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

 

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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

Kindle: Page Size / Layout / Formatting

I just recently published my debut novel, Blue Vigilante, with CreateSpace (a post on the self-publishing journey to come!). Actually, I just published yesterday. The last 24 hours, after the physical copy of BV was done, I’ve spent frustrated over trying to make a Kindle edition of the book. So, after hours (yes, hours) of searching the internet for an answer, I’ve decided to compile my knowledge into one post with everything on it for anybody else who struggles with what I went through.

HOW TO FORMAT YOUR BOOK TO PUBLISH ON KINDLE*

PAGE SIZE

To be honest, it doesn’t really matter what your page size is. Go with whatever you’re comfortable with. This was the first mistake I made. I tried to resize my entire book, which is 375 6×9 inch pages, to fit the size of a Kindle screen. DON’T do that. Kindle isn’t just a device, it’s also an app which means that the size CHANGES depending on the device used.

Don’t fit your book to the Kindle, fit Kindle to your book.

FORMATTING

Format your book however you would normally. For me that just meant putting my chapter headings in the center, for example:

One

Or making sure that my little section separators were centered as well.

*****

Each book is different and unique, so each format will be different and unique as well.

CHAPTERS/SECTIONS

This is where I struggled the most. No matter how many times I clicked “return” I could not get my pages to be correctly spaced in the preview (ALWAYS check the preview). I struggled so much here because I was too busy focusing on the page size, rather than the tricks I could use to outsmart technology.

If you want to separate one page from the next, do not hit the “return” button, always hit page break. This is located under the “Insert” tab at the top of Word. I have both a PC and a Mac and I checked; it’s located in the same area on both devices.

It will look weird and you will question the formatting. I did. Several times. But trust me, once it’s uploaded onto Kindle Direct Publishing, it will look fine in the previewer. I went through all 375 pages of my book, just to be sure. (I recommend you do the same and double check that your computer listened to you.)

 

 

Good luck publishing! Let me know in the comments if you found this article helpful at all.

*This post is not made for image-heavy books, I would search the internet specifically about images.