Friday, December 28, 2012

Writing a Series Mystery--Tips from Just-Published Author Steve George

Steve showed up at one of my workshops a few years ago.  I was impressed with his writing; he was working on a mystery that featured an "average guy" main character with great handyman skills.  I got an email from Steve several months ago, letting me know he'd completed the manuscript and needed an editor to look it over. 

I had the pleasure of reading his manuscript on a plane trip to the West Coast, and it kept me enthralled the entire way.  I remember laughing out loud at some of the scenes, and my seatmates looking at me curiously.

"Good book?" one of them asked.

"Yes," I said.  "Very good.  I hope it will be published soon."

Friday, December 21, 2012

Why Creativity Matters--Storytelling Is Good for Your Brain and Your Whole Self

Writing isn't rocket science.  But maybe it does as much for the brain.  New studies are finding this true.  We get healthier the more we write.

Not many writers realize this. 

In my online classes, I ask a basic question:  Why do you write?  What's your writing doing for you, for your life, for your service to the world?   

Book writers spend hours, days, years on their books.  Why?  It must be more than the fun of roaming around in our own heads.  Right?  Because it's hard work to write a book.

But do you consider that writing every day might give you good health--and stories, the basic ingredient of writing, are the reason?  It's like the old saying, An apple a day . . .

How about, A page a day . . . ?

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Writer's Revision Checklist--How to Make Sure You've Covered All the Bases before You Send Out Your Manuscript

This month, my novel-in-progress reached a new level:  final revision. 

Woo-hoo, this is cause for celebration.  When a book hits final revision, it has moved beyond an ongoing one-way conversation in the writer's head.  By now, the book is talking back--big time.

Only a few steps remain before it's ready to send off to agent/editor/publisher.  And these final steps are key:  If they go well, the "whole" becomes much bigger than the sum of its islands, or parts.

Most writers feel a sense of urgency at final revision.  As the book comes into its own, you can see the good objectively.  You've been asking yourself, Is it publishable? for a while.  Now you can answer with a hopeful YES!

Friday, December 7, 2012

What Dialogue Can Do for Your Stories--And What It Should Never Try to Do

Do you write dialogue?  Did you know that many acquistions editors at publishing companies use dialogue as the "test" for whether a manuscript gets read?

In their book, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Renni Browne and Dave King tell the story of interviewing different editors in the publishing industry.  What do you look at first, when reviewing a manuscript? they wondered.  More than one revealed this:  Editors scan through the pages for a section of dialogue and read it.  If it's good, they read more.  If it's not good, the manuscript is automatically rejected.

Big pressure for writers!  Why do you think dialogue is such an indicator of a writer's skill?