“You’ve got to get obsessed and stay obsessed.”
– John Irving
Word of the Week: Inscient. Someone who has little or no knowledge of a situation can be described as inscient. Again referencing one of my works-in-progress, one of my characters is thought to be inscient of a grievous crime, and he goes to great lengths to keep it that way.
Tip of the Week: Imagination. It doesn’t exactly matter to me whether you are a fiction writer pounding out your best-seller, a non-fiction writer whose mission is to tell the truth of [enter historical event here], or a memoirist writing of all your fantastic life experiences. You’re a writer, therefore you are using your imagination, to some degree, to write your ideas down in such a way that people want to flip the page. I remember a lively debate once where a very artsy friend of mine was adamant that our imaginations are limitless, and another friend was equally as staunch in their position that our imaginations, while vast, are limited.
I don’t know about that, but I do know that sometimes my imagination gets stuck. I try to envision my fictitious worlds and my characters but for the life of me all I can think of is my rent and power bill, the groceries I don’t feel like going to get, and the email I forgot to respond to at work.
Aila, this sounds a lot like writer’s block, you say. Fine. Shut up. It isn’t easy coming up with something that starts with i.
Here are three tips for reviving a dead imagination:
1.| Play Minecraft, specifically in Creative Mode. It is your world to do with as you’d like. Build or destroy a city. Craft your very own underwater castle built of glass and watch the sea creatures from your bedroom. Set the world on fire and watch it burn one block at a time. Create a story for Pixelated You.
2.| Scroll your various social media pages and look for an interesting photograph. DO NOT READ THE CAPTION. Make up your own scenario for what is going on in the picture. Be as straightforward or as complex as you’d like.
3.| Watch a movie and imagine how the prose would read if it were a book. Critique the dialogue. Write your own internal dialogue for the climactic scenes.
Resource of the Week: I am going to preface this by saying I have not currently used the services from this company, but I will be very shortly and I will write a complete review at that time of my experience. IngramSpark is a print-on-demand company who offers a wide range of services to their customers and, from my research so far, offers an exceptionally professional end-product.
Spotlight of the Week:
Paul Ikin is an indie author from Melbourne, Australia. His debut novel The Other Side of Eve was self published in 2015 and is growing in popularity. Sort out by those that like dark fairytales, the strange and the magical. As a working illustrator & designer he crafted TOSoE from cover to cover, drew over 80 chapter illustrations and the surreal fantasy map of Mare-Marie; A project that took over six years. An avid traveler, Ikin wrote half of TOSoE while overseas living in Berlin. He is currently writing the prequel to TOSoE, while staying home to nurture his 7 month old son, Vincent.
1.) I am thoroughly enjoying The Other Side of Eve! When did you know you really had something special there? Was it after building a particular character? The world? A specific section of the book?
I’m so glad to hear you’re enjoying The Other Side of Eve.
The first draft will always be very special to me. It’s the raw, fluid, chaotic version, which took me years to write, when TOSoE was in my every thought day and night-it’s all I talked about. The main protagonists Eve & Belleny moved me to move them; they were on such different journeys, but each magical, connected and very special.
2.) I will admit I was initially mesmerized by the illustrations in TOSOE. Do you tend to illustrate your existing stories, or write stories for your existing illustrations? Where does the inspiration come from?
Thank you. I tend to illustrate for my existing stories. I feel I need to write about them first, to conjure the characters up in my minds eye and feel them, know them, shape them with words. Then drawing them comes easily, and I usually draw them first go. When I try writing about a character I had drawn first, there is little emotional connection, I feel lost, ‘Who are you?’. My characters know exactly who they are.
3.) What has been the biggest surprise since you decided to write with the intent of publication? What has been your biggest obstacle, and do you have any advice for other writers to help deal with that problem?
As an indie author I self published- what was I thinking! It was a very steep learning curve that continues to climb. I don’t recommend it unless you are committed to hours of learning about the hundreds of things a publishing house does, then attempt to do everyone’s job yourself.The biggest obstacle was getting TOSoE seen amongst the millions of other books. I gave up. Now I let the reader find Eve.
What helped, besides the kind reviews, was a simple website. It’s one good way to promote your book, you as a writer, and give the readers an insight into your world. All without having to speak a word, good news for most writers I know who would rather type than talk. I built my site on WordPress for free. They take time, but start small and build on it. In a year they become a beast in their own.
I also recommend getting an editor or two. I’ve been through a few after many mistakes were missed. I enjoy the process and getting a fresh set of eyes over my work, it can do it wonders. I made the mistake by publishing too early, don’t jump the gun, make sure your book is super tight before pressing publish. The revised version of The Other Side of Eve is now available and all ebooks are updated automatically.
Also for indie authors I recommend using both Createspace & Ingram Spark combined. Ingram Spark make beautiful hardcovers that Createspace don’t provide. They are high quality and you’ll be proud to see your beautiful story wrapped in cloth and a tight book jacket; A proud version to have in your own personal library.
4.) If you could have dinner with any author in history, who would it be, why, and what would you hope to take away from the experience?
I would like to have dinner with Clive Barker. I am fond of his horror writings, notably turned into movies such as Hellraiser & Nightbreed, but his fantasy novels are what inspire me, these are the books that started me on my own writing journey; Imajica, Abarat, Cabal, The Geat and Secret Show, Weaveworld, to name a few of my favorites. He is also a great illustrator of his characters, seen in many of his books.
Some of his influences are also mine, such as H.P. Lovecraft. Edgar Allan Poe, Ray Bradbury.
I would hope to get an insight into his writing practice, as I know mine is quite intense.
5.) What’s a little-known fact about you? Explain or elaborate. (Special talents, non-writing hobbies, etc.)
In my 20’s I ran a collectable toy shop specializing in 80’s toys. It was a bit like staring in a geeky movie and a lot of fun. As a writer I’m highly inspired by 80’s culture, cartoons and movies. It helps as an author & illustrator to get submerged in it at all times. Now I’m a new dad I look forward to watching entire series of cartoons all over again with my son. Good times ahead.
*I* am so glad you joined me again this week! Have a fantastic Monday and HAPPY WRITING! Or sad, morose writing… if that’s your thing. 😉