Some people ask why I’m a writer. I’m retired. I could be eating bonbons or learning how to play golf or whatever--why writing?
I write to connect with others. John Steinbeck said in his essay “In Awe of Words,”
We are lonesome animals. We spend all our life trying to be less lonesome. One of our ancient methods is to tell a story begging the listener to say — and to feel — ”Yes, that’s the way it is, or at least that’s the way I feel it. You’re not as alone as you thought.”
My goal is to connect with the reader so neither of us feels alone.
May you enjoy your own adventures with books. Thanks for stopping by!
About Lynn Lovegreen
Lynn Lovegreen grew up in Alaska, and still lives there. She taught English for 20 years before retiring to make more time for writing. She enjoys reading, hanging out with friends and family, and hitting targets with a cowboy action shooting club. Her young adult historical romances are set in the Alaska Gold Rush, a great time for drama, romance, and independent characters. See her website atwww.lynnlovegreen.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Her novel Fools Gold and novella Worth Her Weight in Gold are available through Prism Book Group or your favorite book vendor.
When you enter a bookstore, what draws you to a novel? Most will say the cover. A book's cover can be the telling point for how well that book sells if the author isn't already well known. Many traditionally published books will have professionally made, beautiful covers which draw the eye. For the indie author however, especially those like me who have no money, this may not be an option.
There are authors out there who will yell with all their might that you should never publish a book without a professionally designed cover. How much does this cost and how is a poor, unknown, indie author supposed to afford it? A professional cover can cost hundreds of dollars. My answer is that you don't have to get a freelance designer to create your cover as long as you follow a few simple rules.
1. An image that is relevant and draws the eye
2. The image isn't protected by copyright (if you're unsure it is best not to use it)
3. A title font that is easy to read even when the cover is shrunk to thumbnail size
4. Alignment! Make sure text (title and name) are aligned on at least one side
5. Colours match. Use the same colours throughout the cover
Follow these rules and you'll have a decent cover. Always ask for feedback from friends about the cover, get them to be as honest as they can. Anyone can create a working cover if they follow basic design rules and there is plenty of people around, even online, who will give you feedback. Just don't settle for less than your best as the cover of your novel is very important.
Scarlett Van Dijk
Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Some writers thrive on their editing skills. Others, like myself learn as they go. One of my good author friends will work on a single page for an entire day. Why? He edits as he writes. He won't leave that page until it is perfect. I am personally the opposite. I write an entire chapter or several chapters before I go back and edit. I don't like interrupting the process. Especially when I am in "write mode".
In the end it doesn't really matter when you edit or even how. What matters is that you edit. Your book should literally be edited three times by yourself or ideally by another person as well before you even submit it to an editor. That is how important editing is in the literary world.
Notice I said when you send it to an editor, not if. If you want to get your book traditionally published by submitting it to an agent or publisher, getting it professionally edited is a must! I learned that the hard way. If you are getting a lot of rejections with no explanation or a lot of "cookie cutter" rejection letters (form rejections) you may want to consider taking another look at your editing or apply for an editor. Unlike popular belief, publishers and especially agents will not edit it for you. That is your job. If you can't afford a super great editor (I have been there), find a friend in your life who is an English major, or an English teacher, or who has the time and energy to dedicate to researching and learning the proper ways to edit a book. It goes without saying that you will be doing the majority of the work. It is your baby after all. Take a class on book editing. Check a book out from the library. Buy a book you can highlight in. Just get started!
I will be honest, I am a bit of a hypocrite here. I loathe editing. I am not good at it at all. I homeschool, am a stay at home mom of two children, work part time, and run the house completely on my own. In other words, I have limited time and energy to dedicate to learning how to edit myself. However, that means that I have to pay someone else to do it for me. Either way it has to get done!
Here are some great websites to get you started:
About Brea Behn
Brea Behn has been writing since the age of fifteen when she began a memoir for her twin brother. She currently writes YA fiction and non-fiction. Her first book, a YA dystopian novel, will be available this month.
When she is not reading or writing, Brea enjoys art, movies, plays, and gardening. She is passionate about natural and organic cooking, cleaning, and health.
Brea, her husband, and their two children live in rural Wisconsin.
Recently on Google+ I entered a just-for-fun writing competition where short stories and poetry could be entered based on a given prompt image. I was stoked to find that I won after receiving the most +1's on my short story titled 'The Package'!
Please have a read of said short story. I hope you enjoy! (I apologize for the cliff hanger at the end; there was a word limit)
I opened my eyes slowly as I heard the chatter around me rise, a buzz of quiet voices. With bleary vision I gazed to my right where people lined the side of the train carriage, all struggling to see out of the windows. I nudged Nathan beside me who had been sleeping with his head resting on my shoulder. He grunted and rubbed his eyes. His bright white hair was tousled and his young face was marked from where he had been resting.
"Are we nearly there, Cindy?" He asked sleepily.
"Not sure," I said, "But I wonder what's caused the fuss." Nathan looked when I nodded to the people who muttered to each other. Together we rose and bobbed about trying to see past the mass of people.
"Why didn't we stop back there?" I heard one man ask, "I'm on the correct train, right?"
"I don't know," Replied a woman, "Someone should go talk to the conductor."
The numerous voices were a babble of questions and complaints.
"SIT DOWN! We've taken charge of this train!" A man shouted from the front of the carriage. A lady screamed as she was thrown down in to the aisle. People gasped and sat down briskly, not caring where they sat. Two men wearing black balaclavas sauntered down the aisle, eyes flicking to every face, pistols held casually before them. One of the two men chuckled with pleasure as he gazed at a young woman. She huddled back in her seat in fear.
These tips are from an unusual source; a guy who studied nothing but science in college and never had an English or writing course (except for the mandatory Freshman English). I also never seriously wrote anything until I was in my 30’s. But that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. I have written three books, and one of them, Soul of the Beast, has been published by Clemson University Digital Press and Amazon.com. Check it out at my website: http://wesphelan.com.
Here are some of my tips for writing a (good) novel. Hopefully this will promote a good discussion and debate.
Have a story worth telling.
Write what you want to write.
Write about what you know. If you don’t know, you can learn.
Write for yourself first. Write for the reader second.
Take the story in directions the reader isn’t expecting. Don’t let the reader guess what’s coming.
Have mysteries, questions and subplots floating in the background and occasionally sticking their heads up.
It’s okay to leave things unexplained. That’s life.
Make everything that happens in the novel consistent with everything else.
Everything should move the story forward. If you can remove something without changing the story, leave it out.
Make everything difficult. When you finish the story, go back through and make everything more difficult.
Read GREAT novels by GREAT authors.
Don’t be hamstrung by “correct grammar and form” and “the right way to do it.” Deal with those issues AFTER you finish writing the novel.
Write when you’re in the mood. Write when you’re not in the mood. In other words, write.
When you enjoy writing, keep going.
If you don’t know what to write, write anyway and see what happens.
Write your characters into impossible situations without knowing how they’ll escape. Then figure out how to save them. That can be fun.
If you can’t figure out how to phrase something or what to write, sleep on it, literally.
Don’t worry about an outline when you’re in the mood to write.
When you’re inspired to develop the plot, that’s the time for an outline. An outline allows you to move quickly while the creative juices flow.
Any comments? Am I wrong? Did I miss something? I’d like to hear from you. You can post your responses below.
About Wes Phelan
Wes Phelan, a practicing physician in the upstate of South Carolina has found a new niche of readers who want action and thrills while still satisfying their curiosity about far-off lands.
Soul of the Beast is a fast-paced adventure/thriller geared to the interests of Young Adults and enjoyed by adults, too. The action begins on the first page and never stops, moving from London and Australia to South Africa and Asia as main character John chases down the “cure” to a family curse before he is the next to die. Chased by assassins and a running clock, can John solve the riddles in time to save his own life and that of generations to come?
As you know I am now in my final year of my Medical Imaging degree. At university recently, we have been broaching the topic of job applications. Yes, I am scared. I didn't expect to start thinking about this for another couple of months yet! Now I have to begin compiling a resume and cover letter while hoping that I can source enough referees by the time I apply for my first radiography position.
When I looked back on my experiences I wonder how I can sell myself to an employer. I haven't worked more than one casual job and my personal desktop publishing business was more of a pocket money maker. I started to fret. Then I took a deep breath and thought, "I haven't wasted my life, there has to be something of use in there." Oh wait…. I'm an author!
What does it take to be an author? I am motivated. Without self-motivation, there is no way I could have completed two manuscripts and be close to publishing my first. Writing a novel takes years of hard work and dedication. You must be a creative individual, able to think outside of the square box, then place those thoughts down on paper. You have to be proactive. No one is going to write, edit, and publish a book for you. No one is going to do the initial marketing of the book in your stead. I have the ability to work independently to complete a difficult task but also be able to take criticism and use it to better myself and improve my skills. I have proven my ability to communicate with others over the internet to bring in guest bloggers and to write effectively so that my meaning is clear. I show time management skills, being able to juggle my writing, marketing, university degree and other commitments. Being an author proves that I have a number of attributes that can be useful in any number of career paths. Hence, this will be included in my resume as proof of my worthiness.
Soon I will begin job hunting and I am ready to show potential employers that I am just what they need. I have the skills they require and will be a valuable member of the team. Come on world!
Scarlett Van Dijk
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
A Writer's Tale
Scarlett Van Dijk
Writer of young adult, fantasy series, the Sky Stone series, poetry and short stories.
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