Ask Cecelia Hopkins-Drewer a question

      • Cecelia Hopkins-Drewer Cecelia Hopkins-Drewer 1 year ago
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      • Release your work to an audience sooner! I am cautious and I waited to put my manuscripts into ebook form until ebook was established and reliable. This meant I missed the "boom" that launched some careers. I did not join Watt Pad when it was all the rage and even my sister-in-law was on there, now it seems quite slow in there. The same with a few other sites and opportunities. I wait too long. Writing needs an audience, and f some are critical - that is just the way of things.
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      • Cecelia Hopkins-Drewer Cecelia Hopkins-Drewer 1 year ago
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      • I accept that writing can employ a variety of styles - from traditional poetry or narrative to modern and experimental, stream of consciousness and free verse. However, I believe that good writing needs to contain a few essential elements.

        1) Narrative clarity - a story-line that is gripping and compelling. A writer can choose to leave the writer confused - but too much of this and the reader will simply put the book down.
        2) Cohesion - some main thread or metaphor needs to keep the story together. No matter how experimental the ordering of elements.
        3) Gripping plot - a story has to be about something. Even if it is merely musings it needs to have a point.
        4) Emotion - I like stories where the writer is not afraid to explore the character's feelings. In poetry some say "passion" is essential (and they mean intensity not erotic).
        5) SHOW NOT TELL - writers should avoid editorialising and necessary commentary. this stuff might seem important in the first draft, but it ought to be cut out in the editing process to favour a clean read.
        * If they choose a style which internalises and displays the character's thoughts, a writer ought to ask themselves which are necessary to display and which are over-indulgence.
        * I avoid choosing third person omnipotent as my point of view. This is where the author jumps into multiple character's heads and explains what each is thinking. It is a valid POV and can work for large epics, but I would treat with caution.
        * Be realistic. If the story is being told by ONE character, you can only describe things they see, hear or are told about. So how will they see the climactic point? How will they gather all the clues?
        * Dramatic irony is created when the author is planning to reveal things at the climactic point and drops the clues into the text, but the character does not attach any significance to them.
        6) Quality Composition - I attempt to use good grammar and correct my spelling. At some points, poor grammar and incorrect spelling is actually more appropriate for certain character's speech, but this should be made clear by the quote marks. Ah yes - I prefer speech tags. I know modern Young Adult texts tend to drop them, but after a few paragraphs, one has to scratch their heads and go back and physically 'count' to see who is speaking.
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      • Cecelia Hopkins-Drewer Cecelia Hopkins-Drewer 1 year ago
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      • 1. Narrative clarity - a variety of styles and even experimental writing are okay, but the reader must be drawn to read the story.
        2. Cohesion - something must keep the story together even if the order is experimental.
        3. Riveting plot - a story must be about something and preferably contain some surprises.
        4. SHOW NOT TELL - a writer should avoid 'editorialising', trim unnecessary commentary & character meanderings, stick to a point of view, create a setting and employ dramatic irony when appropriate.
        5. Characterisation & emotion - the most compelling books explore the character's feelings, reveal areas of self-delusion and promote character growth.
        6. Quality composition - check spelling & grammar, indicate speech appropriately.
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    • AllAuthor AllAuthor 1 year ago
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    • If you could choose three people to invite for a dinner party, who would they be and why?
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      • Cecelia Hopkins-Drewer Cecelia Hopkins-Drewer 1 year ago
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      • Oh a difficult question, and something different! (I don't believe that readers want to read the same answers to the same questions on every site.)
        1) MOSES - because he lived in ancient Egypt. So he can fill me in on some fascinating history. He also married the daughter of a priest and we hear nothing more about the special order from which this priest hails. I presume Moses would bring his wife and we might get some answers. He faced down Pharoah's priests in a magical duel. Most Christians want to close their ears to this - but I want to know - what physics or power lay behind the miracles performed by both sides? He also wrote the section of the Bible referred to as the Torah so he counts as a writer.
        2) C.S. LEWIS - because he wrote such great fantasy readable by children and adults alike. He also performed research on the Petrarchan tradition of courtly love and wrote some interesting Christian philosophy. He shouldn't be too incompatible with Moses, but their meeting might highlight the ways tradition has changed the beliefs and messages down through the years. He was also a contemporary od Tolkien so I would get a bit of the best of both worlds here.
        3) BARBARA CARTLAND - because she wrote so many stories, and they marketed so well. I also love a historical romance and none of her later heroine's would hurt a fly. Prominent social figure and step-grandmother to Princess Diana, what else could you want? Besides, then I would not be alone with the two crusty old gentlemen I have selected as picks one and two!
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      • Cecelia Hopkins-Drewer Cecelia Hopkins-Drewer 1 year ago
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      • I write in a number of genre already:

        1) Christian Fiction chose me, because it reflects my upbringing - for better or worse.
        2) Vampire Fiction slotted right in with my reading and viewing interests.
        3) I have always written poetry, starting with childish ditties.
        4) I write non-fiction Literary Criticism because I have been to university.

        So what would be new for me?

        5) I am developing my vision as a Science Fiction writer at this very moment.
        6) My D&D style Fantasy novel remains unedited - I will polish and publish that one day. That will perhaps represent a new genre and one very close to my heart.
        7) I have a few Children's stories under development. Despite what you might think, this is a difficult genre.

        What would be very different?

        8) My dream has always been to write a who-dun-it Detective Story. I never manage to pen one --- I'm just not nasty enough --- I always end up with 'who-do-they-date' not who-dun-it! Maybe one day...
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      • Cecelia Hopkins-Drewer Cecelia Hopkins-Drewer 1 year ago
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      • Well, I am going to give a progression of answers to this question.

        1) Originally the problem was seeing a manuscript through to completion. It is no good having great 100 word intros to novels and no novel body! This remained my challenge until about the year 2000, which was a significant year in my writing.

        2) Now that I can finish a whole book quite promptly, generating the initial idea remains the challenge. There are many ideas in the world, most of them have already been used. Some are great to read from other authors - but wouldn't give me the material I require to live my way through a full story with the characters.

        3) Finally, after it is all written - promoting the story and getting it out there to readers remains a challenge. I expect it will remain a challenge for some time. I am combating this different ways. Advertising, group membership, contributing to websites, serials and anthologies.
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      • Cecelia Hopkins-Drewer Cecelia Hopkins-Drewer 1 year ago
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      • I hope that I never find out the answer to this question! Plagiarism is of course WRONG and POINTLESS, because academic standing is enhanced by correct use of citations, indicating research.

        However, I think the greatest abuse is CHARGING AUTHORS MONEY to submit to publications or enter competitions. A writers' time, effort and skills are worth money. They should be paid for their submissions, if not in cash at least in kind, such as contributor copies. Some competitions try to justify this as 'administration costs' or 'reader's fees'. They should get a sponsor! There is plenty of industry out there, willing to support the Arts.

        Fleecing authors because they have hopes and dreams is just NOT ACCEPTABLE. Also, I am more qualified than most out there to be paid to read (I have two Master's Degrees and several graduate certificates) and yet I have to purchase copies of books/films I enjoy!

        I could go on at length about this subject. Competitions are also elitist and subject to the trends of the moment (or the previous era, which is even worse). I almost stopped writing poetry because of competitions. However, luckily, I am irrepressible. I also had a mentor or two along the way that saved my spirit!
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