to writing buddies. A mutual relationship where people can share work and get honest feedback. My only worry is the simple fact that if i can’t see what needs work in my own manuscript how can i provide feedback of any value on someone elses? Sure i can read over a proposal or query and say what i personally think of it but no publisher or agent has ever accepted one of my proposals so what do i honestly know?

Anyway i’m currently trawling the message boards and various forums for some enlightenment on the subject. What would be great, and i would pay money for, is a workshop where we learn how to appraise our own manuscripts. I can picture it now, nice big old library, mahogany desks, a collection of eager writers and an assortment of industry professionals, a few well known writers, lots of manuscript swoping and reading each others work and sharing ideas, heaps of tips from the professionals, and at the end of a weekend/week we go home bursting with all the information needed to get over the line… so if anyone ever comes across one of these please do share.

A few words from the wise

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Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning:  I wanted to know what I was going to say.  ~Sharon O’Brien

Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very;” your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.  ~Mark Twain

I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.  ~James Michener

The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction.  By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say.  ~Mark Twain

The wastebasket is a writer’s best friend.  ~Isaac Bashevis Singer

Tilba Pub Once Again!

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We should be upto 21671 today to be on track.

I’m sitting at 17117 and lost… so i’m working on a chapter by the cat. Up until a minute ago the story didn’t have a cat so this should be a bit of fun.

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