Friday, October 10, 2014

How To Improve One's Writing

Hello everyone.  To improve one's writing, one must learn new things.  It's as easy as joining a writing group to as time consuming as going back to school.

If your friends say you tell wonderful stories of your adventures or everyday life then you should write them down.  They may not be in perfect form, but you have started.  Maybe you have always told stories but only in your head, write them down.  It can be as detailed as you want.  Maybe you wake up in the middle of the night from either a wonderful dream or a nightmare.  Keep paper and pencil by your bed and write the dream down.  This is how you start to become a writer.

But, how do you improve your writing?  Maybe you were a natural in English class in high school and always did a great job.  But, if you are like most of us, you did okay, and could really use some improvement in the writing department.

The first thing you should do is join a writing league or writing group.  It all depends on the area you live in for what is available to you.  I am a member of the League of Utah Writers, the Oquirrh Chapter.  They have a meeting once a month.  Each meeting is different and provides valuable information.  Most meetings will have a speaker who will come in and talk about the craft of writing.  S/he will talk about grammar, syntax (the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences in a language), character study and development and anything else related to writing.  Always take a note pad and something to write with.  Some people like pens other people prefer pencils.  Just don't forget to bring them with you.

The second thing you should do is to take a class.  Although the presenters at our league meetings are usually published authors, they are not teachers.  They are just passing along what they have learned.  Take a class.  Your local community college may offer a night class for several  weeks.  It could be specific or generic.  Specific it could be a class to learn how to write poetry, film/TV scripts or novels.  Generic, it could be just how to improve your writing.

Your other option for taking a class is to actually go back to school.  And that is my plan.  My plan is to return to school and earn a BA in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing and a Minor in Publishing Studies.  Now, going back to school may not be ideal for you.  But you can still take a class here and there to help improve your writing.

As your writing improves so will your chances of publication.  Always take the opportunity to learn something new.  If you're already a published author, take the opportunity to give some of your writing wisdom/knowledge to those who are wanting to learn the craft.  It will be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Write From Your Everyday Experiences and Knowledge

What makes the best writers?  Is it perfect grammar? Is it having a way with words? Is it being highly educated in the English language or whatever language you write in?  All of these things help, but the answer is NO.  What makes the best writers?  It is people who write what they know and experience.

A good example would be Clive Cussler who writes adventure stories surrounding History and water.  He is an underwater archaeologist.  Another example would be Jane Austen.  Some people believe she wrote romance stories.  She did not.  What she actually wrote was the shenanigans of what went on in her everyday life.  There just so happened to be some romance involved in the nonsense that went on in her circle of friends and family.   Hemingway wrote of his experiences around the world.  That’s what makes his stories so compelling.  Another example is Zane Gray who wrote about cowboys and the West.

Of course there are exceptions to this rule.  One would be the genre of science fiction.  This is stuff made up from someone’s imagination.  And boy, do some people have an imagination.  A good example would be Frank Herbert who wrote the Dune Trilogy.  The other genre would be fantasy.  Again, people writing in this genre write about things they have made up.  A good example for a fantasy writer would be Hans Christian Anderson.

So, what am I telling you?  It’s simple.  If you are writing a medical novel then you should know something about the medical field and then use your experiences while working in medicine.  You want to write novels set in the West and you’ve never been, then go visit.  Phyllis A. Whitney did just that.  She wanted to set a book in a certain city or country she would go and live there for six months.  She would get the feel of the place, get maps, and walk everywhere.  Her daughter would go with her and be her secretary.  She wrote at least one book a year from 1947 to 1994, totally more than 60 novels.  Her last novel was published when she was in her 90s.

But on the other hand, if you want to write a novel that involves murder, DO NOT become a murderer.  Read a lot on local murders in your area, talk with a detective and read books by others who write murder novels.  This is one area where I will tell you, you do not need experience in, in order to write about it.

The next thing you need to do is to buy a small notebook with lined paper and an elastic band that keeps it closed.  That way the pages don’t get mangled.  Keep it in your purse or your backpack or in your pocket.  When you see something or hear something or experience something, you can write it down.  You don’t have to write it down exactly how it happened, just the gist of it.  Sometimes when writing, you’re not sure of what your character is to do next.  That is when you can open your notebook and start reading about what you've seen, heard and done.  You may find exactly what you need.

Also, along with a journal in your purse or pocket, you should keep a notebook and pen/pencil next to your bed.  That way, when you wake from a dream, you can write it down before it disappears.  Keep that paper handy.

So, you now have experiences or you have done your research, what should you do?  You write your book of course.  I like to write down my character names and a bio on them.  Almost all of my characters will get both a first and last name.  Not all of the last names will appear in my story, but having a last name sort of completes my character.  Some people like to sit and just write whatever comes into their head.  Some people like to outline everything before they write.  That is completely up to you.  But write what you know or what you have done a good research job on and use your daily experiences in your writing.

Monday, September 15, 2014

3 star review for Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop

Otto Penzler is a book publisher/editor who also runs a mystery book bookshop.  It is in New York City, although no longer at its original location.  From 1993 to 2009 he asked famous mystery writers to write a tale he could hand out to his customers at Christmas time.  There were just three requirements: must be set at Christmas time, must be a crime/mystery/suspense story and part of the action must take place in his bookshop.  These are very short stories and although the book said they were written by well known/famous mystery writers, I only recognize three of the names: Ed McBain, Anne Perry and Mary Higgins Clark.  With that said, I checked the book out of the library.  I know it's not Christmas and we haven't even had Halloween yet, but I was curious to see what these people wrote.

I did not read all of them.  They were okay, but really not impressive.  It was good light reading, but some of the stories have, what my mother would call, "salty" language.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

zero Star review for The Ghost and the Dead Deb

What?  A zero star you ask?  Correct.  A zero star.  I hate it when an author writes a wonderful and then dirties it up with vulgar words.

Cleo Coyle writing as Alice Kimberly wrote a great book.  The story was fantastic.  This is a second book in a series of six.  Unfortunately, this pair of writers decided the best thing to do was to drop the f-bomb when you were about 30 pages from the end.  How sad.  They completely made their story worthless. I did a Google search and found out this is a husband and wife writing team writing under two different fake names.  That doesn't make it any better.

Why do otherwise extremely talented people feel it necessary to add vulgarity to their stories?  I don't get it.  I don't use the f-bomb, I have never used the f-bomb and the same goes for using the Lord's name as a curse word.  It is only people who can't express themselves intelligently or want to go with the flow that use this kind of language.  What crap these two turned out to be.  Sad too, I wanted to read the other books.  Glad to know not to waste my time.



Tuesday, August 5, 2014

One Star Review of Deadly Undertakings by Gregg Luke

I am not happy with this author.  I hate it when men have their lead female characters act stupid.  If he wanted a stupid character then he should have had the male MC be stupid.  Leave us women alone.

I liked the blurb on the back of the book.  It made the story sound great.  And it was great for the first 148 pages out of 288.  Then, his very smart character did a very stupid thing.  AT that point I didn't care if she survived or not.  Each choice has a consequence.

I read bits and pieces of the next few chapters and then jumped to the last ten pages.  I'm glad I didn't bother to read the whole thing.  I'm also glad I bought the book on a discount table.  That way I didn't waste too much money on it.  I won't be buying another one of his books.

The reason he got one star is because the first half of the book was really good.  But that's the only reason he got one star.

I can't suggest this book nor the author.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

New Indiegogo campaign

Hello Everyone.  I have a new indiegogo campaign.  It is shorter and the perks are better.  Stop by and help.  Thanks.

Brenda

Brenda's Indiegogo campaign


Friday, June 27, 2014

Indiegogo campaign update

Hello everyone,

Today's update is I have 7% of what I am trying to raise and only 9 1/2 days left to get the other 93%.  I could really use some help from my followers and their friends.  Please stop by.  Every $5 or $10 will help me get closer to my goal.  Please repost on your blog to help get the word out.  I would really appreciate it.  You can donate from anywhere in the world; not just in the US.

Please go to Brenda's Indiegogo campaign .  There are share buttons for Facebook, Twitter and google share.  Also, if you are on LinkedIn you could post it there too.  Please help me get the word out there.

Your help is greatly appreciated.  Thank you very much.

Brenda
An Aspiring Writer


Monday, June 16, 2014

Indiegogo dot com funding

Hello followers,

I am doing a fund raising campaign on Indie gogo dot come.  I could use your help.  If you can't contribute, please go to the website and forward it on to your friends.  I think the perks as a thank you gift for funding are great.  Check it out.

Thank you,

Brenda

Brenda Gallaher's Indie gogo dot com

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Review of "The Case of The Glamorous Ghost" by Erle Stanley Gardner

Okay, so you ask, who is Erle Stanley Gardner??  First off he was an attorney who turned to writing.  His most famous character is Perry Mason.  The original TV series was done from his books, with a lot of the episodes coming straight from the novels or short stories.  You can find more information on Gardner here, Erle Stanley Gardner.

The Case of The Glamorous Ghost was original published in 1955 and republished in 1992.  The story opens with a young woman, dressed only in a slip and raincoat, dancing in the dark where a young couple is sitting in a car.  It goes downhill from there for the young lady.

It's a typical Perry Mason novel.  His client is a trouble maker, a young wild girl.  She's motherless and just does as she pleases.  Her older half-sister is concerned for her and some of the problems she has caused.  The young lady states she has amnesia, but no one believes her.  Does she have amnesia?  The reader isn't quite sure until the end.

Mason's client lies to him, lies to her family and is keeping a secret.  And then there is the amnesia.  And the jewels?  Who do the jewels belong to?  Where did they come from?  Should Mason bring them out into the light?

And of course, what good is a Mason novel without the playful banter between him and his secretary, Della Street?  It's been a decade or so since I've read a Mason novel and forgot how well these two characters interact with each other.  She calls him Chief all of the time in story.  If you've watched the old TV series, 1957-1966, then you can see Raymond Burr, actor, as Perry Mason [Raymond Burr Vineyard] and Barbara Hale  as Della Street [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Della_Street].  Although in this particular story Paul Drake isn't in it much, there's more Della Street, you can still see William Hopper as the character.

The novel is one of the best one.  Some of the earlier ones are better, but from the 1950's this is one of the better ones.  If you want a light read, with some great character interaction, then this is the novel for you.  Give it a try.  Gardner's books are not like the gritty, in your face, gory books that are written today.  But they are fun to read and a lot of them keep you guessing.  I love the way this one ends.

Raymond William Stacy Burr
Barbara Hale

William Hopper

Monday, May 26, 2014

Welcome to the blog tour.  I was invited to participate by Tara.  Her website is: www.taramayoros.com  Stop by her site and browse around.  But for a teaser, here is her bio:

Tara Mayoros is an author, artist, baker, music teacher, gardener, and nature lover.  She sees the beauty in the process, and the miracle of creation.  The mountains are her home and they cal to her whenever she finds herself in need of inspiration.

Her debut Women's Romance Novel BROKEN SMILES is set for a fall release by Astraea Press.

                                          **********************************
Now, for a little more information on myself:

What am I working on?

I am working on a historical novel set in 1939 Louisiana.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

That's a good question and I'm not sure how to answer it.  Since I am in the beginning process of this new novel, I am not sure of its voice yet.  The story is told from the perspective of an 11 year old girl, but have not decided if it's for middle grade readers or adults.  I will know once the story takes more shape.

Why do I write what I do?

The story that I write at any given time is the one that won't leave me alone.  The characters talk in my head and plague my dreams until I open a Word document and start to write.  Then they really go to town until I write on a consistent basis.

How does my writing process work?

My first historical novel I plotted things on paper and then wrote from there.  I didn't care much for the process, but completed the book that way.  Now, when I write, I just sit down and type what goes from my mind to my fingers to the keys on the laptop.  Before hand though, I do figure out the main characters and give them each a bio.  That way, when I write about them, I already know them.  I know their likes and dislikes, what they look like, their age, their abilities or disabilities and whether or not if they are a good or bad person.

Thank you for joining the blog tour and I hope you have enjoyed it.