Thursday, September 28, 2006

When I write best is after I read

I read constantly. I take a book to work. I read in bed before I go to sleep. I have a couple books, and magazines, in the bathroom. And when it is time to write, if I read first (especially books about being a better writer) I become a better writer.

A writer that doesn't read does not have the tools to write. Read, read, and read some more, and of course, keep writing.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The voice of a novel

The voice of the novel tends to be the voice of the narrator, but what if a writer could merge the voice of a character into that mix? Ah, that can be magical. And it doesn't have to be in the first person, to pull it off. Use the prose to mimic the otherwise inarticulate speech of a character - - read for it, look for it. You'd be surprised how effective such an indirect discourse can improve your writing, and how much more the reader can "feel" the character. It may, in addition, help you eliminate the pesky habit of overusing dialogue.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

KISS (Keep it simple, short)

The initial query with an agent ought to be short and focus on the subject at hand. This will enable the agent to look at you seriously as a serious writer, rather than some yokel fishing for a response to see if maybe you might get a response.

Do this, and any query can earn an advantage.

Stay positive, be confident, keep writing, and never give up.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Hooks throughout

When you open a book and read the beginning of the first page and it is so fantastic that you just have to keep on reading you have experienced a successful hook. Hooks are essential in writing, but are more than just a marketing tool. In fact, your whole being as a writer revolves around hooks, because a good writer doesn't put a great hook at the beginning of a story and then just hope the reader never loses interest. A hook must extend beyond the first line, into the entire paragraph, and then more hooks need to be present in each paragraph, and each chapter, inspiring the reader to not only want to continue reading, but making it difficult for the reader to set down the book.

Hooks should not be used as simply a marketing gimmick, or overused in a dramatic way. A hook must also, never, stand on its own. A manuscript must not teeter on the fulcrum of a one-liner. The hook must be a part of the text, leading the reader into the next portion of the conflict, further hooking the reader to read to the next hook, and so on. Hooks ought to populate the openings and closings of line breaks. Treat each paragraph as if it is the opening of your book, and as if whether or not the reader continues to read your story depends on the effectiveness of the hook and the intensity of each paragraph.

Have other writers read your hooks, and the rest of the work as well. Is the hook effective? Does the reader want to read each line, and each paragraph, clawing their way through the pages to see what happens next? If so, you've succeeded.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Surgery and Writing

Last Wednesday I had a procedure performed on me that has had me pretty much flat on my back until now. Still sore, and not very mobile, this is my first opportunity to write for the most part since the surgery. This morning I re-wrote the first three chapters of Political Pistachio (the book). Thing is, I never really stopped writing. During this time my mind has been relaxed, and I have had plenty of time to think -- and write inside my brain.

It is only now that I can put all of that writing down on paper.

Keep writing, keep submitting, never give up.

Monday, September 04, 2006

A Writer's Call

Like a solider called to duty, we are called by our passion to write. We are not to be a summer soldier in the calling of writing, but to follow our rigorous commission with a persistant tenacity required of a soldier in battle.

Tenacity. That is what it takes. Tenacity and conviction. Only when the writer truly becomes determined to become published does publication approach. Writing here and there won't cut it. A writer writes whenever he or she can, and sometimes more than that.

Treat your writing like a business and eventually it will treat you like a business owner.

Publication is only one "yes" away - - it's just a matter of finding the person in the industry willing to take a chance on you.