the Unending Journey of the Wandering Author

A chronicle of the unending journey of the Wandering Author through life, with notes and observations made along the way. My readers should be aware I will not censor comments that disagree with me, but I do refuse to display comment spam or pointless, obscene rants. Humans may contact me at thewanderingauthor at yahoo dot com - I'll reply as I am able.

Location: New England, United States

I have always known I was meant to write, even when I was too young to know the word 'author'. When I learned that books were printed, I developed an interest in that as well. And I have always been a wanderer, at least in my mind. It's not the worst trait in an author. For more, read my writing; every author illuminates their heart and soul on the pages they write upon.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Would-Be Writer's Dream

A short while ago, I had an incredibly valuable experience. I was chosen to act as beta-tester for Holly Lisle's new e-book, How To Write Page-Turning Scenes. As I've noted here before, I am an affiliate of Holly's online shop, but I'd be excited about this book even if I wasn't.

What makes it so special? First of all, like most writers, I've bought and read a lot of writing books. Few of them did much to help me improve my writing, but I kept searching. Holly Lisle is an author who has been writing, and selling her work to publishers, for some time. She has clearly spent a lot of time thinking about, and analysing, the processes she uses.

She does not lay out a set of rules for you to follow. She teaches you about a set of tools that might help you. It is a key difference. In my own case, reading How To Write Page-Turning Scenes did not reveal any secrets that were a surprise to me. So why am I so excited?

Simply put, I understand all the things I've learned to do as a writer much better, so I can settle down to writing more effectively. I've spent years writing, working on drafts, getting stuck on novels, everything every writer does. I've been at it long enough that in my case reading How To Write Page-Turning Scenes didn't add any new tools to my toolbox, but it did clean up, adjust, and sharpen every tool I already had in there.

If you're already happy with how quickly and well you write, if you've got a few novels under your belt and don't feel the need for any improvement, then you won't want this book - although I suspect even then it just might make you a bit better at writing. If you have novels you're stuck on, you need this book. One reading, and I could see ways to make progress on novels I've been stuck on for over a dozen years. If you only want to write short fiction, or non-fiction, this book may not help you, although understanding what it takes to make a novel work might just aid you even in those other areas.

What if you're just starting out, and don't even have enough written to be stuck halfway through a novel yet? Well then, you have even more to gain. This book has done an incredible amount for me, and it accomplished that in a weekend. You may need months to work through it and take in all it has to offer, but in those months, you'll make as much progress as I did in ten years or more of writing.

One key secret to writing well is to keep practicing. I wish I had this book ten or fifteen years ago. I would have spent more time learning all it had to offer, but then I would have been much further ahead, and I'd have that much more time in my life to practice what I learned. I know writers don't have a lot of money, but this book is more than worth it.

If reading it once isn't enough for you, go back and read it again. Do the exercises. Learn all that you can, and enjoy the benefits. I suspect some of you are remembering that I'm an affiliate, and wondering if I'm getting this carried away just because I get a commission if you buy a copy.

First of all, Holly Lisle made a deliberate decision to keep the price down, and sell a course easily worth more than a hundred dollars for much less. She offers fair commissions, and I'm not complaining about that, but each sale doesn't exactly make me an amount of money I'm going to get carried away over.

I may also be self-conscious about my work sometimes, as most writers are, but I'm also proud enough of what I've learned I'm not suddenly going to gush over how much better a writer I am now (thus making myself seem so much less of a writer before) unless I believe that to be true.

Finally, whatever your opinion when you read the book, I've given you my honest opinion and I can hold my head up. If I spouted a lot of advertising copy just to sell something to you, I'd be too humiliated to ever face anyone again, which would defeat the whole purpose of trying to sell things online.

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