Thursday, June 24, 2021

Persistence in Writing and Learning to Accept Critiques with guest Janice Cantore


Please welcome guest Janice Cantore as she shares how persistence in writing goes hand in hand with learning to accept critiques.

I’m often asked how long it took for me to get my first book published. It was a long time—seven years—and there were many rejections before I saw my first novel on a bookstore shelf. Two lessons I learned from the process: (1) keep writing and (2) learn to accept critiques.

#1 Keep writing. 

Sometimes a painful rejection can make you feel as though you should be doing something else, that writing is not your gift. When I was in the police academy, the first few weeks were tough; they were meant to weed out people who did not have the mindset or skill set that would make them good police officers. At first, people were quitting left and right. Those of us who eventually stuck it out had a running joke: When things were hard and a classmate complained, someone would say, “I think Truck Masters is hiring,” meaning they could always quit and try something else.

I’ve talked to enough Christian writers who feel called to writing, whether it be devotional, fiction, nonfiction, or for the secular market, to know that rejections sometimes hit them in their faith. I don’t mean their faith in God; I mean they begin to wonder if writing is their gift after all, or if maybe they should be doing something else. If that’s the case, keep writing, no matter the rejections. I’m not saying ignore the rejections. Hopefully, you’ve received feedback to help you improve. What I am saying is you can’t edit a blank page. If this is your calling, you’re not going to be happy not writing. Quitting because someone said no will simply make you miserable.

No one ever told me that getting published was going to be easy. All I knew was that I had to write. I just kept at it. And I’ve never met a writer who said that since they believed it was their calling, every page came out perfect the first time. Great writers work at their craft.



#2 Learn to accept critiques. 

Number two goes hand in hand with number one. If you’re going to persist and keep writing, be honest with yourself about why the rejections come. I’ve heard stories at writers’ conferences about writers who won’t accept criticism. They are in love with what they have put on the page, and they refuse to listen to editors or agents who give helpful critiques. A person who can’t look at his or her writing honestly and make changes is not likely to ever be published. Just yesterday I deleted a page and a half from my work in progress because honestly, after reading and rereading it, as much as I loved what I had written, it was misplaced and completely slowed the story down.

My first book was rejected multiple times before a paid reader pointed out a major flaw in the first chapter. I’m glad I didn’t quit and that I accepted the criticism and fixed the flaw. I had a book contract a month later.

Don’t take rejection personally. Try to look at any criticism objectively. I sometimes think the writing process is a mess. I use so much ink and so many pages of paper before I get to the point where I think the book is ready. Then I send it to the editor, and it comes back all marked up with changes that have been made and notes about more changes that need to be made. Sometimes at first pass I don’t agree with the editor about what needs to be edited. And then after a few more passes, I realize that she’s right, and the changes make the book stronger. Most critiques are made to help you improve, not to destroy you.

In the police academy there were many reasons people quit. Some could not meet the physical standards. Some realized that wearing a uniform would make them a target. Others maybe realized that carrying a gun might mean they’d have to take a life one day. I just remember being glad I stuck it out, that when I completed the academy and was sworn in, I truly felt I’d accomplished something special. In reality, the work had only just begun, but that is another story.

It was the same with writing. When that first contract came, I was so gratified that I had stuck with it. It was such an exciting rush to see my words in print. And truly, the work had only just begun.

If writing is what you must do, keep at it. Read about writing, go to conferences, learn your craft. Absorb good critiques and forget bad ones. Keep writing, keep editing, don’t give up easily, and never give up if it is your dream.


One commenter will win a print copy of Janice's new release, Breach of Honor! (US only)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Janice Cantore is a retired Long Beach police officer who now writes suspense novels to keep readers engrossed and leave them inspired. Her twenty-two years of experience on the force lend authenticity to her stories. She has penned twelve romantic suspense novels: the Cold Case Justice series, the Pacific Coast Justice series, the Line of Duty series, and Critical Pursuit and Visible Threat. Her latest novel, Breach of Honor, releases in July.

Website | Facebook | Romantic Suspense A-Team Facebook Group


ABOUT THE BOOK

Breach of Honor by Janice Cantore (Tyndale, July 2021)

As a police officer in Table Rock, Oregon, Leah Radcliff puts her life on the line to help others every day. But at home, Leah’s battling her own personal nightmare: Brad, her abusive husband, a fellow officer, celebrated hero, and beloved son of a powerful prominent family. Brad’s violent outbursts and suspicious activities have left Leah physically and emotionally scarred, until one desperate action to put a stop to his abuse results in deadly consequences.

Though public opinion seems ready to convict Leah, Officer Clint Tanner is one of the few to believe she acted in self-defense. As he works with Leah’s attorney to produce the evidence they need, new truths about Brad’s dark side come to light—and reveal a deep-rooted problem in Table Rock. There are some who have breached their sworn duty to serve and protect . . . and they’ll do anything to keep their secret safe. Learn more...

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Mixin' Up A Story

By Debby Giusti

True confession: I’m a foodie, and I love to create new recipes, especially stir-fry meals where I add lots of ingredients to the mix. I start by sautéing garlic, onions and colorful peppers in extra virgin olive oil, then I add chicken, sliced steak or shrimp seasoned with sea salt and ground pepper as well as grated ginger and cayenne. If I want a South of the Border slant, I’ll include cumin, cilantro, chili powder and turmeric.

As the flavors meld, I add vegetables in various combinations depending on my mood and what’s in my refrigerator, such as carrots, tomatoes, fresh mushrooms, cauliflower and snow peas. A dash of Kikkoman’s soy sauce, a sprinkle of Italian salad dressing and a splash of wine provide an even more flavorful mix.

Chicken or beef stock adds volume and can be thickened with corn starch or flour. Lemon juice, or lime for Mexican dishes, awakens the flavors even more. Once the veggies are cooked, I add fresh spinach for color and serve the dish in a soup bowl or ladled over rice or pasta. Chopped parsley is a lovely finisher; chopped chives are as well, and no matter what’s in the mix, I cover the dish with grated Parmesan cheese.

Having a lot of ingredients from which to choose makes cooking an exciting adventure and ensures each meal is a delicious culinary delight. At least, that’s my hope.

That same process applies to writing. The writer takes various literary elements and mixes them together in a unique way to make her story come to life. The elements are the ingredients the writer uses as she creates her next bestseller, and the more “ingredients” she has at her disposal, the faster the words fly across the computer screen.

Every romance story has a hero and heroine. That’s a given. Adding secondary characters flavors the story and paints a clearer picture of the main characters and how they relate to others. A good friend can be a sounding board. She can offer insight into past mistakes or warn about impending danger, either physical or emotional and most especially about matters of the heart.

If that friend is also a mentor, he offers advice the hero can accept or reject. In either case, the reader learns more about the protagonist and how he handles various situations or tackles problems in relation to the way he reacts to the mentor’s counsel.

A foil reflects the lead character’s traits either in a positive or negative way. A nagging wife becomes the foil to her even-tempered, spinster sister protagonist who has given up on love. The heroine’s good qualities shine more brightly and are revealed more fully when compared to her abrasive sibling.

Children are delightful secondary characters who add levity and can either lighten the mood or enhance the angst. A petulant teen disrupts the status quo, whereas an adorable five-year-old can soften the hardest of hearts. When the main characters are forced into fish-out-of-water-situations, such as the Atlanta cop who becomes the guardian of three Amish children in my next book, the protagonist has a lot to learn about not only raising kids but also about himself.

Use canine or feline "characters" to up the salability of your story. If the hero or heroine lives alone, a dog can be a special friend and an empathetic listening ear. On the other hand, a frisky mutt can complicate a story by getting into trouble—or by getting the hero in trouble—such as when Fido overturns the pretty neighbor’s trash can or scares her beloved kitten up a tree. Think of how many Hallmark movies include a pet that brings the hero and heroine together, and you’ll realize that adding a furry friend to your story is a win-win. Readers love pets, and when pups and kittens are pictured on the cover, they sell books—a fact marketing knows so well.

Be sure to sprinkle a subplot into your mix. A favorite is when secondary characters fall in love. Giving an older character, perhaps a widowed parent or grandparent, a second chance at love brings a smile to readers lips and keeps them turning the page to ensure everyone finds their happily ever after.

Weather helps to set the tone, so depending on the season, allow Mother Nature to play a role in your story. Use scorching heat, torrential rain or gale force winds to up the tension, and conversely allow warm, ocean breezes and moonlight over the water to set the scene for romance. Blue skies brighten any story whereas freezing rain sends a chill down readers’ spines. Couple that cold with a heroine running for her life and you’ve added an extra adrenaline kick. Whether suspense or sweet romance, the sun always shines at the end when the hero and heroine declare their love or stand before an altar and boldly proclaim “I Do!”

Choose a setting that builds interest in your story. The historical relevance of a certain place or the significance of various local landmarks add authenticity and provide educational takeaways for the reader.

Conflict, both external and internal, is an important staple to any story. The main goal that seems impossible to achieve in the beginning moves the action forward, while other smaller problems bubble to the surface as the plot thickens.

Internal conflict should be life changing, at least in the hero’s or heroine’s mind. Readers have baggage, and they’ll identify with flawed characters who struggle with significant problems. The deeper the conflict, the more the readers will enjoy the resolution.


Throw in a secret—or two or three—to tweak your reader’s interest and build anticipation. If the hero and heroine both harbor secrets and perhaps carry guilt about the same incident that occurred in the past, all the better. Remember the two dogs/one bone technique for external conflict when the hero and heroine are vying for the same job or parcel of real estate can also apply to internal conflict when they’re both worried about the responsibility they bear for a tragic situation that occurred years earlier.

Creating a well-blended story with lots of exciting elements will keep the editor engaged and the readers eager to read the story. Whether you’re cooking dinner or writing a story, ensure you have lots of delicious ingredients to turn your meal—or your next book—into a culinary or literary masterpiece that’s sure to please.

What are you mixin’ up in your stories? Share the elements you add to spice up your writing. Let me know in the comment section if you would like to be entered in a drawing for a copy of HIDDEN AMISH SECRETS.

The coffee’s hot and tea is available along with a yummy chicken stir fry. I hope you enjoy the meal.

Happy writing! Happy reading!

Wishing you abundant blessings,

Debby Giusti

www.DebbyGiusti.com

 

Her temporary Amish homecoming

could get her killed.

Julianne Graber left her Amish life behind after a family tragedy, but now she’s back to sell the family home— and someone’s dead set on getting rid of her. With her neighbor William Lavy by her side, Julianne must uncover dangerous secrets to make sense of the past and present. Can she find justice for her family—and a future with Will—before the killer hits his target?

 

Order on Amazon!


Monday, June 21, 2021

Creating Art from Language

 by Jan Drexler



Words, words, words!

As writers, they are the medium we employ to create our stories. Where would we be without them?

But there is a difference between using words and creating with words.

We use words whenever we communicate – I’m using words as I write this blog post, and you’re using words as you read it. We use words to express ideas, feelings, suggestions, commands, complaints… We use words a LOT!

However, when I pull up the file for my Work-in-Progress, I’m using words to create a story in my readers’ minds. Each word becomes important – not only in its meaning, but in its sound as it is spoken aloud and in the emotions it evokes.

Let me use this great word as an example: TRUCK.


 
If you’re like me, that one word brings forth a multitude of images and emotions to your mind. Let me name just a few – I think of dump trucks, semi-trucks, people driving trucks, pick-up trucks pulling campers or boats, work trucks hauling tools and equipment, ice cream trucks, delivery trucks, truck drivers, children playing with Tonka trucks…and then there are tons of off-shoots of those thoughts, including the movie ‘Convoy!”

But it is also one of my favorite words because it is onomatopoetic. Say TRUCK out loud. It sounds like what it means, doesn’t it? TRUCK. Solid. Utilitarian. No nonsense.

When I use the word "truck" in my writing, it is on purpose. I have chosen that specific word for a reason.


 
When we’re writing, we want to choose words that will create a sub-text for our readers. Words that create emotion and go beyond the text on the page to give our stories depth and purpose. Words that make our writing sing!

How do we do that?

There is no easy answer, but I can give you a couple suggestions to point you in the right direction.

1) Stay away from clichés, like the one I used in the previous sentence. Instead of clichés, use your own unique way of saying the same thing. So, instead of “to point you in the right direction,” I could have said “to help you choose words that will add a lyrical quality to your writing.”
One exception to the cliché rule – sometimes using a cliché in dialogue can give our readers a clue about our character’s personality. But that’s in dialogue, not narrative writing.

2) Keep track of weasel words. Those are words that we find popping up in our writing too often. For one book, my weasel word was “just.” For another book, it was “shrugged.” Just when I get one weasel word conquered, another one shows up, shrugging its shoulders apologetically. (Yes, I did that on purpose.) When weasel words dominate my writing, my story doesn’t sing. It drones.

3) Use strong words, but don’t overuse them.

 

Strong words? What are those?


They are words that we use instead of common words to bring more interest and artistry to our writing. I use thesaurus.com to find synonyms for common words that will give me ideas. I often find a word that is perfect for my sentence.

But beware – I recently read a story that was so full of strong verbs and other words that it read as if the author or editor had gone down a list of synonyms and chose them without thinking. Don’t be guilty of that faux pas! We need to choose our words with care - verbs, nouns, adjectives, and adverbs.

The result of overloading our writing with strong words can sound like this:

Cindy detected a crack in the old, yellowed wallpaper. She ambled closer to inspect the fissure, triumphantly comprehending how this opening engendered the source of the secret door.

Do you see how too many “interesting” words creates a tedious set of sentences no one will want to read? The story gets lost in the dense underbrush!


 

Which brings me back to writing stories that sing. It isn’t only our job. It isn’t only our craft. It is our art.

And art takes work.

We write, rewrite, and rewrite again.

Rewriting gives us the perfect opportunity to clear out the weeds and weasels to bring out the strong structure of our story.

What about you? Are you a word-lover? Or as K.M. Weiland says, a "word player?" 
What is one of your favorite words, and why? (And please tell me I'm not the only one that loves playing with word meanings and sounds!)


Sunday, June 20, 2021

Sunday Scripture & Prayer Requests

FATHER'S DAY

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, by Rembrandt,
1632. [PD-US]


On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples:
“Let us cross to the other side.”
Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was.
And other boats were with him.
A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat,
so that it was already filling up.
Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.
They woke him and said to him,
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
He woke up,
rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet!  Be still!”
The wind ceased and there was great calm.
Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified?
Do you not yet have faith?”
They were filled with great awe and said to one another,
“Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”

Mark 4:35-41


The Seekerville bloggers are praying for YOU and for our entire blog community. If you have any special intentions that need additional prayer coverage, leave a request for prayer in the comment section below. 

Please join us in praying for our country!
God Bless the USA!

We are so grateful for all of you—for your friendship and your support! 

May the Lord bless you and keep you safe.    

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY TO ALL THE DADS!  

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Weekend Edition


  






If you are not familiar with our giveaway rules, take a minute to read them here. It keeps us all happy! All winners should send their name, address, and phone number to claim prizes.  Please send to Seekerville2@gmail.com. If the winner does not contact us within two weeks, another winner may be selected.


Monday: Author & agent Cynthia Ruchti wrote a fantastic post about one thing that works for her when considering an author's proposal. Querying authors, this is a must-read!

Wednesday: Cate was chatting about another craft book. Dennis Palumbo's Writing from the Inside Out.

Friday: Mary talked about it being Tricky to Remember to Forget. She is going away a signed  copy of A Man with a Past and, because she's had a really quiet day on Seekerville, she is giving away THREE books to Jamie Adams, Vince and Angeline.



Monday:  Jan will be in the house talking about words - boring words and not so boring words. Writers are artists and the medium we work in is language, so let's make those words sing!

Wednesday:  Debby Giusti will be blogging about "Mixing Up A Story!" Be sure to stop by to see what Debby's serving. I'm sure there will a giveaway too!

Thursday:  Janice Cantore is sharing about Persistence in Writing and Learning to Accept Critiques!
  
Pam Hillman is our hostess on Friday. As the Weekend Edition goes live, she's pondering what to share. Drop by Friday and chat!







ON SALE NOW


The Accidental Guardian 
is on sale for $1.99 on Amazon
Check the price before you click. The sale is almost over!

And we're so excited to offer this preorder link to 
RUTHY'S NEWEST MYSTERY! 


Due out in two weeks, "Prescription for Mystery" is Book Two of the new Miracles & Mysteries of Mercy Hospital series from one of the most trusted names in publishing "Guideposts"... 



And if you order Book One, Kathleen Y'Barbo's 
"Where Mercy Begins" use the code MERCY20 to get 20% off! 




After the First Draft: Revising Your Plot by Becca Puglisi at Fiction University 

Bringing a Character to Life by Barbara Linn Probst at Writers In The Storm

Seven Ways to Generate Strong Story Ideas by James Rubart at Learn How To Write A Novel

3 Things You Didn't Know About Ebook Retail Rankings by Ricardo Fayet at BookBub Partners

How Writers Can Quit the Creative Comparison Game by Kristen Kieffer at Well-Storied

Helpful App Types for Every Writer at Write To Done

I'm Selling Books on TikTok, No Dancing (or Crying) Required by Ashleigh Renard at Jane Friedman

Creative Storytelling Options for Those Who Don't Like to Write by Jacqui Murray at Live Write Thrive

Writer, Your Platform Includes More Than Social Media by Cherrilyn Bambano at Blue Ridge Conference

How to Get More Book Reviews by Susan U. Neal at The Write Conversation

The latest Edition of INSIDE EDITION is available now! Sign up today for Tina Radcliffe's newsletter for authors filled with industry news, contests, Twitter Pitch updates, publishing spotlights, and so much more!



Friday, June 18, 2021

It's Tricky to Remember to Forget


A Man with a Past
Brothers in Arms, book #2
The hero in my soon-to-release novel A Man with a Past, has amnesia. I mean he has it through the whole stinking book....well almost. He gets his memory back at the end...in the nick of time you might say! 

It was fun but I hope I did it alright. 

I've written one other character with amnesia and before long at all I just flat out gave her her memory back. It was just too HARD to remember to forget.

You don't really realize it until you start writing it, but a character spends a lot of time with internal thoughts. And in ways large and small those internal thoughts are concerned with who they are. How something is affecting them.

Sure sometimes they think things like, "When I was married to Betsy, I'd've never said such a thing." Or more mildly, "He'd decided to never marry again. Losing Betsy had hurt too much."

You can't do that with amnesia. No worrying because you were frightened by a barking dog as a child, nearly struck by lightning as a teenager, lost your parents in a flood as a young adult.

Nope, none of that, because YOU CAN'T REMEMBER ANY OF THAT HAPPENED.



It's tricky to remember to forget. 

You need to re-write, revised, regularly, specifically looking for oops moments when a character is acting as they normally do which includes, tiny moments of memory, the things that make a person who they are.

And that act of memory is so fundamental to writing...backstory...internal conflict...fears and joys and strengths and weaknesses. We are trained to write all of that into a character. Well forget it. My recommendation is frequent and very specific revisions looking for a character remembering or reacting based on a memory.

A bigger issue, how does having no memory affect your personality. ARE you afraid of dogs? ARE you afraid of lightning storms. Would you be? Seriously, how deep does a fear or phobia go? If you can't remember almost getting struck by lightning, then are you unafraid? I really couldn't quite decide. On this one, I just went with my own approach but I tried to be consistant about it.

Anyway, my hero Falcon Hunt isn't afraid of anything, so that doesn't apply. 

He was a fun character to write because he talks like a Tennessee hillbilly. I'd never done a book with that strange, unique accent before and I enjoyed it. 

An example of how Falcon talks from the opening of A Man with a Past:

When a man grows up in wild country, huntin’ food, eyes wide open for trouble, he knows when he’s being watched.

And that man there, back’a him weren’t out lookin’ for a place to have a Sunday picnic.

Falcon’d fought shy of a dozen towns and wanted no part of Independence, Missouri. Ceptin’ he didn’t know where in tarnation he was going and to his understanding this was his last chance to figure it out.

So he went ridin’ right smack into that beehive of a town on his old rawboned mule to find out how to get to Wyoming. And a man commenced to following.

To a lot of men, it might be right hard to spot a single man on these crowded streets full of shops and freight wagons. Everywhere he turned people swarmed.

But staying alive wasn’t easy in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tennessee, where a man could find a way to die near every time he turned around. And yet here Falcon stood, as tall and rawboned as his mule, proving he was a tough, savvy man and he didn’t intent to trust to luck with that man on his tail.

He intended to trust to skill.



Falcon was fun to write. His main enduring skill is his utter trust in himself to take care of himself and anything else that cropped up. He had a skinning knife and his old single-shot rifle. And he has the wilderness. He can cloth and feed  himself and he isn't one speck worried about doing it.

And then a blow to the head, actually a gunshot to the head, and he can't remember a thing. And he's in the wilderness. Anyway, it was a lot of fun.

Have you ever written an amnesiac? Have you ever wanted to? Have you ever tried and gotten so tired of the stumbling blocks you just give your character their memory back for your own sanity?

Today I'm giving away a signed copy of A Man with a Past. Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing.

A Man with a Past

Falcon Hunt awakens without a past, or at least not one he can recall. He's got brothers he can't remember, and he's interested in the prettiest woman in the area, Cheyenne. Only trouble is, a few flashes of memory make Falcon wonder if he's already married. He can't imagine abandoning a wife. But his pa did just that--twice. When Falcon claims his inheritance in the West, Cheyenne is cut out of the ranch she was raised on, leaving her bitter and angry. And then Falcon kisses her, adding confusion and attraction to the mix.

Soon it's clear someone is gunning for the Hunt brothers. When one of his brothers is shot, Falcon and Cheyenne set out to find who attacked him. They encounter rustled cattle, traitorous cowhands, a missing woman, and outlaws that take all their savvy to overcome. As love grows between these two independent people, Falcon must piece together his past if they're to have any chance at a future. 

AND A SALE!!



The Accidental Guardian is currently on sale in in Kindle for $1.99

Be careful when you click that the sale is still on. I noticed the NOOK book version has returned to full price so I suppose it's about over!

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Cate's Favorite Craft Books #5 Writing from the Inside Out by Dennis Palumbo

 Hey everyone, Cate here.


This is Debby's usual spot, but she's on deadline right now, so we swapped weeks. Given the topic of today's post, that's actually rather appropriate.


This month's craft book is an oldie but a goodie - Dennis Palumbo's Writing from the Inside Out. The subtitle is Transforming Your Psychological Blocks to Release the Writer Within.


As I was choosing a book to focus on this month, I spied this one on my shelf and was immediately transported back to that day in 2000 when I first bought and began to read it. Yup, over 20 years ago. I can testify to how long it's been sitting on my shelf based on my sneezes when I opened it to refresh my memory.

Opening this book was like sitting down to visit with an old friend. You immediately remember why you are drawn in. In this case, as soon as I read about the author alone in a rustic cabin in Carmel, CA with "only eleven or twelve bad pages, strewn about the room, two wastebaskets filled with crumpled paper" pacing and "rereading the same dozen pages," I knew I had found a kindred spirit.

As I was rereading the book, it dawned on me that my craft books are really divided into two main categories: Craft and Writer's Life.

As a pre-published author, I devoured both. I wanted to glean any bit of wisdom I could from those who had gone before me and made sense (and word magic) out of this writing process. I was a sponge absorbing all the advice.

But the books I preferred fell into the other category. Those, like Bird by Bird and this one (Writing from the Inside Out) spoke to my writer's soul. They let me feel like I was part of the secret club. They got me. They understood, really understood, that writing is not always (or even often) the blissful existence our more innocent selves might have imagined.

Writing is work. It can be fun, but it's hard work. It's hours spent staring at a blank screen or page on a day when the ideas won't flow. It's those crumpled balls of paper spilling from the trash can or the endless versions of a computer file. It's beautiful and uplifting (when it's working), and it's demoralizing and terrifying (when it's not working). It's messy first drafts, editor revisions, line edits and last minute changes. It's joyous and frustrating. It imparts a euphoria or has you pulling your hair out.

There are a lot of books that document the writing experience because authors love to talk shop and that often means sharing their own misery along with the successes.

I've always found it helpful to know I'm not alone in what I'm experiencing. There's comfort in knowing that no matter how big a hole you've dug for yourself, another author has been there before and, if you're lucky, can offer a figurative rope to pull you out.

Writing from the Inside Out is one of those kinds of books.

Dennis Palumbo is a highly successful novelist. Interestingly enough, he is also a licensed psychotherapist. But before he was either of those things, he was a Hollywood Screenwriter. The opening chapter that I mentioned above? It was his experience trying to write the screenplay for the Peter O'Toole movie My Favorite Year.

And despite all the horrid writing times in that cabin, he went on to be nominated for a Writer's Guild Award for Best Screenplay for that script. That serves as a good reminder that, no matter how arduous the task, the result can be glorious - if we keep at it!



Larry Gelbart starts off the forward to the book saying 
Be warned: 
This is not a how-to book. It offers nary a rule, formula, nor recipe that will allow you to turn out a best-selling novel or a fabulous, million-dollar screenplay.

He adds:

It is not that handy-dandy kind of book and that is just as well. Never before have so many of the smugly expert advised so many of the seemingly inexpert on how to write successfully... The pages that lie ahead provide far more valuable insights and practical tools for the working and/or would-be writer. Instead of a how-to, what Dennis Palumbo has written is a how-come book.

 I love this Amazon blurb from Gary Shandling:

"Dennis Palumbo has great insight into a writer's psyche.... Every writer should have a shrink or this book. The book is cheaper."


So, a craft book from someone who is a writer and a therapist. Win-Win.


What do you think? What kind of craft books do you prefer?