Thursday, November 19, 2009

Important Vital Test Of Your Knowledge Of Timothy Carter

Here's something fun. When I did my author appearance in the library last month, I gave all the kids a fake test about me. They really got into it, and tried to pick the answers that would butter me up the most so they could get free books from me. I'm not ashamed at all to admit it worked! Here's the test:

1. Timothy Carter was born:
a. in England
b. in Canada
c. to be wild
d. yesterday

2. Timothy Carter wrote:
a. Epoch and Evil?
b. Weepoch and Weevil?
c. Twilight and Harry Potter (under different names, naturally)
d. nothing I’d touch with a ten-metre cattle prod

3. I like Timothy Carter because:
a. he’s such a cool guy
b. his books are fantastic
c. he gives my life meaning
d. he got me out of school today

4. FOR GIRLS ONLY – Timothy Carter is:
a. like, totally cute
b. married? Awww…
c. kind of a dork
d. making me uncomfortable. And what’s with that hat?

5. FOR GUYS ONLY – Timothy Carter is:
a. the Man
b. the kind of guy you want to hang out with
c. probably not very good at football
d. sooo getting a wedgie when this is over

6. We will read Timothy Carter’s books because:
a. they sound pretty good
b. I’m interested in the subject matter
c. I’m delighted to support a Canadian author
d. my teacher’s making me

7. Ten years from now, Timothy Carter will:
a. be world-famous
b. own the planet
c. have survived the cataclysm of December 21, 2012
d. still be wearing that damn hat

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Library Visit

Last Tuesday I did a reading for a group of 60 kids in the North York branch of the Toronto Public Library. The kids came from grades 6, 7 and 8. Some of them had heard of me before, some had seen my website, and a few had even read Epoch!

I was pretty nervous beforehand for all kinds of silly reasons: I wasn't sure I could fill an hour's time; I was worried the kids would think I was a dork, etc...

Turns out I had nothing to be afraid of. Not only were they a terrific bunch of kids, but they all couldn't get enough of me! They asked all kinds of questions about my stories, my writing habits, anything that came to their minds. I'd prepared a writing exercise in case I ran out of things to say, but instead I did two readings, answered as many questions as I could, and then gave away free books. I think I brought five Epochs and seven Evil?s, and it was difficult deciding whom to give them to. I told them I'd give a book to the kids who buttered me up the most, and they got right into it. "I love your shirt, Mr. Carter!" "I love your hat!" They were the best. They truly were. I wish I could have given a book to every single one of them, and felt badly for the kids who got left out.

I was a little nervous talking to them about the plot of Evil?, given the subject matter, but I decided to just go for it. I told them what the book was about, then gave them a chance to get all their giggles out before I proceeded. They handled it very well.

At the end I signed all the copies I'd given away, and then I signed anything else they could get their hands on. One girl got me to sign her friend's copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! Other kids presented me with library magazines, or scraps of paper. I signed and signed 'till my signer was sore, but it was well worth it. The teachers thanked me, the library people said they wanted me back sometime, and I felt ready to take on the world!

I love kids. Probably because I'm just a big kid myself! I can't wait to do something like this again.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Shooting Stars and Other Friends of Tim

I've been getting a number of good reviews lately, and it's about time I posted links to them. Check these out!

First, I want to direct your attention to Shooting Stars Mag, a terrific YA book blog right here on blogspot, written by my new best friend Lauren Becker. She wrote a very positive review of EVIL? posted here. Lauren did a number of things with me, including a giveaway contest, a guest post written by me, and an interview. I am so grateful for all the publicity Lauren did for me.

Next, there are three reviews here at Goodreads. They all seem to love Fon Pyre, and called Stuart "smart and sassy"!

Chapters/Indigo has one review posted. Thanks, Lindsey Carmichael!

LibrariAnne also reviewed me. You can read Anne Heathen's review here.

Also, do not miss this review by Meghan K at Teens Know Best! She comes up with a few terms for masturbation that even I didn't know! "A date with Rosie Palms" - couldn't stop laughing!

Wow. I am so very happy. These are very exciting times for me!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Apoca-Lynn Finished!

Yes, I've finally bashed my new novel into shape. At least, it's in a shape good enough in my eyes to send to my agent. I'm sure a few more drafts will be necessary before it sees print.

This book was a troubling one for me. I struggled with the characters, plot mechanics and even names for months, more so than with any other book. I'm not sure why that was; some stories just need a bit more work than others. Anyway, I'm happy with it now.

Hopefully, the world soon will be, too.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Author Events

I've had a couple of very successful author events recently. First off, I had the official launch for EVIL? at the Indigo Spirit in Royal Bank Plaza, here in downtown Toronto. I sold 16 copies of the new book, as well as three copies of EPOCH and a couple of Attack Of The Intergalactic Soul Hunters. Not a bad day's work!

A bunch of my friends came to wish me well, including my good friend Vijay, who took the photos I've posted here.

Sadly, no one from the media came. I was hoping for at least some interest from one of Toronto's newspapers, but there we are. Anyway, it's a small complaint. The event was a success, and much fun was had.

This is me with my friend Martha, who came to get EVIL? and wish me well.

The second event came a week later at the Ralph Thornton Centre, a community centre and library where my friend Lucille runs a writing group. We met while working for the same market research company, and she asked me if I would come for a special event. Absolutely, said I, and I'm glad I did. I read two chapters of EVIL? and answered questions from the audience, who were made up mostly of people from Lucille's writing group. Also in attendance were my wife Violet, my sister Claire, and a few friends who hadn't been able to make it to the launch the week before.

I'm happy to say that EVIL? is off to a great start. More events are coming; I'm doing a library appearance in the fall, and at least one more book signing in the lead-up to Christmas.

Can't wait!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Meeting Fans at Polaris 23

I've been bad at blogging lately. It's been three weeks since I attended Polaris 23, the sci/fi convention formerly known as Toronto Trek, and I'm finally getting around to writing about it now. I rented a table and promoted my books, and had an awesome three days.

It almost didn't happen. I was late signing up for panels, and I didn't book my table until the last minute. I really must stop procrastinating. I'll start tomorrow.

Many people helped me out. The programming team got me onto five panels, my parents sent me enough money to cover the cost of registration and table renting, and my wife Violet rented a car to get us to and from the event (she also sat at the table with me).

I met some old friends and made a bunch of new ones. I sold lots of books, and gave out hundreds of flyers for EVIL. I really felt like I was doing a good job, promotion-wise. More than that, it just felt good to be there. I was among my people, doing what I was meant to do.

When it ended, a profound sadness followed. It was a good sadness; it meant I'd really enjoyed the experience and was sad it was at an end.

I'm not sure when the next con will be - for me, that is. I'm considering Con-Cept in Montreal and even Astronomicon in Rochester, but it all depends on money and time. Of course, once EVIL? becomes a worldwide phenomenon, I'll be able to attend all the cons I like. I look forward to that.

Friday, June 5, 2009

EVIL? Back Cover Copy

The back cover copy (you know, the blurb on the back of the book) is in, and I thought I'd share it here. I didn't write it; that would be the work of Courtney Huber, the marketing copywriter for the book. I think it's perfect, and I'm lucky to have so many talented people working on my novel at FLUX. Enjoy!

And, yea verily, Stuart did commit the Sin of Onan in the shower. And this was witnessed by his own brother who did cry out unto their mother. And there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. And the townspeople rose up against him and all Onaners, calling upon one another to tear the youthful sinners limb from unclean limb. And there was much pants wetting.

And lo, Stuart did join forces with the demon, Fon Pyre, and together they did set forth to discover the cause of the town’s trouble. And, hark! A pair of fallen angels would plant seeds of hatred unto the townspeople. And on the seventh day, Stuart did vow to rip the fallen angels a new one and layeth upon them an epic smacketh-down.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

4-Star Review of EVIL

My friends at the Canadian Review of Materials (CM) just posted a review of EVIL?! You can check it out here.

Wow, a 4-star review! I am very happy.

From the review:
“Carter's novel is satirical, downright funny and also thought-provoking. Whether read as a somewhat titillating and action-filled fantasy or as a deeper treatise on the origins and meaning of evil, it will have appeal and huge entertainment value for many young adult readers and specifically younger teenage boys.”

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Behold the very first Special Feature for my upcoming book, EVIL? Below you will see the text for the Dedication and Acknowledgments page that will appear at the front of the book. I present it here to invite discussion on who these people are that I have chosen to thank for helping to bring my new novel to bookstores. Feel free to leave a comment or question!

For Monica
You Know Why

First and foremost, I'd like to thank my own creative brilliance. Three cheers for me! I'm just super.

I would also like to thank my wife, Violet, for her support; Andrew Karre and Brian Farrey, for believing in this project; Sandy Sullivan, for her goddess-like editing; Robert Brown, for being an excellent agent; Lori MacDougall and Angela Jewell, for having me in to do signings every year; God/the universe/spaghetti monster/whatever, for filling my head with such weird ideas; and finally, I'd like to thank my right hand for... you know.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

EVIL? Editing

Last week I did the final round of editing on EVIL?, and it was a lot less painful than I'd feared. I hadn't heard from FLUX since I sent the rewritten version to them in August, and I wanted to know how the new ending had worked out.

Naturally, my fears were completely unfounded - they were very happy with the book, and the editor assigned to it thought the ending was terrific! She pointed out a few things that needed changing and/or fixing, areas where I'd goofed and said something that was proved untrue earlier (or later) in the story. I try to keep all the details in my head when I'm writing, or at least try to fix all that stuff before the publisher sees it, but I'm only human and I goof up like everyone else. That's why it's great to have a skilled editor there to catch those gaffes and make me look good.

My editor's name is Sandy Sullivan, and she is to be praised. My novel is in good hands thanks to her.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

POV & Me

As I said in my last post, I started writing EVIL? (formerly called The Right Hand Of Evil) in a third person limited omniscient point of view. It is my favourite, after all. However, I realized by the third chapter that first person was the way I had to go. Yes, I had to. My stories can be very demanding sometimes.

And, they're always right. When I finished the first draft of that book, I couldn't imagine having written it any other way.

My current project is called Kids Who Know. For this one, I knew that first person wouldn't work. I also knew third person limited omniscient wouldn't be enough - at least, not the way I'd been doing it. KWK has not one but two focus characters, something I have not done for the last six novel projects. I thought I might just do it for the prologue, then have the rest of the book focus on my main character. Fairly early in, however, I realized it wouldn't be that way. KWK needs a second focus character, my story told me, and as always it was right on the money.

The reason I've been avoiding more than one focus characters is partly because a writing teacher of mine once told me not to. Stick with my main character, she said, or you risk losing focus. And it's cheating. Or something like it. I didn't completely agree with her, but part of her lesson stuck. I am a lot more aware of focus and POV thanks to her, and when it came to the project she was helping me with (a middle-grade book called Trevor Niles: Goblin Kicker) she was right. Her guidance is also clearly evident in EPOCH.

With Kids Who Know, however, I threw that lesson out the window. My story wants two focus characters, and it'll get two focus characters.

Of course, what I'm telling you here is nothing new to most writers. Many of the novels I've read have multiple focus characters, and it works beautifully. My favourite example is Stephen King's IT, where he has a group of seven kids (and their adult counterparts) who each need their own focus scenes, along with a host of minor characters. It works, because that was the way that story needed to be told.

So it is with my stories. I'm aware of the rules of point of view, but I do what my story tells me. In the end, the story is always the boss.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Points of View

Deciding on a point of view (or POV) is one of the first decisions I must make when I prepare to write a new story. It's usually an easy decision; the story will suggest how, and through whose eyes, it needs to be told. Each POV has its advantages, but they also come with certain limitations.

First Person POV stories are told as if they are memories of the main character. They use the "I" pronoun (I had an adventure yesterday. "It was wild," I said), and give you a detailed look inside the main character's mind. It's like you telling a friend about something that happened to you.

Third Person POV stories are like the stories you tell about someone else. They use "he" and "she" pronouns, and offer a great deal more freedom. What do I mean by freedom? That depends on the type of third person POV you use. I'm a big fan of Third Person Limited Omniscient, where you stick with one character throughout the story and describe what happens around them. I wrote Epoch that way. It allows you to describe things as an outside observer, instead of a character in the thick of the story.

With Limited, however, you are still restricted to your main character. You can't go describing what's happening to another character, not until the main character is there to observe it. That way, the reader discovers things only when your hero does.

Actually, that's not entirely accurate. You can have multiple POV characters in a Limited Omni story, but each character has his or her own section. A section(not a technical term) can be as long as a chapter or as short as a paragraph. Within that section, the POV character is the focus, and you can't switch to another character's POV without ending the section(with, say, a chapter break or a space between paragraphs) and beginning a new one. That way, the reader understands they are now going to hear from someone else.

Some writers find this too restrictive, which is why there is also Third Person Omniscient. With Omniscient, you are like God - all-seeing and all-knowing. You can jump into and out of any character's head, and be anywhere in your story's world at any time. It presents the ultimate in freedom for a writer.

So why don't all writers write in Third Person Omniscient? Because it can be too much of a good thing. (Ooh! Did you notice how I started that last sentence with "because"? My English teachers would be so mad at me!) Too much freedom can dampen the story's focus, especially if you don't know exactly what you're doing. Not always, of course, but I don't fully trust myself with that much power. I write better when I have a few limitations.

Some POVs suit certain stories better than others. For example, I started writing EVIL? in Third Person, but realized it would work a lot better if it was in First Person POV. I had to rewrite Chapters 1 and 2, but the book was all the better for it.

So there are my thoughts on POV. I'll probably have more to say later. Times when I went wrong, for instance. You'll love that.