Tag Archives: Creative Ink Festival

Creating Suspense and Sustaining Tension, Part 1

At the wonderful Creative Ink writing festival I sat on panels on creating tension and suspense.  I have been thinking ever since about ways to accomplish these.  And, from the point of view of time management for writers, if we can create suspense and sustain tension as we plot and draft, then we save a crazy amount of hours on revisions.

First, it’s worth taking the time to develop a protagonist the reader will care deeply about. We’ve heard of the Monkeysphere — the theory that humans can only keep a certain number of people close to their hearts.  Along with family members and friends, we appear to have  room for fictional characters as well. Right, Netflix?

To develop engaging characters, it’s worth taking the time to list flaws and balancing strengths.  I see so many flawed protagonists in our subs box, but few of them achieve the balance that helps the reader take them to their hearts. Balance involves developing

  • inner and outer longings.
  • kindnesses and sacrifices.
  • falls and redemptions.

Look at the extraordinarily flawed and engaging Lisbeth Salander, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  She’s not all flaws; in fact, her ferocious loyalty, physical strength, and world-beating intellect balance all the imperfections that make us love her.  Looking at my submissions inbox, it seems that there’s a lot of great work on developing flaws in characters, but not much attention to the strengths, as if somehow strengths were old-fashioned.

Once we create that engaging character, half our work in sustaining tension is done for us as the readers bring their own anxiety for the protagonist to the page.  The stakes, depending on our genre, may be survival, love and belonging, power, or freedom. These same stakes resonate with us all, through a character readers can believe in and take for our own.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week.  Cheers, Mel.

Read more about Creative Ink

Last day for Creative Ink Passes!

Well, not the last day entirely — you’ll still be able to purchase passes at the door for $100.  But today’s your last day to get them online for only $80.  This is an amazing deal for three days worth of workshops, panels, pitches, blue pencils, and rubbing elbows with industry professionals.

All three senior Pulp Lit editors will be there (a rare chance to find us all on the same continent at once) and we’ll be doing an Hour Stories Session, and many panels and workshops — some involving swords!  Plus you can find us and our marvellous crew at our sponsor table in the vendors’ hall, and at the reading and booksigning where we will launch Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries.

In addition to Guests of Honour Eileen Kernaghan and Ken Scholes there are so many amazing speakers and writers attending that we can’t list them all.  Instead, go to the Creative Ink website and check them out yourself.  Whatever you do, don’t forget to register today and save yourself $20 to spend in the bar.

See you there!

Jen, Mel, & Sue

Where the Angels Wait

Pulp Literature Issue 14 is with the printer and will be available in time for The Creative Ink Festival (31 Mar – 2 Apr) and our launch at Steamworks on Monday April 3rd.  We’re delighted to have another story, ‘The Ankle Bracelet’, from our very first feature author, CC (Chris) Humphreys.

Chris will be on hand at the launch to give a reading and sign books, but in the meantime, let us whet your appetite with a snippet of the poignant ‘Where the Angels Wait’ from all the way back in Pulp Literature Issue 1.

Granada, Andalusia, Spain. August 1986.

Sitting on the edge of the bed now, listening. A door opened, shut, someone has come and gone, that much is certain. They’ve hidden them, and he must find them.

Unless they didn’t leave.

“Hello?”

No reply. He has to start. The drawers? Too obvious but he tries a couple. The cushions? He pulls them off the sofa, feels down the back and side, moves carefully because if they
are there what state might they be in? He finds a crumb covered coin, nothing else. On the high shelves then, at the back of the cupboard, rolling in dust? Or in a jar in the bureau, pickled, floating like onions? With others? Alone? Alone, yes, has to be.

He starts to move quicker. Grapes on the table, that’s frightening. Eat one? Too risky. Time’s nearly up, pull back the sheets, grope under the pillows.

“Who’s there?”

He lies back down. “There’s no one there,” he says, challenging the dark.

He sits up. He knows where they are. His father is in the doorway, making it look small, and he has them exactly where they should be.

“Looking for these?” Dad says, and starts to squeeze his eyeballs from his face.


Off the bed,
groping for a light, blundering in an unfamiliar dark to a wall, a door, a switch, filling the room with yellow, running to the window, pulling back the thick curtains. He thrusts his head out into fierce sun and furnace air and the heat brings him back. He remembers where he is.

It takes him longer to remember why.

Six PM. Jet lag muzzles his head like a warm, wet towel and he can’t figure if home is ahead of Granada or behind. No, behind, it’s nine in Vancouver now. Gwen will be getting Sunday breakfast. French toast. Wearing her blue smock to protect her church clothes. If he was there they’d eat, then she’d take the smock off.

“Coming?” she’d ask.

“Nothing to confess,” he’d say.

He’ll call, catch her before she goes, but after a shower. He wants to make sense when he speaks to her. Before the shower though…

read the entire story in Pulp Literature Issue No. 1, Winter 2014.

 

Creative Writer’s Delight $150

pen2smallHere’s where to get more great rewards: Pulp Literature Press, Something Novel.

Creative Writer’s Delight

The Creative Writer’s Delight package is jam-packed with rewards for writers:

  • boontitlepagesmallThe Writer’s Boon Companion, a 30 day pocket guide to writing
  • a critique of up to 1000 words of your short story or work in progress.
  • A print subscription to Pulp Literature
  • Allaigna’s Song: Overture
  • Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries.
  • plus, full membership  to the Creative Ink Literary Festival from 31 March to 2 April 2017 in Burnaby, BC.  Don’t miss this amazing conference for writers, readers, and artists! There are only 3 available.
  • All these awards plus a festival membership for only $150!
  • Additional back issues or years of Pulp Literature can be added for $25 per four issues.

 Here’s where to get more great rewards: Pulp Literature Press, Something Novel.

Delightful Rewards for Readers and Writers

Is there a reader in your life you’d love to surprise and delight?  Or a hard-to-shop-for writer perhaps.  Our Readers’ and Writers’ packages on the Something Novel Kickstarter Campaign may just make your holiday shopping a delightful breeze.  But hurry, these are limited rewards!

The Readers’ Delight – $80

Earlybird Reader’s Delight – $65 till November 6th
Limited Reward
readers-delightThe best kind of gift is the one that lasts all year.  A subscription to Pulp Literature gives avid readers a book-sized issue for every season, with short stories, novellas, comics, poetry and novel exerpts to delight them all year long in both print and ebook formats.  But that’s not all!  They will also receive both novels: Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries, and Allaigna’s Song: Overture .

  • Until Sunday November 6th all this is available at the $65 level instead of $80
  • Only 14 left at $65!

The Writer’s Delight – $100

Limited Rewardwriters-delight
For the reader who also writes, or the writer who also reads (and don’t they all?), you can add The Writer’s Boon Companion 30-day writing journal, plus an editorial critique to all the goodies of the Reader’s Delight above for only $20 more.  With all the wit and wisdom of a steam-powered robot, the Boon Companion will guide you or your writer friend through a month of writing … and after that you’ll be able to pick your favourite 1000 words to send to our editors for a critique.  Feedback is priceless, but all this is only $100.

The Creative Writer’s Delight – $150
creative-writers-delight

Limited Reward
Creative Ink is the hottest new literary festival in town, and it’s back again from 30 March – 2 April 2017.  This is the place to glean valuable writing, marketing, and publishing advice, get your manuscript blue-pencils, pitch a novel, and schmooze with fellow writers.  A three-day pass is normally $80, but you can add it to the Writer’s Delight rewards for only $50 more.  But hurry, this one’s almost gone!

Let your friends know about these great packages … or surprise them with a gift to delight!

Creative Ink Festival!

Calling all writers and readers in the BC Lower Mainland! This weekend is your chance to network and learn from a friendly and talented group of authors and publishers at the Creative Ink Festival.  For a mere $80, enjoy three days of programming and social events aimed to get you involved, inspired, and enlightened in your creative projects.  Jen, Mel and Sue are excited because this is the first time in three years all three editors will be teaching at the same conference.  Hot tip: don’t miss our blue pencil sessions, where you can tap into our expertise for fifteen minutes! Here’s our schedule:

poster-425x55Friday 6th May
1pm: How to Swim through Rejections panel with Sue plus Ella Beaumont, ER Brown, Melanie Dixon, Claire Humphrey
2pm: Hiring the Right Editor with Sue, Jen & Mel
4pm: Getting Started panel with Sue plus Galen Dara, Christel Bodenbender, Caitlin Hicks & Matt Hughes.

Saturday 7th May
9am: Blue Pencil sessions with Sue
10am: Blue Pencil sessions with Mel
11am: SF Noir with Mel plus Robert J Sawyer, Randy McCharles and Tom Wright
4pm: Blue Pencil sessions with Jen
6pm: Stress Management for Creatives panel with Mel & Sue plus Danika Dinsmore, Aviva Bel’Harold, Devon Boorman & Claire Humphrey
7pm: Pulp Literature Reading Event with Sue, Jen and other Pulp Lit authors
8pm: Group autograph session

Issue 7 cover

Bring your copy of Issue 7 to the signing event!

Sunday 8th May
9am: An Editor’s Dream panel with Sue plus Katrina Archer, Ella Beaumont, & ER Brown
9am: What To Do When the Creative Well is Bone Dry panel with Jen plus Aviva Bel’Harold, Mel Anastasiou,  Dani Duck, Rhea Rose, Jessica Steiner
1pm: Real Life Superwomen panel with Jen plus Kristene Perron, Lisa Gemino, Sandra Wickham, and Setsu Uzume
4pm: Live Action Slush panel with Jen plus Mark Teppo, Matt Hughes, Tod McCoy, Randy McCharles, Ella Beaumont and Ian Alexander Martin

Spring shipment

Snag a copy of Issue 10 with Carol Berg’s ‘Uncanonical Murder’ at our table

Check out the full schedule for all the other fabulous panels and presentations too.  And of course you can visit us at the Pulp Literature book table at any time in the vendors’ hall, which is open to the public.  Attendees, don’t forget to look in your conference bag for a coupon entitling you to a free eBook or $5 off a print issue of Pulp Literature.  See you there!

Creative Ink Festival

There’s an exciting new literary festival in town, and Pulp Literature is thrilled to be a part of it!

The Creative Ink Festival for Writers, Readers, and Artists is the brainchild of writer, fitness guru, and all around ball of energy Sandra Wickham.  This one day event on Saturday April 25th is a fabulous chance to see presentations, panels, and readings by dozens of authors, editors, artists and other creative folk, get your work-in-progress blue-pencilled for FREE, and get inspired for that next project, all for the WOW price of only $25.

This is a great way for new writers to get their toes wet at a fun and friendly conference.  It’s a chance to network, learn more about the business of writing, and come blinking out of the solitary writers’ caves in which so many of us tend to spend our working days.

What will the Pulp Lit team be up to?

Laura Kostur

Kimberleigh Roseblade

Visit us: Come by our booth where you will find Sue and Jen, as well as authors Laura Kostur, Kimberleigh Roseblade and Kris Sayer floating between our booth and Academie Duello’s.  We have free ebook issues for Creative Ink attendees only, as well as 20% off all subscriptions, print or ebook!

Kris Sayer

Blue Pencils: Free blue pencil sessions by a host of authors and editors are on offer.  Sue will have sessions between 10am – 11am, and Jen will be available 11am – noon.  Email Sandra to book a session now.

Susan PietersPanels: Sue will be chatting with Patrick Swenson, Silvia Garcia-Moreno, and Ian Alexander Martin in What Agents, Editors and Publishers are Looking For at 11am, and Jen will have her yea or nay thumb at the ready for Live Action Slush with Claude Lalumière, Patrick Swenson, Mark Teppo, and Alex C Renwick.

JM LandelsReadings: Join us at 4:30 for Pulp Lit readings by Sue, Jen, and special guest authors.

Workshop: Jen will present David vs Goliath: Writing the Mismatched Fight Scene at 6pm.  Come and learn how to write fight scenes that thrill and satisfy, in this interactive workshop involving swords, knives and office furniture.

There’s a full day of programming on offer for writers, readers, artists and publishing professionals, and member bags full of free books and other giveaways.  All for amazingly low price of $25.  Prices go up to $30 at the door, so register online this week.  Come out and support this fledgling festival and help it grow to a full three day weekend next year.

We look forward to seeing you there!