March 26, 2013

On My Shelf: Chesapeake Bay Series by Nora Roberts

I love Nora Roberts! She writes beautifully and in such a way that I envy. I especially have a passion for her J.D. Robb “In Death” series and her trilogies. I recently read her Chesapeake Bay series, which consists of four books about four “brothers”.

The first three books were published as a trilogy and these three books are exceptional. I felt as though I lived at the Chesapeake Bay and was a part of the family. The three men are described so well that I believed they were real, and wished that I had brothers just like them. The women are as fascinating as can be, and the young boy is remarkable. 

I highly recommend these three books to anyone who wants to learn how to create characters that your readers can fall in love with. I also recommend them because the books are very good! I love the two main characters in the second book “Rising Tides”, and the third book, “Inner Harbor” is where everything finally unfolds. It is the climax of the whole series!

However, there is a slight flaw, which lies in the fourth and last book, “Chesapeake Blue”. This was a book that readers eagerly waited for because they all wanted to read the young boy's story next. But I was disappointed. The book was... boring. It was just another romance story and nothing happened. To me, it seemed as though it was written just to be written, because readers wouldn’t be happy until it was. But as a reader, I wasn’t satisfied with the story. 
TIP: If you’ve written a book or a trilogy and find that another book is expected, the next book that you write must be better than the last. As a matter of fact, it should be better than them all! If it’s not, you don’t just risk lowering the standard of your work but disappointing your readers. Or losing them!
So if you have to write a sequel or add another book to a series, make sure that it lives up to its standards. Think long and hard about what should happen in the story, how you can raise the stakes even more, and whether it will ultimately satisfy the readers when they finish reading the last sentence. 
TIP: Even though you write for yourself, you need to also write for your future readers, because readers make all of your struggles worthwhile. There is nothing better than knowing someone enjoys and appreciates your work!

QUESTION: Do you have a book recommendation for me to read? If I like it or find it useful it might be featured as a book for an On My Shelf post.

March 19, 2013

Writing About: A New Baby

A baby is always a miracle! If it is in the cards for one of your characters to get pregnant and have a baby, you can have a lot of fun with it! Pregnant women are interesting and entertaining in real life and should also be in literature.

In your writing, don’t forget to describe your pregnant character’s looks: her growing belly, her glowing skin, and her smiling eyes. Tell your readers about her pregnancy too: her wacky cravings, her aching feet, her morning sickness, and how she deals with it all while forging ahead on her mission whether it’s becoming the top lawyer at her firm, finding true love, or saving the world from extinction.

Then when it’s time for her to give birth, don’t skimp on the details! Share with your readers every contraction and every moment until the baby is born. 
                   See Blog: Writing About: Childbirth
After the baby is born, don’t forget to include the little boy or girl in your writing. After all, a baby is still a character. Never underestimate the power of a baby! Anyone who has ever held a newborn knows exactly what power I am talking about. They captivate everyone’s attention in a room. And a baby in a book should captivate all the characters in your book too.

A baby can really add something special to your story so include the small addition into your writing whenever possible. It would be a real disservice to your character if you knocked her up (metaphorically speaking, of course) and described the labor only to push her baby to the sidelines. Or should I say the footnotes?

Finally, babies have personalities just like the rest of us. Give the baby in your book a personality that’ll make readers gush, laugh, or cringe (if you are writing a horror novel). Does the baby coo sweetly? Does the baby make funny faces? Does the baby have supernatural powers? If the baby is cranky, describe his/her tiny fists and loud wails. If the baby is happy, describe his/her gummy smile. Whatever mood an adult can have, a baby can have too so write it!

Let them have all of their baby glory!

QUESTION: Is there a baby in your story? Tell me about him/her! Is one of your characters expecting? Tell me about her pregnancy!

March 12, 2013

Topic: Writing A Series

I started writing when I was twelve years old and the series that I created then is the four-book series that I am finishing now. No one can ever tell me that writing a series is useless or that trying to get one published as an unpublished writer is impossible because I will not listen. Writing is my life! My series is my life! I am not writing it because I think it will get me published, I am writing it because it burns inside me, and I want to publish it to share it with others who would appreciate it.

Writing a series really shows your commitment to the art of writing, and to the love you have for the first book in the series. If you feel the undeniable urge to continue that story then that book you just wrote is a powerful creation. However, you shouldn’t write a series just to write a series. There has to be a reason for it; a story line that can be built upon and expanded through three or more books.

The role of the first book in a series is just like any other book. It has a beginning that captivates, a middle that informs, and an end that explodes. It introduces the characters and the story, but it also has to make readers want to read more.

The books that follow the first in a series have to grow and essentially get better. After all, no one wants to read a series where the first book is the best. What would even be the point of writing a sequel if it’s not as good as, or better than, the first? Essentially, the second book has to remember everything that happened in the first one, but at the same time it also has to create a new story.

What happens in each book has to quilt together even if the plots of each book are vastly different, which is the catch! A series is a segment of stories; each is different, but they are all linked together. 

Whether your series is four books long or thirty, each book has to grow. Perhaps not in pages but with the overall impact: what happens, what’s at stake, what the protagonist goes through, etc. Then the very last book has to tie all the books together with a tidy little bow. It also has to be more explosive than all the others. More importantly, it has to end the entire series, which is a big job.

Don’t feel daunted, though! Your characters will tell you how the series should end, so listen to them. If you do get stuck, take a step back to clear your mind. And don’t be afraid to rewrite!

QUESTION: How do you write a series?

March 05, 2013

Writing About: Childbirth

If you ever need to write the birth of a baby and don’t know where to begin, a good place to start is with the first contraction. What you don’t want to do is say the woman was brought into the delivery room and then sometime later the family is ushered in to see the happy mother and newborn baby. Instead, bring your readers into the delivery room. Reveal to them every detail of the birth.

·     Where and how does the woman’s water break? 
·     Does she go to the hospital, or does she give birth at home or in a car? 
·   Describe the commotion when she gets to the hospital. 
·    In the delivery room, what is the woman feeling? This should include her emotions and pain. 
·   What are the nurses doing to help her and the baby? 
·      Is the baby’s father in the room? Get into his head. Describe how he is feeling about becoming a daddy. Is he nervous for his wife?
Now comes the biggest part. Labor! Describe the contractions that grip her stomach and every ounce of pain. Explain what the doctor is doing and saying to the expectant mother. Is something wrong with the baby? Research childbirth to understand what could happen and what a doctor would do to bring the baby into the world safely.

Lead your readers through every step that the doctor takes until the baby is in the mother’s arms. And don’t forget to add emotion! Childbirth is always emotional! 

If you have given birth or witnessed the birth of a baby, you can use every detail from that experience that you can remember. Don’t worry though if you’ve never experienced childbirth because you can talk to someone who has or read books that have childbirth scenes. The internet can provide a wealth of information too.

Now what are you waiting for?! A baby is waiting to be born!

QUESTION: Would you ever write a childbirth scene in one of your books? If you have, how did you write it?