Pants off to That!

 

 

I’m 110% pantser. Always have been.

I’ve published a book and am happy with it. I haven’t reached that point of cringing when I see it or think about it. I actually like it. Hope that lasts…

Anyway, yes. Pantser. Me. Pantsing. No outlines, no planning, none of that stuff.

Never. Ever. Nope. Not me.

I am pantsing my way through two novels at the moment. Which is quite different from my previous book of short fiction. I’m pleased to say it’s going well. It works for me.

Right?

It does, right? Yet… I have loads of books lounging on my laptop that have been there between two and twenty years. (You read that correctly. I’ve been writing a long time.)

 

Which brings me to my point. Finally.

Is my pantser approach what has kept those stories on my computer?

I truly do enjoy letting my characters lead the way but is it realistic to complete an entire novel without any planning?

As a grown-up person who has been on this planet a few decades or so, I know that “never say never” is not just an overused, annoying phrase. It’s true.

I’m pretty sure I’ll always be a pantser but who knows?

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

ThoughtBubbleAre you a pantser or a plotter? If you’re a pantser, do you get to a point where you start planning? 

Do you believe self-proclaimed plotters can “wing it” or pantsers can plan, plot, and outline successfully?

 

 

Help Me Find Your Blog

 

gravatar-image

Your Gravatar

Your G (globally) R (recognized) Avatar (um…avatar)

 

I’m not saying you must have one of these or even should have one. It’s totally up to you, of course. But it’s possible you’ve heard something like this from me:

“Hello. 🙂 Just an FYI: Your Gravatar leads to your old blog.”

Or

“Hi there. 🙂 Your Gravatar is unclickable.”

You may already know this. You may not care. You may want it that way. But, just in case, it’s an easy fix.

Sometimes, when I’m rushing around or out and using my phone (which, if I’m honest, isn’t “sometimes”, it’s “most of the time”), I’ll click on your name (or image) to get to your blog. It’s quicker and easier than searching through social media for your handle or typing your name into Google then scrolling until I find you.

If you have a Gravatar, think of it as your avi, bio, blog, social media, and all that jazz rolled into one.

Update that bad boy for your bloggy friends so we can find you. Or don’t. But please don’t take offense if I comment about your GRA. Take it with some grains of salt (around the rim of your glass), a margarita, and a smile.

 

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

Do you have a Gravatar? Does it link to your current blog/website/social media? Do you keep it up-to-date or have you forgotten about it until now?

FAQ and useful info: http://en.gravatar.com/support/

 

After talking to some tweeps, thought I’d add a quick how-to sort of thing:

Sign in to Gravatar.

Click on “MY PROFILE” at the top of the page.

On the right, you’ll see a list.

“WEBSITES” allows you to add, well, websites. (You can add all sorts of things here that you want to show up as a thumbnail image below your name – not just WordPress blogs, FYI.)

“VERIFIED SERVICES” gives you a drop-down menu letting you quickly and easily add social media by cutting and pasting the link to your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Blogger, YouTube, and more.

 

Is There a Cloudcuckoolander in Your Book?

 

 

I just read a post about lesser-known character archetypes on the Writers Helping Writers site. One of the types was a cloudcuckoolander. The example of Dory, the forgetful fish from Finding Nemo (say that three times fast), is a great one.

But, in reading the description of a cloudcuckoolander, the first character that leapt to mind was Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter.

Quirky, living in their own unrealistic world of rainbows and unicorns (Unikitty from Cloud Cuckoo Land ring any Lego Movie bells?), making absurd comments (often in the midst of a dire situation), providing unique perspectives (that no one else sees)… But not your average oddball. And not an airhead by any means.

No. A cloudcuckoolander is an all-around peculiar person who, frequently, rescues the other characters by means of an idea so outlandish that it takes everyone aback before they give it a thought and realize it’s actually going to work. “Thinking outside the box” doesn’t quite cut it for me here so I’ll say this type of character is “Living outside the box”.

It takes a special set of characters (like Harry, Hermione, and Ron, among others) to give the cloudcuckoolander his or her due. To accept, acknowledge, listen to, and recognize the potential of someone who is off in her own world while they are firmly set in theirs. It might, understandably, be difficult to tolerate someone talking about Nargles while you’re being attacked by DeathEaters.

Despite her wacky, kooky ways (I daresay because of them), Luna helped the Hogwarts trio numerous times throughout the seven-book series.

She is smart (she was in Ravenclaw, after all) but it was her belief in the strange and unusual that led her to an invisible, paralyzed, bloodied-up Harry on the Hogwarts Express. Remember that? (Though, being the geek that I am, I must mention Luna saved him in the film version, not the book. Point still stands.)

They’re those “funny” characters that have to say things like “That was a joke” because they’re always saying bizarre things with straight faces and the other characters have no frame of reference for the cloudcuckoolander’s sense of humor.

Yes, I’m a Potterhead (and in good company, I’m sure). But what I want to know is if you have used this particular archetype or think that, perhaps, you could add one to your WIP to improve the plot.

Personally, I don’t introduce characters to the plot, they introduce themselves to the me. But I’m thinking I actually have a cloudcuckoolander in one of the books I’m working on and I am having a great deal of fun with that.

 

Have you ever heard of the cloudcuckoolander? Do you have any of these characters in your story?

Do you know any cloudcuckoolanders from books/TV/movies?

 

Hi! I am Princess Unikitty, and I welcome you all to Cloud Cuckoo Land!

 

Please do check out the Lesser-Known Character Archetypes post on Writers Helping Writers site (from the brilliant Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi).

 

Since You Offered…

 

promoting-hinting-at-shadows-sig

 

Okay, I’ve published a book. I’ve chosen “accept” as my One Word for 2017.

1+1=2. I accept that I’ve got to promote my book.

There are quite a few bloggers offering to help authors promote. That is awesome. And I’m hearing this a lot: “Take advantage of this opportunity!”

I know these lovely, generous people are inviting authors to email, to introduce themselves, to promote their work. My painfully introverted nature aside, I do want to promote my writing but it’s awkward.

What is this I’m feeling? Shyness? Uncertainty? Self-consciousness? Or something else entirely? I need to think on it some more. Or you could leave your (PG-rated) suggestion in the comments. Bottom line is: I feel uncomfortable asking for help in this particular area.

Does anyone else feel this way? Is it just me?

And for these bloggers…is it awkward for them? Honestly, it’s like winning the lottery and suddenly getting calls from friends and family you haven’t spoken to in ten years (or ones you didn’t know you had).

This leaves me in a tough spot—a spot of my own making, I understand, but still. I’m not sure how to handle it.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

How do you handle promotional offers?

Authors: Do you only promote your book if you’re already actively following/commenting on the person’s blog or do you take advantage of the opportunity whether you’re blogging buddies or not?

Bloggers: Do you offer promotions on your blog for authors? How do you feel about people you don’t know (or don’t know well) emailing you to promote their book?

 

Time, Time…Ticking Away

 

clock-sig

 

Some people are always whining about not having enough time.

I am one of those people.

Inevitably, I’m subjected to someone telling me, “We all have the same number of hours in a day.” They then tell me I’m choosing to spend these hours not writing or reading or blogging and that, they claim, is my problem.

Uh huh.

Well, I’ve got to say, that really used to tick me off. (Get it? Tick me off? Tick. Tock. That was fun.)

But I guess, if you think about it, they’re right. I am choosing.

What they don’t realize is that the choices some of us make are significant: Write or eat? Read or sleep? Blog or bathe? Respond to post comments or spend time with our children?

While most avid readers would lose a bit of sleep to finish a good book, please… Be kind when someone says they are short on time. Because there are people who actually do have extremely limited free time due to circumstances beyond their control. And their choices aren’t always easy.

There are writers who are choosing between finishing their physical therapy exercises and finishing writing their next chapter. There are unwashed mums (and dads) who are missing out on a game of Monopoly with their kids to read blog posts and respond to comments.

There are meetings and appointments, science fairs and soccer games. There are art shows, recitals, school functions, and award ceremonies. This is in addition to yardwork, cooking, cleaning, laundry…

Sometimes, the choice isn’t between writing and watching TV, it’s between writing and attending their child’s play.

To me, that is not a choice. And for those who don’t understand that, there’s really nothing I can say. (Though I’ll probably still complain about lack of time.) #sorrynotsorry

Usually, I choose my health and my family over reading, writing, blogging, and social media. But not always. I’m ashamed to admit it, but there it is. And I know I’m going to regret it.

Yes. We do all have the same number of hours in a day but not always the same amount of time. In regards to how we spend that time, yes, we have choices. But some choices are easier than others.

 

Do you feel like you don’t have enough time to get things done (reading, writing, social media, blogging, commenting…)? Do you find it easy to make choices about how you spend your time? Are you one of those “we all have the same amount of hours in a day” people? Be honest. We’ll still love you.

 

Slivers and Snapshots

 

slivers-and-snapshots-sig

 

As bloggers, we give readers, fellow writers, and online friends what we want to give them. We decide what we write, how we write it, when we publish it. We decide what to share and what to keep private.

Readers know tiny slivers of our experiences, snapshots of our lives.

There are some bloggers who share intimate details, revealing deeply personal events from their lives. That’s great. That is their choice and they are comfortable with it. But this shouldn’t be something we expect of every blogger who doesn’t have a niche.

For a lot of readers, personal blog equals personal information.

If bloggers have a music, movie, fashion, food, or book blog, they are excused. But if they have a “personal” blog, where they talk about life, they are expected to divulge all sorts of information about themselves. Because. Personal.

That’s not how it works.

Even if we have a blog where certain subjects would seem appropriate, it doesn’t mean we’ll necessarily choose to publish them.

 

I mostly write about roses and only occasionally share the thorns.

Know that, even if I talk about my insomnia or getting overwhelmed, I may leave out that Aunt Foofie is in rehab again, I fell off the kitchen counter and fractured my tailbone, or zombies attacked me on my way to work.

 

Do you have a personal blog? How much do you share with your readers? Do you expect other bloggers to reveal personal information?


Who’s That Indie Author? Sarah Brentyn

As most of you know, I’ve recently released a book, Hinting at Shadows. Barbara Vitelli (aka Book Club Mom) contacted me to do an author interview for her wonderful series called “Who’s That Indie Author”. I’m delighted to be over at her place. She’s a fab book blogger and lovely lady. Please check out the interview, leave a comment there, and peek around her blog. Cheers!

Book Club Mom

Who's That Indie Author pic

sarah-brentyn-profile-pic
Author name
: Sarah Brentyn

Genre: Short Fiction/Flash Fiction

Books: Hinting at Shadows

hinting-at-shadows
Bio
: Sarah Brentyn is a woman who finds talking about herself in the third person odd.

I wrote my first story when I was nine years old and have never looked back. My work has appeared both online and in print in lit mags, newsletters, websites, newspapers, and anthologies. I have a master’s degree in writing and have taught all ages, from Kindergarteners to adults. When other girls dreamt of being a ballerina, I dreamt of scribbling my thoughts in a notebook and turning them into a book. I bleed ink.

Favorite thing about being a writer: I kind of love everything about being a writer. The feel of a pencil, the smell of paper, the click of a keyboard, the words in my head appearing on the page. It’s magical. I suppose…

View original post 357 more words

Rejected Book Intros

 

intros-sig

 

I mentioned my little issue with writing an author bio and how I quickly fixed that by blurting some silly thoughts out and going with it.

I didn’t want to work too hard on it or let it drive me batty—which it right could have. Also, I knew that no matter how much time I spent on it (10 minutes or 10 months), I’d likely look back at it and cringe. So, I chose the 10-minute cringe.

My introduction was a different bowl of spaghetti. Holy meatballs, Batman, that thing did drive me crazy. And I didn’t listen to my own advice (no surprise there) about the bio.

I spent time (much time) and energy (lots of energy) on the introduction. During this time of lunacy when I was alienating friends and forcing family to disown me, I came up with some real doozies.

The following introductions are real. They were not written for your amusement. But I thought I would share them with you in case you are amused. It’s okay, you can totally be embarrassed for me.

 

  • I like writing. I don’t like spiders. I made a book. Read it.
  • I think I’d rather become dinner for the Swamp Thing than continue working on this foreword. Which is ridiculous because the Swamp Thing protects people (and is probably a vegetarian).
  • Short fiction is like dark chocolate. It’s pure cocoa with no fillers. A small piece is rich and satisfying.
  • I don’t like writing bios, forewords, or introductions. Actually, I don’t care for anything that requires me to tell readers about myself or my work.
  • This pumpkin spice stuff is seriously getting out of control. Here’s a book with NO pumpkin spice in it.
  • I’ve missed meals, skipped family outings, remained unshowered for two five days, typed until my eyes were sand paper and my fingers bled, developed headaches that laughed at Tylenol, and alienated many friends with my writer moods. I do hope you appreciate all that went into this book and that you will take pity on me and read it.
  • I triple dog dare you not to read this book!
  • This is a collection of mini stories… But, wait! There’s more! No, there isn’t. But mini stories are fun and delicious. Like those little cupcakes with sprinkles that you can eat a bunch of without having to explain yourself to anybody because they expect you to eat more than one.
  • Will this torment never cease?!!!
  • I’m seriously considering finding a vampire and asking it (“him”? or “her”?) to turn me so I have an excuse to not finish this intro. No, seriously. Now I’m wondering. What is the correct pronoun for creatures of the night? Are they “it” or do you refer to them by the gender they were before they were bitten? And, technically, they are still that gender. Regardless, if I were a turned into a vampire it would require some adjustment on my part. Would that be an acceptable reason for not including an introduction to this collection?
  • There is nothing (not one thing) in this book that mentions the United States political system, the election, or the candidates.
  • Short fiction is known by many names. Flash, sudden, postcard, micro, hint… Hint fiction. Get it? Hinting at Shadows does hint at darkness but it’s also hint fiction. Cool, huh? *nudge* *nudge* *wink* *wink* Know what I mean?
  • I’d rather be watching Harry Potter.
  • If I write any more introductions, there’s a real possibility I will spontaneously combust.

 

Do you find it difficult to write your introduction or is it easy after you’ve done all the writing/editing/revising for your book?

 

Hinting at Shadows ~ Published #NewRelease

 

hinting-at-shadows-cover-reveal-lemon-shark

 

So. It has come to this.

Yes! It really has. It’s here!

Hinting at Shadows is now available in both eBook and paperback.

After some minor bumps and bruises with the ever-delightful formatting process, I am finally able to release my book into the world.

This is a collection of short fiction. Flash, micro, sudden, postcard, hint… Whatever you label it, it’s fiction. And it’s short.

I hope to entertain but, really, it’s awesome if I can spark your imagination or get you thinking about possibilities.

As most of you know, when I write fiction, I turn to the dark side. (I am this close to a Star Wars reference…)

This book is a mixture of darkness and softness. I skip the gore and go straight for the heart, allowing words to whisper dark, suggestive snapshots of the psyche. I’m fascinated by human nature. These are stories that hint at the things in the shadows.

Thanks to all you tweeps, blogging friends, and writer buddies who supported, encouraged, and, quite frankly, kept me going with your excitement for this project. You are all awesome. A special thanks to Sacha Black, Rachael Ritchey, and Loni Townsend for all their help.

 

Blurb for Hinting at Shadows:

 

NO ONE ESCAPES LIFE UNSCATHED

Delve into the deeper reaches of the human condition and the darkness that lives there.

A girl haunted by her sister’s drowning. A boy desperate for his father’s affection. A woman forced to make a devastating decision. A man trapped by his obsessions.

Experience tales of love, loss, murder, and madness through this collection of flash and micro fiction.

Take a peek behind the smile of a stranger. Get a glimpse inside the heart of a friend. Scratch the surface and discover what is hidden beneath.

These stories will open your mind, tug at your thoughts, and allow you to explore the possibility that, even in the brightest moments, something is Hinting at Shadows.

Each selection is approximately 100 words, with a bonus section of Microbursts in which each story is told in 50 words or less.

 

Available to buy:

Paperback

eBook

If you decide to grab a copy, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed creating shadows with flash.

 

Pinstagram

 

pinstagram-sig

 

When I asked whether writers should use Pinterest or Instagram, there was a clear winner: Pinterest.

However.

I keep stumbling across articles saying how Instagram is awesome for authors.

What I don’t understand, about either of these, is how they are “social” media.

I get that you’re more visible, building your platform and so forth, but the chattiness of, say, Twitter is not there. (Claims the girl who is on neither of these networks.)

As I see it:

Instagram: A cool place to showcase pictures of your vacation, your lunch, or your cat. Or show off your mad photography skills.

Pinterest: A cool place to create collections of pictures that you like, that you took, or that inspire you. Or all of the above.

How is this social? And why are the articles saying you must be social on these networks…or else? (And what is the “or else”, anyway? Are there social media monsters that will crawl out of my computer and gobble me up? Actually, that’s creepy.)

By the way, I haven’t ignored you, my lovely friends. Pinterest it is. Because you said so.

Here I am… pinterest.com/sarahbrentyn

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

Are you on Pinterest? If so, let me know so I can find you and “friend” you or “follow” you or, um, “buddy” you or “chase” you or something. Also, are you social on there? How? I’ll try my damndest to be social with you.

If you’re on Instagram and really like it, I could be persuaded to join that, too. Let me know…