Monday, October 31, 2011

"Linda Goodman's Sun Signs"

I had not heard of the book, "Linda Goodman's Sun Signs," until I attended a writers' conference in Raleigh, N.C. The speaker, Cherry Adair, praised it and encouraged the 70 people in the auditorium to consider using it as a guide to develop characters in novels. She emphasized that novelists should choose a birthday for their main characters and NEVER change it. I took her advice, chose birthdays and bought Goodman's book.

I read about my own sign first and disagree with much of what is written in the book. Then I read my husband's sign and knew he didn't fit the mold in the least. In a novel, though, we set real life aside and create our own worlds and people, so this book is a start to helping choose traits for our characters.

My heroine in my work-in-progress, "Red Diamonds,"s is a libra.  What a coincidence! Many of Tessa's characteristics fit her sign! I will not change what doesn't fit because no one fits a mold in its entirety, even fictional characters.

If nothing else, the book is a start to helping develop believable characters.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Self-publishing quandry

Should I or shouldn't I self-publish?
Nearly everyone I know wants to write a book, whether it be a novel, memoir, autobiography or family history. The publishing market today does not allow for every book to be published; thus, well-meaning individuals turn to self-publishing.

Writing requires an enormous number of skills, among which are:
* well-defined topic
* clarity of thought
* spelling
* sentence structure
* punctuation
* syntax; that is, the proper use of the English language
* accuracy of facts

* I have a copy of a self-published book that has no author's name in sight.
* I have a copy of a self-published book that has factual contradictions in it.
   The original event either took place in 1959 or 1961, It did not take place both times.
* I have a copy of two self-published books that make no sense. I cannot follow the topic.
   The sentence structure is horrible. The sentences are convoluted and/or fragments.
* I have a copy of a self-published book that is a diatribe about the government.
   The author is bitter about his lot in life.

These aren't books. They are personal journals. I understand people wanting to give family
members a remembrance, but they shouldn't impose their personal histories and inaccuracies
on the general population.

If you have a good story, write a good story. Get help. Join a writers' group. Join a professional
organization. These people will be as honest about your writing as their consciences allow.
Paying for professional editing services is a last resort. Often the cost does not warrant  the

Follow your dream of writing a book, but when you reveal it to the general public, make it
something they can be proud to have read so they can tell you with sincerity, "Job well done."