Revealed. The websites no Writer or Author can do without.

As we all try and make sense of the process of writing and publishing our books many of us find particular hosts, sites, programmes and applications which, at least at first, look as if they will aid us, help us reach our goal of producing a great work.

A work which has minimal mistakes if any at all. One that is beta read, proof read, edited and formatted to near perfection as it is possible to achieve.

We are the creatives, the dreamers, the weavers of fantasy and make-believe. It is an often lonely and arduous task. So anything we can find that will allow us, help us accomplish our tasks more efficiently, even in an easier way must be welcomed.

The same is true of marketing, of promotion, of finding ways to put our carefully crafted works of magical wordcraft in the eye line of potential readers, those strangely elusive souls who may be the ones, when suitably tempted, to put their hands into their pockets and withdraw a handful of mysterious tokens called ‘coin’.

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RumpledSheets-1024x656Oh the dreams of easy writing, of superb marketing strategy and wondrous, ever climbing sales……yeh okay…you can wake up now!

However that is not to say that there are a number of sites and services that can actually help, albeit to varying degrees.

I for one am of the super sceptical when it comes to paying for a service, particularly when it is (from my point) untried and untested.

That means putting my faith in promises. That means believing marketing bumf and advertising. Not something I do lightly, particularly if I am to be parted with hard earned cash, even hard-yet-to-be-earned-cash.

So I am ever cautious.

In fact I have been so very careful you can call my a ‘tight-wad’ if you wish; but to date I have Indie published five books; Empty Walletone full length novel, one long-short-story eBook, two books of poetry and a very dirty adult erotic anthology. I have also contributed to four collaborative anthologies and produced two stories for a website/video site. Yet I have not spent a bean, not a single Penny, a loose Dime, an odd Rupee on anything.

Honest.

I have written, read, re-written. I have had my stories beta read and edited. I have formatted them. I have designed all my own covers, promoted, marketed and sold them all off my own back. I consider myself a truly independent author and publisher.

No, I have not made a fortune (yet!), neither have I, as yet, created an ongoing passive income large enough to see me through retirement until the day I shuffle off this mortal coil….but I am working on it!

I carry this ‘Modus Operandi’ onto the things I do to help others.

small buttonMy book promotion site ‘Sneak Peek’ offers free listings. I re-blog on ‘Brilliant Blogshare’, ‘Ramblings from a Writers Mind’ & ‘Further Ramblings’ and carry others stories on ‘A Little more Fiction’. FeaturesAwards note2 and Showcases in CQ Magazine are also offered at no cost. I will suggest, coach, aid and do whatever I can to help other authors and artists all without thought of personal gain.

I cannot promise that the way I work would be right or suitable for you. You may well be far more eager for returns and results than I. You may not think you have the skills or the knowledge, or have the time to learn, or the time to commit. So I am not going to get into a ‘how to’ or a ‘how I achieved’ thingy!

Nor have I, or do I, intend to write a book on the subject!

Neither am I asking for you to pay me to tell you what or how I have done what I have. Those of you who know me will know that is not what I am about, it is not how I ‘tick’.

What I do enjoy, what gives the greatest satisfaction is helping others achieve their own dreams, goals, or targets or whatever term you want to use. Put simply I like to help everyone to be happy.

So on that basis I am listing here the websites and services that I use, have used, intend to use, or think could be beneficial at some point.

The overriding fact is that ALL of these are FREE, or have a free basic level with options to upgrade to a paid level(s) at a later stage if you wish. That ‘if you wish’ is all important. It is open-ended, no trail periods, no right to cancel at some future point. IF YOU wish to upgrade to utilise other services that is YOUR choice not theirs.

I guess I have said enough about my principles on this subject so that you get my gist!

So OK. Here is my list and my brief reasons for using and/or liking these sites/hosts. They are not listed in any particular order or categorised in any way, so it is best if you read through them all and choose which you wish to use (or not!).

I do hope that you will find at least one helpful or useful to yourself.

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  • http://www.howmanysyllables.com/ Love this site. Syllable dictionary, syllable counter, Poetry workshop, English Grammar & more. No poet should be without this site in their armoury.
  • http://authl.it/ If you publish in Kindle format this site is indispensable. Create multi-region Kindle book links.
  • http://nibbler.silktide.com/ I use this to safeguard my research. Tests the quality, safety and security of most websites. Don’t browse unsafely, use this as an additional aid to stop malware, phishing etc.
  • https://www.canva.com/ Not a bad site for some basic image layouts for social media etc. Not a image editor, but good fun.
  • http://www.qrstuff.com/ QR code generation. Download, print, email, even print on ‘tee-shirts’! Use QR codes on back cover of you books, bookmarks & all promo material to lead to your website etc.
  • http://authorsdb.com/ Author profiles & book listings….but more…cover competitions, community, promotional stuffAUTHORSdb, services & more. One of my favourites. Contactable, responsive. Site takes some navigation but the end result is worth it.
  • http://www.authorgraph.com/ Get and send your autograph to your eBook readers. Worth checking out & using as an extra marketing tool.ag_logo-e82121c0b20665eb28fa8a9be15d7572
  • http://www.wix.com/ I think this is the best free website on the market at present. Lots of additional features like blogs and ‘shoutouts’. Premium available but as a single person author I have not sensed the need to upgrade yet.

I Love WordPress

  • https://wordpress.com I think the best blogging format at present. I also use WordPress for Sneak Peek.
  • https://about.me If you do not have an ‘aboutme’ page go get one NOW. This is the webs new ‘calling card’. Honestly get your page now, like today…go on…go do it!
  • http://promocave.com/ Love Promocove. Book promo & author profile etc. But much more. Best go take a look. J6_2_IJCFriendly and responsive team too.
  • https://takeasneakpeak.wordpress.com/  OK, so I am biased here large buttonthis is my book promotion site primarily for indie authors. its FREE, so you have absolutely nothing to loose and only new readers to gain. I’ll say no more!

Ok that will do you for now. I am not giving ALL my secrets away!

Any questions, comments, feedback or if you know of any other sites that are free and good, please leave a comment or email me.

Cheers, Paul.

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Tips on Creating Settings for your Characters and Scenes.

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I was going to call this post something simple, like ‘somewhere’ or ‘place’, but then I thought that it may be a little to oblique, so I ended up with the rather long title above.

Pretty much is the same with content. To make this as comprehensive as possible without (I hope) getting boring, I have had to write far more than I do in many of my other posts. I am sure you will see why as you read through.

Simply put, this post is all about creating a setting, or many settings, for you story. Somewhere your characters can live, somewhere they can go about their business in a way that helps bring them to life, a way that makes them ‘real’ people to your readers. Which is what we all should be seeking to achieve, a sort of Holy Grail for writers!

Let’s take a look at the three basic options we have.

The first is to use a Real Location.

This could be a village, a town, even a city, say Paris or London, or it could be somewhere much humbler like a hotel, a café, your kitchen or maybe a cellar?

Whilst the ‘where’ has to blend into you story while enhancing the readers pleasure, that is not the initial prime concern one should have. If you are using a real setting the most important aspect is to ensure accuracy.

This means research.

Even if you live in the place you intend to feature. Misrepresentation, whether it is a matter of geography, culture, or something in between, will be considered a travesty, it will be a failure in your story.

Make sure, when you include a detail or piece of information, that it is correct, or at least feasible. It must makes sense, be credible and contribute to the image you are portraying.

Go there! If at all possible go to the location, find details, talk to local people. Look about, notice how the buildings stand, what transport is available, what colour is it? Consider the language, do they have a dialect or use slang? What are the most noticeable aspects of the culture?

Now you have acquired this information you have to write it in a way that builds, or recreates that place for the reader. If the reader has never been there you must lead them in, be their guide in introducing them to the place. If they know the place already then your part is to re-create their memories.

To do this you must ‘show’ them, give strong sensory detail, get them involved and interested, especially in places unfamiliar. Make them feel they are getting to know it and you have them feeling you are portraying it accurately.

imagesDon’t be afraid to use dialect. I would not recommend attempting to write a dialect, a least a phonetic representation, as this shouts doom! But be aware of such in dialogue; for instance what do the people in this location call a long sandwich? Is it a Sub…or a Hoagie, a Hero….maybe it a Baguette?

Getting ofay with the vernacular could make or break your story. But be careful, a misplaced slang word can throw you readers sense of place haywire.

Remember, not every story will fit into every setting. As with the characters and the plot the setting should be a living part of the story, it should interact with everything else on the page. If you tale is not working here, try a new location, or place a new section of the plot in this setting. If you have a disconnect you work may just collapse.

Now we move on…

The Fictional Location.

Here, wherever here may be, you are in total control. Nothing can be here, nothing can exist without your consent. This is you world where you can construct anything you like to be part of your story, even if it is a far-fetched creation.

But let’s start a little simpler. If you need to create a school or a restaurant or some regular societal value, you have no worries if somewhere similar exists, because ‘yours’ is purely fictitious.

A simple example could be an underground railway. If you have no idea of how the London Underground operates, so what? You can design and create your own public transportation system, one that fits into your plot, one that works with your characters schedules. It does not have to be an accurate representation of anything from the real world.

Please do not allow these facts to preclude your story from remaining realistic in terms of how certain types of place operate on a general basis. You still have a duty to your readers to portray a believable scenario.

The location may be best suited if, say for a town, it can be placed near somewhere in the real world. Possibly south of Huston, or just over the Tyne river outside of Newcastle. This will aid your story in finding its cultural roots.

Now the third of our three.

A Fictional setting in the Real World.

This is a far from unusual tactic employed by authors. There are many novels set in small fictitious towns which are then placed in a real counties or countries.

If you aim to do this then your town should be, at least in its initial appearance, similar to real towns in that region. This is to create believability. Yet by creating your own town as a setting you have almost as much freedom as you would with one set in a total fantasy.

Another benefit is that the townsfolk and/or your main characters can have specific feelings or views about this setting. Such as ‘it is haunted’ or ‘or it is a dying town’. No one can refute this, because the place does not actually exist.

This format works well when creating locations which do not exist, within one that is real. For example you may need to have your characters meet in a bar. Create a bar rather than using one that is real. This solves and can also absolve you from future problems. vampire1

Of course one area that fake settings placed in the real world are great is in the realm of fantastical realities. Think vampires, ghosts and Harry Potter! Here one uses the real world to disguise something hidden or a secret.

Let us go a little further.

You are writing a romantic novel and in all good tradition and faith you choose Paris as the main setting of the book. It would therefore be wise to assume that, most of your readers will have a strong conception, a healthy mental image of Paris before they read a single word of your novel.

If the words ‘the Eiffel Tower’ are spoken your reader will automatically conjure up a mental image. The same goes for ‘the Statue of Liberty’. All you need to do is paint the picture of how, at that particular moment, the city lights refract from the River Seine. Now your reader can picture your character in that setting.

Now consider that your novel is in a fictional city.

Firstly you will need describe the city in far more detail, including the landmark ‘tower’ your character is to propose on. This will take a lot more writing, which is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you need the word count!

Also it is not always to your benefit if the readers are familiar with the setting. After all many readers perception may be based on, or limited to, the ‘picture-postcard’ vision of a city and it is possible that you wish to portray a very different side of that metropolis.

So your descriptions will have to be vivid enough to dispel false perception while constructing a new mental image to bring the reader closer to the one in your own mind.

While in a totally fictitious location the reader can bring no preconceptions with them. You will, therefore, have a blank canvas on which to paint your words.

To wind all this up…

images (1)If you are to set your location in an actual place, a real setting, then detailed knowledge or meticulous research will be demanded. The payback for this is that a romantic novel set in Paris has far stronger ‘shelf-appeal’ than one set in a fake city. A place no one has heard or knows of.

The same is true if your novel is set in New York, New Deli or cruising along the Nile. Choose a place lesser known and the majority of your readers would not have heard of it anyway!

In writing, particularly in the case of a full length novel, it is evocation of place and atmosphere. It is almost impossible to deal with these as separate elements. Place can and does determine atmosphere. For example where else could Stephen Kings ‘The Shining’ have been set? It had to be that isolated, snow-bound hotel on a mountain.

Some writers have the tenacity and patience to craft meticulous settings, they build amazing and entire worlds. Others approach by the minimalistic route, sprinkling few, but highly suggestive details into the narrative.

It matters not what genre, or what style you use your story will take place somewhere. A small room, a foreign country, another planet. Your setting can be a backdrop or a character itself.

But take a while, take a look. If most of the novels in your genre are set in a particular kind of location, say a shed, a farmstead kitchen or a city tower, that is a good indication that is what readers of that genre expect, possibly demand.

It does not mean that you have to stick with tradition or stay with the norm. That is your decision, to go with the run of the mill or similar, or do you strive for something new? Maybe you will compromise, add that slight twist?

Whatever you are writing consider the scope you have for creating the right setting. You may want to have a small room or you might want your novel to spread across galaxies, even the entire universe.

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Whatever you choose I hope that in some small way this has given you an insight to possibilities not before considered.

Oh, just before you leave I would like to say you can check the setting and locations I have used in my books by visiting my website at

http://paulznewpostbox.wix.com/paul-white

Thank you for reading yet another of my Ramblings, Paul.

Meet my Best Friends (& share them too)

I Love WordPress


My Rambling of the day.

I know the majority who read ‘Ramblings from a Writers Mind’ are indeed writers and it is with you in mind I try, in my haphazard way, to offer advice and share knowledge about all facets of a writer’s life, from the more technical stuff to empathetic ‘hugs’ during those long lonely hours when nothing written seems to work.

One subject I have not broached so far is a writer’s own library. I do not mean the reading material we have for our own pastime, but that which we turn to for help and aid during the long toil of writing a book, or a poem, or an article….or even (possibly) a Blog such as this.

I have, over the years, amassed a huge array of various reference and resource works which sit heavily on and bow the shelves of my bookcases.

Even though we have ease of access to the infinitude of the interwebs content and can collate and bookmark pages, sites and various content to our heart’s desire, it is not always so practical to move away from our works and scuttle back and forth electronically.

At best this method causes interruption to the creative flow, at worst it is a distraction where one can easily click, just for a moment, a quick glance, at our email or network sites… then, three hours later, we wonder why we have achieved so little progress.

This is where a book, those pale pages which one has to turn manually, become so much more than just good friends, they become our tutors, our mentors, our coaches, they allow us to find the information we seek while keeping us focused on the task in hand.

Often, while writing I have three, four, seven, even ten various books open on my desk. Each one a weighty and mighty tome of facts and particulars, essential specifics and verifications which I can access at a glance without dismissing the words I am working on, the complex wordsmithing I am hammering out on the furnace of imagination.

You may ask, what are these bound pages of mystical knowledge I keep about me?

Then I shall reveal their names, some you may already be acquainted with, others may yet be strangers, but all are, to me, good friends.

ALL the books below can be viewed on Amazon by clicking on the title


These are some you may have, or at least you may have one of their cousins……

The Oxford English Dictionary.oed

The Chambers Dictionary.

Webster’s Encyclopaedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language.

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.


These friends may not be quite so familiar, but are worth knowing…………6

Concise Dictionary of English Etymology, by Walter W. Skeat.

Dictionary of Difficult Words, by Robert H. Hill.

Dictionary of Word Origins, by John Ayto.


You should, in my humble opinion make friends with the following……download (3)

Grammatically Correct by Anne Stilman.

Beginnings, Middles & Ends by Nancy Kress.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King.


These folk may be a little unusual, but are worth inviting into your home…..download (2)

The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.

The Ultimate Loo Book, Mitchell Symons.

Alphabetical: How Every Letter Tells a Story, by Michael Rosen.


Lastly, but far from least, these should be among your very best friends…

download (2)

How to Write a Damn Good Novel: (A Step-by-Step No Nonsense Guide to Dramatic Storytelling), by James N. Frey.

Plot & Structure: (Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish), by James Scott Bell.


Clearly, these are just a few of those books which line my office walls like paladins. I think you can find copies on Amazon, or indeed go and browse your local bookstore where you may find a lonely discarded volume in need of a good home.

I hope this post has been enjoyable to read as well as helpful. Please follow this blog if you are not already doing so, as I have many more ideas and thoughts I would like to share with you.

Thank you for reading, Paul.


Find out more about me, my books, works in progress and more by visiting my website HERE 

Why would you even bother reading a book?

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    Believe it or not this was said to me today in a general conversation. Needless to say that the person who spoke these particular words did not know I was an author; I did not enlighten them either!

    However, for my part these simple few words started a chain of thought that, as the day progressed, continued to reoccur in various forms. This post is the result of some of the fleeting impressions these musings have left me.

    By the way I am solely writing with regards to reading fictional books, as this was the original topic of discussion this morning.

    For those techno-loving geeky types, I am not separating e-books from their paper counterparts as they were not distinguished as separate entities during the debate.

So on with the post…….Firstly, why read a book when we are surrounded by a plethora of various media platforms, allowing access to just about every form of entertainment available by a simple click of a mouse, a push of a button, or a touch of a screen?

My answer to this is that all forms of moving picture media leaves very little exercise for the mind.

Once again I will say ALL forms, whether it is a chick-flick or shoot-um-up film, a drama, play, soap opera, or another genre.

Each and every one spoon feeds the viewer the information required and therefore leaves very little, if anything for the imagination to create.

However involved the viewer may become in the plot of the programme he or she is watching, their mind is purely focused on the screen, watching antics and listening to the words of the actors alone.

Do not get me wrong, I enjoy a good film as much as the next man; I love watching plays and intriguing dramas, and yet no matter how well directed, produced, or acted they may be, such simply cannot begin to compete with a well written book.

What is so special about reading is that it can do something that no other form of entertainment can possibly achieve.fit-girl-working-out-fgp9n

A book can give your mind a ruddy good workout, a neuron enhancing, cognitive improving gym session like no other.

Allow me to explain……When you watch something on a screen you are seeing a story through the eyes of the director, via a screen writers interpretation of a story that has most probably been adapted from another medium, possibly that well written book I mentioned a short while ago.

Therefore what you are seeing is actually a director’s vision, of a third of fourth hand edited version of an original work. Doesn’t seem so good now does it?

Another downside to watching a screenplay is when one of the characters, (which will be the actors portrayal of the watered down interpretation of the directors version of that original piece of work), walks across the car park and drives away in a dark shiny car, you will see exactly from which direction the actor enters the car park, see how the parking lot is lit, know what model car he climbs into, and just how fast he drives away.

That is okay, but it is hardly fascinating, is it?

However, within those magic pages of a book all that action is yours, and yours alone. No one else will ever see the same man walk through the same car park and slide behind the wheel of that car. Only you know how the parking lot smells, which lights were dim and flickering. Only you can sense the suppleness of the leather seats and watch through the windshield as he drives, tyres squealing, up the ramp and out into the….daylight / darkness of a rainy night?

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Now you are beginning to see why I love reading.

Everything conjured up by the words on the page are designed to stimulate your mind, not only by guiding you through the storyline, the plot, sub-plots and twists to bring you to a conclusion, but to excite every cerebral nerve in your mind to create entire worlds where you can escape to for hours on end.

It is your personal world, an exclusive world, where every drop of rain, each blade of grass, the people who inhabit it, the scents, the very texture of material are all yours, and yours alone. A semi-mystical fantasy world where love, hate, lust, passion, jealousy and forgiveness can be experienced without fear.

There is no other form of entertainment that can even come anywhere close to that which can be delivered by a good book.

As I have said above, I love reading, I enjoy the escapism it provides. Which is also why I enjoy writing; when I write I hope to give my readers the same experience, the same satisfaction that I get when I’m deeply lost, in my own netherworld, following the storyline of a Novel.

Even if you do not read one of my books, please buy one, even two of somebody else’s and start reading straight away. I know you will enjoy.

Thanks for reading this!

Paul.

A Story’s Voice

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    I have just finished reading a novel.
   I shall not reveal which, or who the author was, because I shall be telling of a certain dislike within the pages of that book. I will say that this was the first book of hers that I have read and overall I quite enjoyed the story. But there was one thing that really annoyed me, and that ‘thing’ has taken the shine off a pretty good read.
    I shall reveal what that ‘one thing’ was a little later, because firstly I need to explain the premise of this Rambling.

As you will know I am a writer, and like most writers I like to read. I like to read good stories, be it a short story, a novella, or a full blown heavyweight novel.

What I find most enjoyable is a book that speaks to me, a story with a captivating voice. I am not talking about audio-books, I am speaking of the written word.

You may then ask, how can a book talk? So I shall, in my bumbling, haphazard way endeavour to explain.

When, for instance, you open a fresh new book, and cast your eyes over those first few lines, you start to create a ‘voice’ in your head, a voice that will tell you the story which is printed upon those pages.

Without becoming too technical, that silent voice you hear, the voice that is only audible from inside your own mind, is what we writers term as narration.

Simply put it is rather like listening to someone else reading out loud, like your mother may have read you bedtime stories as a child as you lay in bed drifting off to sleep. The only difference is that all this occurs solely within your own mind.

So when you read it is not the author you are listening to, but an intermediary, an ethereal entity! But this intermediary is not there by chance, it is the craft, the skill of the author who has created this unseen reader.

Please do not confuse narration with style. Most authors have a certain style of writing, of describing their tales. It is the style often reflects the character of the writer. Most writers will admit that much of themselves, and many of their personal experiences, are frequently woven into their works.

Regardless of a writer’s style, the narration can, and most often will alter with each new piece of work, unless it is part of a series when it is important, even critical, to keep the narrative voice continuous.

Some people who are new to writing may not understand the way a reader assimilates the words from a page, and often this is why some struggle to write in a manner that flows smoothly, whilst experienced writers will use a particular form of narration to compliment the piece they working on at that time.

For instance in my short stories, my Flash Fictions, I use a number of various narrative forms which I hope enhance the readers experience of each. Below are three examples, all written in my ‘style’ yet told with a different narrative ‘voice’.

1, Jumping a Boxcar

Sunset.

The last train.

I was waiting by the rails, backpack on the ground beside my feet.

That backpack was full. Everything I owned was crammed in there. Clothes, razor, soap, two towels, one face flannel, and three books.

That was it. That was the total of my life.

At least regarding material things.

You see, as I stood by the tracks waiting to jump a boxcar to wherever that train was going, I was carrying far more than the contents of that backpack.

 

She had told me that everything would be alright, that things have a way of working themselves out.

But that takes time, and I knew that I had taken enough of her time already.

Three years.

Well, two years, seven months, three days and twenty two hours to be precise. During which time I had broken almost every promise I had ever made to her; and that was unfair.

I promised I would look after her, get a good job, earn a decent income, buy her gifts, chocolates, and flowers. That we would have our own place, a nice car. I said I would make her happy, that we would be happy.

That I would never leave.

They were all lies……………………….

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2, Life in the Warzone – Yellow Petals

    Izdihar came running into the house shouting ‘Mummy, Mummy, look at what I have for you’.

    Fellah turned to look at her daughter, who had not stopped running, and deftly caught her in her arms, lifting Izdihar off the ground so their faces were level.

    ‘You have a beautiful smile for your Mother.

     ‘No Mummy, I have found you a flower’ said Izdihar, holding out a single closed bud on a green stem. ‘I found it by the wall. I brought it home for you, because I love you Mummy’ she said with pride in her voice.

    ‘Well then, I thank you my darling. I love you too. But this flower will soon wither and die if we do not find it some water’ said Fellah.

    Rummaging about in the kitchen Fellah found a shallow saucer. This would have to suffice thought Fellah. Water was too scarce to be wasting it on flowers, yet she was reluctant to upset her child, so a small amount on the saucer would keep Izdihar happy and allow Fellah to show her appreciation of her daughter’s kindly deed.

    Fellah placed the saucer onto the low shelf and dribbled a tiny amount of water into it. Sitting at the table with Izdihar, Fallah carefully cut the bud from the stalk and placed it into the water. Fellah did this with a ceremonious flourish that pleased Izdihar, who was grinning from ear to ear with pride, knowing that she had made her Mother happy………………………….

 X

3, Missy

Missy turned the steering wheel sharply, swinging the car violently to a sudden halt in the parking lot. Her lips were pressed together, jaw clenched, supressing the pent up emotion that he had, once again stirred within her. Tears began to dribble down Missy’s tender cheeks.

Why was he like this? He was a man who was so sure, so certain of himself, so controlling, that after all these years one would have thought that he did not need to be such a bully, that he would have no need to be so verbally aggressive and well, downright abusive.

After dropping him at his office Missy had started to drive aggressively, tyres squealing on the tarmac as she pulled away. It was just then that her phone bleeped.

Missy knew instantly who this was. She felt those small tremors jumping in her stomach with her excitement. A pack of wild butterflies suddenly fluttering into the air simultaneously. It was a text message from Anura……………………….

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You will see from these examples that while my writing style remains personal to me, the form of narration varies to take into account the feeling, the ambiance and quality, I wish to give each particular story.

If I have done this well, (and I do hope I have!), you would of read each of the above in a slightly different tonal voice, and at a differing pace.

That then is my (long winded), but simple explanation of narrative.

I hoped you also recognised the narrative voice I am using now, in this Rambling?

Which, in a roundabout way, brings me to my opening gambit, the book I have just read.

In her book the author has a character who talks really loudly, to indicate this all his speech has been written in capital letters ‘LIKE THESE RIGHT HERE’, which I found distracting in the least, and most patronisingly annoying.

It is quite simple to use the narrative to convey that a character has a loud, booming voice. It is not only disquieting to have the CAPITALS break up a line of text, but I found it interrupted the narratives flow. It made me feel that I was reading rather than ‘living’ the story.

If you are writing please, please, use your skill as a wordsmith to express your characters qualities, personality and temperament, and do not try to draw an image with your text. If I had wanted pictures in my book I would have purchased a comic……Nuff said!

Thank you for reading. I hope you found the contents informative, even useful?

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Please take a look at my flash fiction & short stories at ‘A Little more Fiction’ where you can read many of my works, including the full stories from which the extracts above were taken. Just click on this link http://wp.me/5od8T

A bit on Literary Techniques

Generally, my Ramblings are a rather….well general!

I do not tend to write in a scholarly constructive fashion, because I do not consider myself a teacher or an authority of literary genius.

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I prefer to allow indefinite abstract descriptions to suggest and evoke the reader’s own perceptions and introspection to convey the message of each Rambling.

There are however certain aspects of writing I find myself trying to explain, to those who ask, on a frequent basis.

It can be rather difficult to clarify the particular methods and the reasons I utilise certain styles and narrative form when writing for an assortment of diverse projects and various fictional works.

So, unlike many of my previous Ramblings, this one addresses the topic with a little more directness.

I say a little more because in my heart of hearts I believe that the soul of the writer, the artist that lays within, is the greatest asset of all. No one can learn to write unwillingly; the writer must have love and passion above teaching and education. The writer must want to write above all else.

As mentioned above this Rambling touches on the subjective matter of literary techniques, in particular, style and narration. So firstly I think I should try and define these two separate, but closely related subjects.

I will not, in this Rambling, do more than skim the surface of this issue as I do not want to become too bogged down in technicalities.

Ok then, Narrative. Sometimes referred to as ‘the writer’s voice’. I do not like this term as it can be very misleading.

A narrative is the voice a reader ‘hears’ in their mind when reading. This is NOT the writer’s voice, (which is why I dislike that term), yet it is created by the writer. To explain it better, it is like an actor speaking the words of the scriptwriter in a film or play rather than the writer speaking his words directly.

The effect in a drama is the actor(ress) uses their skills of timing and intonation to convey the words in a meaningful and powerful way. This is pretty much what happens in the reader’s own mind when they read your written word. The reader will ‘hear’ the various voices of the characters and the general narrative as if being spoken by a third party.

A good writer can have many of these voices, according to the type of story or article being written, or the writer can keep one consistent form of narration to establish his/her own unique and recognisable narrative voice.

Narrative techniques are employed to provide deeper meaning, it helps the reader to use imagination and to visualise events and situations.

The literary elements in narrative include settings, plots, theme, characters and so on. The literary techniques used in the application are best understood as being metaphors, personifications, imagery, backstory, flash-forwards, similes, foreshadowing, perspective, and hyperbole; Basically figurative language.

Got that?

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Now a little about Style.

Style has a broader sweep than narrative. Some writers have a comprehensive style, one which is ornate, long, and complex. These are packed with metaphors and imagery. Others have a more direct, straightforward style, they tend to be constructed of simple sentences and spares prose.

A good exercise to clarify this is to read two newspapers or high-quality magazines. These usually have a determined style, a house style if you like. Yet throughout, each article and report will be written by a different author whose own narration is evident to their particular piece. This way the newspaper or magazine’s continuity stays together.

I will not, at this time delve any deeper into this subject, but leave you to consider the above. For those of you who are hardened and experienced hacks, I apologise for this Rambling as it is less of a Ramble than is my usual want. (You will no doubt have noticed that the above narrations are far from my norm)!

However, not all who read this are trained, tutored or as experienced as you may be.

I love writing, it is my hobby as well as my work and I am happy to share whatever knowledge I have; which is really very little.

I shall end this not very Rambling Ramble with an apology once again for being quite direct and not wandering off track and into the back alleys of randomness. I promise my the next Rambling will be back to my normal irrational narrative style.

Note….’Narrative style’….now does that confuse you?

Catch you next time, Paul.

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