I am pleased to welcome Judith James, author of Highland Rebel to Peeking Between the Pages today. Stay tuned for my review of Highland Rebel. With all that has been going on with my family lately I did not finish it but it is very good so far. Judith is going to share with us her thoughts On Writing…
I mentioned in an earlier blog on my guest blogging tour that I thought all writers were avid readers, and many readers wondered at some point or other about writing a book themselves, I also talked a bit about how I started writing and the journey that led to Highland Rebel. A friend’s daughter asked me some questions for a school project. She wanted to know if there were and special rules for writing, and what advice I’d give to an aspiring writer. Peeking Between the Pages seems like a great place to talk about that. I don’t claim to be any kind of expert, but I can tell you a bit of what I’ve learnt, and a bit about what works for me. I didn’t know any of this 4 years ago when I first started to write. There are some fairly general rules that pretty much apply to everyone, such as double spaced, one inch margins, begin a chapter a third of a way down the page, generally a novel is between 80,000 and 125,000 words, etc. In the story sense, the preference today seems to be start with a hook and end each chapter with a hook and shorter chapters make for faster paced read. Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass, covers a lot of that. Beyond that there are many different methods people swear by.
Some say you have to write a few hours every day, even if you think it’s worthless. Others wait for their muse and when she comes the story flows until they are exhausted. Some plot everything out and make detailed outlines while others just close their eyes, think a bit and dive in with no idea of where they are going next. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way myself, just the way that works for you, but though the last has tended to be my style I’ve had to adjust it somewhat. If you want to sell a book on proposal you have to have a pretty clear idea of what it’s about and where you are going and be able to lay it out in your synopsis, and you can’t afford to wait for a sulking muse..
Beyond that my advice, based on nothing but my own personal experience, would be read, read, read. If you like romance, history and adventure you might consider starting with my new release, Highland Rebel 🙂 Always carry a note book or tape recorder and jot down those little ideas or snippets of dialogue that come to you when you’re out walking or doing the dishes or just about to fall asleep. Don’t let them get away. They could be your story idea one day. Don’t talk about it or think about it…do it. Sit down and write and don’t worry if it’s good enough. In this business you learn and progress by doing. Once you’re ready to show your baby to the world, have other people read it first and take in their opinions, but only those you hear over and over again.
Not everyone will like your writing, particularly if you have a strong voice. You need a thick skin and you have to know when to take and when to ignore criticism. EVERYONE experiences rejection. It’s part of the business. If one person tells you your characters are unlikeable, don’t worry unless you agree. If three people do, be open to making some changes. Research agents and publishers before sending your work out. Be sure you’re sending it to the right people. It will save you a lot of time, rejection, and postage. Also, if you can, connect with other writers though local groups or on the web, but follow your own voice and write your own story, don’t let it be written by committee.
Last but not least, if you’re serious about your writing show it some love. Block off some time when no one is to interrupt you, get a computer for your use alone, set up a desk, get some nice pens and paper, and maybe a good thesaurus and dictionary.
My last piece of advice is write what excites you and write what you love. I love travelling to other worlds, I love history and I love romance with big handsome sexy men(I mean when I’m reading and writing of course) I’ve always loved Scotland, it’s a part of my heritage, and bagpipes make me yearn for something hard to explain. Writing Highland Rebel transported me to places I’ve always wanted to go, in the company of a warm and witty and devilishly attractive man, and let me experience exciting but dangerous adventures like sword fights in the dark streets of London late at night, or traversing white water rapids from the safety of my armchair. If you want to write a story, you’ll be immersed in it, perhaps for months. Make sure it’s one you love. It will show. I hope my love will show to those who read Highland Rebel.
All the best
Highland Rebel by Judith James, in stores September 1, 2009!
Amidst the upheaval of Cromwell’s Britain, Jamie Sinclair’s wit and military prowess have served him well. Leading a troop in Scotland, he impetuously marries a captured maiden, saving her from a grim fate.
A Highlands heiress to title and fortune, Catherine Drummond is not the woman Jamie believes her to be. When her people effect her rescue, and he cannot annul the marriage, Jamie goes to recapture his hellcat of a new wife…
In a world where family and creed cannot be trusted, where faith fuels intolerance and war, Catherine and Jamie test the bounds of loyalty, friendship, and trust…
About the Author
Judith James has worked as a legal assistant, trail guide, and counselor. Living in Nova Scotia, her personal journey has taken her to the Arctic and the West Coast. Her writing combines her love of history and adventure with her keen interest in the complexities of human nature and the heart’s capacity to heal. For more information about Judith, please visit her webiste here.
I’ve got 1 copy of Highland Rebel up for grabs for one lucky reader. To enter…
- For 1 entry leave a comment with a way to contact you.
- For 2 entries follow my blog. If you already do, let me know and I’ll pass on the extra entry to you as well.
- For 3 entries blog or tweet this giveaway to spread the word.
This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only (no PO boxes) and I will draw for the winner on Saturday, October 17, 2009. Good luck everyone!