I am a 47 yr. old mother of 3, married 25 yrs. The Lord is my Savior, and writing books that illustrate the grace of God is both my passion and my ministry.
www.danapratola.webs.com – On FB @ - http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Dana-Pratola-Author/221067454600043 and also Twitter
Top Ten List of do’s and don’ts for beginning writers?
DO take SOME criticism. Sometimes we have to trust that others know better than we do, and if most people you ask tell you the same thing, it’s worth your effort to consider it, look into it, and change it if necessary. Often, others pick up things we miss.
DON’T take ALL criticism. It’s not all helpful and trying to change everything someone comments on is going to make you nuts. You can’t please everyone and more often than not you just have to go with your instinct.
DO be structured. Try to make your work, if not the priority in your day, at least a priority.
DON’T negate flexibility and fun. Feeling trapped doesn’t make writers productive, and in fact, can stifle creativity. Yes, writing can be grueling, but remind yourself why you do what you do. Is it to bring glory to God? To accomplish a personal goal? To have the biggest boat at the marina? Focus.
DO read, read, read.
DON’T read bad stuff. You may think it’ll help you learn “what not to do” but it’ll probably just make you a little more tolerant of your own mistakes. Often, humans can see something sub-par and think, “well if they got away with that, I can too.”
DO write something every day, even if it’s not related to your story. If you’re stuck, take hero and heroine to a carnival, or send them on a camping trip together. See what happens. You may never use the scene, but you may get a fresh perspective or even a single line of dialogue you can use.
DON’T include text messages, shopping lists, etc. You know what I mean.
DO, write your first draft all the way through before stopping to edit.
DON’T fall into the temptation to stop and correct, improve, delete. Speaking for myself, I miss out on so many ideas when I’m going back to edit the last sentence. When ideas are coming forth in a steady stream, it’s like slamming on the brakes. And by the time I have the sentence just the way I want it the flow is stopped up. Then I have to go back and read to try to jump back in the stream, but of course I’m catching other errors… !!!!!!
DO take your time and make sure your manuscript is polished before you submit it.
DON’T wait for perfection – ain’t gonna happen. There comes a time when your manuscript is DONE and you have to let it go. Those of you who have watched their children board the school bus for the first time know what I mean. It’s time.
DO write what you know. I lived in the same area for 47 years, so when I write about the towns, the traffic, the humidity, etc., it rings true because it’s second nature to me. And that’s how your characters should view their world.
That being said, DON’T be afraid to write what you don’t know. With all things, there is a balance. If I only write about the area I live in, I put my characters in a box. There’s only so much you can do in a box. For The Covering I learned a lot about building motorcycles. Most of it never got into the book but just enough to give the feel that Gunnar is totally at ease with bikes, that his job is something he does every day.
DO keep a calendar handy. Sometimes events in a story will unfold over days, weeks, months… It’s important to remember what day a character does something. For example, if you mention the day as Friday, then in the next chapter mention that your character goes to the dentist two days later, some people will wonder where they can find a dentist who works Sunday. It may seem insignificant, but readers do pay attention and even a small thing can make them not trust you to tell them an accurate story.
DON’T tell us what happens every day between major scenes unless those events are necessary to the story.
DO be creative when naming characters, especially the sir names. If I see one more Taylor or Stanton…well I don’t know what I’ll do, lol. I guess read on if the story is good.
DON’T use names the reader is going to have a hard time pronouncing, especially first names, since these will be repeated more often.
DO PRAY, PRAY, PRAY. God is on your side and wants to see you succeed.
DON’T get lax and think God will make you succeed just because He loves you. God can only bless what you DO.
Very sage advice. Thank you for sharing this with us today.
1. I love old movies – particularly Pride and Prejudice (1940) - but have never seen Casablanca (not a Bogart fan), and hated Dr. Zhivago and Gone With the Wind.
2. I went to high school with Mark and Scott Kelly, both of whom are now astronauts.
3. I saw a UFO when I was a kid (at least 2 people reading this are muttering, “of course she has.” LOL) Not saying it was aliens but something I’ve never seen before or since.
4. I own a magical pair of sneakers. I’ve worked out in them for 6 years and they don’t smell. I can produce witnesses.
5. I think forehead kisses are sexy.
Very interesting facts. I want a pair of those sneakers! We'd love to find out more about your book, The Covering.
Tessa is moved to intercede for a man she's never met. When they do meet, she's stunned. Gunnar is gorgeous, charismatic, and driven. He's also hostile, self-destructive, and an unbeliever...and she's drawn to him like no other. The temptation she feels is as dangerous as it is alluring. She wants to stay away, but God has other plans. He reveals the devil's intent to destroy Gunnar, and commissions Tessa to keep him covered in prayer. Can she rely on God to keep her from falling...in love, and into temptation? Or will the devil claim them both?
Sounds very interesting. Where can readers find your book online?
Purchase Link: http://www.whiterosepublishing.com/The-Covering
Can you share an excerpt?
Tessa pushed away her misgivings and swung around the doorway and into a human wall. She teetered for a second before landing hard on her butt. From her seated position, her gaze moved up from scuffed biker boots and black pants. A matte black helmet dangled in front of her face and drew her gaze up the arm of a scarred leather jacket. She couldn’t help noticing that shoulders filled the doorway.
She guessed right about his face. Definitely unfriendly. Eyes dark as a night sea glared down at her from beneath slashing brows, and an unsmiling mouth
offered neither apology nor ease. What she didn’t expect was his hair. There wasn’t any, only the suggestion of it on a well‐shaped head.
He made no attempt to help her, which surprisingly did more to bolster her courage than undercut it. He was a startling sight, but she would not be unsettled in her own home.
Tessa got to her feet and held out a hand, wishing she’d inherited her mother’s ability to fabricate a smile on cue.
Dana, thank you so much for stopping by today. I enjoyed chatting with you and learning more about your book.