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Posts tagged ‘SF’

First Monday Mentoring for May – 5 ways to know you’re a writer

Happy first Monday in May, the day when I open this blog to your questions about writing. They can be on creative, craft or business matters. No question is stupid except, as the saying goes, the one you didn’t ask. So ask away using the comment box below. You can also share your experiences as a writer with others.

I’m sorry that comments need to be moderated before they appear.
I’m often tempted to turn that off, but friends who’ve done so report an avalanche of spam and rudeness we can all do without.

To kick things off, here’s a question I was asked while attending Conflux National Science Fiction Convention in Canberra. The event was wonderful, attended by writers, editors, publishers and fans of fantasy and SF. During a coffee session, I was asked, “How do you know if you’re a writer?” A good question.Time is precious.No-one wants to slave away on stories that are going nowhere. Here are some clues that might help.

1. You look at stories differently
You read a book, watch a movie or TV show and mentally write a better ending. You get impatient because you know who the villain is before anyone around you. A pen on a desk is never just a pen. It’s a potential weapon and you’ve already thought of a dozen ways it could be used. You’re either a psychopath or a writer, possibly both.

2. You feel things more acutely
You lose someone and while grieving, store away the feelings in case a character can use them later. You attribute motives to actions, even if the person doing them was merely acting on impulse. As a writer, you know that actions must be motivated, even if not in real life.

To a writer, everyone & everything is a story

To a writer, everyone & everything is a story

3. You observe everything
Yes, even your own suffering. As writer, Anne Lamott says in her wonderful Bird by Bird, if you’re held up, you don’t actually think, “So this is what it’s like staring down the barrel of a gun” but you come close.

4. You turn everything into a story
You wonder if you’re heartless because you channel your tragedies and suffering into story ideas. Judy Nunn calls this meta-observing “the third eye.” All writers have it, and we can’t turn it off.

5. You set the bar high
I’m convinced we write to prove to ourselves that we can do it…again and again. After quitting my day job, I wrote the same number of words full-time as part-time, because I expected more of myself. Make the New York Times bestseller list? Next time aim for #1 spot. Sell half a million copies? Next time it better be a million.

Far from being a cruisy, wrist-to-forehead profession, writing is one of the toughest gigs I know. How did you find out you were a writer? What’s good and bad about it for you? Love to share your comments.

Valerie
http://www.valerieparv.com

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Alphabet Soap – helping your H/h find their HEA among the romance writing acronyms

Blame texting, Twitter, or just plain human inertia…okay, laziness, but there are so many acronyms around that it’s easy to drown in a sea of them.  This blog may help you navigate your way around the ones most commonly used in writing circles.

Starting with the basics: ACRONYM – noun – word formed from the initial letters of other words eg Laser – Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.

Not all acronyms are recent. When I was president of the Society of Women Writers (SWW) a member queried the meaning of SAE in contest conditions saying, “I know SA stands for South Australia but what is the E for?” We had to explain that SAE stands for Self Addressed Envelope which entrants were asked to include if they wanted their entry returned. A variation is SSAE – stamped, self-addressed envelope. SAEs can still be requested in contest conditions where  entries can’t be emailed.

Other writing and romance perennials:

H/h shorthand for Hero and heroine. Variants include M/M – male/male gay fiction, F/F – female/female, M/M/M or F/F/F or variants, menage (multiple) partner stories. BDSM stories have bondage, discipline and sado-masochism elements.

HEA stands for Happy (or Happily) Ever After, the ending readers look forward to your H/h enjoying after all their trials.

The letters don't always mean what the writer thinks they mean

POV – point of view or viewpoint, the character through whose eyes we see/experience the story. The heroine’s POV was once used exclusively but now we like to get inside the hero’s head as well. Using too many POVs leads to “head hopping” a writing sin where the reader loses track of who’s POV we’re in.

TSTL – one of my favourites, standing for Too Stupid To Live. The heroine who goes alone into the cellar of a haunted house at dead of night when the power is out is TSTL. Or a heroine who packs up and leaves after seeing the hero kissing another woman, concluding that he’s unfaithful when a simple question would reveal that she’s the H’s sister. TSTL characters turn up in “wall banger” books, so-called because the reader hurls the book at the wall in frustration.

DNF – a book the reader did not finish. See above for possible reasons.

WIP and MS or MSS – Work in Progress, also Manuscript. If the writing is  going badly, the writer may call the book “drek”. Hopefully, the editor and readers won’t.

YA – books written for the Young Adult market, eg Harry Potter or the Twilight series.

F & SF – fantasy and science fiction. SF is science fiction,  sci-fi being used mostly by detractors. SFR is science fiction romance.

ARC – where writers want to be, handing out Advance Reading Copies for review and comment.

TBR – writers and readers alike complain of a teetering To Be Read pile or file, in the case of downloaded ebooks.

Have you been puzzled by an acronym lately, or found one that made you LOL (laugh out loud)? Share it with us here.

TY (thank you)

Valerie

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