Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Writer workshop Canberra Australia, Sunday March 15, 2015

 
Get Motivated to Write with a Little INK-couragement with Debbie Richardson

11:30am–1:30pm Sunday 15 March

To succeed takes patience, persistence, and passion. But how do we stay patient, persistent, and passionate throughout our long and often lonely writing journey?

Today's author needs to be mentally prepared to battle through the multitude of writers that are appearing daily on the scene. I'll share with you helpful lessons I've learned throughout my writing career, plus you'll take home tips that will keep you fuelled to keep writing, keep writing, and keep writing.

This seminar will cover:
  • How to find more time to write by saying no (and not feel guilty about saying no)
  • How to turn rejection from a red light into a green light
  • How to find your inner determination to keep writing
  • How publishers and editors are thinking, and why you should think that way, too
  • How to apply everyday situations to improve your mental stamina
Debbie Richardson writes speculative fiction as D L Richardson. She began writing in 1996 at a time when Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Anne Rice were her influences. Many of her earlier works remain unpublished but she never gave up doing what she loved. Her first short story was published in 2005, and she has had four more short stories published, four novels, one short story anthology, and a novella. She is currently working on a four book series.

Cost: $25 members, $40 non-members
Venue: ACT Writers Centre workshop room
Bookings: You can book by phone on 6262 9191, online or at the office. Payment is required at time of booking.

Friday, 20 February 2015

50 Shades vs Sex and the City

One of my favourite TV shows is Sex and the City. I have all the DVDs, the TV shows, the movies, I adore this show. I even have an etched SATC cosmopolitan glass with from when I worked at Paramount Pictures and it was used as marketing material.

So, considering how much I love Sex and the City, you'd think that I'd like 50 Shades of Grey. But I don't. The difference between the two is vast.

I cared about what happened to Charlotte, Carrie, Samantha, and Miranda. Sometimes they were selfish. Sometimes they were reckless. Sometimes I couldn't understand how it could be so difficult to find Mr Right. The thing is, I cared about what happened to them. I laughed with them. I cried with them. I wanted them to find the love of their life. I hated it when they fought and didn't talk to one another. And I freely admit I loved Big.




I didn't finish reading 50 Shades of Grey. And it had nothing to do with the writing. I just couldn't connect with either character and I didn't care what happened to them. They could have slipped off a cliff and I would have said, "Meh. Fish will get a feed tonight."

Both stories are uber-successful. Both writers are uber-successful. (Sex and the City is based in part on a book of the same name by Candice Bushnell). Both writers have the type of success all writers dream of.

When 50 Shades first came out, my husband asked why I didn't write something like that.

I don't begrudge E L James her success. Often, these mass widespread successes are driven by the market, not the publisher or marketing campaigns. In my opinion, this book came at a time when adults were fleeing the YA market (Twilight saga by Stephenie Meyer) and these women wanted something to distance themselves from teenagers. What is more distant to a coming of age vampire novel than bondage. 

The market i.e the readers made 50 Shades the success it is. There's no point yelling at E L James. She wrote a book. It went supernova. Every writer on the planet wants their book to go supernova. But this does open up the question of whether a writer would write something they don't particularly care for if it sold books and made them money.

I don't even bother contemplating writing a book like 50 Shades. It's not what I write. It's not why I write. I much prefer the interaction between the SATC girls and their men than I do the interaction between Ana and Christian.

So would I be E L James for the money? Much to my husband's disappointment, the answer is no. Much like in love where there is a line that can be crossed where we settle for less than we want, I can't trade money for my conscience. Pity. I'd like a new house, new clothes, to give up work, new furniture...

Saturday, 14 February 2015

At what point should you give up writing?

I started writing in 1996. I didn't know what I was doing and I've come a long way, yet I still consider everything up until now to be training. I now have six books published and I should be saying, yah for me, dream come true, that hard work has paid off, good on me for following my dreams. But instead, I stand at the crossroads wondering if I will ever find success.

I don't sell a lot of books. I advertise. Nothing. I promote. Nothing. I do blog tours. Nothing. The best success I've had selling books is in person at work or at the local markets. But this method of selling makes for a very long, hard slog if I am to sell twenty-five million copies. I'd need to be Katy Perry just to have one tenth of that number in the one room. And it would take a billion hours to personally talk to every single person.

So, should I give up? Should I give myself a deadline? Should I say, okay I'll finish the series I'm currently writing and then say, if I haven't sold a million copies, then I give up?


We've all heard the phrase never give up on your dreams. We've also heard how hard work pays off. We've read the success stories. Here's a great article on 9 famous people who will inspire you to never give up https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-famous-people-who-will-inspire-you-to-never-give-up

Stephen King was so poor he didn't have a telephone and he received 60 rejections before selling his short story for $35. J. K. Rowling was a single mother on government aid and had to manually type up her manuscripts to send to publishers.



Yet, many successful people are still the exceptions. There are thousands more writers who continue to submit manuscripts, continue to publish, and continue to face a hard slog selling their books. So is it better to fail, than to quit?

Michael Jordon once said, "I have missed 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

I saw the movie Wild the other week. It stars Reese Witherspoon and is based on the book by Cheryl Strayed and is a story of a woman who needed to get her head together so she walked a thousand miles in 94 days. She considered giving up a lot of times. Who wouldn't? At all points in this sort of journey there is a way out. And at some point there is also the road of no return - you've come so far you might as well keep going.

I think there's a huge difference between considering giving up and actually giving up. We should be asking ourselves if what we're doing is worth it? And if we walk away and say "yes it is", then we know not to give up.

Christopher Reeve, whom I loved as Superman, became a quadriplegic. He took a moment every day to  acknowledge his situation. "In the morning, I need twenty minutes to cry," he said. "To wake up and make that shift, you know, and just to say, 'This really sucks' to really allow yourself the feeling of loss." And then he would  say, "And now forward," and move on with his day. He didn't allow his situation to stop him. He took what he had and tried his best to help others. He never gave up. But then, super heroes don't.



Australian crime thriller author, Michael Robotham made a really great point when I saw him speak at the Sydney writers Festival last year. On writing and giving up he said, "If they banned writing and you hid in a basement to write while people overhead stomped around in the search of writers, then you should keep writing."

And so shall I. I don't begrudge people questioning my commitment. Do it! Bring it on! I dare you to motivate me. By questioning me, you help me to pause and reflect and realise that what I'm doing is worth it TO ME. I have a dream. I have a vision. I have a goal. And I will fail a thousand times rather than give up.

And so I will leave you with this piece of advice. Whatever dream you have, do it as if you are the only person who has the zombie cure and you won't rest until you have saved humanity or died trying.


 


About the author:

Not one to accept being put into a box, D L Richardson writes speculative fiction for anyone who likes a twist in their tale. She now has six books published and is working on an apocalyptic series and a dystopian novel.
You can check out her more about books at her website www.dlrichardson.com

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Why writers should meet their readers in person

Writers like to live in their towers and conjure up stories of ogres and maidens, robots and renegades, damsels and scoundrels, killers and victims. The perfect image in my mind of a writer's haven in a quiet villa in the south of France or Tuscany or Greece or Spain. Isolation is key. But isolation can lead us down a dangerous path toward boring writing. We are writing about people's lives, people's adventures, and yet we're content to stay hidden in our tower. What are we afraid of?
writer's tower

Recently I decided to set up a stall at the local markets to sell some author stock and to get me out of my comfort zone or getting "out there" as I refer to it. Here's what happened:

I set up the stall and put up signs that read:

MEET LOCAL AUTHORS DEBBIE AND MIRREN
(I shared a stall with another writer to reduce costs)
SUPPORT LOCAL WRITERS
"I HAVE TOO MANY BOOKS" SAID NO READER EVER.

My books covered most of the table and Mirren's book was to the side of mine. One customer stood in front of my pile of The Bird with The Broken Wing and asked who the author was. I jumped up and said me. She shook my hand! (I was pleasantly surprised). She asked if I'd sign a book if she bought one and I said of course I would. I sign every book I personally sell (haven't met a person yet who bought a book from me without getting an autograph) and so she bought a copy. Then she took a photo of me and said she'd put it on Facebook. Wow, by now I'm feeling like I'm a famous author.

famous author Stephenie Meyer

Maybe a buyer shopping on line might have a similar reaction when buying my books (I can dream) but I'd never get to see their happy face. 

Another customer admired the books but said he owned a Kindle now., so I handed him a bookmark with my website address as all my books are on ebook. Maybe he'll buy a book. Maybe not. But I've connected with him and that is an important part of selling books.


http://www.amazon.com/Little-Red-Gem-ebook/dp/B00FUMQDUO/ref=la_B00717D7KU_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1383280608&sr=1-1
bookmark

The most fascinating part of the day was when a teenage girl stopped at the stall and asked me if I remembered her. Yes, I did.

We met two years ago and she told me about a green parrot she had called Elf. I told her I loved that name and one day I'd put him in a book. So  while she was standing at the stall I picked up Little Red Gem and told her Elf was a character. You should have seen the way her entire body lit up.
depiction of whole body lighting up
She ran to her parents to get some more money to buy the book. So there are effectively two points to this particular part of the story. The first being that if I hadn't taken the time to speak to her in the first place I would have created a character, perhaps a dog, and every book has dogs, not many have pet parrots. And the second point is that if I had not have gone to the markets  that day I would not have run into her to tell her about Elf being immortalised in fiction. It's safe to say that Little Red Gem is now going to be her favourite book of all time. It's what I'd do.

And after that came another customer who admired the books and then left. She returned ten minutes later saying "I have to support local writers". My sign SUPPORT LOCAL WITERS had worked on a subconscious level and was the deciding factor for her purchase. If I had not been there she would have gone home or bought from another stall. Yet, by meeting the reader face to face, I made the connection and thus the sale.

So if you write about people's lives and adventures, then you should think about getting "out there" , get out of the tower and into the real world to meet these people whose lives and adventures you are writing about. Real people add real details to a story that we might overlook or consider of no significance (I still love that I have a parrot called Elf as a character). And getting "out there" has bolstered my confidence levels so that I can chase up workshops, manuscript submissions, book stores for book signings, all the other types of promotion that are can be done from a writer's tower but not as effectively.



About the author:

Not one to accept being put into a box, D L Richardson writes speculative fiction for anyone who likes a twist in their tale. She now has six books published and is working on an apocalyptic series and a dystopian novel.
You can check out her more about books at her website www.dlrichardson.com