Book Reviews and Writing Tips

Book Reviews and Writing Tips

Thursday, February 27, 2014

A short porcupine story and a useful writing resource

Some of you may have seen these things and others might not have.  The porcupine story a writer friend of mine sent me from my old writing group in CA.  This story has a nice moral and is a good reminder for all of us who encounter people in life who are hard to agree with.

The other link is a useful resource I stumbled across on a Linked In thread a few days ago.  This link is especially useful if you write historical fiction.  I wish we had a source like this for US history, but I haven’t checked into it.  We may have.

Moral of the Porcupine

I never knew porcupines were so cute as babies.  Good story with a great message.

Have you ever seen a baby porcupine?

Fable of the porcupine

It was the coldest winter ever.  Many animals died because of the cold.

The porcupines, realizing the situation, decided to group together to keep warm.  This way they covered and protected themselves; but the quills of each one wounded its closest companions.

After awhile, they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen.  So they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth.

Wisely, they decided to go back to being together.  They learned to live with the little wounds caused by the close relationship with their companions in order to receive the heat that came from the others.  This way they were able to survive.

The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person’s good qualities.

The moral of the story is - Just learn to live with the Pricks in your life!

At times, this is still a learning curve for me.

Now here’s the writing resource I mentioned earlier.  I can only imagine stepping inside a place like this, the smell of old newspapers immediately enveloping me.  This would be almost as good as going into an old library filled with thousands of old books.  Oh my gosh!  I would be in heaven.  Just give me a blanket and check on me in a week or so.

Anyway, if you need to do research of history for your current WIP, this would be the place as long as it wasn’t before 1800 and your work had something to do with Great Britain.  They archive old newspapers back that far in London.  Some of this info is available free by signing up for an account.  To have more access, you can get a paid registration.  To read this article and sign up to research old newspapers, please see Susan Nolen’s blog here:  British Library Newspaper Archives

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Have any of you heard of the Amazon White Glove publishing program?

Here’s an interesting article on publishing your book if you have an agent.  I’m not sure I’d go this route because you lose some of the rights over your work for a time, but it’s an interesting read.  I’ve never heard of this program.  To read the full article and reader comments see Jane Friedlander’s blog here.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Still Rewriting my WIP

This is sort of how I feel right now

I know this is getting old, but I’m slowly making progress.  Most people don’t realize how long things like this take.  I only work on it in the evenings because of other things I should be doing daily.  I won’t even talk about this today.

The good news is it’s warming up a tad here, and I adopted a kitten Saturday, so to read about him see my other blog here.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Nothing Accomplished Today

Well I didn’t do one-blasted thing today except try to get a lizard out of the fireplace.  By the time we took the thing apart, the lizard vanished through an air hole and we never did get him.  Then it was cleaning up what you don’t see when it’s in the usual state of being a fireplace, and figuring out how to put it back together again.

Editing on my WIP and making packing progress didn’t happen.  To read this story, see my other blog here:  Surviving Life

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Still revising my WIP

It's time to post again and sometimes I can’t think of anything at all useful to post on here.  I’m still too busy revising my WIP to put my mind on writing an intelligent post.

As some of you know, I’m doing this while trying to organize things toward my moving endeavor, deciding what to keep and what to part with.  The last couple of days I’ve been working on more rewrites than organizing.

On top of this, my husband sends me an ad about a cat that needs a home.  Oh geez!  I’m not one to send something like that too because you know where this will go.  Being the cat lover I am I always want to come to the rescue, especially after seeing the picture of this cute one-year-old baby.  He reminds me of a cat I had twenty years ago.  But that’s a story for another time and my other blog.  I’ve emailed the gal, so we’ll see if she still has him when she responds.

So back to my novel that my friend, Lisa, is critiquing for me.  I appreciate her help in bearing with me through this book that’s excessively long.  I’m wondering as I go through this thing if I should split it into two books.  I have about 150 double-spaced pages left to go on my rewrite and then I’ll to do a word search for some words I want to delete.  I’ve learned a lot by Lisa’s comments on my work.  It’s so important to have that other set of eyes.  Sometimes I can read the passage so many times that I skip right over the errors.

If you’re working on this now, some things to bear in mind are info dumps, which Lisa told me about right from the get-go.  They slow the story down and are only necessary in small chunks as the story moves along.  I’m not one to utilize an outline until after I write the book, except for keeping a Word doc of places and people in my book that I can reference.  With my mystery, I also added in all the murder evidence I would have to account for by the end of the book.  Otherwise, I’m not really an outline type of writer.

Another thing to keep in mind is POV.  This is another biggie for me as I’m doing this book in first person, my first attempt at this kind of writing.  I’m having fun with this now that I’ve got it all straight in my head, but I think you can do more using third person POV.  Because of the first person POV, some of my chapters are shorter than they would be in third person.  Maybe this isn’t ideal because you can’t use filler to make them longer.  Sometimes you really have to put on your thinking cap to come up with things that fit, aren’t redundant, and still move the story forward.

I usually write in third person, but I wanted to give a more personal feel to the story.  I think I can do that using first person.  This can be limiting at times, if you’re thinking about using it.

Another thing to bear in mind is “show not tell”.  We’ve all heard that many times.  However, it needs repeating because it’s better to have some description to draw the reader into the story.  This doesn’t have to be done everywhere, as long as you keep the telling part real short.  Think about the books you really love.  They would be boring with little or no description of the places, characters, and action in the story.  I’m good with description most of the time, but there are places I need to fix concerning this.

I really think I can read the book fifty times and still find something in there to rewrite.  That’s the nature of writing.  Nothing will ever be perfect in our eyes, but we can get it close if we try hard.

After I finish this rewrite, I want to get rid of the garbage (disposable) words.  I thought I had written them down and they are probably here somewhere on my desk, but right now there’s so much paper and many sticky notes all over.  I can’t lay my hands on it without going through everything, which I don’t have time for at the moment.

Then I remembered Lisa wrote a post on this last year, so I spent the last two hours looking for that post on her blog.  She listed all the garbage words that you can remove from your writing.  I couldn’t remember which month she posted it.  I’m linking to it here for those writers who need a reminder and are revising their work.  I don’t think Lisa will mind.  This is an excellent post to use when rewriting your WIP.

Please click on Lisa’s Djen Den to read this entire post.

Until next time, thank you for following me.  If you have any helpful writing hints, please feel free to post them in the comments.