Forum posts made by dianashallard

Topic I'm a best-selling author! Well, kinda...
Posted 16 Jan 2014 11:38

Congrats, Maggie! That's awesome. Sorry I never wrote back to you to say I read this story and it's a good one. Well done! :-)

And yes, the fact that it's "selling" on free books is still good. It'll pay off (pun intended) in the future, I'm sure. :-)

Topic Anyone else doing NaNoWriMo 2013?
Posted 02 Dec 2013 21:59

Whew! I did it! I got my novel done - well the shitty draft at least. I just barely eeked out the 50,000 words by Nov. 30th, but it's there. I'll have to delete many scenes and add a few, but I'm actually pleased with where it went.

So, now I have TWO very rough drafts to revise and edit. I am mostly in the dark on how to do that (keep the treasures and kill the trash - and not vice versa), but I'll give it a whirl.

If anyone wants to try the NaNo stuff in the future (camps, etc.), I'd encourage it. Writing daily and diligently worked best for me. (I tend to be deadline driven.) And it helped that I am now eligible for a 50% discount on Scrivener. So I consider that added payment of sorts. ;-)

Topic Anyone else doing NaNoWriMo 2013?
Posted 13 Nov 2013 18:17

It took me a full year to write the 69,000 words of my first novel.

I figure I'll let it marinate while I work on the next novel. And for that, I'm trying to meet the 50,000 words in one month during NaNoWriMo . I've never tried this before, and I'm already behind on my wordcount, but I've realized I'm a deadline-driven kind of gal, and so it can't hurt to try.

LMK if you're attempting this feat as well. We can offer encouragement perhaps.

And if anyone has participated in previous NaNoWriMo, kudos to you! Any tips or words of advice are welcome.


Topic To post a story or not to post... that is a good question!
Posted 23 Jul 2013 20:54

Wow, Robert - I never thought of it that way, but yes, if the work changes thanks to edits and feedback, it would be deemed an "unpublished work."

I definitely plan to hire an editor for my novel by the way. I'll be looking for contenders for that job very soon I hope.

Thanks for your insight!

Topic 20% of genre books sold in 2013 were self-published. Here's a rant to discuss why.
Posted 19 Jun 2013 21:23

It's a long discussion, but I found it very interesting. One point in particular caught my eye: at one point this author had her book being considered by THREE publishers simultaneously, then after months of flirtation, they all abandoned the idea! Ouch! That's worse than the dating scene. (Happy ending: she self published and made good money and now thinks it's more than she'd have made had she gone the traditional route.)

That said, I don't know this author or her books, and it's likely to stay that way. But if she and her readers are happy...

The Publishing Industry Forgot The Only Thing Worth Remembering

Topic Do you write the story, or does the story guide you?
Posted 03 Jun 2013 20:30

I recently wrestled with this very question since my Novel in Progress seemed to be stuck. When the story in outline form seems stiff or contrived, I find it best to go back to just writing the damn thing (sans intent), and amazing enough, the characters begin to tell their own stories! I seriously can't explain how that happens, but I'm so glad it does.

Topic To post a story or not to post... that is a good question!
Posted 03 Jun 2013 20:15

Hello all,

I know I've been out of the loop and off the grid for some time (well, with occasional visits), but I hope to visit and interact more often.

I am happy to say that I've been working on my novel in progress, and I've even written a few poems and stories too. The question that I've pondered though (that you might have pondered too perhaps) is this:

How do you decide which stories/poems you will post onto Stories Space?

The reason I ask is that there are quite a few competitions and literary submission sites that require a submission of an "unpublished" work. As much as I love Stories Space and the interaction it offers, I realize that I'd be shooting myself in the foot if I just took all of my favorite stories and poems and put them up on this site for review. Suddenly they are deemed "published" and thus ineligible for prize/payment/publication. (Perhaps the Critique's Corner counts as a "writing group" and thus allows for submission elsewhere?)

Has anyone else wrestled with this quandry? Or am I perhaps being naive and/or greedy to assume my work should be earning me something. Maybe instead I should just be happy to share it...

Topic Flash Fiction Contest - 50 word story re: Memorial Day from NPR Three-Minute Fiction FB Fan Page
Posted 22 May 2013 15:05

This info is taken directly from the Facebook Fan Page of NPR's Three-Minute Fiction Contest:

Three-Minute Fiction fans... how about a mini-challenge this week? Write a story in 50 words or less in a comment on this post. The story must involve MEMORIAL DAY in some way. The winner is the story that receives the most "likes" by 11:59pm ET on Monday, May 27th. You are allowed to "like" as many stories as you want. The winner will be announced next Tuesday (5/28) and will receive a special prize! Have fun!

Topic Grammar Tips, Word Help, etc.
Posted 11 Mar 2013 11:14

I found it odd that there wasn't already a thread for links and articles regarding grammar, punctuation, and word usage. Maybe I missed it in the archives... If not, feel free to add to this one.

The one I learned about today (better late than never) is a Visual Thesaurus, appropriately found at www.VisualThesaurus.com .

It offers word mapping among other ingenious devices to help writers find the right word.

Topic Mom's poetry...GMA 1908 - 1984
Posted 27 Feb 2013 21:20

It's funny/sad how often we come upon dateless photos and wonder about the people pictured. Especially if there is no caption or oral history. But a picture is just a brief glimpse of outer appearances. What you hold is a unique glimpse of your mom's inner thoughts and feelings. It's wonderful you appreciate it so much, and many of us here on this site do as well. Thanks for sharing.

Topic My winning entry in flash fiction challenge
Posted 25 Feb 2013 21:36

Congratulations, Maggie! Loved the last line in that piece, very nice. icon_smile

Topic What are you reading at the moment?
Posted 25 Feb 2013 21:31

So, I finished "Gone Girl" in record time... I found the short chapters and frequent change in narration to be a great help in creating a fast, easy read. Perhaps such writing (circa 2012) is a testimony to our texting/social media age... a la "give me high quality, but be quick about it!"

Anyway, I'd be curious if any others have read "Gone Girl" already and if so, if they predicted any parts of it. For me it held some surprises though I predicted correctly in many cases.

Topic What Would Your "Thing" Be?
Posted 18 Feb 2013 19:51

It's funny how much I have in common with all the writers who've responded already: laptop, peace & quiet, time, coffee (sans cigarettes for me - just sayin'), but similar to 3rebels4 above, dreams do help. Even better: the shower! I come up with plots, new characters and even dialogue while in the shower, and so my biggest challenge is drying off and then finding the laptop, coffee, etc. before the inspiration leaves me. Sometimes it lingers, and I catch it. Other times, I really wish someone would invent a waterproof tablet for taking notes.

Topic Favorite Lines in a book
Posted 12 Feb 2013 21:58

Here's one of my favorites, from The Thorn Birds:

“There is a legend about a bird which sings only once in its life, more beautifully than any other creature on the face of the earth. From the moment it leaves its nest, it searches for a thorn tree, and does not rest until it has found one. Then, it impales its breast on the longest, sharpest thorn. But as it is dying, it rises above its own agony to outsing the Lark and the Nightingale. The Thornbird pays its life for that one song, and the whole world stills to listen, and God in his heaven smiles, as its best is brought only at the cost of great pain; Driven to the thorn with no knowledge of the dying to come. But when we press the thorn to our breast, we know, we understand.... and still, we do it. Still we do it."
― Colleen McCullough, The Thorn Birds

Topic What are you reading at the moment?
Posted 05 Feb 2013 12:50

I stumbled upon this short story from 1891 that does a great job at building suspense and thought it worth sharing. It's called "The Yellow Wallpaper" and I vaguely remember reading it in high school.


As luck would have it the author herself commented on her story years later:


As a side note, gosh, I do love the Internet and the ability we have to read old works with ease and find comments and critiques on them with further ease. Enjoy.

Topic Finding time to write
Posted 04 Feb 2013 12:57

Here's another article dealing with time management, specifically the fine art of procrastination (which I have mastered beautifully, thank you very much). Enjoy.


Topic NPR's Three-Minute Fiction Contest
Posted 02 Feb 2013 20:28

Update to this contest: it starts today and ends soon: Feb. 2nd! It looks like a fun one to me... write a story in the form of a voice mail message. 600 words or less. Details at this link:

Topic Need help from other Readers/Writers - How to deal with foreign languages
Posted 30 Jan 2013 13:18

Thanks for your feedback, Gypsy. Your points about the writer doing her job do make a lot of sense! I definitely don't want readers to to feel they need a translation service in order to read my novel, so I'll avoid the footnotes. :)

Topic Need help from other Readers/Writers - How to deal with foreign languages
Posted 30 Jan 2013 10:21

OK I hope this is the right place to ask my question. Any and all input is welcome!

My WIP is a YA novel that takes place in Germany with many of the characters being Americans studying abroad. As such, the protagonist is an American who is fluent in German and has many conversations with Germans in their native language.

This being an English novel, my challenge is how to convey the "switch", if you will, from German to English, for the benefit of the reader. I have read several stories and YA novels similar to this but most have central characters switching to English at some point, i.e. the natives are fluent in English. I don't want that to be the case in this novel. The Germans should speak German, and in fact the subject of "language learning" is central to the book, so it'd be silly to skip German all together, but I don't want to bore or burden the reader with a language they don't necessarily know already.

So, my questions to you:
* READERS: Do you have any authors or stories to recommend that deal with this issue? Perhaps I just haven't researched enough. Several of the books I've read thus far use a journal from the protagonist and he/she thus reverts to their native language. That idea won't quite work for my 3rd person novel.

* WRITERS: Do you ever write in a different language and if so, how did you deal with the language difference. One creative option I heard was to have the novel serve as a textbook of sorts with footnotes and lots of dictionary-like inclusions. I'm not sure I want to go that route for 100,000 words, but it is different. Any other ideas out there?

Thanks so much for your help!

Topic Recommended Reading
Posted 29 Jan 2013 19:56

I posted this in another part of the site, but now that I'm a member of the Critiques group, I think it's most appropriate for this section.

“What you say is worth a dime. How you say it is worth a dollar. Why you say it, is worth a fortune.”

Topic Health & Wellness for Writers
Posted 28 Jan 2013 17:47

Ok, I think I'm official now (20 posts/comments done!) and can post links. Brace yourself, I can become a Cliff Claven of info, but will try not to get too carried away. (Good golly, I think I just dated myself with that "Cheers" reference.)

Anyhoo, I stumble upon some good "news you can use" from time to time and here are a few that pertain to us writers as far as staying "healthy" in all facets.

Here's one:
The Desk Sentence - for all workers this is key, but writers esp. since we can tend to get in a "zone" and sit for hours at a time and not realize it. The blogger is obviously selling her wellness program too but the info is insightful.


Topic Promoting your writing
Posted 27 Jan 2013 08:24

Thanks so much for that info, Maggie! It all makes more sense now and seems like smart rules too.

Topic Promoting your writing
Posted 26 Jan 2013 22:07

Thanks so much for this, Lisa.

Promotion comes relatively easy for me (thanks to my non "Diana Shallard" duties) but I'm still confused about the voting process, and I guess I'm a slow learner as I stumble on nuggets of info here and there but have yet to understand:

* Can ANYONE vote on stories or just members only? Seems it's for members since there have been times when I've tried to vote on a story but forgot I wasn't logged on yet, and the site wouldn't let me. So, if that's the case, promoting our work to the Twitter world is good, but has its limits, no?

* Can someone vote or view multiple times? Sorry to be so cynical, but what's to stop someone from clicking on their own (or a friend's) story multiple times and/or voting on it in order to increase the views/ranks? I guess with the sophistication of the site that i've seen so far you might have ways to discourage that, but it's still a point of confusion.

* Friends... I am on the fence about the need/desire for "Friends" simply because I already juggle Friends and Followers on Facebook/Twitter. I guess I'll do as Maggie does and offer my plug here that if anyone does want to "friend" me, they can do a search for "Diana Shallard" on Facebook and/or Twitter. I'd love to have the company!

Thanks again for all your work, Moderators.

Topic Suggestions
Posted 26 Jan 2013 08:26

Hi there Moderators,

I have a quick suggestion for some of the "behind the scenes" workers.

But before I do, let me preface it by saying this site ROCKS, as is! It's easy to navigate, full of great options (and great reads of course) and the chat rooms are easy to navigate.

That said, I have noticed that when I click on a link within the chats, it directs me OUT of this site and replaces StoriesSpace with the new URL. Instead, I would advise linking in a manner that creates a new tab/window. (I am no HTML expert, but my tiny experience with web site updating has taught me the value of this trick.) Doing this would mean one is able to get back to the Stories Space site without having to hit the back button and/or re-login.

Hope that makes sense. Thanks! icon_smile

Topic Name That Movie
Posted 25 Jan 2013 14:24

*Say what? My "geology" quote is from "The Shawshank Redemption.

Oh well... carry on .. the above quote is from "Your Highness."

"Play the sunset"

Topic Name That Movie
Posted 25 Jan 2013 08:22

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

"Geology is the study of pressure and time. That's all it takes really, pressure and time."

Topic New Writing Goals of 2012 - How Did You Fare With Them?
Posted 24 Jan 2013 11:21

Ooh this is an excellent topic, and I just stumbled upon it. Any thread going for 2013 goals? Dare we write them down and hold ourselves accountable?

Mine - I really really really want to finish the draft of my first novel - ideally by June! I've got almost 18,000 words written and the ideas are there, but I'm so easily distracted and overwhelmed. Plus I enjoy dabbling in short stories and poetry too. Sigh.

So, feel free to pester me and ask about my WIP word count. I'll do the same for any of you who want to share your big goals for 2013.

Topic Help Required: How To Capitalise Titles.
Posted 24 Jan 2013 11:14

Actually though there's no hard and fast rule (and some grammar rules are meant to be broken, right?) I would say that when every word is capitalized except one, it's OK (and preferred) to go ahead and capitalize that other word. Makes for a consistent look and avoids having a small word (in the above example, the word "to") jump out as more important than the rest. (Unless that's what you intended, hence the rule breakage being optional too.)

Oh dear... just call me GrammarGeek... I promise to reign it in unless asked otherwise.icon_smile

Topic the end is the beginning
Posted 24 Jan 2013 07:44


Topic NPR's Three-Minute Fiction Contest
Posted 24 Jan 2013 07:43

From the "Three-Minute Fiction NPR" Facebook Fan Page:

Round 10 of Three-Minute Fiction on NPR's All Things Considered will begin on Saturday, February 2nd! The guest judge and prompt will be announced then. Get your pencils ready!!

This is a fun contest if you haven't tried it already. NPR has recently added "favorites" to their web site as the contest progresses, so even if you don't win, there's a chance to be "published" online.

Look for the Facebook Fan Page or find the NPR link for details. (Entries submitted via Submittable.)