Posts Tagged ‘Indie Authors’

This Wednesday it was time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! I’m late again, (sorry). It is time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

I spied a funny meme on Facebook this morning, then when I went back to look for it this evening, I couldn’t find it. It had vanished on the ether. If I can paraphrase, the message was this: “Teach a person to read a book, they’ll while away many a happy hour; teach a person to write a book, they’ll spend a lifetime mired in self-doubt.”

A chorus of ‘ain’t that the truth’ comments had poured in. I suspect that we, writers, and creatives, all suffer the same voices of self doubt about our work. I found it rather heartening, to know I’m not alone in my uncertainty.

A friend and fellow Toastmaster, said to me to the other day, “We creative people are sensitive.” This is so true. When our speech or our story gets picked apart, as she said, “we take it personally, because we’re so close to the material.”

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We have to learn how to keep our feet on the ground, when our business is to reach for the stars. A photographer friend, said, we creative people put our heart and soul on the line when we show our work.

This is true. As a writer in the early ‘80’s, I used to stress and sweat it so much over every publisher’s rejection letter. I can remember as an over-dramatic teen feeling as if my heart had been ripped out of my chest. I think it was Leonardo di Caprio who said, ‘With age, comes wisdom.’ Luckily, I’ve learnt a thing or two as I’ve gone along.

What can we do?

Mindfulness. ‘Mindfulness is being deeply aware of what is happening from moment to moment, outside and inside us, without judging or attaching to the content, feelings and emotions that arise. It refers to living deeply and richly in the present moment and not responding to life in a distracted and mechanical manner.’ Dr Yellow Bird.

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World-renowned spiritual leader, Thich Nhat Hanh wrote a lovely little book, Peace is Every Step. ‘The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life.’ I have a copy of this classic book in my home library and re-read it regularly. The ‘deceptively simple practices of Peace is Every Step encourage the reader to work for peace in the world, as he or she continues to work on sustaining inner peace by turning the “mindless” into the mindful.’

How should one go about Mindfulness?

Dr Yellow Bird recommends, ‘formal mindfulness instruction can benefit anyone who is exposed to chronic stress.’

However, if formal instruction is not your style, Nhat Hanh’s book, Peace is Every Step, gives simple exercises you can do at home, to develop and build our awareness of your own body and mind. You work towards mindfulness through conscious breathing.

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Jordan Bates wrote a great article over on his blog which is another good resource. Check it out! The 14 Mindfulness Teachings of Thích Nhất Hạnh’s Zen Buddhist Order

These sorts of relaxation-based techniques really speak to us, the sensitive souls who have to expose their souls in their work, writers, photographers, artists, etc.

I find mindfulness and meditation help keep me balanced in my middle age. And I feel they enhance my writing. I like to see that research is currently being done and they are discovering a basis for the reputed health benefits of meditative practices. I know they work for me.

How about you? What have you found that works for you to battle the self-doubt?

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Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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“Friendship redoubleth joys and cutteth griefs in halves.  For there is no man that imparteth his joys to his friend, but he joyeth the more, and no man that imparteth his griefs to his friend, but he grieveth the less.”  Francis Bacon

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Here, in New Zealand, media coverage of children’s books is poor. I was particularly interested when a fellow Kiwi author shared this online conversation about the topic of the under-representation of children’s literature in the media.

This was the original “call-to-action:” ‘#CoverKidsBooks invites you to join in a public conversation about children’s books.  Leave a comment, write a blog of your own, or tweet about it using the hashtag.  Tell us why children’s books matter to you, and what you’d like to see the media do to #CoverKidsBooks!’

The research by #CoverKidsBooks showed that children’s books ‘typically got 3% of newspaper review space, despite accounting for over 30% of the market.’

This is a subject close to my heart. *grabs soapbox*

I’ve never been able to understand why children’s books are so greatly undervalued. To me, children’s literature is as important as any other genre. Wake up, world, to the increasing rather than decreasing value of books for our kids! Wake up to the importance  of time spent reading for our children!

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When I was growing up, we were given books as prized gifts on birthdays and Christmases. I can remember poring over each and every tome. They were treasured. The first book I ever received was at seven years old. ‘The Legend of Siegfried’ gripped me so completely, that it started off a lifelong passion for mythology and legendary storytelling.

In the original post, Laura Jackson Warburton commented, ‘I think there is still a massive amount of snobbery about children’s books. Not about one children’s book over another, but people tending to dismiss anything from YA down as ‘only silly stories’.’

Exactly. Why is that? What is this snobbery based on?

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I’ve always been guided by the words of famous author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, in 1853, Children are now the only representatives of the men and women of that happy era (the golden age) and therefore it is that we must raise the intellect and fancy to the level of childhood, in order to recreate the original myths

The part of the CoverKidsBooks conversation to really spark my interest however, was when, in the original post, Emma Perry was asked whether children’s books were important.

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Emma Perry: I think especially in the world today, where we’re bombarded by information and interruption, your relationship with a book is so important. I’d like to encourage my children to have that long-form thought and long-form imagination.

This was the key, I thought.

We, the parents of today’s children, worry greatly about the future awaiting them. We see our kids with their heads buried in their digital games, or, staring at mobile phones. We wonder how they will ever concentrate long enough to hold down a steady job or relationship.

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Maybe that’s why children need to read books these days more than ever before in our history? Because reading helps our modern kids focus their easily-scattered attention for longer periods. Something has to happen to redress the effects of the continuous short-term gratification of playing digital games. Books may just be the cure. Huzzah!

*steps off soapbox*

It’s been proven that reviews and media coverage do sell books. Our children need good quality books, and not just in digital format.

With that in mind, what can we do to raise the profile and image of Children’s Literature?

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Out of all the answers given in the original blog post, I liked the comment by Laura Jackson Warburton.

LJW: Daily book reviews in newspapers, not only of new releases from bestselling authors, but of debut authors and archive titles. A children’s book channel like MTV but with books, grabbing kids’ attention and helping books get into the right hands.  Top 10’s, book bloggers’ reviews, celebrities talking about books, book trailers etc would get kids thinking about books, talking about books in the playground and using pester power to get parents to buy the books!

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Yes. These ideas are great!

Leave a comment, write a blog of your own, or tweet about it using the hashtag.  Tell us why children’s books matter to you, and what you’d like to see the media do!

#CoverKidsBooks – The Facts

#CoverKidsBooks – Booksellers

#CoverKidsBooks – Librarians

#CoverKidsBooks – Teachers

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Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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Any book that helps a child to form the habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him. ~ Maya Angelou

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“I’m late. Again. Yesterday, it was time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Can there be any more hideous experience than talking about your own book in conversation?

I should know by now, not to get drawn in by that most delicious and tempting of all questions.

Yet, my brother, Al, asked me, ‘how’s your book going?’ and I succumbed.

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I told my brother, ‘The Sasori Empire’ was based on mythology, with alternate versions of Maori legends and Japanese mythology.

To me, the world I’ve created through the Chronicles of Aden Weaver series is perfectly logical.

Yet, it’s only when I try to describe the plot to other people that I seem to come unstuck.

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I heard myself telling my brother, Al, in avid detail, as you do when you’re a writer, all about ‘The Sasori Empire.’ I said, it’s set on the planet Chiron (an actual recently discovered planet in our solar system). The setting though is an alter-earth. As other authors have done, I swapped out the first letters of countries to make them recognizable and yet also, ‘somewhere else.’

Al was blinking at me owlishly.

Yet, we writers, when asked about our babies, cannot stop talking even when our listener’s eyes have glazed over.

I told Al that book two mostly moves between the Lost Island, set off-shore from the west coast of an alternate New Zealand, and the Land of Fire and Ice which is set in an alternate imagining of Japan.

Al may have started snoring at this point.

About mythology, the famous writer, Joseph Campbell said, ‘The standard path of the mythological adventure of the hero is a magnification of the formula represented in the rites of passage: separation—initiation—return: which might be named the nuclear unit of the monomyth.’

I explained to my brother, that in these books I explore the traditional heroic arc, through the medium of fantasy and insect shape-shifters. Only in neither book two, nor its companion, book two: part two, do the hero or his heroic band get to “return.”

That was it. My brother wasn’t even looking in my direction anymore. I knew we’d officially reached his limit. At that point, I petered out.

I read somewhere recently, if we feel the urge to share what our book’s about with others, we should lock the urge up and throw away the key.

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Sharing only seems to water the impact down. Yes, I know we have to be able to précis the book to compose the synopsis, blurb, and elevator pitch, all the way down to the logline. But that’s different, that’s the business side. Even writing a speech about your book is acceptable. But talking about the story with people in regular old conversation, I find, goes nowhere fast. It never works.

Why is that?

The fact is, no one, not even one’s own sibling, wants to hear an author “selling their own book.” Especially at length!

How do I stop myself from “sharing” again? Have you ever had a hideous experience of talking about your own book?

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Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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Lord, make my words sweet and reasonable; some day I may have to eat them.~ Paddy Ashdown

‘The word ‘Legend’ comes from Latin legenda, ‘things to be read’. Originally, legends were the hand-written biographies of saints and martyrs, which were read daily, at MATINS, and after dinner at monastic refectories. In these accounts, such a love for exaggeration, the fantastic and wonderful predominated that the word, legend, came to signify a traditional story, a fable, or myth.’ ~ Brewers Dictionary of Phrase & Fable

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‘I have decided to keep a full journal, in the hope that my life will perhaps seem more interesting when it is written down.’ ~ Adrian Mole

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‘Loneliness is a mist

Surrounding me

Enveloping me

Chilling me to the bone!’

(The first stanza from a poem I wrote aged 16)

Always having been interested in writing, I started keeping a journal and recording things on a daily basis from the age of sixteen.

Have you ever tried keeping a journal, a daily log of your life? Here are six very good reasons to start…

1: ‘By putting the thoughts swirling around your head all in one place, it can help you think more clearly about your life circumstances.’ 

It was Joe Bunting, of TheWritePractice who said this quote. He also said, ‘Writing in a journal is a great way to get your thoughts recorded. Although it might not always be the prettiest writing, journaling often provides insight and perspective.’

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2: Journaling is a viable way of doing your “daily pages.”

The teacher and author, Julia Cameron, advocates writers do “the daily pages” and Kate de Goldi, one of my teachers was the same, advocating writing “non-stop for twenty minutes a day,” to keep the writing muscles lubricated and the muse flowing.

3: Keeping a journal gives those of us with overactive imaginations a place to safely vent and release, to process our past, and marshal our thoughts.

One of my former writing tutors, Joy Cowley actively encouraged us to write daily entries, as a way of exorcising the demons and ghosts of childhood. These things needed to come out, she told us. “I see many sad, lonely stories coming out in people’s writing. These sad experiences are still within us, but its therapy writing, these things need to come out. Even accomplished writers will write bleak books that are directly from their own painful childhoods.’

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4: A journal is also an effective tool for getting some perspective on our own selves and insight to our own lives.

I remember an elderly friend of my mother’s, who upon hearing I kept a journal, praised me roundly. She said, ‘It’s a great practice because then you can look back and see patterns in your life and relationships.’

5: And also, our diaries are potential material for future stories or books.

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As Joe Bunting said, ‘Just like your mind is often racing, so is your character’s. If you’re looking for an alternative way to tell a story, there are a couple reasons to try a diary or epistolary format.

‘Writing with a diary or with letters as the story framework can be a good way to challenge yourself and explore different writing formats while continuing to move your story forward. Just be sure that the story structure continues to make sense, and the plot development moves logically in the context of the existing story.’ ~ Liz Bureman

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6: Journals are a terrific way of storing memories.

They keep people alive in a way. How’s this entry I found upon opening my journal from 1994: ‘Tanya rang this morning and after just talking to her for a short while my spirits are soaring. She’s an inspirational woman. She reminds me it’s easy to be happy.’ Although I had no way of knowing at the time, eight years later, Tanya would be dead. Reading snippets about her like this bring her to life and refresh her memory in a whole new way.

*Rule of Thumb*

Yet, in amongst all the happy journaling lies a hidden danger. Be responsible and intelligent about what you’re committing to paper or digital diary.

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I read this cautionary tale over the weekend, in an old magazine I found at my father’s house. ‘I never dreamed of destroying my journals until a friend accidentally discovered a three-page rant his mother had scrawled many years before she died. “My children are takers,” she wrote. “They’re not good-natured. They’re selfish, self-centered, self-indulgent, and only need me when they want money.” ~ Mary Pleshette Willis

Oops!

Let this be your “rule of thumb:” only commit to a journal things you’d be happy with your child accidentally reading.

It is therefore wise to cull one’s collection of journals regularly. I haven’t kept all of them. And some of them I’ve taken great glee in burning on a bonfire at New Year’s! But the important diaries I’ve kept. I will continue to love them, to revisit them. And of course, I continue to write in my current journal every day. A good habit should be hard to break, and it’s how I do my daily pages!

Do you keep a journal? Have you ever kept one? Do you keep yours or throw them away?

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Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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‘Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.’ ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

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“If I were to write a play I’d write it any damn way I pleased and it would come out all right.” ~ Charles Bukowski. ~ “It makes me nervous to read those articles on playwriting, ‘A play must have a premise’ and so forth. I am afraid that the problems of our playwrights … is they are TOLD the proper way to do a thing.”

My thoughts exactly, Charles! Yes, folks, once again we get to visit one of my pet peeves, upon which I’m going to bestow a grand name – #WhySoManyRules?

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Story is not born of convention or following the rules. Yes, we writers must be neat and tidy and write within the lines. To a point. Award-winning kiwi author, Kate de Goldi, put it this way. “I don’t care about the classifications of what constitutes children’s literature. I want to write articulate, textural, demanding fiction. I think current stories are lacking in complex structure, and nuance. Kids need more than a limited diction.”

Kate is my writing hero and I admire her attitude fiercely. She’s how brave I aim to be when I grow up.

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#WhySoManyRules?

You see, I feel stifled a lot of times by the laundry list of modern do’s and do-not’s for writing fiction. The “was police” won’t allow a single use of the word. Using gerunds is never allowed under any circumstances. Descriptive passages are an absolute “no-no.” Flashbacks should be avoided, the same goes for prologues and epilogues. The new one I hear is don’t include maps. And so on, and so forth.

Sometimes, I feel reduced to a kindergartner, unable to make a single coherent decision unassisted.

#WhySoManyRules?

I’m immersed in the happy process at present, of refining the original vision of my book, ‘The Sasori Empire’ i.e. making presentable fiction through the steady process of attrition: the edit-critique-rewrite-critque-edit cycle.

The polishing is necessary but what I question is, do we really have to take out every ‘was, were, had?’ Can’t I use ‘ing’ once, or twice, or maybe thrice?

Why are there so many should’s and should-nots these days?

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When I read classic bedtime stories to the kids, I realize how comforting the old style of writing was for the reader. The boys and I are currently reading Paddington. We all agree how much we’re enjoying the story.

Here’s a sample of the text (italics, mine):

‘The Browns were there to meet their daughter Judy, who was coming home from school for the holidays. It was a warm summer day and the station was crowded with people on their way to the seaside.’

This is a perfect example because a passage like this from Paddington would never get past an editor or critique reader today. You’d have to take all of the italicized words out. This is the sort of constrictive thinking I’m talking about for a writer in these times.

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It was Maya Angelou who said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” This is the truth. Any creative person will know this deeply. The wellspring within must find its outlet.

What do we do when the walls and structures of modern fiction hem us in, watering down our work? Diluting our inspiration?

We compromise. I do take out a lot of was words and gerunds and description in the editing process. But I don’t take them all out. I pick what goes and what stays by how it feels to me, and how important it is to the telling of my story.

As my dear friend, James Preller said when I wondered whether to quit early on editing my first book, “It’s your name on the spine.”

We need to seek that particular middle ground which will serve the spirit of this project.

A delicate balance can be found, I believe, between the popular expectations, and respect for the muse and our own writer’s voice.

We respect that our name will be on the spine of a book which may outlive us.

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Chuck Wendig said, “Writing involves a series of stylistic choices. Sometimes these choices mean breaking rules. It’s okay to make these choices as an author. It’s okay to not like these choices as a reader. The end.”

When I started blogging, author and film-maker, PJ Reece responded to my first post. “The writing world needs more unedited truth. I can see it all now… fans showing up to hear ever more about the king with no clothes on. Is there not far too much conventional thinking in the wannabe writing world? Your site could be the antidote. I`m in! And all the best!

I don’t know about ‘unedited truth’ however, I can visit and re-visit the heck out of my pet peeves.

#WhySoManyRules?

Do we need so many rules for our fiction? Agree or disagree?

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Keep Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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Don’t tell me what I’m doing, I don’t want to know. ~ Federico Fellini

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I’m a day late for posting with my fellow IWSG’ers, so please accept my apologies!

Wednesday (*cough, Thursday) is time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

 

I haven’t been as uncomfortable as this in a long time. A friend who also happens to be one of the modern authors I most admire, will soon be reading my debut novel. I posted him a copy three days ago.

Now, the wait….

I’m suddenly very aware that it’s one thing to write a novel in the solitude of your room. It’s another to share it with your first critique partner or beta reader or editor. And then it’s a giant bound into a glaring stratosphere, to show your work to one of your writing heroes. That’s what I’m doing right now. I’m so uncomfortable it’s a nightmare.

*mental note: this must be what ants-in-the-pants feel like.

The writer I’m talking about is PJ Reece, filmmaker, traveller and author of the excellent Story Structure to Die For, and Story Structure Expedition among many others.

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I first met PJ online, about three or four years ago, when he commented on a post published over on the excellent blog, The Write Practice.

Later on, PJ wrote a guest post for The Write Practice, on his writing theory of 2-Stories separated by a Story Heart.’

He explores the nature of writing fiction in a way that truly reflects the essence of why we’re here on this planet, and why we love fiction, on his blog, The Meaning of Life. PJ lights the way for other writers by his sheer willingness to dive deep into the real essence of himself. Then, he articulates how to bring reality into our fiction, and the transformations needed of our characters, relating the experience like a poet.

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I think to do what he does, one has to have a very important trait and it’s a trait I seek to cultivate in myself. Pluck!

You see, last year, I self-published my debut novel. After weeks of procrastinating, I mustered up enough courage to ask PJ Reece to read it. However, I wasn’t sure if he would read ‘tween reading level.

PJ replied, ‘A good story is a good story no matter what the reading level.’

I was encouraged. However, truth be told, I chickened out and never sent it to him. Then he remembered a couple of weeks ago, and well, long story short, a copy of my debut novel, ‘The Or’in of Tane Mahuta,’ is en route to Canada as we speak.

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I see a lot of pluck in all of PJ Reece’s work which is why I admire it so much. Now, I’m waiting for him to read my (first ever) novel, and I think ‘all my pluck has got up and went,’ as my father would say.

With 35 years of writing fiction under my belt so far, I’m no stranger to the process of submitting stories. I’ve sent my work out more times than I can remember. Yet, none of those times have felt like this feeling of squirming-on-the-hook.

Will PJ read the whole book, I wonder, or horror of horrors, will he put the book down and walk away?

Some submissions really feel like putting your heart on the line, don’t they? How do you stay on an even keel? Any suggestions for how to handle stress are welcome.

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Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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At present, IWSG are taking part in the ‘A to Z Challenge.’ Due to my time constraints, unfortunately,  I could not participate.

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Kate de Goldi – ‘I don’t care about the classifications of what constitutes children’s literature. I want to write articulate, textural, demanding,’ she said. ‘I think current stories are lacking in complex structure and nuance. Kids need more than a limited diction, and a palette of Smarties.’

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A few weeks ago, I took part in a blog event, invited by friend, author and illustrator, Teresa Robeson, to show a retrospective of my art. In the process, I discovered old school projects. I was astonished to see the leaps I had taken in the presentation and effort that went into my projects over a number of years at school. The revelation gave some insight like a bird’s eye view on my younger years. I saw how I am who I am and how I am today because of striving to earn the approval of my father.

Take a moment to think about it, how did your father shape your life as a creative person?

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Growing up, I learned to work hard to win dad’s praise. On my school assignments I put in enormous effort, seeking to receive a pat on the back. Will he say, well done? I’d wonder. Dad would say, “There’s a spelling mistake.”

The praise flows from my father now that I’m grown. He’s a wonderful man. When I was growing up however, he felt his role was to teach, therefore, he had to point out whatever was incorrect so that I would learn.

And, I did! Sometimes, when I’d worked really hard on a piece and dad found flaws, I was disappointed, yes. But, it only served to fuel the desire to work longer to get to that “well done” moment. I used each failure in a positive way, to spur me to try harder on the next project.

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I began to think more deeply about answering the questions on school assignments. I began to pay more attention to my artwork and upgrading the layout.

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Each project gained an A grade from my teacher, but dad would always find a flaw, no matter how small. I started writing original thoughts, and working harder on the illustrations. My school work and grades improved.

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Every beautiful essay I showed my father was picked apart. He didn’t mean to be unkind. Dad would have been wounded if he’d known how much it humbled me.

Nevertheless, each homework assignment, I put in more effort. I was learning major lessons in concentration.

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The last project I did at junior school, before I moved on, and past the need to show my father everything I produced, was a book review.

I produced my review of, ‘A Commune on the Pearl River Delta,’ in a round format, with tissue paper glued in between each page. There were in all a dozen round pages with words and images, crafted in dense colour pencil and pen. It begins with the “tour guide,” Mr. John Know-it-all, introducing himself to the reader, and then, John leads the way through the review as if through the Pearl River Delta itself.

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It was a work of art. A triumph. The first time I ever got A++ What did my father say when I presented it to him? “China is spelt with a capital C.”

When my son was born, thirteen years ago, my parents came to meet their grandchild. I recall my father shaking my husband’s hand. Dad said, “Welcome to fatherhood!” It was such a poignant, sweet moment, like a passing of the baton, and a reassurance that the path ahead was worth walking. Dad has cherished his role as father. He was so happy for us to be starting a journey together as a family.

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When I think back on my own childhood with my father, I could look at his withholding of praise as a negative. No, I don’t see it that way at all. I look at what it produced. By the time I started at high school, I was a creative ideas machine. I could crank out essays and artwork at the drop of a hat. I was always willing to put in the extra work. I’m still like that today. I believe my ability for perseverance came from my childhood strivings, therefore are directly attributable to my father’s influence.

Take a moment to think about it, how do the qualities which define you today relate directly to your father? It’s wonderful when you start to identify them.

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They say that we get the parents we need. They also say there are no mistakes. It makes sense to think that by viewing what we’ve been given in each of our unique circumstances, as being exactly the springboard we needed in our lives, that we enable ourselves to move forward to better things.

This week, my youngest son said to me confidently, “We get 25% from our fathers and 75% from our mothers.” Cute but wrong. We get DNA 50/50 from our parents. Our fathers are just as important as our mothers, and just as influential. How we use the paternal influence as we go forward, however, is up to us.

What do you think has been your father’s greatest influence on you? His legacy?

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Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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“When a child is born, a father is born.”― Frederick Buechner

“What we think, we become.” – Buddha

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The concept of the internet being “the wild, wild west,” as I have mentioned in previous posts, still holds true. Have you heard of the “Scamazon” posts in circulation on the net at the moment? There is tell of bloggers sharing tactics for how to scam the Kindle Unlimited system.

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A lot of us felt encouraged to join up with the KDP select program. I did. The numbers are enticing.

In the latest Kindle Direct newsletter, the “team” had this to say:

The KDP Select Global Fund for February is $14 million. February’s KDP Select Global will be paid out under Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count (KENPC) v2.0 as previously announced (https://kdp.amazon.com/community/ann.jspa?annID=957). We will again award “KDP Select All-Stars” for February to the most-read authors and most-read titles in the U.S., U.K. and Germany. For more information on All-Stars, you can go here: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A2X66QXB12WV2

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They’re not the only ones, some bloggers support this view. As Chris McMullen said recently on his blog, ‘The KENP pages read rate rose up to $0.00479 per page in February, 2016 up from $0.00411 per page in January, 2016.’

Yet, Amazon is still taking a hit at present in social media forums. Kindle Unlimited was begun rather quickly, and then along the way, ‘Amazon changed the way it pays authors enrolled in KDP Select. Amazon changed that payment method from “per borrow” to “pages read.” Not pages written, mind you – but how many pages a reader actually reads.’ ~ Selena Kitt

This is where the real problems began. As the good old highway robbers and bandits found a way to scam the “pages read” system. Then Amazon jumped to try and staunch the blood loss.

The Internet has been buzzing lately with news relating to the placement of our Table of Contents. Specifically, Amazon is now requesting that we place it at the beginning, not the end of our ebooks. ~ Nicholas C. Rossis

David Gaughran

Author, David Gaughran blogged that ‘Amazon is claiming that having a TOC in the end-matter instead of the front-matter is a breach of the (ever-changing, 100+ pages) Kindle Publishing Guidelines (PDF).’ Gaughran wrote of knowing authors ‘who had their titles actually removed from the Kindle Store without notice.’

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m newly published and I found myself a bit intimidated. I felt the need to circle the wagons. Luckily, my book doesn’t have a table of contents. I had only joined up with KDP Select last month, however I decided the best thing for me was to take my book off the KDP Select shelf, at least for the time being. It felt safer to me in these uncertain times to have my debut release, ‘The Or’in of Tane Mahuta’ available on Kindle Direct only. One platform. One format. No possibility of scammers doing weird stuff.

I went to KDP Select and I couldn’t figure out how to quit the program. Immediately, I went to Amazon via “contact us” and voiced my concerns.

They replied the next day. This is what some people may not know. It came as a surprise to me to find that when I joined the KDP Select program, a box for “automatic renewal” had been ticked. So, if I had not taken these steps to find out the details of the fine print, then my book could have stayed on the program indefinitely.

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Perhaps you were smart enough to figure out you needed to uncheck the box. However what a lot of authors may not know is that you can follow the steps to “uncheck the box,” yet there is only a short three day period at the end of each month in which your book rolls off the program. If you haven’t unchecked the box by then, your book automatically gets renewed again under KDP Select for another month.

Here is the step-by-step advice the response team gave me for how to KDP “De-Select:”

Go to your Bookshelf and click on the ellipsis button (“…”) under the Book Actions menu next to your book, then select “KDP Select Info.”

Then, click “Manage KDP Select Enrollment” and uncheck the box next to “Automatically renew this book’s enrollment in KDP Select for another 90 days.”

Customers who have already borrowed your book can still read it until it’s finished, returned, or their Kindle Unlimited subscription expires. As a result, you may see new Kindle Edition Normalized Pages (KENP) read appear in your reports until then. 

That’s it. You’re out.

Has the “Scamazon” situation with TOC effected you? Are you with KDP Select?

Self-portrait, pencil sketch, age 25

Keep Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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Sometimes we stare in wonder at your multiplying glories, basking in the power you’ve given us. Other times we regard you with alien horror, and we whisper to one another, I think they make Kindles out of little dead girls. We know you do amazing things. And we’re also really worried about the things you might do. ~ Chuck Wendig

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Sign up for my Newsletter by going to the front page of my website: http://www.yvettecarol.com

 

 

 

It’s Wednesday, time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

 Sit down to write what you have thought, and not to think about what you shall write. ~ William Cobbett

Does anyone else out there procrastinate before they sit down to write? I put it off to ridiculous extremes. I find myself suddenly scrubbing the floor or mowing the lawns or making meals, anything to avoid that moment of starting. Apparently, I’m not alone.

‘We step up to the blank page — this snowy tract that hasn’t earned even a single footprint across its virgin expanse — and the potential overwhelms us. Or, it has me, at least — once upon a time upon starting a new story I’d feel like I was standing drunk on the ledge of a skyscraper. Vertigo overwhelming as if even typing one letter would send me dropping down in that cavernous concrete abyss.’ ~ Chuck Wendig

Ike Lee

This year, I’m working with two partners in critique. One of my critique peeps suggested I needed to round out the second point-of-view character, Ike Lee (pictured), as he was coming across as shallow, and therefore, unlikeable. Upon studying my chapters, I realized she was right and I hadn’t given away any clues to this character’s inner world.

The job, I realized, was to hack my way back through the jungle of the copy, remove chunks of deadwood and add new copy, giving physical clues, thoughts, feelings and realness.

This task has been the cause of my freeze-ups about returning to work. The book is already written. I’m in the editing stage, which is actually quite a lot of fun, though it requires sustained focus on detail for long periods of time. But, now the task at hand is to write whole new passages. Why does this instantly strike me with fear? Why do I doubt I can do it? I wrote the rest of the trilogy, for Pete’s sakes.

It means I waste time. I procrastinate. Though on the upside, the floor is sparkling and the lawns are tidy!

I think that part of the reason I waste time on self-doubt still, after all these years, is habit. I forget the wise words of William Cobbett, ‘Sit down to write what you have thought, and not to think about what you shall write.’ I try to recreate the wheel. I feel I have to move mountains. I have to make the impossible happen – write new copy!

How do we change the old mindset, touted so often, of ‘letting one’s forehead bleed onto the typewriter?’

We subscribe to the new voices of a new generation. We let a little light shine into the darkness.

Daniel Jose Older

Listen to this! I found across this great quote from Daniel Jose Older

What about those crucial moments before we put pen to paper? For me, writing always begins with self-forgiveness. I don’t sit down and rush headlong into the blank page. I make coffee. I put on a song I like. I drink the coffee, listen to the song. I don’t write. Beginning with forgiveness revolutionizes the writing process, returns it being to a journey of creativity rather than an exercise in self-flagellation.  I forgive myself for not sitting down to write sooner, for taking yesterday off, for living my life. That shame? I release it. My body unclenches; a new lightness takes over once that burden has floated off. There is room, now, for story, idea, life.  I put my hands on the keyboard and begin.

‘Writing always begins with self-forgiveness.’

This message is my new guiding light. Thank you, Daniel! I’ve been inspired by Mr. Older for years. In fact, I quoted him a few times on my original website. But the quote above was new to me. It has given me a whole new positive framework for my writing.

When we apply a positive approach, we become more upbeat in every area. When we’re relaxed and feeling good about ourselves, we can get into the right frame of mind to hear and respond to the creative thoughts which abound on the ether. Thus, creativity flows!

Do you procrastinate before you start? Do you have any tips to share?

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Keep Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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“Do or do not. There is no try.” —Yoda

 

 

With more of our lives played out online these days, there are new expectations of social interaction. There are experts who tell us rules of “social media etiquette ” or “Netiquette,” as it is known.

To my mind it’s simple. Let’s conjure up some new rules. We’ll call them SimplePimples.

#1 SimplePimple~

Be true to yourself and treat others the way you want to be treated.

The people I interact with online are a community, of whom some are family, some are colleagues, and some are friends. So, I act accordingly. If you make a mistake, ‘fess up, make amends, and apologize. If someone continually makes the same sorts of mistakes with images, or words, or tone towards you on social media, and you don’t get the apology, cut them loose.

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#2 SimplePimple~

The same rules of respect and tolerance we’d show each other face-to-face should apply online.

‘When we “add as a friend” we are entering a relationship based on social norms which are the rules that guide and govern human relationships.’ Kristen Lamb

Exactly!

Why the need to overcomplicate things? When you go to put something on social media, ask yourself if you’d be happy with your boss or your grandparents seeing it. When you communicate and interact with others online, be as polite and respectful as you would be face-to-face. You never know, you may meet these people in person one day and you’ll be glad you were courteous. Normal rules of conduct apply!

It seems that online, when people have a negative thought about what they read or see, they feel entitled to share it with everyone via social media. Why? It’s just what it is, negativity. And we don’t need more of that in our lives.

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‘Why are some people so offended by pictures of food, selfies, flowers, puppies and life’s other simple joys? Some of us appreciate these moments so much so that we want to take a picture of it. If you don’t like it, then scroll on, just as you’re probably overlooking these moments in real life anyway.’ ~ Jenna Wawrzyniec

Personally, my rule of thumb is, if you’re not prepared to say what you’re saying online to the person’s face, then don’t say it. Think of karma – the energy you put out shall return to you in kind – the same applies in the virtual world.

If you take the analogy we are like a group gathered around the cooler, sharing the day’s gossip, then in any and every social gathering of the clan, there will be the occasional bore, the odd case of foot-in-the-mouth, and release of wind. Someone will show photos on their phone you have no interest in seeing. Someone else wants you to watch this clip on YouTube that you’ve ‘just got to see.’ That’s okay.

Everyone expects that. There’s room for everybody at the cooler.

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#3 SimplePimple~

‘Spread the Love’

A long time ago, a beloved mentor of mine in business, said something that has stayed with me ever since. She said, ‘Don’t worry about the sales, or the connections, or the numbers. The only thing you ever need to worry about is to spread the love in everything you do. Every person you meet, every interaction, spread the love.’ She was the most successful and empowered woman I knew. I listened!

Spread the love. Let the rest take care of itself. Each day, I concentrate on my work, and on supporting and encouraging family and friends to the best of my ability. That’s why I adhered to the wonderful Kristen Lamb’s blog and books, and joined her creative hub, Wanatribe, because Kristen’s essential message was ‘We Are Not Alone!’ Kristen is my kind of gal. She advocates we build relationships and have fun doing it. That’s what it’s all about for me.

We understand netiquette is ‘essential in a civilized work environment or personal relationship.’ That’s fine. Most of us are adults and can play nicely around the cooler.

We also are able to lean in a little if someone takes a misstep. Believe it or not, we’re able to give folks the benefit of the doubt. We show a little lenience. If someone tags us into a photo looking the worse for wear, we go un-tag ourselves. We laugh it off. We’re big boys and girls now. No one really cares anyway. If someone tweets about their book constantly, we don’t read them. If someone rabbits on and on about their hot topics, we let them. We scroll on. It’s okay. There’s no need to call them out. No need for a media rant. We keep scrolling. But you’ll get the occasional nutter in any crowd, if they continue to re-offend, cut them off by unfriending or unfollowing.

Pimply Simple.

What are your pet peeves about the rules pertaining to the internet? What do you wish people wouldn’t do on Facebook? Or are you able to ‘scroll on?’

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Pass the donuts.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset. – Saint Francis de Sales

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