I never do this, but today is a day for exceptions. My cousin Laura Thomas recently published her first novel, Shadow Swans, and I just finished reading it this morning. After finishing this amazing adventure of human emotion, I feel compelled to tell others about it.
So today instead of a blog post on writing, you are getting a recommendation to read Shadow Swans (and to be clear, I will not receive any financial reward for this plug). I am not giving a full review or a synopsis. You can see those on Amazon. Here I want to focus on the writing process and craft.
Why read this book? Because as a writer, you are in a quest to learn about craft, hone your skills, defy the rules, and break new ground. Laura Thomas has succeeded in immersing the reader into the characters and the world of a New York you have never imagined. The underworld becomes alive with vivid descriptions as the characters effortlessly become people you care about and long to follow.
In short, reading a book so well crafted will help you as a writer. Learn from the methods of coloring a room with a tuned mixture of sound, sight, and smell. Relationships that are complex to all parties involved, and yet clear in their parts.
I know you will enjoy the book, but that is not the point in this blog. Use the book to take your writing to another level. Study the way voice is employed. Examine the incredible use of simile. Grow as a writer by reading great writing.
Buy Shadow Swans on Kindle
Buy Shadow Swans on Nook
Buy Shadow Swans in Print
If you are looking for software to help you organize your writing efforts, Scrivener is a great choice. If you are a Mac user, you may have been using this for quite a while. If you are a Windows user, you are now lucky enough to join the club.
I am not posting a full review here because I have not downloaded the software yet, but on reputation alone, I think the Public Beta is worth a test drive. If you have feedback on the product, please post comments.
Literature and Latte – Scrivener for Windows
Until next time, keep on writing.
Happy New Year! 2010 is upon us so it is time to start thinking about a new year of writing goals, project possibilities, and writing contests.
In my last post I listed some specific contests with detailed information about prizes and rules. In this post I want to list other websites that contain lists of writing contests, so a jumping off point for you to stroll through your options.
My advice for the new year, be intentional. Do not allow the year to just happen to you. You shape the year. Make a small list of specific goals, and if they may be difficult to complete even better. If you aim for a 300 foot drive on the green, you are much more likely to hit 250 feet.
Aim big! And remember, you will never win a contest unless you enter. Best of luck to you all.
Poets and Writers
Creative Writing Contests blog on WordPress