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  • Patricia Hollett

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    Currently working on:

    Fallon -70,094 words
    Forest Born -67408 words
    Ice Whisperings -2997 words
    Garrett -9623words
    Northern Blood -11658 words
    Winter's Reign -787 words


    Blood Harvest - 998 words
    Keeping Secrets - 1500 words
    Misunderstood -700 words
    Sarah's Amulet-A Necromancer Slave Story -6004 words
    The Cult -1998 words
    Unfortunate Blessings -454 words

    To Be Published

    Artistic Escape - flash (to be pub 2011)
    Happy Birthday Honey - flash (to be pub 2011)
    Making Choices - flash (to be pub 2011)
    Together Forever - flash (to be pub 2011)


    Allie's Clown - 1500 words (Published on Dark Valentine website March 2011)
    Valeria's Knight - 4807 words (Published in Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine)
    The Angel Wars/Post-Apocalyptic Emails at the end of time-A collaboration with author Tammy Crosby (Published by PillHill Press in August 2011)
    Valeria's Knight - 4807 words (Published in Night to Dawn Magazine-September 2011)

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Recipe for Writing-What I’ve learned from research and reading

I’ve been on a learning quest lately attempting to find what I need to make my story better than the way I’ve written it. There are so many good books and so little time, so I’m trying to find the ones that really matter to me. The ones that will help me become a better writer and enable me to use what I’ve learned to bring my story to life.
At the suggestion of a few fellow writers, I picked up the book, ‘Writing the Breakout Novel’, by Donald Maass, and although its slow reading, I’m not disappointed in the lesson here. And, several other books as well have provided me with some great ways to improve my writing techniques.
Writing is difficult, but to write the breakout novel you must take everything as far as you can go. Push beyond borders, don’t think inside the box, but move beyond and take all your characters, plot, ideas, etc., to extreme edges. Beginnings that grab the reader and take them on a whirlwind ride right through and leave out the boring and unimportant parts of the story. Don’t add in a lot of mundane details that bore your reader and don’t move your story forward.
But in doing all this research and reading I found something else strike me more important than anything I’ve learned from all these books I’ve been reading lately. WRITING!
Yes, write everyday. That’s always been the key. Writing will help you hone and master your skill, and while I’ve been doing all this research and learning I’ve put my writing on the back-burner in order to have the skills to write the way I should be writing. But, I’ve missed something more important by doing this.
So, while all this learning is good to do, a proper balance needs to be achieved. Writing should be first and take precedence over the reading of how to do it well. That’s how to hone your skills. Funny that’s its taken me all these books to realize it. I thought by doing all this research I’d learn how to become a better writer, and I found something more important.
And in the midst of selling our house, doing our final renovations, I need to find a balance to write everyday and not spend so much time stressing over the ‘how’ to do it right, but to ‘just’ write!


9 Responses

  1. Thanks for the recommendation, lessons are things that take time to learn and anything that gets you thinking about ways to improve your writing is always a good thing.

    I’m getting geared up to try out a new idea, not sure if it will make full length title, novella or just a short story at the moment but its going to be fun.

  2. Writing every day is so important. I think it was Stephen King who said to do a page a day (250 words). The theory is if you force yourself to do that much, you might get more, but it’s enough to wire your brain to get in the habit (sort of like working out every day).

    It’s a really tough balance to strike: writing, reading, learning, and life. I know I’m not there yet. I’m hoping for after RT, but right now? Not so much.

    Good luck finding your balance 🙂

  3. Great post Pat, I hope find balance. And when you do please stop by to give me a lesson! 🙂

  4. I agree that the key to writing is. . . writing! I’m reading (off and on) The Career Novelist by Donald Maas. It’s an older book, and it’s now available free in PDF form on his website! (Because I can never resist anything free).

  5. I definitely agree with that! Write, write, write! Also, read, read read. Read what you love. Learn from the very stories that inspired you to write down the first sentence of your first story. I know that the excitement I feel after digesting one of my favourite books sparks my interest in the one I’m working on. We all learn from each other. Isn’t that the very reason we all joined the OWG – to learn and to be inspired? It was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Pat.
    Merci mon amie!
    X Lisa

  6. It’s always great to start writing with new knowledge in mind, isn’t it?

  7. Practice makes perfect 🙂

  8. Thansk for the inspiration. WE get so caught up in looking for perfection that we forget about the practice. great post.

  9. That’s a great lesson, Pat. One that I’ve recently learned myself. Reading and learning is a very important part of the process, but your skills will become stale if you don’t work at them everyday. Just like an athlete, it’s something that must be practiced regularly in order to stay sharp.

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