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The Writing Life

The Writing Life
The Writing Life
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Resources for Short Story Writers

For the past few years, the main focus of my writing projects has been length, specifically words count. I've been trying to write the full-fledged novels that I've always dreamed of writing.

But as I'm taking on this new short story writing project, I've realized that I could use some studying up on short story writing because I have no idea how to condense a story into a mere 1500 words.

Below are some links to articles and blog posts that I've read over as I've worked on the plotting, pacing, and actual creation of my short story.




I'm also using a book that I got from the Biblion bookstore in Lewes, Delaware that was written by a local author.  It's called How To Write Winning Short Stories by Nancy Sakaduski.


So there you have it!  Writing a shorts story is much different than writing a novel, but I think I'm up to the challenge.  Are you?

Take care,
Marian

Taking a Risk & Entering My First Writing Contest

Those of you who know me in real life know that I am... a sensitive person.  I'm also a people pleaser.  I want everyone to like me and one of my biggest stressors is the idea of being perceived negatively.

After reading that, you're probably wondering why I'm entering a writing contest where my chances of winning or being runner up are very slim.

Well, there are a few reasons and I'm going to outline them for you below.


1.  It's a writing challenge.


I haven't written very many short stories in my life.  I've mainly worked on novellas and book series. This will be a great exercise as I learn to be concise with my words in order to make the word count limit.

2.  I have nothing to lose


What do I have to lose if I enter this contest?  Nothing.  If the judges don't like my story, who cares?  It's not like I'll ever hear back from them, so I won't have to deal with critiques.

3.  I finally get to write my hotel story!


They say to write what you know, and I know hotels.  I've been wanting to write this story for over a year now and I finally have a reason to do it.

Those all seem like good reasons to me.  Check back o Friday for some resources that I'm using as I research the craft of short story writing.

Take care,
Marian

Why You Should Brag About That Book You Wrote

A few weeks ago when I was visiting my brother in Philly, we were sitting across from each other at a table in the Macy's Starbucks.  He had a black coffee, I had a flat white.  We were taking turns sharing stories about work and our significant others and other funny things.  I mentioned casually that I had published my first full-length novel for Amazon kindle and he had all kinds of questions.

"How many pages is it?"  He asked.

I took a sip and thought about it.  "286, if I remember correctly."

"What's it about?"

I glossed over the summary for him, figuring that he wouldn't care to hear all of the details about my young adult Christmas novel.  But surprisingly enough, he was interested.  He admited that it wasn't the kind of book that he would read in his spare time but that he thought it was pretty cool.

"Not many people can say they've actually finished writing a book."  He pointed out.

I had never thought about that, but he had a good point.  And that's when I realized that I shouldn't be embarrassed telling people about my book if I think that they won't like it.  Who cares?  I wrote the kind of story that I would like to read, and that is pretty damn cool!


Reasons Why You Should Tell People About Your Book:

  1. Because you worked really hard on it.
  2. Because people like to read things by people they know.  Why do you think independent book stores have "local writers" sections?  Because it's really cool to think that with hard work and determination, anyone can achieve their book-writing dreams.
  3. Because you never know who enjoys reading what genres. You just never know.

If you haven't finished writing your book yet, let this serve as your inspiration to sit down at your desk and get cracking! Haha.  I've been writing fiction since I was in middle school and I just finished writing my first book within the last year.  

I won't do the math for you, but think about it.  That means I've been spending year after year after year writing down words and coming up with cool ideas for stories but never fully completing them. Yikes!  There's no use dwelling on the past, though.  All we can do is plan for the future, and I want you to plan to tell people about that book you just published.

Take care,
Marian

Book Review: He Will Be My Ruin

From goodreads.com:
Twenty-eight-year-old Maggie Sparkes arrives in New York City to pack up what’s left of her best friend’s belongings after a suicide that has left everyone stunned. The police have deemed the evidence conclusive: Celine got into bed, downed a bottle of Xanax and a handle of Maker’s Mark, and never woke up. But when Maggie discovers secrets in the childhood lock box hidden in Celine’s apartment, she begins asking questions. Questions about the man Celine fell in love with. The man she never told anyone about, not even Maggie. The man who Celine herself claimed would be her ruin.
On the hunt for answers that will force the police to reopen the case, Maggie uncovers more than she bargained for about Celine’s private life—and inadvertently puts herself on the radar of a killer who will stop at nothing to keep his crimes undiscovered.

My Thoughts:

This is a book that I've been wanting to read for a while, and I'm so glad it was my first book of the year. What a great way to start of my 2017 goodreads reading challenge!

From page 1, you know that the mystery of Celine's death is not black and white.  It is a whole lot of gray area that only one person knows the answer to.  As Maggie sleuths to uncover the truth, she finds out a lot of things that she never would have found out if Celine were still alive.  I thought the way the story and all of the details of Maggie and Celine's lives  unfolded was very well done and interesting.

All in all, I thought this was a fantastic mystery/thriller that kept me guessing the entire time. It even had some sexiness to it that kept the romance fan in me quite happy. Haha!

If you've never read anything by K.A. Tucker before, this would be an awesome book to start with.  I love her Ten Tiny Breaths series and look forward to reading more of this kind of novel from her in the future, if she releases more!

Take care,
Marian

Why You Should Track Your Reading

A couple of years ago I went on a beach vacation with my maternal grandparents.  Why?  That's a long story.  But to make a long story short, it was a hot July afternoon and I was helping my grandmother pack her things.  She packed a lot of paperback books for reading, but she also packed a notebook.

"I track all of the books that I read in here."  She said.  "I write a little bit about it and what date I finished it on."

That made me smile because I think it's important to track what you read as well.  Whether you use a paper or pen, or a website like goodreads, the important thing is to jot down what you read and when.


Why you should track what you read:

  1. So that you can look back at all of the books you've read.
  2. So that you have a reference for when you can't remember what that book is with the boy wizard with the lighting bolt scar (hint:  it's Harry Potter ;) )
  3. Because lists are fun.

How to track what you read:

  1. Keep a notebook
  2. Use a website like Goodreads.  You can even set a yearly reading challenge for yourself.
  3. Print out the My Reading List worksheet and keep it nearby for all of your reading tracking needs.

That's right!  Download the My Reading List worksheet for free!


Because you never know... In five years you're going to look back at your reading lists from the past few years and be incredibly impressed with yourself.  Like, "I read all of these books?  DAMMMMMMN!"

Take care,
Marian