Tag Archives: reviews

Writing Tips: Setting Rules

14 Aug

Website Update: Shannon A. Thompson went over 8,500 followers! Thank you for your support. 😀

Yesterday I was very flattered to be featured on Read to Write Stories, a fantastic and detailed blog written by reader and writer, Michaell Noll. I definitely recommend his blog if you’re a writer looking for new ways to enhance your passionate skill. What he does is very focused: he reads a novel and then creates a writing prompt, along with guidelines to understanding a concept of writing, that goes along with said novel. If you haven’t read the post he did yesterday it was How to Set the Rules Your Characters Must Live By, and it discussed Minutes Before Sunset, particularly the first few chapters and how they affect the rest of the storyline. Here is the writing prompt he came up with:

“Let’s practice setting the rules, using Minutes Before Sunset as a model:

  1. Choose a character and a world for that character to inhabit.
  2. Define the world with a single adjective: happy, sad, fearful, proud, bored, etc.
  3. Free write about that adjective. Your goal is to find an image of the world or the people in it that demonstrates the adjective, if possible without actually stating it. The image will set the rules for the world. Future descriptions of the world should adhere to this early image in some way. So, in Minutes Before Sunset, the town’s denial of the supernatural elements in its midst is suggested by the fact that it calls a hill a mountain. In Gone in 60 Seconds, the stovetop burns out of control to suggest Kip’s lack of control.
  4. Now, free write about the character. How does he/she feel about the image you just created? Try to find an action that suggests the character’s attitude toward the world. For instance, in The Hunger Games, the fact that Katniss sneaks through the fence in order to hunt suggests that she’s willing to break the rules to protect her family. Thus, the big event at the end of the first chapter—volunteering for the Games in place of her sister—feels like a natural extension of her character, of the attitude that we’ve already witnessed.”

Rule 4 blew me away. I loved it, because it pushes the prompt that much further–and all of his prompts go this way. Seriously. Check him out if you’re looking for a new set of writing challenges. His Facebook page can be found here.

In other news:1002590_561096383937547_640499946_n

My day was made the other day when reader, Tyler Gravenstein, sent me a picture of him with Minutes Before Sunset. I love seeing readers interacting with any books, let alone mine–and it’s the new version!  I’ve given away a lot of free ebooks this week to interested readers, and I wanted to take a moment to thank all of them! If you’re interested in doing a review and appearing on my sites, I can supply you with one as well. Which brings me to some very important people:

Nita Bee’s Buzzin Books:  

A lover of books and poetry, Nita took a moment to interview me. She was wonderful, and I was delighted to be able to answer her questions and discuss the future. Plus, I always LOVE fellow readers. Here’s an excerpt of her detailed questions:

“Did you put a lot of time into thinking about this book or was it something ready to go in your head?
The second book was written first. It came easily, but, as I was writing it, I realized I needed a book before to set up the world Eric and Jessica lived in. I planned the entire first book, wrote that, and the third book came to me as I edited the second. I think most of my novels come to me easily, but the little details have to be obsessed over for a number of weeks before I feel comfortable enough writing the books down. ”

Kierney Scott (Romance Writer): 

Author of Twice in a Lifetime, I was delighted when our interview stretched beyond my novels and allowed readers to see more personal details of my life. For instance, she asks me what was the most romantic thing anyone has done for you and what my favorite meal is. This was fun, because I don’t normally get to answer these things about myself, but here’s an interesting excerpt that revolved around Jessica in Minutes Before Sunset:

“Describe your heroine in five words. Determined. Stubborn. Loving. Learning. Conflicted.

In what way is she most like you? Jessica accepts people for who they are, even if she may not see herself that way. She doesn’t really judge, but it can also lead to conflicting  emotions about people.

In what way is she different? She’s very defensive and has a few moments where she steps over the necessary attitude line.”

Please check these lovely ladies out as well as Michael Noll. There is an entire world filled with talented people out there, and I’m excited to get to know them while also sharing them with everyone else.

Have a great day,

~SAT

150th Post

27 Jul

It’s a good feeling seeing those numbers rise–whether it be fellow authors I’ve connected with, sales, or blog comments that represent all the conversations I’ve had with passionate readers, writers, and dreamers. So I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who supports so many people on this journey of writing and publishing. I am very grateful to have every single one of you cheering me on! And I wanted to share a special moment with everyone:

The photo below was taken on July 31, 2007–the day I received the first copy of November Snow in the mail. I’d just turned 16, but I moved shortly afterward, and I lost the photo…or so I thought. A few days ago, I found it on an old computer’s files. It means a lot to me, because the moment was my first novel’s release, and I’m glad I have it again. I’m sharing it, because it’s another one of those instances where we, as writers, can find inspiration from our pasts. 

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But I also have three other wonderful things to share today:

The Examiner reviewed Minutes Before Sunset: 5 STARS! 

“Benevolent magical creatures of the Dark called shades live clandestinely among humans as nimble shape-shifters while readying for a pivotal battle against the evil beings of Light.” 

Read the rest here. I can promise the reviewer, Lionel Green, has a way with words, and I’m flattered by his in-depth review and analysis of the piece.

And if you want even more information, I’d recommend two delightful interviews I was able to participate in:

Interview by upcoming author, Jackson Paul Baer:

Although I’m interviewed about my novels, Baer also adds some fun questions about what I like outside my writing world. Oceans or Mountains? Favorite T.V. show? Happy or sad ending to a novel?

Find out what I said here.

And this interview focuses on the writing and publishing industry:

Writing Under Fire: Young Blood in the Publishing World

Joanne asks: What was the hardest part for you in the writing process; the outline, synopsis, query or building the story itself? What do you do to promote yourself and your novels? Do you also write in other genres?

Find out what I said here.

I have to thank everyone who follows me, but I also want to emphasize how much I appreciate those who have interviewed me and/or reviewed my novels. I’m always excited to participate, and I look forward to discussing these topics with more and more readers and writers. It’s a wonderful and fun opportunity to connect further, but I can’t do it alone, so thank you for allowing me to do so through your support 😀

Speaking of which, I’m still giving away free copies of Minutes Before Sunset for review in order to celebrate Goodreads Book of the Month for July! If you’re interested in that (or interviews–or anything really!) email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

I am also thinking about doing more guest blog posts in the future, so look out for that!

Changes are coming, but I’m excited about them!

Have a great weekend,

~SAT

Writing Tips: How I Handle Rejection

23 Mar

Updates:

Price Change: November Snow [NOOK] is now available for $7.99 via Barnes & Noble here. 

I’ve also joined LinkedIn. Connect with me here. 

In A Certain World: A Commonplace Book, W. H. Auden writes, “For an adult reader, the possible verdicts are five: I can see this is good and I like it; I can see this is good but I don’t like it; I can see this is good and, though at present I don’t like it, I believe that with perseverance I shall come to like it; I can see this is trash but I like it; I can see this is trash and I don’t like it.” 41V1x246SUL._SL500_AA300_

While this is a great truth, it becomes a anxiety attack waiting to happen when it’s your writing under judgement, knowing one of these five results will happen. Unfortunately, I think many aspiring writers only accept one response as positive: “I can see this is good and I like it.” I wish this wasn’t the case, but it seems to be true the more I talk to writers. Rejection is hard, and it always will be, but we can learn how to handle it in a way that is healthy.

I have discussed this before. In my post Writing Tips: How to Handle Rejection, I commended John Tompkins for his positive (and hilarious) attitude towards rejected query letters, but I failed to address how I personally deal with such instances.

However, I’d rather not talk about query letters and/or agents, because I look at that as business, and, for me, those rejections are easy to write off, because there’s always another approach to business, and I don’t take it personally. As I said before, it’s business.

BUT–I wanted to talk about another kind of rejection: the reader rejection. This is when readers read your work and respond negatively, often publicly, and there’s nothing we, as the writer, can do about it. I’m often okay with this. In fact, I advocate listening to critics, because I’ve learned some of my best lessons by taking a step back and listening, but I still have my days, and I wanted to show an example.

As many of you know, I’m taking a Nonfiction Writing I course this semester. Honestly, I thought it’d be more memoir writing than essay writing, but, nevertheless, I am in the course, and we turned our first essay in to workshop awhile ago. We were supposed to write about something personal and riveting, so I chose, knowing it’s still a sensitive subject, to write about my roommate’s recent death and compare it to my mother’s.

Here’s the piece: In Memoriam.

And here are my top three negative comments:

1. I don’t want a guilt trip. It seemed too forced, the pity was weakening the audience. I don’t know. Not that complex.

2. Too pep-talky. Blase ending took me out of the story. Very self-centered.

3. This is a nice sentiment, but we’ve seen it so many times before that it’s lost its effect. It almost feels like your trying to establish your authority as a writer rather than just letting the essay stand on its own. The first and last paragraph had nothing to do with the essay, bragging.

I won’t lie. At some point during my drive home, I was in tears, because I couldn’t believe that fellow students would find my dedication to turning grievance into passion was selfish and/or bragging. I felt like they had attacked my personal growth and everything I have been striving for since my mother died when I was eleven. Furthermore, I was astounded by the fact that many of these students didn’t say this to my face, but remained silent in the classroom. I would’ve liked the opportunity to ask them why they felt that way (because you do get a chance at the end to speak), but I don’t know if I could’ve spoken. I was too emotional, and, when I took a step back, I realized why.

I wrote about something I was not ready to write about. Even more, I immediately allowed my emotions to react; not my thoughts. When I took a moment, I realized their “bragging” statements were more directed at the beginning when I listed off accomplishments, which I should’ve explained as a conclusion. I also needed to consider my audience. It’s entirely likely many of my fellow 20-year-old’s haven’t lost a loved one to death. It’s also (more) possible that they have a completely different reaction towards death than I do, which is completely understandable. Even though the essay was an assigned personal essay, I think I made it too personal by focusing on me instead of the audience, and, in the end, that was selfish, but I’d rather call it misdirected. I’ve never written nonfiction essays before, and I’m learning how to do so still. Of course I’d be critiqued at the beginning; even if I was a professional I’d be critiqued. And I had to remind myself that before I imploded with misunderstood emotions.

So how did I cheer myself up?

After a healthy dinner with my father, I looked over everything again, but, this time, I concentrated on the good comments. I realized there were more “Great job!” than I thought, and I really focused on appreciating the complements, rather than the hurt.

Here are my top three positive comments:

1. Thanks for sharing! I know it must be hard for you to carry these loses with you for the rest of your life. I know it’s hard, but I also know how inspiring it can be as a writer. Keep striving for the preservation and ultimately your understanding.

2. I loved the candor with which you spoke about their deaths. Your level-headed recounting of events is incredible. You’re not bemoaning your life, which actually gives me greater sympathy. Really strong ending.

3. This is such a brilliant outreach to the audience. And to be quite honest, I needed to hear this. This was a beautiful piece to read. Consider sharing the title of your YA sci-fi novel because I’d love to read it. Looking forward to your other essays!

Next time, when rejection gets you down, try to remind yourself that one rejection doesn’t define all of your success. In fact, it only furthers your range of success by pushing you to achieve more. I have moments where my emotions take over, and I think that’s perfectly normal. After all, we are human, and we’re very exposed humans when we throw our art out for all to see. But we must realize that judgement will come, and it’s up to us to decide what to make of it.

As I took grieving and created passion, I will focus more on taking rejection and making success.

This is how I will handle it, and I hope opening up about my experience will help others see they are not alone, along with encourage them to continue to follow their dreams, even when they are hurting.

Another thing I love to do when I'm feeling down is to return to those beautiful moments in life when everything seemed right. This is me in Puerto Rico in May, 2012. It was one of the best trips of my life, and I know it's only a memory away from reminding me what happiness is like.

Another thing I love to do when I’m feeling down is to return to those beautiful moments in life when everything seemed right. This is me in Puerto Rico in May, 2012. It was one of the best trips of my life, and I know it’s only a memory away from reminding me what happiness is like.

~SAT

March 25: Shannon Summary: Six Months In

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