Monday, May 28, 2012

Imagine A Sentence As A Boat

I like to imagine a sentence as a boat. Each sentence, after all, has a distinct shape, and it comes with something that makes it move forward or stay still — whether a sail, a motor or a pair of oars. There are as many kinds of sentences as there are seaworthy vessels: canoes and sloops, barges and battleships, Mississippi riverboats and dinghies all-too-prone to leaks. And then there are the impostors, flotsam and jetsam — a log heading downstream, say, or a coconut bobbing in the waves without a particular destination.
 . . .
Just as there is no one perfect boat, there is no one perfect sentence structure. Mark Twain wrote sentences that were as humble, sturdy and American as a canoe; William Faulkner wrote sentences as gaudy as a Mississippi riverboat. But no matter the atmospherics, the best sentences bolt a clear subject to a dramatic predicate, making a mini-narrative.

There’d Better Be Trouble

Whether a story is told on the page or on the screen, the same elements are required. You’ve got to have characters you can identify with, and there’d better be trouble brewing somewhere. Whatever these people’s lives have been before, they’re about to change in a big way. That’s what stories are all about.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Try To Summarize Your Novel in a Sentence or Two

I sometimes suggest to inexperienced writers that they try to summarize their novels in progress in a sentence or two. It’s a useful though limited way of finding out whether a book has a coherent theme, a theme that’s likely to attract readers. “One day in the life of a humble prisoner in Stalin’s gulag,” or “one day in the life of a middle-aged mediocre Dublin Jew, explored as an odyssey,” would convince most literate people that there was, at least, a worthy and intelligible subject.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Interview with author, Lisa Terry

I would like to welcome author Lisa Terry to my blog. Lisa is the editor/owner of The Headland Voice newspaper and is the author of the YA novel White Star.

Daniel Kaye - Where were you born, and where do you call home?
Lisa Terry - I was born in Florida and still call it home, though I live in Alabama right now.

DK - What is the name of your most recent book or WIP and if you had to sum it up in 30 words or less, what would you say?
LT - White Star: A young couple puts their fears aside and fall for each other irrevocably. Friends, family and fate try to stand in their way, but in the end, it’s a ghost who tears them apart.

DK - If you gave one of your main characters the opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say about you?
LT - If Kara spoke to me, hopefully she’d thank me for giving her such an amazing gift of dancing, but she’d have many unpleasant things to say about the emotional beating she takes throughout the book.

DK - Do you have plans for a new book, and is this book part of a series?
LT - Yes, I am currently writing the sequel to White Star. I’ve already written a companion novel: South of Light’s End.

DK - Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
LT - It depends on my mood. Sometimes I write outside with the sun beaming down on my back, but most of the time it’s at night in my bed. To get the best story ideas or to better dissect a problem chapter or plot point, I get in my car and ride around. It works best at night.

DK - Laptop, desktop or pen for writing?
LT - Laptop

DK - Who designed the cover of your book?
LT - Heather Resch

DK - Do you have a book trailer?
LT - Not yet

DK - What are your thoughts on book trailers?
LT - I love them, though I’m not sure they’re very effective.

DK - Do you have any advice for other writers?
LT - Don’t stop reading. Just because you’re writing your own novel doesn’t mean it’s okay to take yourself out of the loop. You’ve got to stay in the know of what’s being written, different styles, structures, etc.

DK - Is your book in Print, eBook or both?
LT - It’s none of the above yet, and I’m sorry to say I don’t have a date for you either. People can stay abreast of what’s going on with it by following my blog.

DK - Have you self-published and if so how would you describe the experience?
LT - No, I haven’t self-published, though I’m not adverse to the idea.

DK - What books have influenced your writing?
LT - Ann of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery; Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen;  David Copperfield, Charles Dickens; Jude, Thomas Hardy; Dark Inside, Jeyn Roberts; If I Stay, Gayle Forman. It’s really hard to pin everyone down who has influenced me because some influences are about style while others are about structure or plotlines. Take The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer, for instance. I’d never nab that structure, but I love to drop Greek mythology symbolism in my stories. Then there are those writers who influence me in a different way; they’re an example of how not to write.

DK - Is there an author that you would really like to meet?
LT - Hands down L.M. Montgomery. I just have a feeling we’d be “kindred spirits.”

DK - Do you have an e-reader, and do you prefer it to traditional published novels?
LT - I have a nook, but I don’t use it very much. I’d rather have a traditional book in my hand.

DK - Where do you prefer to buy your books?
LT - Brick and mortar book store.

DK - What book would you like to read again?
LT - I pick up any of the Ann books by L.M. Montgomery often. All of my copies of Jane Austen books are pretty battered as well. And there’s Charles Dickens: Great Expectations, David Copperfield— I reread these book often.

DK - What book are you currently reading and in what format?
LT - I just finished a fantastic book by Patrick D. Smith, A Land Remembered. It has characters and a theme that sticks with you long after you’re finished. It was in traditional book form.

DK - What new authors have grabbed your attention, and why?
LT - That would be Gayle Forman. At first, her writing grabbed my attention because we have similar paranormal-type happenings in our books. But as I read her books, I really enjoyed her style.

DK - Your thoughts on receiving book reviews - the good and the bad.
LT - If the review is bad, the best thing we as authors can do is keep our mouth shut. But I believe book reviews are a great facilitator for readers to see if they would be interested in your book. Reviews aren’t always the best thing for our ego but they’re great for getting the name out there.

DK - If you were deserted on an island, who are three famous people you would want with you, and why?
LT - Adam Savage from Mythbusters. On a recent show he and his co-host showed how they could survive on a deserted island. He’s the more personable of the two…he could entertain as well as help us get out of there. The second person would be—why not have some man candy?—Johnathan Rhyes Meyers. I’m thinking the last person I choose needs to be someone who would keep us all from going insane: Dr. Drew.

DK - Do you have a nickname?
LT - No

DK - Did you have a favourite toy as a child?
LT - Not that I can recall.

DK - An early childhood memory –
LT - Falling in and out of sleep on my grandfather’s lap while he laughed watching wrestling on TV.

DK - Any pets that you would like to tell us about.
LT - I have a four-year-old chocolate lab named Maddie.

DK - What’s your poison?
LT - Chocolate

DK - Coffee or tea?
LT - Both

DK - Do you have a favourite food?
LT - Chocolate and Icecream

DK - Do you like to cook, and if so what?
LT - Cooking hits me in phases. When I do like to cook, I like different things—not mac and cheese and fried chicken.

DK - If you had to choose - Starter or Pudding?
LT - Pudding

DK - What do you eat for breakfast?
LT - Poptarts

DK - Name three things you never leave home without (apart from keys, money and phone).
LT - Notepad, pen and chapstick.

DK - Sleep in, or get up early?
LT - Get up early

DK - Your favourite gadget –
LT - My laptop and I have a love/hate relationship, but I’d have to say it’s still my favorite gadget.

DK - Where is one place in the world that you would really love to visit?
LT - Greece

DK - One of your favourite quotes -
LT - Life's not about waiting for the storm to pass...It's about learning to dance in the rain! -Vivian Greene
DK - I love this quote.

DK - List three books you just recently read and would recommend?
LT - Patrick D. Smith, A Land Remembered, I recommend it. DARK INSIDE by Jeyn Roberts, I recommend; HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN by J.K. Rowling, I recommend.

DK - List three of your favourite all time movies?
LT - Moulin Rouge, Dandelion, Cruel Intentions

DK - Name a new movie you recently enjoyed or disliked?
LT - Beowulf and Grendel—I loved the actual plot, but the execution of it didn’t grab me.

DK - Where can your readers find you?

LT -
My blog:
My facebook page:

I would like to thank Lisa Terry for allowing us the chance to have a chat, and for giving us a glimpse into their writing world.

White Star by Lisa Terry