Wednesday, January 3, 2018

IWSG Post – My Plan for my Writing and Publishing?

One of the best things to happen to writers all over the world is IWSG, the other things being signing with an agent and bagging a publishing deal. But before the other two happen, writers celebrate being a part of IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group) an online community of writers posting on the first Wednesday of the month. We discuss things that we can’t talk with non-writers: our writing blues, writing insecurities and worries. And the best thing is writers from all over the world who are at different stages of their writing journeys encourage and support us with their suggestions and advice.

The credit for starting this amazing group goes to Ninja captain Alex J Cavanaugh (author of the Amazon Bestsellers: CassaStar, CassaStorm, CassaFire and Dragon of the Stars). Superhero Alex has made IWSG a force to reckon with. There is an IWSG website, a newsletter that keeps the members updated, IWSG brings out  anthologies every year, it hosted a Twitter pitch party last year and will host its second party on January 18th.  

My co-hosts for January IWSG are Tyrean Martinson, Ellen @The Cynical Sailor, Megan Morgan and Jennifer Lane.

The IWSG January 3rd question is : What steps have you taken or plan to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?

At the start of my writing career I had put a publishing plan in place. My aim was to get visibility as a writer and to achieve that purpose I wrote short stories, features and did book reviews for many newspapers, so that more and more people would get familiar with my byline. I also contributed stories for several anthologies brought out by leading publishers so that the editors would be acquainted with my style of writing when my books landed in their inbox.

Yes, my writing and publishing plan has worked to a certain extent. Nowadays many people are familiar with my name and read my features and the editors of the publishing houses don’t take me lightly. Usually editors have a habit of brushing off writers, but not in my case, as I’ve become a columnist for two newspapers. 
w for two newspapers.
This year my plan is to write more books in different genres.

I’m looking forward to reading all your writing and publishing plans. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

IWSG Post – If you backtrack 2017 what would you do differently

2017 has flown by in the blink of an eye. I still remember the first IWSG post of the year and now it’s the last. IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group) is one of the best things to happen to writers all over the world. Why is it the best thing? Because believe it or not, writers are very insecure creatures. We think other writers write way better than us, create wonderful settings, etch characters that leave our own characters way behind in the literary stakes.

Inshort we writers lug around a truckload of anxieties, insecurities, doubts and fears. And if Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh (author of the Amazon Bestsellers: CassaStar, CassaStorm, CassaFire and Dragon of the Stars) and founder of this awesome group did not give us this wonderful opportunity to let off our writing steam, we all would go mad under the onslaught of our worries. Adorable Ninja Captain concerned about our mental and emotional well-being quickly formed this group to take care of his tribe. IWSG has a wonderful website with a whole lot of writing related information.

And under Captain Alex’s capable leadership writers roam around blogosphere with large smiles on their faces as they have given vent to their writing related frustrations via an IWSG post.

December 6th IWSG question: As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

If I could do anything differently I would wipe out the few months of this year wherein I wasted time doing nothing. Yes, I suffered from a heavy bout of writing lethargy and indulged in procrastination with my stories. Due to those few months I’m way behind my writing and reading goals for 2017. But, I learnt a very important lesson, that I must manage my time wisely on a daily basis, else I’ll end up as a bundle of frustration and anxiety due to not having achieved my daily writing goals and weekly reading goals. 

I’m eager and curious to read all your posts.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Q and A with Mark Noce author of Dark Winds Rising

I met Mark Noce on my blog many years back, he left a comment saying that he would love to read my stories and that was it. We became critique partners and to be honest it has been sheer pleasure reading and critiquing Mark’s manuscripts and getting feedback from him on my own stories. When Mark signed with super agent Rena Rossner, I was thrilled for him.

On December 5, Mark’s novel Dark Wind’s Rising, published by St. Martin's Press (sequel to Between Two Fires) hits the bookshelves. I’m excited and happy for him. I know he is pressed for time, but there was no way I would let his book launch go, without him paying my blog a visit.

Q. Your novel is set in post Arthurian times, what kind of research did you do for Dark Winds Rising and its prequel Between Two Fires?

Thanks for having me here, Rachna! My research consisted of culling through both historical documents as well as legends from the era. I found the legends particularly enlightening because the few historical documents that did survive were usually fragmented. Archeological data was also really helpful.

Q. Your protagonist is Queen Branwen. How hard was it to write from a woman’s point of view?

Honestly, I’m intrigued by writing from other perspectives because I believe that the common threads that make us all human shine through in any protagonist. Also, my wife is my secret weapon and she reviews all of my early drafts and provides invaluable feedback as I write.

Q. One of my favourite characters in both your books is the hedge knight Artagan, tell us something about how you sketched this character?

Yeah, for better or worse there’s actually a fair amount of me in his character. Maybe that’s why I like to write him. He’s definitely flawed, but hopefully has his heart in the right place.

Q. How do you balance your writing with your day job?

It’s not easy, especially with kids too. I commute via public transport and that time is really useful for me. I can get a lot written or read on my morning and evening commutes. The key is to keep it fun too. If the writing is fun, I always manage to make time for it.

Q. What is your writing style? Plotter? Pantser? Detailed outline?

I’m a total panster, at least on the first draft. That doesn’t mean I’m not plotting some elements in my mind and doing research while I adjust the narrative, but I really enjoy flying “blind” the first time I write a draft.

Q. How long does it take you to finish a first draft?

I typically prefer to write as fast as I can. While the inspiration strikes me. My first draft for a full length novel usually takes 3-4 months tops. I’ll do revisions after that of course and get feedback from great CPs, such as yourself!

Q. How many drafts do you typically work on before you are ready to submit?

I try not to count. But I’d say a surprisingly large part of the first draft shows through in the final product. The more eyes I can get on the text though, the better. Quality feedback is essential.

Q. What is your revision process like?

It’s a different mode, editing versus writing. When editing, I try not to do anything else, so that I really focus. In the first draft anything goes, but in subsequent ones I try to really question everything as I review it.

Q. Did you ever think that Historical fiction novels would be a hard sell in terms of getting an agent?

Not particularly. I read plenty of historical fiction, so there are definitely agents representing it. The funny thing is that what I call historical another person may call romance or literary or even fantasy. It’s all in the eye of the beholder. So long as the story is good, that’s what matters to me.

Q. Could you tell us something about your journey to getting an agent?

Sure. I attended writer’s conferences and met agents face-to-face. I also queried others via email and by post. I actually found my agent, Rena Rossner, online one day and emailed her. She read the first few chapters of Between Two Fires, and that was it. Of course every step of the journey takes time, i.e. convincing the agent’s agency to take you on, sending out manuscripts to publishing houses, etc. But once I got Rena’s first reply to my manuscript, I knew I was on to something.

Q. The book/s you are currently reading?

Everything! I try to read 3-4 books a week, as it’s more grist for my mill. I’ve been reading a lot of murder mysteries and historical fiction set in WWII. I’m also a big Lawrence Durrell fan and recommend him to anyone who wants to peruse a spectacularly well-written novel.

Q. Any writing craft book that you swear by?

Honestly, I don’t feel attached to any particular “writing craft” book. I do, however, firmly believe that fiction itself is the best teacher. No need to listen to me when you can go pick up Shakespeare or Homer or any other great author at any time and read their best work! It’s like they are alive and talking directly to you, showing you just what to do.

Q. What are you currently working on?

I’ve got two more manuscripts with my agent right now that she’s excited about. One is a Viking story about a young warrior woman and the other is a murder mystery set in London during the Blitz. I definitely can’t wait for a chance to get these stories out there.

Here is wishing Mark super success with his book.

Mark on Twitter

Thanks Mark for taking out the time to answer a few questions.