Tag Archives: books on writing

A Busy Christmas, Goals for the New Year, and Nayu’s review

I’ve naturally fallen behind on the blogging again with all the holiday fanfare, but I had a lovely Christmas yesterday.  It’s been great to see both families.  This year Ben’s family had their Christmas celebration on Sunday, which meant we got to spend longer with both families.  While that means it took more days out of my schedule and regular things like writing and blogging, I found I preferred it for getting to spend more time with each family.  We didn’t have to rush anywhere on Christmas itself and could pace ourselves better.

It’s not even quite over, since I still have one sister who couldn’t make it until today, so I get one more day of festivities.  There’s talk of going to the Hobbit, which I haven’t seen and hope to soon, and I wouldn’t mind some shopping while we’re in Portland either.  So I may just take off the whole week, really.

Then I’ll be able to gear up for this next year. At least I have clear goals.  My first and main one is marketing.  I’m going to get serious about learning how. I have several pages of advice and a list of review sites from my editor, and one of my friends has promised to give me lessons for the rest of it.  What I hope to achieve is a whole attitude make-over.  By the end of next year, I want to from being one of those “I hate marketing” people to a “I just love telling people about my book and marketing is easy and fun” people.

Is that possible? I don’t really know… but it’s worth a try, right?  There’s much debate on how much our likes and dislikes are chosen vs just happening.  I have a pretty steep challenge here, since I tend to get anxious in social situations, but in the end, if I can change it, I’ll enjoy myself a whole lot more.  It’s the one part of being an author I don’t enjoy right now.  Even line edits or formatting I can get into once I get going, so it’d definitely be a step in the right direction of my larger goal of being the happiest person I know. (Honestly, life is too short to waste it being miserable, right? And since I can’t make anyone else happy, I might as well work on myself.)

I have several writing focused goals.  The first is to rewrite “Dragon Boy.”  This book is close to my heart and I feel I’m finally ready to do it justice and write the definitive version.  I’ve received for Christmas “The Breakout Novel Workbook” which I plan to use to go over the novel and look for ways to improve it.  I’ve made that a two year goal though, because I want to take my time and because I still want to finish and release “Much Ado About Villains” as well.  That’s my second writing goal.  I’ll also need to earn the money for the art for that… I’d like to get it fully illustrated like book one.  But I think that’ll be doable in the coming year.

Then, I’d like to submit “Revenge of the Voiceless” first to Amazon’s contest, and then to a few other publishers until I find a publisher.  As it’s a full-length adult novel, I feel I need the support of a publisher for that one, and I’m willing to take the time it needs to find the right one.

And, best of all, Nayu’s Reading Corner has my first review of “A Recipe for Disaster” up!  Check it out.

Review: Writing Magic

I had this review back at the “Toasted Scimitar” blog before it died,  and thougth looking it over I’d like to share it here too.
I’m excited to share about “Writing Magic” by Gail Carson Levine, a well-known children’s author. When I opend this book as a Christmas present, I admit I was a bit skeptical. A children’s book on writing? What was I going to learn from that? I’ve been writing seriously for the last five years and sold my first novel last year. After reading scores of books on writing, I already have my favorite two books on craft, “Writing on Both Sides of the Brain” and “The First Five Pages”. Add the classic Stunk and White “Elements of Style” for grammar and “Steering the Craft” by LeGuin for inspiration when floundering, and I figure I’m pretty well set. I check the same books out of the library constantly.
“I know you know everything in this book,” my mother said as I stared at it. “She’s just such a joy to read and I though you’d enjoy all her stories about rejection letters. I found them heartening.”
After giving the book a try, I have to say that Levine’s book is the best book for kids on writing that I’ve read and certainly worth any beginner in writing picking up. Her friendly narration and hopeful and encouraging tone are quite infective. Plus, she’s just plain fun. What other books on writing encourage you to rewrite Little Red Ridinghood with everyone staying eaten at the end (the chapter about making your characters suffer) or encourages you to describe in detail what brushing your teeth is like (the chapter on description)? The writing exercises are as quirky and enticing as everything else.
No, I didn’t learn anything I didn’t know before, but I sure had fun being reminded about it.
“The best way to write better is to write more,” Levine insists throughout the book and promptly gives you more than enough prompts to do immediately that. Every chapter prods the reader in this direction. Humor might be the vehicle, but Levine is also deadly serious with all her suggestions and right on target with what makes writing good. A short 161 pages with large type (but nicely indexed for reference), this book is brief but welcoming, and exactly what I wish could have existed back when I was ten or eleven and convinced writing was “too hard” for me. As an adult and a published author, I really do enjoy the warm and fuzzy feeling I get reading it, the feeling I could write anything, and just might, if only I’d sit down and try it.
And I’ll happily take her writer’s oath again before getting back to work on my projects.
“I promise solemnly:
1. to write as often and as much as I can,
2. to respect my writing self, and
3. to nurture the writing of others.”
Do that, and we can’t go astray.