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I am currently revising “Called to Account“, my novel based on real events in County Clare during the Great Famine. The story is narrated by the main character. He is very much the Victorian gentleman, in his background and his behaviour. I’ve tried to give him an appropriate voice. But I worry that he appears too detached from the horrific conditions he is witness to.
So I am grateful to Chris Graham for sharing this timely article about filter words, how to avoid them and when to use them to advantage. Here’s a passage from quite early in my book as it is at present:
As we departed the building the noise from the crowd seemed louder. It appeared that some manner of dispute had erupted near the entrance to the lane. A number of individuals were engaged in fisticuffs. It was clear to me that, were the situation not dealt with, the contagion could spread.
And here it is without the words rendered in bold:
As we departed the building the noise from the crowd grew louder. Some manner of dispute had erupted near the entrance to the lane. A number of individuals were engaged in fisticuffs. If the situation were not swiftly dealt with the contagion could spread.
Do you agree that increases the feeling of urgency in the situation, without losing the natural restraint of a gentleman with a typical English stiff upper lip?
And, whilst you are pondering that, take a look at the cover I designed in Canva and tell me what you think of it.
That’s what makes a great writer, according to Rebecca Bryn and she should know, being one of the greatest. Her work deserves much wider recognition. “For Their Country’s Good” would make a TV series to rival “Poldark” and “The Dandelion Clock”, which I had the privilege of reading pre-publication, has echoes of Michael Morpurgo’s “War Horse”.
Writing that comes from the heart, with deep emotional overtones and well developed characters, will always captivate me as a reader. Ms. Bryn does that brilliantly.
My “date” this week has an “adults only” ending. I’m talking to Lacey Lane who lives somewhere in the West Midlands of England, the seat of the Industrial Revolution.
“It’s not a busy town, but not quiet either. I love the sea, but unfortunately the nearest beach is about 3 hours drive away. Sometimes, I think it would be nice if I lived closer to the sea. When I was younger, I sometimes wondered what it would be like to move to Germany.
There’s a great open air museum not far from where I live. It’s called The Black Country Living Museum. I highly recommend it. It’s my favourite West Midlands attraction.”
She loves gardening and is planning a major re-design of her garden this year.
“I usually grow a mixture of vegetables and plants. It’s not unusual to find potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, herbs, tomatoes, and lettuce growing in my garden. This year, however, I have a bare garden. I’m planing on completely re-landscaping my garden. I’m still not completely sure how I want the finished garden to look, but I would like a new patio area and a pond to attract some frogs. In the past, I’ve gone for a wild meadow look with my flowers, but next year, I’ll be going for a more organised look.”
She does not have a favourite flower, “but forget-me-knots and honesty plants remind me of my Nan’s garden when I was a child.”
She is married, has neither children nor pets although she has previously owned “a dog, a rabbit and 5 hamsters.” She has “a passion for pole fitness and nail art.”
Her fiction is short, aimed at young people, and involves aspects of horror. “I’ve loved horror since I was a kid. My mom used to tape the late night horror films and we’d sit and watch them together. As a teenager, I used to love to read Goosebumps books and Point Horror books.”
She has a love for making things and her non-fiction reflects that.
“I like to do things to keep active. I’ve also organised craft fayres for my church. Since releasing my 2 craft books, I’ve rekindled my passion for nail art. I spend more time now on nail art than crafts. I guess some people would also consider nail art a type of craft.
I love searching the internet for inspiration and I love painting my friends and families’ nails. I’ve lost count of the amount of polishes I have. It must be at least 300. I have all sorts of nail art brushes and tools. I love looking for nail art related bargains on eBay. I’m actually working on a nail art book. I have no idea when it will be released. Hopefully some time next year.
My craft fans will also be glad to hear that Christmas Crafting with Lacey will be out by the end of October.”
Lacey works in a supermarket: “It’s far from glamorous but it’s well paid and pays the bills.” She also makes and sells jewellery. “It’s a nice little hobby. I’ve also released a range of horror themed jewellery to go alongside my horror books.”
She is happy being a part-time writer and loves getting feed-back from her fans. She is self-published and thinks “being traditionally published would be too stressful. I can write every day for weeks and then other times I can go months without writing. I like that flexibility.”
She can’t afford an editor but appreciates the support she gets from other members of the Independent Authors Support and Discussion on-line group. “Members of the wonderful IASD group beta read for me and point out any issues they spot. Sharon Brownlie has made some of my book covers and I’ll be sure to use her again in the future.
I love being a part of the IASD group. Everyone is friendly, helpful, supportive, and great fun.
I’m really not very good when it comes to marketing. I plan on starting up a blog some time soon, although, I’ve been saying that for at least a year and still not started it. I also plan on creating some new marketing images.”
She loves reading, especially the works of IASD members.
“There’s so many great authors out there, especially in the IASD group. My favourite horror author is John Hennessy. I read Murderous Little Darlings and I was hooked instantly.
When it comes erotica, Tom Benson is the king. John and I could talk about ways to murder and torture people. I could give Tom some pole dancing scenes to put in one of his books. I’m sure meeting either of them would be awesome and we’d talk about anything and everything.
I’ve also been lucky to meet Sylva Fae, Suzanne Downes, and Barbara Speake. I would love to meet them again. I would also love to meet Sharon Brownlie and Susan Faw. In fact, I would love it if we could get everyone from the IASD group together and have a big party. I’m sure there would be lots of cheesecake, beer pools, and naked dancing lol.”
I would certainly be up for that, but first I need to find out what tips Lacey has for would be writers.
“My main tip would be if you love writing, just do it. Create the story that’s deep inside you. It doesn’t matter if you’re not good at spelling or if you’re hopeless at grammar. There’s people out there who can help with that. Just write and have fun.”
Great tip, Lacey. Now, did you say something about a beer pool somewhere? I’m on my way.
If you are a beginning writer you will have heard all of these. Where they originated is hard to know but, as Anne R. Allen points out in this post, they are nonsense. She gives examples of where great writers were not only unaware of them, but when they ‘broke’ them, the result was brilliant writing that was admired by critics and readers alike.
At the end of the post Anne very generously provides a list of places to submit your writing for publication and or contests with valuable prizes. The two together offer excellent value which I’m happy to share.
If you are planning to enter Dan Alletorre’s Word Weaver Contest or any other writing competition – or want to know how to write stories that magazine and anthology editors will pay good money for, then here are some great tips for you.
I discovered Dan through a writing contest he ran a few months back. I didn’t get a top five placing in the contest but I did get some really helpful feedback. Subsequently he accepted another story of mine for The Box Under The Bed, the anthology that is out now in paper back and available to pre-order for delivery to your Kindle October 1st., after he’d helped me improve it. There’s lots of good advice here and he’s giving it free of charge. Some folks would charge a lot for this kind of stuff.