Let’s Write That Book! — Epilogue

Your novel is finished. You have cleaned it up, corrected your mistakes, and made sure it flows from beginning to end. You love this book. You love this story. It’s the best thing you’ve ever written.

What are you going to do with it?

Decide what you want to do with what you’ve written. Do you want to share it with the world? Keep it just for yourself? Share it with friends and family? Enter it in a contest?

If publication is your ultimate goal, have someone else read your story first for consistency and grammar. It can be anyone, but try and share with someone with grammatical knowledge or who has done a fair amount of reading. An outside reader will be a good gauge if others will read it. Listen to their feedback and adjust accordingly. Don’t let a bruised ego get in the way of putting out the best book possible.

I can’t really guide you on finding a publisher, but there are plenty of articles, books, and websites that will help you find one who will fit you perfectly.  Do the research yourself. Don’t pay exorbitant fees for someone to represent you. Decent publishers and agents don’t make money off of you. They make it off your sales.

You can also use an online service like Amazon to put together an e-book. E-books are one of the fastest growing reading markets today. You can’t charge as much as you would a hard cover book, but you can get your book out there to the mass reading market quickly and easily.

Maybe you’ve already tried a bit of the publisher route, yet still have it sitting in your computer. Don’t let your baby lie alone and forgotten. Print it out and give it to your family and friends. Show them what you’ve been working on. What consumes you. What motivates you. Others show you the fish they’ve caught or the quilt they’ve made or the sweater they’ve knitted. Your book is just as important as their accomplishments.

Talk about your book. You will be surprised how many of your co-workers, exercise buddies, and football fantasy team members write. Share your frustrations, ask them questions. What worked, what doesn’t work. If you get stuck, ask someone for help. You’re not an expert on everything. Acknowledge that fact and ask someone who does know.

Reflect on your writing journey. Did you enjoy it? Was the editing a pain in the whatever? Did you learn something? Are you ready for more?

Keep a notebook, journal, or pad of paper by your side at all times. You never know when you will get an idea for a story. Ideas for twists and turns can hit you at any time. I wanted one of my characters to spend time with someone famous for just a couple of hours. But it couldn’t just be anybody. But I kept coming up blank. Until one evening the name came to me. While I was driving. I wound up pulling over to the side of the road and sending myself an email with the name so I wouldn’t forget.

Inspiration is fun. It’s wild, adventurous, and unpredictable. You can write anything about anybody  (no real names and tweak your character; liability issues, you know), any place, any time period.

Remember why you write. Don’t give up just because your first book didn’t get picked up by a publisher or your first article didn’t get published in a magazine. As the song says, “We’ve only just begun.”

Writing is a job just like sales or marketing or accounting. You have to put time into it, and have to be willing to change and improve with every story. Make it a part of your everyday life. Join a writer’s group. Go to writing conferences. Read. Research. Keep honing those writing skills. They are so much a part of who you are.

Writing is a wonderful combination of everything you have always been and everything you are yet to be. Enjoy the addiction. Enjoy the ride.

Or should I say Enjoy the Write ….

 

 

 

Let’s Write That Book! — Prologue

If you are lucky enough to say to yourself, “I’ve always wanted to write a book,” then this is the blog series for you.

The website Worldometers says there are 2,336,295 books published so far this year worldwide (as of November 16), and their meter is ticking upwards as we speak/read. And the site Bowker stated  that more than one million books were self-published in 2017.

That’s a lot of books.

Don’t let the numbers discourage you, though. There is plenty of room out in the universe for your book. Trust me.

Not everyone writes books to get published and make money, although that’s the most popular scenario. Some people write to preserve the past, to tell a story, to make a point, or to share advice. Some want to put their series of short stories into an anthology, and others want to write a how-to book to help others.

No matter what your reason is, there should be only one reason to write your book. You write a book because you enjoy writing.

I love writing. I love bringing ideas to life. That is why I blog. I truly believe that we all have stories to tell. Lessons to learn. Adventures to share. And if we feel the urge to write, that we should do so.

I am a writer, proofreader, and occasionally an editor, but like many writers, I have been writing for years. Diaries. Journals. Contest entries. Blogs. There is not a day or month or year that goes by that I don’t think about some part of writing.

This series of blogs referred to as Let’s Write That Book! are reflections of what I’ve learned through years of writing. Things I look for as a proofreader or an editor. What I tell people when they ask me how to start writing. What I’ve read and heard from other writers and things that just make sense.

These blogs will be running longer than my regular blogs. There’s a lot of information out there, and I’ll try to jam it all in under 1,000 words every day. But you know me – I’m quite windy at times. But this is the place for all that wind.

Your first decision is to come up with a story line.

I’ve been asked where I get my ideas. My friends, ideas are everywhere.

One story line of mine came from my role playing days years ago. One idea came from going to writer conferences. One story was a thinly disguised revenge homage to a sales manager who drove me crazy. One story was based on wondering how a modern-day woman would survive in a parallel alien world.

That’s just me.

Most likely you already have an idea. Let’s develop it. Work on it. You can make up worlds, streets, and encounters, or it can be based on real people, real events, and real history.

Whatever you have decided to write, you will need to make it sound real. Have it make sense from the beginning to the end. Sounds simple. But you’d be surprised how hard that can be.

Preplanning is the easy part. Working through the mechanics is the tough part. But it is so worth it.

So before we start, I’d like to make something clear.

I am just one of many who has ideas and suggestions on how to get started. There are hundreds of books and websites and blogs out there that will give you pointers on how to start writing your book. All have good information; all are full of practical ideas and ways to open the mind and get something done. Some people charge you for the info, others give it to you for free. It’s all part of the big circle of writing.

I suggest you start the simple way. The Free Way. It doesn’t matter if your final goal is to get published or to Xerox copies and hand them out to friends and family. The basics should be free and available to everyone.

And that’s what I hope to share with you. My ideas and suggestions are nothing you haven’t heard before. No magic pill, no secret instructions. Just have a good story line, good grammar, and a good time writing it.

Writing is good for the soul. So let’s get going.

 

 

Next:  Pre-Writing Considerations Part One.

 

 

 

 

 

It Has To Be Right

I want everything to be right. Perfect.

I’m not a perfectionist by any stretch of the imagination. Sagittarians are pretty scattered to begin with, and I take the swirly path a lot further than most.

But I want my blogs on Writing Your First Book to work for both the reader and the writer. For us both to get something out of it. Especially because these days my FB account is flooded with people who have the “free” answer to your writing dreams. And I know I can do better.

Sometimes I wish I had grown up more confident. More self-assured. You know what I mean. I’ve had enough moxy to make it through 66 years of ups and downs, including writing. Yet  I don’t always have the push to “go for it”, because my worksheet is incomplete.

But I’m going to do it this time.

I’ll be retired by January, and that is when my career with change. No more writing (or more like not writing) things I’m not interested in, and lots more of what I do like. I can get a job as a freelance writer or freelance proofreader.

And finish a product to boot.

My consulting friends say there is such a thing as 10,000 hours of experience that counts just as much as a college degree.

I have that.

If they need 10,000 hours of heart, I have that, too.

So it is with blushing regret that I have put my tutoring skills on the back burner until the New Year. By then I will have a whole curriculum of tips and advice that I can share. I will have advice to give away for free and books and information to sell.

A win/win for everyone, I hope.

In the meantime, let’s learn more about unique artists, about getting older, writing mistakes to avoid, and writing successes to boast about.

Boast to me. I can take it.

For I want everything to be right. Perfect.

the beginning is the most important part of the work…

questionmark

…Plato

I don’t often get many responses to my blogs, as most of my readers are very busy and read on the run. For those of you who do like to drop a word or six (for which I am eternally grateful), I have a question for you.

Would the following prologue make you want to read more?

 

       “You cannot live in both worlds.”

      The words echoed in the back of Anna’s mind like waves hitting the breakwater. Soft, rhythmic. They made no sense, at least not in their current context. She tried to hold onto the silver threads, but they slowly faded into meaningless whispers. All her mind could focus on was the slow, continuous beeping that radiated from some distant point.

      Beeping. Then silence. More beeping. More silence.

      God, she wished her mind would clear. That her eyes would open. That the throbbing in her head would stop. A lot of demands for a brain floating in a pool of thick, cold porridge. Anna thought about sitting up, getting up, but her body wouldn’t respond. More pain, more porridge. More voices, more beeping. Red flags were popping up throughout her consciousness — something was wrong. Too many mumblings, too many voices at the edge of her hearing. Voices that had no business being in her bedroom.

      “Anna, can you hear me?”

      Hear you? You are right here in bed next to me, Adam. Of course I can hear you.

      But her husband’s voice had a disquieting tenor she’d never quite heard before. His muffled words echoed in her ears, softly insulating her against the harsh beeping that tried to distort her every thought.

      A different voice followed. A deep, dark, musical voice — a voice rich with temptation.

      Do not close this door we have opened.

      Suddenly a swell of emotions overwhelmed her senses. It was as if the dam had burst; the dam that held back her energy, her very soul, releasing a flood of wordless images that pulsed to the beat of her heart. Anna felt a smile spread across her lips, even though the rest of her body refused to respond. How she wanted to linger in the warmth the memories promised. But the voice, the melody, disappeared as the scent of antiseptics whiffed across her nose. Bleach, perhaps. Or ammonia. What happened to the cinnamon potpourri in the crystal bowl on her nightstand?

      Anna’s head hurt just putting sentences together, and she still couldn’t open her eyes. So willful her thoughts, so unwilling her body. She could feel her pulse rise, her heart beating faster, her automatic fright/flight instinct taking over.

      “She is coming around, Mr. Powers.”

      Whose voice is that? In my bedroom? Who in the world would be calling Adam “Mr. Powers” anyway?

      More voices now. Closer. Louder. A squeaky high-pitched one and another with a sweet southern drawl. A shadow blurred the indirect light that fell upon her unopened eyes as she heard Adam’s voice echo from a tunnel off to her left somewhere.

      Damn, Adam. Speak up! Quit mumbling. And what are all these people doing in our bedroom?

      A moment of silence, an eternal moment, until suddenly a soothing sensation danced across her mind, melting her thoughts into puddles of warm milk. Anna thought she heard Adam say something about dying, but perhaps the word was “crying”.

      Either way, she decided she would try and open her eyes later. Yes, later. She was so sleepy, so content, that she’d rather follow the whispers that called her name.