Dramaquill's All Things Writing

May 31, 2011

Bookdaily.com

Arts Blogs - Blog Top Sites Bookmark and Share BookDaily.com is pleased to announce that Jacqueline McMahon will be featured on the popular book sampling site – joining the ranks of the most famous authors in the world. As a featured author, the first chapters of McMahon’s books are now available to thousands of readers to sample – free of charge. At BookDaily, book fans can browse, search and read first chapters from a selection of more than 80,000 titles. McMahon is currently promoting When Love Won’t Die, a suspense novel about what can happen when your past catches up with you.Visit McMahon’s  website at https://dramaquill.wordpress.com and their BookDaily page as well http://www.bookdaily.com/userprofile/authorprofile Like many other authors, McMahon is making use of the quick and easy tools BookDaily offers for writers to market their books. Launched in May 2009, BookDaily has rapidly become the leading source of book samples by email. More than 10 million sample chapters have been distributed through BookDaily.com and through the site’s email subscriptions.  The site is a division of ArcaMax Publishing, the leader in consumer news and entertainment by email. Jacqueline McMahon  jacqueline@tbaytel.net

May 30, 2011

How do you handle negative feedback?

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I’ve always been a firm believer in getting constructive criticism on my work. I belong to a critique group and have nothing but the utmost respect for the other members. I know that they spend a great deal of time reading what I submit for critique. They see things not only through the eyes of other writers but as readers as well.

As a writer, I need to write what I’m passionate about but I also need to write for my readers. If nobody enjoys reading my work, then I’m no longer effective as a writer. I don’t want my writing to be self-indulgent.

But the very nature of asking for feedback means that people are going to tell me what they think. That’s right – what THEY think. Not what I want them to think. Sometimes, they don’t like what they read.

So how do I handle negative criticisms?

First of all, they have to be constructive. A comment like “This chapter sucks” is neither constructive nor helpful. But comment like “This chapter had a lot of description and not much action and I found that it didn’t hold my interest” give me something to think about.

When I get negative feedback, I have a three-fold plan for how I deal with it:

DIGEST

SIMMER

DECIDE

Upon initial reading, it’s often hard to see past the criticism. Instead of having an immediate reaction, I try to just read through everything to get an idea of what the reader thought. Then, I put the critique away so that I can digest everything that’s been said.

Next, I leave the writing to simmer for a few days. Usually, I get antsy to get working on it again and that’s my meter for how long to let it simmer.

Finally, I go back and read every comment, one at a time, and decide whether or not I agree with what has been said. If I do feel inclined to try the critiquer’s suggestion, then I do some rewriting and see what happens. If the changes truly do make it read better, then I’m grateful for the suggestion. If not, sometimes I let it simmer some more. If I strongly disagree and don’t feel that the comment warrants any rewriting, then I leave my original words.

It’s difficult to receive feedback, especially when it’s not positive but if it’s constructive, then it warrants my attention.

I have had what I’ll refer to as “mean” critiques (not from my current group who I’ve been with for many years now). It’s hard not to let those comments bring you down and question your writing but I’ve come to the conclusion that when someone just rips your work apart without a valid reason or explanation, then I need to just toss that aside and instead, rely on the comments that can and do make my writing better.

How do you handle negative criticisms?

May 26, 2011

When Love Won’t Die

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Just found a new site that’s selling my ebook.  Thanks for Red Rose Publishing for continuing to help promote their authors and books online. 

When Love Won’t Die.

May 16, 2011

What is it that makes a really great writer great?

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Ever since I embarked on my writing  journey, I’ve read everything I could get my hands on where writing is concerned.

  •  Articles on show, don’t tell. 
  • Interviews with agents and editors on what works when submitting and what turns them off immediately. 
  • Discussions on POV

I’ve also been an active participant in two online critique groups, as well as joining writers’ organizations and attending writing conferences.

But I still have to wonder:  What is it that makes a really great writer great?

Here are a few things I think help contribute to a writer’s greatness:

  • unique voice
  • consistency in the writing
  • strong, solid plots
  • characters that behave like real people (readers can relate to them)
  • stories that surprise and entertain us
  • descriptive writing that immediately paints a vivid visual

Above all, however, I think it goes deeper than the ability to craft an amazing story. 

To me, a great writer is passionate about the entire process.  These aren’t just words on a page.  It’s time invested in painstakingly scupting every detail until it’s the absolute best writing it can be.  A great writer writes what stirs them up – stories they have to tell.

Don’t write to market trends.

Don’t settle for anything less than your best writing…ever.

Don’t sub pieces out without doing your homework on the publishers you’ve chosen.

But what is the biggest thing that makes a really great writer great?

NEVER GIVE UP!

May 10, 2011

E-books vs. Print – the debate continues

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The world of modern technology moves faster and faster with each passing day.  We already know that whatever new gadget or program we purchase, it’ll probably be obsolete by the time we get it home as developers work on the next generation.  There’s always something faster and better just around the corner.

As writers, we are faced with new technology when seeking publication of our manuscripts.  There’s the traditional print book, the POD (print on demand), books on CD Rom and e-books. 

Many see the surge of popularity toward the e-book as the downfall of the printed hard copy, but as an author whose first novel has come out in e-book format, to be followed by print, I can attest that a large majority of followers still prefer having an actual book in their hand, something they can display on their bookshelves.

E-books have been around a lot longer than one might think.  According to Wikipedia, the earliest e-book, developed for just a select few, was in 1971.  The nineties saw the addition of books on floppy disk and CD Rom.  By the mid ninetees, ebooks appeared online and at the turn of the century, large publishers, like Random House, began selling this digital version as well.

So are e-books going to replace the paper version anytime soon?  This author doesn’t think so.

What are the advantages of buying e-books?

  • often cheaper
  • an e-book reader can hold an entire library
  • one can carry their library with them, all inside a device smaller than many print books
  • books can be downloaded and read instantly (no waiting to order)
  • e-books can be downloaded and read on your computer (no need to buy a device)

The e-book reader and this digital technology hasn’t been embraced by everyone.  It’s not likely that schools will be able to afford to order e-book readers for all kids enrolled, so the paper version of books will likely line library shelves for quite some time.

Many individuals do not want to have yet another gadget, or are not willing to learn new technology and feel that print books are a simpler way to get their reading done.  Many say that holding a book in their hand is still a feeling they enjoy.

But for authors trying to break into the publishing world, there are many e-publishers offering traditional contracts who might just be a little more willing to take a chance on a new author because creating an e-book doesn’t cost as much as a print run.

Does this mean your writing doesn’t have to live up to its highest standards?

Absolutely not!

Are e-books all self published?

NO – this is a myth that many less informed individuals subscribe to, thus impeding their switch to the digital format.

If you do decide to purchase an e-reading device, there are several out there to choose from including Amazon’s Kindle, the Kobo, the Sony e-reader and my favorite, the iPad, which is a tablet computer, not just an e-reader.

http://www.amazon.com/Kindle

http://www.kobobooks.com

http://ebookstore.sony.com/reader/

http://www.apple.com/iPad

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