Wednesday, 25 August 2021

How to Write Your Book One Simple Step at a Time is now available on Amazon!

 

Click here to see more
I am thrilled to report, that my latest book is now published and available from Amazon. I would like to thank everyone (you know who you are), who helped with the final edit and proofread to get it to this stage. I hope it does well and would be grateful to any of you who read it, to post a review.

How to Write Your Book One Simple Step at a Time, is a guide and a workbook. It offers something that I found lacking in the help section for writers, although many books, videos, and podcasts have been published on the subject. They all take too much time to read or watch. Time that could be spent writing. Here, in short, one-page chapters, you will receive prompts that will get you moving toward completing your fiction, memoir, or creative non-fiction book. Read them in order and complete the assignment in each, before moving on to the next one, There is room in the workbook for your assignments and notes.

Here is the first review: 

An excellent, easy-to-follow guide to writing a book. It is well written and very informative; full of lots of helpful tips and advice, encouraging the reader to get writing, and work on their own manuscript. The book provides a structure to keep the reader focused, setting useful assignments in manageable chunks, so that they do not become overwhelmed by the task, and lose interest. Brilliant - a very useful guide and workbook. -- Elizabeth Bolan, author and editor.

Thursday, 14 January 2021

How Often Do You Write?

 This is the question a new writer posted on a forum recently.  Here is my answer: 

I write, read, research, edit, or critique every day. There is always one way or another to move my WIP (work in progress) forward. Sometimes it's by tinkering with my Scapple plotline, other times by sorting the chapters and creating a synopsis in my Scrivener project file. In between, I read authors I admire (Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje at the moment) to figure out how they create beautiful paragraphs. I also host a Writers' Group, (online at the moment), and update my two blogs, so that keeps me going every week. I have a deadline every Sunday at midnight by which time I must submit 3,000 words to my Scribophile group ready for a week of critiquing. And if I get stuck, there is always the Scribophile Forum to check. :)

Monday, 11 January 2021

Books written in the present tense.

 

I wrote my most recent book, a memoir, Atlantic Crossing in the present tense. This is not the most popular way to proceed. Most memoirs are written in the past tense. As in, "When I was a child, blah, blah, blah... and then I grew up to... blah, blah, blah." 

For example, Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen was written in the past tense. "I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills," she begins. 

But my choice of the present tense worked by immersing the reader in the story. And so, I decided to write my next book, Love and Loss, also in the present tense. 

Today, browsing Amazon, I noticed several books by well known and successful authors were written in the present tense. Here they are: 

Michael Ondaatje used the present tense in his memoir, Running In The Family. "What began it all was the bright bone of a dream I could hardly hold onto." 

Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace is written in the present tense. "Out of the gravel, there are peonies growing." 

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert begins, "I wish Giovanni would kiss me." Present tense. 

Good to see.

Saturday, 12 December 2020

How much detail should you include in your descriptions?

While writing, you want to describe the setting, the characters and the action. But do you need to describe the inside of a bathroom? Probably not. Do you need to describe in detail the character brushing his teeth? Not likely. Everyone knows what the inside of a bathroom looks like and what brushing teeth is all about. But you might want to describe the character as he or she looks in the mirror. And even there, not every detail. Just enough to give the reader an idea of age, sex, level of attractiveness, and attitude of the character to themselves.

"If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it's not going to be fired, it shouldn't be hanging there." - Anton Chekhov

and...  

"Good description is a learned skill, one of the prime reasons why you cannot succeed unless you read a lot and write a lot. It's not just a question of how-to, you see; it's also a question of how much to. Reading will help you answer how much, and only reams of writing will help you with the how. You can learn only by doing." - Stephen King, On Writing

Only describe details if they're important to the story. Or in other words, your descriptions should be the length of a girl's skirt: long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to keep it interesting.

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Inspiration

"The essential support and encouragement comes from within, arising out of the mad notion that your society needs to know what only you can tell."

John Updike

Think about this, the next time you are having difficulty writing. Someone out there will benefit from reading your book.

Thursday, 5 November 2020

Lefkas Writers' Group

 Summer is over and many of us cruisers have returned back to Lefkas Marina for the winter. It also looks like we will be under another lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps not an ideal situation for starting a writers' group, but perhaps it's the best we can do given the circumstances.

The first meeting was held at the Porto Cafe in Lefkas Marina to introduce the members to each other and set up the format of future meetings. Since the lockdown begins in the next few days, we will have to meet virtually.

Since most of us use Facebook, I started a group called Lefkas Writers' Group for future meetings and posts. 


Sunday, 19 July 2020

Atlantic Crossing, Chapter 1 audio podcast

My older son's job involves a lot of reading and computer work, so he no longer reads for pleasure. Instead, he listens to podcasts in his free time. Podcasts are becoming more and more popular for many busy people.
I am already doing podcasts for my online writer's retreat, so have decided to create another one of my new book, Atlantic Crossing, hoping that he will be able to listen to the book while driving. 
The first chapter is free for the next 90 days. If you enjoy it, click here to buy the book.





Friday, 17 July 2020

Scapple


I found a new writer's tool. It's called Scapple, created by Literature and Latte, who also created my other writing workhorse, Scrivener.
Scapple is an outlining, mapping and brainstorming tool. It's like a giant piece of paper or a bunch of index cards on a wall but much easier to use.
I have a new book on the go and the first day I used Scapple, I discovered many pieces missing in my manuscript. Scenes that I need to add and characters that I've forgotten about who are vital to the story. 
Scapple is compatible with Scrivener and much simpler so I would recommend it first for a beginning writer.
Check it out - it's money well invested.

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

My copies arrived!



Finally, my copies of Atlantic Crossing arrived from Amazon. I ordered 20 so that I had enough to send to my beta readers as a thank you for their effort and a few more to give out as gifts. 
Even though I know the story inside out, I flipped through the first pages as if in a bookstore and begun reading it once again. Nothing satisfies a writer better than finally holding a book you've written and published. 

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Hot off the press: Atlantic Crossing


As of today, Atlantic Crossing is available on Amazon.com  

It might take a few more days for it to arrive at some of the other sites, such as .de, .co.uk, .it and so on.
Check it out and if you decide to buy it, I would really appreciate it if you could please write a review on Amazon.Now on to the next manuscript...

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Line edit finished!

I just finished the line edit of Atlantic Crossing. Next - copy edit. To do that, I need to compile the manuscript and send it to the Grammarly program. A couple of my beta readers haven't finished reading yet. Should I wait for them? No. They've had enough time. The deadline for the publisher (me) is May 25. 
And here I might as well as tell you that I prefer to self publish. This way, I am in control of the process, there is no one breathing down my neck to get it finished, I can choose the cover as well as the title, and I don't have to travel to promote it in bookstores and libraries. I've always chosen freedom over money and this is just another example.

Thursday, 7 May 2020

The process of rewriting and editing

You've finally finished the first draft of what you hope will become a best seller or at least a good story to read to your grandchildren. Now comes the hard part -- rewriting and editing.
My process involves several steps:

  • Outline
    • This could become a table of contents or chapter headings. Some people do the outline first and then write the first draft. Others, write first and then structure. Either way works.
    • Divide your first draft into chapters of approximately 2,000 - 3,000 words. Try to begin each chapter with a hook and end it on a cliff hanger.
    • Arrange the chapters in such a way so that you have a beginning where you set up the scene and describe what is to happen, the middle of rising tension, and the end which provides the resolution following the climax.
  • Second Draft
    • Rewrite one chapter at a time, taking into consideration the above. Then put the manuscript away for a couple of weeks (or months) and let it rest.
  • Third Draft
    • Go through the manuscript once more with fresh eyes, polishing as much as you can.
  • Developmental Edit
    • Go through the manuscript noting the rise and fall of action and to see if the structure is working. 
  • Critiques (3-5)
    • Give the manuscript to the members of your writing group to critique. Make note of repeated comments.
  • Fourth Draft
    • Rewrite again, using your writing group's comments to improve the manuscript. Put it away for a couple of weeks.
  • Read it out loud
    • Using a voice recorder, read the manuscript out loud to yourself, and make changes where necessary. Then listen to the recording and repeat.
  • Beta Readers (3-5)
    • Give the manuscript to non-writers who enjoy your genre and are knowledgeable about the topic.
  • Fifth Draft
    • Make changes and rewrite taking into consideration beta readers' comments.
  • Line Edit
    • Go through the manuscript line by line.
  • Copy edit
    • Grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
  • Beta Readers level 2
    • Give the updated manuscript to a new set of Beta readers.
  • Final Draft
    • By now, you are probably happy with the result or fed up with it. It's as good as it gets. 
  • Title Page
  • Cover
  • Layout
  • Proofreading
    • One more round.
  • Publishing
  • Advance Reader Copy and reviews.
Finally, you are there. Another book in print and hopefully being enjoyed by all the readers. Don't linger too long - start another project!


Monday, 4 May 2020

Atlantic Crossing - on solitude and loneliness

The main theme of my new book, Atlantic Crossing, is one of loneliness versus solitude. 
In the beginning, the protagonist is alone and lonely in what seems like paradise. She lives on a sailboat in the Bahamas. She has enough money to live on and friends for company. She values her life and the beauty of nature that surrounds her, yet she misses someone with whom to share her life. But like John, a single man she meets there, who is looking for the perfect woman, she wants the perfect man. 
She invites James, an ex-boyfriend to help her cross the Atlantic. It is obvious that he is not the ideal man since they have already broken up. But she needs a crew and he is available. The second best as it were. 
During the voyage, she mulls over the benefits and drawbacks of being with someone she is not really compatible with and although they manage to coexist together, it is not a good partnership. 
Steven that she meets in Horta in the Azores, is on a different path and so there is nothing there either. 
Finally, at the end of the story, our heroine realizes that she is strong enough for whatever life might throw her way, learns to accept her aloneness, to depend only on herself and begins to enjoy her solitary life. She decides that being alone is much more preferable to being with just anyone.

Friday, 1 May 2020

Not Coming Home in print again.

Καλό μήνα. Good news. Lefkas Post, an online magazine for Lefkas Island, has reprinted, Not Coming Home, one of the chapters from my first book, Salt Water In My Veins in their spring issue. Thank you, Lefkas Post.