ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Thursday, 21 February 2013

#RomanticFridayWriters - We Love Lovers - fan fiction challenge - Wuthering Heights - Heathcliff, the Byronic Hero, and Cathy

Fan fiction (alternatively referred to as fanfictionfanficFF, or simply fic) is a broadly-defined term for stories about characters or settings written by fans of the original work, rather than by the original creator.      Wikipedia

This month's RomanticFridayWriters challenge is writing fan fiction. As it is Valentine's month, Donna Hole and I named the challenge - We Love Lovers. Not all entries may reflect lovers past or present, but I've always been fascinated by Scarlett and Rhett, Elizabeth and Darcy, Heathcliff and Cathy...thus, my entry...a monologue...an additional scene from Wuthering Heights with a twist.

Heathcliff is one of the Byronic Heroes. You can read my post comparing him to Edward from Twilight here if you're interested. I did a series on these brooding heroes in the past. Here is an excerpt from one of my posts:

We all love him or hate him – he’s the tall, dark brooding hero. The Byronic hero, based on the fictional characters of author Lord Byron, is a mysterious man, intelligent, sophisticated, educated, magnetic, charismatic, socially and sexually dominant while at the same time being detached from human society. We suffer his moods accompanied by his bouts of temper. His past is often troubled and he is riddled with self-destructive secrets. 

Lord Byron himself, according to his lover Lady Caroline Lamb, was ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know.’ Recent examples of this type include Batman, Dr Gregory House from the television series House, MD, and the late actor James Dean. 

The Byronic hero is sometimes called an anti-hero because of his negative qualities. Gilbert and Gubar compare him to a bewitching monster like Milton’s Satan – “He is in most ways the incarnation of worldly male sexuality, fierce, powerful, experienced, simultaneously brutal and seductive, devilish enough to overwhelm the body and yet enough a fallen angel to charm the soul.” 


DISCLAIMER: "Mt story 'Who is the Ghost Now?' is a work of fan fiction using characters from Wuthering Heights, the 1847 novel by Emily Brontë. The story below is a work of my imagination and I do not claim ownership of the story or the characters. I will not profit financially from this work. Thank you Emily Bronte for your contribution to the world of literature."



Who’s the Ghost Now?


Can you hear the wind blowing in from the mountain peaks? Can you see the grey glint of snow in the faraway clouds? Can you feel the ice crunching under your feet? 

No! Your thoughts are elsewhere!

You are so infatuated with Edgar Linton you’ve forgotten everything else!

You never invited me to your special day! Why? Were you afraid I’d create a scene?

Cathy! How could you do this? You love me, I know you love me! At least you used to love me. When did that change?

I never saw this betrayal coming.

We’ve loved each other since we were children, ever since your father adopted me and treated me as part of the family after your mother died. Everyone treated me with kindness except your nasty brother Hindley. How he loved to torment me, just because I was different. And just because I was so much stronger, more useful to father than he was. But I was never good enough to be his brother—father should have left me in the gutter to rot and Hindley would have been happy.

But Cathy, my darling, how could you desert me? How could you give yourself to another man? I could bear it if he was worthy of you, but he’s not! I could forgive a little flirtation while I was away overseas bettering myself, but marriage! Cathy! We were meant for each other! It is you and I who should be marrying today!

Old Ellen caught me at the door last night. A whiff of me anyway as I passed through. Gave her a shock I'm telling you, ha ha.  Couldn't resist revealing myself to her--even asked her for the key to the roof. She was unhappy to oblige.

I can be so-o-oo persuasive.

Now I have you in my sights. I see you and that loathsome crowd you hang around with. I hate how they touch you…how they fawn over you.

Enjoy their company while you can.

You, my Cathy, are a vision in white, pure as the driven snow. But we know better, don’t we? We have our secrets! Only you and I know what went on when we spread our cloaks on that carpet of soft spring flowers in the woodlands.

No one need ever know!

You’re leaving the house for the chapel. Look at those pathetic followers bowing and scraping to your every whim.  I’ll ignore how they press against you, brushing snow from your white cape and your beautiful hair. I want to kill them all!

My Cathy!

Do you love me?

Do you remember our days, carefree and wild, running on the moors like lambs in the springtime? How soft the grasses were as we collapsed in a heap of tangled arms and legs. How sweet the flowers were as I crushed you to myself, covering you with my cloak. How tender your body felt, as I caressed you through the soft stuff of your gown. Oh Cathy! You did love me! Why couldn’t you wait?

I was penniless, a nobody. Well, I made my fortune, just like you wanted. I’ve come back for you, but too late!  Was that dirty, ragged, black-haired gypsy not enough for you? Did you need the handsome, rich Mr Edgar Linton after all?

Cathy, you never loved me. To you I was just a wild child, someone to tame. After that visit to the Linton’s, you changed. You wanted the refined life, a life of silk frocks and fancy dinners -- not the life you’d have with Heathcliff, your savage!


Don’t leave me Cathy! 

Did I scream out loud? 

I see you turn towards my window.

I see the fright in your eyes.

Have you seen a ghost, Cathy?

Did you not think I’d return to claim you?

I see your confusion.

What a sight I must be. Some demented ghoul looking down on the wedding party. Someone who could tear you all apart in a moment.
But I will bide my time.

Don’t think marrying Linton is the end of our story, Cathy.

I’ll be back to claim what is rightfully mine. You’re part of me. We’ll never be parted. Never!

You love me, not Edgar Linton!


I hope you enjoyed  my monologue. 

Full Critique Acceptable
WORDS: 705

If you want to read/post fan fiction on the net, here is a link...

For other entries to this challenge, click on the names in my right-hand sidebar or click on the RFW link.




Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Writers for Writers - Promoting Gwen Gardner and Melissa Bradley -- L Diane'Wolfe's latest book, How to Publish and Promote Your Book Now!



Have you heard of W4W? 

From author Stephen Tremp's blog --

Mission:
• Help writers bring awareness of their book(s) to tens of thousands of new people
• Help writers reach Amazon Top 100 in at least one category (i.e., suspense, free, whatever)
• Increase sales of their book(s) after the promo is over
• Drive new traffic to their blog and increase following
• Create verbal and viral buzz

W4WS targets friends and followers of friends and followers. I got the idea trying to think of ways to promote my books beyond my personal social network.

In A Nut Shell:  Each month we will spotlight one, two, or possibly three new authors through social media such as Twitter or Facebook.

Then, the good people in the Blogosphere will promote the author’s book to their Twitter followers or Facebook friends, that is, incredibly large new audiences the author could not reach on their own.  Example:

Facebook: There is a Writers4Writers Facebook page.  Authors will post an image of their book along with a short blurb and a link to Kindle on their blog. Visitors simply click the Facebook page, then share the link with their FB friends and Writers Groups.

Simple. Easy.

Please take a moment to check out our W4WS Facebook page. As an example, we have Mary Pax’s new release there now. We would greatly appreciate it if you also click the LIKE button. And if you feel so inspired, you can practice by sharing Mary’s link!

Twitter: The spotlighted author will post pre-written Tweets on his/her blog. At your convenience, simply copy and paste Tweets into Twitter. Or go to #W4WS on Twitter and Retweet other Tweets. 
Now Imagine: A hundred bloggers over a few days Tweeting and sharing links for author's book and reaching potentially tens of thousands of new people!

Finally: Mary PaxC.M. Brown, and Christine Raines and I have a Linky List. We'd love to have you participate and show support for our fellow writers. Thanks again.


Writers4Writers (W4WS) Monday February 18th: W4WS is this Monday and Tuesday. Take a moment to stop by Gwen Gardner and Melissa Bradley’s blogs. They will be posting pre-written Tweets you can copy and paste into your Twitter page. They will also post a link on the W4WS Facebook Page you can share with your FB friends. (Gwen Gardner is giving her book away free for Monday and Tuesday.)

Denise says -- If, like me, you are a little leery of promoting books you haven't read, but wish to promote fellow blogger/authors, you'll have to sort out what works for you.

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RomanticFridayWriters have a love fest of a different style - fan fiction - story/poem of 1,000 words to be published between February 21 - 24.  Go here to sign up, or click on Submit in my top right-hand sidebar.


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Now while we're talking about promoting your book/s, by now you must have heard that L. Diane Wolfe has a great new book out:

Book Spotlight: L Diane Wolfe


HOW TO PUBLISH AND PROMOTE YOUR BOOK NOW!

By L. Diane Wolfe


Publishing and promoting made simple!


Have you always dreamed of publishing a book but didn’t know where to begin? 
This book walks you through the steps of identifying markets, budgeting, building an online presence, and generating publicity. Get the whole story on:
·         Traditional publishing,   Self-publishing
·         Print and e-book setup, formatting, and distribution
·         Finding your target audience
·         Generating reviews and media interest
·         Networking and developing an online presence
·         Promotional materials and appearances
Uncover your ideal publishing path and numerous marketing options before you begin. Writing is your dream. Give it the best chance for success!
Available February 5, 2012
Publishing/Marketing, 214 pages, Dancing Lemur Press LLC
$14.95 Trade paperback ISBN 978-0-9827139-5-2
$4.99 Ebook ISBN 978-0-9827139-9-0






Thursday, 14 February 2013

Love...The Second Time Around - Celebrate Love Renewed - Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor - NON FICTION.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!


Joy says:

Help me celebrate the release of Retribution by submitting your most interesting stories of people taking another shot at a relationship. 
 .
·         There is no restriction as it pertains to form or genre. Stories can be fact or fiction. Use your imagination, make your stories attention-grabbing.
·       . 
          Somewhere in there, you must tell the reader why the couple broke up and why they feel compelled to get back together. This can be done from any of your characters’ point-of-view.  
       .
·         The word cap is 500
       .
·         Indicate on your blog post, by the relevant badge, whether you’re in the fact or fiction category.  

Here is my entry for Joy's bloghop:

Puerto Vallarta, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Night of the Iguana…a famous love (renewed) story.


Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in Puerto Vallarta


On the Mexican Pacific coast, surrounded by green mountains, the emerald waters of the Banderas Bay, lying beside the beach, is a beautiful and magical place, Puerto Vallarta, the scene and set for a famous love story/scandal between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, an event that pushed this bucolic village along  the road to become a world class tourist destination.

Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011), was on the top of her long career, the highest paid actress at the time for her lead in Cleopatra, where she met and started an affair with Richard Burton (1925-1984), the Welsh actor who played Mark Anthony. Both were married at the time and their scandalous romance, which the Vatican condemned as “erotic vagrancy”, received an incredible amount of attention from the tabloid press. Both Dick and Liz were unable to travel anywhere without being hounded and virtually attacked by mobs of fans, press and others. They were the ones that inaugurated the Beatle-like adoration and stalking fans and paparazzi (from the Italian for annoying insects).


Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor during the filming of the Iguana

While Huston dedicated his time to the scouting and the photographic archive of the area, Elizabeth and Richard enjoyed their romance and time in Vallarta. 

Mismaloya today, arches of the set can be seen on the hill

Houston finally decided to film “The Night of the Iguana”, on a set that he built on the southern side of Mismaloya Beach on a hill with a spectacular view of the bay, the beach, the Pacific Ocean and Los Arcos.

The movie set at Mismaloya

The Night of the Iguana sign by the highway
During the filming of the movie, Richard Burton purchased Casa Kimberley on Zaragoza Street for Elizabeth Taylor, as her 32nd birthday's present. The house can be easily spotted it by its "pink" bridge communicating both sides of the street and a crumbling plaque with the house’s name.


Liz Taylor lived in Casa Kimberley with her personal rooms on the top floor; Richard Burton lived in the house across the street and built the bridge (Lover’s Arch) linking over to his lover’s home, so he wouldn’t have to cross the street to get there. It was based on The Bridge of Sighs in the Italian city of Venice. Considering their fights, which they very much enjoyed , the bridge was also called the Reconciliation Bridge.

Lovers' Arch
Their love ended in marriage. Richard and Elizabeth got married in Montreal, Canada on March 15, 1964. They divorced after 10 years of very turbulent “wedded bliss”, replete with fights and alcohol abuse. They remarried on October 10, 1975, but divorced a little under a year later.

Tying the knot again - 10 October, 1975
Richard’s diary entries reveal why they got back together—they loved each other terribly— but his drinking is what led to a very short remarriage. 

Friday 10th [the day they remarried], Richard wrote:

We are as happy as children. We catch our breaths every so often and say with a kind of smiling wonder and delight: ‘Hey! Do you realise we are actually married?’ We must have said it scores of times. I’ve never been so happy in my life. E(lizabeth) cured me with loving, even lavish, attention. This is a far better marriage than the first.

Got shamefully sloshed.

WORD COUNT: 506

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REFERENCES:

Some information gleaned from an article by Mogens Gallarado


I hope you enjoyed this little story of one of the great, relatively recent, love affairs. Burton and Taylor couldn't live with each other or without each other. 

If you want to read more stories of Love...Renewed and help Joy Campbell celebrate the publication of Retribution, go here...



To continue the love, RomanticFridayWriters have a love fest of a different style - fan fiction - story/poem of 1,000 words to be published between February 21 - 24.  Go here to sign up, or click on Submit in my top right-hand sidebar.







Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Insecure Writers Support Group Post - burrow into a great writing craft book...

Insecure writers should read--fiction, if that's what you write, and books about writing fiction to accelerate your grasp of the craft.

I read hundreds of books, and have quite a stash of writing craft books. Depending on where you are in your writing journey, some of these books can be hard to follow or confusing at best. Finding the advice you need can mean wading through pages of irrelevant info.

The best ever writing craft book for me has been Donald Maas' Writing the Breakout Novel. I used some of the exercises in it to write some prize-winning short stories. I've just ordered his latest, but it hasn't arrived yet--no next-day Amazon delivery in Australia, more like next month!


A great craft book I picked up over the holidays is The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing by the editors of Writer's Digest (I love their work). You may have it. I've got the first edition, but there is a second edition out.  It is divided into several sections, each penned by famous writers such as Margaret Attwood, Stephen King, yes...Donald Maas, Anne Tyler et al. The beauty of it is you don't have to wade through it cover to cover, you can pick what you feel like reading or need to know about at the moment. It comes in five parts...

PART ONE is the Art and Craft of a Strong Narrative

If you're struggling with ideas and getting started, there's Taming the Beast by N.M. Kelby, using a great example in Truman Capote--ideas can start out running wild, train them onto the page. Then once you have the idea, there's plenty of advice on outlining your novel which I definitely need.

There's advice on Plot and Structure by the masters, which includes great advice on settings/locations.

As you'd expect, there's a HUGE section on Characterisation, including tips from Alice Hoffman on bringing your characters to life.

PART TWO is all about The Writing Process

There's heaps of best-selling advice from the likes of Sue Grafton and Elizabeth Sims. This section concludes with two great articles on Revision and Editing.

PART THREE is Exploring Novel Genres

I found this section great as I have to write fantasy in my writing group. It's a way to equip yourself if you want to try different genres--Literary, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Horror, Mystery/Suspense/Whodunits, Romance and much more...all by top-selling authors in each genre.

PART FOUR is about Finding and Cultivating a Market for your Work

Well, if you write it, then you need to sell it. This part is all about publishing, the market, book proposals, queries, synopsis, rejections, platforms (including for novellas), marketing plans, editors, agents, contracts, self-publishing. It's all there!

PART FIVE is Interviews with Novelists

Let's listen to Tom Clancy, Elizabeth George, Joyce Carol Oates, John Updike, Kurt Vonnegut, Anne Tyler, Stephen King, Cory Doctorow talking about their way of writing...these are superb.

The book concludes with Best-Selling Advice. This varies a lot from author to author.

Overall, this is a great book on the craft of writing, one of the best I think. It inspires me. If you haven't got a copy on your shelves, I highly recommend you grab one.


  • Have you read this writing craft book? If so, are you a fan?
  • What is your favourite writing craft book?
  • Do you find how-to books a help or a hindrance?

This post is part of the IWSG posts, originating with the Ninja, Alex J Cavanaugh. Click on the badge to sign up or to find more posts.






Monday, 4 February 2013

The "Overcoming Adversity" bloghop. My story for Andrew.

There are always so many amazing stories that emerge after natural disasters. Australia is no stranger to drought, fire, pestilence, flood...and even the odd earthquake and tornado of late. My Overcoming Adversity story features a flood, a tough cookie blase about yet another natural disasters and a panicked husband on the other side of the world...I hope you enjoy it.

Surrounded by the Enemy


Sunny’s heart pounded in time with the steady drumbeat on the roof. She had never heard rain like it. She was not given to fear but tonight the sounds unnerved her...just a little. The whispers of wet leaves blowing on the wind had become a roaring as the galvanized roof took a pummeling. If she allowed herself to turn fanciful, she could imagine a jack-booted army marching overhead.

Enough of that! Think about Matt. She wished she’d not been so abrupt when he’d rung earlier in the night and shouted down the phone at her.

‘Sunny, get out of that house--now!’

‘I’m not leaving my home for some itty-bitty water. I’ve been through worse, Matt. No matter how bad the rain is, we’ve never been flooded.’

‘Don’t be infantile. I might be thousands of kilometers away but it’s looking pretty grim according to the BBC. I can do the math. Our house will be under by metres before the night is over!’

‘Darling, you’re such a worry wart. I know it goes with the territory. Nice of you to be so concerned, but last time I looked, the river was way down. The weather reports never get it right. Always sensationalism. They get off on scaring people.’

‘You’re so stubborn. Does that go with the territory?’ Sunny thought it best not to answer that. Matt continued: ‘I’m sending Josh over.’

‘Don’t waste your time, darling. Josh’s already been. I told him I’m staying. I’m a big girl.’

‘I love you Sunny. I can’t live without you. Leave for me and the baby if you won’t do it for yourself.’

***

She hadn’t listened. Now it was too late. Her house was surrounded; the enemy was at the door.

Sunny pottered around the kitchen fixing a snack, singing on top of her voice--anything to keep her mind off the now raging water. She was afraid to go too near the windows in case they shattered. She could just make out palm trees straining in the gathering gloom, fronds swiping the sodden grass in long wet trails.

She sat down at the kitchen table, rubbed her stomach, whispered to the little soul inside. The water could always go down, couldn't it?

She shivered in the icy coolness. She pulled her parka over her jeans, leaving it unzipped. Baby, you’re so big…

Uneaten snack pushed aside, she huddled in her chair, alert to the river sounds. ‘Matt, my darling, I love you,’ she whispered, ‘I’m sorry.’

Crack! A eucalyptus tree speared her kitchen window--shattering shards of skittering glass pinged on the tiles. Rain poured in.

‘Help me God,’ she whispered, clutching her stomach.

The phone...again

‘Run!’ Josh shouted down the line. ‘Get the ladder and climb into the roof! I'm coming!’

The phone dropped from her freezing fingers. Water crashed through the kitchen door and sucked and swirled around her sopping feet.

Sunny was tough. She’d overcome adversity many times before—bushfires, cyclones, drought...and now...floods. She’d survive this. She had to—for Matt and their baby.

She began to climb as the first pain struck.



This bloghop is to help Andrew who has cerebal-palsy. Nick Wilford wants your 500 words of flash fiction on the theme, Overcoming Adversity. He will collate the stories and all proceeds will go towards Andrew's college fund. This is a great challenge. I hope you'll join me in posting a story between Feb 4-5th.

Click here to read more Overcoming Adversity stories...