Celebrating Two Year Blogging Anniversary


Hi Everyone

I recently received a message from WordPress to say congratulations on my two year old blog. Wow! Doesn’t time fly when you are having fun!

In celebration of this wonderful achievement and all of the people who have contributed to make this blog so successful, I have decided to list below, some of the most popular blogs posts for you to browse in case you missed them before.

quirkybooks.wordpress.com/2012/11/10/the-liebster-award-thanks-and-nominations

quirkybooks.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/the-beginners-guide-to-succeeding-at-national-novel-writing-month

quirkybooks.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/whose-birthday-is-it-today

quirkybooks.wordpress.com/2012/09/29/own-your-niche-book-review

quirkybooks.wordpress.com/2012/07/10/researching-what-your-reader-wants-to-read

I also want to share with you, some posts that I think you may enjoy.

quirkybooks.wordpress.com/2011/05/11/10-reasons-why-writers-should-retreat

quirkybooks.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/super-8-ideas-for-stories

quirkybooks.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/top-five-tips-for-how-to-stay-focused-on-your-writing

quirkybooks.wordpress.com/2011/02/10/seven-ways-to-write-and-excite-your-valentine

To top off all of the fun, I have been nominated for two more awards, The Shine On Award and the Reality Blog Award from http://catnipoflife.wordpress.com These will soon be displayed on my blog and nominations will be given.

Happy celebrating and thanks to all of you for making this possible.

Write soon

Sandra

C is for Compelling Characters (A-Z of Writing)


Hi Everyone

Whatever story you are writing, you have to create compelling characters. This does not mean to say they all have to be ‘nice’ characters, on the contrary, some villains make the most compelling characters because as human beings we are naturally curious as to why a person has become in that state of being and that’s what keeps us intrigued. Therefore a flawed character can be just as attractive as someone with an endearing personality. Think about how many TV programmes there are nowadays, that explore the reasons as to why a serial killer became that in the first place. We want to understand the reason why someone speaks, acts and behaviours in the manner in which they do, so that we can find a part of ourselves that connects with them in some way and causes us to want to know more. It becomes a challenge to us, a mission, to want to solve the puzzle of their personality.

There are exceptions to this. If you are writing a children’s book for 3-5 years, the last thing you want to do is bring a nasty character into the story as this would most likely scare a child of that age. With this age group, it is more about a child being compelled by the main character because they can relate to a problem the character is experiencing.  For example losing their Blankie or favourite toy. The reader wants to know how that problem is going to be resolved. This is the ‘hook’ that pulls the reader along to the end and needs to be intertwined with a degree of tension, built gradually to a peak and then to a successful conclusion.

To create a compelling character in a novel from someone who seems to have the most wonderful personality and the most perfect life, they usually have to have something happen to them in the story that affects them in some way. The more major way the better, as it adds curiosity and drama to the plot, increases tension and compels the reader to find out how they deal with that event and how it affects  the people around them. Remember ’cause and effect’ and as you write your story, keep thinking of this in your head. You need a ’cause’ to create a puzzle that needs to be solved and you need to explore the ‘effects’ of this on the main character and consequently the other characters. As the reader gets into the mind of the characters and feels for them, they will want to know more and read on.

But what about non-fiction books?

With non-fiction books, the book is often written by someone with experience in their field. They have been through it, done it and come out the other side. They are imparting the knowledge of their experience to the reader. So in effect, they are the main character and they become compelling when they are viewed as an expert with a human touch, that other people can relate to and learn valuable information from, to inspire and to help them. Another thing a non-fiction writer may include in their book, is case studies, these are often based on real-life people, whose identity has been kept anonymous but who have been through similar experiences to that of the reader. They are compelling because as they pop up throughout the book, they offer various solutions to solving a problem or issue that the reader needs to be resolved.

As always, your comments are most welcome.

Write soon

Sandra

One Lovely Blog Award


One Lovely Blog Award

Thank you to everyone who has liked my blog posts, left a comment, joined my blog or Liked my Facebook page. Your support is hugely appreciated and I thoroughly enjoy interacting with you and reading your blogs too.

You may have heard that last week I was awarded the One Lovely Blog Award by Dan Balva from hurdlestohappiness, here is the Link to his site http://hurdlestohappiness.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/one-lovely-blog-award

I am extremely pleased to received this award, which is my second award to date. It is a wonderful feeling that people are enjoying my writing and that makes me feel very happy and excited about what the future holds. Dan has a great blog so you should check it out.

Oh, yes! There are a few rules which come with the receipt of this award and they are as follows:

ONE LOVELY BLOG AWARD RULES: 

1. I need to thank the person who nominated me.

2. Share 7 things about myself that you still may not know

3. Nominate 15 bloggers.

4. Notify the nominees that I have done so.

5. Put the logo of the award on my blog site.

Having already completed steps 1 and 5, that leaves me with 2,3, and 4. So 7 things about me that you still may not know:

  1. I appeared as an extra in the thirteenth episode of Torchwood, at the end of series one. My character had to scream and run away from a monster. I was paid for the work I did and it was filmed in the city centre of Cardiff in front of a live street audience. I was also shown in the trailer wearing a short white jacket and yes, I still have the jacket.
  2. I have a bronze award for Freestyle Disco dancing.
  3. I used to do Irish and Appalachian dancing.
  4. I did Ballroom dancing classes when I was younger.
  5. I have been a volunteer Hospital Radio Presenter since 1995. I currently present a show on Hospital Radio Exeter on a Monday night. My show is called Dreamboat and is aired from 10pm – 11pm. Here is a link to my radio show profile page:http://www.hospitalradioexeter.com/Members/SandraBellamy
  6. When I was young I had a golden cocker-spaniel called Purdy, she was the runt of the litter but she was also my best friend.
  7. I am an only child, I have no brothers or sisters.
  8. (Bonus) I have a wonderful grandma who is 94 and still living in her own home in Dawlish in Devon.

I hope you feel you know me a little better now. If you have any questions or comments about the above, please feel free to share them.

Now to nominate the One Lovely Blog Award to some other well deserving bloggers:

  1. hutchagoodlife  This is my personal favourite, having 4 guineapigs myself, I find this blogger extremely funny and insightful. She is able to get into the mind of a guineapig and make the reader believe they are in the guineapigs’ situation, truly incredible.
  2. marthareynoldswrites.com
  3. margekatherine.com
  4. dorothystacy.wordpress.com
  5. feelgoodtribe.com
  6. hurtlingtowards60.wordpress.com
  7. lesleycarter.wordpress.com
  8. jenowenby.wordpress.com
  9. valeriedavies.com
  10. russelrayphotos2.com
  11. ilovegetttingupinthemorning.wordpress.com
  12. suewestwood.wordpress.com
  13. bradstanton.com
  14. 200positivesaboutredunancy.wordpress.com
  15. spiritualchocolate.wordpress.com

Congratulations to all of you and keep up the good work.

Write soon

Sandra

Researching what your reader wants to read


Hi Everyone

Today’s post is in response to a comment from hutchagoodlife. To find out how you can research what your reader is wanting to read.

I recently wrote a non-fiction book proposal about redundancy and this involved a lot of research. This is what I did and what I would advise you to do, in order to increase your chances of giving the reader what they want and of getting published.

  • Google your subject – paying attention to the top 5 websites and browse them thoroughly
  • Use Google Keyword search tools for finding out what words and combinations of words are most searched for
  • Search the web in general for your subject matter and note and explore your results
  • Read as many books as possible, written by other authors on the subject/genre for which you want to write
  • Read books by the publisher/s you are going to submit your work to, to see what’s been done before
  • Look through magazines/newspapers, watch TV programmes on your subject
  • Devise a market research survey or questionnaire and find a suitable place to action it – then ensure you do take action by noting the results
  • Join social networking forums relevant to your subject and find out what everyone is talking about –  A good one for me is LinkedIn
  • Go to your local bookstores and ask them for a print out on books that you can buy relevant to your subject, if there is a lot, choose between 5 -10. – Different bookstores will have some different titles that you can potentially buy but there will always be crossovers, which is when you can start to see patterns emerging of the most popular titles that you need to study
  • Go to visit your local library and look at books similar to or the same as your subject – Pay attention to how many times each book has been taken out – That way you can compare the most popular titles with the most unpopular ones and analyse why you believe they are better

The amount of time you spend doing each of the above, will most likely be different for a fiction book to a non-fiction book and although all are relevant, you may find that some work better for you than others, depending on what it is that you want to write about.

Whatever you are writing about, ensure you put a different slant on it, to what has been done before. Stay positive, stay focused and believe in your-self.

Good luck.

If you want any more help, please let me know.

Write soon

Sandra