In the latest issue of “Writers
Digest” is an article by Jeff Somers, I had to pass on to my readers. I can
only cover some of his topics due to the length.
As writers, we carefully edit our manuscript, correcting any
mistakes, and pay special attention to correct punctuation, wording, etc.
before releasing it for publication.
Many of us, including myself, seek the opinions of friends, family,
authors, and volunteers willing to read the novel, as the last check before submission.
In addition to the opinions of my family and friends, I read
everything I found by those I considered authorities, but I was confused and
conflicted about different interpretations of the same advice. In the back of
my head was the same question until I read this wonderful Article.
QUESTION: When is it okay to NOT follow the advice given you by others, Read below what Jeff Somers wrote about “THE RULES’.
WHAT YOU KNOW: Write what you know was
not meant to reject your imagination.
You can write about stuff you know nothing about— just write a story you
want to read.
SHOW DON’T TELL: When showing injects unnecessary verbosity, don’t. That rule implies that “telling” is Lazy, while showing takes real talent. You need to balance the showing and the telling,
EVERY DAY: The discipline of working
regularly is good and stops you from being one of those who talks about writing
but never does. But, not all can write every day. Think of it as a goal, not a requirement.
YOUR DARLINGS:It is probably the most misunderstood and misapplied piece of
writing advice in the history of writing. Don’t delete writing you like and
never look back.
IN A THESAURUS: Having a large vocabulary as an author is great—but it’s only
half the battle. You need to feel comfortable, and your word choices should fit
WRITE A PROLOGUE:The implication is that you are an amateur. In reality it is possible
to pull off a prologue, but you need purpose.
THE PASSIVE VOICE: Yes, it is grammatically correct, and we are told it is lazy
writing. However, there are forms of passive that are acceptable and necessary.
hope the above encourages you to subscribe to this wonderful magazine and read
the entire article.
Want to Leave your Readers Hungry for your Next Novel?
The final chapter, of your novel is written and you believe it will be satisfying to your readers, with no loose ends and unanswered questions. But, are your readers hungry for your next novel? If there is any doubt in your mind, below are some useful suggestions before you begin the Final Chapter..
1.Leave room: for your readers’ imaginations and allow them to picture what happens next, without being told: “They lived happily ever after.” 2.Foreshadow: Plant seeds in advance—small clues that will make the end seem natural. 3.Build-up Mystery: A good mystery needs a build-up toward the climax with lots of twists and turns during the telling of the story. 4.Pace: To create a mystery, write shorter scenes, sentences and chapters to increase the momentum. Save the largest scene for your last Chapter. 5.Reveal: Show how your characters changed in the story. 6.Romance: For romances, the above are still important. If a romantic mystery, use the same pace as #4.. All romances need a build-up- but without many complications, either between the lovers, or the events that get in the way of a happy union. 7. Similar Book endings: Check other books similar to your story, and review how the author ended the final chapter. Try several options—put them aside—then read again, later, and see which one makes the most sense for your story.
In my opinion, one of the best storytellers of mystery and suspense was the late Alfred Hitchcock. His television series always had an unexpected ending—one I never anticipated, and although it was not always a happy ending; but always satisfying. Each of his stories is a lesson for mystery writers. His movies, too, are well worth seeing. ( Shocking, Frightening, and deliciously, wickedly Amazing.)
The final draft of your book is done. Now you get to relax?. No, you can’t.!
The next step is to self-edit—the edit you, as author, should do. After all, it is a Draft , and only you are familiar with the story, and can easily correct all self-made errors , like noticing where your story wanders away from the scene being played out. Or when characters are not clearly defined ,and how about incorrect spellings, punctuation errors, and poor word choices.
First print all the pages of your book. Then as you read, correct the errors you find on the printed page, and then on the computer.
A FEW SUGGESTIONS:
Use words your reader can relate to—Simple words and not words needing the use of a dictionary. Remember, the more the reader stops, the less interest he or she has in continuing.
Show don’t Tell.— Use an action word to show, anger, instead of saying : He is angry. Example: He slammed the door behind him
Do not use the word almost. Example, She almost cried. The character either cried, or did not.
Don’t sermonize or preach to your reader.
Try reading your novel out loud. You may find areas where improvement is needed
Omit Clichés and use “said” for dialogue instead of “explained, declared, etc.”
After you complete your self-edit, then retain the services of a professional Editor so your book is finally ready for publication, and, at long last, you can either rest, or begin another story.
In my opinion, the answer is YES. …..WHY? Subplots help your story by creating Obstacles for your main character to overcome. A good subplot adds conflict and tension and runs within the main plot. It is very important to the main story. It is the Secondary tale used to strengthen the main story. It can take the novel in another direction by adding more obstacles, if you find that your story is moving at a slow pace. You can also add another subplot if your story is moving at a fast pace and you need to slow it down. Subplots can be resolved during the progress of the story, or they can be resolved at the end. You can create a subplot that is a contrast working against the goals of the main character…For instance, add a best friend who is secretly jealous of your main character, or add a business relationship which has gone sour, or a job lost. There are many ways to add a subplot to increase tension and add conflict.
Short stories do not require a subplot. However, longer short stories should have a subplot.
In writing your first book of a Series, a subplot can be unresolved at the end, leaving the reader eager to know what will happen in the next book.
When planning the outline of your next book, keep in mind the Harry Potter books…. so successful in the use of subplots, that they were visually reproduced into great movies. All of the subplots throughout the entire Series, added suspense, conflicts and excitement to the ongoing story.
Have you used subplots? Did you find them a good addition to your story?
Your novel is finished — where do you begin to find an agent to represent you?
YOUR FIRST STEP: is to COPYRIGHT your manuscript, to protect your hard work. Due to Covid 19, the U.S Copyright office is closed, but you can still file by mail or on line. Go to www.copyright.gov/registration –Create a username and password; get the form; fill out, pay a nominal fee, and submit. That done, you can now begin the search for your agent.
NOTICE: If you start on line, you will find publishing services eager to read your book— asking for submissions and offering packages that may be tempting—such as editing, publishing, consulting, promotion, and distribution Before you agree to these services, check reviews, compare pricing, and most importantly, be certain you keep all rights to your book.
NEXT: Determine what category your book belongs too… Is it fiction or nonfiction? Did you write for adults, young adults, middle school, or young children? Is it a Romance, a Mystery, Science Fiction, Educational or Non-fiction.? If you are unsure, go to a bookstore or your local library and check the books you find in the various categories, until you see one that is most like your novel. Keep in mind that you need an agent who represents other writers in your category. Do not ignore those agents searching for writers. Agents new and established are always looking for authors, and will represent your interests. They know which Publisher, would be a good fit for your book, and have the experience in creating interest in your manuscript.
NEXT: Write your Query letter directed to all agents who represent authors in your category. Look on line for samples of Query Letters. Choose one that best says what you are comfortable with, and use it as a foundation for your Query, putting as much care into creating and polishing your query as done in writing your novel. Remember, the Query is to interest the agent in you, as an author. Be certain to include important facts Agents look for, such as: genre, target audience, word count, title, and a shortened version of the story, as well as a little about yourself.
Today may be your time to be discovered. Good luck!
My sincere thanks to Robert Lee Brewer Senior Editor of Writers’ Digest, for his wonderful article on finding the right literary agent.
How were your Holidays? Mine were not at all like previous years. Two in my family had Covid-19, thereby necessitating we zoom them while opening gifts and eating our Christmas dinner without parts of our family. Many items ordered did not arrive in time for giving—and selection in most stores was poor. Even Amazon delivered in two or three days, instead of their usual overnight.
The best thing about the Holidays, this year, is that 2020 would soon be gone, and with the vaccines, we hope to see the end of Covid-19, job losses, businesses closing, staying home, virtual learning, and more, allowing us to look forward to a NEW DAWN AND 2021.
What is your next step? Is it Editing, finding an Agent, or a Publishing House?
Do use a professional Editing person or company. Writer’s Digest offers a second Draft Service, you may consider. After reading your first ten pages, they will suggest how to improve your manuscript, to make it saleable, at an affordable price.
Next:… HOW TO SEARCH FOR, AND FIND THE RIGHT AGENT.
Thanksgiving is almost here
We waited the whole darn year
It’s not the same as years before
Still you will find me at the door
To welcome family to my home
And even those who are alone
The table is set, the turkey done
The time for us has begun
I am thankful we had this day
To be together come what may
It is time for all of us to part
I thank you all from my heart
When I began writing my first story, I faced the blank page and sat, staring at it for some time. I was hesitant, thinking, am I confident enough to tell the story? Do I really know how to create characters that face the difficulties of life, in a time and place designed by me? I needed advice from other authors, past and present, and began by searching the internet for guidance. I found an article on quotes they wrote, and read all of them. They inspired me to type MY FIRST WORDS on that blank page.
Below are a few inspirational quotes, I want to share with you and hope they help you as they did me, to fill that first blank page:
“YOU CAN FIX ANYTHING BUT A BLANK PAGE”…Nora Roberts
“I START WITH A QUESTION. THEN TRY TO ANSWER IT.” Mary Lee Settle
“FILL YOUR PAPER WITH THE BREATHING OF YOUR HEART”…William Wadsworth
“IT’S NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS THAT YOU HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO WRITE. LET THEM THINK YOU WERE BORN THAT WAY”…Ernest Hemingway
“I KEPT ALWAYS TWO BOOKS IN MY POCKET, ONE TO READ, ONE TO WRITE IN”…Robert Louis Stevenson
“THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN LIFE IS TO STOP SAYING I WISH, AND START SAYING I WILL.” …Charles Dickens
“START WRITING NO MATTER WHAT! THE WATER DOES NOT FLOW UNTIL THE FAUCET IS TURNED ON.”…Louis L’Amour
My thanks to author CHELLE STEIN, for providing these Quotes.
HALLOWEEN EVEHalloween is almost here
When haunted houses reappear
The children all scream with fear
When goblins and witches disappear
The vampires flee into the night
To hunt for prey and take a bite
The skeletons dance with delight
While those who watch quiver in fright
The bats and spiders share the thrill
To fly and crawl and cause a chill
After the fun and scare, and all is still
Youngsters still have a bag to fill
The children walk door to door
Neighbor to neighbor, floor to floor
As they have done the year before
Filling bags with treats and more
HAPPY HALLOWEEN, Paula
Do you believe that most people do not have a passion? They go day to day doing what they think is necessary.
Passion is a mixture of a strong need, a hunger to learn, the spirit of I can do it, and the fortitude to, never give up.
Writers are passionate people. You can find them sitting at a computer keyboard pounding out their soul and forming images created by their imagination. Writers are endowed with inspiration and committed to explore the events occurring in a human’s lifetime; constantly working towards understanding phenomena; opening new doors by creating visions in our minds, that give us purpose..
Passionate writings deal with life’s fears and goals, sharing inspiration, and can motivate readers to improve their lives. Passionate writers dig deep into their own souls, to use words, descriptions, and information, that will connect to readers.
To become a passionate writer, one must learn to accept the events of all humanity, whether evil or good, as a learning tool, allowing you, the writer, to change what is wrong, and express your admiration for achievements that promote good, using only words.
It is not easy being a writer. Your work needs, editing, sometimes re-writing, correcting punctuation errors, and other changes. But, that comes later. First, sit at that keyboard, and START WRITING!
We all need some time to spend in the sun—to renew our bodies, improve our mental health and find the lost spring in our footsteps. These past months have taken its’ toll on all of us. Some of us are still not working. Some of us are returning to a changed normal, and there are those who lost faith and need to be inspired again.
There are still unwritten pages of your life to be lived and memories to make and share with those you love. So,get up and go rescue yourself from these last months and even though you have travelled through life’s uncertain road this year, try to think of the good times, the friends you can help, who are grieving, or lost their jobs, and lend a helping hand to those who need a lift-up.
Be grateful to the angels who came to our rescue and worked tirelessly throughout this Pandemic—saving so many lives because they cared.
We are a country of believers, who will go on with our wonderful memories with spirits lifted and a renewed determination to live life to its fullest.