Today, the inimitable DL Hammons and Nicole Zoltack have organized the Deja Vu Blogfest where a group of us are resurrecting one of our favorite posts from the past year. I think this is a great idea because, if you are anything like me, you’ve probably missed a lot of great posts over the past year. Please follow the link and visit some of the blogs.
Since the release of my most recent book and the compilation of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s book occurred on the same day, I chose my post from October 1 to repost.
Today is the big day! How To Climb The Eiffel Tower is now available wherever you like to buy books. If you are in the central North Carolina area, please join me at the Barnes & Noble – New Hope Commons at 7:00 on Friday, October 3rd, to celebrate the book’s release.
Here is a little bit about the book and where to find it:
Blurb: Lara Blaine believes that she can hide from her past by clinging to a rigid routine of work and exercise. She endures her self-imposed isolation until a cancer diagnosis cracks her hard exterior. Lara’s journey through cancer treatment should be the worst year of her life. Instead, it is the year that she learns how to live. She befriends Jane, another cancer patient who teaches her how to be powerful even in the face of death. Accepting help from the people around her allows Lara to confront the past and discover that she is not alone in the world. With the support of her new friends, Lara gains the courage to love and embrace life. Like climbing the Eiffel Tower, the year Lara meets Jane is tough, painful, and totally worth it.
Someone recently asked me what advice I would give a new writer to help them along the road to publication. My first response is – don’t go it alone. Find some writer friends, either in real life or on the internet, and work together. The road to publication can be a long rough ride, bring snacks and a friend.
Early on in the writing process, you do need to spend a significant amount time sitting alone in your writing chair working out your story. Eventually though, you will need input and support. Find a critique group. Reading other writers’ work helps you to see the flaws in your own work and forces you to produce finished chapters on a regular basis. A critique group also helps you develop the thick skin that will be necessary to thrust your work out into the world of publishing.
As a new author, I had good luck finding other new authors through Meetup.com. I simply searched on writers groups within 25 miles of my house and found five groups to choose from. I tested out a few groups until I found a handful of pleasant, committed writers who wanted to form a critique circle. It has been a good experience because we were all starting out in our writing careers when we met and have supported each other through the ups and downs of revision and rejection. Several of us have been published in the last year and I am confident the rest of the group will attain their goals in the next year or so.
Another good resource for finding a critique group is Inked Voices. This on-line collection of critique groups connects people from all over the world according to genre or interests. I have been a member of this site since it began and have formed some excellent relationships with a group of writers. Unlike some other on-line groups I tried, I like how I am in a closed group of 8-10 writers that consistently critique each others work. For instance, this week I read the seventh chapter of a novel and could comment on how it moves the story forward because I had read the first six chapters.
A good critique group can be invaluable to a new author. The group can give you perspective on your own work. They don’t know all the backstory that is floating around in your head or what you meant to say in a particular paragraph. They only know what is on the page. Listen to what your critique partners say to you. If they find a chapter confusing, it’s confusing. Fix it. Don’t let anyone tell you how to write your novel, but do take what a trusted critique partner says seriously. A good reader can tell you exactly where the plot holes and inconsistencies are in your work. A good group can have a constructive conversation about your work and show you what a reader sees on the page, as opposed to what you thought you had written.