Today, I am happy to be hosting Day 4 of a 5-day virtual tour for Raiders and Horse Thieves, a new memoir from Jackie Ellis Stewart.
In today’s stop on the tour, Jackie offers some writing tips.
Writing Tips from Author Jackie Ellis Stewart
All my life I’ve yearned to be able to sing. Once I took a voice class through the continuing education department at the University of Memphis, and at the first session, backed the defenseless instructor into a diplomatic corner.
“Just tell me once and for all,” I begged. “Can I sing?”
There was a significant pause, which I should have taken for an obvious negative response. “Well,” she responded brightly. “I’ve heard lots worse who thought they could sing.”
I floated halfway home on a blissful cloud of musical notes before the implication of her answer finally hit home.
That was 15 or 20 years ago.
What little voice I had is long gone.
I am now a lector at church, instead of sitting in the choir loft.
In the meantime, I’ve discovered I have some talent as a writer. Years of hard work paid off this past month when Texas A&M University Press published my first book, Raiders and Horse Thieves, Memoir of a Central Texas Baby Boomer.
Although writing is a terrific challenge, it can also be tremendously fulfilling.
Listed below are some of the habits and practices I’ve found helpful as a neophyte writer.
• Read everything; fluff as well as serious literature; non-fiction and fiction. Learn to distinguish well-constructed fluff from junk. Notice how good dialogue is recorded on the page and how various authors handle action and describe characters.
• Haunt the library and learn all you can about authors and publishers. There’s much to be learned from writers who were popular in earlier times.
• Join a book discussion group that really reads the book and discusses it in depth. There are lots of book discussion groups in every community; however, many are wine and cheese enthusiasts disguised as readers.
• Attend literary events in your community. Go to book signings and ask the author about his/her daily writing schedule. Many will block off major sections of their day to writing alternated with some form of exercise.
• Take classes in writing. Listen carefully to what the instructor advises and do it.
• Become a people watcher and an eavesdropper. Pay attention to what people say and how they behave. Make notes of things you see in your daily life that catch your fancy. People can say and do the most incredible things. I recently found the name for a future character from the name of a dealership imprinted on the back of a van that pulled out of a parking lot in front of me.
• Keep a notebook specifically for quirky things you hear or see or ideas you have for future use.
• Carve out time in your daily schedule to regularly write and stick to it.
Follow every day of this tour by going to http://www.bestauthorinterviews.com.
Today's post comes from a writing colleague of mine, Suzanne Lieurance. She writes:
Several years ago I interviewed some writing instructors and writing coaches to ask them what their biggest tip was for aspiring authors.
The number one tip they gave was this: Be willing to learn. That means really listening to what your writing instructor or coach has to say about your work and what you should do to improve it. Don't waste your time or your instructor's by defending your writing or making excuses as to why you can't change something. Simply listen, take notes, and be open to the suggestions your instructor or coach is giving you.
I think that's good advice, but you'd be surprised at the number of people who pay for a writing course, or pay to work with a coach, then refuse to listen to what the instructor or coach has to say.
If you're working with a good coach or writing instructor, this person WANTS you to succeed! And he/she probably has a LOT more experience than you do at this point as to HOW to make that happen. So, be willing to listen and learn and you'll show much more improvement as a writer than if you spent time defending your work or making excuses for it.
Suzanne Lieurance is a freelance writer, writing coach, and the author of over 2 dozen published books. She offers free subscriptions to The Morning Nudge (it's for writers and other creative types) at www.morningnudge.com.
I am thrilled to be working with Suzanne Lieurance of Write by the Sea Press to present our brand new program, Beach Book Blowout!
Our new program is one of a kind. You can come to the beach and write your book – in a weekend. That's right...you will create the first draft of your manuscript in only a weekend with our Signature System.
We have included so many features in our program, you're going to be blown away. So take a look by clicking on the Beach Book Blowout logo above or by visiting the website at www.beachbookblowoutflorida.com. Come to the beach and write your book in a weekend.
If you are an independently published Canadian author selling books or e-books on Amazon.com or through Smashwords you need to take steps to prevent the IRS (US tax service) from keeping some 30% of your earnings from book sales.
For simple, detailed information including the links to all the forms you will need, we have prepared a Tax Info for Canadians page on this site. Access this useful information by clicking HERE.
As you will notice, the cost for preparation of a True Certified copy of your passport is set to rise from free, to $45 on March 31, 2013.
The word is out! Beach Book Business introduces The First Step, a Free E-book to help you discover your starting place for creating your book and your business from the beach! Get your name on the list now and get your free e-book.
A joint project with my good friend, Suzanne Lieurance, this book will get you thinking about writing that book that will boost your business and make 2014 your best yet.
When you sign up and download your book, you will also become a member of the Beach Book Business private group. We'll let you know all the insider information on upcoming events leading up to the Signature Beach Book Business Retreat by the Sea.
Summer Bay Press has recently partnered with Suzanne Lieurance of Write by the Sea Press to create an exclusive Signature System beginning with a fabulous getaway retreat at the beach to get your book started. Complete with laser-focused workshops, writing quiet time, gourmet meals, and private beach time, we've created a plan to help you complete the writing of your book in record time.
As women in business ourselves, we understand how your time is at a premium, so we've structured the program to maximize your time, clear out the fluff and useless information and get straight to the point – writing and publishing the book that will sky-rocket your business.
Once your manuscript has been written, we'll professionally edit it for you, design the interior and cover for you and publish your book for you. Your book will appear on Amazon, and will be formatted for e-book publication, too. This is a one-stop shop for getting your book out of you and to your market.
While your book is in the process of being prepared for publication, we will take you by the hand and work with you to create the programs around your book's topic to help you create massive up-leveling of your business and your income.
Here is a sneak peak at the beach in Florida we'll be holding the retreat, yes, right on the beach. One of those little striped shelters with the comfy lounge chairs will have your name on it and this will be your view. You don't want to miss this!
Go HERE to get your FREE E-book, The First Step - Discover your starting place for creating your book and your business, from the beach!
To learn more as the details are revealed, join the private mailing list HERE.
Summer Bay Press is thrilled to join with Write By The Sea Press in presenting a one-of-a-kind writing experience.
Build a Book and a Business at the Beach!
Join writing coach and author, Suzanne Lieurance, of Write By The Sea Press, and author/artist, Wendy Dewar Hughes, of Summer Bay Press and Author Success Guild and launch yourself, your book, and your business into success in this elite program. Details coming soon!
To learn more, please enter your email address and name in the sign-up form on the home page and we will keep you informed of the details as they become available.
I think cause of these laughs is where I likened being a book coach and editor to being the mother-in-law nobody likes. She has to say, it's wonderful that you've had a baby but the baby is ugly.
Fortunately, unlike real babies, book babies can be made beautiful. Sometimes it takes some major surgery but the process is worth it.
With Jim McGregor and Natasha Jones, co-authors of Surfacing.
Congratulations to my client, Dagmar Christine Albert, on the publication of her first book, To Johnny, With Love.
Dagmar's memoir follows the progression of her husband, John, as he succumbs to early onset Alzheimer's.
Filled with both compassion and humour, Dagmar manages to convey her deep love for her husband throughout his illness and to his eventual passing. This book offers encouragement and hope to others travelling the same path.
To Johnny with Love is available HERE.
Yesterday, my clients, Jim McGregor and Natasha Jones, received their first shipment of their new novel, Surfacing. After years of struggling to get their book written and make it "work", they hired me to help them. Within only a few months, they became published, and very happy, authors!
"Jeremy knows about the accident but when his mother, Debbie, finally reveals the truth, he has no idea that he will find his once strong firefighter father still unconscious in an extended care facility. The discovery that, after three years, his father suddenly begins regaining consciousness sets in motion a series of events that will rock many lives.
The family ventures into the rundown Franklin Center, the final destination for all of its patients, where Jeremy's youthful optimism for his father's recovery triggers emotions long-buried in the nursing staff, the family and their friends.
Drawing on energy from the spirit of a grandfather he can scarcely remember, Jeremy inspires his father's medical team to question their conventional medical approach to what is possible. While the family confronts the ramifications of Don’s return to consciousness they discover that more sinister forces are at work. Bent on the destruction of the family’s hope and fueled by maniacal jealousy, one staff member will do anything to sabotage the firefighter's valiant efforts to recover.
In the meantime, Debbie must confront her own challenges, fears and even her ambivalence about her husband’s comeback while dealing with her teen-aged daughter’s increasing distance and her son Jeremy’s mystical behaviour."
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Natasha Jones was born in Paraguay and educated in England. As a newspaper journalist, she has won numerous awards, including the Canadian Community Newspaper Association's Dulcie Wenger Memorial Trophy for feature writing, as well as journalism awards with the B.C. and Yukon Community Newspapers Association and The Vancouver Press Club Foundation.
Jim McGregor is a thirty-six year veteran of the fire service, including Fire Chief for the City of Langley, British Columbia. His work has been published in articles, magazines and competitions. Jim has also co-authored successful poetry and children's books. He currently writes a weekly column for the Langley Times newspaper. Jim draws on his firefighting background for characters in the story.
Both authors reside in Langley B.C.