Carolyn M. Walker


Old Blog of Carolyn M. Walker

Monday, July 17, 2017

Immortal Descent to Publish Spring of 2018!

Greetings Friends!

Though this is no longer my primary blog, I have some faithful followers on here, whom I still want to extend some great news to! 

So here's the news... *drumroll* ... my debut novel, Immortal Descent has been picked up by a publisher and will be in print this coming Spring 2018! That's right! It will be available in stores and online. There will be some exciting events coming up as we near the launch, so you don't want to miss it! 

I am currently building my readership list so if you would like to stay in the loop for a chance to win a free copy of the book, VIP giveaways, and more, please fill out the form linked below to get signed up! Thanks to everyone for their support and happy reading!



SIGN UP HERE!

And continue to follow me at: https://carolynmwalker.wordpress.com/









Monday, April 3, 2017

Author's Webpage

Hi Loves!

Soon, I will be taking this page down and everything will be moved over to a wordpress page I've created. I still own the domain for my "official" author's page but until I get my first publishing deal in place and things pick up for me there, I'm going to conduct all things writing on my wordpress blog at: carolynmwalker.wordpress.com.

Thanks for everyone's support on Blogger!! :)






Thursday, April 21, 2016

Writer's Market 2016 - The Ultimate Guide to Publication!

Photo credit: http://www.writersdigestshop.com/
Hi peeps! Yesterday, I bought my first Writer's Market, deluxe edition! I am super excited for the amazing information within its pages. I intend to read it front to back and take in all the great resources and advice I can find. Anyone serious about publishing their work, be it articles for trade magazines, poetry, children's books, graphic novels, short story anthologies, nonfiction and fiction works alike, the Writer's Market has it all! There is even a nifty section with fresh listings on contests and awards of which you can enter.

The book begins with a letter from the editor, Robert Lee Brewer, and some very interesting and useful guidelines on how to properly use the Writer's Market. I suggest reading this before diving in. After that, you can thumb through at your leisure and see what catches your fancy, from literary agents looking for new talent to publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts. I must say I have sold myself short over the years not looking into this golden gem sooner. 

The 2016 Writer's Market is in stores now at fine retailers like Barnes and Noble where I picked mine up. It can be pre-ordered for possibly less online as well (but beware of those tacked on shipping fees). With tax it ran me about $53 but the investment was well worth it. I intend on using every available resource this puppy has to offer. With this year's edition, you also get access for a whole year to their frequently updated database at writersmarket.com. You might also want to check out the Writer's Market Guide to Getting Published which serves as an additional companion to the official Writer's Market.

I am very much looking forward to sharing some exciting new news with you soon as I embark on my journey to publication!

Till next time. 



Thursday, December 3, 2015

LOL...How Funny are You?

carolyn m walker humorous textToday, I want to talk about a particularly funny topic: humorous writing. Yes, it’s a thing and yes, it deserves all the respect of other types of professions. After all, who can’t use a good laugh from time to time? In fact, some of the most unforgettable ads and forms are copy are the ones that make us double over with delirious laughter. So the burning question is: how does one achieve it and is it something you can do?

It sure is! (Those with only “how did the chicken cross the road” jokes need not apply.) The key to truly maintaining success when writing a humorous piece is originality. If you don’t have that, well… [insert cricket sound here]. You get the point. So if you are concerned about it and want to add some LOLs or at the very least smiles to your copy, read on to see how it’s done.

I should just point out right now that I come from a long line of goofballs, therefore it’s kind of in my genes to be a goof. If you don’t score so high on the laugh-o-meter, not to worry! Humor comes in many forms, my friend.

Sarcasm


The dark comedy of the written language can often be attributed to some perfectly placed sarcasm. The beauty of sarcasm is you don’t have to throw buckets of it at your audience. A sliver of sarcasm here, a helping of irony there, a hint at mockery elsewhere and voila! You have yourself copy that’s been nicely spiced up with edge and yes even a laugh or two.

Puns


Word play at its finest is best found in a pun that leaves your audience still thinking about it long after they've read it. Suggesting two or more meanings, by spring boarding off words with multiple meanings is a common way to add in a good pun. Alliteration is sometimes added with a good pun as well, often for extra humor. The best thing about a pun is it can quickly spice up your copy and generate a good laugh almost immediately. Not to mention they are often downright clever and often very much appreciated.

Slapstick


Cheap shots and SNL style skit references are fair game here. This style of humor works best in story mode copy. Telling a tale that’s worth a few extra laughs? Slap-stick is excellent for this and it’s easier to achieve than you may think. The best thing about slap-stick is there really is no right or wrong. Bumbling foolishness and epic fails are all a part of life, right?

Niche



carolyn m walker niche writingDownright quirky and completely niche humor is not an easy thing to accomplish, I won’t lie. A few years back, I covered a travel column piece on the summer festivities at Disney World. It just so happened Epcot had a summer Flower Garden festival occurring during the Star Wars weekends. If you are catering to a group of Star-Wars enthusiasts who also happen to love gardening, you better come up with more than just a blip about greenery and "may the force be with you." Let’s just say creativity knows no bounds with niche-based humor. By the time I was done Darth Vader and flowers sounded like a rosy pair—puns very much intended! It was challenging but rewarding. The best thing about niche humor is that it is literally one of a kind, so you have more freedom to think outside the box and have fun with it.



Friday, November 6, 2015

Big Reads in a Small Town – The Minneola Schoolhouse Library

Earlier this week, I took some time to visit my neighborhood library, which is literally within walking distance from my home. The Minneola Schoolhouse Library is a wonderful landmark here in beautiful Lake County, Florida. Housed in a building that was built in the late 1800s, one cannot miss the timeless nostalgia of this old town monument. This historic property was originally a schoolhouse with two classrooms and a bell tower. Inside, you will find beautiful wood finished floors and original pictures of the schoolhouse from over 100 years ago.

In 1915, Lake County merged schools and eventually built a larger new elementary school in Clermont.  Minneola's original schoolhouse was then closed down and it was later converted into a private residence. The homeowners decided to make some additions to the building, including adding on an enclosed porch, a living space and kitchen. Some of these features were later removed to return the building back to its original appearance. 
 
 
Today, the public library offers a wonderful space where patrons can literally step back into the past and enjoy a piece of history alongside a good book. There is a full section solely devoted to children’s books, five fully equipped computer stations and free Wi-Fi available for the tech savvy visitors. I have spent many a mornings at the lovely Minneola Schoolhouse Library. If you are ever in the neighborhood, check out the Minneola Schoolhouse Library and their friendly staff.


The library has a Friends Group, Front Porch Book Club, frequent Family Story Times, and other wonderful seasonal events and happenings throughout the year. Also check out their lovely outside gated garden with additional shaded seating. Another favorite place of mine to enjoy a good book or work on writing mine!


 
 
 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

How Long is Too Long to be Working on Your Novel?


got time to write a novel? carolyn m. walkerYou're writing a novel. You've had the idea for some time now, maybe even let it stew for a little while before finally putting pen to paper. But now that you've started, it's taking you far longer than you planned. Does this sound like you? If so, you are not alone. At some point, I'm sure we've all wondered how long it should take a writer to finish a novel. I have heard that on average, the typical first time novelist takes anywhere from 2-5 years to complete a full length book. Of course there's going to be some give or take here.

So how long is too long?

I have been asked in the past how long it takes to write a novel and while I am a writer I cannot answer that fairly yet because I am still working on my first novel! A brief bit about my own experience...my story idea came to me in 2002. I worked on it part-time for 3 years, stopped completely for 3 more years and then picked it back up for another year, only to change the entire concept.

Fast forward 4 more years and a college degree later, my writing style had changed so much, I decided to start the entire project over. Today, I'm 3/4 of the way done and steadily moving. If you count the restart, I'd say I'm right around the 2 year mark. Will this be typical? I hope not! Did this help you in anyway to better understand your own writing timeline? Doubtful! This goes to show that everyone's pace is different. While there really is no definitive timeframe out there for completing a novel, fortunately there are ways to keep yourself moving at all times, instead of wondering why you are stuck in second gear!

Choose a Target Size for Your Novel

Many of us may not know how long our novel is going to be but the sooner you get an idea of it, the easier it will be to realistically pace yourself! In my case I knew my story was going to be epically long. Knowing this early on has helped me get a better handle on what to expect.

Novels typically range from between 50,000 and 100,000 words, dependent upon a whole plethora of variables (like genre, typesetting, book type, etc.). For mass-market paperbacks, 50,000 words will land you at about 200 pages, while 75,000 words are at about 300 pages. And we've all seen those massive door-stopper books that double as lovely paperweights. :)

Stay Focused

It sounds like a no-brainer but let me tell you, it is anything but! There are too many other elements in life that want to get in the way and destroy your pacing plan! Online, there are a dime a dozen of "quick writing courses" and "draft helper" tools designed to get you writing your full length novel in as little as 30 days. I say don't worry so much about being prolific to start--worry about writing, period.

Pace Yourself...Realistically

Only YOU know what will work best for you and the only way to discover this is to pace yourself realistically. If you are busy and can only drill out work for 30 minutes a day, do it. Work on it every day and devote a space of time only for your writing. Make it a habit and stick to it. Do what works and is attainable. Nothing will stop you quicker than setting a goal that you cannot keep up with.

Understand that "Prep and Pause" is Okay!


Writing a book entails a lot and there is far more to it than just writing the words! What about brainstorming, plot development and planning, character fleshing, and downright research? All that takes time and you know what? It's totally okay. I like to call these things "prep and pause" moments: Moments when I STOP writing and focus on what makes the writing work in the first place. These things are important and should be given time just like your actual writing. (And don't get me started on editing).

Even if you are staring at the wall, thinking about how to best kill off that final main villain, you are working. It's part of your creative process and it should not be cut out or rushed along. Prized bestselling author of The Hunger Games novels, Suzanne Collins once said: "Some days all I do is stare at the wall. That can be productive, too, if you’re working out character and plot problems."

The Takeaway

Whether you write 10 minutes a day or 8 hours a day, write slow and steadily or fast and furiously, keep chipping away at it. Keep moving and stay mindful of your progress. Eventually, you will have perfectly sculptured masterpiece you so desire.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Contract Writing vs. Freelance Writing

Contract writer freelance writer carolyn m walker
So, I'm doing a lot more freelance writing these days than contract writing and while both things are writing jobs, it seems that a lot of folks might not realize the difference between the two. The thing about writing is that it is quite a versatile beast. Dependent upon what you write about and how often you desire to write, one is likely to work better for you than the other.

So what is the difference? While either type can be full-time or part-time work, the real difference is in where you work and for how long.

Contract Writing


Typically, contract writing is when you work with a company but you are not a part of their formal staff. Oftentimes, you might work physically within their office as an independent contractor (1099) and you may be paid on an hourly basis or salaried. These jobs are often for a specified length of time (3-month, 6-month, and 1-year are common ones) and it is often project-driven. If you finish the project within a specified time, your contract may end. If not, it may be extended. Hours may or may not be flexible and the pay is often higher because it is a contract position.

A few years back, I took a contract writing position for a large law full-service law firm and my workload was solely project-driven within a 6-month period. I also received an extension. When the work was completed, my contract ended. Contract positions are a great way to build your portfolio while gaining valuable in-house work experience.


Freelance Writing


For freelancers, the location of the job is the biggest difference. Just like contract writing, you are considered an independent contractor (1099) and you work for yourself, but oftentimes you will provide your writing services under more flexible terms. These jobs may be paid hourly but are more often paid by the project. Work may be for a specified length of time but a project with proposed deadlines is more common. Projects may be large or small.

Unlike most contract work, your services as a freelance writer may be utilized by a client over a longer period of time. Dependent on the relationship you build with your client(s), you may work on a variety of projects and with a variety of folks--be them companies, media liaisons, marketing firms, ad agencies, creative departments, etc.

Freelancers not only tend to work on their own terms, they also often work on their own turf, which means you are likely working right from home or remotely. In the last year, I have taken on several freelance gigs and enjoyed the freedom of managing my own schedule and working with a variety of great folks (lovely clients). With this freedom however, comes the responsibility of needing to stay proactive and focused. Freelance work is a great way to build your portfolio, network with others and build strong references for future work!

The Bottom Line


Yes, there is a difference! Writing come in many sizes, shapes and forms! Now it's up to you to distinguish and conquer! No matter what path you take in your writing career, know that there are endless opportunities out there. Make sure you explore several avenues, try things out, be open minded, and find what works best for you. Nothing is more rewarding than discovering what you love and do best, then going out and doing just that!