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Writing Tips: I need help… but I’m getting it!

Hello, Champions! I know today isn’t a regular update day, but I was too busy yesterday and I’ll be too busy tomorrow so today it is! (I was considering updating tomorrow with a Bad Poetry Day post, but I decided to spare you the horror.)

My Life at the MBRC has been polished and uploaded again and will (hopefully) soon be available for purchase on Smashwords. I am about to launch into the first rewrite of Enchanted. The only reason why I haven’t started already is because I’m waiting on a book: The Wadsworth Handbook. It was actually the shortened/pocket sized Wadsworth handbook that was recommended to me, but a local library had the big copy so I decided to check that out first. Why am I checking out a style book? Because I recognize that making sure I have complete sentences and no spelling errors in my stories isn’t enough, they need to be punctually correct too. I’m hoping this book will help me iron out my difficulties with comma usage. (Yes, I can hear all of you sighing with relief.)

While I’m waiting for this book (I’m picking it up tomorrow) I thought I would mention a few other books that have helped me with my writing.

How I write: Secrets of a Best Selling Author: This book is written by Janet Evanovich, author of the best selling Stephanie Plum series. If you’ve ever read any of the Stephanie Plum books you will enjoy reading the details Janet shares about the series and how she came to write it. If you’re a budding writer this is a great book that addresses some of the lesser known details about writing–like interviewing people for book research. Some of what Janet has to share is advice you can get in just about any writing book, but the real jewel of this book is the advice Janet gives about characters. (In case you haven’t read a Stephanie Plum book, characters are what Janet is famous for.) After reading this book the first time during a rewrite of Life Reader I was inspired to cut several unnecessary background characters. It was like taking a dagger to the chest, but it also was the best move I made for that draft.

A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing: Yes, I’m not stupid. This is a blog, not a book. But for anyone who is thinking of writing a book this blog is an invaluable guide that will hopefully tempt you to the path I’m on, the path of the Indie Author. Joe Konrath is technically the blogger, but he is hosting a lot of guests posts these days that have fantastic advice. Here’s the thing–everyone featured on this blog including Konrath himself are Indie Authors. Few, if any besides Konrath, have agents, and all of them make the bulk of their sales through self publishing ebooks. If you are at all interesting in publishing ebooks–which is what I do–this is place to go. (It will keep you busy for weeks.)

Writing Magic: I haven’t actually read this book yet. It’s waiting at the library for me with Wadsworth. The reason why I am including it  even though I haven’t read it is because I’ve been told this book is great for young aspiring authors. (Think middle schoolers or high schoolers.) I wrote the first draft of Princess Ahira and Life Reader when I was in high school. Both books had to go through major rewrites to get to the format they are in today, but the fact that I have published them and they are actually selling shows that I had good ideas as a teenager. The thing is my actual writing craft needed a lot of work back then. To make a long story short, if you know a young writer it’s important to not only encourage their writing, but to also encourage them to study the art of writing. Some of the style guides I’ve read are about as interesting as painting a wall. This book–I’ve been told–is more inviting and interesting and will hopefully give your young writer an extra spark.

I’ve read a lot more books about writing, but this is a pretty good start. I will let you know if Wadsworth is worth checking out, otherwise I’ll be sniffing around for another style guide. Thanks for reading, Champions, I will see you on Monday!

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