Thursday was Author Appreciation Day in the Twitter-sphere. In his Writer’s Digest newsletter, editor Brian A. Klems said:
As writers, we all know how difficult this industry can be to breakthrough and find success. Some days it can be exhilarating while other days it can be so frustrating. Today’s the day we want you to show your support of other writers by finding a book you enjoyed (especially by an author trying to find success) and leave that writer a nice review on Amazon or B&N or Goodreads. When you have a book published, you’ll realize how valuable and uplifting those reviews can be (especially when you’re having a tough day).
Thursday was the perfect day for this because I had just finished reading Amy Lukavics’ Daughters Unto Devils in the wee hours of the morning. So, taking Mr. Klems’ advice, I logged on to Goodreads and left my first ever review:
“Daughters Unto Devils left me breathless. I mostly binge-read it, and found myself clutching my chair at certain points along the ride. I’m also a YA writer and often deal with paranormal themes in my writing, so I know the difficulty involved in achieving this level of reader interaction/emotional response. Amy Lukavics successfully balances the paranormal elements with the human factors (i.e. characters’ relationships, desires, fears, etc.) in this book. Aside from the sheer terror I experienced numerous times, there were tender moments between Amanda and Hannah, which showed a change of heart for the protagonist–a very difficult thing to capture this well in writing. Though I understand some readers’ frustrations from the parents’ choices, even this was a realistic depiction of the stubbornness common with pioneer mentality. Overall, it read like a realized folk-ghost-tale, as the author intended. A+”
5 STARS to Amy Lukavics, with her debut YA novel, Daughters Unto Devils.
Have you written a review? If so, please leave a link below. If not, consider writing one for a book you loved, especially for a new author. Who knows–when the time comes, maybe he or she will write a review for you!
Over at Lunch Ticket, Bettina Gilois writes a blog called “Writing: The Toolbox.” In her 8th installment, she discusses character, and the necessity for a reader’s emotional investment:
As writers we are the pusher man for the reader, we control supply and demand. We get the reader hooked, and once hooked we tease with a controlled giving and taking, dealing in identification and fantasy, creating want and tension, and doling out relief and reward.
Gilois advises writers to incorporate philosophical statements as part of character building:
Philosophical statements by your characters elevate the material from a pragmatic and dramatic narrative to something that holds greater value and endures through time. While it also serves as characterization, it satisfies the reader with recognition of self in the greater context of what it means to be human.
To me, this is what mediocre writing lacks. As a young adult author, it’s important to provide sustenance in a variety of ways–be it philosophical statements or scenes that place characters in difficult situations in order to prove their mettle (or not, because that can be fun, too). In these ways, a young reader receives more than just entertainment. She is nourished by the story; he learns without an obvious moral.
So, how do you accomplish this task of writing with purpose? How do you use your characters to say something important?
Do you listen to music while you’re writing, or is it too distracting? My kids’ screams often serve as ambient noise while I work. Sometimes, I play nature and meditation CDs with names like Zen Garden or Orient Tranquility. (The kind you find below the machines that play music as you walk by, usually located in the same aisle with scented candles, flower vases, and throw pillows.) Other times, I have a little Norah Jones, Duncan Sheik, or–since I write YA fiction–Lorde playing softly. Then, during specifically angst-filled scenes, I might crank up Rammstein’s Du Hast to set the tone all the way to rage. Every now and then, I like it as close to silent as I can get after my 5 kids have gone to sleep. That’s the only way I can quiet my own mind enough to focus and draw my words to the surface. Though there are times when it gets to be too quiet, so I’ll turn on HGTV to feel like there’s someone talking that I need to ignore.
So, what kinds of music do you find inspiring? Who serenades you while you write?