Blog Posts

Find different articles on different topics from the Ink Smith and Native Ink collaborators. The articles can range from writing series to daily thoughts and ideas, reminding us that a publisher isn’t just a name but people too!

Well I Won’t Be Doing That Again

I am currently ignoring my work in progress (WIP) to bring you this blog post about my WIP. About a year ago, I started writing a new novel. And I, being a writer, often come up with short stories and poems on the way to writing a full-length novel. I like to use one paper notebook for all my writing to keep it all together. And I have since I was a child!

Part of the reason for doing that was so that I wouldn’t get distracted and start running off with a completely different story in the middle of writing a novel. I’d even do that as a child with writing short stories! So having one notebook was supposed to keep me organized and on task. But I asked myself one day “What would happen if I let myself get distracted and let myself wonder, and interrupt my own novels?”

So for about a year now I’ve let myself try it…

In my notebook, you’ll read a few chapters and abruptly here’s a new poem and a few short stories! And then it’s back on track with the next chapters. All’s I have to say is this: I won’t be doing that again! Child me was on to something! When I put down a project and start another I don’t always go back. So a year later, rather than having a full-length novel, or a beautiful rough draft, I have about a third of a very, very rough draft…

My writing process usually involves me studiously writing one book and editing another. And yes, I do realize at the moment I only have one book published. I, however, have written many, many, more! Since I am so muddled on the plot of my WIP, I have begun to edit it already. Because I have no idea where I am, except deep in the Gishlan woods.

So here is my unsolicited advice to other authors for the New Year, 2018: Don’t interrupt your own work. Keep your nose to the grindstone and your pen to the paper. Write your poems somewhere else, not in the middle of your novel.

 

 

About Helen

Helen M. PugsleyHelen Pugsley comes from a small town of twenty in eastern Wyoming. She has been passionate about writing since she was small. Helen enjoys traveling and is always thrilled to excite friends with tales of playing music on the streets for money, conversing with the drunks who frequent gutters, and the epic struggle of finding a decent bath when living in a car. Visit her on Facebook‘s War and Chess page!

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Need help hitting 50,000 for Nano?

Tips and Tricks: Increasing The Word Flow

We NaNoWriMoers are a little more than halfway through the challenge, but if you are
like me in any way, this is about the time I start hitting the wall. The pressure of words is
becoming a bit more challenging as you work through the plot you are hastily creating.
And the deadline is looming closer and closer with each passing day.
The start of the 30-day challenge is always exciting, and if I daresay, easy as you
choose your story-line and begin meeting your characters. But after the first few days the
inspiration begins to dry up and the nerves begin setting in. By the halfway point, we
wonder if there’s enough time left, and then we dread the story itself: is it even worth all
this effort? The answer: YES!
Nano is just the challenge to get 50,000 words completed (which is approximately a
novel, give or take). But you aren’t supposed to have a finished, polished novel by
December 1 sitting on your desk. Having that kind of pressure is daunting, and can
cause writers to detach themselves from their project and drop out of the Nano race.
Let’s be honest, we aren’t James Patterson.

 

But never fear, there are some tried and true tricks to keep your word count mounting.

1. DO NOT SCRAP ANYTHING
As noted before, this piece is not going to be a publishable work by Day 30. Instead, this
is a first draft. As writers, you need to keep that in mind as you go along. If you don’t like
a scene, leave it be, write something new after it and keep going. The more you go back
and delete pieces of the novel the more time you spend recreating scenes, and the less
time you spend advancing your plot.

2. DO NOT EDIT
At least not yet! Editing, while a necessary tool for polished work is not the goal for
NaNo. Make editing your December goal, and focus on getting the words down. Do not
go back and rewrite sections, instead, write more sections and keep the flow going.
Spending time each day going back to re-read entire chapters (heck, even the entire
book!) takes precious writing time away from you. In order to meet the deadline of
50,000 words in 30 days, writers have to average at least 1,700 words per day. That
doesn’t sound like a lot, but as you get into the nitty-gritty of the novel, there’s the
chance that some days you might not hit that mark, maybe one day you only hit 300
words, that puts you 1,400 words behind.

3. SCHEDULE SOME TIME
We all work, cook, have commitments, and need time to unwind. Make sure to set aside
a block of time to write. This block of time can be anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours,
whatever your schedule allows. But making yourself sit and write for that set time period
can get the juices flowing! Environment is also key. Make sure to select your writing
space based on your ability to block out noise. If you can’t stop yourself from looking up
at the T.V., getting involved in a conversation, or getting distracted by the pile of laundry
that needs folding, make sure you choose a location that is free of those distractions.

4. WRITING SPRINTS
These are a fun way to get the word count out in a certain amount of time. And you can
get other writers involved in them too! Pick a number of words you want to write and
then give yourself a time limit to get those words written. Or give yourself a time limit and
challenge your friends to write as many words as you can. The winner earns a free cup
of coffee! Post it to social media, text your writer buddies, or get your friends/family to
hold you accountable for these sprints!

5. REMOVE YOURSELF
Sometimes you place too much pressure on yourself to actually write the number of
words you need each day. The pressure builds and it squashes the inspiration. In these
cases, get up and get out. Head to a park, a mall, or some other public place and spend
time people watching. Give yourself an hour and write about where you are, what you
see, what you hear, about the people walking around, the smells…just jot it down, keep
your focus off your work in progress until something sparks you. This break allows your
mind to wander outside of the confines of your story line.

6. GET OFF THE COMPUTER
Sometimes working your magic with the basics are the best way to reinvigorate your
output. While typing allows you to get more words down in a shorter amount of time,
writing by hand allows your mind to work a bit slower. Use this time to develop a new
scene or character, or to give yourself a quick chapter outline.

7. OUTLINE
While passion gets you started on the Nano journey, you have to be dedicated to
finishing the job. Writing up a short, general outline can help keep you on track. This
provides you with the bare bones of the story and you can spend the rest of the writing
time filling in the organs!

8. STOP WRITING WHEN YOU KNOW WHAT IS COMING NEXT
Getting started each day can be a challenge if you aren’t sure what direction your
character is going to take later in the story. By ending your writing session at a point in
which you know exactly what your character is going to do next, you allow yourself to get
started immediately the next time you sit down and begin writing again. Jot down a few
notes before you finish writing for the day about what is going to happen in the next
chapter and stop writing. When you go back, your notes and your last few paragraphs
will be all you need to review before you can jump into the action of your WIP (work in
progress).

9. LEAVE BLANKS
Choosing a character name can take days, deciding on the correct phrasing to describe
the castle gates can be a challenge you spend hours creating, even attempting to vary
your descriptive language can take up more time than you’d like. Here’s the key when it
comes to Nano: leave it blank. The old adage, “collect the sand, build the castle later,”
applies here more than you an imagine. Who cares if you used the word SMILE thirty
times in the last twenty pages. That is a problem for you to address when you get to the
editing phase. That minor character that only appears once in the story for a few pages
doesn’t have a good name? So what, make one up, leave it blank, call him Minor
Character 4, and move on. Names can be decided upon at a later date. Not sure how to
describe the scar on the hero’s face? Write SCAR, DESCRIPTION, and keep writing the
action. This is a first draft, it isn’t supposed to be gold, it’s supposed to be raw. All the
boo-boos can be tended at a later date.

10. DO NOT GIVE UP
Even if you know you aren’t going to hit 50,000 by the end of November, keep writing.
Keep pushing yourself to write as much as you can. Then, use that success as a
challenge for yourself the following year. You might surprise yourself. You may sit down
one day, feel overly inspired, and write 8,000-10,000 words and put yourself back on
track to hit your goal. You can do it, you have the skills and the passion – you just need
the determination. (And a few good tips to stimulate those creative juices!)

 

11. EXTRA TIP
There are plenty of places to submit your work to when you’re done! Keep Junto Magazine in mind for your shorter pieces, and Ink Smith Publishing & Native Ink Press for your longer novels!

 

About Corinne

CA Bio Image

Connect with me
on Twitter!
@AndersonCorinne

Corinne has her MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University and her MPS in Publishing from George Washington University. She has been an editor at Ink Smith Publishing and Native Ink Press since 2013. Since her first trip to the library when she was a toddler, Corinne has been collecting books, recommending her favorites and providing commentary on the less-than-stellar. Her belief is that if you have a problem, it’s nothing that a good book can’t solve. Currently, she is editing for Ink Smith PublishingJunto Magazine and hoping that her blog posts here will help writers improve and publish their work.

All About Lorna Brown!

Hey readers! This post is all about Lorna Brown, author of Debris, as a writer.

For starters, on the off chance she does have writer’s block, she battles the struggle by working on her other projects. She says she doesn’t get writer’s block often, but wouldn’t be too phased by it even if she did! Just turning on the news would inspire a story for her so it wouldn’t be too long before she had another project to work on!

Regarding her novel coming out Spring 2018, Debris started off as a completely different novel. The original novel was a story made of three parts and Andre was the main character in one of those stories. Most of the characters were the same, but their relationships were different and once Andre met Erin in the estate (instead of the minor character she was originally), everything changed. Lorna says “all the characters had already taken their place and had been waiting for Erin to come along and change the game).

One of the other projects she’s working on is set in her hometown in Sligo, Ireland. The stories are all connected and she has hopes to write another collection similar to this soon. As someone who also has a writer’s mind, I asked her if she carries a notebook with her in case inspiration strikes. She does not, she texts herself or writes herself a note in her phone (as I do too!). Recently, she read an interesting headline and emailed it to herself as an idea for a story. “Mexicans outraged after praying for faked trapped child” All weekend everyone was glued to the television watching the rescue of a 12-year-old named Frida Sofia, who never existed. She says the effect media has on the population as a whole, and how ideas can spread and wreak havoc, is an interesting topic and something she would like to write about. And when she does think of a new idea, she likes to plan before-hand. She wouldn’t necessarily have the whole story mapped out, but she would have a good idea. For one of her other projects, she created the stories of her two main characters before creating one main story.

You can look forward to the release of Debris the Spring of 2018!

 

Meet Jenna LaBollita!

Jenna’s passion for writing started very young, even winning her a Young Author Award in elementary school. Since then, she has written for The Odyssey and Puckermob, and has read countless books in many genres.

Her love for writing is unmatched, and she hopes to become a published author herself one day. Jenna holds an associate degree in Liberal Arts from Ocean County College in Toms River, New Jersey.

Have you met Kelsey Ferrara?

Kelsey Ferrara, Editorial Novella Intern – Ink Smith Publishing

Kelsey has had an unwavering love of reading and writing ever since she was very young. She dreams of one day becoming a published author and has tackled a number of literary projects in order to improve her writing. Kelsey graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a B.A. in English and a minor in Professional Writing. This minor allowed her to focus on Multimedia Communications which emphasized coding and digital writing methods. While attending this beautiful college, she also wrote for the campus newspaper and contributed regular columns to the food section. Outside of school, she worked as an editor for a number of different publications including The Fox Magazine and Vocalady Magazine. She is currently working on Shelli Frew’s sci-fi, time traveling novel Time Sailors while interning with Ink Smith Publishing.

Say Hello to Eric Marsh!

Eric Marsh, Editorial Fiction Intern – Ink Smith Publishing

Eric Marsh’s fiction has appeared in The Bicycle Review and 12th Street Literary Journal. He received a B.A. in Creative Writing from The New School where he was a Riggio Honors Fellow. He has lived in Minneapolis, Brooklyn, Portland, and Los Angeles where he is now working on his second novel.

My Desk

A short, true story, by author Helen Pugsley.

 

I had the stupendous and rare fortune of purchasing my mentor’s home, The Nest, as she named it. June Wilson Read and I shared the only town I want to live in all through my childhood. She has helped me in all things writing since I began. Being in her 80’s she wanted to move closer to family. With her home came her desk. A door laid across two wooden filing cabinets.

“I’m so happy you’re the one getting my house!” she said, “And my writing desk!”

I grinned through that last part. I was and am madly in love with the sun-drenched cottage but as soon as a replacement could be found I had every intention of throwing the door down a ditch and stacking the filing cabinets on top of each other to save on floor space. I could use one of the nice metal desks my family keeps in the garage until I got the guts and finances to purchase an antique roll-top!

But winter came…

First, my mother said, “You’re going to trade wood and good memories for cold steel?!”

Being porous, wood absorbs a lot of things. That’s why I won’t use wooden cutting boards. As well as beef blood I hope wood sops up talent! “Ack! Fine. I don’t feel like moving the heavy summagun anyway,” I reasoned to her.

Next, there was going to be a washer dryer set there, right in my dining room.

“But Dad! Actually having a desk will keep me from writing in bed!” A terrible habit. Guess where I penned this?

“You should really quit doing that! But find somewhere else. The washer and dryer will go here.” You can’t argue too much when someone is financing the labor and the appliances.

However, the contractor inadvertently took my side. “A water line on an exterior wall? Are you crazy?!” The huge, rectangular window is amazing for gleaning enough natural light to write by until twilight. It is not so great for keeping water lines above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. A stackable apartment sized washer/dryer will now set next to my oven.

When she left she handed me a pile of pelts. June was truly a Wyoming woman. Not knowing what else to do with them, I set them in one corner of the desk in a neat pile with an axe. Later, the axe got moved to my bedside.

A short while ago a neighbor of mine wanted some kittens. In a week she discovered she was horribly allergic. So now Iris and Wilhelm live with me. When they’re not in their heated bed they like to sleep in the pelt pile on my desk. I like to think of it as the kitten annex.

Even newer than the kittens is a kitchen chair I picked up at a second-hand shop for under $10. The silk seat is perfect for resting my feet on when I’m feeling rebellious. I sit with my tooshy on the desk and a notebook in my lap.

One day my mother and I got to looking at the door-desk very carefully and realized it’s probably my closet door. It is literally a part of my home. I can’t just throw it down a ditch! Not when the empty door knob socket is perfect for stringing a laptop cord through! And how could I when that desk is where June Wilson Read penned most of her book, Frontier Madam?! Maybe parts of Whistle Creek and Other Wyoming Tales. Also a score of unpublished works she tells me she keeps in a trunk. How could I throw it down a ditch?! That’s my desk!

 

About Helen

Helen M. PugsleyHelen comes from a small town of twenty in eastern Wyoming. She has been passionate about writing since she was small. Helen enjoys traveling and is always thrilled to excite friends with tales of playing music on the streets for money, conversing with the drunks who frequent gutters, and the epic struggle of finding a decent bath when living in a car. Visit her on Facebook‘s War and Chess page!

Meet Rachel Allcock!

Rachel Allcock, Editorial Fantasy Intern – Ink Smith Publishing

Rachel recently graduated with her B.A. in the Arts, majoring in English with Creative Writing Emphasis and a minor in History. She grew up around literature ever since entering the hallowed halls of the library and bookstores. She has been interested in book publishing ever since her third-grade trip to a bookbinding facility. Her love for words influenced her overactive imagination to someday bring her own characters and stories to life, with hopes to be published. Reading and writing give Rachel a passionate and compassionate purpose in life. Rachel believes books provide life lessons and assistance when one suffers from harsh world realities. Her current project with Ink Smith is with Nicki Cusumano and her debut novel Death’s Smile!

Have you met Kayla Darling?

Kayla Darling, Editorial Fantasy Intern – Ink Smith Publishing

Kayla Darling graduated from Lycoming College with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing.  An avid reader and writer, she can usually be found with her nose in a book or squinting at a computer screen, and hasn’t been without a personal writing project since elementary school.  She currently works as a content writer, in addition to interning with Ink Smith. We are ecstatic that we have her. Her current project is with new author A. R. Masterson and her book Love of the Sea, a YA adventure novel filled with mermaids, sailors, and a fight for a crown.

Meet Lorna Brown!

Lorna Brown, author of Debris (available in Spring 2018), has been writing for at least 13 years whenever she gets the chance. She earned an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College, and her stories have been published in numerous magazines. She lives in Massachusetts and goes back to her hometown in Ireland when she’s working on a story. She loves getting up at 5:30am-6:00am when the house is quiet to get work done (although she can’t stand it if there are no bananas!), or after her daughters go to sleep. And even when she’s not physically writing, she’s always thinking about her stories.

Regarding Debris specifically, the final draft is actually a rewrite of a story she wrote years ago. The story changed a lot from the rough draft to the final cut, so she essentially had to start over. She only spent four months (on the rewrite, when everything was all said and done) writing Debris, but she learned a lot of lessons along the way. Writing this book has helped her figure out her writing style and method, such as wanting to have a more detailed outline for her plots and subplots, as well as character development.

She has three daughters who she loves immensely and says they’ve made her a “big softie”- so much so she cries easily when she watches movies and shows, like The Voice. She loves to go hiking with her family and their dog and sees life as an adventure. She’s traveled extensively and finds it hard to stay in one place.

She is very excited for Debris to be available to the public. The release date for this fiction piece is Spring 2018 under the pen name L.M. Brown.

 

Why Writing is Important!

In this day and age of technology, many real-life experiences have seemed to fade in importance. Hanging out among friends is now just relaxing in the same room on their cell phones. In fact, any social event is made up of cell phones taking up a majority of people’s attention. Social media platforms are more important to people than real friendships in person. The internet, in all of its glory and accomplishments, has taken over a lot of people’s lives and priorities.

<I’m not bashing social media or the Internet–I’m all for innovation and taking advantage of new things that come arise as time changes. This is just my opinion on where priorities should lie, and why some things (writing) should not be overlooked.> 

I’ve noticed this in myself, actually. At one point in time, my presence on social media was more important than my off-screen life. I was more caught up with Twitter retweets and Snapchat views than real conversations, and it wasn’t until I missed an event in a close friend’s life that I realized I had to check myself. I also realized it was a long time since I had written. I’ve written Facebook posts, Twitter threads, etc, but nothing for myself. Not like I used to.

I’ve kept a personal journal for years, and it has helped me immensely. Whether it be getting things off my chest, or working through life decisions, writing has grown to be a part of me. Inspiration for stories or poems come to me at the most random times, and I see writing opportunities everywhere. Surprisingly, writing is not a common hobby for the majority of the population anymore. And a percentage of those who do write prefer to have followers/subscribers; so anything they do without viewers doesn’t seem worth doing.

Hopefully today, I’ll let you in on the secret as to why writing is important and why it’s a life-changer for many of us.

Writing is therapeutic, and I’m not the only one to say so. Personally, I’ve used my journal(s) to help me through many issues, like what major I wanted to study in college, whether or not I wanted to move from NJ to PA (and back again!), through my struggles with anxiety and depression, my goals and dreams, etc. Writing helped me through so much in life and has been meditation-like. After writing, without worrying about neat penmanship or getting all the details perfect, I feel calm and collected. (For more information about how writing can be meditative, check out this article on How Life Unfolds!)

Writing for social media and for yourself are two different things. When you write for any sort of audience, there’s a filter and also a purpose. When you write for yourself, for the most part, there’s no purpose or target other than self-fulfillment. Easing that burden of meeting an audience’s expectations helps the creativity flow, at least for me!

The society we live in seems to dictate success by the measurement of how many people see your work and respond to it. Whether your choice of platform is YouTube, Twitter/Instagram, Facebook, or some other shareable network, the driving factor of this “success” relies heavily on followers, subscribers, the number of views/likes, etc. The act of writing shouldn’t need gratification from social media.

For those of us who have a Twitter (or any other platform obsession), it is too easy to get caught up in thinking personal reflection needs to be in the form of a [INSERT PREFERRED PLATFORM HERE] thread. It seems that if there’s something you want to say, it has to be done online so it can go viral.

I disagree.

When it comes to writing, something that seems obsolete in this day and age, this art form should be taken seriously. When I write, I try to have silence or at least soft music on in the background. If I’m writing in my journal, I don’t really care about where I am; but if I’m writing for something (like school or Ink Smith), I write at my desk to help keep me focused. I don’t care if anyone sees my writing.

I’m not saying that no writing should ever be done online. Me writing this article would be hypocritical if that was the claim I was making. I’m just saying that, as amazing as social media is, it should not replace true writing. It should not replace the soft, gentle reflection, or ferocious scribbling as a thought consumes you. It should not be peppered with SEO keywords just because you want it to show up first in a search. It should not only be written with the sole purpose of many people reading it. Writers who write for the enjoyment of it, for the catharsis of it, even for the utter need to write – those are the writers who will find their writing most relatable to others.

In short, as long as your purpose for writing is to achieve some form of Internet Fame, then wanting to post your work online to share doesn’t have a damaging effect on your writing. Just because your work doesn’t go viral doesn’t mean it isn’t a message that people want to hear or a work of art that people wouldn’t appreciate.

I am all for innovation. I’m 100% in support of social media, and I think it’s a great thing. It helps people reconnect, celebrities seem more like regular people, and it brings a lot of people together. I just think that it’s important people remember how useful things offline can be, whether in functionality or whatever else. Writing is a great tool and is most definitely worth doing in any way.

 

 

Meet Jenna LaBollita!

Jenna’s passion for writing started very young, even winning her a Young Author Award in elementary school. Since then, she has written for The Odyssey and Puckermob, and has read countless books in many genres.

Her love for writing is unmatched, and she hopes to become a published author herself one day. Jenna holds an associate degree in Liberal Arts from Ocean County College in Toms River, New Jersey.