HOW TO WRITE A BOOK: Step One

BECOME A READER

I am a strong believer in the idea that to be a writer, you must also be a reader.

Read everything, classics, romance, children’s books, fiction & nonfiction anything you can get your hands on.

I know you’re saying something along the lines of “If I only want to write Young Adult books, then I only have to read Young Adult books, right?”

Wrong.

Yes, you want to ready YA, and probably 60%-70% of what you’re reading should be YA, but you want to read other things to exercise your brain and to get your writer juices flowing.

In order to write, you must also read.

For any more advice, check out my YouTube video on the subject: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5BYafaKBmo&t=24s

 

Shriver’s Speech

If you deem yourself to be a part of the writing world (like me) but have not yet read Lionel Shriver’s speech on current day identity politics and the way that they have the potential to impact fiction writing (I just read it), I highly recommend reading it here. It’s very powerful and has many good points.

‘Tales of a Punk Rock Nothing’ Review

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I really think it’s just me that makes this book such a low rating. The story is told through many different mediums, and I knew that going in. The reason I bought the book was because it was outside of my general comfort zone and I wanted to challenge myself, so I wasn’t sure if I would like it or not. Well, I didn’t.

The main problem that I had with ToPRN was specifically that it was told through multiple different mediums. I’m sure that the authors’ intention of that aspect was that it added to the story and told more about the characters. To me, though, it was so distracting that I struggled at times to understand what was happening…I couldn’t make it through from one medium to the next.

For this low rating, I truly blame myself; I was not ready to read a book like this.

The Truth About Forever | A short review

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I thoroughly enjoyed Dessen’s TAF. The characters were well developed. though I was sometimes wanting more development, and Wes is absolutely charming. I felt that, though the relationship between Macy, the protagonist, and her mother was explained, along with the way Macy tended to act, that it just wasn’t realistic, at least to me. And, the ending was somewhat predictable.

Interview with The Clarkston News

Click here to be redirected to the original interview!

 

Six years ago Susan Arnold began writing her first novel Blue Vigilante which she just self-published.
Arnold, a 2015 graduate of Clarkston High School, explained the series began in her eighth grade English class at the junior high school.
Her teacher, Robert Albee, gave the class a short story assignment.
“As we were writing, I struggled keeping the short story short,” Arnold said. “Mr. Albee, after grading the assignment, told me that he could see there was so much more potential to the story. I just kept writing and writing and turned the short story into a four-novel-long series. The writing journey was crazy.”
During the writing journey, Arnold takes readers into the world of Marybeth, also known as “Bat.”
In Blue Vigilante, Marybeth chooses to join the most feared gang in America, Black Bullet, in a rash revenge-fueled decision, Arnold explained.
During her initiation, she proves herself to be an amazing fighter, the best the gang has ever seen. She quickly works her way up the ranks to third in command.
When she witnesses a ruthless murder during a gang fight she is faced with a moral choice, leading to the decision to quit fighting for Black Bullet. But making the decision isn’t as easy as she thinks.
“As third in command, she knows too much to simply stop fighting and she isn’t old enough to drop out of the gang, so the leader, Trigger, decides the only way to solve the problem is to kill her,” Arnold explained.
Arnold finished the first book only a few months ago and mixed in writing with being a full-time student, learning how to drive, working a part-time job and that was before she graduated from Clarkston and went on to Northern Michigan University.
“Not to mention that I matured and that changed my writing voice,” Arnold added. “Though I wish that I could have published Blue Vigilante sooner, I’m glad I didn’t. If I had published the book as a 13- or 14-year-old, the pace and tone of the book would not match the rest of the series.”
She added writing the book wasn’t the hardest part or publishing – it was editing.
“It’s a constant back and forth battle between writing and then polishing, cutting and rewriting. I’ve edited and reread BV so much, that I practically know it by heart,” she said.
Arnold enjoys Blue Vigilante because it’s the first book and series she wrote and a project she continued working on.
“I have a stack of written works I started but never finished,” she explained. “Blue Vigilante captured my imagination enough to make me stick to it.Also, I think entire idea of the plot is something that hasn’t ever really been explored before, which makes it very interesting.”
The target audience for Blue Vigilante is young adults, but Arnold added anybody would enjoy reading it.
“As long as they’re mature enough to read it,” she said. “This book involves a gang, which means violence, drinking and drugs. I wouldn’t recommend the book for kids under 12.”
Arnold is attending Northern Michigan University and pursuing a master’s degree both in English Writing and Photography.
Blue Vigilante is available online.
~Staff Writer Wendi Reardon

‘The Giver’ Review

the-giver-novelI read Lois Lowry’s The Giver in two days. I only put it down when I had to.

I was instantly gripped by Jonas, the protagonist, and his love for language. The book opens with his internal dialogue as he tries to figure out if he was frightened or something else entirely. He weighs different words and emotions in his mind, finally deciding on apprehensive. Following through Jonas’ thought process, I believe, really helps the reader figure him out as a character.

Furthermore, as we read through Jonas’ thoughts, we are exposed to the culture of his community. The community itself is captivating enough to keep me interested up until chapter eight, when the story really starts to take off! The community and it’s never ending rules are so interesting and different than that of the way that we live today, that there is no way it cannot be interesting. The community is not explained outright, which I think is why I enjoyed the book so much. As the story progresses and more rules appear, they are explained, instead of all at once. That method of writing really helps the reader feel more immersed in the world.

The Giver was a quick and easy read, something that I was not expecting due to all the hype that I’ve heard about it. Lowry does an excellent job creating a book that can stand the test of time and span generations.

I like to think of The Giver as the first dystopian book before they got really popular (Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner, Delirium)! Seriously, dystopian is its own genre.

Though I wish there had been a few things cleared up, such as the ending and the part about the planes (in the beginning), I really enjoyed reading The Giver and plan on watching the movie right after I write this review (and by the look of the trailer, I’ll probably be disappointed).

I give The Giver ★★★★★

PANDEMONIUM Review

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Pandemonium, book two of the Delerium Trilogy, was instantly not at all what I thought it would be.

I thought that it would pick up right where the first book left off, or at least somewhere near there, but it’s told through two different timelines: then and nowNow takes place six months after the end of the first book, then picks up only a few days after. It was an aspect of the story that I wasn’t prepared for, but I think it worked out for the better in the end.

What really threw me for a loop was the fact that Lena, the protagonist of the series, was SO different than she was in Delerium. It’s understandable, why she’s so different, but I don’t think it’s explained as well as it can be given the then and now story sequences.

The whole situation of the now sequences (SPOILER: a rebellion) isn’t well explained either. It’s stated several times that the Invalids have attacked cities across the nation, but we only get a detailed account of the attack in Portland, which doesn’t even make sense since Lena isn’t even in Portland for any portion of this book. Due to how big of a deal the rebellion is in Pandemonium, I wish there would have been more details about not just the attacks, but the rebellion in itself. Also, there is a big deal made about Lena’s escape from Portland and how it impacted the Invalid’s method of receiving supplies…shortly after, a rebellion is started. I want to know if Lena’s escape somehow started the rebellion, or if it was a lynchpin to starting it.

Lastly, there were a couple twist endings to Pandemonium. One (I’m not going to spoil it) that I thought was very appropriate and well placed, the other (also will not spoil it) seemed lame and as though it will be used to create unnecessary drama in the third book.

Overall, I give Pandemonium and 3.5/5 rating. It was well written and suspense-filled, but very different from the first book.