This is a hard question for me because I have many favorite authors. Each is my favorite for different reasons.
For emotionally grabbing my attention my favorite author would have to be Stephanie Myer. Not only in her Twilight books but also in the Host, she made me care for the characters and feel what they were feeling. In the Host, I cried when Wanda chose to die for her new friend, and host, Melanie.
J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the Lord of the Rings, wrote the best story world. He created many diverse inhabitants and creatures for Middle Earth, along with their own languages, cultures, histories, and clothing. His imagination and detail has captivated me ever since I first read his books.
The best plotter I’ve ever read, with many twists and turns, has to be the Snowflake Guy, Randy Ingermanson. Randy and John Olsen co-wrote, Oxygen and the Fifth Man, which are high tech books about the first manned flight to Mars. Both books are full of many surprises. Randy’s City of God series, based on an assassination attempt on the Apostle Paul’s life, kept me turning page after page into the wee hours.
Another of my favorites is John W. Otte. His skill is not only in writing great Christian YA books for boys, but in also showing emotions through his characters’ actions. In one action packed sentence, John can show emotions with Blu-ray clarity.
Who is your favorite author and why?
One of the many important aspects of writing dialogue is that each character has to have their own voice. Each of us speak and react the differently, and so should our characters. Over the years, I’ve tried different methods to ensure my characters have different voices, but none worked.
When I began my newest new book, I found pictures of my characters in magazines and online. I struggled with the dialogue and reactions of a serious, hard working female character in my first scene. A good friend popped into my head. I imagined how she would respond to the situation in that scene. It worked. Later, I added a snapshot of her next to my character’s picture.
Voila, in my mind, my character’s reactions and comments were easy to visualize and write.
So, when I need someone who is outgoing, verbose, friendly, I picture another friend and I immediately can picture how she would respond to any situation.
However, just a word of caution, don’t put too much of your friend in your story that it is obvious who you’re using. Below is a list of guidelines I follow.
* Use a different name for your character
* Use different situations, something your friend or family member has never been in
* Have them be a different sex, if possible
* Have them be different ages
* Don’t include all of your friend’s mannerisms
And most importantly, only use the good qualities of your friends and family members.
Have fun writing!
Who are beta readers and what do they do?
Since beta readers are usually strangers, they provide unbiased comments, whereas our family and friends don’t want to hurt our feelings. Beta readers come from different backgrounds, but they have one thing in common. They like to read.
Below are some details about working with betas.
* Send your manuscript to the beta using Google Doc, print, or e-reader, but always send your finest work. Critique groups can help get it the best it can be.
* Send a questionnaire with your manuscript listing areas you want focused on i.e. character growth, dialogue real and natural, etc. Since many betas read for content, inform the beta before you send your manuscript if you want something else.
* When you receive the beta’s suggestions, remember, we all have different tastes. Discuss any comments that you don’t understand. Later review their remarks. Use only the suggestions that are beneficial to your manuscript. Place the rest in a file to review later. Be sure to thank the beta reader.
* Betas aren’t usually paid, however, if your beta is a writer offer to read her manuscript.
* Make sure you thank the beta in the acknowledgement section of your book.
* Ask people at conferences and writers’ clubs if they know a beta reader. Online the best site I found was Wattpad. When searching for one, find one that loves to read the same genre as your manuscript.
Have you ever used a beta reader? If so, please, share your thoughts.
I don’t like change. Never have, never will.
,Now that that’s been said, I have to admit that I have changed the beginning of my book seven times. Yes, seven!
Okay, I’m having trouble getting the hook right. I’m also struggling with balancing backstory and adding just the right hints of my story world to engage readers.
A couple of weeks ago, I paid a professional to critique the first 50 pages of my book. I understand and agree with some of what she said and I will fix them. Some things I don’t agree with, so I’ll ignore those. However, some parts confuse me.
As I said, I’ve changed the first scene of my book several times, each time because of a suggestion by a contest judge, an excellent writer, or the agreed consensus of my writers’ group.
Now, what do I do, make the changes suggested by the professional? But, they’re different from the other suggestions. Do I delete the first three chapters, as suggested and start again?
So yesterday, I pulled out my writing books and began rereading them. I'll continue researching before I do anything drastic.
But where to start?
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by all the different comments?
What did you do? How do you know whose advice you should follow?
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