Posted by Wishwords

Very soon I will be attending my first large conference. I'm getting my notes together in case I get the chance to speak to agents. We've been told it's expected of us. I don't plan to pitch anything since nothing is beyond the second draft, but I hope to ask questions and get a feel for things.

I've ordered business cards to give to other authors or anyone who asks. They have a plain teal background and my contact info on them. Simple is good.

I'm a little disappointed in the workshops being offered. Some slots don't have anything that really peak my interest, but I'll attend something. Anything we can learn about publishing is valuable, right?

My Four Must Have Writing Books  

Posted by Wishwords

There has been much talk within my writing group and in some writing blogs lately about helpful writing books. There are thousands of them out there, so what is a wannabe writer to do other than wade through them spending lots of cash? Why, ask other writers for their opinions, of course.

Here's my list of four must haves:

1) "On Writing" by Stephen King - Beyond being rather inspiring, the book is full of advice on "how to be a writer." Mr. King is pretty blunt in this book about what it takes to be successful. His advice is sensible, his examples of his own failures are encouraging, his examples of his successes are inspiring. He explains that writers have to read and write. You need to read in the genre you want to write in constantly. You need to sit down every day and put words on a page. He discusses his personal writing schedule and setup and talks about how different it is now than when he started out with a typewriter in a corner of the laundry room. He talks about his collection of rejection letters and how he almost threw one of his biggest novels away. And, he talks about how valuable his wife is to his writing career. Every wannabe writer should read this book and think about whether or not they can do what it takes to succeed.

2) "The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers" by Christopher Vogler - I almost left this book off the list. It's valuable, but damn it's long. This book spells out the steps in the heroes journey. Every story, no matter what length, is about the journey the main character embarks on. The journey may be physical, emotional, mental or a combination. Most people write these journeys without understanding what they are doing. This book explains it, gives examples from modern and classic movies, and breaks everything down into easy to find/easy to understand sections. It's a long read, but it's one of those "aha!" books where you read along and recognize the elements the author is talking about. Definitely worth the time.

3) "Writing the Breakout Novel" and the associated workbook by Donald Maas - I warn you now, keep a notebook by your side as you read the main book. Every page has something on it that you will want to include in your novel. I suggest reading the main book before or as you are writing your novel and then break out the workbook before you begin revising. This is probably the book that I consider most valuable to me as a writer. It goes beyond things like, "make sure you include all four senses in your scenes," or, "don't let the middle of the book fall flat." This book shows you how to do that by using examples from real books and stuff he makes up on the fly. He takes you through every element required in a story and shows you how to pump them up. It will take a plain story and turn it into a phenomenal one.

4) "The Elements of Style" by Strunk and White - Okay, this one could compete for most valuable book. It's small, easy to navigate, easy to understand, and include just about any grammar or punctuation issue you will come across in general writing. Yes, "The Chicago Manual of Style" contains more, but chances are you won't need most of it. This simple, inexpensive, little book will save you much embarrassment.

My writing library contain probably twenty books or so, but these are the four that are most worn. I constantly go back to them. You know that scene in "The Time Machine" where the main character jumps out of his machine, runs into his library and grabs a couple of books before jumping back on his machine? If I could only grab four writing books, these would be the four I would grab.

Linda Lindsey

Surprise characters  

Posted by Wishwords

It happens innocently enough. You are writing along on your novel and you need a minor character to perform a single action or be present in a single scene. The next thing you know, you have to create an entire background for him or her because he or she has morphed into a rather important piece of the story that you never knew existed. I'm not talking about something that changes your main plot, but something that creates a subplot that makes your main plot even richer. It's happened twice in my werewolf novel so far. I love it when that happens.

It's been ages  

Posted by Wishwords

We've had a few health issues that have kept me busy lately. Sorry about that.

However, I've started on the werewolf novel and am plugging along happily with it. I have a feeling I'm going to need to make a road trip back to Missouri in order to figure out exactly where my little band of refugees needs to travel.

In short story news, I've finished my first science fiction story. I like it. It's close to being polished, so I will be sending it out soon.