Category Archives: writing

Write Place, Wrong Time

I did a dumb thing. In the grand scheme of things it’s not that big of a deal, but I’m still sighing about it.

One of my resolutions* for this year was to get more rejection letters. I say this, because even though I’d much rather get acceptance letters, I tend to prepare myself for the worst. If I try and get accepted then Yay me! If I try and get rejected, then I’m succeeding at my resolution! Yay me!

I don’t care if the glass is half-full or half-empty, but I’d like to know if the liquid inside is poison.

Continue reading Write Place, Wrong Time

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Tips for Writing Different Genres

Last week Engen announced their next anthology – Dystopia From the Rock. This genre isn’t as widely known as their previous anthologies (I know I did a double-take), but don’t fear!  If you’ve never written dystopian before, you’ve got until October 31 to learn how!

Today I’ll be offering some tips on how I write strange-to-me genres. Although I mostly stick to Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Fiction, I’m not against branching out.  If I have an idea for a story, I’ll chase it wherever it’ll take me.

What follows are some of the steps I take to get myself into the mind-set of a new genre (and that I will surely be using when I try to write something dystopian):

  Continue reading Tips for Writing Different Genres

“Where do you get your ideas?” | House Blog

For me, the simplest answer is:

My Brain. 

My brain is a very strange little thing, and it comes up with weird ideas all the time.  Some ideas are half-formed and need to be thought about before they become something I can actually work with.  Some are fully-formed scenes that merely need a story.  Some are just an object or one sentence.

I don’t think there’s a wrong way to come up with ideas.  There are probably a vast many different ways that a person can be inspired – and what inspires me might not inspire someone else.

However…

If you’re looking for a longer answer, let’s get into detail:

Where do my ideas come from? Continue reading “Where do you get your ideas?” | House Blog

NaNoWriMo Round 6!

Over the past 7+ years, I’ve NaNo’d 6 times. Some times I’ve been successful, some times I haven’t, and one time I failed so spectacularly that I’m almost proud.

Below are some observations I’ve made & lessons I’ve learned:

* * *

Year 1 – 2010

Project Type: New Novel

Project Info: A werewolf-type story

Final Word Count: 52,000

For this one, I started a brand new story on November 1. I think I did a rough outline beforehand, but mostly just character sketches and a very loose plot. After 2 weeks I hit the wall hard, but a few days later I managed to push past it. I ended up reaching a conclusion around the 40,000 mark and thought I was going to fail this task, but then I thought of a way to make the story longer and managed to get over 50,000 words. I also wrote a really cool back-story scene that I’m super happy with.

This was my first year, and I consider it my most successful so far. I was working 2 jobs and rehearsing 2 plays, so I have no idea how I managed to do it. (Actually, that’s a lie – I’m editing that story now and there’s a lot of nonsensical rambling that needs to be cut down – but there’s also some great stuff that I got from the aforementioned rambling. Swings and roundabouts, my friends.)

Aside from being super determined to rock my first year, I learned how to push myself and that I could actually finish a story. It taught me that I could write a full-length novel in less than 3 years. As someone who had trouble focusing on one single project, it was a great confidence boost. Continue reading NaNoWriMo Round 6!

Coming Soon: The Write Project Podcast!

podcast01As announced previously, Engen is going to be kicking things up a notch with an all-new twice-monthly podcast starring Amanda Labonté, Ellen Curtis, and Matthew LeDrew! Each 60 minute episode will have three topics / segments: Writing Chat, Publishing Chat, and General/Reviews Chat!

The Write Project Podcast starts in November as a part of the Engen Books / The Tutoring Center’s NaNoWriMo 2017 celebration! Subscribe to the Engen Books YouTube channel and make sure and hit the bell icon when you do, and you’ll be notified when we upload new episodes! ❤

Going Full-Time | Distractions | Matthew LeDrew’s Blog

This might have to be my final post under the ‘Distractions’ banner, if only because I will, very soon, not be able to abide distractions anymore. That is to say, as of January 1 2018, I will be going Full-Time writing and publishing through Engen Books.

This is a massive step forward for me personally and for the company as a whole. We’ve made great strides in the last ten years helping to build ourselves as Atlantic Canada’s premier small-press, indie, and genre publisher. We’ve taken on a massive amount of new projects and new authors which has helped expand our library exponentially. This is going to give me the time to  really pour gasoline on that process. We’re going to be expanding into new areas and taking on new authors, as well as making sure our existing stable of amazing talent like Ali House, Ellen Curtis, Amanda Labonté, and Paul Carberry remain focused and driven to succeed.

It isn’t, however, without risk. While we’ve had an amazing year in 2017 and this was a part of a 5-year plan for us, this wasn’t a strategically-planned and calculated move. This came out of necessity because of some upheavals in my person life that I’ll disclose as I become able. Suffice to say, we’re viewing this as a positive and bravely making this leap forward. 🙂

As a part of this building though, we’re going to be needing the support and patience of our fans more than ever. There are going to be some changes. First and foremost will be an increased focus on Kindle and other eBook formats, as there is very little overhead to producing fiction in those methods. We have a dedicated print fan base we know, and our most popular titles (like the ‘From the Rock’ anthology series) will still be available in print day-of release, but some titles may see a digital-only release for short periods of time so that we can bring our work to those who want it. Continue reading Going Full-Time | Distractions | Matthew LeDrew’s Blog

How I “Outline”

(Spoiler Alert: not very well)

A writer I know recently shared the outline for her last book and I was amazed at how elegant and organized it was.  The whole format was really simple and clear – Chapter 1: this happens, Chapter 2: this happens, etc.  I wondered if this was something that could work for me.

Then I realized that I don’t actually do outlines.  When I’m writing a story, I generally have a bunch of vague ideas and scenes floating around in my head.  They usually don’t get put on paper until I’m actually writing the scene, or if I’m “thinking with my pen”*.  There are no charts, no graphs, not even a list**.  It’s kind-of a mess. Continue reading How I “Outline”