Seven Links 6/29/19 Traci Kenworth


Seven Links…6/29/19

Traci Kenworth


1. “If you regularly read books and articles on the craft of fiction you’ll often come across the term in medias res. That’s Latin for “in the middle of things.” (As opposed to writing in puris naturalibus, or “stark naked,” about which I have no advice.)

Many times, the context in which in medias res is used is the all-important opening chapter. As you all well know, here at TKZ we’re big on helping writers get out of the gate grabbingly (I love making up words. And BTW, you can study past examples here.)” This is good advice. Starting each chapter in the middle of the action and adding setting details later on. How do you add your background in for your world? Details about your characters?

2. “Stephen Barbara’s office is nothing to be afraid of. It’s a small, cosy space in Midtown Manhattan with a bookshelf in the corner and inspirational messages on the walls (“There is nothing new in art except talent” and “A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge”). Barbara himself is a welcoming person. Though he does claim to be “very argumentative”, that side of his personality doesn’t manifest itself during our hour-long chat. He’s polite, voluble, and answers questions with the patience and precision of someone who loves the topic at hand. Yet most strangers who attempt to contact Barbara will agonise over their emails for weeks. They will ask their friends to proof-read their messages. They will hold their breath as they hit send. They will spend the next hours, days or weeks anxiously refreshing their email inbox. In other words, they will manage their communications with a level of anguish that seems irreconcilable with the perfectly pleasant person sitting in front of me. Stephen Barbara, you see, is a New York literary agent.

It’s easy to understand why people might tiptoe around someone like Barbara. Literary agents are, more often than not, the first point of contact for a writer looking to send their manuscript out into the world. Practices vary from one country to the next, but in the US and in the UK, most novels sitting on your bookshelves and on your nightstand likely began during a dialogue between their author and a literary agent. In other words, people like Barbara can jump-start careers in one of today’s most crowded professional fields – so a little tiptoeing might be in order.”

3. “This photograph is very much of its time. Sitting on the coffee table is a guide to the Scottish elections, which had just finished when Eamonn came calling (it’s gone for recycling now). And the sheaf of papers on my desk is the first draft of my next novel (due out in September). I was most of the way through a rewrite (the second draft) on the day the photo was taken. Under the desk you will see an unused Mac tower (never got the hang of it). The black chair was a gift from my wife.

The street-sign is genuine – there’s a street named after me in my hometown of Cardenden. The second desk is used for paperwork (correspondence, paying bills, and so on). Linn turntable and Arcam CD player in front of the fireplace, and plenty of CDs scattered about, including a recent four-CD box-set retrospective of the group Pentangle.”

4. “The old joke about how “the book was better than the movie” is a reflection of several attributes written fiction offers over visual fiction. One of the main ones is the ability to get inside characters’ heads via internal narrative.

Narrative, by its very nature, is narrated bysomeone. Usually, that someone is the protagonist. The “deeper” or “closer” the POV, the more important it is that narrative choices be crafted to reflect the narrating character’s internal landscape. Even in distant or omniscient POVs, in which the narration doesn’t pretend to issue from the characters’ heads but simply observes and/or reports, readers are still given at least glimpses of the characters’ interiority.” I usually get the character’s voice at some point and the narrative because easier to do. Sometimes it takes several failed tries until I get the right one.

5. “As we’ve talked about before, some stories feature more of a plot, and some feature more about characters. Other stories mix-and-match those elements, such as being plot-driven but character-focused.

No matter what we write, however, the point of our stories usually rests more on our characters than our plots. In fact, we might have heard that the purpose of the plot is to reveal character.

For some, that might be a controversial statement. So let’s take a look at what “plot reveals character” means and how understanding that idea can help our storytelling skills. *smile*”

6. “So, you sent me your latest proposal and received a rejection from my assistant. A week later, I post a blog that seems to be talking about your submission.

So, did your proposal prompt that blog post?

Maybe. But consider:”

7. “Believe it or not, agents and editors are people too.

In my experience, at least. They’re not mean or grumpy—most of them. They’re not lying in wait for a chance to dash a writer’s dreams. They don’t enjoy saying no.

They’re mostly a good sort. They like to be liked. And they truly appreciate and will often remember a few small things that writers do, whether in an email, in an appointment, or across the cafeteria table at a writers conference. If you want to make them smile (and possibly hold onto a positive memory of you), try doing these few simple things:

Research & Fun Bits:

1. “I can’t believe I forgot such a major milestone in my writing life, but the tenth birthday of this blog came and went on June 15, marking an uninterrupted decade of weekly posts on the subject of writing fantasy, science fiction, horror, and fiction in general.

In some ways, as with any anniversary, it seems like just yesterday that I started this up, and at the same time it’s hard to remember a time when I didn’t have that weekly commitment” I celebrated nine years a few weeks ago as well!

2. “If you’re an author looking for marketing ideas to showcase your work while promoting fellow authors, this post is for you!

I’m excited to share another awesome feature I discovered using Gutenberg and the WordPress Plugin Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg. This is the fifth post in a series I’d like to refer to as Grooving with Gutenberg! For those who are not quite sold on the Gutenberg editor, I hope this series of posts offers encouragement to jump on board.”

3. “Creating depth in writing is an involved process. When we talk about adding depth to a scene, we are talking about many things, and over the next few weeks, we will explore the ideas and facets of depth more fully.

First of all, “depth” consists of a multitude of layers we add to a scene.” I’ve been following her worldbuilding posts. They’re very helpful!


5. “Have you done some writing today? Did you put pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard and cranked out so many words? Will you write today? Remember not to worry about resolutions–they often fail. Simply try to develop a discipline about the craft of writing, and never wait for inspiration. It is the act of writing that creates more writing.”


7. “Ideas always find you at the most inconvenient moments. In the middle of work meetings. While you’re driving. During your shower — you know, the one place you couldn’t do work even if you tried.

I’ve always thought there is something frustratingly poetic about this — the fact that it’s when we’re most resistant to possibilities that a thousand of them come calling. Loudly. All at once. In the middle of the night. Again.”

Some Things More Serious:


2. ““You’re lost. You’re ashamed to admit that you don’t know who you truly are. You have no idea what you want in life. In truth, you feel like a complete stranger to yourself.

Can you relate?

If so, don’t worry. There’s nothing wrong with you. What you’re experiencing is the product of living in a society that is constantly trying to tell you who THEY think you are. (And that’s freakin’ disorienting, demoralizing, and overwhelming.)”


4. “When I left for the north, my son’s garden was already being stripped back to basics. I was curious to see what might have been done by the time I got back. It had all looked fine before the work started… but beneath the surface of the decking, the garden was rotting and had to be ripped out and replaced.”

5. “I’ve touched on a lot of different heroes over the years, so I’m surprised I never thought about this one before.  I mean, they’ve slipped into a few categories at times, but I never really locked onto the ‘experiment’ origin.  It was when I was watching ‘The Defenders’ that it came to me.  You had heroes who got powers from training or accidents, but then there was Luke Cage.  He got his abilities from an experiment, which got me thinking about Captain America.  In the MCU, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are experiments as well.  You have robotic types like Robocop and Cyborg too.  So, what constitutes an experimental hero?”

6. “It is now July 1986 and we manage to get a weekend away with our friends before my niece Emma arrives from England for three weeks. We head off to San Antonio and plan to raft down the Guadalupe.. and no doubt drink margaritas. This is my letter home to my parents in the UK after our trip.”


Top of Form

“Two Punctuation Blunders that Puzzle Readers and Irk Editors – by Kathy Steinemann…

Are you guilty of these punctuation mistakes that confuse readers and drive editors batty?

Someone told me recently that about 90% of writers need the information in this post (no names mentioned, but she runs a popular writers’ blog, the one with the green-on-green color scheme).

Are you one of the 90% she was talking about?”

Teaser Fiction & Poetry:


2. “It is Wednesday Story Day again, and last week Larry gave his boss a call to let him know they are in some trouble. Although the boss was angry, he gave Larry assurances that the department lawyer would be helping him. Larry was warned to lay low, and as we all can imagine, the warning fell on deaf ears. Let’s get back to Larry and Andrew who while we were away had actually gone to the police station in South Lake Tahoe. Larry and Andrew approach a desk where a young officer is working on a computer.”





7. “Here’s another excerpt from The Life & Times of Ichabod Brooks and it’s pretty lengthy.  The reason is because it’s an underwater scene, which means I had to work with no dialogue.  I’ve found that I’ve been attempting these a lot lately.  I depend a lot on dialogue and action when telling a story, so removing one of my two most common author weapons presents a challenge.  It also means it’s tough to find a good breaking point for spoilers, but I can just give you the whole thing.  People seem to really like Ichabod Brooks, so it shouldn’t be an issue.  Enjoy!”

Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. “What elevates a story from good to great? CONFLICT. 

A car breakdown in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. A jealous ex who is interfering with the hero’s new relationship. A loss of power when the heroine needs it most. Big or small, conflict creates problems for our characters, tests their motivation, and forces them to prove just how much they want to achieve their goals.

Conflict is the writer’s sacred tool, a kaleidoscope of temptation, pain, and strife that makes the character’s journey more challenging. It comes into play at turning points, pinch points, and whenever we feel like cranking up the heat because we’re evil.”

2. “Wanderers is one of those books that’s been with me for a very long time. Some books are *snaps fingers* lickety-quick — they appear fast, get on the page even faster, and next thing you know, that book is on shelves and you’re moving onto the next thing. But the sheer size of Wanderers parallels its presence in my life: it’s been a book I thought about for four years before I ever put a single word down about it, and once I started writing it, it still took a long time to write, to edit, and now, to launch. The long launch time is good, of course — the first excerpt from the book appeared last Halloween, at Entertainment Weekly, thus officially beginning the slow-and-steady march to publication. That’s in part because, if a publisher has some faith in the book and the author, giving it a lot of time to breathe and come to life gives it more chances to get on people’s radars, to become a thing in their mind, to pique interest and, in a perfect world, outright desire. (Or, a cult formed in the author’s honor. Which hasn’t happened for me yet, but one day. One day.)

So, that long, long wait is nearly here.

A book years in conception, making, marketing, and publication.

And it’s in one week.” This is on my wish list. Can’t wait to read!

3. “Six months ago, writer and bookstore owner Maddie Hanson was left at the altar. Since then, she’s had zero interest in romance—despite the fact that she runs a book club full of sexy eligible bachelors. But when her latest novel is panned by an anonymous blogger who goes by the name Silver Fox—and who accuses her of knowing nothing about passion—she decides to prove her nemesis wrong by seeking a romance hero in real life .” 

4. “Inspired by The Pine Tree State­—Maine’s diverse landscape, natural beauty, rural communities, and independent people—the author’s 150 haiku poems, along with her photographs take readers on a memorable journey. The collection travels through Maine’s four seasons and includes state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State.”

5. “When swallowed, some souls gift insights, wisdom, a path to understanding. Others unleash power, proficiency with a sword, and indifference to death. One soul assimilates with ease. But swallow a host of the dead and risk a descent into madness.

Estranged from his family over the murder of his wife, young Raze Anvrell wields his fists to vent his rage. Then a chance at a new life beckons, and he retreats to the foothills of the Ravenwood, the haunt of unbound ghosts. He and his mentor build a freehold, a life of physical labor and the satisfaction of realizing a dream. They raise horses and whittle by the fire until the old man dies, and Raze swallows his first soul.”

6. “The Determined Lord Hadleigh is book four of the King’s Elite series of historical romances.

Although this can be read as a stand-alone, to get the most from the series I would suggest reading them in order.

The story is set in 1820 and opens with a trial at the Old Bailey. Viscount Penhurst was found guilty of being a key part in a large smuggling ring.

Although this was a satisfying result, Lord Hadleigh, the crown prosecutor, was left feeling guilty over the final sentence, because it left Penhurst’s wife and son without a home and penniless.”


17 thoughts on “Seven Links 6/29/19 Traci Kenworth

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