Prydain Publishing : WHAT TO DO WHEN INSPIRATION DOESN’T COME

WHAT TO DO WHEN INSPIRATION DOESN’T COME

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Authors note: This is one of the most favorite things I have written in some time. It’s a little lengthy, but I promise it’s worth reading in-depth. If you’re in a rush, jump to the last two or three paragraphs to get the goods. Otherwise, read on.

I often find myself in the middle of long sloughs where inspiration doesn’t seem to strike. And I never knew who or what to blame, until now.

Sometimes it’s days, sometimes entire weeks when I’ll really struggle to feel creative (let alone do anything about it). This feeling of being uninspired is no good for someone who makes a living and gets fulfillment from creativity.

You, too, probably run into brief times where inspiration just won’t come.

Then, almost as if by some unseen power, I’ll get a burst of energy or motivation that fuels me to dive into some creative work. It’s hard to explain how or why, but this routine happens more often then I’d like to admit. In-fact: before I sat down to write this very article I was experiencing a severe slump where inspiration was lacking.

Then, out of nowhere, I got an idea, sat down to write, and these words became the result.

But what happened exactly to me? How was I able to find my way out of the creative slump and back into the good graces of inspiration just like that?

To better understand what the right course of action to take is when creativity doesn’t strike, I want to look at exactly what creates inspiration in the first place.

Inspiration is a driving force. It’s a mental stimulation that moves us to do something creative, whether it’s writing, drawing, composing, acting, brainstorming, anything.

Our mood, our goals, energy levels, recent experiences, and knowledge all impact our feelings of inspiration.

Inspiration is not something that comes entirely from outside of our own heads. In-fact: I believe it’s too common a fallacy that creative inspiration is the stuff you search for on Pinterest or Tumblr, or at museums, or when having a stimulating conversation with someone who you look up to. It’s none of those things.

All of that stuff is simply tinder for the fire.

The real inspiration comes from within. Hear me out on this.

When we don’t feel inspired it’s not because there isn’t something outside of us that’s not stimulating. Creative stimulation is everywhere we look, particularly thanks to the Internet and how easy it is to access millions of amazing things that other people have created.

When inspiration doesn’t strike, the culprit, then, is something internal. It must be. Because, you’ll recall, inspiration is primarily a result of all of the stuff I mentioned above, which – you’ll note – are all internal attributes.

Let’s start with your mood.

Research has shown that our mood greatly affects our ability to not only act, but to think creatively.

When we’re in what scientists refer to as “activating” states (that is: states where we’re energized either negatively or positively, like angry or excited) we’re more likely to think creatively. On the other hand, if we’re in a neutral state (like depression or even feeling content) we’re much less likely to be creative.

Related to mood is our level of energy.

If you haven’t had a good night’s sleep then a lot of your brain’s energy that is commonly used for excess actions like brainstorming or remote association will be put elsewhere, like keeping yourself alert. Without enough energy to do everything you need to do, your brain isn’t going to have any extra fuel left over for creativity.

Apart from moods and energy, our internal goals make a big difference on our ability to encounter inspiration too.

If you don’t have a goal (even a minor, temporary one) then your brain is free to wander aimlessly. Which can be good, but somedirection is better. Sometimes that aimlessness can yield interesting results, but if you have a set goal in mind (like, for example, my goal of writing this blog post) then you’re much more likely to encounter the types of things that will inspire that goal easily.

It’s like looking through a magnifying glass (remember those?). If you don’t have a focus, you may be looking in all the wrong places for ideas. However, if you know that you need to be looking in a certain, general, area, you’re much more likely to encounter something that sparks an idea.

Next on the list of things that impact inspiration are knowledge andrecent experiences.

Your brain is so complex that there are things you notice that you don’t even realize you notice. And those tiny, mentally unnoticed things impact your ability to feel inspired.

There was a story I once read about a man who was trying to research how the brain recalls certain stimulus. When writing a paper he suddenly thought of the word “violet,” seemingly completely at random.

He stopped what he was doing and started to go over everything that could have spurred that word to come into his mind.

Was there something violet he had encountered that day? No, he had remained in his personal library for much of the day. Was it something he overheard? No, communication that day was limited. Perhaps it was something he encountered days earlier? He wasn’t sure.

Then, again as if by random occurrence, he glanced at a book on his bookshelf. The title that was printed on the side of the book, now dusty and barely visible in the day’s light, included the word “violet.” But the man hadn’t picked up that book in years, and he hadn’t consciously noticed it’s title for just as long.

But somehow his eyes had skimmed the title, without him consciously being aware of it, and when he needed ideas about how the brain recalls things the most, his subconscious was able to identify that exact situation and book and title and word for him. He later went on to produce a number of scientific articles on the subject.

Amazing, right?

So our experiences – even the bits of them that we don’t pay that much attention to ” impact our ability to think as well.

Too much of a routine can greatly hinder our ability to feel inspired, in-part because we’re not providing any stimulus whatsoever for our brains to work over.

We’re basically telling our brains: “Let’s be creative and find something new,” but we’re not giving it the fuel to do the job. So we end up feeling stuck.

When the inspiration doesn’t strike, it’s safe to assume that one or more of these variables may be the culprit.

Knowing this, we can see how easy we might shift the tide and bring inspiration back into our lives.

By focusing on a being in a more activated mood (by watching entertaining videos online, or thinking on something that makes us anxious or even angry), by setting a goal (like “write 1,000 words in one hour” or “draw ten faces in 60 seconds”), by ensuring that we’re well rested (a good night’s sleep makes all the difference, but a power nap can help too), and by being mentally stimulated (by going on a walk, reading a random book or magazine, or browsing a crazy new website), we can greatly drive our ability to feel inspired!

So, now that you know, what are you waiting for?

If you’re waiting around for inspiration: it’s probably a ways away. Go make your own inspiration right now. You’ve got the fuel to do it.

by Tanner Christensen Edited by Prydain Publishing

Prydain Publishing : 15 Do-It-Yourself Tools to Promote Your Book

15 Do-It-Yourself Tools to Promote Your Book

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You’re not a New York Times bestselling author. You don’t have a publicist. And your Amazon sales numbers are awful. Should you quit writing books?

Absolutely not.

No matter what kind of book you’ve written (or plan to write) there are many ways to reach your audience. Each of the DIY tools listed here are low or no-cost, and each of them works in its own way. One or more may be perfect for you.

Fifteen ideas might seem overwhelming, but remember that you only need to do one thing at a time. As one clicks and then another, you’ll soon be reaching your audience.

The bottom line is to practice selling your books one by one. Author and publisher Michael Wiese has been writing and marketing books successfully for over three decades. He tells all his forty-plus authors “Sell one book at a time.”

Instead of trying to sell your book to faceless thousands, find one person who needs and wants your book. Offer your book to that person. Repeat.

Slower than you want, but faster than you think, you may become a best-selling author.

1. Start Early

The most powerful and essential steps you can take toward promoting your book begin long before the actual writing of the book. Three years before the book is published–if you can–start building a network of supporters and reviewers. Keep track of everyone you meet as you research and write the book. Pay special attention to, and make notes about, those who demonstrate a genuine enthusiasm for you and your project.

As the project evolves, keep in touch with these people. You might send them an occasional email, or keep in touch via a social networking site like LinkedIn or FaceBook.

For significant milestones–the signing of your book contract, the completion of the manuscript, the arrival of the galley proofs, and the arrival of the finished books–you might bring key people together for a house party. At the house party, you could read short excerpts from your book and answer questions about the project.

2. Contribute to Web Forums

Every field has at least one or two forums that people interested in your subject know and read. Find and join these forums.

Contribute to them freely. Give advice and reach out. Offer to help others. Put a link to your blog or website in your signature line. When you have a book contract and/or a book title, add the title to your signature line.

3. Start a Blog

Early in the process of researching and thinking about your book, start a blog. Add 120-130 words each day of helpful, inspirational information on issues in your field, which are related to the subjects in your book. Aim to create a genuinely useful body of knowledge over the following 12 months.

4. Write a Remarkable Book

Set out to write a remarkable book. If your book is not remarkable, keep working on it until it is. Give the manuscript to ten friends and ask for honest feedback. Find a brilliant editor (you can find such an editor at EFA) and pay him or her to edit your manuscript. Revise. Repeat.

Don’t stop until your reviewers start saying things like: “I loved it! This book is amazing!”

A remarkable book will generate word-of-mouth publicity. One person will read it, and recommend it to his or her friends. They will recommend it to their friends. This is the best publicity you can get.

5. Cultivate a Positive Attitude about Book Promotion

Think of book promotion as storytelling. The story you are telling is why you wrote your book, how it can help others, and how the world will benefit from your book.

If you can develop a positive attitude about book promotion, people will pick up on it, and tune in immediately. Some writers resent the chore of marketing. Their attitude seems to be, “I’m a writer. Marketing is the publisher’s job. Promoting my own book shouldn’t be my responsibility.”

Unfortunately–unless you are Stephen King or Malcolm Gladwell–the publisher probably won’t have the budget to market your book. If you don’t promote your book, no one else will.

6. Create a Media Kit

Your media kit should include:

* Professionally printed business cards with the book cover on one side and your contact information on the other side. Do not try to print them on your home printer. This is a time to invest in your product and yourself, not save money.

* A head shot by a professional photographer or a talented amateur. It should be well lit, with a neutral background. Your eyes should sparkle.

* A 100 – 150 word biography. The main purpose of the biography is to tell a reader why you are uniquely qualified to have written this particular book.

* A ‘one-sheet’ for the book: a single piece of paper with a glossy print of the book cover on one side and a one-page description of the book on the other side. Be sure to include a few short blurbs and recommendations from colleagues and friends in the description.

7. Create a Book Pitch

Consider writing at least three sales pitches for your book: 10 seconds, 30 seconds, and 60 seconds. When someone asks what the book is about, give them the 10 second pitch. If the person responds with interest, have a longer pitch ready!

Practice your pitches on friends until they tell you the pitches work.

8. Build a Website

As publication day approaches, build a full website. The website should include:

* A book blog, in which you write updates, corrections, errata and respond to reader comments and suggestions. This book blog may become the basis for the second edition of your book.

* Sample chapters from your book

* A link to the Amazon page for your book, so people can buy the book online

* Your media kit (see step 5)

* Book reviews and blurbs.

* Your schedule of appearances, including bookstores, speaking engagements and conferences

* Contact information.

9. Get Book Reviews from Individuals

Six months (nine if possible) before the book is due to appear in book stores, start asking people for reviews and blurbs. Send reviewers a printed galley proof of your book. If you don’t yet have printed galley proofs, send a PDF containing the first two chapters, a table of contents and your bio.

Don’t be afraid to approach the ‘biggest names’ in your field. (This is important.) Ask for both reviews and blurbs. Busy people may only have time to write a few sentences.

A word about PDFs: check with your publisher about their policies on review copies. Many publishers will NOT allow you to send out a PDF copy of the entire book. They are afraid the book will be stolen.

10. Write Articles

Every field has eZines, websites and magazines that advocate or deal with the subject of your book. Find them. Once you know where they are, look through them and figure out which ones talk to the audience for your book. Contact those sites or publications and pitch articles that will be of interest to their readers.

Schedule articles to appear around the time your book will appear in bookstores and on Amazon. For example, if your book is going to appear in bookstores and on Amazon in mid-June, schedule your articles to appear in July, August, and September.

Remember to pitch articles early, because many magazines and eZines have a 3-6 month lead time. Mention your book title somewhere in the article. In online articles, link the book title to its Amazon page so readers can click over and buy the book.

11. Get Book Reviews from eZines and Magazines

Ask websites, eZines and magazines in your field to review your book. Some websites or eZines may offer to trade, to review your book if you write an article for them. For example, earlier this year I contacted Writers Store and offered to write an article about what I learned while promoting my most recent books:Producing With Passion and Digital Video Secrets. This article is the result of that contact.

12. Get 20 Amazon Reviews

Amazon reviews are amazingly effective. Everyone from book buyers to publishers reads them.

Your goal is to get at least 20 reviews. Contact everyone you know and ask each of them if they would give your book an honest review. Let them know it can be brief. If they agree, send them either a galley proof, a promotional copy of the book, or a PDF containing a table of contents, two sample chapters, and your bio.

Amazon’s Top Customer Reviewers are another source of high-value reviews. Find the reviewers who deal with books in your area. Write to them. Tell them you have written a book they might be interested in, and that you’d appreciate a review. If they respond, send them a galley proof or a promotional copy of your book.

13. Get Mentioned in email Blasts

Look for organizations in your field that send large-volume emails. Try to get your book reviewed in their email or newsletter. When the number of people receiving the emails is 100,000 or more it’s sometimes referred to as an email blast.

14. Speak at Conferences

As a published author, you have the qualifications necessary to speak at conferences. Contact conference organizers at least 6 months in advance. At first you may have to register and pay a fee to speak. Later, when you become better known, conferences may seek you out, and may even pay you to speak.

You should be prepared to give a 45 minute presentation. A useful way to structure a 45 minute presentation is to speak for 30 minutes, and take questions from the floor for the last 15 minutes. Plan to take a few minutes after your speech to circulate with the audience. Have a table in the back of the room where you or someone on your team sells books.

15. Make and Post Online Videos

Make a few 5 minute videos (or a series of videos) of yourself talking about key issues in your field. Put the book title and URL on the bottom of the video screen and in the credits.

Post your videos on several of the many video sharing sites including sites like blip.tv, jumpcut, ourmedia, Vimeo, vSocial and YouTube. Embed the video clips on your website.

Plan on following your promotion plan–perhaps an hour a day–for at least a year. Resolve to do something every day on promotion. Remember – follow-up and persistence are the keys to success.

By Tony Levelle  Edited by Prydain Publishing

Prydain Publish : Check out this book by R.D. Hale!

Check out this book by R. D. Hale!  You can get it at   http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I21QZUI

Sky City: The Rise of an Orphan

Prydain Publishing

Book Description:

My name is Arturo Basilides. I am an orphan living in the slums of Medio City – the capital of a nation ravaged by a war which was won by extremists. Offered a choice between slavery and disenfranchisement, we exist in an underclass so disconnected we effectively inhabit a different era. Daily life involves scavenging, theft and substance abuse with a bunch of misfits who are somehow still in one piece after years of abandonment. I am a natural born fighter and although I despise warfare, I must witness the downfall of those bastard elites whilst fulfilling my romantic intentions with the forever unattainable girl of my dreams.

Sky City is a sci-fi action adventure with light elements of fantasy. It is set in a near future alternative reality where science is indistinguishable from magic and oppression is near-inescapable. Technology has created a newer, ‘superior’ form of human and genetically engineered monstrosities are as terrifying as anything encountered in your nightmares. The underclass have been underestimated and as they fight back the boundary between freedom fighter and terrorist becomes increasingly blurred. Meanwhile, the drug-induced haze of a traumatised mind places a question mark over the meaning of reality.

‘Sky City: The Rise of an Orphan interweaves heavy social issues and philosophy without ever sounding pedantic, milking the sci-fi genre for all its worth. The slum dog’s efforts to maintain their humanity in such a heartless age, when everything is going against them is so palpable. The 99% versus 1% theme focuses our minds on where society might be heading and forces us to look at things how they are, if we wish them to be truly different.’ Dean C. Moore – Author of Renaissance 2.0

Reviews:

Edited by Prydain Publishing

Prydain Publishing : 8 Tips for Writing a Powerful Hook for Your Book Proposal

8 Tips for Writing a Powerful Hook for Your Book Proposal

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Today I’ll list some tips on how to write a powerful hook for your book proposal.

With the growing number of electronic and social media diversions competing for people’s attention, the hook on the first page of your book is proportionately more important to grab readers’ attention, make them hungry for more—and eventually to recommend your book to friends. A compelling hook in your book proposal is equally vital because you have one chance to convince an agent or editor to continue reading.

The hook is not a shorter brief description. This is a frequent mistake I see in proposals, and it reveals more than a lack of understanding of a hook’s purpose. It implies a lesser writing skill or possibly even the author’s lack of clarity about his or her book.

The hook is the first impression the agent or editor will have of your book. It is more than marketing copy. It should capture what your book is about in very few words.

  1. The hook in your proposal should be one or two sentences. In your manuscript the hook can be up to several paragraphs. I think this difference is where confusion has occurred. Remember that you have only 30 seconds to attract an agent or editor to continue reading your proposal. If you can’t distill the hook to an attention-grabbing sentence or two, their perception may be that your story or topic isn’t strong enough to warrant further reading. Before you think agents and editors are cruel and insensitive, understand that we have stacks of proposals to read and precious little time available to do so. It’s an unfortunate reality in the industry. But it underscores the necessity of having a powerful hook in your proposal, doesn’t it.
  2. Use strong active—never passive—verbs that convey the emotion or pressing need in your book. Use present tense.
  3. Allude to the main plot or the issue at stake—the main conflict or crisis. If you can encapsulate the essence in a word or two, great! Use them in an illusive, edgy, bold, or passionate sentence—whichever type corresponds with your book. But don’t explain the conflict or crisis. That’s the job of the synopsis.
  4. It isn’t necessary to refer specifically to the protagonist but if you do, use his or her name. It can create a personal connection with the character in an instant.
  5. Sometimes it’s more intriguing to make a passionate but general statement that conveys the central theme.
  6. Use colorful nouns; eliminate adjectives.
  7. Questions are for back cover copy, not the hook.
  8. Unlike the synopsis, do not reveal the ending of your novel in the hook.

One way to start writing your hook is to jot down some sentences about the main plot or topic of your book and the main characters (fiction) or people and ideas (nonfiction). Search for a few strong words that capture the theme and conflict in your story or message and build from there.

In their book Write the Perfect Book Proposal, Jeff Herman and Deborah Levine Herman define the hook this way: “ . . . the hook for your book proposal is the power point from which your ideas take flight.” I like this description because it shows the passion a hook should have to make an agent sit up and say, “Ooh . . . sounds interesting!”

by Mary Keeley  Edited by Prydain Publishing

Prydain Publishing : Why Sharing Your Work, Setbacks & Struggles Breaks Creative Blocks

Why Sharing Your Work, Setbacks & Struggles Breaks Creative Blocks

Prydain Publishing

Prydain Publishing

We all get stuck. You find yourself sitting at your desk, frustrated by the fact that every solution you generate just doesn’t seem right or seems too similar to the failed solution before it. Later that evening, while trying your best to describe the complexity of the challenge to your friend, the solution presents itself to both of you. Why does this happen? What is it about the act of sharing your frustrations that yields the necessary insight?

to mention past precedent – suggests otherwise. In fact, one of the single most effective ways to enhance your creativity is to regularly break the cycle of isolation and interact, talk, and share your work with your colleagues and friends.

Psychologist Kevin Dunbar studied the workings of four prominent microbiology laboratories for insights into how new theories are developed. What he found was that the majority of creative insights and great discoveries actually occurred during regularly scheduled lab meetings, where individual researchers revealed their latest findings and shared their most difficult setbacks.

Dunbar describes how the majority of findings in any research laboratory are failures or at least unexpected results. During these regular meetings, researchers shared their results and also developed analogies trying to describe what might be causing their problem. (Analogies are actually quite common in scientific insight. Consider how Watson and Crick used the double helix or twisted ladder analogy to explain their findings on DNA molecules).

Dunbar discovered that as the researchers developed analogies, and as other researchers built on the ideas around those analogies, the solutions to their problems just seemed to develop. Sometimes, a researcher would spend a week vexed by a problem and the solution would seem to present itself in just 10 minutes of discussion with peers.

One of the single most effective ways to enhance your creativity is to regularly break the cycle of isolation and interact, talk, and share your work.

In contrasting the four labs, Dunbar also found that the more diverse the lab team, the easier these breakthroughs occurred. The labs made up of researchers from the same background typically generated the same ideas and stayed stuck with the same problems. He believes the reason is that individuals from the same background often develop and understand similar analogies, but when two individuals from differing fields share, they have to work harder to develop analogies that each party can understand and those “long-range analogies” offer more connections to possible solutions.

This research runs counter to many of our impressions of lone creatives or mad scientists striving for years to overcome setbacks and to perfect their work. However, many of the most creative companies have been sharing their problems and building on each other’s insights for years. It might even been how they became so creative. Consider two in particular: Google and Method.

Google is often praised as one of the “best places to work” and an oft-cited reason is its free meals program, which gives employees a variety of gourmet meals on demand in various locations throughout their Mountain View, California campus. This free food is not just meant to increase employee happiness – it increases creativity as well. Douglas Merrill, the former Chief Information Officer at Google, reveals that one reason behind the free food is that it encourages Googlers to interact with others outside their department and share what they are working on and the problems they’ve encountered. Google has even designed these eating spaces to encourage discussion among people from unrelated departments. The benefits of these connections are difficult to track, but it is not unreasonable to assume they parallel those experiences at Dunbar’s microbiology labs.

This research runs counter to many of our impressions of lone creatives or mad scientists striving for years to overcome setbacks and to perfect their work.

In some cases, this sharing may not even need to happen face to face. Cleaning products standout Method utilizes a forum they call the wiki wall the same connective end. Wiki walls are floor to ceiling whiteboards that are put up in common areas. Here’s former employee Tom Fishburne describing the wiki approach, “Ideas are grouped by project. Everyone [can] add to an idea at any time over the entire course of the project. Pictures and prototypes are added for all to see, comment, and build on. Slow hunches have time to take root.” He continues, “Projects are not the result of one Eureka moment at one point in time. They are the cumulative result of hundreds of minor and major Eureka moments throughout a project.”

These findings imply that getting individuals to regularly connect and share their work, setbacks, and insights can amplify the creativity produced by each. So the next time you get stuck, don’t go it alone. Rally your colleagues, or even just a friend, to talk over the problem, and see what happens.

Prydian Publishing : How to Stay Focused Writing

How to Stay Focused Writing

Prydain Publishing

In case you haven’t noticed, I write about all the stuff I suck at.

And here’s my worst struggle yet: staying focused.

But this discipline is a non-negotiable for a writer. It’s essential for anyone who is serious about doing great work.

I don’t care if you have to trick yourself into it. If you’re going to do stuff that matters, you will need to find a way to stop chasing shiny objects, sit down, and get something done.

That’s all there is to it.

Half-finished paintings don’t make it into museums.
Half-drawn blueprints don’t make for well-constructed buildings (or any building at all).
And half-finished manuscripts don’t make for much of a story.

Truth is: you can’t create compelling art if you don’t stay on track.

Getting your work done is essential to making an impact. You have to finish. Staying focused is how you do it.

In any type of creative work (especially writing) you’re going to need discipline to get you to the finish line. Here are a few tricks that work for me:

  • Block out time to be creative. Most professionals agree that writing in spurts longer than four to six hours is unhealthy and unproductive. Instead, write less,but more frequently.
  • Reward yourself with breaks. I recommend writing for an hour or two. Then give yourself a 15-minute break away from computer, notebook, whatever, and just have fun. Go watch TV, eat lunch, or take the dog for a walk. Just do something to switch your brain off. Make sure you make it it as restful an activity as you can. (Sorry, checking email and reading Twitter doesn’t constitute as a “break.”)
  • Turn off all “noise” while you write (including social media and other techno gadgets). Write without distractions — as much as you can.
  • Don’t edit as you go. (Don’t edit on your breaks, either.) Schedule blocks of time to edit at later. You need to just get some words down on paper (or screen).
  • Be spontaneous. Don’t write what you think you should write. Write what inspires you, what you feel. This may fly in the face of what you think it means to “stay focused,” but give yourself some room to be creative. Brainstorm, free-write, fail. It’s okay to have fun.
  • Set a goal and meet it. John Grisham used to get up every morning and write one page per day. That was his goal. Some days, he exceeded it. Other days, he just scraped by. But the point was he set a realistic, attainable goal. If done every day, he knew he would eventually have a book. And he did. Setting and meeting small goals will build your confidence and do more for your writing career than you realize.

These are just a few ways to stay focused. I’m sure there are more. If you’re like me, you may have to bribe and cajole yourself into doing it, which is fine. Do whatever it takes. Just get your butt in the chair and do something.

Once you start, you’re far more likely to finish. So get started now. It’s time to focus.

How do you stay focused writing?

by Jeff Goins  Edited by Prydian Publishing

Prydain Publishing: Bright ripples in a dark pool by Michael Coleman

Prydain Publishing would like to share:

Bright Ripples in a Dark Pool  by Michael Coleman

5 The short story is a great way to tell a tale – it is akin to a pencil sketch – which often delivers a more satisfying image than a much labored over oil painting on canvas. The Short Story has a spiritual home in Ireland and these stories have a hint of that spirit running through them, though they are universal in the emotions and situations they portray. These are tales about lives. Mainly fictional, though a couple are based on real event. Every reader will find an emotional connection somewhere within this small collection. It has a little of everything; stories which are funny, some tragic, a bit of horror and some are – just delightful. Life is full of morals – perhaps there are morals worth considering inside this small collection. Michael O’Brien of O’Brien Press Dublin said of him – “he writes well, it is intriguing and it is hard to tell the fact from the fiction”.

Can be purchased at:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bright-ripples-dark-Michael-Coleman/dp/B00JRZL2WO/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top/278-0727770-3691801

Reader Reviews:

By Annie D. on 7 Oct 2014

Format: Paperback

If, like myself, you are a lover of the short story, then you are in for a treat with this wonderful collection from Belfast author Michael Coleman. In the first story “A Fable”, the author brings a new and clever perspective to a well loved classic that at times is reminiscent of Joyce or Woolf, lending itself at times to an almost “stream of consciousness” style. In “Friend Or Foe” we are at war, the author catching the reader up in the conflict along with the protagonists, which is in turns brilliantly hopeful and horribly shocking. “God’s Hands” is a wonderful science fiction tale, the main character Ian reminding me of a modern day Victor Frankenstein, a story I would love the author to expand on. “The Bedroom” and “A Little Boy” are both beautifully written and deeply moving stories filled with wonderfully descriptive and sympathetic narrative. “Fook” is a great shot of Northern Irish comedy, shining a refreshingly humourous light on what is usually a dark subject, while the titular story “Bright Ripples In A Dark Pool” is an emotional yet atmospheric tale of love, loss and hope.
I loved this collection of short fiction, full of strong characters and plots that were in turn comic, surreal, dark and heartwarming and I hope the author will deliver us more of the same, and soon!

By Dara on 20 Dec 2012

Format: Kindle Edition

My favourite story was “Scéal 3 – God’s Hands”. A graphic, enthralling and poetic account of the god syndrome with a deep message for everyone.  I would recommend this collection to people aged 15/16 and above. There’s a cutting Irish edge and wit throughout the stories that makes this enjoyable from start to finish.
By sjk on 27 Dec 2012

Format: Kindle Edition

The descriptions used have you right there with the characters. A fantastic read I highly recommend it to everyone and I’ll be keeping an eye out for Michael’s next book!

Prydain Publishing : Have You Been Published?

Have You Been Published?

Prydain Publishing

Prydain Publishing

Have you written anything that’s been published and want to share it?  Or won a writing contest?   If you’re a newly published author, whether it be a novel, poetry, short story, artlcle, screen play, etc. just add a comment or contact us at prydainpublish@gmail.com and we’ll be happy to post it on our blog!  We love to encourage writers and simply want to spread the word!  We’d love to hear from you!

Sincerely,

Prydain Publishing

Prydain Publishing : The 10 Types of Writers’ Block (and How to Overcome Them)

Prydain Publishing

Prydain Publishing

The 10 Types of Writers’ Block (and How to Overcome Them)

Writer’s Block. It sounds like a fearsome condition, a creative blockage. The end of invention. But what is it, really?

Part of why Writer’s Block sounds so dreadful and insurmountable is the fact that nobody ever takes it apart. People lump several different types of creative problems into one broad category. In fact, there’s no such thing as “Writer’s Block,” and treating a broad range of creative slowdowns as a single ailment just creates something monolithic and huge. Each type of creative slowdown has a different cause — and thus, a different solution.

Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the terrifying mystique of Writer’s Block, it’s better to take it apart and understand it — and then conquer it. Here are 10 types of Writer’s Block and how to overcome each type.

1. You can’t come up with an idea.
This is the kind where you literally have a blank page and you keep typing and erasing, or just staring at the screen until Angry Birds calls to you. You literally can’t even get started because you have no clue what to write about, or what story you want to tell. You’re stopped before you even start.

There are two pieces of good news for anyone in this situation: 1) Ideas are dime a dozen, and it’s not that hard to get the idea pump primed. Execution is harder — of which more in a minute. 2) This is the kind of creative stoppage where all of the typical “do a writing exercise”-type stuff actually works. Do a ton of exercises, in fact. Try imagining what it would be like if a major incident in your life had turned out way differently. Try writing some fanfic, just to use existing characters as “training wheels.” Try writing a scene where someone dies and someone else falls in love, even if it doesn’t turn into a story. Think of something or someone that pisses you off, and write a totally mean satire or character assassination. (You’ll revise it later, so don’t worry about writing something libelous at this stage.) Etc. etc. This is the easiest problem to solve.

2. You have a ton of ideas but can’t commit to any of them, and they all peter out.
Now this is slightly harder. Even this problem can take a few different forms — there’s the ideas that you lose interest in after a few paragraphs, and then there’s the idea that you thought was a novel, but it’s actually a short story. (More about that here.) The thing is, ideas are dime a dozen — but ideas that get your creative juices flowing are a lot rarer. Oftentimes, the coolest or most interesting ideas are the ones that peter out fastest, and the dumbest ideas are the ones that just get your motor revving like crazy. It’s annoying, but can you do?

My own experience is that usually, you end up having to throw all those ideas out. If they’re not getting any traction, they’re not getting any traction. Save them in a file, come back to them a year or ten later, and maybe you’ll suddenly know how to tackle them. You’ll have more experience and a different mindset then. It’s possible someone with more stubbornness could make one of those idea work right away, but probably not — the reason you can’t get anywhere with any of them is because they’re just not letting you tell the story you really want to tell, down in the murky subconscious.

The good news? Usually when I’m faced with the “too many ideas, none of them works” problem, I’m a few days away from coming up with the idea that does work, like gangbusters. Your mind is working in overdrive, and it’s close to hitting the jackpot.

3. You have an outline but you can’t get through this one part of it.
Some writers work really well with an outline, some don’t. For some writers, the point of having an outline is to have a road to drive off, a straight line to deviate from as far as possible. Plus, every project is different — even if you’re an outline fan usually, there’s always the possibility that you need to grope in the dark for this one particular story.

Actually, there are two different reasons you could be getting stuck:
1) Your outline has a major flaw and you just won’t admit it. You can’t get from A to C, because B makes no sense. The characters won’t do the things that B requires them to do, without breaking character. Or the logic of the story just won’t work with B. If this is the case, you already know it, and it’s just a matter of attacking your outline with a hacksaw.
2) Your outline is basically fine, but there’s a part that you can’t get past. Because it’s boring, or because you just can’t quite see how to get from one narrative peak to the next. You have two cool moments, and you can’t figure out how to get from one cool bit to the other.

In either case, there’s nothing wrong with taking a slight detour, or going off on a tangent, and seeing what happens. Maybe you’ll find a cooler transition between those two moments, maybe you’ll figure out where your story really needs to go next. And most likely, there’s something that needs to happen with your characters at this point in the story, and you haven’t hit on it yet.

4. You’re stuck in the middle and have no idea what happens next.
Sort of the opposite of problem #3. Either you don’t have an outline, or you ditched it a while back. Actually, here’s what seems to happen a lot – you were on a roll the day before, and you wrote a whole lot of promising developments and clever bits of business. And then you open your Word document today, and… you have no idea where this is going. You thought you left things in a great place to pick up the ball and keep running, and now you can’t even see the next step.

If it’s true that you were on a roll, and now you’re stuck, then chances are you just need to pause and rethink, and maybe go back over what you already wrote. You may just need a couple days to recharge. Or you may need to rethink what you already wrote.

If you’ve been stuck in the middle for a while, though, then you probably need to do something to get the story moving again. Introduce a new complication, throw the dice, or twist the knife. Mark Twain spent months stuck in the middle of Huckleberry Finn before he came up with the notion of having Huck and Jim take the wrong turn on the river and get lost. If you’re stuck for a while, it may be time to drop a safe on someone.

5. You have a terrible feeling your story took a wrong turn a hundred pages back, and you only just hit a dead end.
This is the worst. You made a decision that felt bold and clever – you threw the dice and dropped a safe on someone – and now you’re realizing that you made a horrible mistake and you’ve gone off course. Worse, you can see where your story should be right about now, if you hadn’t made that dreadful error.

If you’re absolutely sure that you’ve gone the wrong way, then there’s no point in going forward any further. Is there any alternative to rewinding all the way to the original mistake and starting from there? Yes, but it might suck. Sometimes, if you can see clearly what your story ought to be like at this juncture, you can just keep going from here, as if you had gone the right way in the first place. Thus leaving yourself a giant hole that you’ll have to go back and plug later. You can also rewind partially, going back 50 pages instead of 100 and then pretending you made the right choice originally.

In either case, though, beware – you’re going to end up with two alternate timelines in your story, and it’s up to you to keep straight what happened in the timeline you’re sticking with, as opposed to the one you’re discarding.

6. You’re bored with all these characters, they won’t do anything.
You created these bold, vibrant characters, and now you’ve written dozens of pages… about them brushing their teeth and feeding their cats.

Let’s start with the obvious: characters who don’t do anything aren’t interesting characters. Either what you’ve got here are just your supporting cast, and you haven’t created your main character yet, or you haven’t found the thing that your characters really want, or the conflict that will spur them into action. You have some characters, but not a story, not yet.

Sometimes you have to find the knife before you can twist the knife.

The good news is, sometimes writing a few dozen pages of nothing much happening can be super valuable – you’re getting into the world, and you’re working out for yourself what these characters are about. It’s entirely possible that once you’ve done that, a conflict will present itself, or one minor character will suddenly start looking like your protagonist. Just be prepared to toss out all these pages after that happens. (As you probably will with almost everything in a first draft, anyway.)

7. You keep imagining all the reasons people are going to say your story sucks, and it paralyzes you.
Otherwise known as the Inner Critic – you can’t make any choices, because you keep imagining how someone at GoodReads will tear you apart for it later. Actually, the person at GoodReads doesn’t exist, and it’s just your own internal critic talking here. You’ll need that inner voice of scorn for later, when you’re revising – but while you’re working on a first draft, you have to drown it out, possibly with loud Finnish death metal.

Chances are the ideas you’re putting down aren’t nearly as bad as your darkest fears tell you they might be. But in any case, you can always fix it in rewrites. (Although this does mean that you’ll have to be twice as harsh when it comes to revising the thing – that’s the bargain you make when you write a quick first draft with an eye to revising later.)

8. You can’t think of the right words for what you’re trying to convey in this one paragraph.
I’ve had this one – I know what I’m doing, and where I’m going next, and the story is humming along. But I can’t move forward until I find just the right verb in this one sentence, and I spend a whole day’s writing time staring at the screen and trying to figure it out. This seems like a silly waste of time – just use the wrong verb for now, fix it in rewrites! – except that sometimes hitting on the right word is partly a matter of visualizing the scene in your head. Plus, what if this happens during rewrites?

There’s nothing wrong with spending a day or two fussing over one sentence. It may seem like a waste of time, it may feel like you’re stuck – but actually, you’re just paying close attention to your writing and to the way you’re depicting the scene. If this goes on for a week, though, just pick a verb and move on.

9. You had this incredibly cool story in your head, and now you’re turning it into words on a screen and it’s suddenly dumb.
Is this your inner critic talking? Are you sure? Are you really sure?

Okay then. It’s possible you’re actually seeing a real problem with your idea, and with the execution. And, you know, there’s nothing wrong with abandoning a novel and starting afresh. Sometimes these dead half-finished novels serve as great fertilizer for the awesome novel you’re going to end up writing.

But don’t give up too fast. It’s possible that part of your idea is salvageable, or that the idea is genuinely cool and you’ve gotten yourself stuck into a weak execution of it. Sometimes it’s helpful to step back and write a synopsis of the stuff you’ve already written, so you can see how it fits together and whether there are some buried parts that should be turning points in the story. Sometimes it’s helpful to try writing bits of your story from a different character’s point of view, to see how they look from another vantage point.

10. You’re revising your work, and you can’t see your way past all those blocks of text you already wrote.
Revising is a nightmare – and if you’ve adhered to the “write a first draft quickly and then fix it in rewrites” school of thought, you’ve agreed to a Faustian bargain. There’s no way to make this process go faster or more smoothly, a lot of the time. Sometimes it takes a while of looking at your text from different angles to figure out where the problems are, and sometimes you need more feedback from more people to figure out where the real structural weaknesses are.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that if you’re getting stuck during revisions, that’s not any type of Writer’s Block (as nebulous a concept as Writer’s Block is), but rather just the natural process of trying to diagnose what ails your novel.

Although one thing that works for me when I’m getting stuck with revisions is just to rewrite large sections from scratch, without looking back at your original draft. Same story, new words. Sometimes, it’s a lot quicker than trying to wrangle the words you already put down.

by  Charlie Jane Anders    Edited by Prydain Publishing

Prydiain Publishing : 6 Ways to Hook Your Readers from the Very First Line

Prydain Publishing

Prydain Publishing

6 Ways to Hook Your Readers from the Very First Line

Although I consider myself an avid reader, I must admit I have a short attention span when it comes to getting into books. If you fail to grab my attention in the first few lines, I start spacing out.

Most readers are like me. Most people don’t want to spend the first 50 pages trying to get into a book.

Here are a few things I find annoying in the first lines of a story:

  • Dialogue. Nice somewhere on the first or second page, but not in the first line. We won’t know who’s speaking or why we should care.
  • Excessive description. Some description is good, but not when it’s long winded. Skip the purple prose and opt for something more powerful.
  • Irrelevant information. The first few lines of your story are crucial, so give your reader only important information.
  • Introducing too many characters. I don’t like to be bombarded with the names of too many characters at once. How are we supposed to keep them straight when we don’t know who’s who?
  • The last thing you want to do as a writer is annoy or bore people. Instead, try one of these 6 ways to hook your readers right off the bat:

    (N.B. One of the easiest ways to check out the opening pages of nearly any book you want is with the ‘Look Inside!‘ feature on Amazon.com.)

    1. Make your readers wonder.

    Put a question in your readers’ minds. What do those first lines mean? What’s going to happen? Make them wonder, and you’ll keep them reading.

2. Begin at a pivotal moment.

By starting at an important moment in the story, your reader is more likely to want to continue so he or she can discover what will happen next.

  • “It was dark where she was crouched but the little girl did as she’d been told.” ~Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden
  • “I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975.” ~Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

3. Create an interesting picture.

Description is good when it encourages people to paint a picture in their minds. Often, simple is best so it’s the reader who imagines a scene, instead of simply being told by the author.

  • “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” ~Daphne DuMaurier, Rebecca
  • “She stands up in the garden where she has been working and looks into the distance.” ~Michael Ontaatje, The English Patient

4. Introduce an intriguing character.

The promise of reading more about a character you find intriguing will, no doubt, draw you into a story’s narrative. Most often, this is one of the main characters in the book.

  • “I was born twice: first as a baby girl on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.” ~Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex

5. Start with an unusual situation.

Show us characters in unusual circumstances, and we’ll definitely be sticking around to see what it’s all about.

  • “They had flown from England to Minneapolis to look at a toilet.” ~Nick Hornby, Juliet, Naked
  • Last night, I dreamt that I chopped Andrew up into a hundred little pieces, like a Benihana chef, and ate them, one by one.” ~Julie Buxbaum, The Opposite of Love

6. Begin with a compelling narrative voice.

Open your story with the voice of a narrator we can instantly identify with, or one that relates things in a fresh way.

  • “As I begin to tell this, it is the golden month of September in southwestern Ontario.” ~Alistair MacLeod, No Great Mischief
  • “I am ninety. Or ninety-three. One or the other.” ~Sara Gruen, Water for Elephants

No matter how you start your book, keep your readers in mind. What will make them want to continue reading? What will potentially make them put down your book?

How does your favourite book open, and what makes it so compelling?

by Suzannah Windsor   Edited by Prydain Publishing