Posts tagged: fiction

Mar 03 2017

Current Projects — March 3, 2017

First Draft

I have three new pieces of flash fiction completed and will be editing them (and my previous pieces) over the next little while. On Monday I inted to start working on some music!

Second Draft

“Snow White and Rose Red” continues apace, and I have begun editing my flash fiction.

Final Draft

Nothing quite ready for you yet, but hopefully I will have an announcement very soon!

Feb 24 2017

Current Projects — February 24, 2017

First Draft

I finished the flash fiction from last week and I just started another one. Yay!

Second Draft

“Snow White and Rose Red” is beginning to pick up speed. The stage I’m at is difficult, but so far definitely worth it. I’m not sure how long this process will take; it’s quite involved. But I’m confident that the final result will be something you will enjoy reading, assuming you like fantasy!

Final Draft

Nothing quite ready for you yet, but hopefully I will have an announcement very soon!

Feb 17 2017

Current Projects — February 17, 2017

First Draft

I have begun to make headway with the space dragon story, and I have one flash fiction story to complete first draft on (should be finished by the end of the weekend.

Second Draft

“Snow White and Rose Red” is beginning to pick up speed. The stage I’m at is difficult, but so far definitely worth it. I’m not sure how long this process will take; it’s quite involved. But I’m confident that the final result will be something you will enjoy reading, assuming you like fantasy!

Final Draft

Nothing quite ready for you yet, but hopefully I will have an announcement by the end of the month!

Feb 03 2017

Current Projects — February 3, 2017

First Draft

I’m still working on that story about the little girl and the space dragon. I got the first part finished but the second part is harder to figure out where to go with it.

I’m writing more flash fiction as well. It’s a lot of fun to see how short a story can be and still be a story!

Second Draft

I’m still revising my retelling of “Snow White and Rose Red.” I have no idea how long it will take, but hopefully not the entire year!

Final Draft

I should have something ready for you soon — stay tuned for news!

Jan 06 2017

Current Projects — Update for January 6, 2017

First Draft

I’m working on six pieces of flash fiction right now. There are a few different themes going on here, and some really interesting characters. I’m hoping to get them finished in the next week.

I’m also working on the second story in a set of children’s stories about a space dragon and the little girl it befriends. I’m hoping to have it finished by the end of the month (sooner if things go well).

Revision

I’m revising my retelling of “Snow White & Rose Red” right now. It’s slow going, but I’m confident that when I’m finished the story will be much stronger and more interesting.

Final Draft

I have one short piece that is nearly finished. I haven’t decided what to do with it yet because it’s not really a short story, but when I do I’ll let you know!

Aug 14 2012

Writing Tips: Citing Sources

When you are writing anything – non-fiction or fiction – you may end up doing some research. It’s important to cite your sources in the finished product, though how you do so is dependent upon a few different criteria. The reason you need to do this is so that other people can check that what you wrote is true, and so that you don’t have to worry about charges of plagiarism (copying someone else’s work and saying that it’s yours).

Fiction vs Non-Fiction

When you’re writing fiction, the best way to cite your sources is to list the different resources you accessed during your research at the end of your story. If you primarily did your research through interviews or other interpersonal communication, you may wish to acknowledge those people who participated. Lists of references are not often found at the end of short stories, but they can sometimes be found at the end of novels that focus on a particular issue or disability, in which case the resources are often listed under a heading such as “For More Information on [Topic].”

It is far more important to cite your sources when you are writing non-fiction than when you are writing fiction. In addition, you need to make sure you do so in the correct format, or style.

Citation Styles

There are three different types of citations that you may need to use. All of them require the same information (i.e., author, book or article title, publication if an article, date of publication, publisher, page numbers), but the information is presented in different ways.

In-text citations typically consist of the last name of the author, the year of the publication, and the page number on which the information is found, and the article or book concludes with a bibliography that lists all of the resources referenced in the text of the work, as well as any references that were consulted but not directly quoted or referenced in the text.

Footnotes use a superscript (i.e., smaller font and raised above the line of the rest of the text) reference number and give the publication information and page number at the bottom of the page. Again, the article or book concludes with a bibliography that lists all of the resources referenced in the footnotes, as well as any references that were consulted but not directly quoted or referenced in the text.

End notes are similar to footnotes, but the publication information and page numbers are listed at the end of the article or book chapter instead of at the bottom of the page. There may or may not be a bibliography in this case; if there is, it may only include references that were consulted but not directly quoted or referenced in the text.

Which One to Use?

The best way to approach the question of which citation style to use is to find out which style guide is being used by the publication you wish to submit the finished piece to, or which style guide is most commonly used in the industry for which you are writing.

For example, most scientific papers use end notes; news articles follow the Associated Press Style Guide; many branches of the humanities (e.g., English) use the Chicago Style or the Modern Language Association (MLA) Style; and psychology, social work, and related industries typically use American Psychological Association (APA) Style. Each of these style guides is partial to a different type of citation, so it is important to ensure that you find out which one you should follow. There are web sites that explain the basics, and most libraries will have at least one copy of the most current guide in their collections, so you should not have to spend a lot of money to educate yourself on how to follow the correct style.

Remember: Keep track of your sources. When you’re taking notes, be sure to write down what you are reading and which page the information came from. When you write, keep track of where you use what information.

Jul 31 2012

Personal Projects: What’s going on?

I’ve been pleased with my progress on my personal projects. Over the past two months, I have managed to complete drafts and even bring a few pieces to completion! Here’s the breakdown:

First Draft

Since my last post on this topic, I completed five first drafts. There is Regenesis, an essay about the ebb and flow of interests; Beast, a retelling of the story of Beauty & the Beast; Baptism, a picture book about baptism in the Anglican church; Disability or Difference?, an essay about whether we should call disabilities differences; and Möbius: Dora (series) – Book 1, the first book in a series of picture books about a little girl who has autism (this series fits in with my Young Adult novels and takes place in the same universe).

I’m still working on CAVIES: The Musical, but I’ve finished the songs I originally planned, so now I need to go back over the story and probably rearrange some of the songs and write a couple more. Then I can start working on the music itself. I’m also working on a short story about the green man, for this anthology, and trying to finish up the first draft of a short children’s fantasy called Ballk. Also up for August are a picture book about Lent; a book-length fantasy-type story that I have to plan a bit more; and a short piece of creative non-fiction titled Expo that is styled as an online encyclopaedia of terms one may encounter at a fan convention.

I’m also working on collecting character information for my Möbius series. Things were getting very complicated, and I was starting to get confused about some of the characters. Once I’ve collected the information, I’ll get it organized and then I can look up specific characters when I need to put them into a story.

Second Draft

I’ll be editing three pieces in August: Consideration, a short story about a girl dealing with the aftereffects of abuse; We’ll Write You an Opera You Can’t Refuse, a short story about the musicians’ mob in Halifax and a set of contraband timpani; and This Ability vol. 1, a graphic novel about a group of teens who have various disabilities and super-powers.

Third Draft

I won’t be working on the third draft of anything in August, but I did finish the third draft of I Still Think of You yesterday.

Final Draft

I did manage to finish and submit Education & Qualifications to the anthology on time, so it is just a matter of being patient. The reading period is up at the end of August, so I suppose I could hear sometime in September. I also finished the final draft of Crumbs to a Dog in June, so that is ready if I ever find a market for Bible story retellings. 😉

In August, I’ll be working on the final draft of I Still Think of You.

In the Wings

Assuming all goes well with those first drafts I’ve listed above, I have a few other projects to cycle in as needed:

  1. Kyle the Camel – A picture book that is similar in concept to the song Alice the Camel.
  2. Eucharist: An Anglican Picture Book – Another book in the Advent series.
  3. Karl the Dragon – This will be in verse, I think, and tell the story of a dragon who… well, we’ll see where it goes.
  4. Christmas: An Anglican Picture Book – Yet another book in the Advent series.

The nice thing about these plans is that only some of my personal projects have set-in-stone deadlines. I still try to meet all of my self-imposed deadlines, of course, but since only one of my current projects is for an anthology, everything else is flexible, and I can focus on that if I start to run out of time. I’m finding that I really enjoy writing for anthologies, but I don’t think I could handle more than one at a time. But once this one is finished and sent off, I’ll probably start looking for another one. They get me out of my comfort zone and give me a chance to try my hand at telling different stories from what I usually write.

Jul 10 2012

Writing Tips: Research

No matter what you’re writing, you will probably need to do some research. There are a number of reasons for this:

  1. You’re writing non-fiction. In non-fiction, the things you’re writing are supposed to be based on facts. This means that you can’t just write down a bunch of ideas about the topic without checking to see if your ideas have been disproven somehow. Even when you’re writing a personal essay, which is a type of creative non-fiction, you need to have some factual background to support the things you’re saying – even if that factual background is simply your own experience.
  2. What you’re writing may have a larger impact than you think. If you’re writing an article or a report, you need to ensure that the information you’re presenting is accurate. People often make life changes based on articles they read, and businesses make decisions based on the information in the reports written by their employees.
  3. You’re writing fiction about something you don’t have any personal experience with. Always check to make sure that what you’re writing about is accurate. If you have never owned a cat, interview a bunch of cat-owners to get an idea of what cats are really like. If your character wears glasses and you have 20/20 vision, talk to people who wear corrective lenses and learn what it’s like to have to wear glasses or contact lenses all the time. If your character is a weapons expert and the closest you’ve come is taking archery lessons at summer camp, you should probably research the weapons he or she is dealing with.
  4. You’re quoting someone in an article. Make sure you get the quote right. Make sure you understand what the person said. If you misrepresent what was said, or if you misquote the person, you could be in a lot of trouble when that person sees what you’ve written.

I edit a lot of non-fiction, and I often have to ask clarifying questions to make sure I understand what was written. Sometimes I have to ask the author if he or she is certain that the information is really true, because it goes against things I have read or experienced. If you’re working with an editor and you are asked things like that, don’t be offended – it’s the editor’s job to make sure your writing is accurate as well as clear and concise!

I also read a lot of fiction and watch a lot of movies. I find it difficult to stay “in” the story when something is glaringly wrong in the story. For example, in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, by Ann Brashares, one of the characters talks about her guinea pig living in an aquarium. I own three guinea pigs and am currently fostering two others, and I will happily go on at length about the many reasons why an aquarium is not an appropriate home for a guinea pig. This could have been researched quickly and easily using the Internet and/or asking friends for more information. Instead, I (as a reader) was upset about the guinea pig in the book. So do your research, even if you think you know what you’re talking about.

Remember: Research takes time, but it is an important part of the writing process. Well-done research will result in an accurate presentation of the facts, which will inform your readers and keep them involved in the story.

Jun 12 2012

Writing Tips: Audience

Lots of people will tell you not to bother worrying about your audience; write for yourself, and don’t worry about whether or not other people will like it. Other people will tell you to write for your market, and don’t worry about whether or not you like the story; the important part is that the people who read your work will enjoy it.

The truth, I think, is somewhere in the middle, at least for non-formal writing (e.g., fiction, articles for magazines). When it comes to formal writing, the audience is always the most important part of what you’re working on.

Here’s how I view it: If you don’t like writing, or you don’t like what you’re writing, you need to stop and assess your reasons for writing what you’re writing. Be honest with yourself about it, because passion shows in writing: it’s often very obvious when an author doesn’t like the story or the characters and doesn’t care what happens next. And if the author doesn’t care, why should the reader?

My approach is to write the stories that matter to me, the way I want to write them. That’s the first draft, and it goes for both fiction and non-fiction. Second draft is usually a rewrite, where I work to make it better for myself, add details, remove details, and so on. Then it’s time for other people to read what I’ve written and offer their input. And that is when I begin tailoring my work to my audience. I don’t think it is truly possible to edit a piece for the audience it’s meant for without getting input from other people. Without that input, I’m really just editing for myself, and it’s quite possible that the only people who will enjoy reading it will be people like me.

Now, with formal writing, such as business letters and reports, it is vital that you keep in mind the people who will be reading your writing. That doesn’t mean that you can’t be engaging and interesting, but it does mean that you need to maintain a certain level of distance from your audience. Inside jokes and slang don’t belong in formal writing, and you will (or you should) write a report meant for your supervisor in a different way than you will write one for the CEO of your company.

Remember: Audience has a place in your writing, and you will want to make sure you know who your audience is at some point during the writing process. For creative writing (whether fiction or non-fiction), audience doesn’t matter until the third draft, but it matters right from the start when it comes to formal writing. You can get a lot of mileage if you like what you’re writing, just make sure you think about your audience eventually!

Jun 05 2012

Business: June 2012

I can’t believe it’s June already! The year seems to be flying by.

I am pleased to report that I did finish my story for the anthology and submit it on time. Now I have to wait until sometime post-August to find out if I made it in!

Projects are continuing to come through my inbox, many with tight deadlines. I am working hard to get things done for my clients, and continue to pride myself in a good finished product!

If you have a project that you would like to hire me to work on, please fill out the form on the main web site. Quote JUN2012 in your message, and I will give you a 10% discount on my quote!

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