Hey all! I’m A. L. Jackson, author of Pulled and Take This Regret. I want to thank Taking it One Page at a Time for asking me to share with you today on my 10 Tips On Becoming a Better Writer.
I spent some time contemplating whether I wanted to focus on the overall picture and lifestyle of being a writer, or if I wanted to focus on craft. In the end I thought I’d give you a little of both.
So here it goes ~ A. L. Jackson’s 10 Tips to Becoming a Better Writer
1. Never give up. Yes, this is a general philosophy that can be applied to almost any passion, but one that is essential to being a writer. If you’ve chosen writing or becoming an author as your passion and aspiration, then expect that there will be a lot of discouragement that will come with it. There will be times when it feels as if it is just not worth it. But there will also be times, like when you hold your published book in your hands, when it feels like the most amazing thing in the world.
2. Outline. If you’re writing your first book, I strongly recommend that you begin with an outline. It’s essential to know where you’re beginning, the direction you’re heading, and your ultimate destination. Be sure that the plot makes sense and you can clearly see how you can take your reader on this journey. You’ll have plenty of space to allow your characters and plot to grow and develop as you write, but an outline will help you to stay on the right track. After that first book, you should be able to tell if you’re a stronger writer with or without an outline.
3. Continue to read. Read the classics, read the bestsellers, and read in your genre. Allow yourself to be inspired!
4. Find a critique partner you trust. I can’t emphasize this enough. A critique partner can help you see the holes in your plot and characterization issues that we, as writers, can’t see. Often these things are clear in our heads, but it may not come across that way to the reader. Plus it’s so encouraging to have another writer friend who we can toss ideas around with and support each other in our writing. On a side note: Be sure this critique partner’s interest is in helping you become a better writer and not in tearing you down.
5. Look for common themes, words, and phrases in your manuscript. Most authors have favorite words and phrases. Identify them and be sure you don’t overuse them.
6. Get rid of those adverbs! I recommend doing a search through all the adverbs in your manuscript. If you can replace an adverb with strong verbs and descriptions instead (which you almost always can), do it.
7. Show, don’t tell. Bet you haven’t heard that before Don’t tell us your character feels sad, but describe the scene unfolding that made brought on the sadness, the actions of the character in response to it, and give clear descriptions of what the character is experiencing and feeling.
8. Approach editing with an open mind. Our first instinct as writers can be to be defensive of our work, but open your mind to suggestions given to you by your editor and/or critique partner. Editors are there to help make our books better, not tear them apart. If you disagree with a suggestion, take the time to discuss it with your editor and see if the two of you can work together to create a good solution.
9. Don’t let formatting or punctuation marks tell your story for you. Don’t overuse italics for emphasis or exclamation marks to show excitement. Let your story speak for itself.
10. Continue to write. The more you write, the better writer you’ll become. Plus, you love it, right? So sit back and enjoy what you do.
Thank you again to Taking it One Page at a Time. Wishing you all much luck in your writing endeavors!
Melanie Winters and Daniel Montgomery shared a love most only dream of, a love they believed bonded them together for life. When their world is shattered by the tragic loss of their daughter, overwhelming grief and misguided guilt distorts the truth, and their relationship ends in uncertainty and unanswered questions.
For nine years, they drift through life, each unable to forget the one who holds the strings to their heart. In an attempt to escape the pain of her past, Melanie finds herself trapped in a loveless marriage, while Daniel loses himself in a career that means nothing without Melanie by his side.
Now, when their lives again intersect, neither can deny the connection they felt so long ago.
But will the power that drew them together be enough to heal the wounds from their past, and will they have the courage to overcome the insecurities and fears that threaten to keep them apart?
Pulled is a story of attraction and separation, of destiny and duty, of a love so strong it refuses to give up even when all others have.
About the author:
A.L. Jackson first found a love for writing during her days as a young mother and college student. She filled the journals she carried with short stories and poems used as an emotional outlet for the difficulties and joys she found in day-to-day life.
Years later, she shared a short story she’d been working on with her two closest friends and, with their encouragement, this story became her first full length novel. A.L. now spends her days writing in Southern Arizona where she lives with her husband and three beautiful children. Her favorite pastime is spending time with the ones she loves.
A.L. Jackson can be found:
Blog / Publisher Website / Facebook / Twitter
Author: A.L. Jackson
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Date published: 4/5/12
Purchase it : Amazon
Here is an excerpt for you:
I glanced at the clock.
Shit—nearly six o’clock. I needed to hurry. I’d lost track of time and Nicholas would be home soon. I wiped the tears from my face before carefully gathering the pictures from the bedroom floor. My chest weighed heavy as I collected each one, cherishing the memories a moment longer as I tucked them away in the envelope.
The memories were all I had and I clung to them as if they were my last breath, knowing that once they faded, there would truly be no reason to go on. I hid the envelope at the bottom of the large jewelry box in the back of the closet, mindful to spread the necklaces out over the hidden compartment. Nicholas had never found them, but I was certain he would destroy them if he ever did.
Drawing in a deep breath, I ran my hands through my hair and dragged myself from the past I had immersed myself in for the last two hours and forced myself downstairs.
My footsteps echoed against the marble floor, each an accent of emptiness. I entered the kitchen, the only sanctuary I had. Every room of this house was gaudy and overdone, designed by the pompous for the pompous, except for this haven. It was no less extravagant, but held a warmth missing from all of the others.
As I worked, my thoughts inevitably wandered back to those beloved pictures hidden away in the back of my closet, but even they weren’t enough to ward off the anxiety steadily building within me as the passing minutes warned of Nicholas’s arrival. At six thirty-one, I heard the garage door open. Bile rose in my throat.
“Melanie?” Nicholas called from the entryway.
“In the kitchen,” I called weakly. Maybe he would go upstairs and spare me a few more minutes, but of course, I never had that kind of luck. I heard his footsteps approaching and prepared myself.
“Dinner ready?” He yanked at his tie as he came through the door.
“Um, not quite, just a couple more minutes,” I said, not meeting his face.
I felt him pause, though I refused to look up. I’d learned a long time ago how to survive in hell. The less I interacted with him the better.
He snorted through his nose, muttering, “Worthless whore,” under his breath.
I gritted my teeth, holding in the anger his accusation triggered.
He set his briefcase on the island next to me and tossed his tie over the top of it. “What time do I get home from work, Melanie?” Nicholas dipped his head, forcing me to look at him.
“Is it too much to ask that dinner is ready when I get home?” he said, “or do you have something better to do with your useless life?”
I cringed but said nothing. He was the one who didn’t want me to work.
“I didn’t think so.” He leaned in closer, his words a low warning. “When I tell you dinner needs to be ready at six-thirty, it means dinner is to be ready at six-thirty. Do you understand?”
I saw the threat in his eyes. He had never hurt me physically, but he made sure I knew who was in charge. I’d given up any control nine years ago when I’d followed him here to Chicago, looking for an escape from the pain.
I knew then what this life would be like. I’d met him at the airport when I’d fled Colorado that final time, the trip that severed the last thread holding my heart together.
Nicholas hadn’t seen the broken girl who sat numb with nothing but pain swimming in her eyes. He saw the young, beautiful girl, the one who said nothing at all but seemed to be willing to do whatever he said.
I wasn’t stupid. I had known exactly what he wanted, but I could never go back to Colorado Springs to face what I could no longer have, and I refused to stay with my mother in Dallas.
So I left all of it behind, moving with Nicholas to Chicago just days after I returned from Colorado.
I knew then Nicholas would never bring me happiness. That had never been the point. My heart belonged to another and would never be his. All I wanted was a way out, while Nicholas got the trophy wife he thought he deserved. The only thing I hadn’t anticipated was how the numbness I felt for him would evolve over nine years into bitterness and loathing.
“I’m going upstairs to change, and I expect dinner to be on the table when I get back down here.” He had been this way since the first day I arrived; I had a role to play, and he expected me to play it well.
This is the second book that I have read by A.L. Jackson. When I read Take this Regret, I was not expecting the depth of the story. With Pulled I was expecting a deep meaningful plot and I was still blown away.
If you haven't read either of these books than you are doing yourself a disservice. A.L. Jackson is one of the most talented authors that I have been privileged to review. I read all sorts of books in all sorts of genres. There is something to be said when you read a book and it seeps into your soul. Pulled is one of those books. I am still thinking about it days later.
It was a very emotional story about how love can conquer all. Needless to say, from start to finish this story gripped me. I couldn't put it down. I needed to finish the story.
I recommend Pulled to everyone. If you like romances, or want a meaningful story to read, this is one that you don't want to miss. For that matter I recommend Take This Regret too.
I can not wait to read her next book When We Collide which will be out in November.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I can't find adequate words to describe how much I enjoyed it. To say that I loved it is just not enough.
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*
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