Diana Pharaoh Francis
Ever written something you really liked only to have someone tell you it’s not right/good/perfect/delightful? yeah, that happened to me. Yesterday, in fact. It’s crushing. It always is. And it’s part of the daily world of writers. I hate that part. But the truth is, that’s why agents and editors exist–to tell you what you need to improve your writing. While it’s hard to hear, at the same time, it’s necessary to improving craft.
It’s not that the entire piece was wrong. Just most of it. Heh. Really though, the conversation was really constructive and taught me a lot about where I need to go with this project. I’m going to have to tear it down to the ground, and some things will still work as is, and some will be able able to be recycled later, but essentially it’s a complete rebuild. It’s a little daunting, but also [...]
Continue reading Ye Olde Gut Kick
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot…If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” – Steven King
We here at MW always say there’s no one way to write your novel. If sitting on the couch writing on a laptop works for you, then that’s how you should do it. Others of us work at a desktop, or in longhand on yellow pads. Some people write only in the morning before the rest of the family rises, and others write after dark. This guy writes the scenes that come to him, filling in the rest later, and that girl never deviates from the line her story follows, writing the end only when she actually reaches that chapter. And every way is right, as [...]
Continue reading Misty’s Shelf
I love doing research. I know that a metric ton of you out there also love looking stuff up, and are, at this moment, nodding your heads in solidarity. There’s something exciting about digging into the history or language or whatever in the hope of making your writing just that much more authentic. The only thing that ever makes me sad about research (besides the part where I can easily get lost in the looking-up and forget to write the damn book) is finding cool stuff that I can’t use right away. I know you know what I’m talking about – you’re busy checking the price of maple syrup Vermont in 1875, and wham! You discover this seriously interesting story about the Boston Molasses Disaster of 1919, in which a large molasses storage tank burst, and a wave of molasses rushed through the streets pf Boston at an estimated 35 [...]
Continue reading Research Treasures
When I worked in the middle school library, one of my patrons was a young girl who loved books…even though she didn’t actually read them. She would come in once every other week, check out three or four Harry Potter books, and then carry them around so that other students could see her with them. Along the way she picked up the basics of the stories, and eventually she did read them herself, but it always amused me to watch her using the books as attention-getting props.
We talk all the time about books we wouldn’t be caught dead reading in public. Twilight and its sequels, the 50 Shades books, The Da Vinci Code (well, anything by Dan Brown, really)… all of these are books that sold millions, and are regularly checked out from the library every week. Still, we insist we would never allow a copy in our [...]
Continue reading Does This Book Make Me Look Fat?
On Friday night, I finally saw the new(ish) movie version of The Hobbit — the Peter Jackson version that came out earlier this year. I am a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings movies, despite their flaws, and I was looking forward to seeing what Jackson did with The Hobbit. To be honest, I have been excited about this movie since I first heard that it was being made, and my excitement only increased when I learned that the marvelous Martin Freeman would be playing Bilbo Baggins.
I am sad to say that I found the movie stunningly disappointing. Let me pause here to make clear that I am not a movie purist. I was fine with many of the decisions Jackson made in his retelling of LOTR, including those that strayed from the books as written by J.R.R. Tolkien. I do not believe that a movie director [...]
Continue reading On Writing: Book Identity, and Why I Didn’t Like THE HOBBIT Movie
Misty and I had a lovely exchange yesterday on her post about ethics and characters doing stupid things. If you missed it, take a look back. I commented to her post (which was great, BTW) about a reviewer who had been attacking me and my character Jane Yellowrock, calling her (her decisions, her religious choices, her sex life, her…everything) and me, stupid and much worse
That post and exchange made me realize how important a review is to a book and a writer, and that some simple how-to-review-a-book rules might be helpful. Also, I hope you’ll offer some more suggestions in the comment area to round out the list.
Do: 1. Find something nice to say about a book. 2. Finish any book you review. Otherwise you are not giving *your* readers a fair shake. 3. Review the book you read, not the book you wish it was. 4. [...]
Continue reading Dos and Don’ts of Reviewing
I had an amusing thing happen this week. A reader posted a review on Amazon, stating that my book was a three-star read. It’s not the number of stars that makes it funny – as far as I’m concerned, three stars is great, and I’m perfectly grateful. No, the funny part was that she would have given it more stars if only I had more books in the series available, because she wanted to know more about what happened. Now, please don’t misunderstand. As I said, three stars is wonderful and I’m absolutely not complaining. I’m also tickled that I told a good enough story that she wanted more – every writer hopes her readers will feel that way. But her disappointment with my only having the one novel available has made me wonder how readers these days are looking at stand-alone novels, the kind that tell the whole story [...]
Continue reading Standing Alone