Painting WORD Pictures

En-route to the FICTION section in my local Barnes & Noble Bookstore, the cover of one of the children’s books displayed on a table caught my attention. The art work was breathtaking. I picked it up and flipped through page after page of mesmerizing illustrations. 

In my humble opinion, it is often the Illustrator (and not the author) that should be credited for the success of some of many of these so-called picture books.

I am not a Children’s Author. However, I have read many such books to my kindergartners over the years. And I realized as I stood in the bookstore that one of the things I liked most (and the students responded to) was the VISUAL.

But, writing FICTION, as I do, requires the ability to  paint the VISUAL of my stories with rich vocabulary… to use language to give readers that other dimension necessary for limitless enjoyment.

So when they browse the pages of my books, they too will be mesmerized with the VISUAL that only an author’s words can paint.

Five Things Writers MUST Do

I would say there are about twenty-five things writers need to do, but these top five are ESSENTIAL:

1- Know your audience and write for them.  I don’t write YA, but if I did, I would have to learn my readers’ interests… their unique vocabulary… popular phrases… wardrobe and hairstyle preferences… everything there is to know about them. No one—no matter how much they love to read—will invest the time in reading what doesn’t interest them or reflect their dreams and aspirations.

2 – Read. First and foremost, a good writer reads. Get to know what’s out there and how other authors approach their craft. All the while, read for fun and pleasure, too. After all, fiction writers must be able to offer their readers an enjoyable reading experience.

3 – Learn the writing “rules.”  Read books on plot, style, character, etc. Go to conferences. Talk to other writers. Ask someone to mentor you. (Don’t worry, after you learn the rules, you can grant yourself permission to break them!!! I’ll clarify. Don’t break all of them all of the time. Be careful. Pick and choose as you find your unique “voice.”)

4 – Make every word count. Be precise. I use a an average vocabulary because I want my readers to enjoy my stories and not have to look up unfamiliar words. I think this is good advice for most fiction. However, I can see that Sci-fi and some other genres may want to use a different standard. By reading other books in your genre, you will learn what to use for your specific story.

5 – Edit, Edit, Edit.  Mistakes in spelling, grammar, and punctuation stand out like a sore thumb and draw attention away from your story. Even though no book is perfect, you don’t want to be embarrassed by mistakes. Take your time. Use an editor, but also read through your own work several times before sending it off to them.genre

For Auld Lang Syne

 

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Many of us sang poet Robert Burns’ song “Auld Lang Syne” on January first.

Almost no one, however, remembers that those famous words mean “days gone by.” (I looked it up).

A friend tells me that she doesn’t like to read books that require her to keep a dictionary nearby so she can look up unfamiliar words.

She likes to read fiction for pleasure.

I found out that only half of Americans read at an Eighth Grade reading level.

And get this, when reading for fun and relaxation, people prefer to read TWO GRADE LEVELS BELOW what they are capable of reading.

You may want to keep this fact in mind if you are beginning to write a new book this year. In fact, I would suggest that before you publish the one you are currently writing, you pare down any difficult vocabulary.

Make your book a pleasurable read!