Five Links 2/15/2020 Traci Kenworth

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Five Links 2/15/2020

Traci Kenworth


1. “What is something you know now about writing novels that you wish you’d known when you first started out?

I started writing short stories, so I slowly transitioned into novels eventually. My first few attempts were failed attempts. And what made that transition difficult was the realization of how much a novel is a marathon, compared to the sprint of a short story. What’s been helpful for me is just to focus on the day-to-day. What am I trying to accomplish for today—whether it’s 500 words, or to finish a particular scene, maybe even edit and add to what I’ve written the day before. So, the novel is a marathon but you need to find ways to break it almost into “interval training,” if we’re going to go with the running analogy. You can break it up into little sprints or jogs.

When you sit down to write do you set any goals for yourself in terms of how long you’ll write, or how many words, or finishing a scene?

I always set a goal so I can either be happy or disappointed. Or I should say, more disappointed. I’ve found that’s what works for me. I need deadlines, or at least self-imposed deadlines. Because the novel is such a long process I need to have those little victories spread throughout, otherwise I feel like I’m not getting anywhere. In terms of what the goal is, it honestly depends on the day. I have a full-time job, and busy life with family and what-not, so if I only have an hour then my goal is to write for that hour and see what happens. But if I have more time then I set my goal for 500 words. Since I’m off for the summer I have more time, so I try to make that 500 words a minimum, and if I hit 1,000 I’ll be really happy. At the same time, I try and give myself permission to miss those goals and not beat myself up too much. But you don’t want to miss them every day.”


3. “Technically, I have never published a book.

The more time I spend casually offering advice to other writers, the more this fact bothers me.

Not enough to stop me from writing — not enough to make me question every single response I compose to strangers and acquaintances alike. It’s more like a subtle yet constant ringing in my ears. Most of the time I don’t even notice it’s there. But every now and then, I do. And for a short time after that, it’s so irritating that I can’t concentrate on anything else. At least until I get used to the ringing again.

We all, in some way, have our own definitions of what it “means” to be a writer. There’s nothing wrong with setting your own parameters defining what may or may not qualify you to use the title of “writer” in a variety of contexts throughout your life.

But sometimes, setting these parameters can prove harmful. At least in the way a constant ringing in your ears can seem harmful from time to time, anyway. Am I unqualified to give writing advice because I haven’t published a book? Maybe. Maybe not.

Maybe it’s the wrong question to ask when deciding who’s “really” a writer and who isn’t. Maybe it’s much simpler than many of us think it is.

By definition — literally — a writer is “a person who writes.” Alternative definition: “Someone who has written.” Some define a writer as someone who has published a body of work, but even that doesn’t help clarify things since writers can write and publish a variety of “things” — books, articles, newsletters, even blog posts.” I think you’re a writer when you string words together, polish them, and believe in yourself!

4. “Do you have a hard time plotting an entire novel in advance? Do you get bogged down or overwhelmed, to the point it paralyzes your story? If so, you might be more of a situational writer. And it might be time to set yourself free.

Plotting has long been my nemesis. Over the years, I’ve read many books and articles on fiction writing that stressed the importance of advance plotting. I understand the merits, on an intellectual level. In some cases, as with epic fantasies and the like, plotting becomes more of a necessity than a choice.

But not all writers fall into that boat. Some could benefit from taking a more situational approach to their work.”

5. “If developed well, a character can live in a reader’s mind long after they’ve forgotten the book’s title, plot points, even the author’s name. Here are some tips on creating memorable characters.”

Research & Fun Bits:

1. “Forking out scarce, hard-earned cash for a writing retreat is no small decision, so when a writer decides to do just that, they want to make sure the benefits will be multi-faceted. Even beyond a powerful dose of creativity, the experience should also be confidence-building and provide positive, long-lasting effects.

As a journalist and editor for radio, newspapers, and television in both Europe and the US for the last 40 years, including having the same reporting position with the same newspaper as Ernest Hemingway, I’m not a great believer in theory. Instead, I feel the learning is in the doing.”

2. “5 Ways To Improve Your Writing Through Technology

Technology has become a part of all aspects of daily life, including writing. No longer do writers waste hundreds of thousands of pieces of paper drafting the perfect piece of writing. Instead, today writing is increasingly moving into the digital world. Here we explore five ways technology can help you to improve your own writing.

More Writing Opportunities

The advancement of technology has had a huge impact on the writing world. Not only has it opened up more opportunities for writers, but it has also made it much simpler for writers to access them. Clients are now easily able to commission the writing they want and freelancers are able to earn more revenue by being able to apply for more projects and produce content more quickly. 

Freelance writers also have greater opportunities to publish their writing in a global market, thanks to online publishing. Blog writing has become more popular than ever, with individuals and businesses alike customising their blogs to meet their demands. Blogs have increasingly been used to showcase writers’ skills and help them to access new markets and new opportunities.

On-The-Move Writing

No longer do writers need to sit all day at a desk on a desktop or typewriter (although many still choose to do so). One of the biggest advancements of the last two decades in terms of technology, has been the development of mobile devices. From smartphones to tablets, you can now write on the move.” I write by hand sometimes and by computer others.

3. “When the sun rose once again it was more than a new dawn for the world. A new order, a new era had begun.

And it was time.

We from whom the stars were seeded were sent to earth to walk amongst you. We wore flesh like a garment, clothing our immanence, choosing the limitation of your little lives as our place of working.”


5. “It’s taken me almost an hour to write this post, and it’s all Twitter’s fault.

OK. Obviously, it’s not social media’s fault that I can’t focus. Not entirely. We’re all responsible for adapting to the various challenges we face in our lives, and learning to remain productive despite how easy it is to get lost in a Twitter thread is just one of those things that either happens eventually … or it doesn’t.

The topic of online social platforms gets a little frustrating when you look at it through a professional lens. “Writer Twitter” is quite the place to be. It’s also a place many writers feel they “need” to be — despite the fact that Twitter is, in some ways, dangerous when you’re prone to distraction.

How do you stay connected and fend off feelings of loneliness and isolation when the very outlet that could save you could also hold you back from achieving your goals?”

Some Things More Serious:






Teaser Fiction & Poetry:






Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. Magisters is a science fiction story with a difference. Apart from chronicling the ultimate change of life for a select few individuals, it questions all accepted ideas by closeminded academics that leave no room for alternative thinking by some among their number. It is also about a woman born ten years after the Romans left Britannia forever and a man born in the twentieth century. Add to that everything that is currently environmentally wrong with our planet today, and you have all the necessary ingredients for an enthralling tale. Now read on…”

2. “Nowadays, all authors are financially responsible for getting their manuscript revised, edited, and proof-read, even if they intend to go the traditional route. Editors for the large publishing companies have a landslide of work to pick from, so they aren’t going to accept unedited messes, no matter how good the story is.

Hiring an editor is not cheap. Freelance editors are in business for themselves and must be paid for their work. Therefore, a 70,000 word manuscript can cost from around $700.00 or more to have edited, depending on the services you want.” I’m finding this out. I do understand they earn their work but it is still a struggle to afford the finances.


4. “ust released, Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet is the first graphic novel with a Muslim main character. The story captures Omar’s zanny imagination and the funny family dynamics that everyone can relate to. We talked with author Zanib Mian about her unique concept and what inspired her to create it.

Middle Grade Mojo: Beyond the description of children ages 8 to 12, who do you hope reads Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet? And, what would you like readers to take away from the story?

Zanib: I hope that Muslim children read Planet Omar and feel empowered by finally seeing themselves as the hero in a book, and that readers of other faiths can learn something about Muslim families. Perhaps the book may answer questions that readers were too afraid to ask a Muslim.”

5. Midnight is a young adult contemporary novel which is set in London.

Megan is a single child and loves jazz music; she plays the saxophone. Her family have just moved into London and she is taking A levels at her new school. While making new friends and considering her higher education options, she meets Vince at a party.

Vince has a ‘bad boy’ image but he offers Megan friendship and she’s attracted to him. However, the more time he spends with Vince, the further she moves away from the future that she once planned.

The messages within this story are about choices, and how the pressures that teenagers face can feel overwhelming. I wasn’t convinced that the style of writing delivered these in the best way, as it was rather ‘preachy’ in places. The author uses a lot of dialogue and this method tends to be exhausting to read. I prefer books where the dialogue is interspersed with inner thoughts which can help to create a character that readers can really empathise with.

Overall, while this story might reflect the turmoil that some teenagers face in life, the plot never became anything more than everyday drama and it struggled to keep me interested.”

8 thoughts on “Five Links 2/15/2020 Traci Kenworth

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