My current project is one I thought about doing for a long, long, long time before I actually dove in. I knew it was going to be a big project and I was a bit intimidated - I mean, I know I'm good and all, but I'm not the end all, be all - and so I delayed. But I had so many clients coming to me with various questions that I finally caved and began writing the Write It Right series, which is a line of short instructional books on the basics of writing. I'm starting with beginner elements, and next year will be writing more advanced topics. So far there are two books out and a supplemental notebook:
The Writer's Workbook is a journal you fill out with your writing goals and progress for the day. It also includes a page for you to plan out your writing for the next day. Over 100 pages so you can chart your writing for over 100 days.
Dialogue Dynamics helps you identify some of the most common mistakes authors make in writing dialogue, punctuating it, and presenting it.
Creating Characters gives guidelines for the most effective ways to show who your characters are
without falling into cliches and stereotypes.
Click here to purchase the print copy
E-book coming soon!
The next book in the series, Point-of-View Primer, is in the last stages of revision and will be available soon.
You can visit the site for these books to learn what else is coming.
Now I shall answer some questions, as submitted by readers.
Andrea asked: All your children love to read. How did you encourage them to be that way?
I answered: Love of reading comes from several different sources. First, it's genetic - my husband and I both love to read. Second, it comes from availability of good reading material - we have a ton of books in our house that are well-written, quality volumes. And third, example - because our kids see their parents reading all the time, they gravitate toward it.
Now, I will mention this - one of our sons is picky about his reading material, and sometimes he won't pick up a book for love or money. This is where experimentation comes in, finding books that he likes. Now that he's a little older, it's not as hard, but there for a while, it was very difficult. Be patient if you have a child who's this way - there are scads of books out there, and you will find some that will be a good fit if you're willing to look for them.
Pam asked: What are your views on self-publishing?
I answered: It used to be that self-publishing was considered the kiss of death for an author's career. The world is changing, though, and the market's attitude toward self-publishing is changing to stay up with the times. If you want to self-publish, I say go for it - with a few caveats.
First, make sure you're producing a quality product and not something you just dashed off in a weekend and decided to get out there.
Second, have it edited, and make sure it has a great cover. There's no reason why a self-published book should be filled with mistakes or have a bad cover - there are so many resources out there to help you, and you really can have a nice-looking, professional book.
Third, utilize the Internet in your marketing. Get savvy, know how to reach readers, and market.
I have self-published some books - Season of Sacrifice, Million Dollar Diva, Bless Your Heart, Virtual Book Tours, and the Write It Right books. So I've gone traditional and self-publish, and have enjoyed both processes.
Christina asked: If you could go back and do something different, what would it be?
I answered: You know, I thought about this question for a long time. Of course I'd love to be richer and famouser (yes, that's a word - I hereby proclaim it) and all that good stuff. I wish I'd had a little less ego back at the beginning and was a little more teachable. Overall, though, I'd have to say that I'm grateful for my experiences and the things they taught me. I'm not sure I would make changes because each thing I went through was a learning and growth opportunity, and if everything had been smooth sailing right from the start, I never would have learned what I did, and I know that I'll keep learning and keep getting these rough edges knocked off.
Mary Ann asked: How do you keep a story simple? Mine end up too convoluted.
I answered: It sounds like you and I have opposite problems. When I first started writing, I had to learn to add subplots because my stories were too straightforward and ... boring (I did not say that).
As an editor, I would suggest going through and asking yourself which elements are adding to your overall story. What's the message you want the reader to leave with, and does each part of the story add to that message? If you dislike the idea of doing away with things altogether, pull them into a separate file and use them in a different story so they aren't lost forever.
Okay, leave a comment to enter to win Diane's book until midnight tonight!!