Wednesday, February 1, 2017

IWSG: 5 Steps to Create a Book They Can't Put Down



It’s time for another group posting of the IWSG: Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month and encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

Be sure to link to IWSG and display the badge in your post.


IWSG is the brainchild of our noble Ninja Captain and leader Alex J. Cavanaugh

Our hashtag is @IWSG


You may have already heard that we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Remember, the question is optional!!!

The  co-hosts for the February 1 posting of the IWSG are the awesome Misha Gericke, LK Hill, Juneta Key, Christy and ... work-in-progress yours truly, me!

Before we get started, I'd like to share with you the blurb for our exciting new anthology:



Hero Lost
Mysteries of Death and Life
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology


Can a lost hero find redemption?

What if Death himself wanted to die? Can deliverance be found on a bloody battlefield? Could the gift of silvering become a prison for those who possessed it? Will an ancient warrior be forever the caretaker of a house of mystery?

Delving into the depths of the tortured hero, twelve authors explore the realms of fantasy in this enthralling and thought-provoking collection. Featuring the talents of Jen Chandler, L. Nahay, Renee Cheung, Roland Yeomans, Elizabeth Seckman, Olga Godim, Yvonne Ventresca, Ellen Jacobson, Sean McLachlan, Erika Beebe, Tyrean Martinson, and Sarah Foster.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these twelve tales will take you into the heart of heroes who have fallen from grace. Join the journey and discover a hero’s redemption!

Release date: May 2, 2017
6x9 Trade paperback, Fantasy (FIC009000)
Print ISBN 9781939844361 eBook ISBN 9781939844378


Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database, articles and tips, a monthly blog posting, a Facebook group, and a monthly newsletter. http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/
  
Freedom Fox Press
A division of Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
P.O. Box 383, Pikeville, NC 27863-0383




February 1 Question: How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

Being a writer has made me a hard-to-please reader. If the book hasn't been edited properly, if the POV is unfocussed and obtrusive, if the book is full of grammar mistakes, or the dialogue is disjointed and unnatural, I never finish the novel. I want to, but my eyes wander and next thing I know I'm playing hide and seek with my cat. Having said that, I know too well that mistakes do slip by. But typos and comma errors can be forgiven if the characters and the plot move me. As a less than perfect writer, I don't expect anyone else to be perfect.

5 steps to create a book they can't put down:

1. Don't rush to self-publish or send out queries. 
2. Edit, revise, and edit some more. 
3. Critique and be critiqued. 
4. When your manuscript is ready,  set it aside for a minimum of two weeks. 
5. Read through again, and if you can afford the services of an editor, by all means. 

Whatever hurdles you face in your writing career, whether it's your first novel or your sixth, know that I'm cheering for you. The sky's the limit, baby. 

ps. good writing makes me want to be a better writer. 





Show your support and let the world know you are insecure and proud! IWSG Pens $10.99 for two (Price includes S and H) IWSG 3x5” Magnet $5.99 each (Price includes S and H)


We have a new administrator at IWSG. Hope you'll stop by and give Heather M. Gardner a warm welcome. Thanks!

C. Lee McKenzie has just joined our team on Monday as our Media Relations Specialist. Welcome, C. Lee!


92 comments :

  1. I can forgive those small mistakes if everything else is good.
    Thanks for co-hosting today!

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  2. I check out several books a week from my local libraries. I return about a third of them after reading less than 50 pages. The reasons: absurd plots, wretched dialog, cardboard characters. My career as an author has definitely made me a much more fussy reader.

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    Replies
    1. Makes sense. How else would we grow in our profession? Hi Hank. Thanks for visiting.

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  3. Hi,
    I would even say setting your manuscript aside for two weeks is too short. Sometimes you have to distance yourself from your manuscript for two or three months. That's okay, because when you come back you have fresh eyes.
    Thank you so much for co-hosting this month.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat

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    Replies
    1. I've told a few writers that and they almost had a heart attack. LOL. Which prompted me to narrow it down to 2 weeks.

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  4. Great post and good advice Joylene!!!

    Thank you for co-hosting this month!

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    1. You're welcome, Cathrina. Thanks for visiting.

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  5. The interesting thing I've been finding lately is that some of the biggest Trade Published authors have sub-standard editing in their books. I'm not talking about small errors either. I've been seeing persistent weak writing such as head hopping and bad pacing.

    Self published writers fall afoul of the same things, of course, but because they're trying to live down the reputation, some of them are actually much more stringent than the Big 5 has been, lately.

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    1. All the more reason why we have to be diligent in editing our own books. Thanks, Misha!

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  6. Fantastic advice! Good editing makes all the difference in the world. And just reading Misha's comment, I've found the same thing.

    Thanks for co-hosting today!

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  7. Thanks for co-hosting! Thanks for the tips, especially #5. I do think investing in an editor would be a wise step for me when I reach that point.

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    1. Take your time, Ellen, and find one with references.

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  8. Great advice as always, Joylene! Thanks for hosting.

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  9. Thank you for co-hosting today!

    I do tend to nit-pick more as a reader now, but I also understand because writing is HARD WORK! I also tend to lose the story and get caught up in themes and ploy and character development. I don't want to! I just want to read! But I find the being a writer adds depth to my reading and for that I am thankful.

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    1. I agree, Jen. I'm thankful for all the wonderful writers out there.

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  10. Thanks for co-hosting today, Joylene! You laid out five important writing guidelines. I will definitely be acquiring an editor when I get closer to submitting my manuscript. Errors in a published book can be distracting for me, but often my mind just compensates blotting out the errors, if the story is carrying me along. Enjoy visiting around today!

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    1. Funny how that works. If the story is fabulous I don't notice any errors either.

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  11. Good writing does make me want to be a better writer too! I can't think of much else that provides endless inspiration when you come across an unputdownable book.

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    1. Love that word: unputdownable. We need to contact the Oxford people. Thanks, Jennifer.

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  12. I guess I shouldn't regret all the years I've spent rewriting my novel then? But at some point, I've got to let it go so I can move on to the next one.

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    1. I think your instincts will tell you when to move on. Meanwhile, the trick is to promise yourself you won't look at it for 2 or 3 months. Time has a way of making things clearer.

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  13. "Good writing makes me want to be a better writer." 100% agree!

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  14. I too was struck by your last line. Many, many times while reading, have I sighed and thought to myself, "I wish I could write like this."

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    1. It's that desire that drives us. Thanks, Bish.

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  15. I sure agree with every one of those steps. I like that they are fundamental, no wasted steps.

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  16. I'm with you. I actually have some authors I specifically read right before going to write a book because I want to get into the genius mode of thought.

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    1. I do that too! Something magical happens when I'm reading a great book.

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  17. We all make mistakes, none of us are perfect, absolutely! For me, if there are too many mistakes, though, I'm taken out of the story and if I'm out of the story, I might not want to get back in. :o

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  18. Thanks for co-hosting this month and thanks for the tips. They are sound advice. Thanks for rooting for us.

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  19. Good answers and great advice. So much going on with IWSG. It keeps getting better.

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    1. I agree. The first 6 weeks have been exciting.

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  20. I committed the mortal sin of number one years ago. I've revised it twice since and eventually removed it from sale! I will never do it again. Still, you live, you learn. :) Thanks for co-hosting. X

    shahwharton.com

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    1. Thankfully, there is no such thing is a mistake. They're learning curves. Hi Shah. Thanks for visiting.

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  21. Good writing always inspires me to get back to work as well as the bad! There's been times I've read certain titles at my bookstore thinking, "We sell this? I could totally fix this." If I'm ever in a slump with my mysteries I can pick up Ross Macdonald or Agatha Christie's, Secret Notebooks and pumped to start typing again.
    Great post! Thanks for co-hosting!
    Best,
    Adrien e

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    Replies
    1. I do the same thing. I reach for the opening scene to any Stephen King book or Tom Harris. Thanks, Adrienne.

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  22. Thank you for co-hosting! I love your 5-tips especially the message to take your time. My students are always disappointed in that one:)

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    1. LOL. Yes, they are generally in a big hurry. I was the same in the beginning.

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  23. The idea of slowing down is perfect. And I agree that being a writer who publishes make you take much more care with your work. I hate finding mistakes after I put something out for others to read. I now cherish my editors. Thanks for being a co-host today and for the warm welcome to my new job. I really appreciate it.

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    1. You are very welcome, Lee. It's thrilling to have you on board.

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  24. That was a solid list for any writer...let alone just starting out. :) I get picky about POV too...especially head hopping. Thanks for hosting this month.

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  25. I agree that rushing to get a book out before it's really finished is a mistake. I do understand the temptation though!

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    Replies
    1. Me, too. Life is short. Or so it feels when you've just finished a huge undertaking.

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  26. Very, very good tips. I find it very hard to put down an ms & pick it up after a few weeks to look at it again, but I found over the publication process that every time I revised the darn thing, I'd spot another typo even though I was sure it was clean when I sent it off! Evil gremlins were sliding them in there, I tell you!

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  27. I personally think editing is essential. I know there are writers making money self publishing who don't use editors. I've met them. I've skimmed their books. Editors are necessary! Many of my non writer friends think editors are there only for typos. Editors help you develop content and steer the story toward stronger conflict. With so many options for authors to publish, there are also editors at a variety of costs. I'm navigating freelance editors as we speak and they definitely range in price, in what they do, and what they cover. Leaning on writer friends for recommendations is helpful. Thanks for a great post!

    Here's my February IWSG post: Stephanie Scott How I Read Now

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  28. 5 really great tips. Taking the time is important. I know it's so quick and easy to hit that publish button (if self-publishing) but waiting a little to make sure you are putting out the best product possible is a must. I touch on the editor thing in my post this month. Like everything else in this journey, it can be overwhelming to find the right fit in both personality and cost. I'll keep at it because I know that is an important step.

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  29. Great list, although I agree with Pat Garcia: 2 weeks are not enough time to develop fresh eyes. A story, especially a long story, like a novel, needs a break of a couple of months before you can see it with fresh eyes.

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  30. I love your statement that good writing makes you want to be a better writer! That is why, like you, I prefer to only read good books! And, I wish the writing process was not as hard. :-) Thanks for the tips and co-hosting this month!

    Liesbet @ Roaming About – A Life Less Ordinary

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  31. I didn't understand what it meant when people told me 'to not to rush things', but I definitely learnt quickly. I've learnt to give my writing lots of time to rest, as I can be a messy writer and I always need to do lots of cleaning up. I believe in using an editor,and I adore mine;) Congrats to the new admins! Exciting times for IWSG.

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  32. Your five steps runs parallel to my methodology. When I released my last book, I had 11 different drafts of the story. I used a series of editing websites to even and editor. Unfortunately, time was of the essence and I couldn't wait as long as I desired to before release. As important as that is, it sometimes doesn't work out the way you need it to. My next book will suffer from that as well.

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  33. "ps. good writing makes me want to be a better writer. "

    Amen to that. Nothing like a well written book to make me want to jump back into my manuscript and fix it up.

    Thanks for co-hosting this month's IWSG!

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  34. I agree with Chemist Ken. I try to read authors who are better than I to learn from them. Thanks for co-hosting this month's IWSG question. All the best to you!

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  35. "I'm playing hide and seek with my cat." That made me giggle. Although if it were my writing that made you do it, I don't think I'd be laughing. At all. ;)

    Thanks for co-hosting!

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  36. Quality first always. Something never to scrimp on. Thanks for cohosting this month.

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  37. Great points and tips, Joylene. It's funny how writing does that to us. Writing has made me a more discriminating reader, pretty much for all the reasons you mentioned. I often have this running conversation in my head about how the author might have changed something or how I can amp up my writing like that. I've found watching movies is a bit different now too. I look more at plot twists and things. Good post. Thanks for your insight! :)

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    1. P.S. You mentioned a post idea on my blog. Will look forward to reading it!

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  38. I can't tell you how many times I've read a book and wished I wrote it! Great writing definitely makes me want to be better. Can't wait for the anthology!

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  39. I can skip a mistake here and there, but you can always tell when it hasn't been edited at all. Then I get sad. :(

    Thank you for the mention. This is a great team and I'm lucky to be involved!
    Heather

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  40. Great advice!! Especially "Don't rush". I had to learn that one the hard way... a few times ;)

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  41. Great tips! I always try to set aside a new piece for a period of time before revisiting it. The only exception is when I see a theme that tweaks my interest just before the deadline.

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    1. I know what you mean. What did we ever do before WWW.

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  42. Don't rush writing those query letters, either.

    When playing with the cat is more attractive, you know the book has issues.

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  43. I like your 5 tips. Rushing is tempting, but never a good idea. :)

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  44. Great timeless advice. Your cat is a scene stealer!

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    1. I actually took a photo of him hiding. I should have posted it. Maybe I will.

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  45. If the characters move me, I can usually forgive anything. :)

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    1. I haven't had that happen yet. I generally can't read far enough into the story to care about the characters.

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  46. I lover re-reading my work after a break. It's when I find all the best mistakes. hehehe

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  47. Solid advice, Joylene.
    Great writing always gets my creative juices flowing.
    I love good dialogue...and twists and turns in a story just make my day.

    Thanks for co-hosting this month.

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  48. I agree that good writing can inspire. I suppose it could discourage some who might read and give up their own writing with a thought that they could never be as good. But that's why we need to just keep writing more and reading more.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  49. Great advice on what can unseat a reader...especially one that's a writer. I try to use reviews, samples, and blurbs to thin out my to read pile. Perhaps that leads to less DNFs. I also put my novels on back burners for around six months - which means that I am juggling multiple projects.

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  50. It's funny so many people have mentioned grammatical/spelling areas in this...I honestly don't mind those. I can't tolerate poorly-constructed plots or just stories that don't draw me in. If it's a compelling read, I'll overlook those errors, no problem.

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  51. Your tips for publishing an unputdownable book are spot on. I must remember them for when I've finished editing and re editing my WIP. Thanks for co hosting :)

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  52. Excellent advice, Joylene. Wishing you great success.

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  53. Wonderful tips!

    I definitely notice different things when I read now, but luckily most of the time it doesn't interfere with enjoying books. I think being an editor would be hard because then you would notice everything!

    ~Jess

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  54. As a blogger who just finished his first fiction piece, it's great to revisit this place. I love the encouragement and direction, Joylene. If I may, though - I think the word 'hurtles' near the end of your post should be 'hurdles,' right?

    Keep on keeping on! It's sites like this that help me believe I can always improve as a writer.

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