My Test Reader makes it to 91

Today is Fozzie’s 13th birthday, which makes him I think about 91 human years. Fozzie listens to the clacking of my keyboard and gives me feedback on cat behaviour and dialogue. Some of you may recall that the ship’s cat Fez in No Remorse was also a Devon Rex. Not sure if Fozzie will get to play the cameo role in the movie though, as his ability to take orders is quite limited. Thanks Fozzie for 13 years of jumping on our bed and waking us up at 5.30am meowling for breakfast, and for being a warm purring companion in the winter. Fozzie’s eyesight is not the best these days, and he sometimes forgets he’s been fed, but I think lots of us can relate to that… Happy birthday, Fozzie!

Book Review of No Remorse by author Allen Mitchum

Allen Mitchum, author of the thriller 28 Pages, a semi-finalist in the Kindle Best Indie Book Awards of 2012, has given a four star review of No Remorse. Here’s an excerpt:

While the story is solid, the characters of No Remorse are perhaps the book’s greatest  asset. And this is a testament to Walkley as a burgeoning thriller author because for a commercial novel, that’s unusual. Typically the biggest critique of the genre is that characters are paper thin or can’t cast a shadow. That’s not the case here. In particular, the main villain, Saudi prince Khalid, is well developed and oddly intriguing as the reader leans piecemeal the man’s motivations for seeking to destroy the Saudi Royal Family. Few established authors offer a villain as impressive as Khalid.

Of note, Walkley doesn’t shy away from incorporating controversial topics into the story. In fact, the reader gets the sense that one of Walkley’s main goals in writing the story was to be controversial (which this author wholeheartedly respects). Organ harvesting plays an important role in the story, as does white slavery. One scene involves the graphic depiction of a barbaric Islamic female ritual and is not for the faint of heart.

Thanks Allen! (BTW, for conspiracy theorists I’d point out that I don’t know Allen, who lives in Washington DC, and I had no idea he was writing a review of No Remorse until he tweeted me.)

Read the full review here: http://blog.allenmitchum.com/2012/12/book-review-no-remorse-by-ian-walkley.html

Check out Allen’s book here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005YEO0PI/

 

Software for Writing Novels

Does anyone still use a typewriter or write their stories by hand?

I’m something of a software application junkie, and if there is something out there that claims to help writers write, plot, develop characters, improve vocab or whatever, I’ve probably tried it. Pity there’s not something to help debut authors get published.

Anyway, I thought I’d give a quick overview of some of the apps available for writers and aspiring writers. But I do want to emphasize that these applications can only ever facilitate the writer’s journey. It is the writer that must determine the story’s route, the travelers, and the destination.

 

Scrivener’s corkboard provides flexibility with chapter and scene structure.

While I used Microsoft Word to write my first novel, No Remorse, I’m enjoying using Scrivener to write my second. I bought it because I was getting frustrated using index cards. I would spread them out on our dining table, only to have to collate them at mealtime. I had previously tried Curio, which is great for brainstorming and mindmapping, but doesn’t offer flexible index cards, and Throughline, which has index cards but is very basic (and stopped working when I upgraded my iMac to the Lion operating system). Scrivener is a Mac application that has recently become available for Windows for only $45. It has a word processing function and allows easy restructuring of chapters, brainstorming, plot structure, character data sheets and many other great features.

For character development, I use Character Writer. It gives prompts on demographics, appearance, personality, relationships, dialogue and psychology. There is an Enneagram personality typology option, which helps with the understanding of character motivations and behaviour. My only beef is that Character Writer doesn’t automatically update the overall description when I edit one of the sub-categories.

For plot development, I’ve tried lots of different apps, including Dramatica Pro, which I had trouble understanding and seemed to limit my options. It also stopped working when I upgraded my iMac to the Lion. (I’m still cursing Apple about its Lion “downgrade”).

I also use a fairly inexpensive app designed for movie scripts, called Contour. It allows me to fit my story into a classic three-act plot structure. With about 26 plot points, Contour is useful for identifying where to place obstacles to confront the protagonist, and add plot twists.

If you’re just starting a story, you might consider Storyweaver, a program from the co-creator of Dramatica, Melanie Anne Phillips, which uses a series of prompts to help build the story. I haven’t used it from scratch, but I might give it a try next time.
For vocab, I have Master Writer, which offers some helpful extensions to a traditional dictionary/thesaurus, including a pop culture reference, but is a little on the expensive side for what it offers.
And finally, if you’re considering converting your story into a movie, there are two apps that will help with the screenplay layout: Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter, which is the one I use.

There are, of course, many other products competing out there for the writer’s dollar, most easily searchable and most offering trial periods for free.

Of course, if your computer screen starts to make you feel like you’re Captain Kirk in Star Trek, there’s always the default—good ol’ MS Word, which is somewhat configurable and has a dictionary and thesaurus. You’ll probably end up using this to format your story into a document to send to agents and publishers, most of whom now require the manuscript to be sent by email. That pretty much rules out a typewriter or hand-written manuscript.

These days, I can barely hand write enough to scrawl a greeting in one of my books. What I’d like to know is, how the Dickens did writers manage before computers?

No Remorse #6 at Dymocks Carindale

Powering along at the book signing last Saturday. No Remorse found itself on the #6 shelf on the best-seller lists, displacing JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy for a short time. Readers were delighted to see the book doing so well.

Leesa has No Remorse in Oregon!

Oregon’s top realtor, Leesa Long, working at Prudential Seaboard Properties, loves a good thrill. What else would she choose but No Remorse. Enjoy the read Leesa!

 

Forthcoming Book Signings for No Remorse

I’ll be signing copies of No Remorse at the following locations:

Dymocks Chermside, 9th December 10.30am – 2pm

Dymocks Indooroopilly, 16th December 10.30am – 2pm

Dymocks Brisbane (Albert St) 19th December 12 noon – 2pm

Angus & Robertson PO Square, 20th December 12.30pm – 2.30pm

Hope to see you there and wish you a Happy Christmas!

 

Why hasn’t a publisher snapped up No Remorse? The Green Librarian asks.

Five star review on Amazon. Thank you Green Librarian.

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic thriller, December 3, 2012
This review is from: No Remorse (Paperback)

I despise reviews that give away plot details, so there will be none of that! This is a story that sticks with you and makes you think. Believable characters and exotic settings – simply a fantastic read.
I cannot believe a major publishing house has not snapped up this author, he has the potential to be a best-selling writer.
If you love thrillers and military stories, read this. READ THIS.

 

No Remorse Competition Winners Announced

I’m delighted to announce the winners of several competitions running during November.

The Retweet Competition in the UK was won by SusiSuu, who wins a paperback copy of No Remorse.

The Facebook Author Like competition was won by Rich Meyer, from Pennsylvania. Rich wins an Audio copy of No Remorse.

 

Goodreads Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

No Remorse by Ian Walkley

No Remorse

by Ian Walkley

Giveaway ends December 12, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win