writing advice

Author Writing Prompt!

Dawn Napier, the author of Star Pack, has an assignment for you writers! Check out this fun writing prompt to get you started on your next great novel!

 

Prompt: 

You’re in a boat over a deep, dark lake. Something scrapes the length of your boat, and you hear someone whisper your name.

 

Now, grab your pen and paper, or open up a new Word document, and get writing. I like to add some mood music to my writing. Here are a few “creepy” songs to use while you write. Feel free to share your creepy song suggestions, or even a bit of your writing, in the comments!

  1. Dock Boggs, “Pretty Polly”
  2. Snakefinger – “Sawny Beane/Sawny Beane’s Death Dance”
  3. Radiohead, “We Suck Young Blood”
  4. Misfits, “Wolf’s Blood”

Rolling Stone has a great list on their website, too. You can find the list here!

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Have you met Dawn Napier, yet?

Our author, Dawn Napier, author of Star Pack, has a few more writing projects in the works. Check out Star Pack on our website! We took some time to ask her a few questions about her writing, her inspiration, and some other fun questions. Check out her interview below!

 

Dawn’s favorite color is red – so we decided to add a little color to our interview!

 

 

Ink Smith: What are your current projects?
Dawn: I’m currently writing a sequel to Star Pack, and I’m finishing a last coat of polish on a recently completed fantasy novel called Vellichor.

Ink Smith: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Dawn: It’s called Sea Pack, and it’s the continuing adventures of the space-faring werewolves I wrote about in Star Pack. They have moved on to explore the rest of our solar system, and they’re currently about to make contact with life on Europa.

Ink Smith: What is your favorite book?
Dawn: Watership Down by Richard Adams

Ink Smith: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Dawn: Science fiction is hard. My last couple of books have been fantasy, and in a fantasy novel if something’s not working you can just change the rules. But even with extragalactic werewolves I have to at least try to follow the laws of physics. NASA is finding out new things about our local planets every day, and I have to try to keep up with their discoveries so my book stays current while I’m writing it.

Ink Smith: Did you learn anything from writing your book(s) and what was it?
Dawn: I learned that you can’t world-build by the seat of your pants. I had to learn how to plot in order to finish it.

Ink Smith: What inspired you to write your first book?
Dawn: I don’t have any idea. It never occurred to be NOT to write it.

Ink Smith: What is your favorite food?
Dawn: Shrimp Fried Rice

Ink Smith: Do you have a specific writing style?
Dawn: I guess you could call it Stephen King meets Piers Anthony and their love child collaborates with HP Lovecraft.

Ink Smith: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Dawn: I had a few themes and symbols in the back of my mind when I wrote it, but I’d rather people read it and enjoy it on their own terms. I’d love to hear from people who have found messages of their own in it.

Ink Smith: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Dawn: I have no idea. I think I was about six.

Ink Smith: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Dawn: Don’t TRY while you’re writing. Don’t try to sound like anyone else, but also don’t try too hard to be original. Don’t try to make the story follow a certain path, and don’t try to guide your characters’ fates. You’ll find your own voice organically the more you write, but you have to sit back and let the muse do her thing.

Ink Smith: If you had to do it all over again, what would you change, if anything, in your latest book?
Dawn: I would have made the character’s names have meanings.

Ink Smith: Who is your favorite author, and what really strikes you about their work?
Dawn: Stephen King. I started reading his books when I was 12, and I loved how he wrote about kids. My parents divorced when I was 11, and during that turbulent time, I often felt that I was at the mercy of the four winds. In King’s books, the kids are the smart ones, the ones who understand what’s going on. And they’re the ones who have the power to stop the monsters. I found that deeply reassuring. I still read his books and feel soothed by his familiar voice. He probably wouldn’t appreciate me saying that I find his books soothing. But compared to the real world, sometimes…

Ink Smith: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Dawn: If you don’t have a library card go get one now. Libraries are a magical place where anyone can learn anything for free. They’re staunch defenders of the Constitution, and they will help you learn whatever you need to know without checking your credit or health history. Everyone needs to use and love their libraries, so they stay with us forever.

Ink Smith: Final thoughts?
Dawn: Just keep writing, just keep writing…

 

About Dawn Napier

Dawn Napier grew up in Waukegan IL, and upstate New York. She has a husband, three children, and a ridiculous number of pets. She grew up reading Stephen King, Isaac Asimov, Mercedes Lackey, and Piers Anthony. When she’s not reading and writing, she is hiking with her dogs, napping with her cat, or cleaning up after her herd of adopted guinea pigs.
Visit her online on Facebook and her website dawnsdarktreasures.com!

What You Know vs. Branching Out

When I was first starting out as a writer, people constantly told me to “write what you know.” That makes a lot of sense. Writing what you know gives your story a solid basis in reality, accurate reality.

What do I mean by accurate reality? You can create any reality you want as a writer. A world where dogs live on the moon, where people are born with hands as their ears–any world you want. But it has to make sense, it has to be believable. Connection to the reader matters.

One of the reasons people love books, is the idea that it represents someone or something they can connect with in addition to reading for enjoyment. Even though your manuscript falls into the fiction category, it doesn’t mean the entire book is made up. Relationships, people, emotions: they are based in reality.

I came across this conundrum during a class in my master’s program at Lindenwood University. We read the book, Rose Metal Press Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers and Writers in the field. It talked about truths and making sure that when you are writing about certain types of people that you get them accurate. (A great source for writers – in addition to the Writing Flash Non-Fiction edition as well!)

If you aren’t someone who is intimate with the particular group of people you are writing about, than you need to be careful about writing about them. You don’t want to misrepresent their culture just because you felt like writing about them one morning. This goes for any group or culture–misrepresentation does two things: offends the group you are misrepresenting and provides inaccurate information to people who are not familiar with said group/culture.

The basis of belief for Quakers, is that God exists in every person, and therefore should be treated in accordance with that belief. LGBTQ have their own slang, different parts of the U.S. have different accents, it is impolite in some countries to wear your shoes into the house–these facts may seem inconsequential to someone who is on the outside of these groups, but is essential in the representation of the culture.

So, if you are looking to write about the Aboriginals – do your research, make sure you understand their way of life. If you can, submerge yourself in the culture, talk to some of the people. Experience is the strongest learning tool.

Make sure you understand them and their way of life before you write. In essence,  the notion of “write what you know” is 100 percent accurate. You may want to write something new, but make sure you do the research and write the truth!

Happy writing, and happier researching!

 

Connect with me @AndersonCorinne on Twitter!

Corinne is an editor at Ink Smith Publishing, with an MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University. 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. She is currently pursuing her MPS in Publishing at George Washington University, editing for Ink Smith Publishing, and hoping that her blog posts here will help writers improve and publish their work.

Where to start…

 

Where to start?

A question I know authors ask themselves as they begin a new book with the white empty pages taunting them.

So I ask myself as I start a new series of blog posts on Inkwell and Quill, where do I begin… Where to start?

I believe that this is the most “intimate” you can get with a any company, inside the mind of the person behind the curtains. I know here on WordPress that I am not alone as I write my posts. There are plenty of other editors that have blogs about writing, publishing and their company. My goal in writing on Inkwell and Quill is not only to promote the hard work of our authors and editors, but to help out other authors, writers and maybe even gain a few new readers.

I would love to get conversations going, have people ask questions about this industry and help those that I can.

So with that being said. I will start with this since it has just popped into my head:

I can’t express how excited I am for the coming year. We really have some great authors at both Ink Smith Publishing and Native Ink Press. Of course I will be writing a few posts in the future regarding several authors and their recent or upcoming magazine articles.

But I am very excited to find out if we will be at this years WonderCon in Anaheim California from April 18th-20th. If we do attend we will be in the small press section. Like past book fairs, we will have our catalog of books there along with freebies and our mobile store. It should be a lot of fun! So fingers crossed…

Concluding my first post short and sweet:

I hope I can help those lost on this crazy journey of book publishing whether you are a published author, self-published, looking for a publisher, or just getting started. It’s not an easy journey, but when you have someone to do it together with, it suddenly becomes an adventure.