Hello all! I am thrilled to kick off the Killer Image Blog Tour.
I absolutely loved this book. A great story, made even greater as it is set in my neck of the woods, the Philadelphia suburbs. I love reading a book and knowing of the areas personally. It makes the book even more real to me. The characters were great, and I am hoping that there is more in store, as I think there is so much more to tell about these characters.
Without further ado, here is a guest blog by the author of Killer Image, Wendy Tyson:
Where to begin?
A few weeks ago I stopped by a local bookstore to drop off an advance reader copy of KILLER IMAGE and to introduce myself. The store was about to close, but the young employee, seeing the pleading look on my face (I had driven 45 minutes to get there), was kind enough to open the door and let me in. She was adorably awestruck at meeting an author (and let’s face it, that kind of reaction doesn’t happen too often to debut authors), and, after a few minutes of shy chit chat, told me that she, too, wanted to write. But where to start, she asked? A novel felt too big and too overwhelming.
She’s right. Writing a novel can be a big and overwhelming goal.
Poll twenty authors and you’ll probably get twenty different answers on how they go about writing a novel. Some outline, some use sticky notes, some paper their walls with charts and diagrams and colored-coded references of who did what to whom, choosing not to write one word until every detail is worked out beforehand. Others (like me) simply grab a pen or a computer and start writing, allowing the characters and storylines to come spilling out in one big hot mess to be sorted out later.
And for as many different opinions as you’ll get about writing the novel, you’ll hear just as many about how best to edit. I remember reading about one author who rewrites the entire manuscript in a new file on their computer, typing it over word by word from beginning until “The End.” They liked to be able to catch anything from the prior draft that didn’t ring right, and the exercise of writing it fresh each time meant that they weren’t lulled into accepting what was already on the page.
I use a different method. To edit and revise, I print the completed manuscript out (sorry trees!), put it in a three-ring binder, and read it again, making edits and notes as I go. Any section that needs a major adjustment in character or plot gets a special color tab. After I’ve been through the whole book, I edit on my computer, using those notes as a guide. I’ll do this three, four, twenty times until I am able to read the manuscript and forget that I wrote it. That’s when I know it’s ready.
But even with an understanding of how others approach writing and editing, authoring a novel can still feel like a daunting task. So I advised my new friend to consider a few things:
· Read, read, read, and then read some more. Read not just everything you can in the genres you love (and other genres), but read books on writing. My first instructor was Natalie Goldberg through her beautifully written books on the craft of writing. My copy of Writing Down the Bones is as worn and marked as a beloved teddy bear. There are other good books out there, too. Look for ones with practical exercises. These can help you to “find your voice” and start building trust in your own abilities.
· Take a few classes. The bookstore employee I mentioned at the outset is a college student. If you’re already in school, look for classes on writing, even ones you can take as an elective if English is not your major. But if you’re not in school, you can still find classes. For example, The Writers Studio in New York City offers online workshops (I took some and loved them), and some colleges offer evening classes and workshops for non-students. Look around to see what’s available in your area.
· Participate in a writers’ group. You may hook up with local writers, or find others with similar interests on the Internet. Your local bookstore is a good place to start. Take your time and find people you trust and whose opinions you respect. And think twice before putting your material online at a public site – this can be considered publishing and may interfere with a later contract. That said, writers’ groups can be a phenomenal way to begin, and the feedback of others can help you to hone your skills.
· Join an organization. Many groups for specific genres (such as Sisters in Crime) are terrific for aspiring authors. You can network, find mentoring opportunities and learn about the publishing field.
· Find a trusted beta reader. If you meet someone with whom you click, who can read your material and offer insightful, honest feedback, hold on to him or her. I had several beta readers with whom I used to switch manuscripts. We weren’t a writers’ group – we met individually to trade and critique and followed no defined schedule. But it was a great experience. We all need beta readers at some point in the process.
· Begin with short stories. That’s how I started. My first published pieces appeared in literary journals. Writing short stories can help a new author work on technique and develop voice on a smaller-scale project that may feel less daunting. This is also a great way to get acquainted with the industry and build a writing resume.
Thanks for the awesome advice Wendy! I am looking forward to more of your books!
Pick up a copy of Killer Image today!! You will not be disappointed!!