book-bored-college-education-41943.jpegNo tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader― Robert Frost




 Do you want the opening line of your novel to stimulate the reader to continue? If the first sentence of your novel is boring, then the reader will put the book down, never to return.

So, put away the proverb. Erase it from your mind, because First Impressions do count, when writing.

There are many great works of literature that offer a peek into the story with their opening sentence. One you will surely know is a classic novel, written in 1859, that is still being read and discussed by university lecturers: A TALE OF TWO CITIES by Charles Dickens.

 “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”           

To this day, it is quoted over and over; remembered by all because it told you just enough to peak your curiosity. Your first sentence should suggest something about your story, be it character driven or driven by the plot?

If it is character driven, a wonderful example is LORD JIM, By Joseph Conrad, which was published as a serial between 1899 and 1900.

           “He was an inch, perhaps two, under six feet, powerfully built, and he advanced straight at you with a slight stoop of the shoulders, head forward, and a fixed from-under stare which made you think of a charging bull.”

The first sentence could be an introduction to the plot of the book like 1984, written by George Orwell, and published in 1949:

                       “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking           thirteen.”  

Many novelists begin their story without putting down the first sentence. Knowing how important that first sentence is causes many to think and re-think before taking action. Sometimes, getting into the story, leaning more about your characters or where the plot is taking you, may alleviate any discomfort and allow you to return to the beginning, to put that first sentence down.

Happy Writing, Paula





book-rose-smlDEFINITION OF ALGORITHM: A logical step-by-step computer program —a flow chart— a system—a set of rules…

What if, in the near future, a computer program can predict your book’s success or failure?

An article written by Joel Shurkin awakened me to such a possibility.  Scientists at Stony Brook University, in New York, think a computer program might predict successful books and recently, using the computer Algorithm, found that the program had about 84 per cent accuracy when applied to published books.

In a paper published by the Association of Computational Linguistics, “the writing style of books was correlated with the success of the book”. They used a process called statistical stylometry, a statistical analysis of the literary styles of several genres of books and identified characteristic stylistic elements common in successful books.

Some of the early finds by the scientists amaze me because they found journalists tend to use more nouns, pronouns and prepositions than other writers and in doing so, are more successful. ——– Both Hemingway and Charles Dickens began their careers as Journalists. To further excite me, a computer scientist at Israel’s University developed a program that tells whether the author is male or female 80 percent of the time.

Is it possible, Editors will now use an algorithm program to determine a books success or failure before they print?  Wow!

There are  more  findings and observations in Mr. Shurkin’s article—too much to elaborate here, so give it a read. I think you will find it as interesting as I did.

For reading, go to “American Institute of Physics”

Happy Algorithms,




Halloween is one of America’s favorite holidays. But, what started it and why?

It originated in Ireland 2,000 years ago, with the Celtic festival of Samhain, when people lit bonfires and wore costumes to ward off ghosts, goblins, witches, black cats, and demons. They believed. the souls of the dead revisited their homes on October 31st.

Many, to this day, believe Halloween is akin to paganism.

Something I found interesting is the origination of the Jack-0-Lantern. Legend says there was a stingy drunk named Jack, who tricked the devil into climbing an apple tree for an apple, but then cut the sign of a cross into the trunk of the tree, to prevent the devil from coming down. He forced the devil to swear he would never come after his soul and the devil reluctantly agreed.

When Jack died, he was turned away at the gates of heaven, and sent to the devil, who also rejected him. As he was leaving hell, he was eating a turnip. The devil threw a live coal at him. Jack put the coal inside the turnip and since then he roams the earth with his Jack-0-Lantern.

Happy Halloween,




Are you a fiction writer?   Check this out

I tried several Editing programs,—all good, but one stands out for me: AutoCrit— WHY?

AutoCrit is designed especially for Fiction Writers.

The program di-sects your writing, looking at pacing, word choices, repeated words, pacing, sentences, phrases, dialogue, and more; analyzes it, and presents its findings.

AutoCrit’s editing program sees what you miss, and advises you, making it easy to revise without changing your meaning.

A huge plus is comparing your writing to others also writing in your genre. I find it valuable to know how my fiction compares to other successful authors.

Try it, FREE, by clicking on the link below.

Happy Editing, Paula





“Anyone can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in the error.” Cicero 43-44 B.C

That quote was meant for me! 

I want to tell you a story—a story others may find they have experienced and, others who have not given it any thought, until now— by telling all of my readers about the mistakes I made, and admitting I should have known better.

When I completed my Trilogy, I, knew I was capable of grammatical and punctuation errors, so I sought professional advice and a referral for someone to edit my books.  Of course, price was a motivating factor, and so I enlisted the services of a private professional individual to read and edit my books. I sent the corrected manuscripts to a publisher of e-books, and when they advised me they were completed, and ready to send, I assumed my converted manuscripts were corrected of all errors.  I WAS SO WRONG.

Besides the e-books listed on all major retailers, I now have printed books for the trilogy, all containing errors. I am now the not-so-proud owner of hundreds of books, which are not saleable.  I blame no one but myself.  My shredder will get a major workout.

I strongly suggest you select a well-known and respected Editor, before attempting to publish.  Also, re-read the corrections before sending it for publication, and again when conversion is done.  This would have saved me time and money.  $$$…READ…READ…READ $$$…and then READ again. This motto is sitting on my desk right now.

If you are willing to read these e-books, errors and all, you can download them on your reader by going to the following link and you will receive the first book of the Trilogy, HIDDEN HILLS “The Search.”   In exchange I would sincerely appreciate your thoughts and comments.




This Text Book is available on AMAZON for only $8.48Click on Photo to Purchase                     Learn how using Metaphors can bring life to your story.

Want to add a little Spice to your writing?  Try using Metaphors/ Similes.

            What is the difference between a Simile and a Metaphor?     Similes use like or as. “I feel like the last rose of Summer”) A Metaphor does not.

Simile refers to something as being the same, when it is not. A Metaphor compares two objects (“Birds of a feather flock together”)

When you speak of a person, place or action as being something else, even though it is not the same, you are speaking metaphorically. The use of metaphors appeals to the creative imagination of your readers, and adds dimension to conversations and your characters.

Metaphors are used every day in songs, poetry, literature, the Bible, and conversations. Most of the time, we do not realize it because we hear them over and over.


If you want to express an emotion or action as a metaphor, let your imagination run wild by completing a sentence using one of the five senses (Touch, Sight, Taste, Smell, and Sound).

Imagine the word is Lecture.

1.His lecture  is as sweet as honey.

2.His lecture  stinks.

3.His lecture  brings light to the darkness.

4.His lecture  rings true.

5.His lecture   is as cold as a winter day.

If none of the above senses work, use your imagination and try another word.  Be original.

  1. His speech reminded me of a candidate running for election.
  2. His speech reminds   me of a desperate salesman.
  3. His speech brings music to my ears

After you decide on a metaphor, ask yourself–Is it clear, vivid, readable, and does it relate to your thoughts for the character, or scene

In my latest story, a young woman is hospitalized with a serious injury and she is feeling sorry for herself.   Below are a few Metaphors I used to express her emotions:

  1. My head feels like I consumed too much wine the evening before.

2.  I am alone, and feel as one does in a crowded room filled with strangers.

  1. I am like a rose, watching my petals fall off, one by one, until there is none.

There are many Self-Help books out there and information, ready to educate writers. In my research I always find more than I hoped for—so, beginning with this post, I plan to share the links to books and other sources, I find valuable to all of us writers.

 Text Book available on AMAZON…$8.48 Learn how using Metaphors can bring life to your story. Click on Photo.

Happy Metaphor, Paula