Simon Wood

Simon Wood's Blog

I hope you’ll indulge me for a moment. This is personal.

We have a family member with MDS blood cancer so as a thank you for all the treatment she has received, I’m raising money for THE LEUKEMIA & LYMPHOMA SOCIETY.  I’m hoping to raise at least $2,000.  On September 23rd I’m going to do a self-supported 100km bike ride and I’d love it if you’d sponsor me.  If any local riders want to join me on part of the route to pace me during the ride, let me know.  If you’d like to buy autographed books for your donation, let me know.  Every little bit helps.  Thank you for your support.

If you’d like to donate, please go to my fundraising page here.

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My AUTHOR PROFESSIONALISM workshop starts July 3rd.  You only get one shot at making a good impression with a reader, editor, publisher, bookstore, librarian and even your fellow writers. Yet, I’ve seen lots of authors put their feet in their mouths so many times. So let me be your Professor Higgins to your Eliza Doolittle.  The workshop would explore the following:

  • Lesson #1: What it is to be a professional writer
  • Lesson #2: Interacting with your fellow writers
  • Lesson #3: Interacting with publishing professionals
  • Lesson #4: Interacting with your readers and the public
  • Lesson #5: When the going gets rough–how to handle it and protect yourself
  • Lesson #6: The Good Author Plan

So if you want to learn how to interact with the publishing industry smartly and effectively, you can sign up here.

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WE WON!! PROMOPHOBIA won best nonfiction at this year’s Agatha (Christie) Awards. I’m one of the many contributors to this book. The award is a teapot and I believe each of us will get about 5-days with the award before passing it along to the next writer. In all seriousness, a massive thanks to Diane Vallere for all her hard work. This book was a long time coming after losing its first two publishers and Diane never gave up on the project.  This award belongs to her.

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One of those weird things I do as part of my writer’s life is to learn how to do the things I put in my books. One such skill was lock picking.  Mrs. Simon and I took a locking picking workshop for a wedding anniversary adventure many years ago.  At the weekend, I cracked a 4-digit alphanumeric combination lock just by using touch. Admittedly, it wasn’t the toughest lock in the world, but I thought it was neat that I cracked it because we were going to throw the item away because no one remembered the combination. So what I’m saying is I’m available for birthdays, Bar mitzvahs, high stakes bank heists, etc…

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My QUERY LETTERS, SYNOPSIS WRITING AND PITCHING workshop starts May 1st.  The call for this workshop came at the suggestion of one of my previous workshop students.  The workshop would explore the following:

  • Crafting a query letter directed at agents and publishers and how to perform a coordinated agent/publisher search.
  • Writing synopses. Yes, I said “synopses.” Multiple synopses are needed for book title because you’ll need a 200-word synopsis, 1-page synopsis, 2-page synopsis and a 4-page synopsis. There’s no such thing as a standard synopsis length…sadly.
  • There are plenty of opportunities to pitch face-to-face with industry professionals—both formally and informally—so it pays to have your elevator pitch in your back pocket ready to pull out at a moment’s notice.

So if you want to learn how to interact with the industry and present your story concept effectively, you can sign up here.

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My online workshop on Point-of-View writing starts on April 3rd. If you want to learn how to keep your POV straight in your books, here’s what to expect from the workshop and you can sign up here:

Can’t decide who’s the best character to tell your story? You don’t have to settle for just a single character’s point of view. I’ll discuss the techniques and the decisions that have to be made when writing in multiple points of view.

Weaving multiple viewpoint characters in and out of a story is like standing trial and knowing what the judge, the prosecuting attorney and all 12 members of the jury are thinking. Each person is witnessing the same information, but each individual interpretation is different. But it’s not like you can crack into everyone’s mind simultaneously. Even if you could, it’d be impossible to comprehend what 14 people are saying if they’re all talking at the same time.

Allowing multiple characters to tell your story can add depth and insight that a single point of view may not be able to convey. Most stories have plenty of characters with their own tales to tell. Multiple POV characters add depth to a novel. Suddenly the story is being told from the perspective of multiple witnesses, all putting their distinctive interpretations on events. But the inclusion of multiple voices can bring with it its own problems. Those multiple points of view can get out of control and turn the story into a mess. In a novel, just like in a conversation, not everyone can speak at once. There are plenty of ways to give each character a voice without having them talk over one another. Even if you’re only writing from a single point-of-view or utilizing an omniscient POV approach, going through these exercises will help ensure there’s a smooth transition between characters.

Lesson Plan:

  • Lesson #1: Creating a hierarchy of POV characters
  • Lesson #2: Limit the number of POV characters
  • Lesson #3: Pick the right character for the right job
  • Lesson #4: POV Toolbox Tricks #1— Use chapter and/or scene breaks & Changing Spaces
  • Lesson #5: POV Toolbox Tricks #2—Passing the baton, Mixing perspectives & Using distinctive voices
  • Lesson #6: POV Plan Review

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