Belinda Crawford

World-weaver. Tale spinner. Geek.

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Giveaway! Athena’s Ashes by Jamie Grey

Athena's Ashes Book Blitz

Another book to add to my exploding book pile! At this rate, I’m never going to get any writing done. I think I need a TARDIS, anyone got one spare?

Excerpt

Renna sat at the small round table in her room, reading through the data Dallas had sent to her tablet. She took another sip of scorching coffee and held the liquid in her mouth for a fraction of a second—until her tongue started to burn—before swallowing. Sometime in the past few days, she’d started doing stuff like that, letting herself experience feelings she’d normally ignore. Like each time might be her last. Continue reading »

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I want this book! Gates of Thread and Stone

Gates of Thread and Stone release day celebration! 5 August 2014

You can never have too many books, which is why I’m always on the lookout for a good one, and why my bookshelf includes towering piles on the floor.

Personally, I’m not to sure where I’m going to fit Gates of Thread and Stone (which looks and sounds awesome), but I’m sure I’ll find a cranny somewhere.

Continue reading »

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Writing loglines

Wizard of Oz logline – Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first person she meets and then teams up with three strangers to kill again.

Awesome, in a wrong yet funny way.

Right under ‘title’ on Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheet, there’s a little box called ‘tag line’ (but should really be called ‘logline’), which, frankly, used to scare the whatsits out of me.

What’s a logline?

A logline is your short story, novel or epic fantasy saga, summarised in a single sentence. It’s your pitch, your calling card, the line you pull out whenever you’re asked what your book is about.

Why do you need one?

Because, if you’re standing in an elevator and someone says they’ll give you a million dollars if you can tell them what your book’s about in ten seconds flat, what do you say?

It had better not be ‘umm’.  Continue reading »

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My Bookshelf on WWW Wednesday

Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz Alliance by Mark Frost Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula by Elise Stokes Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach

I’m currently reading Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz and Alliance by Mark Frost.

I started watching the television spin-off of Witches of East End. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t horrible either, so I thought I’d give the book a go. So far, I’m 8% of the way into the ebook and, like the television show, it’s entertaining, if not brilliantly executed.

As for Alliance, the previous book in the series, The Paladin Prophecy, sucked me in right away, but this one is taking longer. Plus, I’m going to be really, really surprised if the hero still has a girlfriend by the end of the story, because, three chapters in, he’s just done something really stupid.

I recently finished reading Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula by Elise Stokes. There were a few awkward passages, notably the prologue (thankfully, it was short), but other than that, it was an enjoyable read. Aimed at the young teen crowd and (woohoo!) light on the romance, it’s a superhero novel with a detective feel.

Next, I think I’ll read Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach. I recently read The Spirit Thief, by the same author, and it was pretty funny. Think Ocean’s Eleven with wizards, talking rocks and a really big dog.

WWW Wednesdays, hosted by ShouldBeReading.wordpress.com.

WWW Wednesdays is a weekly event for readers, hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading.

Want to join in?

It’s easy, just answer these three questions, post your answers on a Wednesday and join in the fun by leaving a link on Should Be Reading!

The questions. What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What are you reading next?

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Phase drafting and writing faster

Writing faster than greased lightning is one of the holy grails of writing, or, at least, it is in my world. The thought of being able to whip out a decent first draft in under two months makes me giddy, let alone one. While there are many methods that can help you do that, phase drafting is the one that works for me.

At it’s most basic, phase drafting is the step between your outline (if you have one) and your first draft. If you’re a pantser, it’s like outlining without actually outlining and if you’re a plotter, it’s a way to test drive your plot, fill in holes and follow any interesting tangents that come along. For a more comprehensive description, read ‘It’s Just a Phase’.

Note: the Self-Publishing Podcast team uses the same method, but with a different name, which they explain in episode 64 of their podcast. They’ve also provided a sample document, which is well worth the download.  Continue reading »

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Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheet and Scrivener

A screenshot of my novel 'Crash' plotted with a beat sheet and Scrivener.

I love the beat sheet’s word count per beat.

About the same time I revisted the BS2, Jami Gold posted an excellent article about using beat sheets with Scrivener. What I liked most about the article was the idea of using the target word count for individual chapters and scenes to lay out the beats.

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to word counts, I find big numbers like 100k pretty intimidating. One of the beauties of the beat sheet is that it breaks down these numbers into manageable chunks. For a 100k-word novel, however, some of those chunks are still 25k words, so I took the idea one step further, with Scrivener.  Continue reading »

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Advice for writers staring out

I recently received an email from a writer who’s just starting out, and they wanted to know if I could give them any advice. It’s the first time anyone has asked me for writing advice, and I was very flattered.

Since my first full-length work isn’t quite finished, I wasn’t sure how much advice I could offer. Then I thought back on what I’ve found the most difficult thing about writing and what’s helped me.

In my experience, writing a novel is hard. It’s hard, not because of the technical aspects of it, but because of all of the self-doubts that crop up along the way. You’ll probably find yourself thinking things like ‘I’m a cruddy writer’, ’this book is stupid’ and ‘I’m never, ever going to finish’, the sorts of things that totally discouraging you from writing. That’s why you need to be persistent, to keep writing despite the self-doubts, and stubborn, for when persistence fails you.  Continue reading »

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Teaser Tuesday: The Towers of the Sunset

Can you see how the pieces fit together? Not just the visible ones, like the towers of the sunset, but those unseen, like the heart of a man or the soul of a wizard.

The cover of The Towers of the Sunset by L.E. Modesitt Jnr.

A good book, although the lack of a blurb is confusing.

What’s awesome about it

  • The langauge is beautiful (as you can see above)
  • The worldbuilding and the use of the word ‘masculine’.

What’s not-so-awesome

  • There’s no blurb! At least on my copy. This makes it very hard to place the book in context to the first, The Magic of Recluce
  • The last half of the book is kinda boring
  • Magera is a twit.

Would I buy the sequel? I already did, in fact, not only did get the sequel, The Magic Engineer, I splurged on its sequels as well, The Order War and The Death of Chaos. I just haven’t read them yet.  Continue reading »

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Blake Synder’s Beat Sheet, with template

Cover of Save the Cat by Blake Snyder

If you want to understand how the beat sheet works, check out this book.

Best for those outling a new work.

What’s awesome about it

  • The word count for each beat

What’s not-so-awesome

  • It’s daunting, especially when your manuscript is half-written
  • No capacity to outline subplots

The awesome

When I first came across Blake Synder’s Beat Sheet (BS2), I was half-way through the manuscript for Hero and the word count for each beat made me to blanch. The idea of trying to shoehorn my (at that point in time) pantsed story into all of those little boxes (opening image, catalyst, black moment) with their prescribed word counts, was more than my brain could take, but when I went back to the BS2, a new story in mind, they appeared as godsends.  Continue reading »

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A world-building template for when you’re on the go

World-building on my iPad

Just whip out the iPad and get world-building, while you wait for you morning hot chocolate.

Patricia C. Wrede’s Fantasy World-building questions are great, and the World-building Leviathan is equally awesome, but there are times when they just don’t hit the spot. Like, when you’re halfway (or more) into your novel and you need to sort out what a battle mage can do that an illusionist can’t.

Sure, you can jot down a few notes and whack them into a notebook, but if, like me, you can’t stand the thought of not being organised, something a little more structured is in order.

Normally, I’d turn to Scrivener, but, until the iPad version comes out, it doesn’t work so well on-the-go. Yes, you can sync your files to an external folder and edit them on the iPad (which works great for writing), but whatever file structure you’ve created in Scrivener is lost, and when I’m world-building I need folders, and not just any folders, but nested folders and lots of them.

And so, I set out to make myself a template in which I could make random notes, while still being organised, and that I could use just as easily from my laptop as my iPad. Continue reading »

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