Overcome Shallow Writing

Overcome Shallow Writing Ever tried writing about something and caught a headache when expanding your thoughts and ideas? Ever been called a superficial writer? Have you ever battled strongly with writer’s block? If so, you’ve probably had a share of shallow writing. To my understanding, shallow writing is writing about something without giving out the purpose and exact meaning of the writing. When writing a novel, preface, or introduction, writers tend to give you a snippet and synopsis because they don’t want you (as the reader) to lose interest too quickly. Think about the first time you went swimming. You took the first three steps into the pool and though you saw others swimming in the deep portion of the pool, you stayed in shallow waters. You didn’t want to take the risk of drowning. Writers often feel the same way.

I strongly believe shallow writing comes with the fear of being drowned in criticism and losing a good reputation as an author. The deeper one goes into writing, the more emotion they display. They’re more vulnerable and bound to revealing personal aspects in their lives that they did not intend on revealing to the audience. Shallow writing is a give and take and it all depends on the author’s purpose. Sometimes, shallow writing is a benefit because the intent for writing is to summarize and give a brief description. Other times, shallow writing is inappropriate. Examples would be writing poetry, outlining a plot, and writing an autobiography. Readers expect to visualize pictures and events occurring in their minds. Reading is dull to them when there’s no suspense or nothing worth looking forward to read.

So, how do I overcome shallow writing and how do I get over the fear of my reputation probably being destroyed? The simple answer is you have to take risks. Some readers you will win and some you will lose. Breathe, take chances, and expect positive outcomes! The more you give of your inner self, the greater the impact and influence will be upon you and the piece of writing. Do you like to watch the news? If so, you’ll notice how the news talks more about criminal activity rather than positive things in the community. Many people love hearing drama and dirt and are more prone to accepting you as an authentic writer by ridding out shallow writing. Be authentic, be real, be you, and enjoy writing in a way that satisfies your inner and outer self.

Find a quiet place, find a pen or pencil (your choice), grab some tissues, have a cup of coffee, and allow yourself to open up! Get rid of shallow writing and give your reader(s) the extraordinary!

Book Publishing 101

Book Publishing 1011. Grammar & Editing – As you are constructing your book, make sure you do a Spell Check on the final manuscript. Check the sentence fragments and word tense. Make sure your document has 1-inch margins (Top, Bottom, Left, and Right). Set your manuscript size to the book size you desire (i.e. 5×7, 6×10, 8×10).

2. ISBN – In order to effectively market your book without being rejected from bookstores and online agents, you will need to purchase an ISBN. Bowker ISBN Agency handles the regulation of ISBNs. If you decide to purchase one through them, it will cost $125. Book publishers may offer you a discounted rate. If so, take the advantage.

3. Copyrights – No author is prone or vulnerable to theft. Protect your works by registering your claim/title with the U.S. Copyright Office in Washington, D.C. You can purchase your copyright for $35 online through ECO or by printing out the forms under their local repository. Inside your book, do include a copyright page informing readers of copyright protection and infringement if they decide to steal your works.

4. Book Binding – The type of binding you choice for your book is very important. If you decide to choose paperback plastic cover, the cost will be cheaper. However, there is an advantage to hardcover. The binding doesn’t rip the pages and the book doesn’t become damaged by water, sunlight, or dust. Some authors choose to add the dust jacket inside and this also protects the pages inside of the book. One has to keep in mind that books are shipped and you never know what the machines could do to your books if they are plastic covers.

5. Cover Images – The front and back cover of your book is worth a thousand! Just one look could give the reader the wrong look. Personally, I choose to pick images that deal with the morale and main idea of the book. Get creative with your cover images and not have them plain. Make your book so appealing that when a person scrolls down the aisle, they stop to look at your book.

6. Wording on Back Cover – Many interested readers want a synopsis of your book and it’s important that you persuade them with the things written on the back. Place some testimonials of your book on the back cover and main quotes that are enticing.

7. Number of Pages – When I first started writing books, I did not take this into consideration. The amount of pages draws readers as well as repels them. If your book is too huge, a person may disregard it because of their busy schedule. Adversely, a person may enjoy a book of small amount of pages because they can read it in one setting. If you write poetry, consider the format of your book. Should it be done in volumes and collections? If you write fiction and creative stories, should they be split into characters or segregated by topical categories? Should there be a plot with suspense or a dry-cut informative message from the story?

8. Marketing – You are never in the business just to publish a book! You’re in the business to market your book! It’s an accomplishment to publish your book and receive the self-satisfaction of doing so. Yet, you want to sell your book and make royalties. You want money for your hard work and labor! It’s an expectation for authors and readers are also aware. Get into the habit of marketing your book and requesting your readers to rate and review it. Ratings and reviews carry the author a long way and establishes a fine connection between buying a book of worth and a plain old book.

Mother’s Day Poem: “Motherly Love”

Motherly Love

Happy Mother's Day - May 11, 2014
Happy Mother’s Day – May 11, 2014

She cries and travails
For the child in her womb
The mother and the father
Wants the child born soon

She pushes and breathes every minute and hour
Thinking back on the moments of the baby shower
9 months of labor, tears, and pain
Suggesting and coming up with the child’s name

A newborn baby, a new life to see
A mother’s birth amounts to something
She nurtures and watches her child grow
Respect and dignity she faithfully sows

A mother’s reflection can be seen through their child
When everyone’s given up, she’ll go the extra mile
God blessed her and made her fruitful with her spouse
They also play an important role in the house

Mother’s Day is not one day, but everyday of the year
Her words and her love remains sincere
For mothers living, for mothers dead
They’ve all made sacrifices to see their children fed

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you!
The tears shed, the prayers, and for all you do!
May each and every child one day discover
The overall purpose and love of a mother!

©Carl McKever

How to Write a Book Review

How to Write a Book ReviewBeing a book reviewer for the last two weeks and having many of my books reviewed by others, I tend to see a lot of commonality in reviews. Mistakes, gestures, and things that are just inappropriate for a book review. It is one thing to tell someone that their book is great and others should read it. It’s practically a cliché at this point. Reviewers have to make prospective readers thirsty and energized in interest to the point where they want to purchase the book. Book reviews have the same flavor and sensitivity as a sales pitch.

How do I write a book review? Where do I start? How long should it be? Common questions with various answers! I only speak, in this blog post, from personal experiences as a book reviewer. When you begin writing a book review, start off thanking the author for their publication. You can include if you won the book through a giveaway, but know that this is a necessary evil. After being complimentary, start addressing the overall design of the book. What feeling did you get when you looked at the front cover? Does the title give off the main idea? Are the designs on the front and back covers an act of symbolism? Does the small wording on the back cover heighten your interest to open the book? These are the things prospective readers want to know.

The next portion of your book review should address the grammar and punctuation. Yes, something not often placed in reviews. It’s imperative that you get someone else to check your grammar and punctuation. Go through an editor or agent, if you have to. You’ve read the book. So, did you have to stop and almost stutter because the fragments were not revised properly in the sentences? Did the author wean off topic for a long time without reeling you back into his/her main purpose? Prospective readers and book reviewers look for the author’s purpose, focus, and moral in every story. At this point, you can begin considering the format and layout of the book. Was the table of contents outlined correctly? Were page numbers included? Was the book entirely too long with unnecessary information in chapters? Was the font and alignment of each page hard to conceptualize? Think about this when writing your book review.

How to Write a Book ReviewThese pieces to a book review are great, but the most crucial and last component of the book review should be recommendations. Make the sales pitch! State the type of audience who should be reading the book and address any internal/external feelings they may run into. Is the book full of adventure and suspense? Is it religious? Are profane words and derogatory remarks made in the book? Why is this so important? The prospective reader wants to know if they’re the right audience! For instance, I’m a poet and when I read reviews for poetry books, I want to know if the books are centered on the same themes I write about and read about. If I was a counselor and the book is full of adventure, but doesn’t hold a dramatic event requiring counseling for someone, this may not be the book for me. Make your recommendations and state why such audiences are the right candidates.

In closing, have fun with your book reviews! Don’t make it into an assignment or required duty. Don’t treat it as some book report or an exhausting activity one does when they finish a book. Write your review while you’re in a happy mode and when you think and concentrate about the interesting pieces of the book. Even if the book is terrible, don’t come right out and say, “this is the worse book to buy.” Mention the author’s weaknesses and give suggestions on how they could become strengths. Don’t tear down your author publicly, but address horrible matters through private communications.

Good luck and I look forward to seeing some of your book reviews out there!

Writer’s Block: Re-fuel Your Passion!

Writer’s Block: Re-fuel Your Passion!Writers write in different stages and with different moods. Sometimes, we have a gratifying, uncontrollable passion that keeps us up in the late nights and wee hours of the morning. You could look at our hands and see calluses on the back upper portion of our fingers. Our eyes look weary from staring at a monitor or a notepad for countless hours. The cups of coffee and slices of pie diminish; being used to invigorate the creative passion that lies trapped inside of us. This is the good mood, the good times as a writer.

Unfortunately, writers run into a stagnant mood called writer’s block. Writer’s block, to me, is the inability to think and the loss of passion in writing. It’s impossible for a writer to say their passion for writing is high while they face the excruciating battle of writer’s block. So, how does one refuel their passion? How long does this phase last? What caused writer’s block, anyways? These are questions I am willing to ask based off of pure experience.

The biggest cause of writer’s block is becoming dissatisfied with your own work. Time progresses, writings increase, but the satisfaction of the things we write about doesn’t increase. Each writing piece should give us a fresh dosage of satisfaction and encouragement. Another cause is running out of things to write about. Let me tell you … I run into this one a lot. To conquer this, change your atmospheric surroundings. Walk somewhere new, travel, carry a notebook in places you haven’t before, Internet research the latest poetry trends with poetry associations, and network with other poets who write for the same cause as you. Two is better than one! Change the time of day that you write. If you have been writing late at night, start trying it in the morning before the day gets busy. Personally, I love writing as soon as I arise from bed; when my thoughts are freshly anew and I’m not tired or weighed down from life’s burdens.

A person facing writer’s block remains in this phase until they realize they don’t have to. I learned this the hard way; waiting for others to pat me on the back and pump me up. You have to encourage yourself as a writer and write for others while building your very own self up. Rejection is another reason that leads writers into writer’s block. I do understand how one feels that writes constantly and is not recognized nor appreciated for any of their writings. Yes, it’s a terrible feeling. Yet, when this feeling comes, you have to ask yourself, “Why do I write? Who am I writing for? Is writing to heal and/or motivate me? Is writing all about others?” These questions will help you reinvent your passion and reasoning for becoming a writer. To conclude, overlook your past failures and rejections. It’s a new season, it’s a new day, and it’s a new you; waiting to write away!

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Pride and Prejudice Meets the Present

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries Logo

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” This is the line that begins the timeless Jane Austen classic Pride and Prejudice. Most literary critics would think of this line as a reflection (or a satire) upon relational values of Jane Austen’s time and place in history, but to the average reader, it sets the premise of the love story it is today known to be. However you read Jane Austen, this year celebrates two hundred years of existence for Pride and Prejudice. Perhaps it’s a truth universally acknowledged now that a lot has changed in society since Austen wrote it. Being so far removed from Austen’s time in this day and age certainly puts a damper on fully understanding this beloved classic, but The Lizzie Bennet Diaries brings it all to the twenty-first century.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries portrays the Austen classic in a very contemporary way, and still remains true to the tale. It is a one hundred episode blog series on Youtube that is hosted by the headstrong, independent Lizzie Bennet. In each short episode she unfolds a dramatic scene from Pride and Prejudice with her intelligent best friend, Charlotte Wu; her perfect sister, Jane; their wild-child sister, Lydia; their restless, southern-bell mother and aloof father; the rich and sweet Dr. Bing Li, and many other characters from the novel. Whether you’re a fan of Jane Austen, or you’re trying to understand what’s going on in Pride and Prejudice, it is fun, enjoyable, and easy for anyone to follow. The modern aspect is a big help in understanding the plot and dated references.

Though rich, single men may not always be seeking marriage these days; nor might unusual women be anxious to snatch them up, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries bridges the two century time span to enlighten and entertain students and lovers of classic literature. All the modern aspects of the series, like the web-blogging medium, the colorful characters, and the pop culture craving for drama, are tuned to reflect the classic novel, which makes great entertainment for the literary enthusiast, a wonderful supplement or resource for studying Pride and Prejudice. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries introduces the classic to modern times.

No Fear Shakespeare Books

No fear Shakespeare BooksIf you are like me, you love literature and always have high hopes for your English classes…then you attend the first class and realize you will be reading text written a million years ago that you can’t possibly relate to even if you wanted. In a frenzy to get the full original text editions of the books online I came across something that I don’t think a lot of college students really know about. You may have herd about No Fear Shakespeare, a really useful section on the SparkNotes website that has old books written in todays terms. What you may not know is they also have published print editions of many classic drama books that have the original text on one side of the page and the modern translation on the other side.

There really isn’t much to worry about when you have a story written in terms that you can truly understand. I would go to say students, including myself, who read these books using todays terminology will get more out of it than students who stick to trying to understand and interpret the original text themselves. In the age that we live in, if there’s some sort of assistance when it comes to hard classes or understanding the impossible, I say we should take advantage of that. Oh, and get this, on Amazon they are all around $5-$6. That’s super cheap, if you know anything about college books then you would agree. Just go to Amazon or your favorite book seller and search for “No fear Shakespeare, then your book or drama’s title”. I hope this little golden nugget of advice helps you out as it has helped me!