Raw

Writer in the Raw

Writers would rather be writing than speaking.

Is this you? Are you a shy, introverted individual on the outside who yearns to be accepted into the general society. A lot of writers feel this way, it seems, and inside that individual is a bold and adventurous spirit.

So here’s me:  ever since I entered high school, I knew I was tired of being the shy girl. I’ve always been self-motivated, not like some people are self-motivated into grand and amazing ventures, but in my own, humble way. I forced myself to talk to people. I jumped at opportunities and thought about them later. I made myself available to changes.

I’m still introverted at my core, nothing will change that. My writing voice is definitely bolder than my speaking voice. I still have nights where I turn off my phone and curl up on the couch with Doctor Who–not like with Doctor Who, but like with him on the television. Although I wouldn’t mind curling up on the couch with him…

I’m such a nerd.

I recently read a blog post about a girl who was so shy, but such a good writer, she convinced an employer she was an entirely different personalty, when in reality, she did not suit the job task because of her introverted tendencies. Props to her for those writing skills! Get it, girl! But did she jump the gun going after that job? What could she have done differently before sending out that email?

For introverted individuals, it is important to know your limits. Be honest with yourself. If talking in front of a room of college students is going to make you hurl, why are you on that stage?! Get off that stage! Take a step back and prepare yourself. First, stand up in your living room and talk to your best friend. Then invite more friend and stand up and speak to them. Choose topics you don’t know well, or don’t like. Convince yourself before you convince your audience. How does this make you feel?

The point is to build up toughness.

I have no problems speaking in public. But I started out small. I spoke up in youth group, then I became a youth leader, I started getting involved in church which required me to speak up in front of the congregation. After that, I stood up before an entire college Bible group to give my testimony. That one scared me.

I talk to people all the time. No matter where I go, where I travel, I encounter people of all walks of life. I know this might terrify some introverts, but I love it. Do you know how many stories I have heard? Do you know how many souls I’ve have had the rich pleasure of knowing? And now that I’m an author, I have people with advice and information to help me along. None of this would have happened if I had decided to remain the quiet, unfortunate little artist lost in Neverland.

Writing has helped me meet people I would normally never have the chance to. It has given me a voice to speak with people around the world in blogs and emails. Boldness has introduced me to pen pals everywhere. Taking a leap of faith granted me the opportunity to travel by train to Texas, and to leave my country for an amazing trip to Germany. I wouldn’t give up those experiences for anything.

I am a writer.
I am a traveler.
And I love people.

Open your ears once and hear someone else’s story.

Fanny T Crispin

Advertisements
30 Days to Publishing

Update

They say the best way to learn is to teach. This stands true.

I’m writing to say I won’t be posting chapter 13 of 30 Days to Publishing today. The reason is I am finding it is a much more extensive subject than I had initially realized. I’m researching and practicing it myself to give you a better illustration of the how-to’s.

So while I’m working, if you have any questions up to this point, feel free to ask. I’ll be checking back periodically.

~Fanny T Crispin

30 Days to Publishing

30 Days to Publishing (5.2)

Presuming you are in the Writing part of this lesson or the Editing part, we’re going to take a step back and explore a subject deeper. Yes, this is procrastination, but of the educational sort.

Character 2.0

In this digital age, many exceptional artists have been known to record their art sessions and display them for fans to see the full creation. It is usually sped up, giving you an amazing presentation in a matter of minutes instead of hours and hours and hours. I’ve seen these and they blow my mind every time. It’s like a magic trick; you know how it’s done, but you could never recreate it so it would forever be amazing to you.

Today, I thought I would create something of the like for you to experience the depth of character growth–even when half of the information never even reaches the page.

Clockwork Dreams

In my novel, Clockwork Dreams, I created a race of characters known as ‘witches’. Because I write fantasy, these are not the people going around with voodoo dolls and newts in their stew. In fact, they are not human at all.

Origin
According to history, witches are born out of volcanos. They are quite literally magma creatures formed from limestone and breathing sulfur. Belonging to the infamous Unseelie Court of magic and mythology, witches are predominantly known to be evil or at least malignant creatures.

Appearance
They present themselves in a human form, always female, because like the queen ant of a colony, they follow only one leader–a male warlock. Witches tend to be tall and thin, although there are the occasional rotund versions running around. Because their core is made up of magma, they are literally burning up inside. The more powerful the witch, the hotter the flame, so the skinnier they appear.

Appearance–Notable Qualities
Hair color. Similar to stars and fire which burn different colors according to heat, a witch’s hair will denote power. Most low level witches have ashen or black hair color, however, there are three high power types–known as ‘Mothers’–to be aware of.  A witch with red hair is a low level Mother, born from a cool or dormant volcano, while a yellow haired or blond witch burns hotter and is noticeably more powerful. At the top, of course, is the white haired Mother witch. She comes from an active volcano, is unnaturally tall and extremely slender, as if stretched. They do not have the bony, anorexic look that humans get when we are deprived of sustenance. On the contrary, witches are being fed generously by their blazing internal flames, and so are healthier the hotter they burn.

Abilities/Powers
Witches speak the lost language of magic. Their powers are magic-based shadow, fire, and Black Magic elements. notably:
Fire blasts
Lightning strikes
Smoke screens
‘Cold’ fire–a trickery of flames which feel cold but will burn a human all the same
Shadow manipulation
Flight (without broomsticks, mind you)
Dream manipulation–an ancient art of invading someone’s dreams to uncover secrets. Think “Inception” or “The Last Witch Hunter”.

Abilities/Powers–Notable Qualities
Particularly strong power–or Mother–witches have access to the Underworld and can, at times, call on the evil spirits of old, ones that are still permitted to roam free on Earth.

Personality
Witches are incredibly vain, which makes sense, because their powers make them blaze beautifully; therefore, the stronger the power, the greater the beauty. They are also stuck up snobs, being stronger and superior to many races.

They hate humans, which are considered to be ‘mud men’–born of dust and the Breath of God. Also, because of the opposition against their Underworld king and master–a warlock. Not only this, however, there has been a rivalry between witches and humans since the Fall of Man and the Great Battle of the Heavens.

Agenda/Goal
Their greatest goal has always been in the search of the next warlock. Warlocks are incredibly rare and only one exists at any given time. If no warlock is present on the Earth, they return to their volcanos–but the search is never off.

***

I raised up a few main characters as witches in the story, but I won’t spoil any surprise here. This is just to show you how much thought and consideration went into developing the characters to create a more believable world. I enjoy working with and using nature to grow elements of my stories. It is all well and good to say a witch is a ‘creature’ that has ‘dark magic’ and ‘fights humans’, but what does that tell the reader? Not much, I’m afraid. The more you can develop the foundation of your world, the stronger it will be.

But remember, not all of this needs to go into the story. If you as a writer knows the character, you will subconsciously portray the character with the right tools. Give the readers the facts they need, not a lot of superfluous information. The reader may not see everything, but they will believe it’s there if you do your homework right.

30 Days to Publishing

30 Days to Publishing (12)

Wow. We’re almost halfway through this. How are you feeling?

Me, too. Let’s get to work.

Query Letters

According to Wiki, a query letter is a formal letter sent to magazine editors, literary agents and sometimes publishing houses or companies. Writers write query letters to propose writing ideas.

Seems simple enough. Basically, you are writing a letter to entice someone to take on your project. Let’s see what that looks like in detail. You have a book, an article, and you want someone to endorse it. We will talk about where to find these people later (editors, agents, publishers), but first we need to learn how to talk to these people.

BASIC FORMAT OF A QUERY LETTER:
The topic of the work
A short description of the plot
A short bio of the author
The target audience

Go back to your days in school and put work into the format of a letter, even if it’s only an email. You want to sound educated, polite, and respectable. These people are running a business, and you should treat it as such as well.

Date
April 10th, 2015

Header
John Doe Smith
Smith & Smith Editors
123 Main St
http://www.editors@website.com

Salutation/Greeting
Dear John Smith,

Body
This is where you fill in the introduction, the hook, and the description of your book. We’ll look at that later.

Conclusion
Finish with your intent or goal of the book.

Closing
Cordially yours, Sincerely, Thank you for your time, etc.

Signature
Fanny T Crispin

BODY OF A QUERY LETTER:
In the body of your query letter, you want to be short but concise. First, introduce your work. Make it gripping and exciting. Ask a friend to read the introduction and judge it for you. Keep it short. These people are busy and their time is very valuable.

E.g. ‘Fire Blood’ is a curse upon mankind, and it has trickled down the bloodline to the 21st century. All her life, Jane Smith has known of the curse, but now it’s raging out of her control. When she is discovered by one of her coworkers, he urges her to uncover the source of the curse. With his help, they set out to hunt down the last of a dying breed–a dragon.

One paragraph with an enticing hook. Follow with another paragraph describing your work.

E.g. ‘Fire Blood’ is a Young Adult urban fantasy. It is 80,000 words in length and a fully completed manuscript.

Follow up with a description of your writing career, your style and genre. Again, short and to the point. A professional is just someone with a title who gets paid for it. You already have your title…

Say it, ‘I am a writer.’

…And if you work hard, you will get paid for it, too. Dream big.

You should only have three paragraphs. If the editor or agent wants you to attach a sample of your work, read their instructions carefully. Following instructions earns you brownie points.

*Now, I shouldn’t have to say this, but I will. Don’t copy and paste my examples. One, because they could be written so much better. Two, because you want your unique voice to come through the email or letter. Three, because it’s just not classy. Stay classy, friends. There’s a shortage of classy in America.

This was a difficult blog for me to write, because I freaking dislike query letters. You know what I dislike more?

Synopses. Guess what we’re studying next. Synopses.

See you tomorrow.