Monday, July 11, 2011

Pointing in the Right Direction ... Summer Reading Sale

 Have an ereader? Want some new titles to jazz up your summer reading experience? If you want some great buys ... check out the Smashwords July Sale where there are discounts from 25 to 75% on dozens of titles -- including mine, and also mine :-) -- and better yet, if the Kindle is not your thing, they offer the downloads in all sorts of formats to suit all sorts of eReaders. So enjoy!

The Smashwords July Sale

Monday, July 4, 2011

Celebrate the Fireworks in Your Writing!

Each of you probably have your own manner of celebrating this holiday, one of them being going to watch the fireworks ... bright, colorful, an explosion of sound echoing in the sky. Ask any kid, or many adults for that matter, what the favorite part or most memorable part of the Fourth is, and most all will say the fireworks. So, enjoy the display and think about this ...

When you write, do you include fireworks? You know, the words, the action, those little or big impacting features that make your story go ZING, POP, BOOM so your readers will grip the edges of your book and never want to put it down until the last page. Or are you afraid you may be putting your readers to sleep with too much detail, backstory, and just too much stuff that's boring? It's a challenge. Today's readers are demanding. They need to be entertained to the nth degree. Give them any less, and you might be losing them. And then they move on to the next book. There are millions out there to choose from.

Now, when I say fireworks in your writing, I need to explain that fireworks aren't limited to those action scenes you find in movies like Transformers or Independance Day. You can include intimate moments, those personal moments that may slow the pace down, but they have all the crackle and pop to call their own. It may be the choice of words, that pause given in dialog, that phrase to describe a character's expression ... just so many fine nuances that make the difference between good writing and great writing. One contemporary writer who just blows me away with his style ... whether he is writing an action scene or a quiet conversation ... his prose is superb. It's the kind of prose that makes a writer want to cry and say, "I want my writing to be like that." Take a look at James Lee Burke . I read one of his earlier novels, In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead. Of course, there are many more. I am in awe of his style.

The catch here is that I can't really explain in so many words what "fireworks" in writing is. I just know it when I read it. But I can say this ... find a beta reader, someone who will give you an objective opinion. If you suspect or worry that your writing may be boring, give it to that person and see what he/she thinks. If it turns out to be the "yawn" you suspected, go back to the "writing board" and work on that. There are many books out there on writing advice. I realize it may be confusing and overwhelming to choose. I can suggest a couple in my library that have helped me.
  • Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell
  • Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne & King
  • Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon
The last two are really great after you've finished your story and you are ready to revise, but I think it's wise to be armed with knowledge beforehand and thus avoid making those common mistakes in the first place.

I hope this encourages rather than discourages your efforts in writing. It's a battle, but like anything one sweats and toils over, the end product becomes worth it. If you have any books on writing or suggestions of authors who have that sparkle, crackle, pop in their writing, please share!

Happy Fourth of July!!!!