28 August 2012

Dystopian fiction

I was talking to someone about distopian fiction at conference last weekend. We were pondering it's rising popularity, especially in YA (young adult) fiction, and I thought I'd share a few thoughts on the topic.
If you're not sure what dystopian fiction is...

Dystopias are commonly found in science fiction novels and stories. A dystopia is the idea of a society, generally of a speculative future, characterized by negative, anti-utopian elements, varying from environmental to political and social issues. Dystopian societies are often used to raise the subject of issues or concerns regarding society, environment, politics, religion, psychology or spirituality that may become present in the future. Famous depictions of Dystopian societies include Nineteen Eighty-Four, a totalitarian invasive super state; Brave New World, where the human population is placed under a caste of psychological allocation and Fahrenheit 451 where the state burns books out of fear of what they may incite. Where you find distopias you have distopian fiction.

I remember reading a fair amount of distopian fiction as a teenager, and looking back I think one of the reasons it's so fun to read at that age is the freedom it gives. As a teenager you're stretching your wings, trying to move out from your parents authority, but in real life you're still very constrained by the adults around you.

In distopian fiction the (frequently) teenage heroes can easily be given a type of independence they don't have in real life, even if there are other challenges they have to overcome. Parents/ teachers etc... can be killed in plagues, nuclear explosions. For example, in the recently populat Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, the main protagonists are made independent by being entered into the games. Here they have to rely on themselves (not adults). In a series I remember reading as a teen (that I can no longer recall the name of) the hero & heroine survive a nuclear blast by hiding out in the basement of a movie theater.

Not only to the books give a kind of independence but the show the heroes to be capable and have them overcome the odds to survive. Those are all things teenagers are trying to do. In the above examples, survive the games, or travel and survive through a nuclear blasted world.

I think books of this type also pull people (not just teens) in when times are tough, again because of the overcoming the odds, surviving in the face of adversity tropes. not only that but also as a feeling that, no matter how bad things are, thank goodness they're not as bad as this.

Anyway that's my 2cents worth. To finish, here's a link to my librarything account and my books classified as dystopian, and an infographic from goodreads showing the recent upsurge of books being classified as dystopian.

21 August 2012

RWNZ Conference 2012


This coming weekend is the annual Romance Writers of New Zealand conference, something I look forward to every year. A great chance to mix, mingle and gossip with fellow writers, not tot mention a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the craft and business of writing.

This year, once again, we have some great speakers. If any of you are going I look forward ot seeing you there :)

Randy Ingermanson
Randy Ingermanson is the author of six novels and the bestselling book WRITING FICTION FOR DUMMIES. He is known around the world as “the Snowflake Guy” in honor of his wildly popular Snowflake method of designing a novel. Randy has a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of California at Berkeley and stills works half-time as a scientist for a biotechnology company in San Diego. He publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with over 30,000 subscribers and sits on the advisory board of American Christian Fiction Writers. Randy lives in southern Washington State with his wife and daughters and three surly cats. Visit his web site at http://www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com.

Eloisa James

New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James’s historical regencies have been published to great acclaim. People Magazine raved that “romance writing does not get much better than this.” Her next book is The Ugly Duchess, which will be published in September, 2012. In addition, Paris in Love, a memoir of Eloisa’s family’s year in France, was recently published by Harper Collins Australia.
Currently Eloisa teaches both Shakespeare and creative writing at Fordham University in New York City. She’s also the mother of two children and, in a particularly delicious irony for a romance writer, is married to a genuine Italian knight.
Nephele Tempest
Nephele Tempest joined The Knight Agency in January, 2005, opening the Los Angeles office. She comes from a diverse publishing and finance background, having worked in the editorial department at Simon and Schuster, as a financial advisor, in the marketing and communications departments of several major New York investment firms, and as a freelance writer—all skills that come into play helping her clients develop their careers. She continues to actively build her client list, and is seeking works in the following genres: up-market commercial fiction; women’s fiction; urban fantasy; single-title romance including paranormal, suspense, historical, and contemporary; historical fiction; and young adult and middle grade fiction.
Joanne Grant
Joanne Grant is Senior Editor of Harlequin Presents and joined Harlequin in 2003 – as an avid reader and a romantic at heart where else would she work?! Reading romance novels in the bath is her guilty pleasure and she never tires of watching Colin Firth as Mr Darcy, or Patrick Swayze utter that line in Dirty Dancing.
She lives in the leafy suburbs with very own hero (her husband’s a detective), an ever growing collection of shoes, and a lovably large (but not fat!) ginger and white cat.

Yvonne Lindsay
USA Today Bestselling author Yvonne Lindsay took 13 years and multiple rejections before she sold her first story to Harlequin Desire in April of 2005. Her first book rose to #1 on the Borders/Waldenbooks Series Bestseller list and in 2007 was also nominated for the prestigious Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year Award. Her books are distributed in more than 27 countries and in almost as many languages. Now, with 23 contracted titles with Harlequin behind her, Yvonne regularly presents workshops at chapter meetings and conferences in both New Zealand and Australia and is thrilled to be living the life she always dreamed of bringing her stories to her readers.

Sophia James
Sophia James writes historical romance for the Harlequin Historical imprint in London and has published ten books, all of which have been translated into various languages around the world. A double winner of the R*BY 2010 & 2011 (in the long romance section) she was also a finalist in the 2010 ARRA Awards, the 2008 R*BY Award and won the inaugural Clendon NZ in 1998. Sophia has been a mentor at both of the RWA 5 Day Intensive workshops at the Griffith University in Brisbane (2010 & 2011) and has run a similar mentorship programme in NZ in 2012. She has a degree in History & English from the University of Auckland and a background in teaching. Visit Sophia at sophiajames.net

Bronwen Evans
Bronwen Evans loves story-telling – gobbling up movies, books and theatre. Her head is always filled with characters and stories, particularly lovers in angst. In 2007, encouraged by a close friend battling a debilitating illness, Bronwen finally started down the path to publication by joining RWA, The Beau Monde. RWAustralia and RWNZ. Bronwen’s first manuscript, INVITATION TO RUIN, was completed late 2009 and was sold by her agent, Melissa Jeglinski of The Knight Agency, to Kensington Publishing early 2010, in a two book deal. Her debut novel, INVITATION TO RUIN, received a 4.5 star rating from RT Book Reviews and was well received in Publishers Weekly – “Evans’s debut Regency is filled with sizzling romance… Strong characterizations, smooth plotting, and plenty of explicit sex will appeal to fans of modern Regencies” (March).

Yvonne Walus

Yvonne Walus is the author of over 20 books, both in print and electronic. As Eve Summers, she’s got 14 romances published by Red Rose Publishing, their rating varying from Sweet, through Sensual, all the way to Sizzling.

Gracie O’Neil
Gracie O’Neil writes romance, suspense, and YA. She is also part of a solid-and sometimes scary-critique group without whom she simply couldn’t survive. She credits them for whatever thick skin she has now has, and whatever success she might have in the future.

Steff Green
Steff has been blogging online for the past five years, and currently run four blogs with a combined readership of over 50 000 worldwide. She also ghost blogs for several clients, and through her business – Grymm & Epic Copywriting – she helps creative entrepreneurs (writers, artists, musicians) create and hone their personality brands online.
She has successfully self-published two ebooks – the Gothic Wedding Planner and the Grymm and Epic Guide to Blogging – which she sells exclusively through her websites. Steff knows how to use a blog successfully – how to find an audience and keep it growing, and how to turn readers into book buyers – and she would love to share some of the things she’s learned with other RWNZ members.

Sue MacKay

With a background working in medical laboratories, and a love of the romance genre, it is no surprise that Sue MacKay writes Medical Romance stories for Harlequin Mills & Boon. She sold her first book in February 2010, after many years of submitting and working through revisions letters. She’s since sold a further five books and is currently working her way through a four book contract. Sue lives with her husband in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds, where she can indulge her passions for the outdoors, the sea and cycling.

14 August 2012

Editing Symbols

A great blog post over on Janet Reid's blog about editing symbols. As anyone who has got anything back from an editor knows, those little editing symbols crop up like weeds over ones work - but for a newbie there's always the question of what the darn things mean. Ms. Reid shows the basic definitions....

Then she goes on to hypothesize about a few extra possible symbols that are missing from the basic lexicon... 

 And then a few more...
 Then the standard symbols but with alternative meanings...

07 August 2012

Fun DIY bookshelves

Looking to give your room that little something different, that little something fun? How about these DIY bookshelves.... (Follow link for even more ideas :)

 Source: moredesignplease.com
 Source: buzzfeed
  Source: rockettstgeorge.co.uk

Source: etsy.com