Thursday, 27 October 2011

Goal driven loser

It’s been about a month since starting my wannabe author platform. I’m still no better at tweeting or twittering or whatever the hell it’s called. There’s a certain art in trying to express something in less than 140 characters, without looking like a complete dumbass. Then there’s the whole hash tag thing. I may be doing it properly, or just annoying people with a number sign in front of some random word that’s supposed to get me more followers or something.

I’m following 134 Tweeters, and I have 45 following me. I think that’s a pretty good ratio for a wannabe author who only joined a month ago. Or I could just be a loser. That’s what I think while creeping Twitter profiles with thousands of followers.

My blog is pitiful, with only 5 followers who I madly appreciate (thank you!). When I tracked a view from Russia I almost did a touchdown dance. Yeah, I’m definitely a loser. And yes, I embrace it. I love technology, when I can understand it (I’m a MAC girl and PC’s just make me cry). I kick ass at almost any video game, even if I’ve never played it before. I can set up a home theatre without instructions. So, why the hell can’t I get my head around this platform thing? I’m trying here, I really am. I tweet as much as I can without being annoying. People don’t need to know what I ate today or what the fuck color I’m wearing. I try to post a blog every Friday (yes, today’s Thursday).  I annoy FB friends and ask them to follow me on this platform adventure. If I’m bothering people this much, what I have to say better be worth it. I sure hope it is, because one day I want to annoy many more with my novel. People are going to love or hate Candyflip; books on drugs usually have that effect. All I’m looking for is one of those emotions, some kind of reaction.

All is not lost on this platform game. I’m starring Twitter favorites like crazy about writing blogs and writing advice. There’s probably an easier way to save them for later reading, but like I mentioned earlier I’m working out the kinks with all this social media stuff. This week I learned how to sharpen my hook (not a Pirate’s) at At, there’s great information on closing lines. I even had a chuckle with @Quotes4Writers tweet, “Writing fiction is the act of weaving a series of lies to arrive at a greater truth.” Khalid Hosseini (Born 1965) Novleist. How do you even write anything after that brilliance? Total tweet of the week!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Necessary Distractions

I’m a newbie, with much to learn, in the platform game. A few weeks ago I started my blog and set up a Twitter account. Now I’m contemplating getting a website up. Building a platform is time consuming and distressing for a shy writer who cringes at self-promotion. Spending most of your time with your head buried in a book or behind a laptop can make you an introvert.

I observe life and write about it. That’s not to say I haven't lived. Every day is filled with writing stimulus. Even the most mundane day-to-day actions can entertain a reader if written from a unique perspective. The writer’s pledge is to engage the reader in a world that keeps them turning pages with expectation and emotion. This is just a little of what I’ve learned from building my platform. There is advice from editors, writers and agents that can elevate your writing to a level that they are looking for. Two articles I found from creeping on Twitter this week; Roz Morris’s 2 misconceptions of new writers at, and Victoria Mixon’s 5 Ways to Make Your Novel Helplessly Addictive at, caused me to review and revise my manuscript.

I admit that I’m a perpetual editor. I have about 90-100 pages of Candyflip left to write, but how can I move forward knowing that the first 300 need to be altered to make them better? Reworking those already written pages can have a profound effect on the unwritten ones. I’m not making major plot changes or character revisions, yet the small nuances like wit and tone that make Candyflip special, get better with every revisit. I figure since this is my first manuscript, it’s going to take the longest to write. It took some time to find my voice, and when I did the words flowed like paint on canvas. My writing improved and I gained the confidence to go back and re-write Candyflip in present tense. With the manuscript almost complete, and social media’s distractions taking my focus away from it, there is fear that it will take even longer to finish Candyflip. Still, I think building a strong platform is necessary if I ever want to be published.

Since the first keystroke, I’ve dreamed of seeing my novel in the hands of readers whose facial expressions give away just how enamored they are with my story. I want a publisher’s logo on the spine of that novel, and the name of a super fabulous agent and their hard working assistant on the thank you page. Writing a novel involves a lot of hard work from not just the writer, but a support team of book worms who all do this because they are crazy. We are crazy in love with the written word and want to share it with the world.

BTW: did I mention I’m a painter too? Yeah, I know- more distractions, but this artist just can’t help her self. Check out the painting of my main character Lilly. It helped cure writer's block a few months ago.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Candyflip's first 598

It’s entry deadline day for the International Festival of Authors (IFOA)/Humber School for Writers, Author for a Day Contest. After a week long internal debate on whether to enter or not, I hit send and my 598 words traveled on a wave of panic to their judgment.

There’s no turning back. The first pages from Candyflip are waiting on some gmail account, filling the inbox with an opening to a novel that has been re-written too many times to count. My fate rests in the Humber School for Writers faculty now. Those are some gifted and experienced hands (mind out of the gutter people). The faculty’s literary experience is impressive. One day when I’m all grown up and can save enough cash, I would love to take the correspondence course… if miraculously accepted.

The winner of the contest has the opportunity to read their entry at the IFOA and attend a literary lunch with the event speakers. Reading your work in front of that many people is beyond terrifying. Getting to dine and talk shop with them is a monumental opportunity. If the writing gods bless me with this win, it’s doubtful there will be any food chewing on my part. I’ll be too busy digesting literati advice and pinching myself, hard.

Guess, now you’re wondering what those 598 words are? Or not. Either way, I’m posting them and would love your feedback. 

Candyflip content is copyrighted so don’t even think of plagiarizing- it would be flattering, but I will find you! You may not want some angry wannabe author chasing you down- just saying.

Candyflip’s first 598 words:

January 20, 2012: Deleted the sample text because it sucked! I've edited like crazy and you'll all have to wait until Candyflip is published to read the revisions. Yes, I'm on the long road to getting my first manuscript published and will keep you posted with developments. Sorry if I pissed any of you off by deleting the first 598. 

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Word on the Street Festival

This wannabe writer wandered the tents of Toronto’s Word on the Street festival last Sunday. The experience is more colourful from a writer's perspective, rather than some girl with funky glasses who really loves reading. I scoured the Wordshop Marquee tent like a starving piranha trying to nibble clues from tasty looking authors and editors. The entire buffet of advice was free. Don't let the free fool you. Quality content, from a lineup of impressive speakers, had my heart pumping and head spinning right until the final hour of the day. 

Riding a double shot cappuccino high, I flung a sample from my Candyflip manuscript into the critique lottery drop box for the final wordshop. On the brink of puking, I internally prayed for Antanas Sileika (Director of the Humber School for Writers, and one of the days hosts) to pick my page, and not pick my page.

The first lucky winner’s prose was critiqued, and my throat swelled while my stomach filled with acid. I've taken creative writing classes with peer feedback session, and they made me a little nervous. Listening to the brutally honest comments from the amazing publisher Jack David, and award-winning author Kim Moritsugu, had me hyperventilating.  Eyeing the squishy grass at my feet, I wondered if anyone would notice me slipping from the chair to kneel before the writing gods; begging that my page stay buried at the bottom of the box. Three critiques later, I was feeling confident mine would not be picked, when Mr. Sileika announced the last page and held it up. The page had a paper clip on it. It was the only page in that box with a paper clip on it. I know this because the idiot who put it there wasn’t planning on submitting anything for critique; she just happened to have a copy of her double-spaced first five pages incase her dream agent/publisher was there.

Putting those paper clipped pages into that box was the best thing I ever did. The comments were frightening, and accurate.  I’ve never been satisfied with the opening to Candyflip, and couldn’t figure out why. Kim Moritsugu’s candid comments uncovered the problem with my novel’s opening. Jack David’s encouragement injected me with confidence to re-work the manuscript that night.

Thanks to every person involved with The Word on the Street Festival. Special thanks to Jack David and Kim Moritsugu for helping this wannabe writer get a little better.

Maybe I’ll be able to call myself an author at the next festival.