Character, character character ~ Make them believable.

A thought struck us at Eventispress is that we warm to certain elements in stories and firstly that:

‘the characters need to be believable so that readers can identify, empathise with, warm to or be repelled by them.’

Whether the novel is loosely termed crime, historical fiction, dystopian or mystery, all of the novels we release are weighted heavily on genuine characters. You don’t always have to like them, but we promise you that you will feel their pain, their joy, their frustration ~ in fact every human emotion. You may laugh out loud or be in sobs of tears. You may pick up the book and find it hard to put it down, but we hope that some of the characters therein will live with you a while after you leave their make believe world.

What you will not see in our fiction so far:

For crime you will not see too many car chases and for murder you will not have scenes that are so graphic you can’t sleep.

For historical fiction you will not see a real person from the past brought alive in the written word, but imaginary characters set in an authentic period in history. (unless loosely based on a true murder as in MURDER Now and Then)

For mystery it is less the police involvement in the crime and although there are certainly mysteries not revealed until the end, it may not be the reason you are compelled to keep reading. (as some readers have mentioned in their wonderful reviews)

For dystopian you will not read about elves or folks from outer space in an imaginary world, but believable people with real lives entangles with a plausible (well almost) future, not of their own choosing.

Instead, this is what you will read in our books so far:

In Roderick Hart’s crime novel Interleaved Lives you will identify with the lives of people struggling to find the truth of what happened to their missing spouses, gaining some solace in each other’s company, rather than gritty police procedure.

For dystopian in Ian K Pulham’s Ticket to Eden there are monsters in the depths of the sea, but they are almost believable and their interaction with the characters in the story almost amusing at times, if it wasn’t so hauntingly disturbing. Also, the web of confusing relationships Ian weaves, as the world loses its grip on any future, is unsettling, and yet there is almost an inevitability but poignancy to it.

In Diana Jackson’s mystery inspired by history series, it is yet again the web of relationships and mixed aspirations which lead to murder in MURDER Now and Then, added to the complex parallels with the past, which compels the reader. In MISSING Past and Present readers tell us that they are desperate to find our how Dot brings herself up from rock bottom. Yes, her husband is missing, as his her step son, but it is the relationships Dot builds which make a tragic story so heart warming.

In summary

…And so, in our fiction at Eventispress expect the characters to lead you into their world ~ one you may be reluctant to leave behind when you reach the last page … and do let us know what you think and write a review.

eventispress@outlook.com

Much appreciated!

Does it Sound Good to You

Rules for Writers ~ Part 2

Author Roderick Hart continues with writing rules he adheres to, with an excellent piece of advice especially for new writers:

Read with you ears!

Read it aloud: Referring to the essay in which he expounded writing rules Elmore Leonard said: “My most important rule is one that sums up the 10: If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” Note that he said ‘sounds’ like writing, not ‘reads’ like writing. This is important for two reasons. The first is that what we write should read well. If you have trouble reading out loud a passage you have written there is more work to be done. If you are aiming for an audio book as well this is even more important.

Punctuation: The second reason why this matters is punctuation. There is a set of conventions governing punctuation of the written word, but I have usually found it helpful to mark up scripts for reading aloud, and as often as not these punctuation points diverge from the convention. For example, my version of Word often tells me that a comma isn’t needed at a certain place. Well, strictly speaking it may not, but it but it helps the talent reading it to the mic and can save several takes.

Microsoft word prompts: Another habit your software may have is pointing out that a certain phrase might be more succinct: where you have used five words three would be enough. And this may be the case, but your slighter longer expression might carry an emphasis which the shorter version lacks. And then there is the question of rhythm. The shorter version may lack the rhythm of your original. Ultimately, these are questions of style and are, or should be, under the control of the author rather than software.

Afterwards: Since this post appears on the blog of a small press, the question arises: how relevant are rules for a writer hoping to be published? While some might cite the old adage that rules are there to be broken, this would not be safe at the outset of a writer’s career. Keeping to reasonable rules is more likely to result in a marketable product. No publisher would consider a book which shows a lack of competence in, and respect for, basic writing skills.

But, as was pointed out at the beginning of Writing Rules Part 1, rules for writers are forever telling you what you should avoid. What they never tell you is what you should actually do. The truth is, we must all work this out for ourselves.

We at Eventispress would also add the advice of converting your manuscript to a format for a device such as a Kindle and read it as you would read any novel or book ~ after a break of a couple of months from your own edit that is. Also to do this before you think of agents, publishers or self publishing.

Thanks so much Rod!

Rules for Writers ~ Compiled by Roderick Hart

Part A) The Nuts and Bolts

Thank you to author Roderick Hart for these useful posts on writing rules. Much appreciated. The original has been split into two parts;

A) The nuts and bolts of writing

B) Does it sound good to you (next week)

Avoidance tactics

Over the last few years there have been many posts on this subject. Usually, the emphasis is on what to avoid. For example, the aspiring writer should avoid adjectives, adverbs, verbs ending in ‘ing’ and the passive voice. It has also been suggested that question marks should be avoided, so presumably questions should too. Not so helpful when your detective is interrogating a suspect.

Advice from successful authors

In some cases, writers are pulling our legs with their suggestions. For example, Margaret Atwood tells us not to take a pen on a plane because it might leak. So we should take a pencil. Which she then qualifies by saying we should take two in case the first one breaks. Mildly witty, but not so helpful. Stephen King’s advice to writers is well known and easily found online, so let us consider instead what Elmore Leonard has to say on the subject.

The weather: His first rule is never to open a book with weather. This may be well advised since the weather, in daily life, is often relegated to small talk. Those with nothing else to say, comment on the wind and rain.

Prologues: His second rule is to avoid prologues. Some prologues are clearly designed as hooks to lure the reader in, but Leonard would probably say ‘just get on with it.’ There will be exceptions, but this advice is probably good.

Said or not to ‘said’: His next rule concerns the handling of dialogue. ‘Never use a verb other than said to carry dialogue.’ There is something to be said for this one too if it discourages us from using verbs at one remove. ‘I give up,’ she sighed. Maybe she did sigh but she definitely spoke.

Next, on an associated topic, he advises us never to use an adverb to modify the verb said. ‘I’m cashing in my chips,’ Victor said vehemently. Leonard would strike the ‘vehemently’. You can too if you like. One group of people who have taken this advice to heart, though in the worst possible way, is tennis players who, when interviewed, often state their intention to ‘play aggressive.’ This habit of reducing adverbs to adjectives is never recommended in indirect speech, though it might occasionally happen that one of your less-well-educated characters speaks in this way. Tennis, anyone?

Exclamation Marks: His next rules deal with excessive use of exclamation marks, avoidance of words such as ‘suddenly’, and limiting the use of regional dialects. Then we have his injunction to avoid detailed descriptions of characters, places and things. Why? Well, we don’t want so much detail that the narrative flow grinds to a halt. On the other hand, some writers are masters of descriptive writing, so if you are in this select group you might water down this advice.

And finally: Since this post appears on the blog of a small press, the question arises: how relevant are rules for a writer hoping to be published? While some might cite the old adage that rules are there to be broken, this would not be safe at the outset of a writer’s career. Keeping to reasonable rules is more likely to result in a marketable product. No publisher would consider a book which shows a lack of competence in, and respect for, basic writing skills.

But, as was pointed out at the beginning of this post, rules for writers are forever telling you what you should avoid. What they never tell you is what you should actually do. The truth is, we must all work this out for ourselves.

Great advice Rod. Continued next week with Does it sound good to you…

“Improve your life: read a book. Improve your life considerably: write a book!”

The above was author Ian K Pulham’s mantra at the end of his article: ‘Ticket to Eden ~ Three Months on from Publication’

So simple but so true, don’t you think.

We always say to authors, read, read, read, before write, write write.

Why should authors be avid readers?

  • You learn from experienced authors
  • You learn to be more critical of your own writing as you read less well hones novels too.
  • We are part of the world of books ~ libraries, bookshops, charity shops ~ feel totally part of that world to make connections
  • Chris Cribari’s blog post, with the link below, gives his own take on why he is an avid reader. We love the photo Chris!
Photo from Chris Cribari’s blog ~ Link below

Why should writers write reviews?

  • Writers are readers too.
  • To actively support your community of authors.
  • It’s good Karma ~ the more you give to an enterprise and those part of it, the more you receive.
  • How can you expect others to review your books if you don’t do reviews yourself?

Why should authors celebrate other authors’ novels on social media?

  • Easier to trumpet someone else’s work than your own.
  • It makes you a rounded person, telling your readers what you do and don’t like in the world of books, but be careful if you’re writing a negative review. Author Diana Jackson says ~ personally I don’t give less than 3 stars, otherwise I just don’t review. Occasionally I get in touch with the author to explain why ~ D Jackson.
  • Shout about the great books you read on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, blog post ~ it may provoke comments from like minded folks or even make contact with the author. Write their Twitter handle in the post if they have one.

Sometimes it is tough to promote your own books, but if it is, have a break from it. A positive attitude and promoting the works of others will in the least give you a feel good factor and at best bring good will back to you!

Don’t forget ~ Enjoy the ride!