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Several days ago, +Steve Turnbull and +Vanessa MacLellan inadvertently challenged my muse to write a Western with mermaids and she immediately filled my head with a story. I think she did this just to spite me because I'm desperately trying to finish my WIP. I finally gave up and sat down yesterday with a clean notebook and wrote her story. I just finished typing it into the computer and thought I would share.
I've never read any mermaid stories and there isn't a lot of western in this, but maybe now she'll let me get back to my WIP.
Just to satisfy your historical correctness +Stanley Morris if you look up Arizona Beach in Oregon, you'll find that it started as a cattle ranch.
Have no idea if this is any good or not, so I'll let you all decide.


“Durn fool cow,” John muttered while tracking the hoof prints in the wet sand. Why did the stupid animals insist on breaking through the fence to get to the ocean? He’d already lost several head to the waves and the sickness that came from drinking the tainted water. This one didn’t seem to be interested in the water as the tracks led straight down the beach closer to the rocks.
He’d never been this far south and began to worry as the strip of beach between the rocks and the ocean narrowed. Did this stretch of beach naturally thin out or was the water coming closer? He knew the ocean moved in and out in what they called tides, but had never much paid any attention. Alarmed, he turned to look back and saw the water already covering his tracks.
Galloping ahead for a short distance, frantically searching for a break in the sheer rock face, he had to stop as the waves ahead were already pounding against rock wall. Him and the horse would never survive being crushed against the rocks. Their only chance would be to try and swim.
The horse twitched his ears nervously and turned to watch as John jumped down, unbuckled the cinch, pulled the saddle and blanket off and tossed them aside into the already knee deep water. Next off came his boots and his heavy coat which would only drag him down. After nearly being knocked off his feet by a large wave, John managed to climb back on the horse and urged him towards deeper water.
At first he thought they might have a chance, but night was falling and as the horse struggled to swim away from shore, John lost sight of the dark rock. Knowing the horse would have a better chance without his weight bearing him down, he reached up and released the bridle clasps, letting it and the reins drop so they wouldn’t tangle in the horse’s legs.
He slid off and began to swim like he’d learned long ago in the Rio Grande as a kid. It was actually easier here in the ocean as it took less effort to float than in the river. What he hadn’t counted on was the cold. He soon lost control as his muscles no longer moved according to his will. What started out as smooth swimming motions turned into jerky spasms.
Thoughts of survival fled as memories filled his mind. The birth of his daughter, probably the proudest moment of his life. How excited his wife had been at the idea of leaving Texas and making a fresh start in the Oregon Territory. The pain and sorrow he’d felt as she got sick and died before they ever made it through Arizona.
John marveled at how the memory of their last kiss and the warmth of her embrace comforted him as he slipped below the surface for the last time. Bubbles marking the spot.

* * *

Well at least this isn’t hell, he thought upon opening his eyes. It’s too cold. What he saw after turning his head almost changed his mind until an irate crab pinched the end of his finger. Confusion reigned as his mind desperately searched through descriptions of God’s creatures in the Good Book and the illustrated book of animals found in the Oregon Territory. Nothing fit the creature that reclined a few feet away, it’s tail slowly fanning the water next to the sand bar they rested on.
The rise and fall of a decidedly female chest produced a rainbow of colors reflecting from what appeared to be scales yet seemed softer somehow. Hair black as night pooled on the sand under her head that was propped up on one arm. A smile curved her blue lips as they parted and a voice like melted butter filled his heart and soul.
“You are alive. This is good.”
Her voice broke the spell that had him imprisoned in the star filled abyss of her dark eyes. Remembering his manners, he forced words past the pain of cracked lips.
“I’m mighty beholden to ya, ma’am. I’m John Miller and thank you for saving me. Forgive me fer asking, but why?”
“You called me”
At his look of confusion, she shook her head and frowned. “There is something special about you, John Miller. Many of your kind have fallen into my realm, and even though I can sometimes sense their thoughts, no one has ever called me.”
“The ocean is your home? he asked, sweeping his hand back and forth and then grimaced at the stupidity of that question. Where else would she live? Fascinated, he wanted to keep asking questions as long as she was willing to answer.
“Have you lived there for very long?”
“I have been here since the beginning and I’ll be here at the end.”
The impact of that statement struck him like being thrown from a horse. Was she a god or a fallen angel?
As she began to push herself back into the water, he struggled to sit up and hurriedly asked another question.
“What do I call you?”
“The name I responded to when you called.”
“But I don’t remember. What was it?”
“Wait,” he called out while struggling to his feet. “I owe ya my life. How can I repay ya?”
About to duck beneath the waves, she paused and turned back. “You have given me much to think on, John Miller. Will you come if I call? I may have questions for you.”
“Of course. Not only to answer your questions but just to be with ya again.”
She smiled, and with a flip of her tail, disappeared into the surf.

* * *

The years came and went without a call. At first he would spend hours down at the shoreline just in case he couldn’t hear her from the ranch house, but finally decided that it must have all been a dream. He did however become obsessed with learning about tides. He placed markers on the beach and tried to record the times and how far the water moved in and out, but it didn’t follow any pattern that he could see. Driving their cattle up the coast to Lincoln City along the rocky trails was hazardous to both the animals and the men. If they could drive the animals along the coast instead, it would be safer and faster.
After surviving another drive through the wilderness, John overheard several sailors talking about tides while enjoying a pint in the local saloon. He introduced himself and they agreed to take him back to their ship where he could talk to their captain. He showed John a book that listed the days and times of the tides and told him how to order one of his own. He explained that the tides were driven by the moon, and that’s why they appeared random. Once John received his copy of the book, drives were no longer a problem.
One evening after supper while playing with his granddaughter, John heard his name whispered in the sound of the surf which was always present in their home. Quickly glancing at the others, no one else appeared to have heard.
“If ya’ll don’t mind, I think I would like to be alone for awhile. I’ll just take a walk down to the ocean and watch the waves.”
“Of course we don’t mind, Papa. Make sure you take a lantern and don’t wander too far. Ya don’t want to get caught by dem waves again,” his daughter teased.
“Well since I ain’t learnt how ta see in the dark yet, maybe the lantern is a good idea. Don’t worry about me. I think I know the tides well enough by now.”
Walking briskly down the new lane to the beach, he broke into a run once it reached the sand. He searched the water, wonder and longing tearing at his heart until her star filled eyes drew him to the water’s edge.
“Will you swim with me, John Miller?”
“Of course,” he called back, and without hesitation, ran back to the high tide mark, set down the lantern, stripped down to his long johns and hurried back.
Diving into the water, he swam out to where she floated, caught her up in an embrace, and without thinking, kissed the soft blue lips he had dreamed of for so long. She tensed at first, and then circled his body with her arms; the heat that radiated from her warmed him inside and out.
John pulled away; suddenly afraid he might have offended her with his actions. “Forgive me, Arizona. I wasn’t thinking since it’s been so long and I’ve missed you.”
“It is well. I have …missed you also. Come, take my hand and I will show you my home.”
He barely had time to fill his lungs before she pulled him down into a world he never dreamed existed. Schools of fish ghosted past, the reflected moonlight on their scales like fireflies in the night. Dolphins poked him with their long noses, and laughed in their sing song voices as he tried to swim as they did.
Catching his breath on the surface, he stopped her as she took hold of his hand again. “Arizona, wait. I havta get back. My family will be worried if I don’t return soon.”
She searched his face as if looking for a truth she didn’t understand. “They will miss you as I have missed you?”
“Yes. They will miss me and be mighty sad if I don’t return. They love me and I love them.”
“Sadness and love I don’t understand. Very well, John Miller. You have given me more to ponder.” As they swam back to the beach, she asked him again. “Will you come again if I call?”
“Of course.”

* * *

The following years were unkind to John. The price of beef fell and the demand for his cattle disappeared. His daughter passed away from a sickness that ate her up from the inside. His marriage to a woman he met in town failed as she couldn’t deal with life so far from civilization. He ended up having to let his hired hands go for lack of work so only his granddaughter with her husband and young son were left.
Arizona had returned twice early on, but each reunion passed quickly. She became obsessed with feelings that were unfamiliar to her. After their last visit, she hadn’t asked him if he would come when she called. So many years had gone by that as an old man who could barely get around without help, he worried he’d never be able to tell her what had been in his heart from the beginning. He loved her and always would.
On another quiet evening after Dennis had retired early for a ride into town the next day and Emily read a story to her son, John sat alone in his room listening to the one station that came in on the battery powered radio his ex-wife had insisted they buy. His eyes had begun to droop when the sound of his name filled the room. Finding the strength missing for years, he lurched to his feet, grabbed his cane and headed for the door.
The moon was full and his eyes felt renewed, so the lantern was left hanging. John’s feet found the path on their own as he concentrated on keeping his balance and the cane in the right position. He reached the end of the lane, after only falling once, to be totally defeated by the soft sand. Tossing aside the useless cane, he shuffled across the sand towards the breaking waves and fell. Without the strength to get back up, he continued on hands and knees before collapsing at the surf’s edge, unable to continue.
Arizona floated out beyond the waves, anxiously awaiting John’s arrival. The chorus of newly discovered emotions filled her heart with song. Somehow this man had awakened something she didn’t even know was inside her. The moment he appeared at the edge of the sand, the memory of his last embrace made her smile.
That smile quickly turned to a frown as she watched him struggle and then fall. Launching herself into the next wave, she let it carry her onto the shore then fought as each successive wave pushed her a short way and then tried to pull her back. Ignoring the pain of the course sand as it scoured her now useless tail; she managed to drag herself up to his still form. Collapsing beside him, she gathered John into her arms and tried to fill him with the warmth of her body and the breath of her soul.
He finally responded and with great effort managed to pull away, a weak smile pulling at his lips while a fierce light shown from his eyes then slowly diminished. His final breath touched her with the words, “I love you, Arizona.”
She crushed him to her chest, a totally new emotion squeezing her heart like a vice. “I …love you too, John Miller.”
Unable to shed a tear, she rolled him onto his back and placed one of her iridescent scales over each of his eyes. Mindlessly, she dragged herself back to the only world she had ever known. A world where she had never lacked for anything until now. Now there was a void in her life she had no idea how to fill.

* * *

“I found him,” little Jimmy cried while running across the sand, his mother close behind.
They dropped to their knees next to John’s lifeless body as a deep moaning overrode the sound of the surf and filled the air around them. It was like the wind howling through openings in the rock, yet there was no wind.
Jimmy gazed out at the ocean and then turned to stare at his mother. “Mama, why is the ocean crying?”
Steve Turnbull's profile photoVanessa MacLellan's profile photo
I am proud to have inspired this story in any way! It's great. So much happening in so few words. Poor Arizona and John. Lovely and heartbreaking story +Roland Boykin ! Two thumbs up. Now I have to think of my own mermaid story. ;)
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Hello fellows,please should all writers be good critics of writing?
Steve Turnbull's profile photoEduardo Suastegui's profile photo
Should all writers be good critics of writing? My guess is the answer desperately wants to be "NO." Do they think they are? Well...
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Can a novel have more than one point of views? So for example I changed my point of view from person A to person B and back to person A again?
hokan hadiartha's profile photoEduardo Suastegui's profile photo
+Deanne Charlton - you know, I used to think the same thing, but now I wonder. Do readers really get confused? Do they even care or notice? I recently read a very good book where the POV switched all the time--and rather intimately, as in a character's internal emotions are in view, and then another's, in the same scene, without breaks. And it didn't bother me. In fact, I thought the usual "standard" tricks to signify a POV switch would have hurt the narrative. Sitting back, I could think of no better way to pull off the scene to as effectively convey what the author showed.
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Today I felt like writing. It was as if there was someone over my shoulder telling me to write.

For those of you who don't know the girl behind me is the superhero I created. Her name is Tercona.

Have you ever had your character over your shoulder telling you to write about her? lol

#Tercona #SuperheroTercona
Vjo Gardner's profile photoDrae Box's profile photo
Always. There's always something else they're getting up to that ends up a full length story. I avoid thinking what their holidays are like. 
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I apologize for the image as this has nothing to do with my book. Blogger has started adding this to everyone of my posts and I don't know how to change it.
What this is about is my efforts over the last year to change how I write in an attempt to increase my productivity. By reading on here the process by which others go from start to finish on a project, I tried to emulate that process. Didn't work. After reading the article on how people visualize, or not, while reading and writing, I realized the only process that works for me is the way I started. It may be slow, but that's the way I'm most comfortable.

Please tell me I'm not the only writer who doesn't write multiple drafts.
What Works For Me
   I'm still mulling over the revelation from last week when I learned that not everyone can visualize in their mind what they are reading or writing. The thought that others don't see things as I do never entered my mind. This explains so many things I've ...
I'm still mulling over the revelation from last week when I learned that not everyone can visualize in their mind what they are reading or writing. The thought that others don't see things as I do never entered my mind. This ...
Vanessa MacLellan's profile photo
+Steve Turnbull Oh... that's just mean.
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Hey all. I've been mostly a lurker in this community, but I've been around for a while.

I've self-published a few books and am thinking about going hybrid and trying to publish some of my stuff the traditional way, but I have no idea where to start. There is a lot of information out there. Some say you should just focus on getting an agent, while others say there are plenty of publishers out there that still take direct submissions. But can you just send your stuff out to everyone, or are you supposed to send to just one and await rejection? There seem to be a lot of rules and guidelines for a newbie going that route, and I'm used to just writing and doing everything myself (or commissioning the people I need to help like editors and cover artists).

Do any of you have suggestions for where to start if you want to try and get something published the traditional way? Links to articles or book suggestions would be appreciated.
Vanessa MacLellan's profile photo
+Brian J. Bell So, why find an agent first? Because they have skills on contracts and they have contacts. Also, they often give it an edit pass, so that's a small bonus as well. Many publishers, editors and presses require you be agented first. If you do find publishers, editors and presses that will directly take your query letter, go for it! Submit to both.

My press has done some publicity and got me in some bookstores and I did some writing events. But most of the marketing/publicity I have to do myself, and with just one book out, that's pretty hard to keep up any momentum.
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Joe Adams

General  - 

I just want to preface what follows with the following: I love working with an editor. They are a great source of wisdom and they are working with your best interest in mind. I love my editor and would recommend her in a heartbeat to any serious writer. She has taught me the greatest lesson that I have learned to date.


So, I initially sent in the first 50 pages of a story that I have been working on, for critique to a professional editor. The critique notes were copious and really good. It took me a solid 3-4 weeks to not just digest them, but distill them and have enough of an idea in my head of how to proceed, so that I could make a revision just to the prologue of the story.

I then sent the prologue out to a bunch of friends and family to see what they thought, and they all really liked it. So I sat down and began to start working on the first chapter or so...and I got the sense that I should send the revised prologue back to the same editor for analysis.

Got the notes back on that, this morning, and I was right to do so. I am both relieved that I did, but at the same time I'm like, "I don't wanna revise it again!!!!!! You can't make me!!!"

Never again will I ever complain about writing out the rough draft of a story. Just write the stupid thing and get it done. It will make sense to no one but yourself and will need several revisions and a bunch of polishes just to get it to the point of being beta-reader worthy.

Have fun with your rough drafts. Explore your world. Explore your characters. Explore the great story ideas you came up with. But just know that the revision process will take you a lot longer to complete than the original rough draft will. At least for probably the majority of us.

And that's okay. The revision process will make us better writers and, hopefully, will reduce the number of revisions needed as we write more and more stories.

Neil Gaiman had it right in his Nerdist Podcast. And I knew he was right when I heard it for both the first and the 1000th time. A lot of the time we just need to experience it for ourselves to ingrain it. But if you're the type of person who can ingrain ideas without the need for experience, then hopefully my experience will make you a better writer.

Cynthia B Ainsworthe's profile photo
Your points are so true. No one really understands until they've been there. With my first tome, I revised that beast 20 times before seeking an editor. Now I'll go through a ms three or four times before I send it to my editor.
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Demonstrably more professional-looking now. Should have started this way.
Did some much-needed polishing to the preorder page for Shift... formatting, text cleanup, etc... I even added my favorite bit of book fanart from Elger Teng.

With permission. 😉
Shift is a 310-page hard-science-fiction book by Brian Quentin Webb. Follow Shift on Inkshares.
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This is probably a silly question but I was wondering...have any of you wrote a first draft of your book and then when you were writing the second draft you make so many changes to the first half of it you realize the last half of your story will need completely redone? I'm talking chapters you liked at first are now scrapped. Has that ever happened to you?
whalelover oceanographer's profile photoVjo Gardner's profile photo
I've had books that I've actually had to split to create two cohesive plots. I've also had books that I've had to weave together for the same reason. It happens. When I begin a major revision I do a 'save as' and add a revision number. That way I can go back and find the great parts that need their own book.
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As purveyors of the written word, we should be mindful of how storytelling in non-book media affects reader perceptions and expectations. Well, I don't want to assume on your behalf, but I worry about such things.

For instance, I believe that whether we admit it or like it, movies, TV shows, and even online interaction impact how prospective readers connect (or not) with our written stories. No longer do we have a reader whose alternative amusement will come from staring at a crackling hearth fire. Few will indulge for long in lengthy exposition. Action and pace are the thing. Oh, yes, give them deep characters, but make sure their depth is revealed through what they do rather than in author-dispensed insight.

And now... enter Virtual Reality (VR). Some of us may have considered the possibilities of interactive (reader in the driver seat) storytelling, but past efforts have been at best limited in the range of plotting possibilities, and often have turned into somewhat (OK, sometimes a lot) awkward efforts.

With recent advancements in VR, however, and with the full immersion it promises, the game is about to change and "bigly," as one presidential candidate used the term recently. As the attached article relays, no longer can we count on the VR "reader" to interact with and experience a scene as we see fit. They might notice the things we wanted them to notice. If we want them to notice a particular detail critical with the story, we may need to take special steps to assure it.

Of course, we are word-pushers. We'll insist we need not concern ourselves with VR. We as writers and authors offer a different experience. Goggles and sensors not included.

But how will VR drive us to tell our stories in ways that engage readers now accustomed to VR storytelling? Can we hope to compete and survive with VR storytelling, and if so, how will we manage it?
On #VR & #storytelling: "in VR, the story does not come to you; you go to it." #amwriting
Maria Rich's profile photograce jolliffe's profile photo
To an extent I am am applying this to my children's books. I am still in the process but what I am aiming for is having a series linked to a site full of additional stories, images etc. This is not so much to give the reader narrative choices but to give the option of expansion. It's a lot of work and a long term project for me but so far so good and it is a lot of fun.
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Some food for thought on what makes bad writing bad...

Key quotes:
"Bad writers continue to write badly because they have many reasons – in their view very good reasons – for writing in the way they do."

"Bad writing is written defensively; good writing is a way of making the self as vulnerable as possible."

"...[B]ad writers often write in order to forward a cause or enlarge other people’s understanding of a contemporary social issue. Any attempt to write fiction in order to make the world a better, fairer place is almost certain to fail."
The biggest mistake most writers make is thinking they have nothing left to learn
Theo Fenraven's profile photoSteve Turnbull's profile photo
+Theo Fenraven That's an outrage, more must be done to bring everyone above the average.
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Lexicon's and Ebooks

I have been writing a novel taking place during Roaring Twenties, which was an era that had a lot of slang.

For clarity, I took the time to make up a comprehensive Lexicon which I plan to include with the novel. Now, (some) people hate trying to navigate back and forth in an Ebook because the interface tends to be cumbersome.

What if I made every instance of the slang a hyperlink to the lexicon? When a user clicks on the word, it would bring you to the definition. When done the user can back out to return to their place in the story. Is this something which could make a lexicon more palatable?

Alternatively, I could provide a link to an instance of the Lexicon so people could open up their browsers and pull the data? Any other ideas on how to implement it?
Evelyn Chartres's profile photoCynthia B Ainsworthe's profile photo
A lot of your above list could be clarified in dialogue. Screenwriting does this most of the time. Or you could use character internal thought. ie: John stood next to Jim as they watch the crowd on the dance floor. He nudged his friend. "Look at that dead hoofer in the plaid suit." Jim replied, "I don't think I've ever seen anyone dance that bad."

ie: Tom sidled close to Jane. "Cash or Check?" She thought, What nerve! I wouldn't kiss him now nor later. He has such an ego.

For my style of writing, I put the intenal thought in italics and drop the tag "She thought" as it would be clear that it's Jane's pov.
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Steve Turnbull

General  - 

Mermaids. A popular sub-genre. In fact a stupidly huge subgenre, mermaids are huge. Some similarities to the Steampunk genre in that not only is there the fiction, but there's the subculture as well.

Not that I'd write it unless I came up with an original take (and I think I may have one). Of course I have other stuff to write anyway.

Are you thinking about other genres? Other styles of writing?
karen j carlisle's profile photo
I'm interested in the positivity of the solarpunk genre.
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I'm working on the third novel in a series right now. Criticism of the first two books (which I think fair) commented on pacing issues: spending too much time internally with characters and letting the action lag. So this is something I'm trying to address as I write book three.

I know a number of you are outliners, but I'm not. I'm more of a pantser with, at best, an idea where I think it's going in my head. I'm interested in hearing about "beats." From what I've gathered by lurking about here in WCG, it sounds like there are beat sheets you can use as you write to help you pace your story. Anybody got a favorite resource on this to suggest?
Mike Reeves-McMillan's profile photoLouis Doggett's profile photo
I are a pantser too so no beat sheets. But I do try to change how I write to change the pacing. Taking out the things that make it lag and shortening the sentences when I need fast pacing.
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Nora P

General  - 
Anyone with medical knowledge: looking for an injury, preferably shoulder, that's very painful for the first hour or so but heals quickly. I'm assuming the thing in movies where they pop the dislocated shoulder back in and everything's fine is just a myth.
Alyson Madden-Brooker's profile photoCynthia B Ainsworthe's profile photo
The ulna nerve originates out of the cervical verterbrae, and if injured can inhibit movement for a while. The ulna nerve is the one that hurts like the dickins when you bang your elbow. Numbness in the pinky and ring fingers are a indication of ulna nerve involvement/injury (bruising, inflamation, etc.).
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I'm having a problem. I have a trilogy mapped out in my mind, something I've been gnawing at for years. I have book one done (completely in my mind, only about 23k words actually typed out) and I know how the next two books should flow. I'm more of a pantser but for some reason this story arc formed while working on the first book, so I've got an idea of how to proceed, where I want to go. So, you must be wondering, what's your problem? Finish the book then move on to book two then book three. The issue is: I have over 50 other ideas that are vying for my attention. "Hey! I'd make a great first book!" "Don't you want to start out with a bang! I'd be an excellent movie!" "If you start with that genre, won't you get pigeonholed into it?" I know, it's stupid. And what am I doing about it? Nothing. I've started journaling while I get my act together. The reason book one isn't done? I've been rewriting it instead of getting my first draft done. I need to stop. I've done and won! NaNoWriMo four times so it shouldn't be that hard. I like the story and think it'd be great. What's wrong with me?
Nicole Montgomery's profile photoLouis Doggett's profile photo
Hey, anyone see that squirrel? The one with the shiny thing in it's mouth?

I have five books I work on now and then because certain ideas demanded attention. That doesn't count the ones I work on straight through. I have another 3 to 10 ideas always floating around in my head.

I have done NaNoWriMo six times so know how to work on a novel all the way through to finish but I had to get certain ideas down and thus those five books I referenced. When you work on your own deadlines you can do that.

That doesn't count the short story ideas.
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J.B. Wise

General  - 
Writing Out of Your Genre

A lot of what I write, or have written, is YA/NA. I typically read a lot in this genre as well, so I tend to lean toward those types of characters/plot lines. I feel like it's my "identifying genre". When people ask what I write, I respond, "YA Fantasy". Even if I don't always think it fits exactly, that's still my answer.

But, yesterday, I was searching through my old notes on book ideas and came across one that I really like the idea of only problem is, it isn't in my genre.

Is this even a thing? How do you break into a new category? Can you switch between them or do you need a new pen name for each? Anyone have experience in this?
Dave Higgins's profile photoLouis Doggett's profile photo
Good answers so far,

I add that many poor writers do have pen names. Sometimes it is one or two sometimes many. For almost as many reasons as there writers. A lot of times it is because of different genres but not always.

But as I have learned recently it also depends on if you are going traditional publishing or Indie. If Indie you want name recognition so pen names might not be a good idea. But if traditional the above comments apply.

What it boils down to: It's your choice. There are cons and pros for either way.
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Sue Baker

General  - 
Hi, I'm writing a book, I have one question to  ask any of you. Can i use the word only in a sentence?
Jackson Davies's profile photoSue Baker's profile photo
Thanks for the information
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Is anyone interested in helping me out with the motivational aspect of writing? I feel like if I get that extra push or reminder to write or have a due date set I'll get more done, but without any discipline I'm struggling to write. 
Jesse Akers Knives's profile photoBruce Burns's profile photo
+Jesse Akers Knives you can use Google hangouts with someone's id, or you can post to G+ and replace "public" with their name
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Gwen Tolios

General  - 
Slightly freaking about attending. Never been to such a thing before, any advice? My goal is to shop a novel.
Gwen Tolios's profile photoLucie Le Blanc's profile photo
Who wants to talk to a book? Nobody. So don't go there with the goal of shopping your book.

Attendees know authors are there to sell books. Hitting on them for that purpose is boring and gets old really fast and they avoid desperate authors. Those are easy to spot: they are alone and looking sad.

Hit the bar, attend panels, start or join a conversation with strangers, talk about your writing process. Just introduce yourself by your first name. If they like you, people will eventually ask you your full name and want to know why you're there.

Then hand them a business card or small marketing item (make it original so they'll remember you when they select which one they'll keep amongst the hundreds they received during the event) and let them decide if they want to talk about your book or not.

I only keep the ones attached to good memories. Like getting drunk or having a nice chat outside while smoking. (BTW smoking spots are very popular and that's usually where I get into the greatest conversations.)
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