Blogging, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

How to fall in love with a reader: Part Three

Cover of “The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss
Since my first post, I have now added “The Name of the Wind” to my original list of favorite books. Not sure how I forgot this one!

And finally, the third and final part of my how to fall in love with a reader Q&A series: Continue reading “How to fall in love with a reader: Part Three”

Book Reviews

My favorite reads of 2013

Cover of "The Space Between Us"
Cover of The Space Between Us

Is it too early to start talking “Best Of” lists? I noticed a few publications are coming out with their 2013 best books lists and wanted to jump on the bandwagon. Of course, theirs are all new books, just out this year. Since I get most of my books from the library, I don’t always have access to all of the newest titles like I would if I were buying them from a bookstore. So some of my favorites this year were oldies but still goodies.

Anyway, the following is my top ten favorite books that I read this year. Aside from #1, which is my #1 favorite book this year, the rest of the books are listed in no particular order: Continue reading “My favorite reads of 2013”

Editing, Publishing

What do you mean, you’re looking for an editor?

handwritten manuscript
It’s going to take a lot of effort to turn this handwritten manuscript into a published novel.

Do you need to hire an editor to clean up your manuscript before self-publishing or querying agents? You may be tempted to skip this step to save a few bucks on publishing costs. However, forgoing the editorial process may cost you dedicated readers in the end. Poorly edited books garner terrible reviews, which then decrease the likelihood that anyone will want to purchase your books in the future.

When determining whether you need an editor, it is essential to understand exactly what an editor does. While attending a recent self-publishing seminar, I overheard a fellow writer discussing his need to hire someone to edit his manuscript. At first, I was tempted to offer my services. However, after listening to him talk for a while, I began to get the idea that what he was looking for was a proofreader, not an editor. The more he talked, the less I wanted to work for him. Continue reading “What do you mean, you’re looking for an editor?”

Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge

It’s time to wrap up our summer writing challenge!

a picture of an apple pie
As summer draws to a close, it’s time to start thinking about apple pies and second drafts. Time to harvest the fruits of our labor!

Today is the official last day of summer. The time has come to wrap up the Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge. I don’t know about you, but I am feeling *super* productive after completing this challenge.

For those of you who did not complete your first draft, that’s okay. Did you keep writing anyway? That’s the important thing. As long as you keep writing, you will get there eventually. Keep at it!

A few of you have contacted me to let me know when you did complete the first drafts of your novels. Congratulations on a job well finished!

If you are like me, Anne Lamott, Stephen King, and a myriad of lesser-known writers, your first draft is probably… WELL… “Shitty.” Continue reading “It’s time to wrap up our summer writing challenge!”

Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge

Summer Writing Challenge Check-in: Week 12, Time to revise!

black walnut tree
Have you looked outside lately? Mother Nature keeps reminding me that summer is almost over. These black walnuts will be on the ground soon.

September 21st is the last day of summer, as well as the official last day of our Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge. I don’t know about you, but I feel good knowing I have written an entire story from start to finish. Now, on to revisions!

After letting my first draft simmer for a couple of weeks, I finally sat down this week and started working on my second draft. Many famous authors (Stephen King comes to mind) say your second draft should always be shorter than your first. They advise cutting out unnecessary words, which is great advice. But I don’t think that is going to work for me. Continue reading “Summer Writing Challenge Check-in: Week 12, Time to revise!”

Blogging, Uncategorized

10 Day Writing Blogger Challenge: Day 4

Day 4 - 10-day-write-blog-challengeDay 4 Prompt: Profile 3 to 5 top writing craft books

The following are three of my favorite writing craft books:

  • Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. Is it a memoir or a craft book? Well, it’s a little of both. Part I covers King’s early writing years, starting with the short stories he wrote in grade school and working his way through high school and college, and then on to his time as a struggling English teacher with a substance abuse problem. In the rest of the book, King discusses his own theories on the craft. It’s an easy read full of “ah-ha moments.” A must-read for every writer, from beginner to master. Continue reading “10 Day Writing Blogger Challenge: Day 4”
Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge

Join the official Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge

novel writing challenge
Join the Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge and write the first draft of your novel between June 21st and September 21st.

I recently wrote a blog post in which I discussed author Stephen King’s view that you should never take more than a season to write a novel. In that post, I posed a challenge to my readers to “write your novel this summer.” I’ve been thinking about this challenge, and I think it might be fun to make it a real “thing.”

How cool would it be if a bunch of us banded together to support each other in knocking out that first draft of the novels we’ve all been meaning to get around to? It could be kind of like NaNoWriMo, only we get an entire season rather than just one month. I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to write a novel in one month, November is just about the worst month of the year to do it in! Continue reading “Join the official Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge”

Novel Writing, Writers on Writing

You should write your novel this summer


Stephen King, American author best known for h...
I bet even the King of horror probably thinks his first drafts totally suck. | Stephen King, American author best known for his enormously popular horror novels. King was the 2003 recipient of The National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Taken at the 2007 New York Comicon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A cousin-friend recently sent me the first page of a novel she’s writing and asked me if I thought it was any good. She writes some beautiful prose, but I thought she was a little too worried about the “goodness” of her novel at this stage in the writing process. So, I gave her the following advice:

I’ll tell you what I recommend (and a lot of famous published authors seem to agree): Just sit down and mind-dump your story without thinking about whether it’s any good. Stephen King wrote a really great memoir on writing, where he talks about how you should never spend more than a season (3 months) writing a rough draft. Your rough draft will probably seem like garbage, but that’s how it is for everyone (even Stephen King). Once you have your story dumped out on the page, then you can go back and start revising it to make it “good.” Continue reading “You should write your novel this summer”