Is it hard to be a writer?
The hardest thing for me about being a writer is as much as I love to write, sometimes it’s hard for me to get started. I procrastinate—checking email, doing stuff for the organization that I volunteer for. I’m always telling other writers they have to put writing first and sometimes I don’t do it myself! And there is a lot involved in revising, working through all the stages with the publisher, and then trying to get out there and make sure people know about your books.
Can anyone write a book?
I think just about anyone who can put words together can write a book of some kind—the question is, can they write it WELL? Remember, a writer is someone who writes and you can do that right now. Just start writing! Write your own stories and read lots of books. Becoming a writer is like anything else—you have to practice and practice to get better. If you want to get published at some point, you need to make sure your work is the best that it can be first. So write and write some more. Then revise and see if you can find a teacher or writer who can look at your work and give you feedback to help you make it better. I know lots of people who have ideas for books and never write them, and others who write them but don’t revise or get feedback or try to improve their craft so their books never become what they could be.
How do you choose a title?
For some of my books, the title came right away, just a phrase that popped into my mind. Other times, it started out as one thing and became another. Like Click Here was originally titled My Own Two Feet because part of the theme is Erin standing on her own two feet and standing up for herself. But once the blog came into play, I wanted a more playful title that related to her interest in computers. I was on the Internet and kept seeing the phrase “Click Here” on practically every web page of course, and I said to myself, “That would make a great title for my book!” The subtitle came right away as well.
Sometimes a title may not come to me until I’m finished with a manuscript. Fact of Life #31 was originally called Neighbor Pains but my writer’s group and I decided that it limited the story idea.
If a title doesn’t present itself right away, go ahead and keep writing through to the end. Once you’re finished with your story or book, ask yourself what your theme is. Do any phrases in the story/book reflect that theme? Or if your character is into a sport or music or drama, can you come up with a title that uses words related to that as well as your theme? If the conflict has to do with a relationship with a friend or a sibling, can you come up with a play on words that helps show that? Often a good title is right in the middle of your story. It might be something someone says that is important to the story, or it may be a phrase that your character likes to repeat. Read through it with your theme and conflicts in mind and see if something jumps out at you.
You talk about reading like a writer. What exactly does that mean?
It means reading books in a different way—noticing what kind of person a character is and asking how the author did that. What words did s/he use? How is the character talking so I know s/he is smart/funny/angry etc? The best teachers we have are other authors!
The next time you are reading, note where you really liked something—“wow, I felt sad here” or “this scene was really engrossing”—then ask yourself HOW. How did the author write the scene to make you react that way? How do you know the character is funny or scared or insecure or stuck-up? What did the author do to create those attributes in a character?
For a more in-depth exploration of reading as a writer, search the Blab-o-Denise Writer’s Studio for this topic.
Do you send out review copies to blog reviewers?
I don’t but my publisher does! Click here for full contact information.
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