3-2-1 Write! Party: Writing Advice

3-2-1 WRITE! party

It’s Day 2 of the 3-2-1 Write! Party hosted by Read Another Page! Welcome back to my conference room here at Resting Life where we’re talking about all things writing. There are also fun games and giveaways (including an important piece of a giveaway game in this post), so don’t miss out!

Watch for the secret phrase in this post, and be sure to write it down. Combine it with the secret phrases from today’s posts by other writers who have conference rooms at the party and you’ll find the secret quote that will qualify you for a giveaway!

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Yesterday we discussed 3 favorite books on writing, and today on Day 2 of the 3-2-1, we’re here to talk about 2 favorite pieces of writing advice. While a plethora of writing advice is available to anyone with a quick Google search, two pieces of advice have proved particularly helpful in my writing career.

  1. Read.
  2. Write.

Although it might seem trite, obvious, or simplistic, these really are the keys to great writing. It’s my passion for reading from age five that shaped not only my love of writing but also equipped me with the skills to excel. The more we read, the more of essential and beautiful techniques and styles of the written word we assimilate. What we read is what we think about in our minds and meditate upon in our hearts; it becomes part of us. And who we are determines how we write. What is inside comes out.

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To authors, the benefits of reading are many:

  1. Reading aids in developing a love of books.
  2. Reading immerses the reader in proper grammar, style, and word choice, which in turn strengthens the inner editor and makes an author a better writer.
  3. Reading familiarizes the reader with a variety of plot styles and devices, demonstrating the most effective uses of each, which in turns impacts the author’s work.
  4. Reading fosters the imagination, which in turn aids the author’s creative process.
  5. Reading exposes the author to a variety of genres and styles, allowing the author to choose pieces of their favorites and incorporate them seamlessly into her own unique style.
  6. Reading is inspirational. How many times have you read a book and wanted to know more about a minor character, or wondered what happened after “The End”? There’s a reason fan fiction is popular. Other authors’ stories can form the jumping-off point for our own.
  7. Reading saves the beauty of the English language. When reading literature and old classics, vocabulary is enriched – something that doesn’t happen through reading social media posts.
  8. Reading gives authors the opportunity to see how a scene can be vividly visualized merely through words. When words are put together just so, the reader is transported from the printed page to a colorful life-like reality in her head, complete with settings, sound, and motion. The engaging powers of printed words at the hands of a skilled author can’t be fully appreciated until experienced.

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Second, write. Write often. Write nonsense. Write partial scenes. Write whatever comes to mind. Sit down and let words flow. Even though you might feel that your words are worthless, write anyway. Every “worthless” word you’ve written in the past has brought you to this point as a writer. Few people write a bestseller the first time they sit down to write; just like every other area of life, practice makes perfect. Every story you pen, every draft you type, and every journal entry you record will teach you a little bit more about writing, being a writer, and your writing style.

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And here is the Big Giveaway! Be sure to enter for a chance to win an amazing writer’s package!

Paper copy of The Emotion Thesaurus

$5.00 Amazon Gift Card

Free Cover Design by Victoria Lynn

$30 Blog Tour Orchestration by Faith Blum

Free Edit of up to 5000 words by Erika Mathews

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What have been some benefits of reading that you’ve experienced as a writer? How do you motivate yourself to keep writing when you don’t feel like it? And what are some of your favorite pieces of writing advice? Comment below – I’d love to have a conversation with you!

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Did you find the secret phrase? Click the button above to visit Kelsey’s blog and find the next phrase, or return to Read Another Page to start the trail from the beginning. Be sure to return tomorrow for Day 3 of the 3-2-1 Write! Party where I’ll be sharing my favorite writing tool – and another game!

3-2-1 Write! Party: Writing Books

3-2-1 WRITE! party

It’s party time! Read Another Page is hosting a 3-2-1 Write! Blog Party for all writers, and I’m thrilled to have one of the conference rooms here at Resting Life. For the next four days, we’ll be talking about all things writing. There are also fun games and giveaways (including an important piece of a giveaway game in this post), so don’t miss out! 

Watch for the secret phrase in this post, and be sure to write it down. Combine it with the secret phrases from the posts of the other writers having conference rooms at the party and you’ll find the secret quote that will qualify you for a giveaway!

Day 1 Party graphic

Today’s Day 1 of the 3-2-1, and to kick things off, we’ll be talking today about 3 of our favorite books about writing. As writers, it’s important to hone our skills and educate ourselves on techniques. Obviously, a plethora of resources exist on the subject of writing, and the more we read, the more we learn and the better quality writings we produce. Here are three books I recommend strongly.

The Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

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There’s a reason this book is currently a #1 Bestseller on Amazon – as well as remaining a favorite with writers since its publication in 1920. Small and slim at a mere 104 pages, this book packs in style and grammar rules and tips in concise, clear format.

On a more personal level, this book has been a favorite of mine from a young age. During my childhood and teenage years, I’d read sections of this book simply for enjoyment. While penning stories and reports in the days before Google, I’d consult this book to find the answers to tricky grammatical questions. Every writer ought to be thoroughly familiar with this book – grammar and style are key qualities of excellent writing.

Where Do I Start? An Overview of Indie Publishing, by Molly Evangeline

51sm3k4l2btlThis book is also small – only 60 pages – but it’s filled with a wealth of information on the publishing process, formatting, cover design, marketing, and navigating the many options of indie publishing. Simple, practical, and to the point, I found this book very helpful as a comprehensive introduction to the world of publishing. If you’re looking for a detailed tome, this book isn’t what you want, but if you’re just getting your feet wet in the Indie Publishing process (or even if you’ve done it a few times), you’ll find this book both informative and helpful.

Student Writing Intensive, by Andrew Pudewa

This book and DVD set propelled my writing techniques f517dgsgywjl-_sx400_bo1204203200_orward like no other. Andrew Pudewa’s fast-paced, humorous, informative, and pointed lessons help the writer analyze every word, sentence, paragraph, and part of speech and learn the proper way to put together and use each one. Although I don’t write in “Andrew Pudewa” style outside of the assignments in the book, the exercises of incorporating a certain number of adverbs into a paragraph, using all six sentence openers in every paragraph, choosing a variety of prepositional phrases, and varying sentence structures expanded my borders as a writer and enriched my natural style. In addition, learning to outline through this book has proved to be a valuable skill as I outline books in preparation to write them. These materials may be geared towards students, but I believe all writers can benefit from this book.

Despite my passion for both reading and writing, I haven’t read many books about writing, and I’d love some recommendations of books that you’ve found helpful in your writing journey. Comment below: what writing books are your favorites and why?

And here is the Big Giveaway! Be sure to enter for a chance to win an amazing writer’s package!

Paper copy of The Emotion Thesaurus

$5.00 Amazon Gift Card

Free Cover Design by Victoria Lynn

$30 Blog Tour Orchestration by Faith Blum

Free Edit of up to 5000 words by Erika Mathews

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Did you find the secret phrase? Click the button above to visit Victoria’s blog and find the next phrase, or return to Read Another Page to start the trail from the beginning. Be sure to return tomorrow for Day 2 of the 3-2-1 Write! Party where I’ll be sharing my favorite writing advice – and another game!

Announcing the Sequel! And You Get to Decide!

You asked for it, I listened. This month, I’m writing a sequel to Promise’s Prayer!

Victory’s Voice

Seventeen-year-old Ellisia always loved books. That’s what she is thrilled when Caeleb invites her to attend Academy in the capitol city of Syorien. But when inner turmoil and dark violence begin to sweep through the city, Ellisia is forced outside of her books and caught up in a critical battle between light and darkness. A hidden gift grants her power she never knew existed – but it is this very Power that threatens the destruction of her family. Torn between her love of learning, her outspoken tongue, and her own emotional well-being, she faces the greatest crisis of her life – and a momentous decision with far greater impact than she could realize.

 

Ellisia

And for those of you who have read Promise’s Prayer or are familiar with it, I need your opinion. Because Victory’s Voice occurs nine years after Promise’s Prayer, Carita and Kaelan are grown and have family(ies) of their own. But here’s the question – would you like to see them married to each other or to someone else?

Let me know what you think by voting in the poll!

Add me on NaNoWriMo!

BONUS! If you have an idea for Victory’s Voice (regardless of whether or not you’ve read Promise’s Prayer), leave it in the comments and I’ll do my best to incorporate as many of your ideas as possible!

What are your thoughts on Victory’s Voice? Let me know in the comments!

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Calling All Beta Readers!

It’s time for an update on Promise’s Prayer! My proof copy came in the mail, and I’m thrilled. Despite the formatting and editing tweaks still needed, it’s coming along quite nicely. I’m excited to finally hold a copy of it in my hands.

Promise’s Prayer follows Kaelan, a young man tired of the quietness of home and bent on “saving the world” from a downward spiral of lawlessness and fleshly pleasure, through his attempts to fulfill a promise made to his dying mother. Meanwhile, Carita realizes that she possesses the key the country needs, but she continually battles with crippling fears, inadequacies, lack of position, and the challenges of daily life. Will they come through for Taerna? Or will something else?

Kaelan. His eyes are not this dreamy.

Kaelan’s the adventurous one. He leaped off of the pages and took over the book before I knew what he was doing. He just won’t sit still. The picture above is of an indolent, pampered, stay-at-home sort of Kaelan, which is not the Kaelan I know. He looks like the above picture minus the dreamy, contented look. He’s action. He’s adventure. He’s for being the hero.

Author secret: There were times that scenes appeared on the page that I had NO INTENTION of writing. And it was only through severe effort that Kaelan is behaving as well towards Carita as he is…

Fun fact: Kaelan’s favorite food is sweet potatoes. I just found that out a few minutes ago.

Adventure versus quietness. Fulfilling promises. Sheer determination. Saving the world. Or…not. 

If you’d like to beta read Promise’s Prayer, just fill out the form below. It’s about 68,000 words/215 pages long. It is written for teenagers and young adults but is suitable for all ages. A strong Christian theme is present throughout the story. There is no magic, romance (though perhaps a sequel…? :)), or violence, though deaths do occur. I will send out Part 1 immediately and would like all feedback by the end of October.

Thank you very much!

Promise’s Prayer: Your Turn to Read!

 

Promise’s Prayer is now in full-fledged editing! The next step is to send it to my beta readers – and if you’d like to join that list, I’m currently accepting sign-ups. Just use the form at the bottom of this post to make your request.

If you’re new to Written Rest, Promise’s Prayer is my novel set in the fictional country of Taerna. It follows Kaelan, a young man tired of the quietness of home and bent on “saving the world” from a downward spiral of lawlessness and fleshly pleasure, through his attempts to fulfill a promise made to his dying mother. Meanwhile, Carita realizes that she possesses the key the country needs, but she continually battles with crippling fears, inadequacies, lack of position, and the challenges of daily life. Will they come through for Taerna? Or will something else?

Kaelan

Adventure versus quietness. Fulfilling promises. Sheer determination. Saving the world. Or…not. 

And now, just for you, some snippets!

~~~

A farmer stood in the doorway, waiting for her to speak. She swallowed twice and forced her mouth open. “Good morning.” Her voice sounded as frightened as she felt. Her mind raced, desperately trying to think of what to say. “Might I help—that is, may I offer you—” She paused, her hands clenching nervously. Her eyes darted here and there. Why had she not thought this through more carefully before she came?

The man sighed impatiently. “No,” he said, “We don’t need anything you can give us or do for us. We don’t need a maid.”

He shut the door, leaving her standing there. Slowly she turned and shuffled back to her own home. How had she thought she could get through to him? She couldn’t even tell him what she wanted.

How was that possible? She determined that she would think harder the next time before trying anything of the sort.

She was too afraid. There was no way she could even meet the rest of the neighbors, let alone help them. What could she do?

Yet the voice came strongly to her. Love. Serve. Pray. Persevere.

She must go, she told herself. What had become of all the joy she felt yesterday? She—must—go.

She couldn’t go.

Carita

~~~

Kaelan looked around curiously. The kings certainly did live in style and in the height of pleasure. Lush curtains, heavy with velvet, hung at the tall windows. Servants, much more well-dressed than one would expect even in a palace, stood in every corner, ready with refreshments, music, entertainment, drinks, fans, games, and anything else one might in the least desire. The carpets and curtains were a bright red. The room was spacious and airy.

The kings were engaged deeply in important pleasure, a pompous servant informed Kaelan. Kaelan would be required to await their leisure if he desired an audience. No, he could not say how long that might be. It might well be a very long while, depending on what entertainments the kings were currently engaged in. The servant would enter the visitors’ names on the kings’ lists, and if the kings could not attend to them that day, they must return the next.

As the man retreated, Kaelan looked after him with a disgusted frown. “Is that what a king’s man is today?” he muttered to Caeleb. “A disgrace to the name?”

Caeleb

~~~

Kaelan watched in dumbfounded amazement. “This happens continually,” Caeleb whispered, “Constant entertainment, constant pleasure.”

“All day long?” he demanded, “Free shows? Free music? Free food and drink? No wonder the kings have the people under their thumbs.”

“Hush,” Caeleb warned, “It is ruining them. It is causing them to have ridiculously high expectations for such things. It is dulling their minds and giving them a distaste for reality—for daily life. And so they try to ignore or erase every part of reality that does not line up with this. They are creating a false reality. When people’s appetites become used to continual sugarplums, they will never again eat fruits and vegetables.”

Copyright 2014 ERW.

 

If you’d like to beta read Promise’s Prayer, just fill out the form below. It’s about 68,000 words/215 pages long. It is written for teenagers and young adults but is suitable for all ages. A strong Christian theme is present throughout the story. There is no magic, romance, or violence, though deaths do occur. I will be sending out Part 1 of Promise’s Prayer beginning in just a few days. Ideally, I’d like all feedback within two weeks, though I can be flexible.

Thank you very much!

NaNo Excerpts and an Update

“I’m afraid,” she whispered to herself shiveringly. “I’m afraid. I’m so afraid.” She could feel it from the tips of her fingers to the tips of her toes. A choking sensation gripped her heart, and she lay rigidly under the blankets.

“You’re a high-and-mighty good-for-nothing who thinks she can come in and be Miss Goody-Goody and win friends—just so they can bend to your whims and further your plans.” Her bitterness slipped slimily and drippingly through her voice. “Well just who do you think you are. You’re nobody. You’re an orphaned pauper. Your Adon can do nothing with you. You think you can do something grand; well, you can’t.”

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Yes. I finished NaNoWriMo. I reached 50,000 words. On Day 18. Upon which I promptly set a new goal of actually finished my book in November. And on November 29, I finished the last scene of my book and reached 66,328 words.

I wrote for a total of 20 days during November. There were 10 days when I didn’t write.

My least wordy day was Day 14, with 234 words. My most wordy day was Day 1, with 10,350 words.

And now I’m editing.

And spell check doesn’t like a few words from the above excerpts. What do you think? Should I use them anyway or change them? What should I say instead?

  • Shiveringly
  • Drippingly

Vote in my poll below, or leave a comment with your opinion!