A Flash of Insightful Awareness

The sun rises big and orange through the early morning mist. In that instant I have a flash of insightful awareness: never apologize for self-publishing. It is an art and a gift. (Photography credit: Wayne Reidinger).

Self-publishing allows an author to put his/her work out there for the pleasure of others without the pressure of an editor’s deadline for the next book. A manuscript is like a fine wine that grows in richness and flavor with time and patience.

You cannot–must not–rush the process.

Lynda Purinton of New Gloucester, ME, says of Beware the Sleeping Dog self-published under my plum de nom K.A. Libby: I so enjoyed (the book). I was hooked at the first paragraph. I didn’t figure out who the villain was and look forward to reading more. You are amazing!

 

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Excerpted from “The Top 10 Elements of a Book People Want to Read” by Helga Schier, PhD

From the Writer’s Digs by Brian Klems, Guest Column | March 16, 2015, Helga Schier, PhD: So you’ve got a great idea and you want to write a book. Go for it, I say, because these days, anyone can publish a book. Self-publishing empowers the writer in all of us. Nonetheless, quality still matters. Why? Because we don’t just want to publish, we want to publish successfully; we want to publish books people want to read. And that takes more than a good idea. That takes craft.


I’ve listed the headings of her ten elements below and offered my interpretation of how to apply them to my writing. If you are reading this, your input is welcome. How would you apply her 10 elements to your writing?
Dr. Schier says: Aim for High Readability (i.e. High readability books are “polished, refined, sophisticated, and mature” in “surface structure, style and voice, and content.”

[Did you know there are 7 reasons writing a novel makes you a badass? Read about them here.]

I haven’t reached my hoped for sales levels on my kindle book offering of “Beware the Sleeping Dog”. Cassandra Becker in Goodreads wrote of my mystery: “Really liked the character development as well as the writer’s descriptions of scenery, conflicted emotions, and untangling of old business.” I loved her comment but her 3 stars out of 5 tell me I have work to do on my current manuscript. But where do I focus? How do I apply the unspoken? Continue reading

Building Suspense

I just read an article in “The Writer’s Dig” by Brian Klems that particularly tweaked my interest. It was an interview of Elizabeth Simms, the author of The Lillian Byrd Crime and the Rita Farmer Mysteries series, on how to build suspense in your writing. There were actually twenty-one points of value, several of which I highlight here.

Fray an end. … On the page, little odd things that are not quite in order can create a subtle sense of tension in any scene. Think dangling apron strings, a guttering candle, a loose window latch, a jammed copy machine.

To me Louise Penny does that masterfully in Still Life. The example I’ve chosen is not subtle like a guttering candle but yet is an oddity that fueled my imagination: “Gamanche wondered about this woman who had chosen to live with so many secrets for so long, then chosen to let them all out. And died because of it? That was the question.”

In my mystery Beware the Sleeping Dog, I used it (hopefully with success). I.e. “Velcro peeked at me through the slit (in the box springs). I pulled her out and held her close. Her ears twitched and she swallowed a few times before she relaxed into my arms. She’d never behaved like this before. Had something frightened her?” and “It seemed strange that nothing else but the picture of the three of us was disturbed. Premonition pricked at me, but I shook it off.” Continue reading

Smartening Up Your Protagonist

I read something recently attributed to Jane Fitch about “smartening up” your protagonist. How might I accomplish this? I’m pondering ways to incorporate this process into my novel-in-progress. Below are some ways I experimented with this in my first mystery which I wrote in the first person narrative.

• Looking (absorbing her surroundings, investigating situations, regarding others).
Was I in danger from the person who tracked me? Would he still be able to follow me even though I’d removed the GPS unit? What was I to do? I couldn’t even identify the person responsible for violating my privacy. Continue reading