Deanne Ouest, Author

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Yearly Archives: 2015

2014-08-14

Created by Deanne Ouest

Beautiful Spring Morning

It’s a beautiful spring morning. The birds are twittering in the background high up in the trees, their song a mixture of varying calls surrounding me. The warmth of the sun streaks across the deck and where it touches me it takes away the chill. A gentles breeze is rustling through the pine trees. Voices of other campers break the silence.

Mornings like this are what I look forward too at the camp. A sense of serenity. Of just being in the moment. They happen to infrequently for most of the year. I struggle most days to wake in the morning but for some reason once at the campground I awake early.

I truly enjoy the solitude of my early mornings on my deck, coffee in hand, a book to read as the sun rises and burns off the chill snuggled in a blanket. It is the one thing I truly enjoy about ‘going to the trailer’. The bugs and campfires, I could give up.

It is for these precious moments alone with my thoughts before everyone awakes that I appreciate my time here. The other campers are stirring and once again I must be social as they trundle by. My solitude broken.

View from deck

Spring Cleaning – Setting Goals


 

I’m doing some spring cleaning on the writing front. I’ve looked at where I am at and where I am going and am revisiting my goals for the year. Spring to me is about renewal and that is where I am at.

If you’ve been on my blog before, the first difference is I’ve changed my header. I’m a visual person and although I liked my previous header I wasn’t in love with it and it didn’t reflect where I am at right now. I like the new look. It’s clean-looking, the colors are subtle but it’s still distinctive.

On the actual writing side of the business, I am two-thirds of the way through my first book draft. There have a lot of revisions as I’ve made some changes and corrected some missteps. For me, writing is an iterative process. The more I learn, the more I try to apply.

Translation: The first book will take the longest but it will pay-off on the second and third.

Once I get the first draft to an editor, I suspect the hardest part will occur. Rewrites, fixing plot and story arc. Accepting the critique of my work and applying it. That has been my biggest roadblock. I know once I finish the draft it has to be sent out, so I have been a creative procrastinator the last few months.

Part of my spring cleaning exercise is to mentally get over the fear, just do it and move on. So in setting my new goals, I am going to set some timelines for myself. One of those goals is to be more proactive on my blog and put up a post once a week. It may only be a paragraph or two but I am committing to writing something once a week, even if it’s just to say its been an interesting week.

So my first two goals are:
1. Finish the book one.
2. Post once a week.

See you next week.

Foray into Self-publishing


I have dipped my toes into the water and I like it.

At heart, I am doer who likes to learn things hands-on. So I decided to start small with a collection of poetry I had composed thirty years ago in my teens that I stumbled across during a fall cleaning. It was a pleasant surprise to find my compositions were well done – remember I was teen when I wrote them. After pondering for a bit, I figured why not. Nothing ventured nothing gained.

It gave me the opportunity to learn the basics of Scrivener. From setting up my template to formatting and then exporting to epub format. The next step was registering for the dreaded ISBN. It wasn’t as difficult as I had thought and the staff at Library and Archives Canada were very helpful. Then I had to compose a unique but relevant title and finally, design a book cover (see below) to compliment the collection.

After a few missteps, I had created an epub file that worked. In the end, this was the easy part. The hard part was actually publishing what I had created – putting it out in the public domain.

The next step was where to publish it. There are many options depending on what you want. For the newbies, me being one of them it can be a bit overwhelming. As well, you receive a lot of advice and feedback from others that can compound the conundrum. A good friend and fellow writer mentioned Draft2Digital, which I had not heard of. I checked out D2D’s website and was intrigued. Creating an account gave me an opportunity to look around some more.

Wow, what a great experience it was. The site is fresh, clean looking and has user-friendly instructions. The whole process was quite easy. I owe my friend a bottle of wine for that genius. D2D even gave me the option of downloading a mobi file. This worked out great, as I was able to upload it to Amazon.

My first experience in self-publishing went well. It makes me much more confident that when I go to publish my first novella I will have worked out most the kinks.

To close, a great big thanks to all the wonderful ladies in my local association who constantly share their expertise and experience with the group at large. Those tidbits and tips helped a lot.

 


Introspections-2sig

Amazon.caAmazon.com / Kobo / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Scribd / Tolino

Plotter, Pantser or Snowflake


It has been an interesting journey so far. I tried to be a plotter and outline everything. I really did. I would get so far and then feel myself being drained and losing interest. Then I tried to just let it all go and be a pantser but then I drifted and was all over the place. I was getting frustrated trying to find my groove. Where did I fit?

Then I came across this great book “How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method” by Randy Ingermanson. Wow!  I finally found a process that spoke to me. I really enjoyed this book. I loved how he explained the process by telling it in a story. Goldilocks, the bears, a wolf and a pig. It sounds hokey but for me it worked and kept me engaged. I could see the process in my mind as the book progressed.

I found it a nice balance between plotting and being a pantser. The interesting part for me is that he used a snowflake fractal as an example of how the process works. The best non-mathematical explanation I have come up with for explaining a fractal is simply “repeating a simple process over and over in an ongoing loop”. You can find out more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractal

This intrigued me as I stumbled across fractals several years ago in a display of yearly calendars. I bought the calendar because I really loved the pictures and have been fascinated by fractals ever since. The pictures below are all different representations of fractals. I just find them really interesting to look at.

My interpretation of the method in the book is similar to the repeating process. Building on what you already have and expanding it as you move forward. It’s what is working for me – at least for now.  As the pictures depict, the process can create some incredible visuals, I hope for the same results in my writing.


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