Monday, 19 November 2012

Welcome to My Guest Author: Laura O'Connell

Today I welcome Author Laura O'Connell to my blog!

So over to Laura...

Laura O'Connell

Criticism is scary, but it’s part of an author’s life. In order to receive good feedback from a review it’s important to choose a critic who is familiar with the genre in which you write. Separate your personal emotions from your professional role as a writer. It’s not you personally, they’re criticising, it’s your professional work. Keep that at the back of your mind and the reviewer’s negative comments will have less sting.
Before you hand your manuscript to a reviewer, communicate what you’re expecting from the critique.  Highlight areas you feel aren’t working and why you think they’re not working. This helps the reviewer to focus on those areas for you and it saves time for your critic and for you.

When you get a critique back from a reviewer, put your ego in your back pocket and sit on it. Receiving a review on your work can be harmful to the ego, but can be avoided if you look at it from the point of view that it’s going to make your writing better and increase the chances of getting an editor’s attention.
Remember always that there’s no such thing as perfect writing. Writing is an evolving process that grows organically into a living breathing piece of work that will excite and move your reader in a new and life changing way. None of us is perfect. What is perfect anyway?

When the critique comes back, skim over it quickly and try not to focus on the negative comments too much at this stage. Be aware of the positive feedback as you read and hang on to that. This is where your writing has worked. As you revise the work, you can add more of what’s working into the weaker writing.

After the first quick read-through, take time out to let the emotion that the skim read has evoked mix with your subconscious thoughts. I allow a couple of days for this part of the process. When you’re ready, come back and read the critique again. Then read the manuscript slowly so that you tap into your emotions as you read. Be aware of your physical reactions as well. If there’s a comment that gets your back up stronger than any other, highlight it. This section definitely needs looking at in more detail.

If you’re still not sure about the critique go back to my first statement. Getting a critique is scary, but looking at your work objectively will make it stronger, and much more publishable. A good critic helps you to understand yourself as a writer and where you fit in the publishing world. Watch for your ego, it likes to be out there, pull it back, be humble and continue to work toward your writing goals.
About Laura O'Connell:
Laura enjoys writing stories about second chances in love and life. She calls the Gold Coast home, however, her curious nature leads her on adventures to locations that surprise and delight her. Laura has a passion for telling a good story set in places where she has lived and travelled. Her first book, African Hearts, was shortlisted in the 2011 Caleb Prize.
Laura around the web:
Author Page

Book Blurb - Web of Lies:

High school sweethearts, Stephanie and Lachlan are torn apart by circumstance, bad decisions and a web of lies, leaving an unknown future for their son, Ryan.
Eight years later they reconnect, but the time apart has changed them. The family had made decisions based on lies and deceit and now must find a way to either reveal the truth or find another option. On the surface, their arrangements seemed flawless, but dig deeper, and the people they thought they knew aren’t as they appear.

Lachlan and Stephanie are forced to confront the consequences of their actions and the entire family is compelled to reveal the truth, find forgiveness, and renew loving one another. But the hardest decision is still to come … where does Ryan live?

Buy Links:
Amazon UK

Monday, 5 November 2012

Welcome to My Guest Author: Helen Lacey

Today I welcome Author Helen Lacey to my blog!  

To celebrate the release of Helen's second Harlequin Special Edition, Marriage Under The Mistletoe, she is giving away a copy to one commenter.  So over to Helen...

The Inner Editor


Helen Lacey

As much as I have tried not to at different stages in my writing career, I always edit as I write. Even though I am not a plotter and simply start with Chapter One and get into the story, I still edit myself page by page. I’ve never been the kind of writer who can do what is often called ‘dirty draft’ and then go back and fill in dialogue tags or add settings etc. I can’t write something that says ‘fix this’ in brackets mid-scene and then return later to flesh it out. Which means sometimes I am working on the same page for hours, wondering why it’s not working, and then making sure that it does work before I move on to the next page.
I have tried what I call the ‘sit and surge’ approach, but inevitably have to go back and edit the words and pages that I’ve done before I hit the save button and close down the computer  for that particular writing session. I stopped trying to force myself to plot my books out in advance a long time ago – but have found that editing as I go helps me stay within the framework of the story and keeps my characters true to theme. I do the usual character biographies, story outline etc, but I have found that if I plot in too much detail I often lose spontaneity and get easily distracted from the project. Not knowing what is going to happen next keeps me interested and invested in the characters I am writing about.
Of course, while I’m actually writing the first draft this approach sometimes doesn’t seem particularly time effective – but I have found that since I do edit as I write, when it comes to the latter stages of the manuscript’s development, I can polish and do any editorial revisions reasonably swiftly. Some books seem easier than others though, and often I’ll work with critique partners and/or a professional manuscript assessor to really fine tune any glitches and ensure the story is in the best shape.
But there is no right or wrong way and every writer has to find the process that suits their writing style. Essentially, the important thing is to write the best possible book every time.

Helen Around the Web:




Author Page



Marriage Under The Mistletoe:

Strong. Sensible. Dependable. That was Evie Dunn's type. Certainly not young, fearless gorgeous firefighter Scott Jones. She knew the wisest course was to keep her distance, but she couldn't resist the allure of a holiday fling. Now the widowed single mom found herself with an unexpected post-Christmas gift—she was having Scott's baby!

Scott came to Crystal Point to see his sister tie the knot, not fall for the alluring owner of the town's oceanfront B and B. He knew he was all wrong for Evie, but he would do anything to win her heart and build the family he'd always wanted. All he had to do was persuade Evie to take the biggest risk of her life…on love.
Read an Excerpt:


Buy Links:



Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

Book Depository