Tag Archives: Writing process

What Are Your 2016 Writing Resolutions?

Posted by January 5th, 2016

Happy New Year with Nib 625

Quick, while the new year is still fresh: It’s time to make your 2016 writing resolutions!

What’s that? You haven’t made a writing resolution for the new year yet? If not, here are some ideas:

  • Finish a draft of my novel.
  • Workshop my novel on Book Country.
  • Grow my following of writers and readers on social media.
  • Design a cover for my book.
  • Start a blog.
  • Sell more copies of my eBook.
  • Read more books in my genre.
  • Go to more readings and writing events.
  • Start a new project.

See? That wasn’t so hard. Whether or not you’ve given it a lot of thought yet, share your 2016 writing resolutions here. Here’s to writing together as a community on Book Country in the year ahead!

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NaNoWriMo: Building Good Habits by Andrea Dunlop

Posted by November 9th, 2015

Nano cloudsLast week we posted about the awesome sweepstakes Girl Friday Productions is running for NaNoWriMo participants. As we kick off week 2 of Nano, we check in with Book Country member Andrea Dunlop (social media and marketing director at GFP and author of LOSING THE LIGHT, coming from Atria Books in February 2016) for tips on making the writing habit sustainable over time.

What do you need to make it as a writer? Talent? Ambition? Discipline? An enormous trust fund that allows you to quit your day job?

Sure, you need those things (okay, not the last one, but it couldn’t hurt). But whether your version of “making it” is getting through your 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo this year, getting a six-figure book deal, or anything in between, you definitely need good habits, because without them, none of the rest of these things will matter.

What I love about NaNoWriMo is that its very concept dispenses with any precious notions of what it means to write a book. NaNo does not concern itself with airy-fairy visions of the muse alighting on your shoulder and inspiring greatness; the only goal is to reach the word count. Technically this means that you could write the sentence “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” five thousand times in a row and complete the NaNoWriMo challenge, though we all know that doesn’t end well for the author. (On a related note, if you ever find yourself saying, “You know, if only I could get somewhere really isolated and quiet where I didn’t have any other responsibilities, I could definitely get my novel done,” you should probably watch The Shining.) Continue reading

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10 Books to Help Improve Grammar and Writing Basics

Posted by September 28th, 2015

Penguin editor and YA author Meg Leder offers the Book Country community a terrific tool: a list of excellent books on grammar and writing basics. Stock your personal library with these guides to grow both your confidence and your craft as a writer.

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Books on Grammar Guidance

Worried your writing is rife with grammar and spelling errors? These great guides will help you polish your work.

  • Woe Is I by Patricia T. O’Conner: Down-to-earth guidance that de-mystifies the confusing world of grammar, spelling, and pronunciation.
  • Words Into Type, Third Edition by Marjorie E. Skillin and Robert Malcolm Gay: Definitive and credible source for writers on manuscript etiquette, copyediting, style, grammar, and usage.
  • Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies by June Casagrande: If you’re tired of the grammar police but still need to learn the basics, you’ll love this humorous and lively approach to learning grammar. Also check out the author’s other book, Mortal Syntax, for another fun guide—this time on frequently attacked language usage choices.
  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White: This classic style manual is a must have for any writer.
  • Literally, the Best Language Book Ever by Paul Yeager: A wry and opinionated examination of trite, trendy, grammatically incorrect, inane, outdated, and lazy uses of words, phrases, and expressions.
  • The Copyeditor’s Handbook by Amy Einsohn: A dynamic manual for both newbie authors who want to learn the ropes and writing veterans who want to hone their craft.

Continue reading

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Natalie Baszile quote: “When I get too bogged down . . .”

Posted by July 31st, 2015

Natalie Baszile quoteNatalie Baszile quote

Want more writing wisdom from authors? Check out our Author Interviews.

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5 Tips for Forming a Daily Writing Habit by Eve Karlin, Author of CITY OF LIARS AND THIEVES

Posted by June 29th, 2015

5 Tips for Forming a Daily Writing Habit by Eve Karlin, Author of CITY OF LIARS AND THIEVESEve Karlin, author of CITY OF LIARS AND THIEVES, shares 5 tips for forming a daily writing habit.

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Persistence Is Key

For me, it is important to have a designated time and place to write. I think J.K. Rowling wrote the first book in the Harry Potter series in one coffee shop. Personally, I need a quiet place with few distractions, and it needs to be the same place every day. My desk is on a landing at the top of the stairs next to a window that overlooks our front yard. My dictionary, thesaurus, and research books are within arm’s reach—so there is no excuse to get up. On the bulletin board in front of my computer, I have an article entitled “In Writing Persistence is Key.” When I wrote CITY OF LIARS AND THIEVES, I hung portraits of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, a photo of the well where the murder took place, and a map of 18th century New York. Not only did these things inspire me, they helped me write better descriptions in my novel.

Some writers use outlines. I keep a table of contents to record what happens in each chapter and jot down ideas for later chapters. I also keep a “recycle file,” which makes it easier to cut things without necessarily trashing them. I can edit faster that way without getting hung up on keeping a certain turn of phrase. These tricks work for me. The most essential component for success is to find a routine and system that works for you.

Don’t Be a Perfectionist

While it is important to establish a routine, it is equally important not to beat yourself up if you slack off for a day or so. The important thing is to get back to it. You should want to get back to it. When I am not writing, my day is not complete. This is not because I am such a natural. It is because writing has become a habit for me.

Nothing is written in indelible ink. If you are working on a first draft, just focus on getting the story down. The most important first step is to simply get the story down. Continue reading

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G.D. Deckard on Self-Publishing his Debut Novel, THE PHOENIX DIARY, with Book Country

Posted by June 24th, 2015

G.D. Deckard on Self-Publishing his Debut Novel, THE PHOENIX DIARY, with Book Country

Congratulations to Book Country member G.D. Deckard on publishing his debut science fiction novel, THE PHOENIX DIARY, with Book Country! G.D. is an outstanding member of the Book Country community. He’s always involved in engaging and helpful conversations about the writing process and book marketing in the discussion boards. G.D. workshopped THE PHOENIX DIARY on Book Country, and we are so happy to see it finally hit the e-shelves. Below, G.D. shares what inspired him to write THE PHOENIX DIARY and how joining Book Country helped him in the publishing process. THE PHOENIX DIARY is available on Book Country and on all major online retailers. Connect with G.D. on Book Country.

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Janet Umenta: What inspired you to write THE PHOENIX DIARY? How long did it take you to write the book?

G.D. Deckard: One day I realized that abandoned streets, houses, shopping malls, and schools meant a world without oil. The first working title of my manuscript was AMERICA WITHOUT OIL. But that story idea had already been used by other authors. So I took the opportunity in my book to blend a straight-forward adventure with answers to life’s oldest questions: Where did humans come from? What is death? Do we have a destiny? I made up the answers, of course, but that’s the great part about science fiction. The making up the answers part and the actual writing took me six years.

JU: THE PHOENIX DIARY is a hard science fiction novel. Who are the science fiction authors you looked up to growing up? Did you draw from any of their techniques?

GDD: The science fiction authors I looked up to growing up were Heinlein, Clarke, Asimov, Bradbury, and Delany – the classics. I am fascinated by our sense of wonder rooted in reality, which led me to explore science fiction. While doing research for THE PHOENIX DIARY, I discovered that there are actual remnants of ancient nuclear reactors in West Africa that are nearly two billion years old. I was stunned and asked myself, how did they get there? Continue reading

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Book Country Top Rated Books for June 2015

Posted by June 15th, 2015

New Top Rated Books for June

A new set of Top Rated books is featured on the Read and Review page. We are excited to share with you the books that garnered great positive feedback!

  1. THE KITTEN AND THE CLOUD by Meg Ripley
  2. LEAF by Serena Sanchez
  3. LESSONS OF OUR FATHERS by Ivella Jacobs
  4. AS A CROW FLIES by Rob Emery
  5. NEW WORLD UNDERGROUND by Josh Vitalie
  6. RIDER OF THE SUN HORSE by RJ Blain
  7. DARKNESS BRUTAL by Rachel A. Marks
  8. THE NOTHINGNESS by Keith Rieger
  9. ONE GREEN BOTTLE by Curtis Bausse
  10. DELWYN OF THE REALMS by Kelly Proudfoot
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New Top Rated Titles on Book Country!

Posted by May 18th, 2015

Check out the Top Rated Carousel on Book Country!

We’ve updated the Top Rated carousel on Book Country’s Read and Review page. Check it out!

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Read and Review Top Rated Books on Book Country!

Posted by March 16th, 2015

toprated collage

Check out the Top Rated section on the Read and Review page! Members of the community have highly rated these books, and we are happy to share them with you.

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New Books in the Editor’s Picks Section on Book Country

Posted by March 2nd, 2015

New Books in the Editor's Picks Section on Book Country

We’ve selected ten new manuscripts to be featured in the Editor’s Picks section on the Read and Review page. Check them out and leave a review! Continue reading

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