Book Review – Quit Whining Start Writing: A Novelist’s Guide to Writing

So, are you ready to write that big novel?  I mean, REALLY – no excuses attached.

Now that you’re ready, have you written anything yet?  If the truth was known, you’re probably just staring at a blank screen.  You haven’t even written the first sentence!

The clock ticks and you get up from your seat.  “Oh, I’ll write something after I eat.”  You eat and then you look at the screen again.  “Oh, I’ll write after I do the laundry.”  You do the laundry and the blank screen is there once again, welcoming you.

Before you know it, it is now 10:30 p.m.  You have created a series of productive avoidances, one after another.  As you get into your sleepwear, you are filled with regret.  “Oh, I’ll just write something tomorrow.  Sure, you will.

The next day comes and you suddenly find out that your day is extremely busy.  The truth is, your day is no different than yesterday.  Another day for productive avoidances?  Maybe.

You sit down at the computer and wake it up from the screensaver.  That same blank screen is there from the night before.  “Oh, I don’t have time to write this.  Even if I did, it would be a horrible idea anyway.”

Does this describe you at all?  If it does in any way, then I need you to quit.  Whining won’t solve anything, but reading this book will.  Let me introduce you to Tricia McDonald’s Quit Whining Start Writing: A Novelist’s Guide to Writing.

Now before you say that this is just another writing book, I will advise you.  This is actually a good one.  On the Acknowledgments page, Tricia tells us a little bit about this book.  It is a collection of everything that she considers to be the best advice that she learned about writing novels.  This is research from many how-to books, a few writing classes, lectures from novelists and shared experiences from writers and non-writers all crammed into this book.  And considering how much it would cost in both time and money, this information is quite valuable.

Getting into the book, Tricia shares with us all of the essentials.  In beginning with an introduction of what a novel is and ending with what you need to sell your novel, Tricia provides a lot of good advice, and provides you the tools you need to make your literary journey a success.

Now we all know what a novel is and we all want to sell ours.  But what’s in the middle?  Tricia covers a variety of topics, including the supplies you need for your journey, finding time to write, productive avoidances, outlining, the three points of view, conflicts and what to do when you hit a wall, to name a few.

If you are looking for applications, there are plenty.  At the end of each chapter, there is an exercise associated with it.  So if you’re struggling with “that elusive writing time”, you can make a writing plan, setting a minimum time of ten minutes per day.  If you’re struggling with productive avoidances, you can make a list to resolve them.  If you’re working on dialogue, then you can write a page of it, using two different characters.  From there, you can fine tune it, reading it aloud to see if if the voices are true to who your characters are.

Considering that there are so many books on writing out there, why should you buy it?  I will begin by saying that this book has been quite helpful in my writing.  Before reading this, I was dead set on creating the perfect third chapter of my fantasy novel.  After reading this book, I realized that perfection can come later.  Make a crappy first draft, and revise when you’re done.  On my new book, I kept writing, refusing to revise anything.  Messes can be cleaned up, and being almost finished with the book, I look forward to cleaning up the messy first draft.

Another thing that sold me was the Character Outline in the “Characters with Character” chapter.  In the past, I have never really used a character profile for any of my characters.  I just always had a general idea of who they were, and what they were like in my head.  But I like the idea of the Character Outline.  It lists everything about the character.  Name and birth date, physical appearance, favorites, habits, family….everything.  I liked the Character Outline so much that I am now using it on my main characters and characters that I will develop in the future.

And how could I forget?  Tricia McDonald has published two other books already, so she has made the literary journey twice.  Thrice if you count this book.  All of her books are self-published, meaning that she doesn’t have to deal with a giant publishing company, where publishing your book is not always guaranteed.

So if you’re whining about anything regarding your book, or even have ideas about it, please stop.  Stop whining and get this book.  Click on the book above, buy it, and be cured of the dreaded writer’s block once and for all.  I give Stop Whining Start Writing: A Novelist’s Guide to Writing a 5 out of 5.

Book Review – Life With Sally: Little White Dog Tails

To all you pet owners out there, I have a book for you that just might be worth your attention.  This book is Tricia McDonald’s Life With Sally: Little White Dog Tails.

Before I get to the review,  I would like to be very honest with all of you.  Unfortunately, I am not a dog person.  My family’s history with dogs was ended in 1990.  It happened when Bo, our German Shepard got involved in a horrible incident with a neighbor kid.  Bo was provoked, which was the reason for his animosity.  Sadly, he was put to sleep shortly after.

Now, I may not be a dog person.  But I’m definitely a Sally person.  Why, you ask?

Sally is not your typical dog.  She is a silly miniature bull terrier with doggy OCD.  She has a fascination with lawn rakes and toads, enjoys eating June bugs and runs in circles whenever she is happy.  She’s definitely a dog that is full of surprises, and has won my heart over.

The book is laid out in a series of little white tales, which tells us a little more about Sally.  Whether Sally is getting a doggy massage, having ice cream, painting a picture or having fun with the garden hose, the mini-adventures are fun to read about, and kept the pages turning.

The tales are based off of the Life With Sally column, which is published monthly in Cats and Dogs magazine.  Published in 2009, it is a book that every dog owner must have.  While I don’t have a dog myself (I have one cat named Tigger), I still liked reading about the little white wonder.  As a pet owner, I can definitely relate to loving and caring for a pet.  Whether it’s feeding the pet or giving it attention, it is a labor of love.  A labor that’s well worth it.

As Tricia has expressed in her book, she has become a Sally person.  She is not alone.  After reading this book, I have become a Sally person myself, and I’m sure that you will be too when get the chance to read this.  Just click on the book above, buy it and let Sally capture your heart.  I give Life With Sally: Little White Dog Tails a 4 out of 5.