01 Jan

27 Feb 2016 – Linterview’s Mission

27 February 2016 – Linterview’s Mission

I am a self-published author of three books, Making Headlines,¬†How I Learnt to Stop Missing England and Love the Herring or A Decade in Sweden, and Let Go. I am also one of the writers in the Keyhole Stories project, which has launched two anthologies Keyhole Stories and Dead Ends. I have also released¬†Think Inside the Box, a collection of short stories written for creative writing class assignments. My short story Untouchable was published in Two Thirds North 2017 and my poem Typewriter was published in Aesthetica Magazine’s Creative Writing Annual 2018. There are many good websites that offer advice to authors and I do not want to repeat information or claim that my advice is any better than what is currently out there. What I intend to do is to relay my writing processes, describe in detail what it has taken me to write my stories, and some advice on how to get your work out there. I am not claiming to be a best-selling author (I wish!) and I am not claiming to be better or know more than anyone else. My blogs will simply reflect my experiences, and if this information helps other authors out there then that’s great. If it doesn’t help then I can only apologise and suggest you find other methods that work for you.

04 Feb

4 February 2017 – What phrases do you tend to avoid and why?

4 February 2017 – What phrases do you tend to avoid and why?

I think every phrase has a time and place, and if used at the right time and in the right place, then every phrase should be left in the author’s toolbox. I said in an earlier post that the word “suddenly” is ok but is not to be overused. It depends on the situation and the sentence in question.

The phrases that I try to avoid tend to be ambiguous phrases that the reader has to really work at to be able to figure them out. For example:

“Follow me,” he said in a soft tone.

What is a soft tone? If it is a whisper then write whisper. Is the person speaking at a volume that is between a whisper and speaking normally? It’s not so obvious. Then, you have to ask yourself the question: why is he speaking in a soft tone? What could be the reason? If there is a context surrounding speaking softly, then it’s fair enough. An alternative to this phrase could be:

“Follow me,” he said, speaking softly.

You would still have to ask the question as to why the man is speaking softly.

“Follow me,” he said, speaking softly as to not be overheard.

Then you might as well write whisper, right?

“Follow me,” said the man softly but audibly.

This one is better but what could be the reason for half-whispering?

“Follow me,” the man said softly, trying to avoid attention.

“Follow me,” the man said softly, trying to keep the conversation private.

“Follow me, and I’ll tell you everything,” the man said softly, keeping the gossip between them.

Another phrase that crops up from time to time is “leaned in”. For example:

“The man leaned into the conversation in order to hear better.”

This is ok. However:

“The man leaned in for a hug and got a kiss as a bonus.”

Do you really need to add the description of “leaning in” for a kiss? Don’t humans already do this as part of hugging? Consider this instead:

“The man hugged the woman and got a kiss as a bonus.”

The word “hugged” already paints a picture of the action, so “leaned in” becomes redundant.

24 Apr

24 April 2016 – How do you keep yourself writing?

24 April 2016 – How do you keep yourself writing?

It can be said that there are days where I get nothing done due to other commitments. I can’t keep a dedicated schedule of waking up at 7 a.m. and writing until 3 p.m. like famous authors can. However, I do try to write something every day even if it is just 500 words or some editing. I find I can keep writing in some shape or form. I have been asked before how I keep my motivation going at a high pace, and I will write down what I said to those people. Two work colleagues, one in the UK and one in Sweden, died at tender ages due to cancer. Although I can’t claim to have been best friends with them, I can say that their deaths brought my own mortality to light. It created the drive and the reason I needed to do anything, not just write books. Nobody is born with a best before date stamped on the underside of their feet, and therefore nobody knows when the Grim Reaper will catch up with them. Therefore, I feel it is important to achieve what I want to achieve in this life and do it before Mr Reaper has a chance. People who have passed on too soon might have not had the chance to achieve what they wanted to achieve, and if I waste a day by doing nothing, a day my deceased colleagues would have liked to have had, then it feels I am doing them a great disservice. I find this keeps me writing and pushes me to accomplish achievements.

05 Apr

5 April 2016 – Is it wise to write a book with a target audience in mind?

soap-1417687-638x4785 April 2016 – Is it wise to write a book with a target audience in mind?

No. This is only my own personal opinion but I don’t believe you should write a book with the intention to hit the big time. You will do yourself a disservice by writing something that doesn’t come from within, or in other words – you’ll be called a sell-out. You should always concentrate on writing the story you want to write and stick to your guns. If you finish writing your novel, and you are 100% happy with it, then that’s all that counts. If you are receiving rejection letters from agents and publishers with your gold bar of a book then don’t be too disheartened. J.K. Rowling and several other authors got rejected too, and if you get to the end of your tether with agents and publishers, then at least there is always the self-publishing option. If you try to write the next Harry Potter, or the next Gone Girl, then you’ll most likely run into problems in quite a few areas. Use your influences wisely – don’t copy them! I also don’t like the word “brand” when authors, or anyone else involved in artistic virtues, describe their works as a type of brand. It makes it sound as if I have created something that washes underpants like washing detergent or soap. Brand makes it sound as if the story or book you have just written will be the forerunner to anything else you may write in the future, and this, in my opinion, will pigeon-hole and typecast you as “that author who writes horror” and only horror. Stephen King has said in his book On Writing that he never defined himself as a horror writer or any type of writer specific to a genre – other people did that. Having said that, it could be said that you will write in a certain style and this is fine, but some of the best authors surprise us and keep surprising us by being different.

28 Mar

28 March 2016 – Are adverbs good to use?

28 March 2016 – Are adverbs good to use?

writing-in-the-dark-1497115-639x479Stephen King voiced his opinion by saying that “the road to hell is paved with adverbs” and compares them to weeds on a lawn. In other words it is ok to use them in moderation, but what makes him (and others) so opposed to them? Well, adverbs are considered to be words that have been manufactured to save time. For example:

Basically I immediately went to the shops, seemingly on my way to buy food when I fortunately and suddenly realised that I had somehow completely forgotten my wallet.

Basically rarely adds anything to any sentence. You might hear it used on television, on the street, and used in texts, but stop and ask yourself – what does it mean? If you delete the basically from the sentence above then you lose nothing, and this is the same for most other sentences that use it. Immediately and suddenly are ok under certain circumstances but again you have to ask yourself whether it’s really needed. If you write: “I suddenly shut the door” then how else do you shut a door? Most things happen on the spur of the moment you do them so adding suddenly is, perhaps, a tad obvious (obviously can also be a bad adverb to use depending on the context). Seemingly in the sentence above also does not add anything. You either are on your way to your shops or you aren’t. Seemingly only suggests that you are having an outer-body experience where someone has taken control of your brain and you have no control of where you are going. Completely makes the sentence sound as if you are a surfer from California (not that there is anything wrong with that – said Seinfeld) that might say: “I totally like that film”. This brings me to my next point that it is ok to use adverbs in dialogue. If a character is likely to use the words basically or totally in reality then use them. I don’t have anything against this. Somehow should be avoided at all costs. Take into consideration this sentence: “I was driving to the shops when I somehow crashed into a wall”. The somehow in this sentence has allowed the writer to avoid describing what happened to this driver. Wouldn’t it have been better to describe HOW the driver crashed – was he or she distracted? What was this distraction? How did they lose control?

If you have read this fair into this post then you’ll probably be mistaken that I hate adverbs. I don’t. Just don’t overdo them. There are adverbs that can work well like: “The maniac smiled inanely”. The rule to follow is this: if you can delete an adverb and the sentence still makes sense then leave them deleted forever.

Oh … and that sentence? Here’s how it should read:

I went to the shops to buy food when I realised that I had forgotten my wallet.