WEbook Interviews: The September Challenge Winner - Dollys

September 2016 was a little while ago now, but that doesn't mean we can't still learn some important lessons from the challenge brief.

For the September Challenge, we asked you to write using all of your senses ... except for sight. This meant that the challenge entrants needed to focus on using smell, touch, taste and sound as the descriptive vessels in their stories. 

Sounds simple, right? You might be surprised to discover that this is actually an unassumingly tricky task, but it's also really great writing practice (because of course it is!).

When we experience things day-to-day, we don't rely on just our sense of sight to form a memory or experience. Instead, we combine the stimuli from each of our senses together to create a fuller, more enriching experience. So it makes sense that you would relay this on the page for your reader.

It's all well and good telling you that you should write using all your senses, but what does that actually mean and how can you incorporate it in to your own writing? It's like that infuriating sentence that all self-satisfied writers like to tout:

'You must show, not tell.' 

YES ... BUT HOW? (scream the rest of us collectively)

Well, although we're not able to answer that particular unknown, we have found some great posts on the topic of writing with your senses, so you can read through them at a leisurely pace and maybe find yourself a bit closer to becoming a ... show-er.

You'll find them just before the interview...

Now, we all l-o-v-e a metaphor, and here's a great one to get you started. Think of writing with your senses like adding 5-spice to your recipe. It's a great all rounder, it'll bring out the flavour and also pack a bit of a punch so that you remember what you've just eaten ... or read. But it's also important that you have all of the ingredients in 5-spice to get the rounded flavour profile you're looking for.

Just like 5-spice has five ingredients, you've got five senses. The way you use each of these senses in your writing should be well balanced, just as your own practical and everyday use of them is balanced. There are evidently situations where some senses take dominance over others. Yet it is often in these situations that utilisation of the other, less dominant senses, can have the best impact on your writing. How? By providing the reader with a more intimate impression of the moment. Let the reader know how your character's jumper feels on their skin; how the smell of coffee interrupted their thoughts and the tinkling of the door chimes stole their attention away for just long enough to miss the announcement on the radio...

If you think you'd like to have a go at trialling your own sensory experiments, we've come up with  five situations, each of which conveniently removes one of the main senses. Once you think you've mastered this, you can give your characters back all their senses, but try to remain mindful of what you have learnt when you start your next piece.

Tip: try each in these first person and then in the third person:


πŸ‘€ SIGHT: There is a bright flash and suddenly you cannot see

πŸ‘‚πŸΌ HEARING: You hit your head on a branch whilst walking through the woods and loose the ability to hear

πŸ‘ƒπŸΎ SMELL: Following a botched nose-job, you awaken to find you can no longer smell

πŸ‘… TASTE: There's a chilli eating competition. You win, but you never regain your sense of taste

πŸ‘‹πŸΏ FEELING: You have an out-of-body experience; you are a spirit / ghost / etc.

If you'd like to find out more about writing with all of your senses, these blog posts contain some great tips:


πŸ‘‹πŸΏπŸ‘…πŸ‘ƒπŸΎπŸ‘‚πŸΌπŸ‘€

Our September Challenge entrants used a whole host of scenarios to explore their use of sensory depiction in their writing, but as ever, there must be a winner! 

The winning entry to September's Challenge: Sights and Sounds, was 'A Close Shave' by Dollys. In her entry, Dollys utilised a situation that most of us can sympathise with first hand ... a hangover. Think grating headaches stuffed with sandpaper tongues and paired with a persistent ringing in your ears ... sound familiar? 

Dollys was kind enough to have a chat with us about her entry and how she approached using the full breadth of senses in her writing. 

Enjoy!

WEbook: Congratulations on winning the September Challenge: Sights and Sounds with your entry, ‘A Close Shave’. 

The topic of this challenge was to focus on using senses other than your eyes in your descriptions. Initially, this seems pretty easy, but the challenge is in the detail… did you find yourself mentally striking out visual descriptors, or was this sensory approach an easy one to handle?

Dollys: I focused on the remaining senses: Taste, Touch, Sound, Smell. Highlighting these in my mind, as I wrote, seemed to work. As a final check I re-read the piece, specifically looking for any 'sight' reference that may have slipped in. I enjoy the challenges and they do make the writer draw on their skills to roam in places outside the comfort zone.


________________________

WEbook: What do you think you learned, if anything, from this approach to writing? Was it surprising how much you automatically rely on the visual, or do you find that you naturally gravitated towards using alternative sensory descriptors anyway?

Dollys:  I learned that writers are able to adapt. All WEbookers who entered this challenge used their creativity, technical ability and their enjoyment of the written word to meet the challenge. I used to think it makes the characters and scene more real if you can apply all the senses. However having left one out did not detract from the tale being told.

WEbook: Your story was humorous, and probably more relateable than many people would care to admit. Did you take the inspiration for this from a personal experience – meaning the lunch, rather than the story’s climax – or was it originally conceived?

Dollys: I have been advised to 'write about what you know (refers to FEELINGS you know about)'. So that is what I did here. It was based on a true event. And it was very funny at the time.

WEbook: Your character slowly wakes up - or comes to consciousness - as you set the scene for your story. Was the setup of this scene done so that you were forced to place focus on the non-visual elements, such as the ticking clock or the cold wind?

Dollys: Yes. I set the hangover scene to prompt the focus on non-visual elements. It seemed a perfect fit for the challenge.

WEbook: It’s quite some revenge that the wife comes up with … but a funny and unexpected ending. Any tips for wanting to add a comedic element to a short story for other writers?

Dollys: WEbook has some excellent comedic writers. Sometimes the comedy is found in the 'misunderstanding' between characters. Sometimes in the unexpected reaction to a common situation. Sometimes in the surprise twist at the end of the tale. My tip would be to watch comedy and see how it has been crated by others - learn from the material that makes you laugh yourself. Then try and craft it into your own style.

WEbook: What else have you written? Is there somewhere we can read more of your work?

Dollys: On WEbook I have a Project called DOLLY MIXTURES which is a collection of short tales. I also have a novel on WEbook called the Lady of Shallorah. Due for an edit at some point. Outside of WEbook I have completed the NaNoWriMo challenge, 2016.

WEbook: Who is your favourite writer / what is your favourite book, and how has it or they influenced you?

Dollys: Stephen King / Anne Rice. Thrillers and the supernatural. Also various 'whodunnits' with twists and turns. I think the ease in which their books pull the reader in and the way they take you through the story to its conclusion, yet leaving you wanting more [is great]. There is influence for me from these and other writers who have the ability to create worlds or situations through creative and well-honed story-telling. My tales tend to be supernatural or fantasy type yarns.

WEbook: Brilliant! Everyone loves a good supernatural tale ... Thanks for taking the time to have a chat with us about your entry and your approach to writing. Best of luck in the upcoming challenges and we look forwards to reading more from you!


πŸ‘‹πŸΏπŸ‘…πŸ‘ƒπŸΎπŸ‘‚πŸΌπŸ‘€


If you'd like to take part in WEbook's writing challenges, we run one every month - from the 1st (ish) until the end of the month. You could win a $25USD Amazon gift voucher, or a WEbook of your choice. Even if you don't win you'll likely get some critique and feedback from the other members and entrants, which is fantastic in itself. 


Happy writing!

- Hannah from the WEbook Team

Note: Interview edited for length and/or clarity

Announcing the Winners of WEbook's December Challenge!


πŸŽ‰  Congratulations to the winner of WEbook's  πŸŽ‰ 
πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰
✨  The following five were December's runners up 
Congratulations to all the winning authors this month and thanks to everyone who entered!
Our judges said
"The best gifts are those you don't expect ..."



An Interview with the Winner of August's: Talk to Me Challenge + some thoughts on dialogue

The August Challenge: Talk To Me focused on the usage of dialogue. Dialogue can be a difficult thing to get right, but we had some awesome entries in the August Challenge that proved lots of WEbook members already have the skill down to a T. 

There are plenty of methods that you can use to get your written dialogue up to scratch if you think you need a bit of help in that area. We've scoured the web to find some of the best tips and tricks that you can use to help craft your own brilliant dialogue.





RULE 1
Contract that stilted exchange






A: "Hello. How are you? It is a nice day today."

B: "Yes, it is very nice and sunny. I am good thank you, and how are you?"

A: "I am very good, thank you. Have you had a nice day?"

B: "Yes, it was nice. I will tell you later. I do not want these nosy people to overhear what I have been getting up to. It is ridiculously funny, but it is not for public consumption."

A: "OK. I will wait then."

***

That was pretty boring. But we can jazz it up pretty easily. One word - CONTRACTIONS. When we speak to people IRL, we regularly use contractions in our speech. This applies to the typical 'do not' > 'don't' examples, but also to the use of superfluous words. Let's re-write this exchange using contractions and check out the difference it makes.

***

A: "Hi. How're you? It's a nice day today."

B: "Yes, it's very nice and sunny. I'm good thanks, and you?"

A: "I'm very good, thanks. You've had a nice day?"

B: "Yes, it was nice. I'll tell you later. I don't want these nosy people to overhear what I'm going to tell you. It's ridiculously funny, but it's not for public consumption."

A: "Ok. I'll wait then."
***

Still pretty boring, but it's less stunted because we have employed contractions. Whoopee, first hurdle overcome. Now, let's get on to the second point. 

***




RULE 2
Drop the small talk 






Small talk is awful enough in real life, but when you've got to read it it's like pulling teeth. Only give the reader information they actually need, don't bore them senseless with unnecessary information.

Let's see what we can do with our example to cut out that small talk:

***

A: "Hi. How're you?"

B: "I'm good thanks, and you?"

A: "I'm very good, thanks. You've had a nice day?"

B: "Yes, it was nice. I'll tell you later. I don't want these nosy people to overhear what I'm going to tell you. It's ridiculously funny, but it's not for public consumption."

A: "Ok. I'll wait then."

***

Ok, we're getting somewhere now. Still not that interesting though is it? The problem we need to tackle now is that we've got two people speaking, but it's nigh on impossible to tell them apart by their style of speech. Which takes us nicely on to point 3...

***



RULE 3
Distinction.



Both of the voices in the dialogue example are pretty well spoken. We had to force them to use contractions, and they insisted on discussing the weather at the beginning of their exchange. That may have been nice for them socially, but for us as readers it added absolutely zilch to our experience. In fact, all it did was bore us and make us want to shut the book, close the tab, and generally move on to something else. Obviously that's not the kind of effect you want to kindle in your reader, so we need to think about giving the characters a bit of... character!

***

A: "How's it goin'?"

B: "Yeah, not bad thanks, bud. How about yourself?"

A: "Gettin' there. Good day?"

B: "Yeah, it was nice. I'll tell you later, bud. I don't want this lot to overhear what I'm going to tell you. It's so funny, but it's not for public consumption."

A: "No worries."

***

So here we've used a few things to differentiate the style of dialogue between the two characters. Obviously space is somewhat limited, so for the purposes of the example, we've utilised some pretty standard tools to do this with. 

Character A: Uses short sentences, one of which is a statement, and drops letters from the ends of words.

Character B: Uses longer sentences and sometimes uses 'bud' at the end.

There are lots of things you can use to differentiate your speakers. You should base this on their personalities and let the character lead the way, don't feel like you've got to force qualities on to your character just to differentiate them in speech. If you've developed good, strong character profiles in your own mind, they will naturally find their own style of speech. Some things you may want to consider in your character are...

- Accent
- Background & class
- Strong / weak adjectives
- Positive / negative adjectives
- Colloquialisms
- Period
- Education level

***




RULE 4
Keep it interesting



We've touched on the pitfalls of small talk, but writing obvious dialogue can be just as tedious to read. Keep it interesting, show off some character, some excitement, and don't follow the obvious route.

***

A: "How's it goin'?"

B: "Yeah, not bad thanks, bud. How about yourself?"

A: "Gettin' there. Good day so far?"

B: "I'll tell you later, bud. I don't want this lot to overhear. It's so funny, but it's defo not for public consumption. This lot are a bit 'touchΓ©', if you get my drift. Anyway, think crocodiles, think Sylvia, and maybe you can start to piece it together."

A: "Again? Dude, she'll find out one of these days."

B: "Hardly. She didn't notice the last three times. Anyway, it's not nearly as bad as that... that one time, y'know?"

A: "How could I forget."

***



Rule 5 
Silence is a golden opportunity. 
Use it. 


Just like we convey things with body language as well as speech, you can use silences and narration to fill in the gaps. This and of course your reader's power of deduction. This is the point at which you can craft the rest of the scene around your characters' dialogue. Think of it like putting the skin on a skeleton, or the filling in a pie if you want a more palatable analogy...

***

     "How's it goin'?" asked Brad with some hesitation.

     "Yeah, not bad thanks, bud. How about yourself?" replied Peter over the top of Brad's head, his eyes searching out something at the back of the room. 

     "Gettin' there... Good day so far?" enquired Brad rather pointedly, annoyed that as usual Peter couldn't bother giving him his full attention.

     "I'll tell you later, bud. I don't want this lot to overhear. It's so funny, but it's defo not for public consumption. This lot are a bit 'touchΓ©', if you get my drift. Anyway, think crocodiles, think Sylvia, and maybe you can start to piece it together." Brad stared at his brother for just a moment too long, mouth agape, before collecting himself.

     "Again? Peter, she'll find out one of these days." Because it was true, she would. Everyone would, and Peter wouldn't be the only one facing recriminations. By association, Brad would likely find himself seen as some sort of co-hort. 'Darn it.' thought Brad, as he quickly started to consider how he could put as much distance between himself and his brother in the shortest amount of time without drawing any attention to himself. 

     "Hardly. She didn't notice the last three times. Anyway, it's not nearly as bad as that... that one time, y'know?"

     "How could I forget." Neither man said anything for a while, but whilst Brad's silence was one of shocked embarrassment, Peter was visibly enjoying reliving the memory, much to Brad's chagrin.



***

And then so now, what we're left with is a much more interesting dialogue between two brothers. It's not stunted, we don't have any more information than is strictly necessary and we've got two very distinct characters. Mission accomplished! 

Obviously this is not a fool-proof method, but they're some pretty solid rules to follow, so you've got more than enough here to give you an excuse to dust off your quill and start scribing your next dialogue!

***

WEBOOK INTERVIEWS OUR WINNER OF THE AUGUST: TALK TO ME CHALLENGE

S_WilsonDisher obviously knows all of these methods like the back of their hand, and probably has some even better tips and tricks up their sleeve than we can give you here (believe it or not). So we thought we'd pick their brains in an interview and find out if we could get them to divulge their author-ly secrets to us... 


WEbook: Congratulations on being crowned winner of the August Challenge: Talk to Me, with your entry ‘Them Earthies'! The August Challenge was all about using dialogue in your entry, and also you also had to use one of three sentences we had given you.

What made you pick the sentence you used? Was it a matter of the sentence inspiring the story, or did you feel like you had to make it fit in to the story you already wanted to write?

S_WilsonDisher: This is a good question – I had no difficulty picking the sentence I wanted to use. It leapt out at me and immediately images of the people, the interior of the house etc., were right in front of me.

WEbook: Do you find that this type of prescriptive writing challenge is good for your development as a writer, or does it stunt your creativity too much?

S_WilsonDisher: I enjoy such challenges, for, rather than stunt creativity they make me think ‘Now what can I do with this?’. It reminds me of my teaching where I give kids a whole pile of scraps and glue, a theme and the instruction to make a Cerberus dog. Creative solutions arise which I could never have predicted.

WEbook: The ability to write dialogue is a crucial skill for a successful author, yet it’s difficult to deliver convincingly. The one moment every author strives to avoid is the awkward squirm of the reader as they read a wholly unconvincing line; how did you initially develop the flow of your dialogue, and does it go through any testing?

S_WilsonDisher: I try to get into the heads of my characters – for instance, Jesphaxia the young girl. I wanted to make her sound like my young girl students and how they would react to a funny ‘alien’ baby turning up in their back yard, and what they would so and say. Would they feed it? Of course they would. I make sure as I write that what the characters say is consistent with their personalities. In editing, I take out or rewrite any words or expressions which would be out of character. For this story, there were hardly any changes.

WEbook: ‘Them Earthies’ is a humorous, and somewhat philosophical, role reversal for your characters and us as humans. How did you come up with the idea?

S_WilsonDisher: I have been playing around with the notions of parallel universes since I was a young girl. I invented an ongoing story of critters which looked a bit like horses – stories I told to my sister when she was a little girl. She called them the ‘funny stories’. 


Now when she read ‘Them Earthies’ she burst out laughing and said she was back in Mom’s kitchen, sitting at the table as I washed dishes and told her a ‘funny story’. These characters emerged in my head around the same time. I even drew one or two for my class mates who were always interested to see what I would come up with next.

WEbook: Your story is very well paced. We at no point feel as though the reveal of information or a climatical point is being rushed. This is in part to do with your very natural use of conversational dialogue. Did you find yourself having to cut bits of the story out to fit the word count, and if so, how did you manage to mitigate the potential disruption this could have caused to the flow of your story?

S_WilsonDisher: Fitting the word count was not too difficult. I usually go back and take out any superfluous ‘ands,’ ‘thens’ and so forth. I usually find ways to truncate a sentence without losing the flow, choosing one word which would encapsulate the idea.

WEbook: What are you working on at the moment? Is there somewhere that we can read some more of what you’ve written?

S_WilsonDisher: I’m working on a major project triggered by an idea which has been in my in-tray for some time. It is a philosophical set of ‘books’ about the very race of people in ‘Them Aliens’. 

 The first story is set 200 years in the future, and centres around a young dancer who is fixated with some ‘Earthies’ he spots on his inter-plane ambassador father’s communication machine. While it is not humour as such, it contains a lot of humour arising out of the exchanges between the characters. But the underlying themes, are of the interaction between people on Earth and the other Plane, their philosophies and the arts. 

Each story overlaps, so that the reader is taken on a journey through five generations of characters, with numerous twists and turns, disasters, and plagues as the characters negotiate their way through the Time Passages and Divides which connect Earth with the other plane, Ezskiasia. If you'd like to have a read of the first chapter, you can do here.

I also have two pieces of writing which I’ve blogged but which are set firmly on Earth! One of them had its first draft on WEbook. ‘The Biggest Gravel Mound on Earth’ which has since been subject to some serious editing.

WEbook: Who are your favourite authors / books and how have they influenced your writing?

S_WilsonDisher: My favorite authors are those who have helped my craft my ideas rather than the ideas themselves. Australian writer Colleen McCullough, has been hugely influential both for her writing skills and her intellect (she was a scientist). 

New Zealand Modernist writer Katherine Mansfield is another for the same reasons. Somerset Maugham is a favorite for his craftsmanship and portrayal of his characters. New Zealand writers such as Janet Frame and Elizabeth Knox have played a major part for the reasons already given but also more importantly, in the way they are able to suggest the unseen without ever resorting to clumsy in-your-face descriptions. Oddly enough I usually read non-fiction, such as biographies, history and the natural sciences because they form the background, for the background (!) of my current project.

WEbook: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, and for giving such interesting answers! Best of luck with your upcoming entries in the monthly challenges, we certainly look forwards to reading them!

- Hannah from the WEbook Team

Interview with WEbook's June Challenge Winner: LillyFramboise


There are so many different things you can explore in literature, and sometimes you'll find that authors have been using little tricks to get you hooked on their stories. Sneaky, sneaky. Learning these tricks of the trade can help turn a so-so story in to a fantastic reading experience. Through our monthly competitions we've been exploring a few of the ways that writers have enhanced their stories by using different literary devices. 

In June we asked the members of WEbook to submit an entry that used the style of a vignette, or 'little vine'. 

Vignettes can be found in all kinds of literature from classics to the more modern. Authors use vignettes to really hone in on a moment, memory, object, or feeling that they want the reader to identify with. It's not only useful for you as a writer to be able to identify devices like these when reading other's work, but it's also incredibly beneficial for your own writing if you're able to utilise these devices effectively in your own writing. 

The winner of the June Challenge, LilyFramboise has been kind enough to have a chat with us about her winning vignette in the Little Vines challenge, but before we get to that let's have a look at what a vignette is and a few examples in popular literature.

So, what's a vignette?


vignette
viːˈnjΙ›t,vΙͺ-/
noun
  1. 1
    a brief evocative description, account, or episode.
    "a classic vignette of embassy life"
  2. 2
    a small illustration or portrait photograph which fades into its background without a definite border.
verb
  1. 1
    portray (someone) in the style of a vignette.


Essentially, a vignette makes the subject of your focus really stand out against the background. Perhaps it's a flashback, perhaps it's a current observation, or perhaps it's a rumination on things generally. Visualise it like a photograph taken at a party. You know there's lots more going on both in and around the wider frame, but you've picked a particular subject to focus on in that moment. 

Perhaps this one moment is a character sitting alone in a corner. Or perhaps the object of your character's affection is in conversation with another, and your protagonist is waxing lyrical on the contours of their face. Perhaps it's a song that comes on and transports your narrator back to a moment in their past. In each of these examples, a vignette can act as the descriptive vessel. 

The great thing about vignettes is that they're very malleable and therefore very useful. When it comes to providing more information about your character, you can utilise vignettes and avoid having to write an extensive background. You can also use vignettes to reveal new aspects to your characters and locations, etc. in dribs and drabs. This can help greatly with the development of your story as often the 'slow reveal' helps to develop and then hold your reader's interest. Definitely a top tool for your literary DIY box.

Here are some examples of vignettes in literature:


Carts were jammed solid on the bridge with camels bobbing along through them. Greek cavalry herded along the procession. Women and kids were in the carts crouched with mattresses, mirrors, sewing machines, bundles. There was a woman having a kid with a young girl holding a blanket over her and crying. Scared sick looking at it. It rained all through the evacuation.



Annie Dillard: An American Childhood

Some boys taught me to play football. This was fine sport. You thought up a new strategy for every play and whispered it to the others. You went out for a pass, fooling everyone. Best, you got to throw yourself mightily at someone’s running legs… In winter, in the snow, there was neither baseball nor football, so the boys and I threw snowballs at passing cars. I got in trouble throwing snowballs, and have seldom been happier since.

You'll notice these examples are pretty different from one another, and, the thing is that you could easily pop them into a paragraph and they wouldn't be a vignette at all. Yet perhaps that's one of the best things about a vignette, it's nothing fancy. It's easy to use, and it's super approachable. Readers won't be all like 'oh look at them with their fancy try-hard writing', because a vignette isn't fancy at all, it's just some focused writing with specific placement and context.

Think about when you get an idea for a story, or a book, or a poem. Usually this is inspired by one moment, a meeting, a smell, a place, or a feeling, right? Well, that's your vignette; it's the polarisation of a moment that inspired you. Your piece of writing is a wider analysis of that feeling, but the moment of inspiration is the (metaphorical) vignette. 

If you feel like reading some vignettes in literature, here's a Goodreads shelf dedicated to them.

πŸ“˜πŸ“™πŸ“•

We had a great variety of vignettes - and some very good almost vignettes - in our June challenge. Our winner without a doubt was Liberty Rose by LilyFramboise! Congratulations again to LilyFramboise  and read on below for our interview with the winning author.


WEbook: So, what’s a vignette then?

LilyFramboise: Well, to me a vignette is like a photograph - a snapshop of a moment in time, where you have a chance to get to know one person, or scene, or thing in intense detail. Imagine seeing the scene through a microscope or a telescope without moving it around; when you look through the eyepiece you can't see what surrounds it but you can focus on the details and really close in on them.

WB: Your entry was a really beautiful insight in to the first moment between a mother and her newborn. What made you choose this moment for your entry? Was there something in particular that made you decide it was ideal to use as a frame when writing your vignette?

LF: I'm a mum of two. It was just after my daughter's birthday and she was my firstborn. I think it just seemed obvious to me as a moment where you hone in on the minutae of this incredible new life to the exclusion of everything around you. Growing a whole new person inside you and bringing it out into the world is simply mind-blowing and I wanted to share that; a vignette provides the most perfect frame.

WB: The imagery you use in your submission is really well structured, with an interesting balance of external observations and internal feelings.

The contrast in the types of words you’ve selected to use in your story help to aid the polarisation of focus that the mother has for her newborn. The hospital - and her direct relationship / interaction with it - is characterised by harsher words and phrases, such as ‘rough’, ‘drone’, ‘dimly’ and ‘mind-altering pain’, whereas her association with the baby is peppered with soft and soothing ones, such as ‘marshmallow’, ‘milky’, ‘velvet’, and ‘gentle swell’.

Was this an active linguistic decision when you were writing your story? How do you think that the choice of ‘harsh’ and ‘soft’ words can help the reader to feel more connected to a piece of writing?

LF: Yes, of course. that contrast of words is always going to be an essential tool to creating a difference between two things and this situation couldn't provide two more extreme scenarios. First of all you have the labour and birth and everything about that is hard: sharp spasms, crippling cramps, overwhelming aches and fear. Pain takes over your body and you have no control over that and no knowledge when it will end and that is terrifying. If birth takes place in a hospital it revolves around order, structure, regime, rules and bright lights. You are part of a huge picture.

Contrast this with the softness and innocence of a new baby and the intimacy you feel, where the focus becomes just you and the new person you think you know but also know nothing about, and of course the language has to change.

WB: You use this vignette to show us the depths of a mother’s love, and also their endless worry. In the moment when the baby stops moving and gurgling, we all, as readers, pause ‘on a cliff-edge of uncertainly’ with the mother. You plough this emotion back in to the next moment when the mother and her child lock eyes for the first time, and it’s an incredibly effective use of the emotion that you’ve built up for the characters. How do you mitigate the challenge of creating an effective, emotional moment like this, without straying in to territory that could be seen as overly-dramatic, or ‘too literary’?

LF: I think having experienced the situation and writing about what you know reduces the likelihood of that. I lived those emotions and know they are real. We are talking about creating and introducing new life; that's huge. What could be bigger than meeting a child, no more than that, a whole new person. I don't think it can BE overly-dramatic. And too literary? I talk about amniotic fluid, sweat and strings of blood and licking soap and marshmallows, so I don't think the language is elevated to that level. It's very real, although I hope the moments of engaging with the new baby are anything but mundane, contrasted with the sense of the everyday that surrounds them.

WB: What are you reading at the moment?

LF: A Jilly Cooper actually; it's her new one, Mount. I grew up - well in my late teens, anyway - on a diet of her books, Judith Krantzs and Barbara Taylor Bradfords. They made a nice contrast to the classics, like Shakespeare, Dickens and Eliot, that I was studying at college and university. I still love them today, alongide Jodi Picoult's brilliant books. They inspired me to write a chick lit/erotic fiction of my own.

WB: What is your favourite WEbook project at the moment?

LF: The NaNoWriMo competition; I haven't done anything with the novel I mentioned but was on the verge of self-publishing. So I thought I'd give this a go first.

WB: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us LilyFramboise, and congratulations again on your win. We look forwards to seeing lots more entries from you over the coming months, and best of luck in the NaNoWriMo competition.


WEBook's August / September Newsletter


Write | Read | Critique | Compete |

Hello lovely writers and readers of WEbook πŸ‘‹πŸΌ

It's been a busy month on WEbook with loads of brilliant, interesting and totally unique projects popping up every day. Below, we've selected some of our favourites that you've been adding to this month.

Happy reading!


✏️

| Fiction | Crime Thriller | Suspense |



Two Unsolved Mysteries by LouisaSweet

'Elena served the public of Minneapolis for seven years. After a sudden decision, she finds herself in the heart of London and teams up with Konstantin, a hardworking cop. Soon, they both start to follow a trail that is packed with danger and sadistic criminals.'

WEbook Member Review:
"... this is well written and seems well structured, I like the dialogue very much." - KenWebb 



| Fiction | Gay / Lesbian | Women's Fiction | NSFW |



Experience From the Past by QuietCreation

'Vivian Richmond is a respected criminal psychologist who consults with agencies across the country. She's engaged to the love her life but things don't turn out to be as they appear. Just when things are crumbling, light and dark appear in her life--what will prevail?'

What? No member reviews yet?
Get there first!



| Fiction |Historical | Action | Adventure |



Chronicle of Immortality: Matthew by KenWebb

'Mathias (Mathew) wakes on a beach of the Aegean and begins a journey of rediscovering himself, beset by immortals and monsters he travels a path that he himself had laid out in a previous life that he cannot remember.  What is the truth?  Is there a ultimate truth?  What hope has a man, when matched against the larger than life heroes and immortals that populate this world?

'In a game played by Immortals; humanity is the prize.'


WEbook Member Review:
"I like the sound of this story - were I an agent I would certainly read the first couple of chapters." - Satyr


Fiction Romance | Sci-Fi | Fantasy |



The Lady's Adviser by Crystal_Linn

“I have been hired to advise you, princess, and I will do my best, but you must make me a promise in return.” She wiped her face of her tears before offering her tiny hand. "What promise?" she asked warily. "Come to me first when you have a trouble and I will make certain to help you with it...In return, I promise to always be there for you when you need help."

What? No member reviews yet?
Get there first!



Fiction | YA | Sci-Fi | Fantasy |



Children of Little Might by The_Dragon

'Monty finds a manuscript that promises to grant him every wish he makes if he translates it. When he does and makes his first wish, that's when trouble starts.'

WEbook Member Review:
"I'm really loving the possibilities open to Monty as an action-driven ASD character. It is giving me a lot of warm fuzzies." - LisbethRose

"The stinging caress of wood smoke wound its way through the rainforest's mossy trees. Pulling me from sleep, its heavy tang drew me towards a jagged pathway littered with sharp debris. This pathway appeared to have been violently forced in to existence by those with no understanding of the rainforest's subtle guides. Pressing my foot down on to the path, treading in their wake, I knew I should follow." 

This month, we would like you to focus on using a full spectrum of sensory descriptions within your sub. We don't want you to rely on telling us what you, and therefore we, should be looking at. Rather, we want you to make us feel what's going on. Ignite our senses. Tell us what to smell, what to touch, and what to listen out for.

If you think you're a master of literary description and you've got this challenge down, then don't be afraid to show us - and the rest of WEbook - what you've got.

To read the full challenge description and find out how to enter, head over to the challenge page.

You've got until the end of the month to enter, but to take full advantage of feedback from other members you should make sure to get your entries in nice and early.

Up for grabs is a USD$25 Amazon gift voucher, or a hardback WEbook from the WEbook Store...

Good luck and happy writing!
Enter the September Challenge

Congratulations to all the entrants in the August Challenge: Talk to Me

Dialogue is a tricky thing to master, with some of the main hurdles being tied up in a writer's ability to capture the natural ebb and flow of conversation. Often we write in a very different way to the way we speak, so trying to combine the two can be fraught with unexpected hurdles leaving you in a battle against your instincts.

However, despite the difficulty presented by the challenge brief there were lots of top-class entries in the battle for the winning spot this month.

We're delighted to announce that the winner of the August Challenge: Talk to Me is....

Them Earthies by S_WilsonDisher

***

The following five are this month's runners up:

Snowbound by OrientalGal | My Family by DexterBateman | Disclosure by LilyFramboise | Casino AdVal by tonydonell | Penury by satyr

Thanks for taking the time to write and submit your entries in August, we look forwards to reading and judging more of your stories in the September Challenge: Sights & Sounds
Read Last Month's Subs.
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